Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Greg and I have decided that in the coming year we are going to grow as much of our own food as possible. I say "Greg and I have decided" but really he's just being a good sport and going along with it. In addition to growing our own food we are going to start living and eating healthier, growing our own food should help a lot in this area. In case anyone else is interested in all of this eating, growing, living healthy business I'll post recipes and other tid-bits for your blog reading pleasure.

Though I've been gardening for a few years now this is the first year I've really put effort into winter gardening. I think I may actually like it better than summer gardening, if you can believe that. You hardly ever have to water and there are far fewer intimidating bugs. The ground is perpetually moist making weeding and stump pulling a breeze. I'm amazed at how many things can be grown in Southern California in the winter. In our garden right now we have lemons, spinach, peas, garlic, mustard, swiss chard, a million types of lettuce, wheatgrass, onions, parsley, thyme, rosemary, three types of carrots, nasturtiums and soon to come, Sorrel! Of course the success of all the plants is hinging on the weather, what else is new? Every morning I wake up and pull the blinds praying that frost hasn't killed anything. We've had frost at least three times and everything is peachy, although the tomatoes and basil finally kicked the bucket, but that was expected. Hey, they made it through December, I think that's impressive.

I've been very interested in greens this week. I love cooking with spinach and want to start branching out to other cooking greens as well. Hence the mustard and swiss chard. I read about sorrel a few weeks ago and finally picked up some seed yesterday. It purportedly tastes like lemony spinach and grows back year after year. I'm excited to see if it works well in our climate.
Nasturtim leaves are also catching my attention, I planted nasturtiums everywhere last spring but they did very poorly, I think the summer was just too darn hot for them (and many other plants). Since the weather has cooled the plants have been taking off. No flowers though, but I can live with that. I've known for awhile that the leaves and flowers are edible, but apparently you can cook the leaves like spinach, though the flavor is described as "radish like." Hmmm. We'll see how that goes. The leaves have ten times as much vitamin c as lettuce, not bad. Aside from sweltering heat the plants aren't picky, they actually prefer poorer soils. A companion gardening book I read recommended planting them under fruit trees. I think to lure aphids away from the tree, but the book didn't say specifically. I plan on planting a ton of nasturtiums under our lemon tree in the spring, we'll see what happens. It certaily would be nice to have greens past mid-spring.

Here is an interesting recipe I found for Nasturtium Pesto, I've never tried it but plan to soon. I'm concerned about the lack of cheese, since cheese is awesome and all other pestos I make include cheese. Also the amount of oil is alarming. I'm going to experiment with this one and get back to you, feel free to do the same. For now ENJOY! (or not, whatever.)

Into a food processor or blender, put the following ingredients:
4 cups packed nasturtium leaves
3 to 5 cloves of garlic
1 and 1/2 cups olive oil
2 drops Tabasco sauce
1 cup walnuts
Process the mixture until smooth.


Resolution: Make garden pay it's way.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Because Six Words Doesn't Always Cut It

Saturday was quite the busy day for our family. In the morning while I fed Jonas breakfast our friend Berek called to say that his wife was in labor and to head on over. Siobhan (she of the aforementioned labor) had a home birth and I, along with my pal Nikol, was lucky enough to be allowed to watch. Alas, we arrived just after the big show went down. But we still got to watch the birth on video! It was amazing, we cried like babies. The entire experience further solidified my decision to have home births with the rest of my children. I simply cannot describe how wonderful it was, shortly after giving birth Siobhan was in bed, at home, with her new baby and husband and other 3 daughters eating breakfast her mom had cooked for her. And while Siobhan has the knack for making everything look seamless, I know my own home birth may not go as smoothly but it's bound to be better than that stupid hospital.

Later that day Greg, Jonas and I went walking around the Tijuana Estuary with our friends Hannah and Amanda. Jonas was a little trooper and only cried towards the end despite cold, windy conditions. After the estuary we went out to eat some mexican food at a vegan mexican place in North Park. Poor Greg and Jonas got food poisoning.

