How we do ‘winter’ here

by fourteenergirl on December 8, 2014

in Home, Just Stuff

We plant flowers and vegetables. No kidding. Last week, I planted impatiens, which I used to grow in an enormous pot outside my apartment in Texas all winter long and I inter-planted them with swiss chard, my new favorite green leafy vegetable.

impatiens and swiss chard

 

I planted them around this lovely camellia tree I found on sale.

cute flowering tree

 

Wow oh wow are the geraniums doing well. Everything here BLOOMS in the ‘winter’ because it’s cooler and rainy and they just love it. Such a funny place to live.

 

IMG_3256

{ 0 comments }

Donuts by the Beach – Big Changes

by fourteenergirl on December 7, 2014

in Just Stuff

So last week I started a new job. Yes JOB as in going into the office, sitting in a cube, and tapping away on a foreign computer over which I have no control and can’t even choose my own browser JOB. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with self-employment, but when my primary employer had to release me to focus on other things, I never really got the hang of marketing myself as effectively as I should. I was also immediately distracted by the effort of creating Audible Yoga, and didn’t have time to focus on finding the work I needed. So, after a year of trying to figure it out,I have decided to take a job and simply work instead of looking for work so I can focus on growing my skills and creating Audible Yoga.

It sucks for Emily – she’s a little lonely, but Steve makes her fantastic kitty tents and she snoozes much of the day. She would do this anyway while I was at home, but she had the option to go in and out and sit on my lap. We cuddle and give her loads of attention when we get home.

This morning, we had donuts on the beach. We chatted, fed the seagulls some stale bread crumbles, and wandered listening to the waves. It was lovely. I forgot to take my camera or phone, so no photos, but you’ll have to trust me. It was a great way to have a lazy Sunday morning breakfast in California.

The job is with the University of California. I am thrilled to find out that it is a challenging and creative position and I am happy to sink my teeth into it. It isn’t as flexible as I might like, but it will do. It also gives me all the rest of my days – evenings, weekends, early mornings, and lunches to focus on Audible Yoga.

So, that’s the big news … photos of more fun things coming soon.

{ 0 comments }

Thanksgiving on the Left Hand Coast

by fourteenergirl on November 29, 2014

in Home, Just Stuff

So, our Thanksgiving was bright and warm. We decided to do something different this year and cook a brisket instead of turkey. We put the brisket in the oven on a nice, low temperature and we continued our work on the bathroom renovation. We haven’t had any time to work on it since the door finally got installed, and the first thing I did was change the color of the bathroom from the too-lively blue to a green that better matched the glass tiles in the shower.

I know, I know … I don’t like green, but it’s often the perfect color for the walls and this color is the same as the color in the guest bedroom, so I think it makes sense.

With everything tucked safely in the oven …

thanksgiving cooking

We took off on our bikes to visit the beach because why not?

goleta pier

We walked along the Goleta beach pier and did the tourist thing – take pictures of seagulls. Only tourists take pictures of seagulls, but this one was looking so funny I thought the blog readers would enjoy him.

thanksgiving seagull

We stopped by our local produce stand and picked up some fresh asparagus and headed home.

thanksgiving bike ride

We pulled the pie out of the oven and put it on the new mosaic tile trivet I made last week.

mosaic trivet

Sweet potato pie with a crunchy pecan topping …

IMG_3244

 

All in all, a good day. Hope your Thanksgiving was terrific too!

{ 0 comments }

Do you sit on one of these?

by fourteenergirl on November 10, 2014

in Home, Just Stuff

I recently bought one of these super tough exercise balls to sit on in my home office.

sit on a ball

I was noticing some stiffness in my hips due to my little snuggly girl wanting to sit on my lap while I’m working. Of course, when she’s comfy and purring I don’t want to move around the way I should because she’s so darned cute. Steve said Emily would protest the ball – no lap for her – but we worked out an arrangement.

emily gets the chair

Here’s what I’ve learned from sitting on the ball:

  • Start slowly – just an hour or so at the beginning
  • Wriggling is good – burns calories, tightens the core
  • Keep it inflated – the right height is important

I’m always wriggling around on the ball. I’m a natural fidgeter and this gives me more fidget capabilities. I once read that knitting is productive fidgeting. I also noticed that I got really tired sitting on the ball.

Yes, tired from sitting.

I was sore the first day, but a good sore – across my sides and into the hip area. It felt like a light workout, which is fine by me.

I do have to limit my ball sitting time, however, because I get really truly physically exhausted – the fidget factor.

{ 0 comments }

We have a door!

by fourteenergirl on November 9, 2014

in Home

So, here’s a strange thing about this area: it’s really hard to get workers. No kidding, we’ve been trying to hire a contractor to put in a pocket door for about six weeks now. Why won’t anyone take our money?

So, finally Steve got someone to SHOW UP and put in the pocket door on the bathroom we’ve been renovating. This one stage of the process has been holding everything up. We can’t put in the sink or the wainscoting or FINISH until this door goes in.

IMG_3208

IMG_3209

 

IMG_3211

IMG_3210

This bathroom is going to be just gorgeous when it’s finished!

IMG_3212

 

{ 0 comments }

Making Pumpkin Soup in the Pumpkin Shell

by fourteenergirl on November 3, 2014

in Cooking, Healthy living

So, I was chatting with a very lovely friend – about food (one of my favorite subjects) – and we were eating pumpkin soup. She asked if I’d ever tried making pumpkin soup IN the pumpkin and I was terribly intrigued. I searched the Internet and found some recipe ideas and then came up with my own. I’d always wanted to try making pumpkin soup, and what more fun than to cook it in the pumpkin shell?

One recipe said to use onions, but that seemed like too harsh a flavor for the creaminess of a pumpkin.

