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.


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.






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




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.


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


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.


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.


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


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





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



Owen and his Parents come for a visit

by fourteenergirl on October 1, 2014

in Just Stuff

I got the opportunity to spend a couple of days with someone very important to me.

owen's crib

I was so happy to remeet my grandson Owen I cannot say how much it meant to me. Look how big he is!

owen sleeping

He’s working hard on sitting up and his parents are taking AMAZING care of their little man.



The Inspector and Union Breaks

by fourteenergirl on September 25, 2014

in Uncategorized

We’ve dubbed Maxi the Inspector on our bathroom project. He’s an incredibly social cat and prefers to be right in the action at all times. So as we cut tiles and boards and paint, he’s right there with us the whole time.


maxi inspector

max the inspector

max on union break

He says you’re putting these in the wrong spots!

spacer disgust

Let me rearrange those for you!

max the inspector


It was Labor Day Weekend, so we Labored

by fourteenergirl on September 3, 2014

in Home, Just Stuff

We had a three day weekend last weekend and instead of doing fun stuff, we labored on the bathroom reno. Hey, it’s Labor Day weekend after all. We put in the pebble floor to much cursing on the part of Mr. Man who has decreed there will be no more pebble shower floors ever again. The puzzle pieces were too much and it was all so tricky to piece together. We covered that all up with towels to protect it while we continued working our way up the walls.

We started with this frame out of the shower stall.

shower stall frame

We set up for cutting tiles on the back deck.

cutting tiles

First measurements involved the right number of ‘full size’ tiles. which in our case are one-half lengths of the long tile we chose.

measuring tile

Once the marks are made, the tile slides into this thing that scores the tile.

score the tile

A bunch of swipes of the blade across the tile to grind through the outer veneer and you have a slice that you can then use to snap the tile along that line.

snap scored tile

Not too much pressure or else it shatters. This is tricky stuff folks!

clean break

You want a clean break along the score line, like this. It worked well for the longer tiles – the ones with some weight on either end of the pressure point. Shorter tiles, not so much.

lots of tiles

This is the inspector-cat on his third afternoon mandatory union break.

inspector cat

Since he’s the only inspection we have to pass, we’re not too worried. More coming soon.