Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Living it up in Houston

Visiting Carla.

Eating gelato. One cup right after another. So not joking.

Checked out the cutest yarn shop in Houston.

Souvenirs. Having a great visit. Going home tomorrow.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Crocs & Sippy Cups

What have I been doing this week?

Going to the library...

for stories, music, songs, and finger pointing.

We also like to hang out at the park.

Weeeeee slide!

We like to clean up the backyard.

Bath time is always fun. Splash Splash!!!

Everywhere we go we ride in style.

Life with Toddlers is action packed and loads of fun. Mom & Dad headed off today for a well deserved weekend of rekindling and relaxation. The Fairy Godmother and the Godfather (he ain't no fairy) are on duty.

All is quiet on the toddler front. It's nap time!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Playing with babies

Flew in to Texas

Up to my elbows in cuteness.
-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, September 21, 2009

Stay cool

This weekend we managed to have fun even though it was hot in the house. On Saturday, to cool off and work out I swam at the gym while the hubby and friend went surfing. Afterwards the hubby, Jason, and I hung out in a cool, dark, Mexican restaurant for lunch. El Compadre, Home of the Flaming Margarita, on Sunset Blvd (at Vista St) is our favorite red pleather booth Mexican haunt. There is something about swimming that makes one powerful hungry and we ate well in the cool darkness.

Saturday night we went to see Pink Martini at the Hollywood Bowl. The Bowl season is winding down and Pink Martini was the perfect way to end the summer. It was an amazing show. The musicianship is stellar. The band is tight. China Forbes' voice, well, she can sing and you can ride to the moon and back on that voice. Thomas Lauderdale's fingers should be a National Treasure, meaning he has a way with the ivories. Pink Martini is fabulous and you can catch their KCRW session from Friday, September 18 here on Morning Becomes Eclectic. If you have a chance to hear them live, I really encourage you to do it. They are incredible live, even better than their CDs. Just like the name of the band, they are a treat.

Sunday, my friend Darcy and I went to brunch down on Abbot Kinney in Venice. She just got back from London and Barcelona and I had to hear all about her adventures. For brunch we went to Rockenwagner's 3 Square Cafe. We split the Huevos Rancheros with chile relleno & the Bread Pudding French Toast. I must confess that I don't really like french toast or bread pudding much, but I loved the bread pudding french toast. It was incredible. The chile relleno was fantastic too. We washed down all that food with Elderberry Prosecco, which was slightly sweet, yet light and refreshing.

After brunch we walked the around and poked into little shops. We stumbled onto N'ice Cream Homemade gelato and sorbet. Right out front we bumped into Jenna and her beau. Here is my belief about ice cream. There is always room for ice cream. Ice cream melts and fills in all the nooks and crannies, even if you just ate. After consulting with Jenna and Todd on their flavors (chocolate & mint and salted caramel & vanilla, respectively), we went in. Darcy had the salted caramel & cherry chip while I went for the salted caramel and pistachio. Heaven! Creamy gelato heaven. It's worth the trip to Venice. We continued to walk and talk our way around Abbott Kinney and even passed the car. We were having fun.

Back at home, the heat was too much inside. So I shed as much of my clothes as possible without scandalizing any nosy neighbors (should they be looking), grabbed a book, went outside and promptly fell asleep on the couch. A pupper soon joined me and we snoozed the heat away.

For dinner....we had sliders. Trader Joe's sells little slider burgers in the meat dept. and little buns in the bread aisle. I bought these a few weeks ago and we loved them. We made them the exact same way as last time because they were that danged good.

The sliders are grilled with Anna Mae's Smoky Sweet Oven & Grill Sauce (this is currently my favorite BBQ sauce, so yummy) and topped with swiss cheese. The little buns are buttered and grilled because they are not the softest buns you ever put a burger on, so you have to doctor them up. To finish up the burger we put on caramelized sweet onions, spicy brown mustard, and sliced cornichons. In general, cornichons are not my favorite pickle but the acidity seriously elevates these sliders. They are much better with than without. So good. We also had smashed potatoes and carrot chips and radishes.

Doesn't that look good?

The hubby took a picture of me in the backyard. He said, me and the grill are two of his favorite things so he had to get a picture.

This morning I read about Rollip on Creative Kismet (there are good things happening on this blog, very creative stuff. Also this is were I found out about Bench Monday. dang it's Monday. another thing to add on the list) . Rollip let's you turn your photos into polaroid-like photos. It's really easy, super cool and free. The backyard photo is now polaroid-ized. Hey, I am sitting on a bench. Woohoo. Got that Bench Monday covered too. One more thing off the list.

