Sweet Sisters Sweeter Than The Reader

In the spirit of “all publicity is good publicity,”  I am providing a link (below) to The San Diego Reader’s review of Sweet Sisters Bakery and Cafe in downtown Chula Vista.

It amazes me how shockingly different our first impressions were.  I was ecstatic to find this little cafe, but Elizabeth Salaam compares Sweet Sisters space to a Holiday Inn breakfast lobby.  😦

I agree that there isn’t much on the walls yet, but who cares?  That pistachio cake from Sweet Sisters is a triumph and it will get me back there, no matter what some paid reviewer cares to write about the spare decor.  My taste buds are finicky when it comes to dessert.  I don’t like mediocre and that’s not what I got.

I get the feeling that Ms. Salaam actually likes Sweet Sisters too, but she buried that lead and I’m not sure everyone will read past her “muffins wrapped in plastic” comment in the second paragraph.  Maybe no one is reading my little review either.  Whatever.

Just GO to this bakery.

No matter what your feeling about the decor, the menu, the unfinished website, the bottom line is these ladies can bake and we all know they’re just going to get better and better at it.


And eat dessert first.  🙂

Sweet Sisters Bakery & Cafe
357 3rd Avenue
Chula Vista, CA 91910
phone: 619-207-0222

Here is the link to Ms. Salaam’s review.

I do appreciate that she included a few pictures in her write-up.  I will snap a few the next time I go in too.

Happy Sunday!


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?


Roses and Boredom

Husband and I have very little luck with roses in our yard.

We don’t have the right soil, the right water sources, the right patience…the right anything.

We tried really hard the first few years, but we got rusty leaves, white fly and a variety of other problems.

We gave up.  And, I kid you not, I have cried over this.

Some people dream of white picket fences or cobblestone paths for their very first homes.

All I could think about were roses.  Lots and lots of roses.

I thought we would have them everywhere, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Their thorns scratched the husband and the little boy when they passed to mow the lawn.

Their blooms were beautiful, but not abundant.

The leaves were plentiful, but unattractive.

The yard was just not big enough.

We took the roses out.

“Good riddance” we said, but I miss them.  A lot.

We kept just one.

In the front yard, in the wrong spot, hidden from our view, there is one little plant struggling to survive.

I don’t see it when I look out the window.

I don’t see it when I pull up in the driveway.

I don’t see it when I’m daydreaming about the roses that are gone.

I don’t ever see it, but this week, husband was out there cutting and mowing and chopping things down.

I wandered outside and there it was, bare and boring.  Husband had just pruned it back.

I took the branches at his feet and brought them in to see if their blooms might be salvaged for a vase.

I was rewarded for my teeny effort.

Look at these colors.  All from the same little starving stems.

I’ve decided this is the best rose bush in the whole world.

I can even forgive it for those little rust spots on the leaves.

Not a surprise that the variety is called Joseph’s Coat.

Alleviating the little boy’s holiday boredom required construction paper and box of cake mix.

First, we made some Memorial Day decorations for the chandelier – stars and “yoyos” (as the little boy calls the curly streamers).

We incorporated his holiday school craft…

and his drawing and cutting skills…

and we wasted a TON of staples and an entire ROLL of tape on this patriotic paper chain:

Miniature cupcakes provided sweet relief from our open afternoon schedule.

They also gave me a great excuse to try out the new frosting tips I bought last week.

I’ve decided that I will only make miniature cupcakes in the future.

They’re more fun to eat (one bite if nobody’s looking – 😀 – way better than their big messy cousins).

They’re more fun to decorate (you don’t need the professional tips – just snip the corner off a ziploc bag and fill with frosting) and they’re much easier to store.

Plus, minis just seem to go better with kids.  😀

Make some, you’ll see.

All that, a fabulous Saturday with mom, Sunday coffee with the girlfriends, a quick grocery run this morning and we’ve had a pretty good weekend!

Wish us luck on getting the little boy off to school tomorrow after four days at home.  😐  Sigh.

Happy Monday!



I was right about the autism fog storm I predicted for Monday morning.

It was pretty bad, but it’s Tuesday now and I don’t feel like elaborating.


New topic.

Stephanie Nielson made another video.

