Sunday, July 29, 2007

Rock On

You know what's awesome when you feel like something the cat threw up? Being told that you rock. And that is exactly what has happened to me.

It turns out that I am a Rockin' Girl Blogger! I never would have thought! My buddy Meghan, who is quite rockin' in her own right, has tagged me. I'd like to thank all the little people, particularly the three who provide me with so much blog fodder. As stated in the rules, I must now tag 5 others. Of course, I can't narrow it down to just 5 so I'm throwing in a bonus at no extra charge:

  1. Of course, my curly little Tannazie of All Kinds of Yum. Even if you don't appreciate her meandering posts about the most arcane food news and information, you'll love her photos, including the occasional very cute child model or two, and her blog is sure to leave you hungry and itching to visit her cute neighborhood in L.A. Stay tuned for her big blog remodel. It is gonna look great. Now we just have to bring her over to the dark side and get her scrapping.
  2. The lovely Rambling Tara herself of Tara's Ramblings. This girl is a military wife, has 5 adorable kids whom she homeschools!, and still manages to crank out gorgeous detailed scrapbook pages. Amazing!
  3. Tara Whitney, who I'm sure doesn't read my piddly blog but is still rockin' nevertheless. She is a mom of 4, a photographer whose family pictures have been made to make even bitchy me teary, and a really awesome scrapbooker whose emotions for her kids come through in all of her pages and photography.
  4. My darling Just Nicole of Nik's Notations. Truth be told, Just Nicole hasn't posted in a while but she just turned 30, started a new job and is traveling this weekend so we'll cut her some slack. Her blog treats us to a slice of her life in Australia and when we're lucky we get pictures of beautiful scenery, her lovely lovely scrapbooking and awesome Indi, her precocious and foul-mouthed daughter. Hmm...wonder where she gets that from.
  5. Speaking of daughters, mine is certainly rockin' at All About Me. Certainly, she would post more often if she wasn't so busy feeding her Webkinz or devoid of computer privileges for the infraction of the day.
  6. Finally, sweet Lissa of Life's Reflections. She has such a lovely way with words that even when her posts don't include cute pictures of Dalton or her gorgeous scrapbook pages, her blog is a treat to read.

There are several other blogs I read daily who are definitely written by rockin' girls (Kim, Jax, Beth, Teri-Lynn, and others). However, I believe those have already been granted official rockin' status. Hope you enjoy the ones I mentioned here. Tell them I sent you and thanks again Meghan!

Odds & Ends, Mostly Odds

So the summer is half over (sniff, sniff, sob, sob) and it's been a good one so far. The days have been sufficiently busy, with a little bit (not enough) down time here and there. Here are a few things that are going on:

  • We finally got a desk ordered for Julia's room. I don't know which 6 year old begs and begs for a desk but mine did. We promised her she'd get one before second grade and it looks like the promise will not be broken. She'll need a chair, but that can be procured easily I'm hoping. The arrival of the desk will necessitate some rearranging in her room but more importantly, once it's here, I can start the project I've been dying to do for her room. I want to make a homemade version of a combination of Pottery Barn Kids' and Pottery Barn Teen's bulletin board systems. I recently found out that you can buy Dry Erase paint to make any surface a dry-erase board. How cool is that?! This was the last bit I couldn't figure out for this project and now I have. I can NOT wait to get started. It will be a big project (by my scale anyway) and I'll be amazed if I can pull it off and manage not to get divorced in the process. I can't wait to start shopping for fabric!
  • If you like baking or baked goods or ice cream or eating or supporting a good cause, read this post from my sister's blog. She and her friends are organizing a local bake sale and could use contributions of either baked goods to sell or other items for a raffle. Feel free to spread the word to all your L.A. area friends. Or better yet, organize a bake sale in your own neighborhood.
  • On Friday Ray took my big kids to the office with him. One of the people who work there is a nice lady by the name of Erica. Well, never having heard that name before, Ethan assumed it was America. And walked around all day calling her....."Miss America!"
  • A while back I mentioned Julia's birthday cake and how I might post a picture if it turned out OK. Well it turned out OK, but not much better than OK. I was in the grocery store and found a packet of edible flowers in with the fresh herbs. I picked them up hoping to spruce up her birthday cake and here is the result. The assortment of flowers wasn't the greatest and by the time I got around to using them, they weren't so fresh. They would've probably looked much better on white frosting, but we're a chocolate family. I think next year I will strive to do better than a cake mix cake and store-bought frosting. I can do better than this, much better. However, the novelty of the flowers on the cake went a long way. No one was brave enough to actually eat one, however.

