Friday, July 31, 2009

She's A Poet And She Didn't Even Know It

I'm sorry, but I had to.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

(I Wish I Could) Just Say No (To Moving)

This is me.

This is me in full on packing panic mode.

Any questions?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I ♥ Old School

The other day we went to the park I used to go to when I was growing up to go to the aviary to see the birds so I could feel a little better about cooping the boys up in the house while packing for the rest of the week.

When we were done with the aviary, we went on some of the old school rides they have at the park that were exactly the same when I was a kid. Actually, they are probably exactly the same as they were when my parents were kids and went to the same park.

I love that.

Max thought it was very cool that he could go on the Ferris Wheel all by himself. I used to think this was the scariest ride on earth when I was little because it seemed so high. When I rode it the other day again with Jack it still gave me that dropping stomach, but it seemed so much smaller.

Jack loved this Batman airplane. The paint job is new, but the plane looks like it's straight out of the 1940's.

It's good to know some things never change.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Don't Report Me To Child Protective Services

This is a confession: I think my kids played two hours of video games and watched two hours of TV today.

I am very ashamed.

But I'm packing and that is taking every last bit of energy I have. And it's far from done.

Let's see how many hours they clock tomorrow. It's a scary thought.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Shaking My Money Maker

Yet another reason I love moving: selling stuff I no longer use on craigslist and the other local free classified websites. Yesterday I made so much money that I am going to be able to buy the new sofa I've wanted for our living room. Selling my old stuff. Genius.

In fact, when I was discussing how much I had made with Steve I said "I couldn't make this much cold hard cash in a day walking the streets," and he said "Aw come on, of course you could." I said, "You're so sweet, but no one would pay that much for this," to which he replied "Well, you'd have to stay pretty booked all day long."

Then I punched him in the shoulder.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Favorite Summer Salad

I really should be packing instead of cooking, but it's Sunday night and I have to make something for dinner that doesn't come out of the freezer. Since it's summer, I seem to only want salads, so tonight I'm making one of our favorites. It's a Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe, so she gets the credit, but I still must share this one. It's easy, fast, and always fantastic.

Black Bean Sweet Potato Salad

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound total), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime), plus wedges for serving
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 450, place sweet potatoes on another rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil. Season with red-pepper flakes (if using), salt, and pepper; toss to coat. Roast on lower rack, until tender, tossing once during cooking, 25 to 35 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk lime juice with 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Add sweet potatoes, beans, onion, and, if using, cilantro; mix gently to combine. Serve with salad and lime wedges.
I always double this recipe and serve it with grilled chicken breasts for dinner and make a couple extra to cut up and throw them in the leftover salad for lunch the next day. I love, love, love it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Our Ibiza, Chapter 20: Finally, Floors!

I haven't had the heart to tell the story of the hardwood floor fiasco with the new house, and I still don't, but I am happy to announce that we FINALLY HAVE HARDWOOD FLOORS PEOPLE! Steve went over last night and took photos since I hadn't seen them yet and had to stay home with the boys. I'm very happy with how they turned out, and now if the Cabinet Cretins can finish the job they have been working on for FOUR MONTHS now, we will be moving in on Friday. Hallelujah!

Friday, July 24, 2009

More Packing Pleasure

I found another perk of packing:

Finding you have enough empty M.A.C containers to get two free lipsticks through the Back 2 M.A.C Program.


Now I just have to decide on a color. Any suggestions?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer Sprinkler Spontaneity

So yesterday I went to the park with my friends Mikilani, Marie-Laure, and a new friend Tammy and ALL our kids. It turned out to be a very big group and a very hot day, so we weren't exactly sure how to entertain everyone. They tried the playground equipment but all wailed "OUCH!" as soon as their bare skin touched it. I even brought bubbles and Marie-Laure brought a badminton set and some balls, but nothing. Then, miracle of miracle, the sprinklers turned on right by us. Well, we all know what happened next:

And the best part, I got to hang out with my friends and chat and check out their beautiful babies.

Ah, summer.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Packing Is Such Sweet Sorrow

I have to admit, a sick, twisted part of me likes to move. It's not the moving that I really like, but the elimination of excess. I just got rid of all our expired medication, and let me tell you, there was a lot and it was a great feeling to dump it.

