Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gardening by inches

This little bugger was hanging out with our kale!
More garden pics to follow....

Fresh Spring Rolls

I am not one to follow recipes usually.
Well. I try to follow the recipe the first time I make something but then I add my own 'opinion' of what makes good food.

Yesterday, we visited the Asian grocery store at Mekong Plaza and picked up some veggies and made spring rolls!

pea sprouts, cilantro, and mint

They were wrapped in a spinach leaf and oh so good and fresh tasting!

I got the recipe from the weekly/monthly magazine from our Sunflower Market.

They were fairly easy to assemble once everything was sliced and it came with a great sauce recipe.

Start with a spinach leaf

Lay in matchstick carrot, cucumber, mango

top with sprouts, cilantro and mint (and cashews--not pictured)
Wrap with spinach stalk and.....
Wala!  Dinner!

 So, I did make some small changes.  I forgot that I bought the green onions to tie up the rolls because once I started wrapping them, the stalk so easily went around time.
I also bought the pea sprouts instead of mung bean sprouts because a little Asian dude at the store suggested it to me.  They were worth it!  Having the rest on salad tonight.

Recipe as follows:
1/2 large carrot
1/2 large cucumber
large mango
1/2C cashews
handful of fresh cilantro
handful of fresh mint
12 large spinach leaves
1 C mung bean sprouts (or other sprouts of your choice)
12-16 long chives or green onion stems, blanched

1/3 C dark molasses
2 tsp lime juice
1 T maple syrup or agave nectar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp olive oil
(I also put the leftover chopped cashews on the top of the sauce)

1.  Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until emulsified.  salt to taste and set aside.
2. Cut carrot, cuke and mango into matchsticks.  chop cilantro, mint and cashews.  Lay spinach leaves on flat surface, add all ingredients, roll and tie with blanched chive or green onion.   Trim ends to shape (I did NOT do this...) Hold each roll upright and and put about 1tsp of sauce on each. (we just dipped...)


Friday, May 18, 2012


So, I have always juiced or made smoothies but I have been juicing every morning for a quite a few months now.
That combined with HOT yoga and I feel the best I have in years.
Most of my juice combos contain carrot which I combine with other veggies and some fruit.

My favorite combo has got to be carrot, apple, ginger, cucumber.
Beet greens and carrot

An interesting look of carrot and spinach

Adding chard

I have found that ginger added to any juice changes the flavor in a positive way.

Kiwi is also a good add in.  It adds a nice tropical sweetness.

What's your favorite drink, juice or smoothie combo?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Say Goodbye to Hollywood

So this weekend held new adventures for the Bartley children.
They had never been to LA before so they were itching to see it!
An opportunity to go presented itself in the form of a celebration of friends.

So, off they went!
There are never a shortage of beaches in CA...and we have to experience them all, My kids are really happiest in the sand next to an endless expanse of water.

They enjoyed swimming in the ocean as usual and walking the beach.  There were some really interesting things to them about this area as opposed to San Diego area (Our preferred beach)

 One of the great times for Leigh was experiencing the street performers.  She loves participating if called to or just enjoying the action.  We see a lot of them here at home when we are in downtown Tempe.
Also OB, our usual California haunt has loads of them too.
She got to participate in a cool thing called "Jumping"....I know when she first told me, I was like, "Er, jumping for an 8 year old?  in LA? nice."
But it was actually a unique form of performance art that begged for audience participation.
She loved it!!  Now she wants to organize a local 'jumping' event...

 They also got to go to Hollywood while there and check out the stars at Mann's Chinese Theatre and beyond on the Walk of Fame.  Kids were amazed that a dog got one!
 The wax museum:  Leigh wearing her new dog hat, present from one of the guys they were with.
 And possibly Leigh's favorite place downtown...The Guinness World Record Museum  She loves anything list related and records she is especially proud of.
So, although I missed them, I worked the entire time they were gone so it went quick.  Glad they had the opportunity to go check it out!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day

Kids made some really fun stuff this year for Mother's Day.

I've been experimenting with different scrubs lately and the kids decided to make some for the meemaws.
They read the different concentrations and scents that we had recipes for and decided on a lemon scented one.  We still had a couple stray lemons on the tree so we picked those and got started.