Then we drove over to the parent's house to eat Christmas leftovers and play games with the family. Greg won, as always. What a wonderful day.


Regifting pumpkin bread to neighbors. Sneaky.


overwork, wake to excruciating arm pain.


Creepy woman lurks while I breastfeed.


Games with family, Greg wins...AGAIN!


Hoping Kevin doesn't get screwed over.


Too many poop conversations with family!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Christmas eve already?! Better finish presents.


Learning to make lasagna with Ingrid.

More than 6 words for Monday

Jonas had his one year doctor's appointment. He is 24 pounds and 10 ounces, and 31 inches long. The doctor was concerned that he hadn't grown enough since the last appointment...that's a first! I love Jonas's pediatrician, but seriously what is with doctor's PUSHING vaccines like crazy? I said I didn't want him to get the chicken-pox vaccine and she just didn't comprehend. Finally she backed down saying, "we'll just put it on the back burner." Or, how about we just forget it entirely? Thanks. Then there was a stuggle with the MMR vaccine, I've told everyone from the beginning that I want to break it up into three separate shots. Silly me, I thought they would be prepared. They only had rubella on hand, he's supposed to get the other two between now and march, but they won't get them in stock until AT LEAST february. What a headache.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Lick the balls, unfortunate pantomime, yikes.


Cupcake disappointment, love from my peeps.


My baby is a big boy.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Finger in too many pies. Exhaustion.


Seriously, over two inches of rain!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Rain makes garden watering obsolete, hooray!


Taught sister crochet, bye bye schedule.

Monday, December 15, 2008

6 words for Sunday

Cecily! 18 months goes by fast.

6 word re-cap of saturday.

Happy? Know it? Clap your hands.

Friday, December 12, 2008

6 word memoir for the day

I wonder what DNA smells like.

Friday, November 7, 2008

100 Things About Me. Yes I stole this from Nikol.

1. I'm very loud. While I know this I never recognize it while it's happening. I come from a long line of loud people. When I was in Sunday school as a kid I could hear my dad on the other side of the church building. My loudness was inevitable.

2. My favorite Author is Annie Dillard. The first thing I read of her's was a short non-fiction piece called, Living Like Weasels, I remember thinking that if she could make weasels beautiful she had to be pretty good.

3. When I was fourteen my family decided to create a holiday. It's called Wester and it always falls on the 24th of June. You eat spaghetti for dinner and then leave a picture of the haircut you want next to your pillow, at night the Wester Monkey comes and cuts your hair.

4. I met my husband Greg when I was fourteen, at a church dance, he was dating my cousin Kady.

5. I had kidney reflux surgery when I was four years old. The only thing I remember from it was getting a giant coloring book from my aunt debi and also an incident with a bed pan involving a nurse with red fingernails and my grandpa.

6. I love to read and learn new things, by this saving grace alone did I make it through "homeschooling."

7. I was homeschooled for grades 6-12. Although at age 15 my mom said she had nothing more to teach me, told me I had graduated and enrolled me in the local community college.

8. I found out three years ago that the highschool diploma I have is totally bogus. Thanks Mom and Dad!

9. I graduated from elementary school as the smartest kid. There was a little ceremony, I received a pin and a certificate signed by Bill Clinton. The signature is fake, what a let down. But boy was I proud of it then.

10. I left one of my highschool boyfriends for his cousin. Well that wasn't the only reason, but it was a deciding factor.

11. I ended up waiting for the cousin while he was on a mission in Venezuela and nearby islands. I waited for twenty three months, then became engaged to Greg.

12. My Great Grandmother died of breast cancer when I was 6 years old. She knit me a lamb before she died, I still cherish it, though it's legs are beginning to brown. She also knit me my Christmas stocking, little matching dresses for my sisters and I, and some slippers.

13. I taught myself to knit and every time I look at knitting pattern books I search for the slippers Grandma Gale used to make. Haven't found 'em yet.

