31 December 2010

bye-bye 2010! {new year's eve}




bye bye 2010

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what a year it has been! so many changes, revelations, turns and twists- i am almost at a loss as to how so much transformation, growth and insight has been neatly packed into the last twelve months of my life.  the last time that i experienced such a redesign of life was when i became a mother, albeit those changes were somewhat of a different nature, they were life altering and most importantly, all for the better.  i will look back on 2010 with a great fondness for what it brought me.


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quote of the day | tom peters



celebrate what you want to see more of. 
- tom peters 


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new friend


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30 December 2010

quote of the day | henry ellis



all the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.

- henry ellis

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maple tree ball

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29 December 2010

quote of the day | marcus aurelius



very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. 

- marcus aurelius 

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t & camellia

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28 December 2010

quote of the day | carl jung



children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk. 

- carl jung 

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27 December 2010

quote of the day | william blake



in seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.


- william blake

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winter canes

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26 December 2010

quote of the day | anais nin



dreams pass into the reality of action. from the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.
 - anais nin 

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a blade of grass

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25 December 2010

quote of the day | roy l. smith



he who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.
- roy l. smith

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{my sister-in-law, my niece + my son listening intently as my husband reads "the night before Christmas}

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bows + ribbons + pretty paper {prezzies}



i so love a pretty package, and although christmas should never be about the material things, i must admit that it fills me with childlike delight to see a multitude of beautifully and lovingly wrapped bundles amassed under a happily lit christmas tree.  i love the shiny bows, the fabulous ribbons, the pretty papers...and i save and collect them throughout the years.  i still have some gorgeous ribbons from wedding gifts that i received almost seven years ago! i don't just enjoy looking at pretty packages, i love creating them.  it's always fun to get creative with your wrapping, whether it's the use of an unconventional material in place of paper or paper in place of ribbon.

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24 December 2010

quote of the day | charles dickens



i will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.  

- charles dickens

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bag pipe christmas

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a christmas poem {loved since childhood}



THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS


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'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.


The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap.


When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.


The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.


With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!


"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"


As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.


And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.


He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.


His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.


The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.


He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.


He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.


He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

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23 December 2010

a winter trek in the woods {shrooms}



napa valley is most well known for its vineyards, wine and countless phenomenal eateries.  what may not be such common knowledge, is that napa valley is also a mecca for mushrooms! i have the absolute and undeniable pleasure of living in one of napa valley's most amazing areas, howell mountain, more specifically, my backyard is las posadas state forest. las posadas is well loved and enthusiastically frequented by hikers, mountain bikers and nature lovers of all kinds...especially mushroom hunters.  i don't know the slightest thing about mushrooms, other than what i like to cook with and eat, so i am clueless as to how to identify them in the wild and wouldn't even begin to attempt to identify what i see on my daily walks.  i do, however, have several friends and acquaintances who are experienced and avid mushroom hunters, and i've been told that this year has been a particularly amazing one for mushrooms in our area.  yesterday i headed out to shoot the vineyards then took myself for a walk in the woods, and subsequently found myself unbelievably captivated by the unimaginable varieties of mushrooms popping up from the earth.  as is typical of me, i am now obsessed with learning everything i can about these mushrooms and cannot wait to have a more discerning eye.  i'm so looking forward to having an expert shroom hunter out to the ranch to show me the ropes.

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shroom trail

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quote of the day | william makepeace thackeray



sir, respect your dinner: idolize it, enjoy it properly. you will be many hours in the week, many weeks in the year, and many years in your life happier if you do.

- william makepeace thackeray

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tortellini + marinara

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thank you, to my dear friend, heather, for passing this quote along to me! xo


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21 December 2010

pasta carbonara {my obsessions}



pasta carbonara is one of my very favourite dishes of all time, and one that i love to prepare.  pancetta, butter, olive oil, cream, eggs, parmigiano-reggiano, peas and pasta...you really can't go wrong with these ingredients! if it weren't such a heart-attack-on-a-plate, it would absolutely be a part of my weekly menu.

