Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Grand Prize Winning Recipe!
Happy Thanksgiving! What a crazy, wild weekend it's been. The 20th annual Mountain Mandarin Festival happened this weekend and mother nature showed up for the party and brought the crowds with her. Mason cooked on television twice promoting the festival and his demo and at the last minute, channel 3 called and wanted to cover his story, too! Not only did they do two live spots on Sunday morning, they also did a full segment on his school kitchen project that ran at 5 PM yesterday! It was really well done and you can see it here.

The lovely fall weather brought record breaking crowds to the festival and our school had the opportunity to raise money for the new kitchen in two ways, we got to work the entrance gates for a percentage of the ticket sales, and we sold mandarin marmalades. We darn near sold out of all of the preserves before the end of the first day! That is good news, but even better is that rumor has it that Saturday attendance alone broke festival records for any previous years all three days! We worked our tails off but I think we made some good money!


November 23, 2013
Add to all that busy-ness, my dear friend Rod got married on Saturday. We traveled to San Francisco Friday night and had a lovely night out on the town with David and Lisa Anderson and were honored to be at Rod and Cathleens wedding. We were on the 32nd floor of the St. Francis in Union Square taking in awe inspiring views of the bay, the Golden Gate bridge, Union Square and more! Simply spectacular to be there for such a special day. Congratulations Rod and Cathleen and thank you for sharing your day with us!


2np Place - $50


As we always do, all us Partaks entered the recipe contest at the festival and I won 2nd place for my explosive mandarin pound cake but the big winner in the family this year was Dave. Dave won the grand prize of a set of Kitchencraft waterless cookware - a nearly $2000 value! How cool is that?

While we were in the bay area, we picked up Dave's mom and she came to see Mason cook on Sunday. What a treat for all of us! Now it's time to get her home and start preparing for Thanksgiving. I hope you have a lovely holiday as I know we will, we all have so much to be thankful for!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Calm Before the Storm!

Have you ever had one of those weeks that you know you will have way more to do than days in a week to do it all? Yep, that's where I am today! Next weekend in the 20th Annual Mandarin Festival and just a week ago, I was offered the opportunity to bring in volunteers from our little school to man the ticket booths for a portion of the ticket sales - proceeds to go to our school kitchen project. How could I say no? I couldn't and I didn't, but there are some obstacles for sure. The biggest one being that I have to leave town on Friday afternoon and won't be back until after the festival closes on Saturday night!

I am sure I will pull it all together, but it is stressful in the meantime. I'll let you all know next week if I survived!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day!

Happy Veteran's Day! It's a holiday for most "jobs" but in fact, there are many of us who work no matter what day it is. Moms and dads, emergency medical responders, police, fire fighters, and more all work on holidays. For those of us who have the day off, what's on tap? I'm actually really getting in the holiday spirit, it's earlier than usual, but fall came early this year so I decided to just go with it.
 
Mason has been working on recipes for two upcoming television appearances and his cooking demo at the 20th Anniversary of the Mandarin Festival in two weeks. He is cooking on Sunday and also planning to defend his Snow's Citrus Court award in the recipe contest that same day. It's a busy time of year to be sure and it's really lots of fun that our whole family is feeling the excitement of the holiday season.
 
Kathy's Cookie Factory will be opening soon and I can't wait. I have several new cookie designs in addition to my annual favorites. I'll post pictures as they come off the line. What are your plans for the holidays? Will you be staying home or traveling to see family? We will be staying close to home. Have a wonderful short work week and I'll see you next week!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Time is Speeding By!

Welcome to a new week, is it just me or are the weeks coming and going faster than normal? It seems like I just brought the garbage can up and it's time to take it to the curb again...I've been told that the apparent speeding up of time is a sure sign of old age - yes, the older we get the faster time seems to go by! This week, Mason was featured in our local paper regarding the work he is doing to raise money for his school kitchen project. It was a big story and well written and much to out delight, several offers of help have come from the exposure. One person suggested we apply for an annual grant from our local Lions club, another offered up cash, and several others asked how they could help. There are two opportunities that have the potential to yield more than half of what Mason is trying to raise. All in all, I would say it looks like we could have a new kitchen for the next school year!
 
Other than my life with Mason I am learning tons in the world of real estate. it never seems like I am learning fast enough or remembering the thing I learned in the last transaction, but I have been assured and encouraged by the people I work with to not be so hard on myself, I just really hate the proverbial learning curve - I like to be the person who knows what is going on and typically has the answers, not all the questions. Someday!
 
It's November and that means if you haven't been able to make it to one of Mason's live cooking demos, your last chance is fast approaching. Mason will be cooking at the 20th Annual Mandarin Festival on Sunday, November 24th. If the weather keeps up like it's been, it will be a lovely fall day in the foothills. Mandarins are already being picked and they are sweet as can be! Mason's school is making mandarin marmalade, mandarin cranberry preserves, and mandarin pepper jelly to sell as a fundraiser. It will be $6 a 1/2 pint and I can tell you already, it is delicious! All three, although the mandarin pepper jelly seems to be the favorite. If my Alameda friends want to preorder some, let me know as I will be in San Francisco on the 22nd and 23rd, I would be happy to deliver it to you - it will make a great Christmas gift! If any of my Vacaville friends want some, I can certainly stop and drop off at Julie's on our way down.
 
I hope you are all enjoying this awesome time of year, it's my favorite! Have a productive week and I would love to hear what is new in your neck of the woods!