Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Finished Purse

After putting the kids to bed, I managed to fix my sewing machine and finish the lining and straps on the purse.

Ashlee laid out her outfit for tomorrow before she went to bed, in hopes that the purse would be finished. She'll wake up to a pleasant surprise!

Rub-A-Dub-Dub, 3 Kids in the Tub

Our nightly ritual- the mass production of clean bodies. It's so easy at this age... just throw 'em all in one tub. I can clean 3 for the price of 1.


I've had a stack of old jeans up in my closet for quite some time that I've been saving for sewing projects. Today I pulled them out and came up with this...

A jean skirt for Ashlee.

The bottom will acquire more fraying with each wash, giving it the look we are going for.

And this...

The beginnings of a denim patchwork purse. Unfortunately, my sewing machine jammed before I was able to finish. It will eventually get a pink satin lining and a handle.

I also had some leftover Cars material, so I sewed Jacob a pillow case...

To match this valence I made a while back.

Now if only I can fix my sewing machine so I can finish the purse...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Crocheted Baby Hats

I just wanted to share my sister's progress with her upcoming Etsy store. She just made these new little crocheted baby hats, and they are adorable! I don't know who wouldn't want one. I am so impressed by her talent. She literally just started crocheting about 3 months ago, and this is how far she's come. Stay posted for an official launch date for her Etsy store.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In Good Hands

I had my first prenatal today with my midwives, Marlene and Kaleem. Let me just say that these are two of the most gentle, loving, patient, spiritual women I know, and seeing them brought back the flood of good feelings I have about homebirth and midwifery. They truly are amazing, full of wisdom and knowledge, and are the most selfless people you will ever meet. After our 3rd natural birth and first homebirth, Forrest and I decided that so long as the decision was in our hands, we would never birth in a hospital again. This will now be my 3rd home water birth with Marlene and Kaleem, and I look forward to another amazing experience.

One of the things I love about my prenatals with the midwives is that they take their time. The visits take place in their home, and the "exam room," which feels more like a family room, is equipped with a couch, chairs, a padded "exam" table, pictures, along with doll houses, a tree house, cars, a play kitchen, and puppets. My kids look forward to the visits just as much as I do. The highlight of today's visit was hearing the baby's heartbeat for the first time, which was 168 bpm. This made my pregnancy feel so real, and let me know that the effort of these last 3 months has not been in vain. There's actually a tiny baby in there. Marlene explained this to Noah and Kaitlyn as they stood next to me at the table listening to the heartbeat, and Kaitlyn kept repeating, "tiny, tiny." I was given a folder containing tons of information on nutrition, herbs and supplements, birth supplies, positive affirmations, and post-partum care. In addition, Marlene gave me my first bag of Mother's Tea, a special blend they have crafted at the local botanical store that I always love drinking throughout my pregnancies. I left the visit feeling so uplifted and re-energized about my pregnancy. If there's one thing midwives do for women, it's to empower them.

Pregnancy is such a gift, and I look forward to embarking on the journey that lies ahead and will eventually bring another sweet baby into our arms.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The BEST Peanut Butter Cookies

...made with only 3 ingredients!

As per Ashlee's request, I made peanut butter cookies this afternoon. I set out to find a simple but good recipe, and boy did I, so I thought I'd share.

Peanut Butter Cookies

2 cups peanut butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
(I added a dash of salt and splash of vanilla, but
this is optional.)

Sprinkle with sugar, criss-cross with fork.
Bake @ 375 for 8-10 mins. Cool completely.

These were so simple, and I liked them as much or better than traditional peanut butter cookies with flour and all of the other ingredients. And they're gluten free.

Jacob remembers which cookie he criss-crossed, and chooses to eat it first.

They need to be served with milk, of course.

I also thought I'd share this one:
Bread Machine Dinner Rolls
3 c. flour
3 Tbs. white sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 c. warm milk
2 Tbs. soft butter
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

1 egg white
2 Tbs. water

Place all ingredients in bread pan as recommended by manufacturer. (I like to sprinkle the yeast on top of the warm milk, let it sit for a few minutes, then add the dry ingredients.) Set on dough cycle, press start.

