Monday, February 28, 2011

dear 9 month old,

as i write this letter, i am farther away from you than i've ever been.  on the one hand it saddens me to be apart from my favorite little person but i am also excited for you to have this opportunity for some special daddy-daughter bonding.  you are 9 months old, Saraya!  you have now been outside of my body for as long as you were inside of me.  (well, give or take a few days)  the intimate relationship we shared while you were in the womb has been replaced with a family relationship that cannot be compared.  your daddy and i think you are just about the best thing ever.  and even though we often focus on teaching you new things, you are teaching us things as well.  you remind us to be patient and to better organized with our time.  you remind us that a nap can make a world of difference when we're feeling grumpy.  and you have also taught us that playing with an old toy that you haven't seen in awhile can be just as exciting as a new one.

although you aren't walking, your backwards army-crawl gets you where you want to be and has the dogs nervous for when you go fully mobile.  speaking of the dogs, you love to pet them and share your cheerios with them.  you also love to clap, wiggle, dance, and make noises with your tongue.  you're a very chatty baby who has no problem being vocal.  and you're starting to explore your musical instruments more.  i really think you're going to be pretty musical.

your appetite has grown as much as you have!  you're eating chicken, fish, oatmeal, yogurt, spinach, cottage cheese, and so much more in addition to all of the fruits and veggies you've been enjoying the past few months.  and though we're waiting for official numbers from your next doctor's appointment, i think it's still safe to say you probably in the 90th-plus percentile for height and weight.

it's still early but the time is flying already so i am starting to plan for your first birthday party now.  it's going to be a great celebration with family and friends and messy baby faces!  we can't wait!  keep smiling and laughing my beautiful daughter...

love you soooooo much!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

touch - moss

Saturday, February 26, 2011


OB is turning 6 this year!  i can't believe he used to be this precious pup.  by the way, precious means rambunctious little biter...
now he gives me looks like this on a regular basis.  punk.

Friday, February 25, 2011

haiku friday - korea

land of not quite right
how i love your bibimbap
and bulgogi too

the shopping is great
despite the freezing weather
i'll eat to stay warm!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

museum of making music

well, i was only able to squeeze in one museum during this month's special but it was a good one!  the museum of making music is in carlsbad, right next to the flower fields and legoland.  founded in 1998, the museum explores the history of the american music products industry from its beginnings in the 1890s to today.  the exhibits reveal the unique and often unknown story of the music products industry to the general public.  there are over 450 vintage instruments on exhibit,as well as audio and video clips and a special interactive area where visitors can put headphones on and play on a variety of hands-on instruments.  the museum is divided chronologically. each gallery represents 20 years of time and features the popular music of the era, the instrument innovations during that time, a snapshot of current music business practices (including marketing, distribution and manufacturing) and nostalgic recreations of music stores of each era.  some of the cool vintage instruments we saw were an antique piano...

(i love the detailed painting all over the piano!)
tons of brass instruments...

some fun mini hawaiian electric guitars (no they're not ukeleles)...

and a slightly scarier instrument i like to call the siamese wonder...

(it just looks so unnatural!)
when i saw this piano from a distance i told justin it  looked like an army-issue piano.

and what do you know?!

the pandi really enjoyed the interactive area.

she said she'd like to go back again!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

what's for dinner wednesdays - bibimbap

bibimbap is a traditional korean dish that literally means mixed meal.  it's a bowl of rice topped with spices, veggies, chili paste, a raw or fried egg (i personally prefer fried) and meat.  there are lots of ways to personalize this dish from the types of veggies to the type of meat used (or not).  this is a meal i enjoy when i'm in korea and though i have yet to make it myself, i don't think it's too difficult or intimidating.  so here is a recipe i think i'll try out.  if anyone uses this (or has one of their own!) let me know...