 Grating the lemon rind for the zest was a favorite for both.
Anytime there's 'tools' of any kind involved...

They put the finished product in mason jars and off to the grandmas they went! 
We also did some scented bath salts.
It was my sister in laws first Mother's Day so we also sent some to her and to Rev J from church.
Hope your Mother's Day was good.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

She's Arty

All over the place, she likes to create art.
Sometimes she just starts painting
She does whatever is in her mind at the time
She doesn't always have anything specific in mind.
swirls and swirls
and chalk.
chalk mixed with water.

whatever she finds. or is gifted.

Sometimes she just wants to beautify and personalize her outdoor space.
Much to his Daddy's surprise...

Even her own personal expression is an art form....

The Artist  "Self Portrait"

Saturday, May 5, 2012

"Carson Bartley Graduates!"

(It took everything inside of me not to yell that out last was almost all I could think of during the ceremony.)
(and those that know what I mean, KNOW what I mean)

So, seeing as this is the year for "over the top" in our household, we did just that with Carson's graduation from preschool.
Leigh never went to preschool so we never had this experience before.
 His last day was Thursday so when I picked him up, we headed to the Lego store!
(I had an 'assignment' there for my part time job which netted me 30 dollars in free Legos...)

He already had in mind what he wanted there (Quidditch) so he went right to it and carried around the rest of the time we were in there.
He picked out another small set and then we looked around the store for a little bit more.
There were some interesting displays at the Lego store
The employees at the Lego store are usually 'big kids' whose life long dream may have been to work there.  I mean, Come on!  It's the Lego store!!   A whole suite full of the awesome things.  So, of course, they LOVE their jobs and are so into what they do, and so talented and inspiring, you can't help but hang out there!  One of the employees had an intricate crown on his head...made out of Legos!  Carson talked with him about Legoland (we went last year) (the employee had been a dozen times)  and what their favorite things there were.  Then he did some figure building before we paid for the purchases.  Bag in head, we headed out to the mall. We hardly ever go to the mall, so it becomes a pretty interesting place when we do. 
The food court is fascinating to my kids with all of the glass windows and things suspended from the ceiling.
Carson decided that he wanted to eat there today also.

Panda Express
That night was the ceremony!  So about 30 little 5 years olds lined up, marched in and were handed certificates.  (After 2 songs and lots of waving!)
Last time in the preschool room.

He thought he was being sneaky..

How many more of these rabbit ear pictures will I see in the future..
proud grad!

I must admit, I was like, "graduation? seriously!" at first, but it was so much fun and he really enjoyed himself during the ceremony and afterwards.  It also gave us one more chance to visit with the other parents and the kids had one more chance to run around on the lawn of the center.
Hopefully this will be the first of others...if that's what he's into, I mean.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


What are you reading?

This past month, I have been reading books by the English mystery author, Ruth Rendell.  She wrote a series of mysteries set in England called the Inspector Wexford series, among other mystery novels also.
She published her first book in 1964 and just put out her most recent novel this year.
I have been amazed when reading all of her novels that you don't know how they will end; until the end. 
She is unpredictable with her story lines.
I get like that with author where I will read everything they wrote if I like one of their books.  I did that with James Patterson also.
Luckily, the several libraries that I frequent (including an extensive selection at my workplace) carry her collection of works.

I am also trying to finish the book club read of the month, My Name is Mary Sutter
Ok, that's a lie.  I am actually struggling to get through that one, ok the truth is I haven't read past the 4th page, enjoying other books instead.  I think I'll be able to get it done before the book club meets again though.
It might be a sign of old age that I can only read 1 book at a time anymore.
It looks like it is going to be a good read though, just haven't taken the time to read it. Yet.

When do you read? 
I have found the best times for me to read are at night after everyone else is asleep or sitting by the pool while the kids play or on my lunch break at work.  I also snatch minutes here and there while traveling to destinations on the bus or train.

I am also working on a new pair of socks when I have the time.
We just have seemed so busy this past few months.  I have no idea what I have actually been doing, but life is good and I feel pretty content so it must all be good!

So, what are you reading?