14. I have over 60 first cousins on my mother's side...and counting.

15. I wrote my first book when I was 3 years old. It's titled Zoo. It contains about five pages taped together, each page has the word zoo written on it and a picture of an animal that looks somewhat like a featherless ostrich. My favorite page has a big ostrich-thing with a little ostrich-thing in it's belly.

16. I remain to this day in awe of childbirth.

17. I miscarried a baby two days before my 20th birthday.

18. Before the miscarriage I stank at writing, I thought I was good, people told me I was good, but the truth is, it was AWFUL stuff.

19. I still can't write fiction, once in a creative writing class I was assigned a short story, so I stole a story idea from Ray Bradbury, changed names and details and made it my own. It killed! Boy was I lucky Ray Bradbury's popularity had died several decades earlier.

19. I consider my life's greatest written work to be, In Regard to the Archaic Torso of Apollo. I've rewritten it so many times I can't remember what the original contained. But, to steal from Dave Eggers, boy is it a heartbreaking work of staggering genius.

20. I won the Acorn Review Editor's Choice Award several years ago for the poem, Sexual Politics Jump the Species Gap. I didn't know I'd won until I bought the magazine on a whim and caught my name. Everything that was submitted to the magazine for publication was automatically entered into the contest so, SURPRISE. It was awesome.

21. When I was 17 I went to live with my aunt Jen in Utah. I stayed for two months and then moved back home.

22. Jen taught me a lot of things in those two months, namely cooking and actually enjoying your children.

23. My favorite movie of all time is a poorly made 80's film called, A Pyromaniac's Love Story. In highschool my best friend Paula and I watched it more times than I can count. I've watched it with other people since and nobody appreciates the humor like Paula did.

24. My favorite color is green.

25. I thrive on self sufficiency. Which is why we use cloth diapers, I make all of our bread, and try to grow as much of our food as possible. Stay tuned for the next step...cheese making.

26. In college I was, at one time or another, declared every major imaginable, history, elementary education, genetic counseling, dance, english. What a well rounded yet unaccomplished person I am. :)

27. Growing up everyone called me Sawny. Because my real name is Cassandra but my brother couldn't pronounce it. I'm pretty sure it's died out by now.

28. I broke my arm when I was 8 years old, a few weeks before I was baptized. I had to be baptized with a giant black trash bag over my arm. Also, I had to be dunked several times because my knee kept popping up.

29. When I was 17 I attended both Seminary and Single's Dances. My Seminary teacher was a recently returned missionary. We would slow dance and discuss things that had happened in seminary that morning. It was weird, and probably inappropriate.

30. My nightstand is filled (and piled) with half-full notebooks. I pity my posterity who will have to make sense of it all.

31. The night I was in labor with Jonas I watched five straight hours of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air because there was nothing else on. Never again.

32. Though it's been almost a year since Jonas was born I haven't written anything about it. Who knows why? Maybe I haven't processed it yet. Yep, childbirth is a doozie.

33. When I was in first grade we had a halloween party where the teacher read a scary story about a witch and all of her potion ingredients. After the story we were supposed to walk around a table blind folded and stick our hands into bowls filled with said ingredients. I was 6 and didn't know the owl eyes were really grapes and the lizard intestines really spaghetti. There was a Jehovah's Witness boy in the class named Joel. I overheard him tell the teacher he didn't celebrate halloween in his religion. He was dismissed to sit at his desk and color. I tugged on Mrs. Ruiz's denim skirt and told her I didn't celebrate halloween either. Joel and I colored together. He drew a picture of his family, and I drew a haunted house.

34. My bridal bouquet was three white, long stemmed Calla Lilies bound with a red ribbon. Each of the bridesmaids had one lily with a red ribbon.

35. My first car was a toyota cressida station wagon. It was older than I was, and yet a thing of beauty.

36. I'm really not an animal person. Though I would keep chickens or other live stock that earn their keep.

37. I can be a too confrontational. Sometimes it's helpful, sometimes it's not.

38. I really wish I had the discipline to be a vegetarian. I'm so close, but I love a good steak...or grilled chicken...or's hopeless.

