Monday, December 26, 2016

Welcome Week #52!

It’s the last week in 2016 and can you believe how fast it went? I know, it’s totally cliche’ to write about how time flies, but it does! I don’t remember that being the case when I was a kid, but Mason said to me half way through this year, “Man mom, time is going so fast!” He was 12, but I suppose when you live a life like his as a kid, it would feel more grown up. Today Mason did his last television appearance of the year in Sacramento. He talked about how to make New Years Eve festive and fun for kids…he would know. 

It’s funny how much things can come around in just a few days. Last week I was really struggling with the whole gift situation that comes this time of year. Mason has been a normal 13 year old and all about what am I getting? It’s been driving me nuts because I want him to be more aware of the spirit of giving and how the magic of Christmas and Santa is really about giving and making other people’s dreams come true. The bottom line is, he’s a kid and as amazing and mature as he is in other realms of life, he’s still a little boy who is loving video games and gaming systems, and he wants more air soft stuff than he can likely use, he wants to go to the movies and he wants to eat crap food, and as his mom I need to just let some of this stuff be. It will pass and I really do not need to worry that he will grow up to be an entitled, selfish human, I don't think that's the case.

While I reflect on our year, how can I feel anything but gratitude? Mason worked a lot this year and by the looks of this last television appearance, it’s showing. After his segment while we were cleaning up, the anchor called to us to say, “In my ear, producer just said, “THAT WAS AWESOME!” that never happens! Good job Mason, you know how to do this and your set looked great!” That’s high praise and even Dave said to me, “Good job Kath, tell John Howard Swain he taught you well…so well, you’ve been able to teach Mason.” 

We were in Chicago in January shooting a pilot for a kid cooking show, Mason did his usual live cooking demos for the Home Shows, fairs, and festivals through the spring, summer and fall. I went to Las Vegas for the licensing show where it looks like I may have landed a gig for my RiverLights Originals art work in 2018, and we came home to get Dave his most favorite of all birthday presents, his Bernese Mountain dog puppy, Gunner. Mason and Dave then went back to Chicago where Mason filmed a spot with Steve Harvey while I was on a girls trip to NYC with Lisa Anderson. No sooner did we all touch down the same day in Sacramento, just two days later, Mason and I were back down in LA to shoot another spot for the pilot show we shot in January. That one will be interesting when it airs in 2017. From there we were back on a plane to Sheboygan, WI where Mason did a job for Johnsonville Sausage. That was a great trip! Not only did we have plenty of down time, we got to meet the good people at Johnsonville, and it looks like there might be more collaborations in the future. That project will likely be revealed next month, so stay tuned! 

Bring all of this full circle with Saturday Thanksgiving surrounded by our friends in the (not so) new house, I turned 50 (how the heck did that happen?!), and we shared another epic Christmas. There just isn’t room for anything in my heart except love and gratitude for this amazing life with my little family. 

Thank you for being on this journey with us, it wouldn’t be the same without you. Happy New Year, may you find this same kind of awesomeness in 2017!

Monday, December 19, 2016

About Gift Giving

This is the joy of Christmas, not gifts.
Back on December 10, 2012, I wrote a blog post about the pressure to give gifts, especially at Christmastime. In essence, this is what I wrote, “It's two weeks before Christmas and everyone is busier than ever. Today has been a little overwhelming for me, I really don't like all the focus of the holiday season being about buying stuff/gifts... specifically, "I want this, and this, and this, and that." I find very little joy in buying items off a list. First of all, there is no surprise factor and secondly, it's not a gift I chose for you. The flip side of this struggle for me is, sure, these are the things you want, but here we are, "things you want - things I want," where is the "gift" in that? I think of a gift as something I really thought about choosing for you, our relationship, how it will make you feel today and for years to come...maybe it's just me, but I don't find any Christmas joy in buying stuff from a list that would mean just as much as if you had purchased it yourself on some idle Tuesday.

So what am I to do with this? I can rebel and do what I want to do which is give gifts I've baked and canned, and write a heartfelt note to those who make my life so rich in love and friendship. Is that really so rebellious? For some, yes and for others, they will see my gifts as a moment of holiday fun when they comment that my cookies "might" be too pretty to eat, or send me a handwritten thank you note sharing that my apple butter is the best they've ever had (Yes, John Howard Swain, your note will forever hang on my office bulletin board!). My sweet husband, though he gave me a list, is in the kitchen as I write this post making chocolate truffles (thank you Teresa Tjaden!) for his friends and I guess it must be true, from the heart and of ones hands must be the best gifts, at Christmastime and all year long.”

Here we are in December, 2016 and the struggle over the gift-giving is greater than ever! How can that be? How can there be angst about giving gifts. There is angst for me because, first and foremost, I don’t like the idea that anyone “Has” to give a gift. Oh, it’s true, there is lots of obligation this time of year. To that I ask, do you really want a “gift” from me that I only purchased because I feel I have to give it to you? Secondly, There are many who tie their worth, or value to the giver to the gift they are given. So if Dave buys me a new car, he clearly loves me more than if he were to write me a love letter tied to a bunch of flowers? To some people, absolutely! 

Growing up, one of my friend’s mom kept lots of 6-packs of fuzzy footies on hand and wrapped just in case someone came over unexpectedly, she would have a gift for them. I know this, because every year I was there and I got a 6-pack of fuzzy footies. I also know business people who keep cases of “gifts” in their cars so if they run in to a client, potential client, or coworker, they have a gift. Now to many, this would be the way to do it, but for me, it’s completely unthoughtful, impersonal, and in some cases, hurtful. It is buying into the Hallmark Commercialness of it all and exhibits none of the spirit of the season.

Tonight after more than a week of fights with Mason about “The Rule,” it came to me in a moment of simplistic clarity - a moment where I did not have to think about it for one more second. “The Rule” is that after Halloween, nobody in our family is allowed to buy items for themselves. The reasoning being, if you noted you loved something and another family member went back to get it for you as a gift, your purchase has spoiled their opportunity to show that they heard you, and thought enough of you to go back and get you that gift. Well, this has not worked for me. It’s been an uphill battle for the last two years since my young tween and now teen has started making the money to buy many of the things he wants to have. What I realized tonight is a lesson I learned so long ago, twenty years in fact. I don’t know why I wasn’t able to put it together here, in this situation sooner. Many years ago I learned that I am only in control of myself. I can’t make someone love me, I can’t make them be faithful, I can’t make people do business with me, or even like me. All I can control is me, what I want, and the actions I take to get there. DUH! I’ve been trying to control Dave and Mason and the fact is, no one likes to be controlled. With that said, there is no more rule, and I’m not buying gifts unless it’s something that really speaks to me about you. And not just in December, if I see something that I love for you, I’m buying it and gifting it to you then and there. 