Though I have no personal interest in her church, I appreciate the strength and perseverance it motivates in her.  Stephanie’s life is full of challenges and she faces them with grace and humor.

Please do not interpret my links as a recommendation (or condemnation) of Mormon ideologies.  I’m linking strictly mom-to-mom.  That’s it.

I find Stephanie absolutely fascinating and truly inspirational and I hope sincerely that you do too.  Go here to read her blog.

The little boy has made several trips up and down the stairs in the last few minutes.  He keeps getting fresh sheets of card stock from my stationery file and then disappearing into his room.

I can hear his little boy scissors working some kind of magic up there, but I’m nervous to investigate.  Only in the last few weeks have I begun to allow marking pen and scissor action where I can’t see it happening.

Oh, how I hope I haven’t made an error in judgment with that!

Let’s go see.

Okay.  Not sure what to make of it.

At least the scissors appear to have cut only paper and not books or tablecloths like in the past.  😐

My child is a little bit bored this afternoon.  (The reason I required three hours to finish two paragraphs of this post.)

I have offered every snack, game, book, video, and activity I can think of.

He doesn’t want to leave the house.

He has no interest in the backyard or his legos.

He doesn’t want to draw or cut out animal pictures from the latest ZooNews.

He doesn’t want to cuddle or sing or read.

He’s just twirly, jumpy, pacing bored.

So I’ve sacrificed eloquent, organized writing and about ten sheets of perfectly nice card stock for an undirected project.

Oh well.

It’s Wednesday morning now and way too early to be sitting at the computer.

The little boy woke up laughing at 4:45 a.m.





I want to sleep.



At least he’s not having a tantrum, right?

After last night’s card stock depletion, he started drawing pictures on his dry erase board – chicken stars and a milk carton.

Apparently he changed his mind about leaving the house.

We went to Carl’s Jr. at 7:15 on a weeknight.  Yikes.

But he ate and that’s always good – no matter what it is.

We were out too late, but he did everything I asked when we got home.

Miraculously, he got to bed early.

Full stomach and timely turn-in = happy hello the next morning.

Wish that happened all the time.  Sigh.

Today is our long day.

I have to pick him up early and drive him across town to see his private psychologist.

If we get out of her office on time we just miss the worst of the commute traffic.

It still gets us back to our neighborhood after five.

Everything is a rush on Wednesdays.


This post is long and losing real direction.

Maybe it never had any.

My apologies.


My stomach is growling.

Gotta get some cheerios now.

See you tomorrow.

P.S.  Tried this yesterday.  Really coconutty.  For me, that’s a plus.  Yum.  Soooo good.  Of course, I smashed a few miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter cups into it…

P.P.S.  It just started raining.  I love that.


Oh, my stomach…

My stomach hurts all the time.

Last night, I think I concluded that it really is from stress.

I thought I was feeling better a few hours after dinner and then husband and I had this really frustrating conversation about nutella.  😐  Don’t ask.

Our comments went in circles.  Within a few moments, I was completely exasperated.

I finally had to stop talking and take a deep breath.

Husband could tell I was done.

He even apologized, but there was no need for that.

It was a dumb conversation and we both took part.

I realized when we ended it that my stomach was hurting worse than it had all day.

Stomach knots go well with my bloodshot eyes, puffy cheeks, bad hair and fog brain.

Autism fog brain.

Nutella fog brain.

Other fog brain.

Just fog brain.

Earlier today, I took my friend’s dog for a walk.

When we left, it was sunny and crisp with bits of blue between the big white puffy clouds over the mountain to the north.

I guess I didn’t take enough notice of the giant gray thunderstorm blowing up from the south.

About a 1/2 mile from my friend’s house it started pouring – really pouring.  😦

I pulled my hood up over my head and scrunched myself down into my jacket and tried to hide from it, but then I looked at the dog.

He was prancing with his head held high and his forward momentum growing.

I think he liked the rain.

I pulled my hood back down, unzipped my jacket a bit and followed his lead.

Maybe embracing the crazy weather outside would help with the crazy weather in my head.

We got drenched, absolutely soaked to the skin, but it was exhilarating.

I definitely got a much better workout after abandoning all hair-do protecting instincts.  😀

The walk helped clear some fog, but my stomach still kind of hurts.

