Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Okay, I know I'm feeling better when I start shopping for things online. I am so excited, I found the cutest dollhouse for Em's birthday! I am on a "not made in China" less plastic, no batteries required toy kick this year. I want these toys to last and I have found that the toys I donate are all made of plastic and the one's I've kept are made of fabric or wood. So that said, here is the cutest farmhouse ever built, in Germany. I bought it through this company. I think it is the perfect gift for Em and it will encourage dual play with his brother. The figures that go with the farmhouse are large enough so that little Evs won't choke on them if they are chewed on.
See for yourself...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sick, Just SOOO Sick

Ack. I have caught the miserable cold. This is especially not fun because the Hubs is out of town for a book signing. Sick mom, sick kids, ack yuck. Fortunately things might be looking up after I eat this soup, recipe from Jennifer, via Jora at Domestic Reflections. Might I channel my inner Yo Gabba Gabba, "there's a party in my tummy, so yummy, so yummy yummy." Oh, just check it out here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Book Signing

The Hubs had a book signing this evening. It was his first ever since our publishers delivered the gorgeous book of his works.
There were many familiar faces at tonight's event and it was so great to be able to share such a special moment with many of his collectors. Several clients had been patrons of the Hub's since his paintings were first published, so it was touching to share the moment. I wish my parents and in-laws could have been there to celebrate. But before you feel bad, don't. They are in Hawaii, lucky things!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's Snot. What'cha Think?

I admit, I am a bit of a germaphobe. I am always trying to get my eldest son to wash his hands after we've been out and about.
I avoid having my boys play with other kids who are sick, and try to steer clear of others when we have colds. I'm not an anti-bacterial fanatic, but I do like the old frequent soap and water routine before we eat. The Hubs doesn't want me to turn our boys into mini Howard Hughes.

All of my preventative measures went down the pot of late: Em has a cold. A snotty, whiney, uncomfortable cold. The Hubs feels like he is coming down with something too, which is another reason why I try to keep our kids healthy. So that the Hubs nor I get sick. You see, the Hubs travels. A lot. His travel involves schmoozing (which he loves) and being on his feet. It is constant and unforgiving and requires one to be on their toes and feeling great. Hubs has a book signing here in town in two days and he has to travel up North for another book signing/art show. I am praying he gets over whatever it is he's coming down with.

I'm a big believer in B vitamins. I've popped my share of them whenever I feel a cold coming on and my symptoms usually dissipate relatively quickly. Trader Joe's even has a readily absorbed one that you place under your tongue. Wish I could give these to the kids when they get sick. But with kids its basically kid's motrin, fluids, rest and tissues. Which brings me to the sweet moment of the day.

A fella that we run into from time to time at our local coffee shop has a great little Yorkie named Jenny that he let's Em walk around the cafe's outdoor patio. He loves that Em can repeat any word and Em loves that he gets to walk around with a pint sized pooch. On one of Em's laps around the vicinity he sneezed and the snot went flying across his cheek. Our acquaintance quickly grabbed a tissue, wiped Em's cheek, held the tissue up to his nose and said, "Blow!" Em blew his nose with all his might and then he was off running more laps. The Snot didn't even phase our coffee shop friend.

What do you think? Does snot send you running in the opposite direction, or are you not afraid of the boogie monster?

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's a Mouthful: Honey Lavender Ricotta Ice Cream

I promised the E's that I would make ice cream this evening. I chose lavender. It is still churning but in liquid form it tasted so delicate and lovely. To borrow from my fav show, Yo Gabba Gabba...
Here is the, er, scoop.
Infusing the syrup with lavender imparts a subtle floral flavor to this ice cream. Look for fresh ricotta cheese at gourmet markets, or you can make your own—go to CookingLight.com for our homemade version. It lends the ice cream wonderful richness. Garnish with lavender sprigs.

1 1/2 quarts (serving size: about 1/2 cup ice cream)

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon dried lavender blossoms
3 cups fresh ricotta cheese (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Combine sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 45 seconds or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; stir in lavender. Let stand 30 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl; discard solids. Cover and chill 1 hour.