My gift to those I love, from this point forward is that I am going to enjoy Christmas the way I love it. I’m going to decorate with Dave, I’m going to bake and decorate my cookies, cakes, and whatever else strikes my fancy, I’m going to watch Hallmark movies, and listen to Christmas music, decorate the tree, and enjoy the people I love. The sweets and mandarins that I mail are gifts for family and friends but not out of obligation, out of love to share my gifts. BIG SIGH! I feel so much better! So please, understand, that my not giving you a material thing during the holidays does not mean that I don’t love you, or adore our relationship, it is more to the point that it means I love you enough to share me with you, and if you have time, let’s go have some coffee and visit.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Stop the Insanity!

Mason and I are here in Sheboygan! Well, we were when I penned this post (12/4-8). The Blue Harbor Resort is beautiful, and the water park is exceeding our expectations. As many of you know, I've struggled with my weight my whole life, and now Mason is finding some of the same challenges and body insecurities as well. He was looking for loose shirts to wear to cover himself up before heading down to the water park. Without a second thought, I put on my swim suit and said, “Here’s the deal, we are going to have a great trip, enjoy our time together, and not let anything stand in our way. We are going down to the water park where we will ask someone to take out picture together, wearing only our swim suits and I’m going to post it on Facebook for everyone to see.” He looked at me and replied, “So you are going to post a picture of you in your swim suit on Facebook?” “Yep, and I’m not going to hide behind you either!” So here's a picture of the two of us, in our swimsuits getting ready for another time of our lives! 

Life is about more than the number on the scale and I’m the first one to admit that more than one occasion has been spoiled by me being upset about my weight, body, clothes, lack of clothes, or any other number of things concerning my body image. How can I encourage him to let go and not worry about his weight when I am always worried about mine? I suppose as a society we think this is an issue that mother’s only need to deal with with their daughters, but that’s not so. I read a blog post a number of years ago that a woman wrote about not being in any family photos. She never wanted her photo taken because she was fat and she decided to let it go and step back into life with her family. I liked the post and I got it, but I wasn’t ready to really embrace that message for myself. After all, I take lots of photos with my family. Yeah, well, sort of. I make sure we are shot from the shoulders up, and when someone takes our photo and includes our bodies, I crop them. I hide behind Dave or Mason, basically, I do whatever I can to not be seen all the way. Then, on our long flight to Wisconsin I watched an episode of This Is Us and there was a very fitting exchange between two characters who are attending meetings for over eaters, Kate and Toby. The gist of it was that Toby wants to go to a party and Kate won’t agree because she's fat. Toby says he gets it, but their entire lives can’t be about their fat, at some point they need to live, and laugh, and dance, and love, and he knows she's fat, and he loves her just the way she is. Our kids don’t care if we think we are fat, or even if we are fat, they love us, they want us to play with them, and swim with them, and be with them in pictures.

So I faced my fears to put Mason at ease and I posted the photo of the two of us on Facebook. Ultimately, I’m just trying to live my best life and encourage Mason to live his, too. I hate that I struggle with my body image and how it reflects on who I am. I really want to be done with that and TRULY be grateful for all that I have, and I'm well aware, I have a lot. That public post was one step in the right direction and I’m going to try, really, truly, sincerely try to redirect my thinking when it comes to what I want or don’t want to do because of my body. I really love my life and I’m going to do my best to live it all the way, every day. Now I have gifts to wrap, baking to do, cookies to decorate, and so much more. 'Tis the season!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Grateful for My Really, Really Great Guy!

Bubblegum Alley in Downtown SLO
Last week Dave and I took a quick trip to San Luis Obispo, a Monday through Wednesday kind of get away. You see, Dave has to be in SLO frequently for work, and every time he goes he tells me how much he wishes I could come with him. He will call me from wherever he is dining and share with me that the sun is setting and it would be so much more fun if we were together. It's been nearly impossible to schedule for us both the be there, especially in December. In the last 3 or 4 years, I've been in school and that time of year we are taking finals. The other challenges are someone to stay with Mason (he's still in school) and also someone to stay with the dogs. This year we planned it and made it happen. There was the little bump in the road with Gunner having to have surgery, but we just paid to have him stay at the vet where he could get the medical care he needed.

Sunset at Schooners

Dave booked us in a lovely little Inn, the Granada Inn & Bistro right in the heart of downtown. The room was quaint with a big shower and a fireplace. It was just what we needed to relax and reconnect. I know couples have a hard time making time to get away, but I believe it is imperative to being happily married. The best gift we can give our kids is happily married parents, and these kinds of excursions are what couples need to remember who they are together, still in love, and why they wanted those pesky kids to begin with. Yes, kids are hard. They are hard to raise, hard to discipline, hard to juggle schedules, and taking the money out of the family finances to get away can be another challenge. I get it. The thing is, when things fall apart, we often would give all we have to make it right again. We would sell our most cherished belongings to have our family together and happy again. Make the sacrifice while things are still good and make them better. We are so lucky that we can combine business with pleasure and include our families. I get that, but where there is a will, there is a way.

A walk on the beach

We stopped in lots of little bars, we walked along the creek, we shopped, we dined, and we drove up the coast to Cayucos where we walked on the beach, had some clam chowder while we watched the sun set, and then had a drink in the old Saloon across the street. It was magical! It was just what we needed and I feel like the luckiest woman in the whole world to have my guy. Dave is one of the really good ones, the kind of guy that after 15 years of marriage still makes me feel like he adores me. I love that every year he still wants me with him when he travels and when I can't go, he can't wait to get home to where I am, where we are, where we are us. I love us.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Oh, How We Hate Socks!

Having a kid cook is pretty awesome, except for those days when you remember he's a kid and doesn't think like an adult. It was totally scary tonight but it's going to make a great story someday. "Remember when you turned on the grill and realized you needed matches? So you went in the house to get the matches… " So you all know where this went, right? Yeah, KA-BOOM! Singed hair, burned nose, and hand that was holding the match. Not serious, but those kinds of burns smart for hours. Glad you're okay sweets. #LessonsLearned

And then on the official Thanksgiving Day, Stinker McJeeter was ushered into urgent surgery with a foreign object in his intestinal tract (likely a sock). He was in the doggie hospital until Wednesday. He came through surgery fine and we visited him each day, at least until we left for SLO. I know Dave thinks I don't like his big dog, but I was the one boo-hooing, shedding tears when I heard he had to have surgery.

