Saturday, January 28, 2012



i love a hot milky coffee in the morning. we use a french press - and i'll heat the milk up on the stove when i have the time.

i mentioned lisa's mukka to d in passing a few weeks ago. i am commuting. a lot. leaving the house early. and craving a latte on my long drives downtown and beyond.

look what arrived in the post this week.


thanks honey.

it really is a wonderful little coffee maker. makes a very good latte. and doesn't take up any counter space.

happy weekend! we have a full one ahead. a car in for service. the grand opening of a community school park in south la. a violin recital. and our annual meeting at church. mix a couple of playdates in there and it looks like monday will come too quickly.

(hi uncle don! mom told me you were visiting this space. so happy to know! xoxo)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

52 cookies :: week 3 :: flourless peanut butter

52 cookies

we first discovered these cookies when we were trying to pinpoint e's food allergies and were eliminating wheat. since then we have discovered that it was not gluten as we suspected - but yeast. and that we can manage it through careful planning.

they have remained in our rotation. sometimes augmented with chocolate. sometimes - this week - without.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
based on recipe via Joy the Baker
from The Gourmet Cookbook

1 c all-natural chunky or smooth peanut butter
1 c sugar (1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar)
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixer combine peanut butter and sugars until well combined. Add egg and baking soda and mix for 2 minutes. Roll into walnut sized balls, squish with a fork (k's job!) and place on prepared cookie sheet. If you’d like, add a few chocolate pieces to the top of the cookies. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool & enjoy.

Makes about two dozen cookies

52 cookies

K: Nice design and very good taste. Yyyyyyyyuuuuuummmmmmmmmm!!!!!!! Ggggggggggoooooooooddddddd!!!!!! I asked her to make it so that is what she did!!!!!!!!!!!! Peanut butter cookies rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

E: (who is just getting over a nasty stomach virus...) But u just baked them today !!!!!!! Fine. They were good and peanut buttery. Mmmmm :)

D: Your peanut butter cookie is too mas mucho. But now that I see that it is a flourless cookie, well that explains why it is so very dense. You know I love PB but I have it for breakfast everyday and I just can't be impartial. The kids dig them and seeing them devour them is good enough for me. What's next?xoxo

Tuesday, January 24, 2012



The girls sleep in the bed D and his brother shared as children. It is amazingly well-made, solid wood, and with a coat of white paint and some new knobs for the attached dresser it is perfect. But given its age, it was without the standard guardrail now found on bunkbeds. We had been improvising with a portable bedrail but were not at all happy with the aesthetics.


D quickly whipped up a permanent solution this weekend.

And I am at ease that no one will be rolling out of bed. (I totally remember that happening as a kid! As a result, I never wanted to sleep on the top bunk.)

(Please excuse the crappy photo up top. I should know better than to shoot at night!)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

night light




cozy weekend.

checking things off the list around the house.


tamale potluck and 80s sing-a-long last night with the neighbors. (the best tamales.)


Friday, January 20, 2012

late at night

late night

i seem to end up unpacking our csa box late at night. after everyone else has gone to bed. i unpack, and wash, leave to dry or pack for the week ahead as the case may be. then i start to menu plan for the week ahead.

this past week: lacinato kale, parsley, broccoli, celery, cilantro, carrots, arugula, romaine lettuce, collard greens, french breakfast radishes, green cabbage, lemons

our week's menu
S: chili and cornbread with salad
M: bangers and mash with collards and brocolli (i love collards. k loves broccoli.)
Tu: chicken enchiladas with salsa verde and romaine and radish salad
W: grilled salmon with wild rice and celery
Th: school restaurant night
F: split pea soup with ham
S: all i know so far is we will be having braised cabbage... maybe with poached eggs.

rain in the forecast! happy friday.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

52 cookies :: week 2 :: anzac biscuits

thanks for your cookie love! i look forward to using your recipe suggestions as we move forward with this little exercise. just wish you were closer so we could share a couple over a cup of tea...

in 1993 my parents moved to australia for a year. my brother and i followed for a summer - and he stayed on while I returned to attend graduate school. i have a teenage nephew now in aus - and the girls and I have made a trip to visit as regularly as we can.

one recipe my mom returned with from australia is anzac biscuits. she passed it on to me - and then this christmas she passed the recipe on to e. i love these oaty nutty cookies.

