Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Zucchini and Cream Puffs

As we are preparing for Tyler's birthday BBQ party on Saturday and our upcoming backyard renovation, I noticed a pair of massive zucchinis that have grown on our side of the fence from the neighbors yard. Hmmm. Yesterday I picked them and they really are quite large. Now, to figure out what to do with them...

Massive zucchinis

Staggered by zucchinis
Aaah,  Josh is holding a vegetable!

Also from our Saturdays outing to Marukai and finding Beard Papa's location we decided to actually get some after our Kiraku dinner. I picked up a couple of chocolate fondant cake which is like a chocolate lava cake at Mortons and a vanilla custard cream puff & chocolate eclair. Technically, it's not really a cream puff since no whipped cream is used. Instead, the puffs are injected with vanilla custard after you order and other flavor custards are available depending on the day.

Beard Papa's vanilla custard cream puff

I didn't take pictures of Kat's fondant but Josh still has his so maybe later today. I did take photos of my vanilla puff (I ate the eclair last night) that I ate for breakfast and drizzled some chocolate sauce on it. Kat declared the fondant yummy & I agree too. The eclair was good but the chocolate was thick and I didn't care for that. I really did like the plain puff with my own addition of chocolate. :)


Monday, August 29, 2011


That pretty much sums up the size of Matt's feet. Mens size 15. Yup. From toe to heel, his foot measures, well, a foot long. I had to paste 2 sheets of paper together to trace his foot as a template. For comparison, mu womens size 9 feet measures 9 inches toe to heel.

I began these almost 2 years ago, got tired of knitting them so I put them down and recently found them still on the needles. The foot was basically done so I thought I'd just keep going since that is almost to the halfway point for most socks.

Ginormous socks
In nice manly colors too.

I finished them but now the burning question, will they fit Matt?? I tend to knit socks a tad large so I was really careful with the foot length.

Ginormous socks
Bizkit approves!

On Sunday, I stopped by Matt's place to gift them and see how they fit. Yeah!! They fit. Phew! :) I told him this the first and last pair he will be receiving.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Jam Packed

On Saturday, we managed to cram a boatload of activities into one day singly and as a family.

  1. Hector had a dentist appt at 8am.
  2. Tyler has karate at 9:30am
  3. Neckwarmer
    Thanks to Tammy modelling this in the heat.
  4. During this time, I take Josh to CVS to pick up some cough medicine for my mom, deliver it, head over to Matt and Tammy to do a quick photo shoot of the neckwarmer, pick some lemons and head back home around 12 noon.
  5. Hector and Tyler grabbed some pozole for brunch and came back home. I found Hector asleep on the sofa when I arrived.
  6. At 1pm we headed out to Anaheim (way out by Yorba Linda) to check out some hot tubs. Spent a lot of time climbing in/out, sitting/lounging in and getting info. I found a model that I liked that had the right configuration and size so we now have something to go on. Piled back into the car and checked out another hot tub/spa place in Santa Fe Springs and spent more time doing the same exact thing.
  7. Happiness...
    After 2 donuts.
  8. Driving home, I get a hankering for donuts. It's probably due to the fact we were by Krispy Kreme. We stopped for a donut break. I have a sugar high.
  9. As we are driving, I'm talking to Hector about Asain fast food chains making their way to the US. I mention Beard Papa and Hector knows where it is so we head over to Marukai in Gardena to check that out.
  10. Tyler portrait
    Waiting for meat on a stick.
  11. Sure enough, it's there but I'm too loaded up on donuts to try one of their custard filled pastries. Still, buzzing, we see a Shinsengumi where the guy is cooking chicken meatballs. Tyler and I go, "Yum!" So we order some meatballs, chicken thighs/green onion and asparagus wrapped in bacon. Kind of pricy so don't try to make a meal of it.
  12. Shinsengumi
  13. Since we in Marukai, we start doing some shopping. As we head up and down the aisles, I add more to our cart. Well, I started gathering so much, we HAD to get a cart. Ramen, shave ice flavors, curry and miso. More on that another time. :)
  14. Not done to Hawthorne to order a bounce house for Tyler's birthday party. Okay he will be 12 but everyone is younger and they'll all have fun.
  15. Finally, home but not finished. Hector calls the our guy who will be doing our new fence. Lots of talking and scheduling. We have to coordinate with them and the neighbors.
  16. One last item, swimming at the neighbors pool....really hot today around 90 degrees + so the kids were happy to cool off.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Neck Warmer

Of course, I had to finish this neckwarmer/ cowl while in the midst of a heat wave her in SoCal. This is my continuation of getting my incomplete projects done and into the Christmas pile.


