In light of a lil' Halloween party yesterday, we got a chance to do a 'trial run' of costumes... before awaking at 6:00am this morning to do it alllllll over again for school.  At least they're ready for tonight (aside from a few touch-ups of course)!

That charming mr. chaplin & adorable farmer gal make it all worth it though :)...


...black polish, Giada Halloween episodes, spooky pomegranate cocktails, all-things-pumpkin, CANDY, school parades, Charlie Brown, glow sticks...  Love. It. All.

Happy Halloween!!


With Ryan out of town the past few days- and me still in major catch-up mode, I've been pretty straight-faced and just plain grumpy.  Getting on the kids to HURRY UP, to PICK UP THOSE SHOES, to FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS.  Maybe a little necessary... lots of to-do's on my plate, lots of homework on theirs.  

But, really, I need to lay off a bit, and LIGHTEN UP.  Put a little silly back into our step.  A little creativity in our paths.  Last night, the kids and I watched the Princess BrideA perfect way to begin the 'lightening up' process.  How can one not feel a little giddy while viewing this masterpiece??  Now that Ryan's home, we've decided we must watch it again... along with our annual Young Frankenstein viewing, and bits and pieces of the four Charlie Chaplin films that Jacob rented from the library (love how he gets all into his costume).  

That should get us off to a good start- and ready for the big day of pumpkin carving, costume wearing, trick-or-treating, cornbread, & chile!  Between the pumpkin patch and Trader Joe's, we're all stocked up :).

Happy Friday everyone!

Achy breaky heart {Listography 2011}.

Each Wednesday, Emily, @ Notorious MLE, Danielle, @ Elleinad Spir, and myself are working our way through the lists of Listography 2011.

This week's list is an interesting one. ... "List couples who you were sad to see break up."

I'm going with celebrity couples here, and in doing so, I'm a little split on this topic.  On one hand, I'm actually a little sad anytime I hear of a long-term relationship ending... whether I know the couple personally or just via magazine covers and tweets.  I come from a divorced family in which I've seen both of my parents start and end several relationships- firsthand.  Whether a couple has been together several months or several years- it's never an easy process.  Even when the ultimate decision is quick and seemingly effortless, it's usually preceded by much frustration, tears, anger... all the icky no-fun-at-all stuff.

That said- I just don't get celebrity relationships.  Some- I don't buy into from the start.  Others seem to be the real deal and 'together-forever' status and then sink that ship real quick with issues of infidelity, sexual addiction (really??)...  And when I actually try to wrap my mind around it- I start wondering- are any of them for real??  I do believe that some have truly found a way to make it work, but seriously- if I put too much thought, effort, or concern into this topic, my brain starts to get a little numb and then I get all upset about people that I don't even know... and I need my brain sharp & emotions in tact, as I've got my own relationship to manage after all!


These nonchalant feelings do not, by any means, translate into T.V. break-ups.  Ross & Rachel, Sam & Diane, David & Donna...

But nothing compares to this sad, sad split.

Video via

Where do you stand on this topic??  Any parting-of-the-ways that left you especially distraught?

Emily's got the link my friends.  Comment here or post there :).

{And on an entirely different topic... since I wasn't able to get my last Listography post done- and I have OCD it will drive me crazy if I have nothing to link, I'd like to note that my favorite vehicle was my very first car- a 1980 Honda hatchback (although that lime green Gremlin my mom sported us around in comes in at a close second)...  a little white beauty (sadly suffered the same fate as Butch's).}

Image via


Well.  We made it home from Hawaii safe and sound.  

 A glorious 8 days of paradise.   

I'd love to share pictures (and I will) but as is usually the case after returning home- I'm desperately trying to get my groove back- or simply get back into some sort of groove... one that doesn't involve a daily room [house]-cleaning, nightly mai tais on the beach, stored-away laptops, and empty agendas.  

...but instead- grocery shopping, unpacking (yes, still), LAUNDRY, pumpkin purchasing, Halloween decorating, homework assisting (oh... the homework), boy scout events, girl scout events, LAUNDRY, costume parties...

Okay, I'll spare you the rest of my oh-so-interesting-to-do list, and simply say that despite the madness, it feels good to be back... to jump into Halloween-mode, and to reconnect- with  my laptop, my reader (soon!), the dvr...  And since I can't post Hawaii pics yet, here's a few from Saturday night's costume party to hold ya over :). 

{a handsome security guard (aka- Ryan), a Butcher's wife (aka- my mom), & yours truly- a Mad Men wannabe}

{Costume inspired by Naina (dress & shoes- Ross; belt- Banana Republic)... If you're looking for a last minute costume idea & want to dress up as a 60's gal yourself- Ross has a fantastic selection of dresses (dresses that seem to hide all the the 'mai tai/macadamia nut pancake' indulgences... 60's dressing just may become a regular thing).}

Jumping the shark {Listography 2011}.

Each Wednesday, Danielle, @ Elleinad Spir, Emily, @ Notorious MLE, and myself are working our way through the lists of Listography 2011.

