Monday, December 28, 2009

The Year With No Christmas Card

This year I did not send out Christmas cards.
But if I had, I might have used these photos ...

This one was taken in Cambria over the summer.

Here we are sitting on the waterfall at my mother-in-law's new house.

This was taken at Thanksgiving.

And finally, all of us on Christmas Eve.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.
I wish you all many blessings in the New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

You're How Old?

Well, it was bound to happen again this year.
I am another year older.
I know ... it happens.
So in honor of my 42nd birthday ...
yes, I'm being honest ...
... I'm re-posting my favorite TV commercial.
I love this ...
these women are who I want to be when I grow up!
(and yes it's a commercial promoting mammograms, which has been a subject of controversy lately. And yes, I have an opinion on the whole issue, but I'll save that for another post. In the meantime, just enjoy the spirit of these "old" women!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Did You Know?

I seem to be good at the pointless, random blog posts.
So here's another one ...

I was scrolling through my iPhoto library and came across this one ...
Someone borrowed my camera for a very creative photo shoot!
I wonder what Teddy is listening to?
Probably some Diana Krall or Michael Buble by the way he's all kicked back and chillaxin'.

Egg rolls just aren't the same the day after.

You don't really realize that you mostly chew your food on the same side of your mouth all the time until you get a tooth worked on and can't chew on that side for awhile.

I finally spent some of last year's Christmas gift cards.
And I bought myself this ...
I'm going to make every single cookie in this book! But I'm not going to blog about it. There are people already doing/done that. Well I might. Because it will be random.

I'm allergic to seafood. But I love shrimp. And occasionally I eat it anyhow. And it makes my lips and tongue itch. And if I eat too much I get these nice little hives all over. If you could see me now, you'd see my swollen upper lip! Not pretty. But the shrimp was yummy.

I went to the Goodwill last week. Spent $20 and came home with 7 brand new, listen ... BRAND NEW! ... sweaters. Ann Taylor, Liz Claiborne, Ralph Lauren. I'm not kidding! I am someone that really does not clothes shop for myself. If I can't pick up a top or pants at Target, because I'm there anyhow, then I just don't take the time or the money to shop for myself. But I'm definitely going to do the Goodwill thing again. It made me very happy!

I know this is the same Scottish treat at last post ... but his birthday is in 3 days, and he's always worth another glimpse.
This is my Jamie Fraser. Do y'all know what I'm talking about? If you don't ... ask me ... I have an entire world of books to lay on you. You'll never be the same!
If he does the longer hair look, he is it. I know Kris, Kat and Shawn probably have opinions on this one. Tell me girls ... who's your Jamie?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm a slacker blogger

It's been so long since I've done a blog post, I should have tons of stuff to write about. Well you would think. But then when I sit down to actually do it, I have nothing.

So I'll just randomly throw out whatever pops into my mind as we go along.
Here we go ...

We did the responsible pet owner thing and had these two cuties spayed last week. Remember, these are the kittens we rescued from behind our garden shed last spring. They are now official members of the family. The gray one is Fluffy Pants, and the black one is June Bug. It's hard to imagine they came from the same litter. They are so different. June Bug is a true outdoor cat with survival skills. She catches birds and bugs and is lean and fit. Fluffy Pants, on the other hand, would rather lounge in the house, and cries if she finds herself alone. I think this photo sums them both up pretty well ... see ... June Bug looking at something moving in the dirt and planning her next move. Fluffy Pants looking a bit confused as if to say, "what am I doing here?"

My husband just got back from a 10 day business trip to Hawaii. I know what you're thinking ... is it really work if you're in Hawaii? And why didn't I go along? Well I thought about it. But I'm not quite ready to leave the 4-year old. Not just yet. Ask me again next year. It was cool to be able to video chat with him every evening though.

Speaking of the 4-year old ... we've been making lapbooks for school. I should do an entire post on that. We find a subject to study and make up various projects to coordinate with it, and put it all in a little book. So far we've studied the farm, the fair, and apples. Next up ... leaves and Thanksgiving.

