Monday, February 28, 2011

New Perspective

Today is the first day of taking on a new perspective, on making money creatively and living a healthy lifestyle. We are going to challenge ourselves to not just reach for what we believe others "think" we deserve but to manifest the financial freedom we know we can create. We have one shot at this lifetime and we don't want to continue waiting and wasting it. So, I started off my day with a banana, strawberry , coconut milk smoothie. I'm going to finish collaging my dreams and get it up on my wall. Greens and quinoa for lunch and veggie taco's for dinner. No alcohol until our goal is reached in July. Yoga, bike riding and refraining on judgement of others. Keeping my focus on what I can control, which is ME! If you don't see me around for a while, sorry, I'm dropping out of some old routines and into a happier frame of mind. See you at the end!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Things that Make Me Happy

The morning sun is slipping over the tiled roofs, thawing last nights frost. Michael took Oliver to the co-op to get some good coffee and then he'll come back to fry up the bacon and cinnamon french toast. My cousin's daughter had her first sleepover at our house and the girls are giggling in the bedroom. School starts up again tomorrow, back to a healthy routine. My goals are to ride my bike, do yoga and eat a lot of veggies. Being strong in body, mind and spirit is where my focus needs to be. The sky's are so blue today and the birds are singing away. I will take a nice walk, take notice of changes, in myself and the earth.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

No Snow

Big surprise, no snow but all of the roofs are covered in a thick layer of frost. Once again, my fava's are bending under the heavy ice. The air is still this morning allowing the birds to fly in the direction they choose. Blue jay's are greedily eating from what remains in the bird feeder. Michael made us all delicious omelette's filled with caramelized red onions, cheddar cheese and avocado. I toasted up some sweet cinnamon bread in butter to go along with my tea and dark honey. What does the day hold? Only one way to find out, start moving!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Lemon Meringue Pie

Five years ago today my grandmother passed away. Just weeks before she was gone, she was dreaming of pie. Not just any pie, lemon meringue pie. The family was gathered at the house and I went straight to the kitchen. I made fresh meyer lemon curd, frothy whipped meringue and got it into the oven as quickly as I could. The pie was the most beautiful I have ever made. In my rush to get it to my grandmother, I hastily removed it from the oven. Halfway across the kitchen, the hot pie tin folded in half and crashed to the floor. I just stood there sobbing with my hot mitts on, staring at the mess that was once my gift for my grandmother. My heart in a crust was now crushed in a heap in the middle of the kitchen floor. All that tightly held emotion released as it hit the linoleum. I was going to lose her......forever. I can't stop it from happening, no matter how good my pie is. My aunt Peggy was standing there and quickly jumped into action. "We'll fix it, we'll fix it!". She grabbed two spatulas and scooped my poor pie onto a plate. My grandmother knew what had happened but she wanted that pie anyways, perhaps even more so. Taking a bite, gently closing her eye's, "this is the best pie I've ever had" she says slowly. I love you grandma and miss you terribly.

The Crows are Flying Sideways!

The storm is here and the poor crows are being blown sideways across the sky! We may even get snow today which only happens about every 10 years. Oliver's in his loft staring through the narrow window, looking for any traces of icy flakes. Molly's still in her toasty bed and I'm sitting with a cup of tea in a softly lit room with the candles burning. The rain comes down harder every few minutes, pouring off our roof and down the grape vines into huge puddles in the flower bed. The ground is covered in small white petals from the trees and the calendula look like little orange cups filling to the brim. My cup overfloweth.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Yummy Morning

Waking up slowly with Oliver cuddling next to me. My neighbor calls us over for coffee and we all wander through the Shire in our jammies. The kids play hide and seek while we sit and sip. Back in our cottage cooking french toast with cinnamon and dark honey. Candles flicker, spicy incense burning we sit and wait for the storm. I want to go out and take a picture of the almond orchard before the blossoms are blown over roof tops. Vacation is good.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


The weather has been so beautiful here the last few days. The kids have been taking full advantage! They set up a "stand" and sold bunches of radish from the garden. They made little bouquets of mustard flower and quince. I think they made about 75 cents. For our cooking class this week we will bake orange cookies with orange glaze. Yummy! There are so many orange trees here. A neighbor across the street has given my aunt boxes of them. Over all, just feeling the peace in my life this morning.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Redwoods

The steady rain falling on the roof reminds me of the mountains. I would sit in the front room of our family restaurant and watch the rain streaming down the hills that led to my school. The soaked redwood floors permeated our lives. It was always damp, even on the hot days. I would sip mint tea amongst the diners, daydream about my next adventure into the forest with my friends. We always explored the woods, streams, highways?, without an adult but always with a "dog stick". Those were the days! We tried to get lost but somehow always made it home, albeit wet most of the time. The restaurant was the heartbeat of the town and some interesting people came in on a regular basis. Buzz, Beast and Butch to name a few. Of course many people know the name Bo Diddley, he fixed a busted pipe in the kitchen for us during rush hour once and came in pretty regularly. Growing up in the middle of this mountain town, in a restaurant didn't always have it's perks but it was never lacking in goings-on.

