There was a long swim in the calm sea, where Mateo ventured out farther than he ever has. He attacked the waves with karate chops, then smiled in delight as they passed. Then there was a dinner picnic at the beach followed by a fire and s'mores. Will my children ever know a fire without them? It was an absolutely perfect evening : the full moon was blazing, the monstrous white clouds were glowing, the stars were peaking through, the gentle fire burned with ease, the kids played and found treasures with flashlights, Matt eased into the ocean one last time, I sat for a moon burn, Claudia and Nico giggled and stretched in the sand. It was a simple night that will not be soon forgotten. 










Today began with surfing as Matt tried to catch the last of the swell before it faded away. The day before he walked back into the house after a solid hour of surfing and was high from the rush of catching almost a dozen waves. Today was not so epic, but it was still great to see him out in ocean, him and his board bobbing up and down as each wave passed. 

Next Isaiah, Mateo, Matt and Claudia had made plans to float down a river through a sugar plantation on some inner tubes. They ventured high into the green misty mountains to begin their journey. I wasn't about to let them take my Nikon, but they did have a small digital and a waterproof disposable film camera that still needs to be developed. From how they described it, it sounded like a sweet, mellow time with their tubes slowly creeping down the river. The drifting white clouds leading the way.

Nico was too young to partake in the tubing, so he and I made our way to the Tuesday farmer's market in Hanalei and waited in line, it seemed, with half the town. Once the rope was dropped, everyone made a dash to snatch up the precious fresh eggs, bright red/orange mangoes, plump lychees and salad greens. Once we were through, Nico and I shared an ice-cold coconut. After we drank all the juice inside, Nico took the tiny blue cocktail umbrella and said, "It's gonna rain mama, but I gotta umbrella for you." It was a treat to have him all to myself for a few hours.

What did we do today?










Discovered another beach : Baked some bread : Took a nap : Met some Santa Monica folks for a BBQ : Ended with a sunset and some furious waves.










A bright, hot day at the beach : Braving the path to the lava pool Queen's Bath : Watching killer waves attack the rocks : Watching killer mosquitos attack me : Walking back shrouded in towels : Ignoring the fat red welts throbbing on my legs : Just another day in Paradise.









We have made it to our annual journey to Kauai, one of the most beautiful places on the planet. 
We look forward to this trip from the moment we make it back from the last trip. It is a true explosion of color, fresh air, abundant fruits and vegetables, waterfalls, tree-lined beaches, and liquid gold sunshine. Here you can take a true cleansing breath. Here we all wake at dawn and by the end of the day when the stars are out, we are dirty, sandy and tired and ready for it all again tomorrow.

Our first day was about the farmer’s market, and getting fruits we can’t get fresh back home. Coconuts, lychees, starfruits, bushels of baby bananas, dragonfruits, mangoes, sugar cane. We came back to our house and laid it all on the table like loot we had scored. Then we made it down to the Kauai state fair. Photos to come tomorrow.






Kittens(!) at the cat show, some big waves that caught Nico by surprise and a little homemade strawberry jam. 

{Okay, so every boy in this picture cannot keep a straight face, but the girls just stand there and smile}

Mateo has only one day left until preschool graduation, and I've got to say it's a rather bittersweet time for me. We've known these kids and their families for three years now, and in some ways spent more time with them than our own families and friends. The photos above are of the last field trip the "campers" who are off to kindergarten, took to the El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach. The tarantula, who partially hid himself from prying eyes, and the skunk skin were the big hits of the day.

I will miss this little school community. There have been glitches along the way certainly, and I have to remind myself that I felt this same trepidation when we walked into this preschool for the first time, and that we will soon forge a new community with Mateo's (and eventually Nico's) new school. All these things I know are true. But tomorrow I'm sure we will say to everyone, "See you soon" when indeed we may not cross paths again. While there is every intention for my son to maintain the deep friendships he has with the boys in the picture above, there's no guarantee in this busy, transient world of ours that they won't soon be filled with new ones, the old ones lost in the shallow crevices of a young memory. 

But in the meantime, here is to another transition of life and all the excitement, anxiety, discomfort and joy it can bring. 




{Leek bottom}




With the evenings being as cool and cloudy as they have been around here, a bean soup didn't seem out of the question last night. We call this one Crayon Soup because of all the different colored beans in the mix. It's a pretty traditional vegetable soup, except for the addition of the mint almond pesto that is the final, and most important, touch on top. Served with some flatbread and these boys (including the grown-up one) could eat this all day. Both Mateo and Nico demanded the leftovers for their lunch today. 