In the midst of all this elimination catharsis I found a little pile of rocks. At first I wondered why I had saved them, and then it came to me. For a few weeks last year every time Jack would go outside to do something with Steve and Max, he would always bring me a rock. He would run through the front door and call for me, and then announce "Mommy, I got you something!" I would ask what, and he would hand over one of these stones as if he were giving me the Hope Diamond. It was a beautiful thing, so I kept each of those stones to remind me how it feels to have someone think you are the most important person in the world.

I thought for about a second about tossing them with all that expired cough syrup, but instead I tucked them in a box with my other keepers.

Some things never expire.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Black Crows

What happens when two Moms with similar taste shop at Boden.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Never Stop In Victorville

In my lifetime I've been in a few creepy situations. A guy tried to get me into his car when I was about eight years old just around the corner from my parent's house. I saw a guy defecate right in front of me at the 23rd Street Station in NYC. I even had a guy approach me when I was living in London mumbling something, and when I asked him what he was saying he yelled, at the top of his crazy lungs, "GIVE ME SOME F*#%#&@ FOOD" and then he swung his very heavy backpack at me, but I ducked out of the way of and then he proceeded to whack it over and over again against a dumpster as I quickly walked away. I mean, I've seen some pretty psycho things in some pretty gritty locations, but I think the Mini-Mart in Victorville, California might just take the cake.

I should have been suspicious when we pulled up and it looked like we had time warped into the 70's because the graffiti covered gas pumps were that old and had no place to run your debit card. I went inside to pay and to use the bathroom, and that bathroom was enough to make me vomit. Hard. It was waaay worse than anything I've encountered anywhere else. But I had to go, so I went, and then went out to the car to use the hand sanitizer. As I was waking to the car, a crazy homeless guy walked up to me and was asking me for something and I just kept walking, but he followed me to the car and as I tried to get in he was still mumbling something and tried to grab my door to stop me. It freaked me out. I just got in anyway, locked the doors, and shooed him away.

Steve was in the Mini-Mart with the boys using the dreadful bathroom, and was taking FOREVER as this guy paced around and I was drumming on the steering wheel nervously. It was taking so long, I started to get nervous. Turns out Jack was taking his time in that nasty bathroom, but when Steve started heading towards the car, the guy started approaching him and I was all "Steve, get in the car, get in the car, Steve," but he didn't hear me, and ended up giving the guy some money so he would leave him alone. I peeled out and got back on the freeway A.S.A.P.

Forget New York City, forget London, forget around the corner from my parent's house, in my opinion, the Mini-Mart in Victorville is now the scariest place on earth.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Paradise Lost

I really get bummed out when we have to leave the beach. I realized just this trip that this is the only place I go on vacation where I never feel ready to come home. Maybe this means I'm supposed to live here.

Whatever it means, as a little bit of therapy, I decided to mention all the things I'll miss. First and foremost, my morning walk along the sea wall. I mean, who wouldn't miss this?

And I'll miss one of my favorite meals in all the world, a Baja Fish Taco from La Salsa.

I won't really miss Legoland, but I know Max and Jack will.

I'll miss my good friends at Trader Joe's.

Oh yeah, and I'll miss the beach.

But I won't miss the sand in my tankini bottoms (I'll spare you a photo of that one).

Oh well, there's always next year.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Little Surfer Boy

I've been so impressed with Max's bravery during this trip to California. He's a cautious boy, and doesn't like to do anything where he could forsee himself getting hurt, but this trip he has been ripping up the waves with the big boys. He learned to boogie board and has been hard at it every day, so much so that he comes in with red eyes from all that salt water. But he loves it.

Heading out to hit the waves with the big boys. I mean, really, do you see the size of that thing he's heading towards? It's taller than the grown-ups out there. This is high tide where the ocean is so choppy that I don't even like to go in. Now that's courage.

Waiting to catch a wave.

Riding a good one in like a pro.

The proud stance. I think he earned the right to do it.

Man, I love this guy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Paradise Found

Thursday, July 16, 2009

you and i

I was searching for some new music by Feist the other day online, and found this fantastic new song by her and Wilco lead singer Jeff Tweedy. I loved it immediately, especially because it reminds me of Steve. Check it out (sorry it's just an image of the Wilco album, not too exciting):

Since it's our 11th anniversary today, I wanted to let Steve know that I've loved every minute (the good and the bad, happy and sad) of the last 11 years.

And I think we can make it and have made something no one else has.