Monday, February 21, 2011

waimea valley

waimea valley, on the north shore of oahu, is a historical nature park and botanical garden.  there are 35 tropical botanical gardens throughout the 1,800 acres as well as a 45-foot waterfall with a swimming hole.  about 6 years ago, there was a huge dispute over the valley.  an investor from new york wanted to develop the land but a consortium of government agencies and nonprofits bought waimea valley and promised to keep it undeveloped.  it really is a gorgeous place full of history.  in a place where tourism guides the local economy, it's nice to maintain some tradition.  we're glad they were able to preserve the valley!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

book review - Het Achterhuis

Better known as The Diary of Anne Frank, the translated "Secret Annexe" is a fascinating collection of diary entries from a young jewish girl hiding out in Nazi-occupied Holland.  Originally published in 1947, this book has since been translated into 31 languages in 30 countries, and has sold over 5 million copies.

Surprisingly, I never read this book in school.  It's a classic that has been on my "to read" list for awhile and I finally got a chance to read it in January. (On a related note, I'm attempting to squeeze in 1 book a month for the 2011 year.  That's a huge decrease from previous years but I've got a good reason for that!) 

It turns out I had a little in common with Anne.  We share the same birthday and as I read her entries prior to their hiding out, I found myself remembering having similar feelings as a young teenager.  What I can't imagine though is living through the incredibly difficult circumstances of hiding out and later the horrors of a concentration camp.  But I think it's the honest confessions and universal issues regarding parents, siblings, thoughts and feelings that adolescents struggle with under even the best of circumstances.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts...

As long as this exists, and I may live to see it, this sunshine, the cloudless skies, while this lasts, I cannot be unhappy.  The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature, and God.  Because only then does one feel that all is at it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of Nature.  As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be confort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.  And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.  

And whoever is happy will make others happy too.  He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery!

If the truth be told, things are just as bad as you yourself care to make them.

Stupid people usually can't take it if others do better than they do.

Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction.

How noble and good everyone could be if, every evening before falling asleep, they were to call to their minds the events of the whole day and consider exactly what has been good and bad.  Then, without realizing it, you try to improve yourself at the start of each new day; of course, you achieve quite a lot in the course of time!

and probably the single most popular excerpt from the collection 
...because in spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.

It's really a fascinating piece of work and I'm pleased to finally be able to check it off.  It's one I'll definitely recommend to Saraya when she's older.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011


i've found myself on more than one occasion lamenting on the amount of hours in the day (or lack of) and how i can't seem to fit everything in.  after giving it a lot of thought, i've determined that i just need to remember to breathe, prioritize, and take care of myself so that i'm able to take care of the people and things i'm responsible to and for.  it's all about balance.  if i don't eat well or get enough exercise, i physically feel bad and that starts to affect my mental and emotional well-being.  if i work too hard and don't get enough relaxation or pleasure in, i'm stressed and unpleasant.  i guess it works the other way around too.  if i play too much and don't work hard enough, i get bored and feel unproductive (which also stresses me out).  so how do i stay balanced?

it's a daily practice.  some days i'm better at it than others.  on the best days i can get laundry and dishes done, finish a project at work, do a little crafting or blogging and get in an hour of pilates before making a gourmet meal for the family and dinner guests.  other days, it's a struggle to get out of my pajamas and go through the mail.  but i guess it takes lows to know what highs are.  counting my blessings...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

what's for dinner wednesdays - beer battered fish tacos

fish tacos are popular fare here in southern california and it's a nice change from chicken and beef sometimes.  we generally make grilled fish but justin wanted to try something new so he found a recipe for beer batter and made a delicious dinner.  and since he made dinner, i don't have step-by-step pictures or directions but i can still give you the general idea!
first off, choose your fish.  we used ono this time but virtually any white fish is good.  the second big thing is tortillas.  i am a flour tortilla person and he is a corn tortilla man through and through.  so we had both.  for our sides we had black beans and coconut rice.  COCONUT RICE!  it's so rich and delicious and EASY to make.  just substitute coconut milk for water.  (depending on how much rice you're making, add more water if necessary).  it smells incredible when it's cooking and has a light flavor.  yum...