I really like the herringbone effect this particular pattern has and the best part is that I didn't have to make buttonholes. The knitted fabric has enough give to be worked over the button and look nice.

Close up of neckwarmer/button

If I had knit this in plain stockinette (knit) then you would have seen lots of pooling but the criss cross effect kind of breaks it up and gives contrast. Scarves are nice but sometimes you don't want to deal with the loose ends and possible strangulation and this neckwarmer will lay nice and flat under a nice winter coat. Yes, even in SoCal we can get a tad cold.


Hopefully I can find someone to model it for me since it's difficult to take one's photo of my finished item. I didn't want to subject any of my kids to model it, they draw the line at hats and socks.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Spring Forward

I finally finished another pair of socks. This pair was started in June and set down but August is the month to try and finish those SIPs (socks in progress). I'm pretty happy that I managed to complete 2 pair.

Spring Forward socks
Spring Forward

I bought this yarn a while ago because I loved the colors and contrast but it was difficult to find the right pattern to complement it. I decided on Spring Forward and even though the pattern might be hard to see, I liked how the pattern broke up the colors and eliminated pooling for the most part.

Spring Forward: leg and heel
Heel and leg.

Spring Forward: foot and toe
Now I have several shawls/scarves to complete so we'll see how my sock knitting goes. :)
Now for a different topic...remember we were cleaning out our garage/closets a couple of weeks ago and I found a lot of wedding items. I have my fine china in rotation with our regular dishes along with the nice flatware. There is also a wedding themed platter/plate that I think we used for keys and whatnot when we lived in Brentwood then packed away never to be seen for almost 12 years.

I opened the cupboard and saw it again, thinking what am I going to do with this now? Should I sell it or re-gift it? I turned it over and noticed the brand. Villeroy & Boch. Okay, that's a start. I start searching for this pattern and dish and see it on a replacement type store for fine china etc listed for $199 !! Wow. It's like brand new in perfect condition too and I can't remember who gave this to us as a wedding gift. 
Villeroy & Boch: Naif Wedding design

That's cool, kind of like that show Cash in the Attic where people sell their stuff, some of which is valuable. People think certain items are worth lots and it's not or some little item they picked for $5 at a yard sale is worth thousands of $$. This was certainly unexpected. I can save it for when Tyler gets married. :) FYI: Joshua doesn't want to get married.

Move Your Feet

Like I said yesterday, not much to report. Tyler has a cold that he is milking for all its worth which is fine for me.

I finished my Spring Forward socks so more on that later.

In the meantime, another song to share that both kids LOVE to dance to. I played a portion of it on my iphone and Josh immediately went into the dance routine which was so fun and cute to watch.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Winding down

August really hasn't been the most productive of months, knitwise because we are nearing the end of summer and beginning of school. To top it off, Tyler has come down with a cold and Josh has the sniffles so he can't be that far behind.

I'm happy that we did our school supply shopping yesterday so that part is done but we do need to turn in Tyler's registration packet either today or tomorrow. He can get his school schedule, books and locker assignment so maybe he will feel up to it later this morning. Otherwise, we'll be keeping everything low key today.

So maybe I can get some knitting done. After 2 years, I finished Matt's socks this week. I don't think I shared these yet but here there are. Knit toe up to get the maximum yardage from the yarn because Matt has whopping huge, ginormous feet. Size mens 15 feet. I traced an outline of his foot too. 12 inches from toe to heel. My foot is 9 inches and I'm a womens size 9. That's a lot more knitting!