Here's to the next 11 years. And 11 after that. And so on.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Just Add Water

We went to Legoland today for the second time this week. We place we stay at is only five minutes away, so we decided to take advantage of it. When we went on Monday we discovered there was a fun waterpark included, but didn't have our suits, so today we went back to enjoy a lot of wet Lego fun.

I think Max enjoyed it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Now That's One Deicated Surfer

I just hope someone finds his leg, and that they don't have a heart attack when they do.

Monday, July 13, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: The World Discovers The Real Reason Sarah Palin Resigned

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I ♥ Trader Joe's

I know it's kinda crazy to love a grocery store, but I do love Trader Joe's. I look forward to shopping there whenever I come to Southern California, and curse the fact that I do not have one locally every time I go back home.

My favorite thing at Trader Joe's? That's a tough one. I love all their amazing prepared salads. I love all their amazing chocolate covered stuff. I love their produce. I love the people working there that all seem like they must be smoking pot in the break room since they are so mellow and friendly.
Steve's favorite thing is the Chocolate Covered Joe-Joes, which are dark chocolate covered oreos. Awesome.

When we told the boys we were coming back to California we were naming off all the things we were going to do while we're here. First, "The Beach!" to which they gave me a yea! Then it was "Legoland", another yea! And then I said "Those really good waffle cookies with the carmel in the middle from Trader Joe's" and I got the loudest yea of all.

What can I say, I raised them to appreciate the finer things in life.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Forget Reality, I'm Going Back To The Beach

Today we're heading back to California where there is fun, sun, beach, and no house building project.

My big plans: sleeping in as late as the kids (and Steve) will let me, staying in swimwear as much as possible, playing and laying in the sun, eating whatever I want (including the California Benedict at Al's In The Village), maybe just a little shopping, and spending some quality time hanging out with Steve after the kids go to bed.

Sounds like a pretty near perfect way to spend a week to me.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Our Ibiza, Chapter 20: A Litte Great Tile Can Make Your Whole Day

The other day my thoughtful friend Trish met me at yoga and gave me a journal. It was an Orla Kiely journal with the same design as this blog's template (what can I say, the woman knows me), and Trish told me that it was to write all the good things in it about the house since so much of it has been causing me stress.

Well, I have to admit it's still blank and sitting on my shelf (I think it may be too pretty to write in), but I do have something good to say about the house: THE TILE ROCKS! LITERALLY! Well, here's some photos so you can see what I mean:

The 3 x 6 glass and pebble tile we got from modwalls. We had to wait a couple of extra months for the right color because they were out of stock, but totally worth it! It hasn't been grouted yet, but the grout will be white and will really make the color pop.

See what I mean about the rocks. I saw this pebble tile used in a shower on a real estate show once and loved it. Then I saw it in my friend Susannah's beautiful house and was sold. It heats up with the hot water and gives you a little foot massage. I can't wait for my first shower in this beauty.

Chris, the coolest contractor on earth, grouting the pebble tile.

Clearing off the grout to give you an idea of how it will look when its finished.

I'm so happy with how this all is turning out. It's about time!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

R.I.P. P.Y.T.

I wanted to acknowledge the passing of Michael Jackson, but haven't because everyone else is talking about it and talking about it and talking about it. I'm pretty sick of it. I mean, he was an amazing entertainer and made great music, but really, is there nothing else going on in the world?

But I don't want to blame Michael Jackson for the stupidity of the media, so I had to say farewell and thank you to him. I thank him for giving us some of our favorite family dance sessions. Our favorite Michael Jackson dance tunes, Wanna Be Starting Something, Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, and P.Y.T. We love our family dance times so much that we put an integrated stereo system into our new house. I can't wait for our first session with our favorite tunes.

But I also want to thank him for my kid's very favorite video to watch on YouTube, Leave Me Alone. Here it is:

I wonder if everyone had left him alone if he would still be here today? I guess we'll never know, but Michael can rest easy knowing that this family with be dancing to his tunes after dinner until the kids think it's stupid.

Maybe even after that, just to torment them. Who ever said parenting isn't fun?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summer Sandwich Cookies a.k.a Satan's Oreo

A few years ago I found a lime shortbread recipe in my Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine and thought I had died and gone to heaven. I was amazed that such a rich, buttery cookie could have so much summery flavor. Then, a couple of years later, Everyday Food topped it by putting in lemon instead of lime and sandwiching two cookies together with lemony cream cheese frosting. Genius.

It's no wonder Martha rules the world.

