Wednesday, February 25, 2009

little = big

To the man at the coffee shop who let me have the last old-fashioned glazed doughnut, even though the lady was already putting it in a bag for you:


You have no idea how much I needed that kindness (and the doughnut!) this morning.

You rock.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Sorry for the silence here.

Things are all up in a flurry at home and at work and I haven't been able to get to my computer for fun as often as I would like to.

More posts and pictures coming as soon as things settle down, I promise!!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Valentine's Day part 2

For lunch on Valentine's Day we headed to Petite Provence, a sweet and fairly new bakery on Alberta Street in Portland. This place was hoppin' with families, couples and friends out for the morning, but luckily we came in ahead of the real lunchtime rush. We sampled some kind of 4-layer mousse cake while we waited, which was to die for, and was a good indicator of the treats in store for lunch!

Petite Provence

I had their french onion soup and a yummy assortment of veggies piled onto one of their croissants. Can you smell the soup?

french onion soup @ Petite Provence

It was gooooood.

We really felt like we were on vacation. Maybe it was the food, maybe it was sitting high atop the restaurant on their balcony, or maybe it was just the fact that we never go out to lunch together as a family since its usually Addison's naptime. But he did great, and it was a good lesson in letting things go.

Later, my sister and her boyfriend gave us a couple of hours of couple time, so Ben and I wandered around The Pearl (a section of NW Portland for you out-of-towners!), sampled a cupcake from Cupcake Jones, hit up a bargain close-out sale at a retail store, browsed Anthropologie and swooned pointlessly at all the things that my pregnant body won't be fitting into this spring, perused an art gallery, and reada few magazines at Powell's.

enclosed ecosystem
(they have these little enclosed ecosystems at Anthropologie. They have live shrimp in them and are totally self-sustaining. We had one for a long time in college before the last shrimp standing died. We'd love to get a new one but they are pretty pricey.)

After hours of walking, my feet hurt and I was pretty worn out. I came home and happily collapsed into this bed that Ben surprised me with.

Valentine's Day bed

Ahhhh, love.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Valentine's Day part 1

Our Valentine's Day was one of the best days I've had in a long time.

It couldn't have started off any better, with Addison giving us an uninterrupted night of sleep AND sleeping in, so we all woke up rested and ready to start the day. Ben and I exchanged Valentine's while we were still in bed, and I had a couple for Addison too, so the day just felt special and we climbed out of bed with big smiles on our faces.

One of my gifts to Ben was this pot of succulents that I put together myself. It was as fun to make as it was to give since I had the great help of the salespeople at Pistils Nursery here in Portland. They helped me pick out plants for the pot I brought in, and they had all the necessary charcoal, soil and gravel I needed for proper drainage.


I'm really pleased with the way it turned out and now I want to make another!


The trip there was really fun since they have baby chicks hatching right now, and Addison got to see one still wet from the egg, eyes closed and stumbling around in the incubator, plus 4 other cute little fluffy ones beeboppin' around in their pen. Fun and educational!

Next, I had fun plans for our breakfast after getting this great idea over at suziebeezieland.
Piggy Pancakes!

piggy pancakes!

These were pretty fun and tasty without being too decadent. Our pancakes had chocolate chips, pecans and bananas inside, and I used pear slices for the ears. Addison loved them, and asked for them again the next day. Luckily I had a few leftover!

Next up: a French bakery.. (ooh la la!)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day to you all!


We're enjoying a really lovely morning over here, and I can't wait to share it with you tomorrow!
Hope you are enjoying the day too and finding expressions of love in the world wherever you are!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Pasta and a Poem for you

My blog has been sort of quiet these days. Our laptop is in the shop so, unfortunately, any photos I have to share will have to wait.

Like the one of the delicious summer pasta salad I made for dinner tonight. It was the perfect escape into the warm summer months. I could almost convince myself I was at a friend's backyard barbecue with Bob Marley turned up, varieties of beer filling up the coolers, and that sweet lighter-fluid-on-charcoal smell that only summer can play host to.

