For months I have thought about how to come back to this blog. I discovered a few products I used, liked, and thought about recommending to my readers. There were also a few websites I had found that I could have shared. In September, I booked a last-minute four-day trip to Hawaii!  However, each time I visited my blog to publish a new post, it all felt so hokey. I had to remind myself why I started this blog in the first place: as a creative outlet for my writing.

It wasn't until this morning that I understood why I hadn't published any posts, or visited any of my favorite blogs, in months!  And that reason is I had previously been using the virtual Blogland to escape my day-to-day life. It took me the better part of this year to finally wake up and come to terms with the fact that I was unhappy/stuck/heavy.  But don't cry for me Argentina, because I am in a very good place right now.  :)

When I removed myself from the virtual world and immersed myself in the real world around me, BIG things happened. I am constantly going, from one social scene to the next, and I am loving it. I am on two adult coed social sports teams, and am about to start a third sport. I have met so many fun people, and have made several acquaintances, a handful of whom have become dear friends. Life has changed drastically, and those still involved in my life are my true support system. My loves. I will never take them for granted.

The best part about my current state is not having to act; I can just be.  When I was stuck, I did some things that can only be defined as 'acting out' with behavior I am not fond of.  Fake smiling and auto-pilot are not healthy. In addition, I have reconnected with my family. I talk to and see my parents and brother several times a week.  And when my sister-in-law shared with me that she and my brother are expecting, I cried so hard that I cannot recall another occasion where I cried as hard. Tears of pure joy!! I am so anxious to be Auntie; I get chills when I think about it. They already know they've got a stellar babysitter when the little miss/mister enters this world...Bowie loves kids! ;)

I haven't decided the direction of this blog--whether I will continue posting or perhaps start a new blog. clean slate
So many things in my life right now are up in the air, and I am just bouncing from one fun cloud to the next. What?? That sounded totally ridic.  Anyway, I leave you {for now} with a visual representation of my current joyful state.  This is me in Oahu.

Take care of yourselves, friends. YOU are #1.  #1 comes first. :)


yummy summery asiany lettuce wraps

...or 'we finally went grocery shopping!'

This month has been go-go-go and I am loving it, but the downside is that we haven't prioritized domestic basics.  We've gone camping almost every weekend and have various social engagements throughout the work week, be it sports, gymtime, happy hours, etc.  I know, boo hoo.  I'm definitely not complaining.  However, it felt so refreshing to go nuts at the market yesterday so that we could eat at home more, for all the day's meals.  Gabe and I eat vegetarian at home so we stocked up on fresh vegetables {hello! it's summer!} and basics like pastas, potatoes, wine.  Of course wine is a basic, how dare you question.

I love wine. Winey wine wine. Here it goes down. Down into my belly. Mmm mmm mmm.

Since it is summer, and it is warmer than I expected today {read: didn't think I needed to shave my legs, so I wore pants} I felt like making a cold and raw dinner.  That sounds odd.  I just mean I didn't want warm food.  I was starving after my hair appointment, so naturally I chose to spend an hour to prepare dinner.  All that chopping of vegetables and blending of saucey goodness was worth it, and I snacked on some veggies while I was prepping, so I lived.

You know when you make something and you are so freaking proud of yourself?  It doesn't even have to be something all that significant, but you know that is rocks and you are awesome!  {Assuming you are viciously nodding your heads} That is how I feel about the dinner I just made.  And enjoyed solo.  Solo supper.  Don't feel sad, I had wine.  What is that rule about not drinking alone?  Pssshhhh.

Peanut Sauce:
1/2 c  natural peanut butter
1/2 c  milk
3 T  freshly squeezed lime juice
2 T  packed brown sugar
1.5 T  low sodium soy sauce
2 T  Asian chili and garlic paste
1/3 c  orange juice
KS&P  to taste

Several butter leaf lettuce cups
radishes, thinly sliced
yellow bell pepper, julienned
button mushrooms, caps only and thinly sliced
fresh basil, chiffonade
alfalfa sprouts {cuz they're awesome!}
mixed vegetable salad {slaw of cabbage and carrots and such}
toasted sesame oil
rice vinegar
teriyaki tofu, chunked

First blend all the ingredients for the peanut sauce in a blender and set aside.  Then toss all ingredients, except for the lettuce cups of course, in a bowl and drizzle some sesame oil and rice vinegar to taste.  I normally press and marinate my own tofu, but I grabbed some Wild Wood baked teriyaki sprouted tofu at the store and was eager to try it.  So yummy!  I highly recommend it.  Their brand makes all good stuff.  Then, fill your cups with the goods and top with peanut sauce.  The most important step is this one:  Open and pour yourself a glass of Bogle Chardonnay to enjoy with your lettuce cups.  I mean it.  Speaking of, time out...tank's empty.


Okay, I'm back.  Bogle is a local and a favorite wine of mine.  I went to school with the Bogle boys, and their vineyards dominate are located in the Delta.  Nugget had the chard on sale for $8.99 so I grabbed a couple, which is not nearly enough.  Sorry babe, I know you said you weren't going to drink in preparation for climbing that undisclosed mountain, but that doesn't mean I am going to cut back out of sympathy.  Love you!
Oh man, this peanut sauce! I made extra so I could pour it over anything and everything.

What have you friends been proudly making these summer nights?  I'd love to hear!  And even more importantly, what wines are you drinking right now?  Summertime is primetime for white varietals methinks.  Give me a delicious and chilled Sauvignon Blanc and/or Chardonnay, or perhaps a Viognier, and I will be happy as a clam.  Why do they say that?  A clam?  Is it because the split in their shells is shaped like a smile?  I wonder.


guy walks in to a...

