Strange Times

In San Diego, it usually doesn’t rain all summer.  It also isn’t humid here at all although this summer was the most humid it has been in a while.  I was discussing this at our favorite hydroponics/beer supply store called Home brews and Gardens.   I hadn’t noticed the humidity was way off i here until the guy, Greg, showed me all of their hops and the mildew on them.  It made me think of my cucumbers, squashes, and melons and the poor success I had fighting off mildew on them this year.  I just thought I had sprayed too much water on the leaves but now it made complete sense.

A few weeks ago it was super-humid, hot and also rained that day.  Yucky.  I felt SO sorry for all of the kids who were having their first day of school in such discomfort.  I was thankful, that day, I could take my kids out to enjoy the rain for 15 minutes and then return them to a place of comfort for optimal learning.  I like that if Miss F is excited about a change in the weather or a bird, we can run out and see it.  I enjoy being able to break for the day if it is too hot to continue.  I LOVE being able to apply what was happening that day with the weather to what we were learning in school.   It seems to be the way it should be.  It makes me think of the Outback slogan:

“No Rules. Just Right”


They are getting so big.  They love to break out their rain gear even on days when there is not a cloud in sight.


Oh yes.


I guess it was as good a time as any for a salad snack.

We also had some unannounced guests last week.  This is the 9th swarm of bees to come into our yard but only the first to land and huddle for a bit.  I was hoping they would stay and make honey but alas, they apparently found better rent elsewhere.  I asked my brother, the resident insect expert of the West Coast, why they left.  He said bees will sometimes stop at a place for a short time, while they send scouts out to find a more ideal location.  Bummer.  We enjoyed the backyard education while we had it though.

We also had a blackout here in SoCal last week.  It was a not such a big deal event turned into a big event.   It showed me that most people are not capable of adapting to change well.  True, I had already known this from experience, but stuff like this brings it out in people.

My man and I were heading out on a date that night to the Green Flash tasting/food truck combo event.  The power went out and I was still intent on going, figuring it would just come back on in a few hours.  No biggie.  I handed our babysitter the camping lantern and said, “Just in case you need it.”  She didn’t look as sure as I did but she’s awesome, so I knew she could handle it.  We would have made it if not for the whole of San Diego freaking out and heading to the freeways and their local Home Depot.  The news accidentally got turned on by my husband and talk was made of it lasting days, how will people get gas, what will people do, how will we get to work, how can we buy food if the registers don’t work and the stores are closed.  Seriously, everyone would survive.  This is not a situation where people could be harmed easily, as opposed to an earthquake.  Hospitals have generators for this kind of thing as do most other entities who would need to provide a service in times of need.

Bottom line, many people have lost the ability to truly connect with other human beings and when faced with the idea that they might actually have to form these connections, let alone help people you don’t know, it isn’t comfortable.  The internet, iphones, and other electronics have made this so.  I was praying that night that neighbors would actually talk, husbands and wives would connect with no electronic devices anywhere in sight, kids would have no ipod power source and maybe tell their parents what’s happening in their lives.  I would say, “maybe its just me”, but I’ve had numerous conversations to confirm that  I’m not the only one who thinks we are in a tough place right now with our relationships.

Let me paint a picture from some things I couldn’t help but notice:

  • I am in a restaurant and a couple across from me are both on their phones the entire hour and a half.  Occasionally, they look up to share something interesting but not a ton is said.  They probably called that a date.  For me, I would be hurt if those people called me a friend because I knew I would always be 2nd to their phone.
  • People rush home from church,  in some kind of a hurry with little time to talk, then hop on facebook to “connect”
  • A couple actually tags their way through their honeymoon.  Wha?  It may sound fun to follow along but that’s not what it’s all about.  That is time taken away from the other to be on your cell phone…on your honeymoon!!
  • cell phones used to be for emergency calls, now they are portable video game consoles which annoy me to no end in places where they are not appropriate.  To me, it’s ALWAYS rude to play a video game with sound in a public place, as is talking on a cell in a waiting room full of people.  I have been in many difficult situations where a phone game might have helped my kiddos, but my job is to teach not avoid.
  • people have less time to get together and share a meal, but facebook can happen all day.  Is this the connecting people really want?  hmmm.
  • women post status updates while in labor.  Maybe it’s just that I could never do this because I was only ever in pain while giving birth, but I’m a little weird-ed out by it.  I can only picture the special moment being lost between 2 people and a baby, for the purposes of keeping everyone up to date.
  • almost strangers find out engagements and pregnancies before family and friends.  Tactless, no?


I KNOW I do things that are irritating, but I try to be as courteous as I can be with what I know of myself and my tendencies.

Can we all try a little harder? Please?  For the sake of the next generation, if not for yourself?


This is a picture that Green Flash posted from that night…must have been fun.

My sweet girl was so excited about living like Laura (we’ve been reading the “Little House on the Prairie”  series for over a year).  I didn’t point out that her candle was battery operated.  I did let her keep a jar with a candle in her room which she was thrilled about.  I tend to handle emergency related things pretty calmly.  My kids seem to do the same.  As long as I act cool, they do.

What a better time to snuggle than by candlelight, right?

All I have to say is, there’s gonna be a lot of babies born 10 months from that night…


life rearranged

A very small snapshot of our week through my phone.

I love to start our weeks with fresh bread.  This is Martha’s Olive Oil bread and it rocks.  SO easy.

Little D is trying to use the cork remover to force his way into the locked pantry…didn’t work but I give him credit for trying.

Finally did the super easy chair re-vamp found here.

Re-stocked the beer fridge for frequent visitors of late.

Used my husbands beer to make beer can chicken.  Recipe to follow soon!

