Saturday, December 26, 2009

My new Scrapblog

Monday, December 21, 2009

G's poncho

Originally uploaded by barefootin
Just posted my progress on for this poncho I am crocheting for dd7G. I pretty much finished ds-2m?'s blanket, but I think it needs a border- my gauge was off, and it is just too small!

Crocheting time has become a necessity for my sanity lately, and I have really been enjoying it. Though for some silly reason I feel the pressure to learn to knit as well - it seems more ...hmm, how shall I say... respected? I dunno- anyway, I have decided I don't need to learn right now. What I really want to do is get better, and learn more stitches, and make more crocheted items.

Ravelry's site makes it so easy to track my projects and search for free patterns. It is really keeping me focused- I get inspired by other yarnies and all their finished work, and all the beautiful variations and touches that make a handmade item so special.

This poncho is a gift for dd7G's birthday (in just 2 1/2 weeks- must get those party invites out!!) and I will be making a matching one for dd2J for her birthday, which is 4 1/2 weeks. Then I'll finish off the edging on ds-2m?'s blanket and maybe this adorable kimono wrap ( in the same color, just in time for his arrival about 4 weeks later.

I better get off the computer while dd2J naps and get busy! Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A whopper of a wish...

Today is Wednesday, time for Wishcasting as suggested by Jamie Ridler Studios- today's topic: completion.

So out comes my laundry list of things I wish to finish... some are recently begun projects- others, not so recently!

There is a school house mural to complete
My autumn altar to assemble and display,
Cleaning out the closets- what a feat,
And to many kids clothes in the way!

I've got toy sorting & storing issues,
and The Road to Gandolfo to read;
I think of college & I need a tissue...
A coat of varnish is dining table's need.

There are plenty more, I could list all day
But my darling little children want to play!

My wishing well is full, and I wish you well!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cheese Please

When my hubby and I first got married, we loved having other couples over for dinner. I fancied myself a good cook, after summers spent with my grandmother learning the craft. Sometimes my brialliance shone, other times people were polite. Like the Sesame Turkey Ham incident.

But a favorite that I hit upon early which always pleased my husband (and even his funny friend who had to endure the Sesame Turkey Ham) was Cheesy Chili & Chicken Cornbread Casserole. Nearly 13 years later as fall starts to come on, the darling man starts asking for this hearty, heavy, heavenly hash.

2 packages refrigerated corn bread dough (it comes perforated to make cornbread sticks)
1 can Stag Chicken Chili
1 can Stag Green Pepper Chili
2 cups Colby Jack, Shredded
1 can Swanson Chicken Breast

In a round casserole dish (I use Pampered Chef's deep dish baker) arrange most of one package of cornbread strips to cover the bottom, pressing seams together. Bake at 350 for 14-16 minutes, until just done. Meanwhile warm the cans of chili together in a saucepan. Sprinkle half a cup or so of the shredded cheese over cornbread, pour half the chili over that and then crumble the chicken meat on top of the chili.

Cover the chicken with about half a cup more of the shredded cheese and pour the rest of the chili over that, then- you guessed it- more shredded cheese! Use the second package of cornbread strips to create a latticed top. Bake 25- 30 minutes more. Serve with sour cream, diced onions and extra cheese.

That's the cheesiest post I could come up with.

Prompted by Sunday Scribblings, topic today: "Cheese".
If you are reading this on Facebook, click on "View Original Post" to see my blog's new fall makeover!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

To my dear friend...

I have not forsaken you. It may seem that we are like ships that pass in the night, and I rarely stay as long as I like when I do come to see you, often falling asleep the moment I arrive. I heap chores on you, my children climb all over you and bounce uncontrollably sometimes.

When you first came into my life, I was so grateful- you made me so comfortable, you opened yourself to my family and welcomed each addition. You were there when our second daughter decided she was ready to come out and greet the world (actually you were a big part of she and the new baby's conception), you have cradled me in sickness, snuggled me when I was sad- caught my tears and muffled my laughter.