Well, it's been quite the week. Coming off of Mandarin Festival week/weekend, getting ready for Saturday Thanksgiving and guests, only to spend lots of time with an emergency surgery and visits with Gunner...well, I'm tired. I'm a little exasperated and overwhelmed, but I think that's just exhaustion by other names. Oh, did I mention we also got a new bedroom set and had dismantle, remove, move, load, unload, and set up said new furniture on Friday? Yeah, it's no wonder I'm pooped. Dave is equally tired, I'm sure. With all the unexpected expense, I've also canceled our Disney trip for my birthday. The veterinary expenses seemed to be just what we had budgeted for the trip and staying home will allow us to do the things we like to do at Christmastime - baking cookies and decorating. We’re just rolling with the punches. On the upside, Dave and I will be getting away to San Luis Obispo Monday and Tuesday as he has a very short training session and we need a little time away and together - just the two of us. More later. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

2016 Mandarin Festival is a Wrap!

Another Mandarin festival is in the books! Thank you Gary Gilligan for all the hard work you put into this event and for including me as part of your team. I am honored to run the cooking stage and work with amazing home cooks and professional chefs side-by-side teaching people, having fun, entertaining, and most of all making good food. So many people make this happen, there's no way to thank you all. But just let me say, I'm just so honored to be a part of this event and the group of people who make it happen. It’s interesting to me as I travel the country with Mason as a kid cook, how many people don’t know about live cooking demos. Oh sure, they know Food Network and the celebrity aspect of a culinary show, but it seems that live cooking demos at fairs and festivals is not the norm. I think we are so lucky to be able to do what we do on cooking stages and the more I travel, the more I realize we really do create unique and special culinary experiences for foodies, both novice and professional, and the audiences who sit and watch us.

One more thought on this years festival, I want to congratulate Rachel Griffith for sweeping the recipe contest today at the Mountain Mandarin Festival. For those of you who know, the Griffiths and the Partaks have an ongoing rivalry to see who can win more with the recipes. It's been fun through the years and I could justify that Dave and Mason did not win anything today because I work the cooking stage and Mason mans a booth. However, if I were to do that it would be a complete copout. Rachel also mans a booth at the festival and I'm here to say that it is a challenge beyond belief to prepare a recipe, or two, or three to have at the festival before it opens when they're not due until noon. Rachel did that today and swept the contest winning three awards. Yes, three awards! I believe she won a first, a second, and the Snow's Citrus Court award. Rachel, correct me if I'm wrong. I just want to tell you that I'm so proud of you, you worked really hard, you earned it today and I'm so happy to call you friend. You go girl! Check her out at Polkadot Dinners.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mason Appeared on The Steve Harvey Show

It's been an exciting week, not only did Dave and I celebrate 15 years happily married, but Mason made his first national network television debut on the Steve Harvey Show. He did a great job and when I posted the link on his social media sites, so many of our friends and his fans commented about what a natural he is on camera. I agree, he certainly has that thing, some call it, "it" but I'm here to tell you, for all the natural ability one may have, the more they practice, the more natural ability they appear to have. Mason has been making videos since he was 9 years old (just turned 9) and here he is having just turned 13. He has 137 videos on his Youtube channel, he's done dozens of live television appearances, 52 live cooking demonstrations (not including the ones he's done on TV), competed in many recipe contests and cooking competitions. He has quite the resume and most of it before he turned 13. I took several years of acting classes, mostly commercial classes and John Swain told us again and again, "If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Keep doing it, and make it look easy." Mason makes it look easy!  Here's his spot if you didn't get to see it air on last Wednesday.

Be sure to follow him on social media, on Facebook he is Mason Made (, and on Youtube, Instagram and twitter he is Mason Partak. There are some new things coming in 2017 so follow along, it will be entertaining to be sure!

In other news, Dave has a new job with the Guard. I'm not sure what his title is but he is heading up a group to advocate for soldiers who have bonus issues. Now keep in mind, Dave has been doing this for years and is only now being recognized for all he knows. He has saved the deal for so many men and women, he deserves a Real Hero award. I know he won't be holding his breath to see anything from the Guard, but I'm here to say, the work he does makes a difference. If you could speak to those he's advocated for, they would tell you as well.

The Mandarin Festival is this coming weekend and Mason will have a booth in addition to two cooking demos. He has a limited number of bottles that he has signed and we have packaged for gift giving. They are just $1 more than normal price, but they are really pretty, ready to deliver to your host or hostess for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas. I'm running the cooking stage and all three of us Partaks have recipes for the festival recipe contest. I'll let you know how that all pans out next week. Have a great week and practice love, it feels better than the other things people are practicing right now.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Happy Anniversary Month

Happy Anniversary Month David Partak! Who could have predicted that for all the fun things and experiences I've won on the radio through the years, the most fun would be you (Circa 1996)? As we approach 15 years married (15 years?!), we laughed earlier this week when we should have been sleeping, we laughed so hard we both cried. The next morning when the alarm went off, we were still giggling through sleepy eyes. There have been a few bumps in the road over the years, but nothing worth talking about. Our union has been easy as far as the marriage gauges go, wouldn't you agree? Way more laughter than tears, and even some of those tears have come with belly laughs. I am grateful every day for you, our marriage, our family, our life, and I'm the first one to say, "I won the lottery when I won this guys heart." 

November 9th is the day (our actual anniversary) and wouldn’t you know it, we have a wonderful gift coming this week. Mason will be appearing on the Steve Harvey Show! Yes! In early October while I was in NYC on a girls trip, Dave and Mason were in Chicago taping the segment. Check your local listings, it will be on NBC. For us, it’s on at 2 PM on channel 3. If you miss it, don’t worry, I will record it and create the segment for his social media channels. Follow on Facebook, that’s where you will see all the updates first. He’s also on Instagram, twitter, and of course at

I’m celebrating our anniversary month on Facebook and I was going to write something every day, but you all see how crazy our life gets and there just don't seem to be enough hours in each day. This was my post to Dave today:

Today you are not home, not that that is unusual, we know what it means to be separated all too well. People ask if it's hard being apart and the answer is no. We are independent adults, we have separate interests, and in fact, I think our time apart enhances our marriage. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I want to do another 18 month deployment, but a week here, two weeks there, those are just opportunities to miss each other. When we are apart, we not only get to have experiences outside of our family life, we get to appreciate each other a little more. When I was in NY, I had many thoughts about wanting to come back to the east coast with you, wanting to show something to Mason...and coming home is always wonderful. To come home to each other, the boys, our smells, our kitchen, our bed & pillows, it just all feels good. We have stories to share, new things to talk about (Have a Zib Zoob day!), and it just shines a different light on things. I love that we have trust, and we can travel and know the one keeping the home fires burning is doing it with love and the anticipation of the happy homecoming.

