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Sunday, September 28, 2008

i'm dreaming of...

a big, hot, steamy bowl of THIS.
THEY would come clean my house.
THESE in my size.
going to see
a little helping of
watching the season premiere of

&, for my newly acquired sickness to magically vanish. hopefully when jeffy goes to work tomorrow, i'll be able to survive on my own. so if you don't hear from me for a couple of days, don't worry, i'm just in bed. see you soon. (luckily, i have lots & lots of
GH on tivo, so i have plenty to keep me entertained.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

happy birthday from mickey mouse.

we already posted about it, over at just spotted, but it is such a fabulous offer, i just had to continue "spreading the news".
disneyland is giving you a birthday present this year... "start your birthday off right with the most magical birthday present of all: FREE admission on your birthday during 2009 to one of the Theme Parks of the Disneyland Resort!"

how awesome is that?! & don't worry... if you are an annual passholder, or will already be using a multi-day ticket on your birthday, they have some other special surprises in store for you too. you can choose from a birthday fun card in an amount equal to the price of the ticket, a special birthday FASTPASS ticket for certain attractions, or a 1-day/1-park ticket for you to use any time until your next birthday.

for more information, & to to register (make sure to register EVERYONE in the family for this special offer! you definitely don't want to miss out!), go HERE.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

out of the mouths of babes.

upon arriving home from preschool gavin asked: where's dad?
me: at work.
gavin: oh! he's at work, riding bikes? ok

if only life were so simple. i'm sure jeffy would much rather be riding bikes, then working.

you run, you slide, hit the bump & take a dive.

we spent the weekend enjoying one of america's great past times.... the slip 'n slide. thanks ali & tim, i know this will be a favorite activity of the boys, for years to come. (p.s. your parties rock.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

giraffes can't dance

one of our favorite nighttime stories is giraffes can't dance by giles andreae. i love the rhyming story & my boys love the illustrations & all the bright & bold colors. it's the story of a clumsy giraffe who doesn't think he can dance. but with a little encouragement, he surprises himself (& all the other animals in the jungle), when he realizes "we all can dance... when we find music that we love." it's a great lesson for kids (& even adults) to learn, & be reminded of. and even though the story is meant for toddlers & pre-schoolers, my little little guy enjoys searching for the cricket & three small bugs that are hiding on each & every page. get your own copy here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

shiver me timbers!

i almost forgot... today is national talk like a pirate day! so break out your eye patch, maybe add a little swagger to your step & incorporate a few of these words into your vocabulary. (if you are more of a visual learner, check out THIS video).

ahoy! - "hello!"
avast! - stop & give attention. it can be used in a sense of surprise, "whoa! get a load of that!" which today makes it more of a "check it out" or "no way!" or "get off!"
aye! - "why yes, i agree most with everything you just said or did."
aye aye! - "i'll get right on that sir, as soon as my break is over."
arrr! - can mean, variously, "yes," "i agree," "i'm happy,"that was a clever remark you or I just made." & those are just a few of the myriad possibilities of arrr!

need a little more help? maybe you want some more advanced lingo? pirate pick up lines? pirate games? whatever it is your little heart desires you can probably find it HERE.

show & tell

every once in a while, someone contacts me with a "special request". i'm loving this recent creation for a fancy lady in nyc. a little bit of glitz, a whole lot of gold & just a touch of glamour... the perfect medical id bracelet for such a swanky gal. hope she likes it as much as i do. now, i think i need a shiny gold bracelet for my wrist too.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the color purple.

this week is crazy... not enough time to do the things i'm "supposed" to do, let alone the things i actually want to do, such as... blogging. yet, i wanted to share with you a recent project. 

kerry was moving into her new teeny-tiny, closet sized bedroom & was in need of some additional storage. luckily my mom had this old dresser in her garage. it had been my dad's growing up, it was had been in my parent's bedroom for years, & then each of my brother's had it in their care for a spell. so, kerry decided to take it under her wing. although we both agreed it needed some "sprucing up". unfortunately, for the life of me, i can't seem to find the before pictures, you'll just have to my word for it... it was very drab & boring. isn't it amazing what a little paint & some sand paper can do? i love kerry's color choices: purple, with just a peek of orange. magnificio!