I vow to visit you more, my dear bed, and I will try to keep the children from jumping.

[my creative catalyst for this short & sweet snippet was offered by Danette's Self Expression Springboard and if you like Haiku (like I do) you must also see Reality Insanity]

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday: Luxury

Life's little luxuries have eluded me lately. Our budget is tight, and there is always too much month at the end of our money. So my mind dances around, daring to dream, hastily hoping. A luxurious longing... hmm?

Sleep is a luxury these days... lingering over dinner with daddy, uninterrupted showers, crocheting, crafting, Starbucks, chatting with friends- the simple details I used to take for granted.

But I want to wish wonderfully- so I stretch myself and really let the luxuriousness envelope me. I imagine feeling indulged, like a child getting their dearest desire...

I wish for a vacation.

Not a "staycation"- something stimulating, somewhere wonderful, with all my little someones, and some serious soul searching.

My wishing well is full, and I wish you well!

Web definitions for luxury

something that is an indulgence rather than a necessity

{Today's post prompt provided by Jamie Ridler Studios}

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Scribblings


I hunger for focus. I have always been filled with ideas, inspiration, start-ups, springboards- I am a beginner. I love the fresh sparks of something I have imagined can be. It thrills me to plan, propose my intent, fill pages with lists and snippets about the fabulous and original concept I have created.

Then the real work begins.

Something stalls me. Real life gets in the way and I find myself losing a grip on my purpose. It slips through my fingers like sands in the hourglass.

It's like being hungry and imagining a gourmet meal and what it will be like when I eat- the table setting, the mood lighting, the company I will have, the music that will play. I write the menu and the grocery list, I compare recipes, I tell all my friends and family about it. Then I start to have analysis paralysis as I try to choose a cuisine. I hop around, trying to adjust the setting, the lighting, and guest list- and I wear myself out.

Then on the way to the store, I am so hungry I swing through the drive-thru and pick up a cheeseburger with fries- because I simply must eat! All my visions fade as the kids clamor for their "happy" meals and I lose the momentum, the dinner party is delayed- sometimes repeatedly and finally it is lost amidst the adventures of living barefoot.

I hunger for focus- a single, sensational, clarifying, clear headed path to follow on my journey.

[prompted by]

Friday, September 18, 2009


What is is about new things that motivate? When I get new supplies for homeschooling I suddenly have the energy to tackle projects that have been left sitting for weeks! My dd7 and I are very anxious to get our 2nd grade mural started. We are painting a small schoolhouse onto a large piece of paper that will go above the craft table in the creative area of our homeschool room (aka half of the garage!) My intention is that she will be able to decorate it and it's front porch with seasonal add-ons, and the "mailbox" out front will have her "assignments" for the day. I am also toying with the idea of a worry tree to hang our worries on when it is time to create and learn.

Well we just got the last of the supplies I ordered through our charter school and we are ready to start.What a perfect weekend for new beginnings! It is a new moon today and in addition to the schoolhouse mural I will be making my first Full Moon Dreamboard (another inspiring idea by my new online mentor-ess, Jamie Ridler) and beginning a new book with her Book Blogging Group. I will be getting the book today and blogging about it at

As I consider celebrating newness, I realize that it needn't be tied to new "things", there is always something new in the never ending natural cycle of creation and destruction. Yesterday I joined a new group of friends for a lovely autumn ritual circle. We gathered out in the wilderness (well as close as we could get- a regional park/ campgrounds!) under the old oak trees and shared music, magic and motherhood. Our children joined us, delightfully distracted by the natural urges of childhood to explore, play with friends and snack on earth's bounty. Seeds to start the new school year, planted in the seasonal cycle and already producing the blossoms of friendship.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Self Expression Springboards