39. I danced ballet for 6 years. I was pursuing it as a career when I found out I was way too tall. I taught for a little while, then moved on to other things.

40. I have dreams that come true. Unfortunately they're always about the most random, useless things, like finding a white crayon on the floor of a classroom at church. I think it's gearing me up for something big though. I can feel it.

41. The night before my friend Nikol's father died, I had a dream that it happened. Ok, so, the dreams aren't always useless.

42. I've never had a cavity. My siblings are riddled with them, go figure.

43. I started volunteering in a kindergarten class when I was 13, I stayed with the same teacher until I was 18, she was awesome.

44. I'm a major worry wart, like borderline severe anxiety. I don't worry about everything though, I just focus a lot of attention on a few specific things.

45. I was diagnosed with hypertension last year, the doctor was horrible and basically said, "you have hypertension which means you could have a heart attack or stroke at any time." I think he might have been a quack but I've started eating less sodium (not that I ate a lot to begin with) and the hypertension is gone, if it was even there in the first place.

46. I went on my first date when I was 16. We snuck into Valhalla's Winter Formal, which was held at the Hyatt downtown. We spent so much time trying to find a way in (eventually running up the back staircase when a maid left the door open) that we only got to dance for like 10 minutes before leaving to get me home before curfew.

47. I think Val Kilmer is the bees-knees. It started as a joke between my sister and I, but yeah, he really is.

48. I am safely the world's worst gift giver. Seriously I pick the most awful presents for people. I've taken to making a lot of the gifts I give because then, even if it sucks, at least it's heartfelt.

49. I think I'm a pretty awesome cook.

50. I'm not gonna lie, I think I'm a pretty awesome person just generally.

51. I always read to fall asleep. Greg usually has to pull some book out from under me when he leaves for work in the morning.

52. I love the book, The Good Earth, if for no other reason than that Wang Lung (the book's main character) lies down in his fields to soothe himself. He feeds dirt from his fields to his children when they are starving. When he earns money he buys up more and more of his neighbor's lands, more and more ways to soothe himself. I am always thinking: Wang Lung had the right idea.

53. As much as I have romantacized the idea I still lack the guts to just lay down in the dirt.

54. Jonas's name is from the Weezer song.

55. I'm convinced that Wendell Berry has the perfect life. Writing, farming, no computer to distract him. What a stud he must be.

56. When I was 17 I hiked to Havasu Falls with a group of Laurels from my stake. I was the only person to carry their pack all the way in and all the way out. I even carried another girl's pack in addition to my own for like 4 miles. It was 113 degrees in the shade. What a stud I must be.

57. My family used to go camping in the Sequoia National Forest. One boring day my siblings and I decided to peel the moss from the trees and start a fire with it. We had buckets and buckets full of the stuff. It covered the campground in thick white smoke. The ranger came and yelled at us, then at our dad who in turn yelled at us. He couldn't be too mad though, because he was the one who gave us the idea.

58. When I was 18 I went on a kayaking trip to Santa Cruz Island, as a leader to the Laurels in my stake. It was fun, but awkward being the leader over girls so close in age, some of them my good friends.

59. In my teens I memorized poetry as a hobby. What a weirdo I was.

60. I've never traveled outside of California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah.

61. If I could go anywhere I'd go to the Galapagos Islands. To see the trees and the sea lions that do noting but play in the surf all day. Ahhh that's the life.

62. If I could pick another life, I think being Amish would be pretty cool. Or a Shaker without the celibacy. How about an Amish/Shaker/Mormon mix, does that not blow your mind?

63. While I was pregnant with Jonas I watched a marathon on TV. Now I have the goal to run a marathon myself. It's slow going.

64. I am the 14th great granddaughter of King James the 1st of England (6th of Scotland). Or so I've been told. Royalty Ya'll!

65. I'm also a granddaughter to William Brewster, the minister to the pilgrims on the mayflower.

66. My favorite salad dressing (because I know you're dying to know) is an orange poppy seed dressing that my pal Sarah makes.

