Wayfair asked me to write a post on winterizing the garden and I was like, huh? I had to research how winterizing was done because where I live, that pretty much amounts to putting on a windbreaker when you go out to get the mail. Occasionally we get an inch or two of rain, causing everyone to toss their hands up in a panic and crawl the city streets at 15 mph to avoid the dangerous puddles.

After consulting quite a few books, some of which I actually own, I managed to come up with a winter plan that will (hopefully) please most New England gardeners. Just for fun, I shared what my garden books recommend southern California gardeners to prepare for winter. You can read the post here. Don’t laugh.

p.s. What does Carl Larsson’s painting The Skier have to do with this post? Nothing! I just love how his work exudes peace and happiness. Did you know that he had a traumatic childhood, and that much of his work reflects the desire to give his children something different? They “became the most immediate and lasting part of my life’s work. For these pictures are of course a very genuine expression of my personality, of my deepest feelings, of all my limitless love for my wife and children.” [source]

The State of My Face


I thought I would give an update on my face since I last talked about the flareup that turned out to be rosacea. I dutifully took all the medications prescribed to me by my dermatologist who, in my completely uninformed opinion, may have Asperger syndrome. Let’s just say she lacks an empathy gene, and when I asked her about a mole during my rosacea appointment, she acted like I asked her about the color of her underwear.

“The purpose of your appointment is not to talk about a mole. Your appointment is to talk about your rosacea. You need to schedule an appointment to talk about your mole because this appointment is about rosacea.” All of this she said while looking at the wall to the right of my head.

During my appointment about only rosacea, we concluded that the medications weren’t helping, so she added a fourth one to the pile. This I also dutifully took, and my face did get slightly better. Unfortunately, it also got ridiculously oily. I have always had dry skin, so the excess oil production was confusing. Never have I had to reapply powder or blot my face during the day, but there I was, blotting myself with paper towels and tissues. I eventually realized that it was because all of my medications were drying out my skin, causing my body to produce oil in record amounts. My face didn’t look good enough to put up with one more hassle. I stopped all my medications and started researching other dermatologists.

I was painting the 4th grade classroom with the teacher, complaining about my face per usual, when she suggested I use essential oils. She gave me a sample of Immortelle by doTerra after making sure it didn’t have any oils that would make matters worse. I tried it, and I have to say I loved it. It’s all I’ve been using ever since, and my face looks better than it has in a very, very long time. Not perfect by any means, but much better than before. No one has asked me lately if I’ve been punched in the jaw, which I consider a success.

I’m not sure if I really had rosacea after all, and I’m not recommending immortelle for those who do because it’s expensive and I don’t want anyone to waste their money because some weirdo on the internet said it works great. If you do buy it, be aware that it stinks to high heaven. A list of the ingredients (Frankincense, Helichrysum, Rose, Lavender, Myrrh) should explain why.

Immortelle users swear it helps with eyesight, wrinkles, rosacea, dark under eye circles, brown spots, wound healing, scarring, and taxes. I’m kidding about the eye sight. <----sardonic

Here's the thing. You have to watch out for marketing mumbo-jumbo, and there is a lot of marketing mumbo-jumbo in any and all forms of retail. Immortelle has worked wonders for me, but I don't believe it works on repairing eyesight. I'm sorry, but I don't. Wrinkles, okay. Same goes for skin rashes and other inflammations, especially since it has lavender. I know for a darn fact it doesn't work my brown spots because I’ve been applying it to my ever-growing collection for two months now with zero improvement. ZERO.

At least this gives me something new to complain about. BROWN SPOTS. They immediately age me, no matter what I put on my face. I can’t cover them up with makeup, but I suspect my makeup is too sheer. Other than immortelle, I haven’t used anything else to lighten them up. I won’t go back to my socially awkward dermatologist, obviously. I need to do something, though, because my 1+ hour of daily recess duty isn’t doing me any favors. If you’ve had success lightening your brown spots, I would love to hear your recipe.

OMG MY SKIN. This is 41, people.


R Collage

My teacher’s in-service (I was well enough to go) was in Yucaipa at St. Francis X. Cabrini Catholic Church, which has to be one of the most beautiful Catholic churches in the area. It was stunning and huge! As I exited the freeway, I noticed that the famous apple orchards of Oak Glen were to the left. Going to the apple orchards is something I always wanted to do as a family, so that’s what we did on Saturday.