Made it again but with roasted sweet potatoes, garlic, and onions for a friend followed by awesome conversation.  Love that.

Following school one day, Faith and I made homemade pop-tarts (cherry and nutella)  They were good.  Stay tuned for a tutorial for that too!

I love this child so much.  Her personality is so much like my firstborn so I am very amused by her.  I kinda like her mom a lot, too :)

Dentist teeth cleaning for Miss F and I.  Dr. Kint is the best dentist ever!

Miss F’s killer Steller’s Jay nature journal drawing.  Frame for sure.

Toys from my childhood enjoyed by a second generation.

Bracelet crafted for a special person’s birthday coming up who may or may not live in PA.  She was pretty excited about it.

Old to New: Vintage Chair Re-do

**I am NOWHERE near being skilled in this area, I’m just sharing what I’ve learned :)**

So, let me start by saying I just REALLY love my chair.  I happened upon it after making friends with a guy at an estate sale.  He appreciated a listening ear and I was happy to be that listener.  He had just lost his mother and was hesitant to release his physical memories of her in the form of her heirloom furniture pieces.  I connected with him because I like to find pieces which have a story and appreciate them for it.  The style is the 1940s era “Waterfall” Art Deco furniture which is just full of craftsmanship and fun design.  Plus, the coloring of this era of wood is lovely…at least to me.  I purchased a full bedroom set, including this chair last year (2010) and am LOVING them.  I’m sure I’ll show more pictures of the full set eventually.  The pieces were original to this family and had been trekked all over the world through Navy moves.  Considering that, they are in awesome shape.  They must have had awesome military movers back then, unlike now.  I’ve heard too many bad stories which is why for each one of our re-locations, we moved ourselves.

The guy had recently had the chairs (yes, there’s a vanity chair, too) recovered in this creme fabric.  It wasn’t a bad fabric, by any means, but it wasn’t my style.

Changing the fabric on your chair can be just as easy, so stick with me.  This is a very simple project which takes less than 10 minutes.

You only need fabric, a screwdriver, and a staple gun with staples.

I was torn between this yellow/lime fabric I’ve had stashed for a while and the other blue menswear fabric which has been striking my fancy of late.

Some chairs are nailed into their frames.  Some are glued because of urgency or just cost.  Most modern chair seats are screwed in and are super easy to re-cover.  If you are looking to re-cover vintage and don’t want to invest crazy amount of time learning to do it, just look for chair covers that unscrew.  I have found many lovely (and cheap!) vintage chairs which would require a professional level of skill.  For me, I love to learn new things but I am trying to scale it back a bit.

My little buddy was ready and willing to assist with any unscrewing or screwing in needs.

 Staples guns can be purchase for a minimum of $10 at Lowes/Home Depot.  Trust me, you will feel cool and confident with this purchase. I do.  mine is a nail/staple combo and it is wonderful.

Because I had 10 minutes before I had to leave for my daughter’s ballet class, I simply covered over what was there.
For the corners, I played around with a few techniques and stapled the north side and then immediately south.  After, I went for the East side and then the west.  I was careful to start the stapling in the middle of each side and then work towards the ends.  I have NO idea if this is correct, I just tend to go with what seems natural.  I stop a few inches towards each side.  Now, I gather the corners in a way that made the least amount of creases or pleats where I didn’t want them.  You can see in the pictures 2 little bumps at the tops that i eventually eliminated.

Basically, I see 3 options here:

1. make a corner like you fold a bed sheet under as a nurse (thanks you nursing school for having this technique always in my mind).

2. force the pleating to the center, for a small gathered pleat.

3. spend 20 minutes making super tiny gathers, as a professional would do to create zero pleats.

**Homeschooling Mother of 3 chose #2 which works for the chair which is mostly used near the piano for the 2nd person in a duet.**

My helper screwing the seat in.  I found that this table position is great for the pressure needed for a sturdy installation.

Overall, I’m happy because what can you expect out of less than 10 minutes?  I can see the fabric peeking out but you could very easily remove your fabric and cover over the padding, assuming it’s in good condition.

Baseball Guy


Travel: Cibbets Flat Campground


I love camping for its ability to slow down a person’s life.  There are no clocks, phone calls, Facebook, or TV to distract a person from the people or lovely things around them.  I love eating food only when you’re hungry and putting the kids to sleep right when the sun goes down.   The best part of camping, however, is the campfire.  No, not the fire itself.  If you’ve ever been camping with my husband when he builds a fire, you’ll know why I don’t love the fire.  Maybe I just don’t like a forest fire.  In any case, the time around a fire with friends is awesome.  You get to have chats and ask real life questions of each other.  Community is a necessary thing for all people and camping brings it even closer.  We “do the bonding” (“The Wedding Planner” reference if you didn’t catch that).

I didn’t get to spend tons of time with my kids one-on-one, but they had fun so I’m happy.  Between fire ant bites, stinging nettle, and a chef’s knife that was constantly present from our camping friends, trouble was always present.  I fell much wiser now than in the past and was able to just look in my kids faces and know if they were having fun, it was all good.

This little cutie was all about walking on the tent as it was going up.

This is her element.

I should have brought bathing suits but a load of laundry later, it seems to have worked out ok :).

Little D had an encounter with stinging nettle, but thanks to some hydro-cortisone creme and a tough spirit, everything was fine.

I’ve missed having babies around…have I mentioned that?

My ever-faithful TOMS.

I love finding a random flower in the middle of the desert-scape.

Nothin’ like a good shirtless game of uno and a corn cob to make it fell like camping.  Thanks for the Uno, Mrs. Bicker :)

These Target camping chairs have been awesome.

“Pig on a stick”  She doesn’t look amused here but she loved it.

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