Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lunar Eclipse

The best time to view the eclipse tonight will be around 7:45pm from California.  It started just a few minutes ago, at around 5:11pm, though it is still tough to see.

It is a traditional Harvest Moon, SuperMoon (closest it comes to Earth), and total eclipse.  A special event indeed!

Balsa Wood Planes

Guillow's has been making balsa wood model plane kits for decades.  My son recently encountered a Guillow's display at a store.  We got their inexpensive "Sky Streak" toy plane, which requires very limited assembly.  Great toy, even though it really only lasts a day or two if you actually play with it as a reasonable seven-year-old would.

We're also working on assembling one of Guillow's more complex model kits, with mixed results.  More on that later.

Here are a few photos of the (hard-to-spot) plane, including the plane in action at the park (before the tail disintegrated).

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Coloring and reading for mindfulness in your bungalow this fall

Fall is here and that means that in many parts of the country the weather will be getting cooler, nights longer, and more time will be spent in your cozy bungalow.

I found some wonderful ways for exploring mindfulness this fall!

The following books and resources are from Diesel Books, a small, local bookstore in the Rockridge area of Oakland, CA.

Moments of Mindfulness
Daily Inspiration
by thich Nhat hang
Parallel Press
Berkeley, cA

an excerpt from this beautiful book states, "To practice mindfulness is to be conscious of each moment of our lives."

Coloring for Mindfulness Garden
50 Designs to help you de=stress
by Hamlyn

The Mindfulness Coloring Book- Anti-Stress Art Therapy for Busy People
By Emma Farrarons

Studio Series
Colored Pencil Set
30 Premium Colored Pencils
2014 Peter Pauper Press

Beautiful beeswax scented candles can be found at Pharmaca on College Avenue in Rockridge too!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Vintage Lantern from the California Railroad Museum in Sacramento

I got this vintage lantern from the California Train Museum in Sacramento.  It has an authentic vintage design, an adjustable dimmer switch, and a handle for easy carrying.


Vintage Lantern
Charles Products, Inc.
$19.99 at the CA State Railroad Museum.

La Farine, in Rockridge, for back to school lunches and goodies

My favorite baked goods right now at La Farine are the following:

Morning Buns and chocolatine for an extra special once and awhile breakfast for my family.

Small, organic whole wheat rolls for mini sandwiches as well as perfect for sliders


La Farine
French Bakery
6323 College Avenue
Oakland, CA  94618
(510) 654-0338


Morning buns:  $2.25 each

Chocolatine chocolate croissants:  $2.95 each

Organic whole wheat small rolls:  $1.55 each

Rockridge Kitchen Tour is this weekend on Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Rockridge kitchen tour is a wonderful way to have a peek inside of eight architecturally distinctive homes that have had a recent kitchen remodel.  Each of the kitchen's is a unique reflection of the owner's style and imagination.

The tour is organized by the Rockridge Community Planning Council, a nonprofit that raises money from the tour to do such things as funding for landscaping at Rockridge BART plaza, tee plantings along College Avenue, and improvements to Frog Park.

One of the eight homes on the self guided walking tour is the historic Morse House on Margarido Drive, overlooking the Claremont Country Club Golf Course.  The entire 4,620-square-foot home was designed by locally known architect Geoffrey Bangs.

I've been on the kitchen tour in the past, and I really enjoyed seeing how people with 100 year old  homes have updated their kitchens while still maintaining the charm of their Craftsman homes.


Rockridge Kitchen Tour
12:30 to 5:30PM, September 20, 2015

Tickets:  $40.00 advance, and $45.00 on the day of the show.

Either purchase tickets or will call at the kiosk at 5951 College Avenue at the Presbyterian Church.

Advance Tickets:
Cuttin Up On College, 5811 College Avenue.
Rockridge HOme, 5418 College Avenue


Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco, CA- great place to enjoy last official days of summer.

My son and I went to the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Francisco a few weeks ago when my nephew was in town.  The coming of the fall season always makes me feel a little nostalgic, and it felt good to walk around the gardens with my son.  Also, in my mind I got to go down memory lane myself as I first went to the Japanese Tea Garden years ago when I was a child with my family when we visited my aunt.  I remember loving sitting and having the tea and cookies, and walking around the beautiful gardens.  My uncle passed away in January, and I remember taking him there when he last visited the area.

