Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mele Kalikimaka

I have not been blogging very frequently. Oops.

About a week ago Dan and I returned from Hawaii. Dan's little brother Jeff married Heather (YAY!) in the Laie Hawaii temple, so that was a great excuse to go on vacation. We left the kids here with my mom for a few days. She was really really nice to come and watch them in the middle of her move from Santa Barbara California to Mapleton Utah. That is a big move, especially for someone who has spent the last 25 years in Santa Barbara. My mom is the best, hands down.

Apparently my children were little angels and Gwen took to Grandma like a fish takes to swimming. This made our vacation more enjoyable because we really didn't have to worry about a thing. Except that Dan was sick the whole time, poor guy. And he was the wedding photographer. But he wasn't as sick the day of the wedding, and it looked like he was having a good time taking pictures. I had a fabulous time being his assistant. Really, I wish I could go on all of his shoots with him. But usually I have kids to look after. Which I also enjoy.

Dan took this pic with his iphone.

Anyway, I had an awakening in Hawaii. I will explain. Usually here in Arizona I loathe going outside. It is either too hot, too cold, too dusty, too dry, too bright or I am afraid of getting attacked by a scorpion or getting skin cancer or something. I stay indoors A LOT. I guess I just figured it was part of my personality now, but when we got to our little "villa" in Hawaii and walked out to the backyard, a.k.a. the beach, I did NOT want to leave. I couldn't stop rubbing the sand in my hands and my body was drinking in the air and I just didn't want to blink. I kept telling Dan "we should move here." I think I was suffering from nature deficit disorder and I didn't even know it. Every time I stepped in the sand or the soft grass I just wanted to scream "This is the best!!" I guess I got out a lot more in Santa Barbara, but still Hawaii is like Santa Barbara on steroids.

Thank you Jeff and Heather for getting married in Hawaii. Really.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hey Man, Nice Shot

If you live in Arizona and you want a REALLY good photographer, head on over to

I am super proud of my husband's artistry and talent. He is really good at the whole picture taking thing. And how many photographers can build their own website?

Spread the word, we are finally officially sharing Dan's amazing picture-taking capabilities. And right now, he has some awesome deals going...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Just ordered!

Ok, I am not buying a lot for Christmas this year. But one of the things that I had to purchase for Asher is the following amazing and wondrous accessory.

Yes, it is a top hat sized for children. Yes, it was about $20. Yes I am already in love with it and I can't wait for it to come in the mail. Does that answer all of your questions?

If you want to fall in love with something yourself, follow this link:
Yes you have to join zulily to see the goods, but joining is free and they have such cute stuff at 1/2 price, who wouldn't want to join?? And there are things for moms too.
Thank you. That is all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Maybe it's stupid

I have been powering through the old TV series Roswell. I decided to watch it when I was sewing all those dresses. I needed something to help me stay awake. I'm almost done with the third and final season. Some of this show is totally weird, and some of it is cheesy, and the plot is riddled with holes... but I have still enjoyed it for the most part. And the first season had a ridiculous amount of similarities to Twilight. And Roswell came first.

I think the best thing to come out of my hours of watching this show though, is the discovery of this song. One of the characters was supposed to have written it. It is really soulful and has a pretty melody. Here are the lyrics, I want to find a recording of it.


I wish I could read your mind
Words don't mean a thing
I've given you all my time
All you do is leave
And if you were standing here in front of me
I know you would say
There's nothing oh so precious
As something that's gone away
And if there is a reason
I just don't want to know
Why you feel the need to love me so

...only when you go.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

This Took Time

I recently completed a project in the knick of time. My niece's dance concert was on Thursday and I was commissioned to make 7 red satin dresses for the dance she choreographed with her friend. The dresses were officially finished on Wednesday, the day before the show. And it is not that I didn't have a few months to complete my task, I was just busy. I think I gave everyone involved a heart attack. I think my niece may hate me a little now. I'm a procrastinator. I'm the first to admit it. But this was cutting it down to the wire.
Sorry Hannah.

And thank you to Hannah and Hailey's Mommies (and you too Sara)! They came in to help me finish. These lovely ladies gave me just the shot in the arm I needed to keep working. Because when you are making the same dress over and over again in different sizes, life starts to suck.

I really need to recover my mannequin don't I?
Anyhoo, they all got sparkly black sashes to tie around their waists. The dresses looked pretty good on stage. They had a good flow when they were dancing. They were going for a 40's vibe, hopefully that comes across.

I went to the show on Thursday. I took pictures with Dan's camera. It was inspiring to see a dance show choreographed mostly by high school students. I miss dancing. And I miss choreographing. I totally want to start some sort of "live music video" thing here in Gilbert. Just pick a bunch of radio songs and create art on stage.

In other news, Asher dislocated his radius on Friday. We didn't even know he was in that much pain, he just didn't want to use his arm. Since Asher was still not moving his arm when he woke up, we went to see a P.A. Saturday morning. That nice man popped my child's bone right back into place. Asher had tears streaming silently down his face. I'm sure it hurt pretty darn bad... but he is one tough cookie.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Today my sweet Gwendolyn Monet turned one year old.

We celebrated with a few gifts. We wrapped up two things that she already had hanging in her closet and a set of cheap fabric blocks from Ikea. The presents were mostly for show... and for Asher. It isn't a real party without a box or two to open. While I was gone (rehearsing kids for our primary program) Dan made a delicious devil's food cake. Gwen liked it, but she is always willing to share.
I am so lucky to be this girl's Mom. She is almost always happy and smiling. She is learning so fast! She says "Uh oh" at appropriate times. She dances whenever she hears music. She loves her family. She is crawling really well now. Someday she will get teeth and more hair and she will start walking. Every child goes at their own pace.
I am loving every step of the way.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


A few of you have asked for this recipe, so here it is straight out of my New Orleans cook book. I make the whole recipe if cooking for guests and half if I'm just cooking for our family. Try it, it is amazing!