Another said to use cream, but that’s too rich for me and I know half and half works better.

So, I started with some lovely shallots (gentler than onions) and some lovely toasty whole grain bread.

shallots and bread

I sauteed the shallots in olive oil and added the bread when they were soft. I added a little white wine too and then some thyme and fresh rosemary from my herb pot out back.

olive oil, thyme, rosemary

I let that rest and cleaned out the little pie pumpkins. I took the top off and scooped out the seeds and strings. Messy work.

cleaning the pumpkin

I set the seeds aside to toast later and scooped until I got the pumpkin clean but leaving the flesh. I scored the inside with a fork and sprinkled salt and pepper inside.

clean pumpkin

I wrapped each pumpkin in a bit of tin foil and put them in a baking dish. I took the rind off an aged gouda and added a few pieces of the sharp cheese to the bottom of the pumpkin shell.

aged gouda

To each pumpkin, I added the shallots and bread, and sprinkled in a tiny bit of nutmeg and paprika. Then, I added chicken broth leaving about an inch of room to steam in their little pumpkin shells. Put the lids back on and fold the tin foil around the pumpkin.

pumpkin soup

I baked them slowly at 300 degrees for about an hour and a half. The smell was amazing! Then, we took the tops off and stirred up the soup, adding just a tablespoon or so of half-and-half.

IMG_3200

Simply delicious and a fun, dramatic way to have dinner!

{ 0 comments }

Halloween – goodies and then rain!

by fourteenergirl on November 2, 2014

in Home, Just Stuff

In Santa Barbara, we have been in a severe drought for awhile now. We even have water police that wander around and see if you are watering your plants or grass at the wrong times, etc. It’s been interesting and dry – very like Colorado summers. This year, as we were getting ready for Halloween, we thought about how in Colorado it usually snowed on Halloween so the little kids would bundle  up and either get a really BIG costume that fit over their outerwear or wear their coats loose over their costumes. It was every parent’s conundrum.

As usual, we gave out candy plus toys and trinkets.

Halloween 2014

Last year the beads were a big hit and the cars and flyers, so this year it was bracelets and balls.

IMG_3138

One of the biggest compliments we got on Halloween night was “Oh, I remember this house from last year!”

bucket o'halloween goodies

And just as the older kids started coming by, it began to rain. This was a downpour and it went on for hours, started back up at night and kept pouring. It was amazing. It did chase all the kids home and put a complete stop to trick-or-treat fun, and the decorations are still drying out on the back porch, but wow, rain.

{ 0 comments }

One Week on Kauai

by fourteenergirl on October 13, 2014

in Traveling

After Mr. Man messed up his foot on the first-day hike, we thought a gentle bike ride a good idea. So we rented these beach cruisers with wide handle bars, three gears, and wobbly frames and coasted along a 5-mile path along the ocean.

steve biking kauai

This island is 100% our fav.

kauai beach

The water is cooler than it was in Oahu last year but that could have been simply because our skin had been slightly toasted the days before.

kauai palm trees

The feral chickens are everywhere!

feral kauai chickens

We took the advice of some hikers we met and snuck onto a resort, parked the car, and hiked down a fairly steep ravine to see sea turtles. The grass was as high as Steve!

looking for sea turtles

We saw several turtles playing in the surf and swimming but it was hard to get photos of them. We saw more colorful chickens.

feral chickens

Played and swam on more beaches – this is the Anini beach but old locals call it Wanini. The ‘W’ fell of the sign some decades ago and it got accidentally renamed.

wanini beach

This was by far my favorite. No crowds, great shade, and just lovely.

Then, we took a helicopter ride!

helicopter ride

Saw Jurassic falls and flew along the Napali coast.

jurassic falls

 

napali coast

{ 0 comments }

Owen tries a cupcake

by fourteenergirl on October 12, 2014

in Just Stuff

After we returned from Kauai, we had a couple more days with Owen and his parents. One of those days we decided to go wine tasting where Owen learned to make a new sound. Something like a lip smack. We called his wine tasting face. He has become fascinated with food, which he can see and smell, but can’t yet eat. He doesn’t have teeth yet, although those are coming soon based on how much he liked his chilled green chewy.

So, we decided to see if he could handle a little bit of cupcake.

owen's first cupcake

He was pretty excited about this box of stuff.

Owen's first cupcake

Look at that cute face! He has a smile that just breaks me in half.

Owen's first cupcake

In the end, I think the texture of food still baffles him. He enjoyed squishing the cake into a ball and spreading it everywhere more than tasting it.

cupcakes for owen

I just can’t get enough of this little guy!

cupcakes for Owen

After cupcakes, we had to hose him off!

owen gets hosed off

Later, we went to the beach again.

Owen, Becca and Jeremy at the beach

 

 

 

{ 0 comments }

Visiting Kauai Day 1

by fourteenergirl on October 2, 2014

in Traveling

We finally got around to taking a summer vacation.

kauai day 1

This year it’s Kauai and I can already tell this is my fav of the Hawaiian islands. It isn’t built up. It’s very natural.

Today is the first full day and we went on a 4-mile hike along the Na’apali coast.

hiking naapali coast

This is one lush island. There was a storm last night and some flash flooding. It was wonderful to hear thunder – I have missed it badly. We don’t get thunder or lightning in Santa Barbara.

naapali hiking

The trail was super slippery and muddy and we got completely filthy. It was totally worth it though to see views like this.

na'apali coast views

 

na'apali coast

 

na'apali coast

So the car is full of sand and everything is filthy and I’m running the first load of laundry already. Oh, and Steve’s foot got all smashed up. He’s on the couch cruising channels with ice on this:

steve's foot kauai

 

{ 0 comments }