2. Combine fresh ricotta cheese, honey, and salt in a food processor; process until smooth. With processor on, slowly add lavender syrup through the food chute. Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Spoon ice cream into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 4 hours or until firm.

Nutritional Information
190 (29% from fat)
6.2g (sat 3.8g,mono 1.8g,poly 0.2g)
Kathy Farrell-Kingsley, Cooking Light, MAY 2008

I like wood

My eldest son Em is turing the big 3 soon and the Hubs and I have decided that we should try our hardest to avoid buying toys that are Made In China and are made of plastic. We are focusing on wooden toys. We know that family and friends are going to find it very hard to avoid buying gifts for his birthday. Grandma's you know who you are!!! As fun as it is for the kids to receive gifts, it is pretty fun for us to buy them; the toys are as much for me as they are for the boys. You know what I mean. There are so many different, creative (non-Chinese) companies producing such innovative designs in wood. In fact, there are so many wooden toys that are made right here in the USA. Why not try and support our own companies for a change? Novel idea, I know.

Well, this year I am aiming for unfinished, un-dyed, un-oiled wood toys. Maybe all of that equals Un-Fun, I don't know. All I know for certain is that I have donated bags and bags full of broken, plastic, possibly toxic toys from China. And I haven't parted with one toy that has been made of wood. I want the toys I purchase today, to last long enough for our other children tomorrow.

Just a note, I have been eyeing a dollhouse that uses non-toxic paint, but am aiming for unfinished toys. The main goal is to buy toys not made in China and not made of plastic. Because although we have restrictions here in the USA for the use of pthalates in our children's food containers, we don't regulate for, say, baby teethers and toys that kids will inevitably place in their mouths. They still contain harmful chemicals.

If any family members are intersted, I've made a wish-list for Em's birthday and you can find it here:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Byyyyye The Way

It is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. See for yer'self. And marrrrrghhhk it on yer calendarrrghs for next year. Arrrgh.

Gorgeous Weather at the San Diego Zoo

This morning the boys and I met up with our friend Shanna and her son Maz and daughter Ava for a trip to the zoo. We live a little over a mile from such a gorgeous destination, we are so lucky! The boys are close in age and they had a blast with each other. Em seemed especially interested in the snakes and Maz showed us where the turtles, frogs and lizards hang out (such boys!); we had never seen those on our previous trips.

For all the parents out there who have ventured into the world of more-than-one-kid it is certainly a handful more than before! A true balancing act at the least. At this point in time both Shanna and I have infants and toddlers. So we basically do what the toddlers want to do because the infants just really don't care much. I know there will be a time in the near future where the concept of taking turns, sibling rivalry and "mine!" come into play. Heck, we've already mastered the, "DON'T TOUCH ME, Evs!!" or "he's DROOLING on ME, get it off ohhhhh yuck" etc...

Keep in mind the little one is barely 8 months.

I suspect future visits to the World Famous San Diego Zoo are going to be filled with splitting time between who wants to see what exhibit first, many more stop touching me's and the boys running from snake to snake, turtle to turtle and frog to, you guessed it, frog.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Vegas Art Expo

The Hubs just left for another art show, of sorts. This one is the Las Vegas Art Expo. It is a schmooz-fest for artists, publishers, buyers, galleries but on a GIANORMOUS scale. Usually the Hub's work is represented at the New York Art Expo, but for the past two years, he has been keeping it closer to home. It is always interesting seeing the new work that is out on the scene, the familiar and of course there are the folks that try to knock-off another well-known artists work. This happened to an artist friend of ours. Not only was his work being sold at a kiosk in the same vicinity where his home gallery was, the replicas were featured in a well known home-goods catalog called "Horchow". From time to time I'll ask my husband if he is nervous that someone will try to knock-off his signature style and he says, "they can try to copy what I have already done, which would be quite challenging, but they'll never be able to know what I am going to do in the future". What an optimist! I tell you, I love that man. And you will too, check out his work.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Doesn't this sound Dee-lish?