justin also found a perfect dill sauce for the fish.  and then my only other recommendation is to use cabbage instead of lettuce for your fillings, in addition to whatever else you like.  we had red cabbage, cheese, avocado, and cilantro. 

that husband of mine's a mighty fine chef!  click here for the recipe he used for the beer batter and the baja sauce.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

tuesday's treasury - comfy cozy

this collection is for my family and friends in cold places, and those of us that may not be as cold, but still like it comfy...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

museum month

i can't believe it's already the second weekend of february!  time is really flying and it doesn't help that this is the shortest month of the year either.  last weekend we went to the LA craft experience and chinatown and this weekend i have reserve duty.  i will miss the last weekend of february because i'll be on my annual tour to korea (more to come later) so that really only leaves one weekend for us to take advantage museum month.

every february, san diego county museums are half-price for the month. 40 museums participate and you can pick up a free pass at Macy's.  i try to visit a couple of these a year (marked with an asterisk).  now i just need to decide which new one(s) to try and squeeze in this month!

Adobe Chapel Museum

Barona Cultural Center & Museum

*Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Bonita Museum & Cultural Center

California Center for the Arts, Museum

Coronado Museum of History & Art

Escondido Children’s Museum

Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum

Heritage of the Americas Museum

La Jolla Historical Society

LUX Art Institute

Maritime Museum of San Diego

Marston House

MCRD Command Museum

Mingei International Museum

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego - Downtown

*Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego - La Jolla

Museum of Making Music

*Museum of Photographic Arts

Oceanside Museum of Art

*Old Town San Diego Historic Park

*Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

*San Diego Air & Space Museum

San Diego Archaeological Center

San Diego Automotive Museum

*San Diego Botanic Gardens

San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum

San Diego History Center Museum, Library & Junipero Serra Museum

San Diego Model Railroad Museum

*San Diego Museum of Man

*San Diego Natural History Museum

The New Children’s Museum

The San Diego Museum of Art

Tijuana Estuary Visitors Center

*Timken Museum of Art

USS Midway Museum

Veterans Museum & Memorial Center

Water Conservation Garden

*Whaley House

Women’s History Museum

Thursday, February 10, 2011


last weekend, we checked out the LA craft experience.  it was held in chinatown the same weekend as a bunch of chinese new year festivities.  it was incredibly crowded but we really enjoyed the huge parade (it literally lasted hours!) and had a nice pho lunch.

year of the rabbit

i loved the mini dragon!

keeping peace and order (on a segway!)
and i love these dragons.  check out the detail...

chinatown has some cool architecture.  the craft experience was set up right in the middle of it.

there were lots of fun vendors.  i even picked up a few items. some very cute rings from honeymyheart.
an adorable ninja onesie for an expecting friend from paperflavor...

and an awesome big lebowski themed shirt for justin from bill green studios.

a fun trip and we scored!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

what's for dinner wednesday - not your mom's meatloaf

not that there's anything wrong with mom's meatloaf!  traditional meatloaf is classic comfort food and traditions can be fantastic.  but sometimes i like to take tradition and toss it on its end.  as is the case with my new favorite way to make meatloaf.  it's turkey quinoa meatloaf and not only is it very tasty but it is also pretty healthy for you too.  obviously you substitute the ground beef with ground turkey but some of my less granola-y readers may not be familiar with the other main ingredient in this dish.  quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) replaces the breadcrumbs or cornflakes.  quinoa is a super food.  why is it so super you ask?  well let me tell you.  it's packed with beaucoup amounts of protein and all the nine essential amino acids. super.  i served this loaf with a side of roasted potatoes and brussel sprouts.  and it was utterly delicious.