Now I’m home and dry and the little boy is here with me.

The rain has stopped and it’s almost time to make dinner.

Can’t decide what to put on my stress belly.


Veggie burger?



Leftover Nestle Crunch Eggs?

A vacation?

What do you think?

For your delight, here is a website that has been cracking up the husband this week.

For your sweet tooth, here is something I tried out to calm my gut yesterday.  It worked beautifully for a while.

Oh, and something else!  One of the loveliest people I know became a teenager today…

Happy Birthday, Holly Polliwog!
(And welcome to the front seat. :D)
I love you!


Just Some Stuff

What a stressful week.  This is my fifth attempt at a post for you, but nothing is coming together in my head.  It’s really scary in there – don’t look.

I’ve decided I just have to write, see what comes, then click “publish” before I think about it too much.

Our school district took yesterday off in honor of Cesar Chavez.

I didn’t remember this until I drove up to the bus loop and found the parking lot completely deserted.

My son couldn’t have smiled wider when I told him he didn’t have to go to school after all.

Yippee!  I was relieved too.

Things are getting dicey again.  He’s having more tantrums and the aides and teacher seem increasingly weary.

On Monday it took five people to wrangle him back indoors at the end of recess.  Naturally, he had a meltdown in the classroom.

I can’t blame him for wanting a break.  I want one too.

I feel like a broken record when I say that there is no environment that makes me feel less successful than his school does.

That’s really more about me though, not them and certainly not him.

My son is in the right place for the moment.  He likes it.  He learns.  He needs the routine and it’s free.

The problem is, every inch of it makes me uncomfortable.

In the course of advocating for my son over the past three years, I’ve ruffled some feathers.

I know that there are people on the campus who may not like or trust me or approve of the way I handle things.

I’m not blind to my impact on the school’s agenda, but I do what I have to do for my kid and for my own sanity, you know?

I help when I am directly asked, but I never volunteer for things.  I am not part of the PTA and I don’t attend other meetings or events if they are not directly related to my son and his educational goals.

Next week, there will be a brief conference with the teacher.  I am sort of dreading it, but not because it will include any surprises or that it will be something I can’t do.

I am dreading it because I grew up wanting everyone to like me and that’s the first casualty of a life with a special needs kid.

I have to go to these meetings knowing I will make myself unpopular.  I will ask for things they don’t want to give or don’t know how to give.  I will have to push and explain why “no” is not acceptable.  I will ruffle more feathers.

And then for a few weeks, I will have a heightened sense of disconnect with the whole place as I recover from my boldness.

I will be a little paranoid around the other parents, wondering if they know I’m that mom.

I will sit alone as I wait for my kid at the end of each day.

I will try to discern from a two second interaction with the teacher whether or not there is improvement or if she finds me and my son hopeless.

I will bite back the stressful butterflies in my stomach and go forward.  Things will get better with new strategies in place.

And then it will start again.

Yeah, I need a break.

We went to Coronado today.  I never get tired of that!  Even with big gray clouds overhead, it’s beautiful along the water.

We started at Tidelands Park as usual, played for a while, then walked to Burger King, The Coronado Cupcakery and Coldstone.

The little boy chose a big lemon cupcake with bright yellow frosting, but as usual, he rejected it without a taste for reasons we’ll never know.  😦

Husband and I were happy to eat it for him.  It was really moist and included a thin surprise layer of lemon curd near the bottom.  Delicious.  🙂

You may recall that their vanilla cupcake already has my heart♥felt approval.  Two for two.  Good job, Cupcakery!!  I love you.  😉

I haven’t been to Coldstone in about five years.  Our intention today was only to get a small scoop for the boy since he seemed disappointed with his cupcake choice.

Standing in front of the counter with a rainbow of options before us, husband and I realized we were defenseless.  Despite the cupcake still working its way to our guts, we couldn’t resist.

I highly recommend the Sweet Cream with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups crushed in.  Yummy spectacular!


Can’t really think of anything else to say.

Except, oh yeah…

Big Fat Happy Birthday to my beautiful niece!!  😀

Are you really 17?

No, you can’t be!

Oh…I’m old.


A snail, a tooth, a bump in the road

I stepped on a snail this morning.

It was on my friend’s front porch.