67. I HATE it when adults read the words to songs over the pulpit. I can't explain it, maybe it's because the corniness factor goes through the roof. Kids can do it though, that's fine.

68. When I was 8 I had a black cat named cookies. My dad ran him over. He lived a three legged life after that.

69. When I was 4 we had two pet lambs, a white faced one which I named Lambie, and a black faced one which I named Blackie. I'm so clever.

70. Lambie and Blackie had to go live on a farm in the country because they kept getting attacked by coyotes. My mom traded them for a rocking chair. I'm starting to wonder if they really did go to a farm in the country, there seems to be a rash of farm-in-the-country-equals-death hoaxes lately. But then where did we get the rocking chair from? slaughter money?

71. My cousin Tara and I built a tree house when we were 8. It was essentially a death trap, a palette shabbily nailed into an olive tree in our yard. It's amazing we survived.

72. My uncle Bryce taught me how to ride a bike.

73. I like to watch when I have my blood drawn, I think it's amazing. Blood! Coming out of ME! And it's so red! Simple pleasures.

74. I'm a firm believer in String Theory. Some say it's been disproven, but I don't buy that. String Theory just makes so much sense. Hello! Other universes all around us, 11 different dimensions. Clearly they're onto something.

75. I've reconciled the faith/science dilemma for myself. God could be in control of string theory and evolution. It's not outlandish. And in the eternal scheme of things, there's a lot we don't know.

76. I think the Beatles, Elvis and Star Wars are overrated.

77. I think Morrisey/The Smiths are pop muscial geniuses. Frankly Mr. Shankly is GOLD!

78. I have cried at television commercials, but NEVER at anything Basketball related or Donald Duck related. That's a shout out to my mongooses. Holla!

79. I get overly excited by a good vaccum.

80. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. All the good food of Christmas, and none of the crazy shopping, mall parking, general commercialism...

81. My cousins call me Gasserole, or sometimes just Gass. It's great in public.

82. Greg sometimes calls me Bacon Bits.

83. I've never smoked or done drugs. I've never had alcohol or coffee.

84. When I was 15 I cut my hair really short. Three separate strangers (STRANGERS!) asked me if I was a lesbian. Brazen.

85. I don't like milk.

86. I have 3 "creepy" old men that I hang out with, though it's been a while :( They call me their den mother. I love them so dearly. We met in a creative non-fiction writing class and the rest is history.

87. I have at least 1 nightmare about my parents every week.

88. I've had enough of people trying to mediate between my parents and I. As good as their intentions are, they should just leave it alone.

89. I have an inexplicable fear of rock climbing, not heights, just rock climbing.

90. I love to watch the birds in my garden. Especially the freaky yellow ones that do mating dances.

91. I make duct tape wallets.

92. I insist that my eyes are green. And my hair is red.

93. My favorite seasons are spring and summer. That's when the best gardening happens.

94. I love the heat, I hate the cold!!!

95. I want to live in a town where you can walk to the market, and know your neighbors, and not be afraid of crazies.

96. I know my house is haunted.

97. I look good in the color teal.

98. In first grade my best friend was Jacqueline Thompson. Her dad was a stunt double for Kevin Costner.

99. I think Greg's parents are the best parents in the world.

100. I have an amazing group of friends and family. Honestly I couldn't pick a better husband, or baby, or BFF's, or in-laws. I am truly blessed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


That's right, be jealous. Here is what I was blessed with today from the garden, a handful of SUMMER tomatoes. These aren't winter varieties folks. Say what you will about global warming my plants are still putting out blossoms at the end of October. The yellow pear tomato is a trooper! It was the first to produce this year and has just recently kicked the bucket...or pot, as the case may be. These are the last of the yellow pears but the jellybeans and the cherries are still going strong. Hooray California. They were promptly eaten in a salad. Delicious.

