Tuesday, September 6, 2011

getting out

We love leaving the city, absolutely love it. We accidentally found a secret beach spot on one drive and have been driving out to it almost every weekend. It is in a little town called Inverness and when we were living in Glasgow and Rich knew that we were moving here he checked it out through google. The geography is similar to that of where we were living and the street names are all Scottish. There are little thistles blooming now and bramble berries line the highway. It is a little hike through the redwoods to the beach. Even on Labor day weekend there was no crowd. Driving to the spot is slow, but once there we are totally rewarded.

Atlas was thrilled to find bear poo. He is our resident expert on all wildlife. Everywhere.

On the way home we stopped and picked berries on the side of the road. We picked so many- wearing flip flops and and our swim suits. It was dangerous! Then Emilia and I made a perfect berry pie that could be sliced with no runny berry mess. I can't wait to go back and do it again.

Friday, August 26, 2011

job hunting

Hunting- yeah I guess that is the right name for it. You really have to search and persevere and be discriminate? However, I am applying to just about everything I am remotely qualified for. The other day in an interview in response to a valid question I gave this valid response: size doesn't matter. I thought about what I had just said while looking the interviewer in the eye and didn't laugh or turn bright red. I took a breath and then qualified the statement by saying that big companies and small companies bla bla- as long as it is a good company...

Another blunder was in answering the phone. I was expecting a call from a friend that I hadn't spoken to in years. I answered the phone with a very friendly and expectant hello. There was an unexpected pause. It wasn't my friend but an employment agency in response to receiving my resume.

I am learning. I now answer my phone much differently no matter who is calling.

And I have been cooking, baking, making and mixing. I am sprouting seeds and beans too. It is getting obnoxious. Someone please hire me before I bake and cook us out of the house. hortachata
basil pesto
super thick and creamy yogurt and whey
the beloved hummus

Bread, cakes, cookies, yogurt, cheese, soups and stews, pestos (yes plural- basil and cilantro), horchata, and hummus. The other day I went to my regular supplier from Israel and he is on vacation. I just had to get my fix so I had to give hummus another go at making it myself- safeway and TJ's just doesn't cut it. I read about 10 different recipes and made the best hummus ever. Tahini, garlic, parsley and freshly cooked chickpeas. Warm cooking water, salt and a bit of olive oil. All of the kids loved it. Even the silly ones who didn't like it before.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I haven't taken my kids on as many adventures this year. But a few weeks ago I let them skip school and we went hiking in the Santa Clara mountains. It was beautiful. It reminded us of Scotland- just warmer. Atlas caught a snake and we saw a wild turkey and an expired blue jay. It was good doing something together we all love and leaving the stress of city life behind.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I wish...

I wish I was done. I'm not. I am up to my eyeballs in studying the law for the CA bar exam held over 3 days in July. I am however, finished with school for now! I now hold a degree in International Relations from BYU. A law degree (LLB) from the University of Glasgow and an LLM (Legum Magistra- master of the laws, feminine) from University Calif Hastings college of the law... Ya I'm done with school- at the very least until I pay off all of my student loans! I haven't really looked for a job- it is really hard being a mom and going to school and job hunting and studying for the bar. My motto is one thing at a time- so that means that until I am finished with the bar the job hunting is on hold. But I now officially hold a Master's degree! I am glad. All of my grades were posted today and I have officially passed. I might add that I did pretty well- for all of my anxiety and stressing, it paid off- so far. One last hurdle. And yes, I do feel like a freak!
ps- the pretty leis are from my parents-in-law. They came, but unfortunately I have no photos.

Monday, May 9, 2011


How desperate am I? How over it all am I? One hundred per cent! My last exam is tomorrow- a statutory class. It is an open book exam and I just sold my textbook. So um... I don't have my book to bring in to help me out tomorrow. I had to sell it because today is the last day I could and I just hate when the bookstore won't buy back the bloody book. I was solicited by Amazon and so I am taking the offer. It expires today. So that is it. Not really, I can borrow a book from a fellow student who is taking the exam a day late due to conflicting exams. It is a little funny and sad... but I get a good credit with Amazon! which is really all that counts- ya know degree that costs too much and a silly book that in comparison doesn't.

On a different note- the weather here has been amazing. For an entire week! I even got a hurtful burn on each shoulder when I just had to sit in the sun and study. Through the pain I was so glad that it was sunny.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A new LOVE

So I have fallen in love and if it were possible I would marry these beans. I love this recipe. Rich does and Atlas does. The three littles don't. They think it is too spicy. When I read the recipe the first time I filed it away, knowing that I would love it. But then I didn't make it for a long time. When I saw it again I made it the next day. Then the next and now it is weekly. It reheats perfectly for lunch the next day. It is great with eggs for breakfast and of course tastes as if it was meant for a corn tortilla. I lOVE these beans. I made them again this afternoon for dinner. I don't use bread crumbs and I have made it with every type of bean (ok almost), my favorite is the pinto. I also make my own beans by soaking them over night and cooking for most of the day in a crockpot on low!

