Monday, November 29, 2010

Tribute to a Beautiful Soul, Michael Gable -- Get Informed and Save Lives

[Saturday night, Paul and I returned to the school where we met and graduated from together in 1993.  College classmates, friends, and family came together to remember a fellow classmate, friend, brother, son, and husband, Michael Gable, whom we lost unexpectedly and tragically just a little more than one year ago.  Saturday's event, Rock For a Cause, was a celebration of his life with a benefit concert/auction to kick off the Gable Beats Foundation and the release of the tribute album "One Race Human".  Another college classmate and friend, his wife, Michelle Gable, spoke in front of the crowd and shared her story of the horrible night that forever changed her and her family's lives.  We love and miss you so much Michael!  Michelle, you know that you, Matteo, and Grace are loved and will always find support around every corner.

Please read on for more about Michael, to learn more about the Gable Beats Foundation, and watch the video to get informed and save lives.]

In college, Michael Gable was a star athlete and a magnetic and outgoing personality.  He was always surrounded by friends.  He wore the biggest smile and had wide open arms.  He truly was such a genuine friend to everyone who met him.

On September 17, 2009, Michael passed away after suffering a heart attack.  Unknown to him, his wife, and his family he had the heart disease known as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), which is an excessive thickening of the heart muscle.  He was 38 years young.  Two weeks later, his baby daughter, Grace, was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy and it has since been determined the causes are genetically related.

"Tell Them You're Human" -- and the "One Race Human" Segue Tribute Album

The inspiration for the tribute album came from a t-shirt his mother, Beverly, had purchased for him that had the slogan "One Race Human".  Michael was teased about his bi-racial background when he was younger.  When he was asked "What are you?", his mother advised him to "Tell them you're human".

Excerpt from "Throughout his life, Michael strove to break down all racial barriers and create a better world for his family.  He lived each moment with love and gratitude.  In 1996, Michael joined the band SEGUE and used his lyrics as a way to spread his beliefs about the equality of ALL human kind.  SEGUE performed for over 15 years in some of the most respected venues in the San Francisco Bay Area.   Michael developed a reputation within the music community as an accomplished singer and songwriter."

The Gable Beats Foundation is part of the Heart Beats Community, a philanthropic network that provides support for families affected by various forms of heart disease.  True to Michael's genuine and true heart, he would have wanted his story to be shared so that other families might avoid experiencing the same tragedy.
Please take a look at the following video and get informed:

For more information about the Gable Beats Foundations and for details about purchasing the One Race Human tribute album, please visit
Additional links:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How Could I Forget?, or More Proof I'm Getting Older

When I saw him for the first time, I still remember the birds chirping and wind blowing through my hair. I walked into the room and when he saw me, his eyes lit up like fireworks and we were the only two people on the planet. OK, not really but seriously it was exactly like that.

Fast forward to today -- Paul and our oldest son went to my dad's house to help him out with some stuff around his house. I stayed back with our two youngest kids. I did some work at home in the morning, then took the two kids out for some fun at the bookstore and a treat.

I was driving home listening to Stevie Nicks' You Never Promised Me a Rose Garden and it hit me ... both Paul and I have been so busy with our jobs and just with our day-to-day lives of raising the kids that we forgot that our 18-year anniversary was on Sunday, November 21st.

I'm. In. Shock. I'm not even disappointed that Paul forgot our anniversary, even though I did mention it three weeks ago on Halloween. I actually cannot believe that the date passed me by. Me ... the one who finds a reason to celebrate anything and everything.

It's more proof I'm getting older.

At our graduation from Saint Mary's College of California, we were babies!

It is our first anniversary, after 16 anniversaries prior, that was forgotten, so I won't let it be said that it was actually missed. This weekend, we have a date planned and just maybe we'll dream about our next 18 years.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dizguise Costumes - Santa Belle (closed)

[Congratulation to Veronica G for winning this contest!]

Dizguise Costumes is a family-owned business that provides costumes for all occasions and celebrations, and party supplies year-round. They have built their small business on the idea that providing the best customer service means happy customers who'll hopefully come back to shop. They feel it is important that if you need customer service, that you talk to a live person. How's that for a great idea?

From the front page of their site: "Our customer service and superb return policy help you breathe easy when shopping at our store. We even offer the option to ship out your order the same day you order it, on most costumes and party decorations. Although our popular Halloween costumes and party supplies dominate our store, please remember that we also provide wonderful decorating ideas for every occasion, whether it's a baby's 1st birthday or a New Year’s Eve celebration." is hosting a series of giveaways with Dizguise Costumes as we enter the Christmas and holiday season.

