A Few Little Fall Finds

1. Honeycomb Earrings from oliveandcocoa.com that I love so very much.

2. Goat’s milk caramels’ from happygoat.com.  These are awesome. Truly.

3. Adorable wicker backpack for picking apples on the weekend or as a very expensive toy picker-upper.  brookfarmgeneralstore.com

4.Madeline Weinrib makes amazing textiles…that is no secret.  madelineweinrib.com

5. Super-cute and cozy looking sweater-cuff boots from urbanoutfitters.com

6. How perfect is this marshmallow roaster? shopterrain.com

7. This camera has been on my wish list for a while.  I do miss film.  lomography.com

This Week:

I feel like I was able to take a deep breath in life this week.  My husband was gone, but it was still a pretty good week.  This was only because God helped me see it that way.  This is a heavy travel time for my husband, mostly because he’s making up for a loss right now that wasn’t his fault.  It’s a tough position for him and it also demands a lot from me.  I don’t really watch TV with the exception of Project Runway and Top Chef, but I was able to watch the entire Mad Men series on netflix while he’s been gone.  That a crazy lot of episodes.  When my little buddy was crying this week , I was remembering what I said when he was a newborn babe in my arms.  I told myself, no matter what, that I would take the time to cuddle him while I could and kiss his tears away.  Someday he will smell like BO and will ask me what’s for dinner.  My sweet girl is ridiculously distracted by birds during school.  True, I created this monster by introducing her to the Audubon books, but it’s kind-of a problem.  I’ve learned to help it by stopping for bird breaks in exchange for focus.  It kinda works.  My middle guy is constantly telling me I don’t play with him which is completely not true because I build him a Lego set (sometimes the same one every day) every morning before school.  It still hurts my people-pleasing heart to hear those words but all I can do is my best.  It seems that I am constantly hearing, “Let’s get together”.  No, it’s not the song from “The Parent Trap”, it’s people that I care about who need a friend.  I love and care about each one of my friends, but it’s so hard to have really good connections with people when you only see them every now and then.  I can only have so many people over, ya know?  We do so love to entertain, but it would be nice to take a break every now and then and be the company ;)  It is great to see them when I can and this week I got to see quite a few.  So, you see, at the end of the week, we can only do our best, every day, to pick out the things that gave us the most joy instead of the most pain.  Sometimes my best feels like a failure, but this week God gave me the peace that it was enough and I am so very thankful for that.

28 is looking pretty good so far.  Oh yeah, it was my birthday this week.

Another bright side to life: I’m thankful to still be in my 20’s a bit longer…


Orange is a beautiful color, not just because it is nice to look at, but because it is a glowing representation of the air turning cooler.  When I grew pumpkins last year, it was fun to see how the chill actually does make the difference between a pumpkin that is a dull orange and one that is a bright orange.  It’s like the chill gives it a little fall glow.

I like to go to this little pumpkin patch near our house every year because it’s the closest thing to a country scene as you can get in the middle of a city.  We tried out a new one last year with Miss F’s Kindergarten class called Oma’s, but it was sooo far away and basically in another city.  It was a cute little place with an awesome cottonseed hill for the kids to slide down.   We got an invite again this year but it was so warm  and last year the other parents were MIA, pretty much like every other field trip, so we opted for a local family trip.  The kids always want to go for the parking lot set-up with the little ferris wheel and flashing lights.  I’m pretty old-fashioned about stuff like this so chances are they won’t see me driving up to one of those places.

silly girl

When there is no pumpkin class being taught, it’s a great place to hop about.

He found out it ate leaves and was pretty thrilled.

This is so true to his character.  One minute he’s here, the next he’s off to find trouble.

Love my sweet girl.

Everyone needs coffee for a walk in a corn maze.

We found this little Acrea moth caterpillar in the maze.   We took him home and checked out his stats a bit.  He also went on the hayride.

The haze is setting in at this point.

This sweet man in the yellow shirt has been at this pumpkin patch/Christmas tree farm for as long as I can remember.

I love that.

Vacation In A Jar

Vacation is a wonderful thing.   We recently got to go back to PA to see some family and friends,  the Bloomsburg Huskies play (the special teams coach is my father-in-law), and attend the movie premier for “The Mighty Macs” (about my mother-in-law…check it out  here and here).  It was a fun yet very exhausting trip.  I’m still glad we took it.  It’s very difficult to squeeze everyone and everything into a 6 day trip, but we made it happen!  If there’s one thing I’ve learned about travel and family it’s that you can never make everyone happy so you might as well make the best choices you can considering all and move on with that choice.  In any case, I wanted to bring a piece of Pennsylvania home so we could talk about our trip and what we did.  So, as we were pulling away, I grabbed some moss from the grass by the fence and threw it in a bag, hoping security wouldn’t snatch it away.   I threw a few orange and red leaves in for good measure.  Thankfully, it made it all home with no questions asked, just a few raised eyebrows.

At Papa Ed and Grandma Trudy’s house.  We all loved the green.  Look at my sweet boy :)

All of us with Gram.

All of us with Papa Ed and Grandma Trudy.

Back to the fantastic moss.  Isn’t it lovely?  To make sure we could enjoy this moss for a long time, I decided to make a terrarium.

To make a good terrarium, you have to make sure the moisture is balanced enough for the moss to be alive but not grow mushrooms.  Mushrooms are cute, but the kind that grow in this dirt are very much not.  You’ll need soil, small rocks or pieces of gravel (about the size of aquarium gravel), charcoal pellets (to keep odor at bay), and your moss of choice.