Again a blog prompt found on Jamie Ridler Studios... although it hails from yet another blog.
The delightful Danette Relic, whom I interviewed for this week’s podcast, is launching a totally fun and inspiring weekly creative prompt activity: Self-Expression Springboards. Each week she will share a creative catalyst to inspire you. As Danette so beautifully puts it, “You are a work of art with infinite facets and only you can reveal them to the world.”
This week she invites us to share that song, that song that represents us at our most powerful, our amazing rock star selves. The song that would play as we make our big entrance.
 Since I just love "Mr A-Z" for his amazing way with words and humble spirit I am choosing this one today (below), although "Where is the Love" by BEP is almost an equal choice, and then of course there is another Geek in the Pink favorite, Jason Mraz's Life is Wonderful. And so many more, music is such magic. (If you are reading this at my blog you will see the embedded video below- if you are reading the facebook note, you won't!)

No time for sharing the mental meanderings of my meager mind... Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wishing well...

Anne Morrow Lindbergh: “Eternally, woman spills herself away in driblets to the thirsty, seldom being allowed the quiet, the peace, to let the pitcher fill up to the brim.”

A wise and wonderful quote I stumbled upon on Facebook yesterday. Then as I trampled around the world wide web some more I came across Jamie Ridler Studios, as if in answer to the quest to fill my pitcher. A wishing well, as it were...

Creative ideas seep from my soul, spilling over into the gutters with nowhere to go- channel those droplets and use them, I will. Words form on my keyboard, images leap from my imagination, sparks are spread and magic is forged.

On this Wishcasting Wednesday I wish to to stretch my time. Realizing the moments that exist to replenish and refresh. Separating sacred space for my soul's sensing simplicity. I CAN do "it all", I CAN reach further, I CAN go longer, I CAN give more... I CAN find the time for myself to restore and reboot.

My husband and toddler are sick today. My 7 year old just got over it, and we have a full day- meeting with our ES from the charter school (is it greed that keeps me tied to this public school? a topic to re-visit), a girl scout field trip and of course the never-ending clutter clearing, learning adventures, smudgy finger print wiping, and sustenance supplying. (Alright already with all the alliteration!)

My wishing well is full and I wish you well!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Happy Cupcake Day

We made spice cake & browned butter icing from scratch- got half a batch of cupcakes and a heart layer all done during the baby's nap. The cake came out better than the cupcakes because it is so incredibly moist.

Mix together in small bowl:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger

In a medium bowl beat until fluffy:
1/4 c butter
1/4 c shortening
Add & beat until well combined:
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Add, beating well after each one:
2 eggs

Add dry mixture to the medium bowl, alternately with
1 1/4 c buttermilk (we used sour milk - 1 TB lemon juice combined with 1 c milk for 5 min)
Beat just until combined after each addition.

Pour into floured pans and bake at 350 - 20 min for cupcakes, 30 minutes for layers.

Meanwhile prepare the icing.

Browned Butter Icing
Melt 1/2 cup butter in saucepan and keep over low heat until delicately brown. Remove from heat and pour into small bowl. Sift 4 cups (an entire box) of powdered sugar over the butter and add 2-3 TB milk, plus 1 tsp vanilla. Beat on low until smooth. Add milk as necessary to achieve consistency for spreading.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Happy Kool-Aid Days

The Kool Aid Days Celebration kicks off today in Hastings, NE. check out how they will be feeling groovy this weekend. Kool Aid Days 2009

Kool Aid Play Dough
3 1/2 - 4 cups flour (or more)
1/2 cup salt
1 TB cream of tartar
2 pkg same flavor Kool Aid
3 TB oil
2 cups water

Boil water and add to Kool-Aid in a large bowl. Stir in oil and add remaining ingredients until a ball forms. Knead until smooth

Friday, July 24, 2009

I wanna be like Susan Sowerby

My dd7 and I just finished reading my all-time favorite childhood book, The Secret Garden, by Frances Burnett Hodges. I had forgotten how much the power of positive affirmation and belief in the "magic" of transformation is explored by Colin's "Scientific Experiment".