2 pounds of meat (I usually do cooked chicken and/or shrimp. Mix it up if you want to)
1 cup oil
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups onions
1/4 cup celery (many times I omit this)
1/3 cup garlic, mashed and minced
2/3 cup green peppers, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 can chicken broth
3 cups water
2 chicken flavored bouillon cubes
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon Tabasco pepper
1 teaspoon fancy paprika

In a large skillet, make roux by stirring oil and flour over slow to medium heat. When roux reaches peanut butter color, add chopped onions, celery, garlic, and green peppers and saute for five minutes. In another skillet (small) melt butter and add tomato paste. Saute paste in butter until smooth and thick, about 5 minutes, and then mix with the roux. Pour in broth, slowly add water with the melted bouillon cubes in it, and balance of seasonings. Cook for 30 minutes. Add crawfish tails (or shrimp or other cooked meat) 5 minutes before serving. Serve with rice.

I'm sure I have a picture of this somewhere. I can't find it now, but when I do the picture will be where these words are now.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Update on the fam

I haven't blogged much this month... partly because I have been very busy. Here is a flash update on each member of our household:

Gwen still looks pretty much the same as she has for the past 9 months or so. She is longer, but she still has the same face, not a lot of hair, no teeth, and tiny feet. She has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia which just means that she is extra flexible in her hip area and it will take her a little longer to learn how to walk and stuff. A wonderful woman named Jessica has been coming to our house every 2 weeks for the last month and a half for therapy and Gwen can now get in and out of sitting by herself and will tolerate standing for long periods of time. She doesn't crawl yet, but she scoots like a champ. I think she would have been famous in China a few decades ago. She is white, chubby, bald, has tiny feet, is a contortionist, and I'm pretty sure she speaks chinese all the time. When Asher was this age (almost a year) he had teeth, his first haircut, and was taking his first steps. But I'm glad I get to pretend like Gwen is a 7 month old for a little bit longer. It is like having a baby forever!
Asher is saying some pretty fun things lately. He is a little obsessed with Harry Potter, but when he started speaking to me in parseltongue we decided to put that movie away for a little while. He still hordes and places toys like an art curator. You may think he is sleeping in the above picture. Not so. He is playing "chop chop ninja" on my iphone. He can work that little piece of technology far better than I can, so I think he might take after his daddy. We are also keeping him away from the games on our phones, hoping that we can bribe him into being potty trained. It is not looking too good right now. I wont go into details.
I am in the last stretch of playing the Baroness Elsa Schrader in the Sound of Music for Copperstar Repertory Co. This is the only picture I have of myself so far... I'm in the lobby with my nieces and nephews. You can't see how epic my hair is, but it is so awesome. It takes Sam at least an hour to do it. He also colored my hair for free at his salon. I'm pretty lucky, because he is dang good. Past clients include Kristen Chenoweth and Hillary Clinton, to name a few. He used to work on Broadway and at a swanky New York salon.
I also painted the abbey wall, sewed humongous nazi flags and runners (as previously stated), and have volunteered my time all over the place for this show... but I am getting paid for the help I've given two times a week to run the kids in the pre-show act. So, yeah. I've been busy.

Dan quit his job at Red Pear and has been venturing out solo. He has a few independent jobs right now, so contracting looks promising so far. He also sold all of his Cannon camera equipment and sort of traded it in for new Nikon stuff. He has a renewed interest in taking pictures, but unfortunately he can't photograph himself. No picture of Dan.
Also, Dan has been really supportive through tech week and performances. He has had both kids from pretty much 4:00 on most days this month and I am so grateful that he supports me in my crazy adventures even when it is hard. I will try not to go overboard with this acting thing... but I just love it so much!
Of course, I love him more...

Monday, October 18, 2010

More sewing

Here are some recent projects:
I made a tutu for my sister-in-law Sara...

I made a pillow out of Dan's torn white church shirt and some sequins...

I also am in the process of making nazi flags for my play. I'm a little scared to post a picture for fear someone will get the wrong idea. But they are HUGE and epic.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Unillustrated Happenings

On Friday we threw a little dinner party for the adult Arizonan members of our family. We have been trying to make this a monthly tradition, and thus far we have been serving up tacos. We took to calling our evenings together "talk 'n tacos" so I was a little nervous to change the rules. But I did it anyway. I made etouffee, rice, jalapeno cornbread muffins, and chocolate souffle with toffee sauce. (There are a lof of double fs in that food! Which is why it could make you ffat.) It was all SOOO good. Sara and Brian brought red berries and fruit dip that was also very delicious and Stephen and Rachel took care of the beverages with soda and Shirley Temples. It was like eating at a really good Cajun restaurant. I'm bragging, I realize, but I'm not kidding when I say- to coin a phrase from my sister Tracy circa 1998 or so- I wanted to go back in time and eat it again.

I always like it when food turns out well for company.

On Saturday Dan was gone all day at SunnyConf, which is a really cool conference for nerds. I think this was the first or second year they have held a rails (that is a computer language for those of you who don't speak geek) conference here in Phoenix, but Dan said they had some programming celebs there, and he met some cool people. He also signed himself up to do a lightning talk, which is where you talk about anything you want for exactly five minutes. He had no idea what he wanted to talk about when he put his name on the list, but he did it anyway. While he was waiting he fixed on a topic and put together some slides to go along with it. He gave the talk to me, and I thought it was pretty funny. I'm really proud of him. I mean, if our positions were reversed I would feel intimidated and freaked out to go out of my comfort zone like that.