Starting today, are two separate giveaways. One for Mama -- a Santa Belle costume. One for her child -- a Little Santa costume.

This giveaway is for a woman's Santa Belle costume. It is made with red, faux velvet and has white, faux fur trim. It has a flirty trim of white lace along the skirt hem and two white pom-poms dangling from strings coming off the hood. This costume is available to win in sizes Small, Medium, and Large.

Dizguise Costumes' giveaways at

11/22-29 : Santa Belle Costume
11/22-29 : Little Santa  - Infant to Toddler sizes
11/29 - 12/3 : Santa Belle Costume
11/29 - 12/3 : Reindeer - Infant and Toddler sizes
12/3 - 12/10:  Snowman - Infant to Toddler sizes
12/3 - 12/10: Santa Belle Costume

Enter once per day until Monday, November 29th. Winner must be a fan of Dizguise Costumes on Facebook ( Winner must follow (via GFC) OR Follow SaysJamie on Facebook. Winner will be chosen at random using Winners must have a valid US shipping address and phone number (no p.o. boxes for shipping purposes). Winners will be contacted using the email address they provided on the entry form from me at Winners have 7 days to respond before another winner is randomly selected. There is no purchase necessary to win and I promise to never share your information with anyone.

This promotion is only a giveaway, not a product review.  I receive compensation for running giveaways and for providing advertising space for Dizguise Costumes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Job Title: Admittedly Behind and Hopelessly Scrambling For An Agenda...

For parents with kids in public school, Fall break means kids have a week OFF, but parents have the week ON.

So, here I sit on Sunday night, pondering about the week ahead. Why haven't I planned it better? I have all these wonderful ideas in my mind of the things I'd like to do with the kids. I just wonder how many, if any, I will actually get done?

Any ideas for this last-minute planner? Uh, that would be me, with my new job title -- The Admittedly Behind and Hopelessly Scrambling For An Agenda, Mom of Three Kids Who Deserve a Fun Fall Break.

Friday, November 19, 2010 is ... One Month Old!

I seriously just noticed about two minutes ago that today is my blog's one month birthday! Ridiculous!

It goes without having to say that the blogging community is quite an interesting one. I started off my blog simply to write about the goings-on in my life. I wanted to get off my chest the challenges I've had the past few months parenting my middle-schooler, as well as to just journal about the experiences I find hilarious. The things I see other bloggers do with their skills (amazing home decor, incredible dishes coming out of kitchens, sewing and knitting, money to be saved, advice shared from those who have "been there"...) and the ways that blogs can be expanded into useful sources of product information, reviews, and giveaways really have me just wow-ed by everyone I've met so far in this community -- and there are so many I haven't even been lucky enough to come across!

So, for my blog's one month birthday I'm excited that it just so happens that I will start number one in a series of giveaways and reviews I have planned in the pipeline. Those are coming later today...

But, for now I look forward to blog hopping today and checking out the amazing blogs out there that have inspired me in my one month here on my blog and that I know will continue to amaze me. Thank you to all those I follow, all who follow me, and all those whom I have yet to meet!


Very soon, will be doing product reviews!

Giveaways, Coming Soon!

Subscribers to, fun giveaways will soon be run here!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Girlfriends -- They. Complete. Me.

I am a sap. I love to feel strongly and am free to cry like a little baby whenever and wherever. I'm a sap.

If I'm feeling sappy, my mind often recalls that scene in Jerry Maguire where Tom Cruise says, "You. Complete. Me." And Renee Zelwegger says, "You had me at hello." See, little frog already in my throat. LOVE IT!

Of course, my mind goes directly to Paul and the kids when I think of the people in my life who give me purpose and make me who I am. But, this past weekend I was reminded how my girlfriends are also such important people in my life that I know I would not be complete without them.

So to my Girlz who got together this weekend, (Cici, Lo, Laurie, and K.O.), who were roommates of mine in college and whom I've known for over 19 years - I LOVE YOU. (Ash, Suz, and Jules -- LOVE you too! We missed you.) It is such a wonderful feeling to see you and your children, to know Laurie and K.O. travelled more than 5 hours and Lo was visiting from Nebraska. How great is it that our relationship is such that although we might not speak every day, week, or even months, that we can spend time together and laugh and enjoy one another like no time has passed.

