Friday, December 18, 2009


Today was absolutely cheerful! I love that :)
Last day before Christmas vacation, class parties, kids wore santa hats to school, Daddy made Christmas pudding for Mrs. Caldera class that just finished reading Charles Dickson A Christmas Carol, Mommy made Snowman Soup for 3rd grade party (Hot Cocoa w/ marshmallows) and teacher gifts were delivered. Cheerful indeed.
I must add that I had to get creative this year on teacher gifts. Not only are there several but I like to give practical gifts.....even if I am not spending much this year :(
Here's what I came up with ...

A little Christmas Spirit kit! Yes, I did know all my teacher celebrate Christmas. Also I know they get LOTS of stuff. So, stuff is not what they need.... I used bakery boxes (bought them for a birthday party from wholesale. I'll have extras for a LONG while!) Added a tag (as seen above on the package) to list the inside. I used Becky Higgins christmas card kit for a bunch of gift tags all tied together with a bow, a small stack of note cards with darling envelopes, a cute CD envelope with a few of our favorites to add to the MERRY, cute socks to get cozy & peppermint bark to sweeten the holiday!

A very Merry Christmas indeed.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Favorite thing of the whole year!

Is Christmas Cards!!!
That's why when I saw this fun blog link on Kelly's blog I had to "attend".
So, on with the card...

I think about the card, the picture, the design, the list, the return stamp, the envelopes, the "note", for about 6 months of the year! I must have designed about 8 cards this year...but it all came down to budget. :(
Not that I am unhappy with the card AT ALL. I love it, little vintage-y Christmas, has family photo this year (not just the kiddos) but I wish it was on card stock, not photo paper and I would have loved a different size. Anyway, I do adore what I "created" and am so so so so thrilled how much I have learned to do in photoshop this year! Last year this would have been impossible for me. If I find time, I'll add the return address stamp, I LOVE IT! And it has a story behind it too....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

it is an honor....

I was honored to take several family portraits this "Christmas Card Season". I love it! When someone asked me what I wanted to do when I grow up, I never had an answer. It'll now.
I love taking pictures & could do it all day... never get paid (although it is nice to....= more equipment!) and
feel like a million bucks "when I get the shot".
So.... here are a few from some of the family sessions I did this season, hopefully I am not debuting anyone's CC picture- but I don't think anyone will see these anyway! HA!

First....Ditullio Family- It was important to me to capture their laughter & togetherness. They were great!

This is the Cardinale kids...
LOVE them!
Hello, gorgeous!
Mostly I hoped I could get them to relax & like getting their picture taken, with girls in middle school that is very important/hard to make them like pictures.
Obviously it worked & they warmed up to lots of "working with me".

JEPSON= 3 girls & one gorgeous mama!! They were easy, seriously. But I hoped & needed to be the photographer that made the awesome photographer/graphic artist/very artistic/visionary dad happy with what I shot too. Turns out it all came together....and the best part was swapping taking eachother's family pictures! Bonus.

I LOVE these girls profiles. Obviously they are related, but their profiles show their individuality. I love that.
Sunset, illuminated beachy hues. Gosh I love taking pictures!

Amazing love....

They grow fast, it is good to catch it while you can..

The whole family

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I adore this man. We've been "an item" for half our lives. Amazing. Since his birthday is coming up in a few days....I just wanted to share a little love & show off the pictures we had takes a couple weeks ago.
I knew we were meant to be long ago, when I didn't want another day, another marker in my life to go by without him by my side. And that's how its been since. I think he makes me a better person everyday, where I lack he picks up. I am so grateful to be married to my best friend (silver hair & all....:)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Here's the bunch~HALLOWEEN 09

We had so much fun trick-or-treating in Spreckels...great cool but nice weather. Kids met up with friends along the way until we were a big mob looking for treat. Had Logan here with us which was fun. When the pumpkins were full....we headed back for chili and World Series. All & all a great end to Oct.

Happy November!

Friday, October 30, 2009

BOO! Halloween Parties & Costumes!

Just a quick post for today. The kids had Halloween Parties, 2 of which I helped with & then a parade and min. day too!
5th grade Halloween Party- so fun! Here's a quick pic of Parker & Momma after we got all set. Lots of "in theme" orange food! Best part was, they all loved the party (it's hard to please the cool crowd of 10 year olds!)
Here's my ghost-y cupcakes!!

This is one of the FUNNNNNIEST costumes I have ever seen! Yes, she's a bag lady. (Not my kid) And she went all out! That's Mackenzie in the WonderWoman & her friend Nikki The Bag Lady, she even borrowed (with permission!) a grocery cart for all her books, lunch, a purse with toothpaste & toothbrush, and extra bags of course! So creative.