On a side note, I took my first exam today. Then I planned to get right back into studying for my other two and finishing a take home exam and starting another. I didn't. I completely blew off everything and wasted time and then made this cake. Sometimes I just cannot not bake.

We have also had a birthday and totally broke all the rules (mine and the landlords... shhh) and got a gecko for this birthday boy. I mean, how could I not? I totally hate caged animals. Fish included and we have 3. Life can be compromising.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Inevitable

It finally happened. I am not quite sure when, but last week it wasn't so. Last night it was. I knew it was going to happen soon, and I wasn't quite sure how I would feel about it. As it turned out, I am fine. I feel just the same, maybe only a little shorter- though I am not. Atlas is taller. About an inch taller. That means that he grew about 1.5 inches in a week. He is taller now than all my sisters too! First it was Charla about 2.5 years ago in Glasgow at Christmas. For the past few months Atlas has been trying to see if he was taller than me- standing over me wearing shoes, tippy toes and all sorts of funny business. Last night he towered over me.
So it will be some time before he tops Richard...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Another Ending

I'll be finished with classes in just 2 (long? short?) weeks. Exams in 5. Graduation in 6. Today I told Rich that we were going out for lunch. I make plans for us and we almost never follow through- work, rain, work... so today I made a yummy lunch and told Rich again at noon that we were going out. He looked at me, rolled his eyes and siad really? really? as he rolled his head back. I stuck to my guns and we biked to the park a mere 5 minutes away and sat in the fantastically warm sun and ate a delicious lunch. I just wish we (I) had thought to bring our paddle ball set. Instead of playing we sat in the sun and relaxed. We really need to do this more often and not make excuses.

And I got a new bike a few months ago. A really new bike. I have been up-selling my bikes and now I have what I want. An Amsterdam. Biking was always fun, but I just turned it up a notch. Oh- and the compliments I get...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Break

My spring break is over. The kids have theirs in 2 weeks. Lame. The past two years we went to Italy for spring break. The first year we stayed outside of Pisa. Last year we were in Rome. This year? This year we spent 2 nights in Carmel. It was beautiful all right, but not quite the same. I took the kids to the mission and it was beautiful and the day sunny.

The kids made mermaids in the sand at the beach. Along came a dog and it peed on one mermaid's face. Then a few minutes later another dog came and put his mark on her face too. Then we left.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

better late than...

My sister and her family came to visit us over New Year's. We had a blast- our house was crazy crowded but super happy. She and her husband took our kids for a morning walk across the bridge and then we met them later. All my kids could be hers- hers could be mine. Emilia and Denny are twins and Leif and Hailey are twins, although Paris is catching up and may be a triplet in a year or two. My sister was laughing when we met because she was getting crazy looks and a few comments regarding her many children.

A few years ago in Provo all of us, except Rich, went out to dinner. Dennis looked like the big cheese- he got looks and even a comment about his nice looking family. Yuck. Sisters, not sister-wives.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

an example...

I walked into my last class of the day just a little bit late because I had been chatting with a friend. Tuesdays are my long days. I have class straight through with no (real) break from 9am to 5:40... I sat down in my assigned seat- front and center-because the very first day of that class started off bad (another story). I suddenly realized that my contract that I turned in the other night was up on the big screen. I wanted to walk right back out. He was discussing that assignment. I had given the contract assignment my best effort and then turned it in a few hours early. It was due by/before midnight. I turned it in at 6:30pm- done. Finished. I hopped I passed the assignment and never wanted to look at it again. Now it was being used as an example. Ugh. My worst nightmare. As I sat down the professor said that he had removed the name of the student because in earlier classes people complained that it was too embarrassing. Thanks for making me anonymous. I was still horrified as I tried to nonchalantly stare at the screen looking at red text, blue text and highlighted text. I saw squiggly red lines underlining text. The paper I turned in was all in black. I really wanted to giggle. I kept my calm- though I am sure my face was red. Only the professor could see my face. I tried to cover it partially with my water bottle as I took many drinks. Then he said, "I only use examples that are A's". Still though, the time going over the contract was way too long.

He told me he said no.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Paris and I made cupcakes- she and Emilia decorated them.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Do you have a bike?

In Jr. High dumb boys would ask that to anyone on the bus. I had a bike but I knew better than to answer.

I didn't have a bike for a long time. Then I bought a gorgeous traditional british bike in New Castle. It was step through, black, 6 speeds and very elegant and simple. I got Richard to make the drive with me. It was a long day and we saw Hadrian's wall. I hardly rode the bike due to bad weather, but when I did ride it I loved it. I was sad to sell it when we moved. However, I have been riding a bike since September and am LOVING it. When I ride I think, "I'm on a bike"...Think Andy Sanberg singing "I'm on a boat"... Hopefully you get the picture. I love my bike. It is my second- still a Townie Electra, but this one is cream and it has a million speeds. I use 3. The color is better than my last one and almost everyday I get compliments on it. It is like having a baby as an accessory again. When I had my babies I was always complimented on their cuteness. I missed it. Now with my bike they are coming back.

