Sugar & spice & everything nice.

Our weekend consisted of lots of homework (as seen below) & a quick outing to the field for softball tryouts.

Other than the tryouts, and a splash of red here & there, nothin' too exciting.

So, I decided I needed to spice things up a bit -

first with honey spice cookies...
{thanks to Tammy's inspiring post}
(experimented by using course cinnamon sugar, on the left, and fine sugar w/ red sprinkles, on the right)

and next with whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread.

{as inspired by Jessica, who found this via, but gave it a few twists, inc. w.w. flour}

Looking forward to slicing into this, & most definitely adding a little spice to our Monday morning.

Happy Monday :).

Bring it on.

Not sure exactly what our weekend will entail, but I do know that it'll involve a little of this...

Our recent trip to wine country, this past December...
Bringing a little of Sonoma back home with us.

IT'S FRIDAY!  ~Let's celebrate.

Places to go & people to see [& food to eat] {Listography 2011}.

Each Wednesday, Emily, @ Notorious MLE, Danielle, @ Elleinad Spir, and myself are working our way through the lists of Listography 2011.
Image via
Let's start out with a little complaining (on my part, anyways... you can feel free to complain in the comment section, if you'd like to join in).

Forming this list was hard.  None of them have been easy.  They've all taken an embarrassingly long time to develop.  The topics in which I think I'll be able to whip up lists in minutes seem to be the most challenging... to make large enough, to narrow down, to decide what to embellish on... what not to embellish on, and to share with the world (referring to my 30 readers, not exactly "the world") that I've never before stopped to think for longer than 5 minutes regarding certain topics, or that I have no clue who my favorite artists are... or sports figures.

Ahhh.  Felt good to get that off my chest.  

On the other hand, like I mentioned here, this little project- and the fact that it is so difficult for me- is proving to be exactly what I need... to slow down, to reflect, to prioritize.  Which brings me to today's list-

List places you’d like to visit.

A couple of reasons why this was especially tough.
  1. There are a gazillion places I'd like to visit.  It's served as a reminder that in order to make this hefty list come to fruition (on one income), we need to make it a major priority- to to create a plan, and SAVE.  
  2.  Another confession:  I'm extremely geographically challenged (another goal- under the general category of "Learn").  I see and hear about places all of the time that subliminally get added into the 'to-see' list, but when I stopped to form a the list, this ignorance 'learning gap' was brought to the surface, big time.

Some places below are based primarily on visiting family, others are based on what I think we'd really enjoy, and most of them are shamelessly based on what type of food I want to experience, or indulge in (hence- the little addendum to my title).  Okay, without further scrutinizing, here are "a few" places that I'd like to visit... or revisit.
(*items in parenthesis are just the top-of-mind parts that I'd like to see... for each place, there's so much more I want to explore!) 

Inside of the US...
 Outside of the US...

This list is definitely not one that I could accomplish in the near future, but it is one in which I didn't want to shorten, or hold back.  Although a bit overwhelming, it feels good to have it in writing.  Because that's where any plan begins... with an imagination... with a dream - right?  

I'm especially excited to hear about the places that you'd like to visit someday.  I'm sure I'll be adding some of them to this list.  So, if you have a list of your own, head over to Emily's and link up (and of course check out the others that have joined us!)... Or, no post?  Not a problem.  Just share with a comment :).

{Wonderin' what's next??  Click this.}

Sounds like a case of the Mondays.


While I sip on a big mug of this, and read this 20 or so times (found via), I've got a little {random} question for ya... 
What are your favorite pizza toppings and/or combination of toppings?  Super Bowl Sunday- and our annual party, is a mere 2 weeks away, my friends... This year's menu:  GRILLED PIZZAS- lots of them.  Because, what goes better with all that beer, right??  So, when it comes to toppings, what melts your cheese?

In other exciting news... 

My friends at Langston's asked me to share a few of my favorites, so please head on over there and check 'em out... and indulge that inner cowgirl (or boy).

A huge thank you to Ana, @ Live & Enliven  for sprucing up my blog, and being a pure delight to work with, as expressed here.
If you don't get the title, or just need a little Monday morning humor- click HERE.


 Image via

Really, "endless winter" is meant in a metaphoric sense, since when it comes to seasons, let's be honest.  Winter, here in sunny California is pretty much non-existent.  Maybe it's because of the gorgeous weather we've been enjoying... or the fact that my house is in MAJOR need of a good ol' deep cleaning - but whatever the case -

I finally spy a glimmer of SPRING @ the end of the holiday madness 'winter tunnel.'
{Speaking of spring cleaning,  my amazing, talented, out-of-this world, patient, and KIND friend, Ana, from Live & Enliven, is making a few improvements to my {blog} pad... right at this very moment.  So, if you notice anything a little different, that's why :)}

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Delegate it {Listography 2011}.