Remove risen dough from machine. Separate into 12 balls and place on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise 40 mins.

Brush tops with beaten egg white and water. Bake in 375 oven for 15 mins.

These turned out perfect; soft and sweet. I liked them as much as Great Harvest's white dinner rolls, which says a lot.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


For the first time in nearly 7 years, Forrest and I spent a night away from the kids. Our destination? Pacifica. Let's just say we'll be doing this more often.

The first night there we drove a few miles up Highway 1 to Princeton Harbor, a cute little place that is adorned with fun restaurants and shops. Our favorite part was walking out on the pier and seeing all of the seals and seagulls. We spotted this little guy coming out on the dock to say hi.

We found this relatively new upscale restaurant called Crab Landing (great referral, Tiff.) We were so impressed by the ambiance and professional service. We had a table upstairs overlooking the ocean, and dinner was so good. Forrest had fish and chips with housemade coleslaw and tartar sauce, and I had the crab and scallop fettucini with pesto sauce. I was so tired afterwards I could've fallen asleep at the table.

We stayed in a hotel that was right on the beach, and it was so nice to climb into bed without having to do dishes or put the kids to bed. We were just lulled to sleep by the waves.

The next morning we headed into Half Moon Bay, where we made a stop at this cute little Farmer's Market. They had lots of yummy goods to offer, but I settled on a bottle of hand-crafted strawberry basil balsamic vinegar. It is soooo delicious, and I can't wait to have some on a salad. Afterwards we took a walk on the beach.

We lucked out with another weekend of beautiful coastal weather.

This was the most amazing sight. Literally hundreds of seals swimming up and down the ocean just off the coast from where we were, leaping and diving into the water. You could always spot the seals by the flock of seagulls and pelicans following them. I have never seen so many marine animals in one place.

(You have to click on this picture and see the seals!)

We ended the day by having lunch at this cute little historic restaurant right on the beach. We could see the seals from our table. Apparently the place used to be an old bootlegging and prostitution brothel. (I discovered this interesting piece of history on the back of the menu.) Nonetheless, the atmosphere was nice and cozy, and I couldn't get enough of staring at the ocean.

I can't believe we waited almost 7 years for this. We were laughing at ourselves for missing the kids so much, but it was also nice to feel like a couple again. I guarantee we'll be carving out more time for ourselves from now on. Until then, I'm back on mommy duty and grateful for it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Back to School

I could say it was with mixed emotions that I sent my children off to school today, but that would be a lie. Truth be told, we are all very happy about going back to public school. I feel it will be a good change for the whole family. Jacob is so enthused and more than ready for Kindergarten. I feel he has a good foundation from what he learned at home (he can tell time and is reading fluently,) but there is simply no replacement for the socialization, stimulation, creativity and downright F-U-N that Kindergarten has to offer. I could not compete with that at home, and I am happy knowing that he will have all of it. As for Ashlee, she returned to school the same confident, bubbly, enthusiastic social butterfly that she was 2 1/2 years ago when I took her out of school. She already came home on the first day with the phone numbers of 2 new friends she had made in her class. She will be kept very busy this year with dance, piano, and for the first time cross country, which will begin in 2 weeks. She is a natural born runner, and we are very excited to have found a team for her. I am grateful for the time I had to homeschool. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to spend that quality time with my kids and create those memories together that I know will be cherished. I love the philosophy of homeschool, and would highly endorse it for anyone who chooses to go that route. It truly is quality education, and one of the best gifts I feel you can give to your children- sharing your time and talents with them. I will miss those leisurely mornings of making waffles together and sitting down on the couch to read a history book or the Little House series (one of our favorites.) I will miss being able to take my kids up to Apple Hill during the middle of the week for caramel apples and berry picking, or to Tahoe to watch the salmon spawn. But at the same time, I am grateful for having the option of putting my children in a public school. I now look forward to the quality time I have to spend with Noah and Kaitlyn, to slow down and enjoy my pregnancy, and come March to not have to nurse the baby at the kitchen table while going over a math lesson and dolling out snacks to an anxious toddler. I don't know where the ebb and flow of the next tide will take us, but for now, this is a nice current and I think we'll float in it for a while.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Counting Calories

