Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Trains to the Rescue

Maia and I don't have too many struggles, but if there's anything, it's food. This morning I said no to something she asked for (this was after two mini bagels and a whole banana for snack) and she went into an extended laying-on-the-floor-whining-and-crying episode. I tried suggesting we play a game, ignore it, left the room, but it was the trains that finally pulled her out of it. And then I thought the light was pretty.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Creative Sketchbook Workshop

I went to a workshop this weekend, made possible by a generous grant from Chuck and Julie (i.e. FIL and MIL). The instructor had us bring a new sketchbook, paint, pens, pencils, ink, magazines, old books, etc. She then showed us her creative sketchbooks and examples of other student work. It's hard to describe exactly what it is - sort of journaling, testing out ideas, playing, creating, painting, stamping. It's very free and loose, and unintimidating. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think I will try to keep it up. It seems like a great way to do something creative without any pressure. And now I have a place to put all those scraps of pretty, cool stuff I have around in piles. All in all it was a very inspiring way to spend a Sunday and I'm so glad I did. Thanks Chuck and Julie. See flickr for larger images.

Monday, February 18, 2008

New View

I decided to take matters into my own hands and dig the hole for the St. Francis pedestal to be put up. I chose a spot where I could see it from the kitchen and my desk. It also faces our outdoor dining area. Chris helped with the concrete mixing when he got back from his bike ride. The hole digging brought me back to my early environmental consulting days of having to hand auger holes to collect soil samples - sometimes to 15 feet. It was jobs like those that really had me wondering why I went to college. Don't miss it a bit. I'm pretty sore today, too. My dad and Katherine made the pedestal as a replica of one my grandfather made in the 40s. They commissioned the St. Francis statues (my sisters and I received them as Christmas gifts this year). I really love it. I love having pretty and peaceful things around the yard, other than the plants. Such a nice gift. More pictures of St. Francis here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines

They were actually freezing cold while I took their picture. Sofia made it all worth it this morning when she opened her bag with the skirt and shirt. She ran to me and gave me a big hug and said, "Ooooh Mommy, it's so beautiful, thank you Mommy." I had originally planned to put some sort of peace/love symbology (is that a word?) on the t-shirts but then I saw this at Creative Kismet's site, and thought a Valentine Fairy would be better. More pictures here.

What about my most important Valentine? Well, he gets a yummy roast chicken dinner (the girls' favorite lately) with artichokes and chocolate pudding for dessert. I rented a movie too. Oh, yes, and my everlasting love. Smooch!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Chocolate Cake

I'm a relatively inexperienced baker, so I was thrilled that this cake turned out so yummy. Everyone loved it, except Maia, but I'll get to that in a minute. This was the Double Chocolate Layer Cake from It was delicious, so chocolatey. The only changes I made were that I used 2 9-inch cake pans (plus some cupcakes) and baked the cake at 325 for an hour (started checking at 40 minutes, just to be sure).

The party was fun, very mellow. Just six kids (including my two) and one baby, just free playing, no entertainment. Like I said in my last post, Maia has been planning her birthday cake for months; chocolate with chocolate frosting, raspberries on top, cookies around the outside, and ice cream. Last night after the party she said, "I didn't really like the chocolate, just the good stuff". I said, "Oh? What's the good stuff?" to which she replied, "The cookies and the raspberries." Shrug. Goofy kid. I'm so not offended, everyone else gobbled theirs up!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Happy Birthday Maia!

Maia turns 3 today. Everyone says she looks just her sister, but we see a totally different little person. For one, she has murky green eyes, instead of murky blue eyes like Sofia :). She is so sweet and mostly easy going. She of course has her opinions, especially about food. And a bit of a sweet tooth. She loves playing games like Hi Ho Cherry O and Orchard and Memory. She loves playing dress up with Sofia.

We spent the morning at the LA Zoo and visited the new gorilla habitat, the chimpanzees, snow leopard, lions, giraffes, sea lions, and the bird show. We have a small "trains and tea" party planned for tomorrow. She's been planning her cake since Sofia's birthday: chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and raspberries on top, cookies around the bottom and ice cream. I'll do my best.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Valentine Peasant Skirts

I am on several children's clothing catalog lists (why do I torture myself?) and I was coveting some really cute dresses for Sofia and Maia, but since it is (was) January and the renewal of our commitment to a leaner budget (ahem), I went searching for a pattern for a peasant skirt. I found one here. It has a cool calculator based on the wearer's actual measurements. I had to make adjustments for length because the pattern is for adults, but it was pretty simple. I learned how to do the gathering from this pattern, which I hadn't done before. I think they will love them - at this age they really like having matching things. I'm still working on some american apparel t-shirts with some kind of applique with the remnant fabric.