Friday, July 30, 2010

sending love

Aunt Janet and Uncle Dave's Dinner May 23 2010 (25)_edited-2.jpg

Monday, July 26, 2010

mini Picassos

Random Monday afternoon activities are my favorite. When I get an email from Katie in the morning that reads "want to come over this afternoon and paint with the kids?"

painting morads july 2010-08.JPG

Sure. Sounds good.

painting morads july 2010-26.JPG

And paint they did.

painting morads july 2010-40_edited-1.jpg

Dipped their little fingers in the trays of paint. Swirled brushes. Katie painted their bare feet and they marched all across their canvas of rolled out paper and plastic. Katie and I take turns on these occasions being mama-in-charge v. photographer. Today I was the photographer.

painting morads july 2010-45.JPG

After G ran across Katie's carpet with her smurf-blue feet, arts & crafts were over. Into the tub and off to enjoy the rest of our evening.

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Thanks for the festivities, Katie and Giulietta.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

muffins that taste like donuts

Today was one of those mornings that simply required something delicious and sweet. Screw eggs and bacon.

I made muffins that taste like donuts. Don't believe me? Make 'em. They're easy. And they're cake-y and sweet and crumbly and all dipped in sugar & cinnamon.

I saw the recipe on one of the blogs I follow (

And I also think the muffins-donuts are magical. Charlie had one this morning and suddenly he's talking like a maniac. He just won't shut up. So if you have a little one who has a limited vocabulary and you want him to babble non-stop, make these things. Recipe below.

muffins that taste like donuts

muffins that taste like donuts


1-¾ cup Flour
1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoons Salt
½ teaspoons Nutmeg
½ teaspoons Cinnamon
⅓ cups Oil
¾ cups White Sugar
1 whole Egg
¾ cups Milk

Topping -
¼ cups Butter
⅓ cups White Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon


Combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Combine oil, sugar, egg and milk. Add dry ingredients and stir only to combine.

Pour 1/4 cup dollops into 2 6-cup muffin tins. Make sure you oil those babies up first.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a bowl. Combine the white sugar with the cinnamon in another bowl.

Shake muffins out while still hot. Dip muffins in butter, then into the sugar/cinnamon mix. Let cool.

Friday, July 23, 2010

purpose of life

“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.”

– Leo Rosten

Cunningham Blog Final Photo

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

bathtub shenanigans

Katie and I can't figure out why this is so alluring to the kiddos but GiGi and Charlie have a new "thing" that they do when they're together. At Katie's, they sneak off, climb into the bathtub and quietly play with the toys while we're chatting in the living room.

They think they've gotten away with something. It's the ONLY time they're quiet. And when we catch them, the look on their faces is so . . . guilty.

bathtub shenanigans

bathtub shenanigans

(photos taken by Katie. see her original blog post here.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Can you stand it?

bug off

My father-in-law does cool stuff like this.

As in, a few years ago, my mother-in-law and he were in L.A. when she said "I've always wanted an old Volkswagen Bug". And he tore through Auto Traders until he found this perfect one and shipped it back to Michigan.

Elaine's bug

And then Elaine wanted it two-toned.

Elaine's bug

So he took it apart and repainted it. And replaced the stripping around the windshield, etc etc etc etc.

Elaine's bug

It's just cute as a bug.

Monday, July 19, 2010

sangria blanca

Made this sangria for the shower, made it for Tom & Michelle yesterday. It's so delicious. Try it . . . but beware. The spanish liquor is a little hard to find. I went to 2 different BevMo's before I got it.

Sangria Blanca

10 green grapes, halved
4 fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 peach, pitted and sliced
1 bottle (750 ml) dry sparkling wine
1.5 cups white grape juice
½ cup Licor 43 (found at BevMo or specialty liquor stores - I don't know of a good substitute)
2 sprigs fresh mint

Fill a large glass pitcher halfway with ice; add fruit. Tilt pitcher and pour sparkling wine very slowly down side (to preserve bubbles). Add juice and liquor; stir gently. Stir in mint.

sangria blanca

now that we have a fleet of cars

. . . I’m comparing auto insurance rates for more affordable insurance. With the truck (that Rich bought while I was out of town), our cars and the motorcycle, it’s just time. Anyway, being the online geek that I am, I wanted to share this site with you. I'm using Best Auto Insurance to find the best car insurance rates around.

The site is laid out in a way that you can search the best auto insurance quotes by the make of your car, your preferred auto insurance company, or by your state. (California is notoriously expensive to insure cars, lucky me!)

Anyway, I know a lot of you are going through some family budgeting like the rest of us and would be interested in an easy to use insurance site. Check it out, let me know what you think.

celebrating Olivia Rozalyn Vue

When I returned to work a little over a year ago, I started working very closely with an amazing woman named Ngia. (Pronounced NEE-uh.) She and I are night & day, oil & water but we get along well, travel well and we're a great team at work.


She's about ready - any second - to give birth to her first baby, a little girl to be named Olivia. I was lucky enough to throw her a little baby bash this past Saturday.

baby shower collage 3

We nibbled on chicken salad and egg rolls.

baby shower collage 1

Drank 3 pitchers of Sangria.

baby shower collage 2

Decorated onesies (and found out that most of Ngia's friends, coworkers and her 46 sisters are very creative).

baby shower collage 4


baby shower collage 6

baby shower collage 5

Learned way too much about Ngia's nipples.

Opened gifts.

baby shower collage 7

And wished Ngia well.

