Six More Days

Here’s the boy with his new musical Snoopy snow globe.

Thanks for getting it, Daddy!

The snow blows around by itself.  So cute.

Here’s the boy writing out the notes to Jingle Bells.  He doesn’t read sheet music.  He doesn’t know what a treble clef is.  He doesn’t know how to draw a proper half note or quarter note, but he knows where to put the notes relative to the others.  He gets it.  Gotta get this boy some lessons…and teach him the correct lyrics!

Last, but not least, here’s some Jenga math from the boy:

He made me print these.  Not sure what he’s going to do with them.  🙂

Happy LastMondayBeforeChristmasOhMyGoshWhat?!

P.S.  Stuff in our house that isn’t usually here:  Minty Mallows from Trader Joe’s, brie, some kind of creamy, crumbly, orange and blue cheese that melts in your mouth and makes you wonder why you ever thought you could give up cheese thank you very much Sarah :), twelve kinds of cookies (not an exaggerated number), one dreamy piece of oatmeal cake with coconut pecan frosting, cranberry ice, Andes mints, old-timey homemade rock candy thank you Jennifer, Hershey’s Kisses, Smuckers caramel ice cream topping, a bouquet of pine and other winter greens,  Rancho Raviri Almond yummies and one squishy Kinder Happy Hippo thank you Leighann,  World Market Texas Turtle coffee, and one small “gingerbread” crack house with missing shingles, a bad paint job and compromised structural integrity.

The end.  What’s in your kitchen this month?

♥♥

Holidaze 2011

It’s Saturday morning.

The boy is up, energetic, LOUD, and relentless in his demands.

Just now he asked for banana circles.  Okay, not so loud or outrageous.

I cut them up and gave him the plate.

I figure I have about twelve seconds before he is finished eating them and wants me to do/make/be something else.

I’ll write fast.

Thanksgiving is gone.

We had lots of people and a ton of food.

I wasn’t that excited about my mashed potatoes – should have used the russets.

The stuffing was kind of dry – celery chunks were too big and too plentiful.

My green beans were uninspired and far from my personal standard – bought late and microwave-steamed in the bag.  Sigh.  Painful to confess.  I served them anyway.  I ate them anyway.

But…

the guests brought delicious side dishes and desserts, the turkey seemed moist, and no one complained!

And I did make a very good cake – even if I do say so myself.  🙂

I’m marking the “success” box.  Yea!

Husband and I were full and sleepy after everyone went home.  We sat on the couch, defenseless, and allowed an entire episode of the little boy’s  Wow Wow Wubbzy to assault us.

The boy was tired too.  Visiting cousins are very exciting!

I’m glad I got to see the taller ones for lunch in Old Town the next day.  There’s nothing quite like a huge plate of my favorite Mexican food, having someone else cook it, and then getting to shop afterward.  And with cousins, no less!  😀

Now Christmas is coming.  😀

Miniature candy canes have been dipped in chocolate.

The trees are up – a big one downstairs, small ones in the bedrooms, a one-footer in the guest bath, and teeny versions tucked into the china hutch, the bookshelves, and a few other corners.

The little boy made paper trees to line the stairwell wall.

The stockings are at the mantle – one for each of us, one for each of the cats, and an extra for kitty cats past.

The garlands have been wrangled too.  Stripped of  failing white bulbs, they’ve been re-wrapped with cheery colored lights and hung happily from the banister and bookcases.

The upstairs landing looks like the site of like a plastic pine needle massacre and my hands are scratched in twenty different places, but the lights work!  Ha!

They’re on timers too.  I don’t even have to flip a switch for a daily dose of Christmas cheer.

Inflatable Santa is in the yard and husband hung the outdoor lights.  If the wind blows in from L.A. tonight, we’ll bring Santa inside for a while.

All of the leaves have dropped from the plum tree and the nasturtiums are back.

The late season hibiscus flowers are smaller, richer in color and more fleeting.

I stewed the mini pumpkins and poured them into the yard to hasten their demise.

And my twelve seconds are up.

What’s going on at your house?

Hope you’re having a Happy Saturday!