For Halloween my oldest daughter dressed as a gypsy, my son was sort of a mad scientist, but ended up taking off the costume after about 5 minutes. And the 4-year old was a pink and purple fairy. Complete with wings that flutter when she walks. I would show you a photo, but my husband had the camera in Hawaii. I'll have them put their costumes back on this week just for pictures!

My previous posts were Scottish in nature. So I thought I'd continue the trend with this fine photo!
You're welcome.

Let's see ... what else ... oh yeah, my mother-in-law and her husband have moved into town from Sacramento. It's nice to have them closer.

I love playing Farmville on Facebook. Does anyone else play this? What a cute little game. I'm currently growing squash, watermelons and peppers.

I'm rooting for Donny Osmond on Dancing With The Stars.

It has taken me most of the year, but I am almost finished reading The Odyssey.

I bet my son $20 he wouldn't jump in the pool today (water temp was 60*)
Guess who won? Or lost, depending on how you look at it.

And on that note ... nothing else is popping into my head.
So I'll leave you with this ...
... what I'm making for dinner tonight!
Do you know what it is?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Did You Get a New Hair-Do?

For the last few days we have had unusually humid weather.
It's been a tad cloudy, a bit overcast and slightly foggy.
And since I've had Scotland on my mind for a while now ...
... I'll show you what it has looked liked here with a picture from there. I like to use visuals whenever possible to tell such enchanting stories on my blog.
You're welcome.
Except for the gorgeous hills, the quaint little stream and the overall greenness part, this photo could have been taken from my house. After all, the cloudy, overcast, foggy look is spot on. And if I look out my window, and ignore all the flat suburban sprawl, concrete, asphalt and traffic ... well it's just like I'm in Scotland!
I love using my imagination whenever possible.

One of the downsides of this misty weather is the effect it's having on my hair.
I don't know what happened. But after my last pregnancy my hair got wavy. The texture changed and it took on this kinky, curly, frizzy thing. Now this was just weird for me because I've had straight, flat hair my entire life.
Except for that time during the 80's where I looked like this ...
You can only imagine the massive amounts of fussing and Aqua-Net hairspray I used to achieve that look.
Good times!

And now I don't even need to try. I let my hair air dry and it goes all wavy and frizzy by itself. It takes some time and some serious hair product to get it to behave now. And that's on normal days.

Throw in the humidity of the last few days ... and look out!
Of course this photo isn't really me. But it could be. Except for the flawlessly youthful complexion. Focus on the hair and she could be my twin.

I'm wondering if I'd look like this all the time in Scotland?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Something Scottish

I almost forgot to mention another thing I did this summer.
I spent some time here ...

Yes, that's a real Scottish castle. In Scotland. It's called Glenbogle. And I spent many hours there. Getting to know these fine people ...

The handsome laird in the center is Archie MacDonald. He's quite charming. The staff is pretty quirky and entertaining. But his dad, Hector, is a real hoot!

If you want to spend some time with these fun people, and drool over the gorgeous Scottish countryside ... then do what I did ...
Get it on DVD!

Let me know what you think?

Friday, October 9, 2009

My Summer in Review

So by now you're probably wondering what I did all summer.
After all, my "little" break from blogging actually turned into a few months of being absent. I'd love to be able to report that I went on exotic vacations and spent the summer totally relaxing and renewing. But that's still just a fantasy I'm afraid. But if that's how you spent your summer, please don't tell me. ;-)

In reality, I actually had quite a wonderful summer. But it was busy. We had several activities going on, a couple of projects, a few parties and BBQs, a little trip, and some fun visitors.

Here's the recap in photos ...

Of course we spent most days enjoying the pool. And it's always more fun with friends!

We rescued these cuties from behind our garden shed. The black one is Junie Bug and the gray one is Fluffy Pants. They are incredibly entertaining!

True confessions time ... I had a little summer love affair with this guy! I couldn't help myself. He sucked me right into his world and melted my heart.
If you don't know who he is ... you should! It's ok, a friend shared him with me, I'm happy to share him with you. You won't be sorry!

It was another wonderful summer of Shakespeare! This the cast of Richard III. The show was fabulous. And those costumes were amazing!

And speaking of Shakespeare ...
... my oldest daughter had a great time taking part in a Summer Shakespeare Workshop. Here she is playing Romeo. Can you tell by the look on her face that she can't believe she just killed Tybalt?