Today during my ride through the park (Golden Gate Park) to school I was thinking of all the funny things I see everyday when I ride- exotic dogs, incredibly indescribable people, other bikes (yesterday a lowrider passed me- the bike was low and trimmed in gold. On the back it had a spare tire also trimmed and spoked in gold- I really wish I had a camera around my neck to take a quick photo) and then I saw a man running backwards. Jogging backwards. I started to laugh. Then I saw another man waiting for a park shuttle. He was wearing a knee length skirt, had a baby carrier/carseat, a mesh shirt and the darkest, hairiest beard for a man wearing a skirt and holding a baby carrier. I smiled. He smiled. He complimented me on my bike. OK no he didn't compliment my bike, but my smile- too many funny thoughts and it was a funny moment. It could only happen riding a bike.


I don't make New Years resolutions. I make weekly, daily, sometimes half daily resolutions... I can always be better. But, I have resolved to celebrate life more. I tried to do this last year and the year before... ok, so that is why I don't make resolutions. I hate failing. This year though, in the right month, just not the right day (6th of Jan), I made a gallette du roi. A kings cake to celebrate epiphany. Leif got the bean. He was king for a minute. The cake is super easy with frozen puff pastry. I have made it three times during the month of January. The kids love it. Think almond filled croisant. delish. There are a ton of recipes out there. This is the one I used and I don't remember where I got it: Gallette du Roi
1/4 cup sliced raw almonds

1/4 cup almond paste

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

pinch of salt

2 eggs

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons flour

1 package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed

glaze (1 part water, 2 parts sugar)
1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 
2) Butter a large baking sheet (not dark metal).
3) In a food processor, puree' the almond paste, almonds, sugar, butter, and pinch of salt until smooth.
4) Add 1 egg, vanilla and almond extract and puree' until incorporated.
5) Add flour and pulse to mix in.
6) On a lightly floured surface, roll out one sheet of the puff pastry into an 11 1/2 inch square.
7) Invert an 11 inch pie plate onto the square and cut out a round shape by tracing the outline of the plate w/ the tip of a paring knife.
8) Brush the flour from both sides of the round and place it on the buttered baking sheet, then put in refrigerator to chill.
9) Repeat the process w/ the second square of puff pastry, but leave it on the floured work surface.
10) Beat the remaining egg and brush some of it on top of the second round. Score decoratively all over the top using the tip of a paring knife and make several small slits all the way through the pastry to create steam vents.
11) Remove the first round from the refrigerator and brush some of the egg in a 1 inch border around the edge. Mound the almond cream in the center, spreading slightly.
12) Place the scored round on top and press edges together.
13) Bake the galette in the lower third of the oven for 13 to 15 minutes, until puffed and golden. Remove from oven and brush w/ egg a second time.
14) Return galette to rack in the upper third of oven and bake for an additional 12 to 15 minutes or until the edge is a deep golden brown. 
15) While galette is still on the oven rack, brush it w/ the glaze mixture, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Peanut Butter cookies

These are the best and easiest ever.

1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup sugar (I used brown)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
extra granulated sugar to sprinkle on formed cookies

Mix the first 4- it all comes together with the addition of the egg. The batter will be a little different depending on your peanut butter, but what ever type you use it will work. Bake on 350ยบ for about 8-10 minutes depending on the size of your cookies. They will spread a bit. The first time I made giant ones and the second time ones that were on the small side. It doubles perfectly too.

They are flourless- it works.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tide Pooling

Before the kids and I went back to school we spent a day at the beach in Santa Cruz in the tide pools and then later at the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. It was a beautiful day.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year!

The month of December was harsh. The weather was fabulous and the bike riding even better. But with exams and all that comes with them (stress and anxiety) I was consumed. After the lovely family visits, holidays that I wasn't quite prepared for, a disappointed birthday boy (Atlas), our millionth anniversary, and more family visits, we are exhausted.

This is Leif. He just started to brush his hair again. Sometimes I am not quite sure that he really does...

January is however, looking good. I have some exam results- all good, even an excellent, and the semester usually starts slow. I need the time to get back in to school mode, and of course my break wasn't long enough. I could use another week. However, this is my last semester... I am almost finished and at this moment I NEVER want to go back. Jamais. PHD? no thanks! My collection of degrees is on hold after this indefinitely.

And after a 2 year hiatus, I finally have plants again. I got a blood red orange tree for Christmas. Also, I am starting a movement called "free gardening". Gorilla gardening is in the past. I have been collecting seed heads from plants that I pass and taking small clippings from plants that propagate easily: geraniums, hydrangeas, succulents, trumpet flowers, etc. The hydrangeas clippings were retrieved from a pile slated for composting. Just looking at the plants makes me happier. I miss my old garden. To the new year!
(view from my dentist appt)
(teacher gifts)