52 cookies

Gramma's Anzac Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup or honey
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine flour, oats, sugar, and coconut. Set aside. Over medium heat, melt butter with syrup/honey. Dissolve baking soda in boiling water and add to butter mixture. Stir to combine. Add butter mixture to dry ingredients and mix well. Drop by ice-cream scoop onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart (the scoop needs to be packed so that the mixture doesn't crumble). Flatten cookies slightly with the heel of your hand. Bake until golden brown and firm - about 15 minutes.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies (!)

Ok - one week into this challenge and I am realizing that at this rate we are going to consume somewhere around 1500 cookies in 2012! So a strategy is in order. I'll be packing up a dozen of these to share with my "walk-to-school" freighbours :)

K: TRICKY NAME but... YUMMY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!yum;p

E: I think the cookies were excellent. Although next time please put bigger coconut slices in them. That's all I think. O I forgot, next time make them bigger or flatten them out at least. Well I think they were quite ( very ) good ( AWSOME ). Thx
:D; P

D: Crispy crunchy chewy and dense... These Anzac biscuits have snuck up on me a bit. I'm quickly becoming a fan. I took a couple(4) to work and had them with coffee, and was less then inspired, BUT, after dinner with tea(and brandy) I am digging them. The oats that bothered me this morning have transformed into the joy of the crystallized sugar that sits atop like a snow capped peak of days gone by. Sad, but I just realized that I won't eat these cookies again for 52 weeks.

Monday, January 16, 2012

day on.

“Life's most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” MLK Jr.

day on.

day on

day on.

an early morning trip to the city's tree nursery at griffith park to pick up trees to plant at south la schools.

Friday, January 13, 2012

reading list

we stuck with the

something you want
something you need
something handmade
and something to read

for the holidays. the something handmade was tangrams.

as for the something to read, we all received many good books. the girls and I are all compulsive readers - with many books on the go at the same time. for me it is usually a mix of fiction and non-fiction. for e it can be the same - plus a good dose of manga. and for k, a handful that she is reading on her own, along with a couple for reading together.

a peek at what we read over the break, and what we are reading now from our holiday booty.


I am on a non-fiction/biography kick.

Mordecai: The Life and Times

A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney by Martin Gayford

The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure

Eva Zeisel: On Design
(I've wanted this book for a long time and was happy to get it for Christmas. then surprised to hear of her death a few days later at 105.)

The Arms of the Infinite: Elizabeth Smart and George Barker by Christopher Barker

requisite bedtime fiction...
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides


E received a kindle from Santa. Touch. Not Fire. I wanted her to have the "e-ink" rather than the IPS. I really feel she already spends enough time in front of a screen (I read this years ago) - and given the rate at which she plows through a book we decided this was a good way to go. and kindle books are available through the Los Angeles Public Library. she still received (and wants) paper books as well. especially manga - as she tells me you don't read back to front on the kindle.

Rose and the Lost Princess by Holly Webb

Wildwood by Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis (I need a Kindle so I can borrow this!)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell


K loves anything that makes her laugh.

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl

Toys Come Home: Being the Early Experiences of an Intelligent Stingray, a Brave Buffalo, and a Brand-New Someone Called Plastic by Emily Jenkins
(we love this whole series. so fun to read aloud.)

Ivy and Bean: No News is Good News by Annie Barrows
(she is hooked on these books.)

The Adventures of Tintin: The Shooting Star by Herge
(I really wanted the girls to experience these books before seeing the movie. they were a mainstay of my childhood. we haven't seen the film yet. have you? any good? they loved this one. and K is still going around quoting the final line: "Worse than that!... We are out of whiskey!")


while the girls and I read by the fire - D is usually working on something. he used to chuckle at my family who are known to get together then all sit around reading.  but he is used to it now.  he is a bedtime reader.

Nemesis by Philip Roth

so what good books have you curled up with lately?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

52 cookies :: week 1 :: chocolate chip

the girls have challenged me to baking a different type of cookie (or worst case scenario at least baking cookies!) every week through 2012. in return, I have asked them to review them...

here we go!

52 cookies

week 1. chocolate chip cookies.

we do many variations on this one. this week - for no reason in particular - the recipe on the bag of tj's chips caught my eye late at night as I was prepping school lunches and I decided to give it a go.

Trader Joe's Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 c all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 c brown sugar (firmly packed)
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 c softened butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 package chocolate chips (I actually only used 2/3 a bag - which we had on hand - and it was plenty!)
1 c nuts (optional - and I optioned to leave out this time.)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine flour, salt and baking soda in bowl and set aside. Combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, softened butter and vanilla and beat until creamy. Add eggs and beat. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop mixture by rounded teaspoonfuls onto non-greased cookie sheets. Bake 8 - 10 minutes.

