Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy Last Monday of 2014!

Happy Last Monday of 2014! I am so excited to start a new year, not because this year has been bad but because I love, love, love the collective energy that the new year brings. Everything seems possible and many people actually follow through and make a little bit more of their dreams come true. What does a new year mean to you? For me it's twofold; I enjoy looking back at what I've accomplished personally in addition to what we've done as a family. The obvious other side is looking ahead to what I can do better and what new dreams I can manifest. 

Yeah, there's the normal weight loss and eating healthier, but the good news is, I make small strides every year I recommit. Let's look back, in 2005 on Thanksgiving day I gave up drinking soda. That was huge! That is not to say I have not had an ounce of soda since then, I have, but my go to drinks are iced tea, water, wine or tequila, laughing! In 2006, mayonnaise and I parted ways, my go-to is usually mustard now and if I need something to make tuna fish or chicken salad, I will use Greek yogurt or find other, non-mayo based recipes to make what I want to make. Once in a while, I will make a mayo based recipe, but I use way less mayo and enjoy it just as much. I'm not going to give you the year by year but you get the point, small changes add up to a healthier lifestyle. Those two examples are pushing 10 years in action and that's something to be proud of!

This year I made great strides with my real estate business and can't wait to see more growth in the new year. I managed to pay off our debt AND pay for our family to take a Disney cruise - check that one off my bucket list! We took a handful of less extravagant weekend jaunts, but certainly as meaningful. We visited the moaning caverns and Big Trees State Park in Calaveras county with Julie, Ray and his daughter and Steve & Ro, in addition to San Francisco, Utah for Lexi and Jordan's wedding, and even to the ruins at the bottom of Folsom lake. We moved, got a new car (well, new to us), and Mason not only reached his goal of raising $25,000 for his school kitchen, he exceeded it by $1052! It's been a great year and I have every reason to believe 2015 will be just as good, or maybe even better! Happy New Year, go out and conquer the world, I know you have something amazing to offer. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Our Year in Review - Readers Digest Style!

Merry Christmas
and Farewell 2014!
It's that time of year again, time to celebrate with loved ones and reflect on where we’ve been and look ahead to where we want to go. Dave, Mason and I have had a great year with few exceptions. We all had more highs than lows but the most important part of our journey every year is that we are healthy and together.

Mason did plenty of cooking this year not only in our kitchen but on television, cooking stages up and down the state, he was featured in Food Network Magazine and he even did his first paid cooking demonstration for Raley’s grocery stores. Many of you know that Mason auditioned for Rachel VS Guy Kids Cook Off Season 2 and made it to number 9 - they cast 8 kids and Mason was the alternate. So close! I don’t know if he will audition again this year,but I’ll keep you posted. Mason enjoys cooking but he wants everyone to know that a kid cook is not all he is. He loves riding his BMX bike, playing with all kinds of apps on his iPad, building Legos, and he is also really enjoying theatre - currently in rehearsals for Aladdin where Mr. Mason is cast as none other than Aladdin!

On a super cool note, Mason reached his goal of raising the money for his school kitchen. Not only did he reach his goal, he exceeded it raising $26,052! It took eighteen months but between he and I, we did it! The school will not be completely remodeling the commercial kitchen, instead they will be installing a Food Science Lab, or as you and I know it, a home economics room. We will create a grade-by- grade curriculum for the students to actually learn to cook in a kitchen just like the one they have at home. At the end of each year, the kids will host a community luncheon as a fund-raiser and so the community can see what kind of cool things are happening at the elementary culinary program at Alta Vista Community Charter School. Isn’t that spectacular? And all because a then 3rd grader had an idea.

Dave has continued to work on his Bachelors degree while working and trying to find time for his gaming hobbies. The older we get, the less time there seems to be to do the things we really want to do, but there is always enough time to do the things we have to do.

I’ve been loving building my real estate business and especially appreciate that it allows me to do so much with Mason and Dave. I paid lots of bills and managed to pay for our family to take a Disney cruise to the Bahamas in October for Mason’s 11th birthday. If that’s all I manage to earn, enough to pay for family vacations and little mini get-aways, I’ll be a happy lady!
Other fun news for me this year is that I was chosen to be one of 6 Americans to participate in an on line program called America Cooks With Chefs. I was paired with a James Beard award winning chef to whip up a healthy dish that we will then present at the Clinton Initiative Conference in January in Palm Springs. I spent a weekend in Portland with my chef and I’m looking forward to the trip next month.
I hope you are all well and having a lovely Christmas holiday. Happy New Year with lots and lots of love!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Happy Birthday Week Kathy

Happy Monday and Happy Birthday week to me! My birthday is Wednesday and I'm looking forward to celebrating with Dave, Mason and some friends out to dinner. I don't have lots to share today except that the cookie factory is open and in full swing! I've gotten off to a late start since I was in Portland, but I'll get done what I can and it will all be good. I also have plans to make some of my mandarin cranberry oatmeal cookies for neighbors since the award winning recipe was featured in the new Mandarin Festival cookbook. I'm making the cookies and giving each of my neighbors a copy of the book, great gift idea, huh? I hope you are having a joyous holiday season, I know I am!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Today I'm Cooking With a James Beard Chef in Portland, OR

This is a prelude to the real Monday Motivator that will come later today. I am in Portland filming for America Cooks With Chefs, a program sponsored by The James Beard Foundation, The Clinton Initiative, Weight Watchers, Better Homes and Garden Magazine, and Barrilla Pasta. I am being mentored by Chef Naomi Pomeroy of Beast and as you are reading this on Monday morning, I am getting ready to be in her kitchen soaking up all I can remember to take home with me. I'll write more later today and hopefully have pictures!

Monday, December 1, 2014

It's Official!

Happy Monday and it's official, Merry Christmas! 

Thanksgiving was awesome! After a few years of not hosting our friends for Saturday Thanksgiving, we got back in the swing of things and it was so much fun. It never ceases to amaze me how much work and preparation goes into planning a single meal that lasts 20 minutes. I'm not complaining, just noting that this is the kind of gift that I love to give and receive. Dave did most all of the heavy lifting for this meal while Mason and I added the pretty touches to the house and table. Dave brined our turkey and as usual, it was perfection! I hope you had as lovely a Thanksgiving as we did and are feeling the Christmas spirit like we are. 

It's time now to open the Partak Cookie Factory, but before I can do that, I am off this coming weekend to meet with Chef Pomeroy in Portland, OR to participate in the America Cooks with Chefs 800 Calorie Challenge. I'm so excited! I am not all the way sure what to expect, but I know it will be something to remember for sure. I'll find out how much I can share before the web series is posted and I'll keep you posted. The finale is at the Clinton Initiative in Palm Spring at the end of January and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Dave and Mason can make the trip to join me. Be sure to visit America Cooks with Chefs on Facebook as I am sure there will be fun stuff posted there along the way. 

Have an awesome week and take in the magic of the holidays, they go by so quickly. You never know when someone you love won't be here to enjoy with you next year. With lots and lots of love!