I'll leave this post with the memory of your return from an Annual Training or an Arkansas trip (I think). You did everything you could to get home earlier than planned after being gone for 2+ weeks. It was dusk and you walked through the door, took me in your arms and kissed me. You poured a shot of tequila, took my hand and lead me to the kitchen table where you sat down, pulled me on to your lap and drank the shot. You then went on to serenade me with a new Alan Jackson song that had something to do with being happy to be home, your beautiful girl on your lap, and a shot of tequila. Do you remember that? It was in the Aeolia house and it was the corniest, best kind of "I love you" ever! 15 years later you still sing to me, we still dance in the kitchen (not often enough!), and you still drink tequila. I hear new research says it's a probiotic. Laughing! I love you Flower, for as crabby as you can be sometimes, you are equally schmoopy, and show me you love me in ways that no one else could.

*This is clearly not the photo from that memory, there isn't one, but this image shows the love and joy we still feel all these years later. This was in Mexico in 2002

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween and you all know that this holiday rivals Christmas for Dave and Mason. They go all out decorating and even though we really downsized our landscape real estate with our new house, they did not let that stop them from creating a great display!
Dave and I dressed up as Dorothy and the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz and Mason went as Edward Kenway, a character from one of his video games. We also went to several haunted houses, which I have to say, are not my thing!! I don't like to be scared. It was all fun though, we got compliments all night long and even won a costume contest.

Mason went trick-or-treating with friends and being 13 now, he was able to go with a group without parents. I think if they didn't have cell phones I would not have let him go without an adult. Then I think about how we were as kids, we were out way late and no one worried - we don't live in times like that anymore.

Over the weekend, Mason and I made our fall pumpkin sugar cookies and can I tell you, Mason has made massive improvements in his decorating ability! In fact, you tell me, which cookies did I decorate and which ones did Mason do?

And last but certainly not least, Mason has fully restocked his line of sauces and has them for sale for Thanksgiving and Christmas. He will offer a select number of each sauce with autographed bottles gift wrapped for gift giving. Instead of wine for your Thanksgiving host or hostess, take a bottle or two of Mason Made sauces! Email me or reach out via Facebook to place your order. I will be happy to ship if you will be willing to pay for the flat rate charges.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Happy 13th Birthday Mason!

13 years ago Mason Bonham Partak came into this world, immediately placed in his daddy's arms, he smiled. Well, I don't know if he smiled, I was knocked out and filleted like a fish, but I will tell my tale as if he did.  :) This kid has been a strong willed, smart, funny, kind, pain in our asses kid from the time he realized he could be. He is courageous, he takes chances, he seems fearless (well, except for that time he insisted on riding the sheep, but then got in the chute and cried to not have to ride the sheep!), and he has already made a huge impact on this world. Mason, I am afraid of your teenage years - I know you will test me, you will make me proud, you will make me cry, you will make me laugh, you will practice some serious dumbassery, and I will do my best to not kill you. But no matter what you face in the coming years, I will always love you. I am so thankful that you are my son, you are the best of your dad and I, and you are a rock star! Set this world on fire kid, you have work to do and it will all be noteworthy, I just know it.   

For Mason’s birthday we try to do something that is more than just cake and ice cream. In years past we’ve planned our family vacation in October and it’s proven to make for very memorable birthdays. So much so, as Mason and I were reminiscing about years past, we could not recall what we did for his birthday last year. Thank goodness for Facebook Memories, we planned a party at our local mini-golf place and it was eh. It was fun for Mason because he had more of his friends there, but I like the family experiences better. 

With that said, this year we bought tickets to see an NFL football game at the new Levi’s Stadium. I’m a 49ers fan and Mason is a Tampa Bay fan, lucky for us, they were playing on 10/23/16, perfect to give Mason the tickets on Thursday and go to the game the following Sunday. It was fun, the stadium is beautiful, and Mason’s Buccaneers won! Happy Birthday Mason, may you win more than you lose, my you laugh more than you cry, and may you give more than you take. Your dad and I are so very proud of the young man you are growing in to. Happy! Happy! Happy!

Monday, October 17, 2016

New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and More!

Mason's View in Chicago
I’m running behind but if y’all could run in my shoes for a week, you would be not only behind, but tired, too! So last time you heard from me, Lisa and I were in NYC having the time of our lives on a girls trip. That was Monday the 10th and on Tuesday the 11th, Mason was back home in Auburn meeting a crazy busy schedule as well. Our family friend Gary picked him up very early to travel to Grass Valley where Mason did several live cooking demos at an elementary school who does a tasting week each year. While Mason and I were out for lunch a number of months ago, the woman who organizes the event recognized Mason from Chopped Junior and asked if he would be a guest chef. Well wouldn’t you know it, the event was the same time I was to be in NYC and Dave could not take him so Gary offered. 

In the meantime, while I’m planning my trip to NYC, the call comes in that Mason has been invited to appear on a national television talk show and needs to leave for Chicago on Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday afternoon? You mean the same Tuesday that he is cooking in Grass Valley in the morning? UGH! So Gary took Mason in the AM and delivered him to Dave by noon so the two of them could catch a plane in the afternoon to Chicago. The two of them had a whirlwind trip and all of us Partaks landed at Sacramento International airport on Thursday, tired and ready to all be home sleeping in our own beds. We made it home, got the laundry in the washer, did the dishes from the cooking demos on Tuesday, paid bills, returned calls, took hot showers, and got a good nights sleep. 

Friday Mason had to practice two recipes as we were putting those clean clothes back in suitcases to head to Los Angeles where Mason is competing in another big cooking contest. It will be televised so I can’t share the details yet, but as soon as we know when, we will share with you. Up, up and away we went and here we are in Burbank, CA and Mason is competing today. Send good vibes our way and I’ll do my best to post on time next week. Happy Monday!