Hubby and I went and saw these guys in concert. This is Counting Crows, along with Augustana, and Michael Franti and Spearhead. (Thanks again to Jimmy Bogios for hooking us up!) But here's how old I'm getting ... I wore earplugs for the entire concert! Reality. Seriously.

We had a bountiful harvest in the garden this year. The basil overfloweth. I made 14 batches of pesto. And the tomatoes were insane. I canned a dozen quarts. And we ate tomatoes at every meal.

Then I went back to my hometown of Dinuba to get a bunch of this fabulous fruit ... and I made jam! Plum, pluot and nectarine. It makes me smile just thinking about it.

I also made chow-chow. Who knows what that is?

Last summer we hosted a spectacular Shakespeare class. So how did we top that this summer? Why a Book/Movie Club of course! We read something like 9 books and then watched the movie version(s) of the book. Fun and great ones like Jane Eyre, The Princess Bride, Persuasion, Sherlock Holmes, Les Miserables. Good stuff. And what a great group of kids ... here they are dressed as characters from the books/movies. Fun!

We took a little vacation. Well Tonka is always on vacation. Just look at that roly-poly chunk of sunshine.
But we took it up a notch and went to Cambria.
Ah ... one of my most favorite places in the world.

Finally ... this guy celebrated his 13th birthday. I'm still trying to figure how this happened. Thirteen years? Wow. It probably wasn't the most festive celebration for him as the girls in the family all had the flu. So we still owe him a night out for dinner and bowling as he requested. Happy Birthday Alex!

And that my friends wraps up my summer adventures.
So what did you do this summer?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Is It Really True?.....

Yes ...
The moment you've all been waiting for
is almost here ...

... my return to the blogging stage!
I know ... the excitement is overwhelming.

Stay tuned ...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I'm BAAAACK ... well, almost

In the meantime ... check this out!

My friend Robynn has it going on ... and you won't want to miss this great challenge.
(click on the links!)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Taking a Break ...

I'm taking a little break from blogging.  This summer is packed full of fun and exciting things to do.  I'm going to put my focus on those things for a while and enjoy time with my family.  

I may get around to a blog post here and there, but then again, I may not.  If you want to keep up with what's going on with us, follow me on Twitter (see the link on the side bar).

I'll still be checking in on my favorite blogs from time to time ... so I'm sure our paths will cross.

Love and best summer wishes to you all!

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I've been lazy about blogging lately.
Actually I think I've been lazy about everything lately.
What can I say ... it's summer.
I've clicked into kick-back mode.
Which is nice on the one hand, but not such a great idea on the other hand, because there's still stuff to be done, but I'd rather just pretend like I'm on summer vacation.

To me, summer always means diving into new reading adventures.
I like to always have a book (or three or four!) in progress.  I love to read away the summer afternoons while lounging at the pool with iced tea.
This is bliss!

Speaking of books ...
last week I was waiting for my son to finish up some end of the year testing.  About every 2 years I have the kids tested at their grade level to see how well we're doing.
So far, so good!
Anyhow, to kill the time, I went into a thrift store to browse around.  I wasn't really looking for anything in particular, but I ended up gravitating towards the book section.  You won't believe what I found ...

Look at all those books!  About 94 or so.   Plus a few more duplicate titles that we already own, plus a stack of coloring books.

And here's the best part ...
guess how much I paid?

Let me say that again ...
For all those wonderful books!
Can you believe it?

They were all bundled into about 5 stacks.  Many of the titles I couldn't even see.  Most of the books look new.  Several of them have Mrs. Nelson's name written on them, but they are in excellent condition.  I have a feeling a teacher cleaned out her classroom and I hit the jackpot.  So to Mrs. Nelson, whoever you are, where ever you are, THANK YOU!

My 4-year old is pretty happy too!

Also, while we're on the topic of summer and reading ...
I'm hosting a summer book/movie club for the teens in our home school group.  We will get together several times this summer and read the book and watch the movie.  I can't wait to see what titles they come up with.

