Season of change.


We may not be able to control the forecast, but we most definitely control the menu.  When you combine summer's end with autumn's arrival~ magical moments are created in your very own kitchen.  Moments that entail late summer plum pudding cakes, and slow roasted tomatoes... banana fig bread and roasted red bell pepper pesto... savory pumpkin & goat cheese risotto stirred with a crisp glass of rosé in hand, and enjoyed with a deep dark glass of red.

Fall may not have made it's way outdoors, but right here, right now, within our four walls, it is happening.

Not only do we run the show when it comes to our daily menu, but we are also in full command of our daily calenders.  Just another way to set the tone, rather than letting the temperature tone set us.  To celebrate the arrival of a new season, to initiate change where needed, and to {intentionally} keep some things just as they are.  As much as I am ready to welcome the season of slouchy knits & black leggings... scented candles & cozy blankets... soups & stews & pies & warm beverages galore... there are a few elements that I am not quite ready to remove from the "schedule".  

As I plot out the calendar, or take on a new day... a new week- I'm making a concerted effort to embrace the renewing, invigorating, warm & welcoming essence of autumn, while holding on to a bit of the youthful spirit that summer exudes.  Many more seasonal meals be made... favorite old & new traditions to enjoy {especially this one :)}.
{Please join me in continuing the conversation over at Pink Moon Daily, to discuss this quintessential 'holding-onto-summer-while-embracing-autumn' tradition, as well as this "transitional" month, a little further...}

...on the "art" of pinning {& not *doing}.

image via 
Over the summer, I took a little break from "information-collecting" of any and all sorts- virtual pinning, magazine tearing/clipping/pinning, blog post 'bookmarking'...
Sure I was busy with the kids at home 24-7... vacations... Instagram... life away from the computer... But really- I was just tired of pinning images of "inspiration" up on those boards, without turning a single one into fruition.  Tired of clipping a craft idea that I had no intention or time to create- or bookmarking a recipe that I knew I couldn't eat (due to our temporary diet restrictions).  I couldn't possibly pin another item onto an already overly full board/plate/LIFE.
After our major spring purge, I realized that our cabinets & cupboards weren't the only areas that needed sorting, tossing, "refining."
Aside from summer's huge reward of spending more time with the kids, & road tripping our way to 'wine country'- it provided a time to take a much needed step away, to put an end to the madness of the piles and piles of magazines, the insane amount of emails [literally] flooding into my inbox each day...
To sort my way through the information, the inspiration, the aspiration- until I was left with almost nothing.  Which meant a lot of deleting.  A hell of a lot of unsubscribing.  A lot less sharing, committing, piling, stacking, saving, filing, PINNING... 
But as of Thursday, I was ready. 
Ready to dive in.  Into magazine reading... article clipping... meal-planning (I can't even begin to express how nice it has felt over the past few days to have a little order when it comes to our meals- to not stand aimlessly in my kitchen at 5:30- or later- each night and wonder WHAT IS FOR DINNER).  Into my long-lost love that is Pinterest.
It's funny how intrusive it can all become- all of the craft ideas, surefire cleaning techniques, the surefire parenting techniques, the "how-to" tutorials, the party-planning/picnic-throwing/meal-making ideas,- how overwhelming... how excessive...
Yet on the other hand, how incredibly stirring, useful, motivating, uplifting it can also be.
As long as there's a little doing action involved.
{When it comes to the 'food & recipe category,' I will say- there was plenty of doing going on this weekend.  Those [articles/pins/bookmarks] are usually the fastest to pile up after all.}

Monkey business.

My mom's husband sent me an email asking me to send a picture of Jacob in his "monkey suit."  I was about to scan the one of him {framed on our wall} as a little baby, wearing his [Halloween] "monkey suit" all the while, wondering what he wanted it for.                                                                                                                                      

 ...until ryan informed me otherwise. 
 {his orchestra 'picture day' was this past tuesday... i guess that $110- check was worth it after all :)}

Still just as adorable in my [humble] opinion.

Forging ahead.

image via

It rang off to a promising start.  A Friday evening with my [shopping] partner-in-crime (aka- Hailey)... shopping for not one but TWO upcoming birthday parties that she was to attend the following day... brand new pajamas... fun presents- those perfect presents that you secretly wish you could keep... All the while, the boys were back at home conjuring up a quintessential kick-off-to-the-weekend dinner~ pizzzza. Homemade pizza.  Pizza, wine, Family Ties.  Perfection.

