Southern Californian Poutine (Going Out: The Kroft in Tustin)

It all started off, as most mealtimes do these days, with my toddler wanting french fries. While he adored them (what toddler doesn’t?) before he ever set foot in the USA, he discovered an entirely different level of availability while we were in California this past autumn. It seemed that every restaurant we went to would randomly throw fries onto the plate, just to spite me. Steak and fries. Sandwich and fries. Soup and fries. It was an epidemic. We had to impose a limit, just to make sure he didn’t give up entirely on the five food groups in …

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Knit Pattern: Garter Stitch Mobius Cowl for Babies and Toddlers

This cowl was the result of my needing something to keep from fidgeting during a language course last year. As was usual in the autumn, I started carrying yarn and needles around in my bag to keep my hands occupied. This led to my friend wanting to pick up knitting again and asking for a simple but practical beginner pattern. Scarves, I told her. Great, my girls need scarves, she said. But not the dangly ones — an infinity sort that will sit neatly because we have to put so many layers on them during the winter, she added. So we started …

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Japanese Anemone hybrid ‘Serenade’

  Last spring I planted two little anemones in a little leftover triangle of soil with the vague hope that they might actually survive and make an otherwise unremarkable corner remarkable. While the one on the left seems to have either succumbed to bad weather or weed competition, this little hybrid Japanese anemone has come back for the second year now. It seems to prefer putting on a show in September, which is just fine with me because that’s usually when all the other flowers in the garden are closing up shop. They are kept purely for ornamental reasons, though …

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Pin There, Done That: Baking Soda and Essential Oil Room Freshener Jars

So with two cats, a potty-training toddler, my various kitchen experiments and a sports-inclined significant other all rattling around the house, you can imagine that an assortment of smells manage to waft through on a daily basis. That’s why I got really excited when I found some posts about making your own air fresheners from household items. All I had to do was whip up half a dozen to place strategically around the house, and my days of burning candles and chasing after everybody with Febreze would be done! Well, that was the plan, anyway. Ingredients roundup! Six small, clean jars that …

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Most important meal of the day.

Just uncovered this from the photo dump folder while I was cleaning up and had to post it to the blog. I have to wonder just how many other moms out there have this same dilemma. Although I always have snacks for the little guy available in my purse, I will forget to pack my own breakfast three times out of five a week. At least this means that my supply of baby snacks is always relatively fresh 😉 Those Moomin whole grain and fruit cereal bars (middle) are pretty tasty, actually. The Ella’s cookies were a bit dry but …

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French Toast Cut-Outs

Right, so I realize that this one is sort of a cheat, because who doesn’t like french toast? Especially when it’s cut into cute little animal shapes and drizzled with maple syrup? To be fair, the recipe that I used from Annabel Karmel’s New Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner did not have any added sugar element, as befitted something for very small people. However, since I was making the toast for everybody and the baby saw me using syrup, he had to have a bit too. It is pretty much this recipe without the sugar and with a bit …

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Pin There, Done That: Vinegar Soap Fruitfly Traps

Behold, my friends, a thing of great beauty. Yes, I am sharing a cup of dead flies with you. First nettles, now flies — I really know how to charm ’em, right? Since our garden yields lots of fruit and I process as much of it in the kitchen as possible, fruitflies inevitably show up each year in early autumn. While they die away of their own accord after a few days, they can get super annoying when I’m in the middle of a week-long preserving binge. I’ve tried variations of this trap with juice and other stuff in the …

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It’ll last longer.

This gallery contains 5 photos.

These are actually pictures of last year’s birthday bouquet, but I didn’t put them up yet so they’re still fair game. It makes me feel better, paging through pictures of bouquets (and their attached memories) during the times when they are lacking. We were on the other side of the planet from home this birthday so things were a bit more subdued. But hey, at least the weather’s still warm here and we got to go trick or treating, so there’s that!

Wild, wild west.

Early last week, an old friend and I were taking the little guy to Pan Pacific Park’s huge playground sets for a quick romp when we noticed this little drama unfolding in a tree close to us. Yeah, you might have to squint a little, they’re both well-camouflaged. It’s like those trips to the zoo where you spend 20 minutes at each exhibit trying to find the lizard in the foliage. See them now? Little grey squirrel at the bottom left. Hungry falcon (hawk?) at the upper right. I can’t tell what species he is, since ornithology was never my …

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Final Countdown

Saw these in a Bay Area mall and had to share, because they were the most entertaining and colorful voting posters I’ve seen in a long time. They are courtesy of the California Museum, so I guess it’s still backed by the state, but it’s refreshing after all the texty tabloidy stuff we’ve been steamrolled with this past year.