Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A typical day

Mrs. Preppy did a great post about this, so I thought I'd do one too. I'm always curious as to how other people spend their days, so please feel free to do one!

6:00 to 7:00 Generally around 6:20, Miss K starts rattling the bars of her crib and saying "Up." That means it's go time. I retrieve her, change her, and we go outside to get the paper. For some reason, she loves heading outside for the paper first thing. (My husband travels a ton for work, and he was out of town today. When he is in town, we bring her back into bed with us when she wakes up and we all watch Good Morning America and the local morning news together. When it's just me, I just head upstairs and get my coffee started).

7:00 ish - Breakfast. Oatmeal, milk and applesauce in the highchair. Throw in a banana or little bits of prune (I know - she has funny taste). I clean her up and have her play in the dining room and kitchen while I eat breakfast and read the paper. I also always need a very strong cup of coffee, because I really like to wake up at 7:00 - not 6:20. Today, I woke up at 6:07. That is a little early.

8:00 - 9:00 K goes and hangs out in her crib to watch a little Curious George or other PBS kids show, while I run around like a madwoman cleaning up the kitchen, dealing with feeding the cats, and getting myself sort of presentable for our morning activity. By presentable, I mean I put in my contacts, wash my face, brush my teeth, and put on sunscreen or tinted moisturizer depending on the activity. I firmly believe that if you put on workout clothing, you will work out, so my uniform is lululemon pants or shorts, a tank and a hoody. If we aren't going out for exercise in the morning, I will wear jeans and a top or a dress. I can squeeze the quickest of quick showers in if I have to, but my hair is not blown out. Apologies, but she won't stay in the crib for longer than 30 minutes!

9:00 to 12:00 - I love to walk for exercise, so most days we head out for about an hour or so walking. Today, we went for our walk, then came home and cleaned up to head over to the park to play for a while. Since there is no more morning nap, I'm pretty free in the mornings to go out and do some fun stuff or some errands. (There is a morning snack in here at some point - generally when we are out in the stroller for our walk - Miss K does appreciate some tasty baked goods with a sippy cup of milk).

12:00 - 1:00 This is when lunch is served. For K - not me! She is starting to get interested in utensils other than her hands, so I always provide them. So far, not a whole lot of success. She enjoys a grilled cheese sandwich, or some black beans or peanut butter crackers for lunch. More milk too! She plays while I clean up the kitchen. Or, she plays while I scarf some lunch and ignore how messy the kitchen is!

1:00 -2:00 At some point in here, Miss K goes down for her nap. I zip her into her little sleep sack and pop her into the crib. I sit in her room until she falls asleep. I know I need to stop, but I haven't figured out how to break the habit yet. Once she is down for her nap, I take my shower, and work on whatever needs to be done - returning phone calls, laundry, tidying up, bill paying, letters, etc. Today, for example, I sat around and read Twilight Eclipse in my unmade bed, surrounded by unfolded clean laundry. It felt like playing hooky and I loved it :)

3:00 - 4:00 Sometime in here, Miss K wakes up. Time for another small snack and milk. She has started not to eat quite as much as she used to, so this doesn't take long.

3:00 to 6:00 Time to head out again for something - either another walk or errands. Today, we went to the grocery store. She loves riding around in the cart, and is in a really good mood after her nap. This is the one good thing about being down to one nap. It means that I have time in the late afternoon to do one more errand or trip outside. When we were on two naps, she was sleeping from around 3:00 to 5:00, so there wasn't a lot of time to get stuff done after that second nap. We also love going for another walk to the park to allow her to run around.

6:00 Back home and time for dinner. If my husband is not travelling, I've spent part of nap time doing dinner prep - setting the table and preparing the meal. If he isn't, I eat a salad and poached eggs, like tonight, or something else really easy. Sometimes, it's really boring, like a bowl of cereal. Miss K eats dinner - tonight it was pasta with pesto...sadly, she did not like my homemade pesto and bowtie pasta. Another cup of milk.

6:30-7:45 More playtime. If we are on our own, like today, more PBS kids because I'm tired. Although, honestly, she seem to ignore the show and just play.

7:45 - 8:00 Time for a quick bath and bedtime. Miss K is pretty tired at the end of her day, so we do not have a very complex routine. I brush her teeth, zip her in a sleep sack, and let her turn off the light in her room. I miss her, but I know I'll see her again, bright and early.

