Saturday, April 30, 2011


home grown roses

For this weekend --

:: mother-son shopping trip (just me and Dieter to buy him some spring clothes!)
:: cut some roses and make little bouquets to put around the house
:: snuggle on the couch and read to the boys
:: drink coffee in my favorite mug
:: watch a little bit of Project Runway with Faith and the boys (we decided to re-watch season one just for fun)
:: catch just a little of the royal wedding on my mom's tivo

:: clean, clean, clean
:: make cookies for teacher appreciation week
:: cook dinners
:: start all over again on Sunday night with school lunches and evening routines

What's on your list??

Friday, April 29, 2011

thrifted dress {2}

thrifted silk dress

Here is the second of the thrifted dresses I bought over spring break. It's silk and so comfy and fun to wear. I wore it to work the other day and really was glad I'd found it.

thrifted dress #2

Check out the little boys sweetness. LOVEing these boys so much right now. 4 and 6 are SO much fun . . .

Thursday, April 28, 2011

skirt inspiration from my notebook
{skirt inspiration from my notebook}

next project
{pattern and fabric from my stash}

wrap skirt--cut and ready
{amazing: a skirt cut and ready to sew}

A rare thing happened. I had a few hours to myself last week and I got a chance to cut out a skirt I've been dreaming about for quite some time. It's such a good feeling to know this little project is ready and waiting for me, whenever I get another pocket of time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

pizza night


pizza three ways

dinner monday  night

Here is what I made for dinner Monday night. It is a 3-way pizza to suit all of us (or at least most of us, I hope). For the grownups a yummy vegan mushroom topping I learned during the 30 day workshop, and for the kids plain cheese, with plain mushrooms covering part of that for Rainer (who adores mushrooms but NOT with the onions from the other side of the pizza!).

The crust I make only takes about 30 minutes to rise so is possible to do on a weeknight. I've posted the recipe before--here--it's from my old Chinaberry cookbook--so good. I never worry about making an authentic thin or crispy crust. For that we go out to a local place. This is home food, so thick and bready is okay by me, and really quite yummy in its own right.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

scenes from easter

easter basket goodies
{no junk easter baskets}

easter eggs
{dying eggs}

post egg hunt
{egg hunt}

easter morning breakfast
{breakfast with fresh squeezed juice}

bunny cake
{bunny cake at gam and papa's house}

easter evening candlelight
{easter evening candlelight}

We had a low key Easter on a cloudy, cold day. It even sprinkled a little! I think the highlight for the boys was squeezing tangerine juice for the morning meal. Oh, what a good time they had! We have gazillions of tangerines from our tree that need using up and they went to town on them. They kept saying that they were Easter fairies, helping with the breakfast. Too cute. Later, we went to my parent's house for lunch and cake and an egg hunt.

I wanted to order them some cute toys for their baskets, like in years past, but I was uninspired to go online and order anything. It worked out in the end. They each got a small Lego set, some books I picked up on our trip to Santa Cruz, some chocolate bunnies from Ikea, and some nature card games I had in my gift stash. They were thrilled--especially with the Legos.

It's finally warming up here and feeling a bit like spring. Happy spring to you!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

i love mise en place

recent mise-en-place

I have found over the last few years that I am really a "mise en place" type of girl. I've tried to resist it. Doesn't it make so much more sense to start your dish cooking (sauteing the onions, perhaps) while you finish the rest of the chopping? It does make more sense in general, and it certainly should for me, since I always seem to be short on time in the evenings whilst making dinner. But darn it if the food on the stovetope doesn't invariably cook too fast while I'm not nearly done with the chopping! I find that that is what happens frequently, and I'd just rather not deal with the stress of having to rush through my chopping.

Enter the mise en place, a French term meaning "everything in its place." How comforting is it to see all the colorful bowls lined up and ready to be added to the recipe at just the right time? That's about right.

dinner in spring

One thing I love about spring is eating dinner in the light of day. The table looks so much prettier in the light.

black bean soup and hearty cornbread

Here is what I made on Wednesday soup night--a new black bean soup (recipe found here). Although I did like this soup, and I'm looking forward to eating a bowl tomorrow for lunch, this probably won't be a keeper for us. It was pretty time consuming and Faith complained that it was too sweet (I didn't mind it). Oh well. There are always more recipes to try.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

recipe review: chicken and broccoli

dinner monday night

I had some nice organic chicken breasts which had been in the freezer for quite awhile--since before the vegan program--so I really wanted to use them. I was feeling quite uninspired for chicken breast ideas though, so I consulted my favorite cooking blog and decided upon this recipe. It turned out yum!