I am married to a cool guy.

While he was gone I had 16 cast members from The Sound of Music rehearse at my house. It was super fun. I guess they couldn't get in the theater on Saturday and I told them I had an open area in my front rooms and a grand piano. It worked out perfectly, and I loved watching my kids watching other kids sing and dance to Do Re Mi.

By the way, I'm in the cast of The Sound of Music. I was cast as Elsa, the rich fiancee baroness.

Sorry about the lack of photography.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

That's Life

I never wanted to be in a sorority. It never appealed to me on any level. However, I am a little bit addicted to a facebook game called Sorority Life. I don't care about the part of the game where you fight other girls from rival sororities or the part where you plan events. To me, it is all about collecting outfits and accessories. It is like a game of paper dolls for grown ups. I suppose it appeals to the little girl in me AND the designer in me. I feel like such a shmuck admitting to the fact that I play this game, but hey... we all have our oddities, right?

I know, I'm pathetic.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sewing on the brain

Last night I had a dream I was a contestant on Project Runway. Actually, it was kind of a nightmare even though I was chosen as someone who was "safe." We were making hats out of an article of clothing we owned. Everyone did a terrible job, including Heidi Klum, who was also a contestant.

I mentioned I have been teaching a sewing class. I think more people should learn to sew. I want to teach an adult class too. Here are some shots of a few of my lovely students with their first projects. In case you can't tell, they made their headbands. And they did a great job!

Also, I have decided to sew myself something this week. Stay tuned for the finished product!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Back to normal

Remember that post I did on how CRAZY Lucky the Leprechaun looked? Well, the right people must have read it, because things are back to normal now.
Well, semi-normal. His eyebrows are still indistinguishable from his hair and he still has smoke around him, but it looks less suspicious. Because he doesn't look high.

They are, of course, still pushing the whole teleporting thing, but it looks much more friendly now.

Good for you General Mills, good for you.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Silver Dresser

In case you were wondering what a silver leafed dresser looks like...
... it looks like this.

I really love the way it turned out, but it took a REALLY long time. And I should have ordered the silver leaves in bulk. But it is great to try new things.

Our room colors are greyish blue, white, cream and silver. I think the color palate of our room is relaxing. I have been noticing mirrored furniture, but I don't like the idea of always having to wipe it down. I have never heard of anyone silver leafing a dresser, but I love the way it turned out.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Random Acts

On Friday night I went to the gym with Amy and Michelle. We were just exercising away on the treadmills and elliptical machines in the back and we all had earbuds in so I guess we didn't hear the warning. When we finished up, we were the only ones in the building. The doors were locked. I guess they close at 9:00 on Fridays. We took some pictures for documentation, but none of them turned out well.

On Sunday, one of our neighbors shot an arrow into our house. Yep, you read that right. It was sticking out of our stucco right next to my craft room window. He seemed to be appropriately embarrassed and distraught. We thought it was funny. Especially since he offered to send some people over to patch it up.

I wrote, directed, and choreographed a roadshow that performed on Saturday. I got away with only rehearsing the kids twice! How awesome is that??

Well, I'm teaching a sewing class in about 30 minutes. I guess that is random too, but it's true. Gotta go!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I win again

My friend Emily did her first ever giveaway on her blog Southern Sunshine. And I got a little something in the mail yesterday. This is the second thing I've "won" out in blog land, the first being a super cute monster onesie from Rachelli. Of course, both of my winnings have been through friends' blogs, so maybe they just hooked me up to be nice. Emily actually said she had a lot of extra headbands hanging around, so she could have given one to every person that commented for all I know. Be that as it may, I'm sure glad she unloaded one on me! It is super cute. I tried it on Gwen, and she wasn't super thrilled, which is why I don't have a shot of her wearing it. Soon though... soon.
Little Kenzi even has her own stationary. How cute is that?

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Heather, we miss you.

Heather is Jeff's girlfriend. Asher calls her Feather. She came to stay with us for about a week. Her sole reason in coming was to help me out. I pretty much love her.
This is an abbreviated list of what Heather did for me:
-swept and mopped all the tile in the house
-cleaned my shower (even after I told her she shouldn't have to because it was too gross) and the bathroom
-fed Gwen bottles and baby food
-played with my kids
-dishes, dishes, dishes!
-cleaned all of our blinds
-accompanied me to the gym and motivated me to work out
-fixed lunch
-accompanied me on hard shopping adventures (such as Al's building supplies/seedy junkyard)
-helped me seal and finally finish my silver leafed dresser
-detailed and washed my car

I'm probably leaving at least one thing off this list, but Heather and I accomplished A LOT while she was here. And we had fun! We talked and sang (she asked for a voice lesson, but it was more like a sing-along) and worked out and had a blast. I wish she lived with me. Life is much more fun and easy with her around. Before this week I didn't know Heather well. Now, I think of her as a friend. A sweet, gorgeous, talented, hard-working, motivated, smart, wonderful friend. Come back any time, Heather. You are always welcome here. Oh, and marry Jeff. We need to be related.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Back from Mars

I have sort of an obsessive personality.
I don't obsess about everything. Sometimes the thing I'm obsessing over is good, and sometimes it is bad. There is really no rhyme or reason. For instance, I can see a movie like Inception and think "that was a really good movie" and that's the end of it. But I can see a terrible movie like the most recent version of The Stepford Wives and I can't get it out of my mind. It is a little maddening.
This tendency of mine doesn't just apply to movies. I can get hooked on music, hobbies, or just about anything. If I start reading a book, no matter if it is good or bad, I need to finish it, and quickly. It is a curse, really.
I don't watch much television. I usually tune in to a show via after it has been out for a while. Sometimes the show has already been cancelled, which was the case for my latest foray into a little program called Veronica Mars.
Somehow that show got its hooks into my brain. I know what I have to do when this happens. I just need to get it over with as soon as possible. I need to watch it all and get it out of my system. It is a good thing there were only three seasons. Of course, now that I've seen all they made, I'm a little sad that they left it hanging like that, but I suppose they couldn't help getting cancelled.

