My new BFFs

As we end June (really? this year is flying by!) I have to share with you about my new friends. I saw them online, as many friendships start nowadays, and I just knew we’d get along. We met IRL for the first time yesterday and I was right, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship! Come on, here they are:

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Meet the all-in-one hangers from the Container Store. I just love them. I was actually browsing their online catalog for kitchen storage and saw these and oh my goodness, I had to run and get them.

I’ve mentioned before that I like to get outfits ready including accessories so that it’s easier to get dressed in hectic mornings, and these make it so easy. They have extra slots and “levels” to add scarves, necklaces, bracelets, even earrings to your outfit.

Here is one week’s worth of outfits I’ve put together with my new BFFs – click on the pic for a (much) larger picture.
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And no, The Container Store has no clue I exist, this is my straight out real opinion because I just love these so much ;D

A favorite wine


I am hardly a wine connoisseur. In fact, I often say I am a complete peasant when it comes to my tastes: I like what I like whether it costs $2 or $200. Luckily, we have friends who know a lot about wine and share their finds with us when we hang out. This is one that has remained a favorite since my husband and I first tried it.

This zinfandel is rich and spicy, and ideal for enjoying with a steak dinner – the best thing about it is that it is NOT $200. You will find it for around $12 at many super markets, and definitely at places like BevMo. Also, if you are enjoying some dessert with your meal, I would order some kind of chocolate cake or torte to add one more layer of decadence to your dinner.

If you’re up for trying something new next time you’re shopping for wine, I would definitely recommend you try some Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel – and if you think I’ve been in any way, shape or form compensated for this post, I can only say “I wish”.

Lovely time with friends

Yesterday my husband and I attended a party in honor of our friends J&M’s engagement. It was a J’s parents’ gorgeous home and everything was exquisite – from the delicious food (ribs, cornbread, to-die-for chocolate cake, etc.) to the decorations (everything in turquoise!) to the delicious baby I got to hold for about an hour or so. Little Logan is two months old and he slept peacefully in my arms, so I totally got my baby fix.

I figured the weather would be sunny but not overwhelmingly hot, so this is what I wore. Except my fab babysitter said she liked my chunky bracelet better, so I swapped the hoop earrings for diamond studs.

bbq party

I love this top from Old Navy, stripes are in but no way in H-E-L-L am I doing horizontal stripes so these are flattering and the scale is graphic but not crazy. The bag, skirt and wedges I had, and I felt comfortable and appropriate.

We had such a great time celebrating the future marriage of our friends, it was the perfect end to our week.

Where we were . . .

was Santa Cruz, California, a short drive from our home but about 25 degrees cooler. We had planned this trip a couple of months ago because Tuesday was our wedding anniversary. We have been married 8 years now and decided a quick getaway was just what we needed.

I’m sorry to say, I did not take a single photo. We brought the camera but decided to just enjoy every moment instead of scouting for photo opportunities, so all these pics belong to the talented people who took them – if you’re one of them and don’t want me to use your photo, let me know and I will take it down. All of them are linked to their original accounts.

On Monday, the first thing we did upon leaving our house and our kids, was buy some shirts for my oldest – isn’t that the sign of parenthood? You stop looking for stuff for yourself and it’s all for the kids. Anyway, my oldest loves collared shirts so we got a couple of really cute ones for $4.99 each at the mall, then popped in to see X-Men: First Class. It was ok, but the best thing about it was the eye candy.
X-Men First Class: la bande d'annonce débarque

After checking in, we had an early dinner at Kianti’s
Kianti's Pizza & Past Bar restaurant
my original pasta dish had meat sauce that was way too spicy for me so the server graciously offered a garlicky cream sauce instead which was super yummy. Both my husband and I were happy with our meal. We decided to call it an early night and then he got me hooked on Master Chef.

The next day we had one of the best breakfasts EVER at a place nearby called Zachary’s.
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I loved that everything was locally produced, fair-trade, organic, etc. and the prices were totally reasonable. See, restaurant owners, it CAN be done! I am totally going to try to recreate their home fries with my homegrown potatoes. After breakfast we walked around downtown for a bit:
Santa Cruz Downtown
There are so many cute stores as well as some severely overpriced boutiques. I saw some cute sequined lace-trimmed tank tops for $5 at one shop and didn’t pick up any but then made my husband take me back on Wednesday. Yeah, I know, he’s really patient. Anyway, we saw Bridesmaids, it was so funny, I loved it.
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What happens in this scene at the bridal salon is just hilarious, I couldn’t catch my breath I was laughing so hard! Afterward, we headed over to the wharf and stopped by Marini’s for some chocolate fudge. YUM! I nearly emptied the sample dish, it was so good.

