families


Phew, this was a whirlwind of a season…..  we have been enjoying every moment and are now getting back into the rhythm of our “routine”. 

The season starts on Thanksgiving.  We have spent the last few Thanksgiving dinners at our good friends house in their arbor out in their vineyard doesn’t get better than that 😉  It includes, good friends, lots of kids running around, good conversation, good food and beautiful fall weather and sun.

After a day of good food we went for our post Thanksgiving hike.  We headed out on a new trail that lead us to an ancient Redwood that looked like there should be dinosaurs walking around it – it was magnificent!  Then we headed up to this reservoir for some good old fashion echo calls – the kids got a big kick out of that – not sure all the animals around the area were thrilled but hopefully it scared off the mountain lions!

The next day was spent trudging around Moon Mountain for the perfect tree!  We always like to get the tree and the holidays kicked off early, it really gets everyone in the mood.  It was a great day spent looking for our tree.  Of course, Mama likes to walk around the mountain looking carefully at every tree while the kiddos run through the trees squealing with delight and Milo and Doug saunter along waiting for the call of “WE FOUND IT”!  For some reason it always ends up being one of the first trees we were eyeing.  I enjoy cruising around enjoying the sights and the smells, I don’t really think I’m looking for the “perfect” tree, I think they are all great, I just enjoy the time spent out there with the family – so I will keep taking “forever” to find our “perfect” tree 😉

Next comes the decorating….

Then began the baking.  Oh the baking, cookies, breads, more breads, more cookies, fudge.  I have found two lovely recipes at rhythm of the Home that I have added to my holiday arsenal – so delicious – orange, cranberry walnut bread and cranberry ginger bread and so easy.  The kids had so much fun making all the goodies to be passed out for our friends.  Baking and singing was the theme throughout our house during December – good times 🙂

The first weekend in December marked the first Christmas recital for Ryder and what was supposed to be Saige’s second recital, but…… a little bug took Saige down for the day/night (luckily she was back in the game the next day – of course) but Ryder made his debut in a hip hop routine and rocked the house 😉  He was a bit nervous but as soon as he got up on stage with his buddies he was a natural and then he came running off the stage after the performance just flying on adrenal and saying “that was too short, I want to go back and do it again!”  It was priceless.  Very proud of my little elf, but sad my little mouse missed her performance – oh well there’s always next year.

The next adventure was the Santa Skunk Train in Mendocino.  We usually go on The Polar Express but that was sold out way too quick – which I am now glad for – because the Skunk Train rocked!

That’s one groovy looking Santa Train 😉  We made a weekend out of it with another family and had such a great time.  We stayed on a bluff with access to the beach – which we enjoyed making our version of snow angels!

Then we made it to Glass Beach – I have been dying to go there.  There is polished glass all over the beach.  We had lots of fun collecting and trying to find unusual colors (only found blue and red in really tiny pieces).  We all wondered what caused all of this glass to wash up on this little cove – much to our dismay, this area was an old dump – yes, we were frolicking on an old dump!  UGH!  It was still gorgeous, maybe the years of crashing waves has washed this area clean (and unfortunately dragged it all out for the rest of the world to enjoy!)  Seriously who would build a dump on the oceans edge!

polished glass

great tide pools to play in, lots of urchins, a few crabs, some fish hiding and lots of anemones – which all equals lots of fun and exploring 🙂

The annual lighting of the snowmen happened Friday after Thanksgiving – which turned out to be a volatile stormy day and night.  We were all ready to go but right as we were getting ready to put on our coats the sky unleashed its fury and we decided to sit this year out.  So instead we visited the snowmen on a different occasion. 

The deal with these snowmen is…. every year Cornerstone sets up these vintage snowmen (lots of them) and then lights them to start the holiday season.  They have marshmallow roasting, frosty and rudolph played on a wall of one of the buildings with hay bales set up for seating, hot chocolate, etc.  Everyone who has kids in Sonoma comes.  It’s a great time – too bad for the weather.  I just love these snowmen – I would love one for our yard.