Of course the project lady herself was involved.  I can’t think of one thing I have done, of late, that has not involved this girl.  Am I creating a monster?  If so, at least she’ll be a productive monster.

So, we layer the materials as follows.  I realized afterwards that my rocks should go on the bottom for drainage.  Sorry.


1/2  D I R T, moist

C H A R C O A L   P E L L E T S

1/2 D I R T, moist


The idea is for the moist soil to keep the moss wet enough, while not getting moldy and soggy.  I spray mine every now and then with a spray bottle.

Here are the layers and Miss F adding the finishing touches.  This mushroom is actually from my super-cute pincushion from Hi Tree.   It is a felt tree stump, like below.

Cute, right?

You shouldn’t need to re-moisten it for a LOOONNNG time.  If you do see moisture on the lid, remove it for a day.

Enjoy your vacation!


I missed InstaFriday so I changed the name to suit my needs :)  This is where I make use of some of those camera pictures few people see.

Last week we had the privilege of going to the premier of  “The Mighty Macs”.  It was pretty cool because it just happens to be about my mother-in-law, Cathy Rush.  The movie is the incredible story of her time at a little school called Immaculata University, as their women’s basketball coach.  This was a time when women’s basketball was still an afterthought.  Cathy managed to take a team with no gym and no equipment and turn them into a 3-time  national championship winning team!  Pretty amazing, huh?   It just so happens that my husband was conceived during the first season, which is a fun little tidbit for our family.  It was great to experience the energy of the premiere and 2,000 people filled to the brim with excitement.  We all are excited to see what happens with this movie.

So, go see the movie!!  We just took 20 people on Friday :)

Heading into Downtown Philadelphia.

At the premiere, standing in front of the team bus from the movie.

Cathy in one of her many interviews.

Miss F getting ready for an interview.

Telling everyone how proud she is of Gram.

The radiant Cathy Rush.

The actresses who play the team members:  Katie Hayek, Kim Blair, Meghan Sabia, Kate Nowlin, Taylor Steel

Marley Shelton who plays Sister Sunday

David Boreanaz as Ed Rush, Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia, and their families

Carla Gugino as Cathy Rush

Miss F gets a better view from one of daddy’s buddies.

A sweet girl asks for an interview

Visiting with some of the nuns.

Miss F and Miss Immaculata

Getting ready for the movie!  We are excited!

Miss Gugino and Miss Shelton being recognized for their work in the film.

Mayor Nutter

All of us with Cathy and James Malinchak.

Ed Rush/ Papa Ed talking with Tim Chambers, Director and Writer

The two fashionable ladies.

Some of the refreshments, pictured here in our parking garage.  We had to get our 6 year-old home, but managed to snag some soft pretzels and mustard and a few mini cheesecake sandwiches.

Asparagus Soup with poached eggs

So, lately I have been in a soup funk.  I guess it’s not really a funk because everyone around here seems to be happy with it.   Basically, I seem to be only thinking in soups these days when it comes to cooking.  I even convinced my newly minted 3-year-old to have 2 kinds of soup for his birthday party.  It was a “soldier” birthday party and I wasn’t really lying when I said it was perfect soldier food, ya know?  In the past few weeks, I’ve made tomato soup, roasted tomato and fennel soup (x2), potato and leek soup, potato soup, roasted vegetable soup, and this asparagus soup.  I can’t help myself.  It is perfect for lunch or dinner, whether it’s cold or hot.

I wish I had made this today and not last week because we caught the not so very elusive airplane cold on our trip back east this week.  It started with me last Wednesday and now it has 5/5 of us.  Needless to see the mood is a little irritable amongst the troops.  Soup would be awesome right now.  I was supposed to go to a food truck gathering tonight to get a butter-poached lobster grilled cheese, but I decided taking 3 kids with runny noses to such an event would be a bad idea for us and the people around us.   Too bad because it’s the first time this truck, Devilicious, was going to be at this otherwise quiet get-together.  We don’t get the good trucks down in south San Diego very often.   Instead, I threw together a tomato and goat cheese tart.  I guess it worked out.

Yes, it’s not your computer.  The picture is a little weird because it was late and the sun was down.  I’m only saying that because I don’t like looking at this kind of lighting but really wanted to share the easy recipe.  I hope that’s ok.

I love asparagus so very much.  My Mom even knows how much I love it because she put some in my fridge for our return home.

  Thanks, Mom :)

Start by sauteing all of the veggies, except the asparagus, in olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.   Cook for 10 minutes or until soft.

While that is cooking, prepare the asparagus by trimming the ends.  The best way, I’ve found, to remove the ends is to hold the woody/hard end with one hand and grab the whole spear halfway down with the other.  It will just snap where the tender part meets the hard part.  It just lets you know because it’s that fabulous.

You can add it to the other veggies.

Add the vegetable stock and simmer for 20 minutes.  Then, puree in the blender or with an immersion blender and season again if needed.  I tried this with the immersion and the consistency ended up being a little coarse for me, but I’m sure it would have ended up fine in the blender.

I made up a bunch of grilled bread (with olive oil and salt and pepper) and a few poached eggs for everyone.  I love me some poached eggs!

Asparagus soup

(adapted from Jamie Oliver)

2 onions, chopped

2 sticks of celery, chopped

2 leeks, chopped

2 lbs of asparagus

2 liters organic chicken or vegetable stock

sea salt and fresh pepper

 rustic bread, sliced and grilled

poached eggs

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