Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Napa is for Auto parts, buy your wine in Sonoma!

Living in Sonoma CA, we are lucky to live in an area that is filled with grapes, the area is filled with 15 different Appalachians (places where you can grow grapes which are similar to areas in europe) 

Our good friend  took us on a lovely trip starting our day at Iron Horse Vineyards! With Sparkling Wine, Strawberries were provided by our tour guide!

Iron Horse's Sparkling Wine is perfect, we tried the entire sparkling flight. I went home with a bottle of the Russian Cuve. All of the sparkling wine at Iron Horse is brewed from grapes on the property which allows for control over all the grapes
Iron horse!
An Amazing View
Some local art
I couldn't resist snapping a photo of this car

DeLoach Vineyards is a favorite of ours as well, we hit it every wine tour we go on! Susanee packed us some skewers with local turkey pastrami, local sourdough bread, and local cheeses. Hooray for Sonoma!

The DeLoach Family sold this vineyard to a French company, so now the owner has Hook and Ladder Vineyard a few miles down the street.
Here is a picture of Cecil DeLoach's other vineyard the Hook and Ladder Vineyard

Our Next stop was the Hop Kiln Winery, where we encountered the ULTIMATE wino, a middle aged man who was about five feet tall and looked like a frog, he procceeded to  'one up' every comment we made. 
Oh Sonoma!
at this point they all start to taste the same

Finally we stopped at the Matrix Winery, where we had a yummy lunch prepared by our tour guide with a salad, some homemade Sorrentine quiche, and a lemon tart, we enjoyed a bottle of wine with our snack.

Mom, letting us know she's not a huge fan of eggs

Our tour guide, with our yummy lunch!

Annabella enjoying her strawberry!

If you are ever in the area I highly recommend a wine tour, Susanne rented a car and drove us to all the wineries so that we could enjoy our wine and not drive!

I had such a wonderful time with my mom, she even got to spend my birthday with me! She took me to Sur La Table, and got me a Nordic Ware Bundt Pan
Nordic Ware Platinum Non-stick Cast Aluminum Fleur De Lis Pan

 Cannoli Formss so I can FINALLY make cannoli from scratch!
CANNOLI FORM [Matfer Bourgeat]
and a Veggie Peeler , because my disappeared somewhere into the abyss

Veggie Peeler - Green/ Stainless Steel by Progressive

Thanks mom!

Luther Burbank Gardens with Mom

One of my favorite places in the world is the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, in Santa Rosa, California. Luther Burbank was someone who loved plants, he developed over 800 strains and varieties of plants most commonly, the shasta daisy

You may also know Luther as the inventor of the Russet potato! Ever had a white blackberry? If you go to Luther's Wikipedia Page, you can find out more facinating facts, like he never even graduated high school! You can also thank him for this juicy fire poppy

At the Burbank house there is a whole bed of them

This is the biggest Opuntia (prickly pear) plant I've ever seen!
And some pears

I'll never have a veggie garden like Burbank, check out his red chard

And Orange

I feel blessed to live next to Santa Rosa, Burbank wrote to his family "I firmly believe from what I have seen that [Santa Rosa] is the chosen spot of all this earth as far as nature is concerned...." I think that he's right.

The flowers above were in Burbank's children's garden, I read this beautiful quote in front of it 

"Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water-bugs, tadpoles, frogs and mud turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb, brooks to wade in, waterlilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hayfields, pine-cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries, and hornets; and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education"

I couldn't agree more

The beans below are great for returning nitrogen to the soil, they are good food as well, what you do is plant these in an area in a year after you have planted a crop that drains nitrogen from the soil. After a few years the soil is rich in nitrogen and great to plan in again. Brilliant!

A bed of Shasta Daisy!

Annabella loved all the flowers

Some Blue Fennel! I love how these flowers look

This sundial was so easy to read!

If you are ever in Santa Rosa or Northern California, definitely check this place out, you can even get some of Luther's plants to take home and plant in your garden! 

Or just hang out on the lawn, watch the fountain, and eat a banana


An answer for the vacation bug

Vacation bug asked me a great question on my post five must have fashion pieces  and I thought that everyone would use the advice 

vacation bug said...

we'll be having a grand reunion in cancun at the El Cid Vacation Club. i wanted to wear a 2pc swimsuit, but my boyfriend won't let me. UGH. what's the most fashionable cover up do you advice I wear? thanks
Well vacation bug, I have to go with Tunics! They are SO functional, go with something a little long, and you can wear it as a beach cover up, a dress for nightime, AND a shirt with jeans here are a few examples.. I LOVE this flower tunic by chuon sho, you can see how great it looks with her jeans and also how cute it would be alone.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Negative People

So I'm at whole foods today and I'm walking with Annabella in the store this hippie in a New York hat comes up to me and says "where did you get that" I assume he's talking about my Ergo, but he continues to tell me about how I can buy chinese babies for $8.00 at Wal-mart

Yea, seriously

And  he wouldn't stop, he asked me why I wanted to bring a baby into this 'hell'  that could never change.

I told him that I thought this world could change, and that I though Sebastopol ( my town, where Whole Foods is located) was a pretty good example of concious people and community. I told him that I thought the world could change so long as we didn't all think like him. 

So what do you think, is society destined for failure? Or can we change things.