Friday, July 27, 2007


A boy just needs his Frappucino!

Monday, July 23, 2007

This is Getting Excessive

You know those articles in scrapbooking magazines where the designer picks say, a shoelace or a goat, and shows all the different ways it inspired her to create fabulous projects? If you're like me, you usually snort as you quickly glance at the article and then flip to the ads to see the cool new stuff you just have to buy. Whatever with finding scrapbooking inspiration in magazine adds and common daily objects.

But on a recent trip to one of my favorite places in the world, I spotted these, and they just scream "Summer" to me. Aside from the fact that I'm hearing voices, wouldn't these just look cool on a fun, summery layout?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

One Just For Me

I recently finished this layout of a sweet nickname my mom made up for Julia. The nice thing about it was that it wasn't for a design team or deadline; it was just for me. It's not the best scan. There's a weird shadow on one side, maybe from the lumpy ribbon.

Product details: Papers: Frances Meyer, Treehouse Designs; Stamps and Ink: Close To My Heart; Rub-Ons: Making Memories, 7 Gypsies (by the way, how annoying is it when alphabet rub-ons and stickers don't also include numbers? This seems like such a basic thing but the manufacturers don't get it.); Flowers: Prima; File tab and rhinestones: Heidi Swapp from the Costco kit that I bought forever ago but just opened. Letter stickers are ancient from The Sharon Ann Collection. That tells you how old they are. The ribbon is a scrap from a gift, I think.

Hard as I try to break out from my style a little, here we are again: pink, green, flowers. I can't help it. It just looks pretty to me. I do have ideas brewing in my head for some other designs but next I'm tackling a project that I've put away for a couple of years. It won't be that fancy, and the products are now a couple years old but that's OK. I'm looking forward to completing it.

In the mean time, thanks for looking.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Birthday Greetings

A lot of notable people are celebrating their birthday today:

One is Orville Redenbacher, which is interesting, since my husband and his dad have this weird love affair with popcorn. The gene has been passed down to my kids and therefore our trips to Target now have a singular focus.

Another is Stewart Copeland, who we have already established is just really cool.

Next is Will Ferrell, who if he wasn't funny enough on Saturday Night Live, did this crazy video with Pearl the drunk landlady from hell.

And then, there's my sweet friend Meghan, whose amazingly cute little boy, Ethan,
was born on my mom's birthday last year. Click on over and wish her a happy one, would ya?

Oh yeah, and me too!

Friday, July 13, 2007

A Food Blog, This Is Not

And I am neither a food photographer nor a food stylist (if only...). But once in a while, I do cook something that didn't come out of a Trader Joe's box in my freezer. I know, take a moment to recover from your shock.

A few days ago, my doorbell rang and I was greeted by a lovely older woman who presented me with a bowl of plums and started talking to me in Hebrew. I don't know what amazed me more: the fact that she somehow decided I would be able to understand her, or the fact that I actually did. It turns out that her daughter and her family have moved in next door, by way of Russia, Israel and the San Fernando Valley, and she takes care of her granddaughters while her daughter and son-in-law are at work every day. The next day when her granddaughter came over to swim at my house, considerably more plums arrived and I found myself in a plum quandary as to what to with them all.

A quick internet search and consultation with the food brains of the family resulted in the conclusion that I would neither be purchasing vallina beans, nor creating fake buttermilk, nor rolling out pie crust for this little endeavor. I wanted to make something easy and good that I could share with my generous new neighbors and so I decided on a simple galette, made with store bought pie crust. I sliced the plums the night before and planned to assemble and bake while Ethan was at preschool this morning. The bonus would be that this is a very kid-friendly recipe, with lots of steps that Julia could help with. Good plan, right?

Well, I soon found out that pie crust is a seasonal item at Trader Joe's. D'oh! And I also found out after I got home that the apricot jam I purchased to glaze the tart with is actually apricot-orange. D'oh. Not to worry. All of this was dealt with and the result was pretty, if quite tart. I'd add more sugar next time. For now, I'll just pile the thing with vallina ice cream or yogurt and continue my amazement at myself that the plan actually worked.