Makes approximately 2 dozen large cookies. (I would make them smaller next time!)

Now for the reviews...

K: The best chocolate chip cookies ever!CRUNCHY ON THE OUTSIDE & CHOOEY IN THE INSIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm i would recommend it.IT IS SOOOO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

E: They were just super delish but what was good was that it was chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. I also really like the size. It made them chewy without being gooey.

D wants in on the action :)

D: Chewy without being gooey and the edge was nicely crisp. Just the right combo of sweet and salty. I really liked the scale of the cookie. It had a presence without being stupidly large. You could improve on the quantity. Two dozen is not enough.

Stay tuned.

Monday, January 09, 2012

looking for winter

keep looking at these foggy morning mountain pictures from our drive home...


made borscht for dinner and tried to conjure cooler temps. (it has been in the 70s here since we returned. blech.)

my favourite borscht recipe
adapted from anne lindsay's smart cooking

2 large fresh beets, peeled and finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken stock
half small head cabbage, shredded
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dried dillweed
juice of one small lemon
1/4 tsp or less salt and freshly ground pepper or less
sour cream as desired

In large saucepan, combine beets, onion, carrot, potato and broth; bring to boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming off any foam.
Add cabbage, parsley and dill; simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Ladle into individual bowls and top with spoonful of sour cream if desired.

{Keeps refrigerated for up to 3 days and in the freezer for up to 3 weeks.}

Sunday, January 08, 2012


Broadlands 1920


Broadlands c.1920

spending the day scanning more photos and making up stories...

Saturday, January 07, 2012

holding on :: letting go

my great-aunts, uncles and grandfather playing tennis on the farm.


where 2011 was the year of "owning it" i am working on "letting go" as my mantra for 2012.

Broadlands :: where my mom grew up. It still stands, and is owned by friends of our family.

i am often accused of being overly nostalgic. i hold on tight. and the end of the day my pockets are filled with the detrius of our adventures, mundane and otherwise. i collect bits and pieces and store them away. not just physical bits - but emotional too. i am going to work hard this year on letting go of those things that hold me back and holding tight to only that which makes me happy.

at Broadlands
a rich harvest of apples and melons from the farm. i imagine the apples being cherished through the long prairie winter as i explain to k this morning why we don't buy strawberries in january.

at Broadlands
my grandfather on the back of a percheron stallion

i love these images of my family, part of a collection passed on to me over christmas by my mom - from the albums of my great aunt, who would have turned 100 on december 27th - but passed away in the spring. i'm holding on to them...

at Broadlands
my mom, aunt, uncle and a cousin

more photos here

Friday, January 06, 2012


melba & willis

a new routine

good-bye 2011

my resolutions :: 2012 edition

1) better management: of time & money & relationships
2) learn to fly
3) save more. waste less.
4) carpe diem. because it is going too fast.

thank you shari once again for inspiring...

Thursday, January 05, 2012


london, kendal & paris

14 august
sharing our island with friends.

schoolyard inspiration
schoolyard inspiration

Wednesday, January 04, 2012



bike to school day!
bike to school day!

campout 2011
annual neighborhood campout

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

a year in review...

besties (minus 2)
a violin recital at disneyland - accompanied by our 'hood.

a celebration at pacific pier.

a visit from dear friends.

Monday, January 02, 2012

new year.

new projects (and ongoing)

dining room table (more soon), lighting (maybe) & chairs

shelving in family room


bedroom wallpaper

final touches on the yard.

hello 2012 :)

happy new year!

our happiest place on earth.


a final walk on our favourite beach before heading back south. it dawned on me there - looking out over the salish sea - that our girls have grown up on this beach. are growing up on this beach. will grow up on this beach.

as will i.

i know i say it often. but once again, counting my blessings.

heading home refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for the new year.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

new year.

we spent the last day of 2011 on a long hike through the woods.

new year's eve hike
new year's eve hike
new year's eve hike
new year's eve hike

k discovered a full skeleton of a deer. we thought of a patronus

new year's eve hike

and said a little prayer.

new year's eve hike

we tested the depth of the creek - and carefully considered wading in.

new year's eve hike

we followed it with a traditional holiday dinner, chocolate fondue, champagne, and a challenging new puzzle that kept us all up into 2012.

a glorious way to ring out the old year and welcome the new.

Happy New Year!