We are Floating!

The rain persists and the kids are in heaven. The swale is filled to the little bridge and they are trudging about head to toe in rain gear. I know at the end of all of this that more budding shall come and the colors will astound. The almond tree blossoms tell me "wait, it's almost over". I can't help but get depressed, when we don't ride our bikes, we don't get that exercise, I just sit and dream. A friend is in Costa Rica for the winter and I find myself looking up long term rentals on the beach. All this money towards one thing in our lives, school. We could be adventurous and do so many things. That's just the rebel in me I guess. I can never sit still for too long. The kids love their school and I love them, therefore, we will most likely re-enroll. I know that within the next two years my goal is to live abroad for a period of time. Let's see how it all plays out.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lots of Rain

We are soaked and it's good. Everything looks so clean, fresh, alive. The almonds and ornamental trees are covered in popcorn blossoms and new life's green leaves. Like lace dripping off the branches the flowers cling tightly during the storms. Once again the faerie stream is full and the water falls over the cobblestone from the swelling streets. Today is our cooking day again! Creamy risotto topped with good parmigiana will be the children's task. Mmmm, comfort food for a cold, wet day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Taking a Day

We decided to keep the kids home on Monday and spend some time in Monterrey. The storm clouds moved over the ocean thick and purple. Sunlight streamed through perforations setting the wild mustard flowers into a frenzy. Bright yellow blossoms stretched towards the violent skies with such vigor and were blown into a dance. My brother gave us the grand tour of the new restaurant he's working on opening hopefully in March. A beautiful old adobe in central Monterrey thick with dark history. The floors rise and fall in different directions, old wood, thick walls, antiques at every turn and a large picture of Mr. Stokes himself greets you at the top of a wide staircase along with a "Dr" bag. Many people had the misfortune of be a patient of Dr. James Stokes and lost their lives. After our fun tour my brother hooked us up with some membership passes to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium! What fun! You could spend all day just staring at the alien creatures from the depths of the sea. Glowing jellyfish, seahorses that look like kelp, sharks and my favorite, petting the bat rays. I can't wait until the restaurant opens so we can spend more time down there and taste some yummy food!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Ever since I made this delicious ribollita for my family in Shasta, everyone has wanted the recipe. So here it is!
serves 4

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Warm Sun

The air is still and warm but still a little cool in the shade. Every sound seems to stand on its own, the slight tinkling of a wind chime, a child's voice, birds in chorus. Valentine's Day is almost here and while Oliver was taking a theatre class Molly and I inspected the truffles at the local chocolatier. Lips, roses and hearts filled with champagne or raspberry. Molly even found a chocolate "cd". Now they're opening cards from grandparents which all arrived on the same day! Candies and cash, what could be better? Oh yes, read the cards kids. Oliver had his first big role as Thor in his class play last night and did so well! He's really into the acting thing hence the lesson today. I feel so dreamy, maybe I'll just nap on the couch instead of tackling the dishes and laundry.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's Cooking Day!

We are going to make individual whole wheat pizza's with roasted broccoli from our garden, if the kids will eat the broccoli. My kids love it on pizza, so we'll see who is brave. The sun is shinning, the birds are chirping and I pushed myself through a short version of a yoga workout. I was pouring myself a cup of tea the other day into my peach coffee cup and it occurred to me how many things in my house have peaches on them, including my lower back. I come from a strong line of Peach women, that really is my maiden name, and they almost all have the peach emblazoned on their skin. I was initiated on my 30th birthday after a Ya-Ya sisterhood type weekend and boy did it hurt. It feels so incredibly powerful to be apart of this circle. "The Peach Cottage" was the name of my families restaurant in Boulder Creek, CA. I grew up there, literally. We lived in a small portion of the building accessed by the back deck. A little scary as a small child during the night. If you needed mom or dad, they could be found in a busy kitchen amongst slamming pots and pans, a few expletives flying through the air, but first you had to go outside in the dark and make your way through the crowded diners. It was different but makes for some fun stories. I think I'll tell the stories a little every day. Don't worry mom, no bad stuff! :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


The crescent moon is hung against the twilight and the kids have congregated, picking oranges and skipping rope. My Aunt Denise is watching with a smile when I approach in an apron to retrieve Molly and Oliver for dinner. My neighbor calls me to join her for a glass of wine on her back porch. We are sitting and sipping when I'm struck by a flying seed from her wisteria that crawls across a pergola. I'm not kidding, the pods burst open with such force that the seed could remove an eye! Luckily it only got my forehead. One more thing for me to caution my children about, grandpa would be so proud. Now we're in and cozy, Molly hears the screech owls flying over our cottage. Goodnight.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blustery Day

