Jeff and I love to cook and to entertain together. It’s one hobby that we both share and we especially like trying new things.
When my mama was here while I was out of town, Jeff wanted to learn how to make her spaghetti sauce. She made her sauce for our family and Jeff took detailed notes. Her sauce is like liquid gold and I’ve never done a great job replicating it because I swear as soon as I turn to wash a dish, she turns and sprinkles a little bit of this and that and works her magic.
Christian has been wanting to have his group of friends over for awhile and Juliana was sharing how she likes how my cousin Shellee hosts a pasta night every week for her kids and their friends. I’ve been loving that idea too and then just read an article about a family that cooks an informal pasta meal and invites over those who want to participate in a super casual way. The key is no stress and no worry about a clutter free, clean house – everyone just shows up and brings something to share if they want and then we enjoy good old fashioned family time with our friends.
So you know where this is going… I asked Jeff if he wanted to cook my mom’s sauce together and host a pasta night and he agreed! The plans were set and I got excited to try something new and sent out invites via text right away.
I shopped today for the sausages and meat to make meatballs. After we all came home from our various appointments and had our family dinner, we cleared out the kitchen and had a date at home, cooking together side by side. Did I tell you how much I love this?
I loved that Jeff wanted to cook my mom’s recipe and I loved seeing his handwritten notes. I loved that we spent time together on a “school” night, chopping and rolling and measuring and mixing and stirring. I loved that Juliana got a kick out of us living it up in the kitchen too.
Christian came out of his room to say how good the sauce smelled and that the smell reached his room.
I wish you could smell my house right now. It smells so good, just like my mama’s house.
Do you have a weekly family meal that you share? When I was growing up we had pasta on Wednesdays and Sundays. I loved this tradition.
Life is good.
I love my family so much. I also love my friends, as if they were my family especially since my extended family does not live close to me and this makes me very sad. I love to share this life journey together and they are so far away, which makes it hard to have a cup of coffee together or show up for dinner unexpectedly or hike or do whatever. I love to go to my nieces’ soccer games and plays and school functions and want to be there for the major events too. Instead I have to text them, call or Facetime, or send pictures and just miss out. This is how it is. I get it. And since they can’t be with me as much as I would like, I have chosen to adopt friends, as my local, bonus family. This makes me really happy and makes life good right where I am. Do you do this or are you lucky enough to have family close by? This would be a bonus dream come true. Does anyone in my family want to move close to me?? Pretty please?
While I wait to see my family, I am enjoying and loving my friends and especially my adopted daughter, Akie. We have 2 more nights left with her before she goes back home. The one thing she asked to see in California was the Cheesecake Factory, while she was here. Tonight was her lucky night. She enjoyed the experience very much, and we enjoyed sharing this with her. She picked the pasta carbonara with shrimp for dinner, and the 30th anniversary chocolate cheesecake for dessert. She was amazed by the portion sizes, compared to Japan. Some of her Japanese friends were also there tonight and it was nice for them to be able to speak in their native language and share stories. I am so happy that she is having a good time and enjoying all that is here for her to experience.
She fits in so well with our family. This morning when I was alone in the car with her before dropping her off at school, she said to me that she wished she could stay in California. I smiled (and cried) and said, “Me too.” Me too.
This morning I woke up and enjoyed a cappuccino, sitting in my rocking chair, and watching the day unfold. We didn’t have a set plan, besides going for a run together and possibly a bike ride and a family dinner at home. I like Sundays like this. My typical wake up routine is to drink my coffee, check email, check Facebook and Instagram, play words with friends and plan my day while playing.
I read and follow several bloggers and today I met Fionna Lynne and fell in love with her writing.
Check her out: Fionna Lynne’s blog
She had an entry titled 31 Days to Embrace Expat Life that perfectly sums up so many of my own thoughts and learnings. Her Day 10: being family to friends, really touched me. In the short time we have been here, we have made so many good friends. These friends are like our family away from home and I want to be with them and help them and enjoy life with them. As I was reading, I decided right then that we had to invite friends for a Sunday dinner. I would like to do that every Sunday that we are home! Who’s up for dinner?? Danielle and I were texting each other about another event and I asked if they could come join us tonight. Luckily, they said yes, and brought their fun friend Jill along.
I love when we entertain because it makes me declutter and clean up our house as a family. And we are so casual, so there’s no need to stress ( although I always do!) even though it always works out. We made appetizers, pan roasted chicken and potatoes, broccoli, salad with toasted pine nuts and ranch dressing, and bread. Juliana made April’s rum cake and voila – we had a Sunday family dinner.
Afterwards, we skyped with my family back in California. I was so happy they picked up the call and that I got to see them all. It made me cry, missing them! The little ones are getting so big and are so funny. My mom and dad are so loving and cute. I need to hug them again! Soon enough… Thank goodness for Skype!
I also got to google chat with April for a few minutes. The time change is sometimes challenging to connect with each other. But tonight all was good, and I got my family and friend fix, near and far.