P.S.  The picture is of the Fairy Princess Grey Poupon in her standard winter spot.  Sweet.  Warm.  Dirty, furry kitty.

♥♥

It’s Friday Night.

I’m already in my jammies – so much more comfy than my heavy black jeans.

The boy has showered, put on his jammies, played out his evening computer time, and is happily eating a fruit roll while I type.

He’ll be off to bed shortly and it’s not even 8:00 p.m.  I still get knocked over in amazement at our evening routine.  I can’t believe it actually works, but the little boy is definitely a creature of habit.  All we had to do was make him a habit that we liked.

Husband just returned from the store with stuff for cheese bread.  We had a craving.

The house is kind of a wreck.

There are still balloons all over the floor from the boy’s birthday party on the 16th.  Man, was that really two weeks ago?  No wonder some of the balloons look like this:

and greasy these:

and pointy this:

We like to leave stuff lying around after our special occasions.

I guess I’d better pop the balloons this weekend though.  Three of my friends posted comments on Facebook today about the sudden appearance of Halloween stuff in the stores.  Seriously?  Seriously.

Even more disturbing is the fact that I’ve already started thinking about decorating for Christmas.  😮

I can’t help it.  I went to Bazaar Del Mundo on Tuesday.  That place always makes me think holidays.  Or rather, HOLIDAYS!!!

It didn’t help that they had this charming addition to the painted tin ornament display:

I had to have him.

And really, if you’re willing to purchase a Christmas ornament in July, then you’re pretty much a sucker for all things holiday, right?  Bring it on!  I’m ready!

Halloween first though…

Happy Friday!

♥♥

P.S. What are you doing this weekend?  We’re probably going on another little nature walk.  I’ll post pictures if we actually do it!  😀

Rose Bowl Flea Market and Pasadena

I met two friends at the Rose Bowl Flea Market yesterday.

It was a long day and the weather was chilly, but we had a great time!

One of my friends knows the market like her own backyard, so she played navigator.  That worked well for me, because I got turned around at the end of just about every aisle.  😕

We shopped for hours, saw very few things twice, and still didn’t cover even half the venue.  The Rose Bowl Flea Market is BIG.

The parking is free and plentiful.  The 9:00 a.m. general admission is only $8.00 and worth every penny.  You can pay more to get in with the early birds, but my friend cautions that sometimes vendors are still unpacking before the regular crowd gets there.

Deep in the rows, there is a lady who makes caramel apple muffins from scratch in her own kitchen and sells them for $2.00 a piece.  My friend buys one every time and raves about them, so I was happy when the three of us arrived at her booth well into the morning and still found three muffins left in the basket!

They were really delicious – sort of an angel food cake with a center of brown-sugared, tender, appley goodness.  Yesterday was nothing, if not a thoroughly delightful food day.  More on that a little later.  😀

Another vendor sells art plates from old books.  There are stacks and stacks, black and white as well as color, as beautiful and varied as the people who buy them.

The bibliophile in me grimaces at the dissection of what were surely amazing whole volumes, but I appreciate the art in the single leaves and I couldn’t go without this page:

Not far from the front entrance, there is a vendor who sells colorful tablecloths from Provence.

French linens are very cheery, usually made well, and have always appealed to me, but they are typically out of my price range.

I stopped at this booth because she also has a table full of batik stamps!  Woohoo!  I chose this one for my collection:

I also picked up this teeny little rabbit for my blue and white family:

a tiger clicker for my son:

and a small gift for a friend. 😀

As always, there were a few things I regret leaving behind.

Most of those were slightly out of my price range, but are regular items that I could acquire with better planning on a future visit.

Some were unique items I just wavered on and will absolutely never see again.  I guess that’s okay.  If I waver, then they’re probably not meant to be mine.

On our way to the exit gate we stopped by the food vendor area to say hello to my mom and Lou, who had also driven up for the market.

They arrived after we did and were taking a quick break, but were heading back in for a little more shopping after we headed out.

Departing from the Rose Bowl was an adventure.  😐  I lost my car, worked up a sweat looking for it, and finally had to call my friend to enlist her navigator instincts to find it.