Plum Galette
makes 2 tarts, one for you and one to give away

10-12 sliced pitted plums (or in my case a whole bunch more so Brady could munch while we cooked)
2-4 Tbsp. brown sugar
Vallina extract - as much as you like
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
Zest of one orange, or more if you have them on hand
1 box refrigerated pie crusts (two crusts)
3-4 Tbsp. jam in a flavor you think will go well with the plums (I used apricot orange, by accident)
Turbinado sugar (like Sugar In The Raw)

Combine plums, sugar, vallina extract, cornstarch and orange zest in medium bowl. Let sit. This is called macerating, while the sugar releases the juices from the fruit. Because I have the maturity of a 9 year old, this word makes me giggle.

Preheat over to 425. Unroll each pie crust onto a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Stretch a little to enlarge the crust, but don't go too thin or you'll tear your crust.

Arrange sliced plums in a pinwheel pattern on the crust, starting in the center and leaving about a 1 1/2 inch margin all around. Or arrange them in whatever pattern pleases you. Try to fill all the little holes with more plums.

Fold and pleat the edges of the crust over the edge of the fruit. It doesn't have to look pretty; rustic is good. Generously spoon some of the juices over the fruit.

In a small bowl, microwave the jam for about 30 seconds until it is melted and runny. Brush the jam generously over the crust and fruit, being careful not to mess up any design you may have created. This will become your glaze. Incidentally, I used my favorite new kitchen tool for this step. I've had this brush just a couple of weeks and have already used it twice. I like it because it's easy to wash and I don't end up with bristles all over my food. And it's red. OK, on with the recipe:

Sprinkle some of the turbinado sugar on top of the crust and fruit. Now repeat the entire process with the other crust and remaining plum mixture.

Bake in your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, switching racks halfway so both pies brown evenly. Cool in baking sheets on rack. Serve with whipped cream or vallina ice cream. Or both.

This is my favorite kind of recipe: simple, made with ingredients that most of us have on hand and fresh, seasonal items. If you actually do attempt this recipe, I'd love to hear about it and also about how you varied it to suit your taste.

Like I told my new neighbor when I took hers over: "B'Teavon!"

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Cutie Cousin

Those of you who hang out at may have already seen this page. These pictures are of Julia and one of my favorite cousins. I don't remember much about the products I used but I do recall that the epoxy tag is Marcella by K and the letter stickers are Me and My Big Ideas. Another layout done and I'm actually reasonably happy with this one, although it doesn't measure up to so much of the stuff I see out there.

On another subject, are you feeling extra lucky on 7-7-07? I hope the Dodgers are, since we're going to see them play in a few hours. I also hope it's extra special for my Auntie Parvin, who's celebrating her birthday with her beautiful daughters and grandchildren today. She's the best.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Birthday Baby

Today is my baby girl's 7th birthday. She's had a great day so far: Starbucks for breakfast and playing The Price is Right with her dad and brother. This girl so belongs in our family. I think Toys R Us, Chuck E Cheese and Shave It are also in our future today, after swimming and before cake (incidentally, I have a vision of her cake in my head that if the reality turns out anything like it, I'll post some pics). In a couple of days we'll be getting together with her friends to celebrate at Build-A-Bear. Her grandma is visiting for her birthday this year, which makes it extra special.

I'm trying to be sappy and sentimental and weepy today but I'm just not feeling it. I'm incredulous that the little newborn we brought home from the hospital is 7 years old (and has two younger brothers!) but mostly I'm just excited for her and hope she has a great year. Hopeful that she has a fun year, with a little bit of growing up and some great friends. Wishing that she'd get out of her own way a little bit, learn to let some things go, and just be her own sweet self. Thankful that she's my girl, especially since it's just her and I among all these boys, that she loves scrapbooking with me and insists that we snuggle when we watch So You Think You Can Dance.

Happy Birthday Juji! Your family loves you more than you can imagine!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

His First Haircut


and after:

Brady got his hair cut for the first time Tuesday, which was about 4 months too late for his father. He was so tired he almost fell asleep in the chair. So much for my fears that he'd be so wiggly he'd get stabbed with the scissors. Although I think his haircut makes his giant head look even bigger, it's grown on me and even I have to admit he looks pretty cute.