I was searching for a good lavender honey ice cream recipe using a lavender simple syrup I have that you can buy, but I found this instead.
Way less fattening.

Lavender Vodka Tonic

1 tablespoon lavender simple syrup

2 ounces of vodka

6 to 8 ounces of tonic water.

Combine the lavender syrup and the vodka in a cocktail shaker and shake with plenty of ice.

Strain into an ice-filled highball glass.

Top off with tonic water and stir before drinking.


Ms. Domestic Reflections aka Jora tagged me with a fun meme. Drumroll, please:

What are the last three things you purchased:
1. A Veggie Burrito from El Zarape
2. A pair of white Jack Purcell shoes by Converse
3. A new Dr. Hauschka pressed face poweder to replace my old one

What are the last three songs you downloaded:
1. Somewhere Only We Know (Keane)
2. I like to move it (Zoo Gang)
3. The Hokey Pokey (Sha Na Na)

What are the last three places you visited?
1. Julian, CA
2. Laguna Beach, CA
3. San Francisco, CA

What are your three favorite movies?
1. Fletch
2. Frida
3. Manhattan (my first kiss with my husband)

What are your three favorite possessions?
1. My sanity
2. My lingerie
3. My house

What are three things you can't live without?
1. My family
2. Lipstick
3. Soft, downy pillows

What would be your three wishes?
1. To live in Rome with my family
2. Stop people from being so greedy, it has brought ruin to our world
3. Health and Happiness for my children

What are three things that you have not done yet?
1. Learned to play the banjo
2. Owned a Spider Monkey
3. Biked the entire distance of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route

What are your 3 favorite dishes?
1. Black-eyed Peas, okra and cornbread
2. Lemon cake from Crumbs of Paris
3. Hearts of Palm salad from La Frite (in Sherman Oaks)

What 3 celebrities would you want to hang out with most?
1. Steve Martin
2. Natalie Portman
3. George Clooney (purely for comedy)

If you could describe yourself in 3 words what would it be?
1. Resilient
2. Pensive
3. Goofy

What are 3 things you are currently coveting?
1. Road Trips
2. An Airstream (ditto Jora I've been keeping my eyes peeled)
3. A bigger house

Name 3 things you are unusually good at.
1. Cooking
2. Figuring mechanical things out
3. Talking with my mouth closed

What 3 bloggers would you like to tag?
David Patrone
A mom two boys

Monday, September 15, 2008


Em loves trains, so we set up a small train table at Grandma and Grandpa's house. There is so much to explore in their home filled with collected treasures but the train table seems to be a favorite. Oh, did I mention the swimming pool? If we strap on a life vest, Em jumps in and swims on his own. Needless to say he capital L loves going over to his Grandma and Grandpa's. I'm so glad we live in the same town. Wish we could be so close to all of our relatives.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

New Day

Okay, I've had a fairly restful night's sleep. Only up twice to feed Evs. Darn that regression! Anyhow, I've had my cup of coffee, albeit decaf, and I put a load of laundry in. My perspective is better today and the house actually looks clean, huh? Could it be the daylight, or do we really have "house fairies"? Will ponder further...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Can't Stand the Clutter

I am going crazy trying to deal with the clutter and lack of things getting picked up in my home. Two kids can wreck the house pretty easily, but I have a feeling it is partly the adults in this homestead who are at fault. Somehow no one seems to know that we do not have a "clutter fairy" who magically picks up all things left out, and throws them away, or returns them to their proper place. Items do not "levitate" back to their destination. Laundry is not miraculously washed, dried, folded and put away. Yes, I've had a really hard day. I would really like to have an estate sale where most items have a sales tag on them. I crave simplicity, cleanliness and a personal masseuse who comes bi-weekly. Ack, the clutter. Do children really need 100+ toys? I'm thinking no, they do not. So maybe if I have 3 more garage sales, we will be at peace.
That or a bigger house.
Wish me luck

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Meal Plan for the Week or How to Get Rid of Canned Food in a Cluttered Pantry

Okay, I have accumulated WAAAY to much canned food since I expanded our pantry, so this week, my goal is to actually use it!
What on Earth? Yes, I will use up the Black-Eyed Peas, that I fetishize and the low sodium diced tomatoes. The 12 pack of baked beans that I purchased at Costco are history baby! Garbonzo beans, black beans, cannellini beans...ALL HISTORY!
Here is the plan. Wish me luck and stop by for dinner if you are in the 'hood...

