Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!!

Our December in a nutshell:

Happy New Year and many blessings! All the best for a healthy, peaceful, and prosperous year ahead.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just One of Those Days

Our weather has been incredibly mild this fall (must be to make up for the cool summer that we had). The temperature even got close to 80F on Monday. Warm enough to take a stroll in the moonlight by the lagoon. I think that fall is finally settling in, though. The nights are getting cool, and the air feels crispy. M and I had a nice time looking for pretty fall leaves to press this afternoon.

This was the best part of the day. Otherwise it just happened to be one of those days. In trying to be a good parent, it is easy to put high expectations on yourself (and sometimes your kids). And it can be very difficult when you don't quite meet them. Just need to remember to let go and focus on the present. This in itself seems like such a challenge because as a mom, I am faced with constant parenting decisions throughout the day. And sometimes I feel woefully inadequate to meet them. Sigh.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Long Weekend at the Casa

It's Tuesday. Everyone is back in school and his or her routine. The kids had four days off for Veteran's Day (and considering we didn't have too many scheduled activities!). On Thursday, K had a fantastic field trip with the troop. She went to the Tech Museum and attended a workshop at which she earned her "Make It Matter" badge. She got it that day and was extremely proud.

M had a "play date" with Mommy and Daddy which consisted of going to the park across the street, lunch out at her favorite restaurant (which right now is McDonald's--it used to be Baja Fresh), a trip to our favorite used book store, and a hot cocoa from Peet's (where we read "Junie B. Jones Is a Beauty Shop Guy"). This outing was fun for everyone.

Friday we headed out to Half Moon Bay to eat lunch at Ketch Joanne. The weather was gorgeous (why didn't I think to snap a picture?). We walked around Pillar Point and were excited by the possibility of lots of yummy cioppino this winter. Crab nets were stacked in piles by the hundreds because commercial crab season opened yesterday.

Add to the weekend some Girl Scout booth sales, choir practice, teaching church school, homemade pumpkin pancakes, and a Fred Astaire movie. We were busy, but got to spend lots of family time together. These weekends are rare, and I cherish them.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Read All about It

All of a sudden M has started putting sounds together into words and words into sentences. She is so ready to read! About a month ago she said to me, "Mommy, I just really want to know how to read." Totally understandable given that everyone in the family are readers. Maybe three weeks ago it was like a switch turned on and she started piecing together three letter words. Her teacher started sending little books home with her. M has been incredibly eager--she'll read two small stories every night and bring them back the next day for two more.

The challenge has been trying to keep up with her curiosity and drive to learn. I really want to encourage her interest. So far K and I have made little readers for M. I put together the booklets, and K helps to illustrate them (I had M do drawings once, but she got tired after a while and was more interested in the reading part). Another activity that I put together is simply flash cards. I initially had some 3-letter words from when K was in kindergarten, but I've mixed in some 4-letter words as M seems ready. I've also added the names of different family members and pets, as well as some kindergarten sight words (i.e., "a," "she"). The flash cards are not as exciting, but M likes the feeling of accomplishment when she finishes a stack. Plus they are good for when we have a few minutes of "waiting time." 

K's teacher has urged her to practice her flash cards to really learn the basics. It's harder to get her to do these, and I admit, math flash cards can be a bit tedious. Is there any way to make it more fun? Something to look into....

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fall Days

It has been busy, busy to say the least. We've been working hard to put the house back together after all of our summer projects. And it seems impossible to fix up or tidy up one area of the house without feeling like you have to do all the other areas of the house. More to come on all this....

Girls have both started Girl Scouts this year and love it. M is a Daisy, and K started as a Junior. Both girls have been making new friends at their new school, enjoying their teachers, and generally having a great year (which I am so thankful for). I am learning huge amounts about the Montessori curriculum and appreciate it the more I learn.

M has actually begun reading. Several weeks ago she stated to me "I just really want to know how to read." Bit by bit she has begun sounding out words. It is very exciting to watch.

The girls' school does historical Halloween which is incredible to see. Lots of George Washingtons and Queen Elizabeths, but also John Lennon, Mother Theresa, and Frieda Kahlo. The most amazing part is watching the entire school get into a giant timeline. And there was also a living Mount Rushmore!

This year's Halloween costumes included a witch and Lucille Ball (courtesy of Grandpa of course--I contributed the wig and the hat). K won third place for Cutest Costume at our local Halloween Festival. She was thrilled and received more candy than she could possibly eat and tons of other goodies. Great to see her so happy.