Oh the irony of middle school. Size. Genetics. Not much you can do about it. But funny!
Check out Kenzie & our pal Spencer....yes they are in the same grade. Funny.Abbie my sweet 3rd grader, and a great 50's poodle girl! She loved it and wore her Kaiya Eve pettiskirt under- All we had to buy was the cat eye glasses, love that!
Parker: 5th doesn't like evil, scary, bloody, horror costumes. And we have a hard time coming to a compromise every year. This was my idea, he loved it. Then I had to make it! Basically he is being attacked by spiders crawling all over him......creepy fun! And still cool for 5th grade :)
My favorite costume of them all-EVER! I adore this costume. Adore it. Can't remember if I found it for #2 or #3 kid. So, it's been worn several times! It is The Gap Bear. Its cozy, washable, lined with t-shirt material, little ears, and a little tail. And its the last year any of my kiddos can fit :(
Seriously kinda sad about it.....lots of things are "lasts" lately. HoooHum....
OK that's it for costumes.... Add Madeline the Lady Bug tomorrow for the big TRICK OR TREAT!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Questions & Answers....

I often get asked the same questions.....How tall ARE you? How did you guys meet?How many kids do you have?How are you not 500 lbs!Who cooks at home? What's it like to be married to a chef? Do you cook for him, are you nervous to make things for him? Is he hard to please? Do you eat like this every night? Do you eat EVERYTHING? What do your kids eat?Does he critic everything when you go out to restaurants?that's kinda the reason for this post.....
this is a quick trip to the store...........let me emphasize quick............

Answers-kinda....more like, first 5 kids + super-star love of my life = constant To Do. Lots of laundry, many groceries & countless errands. We got married so long ago, neither of us remember B.W......before wedding. So, no I'm not nervous to cook for him. He's actually is quite easy to please. And he LOVES when someone else cooks for him, he appreciate the time effort & energy behind making a meal for someone......Also helps that a tuna sandwich-made just the way he likes it is his favorite late night after work haven't eaten all day food.He loves to cook at home & especially with the kids! No they don't eat EVERYTHING. But they do eat a lot. Sushi. Green stuff. Piled high with crunch things sandwiches made for a man-size lake day meal. Fish. Clams. Soups for lunch to school. Chinese, thai, mexican, spanish, vietnamese, japanese (miso soup is a staple & should be everywhere)....there is something on every menu. Why do you ask, because we let them try everything. Disliking is okay, not trying is unacceptable. Yes, like kids dislike without tasting, because other kids tell them to or make EWWWWW noise, or looks wierd...whatever. Still keep at it. Kids all over the globe eat so many different things, they weren't born different just given different tastes to try. Keep trying, get them in the kitchen, that makes them take pride in what they've made & more likely to try it. Also keep comments to yourself- we influence our kids just because we have opinions-shhhh! I don't like raw squash or dates. But they can! Todd hates bananas (yep, wierd huh?) However all the kids like em. Go figure!

Im 5'11'' and have 5 kids, married 15 years & LOVE food! Love to have a glass of wine while I putter making dinner. Love to eat most things, learned a lot along with him simply because we've been together since we were both 18-learned it all by eachothers side. I love to eat out. Sometimes we plan vacations around where we're going to eat! We've had meals take over 5 hours....ordered so much that the kitchen staff came out to see who we were & consider dining as "homework". Cool write-off huh!

Back to the picture- I get more people looking at what's in my cart! At first I got kinda embarrassed. But now, whatever! Here's the thing, I know that I am my kids teacher. I teach them manners, disicpline, love & nutrition, along with lots of other things. I try to keep our house full or at least stock it with options that are good for them. Yes, it's a challenge. Yes, there is pudding in my cart. It makes a great dessert for lunches, protein + calcium & it's portable. I have never bought white bread. Fiber & colors are my first line of defense against the American palate. Fiber- remember an apple a day, it's true. Colorful, think along the lines of colors while your in the produce department. My favorite thing right now is greek yogurt-YUM with blueberries & drizzled in honey. I control the sugar & already fruit, fiber, antioxidants & protein. There are so many colors & each one seems to have a different health benefit....yes kinda a tangent but for good reason.

So I can hear it's all roses! Ok, here's the parts that are not so fun. Schedule, he works when most are home. Why because people throw parties on weekends, weddings on weekends, dinners at night etc. SO no he doesn't cook for us every night. I wish! He used to work most holidays too, for fact 3 years ago was the first Mother's Day I didn't spend the day just me and the kids. He'd always worked. Not all roses, but lots for sure :)

Ok, enough already....back to life for today!

Monday, October 12, 2009

my 5 favorite things this last week....

This has been quite a much to do & all scrunched into several days! First off, I've been not blogging....I think I haven't had much to say & second I kinda think I'm talking to myself, but I am going to try to anyway. At least a bit more often in case someone out there likes it :)
In random order....(because blogger seems to upload in crazy order anyway)

Dad & my man cooking together in the kitchen....somehow this just makes me happy. I think it is because they both enjoy eachothers company so much & it always warms my heart that the 2 most favoritest men in my life love eachother so much...BTW this was brunch after the wedding more of that in latter picture...