Friday, September 12, 2008


they may not look like much, but THESE cookies were the perfect breakfast on a cold & chilly morning. i think it's finally safe to say that fall is here. i'm getting excited to break out the holiday decorations & unpack my sweaters. (yep! even in california we like to wear sweaters during the fall.)

image via flickr.

say cheese.

gavin taking a picture, of kerry taking a picture of him.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

gotcha ya!

if you're still hemming & hawing over whether or not you want to make THIS cake? here's a bit more proof, that it's absolutely delicious.... i caught gavin on top of the counter, helping himself to the remainder of the cake.

happy everything.

who says you can't celebrate the "every day"? gather your supplies, break out the sewing machine & let's make some "happy everything" banners. they are super easy & pretty quick... you'll be done in no time at all.

supplies needed:
* somewhere between 4 & 24 different fat quarters, depending on how many "different" fabrics you want in your banner (you can get about 6 double-sided flags from one fat quarter, and each banner has about 24 (or 18) double-sided flags total, depending on the length of your bias tape)
* bias tape (which style you use, is totally up to you... i've used both single fold bias tape & double fold bias tape... personally, i prefer the double fold, simply because i think it's easier, but, the single folds over into a really cute & tiny edge. i usually use whatever i have on hand. it should be noted that most bias tapes come 4 yards in length, however some are 3 yards. if you are using the yard variety you'll have a total of 24 double-sided flags, however if you use the 3 yard variety you'll end up with 18 double-sided flags)
* basic "other" sewing supplies... rotary cutter, cutting mat, ruler, sewing pins, pinking shears (although not totally necessary) & a sewing machine

fold your fat quarter in half so that it's measurements are aprroximately 22" x 9". using your ruler, cut the fat quarter down so that it is is only 8 1/2" inches tall... the new measurements (while still folded in half ) are approximately 22" x 8.5".

keeping the fabric folded in half (that way, with each cut you'll actually be making 2 flags, instead of just one!) & making sure the end that you are going to start cutting on, is on a whole number (it's just easier for me to count when there's a whole number involved). use your ruler to cut the first side of your triangular shaped flag. (i find it easier to lay my ruler on the lower right hand corner, & angle it so, that at the top it is 3 inches to left of my starting point. make sense?)

for the second cut, start with your ruler at the top (the point that is now 3 inches in from the side) & angle it down, 3 more inches to the left of the center point. for example: if you look at this picture closely (if it's not big enough, click on it it enlarge). notice how on the right hand side, the lowest corner starts on the 25" mark... for the first cut, i layed my ruler starting at the 25" mark on the bottom & angled the ruler up & to the left 3", so that it ended on the 22" mark on the top. for my second cut, my ruler started on the 22" mark on the top, & then i angled the ruler down & out 3" from this middle point, so the ruler crossed the lower edge at the 19" mark.

when all is said & done, you'll have all these pretty little triangle that measures 8 1/2" tall, & 6" wide. have i lost you yet?

after you've cut the first triangle, you start all over, simply angling your next cut 3" inches up & to the left.... as you can see (in the picture), the triangles will alternate with the "points" being up on top, & then on the bottom. when you are all finished, you should be able to get approximately 6 (double-sided) flags from one fat quarter.

repeat this same "cutting" process for your remaining fat quarters. remember, you only need 24 double-sided flags (a total of 48 individual flags, hopefully that doesn't confuse you), or 18 double-sided flags (36 individual) if you are using the 3 yard bias tape.

after all your flags are cut, sew two individual flags together (wrong-sides together, with a 1/2" seam) so that you have 24 (or 18) double-sided flags. it's not necessary to sew shorter straight side of the triangle (i'm sure there is some correct, mathematical term for this side, but i have no clue what it is), because that side will be enclosed in the bias tape.

now, this next step is totally optional, but... if you use pinking shears on the long sides of the trianlge (yet another technical term i don't know), it gives the flags a very cute, finished-looking edge. (click on the picture to enjoy the cuteness.)

now it's time to break out the bias tape. (don't worry, we're almost done!) so what you want to do is enclose the "shorter" edges of the triangles inside the bias tape. it's much easier (although it takes a bit more time) if you pin the corners of each flag, inside the bias tape. as for spacing of the flags, that's totally up to you, personally i like the flags butted up against each other, with little or no space in between.

baby, it's time to sew! after everything has been pinned & you've made sure you've caught all those little triangle corners inside the bias tape, sew as close to the open edge of the binding as possible. (you may or may not have noticed that one side of the binding is slightly shorter than the other side. it's easiest to sew the binding, if you sew with that slightly shorter side on top.... and then, ta da! you are all done. your very own "happy everything" banner.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

guide to happiness.

