Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween 2011



Ragggedy Ann

As expected, we went girly girl this Halloween.  Brooklyn left the tower as Rapunzel, Ellie stepped out of the popular picture book as Pinkalicious and Leighton crawled off the toy shelf as Raggedy Ann.  I typically like to make my own costumes, but had to go with the purchased ones this year (actually more cost effective if you can believe it).  You (along with everyone at the Fall Festival) are asking, "Is that Brooklyn's real hair?"  and the answer is...not completely.  She does have pretty long hair, but it got even longer with the genius find of a wad clump skein head (what on earth do you call that?) of hair for only $2.50 from a beauty supply store.  Sure beats the $20 Disney wig right?!.  Anyway, we spent the evening at the church/school fall festival playing games, eating yummy food- like cotton candy and snow cones, and consuming large amounts of candy.  Okay, when I say we, I really mean Brett, Grandma, Grandma Judy and the girls.  I spent the entire evening here...
selling almost 500 slices of pizza pizza at the cutest booth on the block.

And that will pretty much wrap up our Halloween celebrations this year. Considering Ellie is deathly afraid of something as harmless as the Chick-Fil-A cow costume, we don't want to risk scaring her socks off with the spooky sights and sounds that come along with trick or treating.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

calling all texters...

I'm a texter... and most likely you are too.  Current studies show that people are texting far more often than they are making phone calls.   That's totally me.  I don't really enjoy talking on the phone (unlike my jr. high days),  and I don't really have the time to sit and chat.  Texting gets straight to the point and allows multitasking- very helpful for this momma with multi tasks!
Anyway, here's an opportunity for you to put your texting to good use.  My daughter's school has been nominated for a $50,000 grant to buy a school bus from Clorox as a part of the Power a Bright Future Program.  Basically its American Idol School Edition.  The school with the most votes wins.  Anyone 13 and up can vote via text every day between now and December 9.

Simply text Clorox8003 to 44144. (standard text messaging rates apply)  and/or vote online

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you,
That's 42 thank yous for 42 votes (one each day of the contest!)

PS- Please pass the word along!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


So this is what happens in the southern California sun.  Jack-o-lanterns don't last long around here.  It had been a couple days since I went out the front door and the poor guys had clearly bit the dust.  Left-eye lost her retina, and starry eyes had some sort of ruptured boil that completely took away her smile.  Let's just say rank, stink, mush, get the picture.  But it wasn't quite as maddening or foul as the present left by a feral cat on my welcome mat.  Black cat- you are not welcome!
P.S. My apologies to those with weak stomachs who were sickened by the picture, but at least I didn't make it extra large!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

got milk (and cookies!)?

Threw the sweetest (literally) shower for the sweetest friend this weekend.  Its one of those pregnancies that is almost as exciting as my own.  The kind that gives you goosebumps when you first hear about it, and you can't stop smiling when you see the baby bump for the first time.  It's been 7 long years of waiting for our friends to grow their family and have their first child.  Seven years of lots of praying, hoping, and waiting.  And it is so amazing to see God answer the cries of their hearts and bless them beyond measure with the life of little baby Owen.
Anhoo... the shower was a big hit.  We had it in the evening and went with the ever popular milk and cookies theme  (thank you pinterest).  Let me just say, plethora of cookies.  Like hundreds and hundreds.  Most popular cookie award went to the pumpkin chocolate chip with cream cheese frosting.  I agree, delish.  Personally, couldn't stay away from the snickerdoodles.  They went perfect with the milk (in adorable cartons of course).  The empty frappuccino jars "for sippers" and  mason jars "for dippers" was my favorite part- an original idea for once!  And yes, I'm a dipper.   I kinda went nuts with the paper decor.  I couldn't stop until I had used it all up.  Didn't really know what I was going to do with it at first, but I ended up making pinwheels galore.  Very easy to make by the way, and super cute.  They may even be finding their way into Owen's nursery!  And contrary to popular opinion, 20 hungry women can't consume hundreds and hundreds of cookies in one sitting, so each guest got to take a few cookies for the road in printed brown paper bags (from my home printer!). 

Congratulations Adessa!  Can't wait to meet little baby O!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

pumpkin patch in pictures

 the hunt

the find

the look  

the smile
the jack-o-lantern

the anticipation
the ticket

 the ride

the swing

the drink

the typical shot

Friday, October 14, 2011


No matter how hard us southern Californians try to convince ourselves, there really is no fall here.  In the rest of the country, the weather dictates fall behavior.  Here, we have to conjure up the fall feeling on our own.  Faux fall if you will. 