The Vang Sisters


(Then after everyone left, I finally ate my piece of well-deserved cake.)

the shower's over

Sunday, July 18, 2010

in love

I'm just so in love with my Chazzy. Side note: last weekend, it was so cold in the morning, this is how we dressed him. This weekend, he's running around in shorts/no shirt. Like a little redneck. ;)

Charlie July 11, 2010

Charlie July 11, 2010

Charlie July 11, 2010

Sunday Funday

It's 10:45 am on Sunday morning.

Rich is on a motorcycle ride. Charlie is down for his nap. I have a steaming mug of my favorite coffee and I'm in my VERY air conditioned house. (It's hot in SoCal this weekend.) Downloading photos from a beautiful baby shower for a beautiful girl.

Hosting a little afternoon BBQ and swim for Tom, Mish and Tim Timmerson this afternoon.

My house is a mess. Laundry piled to the ceiling. A million things on my to-do list. And I'm doing exactly what I want to do right this moment.

a good Sunday morning

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

today was a good day

Not all of my days have been good days lately. I couldn't tell you the root cause, exactly. Just that I've been incredibly disorganized. I've been sick. Haven't wanted to do much, lack of energy, blah blah.

But not this week. And not today. Today was a good day. Today was a work-from-home day. Which meant it started with me walking Charlie down to his babysitters.

The view out my front door.

I opened the door to quite possibly the finest weather we've had all summer. A perfect, 70 degree morning. Birds chirping, neighbors waving and leaving for work. I took my time, going at Charlie's pace. Which meant we stopped to look at bugs and just pause for no apparent reason.

Then it was a quiet, empty house and full pot of coffee to myself. Me and my laptop.


But I could take breaks. And go out to my back patio where the L.A. sun was shiny and iridescent like only the L.A. sun can be. Sometimes, I feel like the plants in our yard actually glow a little bit.


Wires crossed.

I worked and worked throughout the day, only stopping to take my little patio breaks or switch a load of laundry. Then I picked up Charlie and we spent a lazy, late afternoon at Katie's. He ran through the sprinklers with GiGi and finished his fun with Popsicles. And for no reason at all, Katie, Ryan and I joined in on some Popsicle delight, too. All of us on their back patio, in the sun, with drippy, fruity, fingers, watching the kids enjoy this perfect weather.

Yes, today was a good, good day.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

little man

I came across this photo of Chazzy on the 4th of July. And it struck me. He's such a little man. He has entered that phase of saying "mine, mine, mine" and "no, no, no". Yesterday as we were leaving the park, he tried to close my car door so I wouldn't put him in the car. He's defiant, strong willed. A little man.

On Sunday night, Rich was carrying large potted plants around in the backyard, doing some rearranging. It didn't appear to me that Charlie was watching all that closely but suddenly, he walked over to the smaller pot of basil and hoisted it up. And started carting it around the backyard. Like a little man.

It's going so fast. And I'm trying hard to do what everyone said to do, to soak it all up and enjoy every moment. I truly am.

little man collage

we love Crayola

It's on him, it's on the carpet, it's everywhere.

It was my brilliant idea to get the kid some crayons. And not just any crayons. The Twistables Slick Stix. Which means Charlie can do some serious color damage in a short amount of time.

It's on him, it's on the carpet, it's everywhere.

If he's not running through the house grinding the crayon into the carpet, he's trying to eat the crayon. Or rubbing it between his hands as fast as he can as if he's trying to start a fire.

It's on him, it's on the carpet, it's everywhere.

Going forward, I will pay more attention to the age guidelines. These had clearly outlined "for ages 3 or older". It should've read: "not intended for goofy mom who thinks her insane 19 month old is ready for things that he is not ready for, especially when he still eats dog food".

friendly post

From Katie's blog:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy Birthday, America

The 4th has traditionally been spent in Michigan, in little ol' Hesperia. It's always a bit foreign for us to be here in California which is the anti-Hesperia. But having just spent 2 weeks there and needing some serious "home time", we were obviously going to be in L.A. for the holiday.

flashing fountains and crazy eyeballs

Post firework shopping.

The weekend came on slowly. Saturday was a 40th birthday party for our neighbor, Mario. This involved a DJ, bartender, & shots of tequila. The night ended with a vanilla Sprinkles cupcake. Needless to say, I didn't feel too great Sunday morning.

patriotic temper tantrum

Enjoying the Morad backyard, shadows and all.

But after a long sleep-in and a leisurely lunch at EJ Malloy's, we geared up for the Morad BBQ. I made Elaine & Robin's ramen noodle salad for the first time ever, apparently it didn't suck. The kids played in Katie & Ryan's backyard. Katie's family gathered as usual for some dinner, patriotic cake and eventual fireworks.

All American BBQ at the Morads

Uncle Sam . . . or Mike Hardy? And the kiddos enjoying the backyard.

The sun sat and the (legal) fireworks began. A ladder propped in the street, passing cars be damned. The neighbors pulled their camping chairs out along the road to watch. Rich and I dressed Charlie in a sweatshirt & pulled him over in his wagon along with our own booty of fireworks. And wine-to-go.

Watching the fireworks and the beginning of a long friendship.

Fireworks on Lemming Street

We relaxed, watched fireworks on the street and the large display put on by Cerritos park behind us. Chatted with friends and neighbors. Watched the littles wave sparklers around.

And realized that no matter where you are, the sentiment is the same. It's who you're with, not where you are on the days that matter.

You're a grand old flag.