8:00 - 10:00 Ok. She is safely asleep, so I can clean up the kitchen, run the dishwasher and then sweep around the living room picking up toys. Or, I can sit in the living room looking at all the toys strewn about and decide I won't deal with them until tomorrow. It all depends on the day :). Some days, I use this time to work on recipes or do meal prep. Other days, we sit and watch TV. I watched an episode of "Four Weddings" as I did this post. Then, it's downstairs to bed.

The days are long, but the years seem short. Especially now that she gives hugs and kisses.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Late to the party

I think I'm the only literate person in America who hasn't read the Twilight Saga. In late July, K and I both had hand foot and mouth - a particularly loathsome virus that gives you a fever and a bad sore throat. While in the throes of infection, and housebound, we watched Twilight. And I loved it!

The English nerd in me saw lots of similarities to my beloved Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. I felt a little silly checking out all the titles at the library, but then the librarian said it's the most popular series of books and that everyone has already read them.

Alright then. I'm on a mission to get caught up with the rest of America. The only problem is that I'm a terrible frady cat with a way too vivid imagination. Am I ever going to sleep again? I guess it's too late - I've read the first few chapters and I'm hooked!

What are you reading?

Monday, September 13, 2010

This post brought to you courtesy of Trace Atkins

I don't actually like all that much country music, but I heard the lyrics to "You're Gonna Miss This" and it just made me stop and think. Here are a few pictures of my munchkin over the last 16 months, and I cannot believe how much she has grown. Fall always gets me in sort of a ruminative state, and I've been thinking a lot about how quickly the time goes by. With a baby, that process speeds up even farther; I feel like it's been at least five years since I acted like me pre-baby.

So, I think I'm going to use this fall to try to take in more of the little moments and to focus less energy on where we are going. Lord knows, we are headed into the future quickly enough, so now is the time to sit back and enjoy the present.
For me, that means doing more fun things to mark the seasons - whether it's baking special Halloween cookies or wrestling someone into a Halloween costume, and also spending more time on the floor playing and less time folding laundry and playing on the internet.

How do you make the most of the here and now?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Taming the Chaos

When K first came home from the hospital, the only evidence of her presence outside of the nursery was a little stack of receiving blankets next to the couch, and a little canvas bin with diapers and such in our windowseat. Times have changed. Not only can she climb on almost all the living room furniture, it looks like her toys are reproducing each night. Our living room is blessed with high ceilings and abundant light, but cursed with absolutely no built in storage or closet to contain her mess.
Courtesy of the Container Store and Ballard Designs, there is a little more living in the living room, now that it looks a little nicer.
I've instituted a five bin rotation of toys. Each day, K gets an new bin filled with a variety of toys and books. It makes picking up after her so much easier, and she doesn't seem to notice that she's only playing with a fifth of her toys.
Now that she can touch everything, I've had to move books and remotes to a safe space. That's where the Ballard Designs shelves come in handy. I will post a picture, but they hang out right over one couch, and provide a safe space for the books I want to read - and another place to display photos of her. I'm ordering two more to be installed further down the wall. I shopped around for a while at Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel and West Elm before going with Ballard. I loved that they don't charge tax if shipping to California, and thought they were the best value around.
How do you stay organized? Any other toy/clutter containment ideas? Her bedroom and bookshelves are a whole different story :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Coffee Talk

I don't actually like coffee cake in the morning. It's too rich and sweet. I feel the same way about doughnuts. I love both as desserts or as an afternoon snack, but they are just too rich for breakfast.