I used a piece of bark to flick most of it into the bushes afterward.  Couldn’t leave it for my friend.

Years have passed since I last felt that squish under my shoe, but it was familiar just the same.

Close your eyes!  Don’t you remember exactly what that’s like?

Crack!  Sploootch.  Rubber sticky.  Blech.  Ooze.  Buh-bye.

Now I have that phantom snail imprint on my foot.

I recalled it perfectly when I was eating lunch.

I contemplated removing my tennies and socks, scrubbing my foot and trying to get rid of the feeling.

But I don’t actually want to touch my shoe yet.

So the snail impression stays.

Yesterday, my son smiled up at me with a new hole in his mouth.

He had parted with a tooth when I wasn’t looking.

I asked him where he put it and he started looking in earnest on the floor near his computer.

Clearly he had dropped it there at some point earlier in the day.

I spent the better part of an hour crouched under the table sorting through dust bunnies to find it.

The little boy seemed relieved when I finally picked it up and gave a triumphant cheer.

We zipped it into a plastic bag and later put it under his pillow.

And then the tooth fairy forgot to come.

Nice, huh?

It was a tough weekend.

The husband and I had a weird disagreement on Saturday.

The details aren’t important because we worked them out like we always do.

Unfortunately, the price for our little detour from bliss was a lot of anxiety and missed sleep.

I’m functioning on about half power right now.

That’s not quite enough to charge my fairy wings or hone my peripheral snail-avoidance vision.

Oh well.

Snails die and fairies come back, right?

I need chocolate.

Speaking of chocolate, I met my mom and Lou at Karen Krasne’s Extraordinary Desserts on Friday.

Every time I go, I am reminded that I should go more often.  So should you.

Here is a blurry photo of my breakfast pastry.

Happy Monday!


Something Cheerier

This has been a stressful week.  😦

Luckily, my crafty cousin quilted me a purse!  🙂

I love it!

She pieced it together from fabrics I bought at
Beverly’s in San Luis Obispo.

Velcro joins the two handled sides.

With the velcro unfastened, you can see the zippered main compartment down the middle.

Here it is from the side.

Unzip it and you get a peek at red polka dots!
The little square of black fabric is a pocket.

The purse is very lightweight and includes the large main compartment and a variety of interior and exterior pockets.

My favorite feature is the double zipper.  I can bring it together in the middle, or at one of the ends, whatever works best for me.

The purse is really roomy too.  I can fit all my stuff and probably four cartons of Ben & Jerry’s Karamel Sutra ice cream in there!

I saw another purse my cousin made with the same pattern, but getting this one was still such a lovely surprise.  It’s wonderful to see a piece of fabric turned into something amazing.

My cousin is a quilting queen!  🙂

It’s also heartwarming to find a little something in the snail mail when life is so centered on the internet these days.  And to open the package and fine something handmade?  Even better!

I love this so much.

Thank you, Nancy Sue!


Scones and Scarecrow

I had yesterday all to myself!

Thank you, husband.  🙂

I left at 8:00 a.m. and didn’t return until almost 10:30 p.m.

It was a long, but lovely day!

First, I drove to San Juan Capistrano to meet a friend for brunch at The Tea House.

If you’re a fan of traditional English style tea service, you simply have to go.

The food is fabulous and the atmosphere (an old creeky house) is charming.

It’s easy to get to and it also has its own parking lot, a huge plus in such a bustling tourist town.  If there are more than two of you on a weekend, I recommend making reservations.

It was a little bit cool, but we sat outside and were warmed by pots of hot tea, an overhead heater and the rising sun.  It was perfect.

I ordered a crumpet and enjoyed it immensely, but I’ve been to The Crumpet Shop in Seattle, so my expectations were extremely high.  This crumpet was not quite as good as those, but the rich homemade jam and fresh churned butter more than made up the difference.

And the scones!  Oh, the scones!  My friend ordered one with currants.  It was huge, fluffy and shaped like a heart.  Delightful.

It came with cream, of course, and some of the same homemade jam.  I am not a scone person, but I definitely had scone envy in that moment.

My friend was kind enough to share a big chunk with all the trimmings.  Yum!  I will order that next time.  🙂

For my entree, I went with the veggie frittata.  I was skeptical because I’m not a huge fan of eggs, but the waiter talked me into it and I’m so glad he did.  It was really good.  It came with potatoes, fruit and a small bowl of sweet, spicy salsa.  Delicious.