I just left Veronica Mars on all the time for a couple days. I missed a lot of what was going on in the second and third seasons, because you know... I had children to care for. But I got the gist and I didn't miss the important stuff. Whew! Anyway, I can come back to reality and live my normal life now. I hope I get obsessed with cleaning soon.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It rhymes with Hurt-y

So. I had a birthday. Despite entering another decade -(shudder)- it was a nice weekend.

Dan got me a piano keyboard that hooks up to my computer. This is awesome because I have written a lot of songs and I want to be able to record them. That man is always thinking. (side note: he had me enter the room where it was already set up, and he rigged up some little mechanism where a ball got knocked onto a box that pressed a button and the computer started playing the Birthday Song. It was awesome!) He also gave me his old iphone and got me a new docking station and a case for it.

I got cards and gifts and facebook love. I guess it is almost worth having a birthday to get that little reminder that other people like me.

I got a massage and a facial. It was.... SO good.

I dyed my own hair for the second time in my life. The first time I was 13 and it came out orange. Now I'm 30 (shudder) and it came out kinda brassy reddish blonde. Think Nicole Kidman meets Draco Malfoy. I'm probably going to try to fix it soon. Notice in the photo I have a wide headband covering the offending part of my head.
Sorry Dan and Gwen. This is my blog and I will show the best picture of myself at the expense of others.

We had Dan's Arizona siblings (minus the still vacationing Amy) over for tacos and cake the day after my b-day. It wasn't exactly for my birthday per se, but it was fun to get together. We vowed to do something like this more often.

We fit them all at our itty bitty table.

P.S. On my birthday my children had 4 different caregivers in one day! FOUR! First the gym day care, then my friend Nancy watched them while I went to Massage Envy, then a girl with 7 siblings from church came to be here while they were napping while I tried to go get my license renewed at the MVD (yes, that is what they call the DMV out here) but they were closed randomly, and then my lovely niece Hannah watched them while Dan took me to eat at Carrabas. That is a record I hope will never be topped.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Updates Galore


She has been eating solids (no chunks) and sitting like a pro for quite a few weeks now. I remembered that I was supposed to be reading books to her everyday so I have been trying to do that. She eats ok... not as well as Asher did, but she gets the job done most of the time. She also takes in less liquid, which is a problem here in the dry hot Arizona air. I try to make her drink water bottles, but so far she only likes water if she is sucking on a rag in the bath. She won't put her weight on her feet, and maybe it is because they are still the size of a newborn's. As I mentioned before, she has the EXACT same size feet as her cousin Zach who is 8 weeks old. I have given up on socks and tights. They don't work at all.


Tic Tacs are candy to him. Also- he calls Gwen's Gerber bites "starfish" and Sunny D "Sunshine." Marshmallows are still "secrets" and business cards and receipts are "treasures." He will call any ball a "space ball" especially the little squishy basketball around here. He has a few mispronunciations like "hangabars"(hamburgers) "callapaters" (caterpillars) and "Minjas" (Ninjas). He is getting more imaginative, and the other day he pointed to some clouds and called them "polar bear mountains." We were reading his "foot book" and he pointed to a duck and told me it had "diver feet." He currently has a preoccupation with an imaginary scary orange hippy-pot-o-mus (another mis-pronunciation.)

No picture, sorry.
Not much going on with me. I go to the gym a lot. I tried a diet that was supposed to make me lose 12 pounds in 2 weeks, and I was starving, but in a week and a half I had gained a pound instead of losing any, so I decided to quit that. I'm about to turn 30, which is a coincidence because that is exactly the number of pounds I would like to lose (at the minimum). I have a lot of housework to do all the time. I'm not reading anything, going anywhere or hanging out with anybody. I don't have any goals or projects I'm working on. I got a new calling of primary song leader which is something I never really wanted to do although everyone thinks that is a perfect calling for me. I got released from my nursery singing calling which I loved. I promise I'll let you know if anything exciting happens to me in the future, because right now I'm just kinda sitting around watching my kids. Good thing they're cute.

Still cute and skinny and smart and working for Red Pear. He also has other projects that come his way every once in a while, which is nice. He works on his website every now and again adding features and whatnot. He is a secretary in the Elder's Quorum Presidency and he still takes the occasional picture of our kids as seen above. I'm glad he has talent and a good camera. Cute pictures of my kids are nice to have.

Wow. This feels like the kind of Christmas Card we never send out! Sorry for boring anyone who made it this far. I guess this is mostly for... posterity?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 17th

This past Saturday marked two important dates in our lives. First of all, exactly one year ago we moved into our house. Secondly (and far more importantly) the 17th is Asher's birthday. He turned three years old.

I laugh when I think about how we commemorated these events. First of all, there was no celebration for our house. Not one room is "done" as far as decorating goes. The house is still lacking in furniture and style. Some rooms need paint. The house didn't even get cleaned for it's anniversary. Sad I know.

