Thursday, September 30, 2010

My new hobby

I've recently started sewing again (not that I've sewn much in the past) and am loving it. My Grandmother, Opal, taught me how to sew when I was young - around 8 or 9 years old and I really haven't sewn anything until a year or two ago when I decided to make Penelope a pillowcase dress. When we found out we were coming here, Becky and I talked about all of the fabulous things we were going to make together - and she was going to help me learn / relearn how to sew. Well, we're doing it. We've found all kinds of beautiful fabrics. We are making little girl clothing right now, but maybe we will branch off someday and make women's clothing. They're not perfect by any means, but our customer right now (me) isn't too picky. Here's a few things we've done recently.
The ruffle pant was our first project. My niece, Sarah, helped make these as well. We made a matching pair for Penelope and Amelia. The pattern ran big and so I think they'll wear these in the spring, summer and fall. I also made matching appliques for their tops.

I tackled this simple little peasant top all by myself. Easy peasy. Except for the reading of the pattern directions and cutting it out. I need an assistant to do that work : )

This is a work in progress. It is going to become a dress. The plan is to make / buy and attach a knit bodice / tank to the skirt for a super cute and fun twirling dress. Penelope LOVES her twirling dresses. This was inspired by a little Matilda Jane dress Penelope has. Becky and I reverse engineered the Matilda Jane dress quite impressively, in my humble opinion. My favorite...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Canning with our home grown veggies

Last night we went over to Jason & Becky's house to do some canning. Jason & Becky continue to amaze me with their interest and creativity in their cooking. Jason's latest obsession has become canning. He's canned homemade salsa, pickles, dilly beans, and now Habanero Jam. Every time they have us over for dinner, we have something new and delicious. Oh, and by the way, I should mention that the Gorden's are all veg heads now - yee haw! I think Jiffer's a little disappointed that now it's just he and the girls who eat meat, but also happy for me now that I'm no longer outnumbered. It's 5 to 3 (not that anyone's counting) out here! I cannot count my family in Missouri as it dramatically tips the scales the other way. Anyways, as I mentioned in a previous post (, we discovered that we have a black fig tree in our backyard. And boy do we have a lot of them. So Jason and Becky suggested that we make some fig preserves.

When we got to their house, Jason was finishing up his Habanero Gold Jam. Tried it this morning and it is incredible. Spicy and sweet, but not so spicy you can layer in on some yummy bread or crackers. Here's the finished product before we dug into ours this morning.

We'll see how the fig preserves will turn out. We couldn't finish the process last night and so Jason and Becky are finishing them up right now. I hope they turn out because we're going to have 12 jars of it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Briones Park

My sweet girls

Weekend in Monterey

Jiffer, Penelope, Amelia, Sadie and I went to Monterey and Carmel a couple of weekends ago. We started out at Carmel beach where we had a lovely, but sandy lunch and played and watched Sadie frolic in the sand. I think it was the most fun Sadie has had in months. Carmel is so beautiful. One of my favorite cities in the US.

The next day we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The girls had a great time. So much to see there....

Monday, September 20, 2010

The honeymoon is over

So Jiffer has officially started school in the CCRMA program. I know it's why were here, but I can't believe it's finally here. It's been so nice having so much time together as a family and while it wasn't a realistic and sustainable situation, it lasted for a while and I'm sad to see it end. He's going to be intensely busy with school and the girls and I will to have to adjust to our new schedule. I know he's going to love it, he already does, but I'm sad to see this period come to and end.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Top Chef

So we had the Gorden's and some friends of ours (from Xilinx) over to our house for a Labor Day BBQ (also our 7th wedding anniversary). We discovered recently, thanks to Becky's detective work, that we have a purple fig tree in our back yard. I googled some purple fig recipes and found a fig bruschetta, which utilized Jason's incredible baguettes.

It was pretty unique and tasty. I see purple fig and apple tarts in my future.

Here's the recipe I used...

Purple Fig Bruschetta:

Preparation method

  1. For the fig bruschetta, gently melt the butter in a pan and add the figs.

  2. Heat for a few minutes, then add the walnuts and honey. Caramelise in the pan for a few minutes.

  3. Spoon the fig mixture on top of the toast and place the gorgonzola on top to serve.

Seven years

Jiffer and I celebrated our anniversary on Tuesday night by riding our bikes to downtown Palo Alto for dinner. Becky graciously agreed to come over and take care of the girls so that we could have a night out. We had planned to eat at a upscale Mexican restaurant, Reposada, but was only able to have a drink there as their kitchen was closed. I guess downtown lost power from 4 - 7:30 that night and they had let most of their staff go right before power came back. The Margaritas were delicious - we'll have to go back for dinner another time. We ended up at Three Seasons - a nice Vietnamese restaurant which was great, in spite of the very strange service. The bike ride was the best part of the night. We rode through campus and then down Palm Drive. What a fabulous ride. Thank you Jiffer, for suggesting we do that.

What's funny about this anniversary, is that we barely realized it was here. In fact, Monday morning (September 6th - our anniversary) came and I received a text from Molly wishing us a Happy Anniversary. We thought the 6th was on Tuesday and so thanks to Molly, we didn't let Monday go by without acknowledging the date. I guess this just proves how crazy life has been for us over the last couple of months.

First Day of "School"

Penelope was a rock star on her first day of school. She started the day with a little play dough and was still wearing dress-up clothes when I picked her up (surprise, surprise :) Tomorrow I have my work day at the school and it will be fun to see more of her during her morning at school.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

He makes a mean baguette

One of the things I've learned since moving to California is that my oldest brother, Jason, is not only a patent lawyer, but he is also quite the baker. His specialty, as far as I know, are baguettes. They are perfect. I know I'm not an expert, but I may be by the end of the year. I'm glad Jiffer doesn't know how to make them....I can't control myself.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A night on the town

We took the bus to dinner in downtown Palo Alto last night. Penelope and Amelia loved it. Penelope strutted her stuff in her Princess gear while making important phone calls to Nonna and DD.

Writers Block

I have so much to say and so much catching up to do, yet, I don't know where to begin...Here we are at Stanford, with two little girls and one dog in tow. Downsized to a little old house in College Terrace. Living a more urban life (wink, wink) now and enjoying it. While we miss having a beautiful park directly behind our house and all our dear friends in the neighborhood and area, it's definitely a nice change to be able to bike and walk everywhere. It's amazing how many little locally owned markets are within a couple of miles from us. We definitely lucked out with our location.