Sunday, August 16, 2009

To cane or not to cane…

I have an old (not really old, just not taken care of) beautiful teak and cane chair. It used to be in a friend’s house until his girlfriend moved in. She didn’t like it, so it went outside – in the rain, and scorching sun of the Central Valley. After a year or so, I noticed the poor thing and asked for it. She immediately said yes, they were just going to take it to the dump. However, I had just started school, so the poor thing lived on my patio for the past three years. At least it was protected from the elements, but still…

My friend Andi came over the other day and said she would just use fabric….of course, her idea was a little more involved including leather straps and rivets, but it got me thinking about using fabric that I already had. Here was my dilemma – would just fabric hold using staples? I don’t know the long-term answer. I think stronger, thicker fabric would be better, but this was the fabric I had and so here is my fabulous new chair! And even if I have to replace the fabric in a year or two, it was free and really easy.

And, the whole thing including sanding and staining only took a couple of hours, if I had known that I would have done it years ago.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I have been doing a lot of reupholstering lately, and not all of it has been furniture for me! My friend, Amy is in the process of setting up her new office and finding a garage sale chair and ottoman as well as an old chair in her own house has really helped keep down her budget. Some spray paint and some sweat have transformed these chairs into something fun and funky to work with Jr. High kids! Of course, in the mean time, my old couch is staring at my forlornly….


I forgot to take an after picture of the ottoman, but I recovered it in the squiggly fabric on the back of the chair.

Friday, August 14, 2009


I am in the process of purging my entire house. I am going room by room trying to get all of the excess junk, stuff and accumulated things gone and streamlined. It’s amazing how much better I feel when my house is in order. However, I find that I do a lot more yelling at the kids when the house is clean! I don’t want to be mean, but it’s amazing how fast two little boys can completely trash a whole house. Seriously, it takes them about 2.7 minutes…

Thursday, August 13, 2009

End of Summer

As our summer break is winding down, I took the kids down to see my parents for a few days. And wow, what boy filled days they were!!! They learned how to shoot a bow and arrow. They learned the proper technique for shooting a BB gun, including how to figure out which is the dominant eye.

Ryan started learning to play the guitar...

We went to La Brea Tar Pits and saw all the bones of the animals and the tar still oozing out of the ground. (Made me wonder what is under all those buildings next door…)

Max got to ride one of the horses. Ryan still stays away since he remembers the emergency trip to the doctor's office because he swelled up and couldn't breath...

And they were excited to be able to use the sewing machine for the first time and make their own sandwich/snack bags. (Okay, so the last one was not so boy-y, but they were proud of what they made and mom finished off the Velcro…)

Hopefully, I'll be selling these in the next few days/weeks. But, not the ones they made, of course.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I have been part of a mom’s group at church for the past five years. It has been a wonderful source of support and inspiration for me during some of the most difficult times of my life. And it's just fun!
We have gotten together for many non-scheduled days to hang out and let the little ones play, however we have never gotten together as families. For me, not such a big deal since I am the only single mom in the group – I always bring my family!
We had a potluck at my house this past Sunday evening and it was so much fun! My sister came out at one point and asked how many kids were there and how many each family had…There were kids everywhere!!!! I loved it! I love using my house to entertain, I have set it up so it is kid friendly (because if it hasn’t been broken by now, it can’t be broken…), but I rarely get the chance to entertain anymore…I definitely need to do this more often.
So, thank you to everyone who came! We need to do this again.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Slow Food

I am a big fan of the slow food movement. After all, I absolutely love food. Well, good food. I can fore go eating if my only choices are fast food. (Which is really not good for me or the people around me.) There have been many a night where something like crackers have been dinner because nothing else in the house was good.

But back to the slow food movement. It's an organization dedicated to preserving traditional food. I can get on board with that! Additionally, they believe that the best way to preserve traditional breeds that are going extinct is to get people to eat them. Sounds counter intuitive, yet increase demand and supply will increase.

I have bought Heritage Turkeys for Thanksgiving in the past. In fact, one Thanksgiving I cooked a heritage turkey, a traditional turkey and a wild turkey so we could taste-test them side by side. Let me tell you, that heritage turkey made me a believer. It actually had flavor and texture, and you know - that turkey could still actually have sex (well before they killed it for us).

I would raise heritage breed turkeys and chickens if it wasn't for that whole plucking thing. I've already done it and it does not hold good memories for me. It might be different now that I am an adult and it would feed me and my children...hhhmmm

However, one of my problems is that I am impatient. This too might be an understatement, but there it is. It's not that I don't cook from scratch; most everything I do cook is from scratch. I can whip up a fresh tomato sauce in slightly more time than it takes to open a can, but most of my meals in the past 8 years (since I got pregnant the first time), have been of the 30 minute variety. A few of them go longer, but really it's all about getting a good dinner on the table as fast as possible.

Again, this is not to say, that they are not fresh - just fast.

As we are getting home from the conciliatory ice cream after stitches this morning, my sister tells me that we have a ton of eggplant. My eggplants are planted in the strip between my driveway and my neighbors yard and she normally parks on that side of the driveway. So, apparently it was time to make eggplant Parmesan.

This is not a quick dish. This takes slicing eggplant, draining in salt, dredging, frying, baking, making tomato sauce...Today it was even slower since halfway through I realized we were out of pasta.

Completely out.

No pasta of any kind in the house.

I really don't understand how this is possible, but it happened.

I used to make my own pasta in college and this was hands down every one's favorite dish of mine. There is nothing like fresh pasta. And surprisingly, it is extremely easy albeit extremely messy to do.

The dough takes about 3 minutes. I figured the boys would help roll it and cut it in my pasta machine - no problem. Except the pasta machine that I haven't used since college, doesn't really cut the dough. More of an imprint really.

So, now I have been cooking for almost 2 hours. And we have pasta looking type stuff. More of sheets with spaghetti imprints and globs of dough. We put it in the boiling water, waited about a minute and drained it. I threw on the eggplant, a little extra sauce and served the boys. Ryan said it was the best meal he had ever eaten and could I make this every night? Max said yum, but halfway through decided he didn't like the purple skin; but he ate everything else as long as it wasn't purple.

The good point of all this is that our meal completely came out of my garden! This made me so happy and willing to take the time to do this. (I also made another one to put in the freezer.) Everything except the oil and the flour - I grew!

Lately, I have been feeling frustrated and sad regarding my gardening capabilities. I have thought that if my family was dependent on me and my garden for food - we'd be starving. But tonight, tonight we had tomatoes, garlic, onions, basil, oregano, eggplant, eggs and an old pasta machine for the most unbelievable pasta ever!!! This was slow food. And it was good.

But now I have flour over every surface of the kitchen and dining room...

Beach Last Week

I woke up one day last week and said we had to get out of the heat! It had been over a hundred for a while, so off to the beach for day we went...What an awesome day!


Since we have a less than two weeks before school starts, I have plans. Lots and lots of plans and things I wanted to get done before school starts and work begins in earnest. This morning I'm sitting on my patio eating breakfast with my sister and we hear a blood-curdling scream. Ryan comes running out of the house holding his forehead screaming. I run over and blood is spurting out of a gash just over his eyebrow.

This is more than a small cut. It is deep. I can see white. I get him calmed down and a damp towel pressed on it to stop the bleeding. Janette runs across the street to get the ER doctor, but he's not home.

I call the doctor's office and they say they can fit us in...almost 3 hours later, Ryan has two stitches. And joy, joy we already had an appointment for tomorrow, so we get to go back!
He got to choose either Sonic or In-N-Out for lunch and a shake!