For example, elsewhere cold temperatures= boots, scarves, and sweaters.  But here fashion= boots, scarves and sweaters.  Because in reality we could be in jeans, tees, and sandals all year long.  Okay, maybe a sweatshirt on those really chilly days in the mid sixties but that's about it.
Elsewhere they have to drink hot fancy coffees and eat butternut squash soup to warm their cold cores.  But here, we could be sipping frappachinos and eating sushi every day and still often break a sweat.
Elsewhere they have enough leaves in their front yard to fill a dump truck.  But here, we have to make our own out of felt and yarn.

Nonetheless, we have a fond affection for faux fall.  And even if its not the "real deal" that other people get, we'll be wearing our plaid flannels, sipping pumpkin spice lattes, and making our wax paper and crayon leaves like it is.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


She's nearing the age where this will soon become a thing of the past.
I often wonder as I close the door and leave her sleeping peacefully if this will be the last one. 
Somehow I got into the habit of laying with her to help her fall asleep. 
She's a squirmer and needs someone to keep her still.
She's a cuddler and needs someone close.
I often want to kick myself for starting this habit, but then I realize that the times I can lay beside her
close and still are going to be a rarity someday very soon. 
She'll start kindergarten in less than a year.
She'll be sitting at a desk under someone else's watch almost every afternoon.
I tell her I'll miss her like carzy.
She tells me she'll come home every afternoon, so don't be sad mom.
But I can't help myself.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

riding on...

I am beyond proud of what my dad has just taken part of over the last 2 weeks.  He rode over 700 miles from Kansas to Georgia in just over a week.  Yes rode...a bicycle.  Crazy right?  He was part of a team of other bikers riding to gain awareness and support for, and to provide hope to, those effected by the horrific tornadoes in the Midwest back in May.  Devastation is still a reality in the every day lives of these people and they need the hope of the Lord desperately to carry on each day.  Check it out and be inspired...

Present: Hope from Sulva Productions on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

souper bowl

I'm a big fan of soup.  That is, soup accompanied by some sort of delicious bread.  Must have the bread.  Potato cheese soup and sourdough bread, beef stew and biscuits, chili and cornbread, chicken noodle soup and bran muffins.  If that was my weekly menu, I'd be in heaven.  Problem is, Brett (as most men I'm sure) doesn't really see soup and bread as a meal.  Unless you are in prison that is.  So last night when he was feasting on carne asada burritos with the guys, we girls had soup and bread.  And let me tell you, delish. 

 Chicken Quinoa Soup
I've got on board the quinoa train (or as Brett calls it Joaquin- quinoa backwards get it?).  Great alternative to rice, high in protein, low in carbs.  I was a little intimidated by it at first, but I realized its actually easier to cook than rice (and much faster than brown rice).  There's a ton of stuff you can make with it.  I've made it with chicken stock to add flavor and used it with stir fry, in place of pilaf, and with sauteed vegies.  I will warn you, it has a bit of a weird texture kind of like tiny bubbles, but I actually love it.  I had about a cup left over from dinner the other night and thought I could make chicken noodle soup and use the quinoa in place of the noodles. Worked like a charm.

Chicken Quinoa Soup
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
2 green onions chopped
1 t. garlic
1/2 t. salt
1/2. t pepper
1 cup cooked chicken
1 c. cooked quinoa
Bring broth, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, salt and pepper to a boil and boil 10 minutes (or until vegies are soft).  Add cooked chicken and cooked quinoa and cook until heated though. 
There are several similar recipes online that use more broth and uncooked quinoa.  Might be worth a try if you don't already have cooked quinoa on hand.

 Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins
I've also boarded the almond flour train (thanks to my sister)I've tried almond flour pancakes and waffles and an amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I think these babies take the cake (or muffin I guess)My girls gobbled them up, asked for them again for breakfast, and Brett even gave the sign of approval after trying themSuper moist, great texture, just the right amount of pumpkin flavor.  And low carb- no sugar or four in these guys.  So go get your almond flour/meal  (Trader Joe's has the best price- in the nut section) and make some of your own- you will love.

Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins
2 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree  
1/3 cup honey 
4 Tbsp melted butter 
1 tsp vanilla 
3/4 tsp baking soda 
1/2 tsp salt 
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp nutmeg 
1/4 tsp ground cloves 
1/4 tsp ground ginger 
2 1/2 cups almond flour 
1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
1/2 cup craisins
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. Line a muffin pan with paper liners (12 muffins).
3. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric beater to thoroughly combine all ingredients EXCEPT almond flour, walnuts, and raisins.
4. Stir in almond flour until well combined.
5. Stir in walnuts and craisins.
6. Spoon batter into muffin cups, using wet fingers to press down any bumps on the tops before baking. Makes 12 muffins.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

I had to put this picture in because I am very proud of my clean stove top.  Cleaning that beast is one of my least favorite jobs, and I had been putting it off for waaaay too long. I think there may have been cleaner stove tops in meth lab kitchens in the ghetto.  It was that bad.  But look at her shine now.