Then I sat sheepishly behind my wheel and watched as she deftly moved a giant traffic barrier by hand just to get me pointed in the right direction.  So embarrassing.  😳  Funny, but embarrassing.

At least this all helped me to warm up after being so chilled by the cloud cover.

I followed my friends into Old Town Pasadena for a little more shopping and some late lunch.

My favorite store this time is Lula Mae.  Teeny, charming, colorful and packed full with “gifts of wit & whimsy” –  this is definitely my kind of place!

My friend and I both left with Andy, the Black Sheep:

I love him.  He is made of cast iron and weighs a LOT.  Don’t ever wanna drop this boy in my tiled house with my bare broken feet nearby.  Oy.  Gotta find just the right place for him.

I was amused when I got home to find that Lula Mae had wrapped Andy in French Fry tissue.  So funny.

From Lula Mae’s clearance bin, I picked up this hand-stitched house ornament:

and this cloth Tooth Fairy bird:

I love the idea of this, but I will probably just hang him from my Christmas Tree since we have something else for our son’s Tooth Fairy exchanges.

I rounded out my Lula Mae purchases with two yards of wired chenille ribbon.

I have a definite weakness for pretty ribbon, especially when it has a drastically reduced price.  🙂

That about covers my purchases for the day, but the treasures I brought home also included two amazing gifts from my friend.

She gave me this spectacular chair:

and this gorgeous, charming butter dish:

I am in love with this big Sun Lion.  In love.  The colors, his face, his swirly handle tail – all of him.  In. Love.  Thank you, Leighann!  😀

And the chair.  It’s beautiful.  😀  In fact, it’s officially the nicest thing in my house.

The most unusual shop we visited is definitely Gold Bug.

I’m not sure the merchandise is my taste exactly, but it is very intriguing and I wish I’d stopped in on a slower day and hadn’t felt so claustrophobic.  It’s a very small shop and there were a lot of people in it.

If you’re in the area, particularly on a weekday, you should definitely stop by.  It’s unique and has a lot to look at.

For our very late lunch we went to Mi Piace, one of my favorite places in Pasadena.  Wait, have I been anywhere else?  Who cares!  Mi Piace is really good.

Unfortunately, they were completely out of the Butter Nut Squash Ravioli with browned butter and sage.  Big, disappointed, collective sigh.

We buried our sorrows in good hot garlicky bread chunks served with balsamic and olive oil.

I ordered Fettuccine Alfredo with julienne vegetables. It was priced a too high and would be more enjoyable with a small green salad (priced separately – grrrr), but it was extremely good.

For dessert, I ordered this Mi Piace Special:

It was three layers dark and white chocolate mousse and cakes, topped with black and red raspberries and accompanied by a beautiful puddle of kiwi and strawberry coulis.

My only complaint with this dessert is that it came with that completely white, unripe, unappealing strawberry.  I would have left that off the plate.  I just pushed it aside.

I devoured the rest of it, feeling only mild guilt for denying my husband any leftovers.  They wouldn’t have kept on the three-hour drive home anyway, right?

My friends and I parted company shortly after our meal.  I headed south and they headed back to the high desert.  We all had a great time and I can’t wait to do it again.  Maybe in March or April??

Love you guys!!

P.S.

The best moment of the day was when Bob Harper from Biggest Loser (or his clone??) finally left his table facing ours, so that we could relax and eat without his fitness guru-ish-ness monitoring our mouthfuls. 😦

The worst moment of the day was the insane coughing fit I had on exiting Lula Mae.  😳  Mortifying.  It was the kind of thing that makes strangers pull their kids in close and flee.   Embarrassing.

The stupidest thing I did was forget to bring water into the market.  $5.00 per bottle if you want to buy it there.  Ugh!

The smartest thing I did was bring my big purple purse.  Not super attractive, but it’s lightweight, cavernous and durable – perfect for shopping!

P.P.S.  While I’ve been typing this morning, the little boy has been stapling paper and drawing scenes from his computer games…

wearing my two oversized sweatshirts at the same time…

eating cheetos…

and being very sweet.

I sure love this little boy.  I missed him yesterday.

Gotta go play now.  Catch you tomorrow.  Maybe.