This little guy showed up at our house the first week in December.  Not sure if you’ve heard of Elf on The Shelf?  Well I heard about this a few years back, we had elves that looked just like him when I was growing up (they weren’t elf on the shelf) but my mom always had them hanging out on the banister heading upstairs and I simply LOVED them!  It was my favorite thing to get them out and line them up.  I would pretend they were alive and I would talk to them.  Well fast forward to somewhere around 2008 and here is a modern day version of what I used to pretend.  So the story goes, the elf arrives, he is named by the kids, they can not touch him/her, they can tell him/her all their wishes, he/she reports to Santa every night whether the kids were good or bad and then he/she flies back to the kids home and is in a different spot every morning.  So the fun part is when they wake up the first thing they do is look for the elf.  Ours is named Nutcracker Boy 😉  Let’s just say Mama had a couple close calls, a few mornings I heard Ryder’s voice and I bolted out of bed, ran to Nutcracker boy and replaced him (once he got thrown across the room into the christmas tree!)  Ugh!  That got me a few times throughout the month.  Ryder swears he saw his head move 🙂  On Christmas eve the elf flies back home to live in the North Pole until next season.  He usually arrives sometime around Thanksgiving. 

We had so much fun with this tradition this year.  We even wrote our letters to Santa and gave them to Nutcracker boy to bring with him one evening 🙂

In between all this craziness I still remembered to enjoy the beauty of the season

And I think it was a little too much excitement for these two 🙂

 

New Years came in quietly – thank goodness 🙂

Hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday season.  Would love to hear how you spent your season.

Peace and Blessings to you in 2011 – hope to see you all back here

Saige and her new big girl bike (big 3 year old!)

soccer practice and soccer games – Doug is coaching this year too 🙂

painting the bean bag toss game for the birthday party

Snuck away from the party planning to go to Power to the Peaceful to see our boyfriend Michael Franti 😉  Yes, Saige and I are quite infatuated (as well as Doug and Ryder ).  What’s not to like about the man!  Saige was bummed we were so far back we couldn’t see him – too cute!

Figs are coming in

and so are the tomatoes!  Yippee!  I am thrilled.  Not sure if you remember my previous post about my tomatoes not being so big or great, well we got a nice little heat wave and BAM  they all turned red and were decent sized and I’ve been hauling in 8lb + baskets of tomatoes weekly – I’m loving it!

So with that said I’ve been doing a lot of sauce making and storing.

something else we’ve been making a lot of …. hula hoops – 30 to be exact.  These were the “reward” for solving the mystery at the kids party (Scooby Mystery party).

our big 6 year old (yes that’s right 6!) got his first skateboard for his birthday.  He got to go to the local skateshop and had his board built and got to tour the shop and learned the “skater” hand shake – the red carpet treatment.  He was so stoked!

Shaggy and Daphne before the party.  Mama had a late night – I had some costume adjustments to make.  It was going to be 95+ degrees that day and I had to make a new dress for Saige (or I should say Daphne) one that was sleeveless.  Doug was Fred (unfortunately we did not get a picture of him) and I was Velma (yes, the smart one 😉  ).

picked some berries in the morning for a raspberry/strawberry curd for the filing of the cake.  I tried my hand at a red velvet cake and was thrilled with the outcome. I usually try out new cakes on my friends and they don’t usually turn out good (I am not the best baker) but this one turned out good 🙂

In the haste of frosting the cake (15 minutes) before the party I forgot to cross the “T” in birthday.  And no that isn’t a spelling mistake – it is supposed to say Rappy Rithday (in the words of Scooby).

The hoops were a success and Velma really liked them too 😉  yes that is me under the wig and glasses – it was way too hot to rock the turtleneck!

So after this all this, I woke up and it suddenly was October!  Ugh!

And during this time Ryder started kindergarten, I (and a few others) are trying to get the schools garden built, I started doing a daycare co-op with a friend and her two kids and Saige is back in tap and Ryder is taking hip hop – phew! 

September always seems to sneak up and fly by.  The good thing is the “gang” has their costumes ready for Halloween – no costume sewing for Mama.  Now back to my quilt (and the other 50 projects I have half finished).

I can catch my breath now

Three years ago, today, she entered our lives (quickly and forcefully) and she continues to live this way.  She has changed our lives in ways we never imagined.  She keeps us on our toes, she keeps us laughing, she has created more gray hairs than I care to admit (but I will take ever one of them and more!), she has filled our hearts with so much joy and love. 

We didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl, when she arrived she had no name (and didn’t for about 2 weeks).  We let her choose her name and what an ever fitting name – Saige (wise one ).  She is teaching us so many things about living in the moment, not taking life too seriously and living loud and large.