We had some awesome seafood dinner down by the wharf, then went back to the hotel for some more Master Chef and to gorge on the fudge.

On Wednesday morning, we had ourselves some Starbucks (we’re such capitalists!) and then went back to the little shop with the cute tank tops. I got two, one in a marigold shade and one in – of course – turquoise, some NYX gloss, cheapie eyeshadows and nail polish.

At a cooking store we found an entire collection of dinosaur cookie cutters and of course, got them all for our pancake- and cookie-loving boys.

Back home, we ran to Toys ‘R Us because our Spidey Sense was telling us we needed to get things for the boys and we found some serious loot – three huge Godzilla figures, I am telling you the boys were jumping up and down in glee when they saw them. My awesome mother-in-law then gave the three men some haircuts before she left.

That was our first half of the week: relaxing, laughing, sleeping in, strolling around, and just generally enjoying each other’s company. But we missed our squirrelly monkeys!!! Now I am home, and I am content.

Father’s Day

This Sunday is going to be a little rough. Rather, a lot rough. You see, it’s the first Father’s Day without my dear dad. We would usually have lunch with my in-laws and then head over to my parents’ for dinner.

I will be celebrating my husband’s fatherhood and delighting in his neverending love and patience for our little boys, but at the same time I will be thinking of my dad. I miss my dad every single day but this Sunday, maybe a little more poignantly.

Here is my dad enjoying his youngest grandchild, my little one:
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I don’t remember what we got him for Father’s Day last year, or what we ate, or what we talked about. I had no idea he only had another couple of weeks left to live. My heart breaks at the lost moments I wish I could remember, but someday, I know I will get to see my dad again. Until then, happy father’s day, daddy. I love you.

Ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb!!!

Photo from SFGate.com

Have you seen all the yummy cherries popping up everywhere? My local paper wrote about them, and I have eaten my share a couple of times already. But other than stuffing myself with delicious cherries I also do plan on actually making some cherry-based goodness – here are some recipes I will be giving a try:

Some refreshing Cherry Limeade by missamy

Now that I have a proper canner, some Sweet Cherry and Lemon conserves from Epicurious

Something decadent like the Pioneer Woman’s Cherry Cake Pudding – yum!

Got any cherry recipes you’d like to share?

Garden update

No sweet corn on the cob for us yet
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although we found a snail cozily nestled in the leaves – grrrrrr!!!

Our grapes keep growing
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My husband has hopes of grape jelly but considering how quickly our kids eat any blueberry that matures, I doubt we’ll have enough enough grapes at any one time to make a batch of jelly.

This is what potatoes look like when you push aside the veritable jungle of leaves that grow over them
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you can wait to unearth them when the leaves die off, or you can “grabble” them and eat them when young and tender

We planted yellow (on the left) and white (right) potatoes
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You leave them in the sun for a couple of hours so the skins harden a bit. When you first take them out you can pretty much just rub the skins off.

The first baby tomatoes are making their appearances
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I needed some tomato cages and my son insisted we get more tomato plants, so I hope we have a ton of tomatoes this summer!!!

That’s the happenings in our backyard – are you growing any veggie goodness this year?

Veggie lasagna

On Saturday night we had some friends over – my oldest and their middle child met at preschool and became friends and now we’re friends with the parents. I decided to try a veggie lasagna and came upon this recipe, but I had a hankering for spinach, so I added two bunches of spinach to the mis:
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I was shocked that my oldest had a few bites, he is very anti-sauce when it comes to his pasta, but I think seeing his friend and the rest of us eating it was a good incentive. My little one sat on my lap and ate piece after piece, but then again, he’s always been up for trying new food.

One of my habits when I make something like lasagna is to double the recipe. It is not hard to make at all but it is a little more labor intensive than my usual dinners, so I figure, make twice the amount and enjoy some later in the week. Same whenever I decide to make roast chicken, I roast two and enjoy the second one in soups, salads, tacos, etc. Even if I am just sauteing chicken breasts or making a beef roast, making a double batch is a great way to save time later on.

My poor husband was quarantined in the bedroom so he didn’t eat with us, and I figure when he is feeling better I’ll have some yummy veggie goodness for him to regain his strength.