Pumpkin Carving

Our friends Richard and Ingrid hosted a pumpkin carving party. It was Jonas's first experience with pumpkin carving and he was less than thrilled. Too close to bedtime I guess :( But the rest of us had a blast, carving, eating, and gabbing away, or clucking away according to the husbands.

Here are Jonas and I proudly displaying our finished product.

Siobhan just chillin'

Bev, Me and Ingrid slaving away at the pumpkins.

Nikol and I. Yeah BFF's :)

Greg and Bev working on pumpkins.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gardening: because who doesn't love a hobby that kicks their butt seasonally?

I am very passionate about gardening, and really any self-sufficient lifestyle practice. (I draw the line at a poop house though.) This year however, the pestilences have been knocking me out. I admit I have a severe fear of certain bugs and spiders. So when the only remedy for a japanese beetle takeover is to pluck them off plants in the early morning I either talk my husband into it, or cower on the patio with an empty bucket. They got at least half of the tomato harvest this year, the greedy suckers. My Grandmother, back when she gardened, used to keep a white netting over her strawberries to keep the birds off. Then one day after reading some bible verse she walked outside and removed the nets. She told her children, "We must share our blessings from God."

I share my "bounty" only because of my cowardice. A raccoon gang has been pilfering the winter tomatoes, I watch them from the house, remembering the line, "very much like the opossum in temperment." I leave them be. So it would seem the only thing keeping me from more god-like gardening would be that tricky change of heart. They're eating the goods any way maybe I should just surrender and say, "Yes, eat up little creatures, there is plenty to go around." But no, I worked hard for that food. I am not so close to approaching Zion.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pumpkins Pumpkins Everywhere

Jonas had his first trip to the pumpkin patch yesterday...well second if you count the trip he made as a fetus. He was far more interested in getting the hay into his mouth than looking at pumpkins. He really didn't like the emus they had in the petting zoo, neither did Grandma Candi. I must admit their look is unsettling. Toward the end of the trip Jonas finally took a shine to his pumpkin and carried it around, it was a very small pumpkin. I did the best I could to keep it out of his mouth. We can't wait to carve our pumpkins at the Smith's house this monday. Woo Hoo! I can't believe fall is already upon us.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Just Writing

There simply isn't enough writing on this blog. I get so wrapped up in the pictures. So today there's just writing. It was a pretty boring day. Maybe not the best time to decide to abandon pictures. Hmmm. I read a note on my friend Missy's page about a woman who wore a bra as a shirt to a cafe. Not unlike Seinfeld. She ended with the line, "Perhaps there are still reasons to leave the house." She cracks me up. Go Missy. Today a woman at the library had a little conversation with Jonas but said nothing to me. You have to almost weave your steps when down at the library/lindo lake area to avoid the barrage of transients...perhaps there are still reasons to stay home. Thats all I'll subject you to for now. Ta-ta.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Quilt: Part Two

It's amazing what one can accomplish during "nap time." The quilt is coming right along. The pieces have now been cut apart and sewn back together...after much toil. Now to sew all of the blocks together...

Monday, September 1, 2008

New Trick

On Friday Jonas discovered his ability to spit...all over the place...he hasn't stopped since. It was particularly enjoyable during sacrament meeting yesterday. here are some pictures we took.

Friday, August 29, 2008

We had a cousin dinner a couple of weeks ago when Cami came down from Utah. We finally got a picture of our little family, I think this is the first one since the picture we took in the OR when Jonas first came out. Yikes! How time does fly.

My First Quilt

There's a new beginning quilting class in my ward. Awesome:) I'm making Jonas a quilt that hopefully he will love forever. It's a puppy theme, very fitting. He goes crazy for dogs, especially Grandma Candi and Grandpa Ken's dogs. I just finished sewing the "nine patches" together and now have to cut them apart to re-sew them to create the pattern. Fun stuff!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Blog!

Hi All! I spent a ridiculous amount of time today loading pictures onto social networking sites. I've been meaning to start a blog so that everything can be in one place. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully posting our lives here will cut down on posting our lives elsewhere.