Alex turns seven

Seriously, how does this happen? I know that I ask the same question every birthday, but how is it that my chubbalicious chunk of goodness . . .

is now seven and entering second grade??? Seriously. How does that happen? And even though he is in a special day class because of his autism, he is doing work that is at grade level. He’s fearless, will throw himself off of anything and into anything and is responsible for many of my gray hairs.

We shall be celebrating a few days later. Maybe he’ll sing for us. He loves to sing 😀

Happy birthday, my little sunshine. I love you so much.

Impromptu IKEA

Over the weekend, my husband had a sudden urge to go to IKEA. Have I mentioned how much I love this man? 😀

It was a quick trip as we went through the showroom, which the boys love. My oldest kept saying “THIS is how I want our living room to look!” every time we went through a new “home”. We had yummy meatballs and ribs and I had my usual IKEA treat – their sparkling pear drink. That stuff is awesome.

We ended up with a few odds and ends:

We decided to get rid of some old dishes we’ve had for over a decade — Steve had them before he met me, which was in 2001. We already had some neutral stoneware, and we decided to add some chocolate brown goodness to mix it up a bit. We were also in need of some everyday wine glasses. Not that we drink wine everyday, but we wanted glasses that wouldn’t be too expensive to replace. At $4.79/6, the price was perfect.

The hardware on the bottom left is for a future project, we also got pretty bird prints and some kitchen utensils, and more ice pop molds because mine are currently full of icy mango-y goodness.

Last but not least, are the new book ends IKEA released to celebrate their famous Billy bookcases. We have a few of those bookcases, and it’s our family initial, so we snagged two of each size.

I can’t believe July is almost over, we’ve got a couple of things planned before school starts again and my boys go into 3rd and 2nd grades. Is it just me, or is this year flying by?

Garden Update: July 2013

We’ve been enjoying our fruit and veggie bounty – I mad 2 loaves of zucchini bread and a batch of chocolate chip zucchini cookies from just ONE monster squash, and we’ve been eating our delicious tomatoes in sandwiches, salads, and a sauce that had my friend’s kids asking for lunch at 10am 😀

Some more future cookies 😀

We’ve recently planted some more corn for an autumn harvest:

And, hello! Check out the awesome planter my husband made!!! He’s planting bamboo in it, and he got his inspiration from a couple of gorgeous river photographs by Keith Liang.

Steve made the mold with a high-relief design and then built a structure to pour the cement in. This turned out amazing, and yes, I’ve put in an order for a smaller planter with a fleur-de-lis 😀 Of course.

Our strawberries continue to produce as well:

The other day we harvested some lavender for our neighbor. I think I’m going to make some eye pillows with the rest.

This crazy madness going on here is our Concord grape vine. Well, one of them. The other is just started to go all wild but this one is going to become another yummy batch of grape jam.

This is what the vine looked like in April:

Current goodness and future grape jam, nom nom nom.

Our pretty flower frames are doing great as well!

We are also harvesting potatoes and onions, and mint for our mojitos.

Gardening is to me an incredibly rewarding experience. Which is not to say there aren’t days (usually those in 100+ degree weather) where the last thing I want to do is go out there and water and tend to the plants. But homegrown veggies taste so good, and knowing that my family gets to eat fresh, delicious, healthy food is pretty awesome.

I say this every year, but next year I’d really like to get more flower plants for cuttings. I just love having fresh flowers in the house. I’ve killed some gerbera and hydrangea, though, so we’ll see how I do in that goal.

Have a wonderful week!

Closet in progress

The main reason for us reworking the closet was my need for an area to hang my dresses and skirts. Since I only have the bottom level, my dresses and longer skirts would end up sweeping the floor, so Steve graciously agreed to move the storage unit so I could have more suitable space.

Thank goodness the closet is not the only storage option – we do have each our own dresser, which makes things a lot easier. In our old place, we each had our own closet, but when we moved here, we knew that we’d need more storage than just the closet.

The small top drawers hold jewelry bits that I don’t wear often and some hair accessories. The main drawer holds summer pants/crops:

The next drawer down holds my tanks and tees, and I store my gloves in the little box in the corner on the left:

The next drawer down has my undergarments and other delicates and the bottom drawer holds workout gear and swimsuits. Not too exciting but there it is.

Now onto the closet itself. Left side:

Behold the beauty of organized tops 😀

Right side – skirt and dress area:

Top of the white unit:

A small but significant change – Steve got some new pulls for the drawers:

The pulls are like these but in a 4-inch center-to-center width. They stick out less than the old pulls and look a lot nicer.

So that’s our new closet configuration – Steve moved the white storage unit to the right, leaving the left half for our shared space and leaving about 2 feet on the right for my skirts and dresses.