On all the mommy blogs I see out there in cyberspace, every child's birthday party is amazing. There are themes and tons of children. There are specialty cakes and fun favors. Not to make Asher feel left out, I decided on a theme. Would you like to know what it was? Of course you would. The theme was "cheap and free stuff."

Yep. He got some cheap birthday hats and some cheap red and blue streamers that were hung unevenly through the blinds on our windows. The cake was free: an ice cream cake that Grandpa bought from the grocery store while he was in town that we never busted out. We wrapped things like tic tacs and fruit snacks. I got most of his gifts on sale at the Disney store. I didn't buy anything that wasn't at least half off. There were no kids at his party, unless you count his baby sister.
We did much better last year. Somehow as we were moving into our house we had time to make a Wall-E cake and invite cousins and stuff. Right now all the cousins are in California, so that didn't work out this time. We still have no friends, so there was no one else to invite.

The thing is... it didn't really matter. Asher is only three after all, he doesn't know he is supposed to have friends or themes or anything. He loved opening things like tic tacs just as much as he loved opening his Buzz Lightyear shirt or Hamm piggy bank. He still had a fun time, and hopefully I'll try harder when he is older and he cares more.

See. Look how happy he is. All the time. No matter what.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Another Visit

Last weekend I had some family members in town again. How lucky am I that I keep getting visited? Kristy and her three kids came as well as Lori and her two boys and my mom and dad. We were all comfy in this house, but I really need to think about getting a queen sized bed set up in a guest room. We have so many visitors and only one extra twin bed.

Anyway, I keep not blogging about it because I don't really have any pictures. I took a few, but my camera battery ran out and I can't find my charger. So here it is... my very late blog with no pictures. Here are some of our highlights:

- Kristy's and my kids playing outside at the mall play area in the heat. That took the energy right out of them, and quick! They play really well together and it was fun to watch.
- Reanne and Sierra conspiring to give me and Asher gifts because it is our birth month. They got Asher a frog that terrifies him (you can never tell what is going to put him over the edge), and me two pots of pretty flowers that I can't seem to keep alive. Thanks girls for being thoughtful, and thanks Kristy for paying for those treats!
- We went to my Grandma's 79th birthday! It was special to be there with so many relatives even though my grandma actually hates to be fussed over and doesn't like crowds much. She loves her family, so she put a brave face on. I love my Grandma.
- I loved just sitting and talking with my family. I miss that.
- We watched some old embarrassing family videos. So funny.
- We went to Cornish Pastys again! LOVE that food. (It is especially good when just coming off of a diet.)
- We discovered on the last day of our trip that Gwen and Zach's feet are the same size. Exactly. Zach is EIGHT WEEKS OLD. Gwen is almost eight MONTHS old. We knew she had tiny feet, but this is ridiculous. If they had a chart for feet size she probably wouldn't register.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Most Important One

I did get one thing from my project pile done before Tracy left... I finished her dress! You know, the one I started in December...

So this is how it turned out. Not the best pictures in the world... just taken with my point and shoot out back in my weedy yard. Of course, I had a lovely model so she did her part. If only I were a better photographer...

Here is a shot of the lace hem. I love the way it turned out.

A few more details...

Happy late late late birthday, Tracy!
P.S. Doesn't she look fantastic???

Inspiration Comes to Town

Tracy, whom I recently referred to as my inspiration, came to visit this past weekend. I said I would get 10 things done from my project pile before she came.... unfortunately that didn't end up happening. I did a few things, but I didn't even like the way they turned out, so I didn't post about them. Also my brother and his wife came to visit right before Tracy did, so I was busy with them and didn't have as much time as I thought I would to work on projects. Anyhoo, I had a fun time with Chad and Clara working out at my gym and looking at model homes and eating at Cornish Pastys and chatting. I also more recently had fun with Tracy being crafty and cooking and going to Joe's Farmhouse and the Wizard of Oz and window shopping and getting pedicures and talking.

While Tracy was here, we made necklaces and headbands. The necklaces were replicas from the J. Crew store and the headbands were an idea we saw at Designer Blvd. (among other places). She also made lemon cake that was to die for! If you want to see the recipe or a semi-tutorial of the headbands complete with gross pictures of me, head on over to her blog.

I guess I am in charge of the necklace tutorial, but I don't feel like going in to detail. Mostly because we just made it up as we went along, and because they were sort of fragile in the end. I wore mine to church and Gwen almost tore it apart. Anyway, if you want to make it you need strips of chiffon fabric, large glass pearls, a few large black jet beads and string.

We used black thread and strung all of our beads first. We knotted the thread so that the beads would stay about a thumbprint's width apart. Then it was time to lie them down on our long strip of chiffon.
We kind of wrapped the beads in the chiffon and then used other smaller strips of the same material and tied knots in between the beads. I tied the knots twice so that they wouldn't fall apart, and I tied them quite tight.
We left enough room at the end of our chiffon strips to tie a bow. They ended up looking pretty good, but like I said they were kind of fragile. If I were to do it again, I think I would wrap the beads in two long strips of chiffon instead of one, and I would knot those two together in between each bead.

Monday, June 14, 2010


So, I have a bunch of projects that are almost done. I guess I'm one of those people. You know, the kind that start things that they never finish. Well, I'm going to try to change that. I'll finish the "almost finished" things from my project pile, and I will report. Since my sister Tracy is my inspiration (she does something awesome like everyday) I will try to get 10 things done by the time she comes to visit on the 24th. (Yay!!)