Happy Monday!

♥♥

Gifts of Yum and Stuff and Rain

The doorbell rang on Christmas Eve.

To my delight, Fedex came bearing a box of homemade marshmallows from lovely Lisa in Washington.

That’s right, homemade marshmallows!

Lisa mentioned her latest batch and I made a wishful comment, but it didn’t occur to me that my wish would come true.

I have my very own tub of yummy, fluffy, perfect, quickly-disappearing goodness.

Thank you, Lisa!

They.  Are.  Heavenly.

In fact, my taste buds tell me they’re a close cousin to divinity, one of my all-time favorite candies.  And we all know what “divinity” means, right?  😀

Lisa became part of my cherished new extended family when her deceased sister’s sweet husband married my sweet mom-in-law last New Year’s Eve.

Did you follow that?  No?  Suffice it to say, Lisa is family and friend and thoughtful to boot.

The Mistress of Marshmallows, that’s who she is.

The most unique gift I received this year was the mixed bag of goodies from Tongue in Cheek Antiques French Brocante.

My wonderful mom-in-law follows Tongue In Cheek’s blog and was inspired to order this little collection of French curiosities just for me.

I love it!

There are little medals and a key and a fabulous shoe.

I love the bright blue ceramic heart, the big black flower button and the miniature Paris banner.

There are numbered tags and a key plate and the teeniest plastic statue of Queen Elizabeth.  (I guess a bit of Britain climbed into the grab bag too!  😀 )

All of these trinkets were wrapped in French documents from 1922, two typed and one handwritten.  Charming.

It will be fun to see which objects inspire art from me this year.  My wheels are already spinning.

Thank you, Jenifer!

Christmas went by in a blur of food and family and mountains of Trio.

The week before it brought a ton of rain.

I snapped a few wet photos in the yard to catch the mood.

Enjoy!

And Happy Tuesday!

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♥♥

How I Miss Thee

What a nice week!  Christmas has once again come and gone, but the house still feels cheery and we played tourist today, so I’m in a good mood.

We drove over the bridge to snap a few photos in front of the Hotel del Coronado’s giant Christmas tree.  There were a lot of people crammed into the lobby with the very same idea, but we forged ahead and enjoyed a short walk through the downstairs shops as well.

My favorite of those is Babcock & Story Emporium.  Since I am not usually alone when I go to Coronado, I never have quite enough time in this store!  The shelves are jam-packed with the sweetest things – little birds and baubles and dishes and soaps and carved wood this and that.

The prices always seem prohibitively, touristy high at first glance, but I am convinced I can find sale items with more time to scout them out.  Hey, wait a minute!  Now that I think about it, it’s torture to go there!  Someday I will drive back by myself and spend all the time I like.  😀

This afternoon, I was on high alert with the little boy and his gotta-touch-everything instincts.  He’s VERY into candles this month.  Sensory thing – has to smell them all.  And I mean all.  Babcock & Story has a lot.  😐

He dropped a big glass candle jar at Vons on Christmas Eve.  Had it been a preferred scent, I might have taken the damned thing home and peeled the broken glass from around the wax.  But no, he had to break a stinky one – pine or something.  I put it in the cart and tried to pay for it, but the store manager checked me through and wouldn’t take my money.  Thank you, Vons Manager.  My kid and I owe you one.

Back to playing tourist…

After paying $15 (ouch) for a two-hour stay in the hotel parking lot, we bid adieu to the Christmas Tree and made our merry way to Old Town’s Casa Guadalajara for Mexican food.  Culture!  Color!  Melted cheese!  Who could ask for anything more?  Free parking?  You got it!

I ordered the same combo plate I order at every Mexican restaurant I visit: a chili relleno, a cheese enchilada with salsa verde, and vegetarian black beans with lettuce and tomato instead of rice.  Delicioso!  Guadalajara makes a spicy chili relleno.  I always forget that and for a few minutes I can’t get enough iced tea.  It is this meal that makes me know I can never be a vegan.  God help me.  Poor cows.  Poor my stomach.  It’s a LOT of cheese.