I almost cannot believe how fortunate I am to know women like you, that you share my life with me, and make me feel loved. Sappy time... You. Complete. Me.

Do you have girlfriends in your life who just make it so much more fun, funny, crazy, interesting, _____ (fill in the blank)? What are some words you could use to fill in the blank, that would describe how your best girlfriends add to your life?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quick Thai Seafood Soup

The cold weather in fall prompts me to make soup for dinner.  I love how warm soup warms me from the inside out -- both my body and my spirits.

Since it's stayed so warm and sunny here in the southern part of Northern California, I haven't had the chance yet to get into the soup-making mode.  Well, I was very excited that this weekend we were greeted with some colder weather -- where not only could I finally whip out some cute boots to wear, but I could also put together a big pot of Thai Seafood Soup.

My kids love this soup, so I've made it several times.  Now, I'm sure there are more elaborate ways to make this soup that is a staple on menus in many Thai restuarants.  I also imagine that this isn't the authentic way to make it, however being a Mom who (on most nights) has limited available time to spare in the kitchen, the way that I make this soup is fast and easy.  It also doesn't demand that measurements be exact (I don't cook with measuring spoons or cups).  Honestly, this soup comes out perfect every single time I make it.

So, here is the "recipe" that I generally go by.  I hope that some of you get a chance to make it as well.  If you do, please let me know how it turned out!  ~Jamie

Quick Thai Seafood Soup (serves 4 big bowls, with leftovers for 4 (or can be halfed))


  • One yellow onion (cut into big pieces @ 1/2 in)
  • Garlic (minced, 2 or more cloves depending on your taste)
  • Peanut oil (a couple of splashes or so)
  • 32 oz of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • Rice vinegar (about 6 long squirts depending on your taste)
  • Fish sauce (about 4 long squirts depending on your taste)
  • Lemongrass (one stalk finely chopped, but for ease I just use the kind shown in the picture in the tube on the left.)
  • Sugar (put some in your palm, it's that much)
  • Ground fresh chili paste (shown in the picture, below, with the green lid)
  • Handful of cilantro
  • Handful of basil
  • Shrimp and Scallops (I like a lot, so last night I used 14 jumbo shrimp and 12 jumbo scallops)
  • Sliced mushrooms (I like to use those 16 oz packaged pre-sliced baby bella mushroom bags, but you can use white mushrooms, canned straw mushrooms, whatever you want)


  1. Heat onions and garlic in peanut oil until onions just start to get transparent.
  2. Pour in chicken broth, juice from tomatoes, coconut milk, rice vinegar, fish sauce, lemongrass, sugar, and chili paste (according to your taste, you can omit this if you don't like spicy soup).
  3. Bring to a light boil. Add a handful each of washed cilantro and basil and put into the soup.  Stir and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove cilantro and basil.  Add tomatoes and mushrooms.  Cook another 5 minutes.
  5. Add shrimp and scallops.  Cook 3 minutes or so, just until seafood is cooked.
Remove from heat and serve.  The leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated to enjoy in the next few days -- if it lasts that long!

Here are some pictures.  Enjoy!  ~Jamie

Onions and garlic,cook until soft
Handful of cilantro
Handful of basil, too
Just put cilantro and basil in soup, stems/leaves and all
Stir cilantro and basil, cook 10 minutes
Remove cilantro and basil, then discard
Spoon into bowls. Yum!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Growing Up ... Well, Not So Much

As moms, I'm sure we all see signs from our kids that they are "growing up". Sometimes these signs are definite, like when my oldest son got his first girlfriend. Other times ... well, not so much.

Me (to my 8-year old): "Xavier, you're so cute".

Xavier: "Mom, you know I really don't like the word 'cute'".

Me: "Why not?"

Xavier: "It's really baby-ish."

Me: "Alright, then what should I say instead?"

Xavier: (Without a pause.) "How about 'adorable'"?

So, what started out potentially as a "growing up" lecture from my X-man, ended up quite nicely that my big man is still my little man.

So, what are some signs that you see with your kids that they're "growing up"?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Beginning of a New Week ... Do I Get a Do Over?

Well, it's Sunday. The beginning of a new week, and maybe the beginning of many new things. This past week ends on a rocky note. So, maybe I can look at this new week as a chance to do some things over -- or at least a little differently.

