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December 31, 2014


These are the moments that I realize that although he'll be a teenager soon, he's still my little boy. He still gives me hugs, still loves his back scratched, still loves his little stuffed animals. The 2 on the right were new ones he got for Christmas. He specifically asked for a new "Fur Ball," "Kitty," and "Birdie."  Birdie didn't quite make the cut, but Grumpy Cat and new Fur Ball did.

The original Fur Ball was from a trip we took 3 summers ago to Seattle...just the kids and me. We purchased them at the Oregon Zoo in Portland. Birdie (on the left) was an Easter gift many years ago. I'm sure you can tell from the condition that's he's been around a while. :)

I use to worry that he'd be teased about them as he got older, but he's a smart kid. He keeps them to himself, along with his favorite "B's" (blankets), and plays it cool outside the house. But once home, he turns back into my baby boy and my heart fills up. 

December 23, 2014

2014 sugar cookies...

Holiday sugar cookies are almost complete. My relationship with royal icing is definitely a love/hate one, but in the end, I'm usually pleased. People always ask about the icing. I refer them to my favorite blog, Sweet Sugar Belle. There are online tutorials and ideas galore. I also get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and just Googling, "<topic> sugar cookies", in images. The ideas are endless. I hope these inspire you to bake, decorate, and enjoy! Happy Holidays!

October 6, 2014


Halloween Joe Joe's + Fall camping = Love. 

September 29, 2014

happy national coffee day...

Happy National Coffee Fay!  So as it fell on Monday, because I needed that extra special treat this morning. I celebrated with my favorite K-cup from Peet's. To make it even more special, I added a scoop of Trader Joe's cookie butter. Yum! To top off the celebration, I enjoyed a pumpkin biscotti that I picked up from Roxanne's Biscotti. If you haven't tried Roxannes biscotti you really must. She makes an anise biscotti, a butterscotch biscotti, a traditional almond biscotti, chocolate chip, and during the holidays she has her pumpkin biscotti. She can be found at the Morgan Hill farmer's market Saturday mornings, as well as hilltop market up in Jackson Oaks.

I hope you all got to celebrate national coffee day with your favorite coffee and a yummy treat

September 28, 2014

bark box...

Since I'm getting so good at this on-line shopping business and since I started my farm box delivery, I thought I'd treat Charlie. The poor guy is always getting left out of the fun (unless he's cleaning up after the kids, getting into bags of marshmallows, chips, or loaves of bread). I found this company, Bark Box, that sends a box to Charlie once a month with goodies inside.  This month's came with several bags of treats, a frozen pina colada treat, a duck chewy stick, and a super cute plush toy. He enjoyed investigating the box, but honestly, I was way more excited than he was...well, until I opened a treat bag.  I'd say he's a happy pooch. 

day of the dead virtual run...

Saturday was the opening of the Agent Outerwear Day of the Dead Virtual run. My running buddy, along with new recruit, met out on the trail to get our 5K done and celebrated with a Sugar Skull cookie.  :)  This was my first virtual run, and it was great running with friends. I can't wait to get my medal in the mail. I'll post that once it arrives!

baking time....

Love this pumpkin load pan from Williams Sonoma.  I purchased this three or four years ago, but they still carry it.
I can't even begin to express the excitement that I'm feeling because Fall is finally here.  I spent today mainly in the kitchen. Okay, okay...there was a little t.v.-time and possibly even a nap squeezed in, but hey, it's Sunday and my day off. I wanted something quick, so I just used Trader Joe's Pumpkin Loaf mix. I did add a little extra vanilla extract, but I don't think it needed it. Sometimes I like to add extra stuff to cut that "box" taste, but this mix is yummy all on its own. I'm looking forward to baking more and spending more time in the kitchen, in between work, Scouts, workouts, swim practice, dance, and being my kids' personal chauffeur.  Who says we moms can't do it all. 

I didn't even get a chance to add a glaze or even a sprinkling of powdered sugar before the family dug in.

Dia de los muertos...

The basket that was donated. I'm not even sure who went home with them that night, but I hope they enjoyed them.
For the kids' Family Fun Night, I donated some sugar cookies for the Cake Walk. I threw together these Day of the Dead cookies, because I am obsessed with Sugar Skulls.  I definitely need to add some to my Halloween decor this year! I underestimated the time involved. I'm not sure why because creating any sugar cookie takes me hours, so I gave myself two days to complete these.  Each cookie took me about 30 minutes to decorate, but they were so worth it. I love the detail on each one. I learned my mistakes, and I'm excited to try these again with improvements!