When it comes to positive thinking I have been much like Mistress Mary (quite contrary) through many stages in my life. I have believed in positivity and professed that belief (without actions to support it), I have wanted to believe in it- but couldn't seem to figure out exactly how to practice it, and I have sarcastically scorned it, feeling that the I was being blocked by unseen forces out of my control. I have come full circle to a place where I believe in being positive and I know that I must tend to my "secret garden"- a place in my heart where I can weather (and wonder at) the cycles of creation, destruction and rebirth.

Such a timeless novel (it was written nearly a century ago) - it is filled with sage wisdom and simple rituals. The children are left to themselves in the outdoors, they learn and play and grow strong. Their own natural curiousity guides them to marvel at the mysteries that unfold as a wintery, seemingly dead garden blossoms and shows them how to believe in unseen workings of a powerful universe. They sing and meditate, they giggle and conspire, they laugh and love. Dickon, the eldest child in the trio of main characters, is the son of Susan Sowerby and sibling of 11. His connection to all things in nature and his constant big grin are simple and sincere. He is the essence of childhood delight.

We decided to try our own Scientific Experiment, and it couldn't come at a better time. My eyes have been opened to the idea that I have been overcome with doubt, fear, negativity and bitterness. I have faulty relationships because I empower those types of thoughts in others and attract the people who also are also bogged down by these "weeds" in their "secret gardens".

Today in my "secret garden" I am weeding & pruning- and I am planting pumpkins. It seems I have been in the habit of putting off weeding until it is too late, and I have lost plants that could have been saved with just a little pruning. The pumpkins signify my belief in the coming harvest of brightly colored, nourishing and useful growing things! My positive affirmation for the day "I am a child of light, I believe in the power of the planet- the nurturing nature of a wonderful world."

My husband tells me that the highest paid athlete on the planet is Tiger Woods. He made most of his money from endorsing Nike. Nike coined the phrase "just do it". The true power of positivity shines when that idea is applied.

So how do you "just do it"?

Monday, July 20, 2009

How do you keep your house clean?

Since I am in the throes of making a human in my womb, constantly chasing an almost terrible two and homeschooling an almost 8 year old I am overwhelmed with the smudges, waterspots, spills, splashes and crumbs that seem to spontaneously appear everywhere. Not to mention the piles of laundry, constant shortage of towels, clothes and flatware, feeding frenzies, chaotic calamaties, disappearing surfaces, towers of tomes toppling off the bookshelves and crayons & markers making their way to places they should never be allowed.

Our house in Temecula at least had a plethora of pets to be blamed for the mess and gave the place a zoo like feel that welcomed the wildness and weathered the war on clutter. Our new little casita is bright and beautiful and busting at the seams!!

Giving myself a break I must admit I did spend most of the weekend finalizing the details of our adventures in 2nd grade! My dd7 is thrilled to be teaching her baby sister shapes, colors and songs as part of her own curriculum, and we have an array of exciting clubs, groups and activities to participate in. The schedule is full, the stage is set and we still have an entire month to enjoy the hazy lazy(?!) days of summer.

What is your secret to a calm, clean and chaos-free cottage?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Baby Sign Language

As many of you know we have had great success using baby signing with our youngest. I became interested because I had taken ASL in college and had a friend at Starbucks when I worked there whose day job was as an aide for special needs and autistic adults- I never knew they use signs quite often because it helps when emotions can block words (haven't we all had that experience!). She started me on the path of refreshing my skills and I have continued on my own.

After having so many people stop me in public and ask if I knew where they could take baby signing classes in South Orange County, I searched and was only able to find one class in Fullerton at Belly Sprout. There are probably others, but I didn't find them easily and there is a definite interest in South OC, especially.

So I have decided to join MySmartHands as a teacher and I am in the process of signing up as a contract instructor with the city of San Juan Capistrano's Community Education Department. Baby Signing Level 1 is an 8 week course and parents and their offspring will learn over 100 signs. At this point I will only be offering baby signing- but I do plan to develop a homeschool course by next spring and get approved as a vendor with several charter schools.

