Orange You Glad Spring is Coming?

January heralds orange season in southern California. I have three productive trees and, while I look forward to all the fresh, citrus-y goodness, it can be overwhelming when you have a harvest like mine.

Orange season.

Over the weekend I baked three orange cakes, each one requiring over 1 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice. I just finished putting in the crock-pot some sort of turkey-cranberry-orange concoction that I will post about later in the week if it turns out well. I’ve made chocolate covered orange wedges and fresh squeezed juice. I’ve stuffed them in chickens and roasted them with root vegetables. On the weekends The Mister and I squeeze one over Tequila on the rocks. I think this weekend I will take some of the oranges and make a marinade of sorts with the limes coming in off our tree. The Mister will probably take a few and make homemade Margarita mix, too.

So, I’ve baked, simmered, dipped, squeezed, stuffed, and, of course, eaten oranges for the last two weeks. Here is what’s left of my supply.

I know. I haven’t even made a dent, and from what I hear there are people in the Midwest who would kill for my supply. Grass-is-always-greener anecdotes aside, do any of you have some recipes that require lots and lots of oranges? We’re good cooks and adventurous eaters, so fire away!

Where I Tackled a Child to Touch a Lizard.

I struggle to post everyday. My problem? I lead an exceptionally dull life. I can’t even say this is a side effect of motherhood. I’ve always been boring. My reputation is woefully beyond reproach.

Perhaps this is why I was so excited to hear The Wizard of Lizards was at Mikey’s school and would be putting on a hands on presentation and petting zoo on all things reptilian, amphibian, and arachnidian.

“Can parents attend?” I asked the principal eagerly. To help out. Because I’m co-room mom. Aren’t I supposed to attend these sorts of things? You know, to take pictures? Well, it’s a good thing I was there! I was the only parent who showed! Ahem.

The show was great. “The Wizard” gave an interesting little talk about each animal on display before allowing the volunteers to handle them. I was the only one actually paying attention, but that’s what happens when your audience is a group of 3 and 4 year olds. Another fine reason for me to attend! I was “The Wizard’s” emotional support!

Mikey seemed to have a good time, with the exception of the Tarantula presentation.


He didn’t volunteer for any of the hands on portions of the presentation, which meant he was one of 9 kids to hold up the python at the end of the show.

Uh oh!

Of course, I had to go to the front to position all the kids. I may have sneaked a quick pet while I was up there.

Big Snake!

The best part, of course, was the petting zoo after the show. When “The Wizard” said we could approach the animals for a closer look, I am sad to say I found myself tearing up there, dragging Mikey behind me. Remember that episode of Seinfeld where George pushed aside the elderly woman and children to get out of the burning apartment? Guilty. I couldn’t get there fast enough to secure my Mikey’s place at the head of the line, slow moving preschoolers be damned.

Some of the things I tackled defenseless children to see:

Two Frogs


Two Turtles


One Tortoise


Four Snakes and Two Geckos


One Ancient Iguana


Three More Frogs

More Frogs

And One Blue Tongued Kissing Lizard

Blue Tongued Kissing Lizard

(Note the iron grip on Mikey’s wrist. You’re going to get kissed by that lizard, dammit! Yes, I got a kiss to.)

The Wizard of Lizards is also available for birthday parties and corporate events. I may have him do Mikey’s birthday party this year. Ahem. Because Mikey loved it so much.

Dear Ada + Will Ashford

Do any of you read Dear Ada? If you don’t, and are an art lover, I suggest you click on over and visit her fantastic blog. Most of her selections are fine art (and therefore out of my budget), but it’s still a fascinating read on what’s current in art.

I’m always pleased with her selections, but today she really captured my fancy with artist Will Ashford. Altered, vintage book pages is a popular medium right now, but I haven’t seen anything executed this well before today. He actually makes the words on the page part of the art which is, of course, very appealing to me.

He finds most of his books at garage sales, street markets, and used book stores. I am smitten. Aren’t you?

8 Years.

Today. And he can’t say my dad didn’t try to warn him.

On our wedding day, my mother in law turned to my dad and said, “All I want are grandchildren with your daughter’s smile.” He, without missing a beat, shook his head in agreement and said, “Yes, but watch out. With the smile comes the mouth.”

Luckily, The Mister’s heart is bigger than my mouth. Most of the time.


Design Remix

Can someone explain to me the allure of appearing on a show like Design Remix? The premise of the show is to redesign a room in your house with furniture you already have in the room ďplus surprises from other parts of the house.Ē I donít get it. Was Candice Olsen busy? Why would you want to use your own furniture? You picked it! And you applied for a design show! Iím going to guess that what you picked most likely sucks, or at the very least doesnít work well in the room because, I repeat, you applied to appear on a design show. I thought the whole point of essentially admitting on national television that you have no style was the promise of a newly furnished room. You give them permission to humiliate you, and they give you free stuff. Seems like a fair trade, no?

By the way, I should talk. I shouldnít be too rough on HGTV. The showís concept inspired The Mister and I to remix our own living room in hopes of reclaiming some adult space from the boys and their toys. Two years ago, we moved from a newly built tract home to a mid-century ranch. We had all sorts of renovation plans that we quickly put on hold after I decided to quit my job and stay at home with Mikey.

One of those plans included a new fireplace and furniture for the living room. Our old furniture looked lovely in our previous home, but in our older, more compartmentalized ranch house the furniture is the wrong scale, color, and style. The fireplace? Well, itís a bit imposing. We put the mantel in right after we moved in so we would have somewhere to hang stockings for Santa, thinking it would be a temporary fix. We placed the furniture in the room and left it, hoping to replace everything soon. It never happened, and before we knew it the entire living room and entry way was overrun by toys.

Toys, Toys, Toys

Who’s house is this, again?

A total redesign is currently out of the question so, right before Christmas, The Mister and I set about moving some furniture. We redid this room for $0. Like an episode of Design Remix, we used everything we already owned.

We started off by repositioning our ginormous sectional. We tried every conceivable configuration and finally settled on this one. Itís still too big for the room (itís pretty much all you see when you come in the front door) but I think it turned out ok. I donít love the heavy piece of carved wood above the television unit, but it serves a purpose. Thatís a little ďsurpriseĒ from the garage I dusted off to hide a 2.5 inch hole in the wall we couldnít avoid if we wanted to watch TV in this room. Something lighter would look better (maybe even a plant) but it didnít fit with my $0 budget.

It's All Wrong!

Before the Remix.


After the Remix. Better, no?

Of course we also moved every single toy into the den. The den is now a mess, but you can’t see it when you first walk in the house, and with everything in such a small room it is fairly easy to clean everything up on a momentís notice.

From the front door

No toys!

After--No More Toys!

Better. Much better.


We have children. They require toys. I prefer laughter over a clean house. Usually.

The Culprit

The culprit.

We moved the large mirror to the dining room. I want to redo this room, too, only with money. For starters, I would love to find a round table, replace the light fixture, and put down a rug. Iíve also thought of papering the wall behind the mirror or painting it a different color. Weíll see. For now, Iím just happy I can walk into my house without being blinded by a sea of toys.


Hello, I’m beige. How may I bore you today?

Dining Room.


Have any of you remixed a room? Iíd love to see before and afters, so link away in the comments if youíre up to sharing!

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