The best part was getting to be creative and just throw on dots and swirls, along with choosing color combinations.
I liked the white on white, along with some of the swirls.
As they dried. I threw them in a container because I didn't want anything airborne to land on them (dust, grubby little kid fingers (haha), etc.)

national drink beer day...

Happy National Drink Beer Day!  Among the many other national days it was today, I chose this one to celebrate. Lucky for me, it's Sunday!  I don't watch football, although I did force myself to watch a little of the Niners game....until I fell asleep.  So, instead I went through the fridge and found a container of shishito peppers.  I got these in my Farm Box, which I am in LOVE with, by the way. However, I'm not great with different foods. I do what I do best...turn to the Internet. I found a super simple, tasty recipe for these little guys, so I gave it a whirl.  4 simple ingredients: shishito peppers, olive oil, lemon, and sea salt.  I found a great new little sea salt at Trader Joe's called Cypriot Pyramid Salt. It's chunky sea salt flakes. 

I heated up a pan on medium heat, drizzled in olive oil, tossed in the peppers. Tossed them around every few minutes for about 15 minutes until they started to brown and blister. I threw them in a bowl, squeezed half a lemon right over the top, and sprinkled on the sea salt.  

Served it up with a beer. They are a nice mild pepper and the salt and lemon add a nice flavor. The beer was pretty fantastic, too!

August 28, 2014

cancer sucks...

Terms you never want to hear... Cancer, palliative care, hospice, months...

It's one thing to watch your parents age, but it's heart-breaking when it's a terminal illness. This blog is about finding happiness, but it's difficult to see the beauty in the world when you're hurting and watching pain and deterioration. 

The light is his spirit. So positive. I dread the day that spirit dies from the realization this battle can't be won. 

Cancer sucks. 

August 19, 2014


In the spirit of last week's shark week, the kids and I took a trip down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This particular viewing window is one of my absolute favorite places at the aquarium. My daughter decided to climb into it and lay back. It couldn't have been a more perfect image, with her relaxing, the shark above, and that school of sardines swimming for their lives.


(front: pepperoni & olive/canadian bacon & fresh pineapple)
I have discovered a new love.  Yes, a food love.  Yes, a pizza love. Yes, a grill love. About a year ago, I purchased a super fancy granite pizza stone from Williams Sonoma. It was so cool, but completely intimidating.  I also had a crap grill that didn't deserve this royal treasure on it. So, it sat. It sat unloved. Then, for some occasion (yes, sad that I can't remember which), either Mother's Day or my birthday, or anniversary, I got a new grill.  A beauty of a grill. A Weber. My plan was to dig up this fancy pizza stone and use it on my new grill. And then life happened. I soon forgot about my fancy pizza stone.

Then, I was out one day and I saw this simple little pizza stone that came with rocker pizza knife and a peel (you know that large spatula thing for picking up pizza). It was on sale, so I figured what the heck. I pulled it out of the box, threw the stone on the grill and threw together a pizza. I rummaged through the fridge and grabbed whatever I could: leftover hot links, pineapple chicken sausage, red onion, mushrooms, pineapple, salami, pepperoni, olives, zucchini, etc., etc. I bought some pizza dough from Trader Joes and made away. I was hooked. I even had awesome leftovers....which ended up falling out of the fridge the next day onto the floor.  (sad face).

A couple weeks goes by bringing us to today. Driving home from work, I wanted homemade pizza-on-the-grill. I ended up making 4 different thin crust "pies." Can you call it a pie if it's thin crust? Hmmmm.. Anyhoo, I'm in love. It's so easy to make, and I keep getting better!  Better with my toppings, precooking the crust a bit, and cooking time. I'm in love. Love with food. Love with pizza-on-the-grill.
(slices of shredded mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh figs)

(larger version of slices above)

April 12, 2014

happy place...

As my kids get older, and I along with them, I realize there are a few places that make me really happy. The ocean, the mountains, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium top the list. I can really feel at peace there. There is something euphoric about watching jellies pulse through the water or a mola mola gently flapping its fins as it glides through the water. I can daydream, or maybe it's just spacing out, while watching. I notice my kids get the same way. I mean most of the time they're spazzing out with excitement because something cool swam by, but I also catch moments of calm.

After a couple years, we decided to renew our membership. I didn't realize how much I missed this place until I was recently there with my 4th graders for a field trip. I knew I had to return with my kids, and make it our special place we spend time at. I'm looking forward to "spacing out" more often and really hoping to catch more of those small glimpses of contentment in my children.