Side note: I've also become one of those moms. You know, the kind that ignore their children in favor of something stupid and inconsequential. I used to be APPALLED by mothers who were watching TV, and who's kids would come up and beg for some attention. "Will you read to me Mommy? Can you play with me Mommy? Will you LOOK at me Mommy?" All the while the Mother was staring at the latest dumb reality TV show saying "Go away. Not now. Can't you see that fat guy is trying to get naked girl off the island??" I hated that those Mommy's were messing up their own reality in favor of some stupid alternate reality. But now that is me. I get tired of playing with, feeding, and caring for my kids all the time so I turn to the computer many times a day while my kids just have to deal. Do you know how many cute blogs there are out there? Anyway, those cute mommy blogs are not my reality, so I've decided that I will only do this while my kids are asleep or otherwise engaged. If they need me, the computer gets put away!!
In fact... I hear Asher waking up now. Good bye computer!

Friday, June 4, 2010

For the record

A few things about my girl:

  • Her feet are still so tiny. The only socks that will stay on her feet are the skinny infant kind.
  • She is the happiest kid ever. She may cry when she wakes up, but she gives you the hugest smile right when you walk in the room. And sometimes she doesn't even cry when she wakes up.
  • She doesn't have a lot of hair, but her eyelashes are to die for! They are light though, so they are hard to see... but you just wait until she is old enough for mascara. (16, right?)
  • She is 30th percentile for weight and 75th for height, so you would think she would look skinny. She doesn't. She is chub-a-licious.
  • She loves her brother. Sometimes if she is fussing a little bit, Asher comes over and says "Shh. Momma's gotchu, momma's gotchu." He also randomly pats her head and says "Sweet Baby Gwenners!"
  • She's not so good at rolling from tummy to back. She has done it, but she usually just makes noise until you help her back onto her backside.
  • No scooting yet. And no sitting. She can support her weight just fine, but she doesn't have balancing down.
  • She likes to chew on her foot right now.

We all love her in this house. I can't believe she is already almost 7 months old. It is amazing how time flies.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Back to SB

I am the crazy lady who drove from Arizona to California and back with her two babies but without her husband. It actually wasn't too bad of a drive because the kids are so good in the car, but the dinner stop was hard. They slept a lot on the way. (Yay!) I almost did too.(Boo!) They were pretty good on the way back, but we had our moments.
While in Santa Barbara we stayed with my parents. In one room. It ended up working out surprisingly well. We needed the other rooms for Tracy and her posse (Lorelie, Ashlee and Steve. Brad and his wife came, but didn't stay the night at the house.)

Here's the travelogue:

Thursday: Arrive late. Talk to family for a while anyway. Sleep.

Friday: Drive up to the mountains with Tracy and hang out with Mom, Lori, William, and 2 week old Zachary. Have lunch there and laze around the river for a while. See some dear. Head down the mountain and go to the Hixon's house. Talk and order pizza for dinner.

Saturday: Go to the beach and rent one of those tourist bikes that holds a lot of people and enjoy a cruise around the warf area with Mom, Asher, Gwen, Tracy and her friends Lorelie and Ashlee. Drop kids off for nap time and walk around Paseo Nuevo. Head back for a fantastic Mills BBQ.

Sunday: Go to church with no husband and two kids during nap time. Miss out on the talks due to Asher yelling things like "I don't LIKE to whisper!" and "I don't WANT to be reverent!" as well as the need to distract a hungry baby. Forgo talking to anyone due to the necessity of taking grumpy (Asher) and hungry (Gwen) kids home. Go to the I Maddonari chalk festival (sans children) with Tracy and friends. Run into The Nelsons. Take pictures. Another Mills BBQ. Hang out with the family (including the Wrenns) and give William and Asher a bath. After Wrenns leave, play the game "Things" with Tracy's funny friends until we are all too tired.

Monday: Hang out with the family. Have hamburgers. Allez chez Hixon to be with the in-laws and the Westenskows. Go to La Cumbre Plaza with all the girls. Observe my skinny nieces in cute clothes and swimwear. Come back, chat, go back to the Mills home. Chill.

Tuesday: Get everything together and go. Have a harder time going back than coming out. Be VERY happy to see Dan.

If you want a more detailed recap, feel free to visit my beautiful sister's blog. We didn't do everything together, but we did a lot! And she has a lot of pictures.
I just love these two... had to post!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


We saw the movie Julie/Julia two days ago. I liked it for a few reasons.
a) Meryl Streep is the best. She IS Julia.
b) Amy Adams looked like a normal person. She wasn't Hollywood skinny and she kind of had an unattractive mullet. Also, her character was married to the character she was living with. Love that.
c) The plot was refreshing and not the average Hollywood formula.
d) The movie was pro-blog.
e) I have a connection or two with Julia Child.

Let me explain that last one. First of all I had some voice students in Santa Barbara who's parents were like BFFs with Julia Child. They were even photographed in Martha Stewart's magazine with her at a dinner party before Julia passed away.
Also, I've met Julia Child. I was acting in a Gilbert and Sullivan show at the Santa Barbara Women's Club and she was in the audience. Afterward, she wanted to meet the cast members. So, I got my picture taken with her. Just me and Julia. I never got a copy of that picture, unfortunately. She met Dan too. We were engaged and I was 20 years old and Julia was a little concerned. She was a sweet lady. She also asked me about my "marks" in school.
One of the reasons I loved this movie is it made me understand her more. I didn't know much about her when I met her. Now I realize maybe the reason she was concerned about my engagement is because she got married for the first time when she was in her late 30s. (But Julia, I'm just as in love with my husband as you were! Eight years and counting.) I wish I could meet her again now. I would have a lot more to say.
I also thought for some reason that it was really cool that I accomplished something, without even trying, that Julie in the movie wanted so badly to do. Somehow it made me feel accomplished. Odd, I know.