Here's the recipe I made up:

Southwest Summer Pasta Salad

4 cups cooked penne pasta (I used whole wheat)
half a green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup sliced black olives
1 can cooked chicken in broth, drained
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup frozen sweet corn
half a can of black beans, drained

Combine the ingredients in a large bowl.

1/2 cup bottled salsa (I used Trader Joe's Double Roasted)
A couple of glugs of red wine vinegar
A couple of glugs of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
dash of red pepper

Mix these ingredients in a small bowl to create a dressing. Toss with the salad and add salt and pepper to taste.

I wish I could show you the photo of how pretty it was with all those colors mixed in the bowl. It was really delicious.

After my dinner, I had some rare time alone, and with no computer in sight, I grabbed my Rumi book off the shelf and randomly flipped to this poem:

My Worst Habit

My worst habit is I get so tired of winter
I become a torture to those I'm with.

If you're not here, nothing grows.
I lack clarity. My words
tangle and knot up.

How to cure bad water? Send it back to the river.
How to cure bad habits? Send me back to you.

When water gets caught in habitual whirlpools,
dig a way out through the bottom
to the ocean. There is a secret medicine
given only to those who hurt so hard
they can't hope.

The hopers would feel slighted if they knew.

Look as long as you can at the friend you love,
no matter whether that friend is moving away from you
or coming back toward you.


Don't let your throat tighten
with fear. Take sips of breath
all day and night, before death
closes your mouth.


I had forgotten how much I enjoy this book of simple spiritual poetry, and how sometimes opening a book at random can send just the right message to help wake me out of a zombie-like state.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

puff pastry for the groundlings: my obsession grows

I have a serious new-found affinity for puff pastry. Since my adventures in making blueberry peach tartlets with puff pastry, I have purchased two more packages of the stuff and proceeded to make ham and cheese turnovers for breakfast, which were divine. Each time I make something with it, it feels like cheating. The end product seems fancy, tastes and smells delicious, and gives the impression that a lot of work went into it, when in reality, its one of the simplest things made in my kitchen all week!

Then I discovered a new use for puff pastry, which isn't fancy at all, but certainly tasy and easy to make: hot dogs wrapped in puff pastry (or if you still want to sound just a little bit fancy: pigs in a blanket). I am convinced that these are the absolute best thing to make with a toddler, since it is straightforward and they will gobble it all up. These would also be the perfect item to serve at a child's birthday party. Easy to pick up and no mess!

image from

Here's how to make them:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the hot dogs in half (I had 4 left in a package at my house).
  3. Cut 1 sheet of puff pastry into 8 rectangles (1 horizontal cut, 3 vertical cuts)
  4. Roll each hot dog in a strip of puff pastry and place on a lightly greased baking sheet, being sure that the end of the puff pastry strip is facing down to prevent it from unrolling during baking. (great step to let the kids do!)
  5. Lightly beat 1 egg yolk in a small bowl.
  6. Using a pastry brush, dip the brush into the egg and brush onto the tops of each rolled hot dog. (Addison loved this part!)
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Yum yum yum!
Addison ate two of these, saying "mmmmmmm!" with each bite. And Ben and I didn't even mind that we were having hot dogs for dinner when they were dressed up like this and dipped in a little mustard. We'll be doing this one again!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

wanted: to be inspired

Life is feeling a bit mundane these days. Not bad, by any means, but I am getting a bit weary of the daily and weekly routines. Everything feels predictable and bland. Not every day is the same, but will unfailingly be some limited variation of the day from a handful of combinations...

artificial jackfrost

Have any ideas on how to spice things up a little?

Monday, February 2, 2009

two of his favorites

My son is going to freak out when he sees these two together.

verticals + warm memories

sun catcher

While exploring around a vintage shop the other day, I found myself drawn to this woodstove.
I have no way to prove it, but I swear this could be the very woodstove from my childhood house. Perhaps it isn't. Maybe a million of these were manufactured and they can easily be found. But I like to think this might be the very stove that warmed my frozen mittens and damp socks on winter days in 1986. It could be, right?