Happy Summer and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Let's Get Cookin'

If you haven't tried cooking with a 4-year old, you don't know what you're missing.
This week my little one has been studying the letter "G".
So she pulls out this fabulous cookbook she received for her birthday, flips to a recipe for Granola, and says, "This is a G, can we make it?"

I know, brilliant.

If you haven't heard of Mollie Katzen, I encourage you to check her out.  She has some great cookbooks, for adults and little people.  My favorites are The Moosewood Cookbook and Simple Suppers.  My 4-year old loves Pretend Soup and Salad People.

So let's make Granola!
First ... collect the ingredients ...
... make sure you pose ...

... show Mommy the step by step instructions ...

... put it all in the bowl and start mixing ...
... like totally get your hands in it and squish away!

... and when Mommy's not looking ...
... sneak a taste.  I mean, who wouldn't do that?  You know you would.

Spread it in the pan and bake it.

When it comes out of the oven you add the dried fruit ...
and it looks like this:
Totally yummy!

Here's the recipe:

Letter "G" Granola
(adapted from Salad People by Mollie Katzen)

*mix together:
3 cups of old fashioned oats
2 cups of raw pecans
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup brown sugar

*whisk together:
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
1 TBS vanilla
*pour over dry ingredients and mix well to coat.  Spread into greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking time.
Remove from oven and add 2 cups of dried fruit.  We used raisins and cranberries.  Toss well and let cool completely.  Then break up into chunks.  We love sprinkling it into yogurt!

Finally ...
... after all that hard work and learning, take a much deserved break!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009


This is my 100th post.
Just thought you might like to know.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Girls' Room

When our 3-year old became a 4-year old we figured it was time to get her out of our bedroom and move her in with her older sister.

 I know what you're thinking ... 
yes, we had the baby in our master retreat love nest ...
for 4 YEARS!
I know.  It was time.

Imagine the excitement our oldest daughter had at this prospect.  She has had her own room for 15 years.  And now she has to share it with a little sister?  Yikes!

Now the bedrooms in our house are pretty small.  So we needed to be creative with how to fit everyone and everything in the space.

I searched the Internet for bunk beds.  And I found a great corner unit that is actually called a captain's bunk.  This would be perfect, I though.
Until I saw the price.
Good grief!
Have you priced children's bedroom furniture lately?
Obviously I had not.
We needed to tackle this from another direction.

So I called my daddy.
Have I mentioned before that my dad is a master carpenter, painter, craftsman, and all around amazing handyman?
Seriously.  He can make, do, craft, create and fix ANYTHING!

And now my girls have the coolest bedroom ...
all thanks to Papa!

Here's my 4-year old to take you on the grand tour ...

So my dad actually built this bunk bed from scratch ... it's way better than anything I saw online.
My 4 year-old LOVES the steps.
She has the top bunk.
My oldest is on the bottom, which is actually her existing bed.  My dad built the bunk addition to fit right over the top!
Look at all the great cubby holes for books and storage!

Take a look at the books my oldest has on her headboard ...
Austen, Defoe, Bronte, Dickens, Shakespeare.
Impressive, yes?
She's super smart.

Alas, we still haven't purchased a twin-sized mattress for the 4-year old.  So for now, she sleeps on her crib mattress and has this extra fun space around it to play.
Can you see the ABC border on the wall above the bed?
You know, we're always thinking education around here.

The wall paint colors are Cheery Pink and Lettuce Alone.
The ceiling is a mix of white and blue ... sponged on all sky-like.
The flower accents are something we made out of a foam craft kit from Oriental Trading Company.  I put Sticky-Tac on the back and let my 4-year old place them where she wanted.

Look over the edge ... there's even some room to hang all those pretty princess dresses!  Not an ounce of space was wasted.

Here are the shelves underneath the top bunk where my oldest keeps books, DVDs and other important stuff.

Across the room is a $29 shelving unit that I found at Lowe's a few years ago.  It works perfectly for storing games, toys, knick-knacks, and the TV and VCR for watching the old beloved Disney tapes.
Behind that green sheer curtain is a little bay window area ... a great space for playing or hanging out.

Speaking of hanging out ...

So a HUGE thanks to my Daddy/their Papa for the awesome new bed.
How cool is that?