My only regret for this meal was the fact that Leighton's muffin crumbs (which she is notorious for leaving- she's a big crumbler) went to waste.  No eating after that little one this week due to... hand, foot, and mouth disease.  Yes, we've been infected.  What I thought was a diaper rash turned into sores on the hands, feet, and mouth and viola- enter hand, foot and mouth disease (virus really, disease makes it sound so serious).  She's handled it like a trooper and aside from the owie on her tongue she hasn't complained a bit.  Now were hoping she keeps her poison saliva to herself and the rest of us avoid it (I've heard Daddies don't handle it as well as babies!)

Monday, October 10, 2011

props to pinterest

yarn + felt= endless possibilities

Pinterest has really become my go-to.  And from what I gather, it has become the go-to for many other voyeurs like myself.  People who love to look at beautiful, inspiring things and attempt to recreate their own rendition of someone else's genius.  No pages to scroll down, no information to sift through, just lovey images waiting to be perused.  So here's to pinterest and my new fall decor.  Inspired by this and this.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Typically for me, Julian means one pie.  But we expanded our horizons this year and tried our hands at apple picking.  First impression of the place was of the manager/owner guy.  Try to imagine an Irishman meets hippie meets pirate and you've nailed the guy.  Sleeps in a tepee with a stair-master sitting outside.  Lots of metal/skull "sculptures" on display.  Beyond weird, but the guy grows a good apple, so hey.  Anyway, kiddos loved it.  Thrill of the hunt of course.  Always trying to collect an equal number of reds and greens.  Also the fact that you can eat all you want while you pick was key.  Especially for Ellie.  After carefully shining up each apple, she would take 4 or 5 bites (granted they were small apples) and then say, "That one's done," and chuck it into the orchard.  I think she polished off almost a dozen.  Leighton was fascinated by all the fallen apples and couldn't stop saying, "That one, yucky one."  And of course there's the bag carrying.  Everyone wants to be the one to carry first.  Then when the thing fills up to 4 pounds or so, no one wants to.  Typical.  I'll tell you what I did want to carry though...

this plate to my table.  
Cinnamon ice cream smothering dutch apple pie. And I didn't have to share a smidge with anyone.  
Till next year Julian...

Friday, October 7, 2011


Official kick off to the appleicious weekend!  Apple day at school, apple pickin' and pie eatin' in Julian tomorrow.  Its not officially fall if you don't make the trek to Julian and get an enormous piece of Julian Apple Pie with the perfect ratio of cinnamon ice cream on top.  Oh, I can practically taste it now, and I'm drooling.  And speaking of taste...I would highly recommend the honey crisp apples.  I've heard they are pricey, and to tell the truth I have no clue what I paid for them (thank you Target unmarked produce).  The perfect apple in my opinion...crisp, sweet, (hence the name) with a touch of tang.  Go get yourself some an make an appleicious weekend of your own!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

back to bakin'

I've spent the last two nap-fternoons doing one of my favorite things.  Especially on fallish afternoons, sipping coffee, in a vintage apron.  Baking.  Grown up food yesterday- apple crumble loaf for the teachers at school, kiddie food today- apple cupcakes for apple day in Brooklyn's class tomorrow.  I've realized it had been a long time since I enjoyed the peace and relaxation that baking involved.  Could be the diet plan that pretty much outlaws butter, chocolate and sugar- three most important ingredients in baking as far as I'm concerned.  Could be the fact that I usually do it with one big girl cracking egg shells into the batter, one middle girl snitching licks every time I turn my back, and one little girl lying on the floor crying for my attention (or her 7th baba of the day).  Could also be the fact that is has been super hot over the last month and when I turn the oven on our house becomes the face of the sun.  Whatever the reason...I'm back and bakin' with a vengeance.  And fall afternoons are the perfect time. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


We kicked off fall with an evening picnic of hot chocolate and rice crispie treats (with sprinkles!).  Its just now cool enough to need a jacket and we are more than ready for fall and all it brings!  Come on over pumpkin patch and jack-o-lanterns, apple pickin' and pie, fall festival, crisp mornings, pumpkin everything (I have nailed pumpkin french toast but am still trying to perfect the homemade pumpkin spice latte...stay tuned for the recipe reveal), my birthday (ehemm), and lots, lots more. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dear Andy,