There is a well respected homeschool class at the Sign Language Factory in Anaheim if anyone is interested in getting started right away. The instructor Bill Rennie is wonderful, so I hear. I hope to take some courses there myself as I delve deeper. For older children (and adults) usage & grammar, history & culture and other nuances are very important. With hearing babies it's a whole different ball of wax, but I do believe it is very important to use actual ASL signs!

While the location is being determined I am forming an interest list, if you know anyone who might be. Just send me an e-mail ( I will also have gift certificates available for expecting and new moms- give the gift of communication!

Barefeet & busy hands make baby a happy bundle indeed!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Geocaching Adventure #14

In our own own little town, hidden away near a place we go frequently, we discovered our 14th treasure trove. It has been a while since we geocached, having babies, moving, car troubles- the stuff of life has intruded. Today's find took us a whopping 16 minutes total- we do plan to go back and explore the fountain more closely, but we had visitors looming!

From the looks of things over at the official geocaching google map we got or caches laid out for us!

Check it out in your area We also enjoy letterboxing, for more info visit or
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Increasing our sign-abulary

Yesterday my 16 month old finally did something I have been waiting for. You know how you can't wait for them to start crawling and when they do you suddenly remembers that means they won't just hang out peacefully chillin on their boppy anymore?

Well in the Baby Signing process, I have now hit that mark. My little one has learned to ask what the sign for something is- and she wants to to know what everything in her big, exciting world is. Her little hands were fairly flying as she ran from the TV- barely pausing to flip her hands palms up and raise her little brows, before she scurried off to the kitchen.

At first I thought she was hungry, but after she signed "open", and I obliged, pulling open the cupboard she was standing under. She kept repeating "what?" insistently so I signed "where?" and she countered with "up". I lifted her and she pointed to the bag of pretzels she has been loving lately. I signed "eat?" to which she shook her head emphatically. Her tiny shoulders got involved with the "what?" sign and her big eyes begged me to give her the label for her beloved snack.

Faced with the decision to give it a general label she already knew (like "cracker") or run look it up- I opted for the easy way out, but she wasn't going for it. She shook her head so that her blonde curls were still bouncing when she stopped and very seriously signed "what" one last time. She knew they weren't crackers! I realized that as adorable and thrilling as this was, it means she is ready to learn more signs and my current lexicon is limited.

While I am looking forward to gathering a group together and coaching other moms and their little tykes- it is a bit daunting. There are so many words out there! The immersion and being able to practice with others will refresh my memory (I can't believe it has been 13 years since my ASL classes in college- and ya know what they say about not using it...) so for now I have bookmarked my favorite online ASL dictionary.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Focus brings clarity

A nice visit with an old homeschool buddy brought to light a new idea-it is called eHow. I love to write, but get weary of my blog being just a summary of what we do each day-those of you who follow my private blog, which I have been publishing for several years now, know that of which I speak!

Suzanne (Housewifeinhollywood) is my friend who has successful focused her writing into a content based website. She told me about eHow and it seems like a fit for my scattered scratchings. A collection of magazine style articles on "How to" do just about anything fill the pages, and the writers of these articles get paid (we'll see how that goes!) for the amount of traffic they drive to their articles. It costs the reader nothing and the writer is given a venue for sharing their wisdom and wit.

After publishing my first article today (How to choose a compost method for YOU) I am excited to get more involved and see where it leads. I have many more ideas in the works- how to... make homemade low sugar soda, ...start a compost pile, ...start a worm bin, ...start signing with your baby, ...control the clutter before it controls you, etc. It is thrilling to have "assignments" to finish.

On another note, Barefeet & Happy Hands, my beginning baby sign language classes are going to start in the fall, although I will be setting up a playgroup and an online group before then- keep your eyes peeled! I'll also be offering Backyard Composting as soon as I get a location sorted out with the Community Recreation department.