i love real simple's article 48 ways to be nice & improve the world around you... it's a list full of easy (& often times effortless) ways you can do a little good in the world. one of my personal favorite tips? "when someone leaves a pie plate or a casserole dish at your house, return it with something tasty inside."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

to school we go.

dear gavin,
twenty years from now, you probably won’t even remember today. however, i truly doubt i will ever be able to forget it. today was one of those “milestone moments” that will forever be etched in my memory, right up there with all of your other “firsts”. that’s right, today we embarked upon a new adventure. to be honest, it’s still hard to believe that you are actually starting pre-school, you just don’t seem old enough! it seems like only yesterday that you were just a tiny little baby, totally & completely dependent on me for everything & anything. but, here we are, just 3 short years later, & i’m kissing you on the cheek, patting your head & watching you walk into your new classroom all on your own. i guess it’s time for me to accept that you are now a big boy, or as you like to say “the man”.

it’s funny… i feel like i’ve been preparing for this day forever. we’ve gone back to school shopping, gotten a new lunchbox, & i busily prepared the “perfect” snack. as a family we celebrated with a “back-to-school” extravanganza (a la nie nie)… complete with homemade party banners, gourmet blue cheese burgers, broccoli mandarian orange salad, & a big ‘ole slice of “five minutes in heaven” cake. we released balloons, representing our hopes & dreams for this coming year. your dad gave you a special blessing last night, & the backpack (or in our case the “bucket”) fairy paid you a visit. but in all seriousness, most of this was probably just for me. you woke up this morning & didn’t even realize that anything was different or “special” about today. when i dropped you off at school today, you scurried off, without as much as a look back, almost like you had been doing it for years. and although i may have been impatiently waiting for the clock to strike 12, so i could pick you up, you actually looked disappointed when i said it was time to go home. (although you definitely perked up when I placed a celebratory glass of frrrozen hot chocolate in front of you.)

obviously, i don’t really need to worry anymore about how you are handling all this. you seem to be doing fine. hopefully i’ll adjust just as easily, & as quickly. so, i guess i’ll let you go back again on thursday, if you really want to. oh, & by the way, just in case you wondering…. the required hug & kiss are definitely not optional – even if your friends are looking.

xoxo, mom

Monday, September 8, 2008

go ahead, pour yourself a tall glass of milk.

tonight we celebrated... we celebrated that gavin was starting pre-school. we celebrated fall, my favorite season. we celebrated a new & yummy dessert, thanks to kara jayne.

5 minutes in heaven cake, aka chocolate chip bundt cake

1 yellow cake mix with pudding
1 sm. pkg chocolate instant pudding (or use 3/4 of a large box like i did)
1/2 C. sugar
3/4 C. vegetable oil
3/4 C. water
4 large eggs
1 C. sour cream
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips

combine the first 3 ingredients. stir w/ fork or wire whip to remove large lumps. add remaining ingredients except chocolate chips. stir until smooth (i like to use a hand beater). stir in chocolate chips. pour into greased/floured bundt pan. bake @ 350 for approximately 1 hr. cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack in the pan. remove from pan and cool completely. sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve! (just make sure you don't accidentally sprinkle it with baking soda on it, as i almost did! luckily, the crisis was adverted.)

prepare yourself... for something so moist & delicious, you'll have a hard time eating just one slice. trust me, i'm telling you based on experience. oh! &, make sure you have some milk in the fridge, because you definitely will be wanting a glass.

Friday, September 5, 2008

the affair.

I'm feeling a bit a guilty, so I think it's time to confess: For the past couple of months I have been having an affair. If you want to get technical, it's probably more of an occurrence of "two-timing"...

You see, I love to run. That's right, I actually enjoy exercise! And for me, running is where it is at. I love being out on the open road. Feeling the pavement under my sneakers, the wind in my face. Running is "me" time. It's my opportunity to be selfish. As one of my favorite running shirts reads "it's cheaper than therapy." Now that you have a little background, let's get back to explaining the torrid affair.

For Christmas I got a bike. It had been on my list, but I hadn't really put much thought in to it. I'm not a cyclist. I took up spinning that last month or so of my pregnancy, and I thought it was fun. But that was the extent of my cycling experience. Struggling to come up with a Christmas list, I simply listed a bike. There was no make or model described, so you can imagine my surprise when I actually got one. But there was no mistaking it. Bright and early Christmas morning I woke up to a beautiful new bike.

