Sunday, July 31, 2011

Happy Birthday Bubbie!


good thing you have so many helpers to help blow out all those candles!


Friday, July 29, 2011

field trip

to the Los Angeles Arboretum with friends.

l.a. arboretum

l.a. arboretum

l.a. arboretum

l.a. arboretum

l.a. arboretum

l.a. arboretum

can you tell it was a hot day? we were drawn to the water, and we only got through one section. followed a lot of peacocks. visted the adobe, the kiys, the barn and the cottage. so badly wanted to visit this. next time.

happy friday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

um, yeah.

thursday is beach day. i think my favourite day of the week.





today, zuma.



with those who had to work joining us for dinner at a favourite spot.


and then one of my favourite drives home. i love rolling down all the windows & listening to the frogs sing while my sun-kissed girls doze in the backseat.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


with all our travel plans we have decided not to do any formal camp this summer. there is the opportunity to drop in at surf camp, swimming and violin lessons, but the majority of our days are camp mom - which includes a lot of trips to the beach, friendship bracelet making, library books - and early morning baking in our pjs.


today... this yummy riff on a recipe that is already a favourite in our house. spotted on pinterest, i tracked them down to Marta Writes.

Marta's Coconut Krispie Chocolate Chunk Cookies
adapted from Martha Stewart's chocolate chip cookie recipe
makes 6 dozen (enough to share with the freighbours!)

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/8 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups rice krispies
1 3/4 cups chocolate chunks
1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 350. Sift flour, soda and salt into a bowl and set aside. In mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium-high until fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, beat eggs one at a time. Add flour and vanilla, careful not to over-beat the batter. Mix in rice krispies, chocolate chunks and coconut on low speed just until well dispersed.

Roll dough into balls, a bit smaller than ping pong ball size. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 12 minutes, just at the golden softly set up stage. Allow to cool on sheet for a few minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

watch out - they disappear quickly!

we've hit a groove... it feels so good. and I am trying to slow down summer as much as I can.


Sunday, July 24, 2011


given the opportunity, they never fail to crack me up...

at ben's bar mitzvah last night

Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #976

our neighbors received historic status for their home last summer. just stumbled upon the file on-line. they put so much love into their home. we are very happy for them. (plaque ceremony should be soon!)

Cultural Heritage Commission Recommendation Report

the neighborhood has been identified as a potential historic district.

good news for all of us!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

these muffins are delicious


Doughnut Muffins


For the muffins:
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk

For the coating:
1/4 -1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin tin.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Combine oil, sugar, egg and milk in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients and stir only to combine.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. While muffins are baking, melt butter in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.
Shake muffins out of the muffin tin while the muffins are still hot.
Dip muffins in the melted butter and then into the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool.

from How to Simplify


also on the to make list this weekend:
basil-walnut pesto
kale chips
something with all these beets (brownies? maybe beet hummus? perhaps inspired by our trip to england, i am renewing my love affair with my river cottage cookbooks.)



a day at the beach. i could watch the surfers all day.

i think the sea provides the same sense of calm that standing in a prairie field brings me. something about that horizon line...



when we got home, we watched National Velvet. i was so happy that they loved it as much as i do. (the scene where Mi tells Donald the story about the paper horse was so similar to The Black Stallion ... we wonder...)

Friday, July 22, 2011

dog sitting

mostly companions.

happy friday!

Thursday, July 21, 2011



surf camp

waffles for breakfast. on a weekday.

soft-serve icecream from the king kone truck

tie-dye twistbands

my new bracelet from d

a little piece of pottery picked up in paris

baby pygmy goats (thank you stephanie)

this nod from melissa: "One thing I admire about Tracy and D is that they have built their lives around their family and community and work to make change there every day. Plus, they have a pool. I have always wanted friends with a pool. Even if they are a million miles away." (sometimes i need a reminder. she is a good friend.)

a date set to head north

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

books on London & Paris


debriefing a bit as we settle back in. for the trip, we prepped with...

for the girls:

Rosalie the Bird Market Turtle (a longtime favourite)

This is Paris and This is London (of course! love for all things M. Sasek!)