One of my greatest enjoyments in life is the growth that occurs as things change and I am happy with my new endeavors!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

life2enV project

life2enV: my little birdhouse on Twitpic

Today begins the project... by capturing the moments of my life that I think make it especially wonderful, I hope to improve my own positive outlook and share the beauty of simple images taken on my enV2 personal communication device.

A seasonal shot of this birdhouse, I've taken one monthly since we moved in.

Filtered Water vs Bottled

My hubby used to work for a company that leased Reverse Osmosis "pure water technology" to small businesses. He had access to a TDS (total dissolved solid) meter, and we tested the municipal water, as well as bottled water that is sold on the shelf and through delivery services.

Did you know that spring water is treated with chemicals at the source, brought down in big trucks, then processed for bottling? This means lots of water wasted, and the TDS measures higher than some tap water!

After testing every thing we could get our hands on we discovered that for taste and purity the RO unit won hands down. So we have been using the innards of a machine to filter city water. This cuts down on the cost, saves plastic bottles from being used, and gives us access whenever we need purified water.

The RO process wastes some water. We figured out that it takes 6 gallons of city water to get 1 gallon of purified water for use in our household. The other 5 gallons contain higher levels of solids- although it has been charcoal filtered so it is relatively free from chemicals. The "wasted" water is a by-product condensed from the gallon that is pure (it has something to do with the membrane that separates the solids from the water being unable to extract all the contaminates without water getting through).

We use those extra 5 gallons for maintaining our compost pile, washing our car, mopping the floors and watering the landscape portions of our yard - allowing us to cut down on sprinkler usage and water frequency (living in a rental means we cannot xeriscape & xerogarden as I would prefer to.)

We collect the water in used milk cartons that we have sanitized.

The TOTAL cost per gallon for our delicious purified water? 3 cents.
The convenience of not having to cart bottles home and store them? Free!
And of course the impact on helping save our planets resources is priceless.

More to come on this important topic...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Apple Carrot Rosemary Chicken

Last night I peered into the fridge to see dwindling supplies, I was at a loss as to what to make for dinner once again.

Depressingly I thought, well there is brown rice and frozen chicken thighs. It'll be plain but healthy. So I started the rice in my rice cooker and put the chicken in to defrost. Then I thought - I'll just clip a little rosemary from my garden for flavor. I arranged the thawed chicken in a foil lined roasting pan and tucked the rosemary around it and popped it in the oven.

Back to the fridge to pull out the last remaining veggies in the house- mini carrots, which are always good with ranch. But the baby doesn't do so well with hard carrots... so I threw them in on top of the chicken. Then I noticed a half an apple in the fridge and another rolling around in the drawer- apples go great with rosemary! So I sliced those up and threw them on top of the carrots. Then I pulled the foil up around the whole mess. It smelled great.

After the chicken was done cooking, the apples and veggies were still a little crisp, since they came to the party late- so I pulled all the meat off the bone and mixed it in with the rice to stay warm while the rest finished cooking. There were a lot of drippings (even chickens have the fat thigh problem, I guess) so I decided to mix in some flour and the last individual apple sauce to make a sort of gravy. A little milk to thin it out and voila- dinner was served.

It was delicious. Since I didn't measure anything I have no idea how much I used so it's hard to create a recipe- but I have learned that being creative with what you have on hand makes for better meals than following a recipe that you have to go buy ingredients to complete.

Hubby said I was a bit like Steve Martin from the Jerk:

"We only have chicken and rice for dinner."

"Oh and some rosemary, but that's all -chicken, rice and rosemary..."

"and carrots. But that's all chicken, rice, rosemary and carrots..."

"but that's ALL! Except for some apples... so chicken, rice, rosemary, carrots, apples, and gravy. But that's it."

And it was it, and it was easy and it was healthy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rick Levine is good...

This morning I woke up to the realization that I have to put together a learning record for our final meeting for the year with our charter school's Education Specialist- TODAY!
Upon reading my horoscope from I just had to laugh!