I got it home, and didn't really know what to do with it. I was already running almost daily. When would I ever have time to ride this beautiful bike? Plus how would I ever be able to accomplish this? At least with running I can take the kids in the jogger. Owen is still way too little for a bike trailer. So I decided I needed to get a bike trainer so I could set my bike up indoors and take it for a spin.

Jeff set the trainer up, and for an entire week I couldn't bring myself to get on. I can't explain it, and it sounds totally dumb, but I was nervous. Finally one Saturday, while the boys were napping, the bike and I had our first "date." Boy, what an awkward experience. But I kept at. At first, I was only seeing the bike a couple times a week. But as we became more comfortable with one another, it became a daily experience. Suddenly 3 months had passed. I was still running everyday, but I was also biking everyday. Sometimes it's hard juggling the two, but they are both so much fun, I didn't think I could give up either.

As much fun as I was having, I still didn't feel like I had totally "committed" to the bike. You see, although I was riding nearly every day, we had not gone "all the way." After 3 months of riding, I still had yet to ride the bike outside, on the actual road. So today, I took the plunge. And I am proud to say, I am no longer a virgin biker. This morning (yep I know, chastise me all you want, I admit... I broke the sabbath) I took the bike on a 12 mile loop, and it was awesome! I was scared to death the entire time. Dozens of questions and fears continually ran through my head: What if I fall? What if I can't unclip fast enough? What if I stop on a hill, and have to get going again? What about stop lights? What about going downhill too fast? What if I can't keep up with the group? I am proud to say I encountered, and overcame every single one of fears, including falling. Yep, I fell, but not until the last five minutes of the ride. By then I was feeling confident, maybe too confident. I took a corner too quickly, got stuck in the ridge between the street and the curb, hit the curb and flew off. Luckily I landed on grass. No major injuries, just a bruised ego, and some aches and pains.

All in all, I think this will be an affair to both remember and continue.

note: if you've been reading my blog for a while, you probably already know that this was originally published HERE. but, because i've been spending so much time with my bike, as of late, i thought it was appropriate to re-publish it. (plus riding everywhere on my bike has left me much to tired, & not a lot of time to think of anything new to post.) see... here's proof that not all affairs are one night stands. some affairs can develop into consistent & steady relationships.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

sometimes i like to pretend i'm camping.

but without all the bugs, dirt, & tents. sometimes, i just like to indulge in the little "pleasures" of camping, without having to go through all the effort and work. and everyone knows that the BEST part of camping is making s'mores. just thinking about the gooey marshmallow & melted chocolate has me going into sugar shock! yum! luckily, i've found the cure for s'mores deprivation...

s'more cookie bars
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 (1.55 oz. each) HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate Bars
1 cup marshmallow creme (or a small handful of mini marshmallows, whatever you have on hand)

1. heat oven to 350°F. grease 8-inch square baking pan. (you may want to line it with foil, for easy lifting out & cutting)
2. beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. add egg and vanilla; beat well. stir together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture, beating until blended. press half of dough into prepared pan.
3. arrange chocolate bars over dough, breaking as needed to fit. spread with marshmallow creme (or mini marshmallows). scatter bits of remaining dough over marshmallow; carefully press to form a layer.
4. bake 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly browned. cool completely in pan on wire rack. cut into bars. 16 bars.

very rich, but oh! so heavenly. it definitely hits the spot!

image via hershey's

it's not easy been green.

actually, to tell you the truth, it's really not that hard & i'm definitely having some fun with it. after having four flat tires in one month, i finally decided maybe it was time to bite the bullet & invest in some new wheels. so two weeks ago i did just that. one week later, i come home from fabulously relaxing & well deserved trip, only to find one of my tires flat again. ay carumba! we haven't quite had time to make it over to the tire shop yet, so i've been chauffeuring the kids around on my bike. i'm actually loving it! it kinda makes running errands, and going to the grocery store - fun. although, i do arrive a little bit sweatier & more disheveled looking than usual. so far, nobody's made any comments yet, about me stinking too much... hopefully if i just load up on the deodorant i'll be good. maybe this will have to become a regular thing! i'm always looking for little ways i can "do my part".

Monday, September 1, 2008

fancy nancy apron

ruffles, tulle & a whole lot of sass! what more could a girl want? any & every little girl would love baking, dancing or twirly in the kitchen, in this hot little number. & with just a touch of gingham, it's perfect for this summer's tie on one apron project.