Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Football, Cheer, and School Oh My

I think you'd agree that Kindergarten is a big transition year for families and kids. There is so much to learn and so many people to meet. Its all about everybody finding their place and letting the little birds fly, finding balance and harmony.
Last year was definitely that but even toward the end I only knew a few people and being very pregnant through the surrogacy early in the school year gave me a bit of a hermit mentality. On top of that we were in a new area. I almost felt like I failed the kids a little and didn't get near as involved as I planned to being a stay home mom and all. One of the final days of school a mom and neighbor approached me. She said she'd noticed all the work we'd been doing on the front of the house and loved all our various holiday decorating. She informed me the PTA was looking for a co-chair for the teacher appreciation position on the PTA board. She insisted this was perfect for my creative skills, it was getting involved but the responsibilities were limited to one welcome back lunch for teachers at the beginning of the year and one week of teacher appreciation events later in the year.  So I took a leap of faith and climbed on board.  
Later this summer we decided to put the kids in a local football and cheerleading club. We thought it would be good for Eli to have some place to expend some of his endless energy and to learn about following a coach. We knew at 4 it was a bit much to expect him to be an all star but it was a good chance to let him get a feel for fundamentals and see if he the game.  See we're in Texas where football is big anyway and here in Katy, football is a way of life for those that play. We weren't sure about the commitment or about this being the right sport for him, putting your child in any contact sport is a little scary. Once little man's team was assigned we went to conditioning camps once a week to help him get acclimated to coaching, the game, the new faces, and of course the heat. I met our team mom and one of these events at which point she guilt tripped informed me we didn't have a cheer coach for the team and if nobody was willing to take the position Emma would be refunded the money or put on another team. I knew that I wanted our family to stay together and not be going all different directions, so reluctantly I agreed to do it. 

Yes, me, the cheer coach. Those facebook friends of mine already got their laughs in when I broke the news so I'll give you a few seconds to catch your breath and wipe the tears from your eyes... 

Luckily, I had another mom volunteer to be the cheer Team Mom and her daughter a 12 year old veteran cheerleader of 3 or 4 years volunteer to be my assistant coach. Who am I to turn down any form of help? 
Well it actually is working out really well and my team mom and assistant coach have proved to be very valuable assets. Between the 3 of us we've taught the 7 girl squad (ages 4-6) 8 cheers already. With football and cheer practicing the last few weeks, M/W and voluntary Fridays,they have gotten much further than I anticipated and its actually surprised me and been fun. Then, last Thursday was meet the teacher, last Friday I did my part to put on the teacher welcome back lunch then that evening was opening ceremonies for football/cheer. 
The theme this year is "With great knowledge comes great power." Superheros so we went with comic strip decor

the girls with my assistant Coach waiting the the bleachers

That's Emma smack in the middle, down on the field during the opening ceremony

Eli is the little guy in the front with the blue shoes
Then things started piling on, Saturday was our first scrimmage which turned into an event that took over most of the day and a major learning experience for both my squad and the football team.  We spent Sunday recouping and regrouping then started school Monday.

The football Coach forfeit practice (like my sporty lingo) for the first day of school so everyone could catch their breath. Then in a phone conversation he let me know practices would now stretch past the original end time of 7:15 to 8:00.  **Groan** But like I said, Katy is serious about its football. Luckily, when I got that call I was in the midst of making some freezer meals for quick and easy dinners this week. Looks like that will be a Sunday tradition through October (the end of football season for our little flag guys.) 

I'm a bit intimidated by the year coming up and trying to figure out when I'll have time to squeeze in jogging, dinner, and sleep. But I no longer have any doubt about a lack of being involved and it was wonderful to go into school this year and see so many now familiar faces. Old friends, team mates, neighbors, PTA members, I even knew some of the teachers.  We've taken a place in the community, made new friends, our kids are part of a great school and they're's home. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tortellini "Salad"

Guys, its been a long time since I've posted a recipe but today I stumbled on this little gem  and I had to post about it. Had I known it was going to be so great I would have taken pictures along the way but you get what you get.
So this is not only good, its fast and way easy and makes a ton.  Tonight was our grocery night so I knew I'd be starting dinner late and this seemed to fit the bill. So here it is with my modifications...


  • 1 large package of Buitoni fresh 3 cheese tortellini 
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken - I was in a hurry so I grabbed a rotisserie chicken 
  • 1/4 cup green olives (left them out because Chris doesn't like them but I think they would be good in it)
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives (I accidentally bought minced and to me they made the dish really pretty, would do it that way again)
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions + extra for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons of mayo
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence (never heard of it but I found it in the specialty spices at HEB, you can sub Italian Seasoning)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil - I used 1/3 cup olive oil instead.  I think this was a good amount, some people in the comments said they needed just a little extra dressing. I bumped up all the spices a little too
  • Salt and pepper to taste -  did not salt because the chicken and olives have a lot of sodium
  • Garnish: chives and shredded Parmesan cheese 

1. Cook tortellini according to package directions. While cooking shred and remove skin from chicken. 
2.Drain pasts and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain and place in large bowl. Stir in chicken and next 5 ingredients.
  1. 3. Whisk together mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, and herbes de Provence, garlic, and oil until smooth. Pour over chicken tortellini mixture and toss to mix. I served immediately while it was just a bit warm and it was great (but hey, that's how I like potato salad too.) However, you can put it in the fridge to cool for about 25 min if you'd rather it be cold. 
  2. I'm not sure I would put the dressing on until I was ready to serve it. I topped with green onions and a sprinkle of parmesan 
  3. I hope you enjoy it!