J had his birthday last week. The best part was going to an early morning breakfast after dropping off the kids. We were also treated to a yummy Thai dinner by his father.

Crazy schedule this semester, but everyone is doing well and enjoying their activities. Can't complain....

Thursday, September 9, 2010


K and M both started at a new school this year. It was a sudden switch for K and she was understandably upset at first, but thankfully, both of the girls seem to be adjusting really well. They both like their teachers, and they are making new friends. And the girls like to see each other during the day. It's an adjustment for us, too, getting to know a new routine, new school, new people. So far it's been a positive experience for everyone and the values of the school seem to be so much more in line with our own. Plus this school has a music and art focus--right up their alley!

M started Girl Scouts tonight. She is a Daisy Troop, and she had a great time. Hoping that she will form bonds with this group of girls and have another resource available to her as she grows up. Want to get K into an eqaully positive Juniors Troop. Mostly, I want my girls to be happy, well-rounded individuals who get to do activities that they enjoy.

Slowly all the house stuff is coming together. I am impatient, though. Maybe an office pic tomorrow? It is the room that is the most put together right now.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ready, Set, Kindergarten!

It's here. The day I've been dreading and dreading. M starts kindergarten tomorrow. How did that happen so quickly? Sigh.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Too Funny!

I just had to put this up!  I thought it was clever, creative, and funny.  Best of all, it features one of my all-time favorites stores--Ikea!  It is a serialized soap opera filmed by a group of actors in Ikea itself without the store's knowledge.  Be ready for low quality filming, cheesy soap opera acting (but I kind of thought that was hilarious), and lots of intrigue.  You may find it a bit silly, but I have a warped sense of humor.  I have yet to finish the "season," but enjoy....

Friday, August 20, 2010

Simple, But Sweet

It was birthday time yesterday (look at the blazing cake!). Seems like birthday celebrations get smaller, but so much sweeter as you get older. K and M have been whispering and planning since last week, and they pulled off a very thoughtful little gift. Ate yummy dim sum with my family (parents included), got treated to delicious frozen yogurt, and received phone calls and emails with good wishes from family and friends. What a wonderful time!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gold Country!

K learned all about the California Gold Rush last year in fourth grade. She was itchin' to try her hand at panning for gold in the same rivers where the rush began. So two weeks ago we planned a short trip to Sacramento and Coloma. It was actually a lot of fun (I figured the summertime valley heat would put a damper on the fun part). We visited Old Sacramento, the California State Railroad Museum, and Sutter's Fort. Then on to Placerville (Hangtown as it used to be know) and the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park where we saw Sutter's Mill (where gold was first found in 1848) and got to try our hand at panning. No "Eureka" for us (we just found some really pretty shiny flakes), but the man next to us found a big nugget--and he didn't even have a pan!! What a memorable trip for him! We still dug (get it?) the experience and had a great time.

M's favorite part had to be the "fancy" mermaid statue at the hotel in West Sacramento. My favorite part had to be our stay at the historic Cary House Hotel in Placerville. It houses the second oldest elevator west of the Mississippi and we could only go in it two people at a time. I think we will have to plan more "theme" trips in the future. There was something for everyone in this trip!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Growing Up

Look what happened today. Sigh. So very exciting that M is growing up, but also a little bittersweet to realize she is not a baby anymore. Kindergarten starts in two weeks. How can the last five years have passed by so quickly?

Saturday, July 31, 2010


OK, our house is a wreck. (We've got projects going on....more in a couple of weeks or so.) These pics are embarrassing, like showing our home's underwear or something. But I still managed to pull together dinner! Love, love, love summertime! These are omelettes with onions, cilantro, tomatoes, avocados, mushrooms and parmesan cheese. And blueberries, figs, clementines with more tomatos and basil on the side. Yummy!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Getting Our Groove on

The girls had a great idea that we've been trying this week. We mostly listen to our favorite few albums in the car every day. K and M came up with the suggestion that we have different theme days for our music. So far this week, we had Women Singers Day, Men Singers Day, Instrumental Day, and Radio Day. We've brainstormed a list of about 50 different days we'd like to have. Me, I'm looking forward to Musical Day. All of this means that we actually listen to all that music on my Ipod, the kids stay entertained in the car, and the music never gets old. What are your car tunes?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Our Garden

As promised here's more from the garden. These pictures are actually kind of remarkable for us because we've never been able to grow anything. Like ever. Mostly it's because of my lack of a green thumb. And our lack of a backyard. We really don't have an actual yard. Just a medium-sized patio with one large planter box and a bunch of pots. This year we are getting some real plants with edible things on them. Here is a peek:

Yes, that is an actual tomato. And basil, peas, mint, oregano, parsley, corn, and a gerbera daisy. Lots of stuff in pots because of our space problem. Still it's gratifying to look out the kitchen window and see everything growing, or grab some fresh basil to go in the evening's dinner.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lazy Day

What a lazy summer day! M started dance summer camp and loves it. She has taken tap dancing, but this is her first experience with ballet and jazz.