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

Lots of action around our house today.  

First & foremost- since you were all unbelievably supportive in regards to our little thievery last week, I must update you.  The guy was caught.  He made the careless mistake of dropping his cell phone in a nearby vehicle (of which he also stole from), giving the police quite the lead.  Unfortunately, he'd already sold the games, and other missing items, but so kindly kept the empty game case.  In any event, it brought a sense of [unexpected] closure.
Second, I am participating in my very first blogger pal's (Jessica) 2011 Recipe Challenge.  It's such a simple, uncomplicated series, which is just the reason I signed up.  The challenge?  Each month, try a new recipe or create your own, send her a photo, and she'll include them all in one post.  Easy Peasy.  Tonight called for simplicity, so that's exactly what I went for.  Need cooking inspiration?  Check it (and others) out @ my favorite food blog, Kitchen Belleicious.

Anyhow, not an evening that brought the ability or desire to spend quality time with the laptop.  So, I of course did what any great leader would do- delegateA skill that emerges maybe a bit too naturally, I admit.   Actually, it was pretty cool stopping to ask my kids their thoughts... to engage them in a conversation of something other than how much Hailey doesn't want to eat her vegetables and how many more bites need to be eaten.

So, here are their word-for-word responses to this weeks' list-

Leaders you are inspired by...

God.  Because He created the whole entire universe and the earth and He created us, families, and all the animals.
Abraham Lincoln.  He was the president during the Civil War.  Even though he was depressed, he kept trying really hard to fight for what he thought was right, like ending slavery.
Barack Obama.  He made a good choice for deciding to become a president- NOT a principal.
George Washington.  He was a General in the Revolutionary War and he created the White House.
Michelle Obama.  Because she makes sure everybody's healthy, and when she's on Disney Channel commercials she adds lots of vegetables to foods like salad and other food. 
Mom & Dad. You manage to have two kids and a dog.  You make us do homework all the time and make sure we finish.  You teach us responsibility like cleaning our rooms and give us rewards for doing good things.  And you do a lot of other things like work, classes, cooking, blog, cleaning, and reading.
Mommy & Daddy.  You both say the right things.  You forget my library books sometimes - but that's okay.  You make us eat vegetables.  You make us clean our rooms everyday.  You tell us not to say bad words like the "F" word ["freakin"] and "S" word ["stupid"].
So,  there you have it!  Now your turn.  What leaders inspire you??  If you have a list of your own, link up at Danielle's (and then check out the others')!  If you don't have a post to link up, share anyways- with a comment :).
 *Next week- same time, same place...  Discover the topic, right here.

Gifts of LOVE.

{Yes, love is in the air... well, almost- but why wait??}
A highly rated notebook for your wine-tasting excursions... a unique diary for guys & gals... more list love... an "ode to everyday elegance" (SJP)... a sure-fire way to reignite the flame (as seen here)
From left to right; top to bottom:
Made with love...

From left to right; top to bottom:


Jacob was recognized today for "setting and outstanding example for his peers." 

Jacob's week did not start off so well.  With the exception of one, he lost all of his Nintendo DS games.  He's pretty disappointed, understandably.  He's not a kid who plays video games around the clock (of course he would, if I let him).  But still.  He's 12, and to him, those games are important.  

Long story short, his case (which had all of the games inside) was stolen.

He's intensely hoping... hoping that the thief gets caught... that his games will be returned- or at the very least, that we'll be reimbursed.  

After repeated, detailed questions about "the search process", of which I have no clue for the most part, I had to break the news that it's probably not gonna happen.   

To which he sadly stated, "I wish they didn't do this."

Then, off to continue his homework.

A little while later, he walked into my room and sighed, "I thought of two other games that were in the bag."  (The day before, I suggested that he make a list of missing games.)

Then, off to continue his homework.

When I tucked him in, I noticed that he had mustered up every coin that he owns, placed in a [small] pile in the middle of his floor.  

In the midst of all of this drama, we decided to look through his new telescope for the first time.  Since we returned from our trip, he'd been anxiously waiting to set it up.  And I am so glad we did.  We saw the moon, up close and personal.  We saw Jupiter, and it's moons!  And in 6 days, we'll be out there again (upon Jacob's request) to view the full moon.  

The worry is still there, the frustration- the disappointment.  But, somehow, it wasn't so BIG anymore.

{And then they go and change his sign on him (now, an Aquarius!)... What's a boy to do?? :)}

Um... I don't get it {Listography 2011}.