The last reason I liked this movie is I think it inspired my husband. He made some delicious tacos for lunch today and we made YUMMY bread this afternoon. I've already had three fat slices.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How is it done?

So, for those who want to know how to spend $30 a week on groceries, I'll tell you what I do. There is no guarantee that this will work for you. Remember, this is eating in to my food storage a little bit. And I don't count diapers and toiletries, mostly because I buy those in bulk and they last a LONG time.

I should tell you, we are an "eat meat sparingly" kind of family. And when I say sparingly, I mean it. I think this is the most cost effective way to eat. I buy some bulk frozen hamburger and some frozen chicken tenderloins from Costco about once every six months. I buy frozen shrimp every so often.

Also, I am a "creative" cook. If I don't have everything for a recipe, sometimes I omit or substitute. Sometimes I end up liking the results better than the original.

Here is a sample of what I bought one week:
(from Costco)
5 dozen eggs ... $4.19
100 corn tortillas ... $2.79
50 8" flour tortillas ... $3.69
2 pound block of cheddar .. $4.49
2 pound block of monty jack ... 4.49
(from grocery store)
bag of potatoes ... $ .98
2 bell peppers ... $ .98
bag of oranges ... $ .98
bag of onions ... $ .98
gallon of milk .. $1.68
spaghetti noodles ... $1.59
head of lettuce ... $ .40
a few cans of tomato sauce ... $ 2.00
a few cans of pinto beans ... $1.00

Ok, so that ends up to be about $30. I have to just say "no" to junk food, ice-cream, and novelty items, which I suppose makes me healthier in the long run anyway. And I add up prices as I go, always rounding up. I think to myself, "do I really need this item this week?" and if the answer is "I guess not" I don't get it. Also, when I go to the grocery store to purchase food I always get whatever veggies and fruits are cheapest, whatever they may be.
Here are the meals you can make with all this food:
Cheese enchiladas (And make a second pan for the freezer for next week) and beans
spaghetti with garlic bread and salad
potato soup with salad and muffins (from pantry)
stir fry with rice and oranges
Etoufee with rice
roasted pepper quiche with baked potatoes
quesadillas, oranges and beans
heuvos rancheros

Of course, you will have loads of eggs and tortillas (and probably cheese) left over for next week, so you can free up the majority of your $30 budget to buy other staples you may be running low on like flour, rice, frozen veggies, pancake mix or meat.

Well, that is the gist. With that said, I did do this the whole first year we were married, but it is a lot harder now with two kids. I have decided that $60 is much more comfy.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Food Extravaganza

Lately we have been trying this experiment where I only spend $30 a week on groceries. Thirty per week is what I spent on groceries for about the first year of our marriage. It is harder with two kids, but doable if you don't count diapers and the occasional supplemental baby formula. Also, we are eating into our food storage a little bit. Lesson learned: either food has gotten more pricey in 7 years, or kids really are expensive!

Today I felt like cooking. A lot. I made crock pot potato soup and blueberry muffins for dinner. I also made chalupes for later and a roasted veggie soup that I can use as a base for lasagne and other italian dishes this week. I had, as Dan put it, a "cookingpalooza" today. I'm probably going to make bread now because we ran out and Dan brings lunch to work.

I made my favorite yummy easy salad for dinner as well. I will share the recipe:

Arugula Salad

-arugula lettuce (can be found at most supermarkets or at Trader Joe's)
-olive oil
-lemon juice
-parmesan cheese (please use freshly grated!)

Put the arugula in a bowl, squeeze a lemon over it. Drizzle with olive oil. Flavor with salt and pepper. Top with grated parmesan, to taste.
I have also added shaved red onion and avocado, which both taste fantastic!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Ok- all you really need to know about Easter is that Asher was egg-cited to find eggs... until he spotted his easter basket with Woody and Buzz Lightyear inside. Those two are currently his favorite toys. He is sleeping with them right now. Maybe he will be more excited for hunting next year.

We went to Santa Barbara for a week. We came back on Sunday. It was crazy to see the city where I have lived the vast majority of my life in a different light. There were so many things that I didn't remember! I noticed how worn down things looked, how narrow the streets were, and how there are hills just about everywhere. I never realized any of that until I moved to a brand new, very flat part of Arizona.

We stayed with Dan's folks. They were wonderful hosts, and their guest bed is a dream to sleep on. Gwen slept in the closet and Asher slept in a port-a-crib in the sewing room. He didn't appear to mind his demotion in the bed department. Nor did he climb out and get into the needles, scissors, paper cutters, or other dangerous things that surrounded him on every side. Yay.

For those of you who hate long posts, sorry. I will give you bullet points and you can stop reading after that. Here goes:

Sunday: Church. Mills dinner.
Monday: Mountains. River. Birthday.
Tuesday: Zoo. Habit. Anna. Kahuna.
Wednesday: Shoreline. Forbidden sandwiches. Date. Party in my Stomach. Frostads.
Thursday: Train. D'Vine. Carousel. LATE Pizza.
Friday: Pacific Crepes. La Cumbre. Paseo Nuevo. Late Chinese.
Saturday: Simi. R&A Hixons. Prom Pictures. Murphys.
Sunday: Church. Homeward.

Sunday we went to church and saw a lot of people we haven't seen in about a year. It was great. After church we went to the Sunday feast at my parent's house. It did not disappoint. It was wonderful to be with family and the food was REALLY good.