's funny how new people enter your life and expose you to new things.  While all too often I hear my new coworker friend shriek, "you've never heard of {fill-in-the-blank}?!" he's actually exposed me to some coolness.  I could structure this post in such a way where I express my gratitude for his teachings, listing all of said coolness, but that would give him way too much flattery.  ;)

Instead, I will share a cool company he told me about  today.  Health-nuts {and seeds} rejoice!  You Bar, a family owned company in L.A., is providing you with the tools to build-a-bar--where you get to choose everything that goes into the making of your customized bar, starting with the base right down to the packaging. You could DIY the bars using their ingredients list, but you wouldn't get their cool custom packaging.  The company lets you choose how much of a certain item you want in your bar, i.e. less / normal / extra protein, and also provides you with suggestions for quantity and combination.  Depending on the size you choose, a box of 13 bars ranges in price from $37.57 to $41.47.  Not too bad.
If you've been following my blog for a while, you have witnessed my excitement with sites that let you customize and create!  I've showed you virtual paper dolls, room compilations, outfit montages, etc.;  add custom snacks to that list now... Plus, anything that allows to me incorporate agave nectar is sweet!

Here are the ingredients for my 'guy walks in to a' bar I just made:
I don't necessarily care for dates, but they recommended them as part of the base so the bar won't be too delicate in texture.  I think these would be so fun to make for party favors.  Light bulb!!  Ohhh man, I hope the best friend slash bride to be doesn't read this before her wedding, cuz methinks I found a great bachelorette party favor.  My job as Matron of honor is to make sure the bride has 1) a kickass time and 2) coherent partyers watching her back.  These bars will provide sustenance for us while we're out at the bars {maybe? not giving away any party details!} and energy to party all night.  Watch out!  Now, to find the perfect name...  Got it!  But, it won't make any sense to anyone other than the bride.  Kinda an inside joke, so maybe something more universal.  "Got prenup?"  No, that's just wrong.  Help me out with some ideas will ya?

P.S.  The coworker friend is a virgo, so he gets major cool points for that.  No flattery, just fact.  What about "The ol' bar and chain" ?


"we could totally do this"

After dropping off Megan and Tommy at their hotel Friday, I was a bit worried that Ethan would never stop crying for his parents.  I tried several approaches, alternating between speaking to him in soft dulcet tones, to completely ignoring him hoping he would self-soothe, but he continued to cry for the entire ten minute drive from the hotel to Gabe's dad's house. My plan was to bring the boys over there to go swimming, so I tried using this fun fact to divert Ethan's attention away from being apart from his parents.  Loud squeals in return.  When I got to the house, I called Gabe to come outside and surprise Ethan. He opened Ethan's door, popped his head in, and said, "Hey bud, wanna go swimming with uncle Gabey?"  Ethan happily said, "yeah!" and that was that.  My husband is a God-send.  From that point on, neither kid even whined, let alone cried.  We got the boys in their swimmers and spent the next hour playing in the pool.

We worked up an appetite after all that splashing, so we headed over to my parents' new house to visit and eat some all-American grub: watermelon, applesauce + Taco Bell. ;)
 My busy-bee-DIY-home-renovator-mom finally got to meet Blake! :)

My parents purchased a home on an acre and have spent the last year renovating the property.  I was so excited to bring the kids over to explore the yard and the back orchard, and Ethan loved seeing the neighbor's horses and watching the hawks fly overhead.  Next time we'll bring his quad over...

When we got home, it was bath time {so fun!} for the boys, then E brushed his teeth and we popped in Alice in Wonderland.  I remember showing that movie to E the last time we babysat him, so I hoped he would still dig it.  B fell asleep after chugging his bottle, and E kept looking over at me and rubbing his eyes, so I asked him if he wanted me to turn off the movie so he could go ni-night. He whispered, "yeah," then turned over and passed out.  Really?!  I had no idea it would be that easy to put the kids to sleep!  Gabe and I looked at each other, stunned, and Gabe said, "we could totally do this." 
The boys slept like champs until 7:30!  Gabe + I wondered why we were wide awake at 6.

Gabe made Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes for E, and I warmed up some baby cereal for B.  I was happy that both kids were 'morning people' and Bowie was happy to serve as babysitter while Gabe and I cleaned up the kitchen.
Before the triple-digit-temps kicked in, we took all four kids--including the furry four-legged ones--for a nice walk around the neighborhood.  
While B took a nap when we returned home, Gabe headed out to work and E and I colored a few pages in his Peanuts Halloween coloring book.  He said he wanted to color a picture for Bakey, and about four pages in, Bakey woke up.  
The three of us gathered on the quilt on the floor and watched my all-time favorite movie, that I was more than thrilled to expose E to, Labyrinth!  I was so glad he was in to it, and even cracked up at a few parts.  After the movie, we had a snack, then it was time to pick up Megan and Tommy from their hotel. 

Our house felt kind of empty and quiet without the kids, especially since they wore out the dogs so much that they were passed out in the front room for the better part of the day.  When I asked Gabe if he was ready for another baby slumber party, this time with our other friends' baby, Chloe, he replied, "next month."  :)

{all iPhone photos/video}


July 4th weekend!

What are everyone's plans?

Tonight, Gabe and I are having a slumber party with these two monkeys while 
their parents celebrate their 4-year wedding anniversary. 

 B says, "brother, can I have some of that cookie?"
E says, "no way, mine!" B says, "c'mon just a bite"

We're so excited!

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