Matt's Sasquatch socks

I haven't officially gifted the socks to Matt yet. I started these so long ago, put them down for a longer time and found them when reorganizing my stash. The majority of the foot was knit so I figured I would continue on. I sure hope they fit. Simple stockinette foot, then K2, P2 ribbing on the leg. I knit about 8 inches of leg before binding off but I still have some yarn left that I could have added another 1-2 inches but honestly, I stopped because I was finished knitting on these boats.

The only pic I have are the lame kind of lay the socks on the dirty carpet photo. Hopefully I can get a proper photo of Matt wearing the socks soon.

I have another pair of socks almost complete, another 1-2 inches of foot left then the toes. Maybe this is the day!! :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Not much going on...

just getting Tyler's registration packet and school supplies. We don't find out his school schedule until Wednesday but I thought it would be best to get a head start on the shopping.

At his new middle school.

Joshua has been asking for LEGO master builder academy sets for a long time. There are 6 kits in all and I'm using them to motivate Tyler and Joshua this school year. They woke up early this morning to start building. Each set has 3 configurations and over the course of the day, both boys have built all 3. I managed to take pictures of the last ones so show you all.

Joshua presents:
Rocket with mini-figure.

Shuttle Launch
All systems go.

Electrical tower
Electrical tower.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Getty Center

In 5th grade, Tyler went on several field trips to museums ie. The Getty Center, Skirball and Gene Autry museum which seemed to pique his interest in culture and architecture. He came back with a free parking voucher for the Getty and free family admission for the Skirball. Summer has flown by and I had put our visit earlier due to carmegeddon and general timing so this week I was determined to go although I warned the kids if the parking was full we had to try again.


Curves and lines
Beautiful curves

Well, Josh slept in a bit yesterday so when he woke I hurriedly had him dress, packed him a pop tart and loaded them into the car. We left a little before 10am (opening time) and had to deal with the usual 405 congestion (carpool lanes help a lot). Surprisingly, we arrived at The Getty at 10:30am and our parking voucher was accepted. Yay! I really had no clue to how large the parking structure is but it can hold a lot more than I expected. Instead of going up we went down, down, down to P4, 4 levels down. There are even more levels further down we discovered in the elevator (P7 is the lowest).

The kids were genuinely excited which is nice to see and Josh exclaimed that the tram ride was awesome! :) We spent about 2 hours total touring the gardens and exhibits. The kids picked up the kids art detective and architecture  brochures and we found all the clues that went along with it. Overall, we had a great time. The weather was perfect with a nice coastal breeze to enjoy. The Getty Center is gorgeous in every way with natural stone/ travertine/ marble and maybe when the kids are back in school, I'll come back.

Naturally, I took pictures. Lately, I've been processing them with some B & W and Lomo settings to make them pop a tad more. Let me know if you like them or they seem a tad too much. :)


Sculpture: Mercury
Mercury and shadow.

Mirror self portrait
David Hockney themed mirror self portrait.

Boys at Getty
West LA skyline.

Tram ride.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mt. Soledad

We made a stop here during our San Diego weekend. It is the highest point in SD and the time we drove up, the sun was peeking through the gloom but didn't seem to make a difference once at the top.

Hector took me here on our first date on his motorcycle. It was before the helmet law and I remember my hair being a snarled mess. :) In the following years, Hector would tell me of the legal battles over Mt. Soledad because it is a government property and there is a Christian cross on it. Separation of church and state. So this last time we were there, some significant changes were noted.

First, the property is now privately owned. Next, there is a memorial dedicated to veterens and those who contributed to the Armed Forces. Plaques of various sizes attached to the wall was a nice gesture but Hector thought it was poorly constructed ie. some of the plaques were not flush with the wall edge etc.

It still is a beautiful spot to see San Diego and reflect. :)

Mt. Soledad memorial

Cross at Mt. Soledad

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I thought of making the move to change my blog to a black background to showcase my photographs better. I was concerned that all of my previous post might not show up but it looks like Blogger adjusts for that.

So let me what you think...

Wrapping up lunch.

Big Spider
Big Spider

This spider was spotted on our hike at Torrey Pines and I haven't seen a spider this size before in my life. The 1st spider was kind of difficult to shoot but someone (Tyler?) pointed out the 2nd spider that was at the next cactus and in much better position. :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

San Diego Weekend

Our weekend in San Diego was a great time to bond with the kids and hubby. Like usual, there was not enough time to do all the things we wanted to do but we still managed to get some new activities in.