Love this place!

The tea area used to have a sit down service and now you have to order at the counter, but the sitting area is the same, and most importantly the gardens are the same.  This is a wonderful place to contemplate wishes and goals for the coming fall season.

Does anyone else have special memories of going to Japanese Tea Gardens with family?

Japanese Tea Garden
(415) 752-4227
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA

When does autumn officially start this year?

We got our old bungalow in the fall, one reason I like the area of Rockridge is that the tree lined streets remind me of my grandmothers home in Michigan.  I remember driving down the streets and seeing the colorful changing leaves, it made me feel like home.

It has been starting to feel like fall around here, and people talk as if it already is fall as children have been back in school for weeks.  Yet, it isn't.  It's still summer!

The first official day of fall is September 23, 2015 at 4:21 in the early AM.

Here are some poems about the coming of fall from the farmer's almanac:

It is the summer's great last heat,
It is the fall's first chill, they meet.
            -Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

Autumn has caught us in our summer wear.
           -Phillip Larkin
            British Poet (1922-1986)

Resources from Farmer's Almanac online,

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Daddy's Treats

When mommy goes out of town, daddy goes and buys his treats!  His favorites are:

Rold Gold Pretzels tiny twists, why do they contain corn syrup?

It's It, why do they still contain corn syrup?

Village Market in Oakland, CA- fun small shopping carts for children and products I like

I love Village Market in Oakland, CA

They have many products like Whole Foods, though it is a smaller scale.

Here are some of the products I like at Village Market:

Aidells sausages, chicken apple

Aidells Italian Style chicken meatballs with mozzarella cheese
gluten free
no nitrates

Favorite Foods from Market Hall in Rockridge, CA


Challah Rolls- great for sliders or small sandwiches

my mom likes the cranberry rustic walnut bread

Brazilian cheese rolls, gluten free

to be continued.....

Pocce dolce chocolate from the Pasta Shop in Rockridge

The olive oil sea salt bar  and the bittersweet chocolate bars from the Pasta Shop are delicious!

Poco Dolce
San Francisco, CA  94107

Shopping at Whole Foods- what I like

Once upon a time when I was last  pregnant I loved going to Whole Foods several times a week.  There was something about the music, the smells, the visuals of the foods that put me in a euphoric state.  Now, I just can't spend my whole pay check on food anymore.

Yet, there are items I love to get at Whole Foods, and some that are nice life savers once and awhile.

Grocery items I like at Whole Foods:

I had a an emergency "need a healthy packed lunch for my kid"  day.  I found a completely packed lunch at Whole Foods.  I have only done that once but am grateful they have those on hand.  My son liked the simple cheese sandwich variety.  It even includes a drink.
Kid's lunch box
Whole Foods  $3.99

Halo Indoor Cat Formula 
Spot's Stew wholesome Chicken Recipe
Halo, Purely For Pets, Inc.
12400 Race Track Road
Tampa, FL  33626
My outdoor cat enjoys this brand.

Late July Mini Crackers
Cheddar Cheese

Tom's antiplaque and whitening fluoride free toothpaste, peppermint

Madhava Agave Nectar, light

Biobags Lawn & Leaf cerfified compostable bags
(great for doing lawn work and after BBQ's)

Biobags tall 13 gallon food scrap bags

Organic Nancy's cultured low fat cottage cheese

Wedderspoon 100% raw Manuka honey
Active 12+
I used this in honey lemonade and it was delicious!rty

EO Lavender wipes
When you go into Whole Foods, they have a sample cantainer of these wipes for you to wipe the shopping cart handle, it instantly makes me love Whole Foods so it is very smart of them!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Challah French Toast at Home


My family loves Challah french toast!  I remember first having Challah at my grandma's house back in the midwest where I am from.  It was so soft and delicious, I was hooked!  I think Challah makes the best french toast, as it soaks up the egg.


