Eat Me!

She wanted to bake cinnamon rolls, but we were missing three ingredients.  After some more searching, she decided on pinwheel cookies.  She wanted to make them completely by herself — which was great, because I didn’t have time to help her!  I peaked in at one point and saw the 2 perfect balls of dough — one white, and one pink.  She asked if I could help her with the rolling part.  “Nope.”  I came back a few minutes later to find marbleized “Eat Me” cookies!  So clever… Not pinwheels, but we all enjoyed eating them.  I only wished I hadn’t finished my second cup of coffee before they were done!!

Memory Lane; What I Will Miss

Twenty-five things I will miss about our life here in California:

Our lemon tree!  Growing up, our neighbors had a lemon tree, and I wondered why anyone would want one.  Now that  I have one, I don’t know how I am going to live without one!

Our annual trip to Oak Glen to pick apples.  There is nothing like traditions… and good friends… and mountain air… and fall apples!

The “Rock Garden” and walking the “Wilson Trail.”  Both terms are common in our house, yet terms only our family knows relaying to our neighborhood.  Special.

Our annual trip to the LA County Fair.  I am sure I will miss this, though whenever I think about the Fair, all I can think of is HEAT and DIRT.

Our chartreuse door.  Though, I have new ideas for our new Montana door!

Storm.  Never thought I would like a rabbit, but this guy was pretty sweet and oh so soft!  So happy he is loving his new life with our friends and made friends with their chickens!

The Coffee Klatch!  When I first moved here 23 years ago, my friends and I would spend hours at the Klatch grading papers, playing cards, and drinking Patios.  Fast forward 20 some years, and I have introduced the Patio to my coffee-loving daughter.  It is still hands-down the best coffee drink ever!  Nevermind it has several scoops of ice cream in it, plus their “secret ingredient.”  Do you think they’ll tell me what the secret ingredient is if I let them know I am moving to Montana?

Club 56.  For the last 5 years, I have been part of the 5th/6th grade ministry at our church.  I love the leaders as well as the kids, and will miss it greatly! (This is my cabin of girls from Winter Camp back at the end of February!)

Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream.  How many Thursdays did we take a drive to Handel’s for their $1 scoop Thursdays?  (Which increased to $1.25 and then $1,50, all while getting smaller!)  I remember stopping there after art class…and stopping there after soccer practice… and driving past a plethora of Thursdays and going in. Grandma even began planning her weekend visits for Thursday instead of Friday so we could hit Handels!  We have consumed A LOT of Handels!

My succulents.  They’re the only plants that have thrived in my yard, and they were all started form free clippings!

626 Night Market and the abundance of Asian Food places we have visited.  I doubt we will find authentic, quality Asian food in Montana, but at least Daniel can cook!

Day Creek Park.   Countless walks, games of hide and seek, Holy Yoga with the neighbors, kite flying, watching bats at dusk, throwing the dog the ball, tennis lessons, etc.  So many memories!

Beach trips.  Love the beach.  Love the mountains more.

Trips to the Firehouse.  My absolute favorite was on Thanksgiving… having firefighters do all the cooking and cleaning while the kids run around and play and I kick back in an easy chair.  Yes.  Firehouse, you will be missed!

This view from my office.  Glad we are going where there are mountains or I don’t think I would feel nearly as excited!

Our pastor.  How many ties have we left church, looked at each other, and declared, “We are so blessed!  We have the best church!”

Our prolific peach tree.  Peach juice dripping down sticky chins after an afternoon swim.  Peach jam spread on sourdough toast.  Peaches in pancakes, on waffles, and the star of peach galette!

This kitchen table.  It’s already been given to a loving home.  So many meals shared, parties celebrated, and science projects demonstrated on it!

Our homeschool group.  Here Xavi is modeling his “crazy hair” for crazy hair day online during this pandemic.

This pool!  For obvious reasons…

Our new(wish) bathroom.  The wallpaper may have o make another appearance at our new home!

Lizards.  They are everywhere.  We love finding them on our walks.  We don’t love finding them at the bottom of our pool.

Our Magnolia Tree!  This was just taken this week as friends came by to swim and help pack.  They all had to climb the tree “one last time” before leaving.  I’ll never forget the lovely smell of magnolia flowers in the summer, and how the kids would play with the red magnolia seeds in the fall.

These are just a few of the things I will miss once we move.  It goes without saying, the thing I will miss most about leaving is the relationships I have formed in my 23 years here.  The friendships go so deep, I dare say they are more like extended family than friends.  That being said, we will hopefully have “family” visiting us often!

While there is so much to miss, (and I was surprised by the emotion that hit while compiling the pictures for this post), there is also much to look forward to!  Though our California chapter is coming to a close, the next chapter promises much.  I am looking forward to it with hope, joy, and expectancy.  What new lives will be added to our extended family?  What will the cold teach us about slowing down, about the beauty of seasons, about our God?  What new traditions will we add?  What “big thing” will God call us to next?

