The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Week 1 – South Street & Smith Memorial Park Found Sticks Christmas Tree Leaving Oz Homebody Mostly NOT Potato Salad Shaka Shack Lemon Curd utah get-a-way, bloating & 3.2% beer Best of 2012

We started out at my sister’s house. My niece had a day off of work so we grabbed her and headed to South Street. The last time I’d been there...

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This is so cute. There are many variations on Pinterest. I think the original idea came from the Free People blog which is worth looking at. I had these animals...

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Last fall when I heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge I claimed to have felt bullied into donating since I didn’t want to make a spectacle of myself on Facebook....

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After 20 years in the Castro, my dad decided to leave for a flatter, easier life. St. Allison met me in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago to help...

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We braced ourselves for the start of kinder this year. After all, we knew how pre-school had gone two years prior. She only cried every day for 1.5 years of...

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It’s getting HOT and making pasta every night is killing me. I’ve been trying to branch out to more salads now that it’s summer. This is a really tasty dish...

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This cute little burger place opened up in Sunset Park last year. It’s diagonally across from Bob’s Market. One day Maddie and I rode over there on my bike after...

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It’s been exciting having this huge yield of lemons from my next door neighbor’s tree. I’ve been getting “Southern Living Magazine” this year thanks to my niece’s magazine drive and...

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Last weekend G’s company sent us all to Park City which happened to be the last few days of Sundance Film Festival! We took advantage of Jack & Patsy’s stay...

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Phew! The holidays kicked my butt this year. How did my parents do this? Better yet, WHY did they do it?? Although I try to post only the best of...

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Week 1 – South Street & Smith Memorial Park

We started out at my sister’s house. My niece had a day off of work so we grabbed her and headed to South Street. The last time I’d been there was probably 20+ years ago and it wasn’t the same but we had fun.

We happened upon the Magic Gardens:

Outside The Magic Gardens

M was pretty grumpy as we’d just flown in the night before and it was pretty hot. Ok forget the excuses – that’s her default mood.

We had lunch at this largely empty pub. Free air hockey and a local cider, what more could you ask for?

Rachel and me at a pub

After lunch we headed to Smith Memorial Playground. Acres of playground

When I was a kid we at times sprayed furniture polish on the wooden floor, put socks on and slid back & forth. Some genius translated this to a slide!

You grab a gunny sack, run around the walkway and WHEEEEEEEEEEEEeeee down you go!

This little fellow helped us up at the bottom.

Texting & sliding.

No texts were harmed in the filming of this slide.

Not a bad “Intro to Summer Vacation.”


Summer 2016 on the road

G and I had the idea to take the van on a road trip in a circle around the country. So we bought a map and started planning the drive. Holy Toledo (NOT one of our destinations) we’d never have time to actually get OUT of the van if we did this. Not only that but our plan had us passing through the deep south in late July. You can FORGET THAT!

We decided I’d fly east with the kids and see everyone we could while we were there. We’d meet G later on.

Christina: Thank god for Jet Blue and its TVs! Keep these kids off my BACK.

M knows "Real Housewives of Orange County" is not appropriate for a 7 year old.

Plenty of bribes made the flight go smoothly.

Part 2 Vacation


Devorie’s Craft Classes

My neighbor has been holding amazing craft classes for kids this year.

M made apple pie cookies and a cornucopia in the first one. Consistent with her behavior since birth, she cried when she heard she was going. Luckily our neighbor was there.

We arrived to find Devorie’s mini apple pie station.

A healthy snack table with some of the baking supplies.

A chill out area where the kids could draw and relax on a bean bag chair.
M still looks mildly pained at leaving our house.

The baking table.
Part of what makes this class so different from others is, can you see what she has for each child? Yep, besides a slotted wooden spoon they get their own apple peeler. Unheard of in this age of us helicopter parents!

First you must put on an apron:

When I arrived to pickup M she was finishing assembling her cornucopia.

She had already peeled and cut her apples (yep, with her own knife!), assembled & baked the mini apple pies.

At home we baked the cornucopia. It was beautiful!

Unfortunately for it, it was tasty and the girls couldn’t stop tearing off hunks to eat. It never got full of plenty but now we know how to make one next year!

We ate the apple pies SO quickly. Luckily Devorie stopped by with the extra filling the kids had made. So we made our own dough and took a stab at them that weekend.

We took them across the street to dinner at the neighbors’. Delicious!

The second class we attended was an ornament making class.

There was a hot chocolate station awaiting the kids!

Embellishment Station

Chill area

Does anyone have a brush around here?

Hot glue gun table

Hard at work as the sun set

Here are the ornaments they made:

K-Cup Snowman Hat Ornament

They also made Yarn Hats. M hasn’t finished hers but I’ll post a pic when she does!

When I got there to pick up the kids they were all having a big time! Some had gone off on their own project tangents but everyone was engaged in something. Devorie’s class is unique in that it’s very experiential. Instead of focusing on the end product she lets the kids focus on the experience of using all these materials. She is even teaching them how to use glue guns carefully and safely. It’s amazing! They feel so excited because they are able to do almost every part of the project themselves.

There is one more class left in December if you’re interested. It’s at Devorie’s house in Santa Monica.

Tues. 12/15 3-5PM

Darn the class is FULL. Hopefully she will start up again in 2016!
Feel free to email me for Devorie’s contact info!


Found Sticks Christmas Tree

This is so cute. There are many variations on Pinterest. I think the original idea came from the Free People blog which is worth looking at.

I had these animals – they were plastic animals in a tube called Safari Ltd Arctic Animals Toob

I was going to make some necklaces with them but never got around to it.

First they need some bling.

My girls started blinging out the rest of the animals in the house.

When they ran out of animals they took the dinosaurs out of the garage and got them done up too!

Basically I hot glued any tiny beads, felt, sequins, fine yarns or cording/string onto the animals – really anything I liked. I stuck to a blue/silver/white color scheme. Kids refused to adhere to that so their animals are not welcome on my tree. I had some old moss from Michael’s from a few years ago so I used that too. Oh and tiny pine cones from Clover Park.

Tiny white lights would be cute if I didn’t have to go shopping for them etc. etc. I have a tiny set but the battery pack is huge and I’m afraid its weight will tear the whole shebang off the wall.

Here’s what I used:

- 4 or 5 animals embellished (you don’t have to but it’s fun!)
- sequins/beads/string/felt/fabric scraps etc for embellishment
- small to large sticks. Thick enough to hold some stuff on them. I was lucky – I collected so many I didn’t have to cut any.
- thumb tacks
- hot glue gun & tons of glue sticks
- moss
- tiny seeds/pinecones etc that can be found outside

You can get anything at Michael’s that can’t be found outside.

1. I laid out the sticks on the table.

2. I held them to the wall one at a time to see how they would best lay against the wall. I picked two spots that would touch the wall and squirted a big blob of hot glue there and stuck the back of the thumbtack in the blob. Then I used a hammer to hammer the whole kit and caboodle to the wall. Sometimes the thumbtack cracked off or fell off but at least I had the placement and could just hammer the thumbtack into the wall then hot glut the stick onto the thumbtack again.

3. I made the little star out of some tiny twigs I had – I just wrapped yard around them to hold them together. Kind of like starting a God’s eye. You could also make a tiny stick star and paint it gold etc! Or make a yellow/gold god’s eye! Add glitter!!!

4. Now the fun part, add moss/seeds/shells/nuts etc. with hot glue. Finally glue your animals on. Mine are Narnia inspired.

I love how it came out!

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