Monday, October 10, 2016

New York in the Fall

It’s fall and I’m in New York with Lisa. We made plans for this trip more than a year ago and we met up late Friday night. Saturday and Sunday the weather was very fall like, with some overcast skies and even a fair amount of rain on Sunday. We tootled Times Square, popped in to see a movie (after being wet all afternoon) - Sully, which was fun to see in NY, and we shopped a little, too. On Sunday we went to the American Museum of Natural History and wow, what a place that is!! According to their website, it’s more than 1,500,000 square feet of space to learn. Lisa and I spent easily 3-4 hours there and still did not see everything. I especially enjoyed the geology exhibit and loved seeing so much from California and even Placer Country as it pertains to the gold on display. This is going on my list of places to go back to with Mason, hopefully before he graduates from high school. It is absolutely a must-see if you visit NY.

We made a list of the things we really wanted to do while we are here some of which include roof top bars & nightlife, shopping the wholesale stores open to the public, riding bikes and the carousel in Central Park, seeing a show or two, and visiting the new Brookfield Mall at the site of the World Trade Center. We are staying in a little apartment in the meat packing district which is right across the street from Chelsea Market. There is just so much to see and do that is not on the normal NYC tourist list, there is no way we will do it all. With that said, we have already covered lots and we have another 3 days to play. I’ll wrap this up with a realization I had last night before falling asleep. After a full day of fun that wrapped up at a gay country bar we hopped in a cab and headed back to our little place, we decided to stop for dinner and that was one of the best meals of my life. I learned many years ago that there are restaurants that have great food and no atmosphere, great atmosphere and mediocre food, neither of what’s important, and finally, very few that have both amazing food and incredible atmosphere - We had dinner at Tao and I have a very clear understanding of the michelin star ratings for restaurants. I don’t know if they have stars, but they should! So the food was incredible, you get that, but my realization was this, Lisa and I were captivated from the time we walked in the door. We were greeted with big smiles, got right in and the experience moved along as we laughed, chatted, and sipped our drinks. By the time we had finished our meal, it occurred to me that had not thought about our phones, friends on social media, or anyone else for that matter. The
environment we were in had us completely present and enjoying what was happening right there and then. I suppose I snapped out of it at one point when I chuckled and noted that we had darn near cleaned our plates and didn’t event think to take a photo of how beautiful they looked when we were served. Just for fun, I snapped a photo of them having been thoroughly enjoyed and we paid our bill and left. I might note, for the meal and experience we had just enjoyed, in New York, the bill was under $100! With that, I will leave you with this:

Energy of intention

Life can often leave you feeling stuck or trapped in an undesirable position. Yet no matter how confining your situation may be, there is always a positive way forward.

Even though your options may be very limited, you do still have some powerful choices. Even in a difficult, highly challenging situation, there are real and present possibilities for great improvement.

The first thing to do is to refuse to see yourself as a victim. By taking full responsibility for your situation, you give yourself the power to change it for the better.

Next, instead of fretting about the way things are, develop a clear and compelling vision of how you want your life to be. Somewhere within the realm of possibility is a realistic goal that will make things much better for you.

Find that goal, focus on it, refine it, and make it so desirable that you cannot help but move toward it. Fill your awareness with your vision of a positive outcome, working enthusiastically and relentlessly to find and follow the way.

You've spent your entire life making things happen. Take control of the energy of your intention, and get yourself where you choose to be.

Ralph Marston - The Daily Motivator

Monday, October 3, 2016

Fall Home Show in the Bag!

Happy Monday Friends and welcome to fall!

Yes, we got a taste of real fall weather over the weekend, cooler temps and even an awesome thunder storm with a heavy downpour yesterday. I have been busier than usual these last few weeks, between work, events, and Mason's performance schedules, I'm not sure which direction I'm heading when. In fact, the days got away from me so much that I didn't write a Monday Motivator at all. 

We just wrapped up the fall home show here in Auburn and it was wildly successful. Mason did Chopped Challenges all three days and when he wasn't performing, he was either emceeing other chefs during their Chopped Challenge or selling sauces in his Mason Made booth. He got to do double duty making money with his business and being paid for his host duties. Not bad as he gets ready to turn the clock over to being a teenager! Yep, the 20th of this month my baby turns the heck did that happen? He almost sold out of all his product, coming home with just 8 bottles of sauce. We will be restocking for the Mandarin Festival where we expect much of the same the weekend of November 18-20. As I mentioned in an earlier email, we are planning to put together some pretty packaging to make ready made gifts. If you can come to the festival, you can taste the products or you can just trust us when the tell you they are delicious! I'll send out more details as the event gets closer.

This coming Friday I am off to NYC for a girls weekend with Lisa and I cannot wait! New York in the fall and with no other commitments on my calendar, sounds like heaven. Now I'm off to keep tackling my list so I can get all my work done this week. I hope you are enjoying the change of season as much as I am and I'm sure I'll have plenty to share from the east coast next week.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The One That Got Away!

This week is the one that got away! I didn't get a post written, but actually there wasn't much to say.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Let it Slow!

Isn't this a pretty gift?
I'm late, I know. But the good news is, things have slowed down a little and I can take a breath and look around to see all the minutia that needs my attention. How is it that I have two escrows that closed (one a week ago Friday and one today) and as I map out my bills, I'm broke again? Really?! Laughing! I know, I know, it's the American way! Hopefully though, as I pay off our bills from our move and the months I went without a paycheck, I will open and close some more transactions and start to rebuild our savings. So one of my favorite parts of my job is giving my buyers the keys to their new home, but sometimes it doesn't work out for me to do it. I would never make them wait for me so when I can't the listing agent will meet them. This happened with my buyers a week ago Friday and I was bummed. As it goes with life, I got to give keys to the buyers of my last listing, so that made up for it...a little. 

"Zoodles" or zucchini noodles made with the spiralizer.
In other news, make sure you are wearing your sunscreen! I have been very diligent about wearing it and I even took a 10 year hiatus from intentional tanning for 10 years (between 30 and 40). I have hounded Dave and Mason to wear it and Mason has been far more receptive than Dave through the years. Dave has been better of late, but this week he gets to go get a painful treatment for pre-cancerous melanoma. As much as we all like to be outside, it is so important to protect our skin, not only with the hope of growing old gracefully, but to prolong our lives and stay healthy.

In other news, Mason has his sauces back in stock and we are prepping some ready-made gifts for the holidays. I'm thinking two bottle sets with a recipe or two and a big bow. He also has a handful of spiralizers (turns vegetables into noodles) in stock, $45 out the door, they make great Christmas gifts! I I need to ship to you, we can work something out. I'll post pictures on his Facebook page as we put them together. 