This is a pretty quick recipe, but you do need to cook the rice separately, cook the broccoli separately, and take the time to cut up the raw chicken into little bite sized pieces, so it is not that quick. My other hesitation was that the recipe calls for hoisin sauce. I had to ask myself, do I want to clutter my fridge with a jar of hoisin sauce that I might not even like? In the end, I'm glad I did. This was tasty, pretty easy, and I really enjoyed having a small portion in my lunch the next day. And I love a dish where the vegetable in incorporated right in.

Have you tried any new recipes lately?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

things to do in spring

desert yellows

desert yellows

a growing stack of yellows

yellows for a quilt

It really felt like spring today--so warm, sunny and lovely. My spring break was full of visiting and traveling, so I'm just now having a moment to contemplate my spring 'to do' list.

:: I want to make a quilt (actually a comforter cover) inspired by the color yellow. The flowers above are desert flowers that Ken photographed when he was in the desert with the boys a couple weekends ago. But Faith and I also saw tons of yellow flowers on the hills of the central coast on our drive yesterday. So pretty! I still haven't figured out how to fit back any sewing time into my life, but maybe I could at least start cutting a few blocks for this quilt?

:: and I still very much want to make a wrap skirt. I have a pattern and fabric. Maybe Friday when I have a day off?

:: I've fallen away from my Flylady routines. I want to figure out how to work that back into my life as well, but modified for my particular lifestyle and time constraints. I need to remember Flylady's basic messages--I should probably go back to the book and start from the beginning.

:: I'm still wanting to structure some sort of post-vegan eating plan for myself. I learned a lot on the program and I don't want to just lose it. I'm thinking about some sort of 'vegan til six' plan or 'healthy til always' or 'healthy til every other Sunday' approach.

:: somehow I want to tone up and lose a bit more weight. It seems terribly unlikely, but maybe I can fit in a little walking and trampoline jumping? I'm very good at starting things but lacking in the follow-through.

:: start saving. The home equity line is gone! So happy about that. Ken and I have been discussing savings goals. So much funner than paying off debt!

:: we are excited for Easter next weekend and looking forward to dying eggs and having an egg hunt at my parents' home.

What are you looking forward to in spring?

back from santa cruz

stevenson college at UCSC

at santa cruz diner

santa cruz bookshop

trees on ucsc campus

jacob and faith

Faith and I just returned from our quick trip to Santa Cruz. She'll be attending UCSC next year, and this weekend was the "Spring Spotlight" event for prospective students and their parents. She is super excited to know where she is going, and I'm so happy to think that she and Jacob will both be attending the same school. Yea! I just love knowing they each have a support system in each other.

We loved the central coast feel and enjoyed a gorgeous drive. Everything is so green and pretty at this time of year! The campus has tons of redwoods and we even saw deer wandering around. I so enjoyed having some time with my two older children, which is so rare these days. We went out for a few meals together and watched a movie.

The movie we saw was "Soul Surfer," about Bethany Hamilton, the surfer who got her arm bitten off by a shark when she was out surfing one day. I remember finding her story so inspiring when it happened, so I definitely wanted to see the movie. It was no "King's Speech," that's for sure, but interesting and inspiring nonetheless. Helen Hunt plays the mother. I love Helen Hunt, but she is looking so old now! I truly wonder why she doesn't go in for the botox and plastic surgery that all the other Hollywood stars are doing. Maybe I was feeling a little dicey just because she is only two years older than I.

One more day of break (today), then it is back to work. No complaints from me, though, because it is almost summer.

Update: oh my goodness, Faith read the post and said it sounds like I'm a real advocate of Botox and plastic surgery! No, that is not what I meant. I'm sorry if I offended any of you. I really like what the commenters have said below--all such good thoughts. What I meant about Helen Hunt is that I'm curious why she has made the decision she has made (to age naturally) when all the other Hollywood stars are resisting. I'm curious about the background of that and what her thoughts are on the topic. Also, I'm just in a stage right now where I have a lot of curiosity and questions about aging, staying sexy and feminine, and growing old gracefully, and staying healthy naturally . . . just so much stuff going on in my mind right now as I'm getting older.