The rest was sort of a blur.  

Too many tears.  Too many "come to jesus" talks.  Too many to-do's.  And too freakin' HOT. (I realize I just said that it wasn't "so bad after all."  Well, it got hotter.  And it is "so bad after all.")

After a weekend I'd pretty much chalk up as chaotic, I'm really hoping this little gem of wisdom rings true in the coming week.

Scratch that.  I'm willing this to come true in the coming week.  

First up:  a coffee date with a friend from high school this morning.  Not just any friend.  A friend that I haven't seen in 18 years!  Not to place too much into a coffee date or anything, but I've got a feeling this is JUST what I need to get out of this bubble I've "found" myself in as of late... to work my way into a new direction- a slightly (all I ask) less chaotic direction.  Yes, change is in the air.  I can feel it. 

The in-between.

The term "Indian summer" usually implies a second-wind (or wave I should say) of heat- high temperatures, sunny skies, dry conditions- making its way in just after the first frost.  Here in southern California- it takes on a bit of a new meaning... seeing that we don't really have a break from HEAT frost period- other then maybe a few fleeting moments of rain (as was the case the other day, when those glorious clouds rolled, the breeze set forth, the drizzle began... & then two minutes later- it was all over).  Fall can be tricky that way.  Each September, as the kids settle back into school, "fall" line-ups are everywhere in site- t.v. shows, clothing racks, magazine covers... it lures its way in, with its bright orange pumpkins, and golden acorn squash... its shorter days and longer nights- and even few [very, very] brief moments of "crisp" gracing the early morning air...  But when all is said and done, Summer is not even close to leaving the building.

In fact, for us- it's the season of "hot-getting-hotter"... the dog days of summer.  And it'll continue on right up until November... till that rain takes off its hat and decides to stay a while longer... longer than 2 minutes.

But hey, at least it's consistent, right?

And, who can complain about a "season" which offers endless culinary possibilities?  A season in which iced coffee can still be enjoyed on a late afternoon... an oven that houses both a pot of rich bolognese and a tart apple crisp.

Not I.  

HOTNESS aside, the "in-between" might not be so bad after all.

Please head over to Pink Moon Daily today, as we discuss the matter a bit further... beyond the garden gates.

{Wine} Country mode.

Okay, so maybe I wasn't as ready as I thought I was to jump back into writing, editing, formatting posts... 

Back-to-school nights were attended.  Paperwork has been sorted, filled out, turned in, filed away.  School isn't quite in full gear yet.  But the pace is picking up.  Fast.  And one thing is certain.  Fourth & ninth grade each carry with them a prettttty full load.  A load that calls us to BE READY... ready for lengthy papers & time-consuming projects, ready to tread new waters into world of arithmetic (as my dad still calls it), ready to immerse ourselves into work-mode, while fighting with all our might to squeeze in a little "play" (because, what's life, without play?}...

Well, that's what I've been doing.  Getting ready.  Which has not been very conducive to my blog-writing schedule I might add.  So here I am, sharing our annual wine-country adventure pics with you... bright & early on what is considered in the blog world to be a non-posting day.  But when jumping back on the wagon- even the blog-posting-wagon- ya gotta start somewhere, right?

In honor of our 15th anniversary, we took a little break from camping, and rented a home in Santa Rosa, conveniently perched right on top of a beautiful vineyard :).

front-porch view (dining table to the left; jacuzzi to the right, what more could you ask for of a front porch??)

slowing our pace to the country's liking (to our liking)
morning coffee under the sun, beautiful friends & kindred-spirits (melissa graciously hosted a lunch for our family, & i not only got to meet her- as well as her daughter- for the first time, but also estelle & her daughter!!  i could have stayed & talked with those gals for hours... pure bliss), back-roads and back-stories, berry-picking, & berry-eating
hotspots - new & old
when it comes to food, those northern folks get it right. every. single. time.
brothers & sisters
the day you get free jelly belly samples is a happy day indeed

our evening stroll (forgetting entirely that all the while we were in someone's front yard)

favorite pastimes time with grandma & grandpa... picking oranges, 'in-the-kitchen', tastin' wine, sippin' [way too much] port [way too late in the evening].
mmmm... gelato
and my favorite part of all, time with the ones i love

until next time...

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