The winds are up and little birds are clinging to bare branches trying not to get blown off. All night long they blew and I was surprised our roof was still in tact. We skipped riding bikes this morning. The fava beans and artichoke plant are bending over so far it's hard to believe they'll ever be upright again. Molly was so concerned for the tiny birds that she took a nest we had found a few years ago, filled it with bird seed and set it in the flower bed outside our window. She's hoping they'll make a new nest to shelter themselves. All the orchards are getting pruned around the Shire so Molly brought in some beautiful flowering branches that I quickly stuck in water on top of the piano. I didn't even bother trimming them. I love these first signs of life returning.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl

My living room was turned into a theatre to watch the Super Bowl yesterday. The couch was flipped around, T.V. on the dining room table, extension cord out the door and connected to rabbit ears on a picnic table outside. All the windows and doors were opened so that in case anyone in our peaceful Shire weren't aware that the Super Bowl was on, they did now. We had a blast! A different picture of a perfect day. Now the T.V. will return to the storage closet until football season next year.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


A gentle warm breeze blows the white cotton curtains gently in and out. The white sunlight filters in filling our home with a peaceful calm. Too early for spring, the trees are beginning to bloom and bud throughout the Shire. Molly packed a little bag with goodies from the baby shower to have a tea party with her friends at the big green. She said they "found the perfect spot". They ride down the paths in a three wheeled bike taking turns riding in the basket, huge smiles. Another little girl is checking the favas for ladybugs. They all discuss what will be cooked in class on Thursday. Oliver snacks on a frozen cream puff and heads out to show the others what they can't have. So, not everything is perfect but darn close. :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cream Puffs!

Molly's so excited, we're going to a baby shower here in the Shire today and I'm baking many cream puffs! Actually, they're the size of profiteroles but I fill them with vanilla pastry cream and dip them in luscious chocolate. It's a little time consuming but well worth it! You would have to be crazy to not love cream filled pastries and chocolate. I use the recipes in Joy of Cooking for both the Pate a choux and the pastry cream. Pate a choux is so versatile and can be used for eclairs or in savory appetizers stuffing the little sliced puffs with crab salad. Little bites for tea parties, so fun!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Smooth as Silk!

Yesterday's little cooking class went wonderfully! I had three of Molly's friends and of course Molly working the kitchen here in the Shire. They enjoyed every part of the process, from dishes to glazing the little tea cookies. An hour and a half was just the right amount of time for them to be able to produce something they were clearly proud of and we all had a fun time along the way. It's a beautiful sunny day today and another tour of students walks in mass around the grounds, hopefully taking away some ideas for future development. The trees are already starting to bud and bloom making spring feel closer each day. My layers of jackets, sweater, gloves and hat are in a heap on the couch from this mornings ride. It occurred to me that I think this is the first time in ten years that I've received a check with my name on it! Maybe I'll frame it. I told the kids we're going to make pizza next week and they were so excited about picking herbs and greens from the yard. After class ended, they all went out to play and search for the lady bugs in the fava bed. Just so nice.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thursday=Cooking Day!

I'm having four other children plus my two over for a little cooking class today! We're going to bake the delicious meyer lemon cookies and learn some things along the way. I have all the tools and ingredients out and ready, it should be fun. I actually went to bed last night with the question "how can I make this more exciting" only to wake up to a broken oven! That wasn't really what I was looking for but luckily it was fixed easily. I want to try to use ingredients found in the Shire when possible, so today we're using some lemons from a neighbor. Maybe next week we'll do pizzas and pick from the garden!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dr Susan R Johnson

Last night I had the privelidge of hearing Dr Susan R Johnson speak at the waldorf school. She has such a wealth of information to offer to parents trying to cope with the fast paced lives of both ourselves and our children. She encouraged us to slow down and really be present, acknowledging how difficult that is to do. It's easy to say "I have been present" with my child today, but can you go through your day backwards in your mind and really recount the events or are there pieces missing? If you are missing chunks of time, those are the moments that you were not present. I must admit I have not been at all present. I stare at this computer screen way too often and have come to the conclusion that I need more structured time around it. I don't want my children's memories of me to include the glow of my blog page. So from now on I will only check my computer after drop-off for an hour and once before bed after the children are in tucked in. This is going to be hard, I am clearly addicted! Wish me luck in being present!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Me and Molly's Collage Project

Can you guess which one's Molly's?!


Our living room is littered with snippets of magazine pages waiting to be pasted. Michael and I decided to collage our desires for the future, near and distant. I found so many beautiful images that really spoke to the person I'm working on becoming. Vibrant, healthy.....happy. This really roused Molly's interest and she began clipping away to piece together her own vision. It feels so inspiring to see your desires in pictures, tasty words punctuating your highest sense of self. At the end of the month, we will transform our room into our long awaited "creative space" and these will grace our walls. Inspire what we aspire to. You can't help but get there when you have a map that liberates your soul.