First, I made a new gravatar and header for my blog. I do think it is still a work in progress, but it definitely better fits me. My hair is exactly the same (if I had a constant up-burst of wind blowing my hair up into a fantastic volume of sexiness. Just like J-Lo at the grammies. Mmm, note to self, find something on eBay that can do that for me.)

Second, we had a setback in our pre-teen communications just two days after my small win in that department (see Big Hair Was Cool, and Other Things I'll Talk to My Pre-Teen About). Big blow-up, all out argument on Friday after school -- so it's been a rough weekend so far. However, today starts a brand new week, and I'm confident that things can't possibly get worse.

Third ... well, I haven't thought about a specific third new thing so I'm just optimistic about the possibilities for greatness.

Anyway, happy Sunday everyone! Here's to new things and maybe a chance for some do overs!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Valances at Target, Fundraising Events, and Things That Make You Go Huh?

I go through these phases where I’ll find myself saying a word all the time. Whatever the word is, I’ll use it correctly and incorrectly in numerous daily experiences.

For a while there, my favorite word was Ridiculous. When one of my kids did something that was just rude and uncalled for, Ridiculous!, I’d say. If something were terribly funny, I’d reward it with Ridiculous! If something were really great and quite close to the next best thing, I’d exclaim, Ridiculous!

Anyway, for just about every situation during the day, the word Ridiculous seemed to easily find a way to be used – I’d say at least 15 to 20 times a day.

Da da da da! And the New Word Is…

Earlier this week, I wrote a post called Einstein's Bucket Theory, or Reasons Why I Forget Stuff and tagged it under a new category I named Things That Make You Go Huh? Well, ever since then, my new word is Huh. (See these things I think of? According to the Bucket Theory, it's no wonder I forget stuff!)

Anyway, a close relative of Eh? and polar opposite of Oh!, Huh makes a comeback for me from my days in college when my ability to take full advantage of higher learning was negatively impacted by my ability to party every single night.

In the past few days, I’ve noticed that I’ve used Huh more than I normally would. It may be a side effect of reduced sleep, since lately I’ve been working more hours, worrying about my pre-teen son and how we need to have “The Talk”, and just being a bit more stressed lately. The fact that I’m a bit tired and generally lacking in attention these days, is most likely the reason why I’m constantly saying Huh.

My Shining Moment – Using My Word of the Day

So, my girlfriend, Kim, and I are together planning the biggest fundraiser of the year at our kids’ elementary school. This fundraiser is a Dinner/Auction and is responsible for 70% of the funds raised each year by our PTC (Parent-Teacher Committee). Yesterday morning, we met and talked about the event planning so far. Kim was talking about the subcommittees and then about the event budget. Well, my mind wandered and I started thinking about the new curtains and rods I had put up in my living room. And, then I heard Kim say something about a valance at Target. I spun out of my own little world, regained my focus back on Kim, in disbelief that she was actually talking about the same thing I was thinking, and said, Huh?

Well, we were meeting about the fundraiser, not talking about window coverings. We needed to make sure we ”balanced the budget” and not about adding a valance from Target. I’m pretty sure I recovered well, because our meeting continued to go smoothly – although I had to try really hard after that to try not to think about whether Target had any cute valances. Huh. I'll have to go check.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Big Hair Was Cool, and Other Things I'll Talk to My Pre-Teen About

In my on-going endeavors to improve the lines of communication with my almost 12-year old son, and preceded by my previous post on the topic Parenting Lessons -- That's My Job, No One Else's, I did achieve a small victory.

A couple of days ago, Zach and I were sitting in his room and the topic of Paul's and my experience when we were younger came up. Zach became so interested that he kept asking questions. He laughed when I told him how Paul caused a grass fire on his school field, about the awful things I used to wear, as well as the height of my bangs (big hair was so in -- the bigger the better!). He kept asking question after question about what I did at school and after school...who I hung out with...did I go to concerts...did I have boyfriends (sure did! That would be Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran) -- he wanted to know about our lives when we were his age.

Not a good picture, but it's old and shows how I teased every last strand
of my super fine hair to achieve the biggest head of hair I could try to get

What a breakthrough! We were communicating, and Zach actually showed an interest. I let the conversation remain light and did not bring up the more pressing issues that I do eventually want to bring up. The talk we did manage to have, however, was a great beginning.

I still feel good about our talk and look forward to another. It's only a small victory in the process of improving the lines of communication. But hey, I'll take it!