saw 09-1st stop clay

The annual trek to the Sawdust Festival means summer to me and the kids.  The tram from the parking lot is half the fun for Griffin.  We always hit the pottery booth first.

saw 09-all tatted up

saw 09-tats

Next stop is the tattoo parlor.  Then off to the food court…we have gotten in to the Greek Cafe,,,the chicken skewers with yogurt dip and Greek fries are the bomb!

saw 09-food court

We went back in June…a couple of days after they opened.  The flowers are fresh and lovely…baby birds are being rescued…and it was actually very cool.  I love that the kids like to just sit and take it in…

saw 09-baby bird

saw 09-chillin' in the shade

saw 09-griffin's getting freckles

saw 09-just hangin

On the way home we stopped in at the nursery and grabbed a curry plant and an apple blossom yarrow.  They always have unusual varieties.  It was a great day in Laguna!

Valentine’s Day


The house is filled with flowers every Valentine’s Day, thanks to Grandma!  She has always been the keeper of this holiday.  How many times have I received flowers on this romantic day from a “secret admirer”, when in fact there was no admirer that February 14th?  Just a couple…well, maybe a few.  Mom always made sure my sister and I rec’d flowers at work on that romantic day…even if there was no romance and it was always really funny and appreciated!!


Kiely loved her Valentine present – the pink bandana print scarf.  She has been wearing it for two days.  Right now she’s making me cold just looking at her in the skirt I knitted as a swimsuit cover-up, tank top and scarf…this is the Sunday morning in the yard outfit…brrrrrr!


Griffin got a groovy bracelet with the very current and iconic peace sign…He of course had to pose with his sidearm.  Both gifts from the crafty field trip foray in to the fashion district with Christy.  Love the District!  We jumped on some head bands, reading glasses, scarves, hats…we could have shopped for hours!  The eyeglass place had some great Ed Hardy beach bags and duffels…shops with really cute tops and accessories galore.

The Great Backyard Bird Count


Yesterday we were leaving the community garden, and noticed a giant banner about the Great Backyard Bird Count…I wanted to remember to look in to that. Then later, we headed over to the park for some tennis on the newly resurfaced courts at LC park…(they aren’t finished yet). I suggested playing tennis on the grass for a bit, a la French Open, right? Wrong. So I ran to get the baseball stuff and Daddy. Rich and Griffin play ball. Kiely and I cuddle up on the grass with some reading material. What a beautiful crisp afternoon, the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the little yellow birds are very busy! Oh yeah! The birds!! We are pretty sure the American Goldfinch is what we were watching yesterday in the giant Sycamore tree near the tennis courts.


This little guy and his 40 buddies stop by the bamboo grove in the backyard every afternoon lately. Between the overgrown ficus and the invasive giant bamboo, we probably have two or three bands of the bushtit (or it’s more dignified Spanish name the Sastrecillo) Today and tomorrow we will count for 15 minutes in the backyard and take a walk over to the wetlands to see what’s doing over there.

Oh!  Speaking of birds…I heard this great story about tracking songbirds migration patterns…on NPR it was really interesting to hear about the little birds flying for just 13 days to get from South America all the way back up to North Eastern US.

Camp Oaks for Kiely


Here’s Kiely’s bed roll, er rig.  I loved the fact that none of them could re-pack the suit cases and most came back with their stuff in trash bags!


They all looked fairly relaxed during the 2 hour (!) process…nurse, bathroom, line up here, line up there, get on the bus…


I like these boys from Kiely’s class.  They are nice, and very funny!  Camp was fine, they had a great time, wished it was longer, and no one threw up on the bus either way.

Michael Levine, Berger Beads and a few flower shops in the flower, fabric and beads district?  Maybe the greater fashion district…I think I can arrange a tour of the flower mart with some history for us and the girls…coming soon!


The sample cards have to be original cards from the 70’s!  There is everything you could possibly imagine…


Making your own rings with any number of buttons, cameos, trinkets…

chainGreat selection of chain….