There's no need to show everyone how together you are today, for the very act of drawing attention to your security exposes your lack of it. While it may be true that your self-esteem has been vacillating, it's more important now to do something that makes you feel good, instead of trying to gain approval from others. Refocus on your inner world rather than placing undue significance on outside influences.

This past week I have been discussing how we go about doing this with our homeschool support group. Our first year with the charter school I spent a lot of time trying to capture every detail of our adventures and show off what my daughter was doing. It took so much time, because we are what many call "unschoolers" or interest-led learners. This past year I realized that was just not necessary.

Now I just give the bare minimum of what they require, then relax and enjoy the rest of our journey freely. After viewing a show on public access about California schools and their lack of any sort of tracking data base, it was apparent that the idea of a permanent record is ridiculous.

I know that she is learning, that she is ahead of her peers in some areas, behind them in others. But the beauty of homeschooling is that we get to focus on actually experiencing educational events and not waste precious time meant for learning on testing so that the school can get funding. And that doesn't even take into account the hours a day going towards all the little things that interrupt a child's natural curiosity.

Did you know that schools that are not up to standard on the standardized testing (which by the way doesn't even match the state standards) get MORE money than others? If they continue to fail they get even more. If they do better the funds are taken away... appalling, huh?

Sunday, May 24, 2009 said...

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009 -- The stubborn Taurus Moon encourages us to stand our ground, and the Sun's crunchy quincunx with unrelenting Pluto might pit us against an intense person who is feeling just as rigid. We want to hold to our highest ideals, for today's Jupiter-Chiron conjunction is like a carrot on a stick, teasing us with the possibility of reaping heavenly rewards even while we are still here on Earth. Ultimately, it's a challenge to balance our dreams with reality.

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009 -- You don't want to do a lot of extra work today. In fact, you might choose to spend the day relaxing if it is totally up to you. But it's not only about your desires now, as there are social obligations that you must fulfill. Don't stress about it. Your resistance to doing what's expected of you is worse than the event itself.

What happened...
Wow, once again Rick is right on target for me! The three day weekend began slowly enough as I awoke to an empty bed, as Sweetie took on baby duty for the night (his way of saying thanks for my put-the-kids-to-sleep-early-on-a-Friday "homedate"- my way of assuring myself a sleep in Saturday surprise!)

However, the man had beer plans! Brewing a batch, that is, and inviting his buddy over with his little one for grilling burgers. Too bad, that particular buddy has history- and while I like to fancy myself a forgiving, friendly, faithful wife- this man just makes me mad. But I wasn't going to stress about it.

The event itself was... well, uneventful as expected. The burgers were good... one child was not; the conversation was strained... so were the juicy baked beans. The watermelon was well worth a morning of cleaning sticky fingerprints left all around the house at at 2 1/2 year old's level. Holding to my highest parenting ideals was a challenge with a child who knows no limits... but I stood my ground quietly, and kept my tongue (and children) in check.

All in all it is true- our expectations set the standard for our own satisfaction, and we shouldn't waste time dreading the less than wonderful moments we get to spend just enjoying the journey, whoever may be along for the ride. Nor should we indulge in disappointment, it only serves to make us fat with desire.

Friday, February 27, 2009


We were "just driving by" and, on the right, the corner spot of a sprawling strip mall caught my eye. Greek Town Grill...

... a charming, kid friendly (not kid focused) environment where you can relax and enjoy a freshly prepared, traditionally authentic Mediterranean meal.

Hubster got the Moussaka, while I enjoyed the Classic Gyros Sandwich and the kidkins both gobbled up the fresh hummus & pita bread before sharing our generous portions with us. We did the meal family style sharing the food and the experience together.

The natural wood tables and vibrantly colored dishes gave off a modern American-Grecian vibe - read their history here - and a central large table with benches caters to the family and friends who gather at this quaint and comfortable eatery.