So now I'm off to wrap up my file and look at all the stuff that needs doing, and there's plenty!

Monday, September 12, 2016

The "Kids Can Cook" Cooking Stage

The Gold Country Fair was a wild success! The “Kids Can Cook” Cooking Stage was a big hit and all the kids followed through and did their cooking demos. Abby, who is just 6 years old didn’t back out and my oldest newbie Blake, did a great job, too! Ryan and Dylan who are normally shy kids, did their demos and though they were on the quiet side, they followed through and served up some yummy bites for the audience to taste. 

I wanted to do the kids cooking stage because so many people tell me how extraordinary Mason is, and to some degree, I agree. I also believe that Mason has excelled because of the opportunities he’s had and I wanted to give other kids an opportunity, too. What I learned last weekend is that yes, there are other kids who can cook, but I also learned that Mason is extraordinary. He has a gift and he puts on a show (even from his very first demo) that the other kids lack. Yes, he’s gifted, in the kitchen and as a young entertainer and I couldn’t be more proud of him.

Now we have a little lull before the next big push on the cooking stage with the upcoming Auburn Home Show (Sept 30 - Oct 2) and then we go right into developing recipes for the Mandarin Festival (Nov 18-20). Dave is getting a new job with the Guard so his scheduled is in more flux than usual so it’s hard to know what he will be doing with us. I’m hoping he won’t have to be gone as much in December with the new position, but that remains to be seen.

Mason will be a celebrity judge at the Hot Chili Cool Cars event this Saturday in Rocklin and then we are looking at another opportunity with a television show. I’ll keep you posted here, but it you want up to date info as it comes out, be sure to like his Facebook page, that’s where updates are posted first. Have great week with lots of love! Kathy

Monday, September 5, 2016

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

It's Labor Day which to most people just means a day off from work and an opportunity to barbecue. Dave and Mason have been at Pacificon, a game convention in the bay area. Dave has been at a game convention during Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends as long as I've known him and now it's Dave and Mason. There are times when something special comes along that I wish we could go as a family, but for the most part, I look forward to having the long weekend to myself. 

This long weekend I worked, showed houses, ran errands, helped dig out the kitchen cooking stage supplies for the upcoming Gold Country Fair, I took care of a project in the backyard (that one was tricky by myself), got Dave's car washed, cleaned the house, and I took myself out to dinner last night and then relaxed in the hot tub. 

Speaking of the fair, I am running the cooking stage again this year, but the difference is I've got almost all kids doing the cooking demos. How fun is that? I know Mason has something special in his love and ability to perform and entertain, but I think we know this about him because he's had opportunities that other kids don't normally get. I want to give kids the opportunities to do a cooking demo, perform, entertain, and be in the spotlight. It's the perfect venue in that the local fair is smaller in scale and attendance but it's bigger than the stage in their living room. I've got four kids other than Mason, Abbey is the youngest at 6 years old and Blake is the oldest at 15. Ryan is 11 and Dylan is 12 and both have never done anything like this, but they really want to. Who knows how this will all play out, but I think it's really cool that we are creating an environment to empower our local kids. They may not keep cooking and performing, but they are going to move on in life knowing they can do it. I've arranged for each child to not only get rides at the fair, and our good friend Gary has donated Pampered Chef gifts to put in their goody bags as a thank you gift. The Auburn Journal did a story and included each of the kids photos and I will have lots of pictures next Monday after the fair. 

Dave and Mason are on their way home and I have to get the kids recipes formatted and printed for next weekend. I also need to get the schedules put together to be printed. It's going to be a busy week, but hey, what's new about that?! I hope you had a great weekend and as the new week approaches, target one thing you can do to move your dreams forward. It can be as small as starting to play your perfect holidays, or bigger, putting a down payment on your dream vacation for next year. Do it, you won't be sorry!

Monday, August 29, 2016

He Doesn't Want A Kids Menu

Having an accomplished kid cook provides for some interesting experiences dining out. Tonight we were out and the first thing they ALWAYS ask, "Do you think you want a grown-up menu, or a kids menu?" I get it, but it doesn't matter that he's a kid cook (of course they don't know that), he looks more like a teen than a child. Then when he orders, most of the time the server gets that he has a better understanding of food than most kids his age. Not last night. Mason ordered like this, "I would like such-and-such burger, absolutely pink, all the produce, with sweet potato fries with a chipotle aioli please." The server, "Oh honey, are you sure you want pink, you know that's rare? And we don't have chipotle aioli, we have Sriracha, they are the same, I bet you will like it." Mason replied politely, "Yes, thank you, I know pink is rare." he looked at me and rolled his eyes as she walked away. 
My favorite part comes when they ask him how his meal was... "The burger was seasoned beautifully, but well done, absolutely not pink like I ordered. The sweet potato fries were cold, but the mozzarella sticks provided an epic cheese pull! My mom had to take it for me because my arm was not long enough to keep it going. Other than the meal taking a really long time to come out, which is probably why the fries were cold, it was okay." 
I guess I'm just trying to say, if we give our young people a little more credit, listen to them, I bet they will rise to whatever the occasion is and impress the heck out of us adults. #SayYes #EmpowerYourKids#HeDoesntWantAKidsMenu