I just found this great website to help me track and meet my nutritional goals. The greatest part is that it calculates the calories of all the foods you eat in a day. I love numbers, give me numbers!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dillon's Beach

After hearing that the Crystal Basin campgrounds (Ice House, Union Valley Reservoir, etc.) usually fill up by Thursday night, we figured our chances of finding a spot late Friday night were slim to none, so we made a last-minute detour to Dillon's Beach. The weather happened to be beautiful, and we had a great time.

We arrived at about 10:00 Friday night, and snagged what looked like one of the last spots. We were sandwiched in between a couple of partiers, but the kids were so tired that not even Linkin Park blaring until 1:30 a.m. could keep them from falling asleep (thank goodness.)

After a yummy breakfast of hot cocoa, scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage, we headed down to the beach. It was beautiful upon first sight!

Is that the Lochness Monster!!?? Oh wait, it's just Ashlee...

Determined to outrun the wave.

Forrest thought he'd call my bluff when I told him I was going to get in, but he was wrong! I have always loved playing in the ocean since I was a kid, and it was just as much fun this time around. We had to dodge a few huge jelly fish that we spotted coming towards us in the waves, and I knocked Ashlee over a couple of times because she insisted on standing right behind me as the waves were coming, but other than that it was a good time. I'd forgotten how painful it was to be drug across the sand, though! The ocean is so therapeutic. It was like a natural mineral bath, seaweed treatment, and microdermabrasion all in one. You pay big bucks for that stuff at the spa!

This sight was amazing. There were hundreds of birds gliding over the water, swooping and diving. They must have been following a school of fish.

Forrest had fun watching us from the beach and taking pictures. He didn't get in the water, though.

Forrest cleaning up in the "kitchen."

A cozy bed for 6. We had really nice air mattresses and sleeping bags and slept surprisingly warm.

Kaitlyn all bundled up by the camp fire.

Roasting marshmallows for S'mores at the end of the day. Good bye Dillon's Beach, you were good to us!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Productive Day

wash laundry, fold, and put away. check.
steam clean carpets and couches. check.
organize book shelf, sans homeschool books. check.
grocery shopping. check.
shop vac bedrooms and master closet. check.
make yummy dinner and cream cheese brownies, bring some to family with new baby. check.
take relaxing bubble bath. check.
lie in bed and knit while listening to relaxing music... in progress.

I am finding my way back to domestic bliss, and life is good.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Top 10 Reasons Why I Am Rejoicing This Week:

1) My kids will be starting PUBLIC school next week.
...which means I can finally be one of those moms who can't wait for school to start!
2) I hit week 10 of pregnancy, and my morning sickness seems to have virtually vanished.
...i.e. I feel human again.
3) My house is back in its clean, orderly condition.
...partly because of a husband who recognizes when I need help, in addition to reason #2.
4) Waking before the kids and getting out for a morning walk sets a good tone for the rest of the day
...this is one of my goals for the week, and so far we're two for two.
5) We are taking a family camping trip this weekend.
...which will finally fulfill my craving for mountain air, pine trees, and starry nights around the campfire.
6) Forrest and I have reservations at a hotel on the ocean in Pacifica... and we're going without the kids!
...'nuff said.
7) Is it just me, or does this weather feel more like Fall than Summer?
8) Speaking of Fall, I won't be in school this year because I'm done!
9) I scheduled my first prenatal appointment with the midwives, and I can't wait to be in their care again.
...despite my toying with the whole hospital birth idea, my heart belongs to homebirth (thank you Forrest for helping me to realize this.) The former, I believe, was coming from a moment of weakness. Now that I am feeling more like "me" again, it's easier to regain perspective.
10) I just learned that my baby is about the size of a kumquat (a little over an inch) and has tiny fingernails already!
...and I'll get to hear the heartbeat in 2 weeks.

Life is good once again.