I hope you are scratching things off your list too.
Have a happy day!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Praying for cooler weather

from the Fall Issue of Vogue Knitting
The Side Cable Hat by Mari Muinonen

Yarn: Noro Silk Garden in 84 (my new favorite colorway).
Needles: 6 & 8

This is my new favorite hat. There is something about bobbles that tickle me and make me smile. Now if the weather would please turn cooler, I would be forever in Mother Nature's debt. My plea is not just so I can wear fabulous woolen accessories, but because our 20 year old A/C unit has died. It is going to cost a pretty penny and thousands more to replace. Yes, it's fixing days are over. I am on a first name basis with the A/C miracle man, Gary, but this time it's a costly fix or replace decision. We are trying to ride out the hot, but Los Angeles in September can be one of our hottest months. Next week, there is supposed to be triple digits, which means it is that hot or more in the house. I worry about my critters now in the 80+ degree house as we all sprawl around the floors laying quietly and panting. Next week...UGH! I am a sweaty, red faced woman, chanting and dancing for rain and my dance is furious.

Please send your rain clouds and cool breezes in this direction if you happen by one or two.
Many thanks.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Two Fine Fellows

Setting off to camp

To make new friends

Laugh and smile

create a little magic and mischief

and eat lots of banana pancakes (best breakfast ever!).

These two characters are flying first class for a layover at Craft Hope and then off to Little Heroes Preschool Burn Camp. Make me proud, my little monkeys. Mama loves you.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fiber in the City

New York was an adventure from morning to night. I enjoyed myself immensely and found myself getting a daily dose of fiber during my walkabouts.

On Thursday, I had lunch at The Modern, the restaurant at MOMA whose chef, Gabriel Kreuther won the 2009 James Beard Award for Best New York City Chef.

Young Pea Salad with Sicilian pistachios and ricotta salata
Upside down Tuna Tarte with fennel, Japanese cucumber, and aioli
Sauvignon Blanc: Momo, Marlborough 2008

The food was bright, extremely fresh and supremely delicious.

The Modern has a beautiful installation of fiber and neon that greets you on the street. When I saw it I knew I came to the right place.

Right next door is the American Folk Art Museum and my next stop.

The Art of Paula Nadelstern

The quilts in this exhibit were unbelievable in their artistry. So complex and mesmerizing. Really amazing work.

From there I walked to Midtown to check out M & J Trimming. This place is palace of trimmings. I was completely overwhelmed and just walked around the store in awe. It was too much for me. I left empty handed and headed back to the hotel. On the walk home I passed the Naked Cowboy on 6th Ave. and Ann Curry outside the NBC studio.

Awoke on Friday to pouring rain, but I didn't let that stop me. Grabbing a hotel umbrella I headed down to Soho.

Purl Patchwork
147 Sullivan St.

What a great little shop. It was full of fabulous fabrics. It may have been pouring outside but it was all sunshine and goodness inside the shop. The hardest part was deciding what to buy. I tried not to get too crazy because I knew there was yarn beckoning just a short hop away.

A short jaunt down the street and I arrived at Purl (137 Sullivan St.)

Yay for yarn and plenty of it. The shop was small but bustling with business and I wasn't the only one visiting from out of town. I picked up some gorgeous Ozark Handspun and Cascade Chunky Baby Alpaca in purple.

My adventure wasn't over yet. With umbrella in one hand and a bag of yarn and fabric in the other I went back out in search of more yarn. From Houston I walked up 6th Ave to 15th St. Within three blocks my shoes and pants were soaked, but I had a destination and I kept walking through the pouring rain

and arrived at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio

The store is ginormous by New York standards and packed with all your favorite Lion Brand yarns and all the colors in stock. After my slog to get there I needed a little knitting break.

The Meandering Scarf was on display featuring Fishermen's Wool. The natural colors are really beautiful. It was the perfect scarf for the hubby. I picked up a pair of the Clover Takumi Velvet knitting needles too. These new needles are highly polished bamboo and are wonderful to knit with. They printed out the pattern for me and I sat down, got to knitting and drying out. The scarf was a little to thin so I decided to cast on for a wider scarf. This was a much needed break but it was over too soon as they close at 5pm on Fridays.

Back out into the rain and into the subway. From 14th St. up to Bryant Park, not for fashion week, but for Kinokuniya, the Japanese bookstore. What a great store. I headed straight for the sewing and craft books then wandered over to school supplies. Our friends' three kids started school last week so I picked up pencil cases, pencils, and erasers. Plus Pokemon cards and stickers. Too much fun in there. Since I walked home from midtown the day before, I figured I could walk back again. Oh boy, 20 plus blocks in the rain with shopping bags is no fun. By the time I got back to the hotel I was sweating, wet from the rain, exhausted and grumpy. A bag of potato chips, a shower, and some TV works wonders to restore a soggy soul. The hubby came home pretty tired too. We had a quick pizza dinner at Serafina and called it a night.