5 Must-have Fashionable Pieces to Pack for Every Weekend Trip.

I'm going through pictures from mom's trip, and I should have a great post up soon!! But in the meantime. I thought I would share some fashion tips in hopes to help out my readers, and hopefully get a gift card! For more info head over to the discussion page! Its simple to pack a small bag that has all the essentials that you need for a weekend, if you have the right items in your cloest

  1. Kariza wrap skirt: I scored one of these for $35 on my trip to North Carolina, I still haven't perfected all 120 ways that the company claims I can wear the skirt ( it comes with a brochure that shows you 15) There are still plenty of options for a weekend, even if you just flip the skirt around and wear it for two days. The prints are beautiful Indian silks. They fit every body type, and are SO comfy to wear! I can't tell you enough how much I love my Kariza wrap
  2. Bathing Suit: I guess that if you are going somewhere without a pool you don't need this, but you never know who is going to have a hot tub! I never go anywhere without my suit. Make it  Tankini, and you can double the swim top as a shirt for the day!
  3. Simple White or Black tank top: I go with black, because I have a hard time keeping things clean, but a white or black top is classic enough to go out in, and simple enough to pair with jeans, grab one from Glamor mom. And it can double as nursing wear!
  4. Small Bag: Bring one that is large enough to fit some cash and important cards, I love this one, fit it in your weekender bag so that you only have to carry one bag at a time! Just fill it from the car or hotel room! 
  5. Jean Jacket: You can never fail with this, they are light enough to wear when weather gets warm, but can be paired with a hoodie if you need some extra padding.  You could even liven up a plain old jean jacket with some pretty embroidery
I hope you can use these on your next weekend trip, I bring all of these in me everywhere in a bag in the car just in case I happen to need to be away for the weekend!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Gap Outlet blogging program to be eligible to win a $20 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My mama is here!

My mom got here last night! She is here till Monday, so please excuse if my blog isn't as up to date as usual! Don't worry though, I'll be snapping photos all week for an exciting comeback. Including

Planting tutorials as requested!!
More homemade baby food!!

Also, Annabella's second tooth is already popping through! I didn't know she would grow up in a month!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Two Milestones!

They tell you they grow up fast, but not this fast! Yesterday Annabella finally cut her first tooth! We are all very excited. This picture also demonstrates that she has perfected  pulling herself to standing!

The last picture was taken seconds before the fall!

Five Fun Family Vacation Activites

I love to daydream about vacations! So when Twittermoms, asked what we liked to do on our vacations with our kids! I thought I would participate! You can find out more about the campaign here :

  1. Camping!: We all know how much I love camping! I think that camping is a wonderful way to get back with nature, before you go, search the web for fun outside crafts. Send the kids out  for sticks to make these Gods Eyes, who doesn't love to make those!  It would be fun to make these Bird Biscuits on the first day, and watch the birds eat them all weekend. Solar Print Paper is one of my favorite projects for outdoor fun
  2. Music Festivals: If you love music, then why not go to a music festival? We got to Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa every year, they have great music going all night long, lots of kids activities, green workshops, and lots of fun vendors. You can camp there all weekend long! We love this festival, this year Lauren Hill is playing!
  3. Car Games!: For a long car trip, make some bingo cards!I found this site here, that lets you make your own bingo cards! Some ideas? Animals, Car colors, Stores, Road Signs. Fun Prizes for the road? Coloring books, crayons, sparkle jewelry!
  4. Plan a Sailing Trip!: Sailing is one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had The moorings offers tons of options from a bareboat ship to a power boat. You can choose from getting a captain to sail the boat for you, to taking sailing lessons, if you are already nautical, submit your sailing resume to do it yourself!  Get a book on knots and teach them the important ones like the Bowline, the most useful knot on a boat. You'll love listening to all the stories that your Captain has to tell you!
  5. Gardens: Show your family some amazing gardens, Golden Gate Park has lots of specialty gardens, also the Luther Burbank Gardens in Santa Rosa CT, have amazing flowers and plants that were developed by Luther Burbank, you'll be amazed to lean that he never even graduated high school. While you are there take pictures of the flowers and make your own garden book! Take notes for what you would like to grow in your own garden!
I hope you can use these with your family! Take the road less traveled and you may have more fun then you think!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the Williamsburg Tourism and TwitterMoms blogging program for a chance to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Homemade Brown Rice For Baby Tutorial

Brown rice is much healthier then white rice, it contains Iron, which is a nutrient that can be low in breastfed babies, phosphorus, B1, B6, and B3, fiber, and fatty acids. Its also yummy and a great starter food for babies. 

 I make it for Annabella pretty regularly. She loves it and it fills her right up! I started out by making this very thin and smooth for her, now I make it with quite a bit of texture so that she can 'chew'  it.  A little goes a long way, and its cheap to make So heres a tutorial on how to make it for your little one!

You're going to need One cup of brown rice and six or seven cups of water, I also add a pinch of salt, but you don't have to do this, this makes enough brown rice to last for a while, I freeze some and leave about half of it in the fridge, I just warm it up in the oven.

First, put six cups of water and one cup of brown rice in a pot and bring to a boil 

Let it simmer and stir it occasionally, this should take about two hours  for almost all the liquid to absorb. 

Check the rice, it should be VERY soft, you shouldn't have to bite any of the grains, but be able to mush them with your tongue on the top of your mouth (thats my best description)

If its still not soft enough add a half to a whole cup of water and let it simmer for about another hour.  Be sure that there is still a little bit of liquid left with the rice so that you can puree it in a blender or food processor. 

Now you are going to want to let the rice cool for about a half hour, so that you aren't working with mega hot rice, as it tends to burn.

Transfer everything to a blender or food processor.

Put the top on and blend at high speed. 

Check the consistancy, when it is where you want it, you are done!
Transfer it to a bowl

Now you are ready to freeze it or put it in the fridge. Or feed it to your little one!


Hope you make this for your little ones! It is certainly a hit in our house