Monday we went up the mountain to my sister's place in the wilderness. Lori is very pregnant, but she guided our little hike down to the river. Asher and William had some cousin time throwing rocks in the water. They got dirty. The Wren's abode is pretty awesome looking. My sister is really good at actively making her house look great on a budget. She should blog.
Mom Hixon made a delicious dinner for her husband's birthday and we got to partake.

Tuesday we went to the zoo with Dan's dad. We met Lori and William there. The kids LOVED it and Asher has not stopped talking about the animals. After our zoo outing we went to the Habit and had some delicious food. I didn't know I missed that tri-tip sandwich til I was eating it. We parted ways and I was pleased to find Moma H's book club just ending at the homestead. My friend Anna was there and I was SO happy I got to talk with her. She is awesome.
We finished our day with Ceasar salad at the Kahuna grill. We split a coconut shake and Asher stared at the fish.

Wednesday I went to the park play group with Lori & William. It was sunny but windy. Luckily Shoreline park is encircled by thick wooden posts which stopped a lot of the wind. It was fun to see some of the moms I used to see every week. Then Lori came over to the Hixon's where we fixed some forbidden sandwiches-- "forbidden" because the Swiss cheese and rye bread were only supposed to be used for Rubens and Mama H was pretty upset that we would use any of those components without making a Ruben, but we didn't want Rubens, could we please have some cheese? She finally caved and let us have the kind of sandwiches we wanted.
That night Dan and I went out on a date -without children- to the Palace Grill. We knew we wanted to eat there while we were back in SB. We split popcorn crawfish, etoufee, and a chocolate soufflé. Pure heaven. (Did I mention we went on a date without kids?!) Later we got together with our friends Jon and Karen Frostad. They brought homemade nutella ice cream. It was pretty dang good.

Thursday we went to the train station so that Asher could see a real live train come in. There is also an old train car on the lot, which he liked a lot. I think he also enjoyed the modern train, but he was just quietly taking it all in. That is his way sometimes. We then went to the carousel and Asher "rode a horse" against his will. His dad was standing right next to him, but he cried until the ride slowed down. (He was better behaved at Disneyland.) However, he still talks about it so he might not cry next time. We (my mom, Dan, Dan's folks, the kids and I) met one of Dan's ex co-workers and Jeff at D'Vine, a lovely yummy sandwich shop on De la Vina Street. When we went home we played the Wii and ordered pizza that took FOREVER to get there. Asher was soooo hungry and confused. He kept going from person to person and just looking at them sadly or resting his sad head on them- and when I say "them" I mean mostly me. I don't think he knew what the problem was. He might be like his dad that way... not recognizing hunger for what it is.

Friday we went to Pacific Crepes for lunch. The woman who runs it and takes your order speaks French. She is not too great with English, so I felt slightly useful. Of course my limited French is pretty rusty, but I got my pregnant sister to a bathroom. The dessert crepes were delish! Dan went off to his old work while I went with my sister and mom (and the kids) to La Cumbre Mall. We didn't really do a lot there, currently there are a lot of empty stalls where there used to be stores. But I did go in to Max Azria and look at the clothes while Gwen and William slept and Asher played in the fountain.
Later I went to the other mall downtown and got my eyebrows done with Dan's mother. We walked around a bit more than we should have and we were late coming home to start dinner. We made a ton of chinese food and my parents brought a coconut cake over. We had a fun time hanging out.

Saturday we went down to Simi Valley and hung out with Roger and Alison. My niece Clara was pretty impressed that I could do back handsprings on her trampoline. To be honest, so was I. We then went to the Murphy's where we would be staying the night. We dressed up a little bit to go to a "modest prom" and take pictures. Well, Dan took the pictures, I took the money. Someone else took our kids. For almost 4 hours! Yowza, it was a lot of work. We were busy the whole time, and that was fun. Hopefully the kids like their photos.

Well, that is it. Probably a little too much info, but this blog is mostly for me. I'm selfish.
I'll post some pictures later.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Trick

Gwen started rolling over today. She did it a lot. Mostly it was back to tummy, but a few of her tricks were front to back. Here is a sequence of photos documenting Gwen rolling precariously on the couch. (Don't worry my foot was totally ready to catch her if she started slipping off the edge...)

I should note that she is wearing her Easter dress from the Dollar Store. It shrank a little in the wash, so it is a summer shirt now. I kinda forgot to blog about Easter. Maybe I'll do that soon. I need to clean my house first.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jam Session

I'll tell you two of the best things about living close to my sisters-in-law: they are motivated and they are inclusive. When they are doing something awesome like having lunch or making strawberry jam I am invited. It is the best, because I would probably never do these things on my own.

Today we made strawberry freezer jam at Sara's house. I kind of wish I took pictures of all of us in Sara's cute aprons, but I only got a shot of the massive amounts of jam we made. I personally walked away with 24 jars. Yes, I have tasted it. Yes, it is delicious.

Afterward we had a joint birthday lunch for Amy and Rachel at an amazing restaurant called Joe's Farm Grill. (This is one of the first eateries Dan and I experienced in AZ. I should probably do an extra blog entry about how awesome it is.) Truth be told it was Amy's 5th birthday lunch or something, but nobody is complaining. We love to get together. And Rachel needed one anyway.

I missed my zumba class at the gym, but I suppose that is alright every once in a while.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 1st

Today is April Fools day. This is my least favorite "holiday." I celebrated by asking Gwen if she had been eating rainclouds. I know that has nothing to do with anything, but that is the closest I got to a joke.