That said, I bought raspberries at the store last week and didn't want to toss them. It's also about 60 and cloudy here, so I didn't really feel like eating them plain. A friend had emailed it to me months ago, and it sat in my recipe file. I stared at it, thought about it, but somehow always ended up making something else. Not anymore. Courtesy of a package of raspberries that I did not want to go to waste, I present to you a very delicious cake:

It is from confessions of a tart - a beautiful blog that I just discovered and am very much enjoying! http://

I made a couple changes to the recipe - I added nutmeg to the streusel topping - because I like it. I also added all the raspberries that I had - I think it was closer to 3 cups. Because I added a lot more fruit, the dough became a lot wetter and I had to extend the baking time by about 15 minutes. Because of all the extra fruit, I ended up with beautiful pink cake studded with tons of raspberries and a very crisp streusel on top. Just how I like it. The problem is that it's sitting in my kitchen calling to me as I sit and type this. I think this would be delicious with blackberries or another tart fruit?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fall Wishlist

We really did not have much of a summer in Los Angeles this year. So, it could be that September and October are hellishly hot, and I keep wearing summer clothing for the next few weeks. However, the fog rolled in last night, and it hasn't lifted. Baby K and I baked some raspberry coffee cake and enjoyed pizza for dinner. Fall is on the way.

Now that I have a toddler, I'm looking for comfy clothing that allows me to chase her around outside and inside, but that isn't just lululemon pants and hoodies. Don't get me wrong, if you run into me out and about doing errands, that is what I'm wearing most of the time, but I want a look for fall that is a little more together.

I have finally embraced the leggings and tunic trend, so here are some of my favorites:

Jcrew tunic - for a warm day at the park and farmer's market

A slightly more stylish tee for kicking back with jeans and boots during the day, and maybe cute enough for dinner with friends later.

I am obsessed with cable knit sweaters. I tried one on at Free People that had such potential, but it was the least flattering thing ever on. This one from Bloomingdales looks like it would be sleek and slimming, but still comfy and easy to move around in.

I'll have to do a separate post for Miss K. It's a little hard for me to find the traditional, smocked dresses that I like for her out here, but I think I've found some good contenders for fall.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The times, they are a changin'


I have been way too lazy about updating lately. It's not that there is much exciting to report around here - it's just that when you get out of the habit, it is hard to get back in the groove. But, I miss having an activity that is just for me. So much stuff lately is for baby K, the family, the cats, friends - you know. I was flipping through the blog and realized how fun and inexpensive all of my little cooking projects were, and how very happy they made me.

It's cool here today. The fog has not burned off, and it definitely feels like fall is around the corner. It's a good time to savor the last strawberries of the season and to start gearing up for apples and pears. I generally am not a huge berry person. I'm happy to eat them, but I don't often get thrilled about them the way I do about chocolate or peaches and plums. This strawberry shortcake recipe should change that. It's the best. It is weird and a little scary the first time you make it - but it works. I made it for two dinner parties this summer, and both times, everyone had seconds. The secret - balsamic vinegar. It makes the strawberries somehow more strawberry. It was great with local fruit, and I think it would even help jazz up sad and tired grocery store fruit as well. Please, give it a try. The shortcakes are amazing as well. I'm thinking of serving them with sauteed plums in the fall, and later with pears, or as some sort of topping for pear crisp?


2 c. flour
5 TBS sugar, divided
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. chilled unsalted butter (diced) I cut up the butter first and pop it into the freezer until the last possible second.
1 c. chilled heavy whipping cream
1 large egg, beaten (for the glaze)


2 lb strawberries, sliced and washed well
6 TBS sugar - divided. Pay attention to how sweet your berries are!
3 TBS balsamic vinegar. You may want to start with one TBS and work up to three - I tell you it's worth it
1 large pinch freshly ground black pepper. The secret ingredient!!!


Preheat oven to 425. Grease baking sheet or line with parchment. Mix flour, 4 TBS sugar, baking powder and salt in food processor - pulsing till blended. Add butter, using pulses until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add cream and pulse again until clumps form. Dump onto floured work surface and smush into a ball. Pat out to an 8"x4" rectangle and cut into 8 squares. Place shortcakes on prepared sheet and chill in fridge 15 minutes. Then, brush shortcakes with egg glaze and sprinkle with remaining TBS sugar - I really like using sugar in the raw for the sprinkles. Bake about 15 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.

Berries - mix the berries, sugar, vinegar and pepper in bowl and let sit. I let them sit about 3-4 hours. The recipe says 30 minutes, but I found the longer you wait, the more juice they make and the better they taste.

Serve with vanilla whipped cream and enjoy. Courtesy of Bon Appetit magazine - here is the link to their recipe http://

What are you all cooking? And, do any of you have a slow cooker? Do you use it? Do you like it? Would you recommend a brand? I am teetering on the fence, and would like some more info and guidance.