Friday, May 29, 2009

A Delicious Blast from my Past

In college my favorite little dive wasn't a secret.  The Melrose Restaurant in Chicago (personally it's more late night diner.)  I drug EVERYBODY there!  I'd almost forgotten until Renee reminded me of their delicious chicken curry salad.  Renee recreated this great recipe for our Napa picnic over Memorial day.  We enjoyed it so much Sophia and I tried a new variation yesterday.  The Melrose  served it with fresh fruit and a hearty slab of banana bread.  
Sophia and I had been itching to make Trader Joe's ginger bread.  We never have old banana's Sophia's new favorite food is California fruit.  Especially strawberry's!  We're really going to miss the melt in your mouth fruit, fresh off the farm! Also great with curry salad.  It was so delicious we had to share! For a California twist try it with Malvasia Bianca from Sterling Winery

Oh and if your ever in Chicago, the Melrose is a great place for late night board games and a cup of Boston Clam Chowder.  Down the street try Joy's Noodles, and BYOB. Ah memories!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


 If you put an iPod in the washer will it shrink? 
Answer: No and it won't do much else after that?
Another question: if you put an iPod in the dryer will it dry it out?
Answer:  not sure but I might give it a shot after this.
Question: Anyone want an iPod paperweight?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sick in San Francisco

Since we last checked in it's been a tough run. Sophia's had the flu, with a temp of 101-102, since yesterday.  But in the midst of it all I've noticed, a blessing in disguise. First of all daddy was able to join us,and help me which really moved me.

It's been a while since I've been able to weather a family trial along side my husband.  Although, we've had a WONDERFUL support system back home. (I've missed you all intensely especially during Nate's 12-14 hour work days the last couple weeks.)  But somewhere between daddy coming home to check on his girls and multiple laundry runs out my front door and into the garage it hits me.   I'm not homesick anymore.  

For the first time I don't look at the people on my street with suspicion.  This morning I'm glad to see the fog rolling through the park.   Especially, after all the sun this weekend. (I know-- boo hoo!) We spent Saturday on our lovely back porch and Sunday on the beach.  I have a sunburn and racoon, sunglass lines, to prove it! 

The hardest part about homesickness--denial.  I've moved so many times, as a child and as an adult, I tried to ignore it, thinking I was above it all.   Trying to figure out how to occupy a toddler, get the groceries bought without a car or a nap time. Multiple languages and nations represented have overload my senses.  I stopped at the nearest store and got a dose of what life is like for an immigrant.  Standing in the Russian deli everything was in Cryilic and I couldn't even buy milk!  I knew I was in over my head when I kept expecting someone to yell at me, like a kid on the first day of school who doesn't know where to stand. 

Everything seems different, even the ATM.   In the name conservation, no envelopes are used for deposits.  Took me WAY too long to figure that one out.  I was ahead when we recycled the bulletins at church though.  Nate seemed a little confused, but this is California! Don't get me wrong.  It's simply a great church practicing stewardship.  But like my unofficial mentor Mark Driscoll say's, "people in the North West believe in justification by recycling!"

Don't even ask about my coffee making and bad hair cut.  Really bad (save that for another blog.) Not a recycling drama but definitely a story for the ages. Let's just say it looks especially brilliant with my raccoon suntan! "Everything is copy." --Nora Ephrom.  It'll make a fun blog when it's grown out. . .Hopefully!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hey Mickey!

Sophia LOVES the 80's song "Hey Mickey!"  So much so that she has a bear named Mickey in a cheer costume.  This was the ONLY doll/toy she brought out here.  It almost broke my heart when I asked her to make a choice Mickey or baby doll.   Instead, she surprised me with a great attitude.  We make choices all day (great parent tip I was given) she seemed excited to get in on the packing. Mickey made the cut but admittedly we're getting a little confused.   
The other day we caught her singing Jesus loves me, you're so fine!

Yesterday, we went exploring our neighborhood and found a great little shop, Tutti Frutti.
And Sophia discovered a Kazoo!   People on the street were delighted to see a little kid get such joy out of a simple Kazoo.  It also makes a great stroller horn! People get out of the way when they here a Kazoo!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dear Target. . .

Target is a guilty indulgence of mine especially when Nate's traveling. It's my coping mechanism.   I can get everything I need and everything I didn't know I needed until I saw it on sale!  Thank heaven for Cabi or everything I wear would come from Target.  Imagine my surprise when we made a stop at Target on the way to Napa.  I was going cold-turkey.  It wasn't my idea. 

This time we stopped to stock up so we could SAVE money.  Typically it's the last place I go b/c it's too easy for me to spend money there. However, we've had a little sticker shock here in San Francisco, even though we're living in a very reasonable (and beautiful) part of town.  Having to stop at three stores is just how you shop here.  The market for fresh food, the cheese boutique and the bakery.  It's alot like a European city. Don't get me wrong I love it.  But where do you buy Pull-ups and toilet paper?  The things Trader Joe's doesn't carry.  I'll tell you when I find out.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Daddy planned a special treat for both Sophia and I to celebrate Mother's Day, a trip to a fabulous vineyard complete with Aerial Tram.  If you're going to take a toddler to a vineyard, it doesn't hurt to have a great ride.  The self-guided tour was also a big hit. We all learned about grapes and wine. They even gave Sophia her own grape juice and an adorable little coloring book that made a wonderful Mother's Day card.  

Sterling Vineyards

Calistoga California

Gorgeous little town with hot springs and Pioneer Park. Perfect for Sophia and lunch. Of course the most fun was had dipping our toes in the Napa River.  Play ground equipment has nothing over floating sticks under a bridge.  Am I right? 

Chateau Montelena

Paris Wine Tasting that put Napa Valley Wines on the Map
The other bottle is hanging in the Smithsonian!
Wine Mecca--at least to us! We recently stumbled on Bottleshock! The true story of this winery, about a month before we moved to California. Of course it was on the top of our list when we headed towards Napa.

The grounds were spectacular, we didn't do the wine tour this time. Since it was our second winery of the day, there is only so much gargling and spitting a three year old can watch.

Bodega Bay

A simple 90 minutes from Napa is beautiful Bodega Bay. What a breathtaking place. Seriously, the wind is fierce and chilly this time of year so bring your coat and a  kite!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Sassy Communes with Nature

Just like the Disney Princess she believes she is--Sophia chatted away with all sorts of animal friends today on our visit to Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. 

In Our Backyard. . . More or Less

Strybring Arboretum & Japanese Tea Garden

De Young Museum of Fine Arts
This week we got to experience the real San Francisco, complete with fog horn. Today walking a few blocks from our home to Golden Gate Park we were startled by the beauty and the incredible views!  Personally, I think Inner Sunset District is the best neighborhood in the city. It's family friendly and close to so many great places!  


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