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pasta carbonara b

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quote of the day | marcel proust



let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. 
-marcel proust 

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20 December 2010

pork + veggie fried rice {my obsessions}



yes, i am actually admitting that i'm obsessed with pork + veggie fried rice...it's delicious and i love it.  i started making this my sophomore year in college (a former housemate actually called just a few years ago to get the recipe), and i have continually tweaked the technique and ingredients since.  a couple of weeks ago, i made what both my husband and myself agreed was the best batch to date, so i have finally found a comfortable resting point for this recipe!

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pork + veggie fried rice quad

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quote of the day | ralph waldo emerson



we find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body.
-ralph waldo emerson

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tire swing b+w

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19 December 2010

18 December 2010

quote of the day | nathaniel hawthorne



no man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.
-nathaniel hawthorne

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christmas love {gingerbread houses}



yesterday my, soon-to-be four-year-old son, and i spent a wonderfully stormy afternoon making a gingerbread house.  as with the last several months, time has been flying lately and my schedule jam packed- i suddenly found myself in a woebegone state and forlorn with regard to my unrealized plans for making a gingerbread house from scratch...so i turned to the pros and bought a kit from williams-sonoma!  yes i know, not nearly as martha stewart as i usually am especially for this time of year, but time was of the essence.  the kit was great, inexpensive and most importantly, a fun activity for my son and i to do together.

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T's gingerbread house 2

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candy balls

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candy for gingerbread house

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T's gingerbread house

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17 December 2010

quote of the day | michelangelo



i have always had a love for words...and i've been known to also have a love of using them...  when i was 19 and my now-husband and i were at separate colleges in different states, i started a ritual of sending him a quote of the day.  it has occurred to me that i should incorporate this love of quotes into my postings for this blog, so here is the first.

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There is no greater harm than that of time wasted.
-michelangelo

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tacos. tacos. tacos. {my obsessions}



tacos. i love them. i love to eat them winter, spring, summer and fall. grilled chicken, fried fish, sautéed steak...it's all good!  tonight i had a hankering for chicken tacos, but didn't have all the ingredients so i'll have to make over the weekend.  these particular, fire grilled marinated chicken tacos, are a favourite in my home and prepared often regardless of the weather.  i love to cook and i love to come up with my own creations, but i must give credit where credit is due, as the original inspiration for this meal came from my friend, sam, who created such a yummy meal for us over the summer that i ran straight home to recreate and tweak.

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cilantro

{i can never get enough cilantro}

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tortillas

{i'm obsessed with these white corn tortillas}

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cotija

{cotija cheese}

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corn "salsa"

{sautéed corn with jalapeños, serranos + cilantro}

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tacos de carolina

{yummy!}

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i  pair these tacos with my coconut + cilantro brown rice, and of course, you must have plenty of roasted peppers, limes, tomatoes + melinda's xxxtra hot sauce.




15 December 2010

makes my heart smile {baking with my boys}



if you live to be a hundred, i want to live to be a hundred minus one day so i never have to live without you.
-a. a. milne

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boys + cookies

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it is no secret that cooking and eating are two of the most favoured activities in my home.  as of late, we've had many rainy weekend days in the napa valley, and these rainy days are always filled with endless hours of baking, cooking and noshing.  two sundays ago, what started out as my cookie craving, turned into a total family activity...and i couldn't have been happier.  my boys were so deliciously adorable as they worked together to unwrap the hershey's kisses and roll the dough into balls.  as my son says, my heart was smiling as i watched how similar father and and son were in their technique and manner, both with that slight lip bite as they ever so carefully placed each chocolate kiss atop the hot cookies.  later that day as we three sat by the fire nibbling on our peanut butter blossoms, i thought to myself that i had never tasted such a delicious cookie...and my heart was smiling.  


14 December 2010

i love my boys



love is a canvas furnished by nature 
and embroidered by imagination.

-voltaire 

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13 December 2010

rainy days {my obsessions}



anyone who says sunshine brings happiness 
has never danced in the rain. 
- author unknown

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yellow maple leaf in the rain

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forrest shroom

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liquid amber leaf


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leaves in the rain


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still love my wellies


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