I drove down with the kids Thursday where I reconnected with my childhood friend Kathy. We've known each other since 3rd grade and it's great to pick up like we've never stopped talking. She and her husband bought their home a year ago so while the kids watched a video, we chatted for 3 hours and I got the grand tour.

The weather was overcast and cool for most of the weekend so my photos reflect that although I've processed most of them shown to make them presentable. Enjoy!!

Tyler has been trying to convince Josh to try a Legoland ride called the Knight's Tournament. It is a robotic arm with 5 settings with 1 being the mildest and 5 being the extreme.  Josh finally agreed to ride it with Tyler and chose 2=fun.

Knight's Tournament
Beginning of ride. I love their expressions; Tyler is confident while Josh is unsure.

Knight's Tournament ride
Midway through the ride. Imagine Josh screaming this portion of the ride.

Terror and Delight
Going sideways, I call this one Terror and Delight.

Hector took the Amtrak from Fullerton Friday night and we picked him up at the train station. On Saturday, we took a hike at Torrey Pines State Preserve.
Flock of Pelicans
Flock of pelicans.

Torrey Pines


View from the trail
Trail View.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Now for Tyler..

I can't neglect my oldest son so here is what he was into today.

Yes, posole. That yummy Mexican soup with hominy, pork with some lime, cabbage and tostadas. Yum.

Posole lunch

Posole lunch

I split the large portion with him but he probably could have eaten most of it by himself. He adds lime and cabbage and goes to town.

My posole

Here is my bowl...Joshua had a red tamale and he ate practically the whole thing so his eating spurt continues. My mom also brought some yogurt/fruit from Kings Hawaiian so Tyler and I enjoyed those.

Fresh fruit yogurt.

There is one more left so it'll be a toss up to see who gets that. :)

Thanks to Hector for bringing the soup home last night. I know I said I would wait till tonight to eat it but Tyler wanted it for lunch and well, I was hungry. :)

Song 2

This is Josh's current fave song. Of course, he only knows it from Dance Party: Summer edition or something like that. He can sing along to it with the correct head banging which is really funny to watch. Today we were in the car driving home and Song 2 came on so we cranked it up to sing along.

I tried to impress Tyler by saying I found my Blur concert t-shirt if he wanted it but he didn't seem too impressed. Josh, however, jumped in and asked me, "You saw them in concert?" Maybe I'll save it for the meantime, here is the video.

Chocolate cake

My mom stopped by and dropped some goodies for the kids. By the time I got downstairs, Tyler already devoured his fruit tart and Josh was busy working on his chocolate dubash cake.

Chocolate dubash cake
Massive bite.

Enjoying the frosting.

He had a great time eating it but it was a pretty big piece.

My portion
All for me! :)

He then graciously left me the rest but he ate about 2/3rds of it. I think he is going through a serious growth spurt. He asks for something every 1-2 hours so hopefully he will put a few pounds on his slender frame.

Before & After

Putting off packing for our family trip and playing around with Lightroom 3. I really like how I can import my photo files while leaving the originals where they are, tweaking the photos without affecting my originals then exporting  the ones I like back as another copy. I only have from the beginning of the year to go through because I want to get my calendar together soon. Hopefully, I will notice a huge difference in the results.

Madrona: before

Above is a photo that I took of some plant which I like but that little bud is a tad too distracting. I tweak how I want the photo to look then open it in Photoshop Elements (can't afford the pro version) and try cloning out that bud.

Here is my crude attempt at cloning  but you get the idea. I also darkened the photo a bit (maybe too much?) but I had fun learning. It was a fun exercise. :)

Below is another example: here is the marsh taken after all the rains we received. Not a bad photo on its own but kind of blah.
Marsh: before

I think the after version is much more interesting visually but that is my preference.
I'm trying not to overdo the tweaking because I've seen some HDR photos that seem way over the top. My goal is to enhance my photos not make them strange and unnatural. What do you think? Critiques are welcome and appreciated.
Marsh: after