Thank you my sweet sprite Saige – we love you more than words.  Happy happy day to you

This weekend, at the last minute, we decided to celebrate Father’s Day and Summer Solstice by camping at Sugarloaf State Park (which is about 15 miles down the road – but also worlds away). 

On Friday morning we decided we’d head out on Saturday after Saige’s dance recital.  So we packed up the car Saturday a.m., went to the recital (which I will post later – it was too darn cute) and hit the road.  That’s the beauty of camping down the road from your house.  We were at the camp site by 2p.m. – sweet!  I’m so glad we did this – we didn’t do anything special – just packed up our cooler with whatever we had in the cupboards and fridge (nothing fancy or campy campy – except the smores!).  So often, we (collectively) think we have to plan, get all the “right” things, don’t have the time, etc, etc, (excuse after excuse) but in reality – we can do it. 

 And let me tell you, the kids were out of their minds stoked! (so was their mama and dad – after we set up the tent and settled in Doug looked at me and said “you are just so happy aren’t you?” He could feel my excitement pouring out of me) – I’m ashamed to say it’s been awhile for Doug and I since we last camped.  But this was all it took for us to get that bug again.  As I’m sitting here typing, Doug is asking if we are going again next weekend 🙂  I LOVE IT! 

We have been talking about heading to Tahoe to camp (and that takes a little more planning – since we’d like to have a couple extra days out there) but in the meantime I see us becoming regulars at Sugarloaf.

Some of our friends met us up there for a couple hours too (that’s another great thing about camping so close to home- if other families aren’t totally up for camping they can just come out for a couple hours to hang out).  I love sharing these times with good friends.

The kids spent time at the creek throwing rocks, racing their bikes around the campground, and exploring all around the campsite.  It was a great way to celebrate Father’s Day and Summer Solstice. 

What a way to spend the day.  Happy Father’s Day to all, hope your day and weekend was a wonderful one.

And Happy Summer Solstice – what are your plans for the longest day of the year?

I just stumbled upon this draft of a post I wrote in April.  I was just about to write a post about our garden so I’m going to start with my draft that never made it “live” and then I’ll continue with the status of the garden as of this past week.

April Post……

Yummy french breakfast radishes. 

I have been busily working away in the garden, every day off, every non raining day, that’s where you can find me – it’s been my therapy.  There is nothing better than being outside, alternating working in the garden and playing with the kids.  Their new fave thing is to draw on the driveway, race their bikes up and down and launch paper airplanes – so it’s perfect to be out front in the garden while they are laughing and playing.  The majority of our edibles are in our front yard (gotta work with Mother Nature – this is where we get the most sun) I wouldn’t change it – I love having our edibles up front for our neighbors to see and hopefully be inspired by. 

We have been harvesting our young lettuces and arugula which has been heavenly. 

We planted our favas a bit later than we should have, so they are going to be later than I would have liked – but nevertheless, we’ll have favas.  I always have good intentions of getting a cover crop going or getting a winter garden going – but when we are in the thick of the rainy season – I just can’t pull it together to get out there and plant.  Especially when it’s dark when I get home from work.  I vow, one year I’ll get it together and then I’ll probably be so happy about it that it’ll continue year after year.

favas

The kids were excited to see the nasturtiums coming up a few days after planting them – those are totally rewarding plants to plant with kids – plus you can eat them!

We’re so stoked about the plans we have for this years garden, we plan on doing a lot more “intermingling” of our edibles and ornamentals to really utilize every square inch of yard.  We’ll keep you posted on that.  We are waiting for our seedlings to get bigger and the weather to warm up to transplant our summer veggies.  For now they hang in the mini greenhouse. 

While browsing the yard I was sad to see we have scale again on our Santa Rosa Plum

Doug used some horticultural oil over the winter – but I think it just got washed off in the heavy rains we had.  So he sprayed some more and since then it’s looking better.  I also found some peach leaf curl on our peach and nectarine.  So I hand picked every leaf and bagged it and trashed it and they are both looking much better.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

June update….

Well, remember that little nasturtium sprout above, here is what they are looking like now!  They are (to me) very happy looking plants – not quite sure what it is about them, maybe their round scalloped leaves or their beautiful little flowers or that star burst appearance of the veins

but they just make me happy. 