Monday, August 22, 2016

When Doubt Paralyzes Me

I wrote the last week or two about how I attended BlogHer16 in L.A. I went because as someone who has been writing blogs for many years, I wanted to learn the business side of it, and I want to know what I don't know. I learned plenty, but one of the things that was said to me over and over is, "Why aren't you doing more live and video streaming?" My answer was, "I don't know that I have anything that interesting to broadcast." Of course, the replies were everything from hysterical laughter (I hope in a good way), to why/what do you write about? A week ago Friday I posted a live spot on Facebook, a little motivational piece and then last Friday I went live from Moonraker with The Menace playing a concert. That gave me the idea to do a weekly "woman on the street" type of show where I can go to different places and review food, showcase a special event, answer a question someone has about a place (by going there and showing the who or what), or any number of other things. The idea is to do something consistently so people who are interested know when to be tuning in. Why blog and broadcast live? For me it is a creative outlet, a way to share with people who I am, my interests, their interests, and ultimately document my journey. That's how the Monday Motivator (really all my blogs) started and why I keep writing them. I love the idea but when it comes time to take action, I get nervous and think, "this is stupid. Nobody is interested in me, what I am doing, my life, my activities." As far as writing my blogs, if no one reads them, who cares? I write them as documentation for myself and my family. If I go live, will people think, "Really? Who does she think she is?" #InsecuritySucks! But then I also think, "Why not me?" There are many people with far less interesting lives than I live that seem to hold an audiences attention. Or the people who broadcast inaccurate or really stupid content...I can do better than that. So with that said (seriously, I get nervous! I'm nervous at the thought of hitting post!) I'm going to do it, I'm going to set a day and time to go live and start finding some interesting places to go, people to talk to, things to show you, I don't know, something. I'm going to do it. I am. Yes. Me. And you. I'm stalling to hit post. Why does doubt paralyze me? And then I copied this as I had to ask Dave to read it and tell me if he thinks I'm crazy, which I know he does. And he confirms it. He also thinks I hesitate because I know I am busy and committing to one more thing will add pressure to my already busy life. As I think about what he's said and I even agree with him, I mentally protest. Yes, I am someone who takes on lots of projects, some because I have to and some because I want to. If I only do the things I have to do, my life would be made up of just making ends meet and getting by. To accept that would mean there is no hope for something to look forward to, something new. I can't live like that, I need more. I want a life that is extraordinary in people, in love, in experiences, in every way. To have the life I want, I have to take chances, work extra hours sometimes, I have to put myself out there to the opinions of others and likely rejection. I've failed, you all know that! You've experienced it with me with ZipperBack Gloves as one example. I've started lots of projects that never came to fruition, but I learned something or met someone each and every time. I don't know how to live my life any other way than all in. I don't start a project or investigate a new idea with the thought that it might not work. I move forward with the vision that it will work, it will succeed, it will be. In the event it is not to be, I experience that and the emotions that come with it if it comes. I suppose it's not just about being in the moment, it's about feeling what is appropriate for what is happening right now and being able to move through those highs and lows. With all of this said, I'm going to do it. I'm going to figure out what I want to do, say, and share and I'm going to do it. Yep, I am. Soon. Laughing! Real soon.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Just Keep Paddling...

This week has been OFF THE HOOK! I have been so busy getting Mason back on a schedule for school and guess what else? Football! Yep, #52 is back in action. He got the all-clear to play and not a moment too soon. His team really needs kids, so much so that they were in danger of needing to dissolve the team. Mason goes to his first practice tonight and I know it won't be easy. He's been sitting on his butt all summer long eating snacks and playing video games, to say he's out of shape would be an understatement. All the other boys have been practicing for the last few months, so he will have some catching up to do. If I were a good football mom, I would get out there and practice while he does, practice = work out at the park next to his practice field.

In the meantime, I am getting more work. I am still stuck in an escrow from hell (one bad seller/agent, same person can spoil the whole shebang) and all I pray for every night as I close my eyes is, "Dear God, please let all the lender conditions be met so my buyer can finally sign, close escrow, get their house, and I can get paid. Amen." I really shouldn't snivel, I have another one that has been a dream, great people, smooth process and in reality, may pay me before the other one that started before it. Either way, I love what I do and the people I do it with.

Now I gotta run, I have a crazy busy week and I'm setting my intention for no more problems to crop up on that one, you know, THAT one? Yeah, you know. :)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Getting Paid To Blog. Really?

It’s Monday again and I am back from Los Angeles where I attended a blogging conference. As you all well know, I’ve been writing this blog since 1999 although since it started out as a weekly email, I did not know it was a blog. In 2007 I decided to create a web presence for this little weekly journal and was able to collect 60 of the original emails between 2002-2006, while writing an opening post explaining how this all started backdated to 1999. Who would have thought that I should have archived those emails? How could I have known I would (mostly) stay on top of a weekly writing? Oh well, it is what it is and for the most part, Mason’s whole life is documented week by week - that’s cool! 

So the conference was really interesting and I absolutely took a lot away in terms of how bloggers actually make a living writing about everything under the sun. Yes, I met bloggers who write about lifestyle, food, fashion, Disney, and even a Dominatrix! Yep, she blogs about sex and the uh, interesting things people ask her to do to them for money. Writing about sex, and not just love making, her challenges have been even more than most. Can you imagine what kind of images she wants to post, or put on her marketing material? She’s even had servers shut her site down for explicit material, but what? Aren’t there porn sites all over the internet? I digress, the point is, there are many ways to monetize a blog or website, it’s just a matter of building a following and knowing what it is you are really trying to do. The next step is knowing the avenues for revenue, who are they, how do you implement them onto your site, and finally, start waking up to some newfound money in your accounts. Seriously people, it really does happen! Now all I need is an extra 3-4 hours in my already busy days to put these practices into action. Well, not for the Monday Motivator, I’ve concluded that this blog is okay just going to those of you I know and maybe a few people here or there who find it. It’s awfully personal and since it has so much of Mason’s life in it, I don’t think it’s a good thing to advertise, especially if he continues his life to be more in the public eye. People can be really mean and there is so much in this blog that could be misconstrued and taken out of context to hurt him. At some point, it may become completely private which won’t affect you, you get it via email anyway. 

In other news, this week we are celebrating Mason’s one year anniversary of winning Chopped Junior. I have been sorting through my notes and photos of all the behind the scenes stuff and posting this week on Facebook. I have the whole post in it’s entirety on Mason’s website that will be live later this week, hopefully on the 11th, the actual one year anniversary. If you don’t subscribe to his website, pop over and follow, we don’t post there a lot, but it’s good stuff when we do. Of course, Facebook is the place to be, along with Mason Partak on Instagram and @MasonPartak on twitter. From the blogging conference, I learned a ton of stuff to pass on to Mason, if he played his social media cards right, he could make a boatload of money just blogging and being a social media superstar! Let’s see if he can listen to me long enough (after all, I am his mom!) to get how simple it really is.