I didn’t know which orchard to pick, so I chose Riley’s because it was the first one that popped up online and looked pretty good. The boys had a great time. There were a ton of activities for them, including tomahawk throwing and archery. I was nervous when it was Mikey’s turn to throw the tomahawk. Mikey is a fair athlete. He gives it 100% and loves sports, but he will never be a professional…football player, for example. I’m more than OK with that, but the mama bear in me didn’t want him to toss a tomahawk in front of a crowd of people and have it land in the dirt 5 feet from the target. I shouldn’t have worried. He listened to the directions quietly and got into position. Then my serious, small-for-his-age 10 year-old let that tomahawk fly. It whistled through the air blade over grip and hit the target with a loud whack. Head shot, I’ll have you know. The crowd made a murmuring sound of surprise and the guy in the tri horn hat looked at me and said, “OK, he’s a natural.” Then Mikey went on to make 5 more shots like tossing dangerous weapons is what he does for fun after he runs out of babies to pinch. Nico, it turns out, is a natural at archery, even though they didn’t have a left-handed bow. I walked away both proud and slightly concerned that we are raising the Dixon brothers from The Walking Dead.

As much fun as it was, we wouldn’t go back to Riley’s. It was far too crowded and the trees were picked bare. We only managed to get a few apples, and only standard varieties you can get at the store. When I came home, I went on Facebook and saw that our priest went apple picking, too! While we were there at the same time, he was at a different orchard. He couldn’t remember the name, but his pictures showed him drowning in bushels of apples. Our orchard was more picturesque, but the man walked away with apples from an apple orchard. Which is, like, the point when you go apple picking. Clearly he had God on his side during the apple orchard selecting process.

Happy, Happy


Fruit and squash


October Collage

Dining room table

Every time I think I’ve dodged the cold I feel coming on, I get a tickle in my throat. I must have caught something in the TK-K classroom, even though I wash my hands all the time. There is a teacher’s in service on Friday, so the boys don’t have school. I have to go, even though I’m not a teacher. Have you ever wanted to not get sick because you don’t want to ruffle feathers by missing something important, only to secretly also want to get sick enough that you can get out of going?

It gives me smug satisfaction to have bookcases that aren’t styled. Old craft projects, rocks the boys find on hikes with my brother, and a post-it note reminding me to check out The Snakebite Letters.

Nico’s teacher told the class about apple fries, and he hasn’t stopped asking for them. I promised I would make them for him, but when I searched for recipes I found out apple fries are literally fried. [insert bug-eyed emoticon here] I want to meet the person who looked at an apple, our modern-time symbol of health, and said, “You know what? I’m going to fry the hell outta this thing. Then I’m going to roll it in sugar.” I’m still making them, of course. I have apples, though I might need some more. I’m going to try this vegan recipe.

I decorated for Fall/Thanksgiving. The boys wanted to go out and decorate for Halloween, but I don’t want to decorate for just one day. Plus, the decorations are morbid. I don’t want to hang a zombie head over my fireplace. I can’t believe I am now one of those moms who decorates for the seasons. That’s thanks to the library. Also, the boys are appreciative and notice the decorations right away, which is motivating.

It’s time for me to move the fiddle leaf fig. A couple of months ago I mentioned that the plant was starting to scrap the ceiling. Now it’s growing along the ceiling. I might move it outside, though I’m worried because the spot I have in mind faces West. I finally bought some air plants for the containers I bought over the summer. Now I want to get some sand for the balls, for looks more than anything else. I regret heartily the long air plant holder-thingy I bought. I should have bought a third glass ball.

Currently our dining room hold book wrapping supplies, legos, a toy car, graded homework, glue, the a fake pumpkin that fell off my door wreath, two cacti, a variegated jade, and Nico’s pinto bean school project. Notably absent: things that belong on dining room tables.

The William Morris Project: Pinterest

Screen shot 2014-10-14 at 8.11.05 PM

This might be one of my biggest projects yet, and I don’t even have to move from my chair. I spent two hours last night cleaning up my pinterest boards. I went from 156 to 104 boards. That’s a decrease of 33.33%. Not bad! I would love to get under 100 boards, but that’s impossible since I haven’t moved over my boards from the library account I started a couple of months ago.

Yes, I started the library account because my original account was too cluttered for me to find anything. Heaven forbid I just clean out the cluttered account! At least now I can say that I’ve taken steps to having a pinterest account that won’t give me a nervous breakdown.

Things I’m doing to clean up my Pinterest space:

  • Deleting all boards with only 1 or 2 pins
  • Deleting all boards that are no longer relevant, like boards on specific books I’ve read
  • Deleting all recipe boards that include ingredients I no longer eat, like chicken
  • Deleting inspiration boards for rooms/trips/designs that are no longer relevant (I no longer need a laundry room board, for example)
  • Giving all boards heading and sub-heading
  • Alphabetizing all boards
  • I’m still working on all bullet items, especially the last two. Alphabetizing boards takes forever! You have to move them around with your mouse because pinterest isn’t enough of a time-suck as it is, I guess. I want to see a button that says “ALPHABETIZE BOARDS” and then be done. I’ll pin that under “In My Dreams.”

Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.