The other plants in this bed are our potatoes ( Yukons, purple peruvian, creamers and red).  This is my first year with potatoes – I didnt’ realize how big they would get, I must rethink their location for the next crop – I don’t think this is the ideal location or at least I need to move them in this raised area to another side (they are starting to shade some of my other plants.  We planted the tomatoes on the other side of the potatoes and ran some fencing across the back so the tomatoes can weave in and out of the fencing (a different method of staking – basically trellising – we did this with an orange tree too and it has worked great).  You have to get creative in a small space if you want to grow a lot.

I’m hoping that the potatoes will die back in time for the tomatoes to flourish – it’s all about trial and error around here.

By the way, the raised bed we made out of some rocks our neighbors were getting rid of (backyard remodel).  We had been looking for an old stock tank to use but couldn’t find one in time to start planting.  I actually like how this came out.  Another really rad idea is using straw bales.  Our friends over at A Sonoma Garden recently did this and I was over there last week and checked it out – sooooo cool!  Great seating and sometimes the non permanency is kind of nice – it gives you the chance to experiment and move things around.

We added to this new bed some hot peppers (annaheims, jalapenos, serranos and pasilla), some broccoli (the kids can’t get enough of this), rainbow chard and basil. 

The kids and I harvested our first bunch of french babettes. 

These were so delicious!  I’m working on my succession planting so there should be some more ready soon.

We continue to harvest head’s of lettuce -our lettuce love continues.

The guava’s are in bloom 🙂

You may have noticed my generous use of straw, it’s my attempt at my urban farm – Doug isn’t on board to packing it up and buying a farm in Wisconsin – he’ll come to his senses soon.  But until then, I have created my own mini farm.  It’s actually been great – it really helps keep the soil moist and is cost effective and has helped with weeds (and I get to pretend I live on a farm)

I was just told there are strawberries ready for picking tomorrow – yippee!

Here are just a few more pics of the goings on in the garden.  It’s been keeping us all busy – I LOVE it!

Happy Gardening to you.

Friday Ryder graduated from preschool! 

It’s an end of a chapter but the beginning of another.  This was a special graduation because most of the graduates have been there since the inception of the school, so it was really special for both kids and teachers. 

We LOVE his school and teachers so much.  I couldn’t ask for a better place for our kids to be a part of. 

In honor of the teachers I made a class gift, with the help of the kids and a couple of my friends we created one of my favorite pieces….

I found this quote by JFK and thought it was fitting “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and it’s best hope for the future”.  I embroidered this on a plane ride from Chicago back to Cali!

The kids wrote their names on individual leaves.

I really enjoyed working on this project, but I’m so glad to be done because I have a lot of summer skirts and dresses to make for Saige and I – can’t wait to get going on those.  They are fast and easy and a quick reward!  I like those projects 🙂

The garden needs some attention too.  We’ve had sooo much rain this spring, but it looks like some clear skies are forecasted so I must get out and tend to the garden.  Some of our plants have been decimated by slugs so we’re going to need to replant quickly – heck it’s already June!  Where has the time gone?………

I have been working on a class gift for Ryder’s preschool graduation.  I will post pictures soon.  So, this gift has gotten me back out into the cottage working and cleaning up so I’m inspired to do more. 

Saige had a birthday party for her BFF at school and the theme of the party was “pinkalicious” – in honor of the book (which the story goes, the little girl can’t eat more than 2 cupcakes or she’ll turn pink – too cute!).  So in honor of the party theme I wanted to make her a pink cupcake shirt.

I am sooooo loving this shirt.  I think Saige will be getting one soon.

I couldn’t stop with this, so I made Saige a little outfit for the party.  As some of you may already know, when I find fabric I like I buy it and sometimes I’ll use it right away, but usually it sits until something speaks to me and I make something out of it.  Well, this fabric has been sitting for about a year and it finally has found it’s way onto the table and under the presser foot and is now a darling little skirt and I used the scraps to make a little flower for a plain white tshirt. 

I want one for myself 🙂

I have been feeling so stiffled in my creativity with my “day job” so it felt so good to just get a little bit of “creating” in.  Oh, how I long to do this on a more regular basis.  It’s so hard to juggle family, day job, play time, gardening, cooking and creating.  If only I could get rid of “day job” and replace that with “creating”.  It will happen one of these days, but for now I’ll take it when I can.

What are your latest creations?  How do you find balance?

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