I’m off to a full week, Mason is back to school on Wednesday (7th grade), and I have a new listing coming on the market by the end of the week. This is in addition to the two escrows I’m working through right now, one is sailing along famously, while the other seems to have glitch after glitch. Real estate is a fickle business, the commissions appear big, but keep in mind, these are gross paychecks that require we pay taxes on them (which means, save some of that cash Kathy!), and it’s been almost five months since my last paycheck. You all know what that means, it means I have credit cards to pay off. What many of you do not know, in December/January, I was working on a listing/purchase for clients I had been working with all last year. Just when they decided at Thanksgiving to take the house off the market and try again in the spring, they got an offer. We hustled and found them a house (lots of qualifying criteria to make this happen) and while I was nearing past the middle of the escrows, their house did not appraise and the buyers walked. Well, this meant we had to cancel their purchase and that meant in one day I said good bye to two really substantial paychecks - WHILE I STILL DID OVER 12 MONTHS WORTH OF WORK. Oh, was I shouting? Yeah, still a little bit of a sore spot, but people don't understand that when it's good, it's good, but it can be bad sometimes, too. Those paychecks were planned to pay for our move, buy our new washer, dryer and kitchen appliances, and other things you need when you get a new house. Suffice it to say, all of those expenses went on credit cards so all the big bucks I may have coming in the 4th quarter will pay those bills, get me new tires on my 4Runner and I’m hoping to have some money to pay my taxes next year. Yep, I’m broke again, but it’s all good, the business is getting stronger and I will get to the point that I have a cushion and do not need to rely on the credit lines. Oh, and I can blog, too! Laughing! Happy Monday, thank you for being in my life and listening to my weekly rambling. I wish we had more time to spend together in real life, but I will take what I can get - replies to my Monday Motivator! 

Let me leave you with this from Mason’s journey to win Chopped Junior:

It was about this time one year ago that Mason, Janie, Hannah, and Dylan were having breakfast and then on their way to the Food Network studio to compete on Chopped Junior. I think my most favorite memory from this whole experience was earlier in the morning while Mason and I were getting ready to walk out the door to go down to breakfast, I said to him, "So really listen to me. I'm so proud of you, and I know you have the skills to win this competition. With that said, I want you to know you have already won by just being here and more than anything, I want you to have fun today. Take it all in and enjoy the journey. No matter what happens, set your intention to have fun." Mason replied, "Winning is fun.”

We went down to breakfast and we were all sitting at a long table and at the end was a smaller table just for two pushed up against the longer one. Mason was sitting there with Hannah's mom across from him. The kids were all nervous and really not eating or talking much when Mason piped up with, "Do you all realize that the next Chopped Junior champion is sitting at this table?" They all chimed in, "Yeah!" and Mason said, "No, THIS (as he placed both of his hands on the smaller table edges only he was sitting at) table." The room had an odd quiet for just a second and I got chills as I realized, he just really set his intention, like really SET HIS INTENTION.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Almost Time for Back to School!

It's Monday and boy is it going to be a busy one! My schedule is jam packed from 9 AM - 3:30 PM and that does not account for anything that may (will!) come up along the way. Summer is winding down as school starts for Mason next week. I'm looking forward to him being back in school in some regards, but in others, I've enjoyed being with him this summer, not having to be up and ready for school...I know lots of parents who can't wait for school to start and I've been that mom some years, but this year, it would be okay if we had a little more time.

One of the meetings we have today is with the new principal for Alta Vista elementary school, Mason and I are meeting with her to see what her plans are for continuing the education the kids are getting in the culinary sciences lab and to let her know we are still here to support her in how ever she see's she can best implement it. I still do not understand why the district is not making this a jewel in their crown and putting some money into making is more successful. Don't tell me they don't have the money, because I've been down that road and listened to them cry poor for several years. When it came right down to it and the rubber hit the road, they produced the cash to upgrade the school cafeteria (over $50K), hire a real lunch lady, and pay for all the supplies for the culinary sciences lab as the guy in charge of purchasing the cabinets, stove, etc did not utilize a single discount or donation that we arranged for, so he spent every penny of the money Mason raised with none left over to outfit the kitchen. I raised a stink and suddenly we had $5K to go shopping with. See what I mean? Where does that cash-flow come from when you've been told again and again, "We simply do not have any money." Of course, I know the answer.

So this week I am off to a conference I've been trying to get to for the last 3 or 4 years, BlogHer. I want to learn more about how women are monetizing their blogs, I've got all this content and I know if they can do it, so can I. This year it's in Los Angeles so back in December I bought my ticket and made the commitment. I'm really excited to take this trip, not only for the event, but I love to travel and solo trips are so nice sometimes. There is no need to consider any one else's needs, I can just do what I want to do, when I want to do it and right about now, that makes me very happy! What about you, do you like to travel alone?

Have a great week and I'm sure I'll have lots to share come Monday.

Monday, July 25, 2016

More Busy...

It's Monday again and though August is not even here yet, I can feel fall coming. Dave and I drove some country roads yesterday morning and some of our trees are starting to change colors and it just smelled like summer is winding down.  I don't think Mother Nature is in any hurry and it fact, I think it's just that I love fall so much, I start to look for the signs when it's the next season on deck. Yes, we see what we want to see, as we still have lots of summer left. This week it is forecast that we will see 103-106 through Friday and then we will get a break with 98 on Saturday. I was just reminding Dave that it's not on common for us to make a trip to the river to swim the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. Yeah, we have plenty of fun in the sun left to enjoy here in Northern California.

Last week was jam packed with cooking demos, state fair fun, and friends. Mason cooked on Tuesday and Saturday and both demos were well done. The state fair is fun because there are always good audiences with lots of people. On Tuesday we got there early and spent the day with my friend from social media, Carolyn and her daughter Nicole. We had so much fun meeting in person and spending the day together. I've heard people say that Facebook is a time suck, and twitter is a waste of time, but the fact is, I've made real, life long friends via social media. Certainly, one could squander hours away just chiming in on posts, but I've not only made meaningful connections, I've followed them up with real-life meetings. Julianne in Minnesota, Carolyn in Canada, and Rhonda in Texas to name just a few. Social media does more good than bad in my opinion, but it does require intent and discipline. 

This week is busy, too. Mason has a two day acting workshop in Sacramento and a speaking engagement with Kiwanis in Folsom. Thank goodness he is finally walking. He's still in the boot, but he can walk short distances and we have the knee-scooter for when we have to go a little further. We see the ortho on the 11th and hopefully the X-ray will show that he's healed enough to walk without the boot. As it is, school starts on the 10th and he'll have to wear it on the first day of school.

Real estate is busy, busy, busy! I have one family in escrow who have finished their inspections and we are expecting the appraisal back today. Providing that is where it needs to be, we will remove contingencies and work toward closing in the next 10 days. I have a great property coming on the market on the 10th of August, and I’m hoping that I get an offer accepted today for another couple I am working with to become first time homeowners. I only have one other family to work with to buy in September so I think I need some more clients! Who do you know? :)