Each Wednesday, Danielle, @ Elleinad Spir, Emily @ Notorious MLE, and myself are working our way through the lists of Listography 2011 
 The time has come for list #3.  
These lists are proving to be just as challenging and thought-provoking as I imagined... in a stimulating, tap-into-yourself kinda way.  First, it was goals; next it was tear-jerker books (LOTS of great reads- right here).  The topic for this week is "things that are beyond your grasp of understanding."  There are quite a few things that are (at least at the moment) beyond my grasp of understanding.  Just how long do I want this list to be??  How much do I want to indulge here??
So I started out all serious, but then digressed... rather quickly.  I blame Ryan, since he was filled with input on this one.  Actually- pretty helpful, and we had many laughs in the process.  So, deep thoughts kept deep, here are a just a few of the things that are beyond my grasp of understanding.
Impossible for my finite brain to comprehend anything infinite- without a beginning and an end, a start and finish.
Image via

David Hasselhoff's superstardom.

Don't get me wrong.  I grew up on Knight Rider & Bay Watch... but can't quite grasp the German rockstar thing.
Video via

"Track" pants.

Like Danielle asked here, can someone please explain these to me??
Image via

Dogs tying the knot.

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Boohbah (Teletubbies on acid).
Toddlers may get it, but I sure as hell don't.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Moment of Zen - Boohbah
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook
Video via

I'm very curious.  What is beyond your grasp of understanding??  If you have a list of your own, link up below (and then check out the others')!  If you don't have a post to link up, share with a comment :).

 *Get ready for next week's topic, shown here.

Yielding to nature.

As I sit here on a Sunday afternoon, getting caught up- on my reader, on my inbox, my house, my car, my life, I am making a personal commitment to never again let the holidays take over my life... so that I have to play such a grueling game of Catch-Up.

Our holiday was a good one.  A wonderful time with the family.  More than a few moments of holiday bliss- in the form of a movie, a smile, a song, a shortbread, a card, a cocktail.  A nice - and generous, I might add - visit from Santa (I guess personalized letters really are the trick).  And to my surprise and delight, a wish granted (he is paying attention)!  

Yet- too many "normal life" items were dropped from the list... the things that keep me sane, focused, happy- balanced.  That is what I vow to change.  Planning and preparing for the holiday train ride in July, not getting RUN OVER.
Catching up does not make for an interesting blog post, so I've spent the majority of my time over the past few days reading others' blogs- holiday pics, gift lists (yeah, I was pretttty behind in my reading), goals for the new year... lots of good stuff.  When I came upon this post, written by Estelle (@ Under a Pink Moon)- one of the most talented and classy {blog} writers around- I knew what I wanted to share (thanks, Estelle!).

Just a simple observation, actually.

On our way home from San Jose, we had to make some navigational changes.  Unfortunately, we weren't the only ones to switch routes.  Daylight quickly faded.  The rain continued to pour.  And we sat.  And sat.  And sat.

By the time we finally got past this jam, onto the coastal highway, we were still over 4 hours away from home (without traffic).  We decided to stop and check into a hotel.  And I am so glad we did.  We got to experience the pure tranquility that is California's coast.  We've driven through time and time again, but each time I'm mesmerized by it's stunning beauty and splendor.

They say nature has a remedy.  I say "they" are absolutely right. 

...Exactly what we needed.

Tear-jerkers & page-turners {Listography 2011}.

Image via

After driving for what seemed an eternity (due to the Grapevine closure on Sunday), we finally made it home on Monday night - later than expected, but safe & sound.  Our vacation was a time of rest and rejuvenation, just as I had hoped it would be.  As I work my way through pine needles and presents... an empty fridge and a mound of laundry, I look forward to slowly settling back in to LIFE {& lists}.

Last week, we kicked off our Listography series with a list of goals for the coming year (cannot wait to read yours by the way).  Each Wednesday, Emily @ Notorious MLE and Danielle, @ Elleinad Spir, and myself are working our way through the lists of Listography 2011.  The topic for this week is "books that made you cry."  Simple, right?? 

Not so much.  The truth is, for the most part, I really can't remember when I was actually moved to tears!  Many, many extremely touching books- that most likely did make me cry, but without a doubt- these earned a spot on my tear-jerker list...

    Each touching, moving, thought-provoking, powerful, and saddening in its own manner- and each, a read that I'd highly recommend.  What about you?  Which books have brought tears to your eyes??  If you have a list of your own, head on over to Emily's to read her list and link your own... or, if you don't have a post to link up, share in the comment section!   Difficult to remember... or is it just me? 

    *Check out next week's topic right here.
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