After we ate, I switched to iced tea and we stayed to talk a while.  It was such a pleasant place to sit and chat and the waiter was top notch, filling our drinks and checking with us frequently right until we left.  Although it was getting quite busy, he never made us feel like it was time to give up the table.

Afterward, we walked across the road to a little garden shop.  Though neither of us purchased anything there, I probably will next time.

There were lots of little metal birds and pretty pots and happy plants with funny tags.  There were also hand felted wool purses and tiled mosaic bowls.

Most charming of all, there were cats everywhere.  The biggest, a fluffy black fellow with a huge swishy tail, let me pick him up and snuggle him for a good two minutes.  🙂

Very pleasant morning and it was great to see my friend after almost ten years!

The only low point in my day came when we parted company.  I was disappointed we didn’t have more time together, but we both had other places to be.  She joked about clearing our schedules enough to eat two meals at The Tea House next time we meet.  Sounds like a fine idea!

I went to two thrift stores on my out of town, St. Vincent de Paul and Mission Thrift ‘n Gift.  St. Vincent is a decent sized store with a wide variety of items and reasonable prices.  The Mission Thrift is also large and has a wide variety, but its prices are much less fair.  I really enjoy the Old Barn Antique Mall too, but I didn’t have time for it on this trip.

If you want to make a day of San Juan Capistrano, there are plenty of things to do.  The Mission itself is right in the center of town and within walking distance of historic Los Rios district and The Tea House.  There are also plenty of shops and other restaurants nearby.  My brother and his family enjoyed Sun Dried Tomato Cafe last weekend.

To finish out my day, I met another friend and my family to see The Wizard of Oz at my old high school.  You may remember how proud I am of my niece for her acting talents there.

This production is the antithesis of her last.  That performance put her in a dark dress, on a spare stage, with little more than lighting to hide the evening’s foibles.  My niece was superb, but for the Wizard of Oz, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I knew she would put everything into her role as the Scarecrow, but I didn’t know how, or if, it would work.

The school spent a lot of money for the rights to the music, story, sets and costumes.  It’s a major production, with a huge cast and crew and a lot of special effects.

Just so you won’t think me blinded by my auntie pride, I will tell you that the show isn’t perfect.  There were problems.

Some of the actors did not have microphones and could not speak loudly enough to carry their scenes.  Others had microphones that cut in and out and were distracting.

There were also a few little glitches with the technology and even one instance when a computer error message was projected on the large screen at the back of the stage.

The pacing was also a little slow.  For the eight-year-old boy sitting next to me, it was not easy to sit through the whole thing.

However, all that said, I will tell you that this show is wonderful!

Dorothy can sing!  The Lion has courage!  The Tin Man has heart!  And the Scarecrow?  What a brain!!  What a smart performance!

My niece is amazing.  She simply is the Scarecrow.  She has the physical mannerisms, the voice, the smarts, the wide-eyed wonder, everything.  Always!  She was in character from start to finish (even in the post-show photos :)), no matter who was on stage, no matter who was talking, or singing or dropping things.  She is the Scarecrow, through and through!

My pride in my niece is constant, but last night?  Last night, I got teary watching her up there.  She’s just dazzling to me.  What a way to end my day!

Good job, beautiful niece.  You’re a star!


And the winner is…


Darn it!

I was all set to share my
flourless chocolate cake experiences with you yesterday.

After all, I made three of them last weekend.


That’s one a day, for three days.

That’s right – three flourless cakes in three days.


in the gigantic pile of neglected mail we finally brought in from the box yesterday, I discovered yet another recipe!

This one was sent by a friend and it sounds really good.

Unlike those I’ve already tried,
it includes a chocolate ganache glaze recipe with it.

Uh oh…will power go bye bye.

I bought the ingredients this morning.

I’ll be making the cake sometime in the next few days.


I owe you all a more substantial blog
and a return to my old morning post routine.

With my son home from school for two weeks,
I fell behind on a host of solitary activities and left myself no time to type in the days after.

Things are getting back to normal (whatever that is),
so please don’t abandon me!

More soon.

I promise! 🙂