DONE! Veggie Tacos with garbonzo's lime and avocado. Sides of black beans and rice

Hoppin' John with black-eyed peas, mustard greens, diced tomatoes and andouille sausage. Side of corn bread

Veggie Fried Rice, with edamame, red pepper, tofu and scallions

Organic Chicken Tikka-Masala. Side of rice and zucchini with lentils

Nicoise Salad, tuna, eggs, cannellini beans, olives etc... and a quinoa salad

DONE! Basil-turkey burgers, sans bun. Side of baked beans and beet salad (or roasted beets, carrots and more).

Homemade hummus, dolmas, roasted red pepper, feta in basil leaves, parsley, pita and tzatziki.

Homemade red bean ice cream

Carrot ginger soup
Crackers and cheese
leftover madness.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Flyin' High

They grow up so fast, don't they? Em had a blast getting a tour of the cockpit. The hubs was equally stoked.
When we left the plane, Em brought the pilot his hat and the pilot said, "Keep it, it's yours". Mouths agape
we said, "REALLY?" and he responded, "No, I could get fired for that, but it sounded cool".

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bay Area Bliss


> Back in our old city by the bay, this time with both of our boys!
> Planning on having breakfast with Fred at the Buena Vista Cafe on
> this typical San Francisco day; cool, overcast, nostalgic, perfect.
> Had dessert last night across the street from our hotel at
> Boulevard, gorgeous flavors! I was at my Mom's in E Bay & I drove
> across the Bay Bridge toward the city the other night, late, and
> My chest hurt. It was THAT beautiful.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Last night the Hubs, Grandpa, the boys and I went out to the new Bing Crosby's restaurant (at Fashion Valley)
and saw our dear friend David Patrone sing. He has an amazing voice and if you haven't seen him in person, you must.
Anyhow, David just got back from hiking the Appalachian Trail, he had a hernia for the last 400 miles, mind you!
What an amazing man, huh?  Check out his adventure here. He is a much better writer than I am, so read on!
Wish us luck, we are taking the fam. up to San Francisco for a little vacation and visit with Grandma B.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008


Have you ever seen the beginning of something and you just know it is going to be grande? The hubs is working on a new piece and I just know it is going to be groundbreaking. A master work. It is so exciting to see a painting in its beginning stages and just from the first thin coat of underpainting, you can tell that it is going to be magnificent. My hubs is an artistic genius and his movement of paint on canvas, of capturing light and reflection is extraordinary. See for yourself, go and google "Michael Flohr, artist".
Here is one he painted of me:

Train Trip to Solana Beach

Saturday we gathered up the troops and braved the rails with our friends and neighbors! The kids woke up early and the hubs and I grabbed what was necessary for our trip
1.) coffee
2.) bagels.
We barely made it onto the train before the doors closed and phew, we found our seats, "ALL ABOARD" called the conductor, and we were off. Adriana was waiting to greet Em at the end of the aisle and help him to his seat. Karen, Ed and Cory saved the seats and we were off on our adventure. The kids were so excited and the parents were happy to be able to have a half hour of basically uninterrupted conversation! (Amazing, I know). When we got to our stop, the beach was a short walk down the hill and we had a great morning in the surf. Em did not want to leave the beach. He howled like a professional, but when we got to the pizza place and the hubs introduced him to video games, that all changed. Pitchers of beer for the parentals and pizza down the hatch we made it back to the train and headed home just in time for naps. It was a great day indeed.