Crayon Soup with Mint Pesto

For Soup:

2 cups mixed beans (soaked overnight if dry)

2 carrots chopped

1 large onion chopped

1 large leek sliced and ringed

4 celery stalks with leaves chopped

3 garlic cloves minced

3 tsp. cumin powder

1 bay leaf

6 cups water or vegetable stock

4 tsp. sea salt

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 cup Italian parsley 

Pour 1/4 cup olive oil into a large pot. Over medium-high heat, cook onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add carrots, leeks, celery and garlic. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add beans, water (or stock), cumin, bay leaf, and salt. Turn up heat and bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 40-45 minutes or until beans are soft. Do not overcook the beans. Once soup is done, add lemon juice and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For Mint Pesto:

1/4 cup of raw, unsalted almonds

1 cup chopped mint leaves

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

Place almonds in a blender or food processor and grind until you have a course meal. Add mint and combine. Add cheese and combine. Last drizzle in olive oil until incorporated. Drop 1 to 2 tablespoons of pesto onto each bowl of soup and stir it all together. Enjoy! 

Summer really feels to be waning around here, faster than I'd like it to be. The weather this summer seems to have been weird everywhere, with friends and family on the east coast talking about the incessant rain and lack of sweltering days. We've had a particularly gray one here, with the mornings and evenings hidden behind cool, thick clouds with the warm sun breaking through for a few hours in between. It's typical June gloom that just didn't end in June. We've still managed to make the most of it though, and this weekend felt like what we've come to expect of Southern Cali.


{wished I'd had a tripod}

There was a movie night at our friend's Alexa and Robert's, and they pulled out all the stops. Pizza, ice cream cones, popcorn, sleeping bags, and Jungle Book, all outdoors. What more could these little people ask for? 


Then in honor of Matt turning 35, we met some friends at the beach. The fact that it was a gorgeous day, no fog in sight, was a gift to Matt in and of itself. There were lots of little bare tushies running around, most notably Nico, who has long refused to wear a bathing suit. We haven't broken it to him that this may be the last summer to bare his dimpled booty.




Hope you're savoring these last few weeks of summer! 



We try not to eat a lot of pasta around here, maybe once a week. But this is a dish we've come to really like that I found here on the Tamra Davis cooking show. The key is the smoked tempeh that gives the pasta some depth and structure, and some solid protein. 

Fakin Bacon, Tomato, Broccoli and Pine Nut Pasta
(For 4)

8 slices of Fakin Bacon or 2 slices of substitute bacon per person
4 medium tomatoes – chopped up
1 cup of broccoli – cooked chopped (or other green, kale or asparagus)
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 ounces of goat cheese – optional
1/3 a cup of pine nuts toasted
Red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 16 ounce package of spaghetti
Parmesan cheese

Cook the spaghetti. Meanwhile – In a serving bowl put in your minced garlic with the olive oil. Add the chopped tomatoes. Boil your broccoli in a ½ a cup water till it’s green and slightly softened. Add this to the tomatoes. Fry up your Fakin Bacon in a bit of oil till it’s crispy. Chop into bits. (Don’t wash the frying pan just yet) Add this to your bowl. Toast the pine nuts in the frying pan. Set aside. Drain your pasta. Put it in the frying pan. Add the bowl of all your bacon, broccoli, nuts, and tomato sauce. Heat it up. Sometimes I add another drizzle of olive oil or add some goat cheese to give it a bit of a creamy sauce. Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Top with the pine nuts. Serve with parmesan cheese.


In Tamra's show, she also makes a celery soup, but we opted for an asparagus soup instead.

Asparagus Soup with Parmesan

3 T. Extra-virgin olive oil

2 onions

3 shallots

4 cloves garlic

2 large bunches of asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

4 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock

1/2 cup low-fat sour cream

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

To a large pot over medium heat add olive oil, onions, shallots, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes or until onions start to get soft. Add the asparagus and water or stock. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the asparagus starts to get soft, but not mushy. Remove from the heat. Puree well in a blender and return the soup to the pot. Push it through a fine-mesh sieve if you have one to make it extra smooth. Whisk in sour cream and parmesan cheese. Make parmesan cracker in the oven if you want.