K and I hung around the house, gardened, tidied up, and had a chance to talk. Did unexciting house stuff.

We did have a yummy dinner, though:

I actually made marinara sauce for the first time ever from scratch. And it turned out pretty well. I used an 11-year-old recipe that I had saved from the San Francisco Chronicle (why did it take so long to get around to making it?). It's a big recipe, so there is plenty to save in the freezer for pizzas, more pasta, bread....

The basil is homegrown in the backyard. More on this to come...we actually have things growing this year!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Weekend Fun

I had a great weekend! Got a chance to spend time with my "little" brother who came out for a visit (his first since January!!). K and M were ecstatic to see him. M asked when he was coming every day last week. It was wonderful to spend time with my entire family. Everyone came over to our house for one homecooked meal, and we went out for a yummy Mongolian BBQ dinner the next night.

We also spent some time outside today going for a walk in a sculpture park. Being by the water, the park is really windy and most of the sculptures interact with the wind in some way. Kids liked it, and we all really liked seeing someplace different. We came here in pursuit of one of our favorite family hobbies which you can read about more here. We didn't have any luck this time, though. :(

Hope that your weekend was just as fun!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Time to Play

The weather has finally warmed up a bit, and we have had the chance to go outside and play.

Summertime is good for riding bikes (although it is not so easy for mama to keep up with the riders, especially on her camera phone!):

Summertime is good for swimming lessons (pic by M):

Summertime is good for going to the park and eating messy popsicles:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Our 4th

Had so much fun with the girls putting together our annual Fourth of July celebration. We live in the best place ever to see fireworks! You just have to walk across the street to the park and watch the show. It's fantastic especially considering it's the only city in the area that still has a fireworks show.

We had a great evening--everyone was invited, so there were lots of family and friends, yummy food, and red, white, and blue. This is a look at some of what we did to get ready:

I found the directions for these stars from here.  They are really pretty and not very difficult to make at all.  

K and M made truffles for dessert.  We followed this recipe.  They were super easy and very delicious.  Rolling them in the cocoa powder can get to be a bit messy, though.  The girls were willing helpers especially considering that they got to lick the spoon afterwards.

Excuse the terrible fireworks picture.  I have got to learn how to take these on my camera.  Hope your Fourth was full of fun and relaxation!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Roses and Princesses

M has Music summer camp in the mornings, so I have a chance to spend some time with just K. This morning we made a run to Peet's (my favorite!!) and got ourselves a cappucino and a hot cocoa. We strolled through downtown and made our way to the park. It was a lovely day and we especially liked seeing all of the roses that are in bloom. And I got a lovely pic of K.

When we returned to pick up M, I found someone else in her place!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Beautiful Impressions

Today I spent the day with hubby and extended family/friends at the DeYoung. We had the opportunity to see this exhibit, and it was spectacular! I don't think I could ever get tired of looking at these works. The experience of seeing them in person is vastly different to looking at a print or copy in a book.

 Afterwards, we enjoyed a leisurely lunch at a quiet restaurant along the coast. It was right on the water and the weather out by the beach was actually sunny today!

I loved today because it was the first time this particular group of us had spent time together outside of "holiday" family gatherings.  I relished the chance to talk to everyone during such a pleasant and relaxed day.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summertime Begins

There's been a lot going on since I got back of course! We've had a preschool graduation, a school play about saving ocean habitats (ironic, especially since K's class started rehearsing for this one in January), a tap dancing show, a day trip to go cherry picking, a very belated beading birthday party, and all the usual holidays and celebrations.

Maybe the most extraordinary part of the summer has been our trip to Lake Tahoe with Grandma. We went to the beach, played in the water, and made sand castles. But the girls also had their first trip to the snow. In June! In California of all places! Because the spring has been so mild, there is still a lot of snow in the mountains and some of the lakes remain frozen. All the same, K and M had a fantastic time making snow angels and a very little snowman. And I enjoyed watching much more than getting cold!