Archive of ‘Living’ category

Is it springtime yet?

After several years of debilitating drought, California has finally, FINALLY, had some wet weather. While not enough to end the drought, the rain has definitely put a dent into the desert-like conditions we’ve been experiencing. My garden, long-neglected by the fact that we can only water once a week, is exploding into action and it’s got me wishing for spring and longing to start making some plans.

Here’s to rich soil, warm sun, lush plants, and joyous rain!

What is on your spring planting list? I’m thinking of planting some more ferns, a few new rose varietals and a tree or two. I tend to keep everything in the green/white/pink family so if you’ve got any recommendations (Zone 9), lay them on me!




You may have noticed it’s been a bit quiet around these parts lately. I took a few days off from blogging, but not from writing. Instead of talking about gorgeous interiors or my newest DIY project, I wrote about something personal and painful. I wrote about Jennifer.

Jennifer is the six-year-old daughter of my friend Libby Kranz. She’s beautiful and vivacious and everything sparkly and wonderful in this world. And now she is gone. Diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor on her sixth birthday, she passed away Wednesday, three short months later.

The pain that her departure has left–the void in all of those she touched–is beyond explanation. But there is no comparison to the utter devastation her family is facing. If I could take my heart and trade it with them, carry their pain so they don’t have to, I would. But I can’t, and so instead, I wrote.

I wrote about Jennifer and the dismal funding in pediatric cancer research. Every day 7 children will die because of a vicious disease that has no care for the lives it steals. Every year over 13,500 children will learn that this monster lives inside of them, and yet only 4% of cancer research funding will go to find a cure for them.

4% isn’t enough.

Please read my article on, and then please, please, please, pick up your pen or take to your key board and write to your local congress people, to your state senators, to your governor, to anyone and everyone who has a vote in government. Ask them to reauthorize the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Bill that was already unanimously passed so that we can bring an end to the pointless loss of so many of our children.

And so that the memory of Jennifer Lynn Kranz will not be forgotten.


Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls with the Frosting Queens!

My weekends pretty much look like any other mom’s…waking to the squeals(or fighting depending on the day) of the kiddos followed by swift demands for breakfast. My girls believe breakfast to be a serious affair, even if I’ve only got enough energy for cereal, like this morning. In an effort to appease them and keep it simple on my end, I made easy cinnamon rolls but dialed them up a notch with the addition of chocolate chips and the Frosting Queens’ delicious Charmed Chocolate butter cream frosting. And let me tell you, these things are so good!

To start, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 roll Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 package Frosting Queens Charmed Chocolate butter cream frosting


Once you’ve got your ingredients together, begin by rolling out your crescent dough. I pinch my edges where the perforation is together and smooth it out with a few rolls from my rolling pin.

rolled dough

Next, mix together your sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the mixture over the dough.


As if that weren’t naughty enough, add your chocolate chips, distributing them evenly over the dough.


Now roll your dough into a log, starting at one end and working towards the other. Slice your log into five rolls and place them on your tray. Back at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.


Now comes the really delicious part. Melt half of your Frosting Queens Charmed Chocolate frosting in the microwave for 35-45 seconds, or until entirely melted. Spoon your melted frosting over your warm cinnamon buns.


Quick, easy, and beyond yummy, these simple chocolate chip cinnamon rolls couldn’t be easier to make and the rich chocolate frosting was the perfect touch for these decadent treats…I mean, breakfast.





*This is a sponsored post for the Frosting Queens (thank you for the two packets of frosting!) but the recipe and all opinions are completely mine.

Fall Stove Top Potpourri


In an effort to get rid of the Glade Plug-ins (my mother in law keeps telling me these things are bad for you), I decided to go the DIY route and make my own fall potpourri and it couldn’t be simpler. With a few kitchen ingredients I had my house smelling like Christmas morning in a couple of minutes. And bonus points for the fact that I could reuse it several times. Head on over to to check out the recipe!


Intentional Gratitude: Thankful Conversation Starters

With Halloween on the horizon and the holiday season gearing into action, it’s easy to lose sight of the everyday moments, the ones that make us smile and remind us of how fortunate we are. In an effort to be more conscious and thankful this holiday season, I devised a simple way to remind myself and my family of our blessings.

large image thankful

On small strips of paper I wrote conversation starters. They all began with the phrase, “a time you were thankful for…” followed by a different prompt such as, “home, Mom, Dad, being a sister, bad weather, etc”. I filled a vase with the prompts and placed them on the dinner table. While we had a meal we each chose one. A simple act but one that made us remember just how fortunate we are—how much gratitude resides in our home.

thankful detail

This activity is perfect for the holidays, or any time you need a gentle reminder of how blessed your life truly is.


A Taste of Summer: BBQ Nectarines

To me, one of the best parts of the summer has to the fruit. I have an ancient nectarine tree in my yard that produces the most amazing fruit in sums that would put rabbits to shame. It also means that I have an awful lot of it and am constantly looking for new ways to prepare them. And the newest one has got to be the best—BBQ Nectarines.


BBQ Nectarines with Honey, Cinnamon, and Vanilla Ice Cream


-Nectarines (plan on one whole nectarine per person)

-Spray oil  (such as Pam)



-Vanilla ice cream



1. Heat your BBQ to a medium flame. Hotter and you risk scorching the flesh.

2. While heating your BBQ, wash and halve your nectarines, removing the pits. Spray them lightly with your oil as it will help keep the nectarines from sticking.