Saturday, the hubby and I walked through Central Park.

Look what I found...an alpaca...in Central Park. It was the petting zoo. There was a sheep too, but when the parade went by (yes a parade up 5th Ave, a Labor Day Parade of the Unions) and the sheep scuttled back into the house.

We made our way to the Met to check out Vermeer's Milkmaid. The Milkmaid was gorgeous. She was all glowy with the way Vermeer captures light. After walking through some antiquities and modern art it was time to grab a bite to eat. We heard good things about the Neue Gallery Cafe, but apparently so had everyone else and the line was too long. We decided to head to Sarabeth's on Madison and 92nd St. The best tomato soup ever! The desserts looked amazing, especially the ice creams, but I will have to wait until next time.

We were headed up to see our friends, who told me about the yarn shop around the corner from their house. Annie & Company Needlepoint & Knitting

Really I was having the most fiberlicious time in the Big Apple. Annie & Co was another great knit store. Friendly people, fantastic selection, and lots of space.

Malabrigo sock yarn

Mountain Colors Mountain Goat.

So I got a daily dose of fiber everyday while in NYC. I must say that every store was full of friendly knitters and fabulous yarn from Soho to the Upper East Side. Even as I was leaving the city I passed by an art installation of sheep near Grand Central Station. Really, a flock of them. I tried to get a picture but you know how traffic is and the shot was blocked, twice, from the car window.

Our next adventure was going to Newark, when our flight home was out of La Guardia. We jumped into a stretch limo at Newark and fought traffic through the Holland Tunnel while trying to dodge traffic around the Yankee Game and the US Open. That limo driver was great. We got to the airport just minutes before our flight. They were paging our names as we ran up to the gate. We were the last two people to get on the plane. Whew!

It's always good to come home.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Landed: NYC

Arrived in hotel to find a pastry box

Filled with my favorite Italian cookies called baby slippers (the white ones). The hubby got his favorite sesame cookie too and some biscotti.

My hubby is the best. Love him to pieces.

Nap time for me...after a couple of cookies of course.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

It's all in the presentation

Sunday, there was a family barbeque at my cousin's house.

At one point my cousin Robert asked if I would like to try a grilled bacon wrapped dove breast. It looks delicious so I take one by the fancy toothpick and as I am about to put it into my mouth he says, "I shot it yesterday".

Time stops for a second. The bite freezes in mid-air. Mouth open.

Everyone at the table, all women, had the same reaction and stopped.

Too much information. Robert was oblivious, just proud of his kill.

After the pause, we resumed our tasting but a little more thoughtfully. It was delicious. Now anything wrapped in bacon is good, but the breast meat was very succulent and flavorful and was a tender bite against the chewy bacon on the outside. I even had a second one to confirm.

Did anyone else try something new this past weekend?

Monday, September 07, 2009

Bench Monday #3

Hope you all are having a beautiful Monday.


Thursday, September 03, 2009


This is Tank and her best friend Bobo.

Tank and Bobo spend a lot of time together. They take naps together, as you can see, and Bobo must come to bed as well or Tank gets all crazy and won't settle down and go to sleep. That means we can't settle down and go to sleep.

The other day, Wiggs (aka the barfer), threw up on two skeins of yarn I had on the dining room table. This happened in the middle of the night and I didn't find the icky yarn until the morning. Upon discovery I promptly filled the sink with wool wash for the yarn. As I was holding one skein of yarn, Tank became very attentive and was practically crawling up my leg. Soon I realized that she thought I had a new Bobo in my hand. Bobo and a skein of yarn do have the same proportions. It was the cutest thing ever. It really made me smile while dealing with a mess. This pup has all my heart.

The yarn has been washed and is no worse for wear.

As for the cat...well he lives to barf another day.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


May I present a finished object.

A small and cute finished object.

The Woodsy Acorn Pot from the current issue of Crochet Today.

You can hide little treats inside.

This is the first finished project in a long time. My good friend and crochet expert, Ellen, lent me an H hook and some courage to give the pattern a try. My first acorn cap was misshapen and too small to cover the bottom. That's what happens when you don't quite follow the pattern. Note to self: as a beginner don't improvise. The second time around I followed the directions and the cap fit perfectly. It's really super cute, easy to do, and pretty fast if you don't improvise the pattern. YAY for a finished project!