Their wine list included wines from several regions in Greece and a varied selection of bottled beers. A few flat screen TV's showed the Lakers game, and G was absorbed in the action, noting that the white team were much better (Denver was leading by 14 points at the time) than the dark blue.

We will return to Greek Town Grill- I can't wait to try the Lamb Sandwich, the Spanakopita and the Beeftekia.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Shipley Nature Center

As our little band of barefooters came out the green gates of the Shipley Nature Center after their docent led tour, they pleaded to play at the park. We headed for the structure, but the recently inspired naturalists spied a lonely hillside just across the expansive Central Park grass. Their imaginations led them on a two-hour tour of every precipice and crevice of the cliff like area, while we moms suppressed our gasps- the littlest ones scattered and scampered, sliding and slipping just like little Native American children may have not so very long ago.

During the walking tour of the habitats featured as part of the 18-acre restored natural area in the western portion of Huntington Beach Central Park, we learned a little about the people, plants and animals that share this planet of ours and a little about how we can help care for it. Monarch Butterflies, Bluebird Houses, lots of lizards and gigantic grasshoppers captured the attention of our pre-k to 3rd grade learners.

We felt a bit rushed and are looking forward to going back on a self-guided tour. More to come about Shipley Nature Center...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

mom and toddler fitness DVD by Parents

Joy and I began what I hope will be a solid tradition this morning! After winning a bet (we settle arguments in this way -it stops the debate until the answer can be found) my hubby bought me a wonderful new fitness DVD from Target. I wanted a wii, but $12.99 vs over $400? Produced by Parents, and geared towards the whole family. Oh and in case you didn't know Obama did not choose Biden as his running mate until August!

We both enjoyed the fun flexibility, the calming core exercises, balancing & breathing- and lots of playful parenting! It is easy to stay in the moment, enjoy your little one and follow the guided movements. I can see how this will strengthen both our bond and our bodies!

It says it is for 16 months and older, but at almost 1 years old Joy was able to get into what I was doing- and her weight was easier for me to use in the resistance portions. It ended with a sweet session of cuddling and calming- a nice transition into naptime.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday's Moonlight Meditation

Current Moon Phase:
Full/Full Light

86% Illumination
Moon in Leo

Take a minute, go out and observe the moon tonight.
Breathe deeply and just let the thoughts that come ebb & flow like the tides caused by the luminous orb's endless cycles.

Concentrate on fullness- breathe fully. Fill your lungs with the night air.
Consider the fullness of your life.
Be full of Joy. Be full of Grace. Be full of love.
Be filled up by the food you have eaten.
What makes your motherhood journey full?
Please leave a comment below...

Happy Moonday.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Housewife in Hollywood's 5 on Friday

Hollywood is not behind the Orange curtain, nor is the author of this pop-culture-for-mommies blog, but we love her and her site anyway! Check out today's post if you are feeling nostagic about the 80's and looking for a movie for the weekend.

Who would have thought we'd look back fondly on a time that was filled with such horrible fashion faux pas? #1 & #3 can be shared with your kiddos (click on the numbers to follow a link to see parental advisories, if you want to be sure you agree!)

I must add my own personal favorite- a must for sick days, The Princess Bride.

Today we are off to a homeschool park day at Mile Square park - kicking off my series on the many available play days available to OC mamas who homeschool. I will be interviewing the other mothers & kids, and reviewing the parks so you can decide which park day fits your family.

Happy Friday!

PS Don't forget about TwitterMoms Virtual Wine Tasting tonight! Details here.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

San Clemente Art Gallery

Located at the end of Del Mar, this simple, unimposing art gallery is tucked in the community center across from the Library and Senior Ceneter. A selection of local exhibits highlights the community and it interests. Be sure to vote for your favorite and be prepared to examine the styles, techniques and mediums used- the entire experience will take less than 30 minutes for most.

While there be sure to visit Billy's Deli, up the road near the top of Del Mar, and take sandwiches, along with a healthy picnic basket to enjoy an alfresco lunch.
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