I would not be surprised if my mom and her arty friends shopped here for all the wooden beads for all those jute wall hangings we worked on during my childhood…


I am pretty sure I had a necklace with this guy…


This guy looks familiar as well…everything old is new again…


The piece de resitance…the soap decorating kit on top on just one of many cases full of crystals.  I know for sure my grandma made that turtle with the top hat.  A true classic!

A Little In(dia)spired:


Ironically one of my netflix movies for the week, was The Darjeeling Limited. Some great images of Indian markets, and clothing. It was good…a couple laugh out loud moments, and as in any Wes Anderson movie…a whole lot of quirky to just relish.

This morning as I was preparing to prepare The Clients their lunch item…I grabbed the Indian Cookery books at my disposal. The intriguing “Cookbook of the Seven Seas” by Dagmar Freuchen and “A Book of Curries and Chutneys” by William Templeton Veach. Both books are from Rich’s Grandmother. She had a vast array of fascinating cookbooks and must have been an adventurous cook. Just flipping through Seven Seas I noticed there is a recipe for Biryani, which is the spice mix I picked up on the field trip. The author asks,  “Which is the greatest rice dish of them all? The richest is certainly Biryani, the heavenly pilaf of Pakistan and Northern India.”  It is certainly simple enough and it sounds delicious, I will make it this week!

Today’s luncheon was inspired by the Curries and Chutneys book. A dish that called for the dhal, or pink lentils that I purchased at the House of Spices on Artesia.  The dish is called Bhoona Kitchri, and is noted to be a really Indian recipe with no European derivations.

So, just rinse the dhal thoroughly until the water was clear, saute an onion, toss in a few slices of fresh ginger, then throw the dhal back in the pot, a few twists of the black pepper and cover with cold water. Simmer until the lentils are cooked but not too soft. In another pan, poach salmon with a cinnamon stick broken up a bit, three or four whole star anise, and a few bay leaves. To pack up for transport and subsequent reheating, I put about a cup and a half of the cooked lentils in a dish, then the poached salmon and top it off with half of a large bok choi, chopped. I drizzled generously with good olive oil, salt and more fresh pepper. The whole thing can be heated up until warmed through and for plating, pull the bok choi off to the side, lentils first, then salmon and top with the choi. I just heard from The Clients, and the report was an enthusiastic thumbs up!

What the H is this?


The Foodie Field Trips are on. First stop, Little India! The terrific little grocery store was the highlight for me. There among the spices and food stuffs, was this package and it’s terrific label. The cottony items inside had me baffled…for much of the morning so far I had been thinking what the? and here with my mind on food, these cocoonish looking things had me stumped!  What the H are these? I blurt out…ironically they are wicks for praying. I better start praying I don’t end up in H. Anyway, I love the label!


Julie picked up a bottle of the chickoo flavoring. This is a magical collection of unusual extracts. You will not find chickoo and mango green on the baking aisle at Vons. I feel a cupcake inspiration in the wind! The daughter of this store was wonderful about asking us if we needed help and answering questions. Turns out chickoo is a delicious fruit. Also known as sapodilla in Spanish, is a Native plant of Mexico and was introduced in Asia during the Spanish colonization of the Phillipines. An actual chickoo on the tree…
I just found this helpful site Indian Food Forever, I will be checking it out thoroughly. The ice cream spot Christy found had a chickoo ice cream and here is a link to a blog that looks really fun, Enjoy Indian Food. Type in chickoo and google sends you many fascinating blogs…here’s one I like called Mumbai daily photo, the saris we saw the other day were amazingly vibrant and the blog has a great photo of ladies in saris – real life, in Mumbai.


And I guess no sweet shop, snack shop, Indian deli would be complete without the vast array of barfi. Every shop we went in to had some combination of identical looking barfi. I am sticking to my assumption that there is a large professional barfi bakery that supplies all shops and restaurants with barfi. I say it all comes from a central location daily, a barfi commissary. I want to see that place.

Next up Flower Mart, Fabric and Philippe’s for French Dips…


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