My sister Angela was visiting this weekend and asked me for the recipe. I told her I'd put it up on my blog so she could have it, but I really wanted to share it with the world. Trust me, they are that good. They are so good that my friend Matt dubbed them "Satan's Oreo" when I took them to a barbecue a couple of years ago. In fact, these are my very favorite homemade cookie, far better than the heroin cookies in my opinion, but I guess all the addicts out there may differ with me.


Lemon Sandwich Cookies

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
2 table spoons granulated sugar, for sprinkling
Creamy Lemon Filling (below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter, confectioner's sugar, lemon zest, and salt, until combined. With mixer on low, add flour dough will still be stiff); finish mixing with a wooden spoon.
Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, pat into a disk about ½ inch thick. Wrap, and chill until firm, about 1 hour (and up to 3 days).
Unwrap dough; place on a lightly floured piece of parchment or waxed paper. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough about 1/8 inch thick (if dough cracks, let it warm up slightly).
Cut out cookies with a 1 1/2-inch round cutter (re-roll scraps once, chilling of too soft). Place 1 inch apart on two baking sheets; sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake until barely beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes; transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Form sandwiches: Place about 1 teaspoon Creamy Lemon Filling between two cookies, sugared sides facing out; squeeze gently.

Creamy Lemon Filling

4 ounces bar cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
1 to 1 ½ cups confectioner's sugar

In a small bowl, mix cream cheese and zest until smooth. Gradually add 1 cup confectioner's sugar, mixing until smooth. Mix in remaining sugar as necessary to create a firm but spreadable filling.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pie & Pinball

Last night we found ourselves in Salt Lake at dinner time, and that can only mean one thing to Steve and I: The Pie. It was one of my favorite college hangouts, and still has the best pizza around in my book. We always get the Xtreme Veggie Pizza, but we decided to introduce the boys to The Pie's version of a calzone, The Zappi. At first Jack just wanted pasta, but we insisted he try The Zappi. He was not disappointed.

After dinner we found a great pinball machine and the boys had to play a game or two (or five):

Did you know you become a better pinball player if you stick your tongue out?

I ♥ The Pie.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I Think They Might Be Playing Too Many Video Games

Lately Max and Jack have been a little bit obsessed with the Lego Batman video game. They've had it since Christmas, but ever since their friend stayed over last weekend and showed them how to get to a new level, it's all they want to do, 24/7. I'm pretty strict on how much they play, but I've let things get a little more lax because it's summer vacation.

I did get a little disturbed the other day when I made them turn it off, and they started play-acting scenes from Lego Batman. I figured that it was better than sitting in front of the TV playing the real thing, so I didn't worry about it too much. That is, I didn't worry about it too much until Jack wanted Max to stop running and he said "Max, stop." No reaction. He said it again, "Max, stop." Nothing. Then, at the top of his lungs he yelled "Max, PAUSE!" and Max stopped dead in his tracks.

I'm thinking it may be time to tighten up the video game restrictions again.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I ♥ Paris In The Winter

A couple of weeks ago, while I was sitting at watching the kids at swimming lessons, Steve called me on my cell phone. I figured it was yet another call about some house menutia, but instead he said "So, how would you like to live in Paris for three months in the winter?" My reaction: "Uh, yeah." Then he went on to tell me that he has been asked to be the director of his University's Paris Study Abroad program next year from January until April.

This means we are going to get free air fare, be set up in an apartment just off the Parc du Champs de Mars (walking distance to the Eiffel Tower), and get to experience it all. We can't wait, and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. To celebrate, I thought I'd share a little Doris Day.

I'm not so crazy about the part about in the winter when it drizzles, but in my opinion, it's better than in the summer when it sizzles.

Now I just have to dust off my rusty French and take a class so I won't get slapped in the face.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Up, Up, And Away!

For the past few years we have gone to the local Fourth of July festivities, which include a hot air balloon launch. We have to get up super early to go, but it's always totally worth it. Check it out:

Filling up the balloons. I never get over how huge they look on the ground and all the color.

Taking off.

All of us enjoying the show.

The rest of the day will be spent staying cool watching a movie and setting off fireworks. Long live summer!

Happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Now That's One Big Wedding Cake

Look who got married. Well, actually, they were already married, but just had a huge reception in Japan complete with three wardrobe changes, ballroom dancers, Tae-Bo demonstrations, and well, just about everything else, including the biggest wedding cake I've ever seen.

This story just keeps getting better and better.