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Just a small, simple, sweet treat — for the 4th of July — with only 3 items from Trader Joes.   Start with the Chantilly Cream Vanilla Bean mini sheet cake … and decorate with your favorite red and white fruit.   Strawberries and blueberries in the picture above.  It’s best to use the same size strawberries so when you slice them, they are uniform for making the stripes.

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Happy 4th of July!

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Happy 4th of July!

I found this cute red stripe burlap star at Pottery Barn (on sale!)  I ended up making a few more made burlap stars for decorations … directions coming soon!

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SM store entrance

Santa Monica store entrance

During school break, my girlfriends and I took our teenage daughters to Santa Monica for a day of shopping.  The best “find” was the beautiful Restoration Hardware Baby & Child store on the 3rd Street Promenade.

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None of us had ever been in a RH Baby & Child store.  What a treat!  Our girls even thought the store was amazing … oohing & ahhing in every room.

Little Girls' Room with Double Bunks

Little Girls’ Room with Double Bunks

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So many great ideas if you are furnishing or decorating a baby or child’s room.  The framed dresses were made of colored maps.  Very Anthropology like …

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In one of the nurseries, children’s songs and nursery rhymes from old books had been framed in gilded frames.

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It’s not a great picture, but the series of charcoal drawn fashion pictures would be great in a teenage girls’ bedroom.

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And what girl, from young to old, wouldn’t love a chandelier in her bedroom?

If you’re in Santa Monica, it’s definitely worth a trip to the Restoration Hardware Baby & Child store.  It’s absolutely beautiful!

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This weekend (March 9 – 11), Roger’s Gardens held a Tomato Mania event.  Tomato Mania is the world’s largest heirloom tomato seedling sale.  They have over 150 varieties of heirloom & hybrid tomatoes.  And there are many “tomato experts” to help guide you in your decision of varietals, fertilizer, soil, etc. for a successful tomato growing season.

Jeff is always looking for the best tomatoes to plant in our garden, so we went to Roger’s on Saturday.  WOW!!! I’ve never seen so many tomato plants!  And I’ve never seen so many people at Roger’s.

We asked one of the tomato experts if he could only get 3 or 4 tomatoes, which ones he would choose.  Here’s what he recommended (and what we purchased):

  • Sunny Goliath – yellow/gold, very sweet & juicy
  • Creme Brulee – deep carmel color with hints of red & chocolate, full-bodied flavor
  • Carbon – black, very flavorful
  • Green Zebra – yellow & green stripe with citrus flavor

As I walked by all the tomatoes, reading their descriptions, I kept thinking of all the wonderful summer dishes we’ll have this summer.  There’s nothing better than an heirloom caprese salad with home-grown tomatoes.

The checkout line took 40 minutes.  If you don’t mind missing the tomato lectures (Roger’s has a mini amphitheater for lectures), purchase your tomatoes when everyone is listening to the lectures.  It’s a much shorter line.

We kept running into friends on Saturday, so I wasn’t able to browse the rest of the gardens and snap very many photos.

At the checkout (in the Victory Garden area), they have beautiful displays of herbs.

For those of you in California, you can see where other Tomato Mania events are held by viewing their website.  Tomato Mania

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Last year, I received a lemon tree for Mother’s Day.  I thought it was one of the best gifts ever!  Jeff planted it in a big pot next to my herb pots.

And exactly one year later, we have twelve large, beautiful lemons!

Well … make that nine lemons.

On the eve of Mother’s Day, Natalie and I made Lemon Pudding Cake (using our own lemons).  I had planned to use a couple more lemons for Grilled Artichokes, but we ran out of time.

For all of the moms, grandmothers, aunts, stepmoms, sisters and other wonderful women that help raise, nurture and influence our children …

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Merry Christmas to All

May you keep the reason of Christmas in your heart as you celebrate with your family and friends!

Merry Christmas!

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Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, grandmothers, step moms, aunts, sisters and other amazing women that love, influence and contribute to the lives of children.

May you have a wonderful Mother’s Day!


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