My little brother got hitched! This is just one of many from yesterday's wedding was wonderful, beautiful & so much fun! Megan & Matthew got married at a winery up in Woodland area on a bluff on top of the vineyard...I am so incredibly happy for them both, they adore eachother & I just love weddings anyway! More photos later ( I took several, HA!) Gorgeous, huh?
Just stinking cool! My pal Alex made these for a birthday party Sat. and I just think they are fantastic! So creative & fun....Movie Party. Cupcake wrapped in photocopied popcorn holder paper, topped with mini marshmallows tossed in yellow food coloring ( like you do coconut for grass ). Kudos & applause for super fun cool creative cupcakes!
Also this week (told you it was a busy one) was trip down to Mickey's and out of all the pictures, I just LOVE this one....we posed with Minnie she hugged all the girls and when she went in for a love from Boston he pecked her nose!! And I got the shot, so funny & so sweet! I must premise this, that he was not too taken with the characters...he hung around but didn't get too close. He did give Goofy a high-5 but that was it. Except for Minnie-so cute...
Last & NOT beautiful Abbie. She loves to dance, in fact, I think she'd dance through life.....I sat in this week on Parent Visitation Day & was loving watching her grace.....she is so beautiful & also the ham of the class-both good & bad I guess.....
A rare & beautiful girl....

Friday, May 22, 2009

A How-To Project.....

I honestly love & am so {THANKFUL} for those that are called to teach & educate children.....

All that said, since I love to be inspired by someone elses creativity...I thought I'd share a little project with could totally be adapted into something else but this one was for teachers. 
1st step:get a pot, tape off the rim. 
2nd step:paint it black with chalkboard spray paint... do this outside...the fumes are YUCK. I did 2 coats to make sure it was good and "chalkboardy" (not a word but you know what I mean). Also choose a pot with a wide rim, you'll see why in step #4

STEP 3: paint the rim yellow.
STEP 4: make flower pens, you wrap the stem of a fake flower & a pen with floral tape all the way up & down it to make the whole stem look green

STEP 5: Mark the sides of the yellow rim like a ruler. Start with 4 lines on what I'd call North South East West {3 in. 6 in. 9 in. 12 in.}...that way you have a good chance of making the spaces even. Then add in 2 inch marks between the N.S.E.W.  Then the little marks so it looks like a ruler.... CUTE huh!
B.T.W. I totally eyeballed the marks  & DID NOT use a ruler :)
STEP 6: Put in your pens & fill the pot with dirt a.k.a. black beans :)
Don't forget to cover the whole in bottom... 
Now write some sweet sentiments to you teacher on the chalkboard.... like


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Appreciated. Check.

My favorite part of Teacher Appreciation Week:

Below is Abbie & Parker on their way with the goods in the wagon-the beauty of walking to school....

NOPE that's not the favorite was Abbie telling me "Whoa Mom...I've never been in here, it's kinda creepy!!" HA! I so totally remember seeing the teachers lounge for the first time....or seeing my teacher away from school & being ASTONISHED! "What she doesn't live there???? Holy COW!" It was so funny to recall & watch her have the same astonishment.
Anyway, check mark & now off to create their gifts...
I'll post it later!

Monday, May 18, 2009


folks I have a appreciate my teachers. You know I do. Cause without them-I'd be doing it! OK, so since this week is teacher appreciation week at both schools I thought I'd make these. Can you say "YUM", I mean "I feel appreciated" :)
This pic is my first try at a new recipe about a month ago & it was terrific so I'm making a double batch & leaving them with coffee in the teachers lounge. Think it'll work?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009!

For Mother's Day, my oh-so creative sweetheart knows it's best to get me outta the house...or else it's just like any other day. Last year (old post) he surprised me with a Clam Bake on the beach in Pismo. Super cool! This year it was a surprise day trip to San Francisco where he had little stops mapped out along the entire peninsula. We made our way around from Giants statium to Pacifica, and lots in between.
First STOP: Coit Tower. It's a landmark high above the city, it has views all around. The kids thought it was cool. You can take a tour and go up up up inside the tower but we didn't. Kept it free & low "history" so kids could enjoy and not be SHusH'D!  Abbie & I are so cute :)
This was actually our last stop in the's called Fort Point. Nothing short of AWEsome. More later...
They are why Mother's Day is Happy. I adore my 5......

Kids running around the fort. SO, if you follow the road below Ghiradelli (spelling?) Square, it leads you down to what you think it a dead end. It's not, keep driving....the water side has a long grassy area that Sunday was full of picnic-ers . Crissy Field is where he (Toddy) used to go, but we kept driving to see how far we could go and how close we could get to Golden Gate. Welllll....we could get to it! The red part in the previous photos of the Fort IS the bridge. This fort is under it! And it's from 1800's, so fun, very very windy you can walk all through it. Free :) ON the top it looks out over both directions of water-Bay and Pacific. Breath-taking folks. 
Quite a day, loved it all.....I am so blessed.