my mom first made this cobbler when i was kid. i think the recipe was passed to her from a coworker, but basically it’s so easy i’ve never even written it down. it’s so easy it’s embarrassing. it’s not healthy, it’s full of artificial this and that, but it’s a crowd pleaser for sure. so popular, in fact, that blogging about it is near impossible because it’s gone so fast. yeah, homemade cobbler with fresh fruit is amazing, and i feel a whole lot better about serving it, BUT, this cobbler allows you to relax and enjoy your guests. so there.

fruit cobbler

2 cans of pie filling (i’ve used all fruit fillings and they are all great. this time i used the cherry. blueberry is my favorite.)

1 box of yellow or white cake mix

1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted

2 handfuls of almonds (told you this recipe wasn’t written down, so, therefore, it’s not exact. use to your liking, and use whatever nuts you want!)

1. pour pie filling into a greased 9 X 13 baking pan.

2. pour dry cake mix over the pie filling.

3. pour melted butter evenly over cake mix.

4. spread almonds evenly over the top.

5. bake at 375 degrees for ? minutes. i actually have no idea since i stand by the oven and watch until the top is browned. i think it’s about 20 or so minutes. next time i make it i’ll edit this recipe and let ya’ll know.

don’t let my if-y directions keep you from making this. it’s delicious!

my step kids love this cobbler and ate it so quickly i couldn’t get a proper picture! : )


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on the rare occasion that the little lady is screaming or fussy, he’ll pull me down to whisper in my ear, “i don’t think i want a baby anymore.” it breaks my heart, but i do get it. he remembers when he was the center of our world, when he didn’t have to share attention or toys or the arms of his parents.

and then there are other times, times when i watch them play together, when my eyes  fill with tears because i am so joyful, so overcome with the love i feel for them.

{here they were playing library, checking out books-my cookbooks-reading them, then returning them}

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chick. chick. chickpea.

i am a big friends lover, and have no idea why i remember this, but when george clooney visited rachel and monica’s house, and they served him hummus, i remember him saying, “gotta love the chickpea” or “god bless the chickpea” or something like that. random, no? but, seriously, i do love chickpeas, and when i saw this recipe on joy the baker, knew i had to try it out. besides, i have an annoying habit of not checking my cupboards before grocery shopping. as a result, i have about 10 cans of chickpeas that must be dealt with.

spicy chickpea salad

 2 (15-ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup finely diced red onion

1/2 to 1 whole  jalapeno, deseeded and finely diced

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/3 cup roasted, salted cashews or almonds

1 ripe avocado, diced into chunks

small handful flat leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

1 or 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped (2 cloves is for garlic lovers)

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

heaping 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard

1 teaspoon agave or honey

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

salt to taste

2 cups clean baby spinach leaves

Start by making the dressing.  In a medium bowl, with a fork, mash together garlic and salt until it forms a paste.  Blend in the mustard, agave, red wine vinegar, and red pepper flakes.  While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until mixture is thick and emulsified.  Add salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t need much at all).

In a large bowl, toss together chickpeas, onion, jalapeno, lemon zest and juice, nuts avocado and parsley.  Toss the dressing into the chickpea mixture and blend well.  Add the cleaned spinach leaves just before serving.  Serve immediately or store in a container in the refrigerator for up to three days

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push and pull.

five. i still can’t believe he’s five. as much as i am grateful for the time i have had and will have with him, i still mourn the time he wasn’t with us. crazy, right? there are just gaps of time that i cannot fill in for him.

when we document and applaud the baby’s milestones, he asks us sometimes about his own. and these are answers i cannot give him.

j talks of a “grandma” often, one whom he knew before our family came together. i don’t know who this grandma is. perhaps the lady who fostered him before we did? some of his stories lately involve this grandma.

“when I was a little baby, i peed on my grandma. then I came to live here with you and didn’t do that anymore.”

lately, this little guy climbs into our bed in the middle of the night. one night, he sleepily said, “guys. guys. i have to tell you something.”

“when i’m in my bed without you, i feel a bit lonely.”

there is that push and pull again. he refuses to hold my hand while walking across a crowded parking lot, but wants to snuggle at home non-stop. he wants to be so independent, a “big boy”, but sometimes just wants to be the baby, our only baby. and what he doesn’t quite understand yet, is that he will always, always be our baby, no matter how big he gets.

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our summer list (an ever-growing list, that is).


spontaneous get-togethers


homemade popsicles and ice cream

the fair

home-grown veggies determining dinner

dinner (and all other meals) outside



fireworks and sparklers

visits to the library



iced tea and lemonade

road trips



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in defense of summer.


I remember my childhood summers. After what I deemed to be a school year filled with hard work, I thought I deserved my summers, as if they were a God-given right. Never in a million years would I ever take summer school. I loved the feeling of having a day spread before me to fill with whatever I wanted. My parents never really scheduled our days like some of my friends. There were no enrichment lessons, no practices, just my mind to plan out what lay ahead. I remember playing all sorts of imaginary scenarios: grocery store, vet’s office, and restaurant.  I remember having the time to watch roly-polys roam around, and butterflies dance. I remember digging for sand crabs, lying on a scratchy beach towel after swimming in the wide, blue ocean, and huddling around a screaming bonfire to cook hot dogs.

Having summers off was and is always a perk of being a teacher. This is no lie. But by no means is it the reason that I became a teacher. Teachers get a bad rap when it comes to summer. I do not get paid in the summer. I carefully (and sometimes not so successfully) put money aside to pay my bills come July and August.

“You must love having all that time off!” they say. I say to this, I need that time off.

The true, hard reality is that being an educator is not getting easier. The pressures are mounting, the budgets are shrinking, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel that I can see.

We have created an atmosphere of adults acting like children on a playground. Bullies, vying for power, control. Actions in the name of altruism, what’s right.

After many years of teaching, this last school year was the worst I can remember, for many different reasons. The mounting pressures from the top, the apathy on the part of many students, and, more than I care to admit, many parents.

But the beauty of my profession is that there is a chance to reevaluate, to self-reflect.

It is summer.

In the summer, time slows down a little. We can take slow breaths, take our pulse, figure out our place in the world and just take notice of everything we have to be grateful for. We can come back to a new school year fresh. This summer I am more grateful than I have ever been. I am going to savor it.

words via pinterest

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mister five.

five. unbelievable. what i love about the blog is that i can easily look back at what was documented. life gets so busy that we don’t notice so many little things…the way the baby first laid her head on our shoulders, the funny things that j says on a daily basis. last year’s birthday celebration was a big affair, and i remember putting away some of j’s gifts in my closet because it was too much, too much stuff, too much craziness, all around excess. this year i had to simplify, so we made reservations for the character breakfast at disneyland, went on a few rides, and came home to a simple celebration at j’s restaurant of choice. love this boy so much.

favorites at five (all in his words):

show/movie: “peppa pig”, “backyardigans”, “miss spider”

song: “peppa pig” song, justin bieber’s “boyfriend”

pasttime: fly spaceships

friends: everyone

school “subject”: riding on the two-wheeler, learning about the solar system

chores: water the garden

food/drink: macaroni and cheese, lemonade

animal: a ferret

true story: j taught himself how to ride a bike. he does stuff like that.

j told us, “every kid needs a baseball glove.” : ) on his birthday j and daddy were throwing the ball back and forth and j took one in the eye. : (

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