And so we say goodbye to this chapter with sadness that much will be missed, but excitement knowing God is faithful and will continue to provide in new and wonderful ways!

(P.S.  I WON’T miss the Santa Ana Winds, the oppressive fall heat, the smog colored skies, or the California politics)

Garlic Parmesan Fries

We have a new favorite side around here…  I’ve made them twice this month, already!  They are from Creme de la Crumb.  My kids LOVE these!!

Ingredients

  • 34 large russet potatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • optional: fresh parsley (or cilantro), ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Place potato wedges in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. In a small bowl whisk together salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle potato wedges with the shredded cheese, tossing to coat, then sprinkle with the seasoning mixture.
  • Place potato wedges on prepared baking sheet in a single layer with skin-sides-down. Bake for 25-35 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender and golden. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and dressing for dipping.

You’re welcome!!!

Pizza Time!

Pizza is nothing new around here.  In fact, we probably have it far too often.  But, usually I am the one making it.  I have let them make their own pizzas in the past, though it was usually for special occasions.  It occurred to me that not only does letting them make their own pizzas make my job easier, it is also fun for them and they seem to enjoy eating it more, as well.  And so, while we watched church online Sunday, I let the dough rise and when it was over, I told them to get to work!  And they did… and it was wonderful!  (I should probably encourage them to take over in the kitchen way more often… I’m getting there!)

Thankfully, just before the pandemic hit, I had purchased a large thing of yeast from the store.  Sadly, it is almost gone now.  I guess I won’t be jumping on the sourdough bandwagon any time soon.  Let me know if you can find any yeast!

Her Specialties…

Chocolate cupcakes?

Smoothies?  Grilled Cheese?

Lemon Cookies?

Which do you prefer?  If you can overlook the mess, it is really nice to have a cook/ baker around!  Sierra is amazing at both grilled cheese and fried eggs… mmmm…. The best part is, she offers to make them for siblings, who love to say yes, and you know what that means for me!  The only problem now?  Without our chickens, we are going broke buying eggs!!!

Crazy Cheese Straws for Crazy Times!

When she asked if she could make “crazy cheese straws,” I thought… yes!  Crazy anything seems to fit these days…

Yes, even for us homeschoolers who are used to… well… schooling at home, this is a crazy and challenging time.  If you ask me how we’re doing, I will tell you it depends on the minute!  One minute, I watch the kids creatively play together and think, “We are awesome.  We got this!” and the next minute they are all on each other’s nerves and I am feeling like a failure for suggesting they all go watch a movie so I can find some rest. And so it goes…

To be honest, it really hasn’t been too bad for us.  We are healthy and have our needs met and have had some great times playing games, baking, and continuing with school.  There have been challenges, and we certainly miss Daniel who has been gone and will be for quite some time… yet it is well with my soul!

Personally, my wish has been to not waste this gift of time that has been given me.  When I say not waste, I am not referring to being productive.  What I mean is, I don’t want to miss what God is doing and speaking to me.  We have had ups and downs with emotions as we looked at making some big life changes, but quickly realized now would not be the time.  What comfort in knowing His timing is perfect, and this is not a surprise to him.  The peace He gives truly passes all understanding.

I have been journaling a lot of prayers and especially things He is showing me at this time, which is why I haven’t had much time to come on here for my “fun journaling.”  However, I truly hope to take at least some this time to go back and do a few posts from January and February.  We shall see!

(By the way, the crazy cheese straws were super simple, but super tasty and made a great side to our Caesar salad lunch.  We ate them while watching our friend win on “Price is Right.” )

Chinese New Year 2020

Looking back at these pictures feels like a lifetime ago!  It goes to show you never know what a difference a day makes.  What a good reminder that each day is a gift and we don’t know what tomorrow holds.

This was our first traditional Chinese New Year celebration with Daniel’s family in many years.  It brought back all kinds of emotions… remembering when his mom hosted the first Chinese New Year and my parents and their friend Derek were down visiting.  Now both my mother-in-law and my parents’ friend have passed away!  And now we have kids of our own, and this was Xavi’s first official Chinese New Year celebration!

It also happened to be our anniversary, which was not coincidentally planned to be close to Chinese New Year, but that’s another story!  So thankful for our traditions, our cultures, and our family!!!!

Cookie Pops

When you’re a 10 year old girl and you get an American Girl Baking book as well as a frosting set for Christmas, I suppose it doesn’t matter how many Christmas cookies and treats are still lying around… you just have to bake something NOW!  (And she did… all by herself!)  I guess there is no such thing as too many sweets, because I sure enjoyed my cookie pop!  Good Job, Sees!!!

Christmas 2019

There was food, family, presents, traditions, sick kids, cookies, church online, games, devotions, candles, rain, fireplace roaring, hugs, books, fussing, forgiving, egg nog, (yuck!), lefse (yum!), Christmas Carols and so much more…. Feeling blessed by 2019 and grateful for 2020 and all that it will bring!