Monuments that Tell Stories of Paris

A Bear Called Paddington (another longtime favourite)

and it likely goes without saying... but all books Harry Potter.

for me:

Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris

(had read a review and hoped to read this - but alas, not out until September.)


back home - a little article on our home office...

more here

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

in the swim


home. and back to the hustle.

(for all the pain and extra work a swimming pool brings, i can't imagine life here without it.)

Friday, July 15, 2011

tips to remember :: travelling with kids


this trip rolled out and along beautifully. the girls seem to be at a perfect age for international travel (so adventurous and excited about everything - and can carry their own bags!)

to do again:

:: erin's packing list template. brilliant.

:: consolidated packing. we took one large and one small suitcase with us. and each had one carry-on. (backpacks for the girls.) with London as our base we left the large one there - and took only the small to Kendal and Paris. perfect. that said, on leaving London we had to do a lot of shifting around to have all our bags within the accepted weight range. an extra bag would have made this easier. trade-off for less to carry.

:: house-sitting and apartment rental (through this site) both saved us money and put us into wonderful residential* neighborhoods. i think this added so much to the girls' experience.

:: lots of outdoor activities. fresh air and sunshine alleviated the worst of the time-difference issues.

:: shifting our day. we are usually up at 6 am and to bed at 830 pm peeps. most days this trip we slept a little later (9 am wake-up) and could be found eating dinner at 10 pm. this seemed to work well for all. and was thrilling for the girls to be walking around Paris at midnight! (alongside so many Parisians.)

:: lots of walking and lots of public transportation.

:: good walking shoes.

:: trains. train stations and rides are just as much an occasion for the girls as the other sites we took in.


i so believe that these experiences hold such value for all of us. more than any stuff we could ever own. while i have been dreaming of a new car i am returning happy to drive my old (fully paid for) one knowing that our dollars went to this trip instead.

one of the best books I've read "Hold On to Your Kids" talks a lot about the family vacation and its importance in building bonds. so great to see bonds strengthened between sisters and us as a foursome.

that - alongside the feeling that we are helping shape lifelong travellers ready to explore foreign countries makes me so very happy.

can't wait for our next advenuture.


*not completely residential per se, but not in hotel/tourist districts

Thursday, July 14, 2011

this house :: good-bye London

when i first visited this house 10 years ago i fell in love.

still holds the same charms. so wonderful to share them with the girls.

waiting for the car to the airport. this has been a wonderful trip.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

musee du louvre

louvrelike a walk through an art history foundation course (130 BC - 1848)
Paris :: day three
Paris :: day three
Paris :: day three
Paris :: day three
Paris :: day three
Paris :: day three

au revoir Paris. we will be back. so much still to see.

Paris :: day three

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

below and above

the day began rainy - so d suggested we should take in an indoor adventure while waiting for the sun.

les catacombes

130 steps down. 83 steps up.

Paris :: day two

k was hesitant at first - but then became enthralled with it all. "very interesting" she declared afterward. e loved it. such a sense of history. (my pics aren't great. d's with his phone much better!)

then off to la tour eiffel. 704 stairs to the second level. elevator to the top. and all the way back to the bottom.

Paris :: day two
Paris :: day two
Paris :: day two
Paris :: day two

did i mention our apartment here is five stories up, and without an elevator.

the stairs of Paris will forever we remembered. (along with so much else!)

Monday, July 11, 2011


E had her heart settled on a trip to Paris in conjunction with London this summer. after looking into eurostar - and finding an apartment to let we decided this was doable, and added it to our itinerary.

the train was fast. we arrived late afternoon. and the girls fell immediately in love with the city, the language, and the food!

day one: walk about "our neighborhood" :: meander down to the sienne :: bread and cheese for a picnic dinner aux tuileries :: fete des tuileries

Paris :: one
Paris :: one
Paris :: one
Paris :: one
Paris :: one
Paris :: one
Paris :: one
Paris :: one
Paris :: one
Paris :: one

because who can resist a view of Paris from atop a ferris wheel, or bungee jumping at the Louvre?