6 large organic eggs
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream, I use Clover organic whipping cream
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract without alcohol
1 large loaf of challah, sliced in at least 6 pieces
4 tablespoons of Organic Valley ghee (I get mine at Safeway) or unsalted butter
confectioner's or white powdered sugar for dusting over the challah
organic warmed maple syrup
optional:  strawberries or other fruit garnish


1.  Whisk together eggs, heavy cream, vanilla in a medium bowl
2.  Place challah bread in a shallow baking dish to hold bread slices in a single layer, gradually pour over egg mixture over bread.  Also, the egg mixture can be poured over individual slices of bread on a plate.  Soak up to 5 minutes each side, depending on your time available.
3.  Heat butter or ghee in a cast iron skillet, let sizzle, then fry challah bread slices until golden brown on each side.
4.  After frying the french toast, I place in a glass casserole container in a warmed oven.
5.  Heat maple syrup
6.  When french toast is completed, sprinkle with powdered sugar and garnish with fresh fruit.

Recommended Peruvian Casual Restaurant in Oakland, CA - Cholita Linda

My son loves Cholita Linda Peruvian restaurant in Oakland, CA.  Though both times we've gone there we've done take out, there is a rustic charm about the place that makes me want to eat in next time and stay awhile.  Looking around the place, there is something homey and charming about the place so I did some research on their website to find out the background of the restaurant, I recommend readers doing the same!

Cholita Linda Restaurant is named after the owners Peruvian born mother, who was called Cholita.  The term is commonly used as a term of endearment in Peru.  Cholita means girl of native or mixed heritage and Linda means pretty or sweet.  Food in his family was courtesy of his beautiful mother or feisty grandmother.  The owner was the youngest of four and spent much time with his grandmother going to farmers markets for ingredients for dinner, then sharing a cup of tea and cooking.

"A good meal seems to bridge gaps, to warm hearts and somehow to connect people."
(courtesy of Cholita Linda website).


Cholita Linda
4923 Telegraph avenue
11AM- 10PM

Pro Bono architecture for building accessible homes -

I highly value having people be able to stay in their home even with disabilities or accessibility challenges.  Home Free does pro bono accessibility architecture around the country, what an amazing nonprofit!


Where to get honey cake and other Rosh Hashanah treats in Oakland, CA - Grand Avenue Bakery

Where do you get honey cake and other jewish baked goods for Rosh Hashanah?  I went to Grand Bakery this morning at 8:00AM when they opened to pick up honey cake, cookies, two Challahs and some savory pastries, all for under $40.00.  I got quite a spread!

Grand Bakery is open today until 3:00PM.


Grand Bakery
3264 Grand Avenue
Oakland, CA

Friday, September 11, 2015

Guacamole and Bell Pepper Boats recipe from Alice Waters book, My Pantry

This is a recipe for Guacamole and Bell Pepper Boats

1.  Mash together 2 pitted and peeled avocados.  Mix in 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice.  Mix in 2 tablespoons of finely chopped white or green onions.  2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro and salt.

Taste and add more salt and lime juice as needed.

Spoon the guacamole into small cored and seeded organic bell pepper halves of various colors, like red, yellow, or orange.

From book, My Pantry by Alice Waters

The Edible Schoolyard Project by Alice Waters

Alice Waters is changing the way children eat in Berkeley, CA.  She is a pioneer of the organic food movement, and she founded the Edible Schoolyard Project in 1995 at a Berkeley, CA middle school.  The students will grow and prepare healthy foods as part of their class work.

She claims, "I was worried about the future for our children so I wanted to bring them into a new relationship with food and the environment."

The Edible Schoolyard project now has a network of almost 5,000 school programs, as well as six more edible schoolyards.

She adds, "When children grow food and cook it, they all want to eat it!"

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Recommended neighborhood in Seattle, Washington: Greenlake neighborhood- next to Green lake!

If I were to live in Seattle, I'd want to live in the Greenlake neighborhood.   A dear family friend has moved to this area in the last year, and she loves it!  When I saw pictures of the area, I fell in love with the lake, the craftsman architecture of the homes, the foodie shops and restaurants, and the proximity to the heart of Seattle!   It has Green Lake park which has a path around the entire lake.  There are shops and restaurants around the circumference of the park, such as Chocolati, Peet's, Urban Bakery, and others.  This park is dog friendly.  The path around the lake is 2.8 miles, which is plenty for a leisurely stroll!  I found a 1906 craftsman with 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, for $799,000 in the heart of the area.