3. Place nectarines cut-side down, leaving them for 5-7 minutes. This allows you to get the roasting marks on the flesh, caramelize some of the natural sugars, and heat the fruit without scorching it.


4. Remove fruit from heat and plate. Add a scoop or two of ice cream directly on top, then add a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Serve immediately…because if you don’t, your ice cream will melt very quickly.


Delicious and beautiful, it’s the perfect dessert for a summer celebration.




Summer Sangria Spritzer

This deep into summer and the nights are nearly as hot as the days. In search of relief, and without a pool in the backyard, I turn to the closest thing; alcohol. Alright, alright, perhaps the two are not the same, but they do go well together, just like the ingredients in this super yum, super easy drink I made up tonight, the Summer Sangria Spritzer!


One of the best parts of this Sangria is that you don’t have to let it sit overnight. The juice that’s used imparts the sugar necessary that usually comes from the fruit.


-1/4 cup red wine (I used Costco cabernet sauvignon. If you haven’t tried it you’re missing out. Such an easy and affordable wine)

-1/2 cup Blood Orange Italian Soda

-1/2 cup ripe nectarine, cubed

Add all ingredients together and give a gentle stir. The soda makes it effervescent, it’s light and refreshing, and the best part, its beyond easy. Enjoy!




Pie and the 4th of July

We celebrated the birth of our great nation like every other patriotic American does; by overdosing on food and blowing stuff up. The morning was spent walking in our neighborhood parade, and by the time it was finished around 10 am, the thermometer was already at 103 degrees. We hightailed it back into the safety of air conditioning until later in the day when we joined some wonderful friends for a BBQ, some pie, and the amazing pyrotechnics done by the men lighting fireworks off in the streets (which are legal in our neck of the woods). And although the glitter of 1000 degree fireworks is quite a show, I’d contend that my cherry, strawberry, and blueberry pie was the show stopper. Image

In full disclosure, I didn’t actual come up with the recipe, BUT I did do the baking. I also didn’t come up with the design, that business is all over Pinterest already, but let me tell you, I deserve all the flippin’ kudos ‘cuz this bad boy was work. Cherry pitting is the pits, and that pie crust (which is amazing, btw) was a temperamental sucka, but in the end it was so worth it.

The recipe is from Epicurious and so worth all the work. It’s for a lattice crust cherry pie but I used blueberries and strawberries and modified the look of the crust and it was perfect. And the crust will be my new go to. Enjoy!

Goodbye Vacation

Today we make the long trek from Southern California back home to Northern California. It’s actually not that painful at just over six hours, but my two kids are trying to make me think differently. That, and I’m coming home to the Apocalypse. And by Apocalypse, I mean temperatures of 106 for the next four days. So basically, I’m leaving this…


At a balmy 83 degrees to this…


The good news is the heat should keep me indoors long enough to give you a thorough review of the trip. The bad news? I may melt before I write it.


The Speed of Summer

The Speed of Summer

In my everyday life, I’m a high school teacher. And as much as I love my students, I might love my summer vacation just a little bit more almost as much. I long for the slower pace of summer—the lazy pj mornings, the spontaneity in spur-of-the-moment day trips, the long-forgotten bedtime routines. It’s a time where I’m a more relaxed parent, which works well, as it’s also the time my children decide to run wild.

As many stay-at-home parents know, being home with your children all day long can be taxing at best, and drive you to drink at worst. So, first, cheers. Drink up. You’ve earned it.

via Martha Stewart

via Martha Stewart

Now, grab an envelope (or the back of a coloring book works fine too), and compile a list for you. A list of things you want to do for yourself this summer. Look, no one is going to do it for you, and before you know it, summer will be long gone and you’ll be regretting not giving yourself more room to breathe, to stretch your own wings. You’ll regret living at the speed of your children’s summer, and not your own.

And just to demonstrate that I try to practice what I preach, here’s my very own Speed of Summer List:

The Speed of Summer 2013

  1. Lie out in the sun and soak up the vitamin DImage
  2. Buy/cut yourself flowers weekly.Image
  3. Eat a basketful of berries by yourself. Don’t share. Not one.Image
  4. And a pint of ice cream. Pick your favorite flavor and hide it at the back of the freezer so no one steals it out from under your deserving spoon.Image
  5. Swim in the ocean, or a lake, or a creek, or whatever body of water you got that’s outside. *bonus points if you do it a la natural. Shhhh…I won’t tell.*Image
  6. Go on a date to the drive-ins without kids. Who cares what the movie is? You’ve got a car and no kids and a solid two hours without interruption.Image
  7. Wear a daring shade on your toes. No time like the present to wear “It’s Raining Men”.Image
  8. Read a book. The.Entire.Book. It doesn’t have to be great literature. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be good literature. Just make sure you enjoy it. And that you finish it. Seriously, finish it.Image
  9. Eat what you want all day long. Not what you should, and not what your kids want, but what you want. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. And dessert. And ignore those guilt-laden calories—it’s only one day.

  10. Let the sun wake you up as often as possible. Too often our final sweet moments of slumber are lost to the incessant whine of the alarm…or the kids…or the dog… If you can, lie there until the sun warms your face and you remember your long forgotten friend.

    [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="410"]Image via perricatherine

Make your list now, before another moment goes by and it’s swallowed up in everything you need to do for someone else. Look it over, write down all the things that whisper to your heart. There is where you will find your own speed of summer.


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