first, cook the quinoa according to directions.  to serve 4, i used 1 package of ground turkey (about 1.25lb) and 1/3 cup of quinoa.
those take about 15 minutes to cook and cool so while that's happening, wash and cut up the potatoes.  i like the medley because they're such pretty colors.
next, chop the ends off the sprouts and slice in half.  this trick take the bitterness out of them.
add some olive oil to the bottom of the casserole dish.

throw in the potatoes and sprouts.  season and toss with more oilve oil and/or butter.  i'm not good at measuring.  i usually throw in whatever seasonings strike my fancy at the time and i kind of eyeball it.  this time i used sea salt, ground peppercorn, garlic, red pepper flakes, and some balsamic vinegar.

 now the quinoa should be cool enough to handle.  mix the ground turkey with 1 egg, the quinoa, some seasoning salt, worcestshire sauce and hot sauce.  you can add onion as well but i didn't this time.  hot sauce is to taste.
put the mixture into the loaf pan (treated if it's not non-stick), and sprinkle the top with parsley.  put everything in the oven at 350 for an hour.

and voilá!  add more hot sauce if you like.  we're big fans of sriracha around these parts...



ground turkey 
large egg(s) - use 1 egg for every pound of turkey
hot sauce
worcestershire sauce - 1 tbsp per pound of meat
seasoning salt - 1 tbsp per pound of meat
diced onion
olive oil 
quinoa - 1/3 C per pound of meat
water - 2/3 C per 1/3 C of quinoa

1. put the quinoa and water in a saucepan.  bring to boil and cook for about ten minutes.

2. put the ground turkey and all other ingredients except the quinoa into a large bowl.

3. mix thoroughly.

4. place the quinoa in the bowl and mix it in.  DON'T BURN YOURSELF. make sure the quinoa has cooled off!

5. place mixture in appropriate size baking dish. Sprinkle some parsley flakes over the top to add some color.

6.  cooking time depends on the dish your baking in, your oven's characteristics, etc. i bake the 1 lb. meatloaf, uncovered, for 1 hour and then check to see if it's done.  don't overcook it. you want it to be moist.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

no paparazzi!

she's perfecting her methods for fending off the paparazzi.  that is her foot trying to block the camera.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

movie review - 127 hours

wow!  this movie blew me away!  it's based on the true story of a guy named aron ralston who got stuck alone in a canyon for nearly 5 days and ended up amputating his own arm to get out.  it may seem like i ruined the ending but it's really no spoiler.  this happened back in 2003 and he's written a book and been on tv.  besides, knowing how it ends doesn't change the fact that it's an amazing story to watch unfold.

now, i've been through combat survival training so i know a little about what it takes to survive in the wilderness and provide emergency first aid, etc. but this is a whole other animal.  imagine being trapped with 1 burrito and 1 nalgene bottle of water for 5days, all while one arm is completely and uselessly stuck between a rock and the canyon wall.  i would lose my mind.  and at points he nearly does.

danny boyle (who directed slumdog millionaire, trainspotting, 28 days later, and the beach) has a gift for really striking all of the senses.  his movies are visually stunning, the soundtracks are always right on, and your emotions are always stirred, whether it's revulsion, joy, or anticipation.  james franco plays aron ralston and does an outstanding job.  the scene where he pontificates that there are no accidents and this happened because of the person he was, that this boulder had been waiting for him since it was an asteroid in space, and that his choices led him to where he was, is a very touching scene.

i highly recommend this movie.  at only an hour and a half, it's a fast paced reminder to let the people you love know where you're going to be...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

5K #5

the last weekend of january, Saraya and i completed our 5th of 12 5Ks and this time, some friends joined us!  Christina and Jeremy spent a beautiful saturday morning hiking along lake hodges with us.  this event was part of the san diego trail run series.  money went towards building a biogas conversion tank for cooking at Tumaini Children's Village in Arusha, Tanzania (East Africa).  the course was out and back along a fairly narrow path so we couldn't use the jogging strollers.  the babes slept most of the way while Christina and i wondered how we managed to get around carrying all that weight (and more!) when we were pregnant.  aren't they adorable?!