Anyhoo, after we finished lapping up our puddles of yummy, we walked across the parking lot to the Bazaar del Mundo shops.  This is one of my favorite places the day after Christmas.  Bazaar del Mundo is always a feast for the eyes and a boost for the shopper’s soul, but on this day it’s holiday sparkly and full of half-price fun.

The little boy picked out this enormous green ball for just $3.00:

and I added a pink armadillo to my tin ornament collection:

Pink armadillo.  Heh heh.  He’s funny, right?  I love him.  LOVE him!

Oh my, I am suddenly so sleepy.

Grammy and Grandpa turned in two hours ago, not far behind the little boy.  Husband is down the hall, getting hopelessly lost in his new video game and I am wondering why we’ve both kept our eyes open so late into the night.  It’s 11:29.  Husband has to work tomorrow.  I’d better go rescue him while it’s not too late to put our heads on the pillows today, instead of tomorrow.

Night night.

And Happy Sunday!

P.S.  I have missed you and I will be back to regular writing sometime this week.

♥♥

Rain, Rain Won’t You Stay?

It’s not quite 7 a.m.

I’ve been up for two hours and have already driven my friends to the airport, gone to the grocery store and fed the cats.

It’s pouring rain and it’s windy.  The roads are wet and dangerous and I could have done without the jackass taxi driver who decided he needed our lane more than we did, but we survived, and it was nice to see the world as it was waking.  I love the rain.

(PPH, thank you for your instinct to save us.)

Now my friends are on their merry way to Christmas in the South of France and I am safely back in my own little home with the fat, happy kitties and the sleeping family.

I am surprised that the little boy didn’t wake up when I moved the car in and out of the garage.  The big metal door is right under his room and it’s not that quiet.

Last night we drove thirty miles in the rain for my nephew’s 8th birthday party.  It was totally worth it.  Kids are so funny when balloons and pizza and Pump It Up are involved.  Kudos to my sister-in-law for making it happen and for giving out the Pump-It-Up treat bags – these toys are great!

We built some extra time into our trip and stopped at Nothing Bundt Cakes on the way.  I know I’ve mentioned this place before, but it’s worth mentioning again.  And again.  And again.

I always think I’ve surely sampled the very best bundt they have to offer and then they offer me a sample of something else.  This time it was the white chocolate raspberry cake.  Oh.  My.  Heavens.  Scrumdidilicious.  Is that a word?  I bought one of those and two of my husband’s favorite, the chocolate with chocolate chips.

After tucking the bag of little cakes safely out of my reach, we headed for the party.  We were thirty minutes early.  To kill some time, I took the boy over to Walter Andersen Nursery across the road.  He didn’t want to go until I told him we could look at the Christmas Trees.  I think he might have driven himself after that.

I love wandering around nurseries at the holidays.  There are bright red flowers and cheery green trees and lots of wreaths and miniature trains.  The ornaments are just half price and the employees all seem full of joy and kindness.  I asked for the minimum yard of fresh pine garland at $1.99 a foot.  The clerk gave me two yards, charged me for one and slashed the price of that to just $1.50 for the lot of it.  Amazing.  The little boy picked out this huge beautiful glass acorn ornament for  just three bucks.  We love it.

We didn’t venture out into the yard of plants and flowers but the view of them in the dusky rain was magical.  The smell of the Christmas trees was intoxicating and caused us both to pause at the door a moment before skipping on through to the other side of the indoor showroom.  Not a bad way to spend an unexpectedly empty moment in a very busy week.  Next year, I might just schedule it in on purpose.

The party was a good ending to the little boy’s day.  He jumped in the bounce houses for an hour and a half, nibbled on a slice of pepperoni pizza, poked at a piece of birthday cake then turned to me and said “are you ready to go?”  His question was a directive.  He wanted me to ask him.  I did and we went.

Settling down after that sort of outing is little bit tough for us both.  The boy was up and out of his bed two or three times before finally crashing around 9:30.  That’s really late for him.  When I last looked at the clock, it said 12:35.  😦  Just four hours of sleep.  Early to the pillow tonight for sure!

Happy Tuesday!

P.S.  What’s on your agenda four days before Santa gets here?

♥♥