Re-reading my post above, it does sound rather mean and critical of Helen Hun!. I don't mean it to be--I really like her.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

thrifted dress {1} and goodbye to carrie

thrifted wrap dress

I have had such a nice visit with my friend Carrie (visiting me all the way from Kansas) and we have done a lot of thrifting this visit. I love thrifting and it is especially fun going with a friend. I bought three dresses the other day, and here is dress one. It is a true wrap, and I was so happy to find it. True wraps are hard to come by, I have found, but they are my favorite.

wrap dress--detail

carrie and me

I will miss you Carrie. I'm bereft already! See you in July, my friend!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

hello spring break


spring ranunculas

Spring break is fast and furious so far, but we are having so much fun. My spring break always falls differently than everyone else's in the family (we work in different districts), so it's been really neat for me to be able to take the boys to school each morning. I love the whole scene of parents dropping their kids off--so interesting and dynamic. Do you remember I mentioned that one mom at Dieter's birthday party really liked our home and commented on my handmade stuff? Well, I've seen her these last two days and she is super nice and warm.

Carrie is visiting. We had our annual Ikea pilgrimage (we always visit the Covina one because it is so huge and open and airy) and yesterday we had an awesome thrifting day. I bought three dresses--two wrap dresses (my favorite!) and one loose silk dress. I will try to get photos and post soon.

I'm having a hard time getting back to regular posting, but in the meanwhile I'll direct you over to my Pinterest boards. So fun and addictive! You can see what is inspiring me lately. (And if you are on Pinterest too, let me know, and I'll follow you. I need friends over there).

Happy spring!

Friday, April 8, 2011

hello april

april inspiration

Oh my goodness--I've been having such a hard time getting up early enough in the mornings to blog. So hard, I tell you. But now it's spring break--hooray!--starting right now--so hopefully I can get back to normal.

I am really looking forward to having a week off from school and visiting with my friend Carrie, visiting from Kansas. Later in the week, Faith and I are going to Santa Cruz to check out her chosen college--UCSC (same as her brother), and visit Jacob too, of course. The whole break is going to be very fast and furious, but lots of fun.

Looking forward in April . . .

:: I must figure out how to fit a little sewing time back into my life. I miss it a lot.
:: transitioning into my post-vegan life (a modified 'vegan til 6' approach?)
:: order Easter basket goodies for the boys
:: dye Easter eggs
:: get fit

It is cold here! I think it only got up to 59 today! And this morning there was frost on the windshield which I had to scrape before leaving for work. How is your spring so far?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

walk inspiration

on my downtown walk
{library used bookshop}

on my downtown walk
{local fliers}

on my downtown walk
{"honor system" shelf outside the library}

on my downtown walk

on my downtown walk
{flatbread ice cream sign}

on my downtown walk

It's spring and the evenings are long again. Time to start the family after-dinner walks. I have to motivate myself, so I found these photos from my walk last week. Here is what holds me back from the evening walks: school nights are so busy anyway and this is just one more thing to fit it, the boys insist on walking barefoot, and I'm a natural couch potato. On the other hand, the exercise and family time are so nice, and it's refreshing to get outdoors. Last night was a lovely evening. So tonight, we start the family walks. Hooray!

Monday, April 4, 2011

a chemo visit and being vegan

at crushcakes

at crushcakes:  cupake and scrambled eggs

vegan meal at crushcakes

his peacecake, my vegan cake

Last week I took Rainer to his monthly chemo appointment in Santa Barbara and all went well. We stopped at Crushcakes as usual. He got his "peace" cake and scrambled eggs, as he always does, and I had to stop and think what to get for being vegan. I knew they would have something for me. They do offer a vegan cupcake daily, but what to get for lunch? I asked the girl at the counter and she suggested their dish called "Lalo's tacost" (see photo). Not very much plate appeal, but oh it was delicious! It was black beans, veggies that had been cooked down to be so sweet and soft, and a small pile of corn tortillas at the edge of the plate. This is not something I would order usually when going out, and I am so grateful to the vegan program for stretching me a bit beyond my comfort level. I truly enjoyed this dish, and listening to my body, I felt great after eating. I never feel that great if I order a heavy panini sandwich or similar (what I often order at Crushcakes and enjoy greatly is those same black beans served with eggs and toast). What I have been trying to do with this vegan program is listen to my body. I know I can't trust my head to make good food decisions for me (I will always choose the heavy or sweet thing if I let myself). In listening to my body I have discovered that not only can I survive on lots of veggies, I can thrive and feel good and happy. I do well with the structure of following a 30-day program, so I'm not sure what will happen when I go off of it (on Wednesday), but I can honestly say that I have not suffered and I've felt pretty darn good overall while being vegan. A big surprise and something I want to ponder for a bit.