So far, so good 😀

Not so very masterful after all

You’ve seen them. On Pinterest, magazines, blogs, etc. Those gorgeous master closets with chandeliers and fancy rugs and maybe an ottoman (or a sofa!) in the middle, or if you’re lucky, a whole separate island or vanity area for primping and glamorizing.


Well, that’s not going to happen here.

Our master bedroom has a plain old closet with ye olde mirrored sliding doors. We are keeping those because they bounce a great deal of light around and as dark as our house is, we love all the light we can get. Unless it’s time to sleep. Then we love our light-blocking panels.

But I digress.

This is the starting point. I’m so sorry.
Left side:

We’ve had the white unit for almost 10 years. Steve reinforced the back, which was bowing in, and it’s good to go for another 10. He gets two drawers, I get two drawers; my makeup and most of my jewelry go on the lower shelf. We share the top shelf and he gets the middle shelf.

Right side:

Did I mention we share?
Yep, he gets the top level while I (being all of 5’1″) get the lower one.

Since we didn’t have a good place for my long skirts and dresses, we decided to move things around, and give the old thing a paint job while we were at it. Nothing fancy, just the same Valspar “Cream in my Coffee” we have in the living room, but it was an improvement over this loveliness:

Of course, things got a lot worse before they started to get better:

I still have a lot of sorting to do, given my array of costume jewelry, so things aren’t 100% finished. But we are both happy with the results so far.

Hopefully, I will have more (neater) stuff to show you soon!

Have a wonderful week!

CuriOdyssey & Cupcakes

The boys and I had some adventuring to do yesterday – we went to a local animal/science place called CuriOdyssey. It was a gorgeous morning in the Bay Area and although the whole thing was geared to kids a little younger than my oldest, he was a rock star and both boys enjoyed themselves.

The animals at CuriOdyssey are rescues or unable to be released back into their natural habitats, there were otters, snakes, frogs, birds, all sorts of lovely local flora and fauna, as well as hands-on experiences. After a 10-minute stop at their gift shop, we headed back down 101 to get some cupcakes.

I got Cookies & Cream for my husband, the Oreo lover, Chocolate Paradise for me, and their take on a “vanilla with vanilla”, which is all my boys eat.

I am sorry to say the cupcakes were a disappointment. I won’t name the bakery but they won an episode of Cupcake Wars so we thought we’d give them a try. My chocolate paradise cake, which I had been “warned” was not recommended for kids as it had a very strong chocolate flavor, failed to deliver. The cake itself was on the dry side and the frosting was so oily that I couldn’t taste any actual flavor. My husband’s cupcake was so dry it flaked off all over and the frosting was goopy. My oldest said his vanilla/vanilla cupcake was ok, but that he’s “had better cupcakes”. My little one ate about a third of his and said he wanted no more. All in all, none of us were impressed and I don’t plan on going back.

So we won some and lost some, but our Friday was nice overall. Now we are enjoying time with Steve’s parents who are back from a trip, and I am avoiding the outdoors because it’s over 90 degrees out there.

To all my fellow Francophiles, have a wonderful Bastille Day tomorrow!

Bird Buffet

We’ve prettified our back fence, and it was time to share some summer goodness with our lovely bird friends. After all, they brighten our lives with their singing, it seemed a fair trade off to give them some food and water.

Our oldest chose a feeder the hummingbirds could not possibly miss:

We’ve had lots of visitors since putting it up. I took a great picture of one drinking, but we hang up our laundry to dry and some of my delicates were in the background and as much as I like to share with y’all, I’m not sharing pictures of my underwear.

My youngest chose patriotic colors for a little birdhouse – it lives on the fence, near our flower pot frames.

He was very interested in that bird seed!

Alex and Steve getting another bird house ready:

Isn’t it pretty?

Steve hung the white bird house and the hummingbird feeder away from the windows so we can see the birdies feasting:

Our backyard is now not only full of color, but full of movement and music with the birds flying in for their refreshments all day. We had a lovely weekend, hanging out together as a family and working on little projects.

Wishing you all a wonderful Monday!

Kona the Awesome

I’ve mentioned before my very talented friend Lisa – she’s a great photographer and I’ve known her for over a decade, since we were both frantic brides planning our 2003 weddings.

Lately, Lisa’s been taking some photos that just make me smile. And since this week is a tough one for me (Wednesday will be three years since my dear dad died), I am taking all the smiles I can possibly get, and with Lisa’s gracious consent, I am sharing some of sweet puppy Kona’s photos.

Isn’t she talented?

This one with the inspiration for the “Kona on Things” photo series:

Lisa dedicated this one to me – for my “morning smile” – yay!

And finally, KOT (Kona on Things) the KOFE division (Kona on Farm Equipment) 😀

Aren’t these great? How could you NOT smile looking at this adorable puppy???

Thanks, Lisa, for letting me share these, and for these wonderful KOT pictures!