#42 - List who you thought was the coolest growing up.

jumping the shark: 
"outlived its freshness" where viewers feel "the writers have run out of ideas" and that "the series has [lost] what made it attractive. "These changes were often the result of efforts to revive interest in a show whose audience had begun to decline. {Wikpedia}

The best babysitter show around may have jumped the shark. But The Fonze surely did not. 
[well literally- he did, but figuratively...]

The epitomy of COOL.
With only a couple of months to go, I can't help but wonder if "Listography" is headed down that dreaded path ... Nooooooo.  Some hot topics coming up.  Favorite car models... my former teachers... Okay, maybe not so hot after all.  Either way, I will do my best to keep it FRESH, and your comments make it that much more fun.  So, please ~ leave one below, or link up a post of your own!
Tomorrow morning, we leave for Hawaii.  One week of Paradise, and I can't wait.
See ya next week :).

The root of the matter.

We've had our raised garden beds for a little over a year now, and gardening ranks pretty high up there in the what-we-do-in-our-free-time category... yet you would never know that by reading this blog.  Other than a few random mentions here and there, the posts have been few and far between.

Sure- it takes extra time to photograph... and edit... and formulate details to write about...  But, in truth, our "pursuit of simplicity" has been anything but simple.  Let's just say, our "raised gardening adventure" has given new meaning to the phrase, LEARNING CURVE.

One obstacle after another.  A constant challenge to overcome.  Never-ending Google searches.  Desperate pleas for advice from our newly befriended Armstrong employee gardening guru.  Thankfully, Ryan's taken the lead, and is determined to lead us into Garden Prosperity.

Despite the many failures, there's been quite a few successes too.  And after a string of bad seeds - success tastes that much sweeter.

{let's start with the losses}
  • a dog that consumed all of our initial sprouts & an entire crop of newly ripened tomatoes- all at once
  • poor timing
  • over-planting
  • crowding
  • "wide & shallow" (as opposed to narrow & deep) approach
  • critters (thieves) eating away the fruits of our labor
  • slow- or no- growth, discolored leaves, rotting (not enough magnesium, calcium, nitrogen...)
  • improper placement (not enough/too much sunlight)
  • white flies, fungi, aphids
  • over/under watering
  • cheap soil
{now for the wins}
First and foremost, we started a compost bin a couple of months ago, and are on our way to excellent soil.  Composting has been such a simple and satisfying process, I can't believe we didn't start sooner.  With the exception of a few tomatoes & lots of peppers & herbs, we've cleared our summer beds away and planted for fall.

{on the menu for fall (so far):  beets, radishes, carrots, parsnips, Italian red onion, red onion}

If you're considering starting your own garden- or switching from a container to a raised bed garden (like we did)- do not let this post deter youAlthough I listed many, the main issue was our soil.  We had to purchase A LOT all at one time, and were too quick to take the advice of a Home Depot employee's referral of "excellent yet inexpensive" soil (inexpensive- yes; excellent- no).  Also, we let our confidence get the best of us, and set our sights a bit too high (too many seeds, too close together).  Our current approach:  Start small (more of one type of plant instead of a few of many- or in our case... a lot of many) and attain better garden soil.

An ongoing learning process for sure.  Now that I've shared this much, I'll definitely keep you updated... (& more often :)).  If you have any tips or stories to share, I'd [really, really] love to hear!   

Lions & tigers & bears... Oh my {Listography 2011}!

Each Wednesday, Emily, @ Notorious MLE, Danielle, @ Elleinad Spir, and myself are working our way through the lists of Listography 2011.

Image via

October.  The month of goblins & ghouls.   

A perfectly fitting list to get us into the spooky mood.

List things that scared you as a kid.

{other than those scary striped stockings...}

  1. First & foremost- anything awful happening to my mom (separation anxiety issues).
  2. Fighting.  Adults fighting, to be more specific (still puts my stomach in knots).
  3. Hospitals.
  4. Walking by bums homeless people near my grandpa's Los Angeles barber shop.
  5. Flying on an airplane.
  6. Darkness.
  7. The evening news.
  8. Robbers.
  9. Being awake at night when everyone else was not.
  10. My school's attempt to "educate" us on the concept of Hell (& how to avoid it).
As I was writing this list, I asked Ryan what he was scared of as a child.  His response...  "Sharks."

Um.  Yeah.  That pretty much sums it all up.
{Were you a scaredy cat, as I apparently was?  
The link is at Emily's today... Share a post, or spook me out with a comment :)}

Princesses & pirate ships.

We'll be in Hawaii for my BIL's wedding  next week (they just had to have it in Hawaii, and just had to ask us to be in it , so we just have to go ;)), so we spent Saturday afternoon at thrift stores, getting ready for Halloween... always a big relief to check off the to-do list.  As I've mentioned before- the older the kids get, the "stronger their opinion" gets when it comes to who they want to magically transform into each year.  A BIG decision I tell ya.

So.  Who's it going to be this year??

Mr. Chaplin... a cute lil' farmer (although after Halloween, that $3.00 Banana Republic cowhide belt is mine)... a security officer (Ryan)... {me? still working on it}

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