Lessons from a parking lot pumpkin patch:

Choosing sunlight for pictures over dinner is a gamble, but so worth it when it pays off.
Next time, bring both adult and children's Claritin so 3 out of 5 family members aren't a sniffly, watering mess.
Those pesky wood chips are hardcore and the soles of TOMS are no match for them.

But the three little pumpkins rocked the janky rides and had a night of spooky fun, rumbly tummies and all.

Little by little my resolve has weakened.
My boycott of fall has totally failed.
It invaded.
Beyond my control.
I resisted.
It won.

The kitchen.
 But it smells and tastes so good.

Want to know a little secret?
I sort of like it.
Just a bit.
A big bit.

{all pics taken with the iPhone Hipstamatic app using the John S lens and Kodot film.   Love that thing.}

Never underestimate the power of your words.
With each one that you form,
you are making the choice to

build or destroy
encourage or devastate
heal or wound
love or hate
inspire or discourage
admire or scorn
share hope or cast doubt. 

It is said that it takes ten kindly spoken words to counteract every negative one.
But if you ask me, it takes 100.  Or a 1,000.
Hurtful, hateful words somehow seem to carry so much more weight.  They have the fortuitous ability to stick around.  To fester.  Sadly, they are often the ones that we remember most vividly.

How are you going to wield your power today?

Speak love.


Just when you least expect it.
 Just when you think that she is quietly minding her own business.
She goes from bald baby,
to floating head baby.


{Or, lesson learned.  When taking pictures with a dark background, pay attention to what your subject is wearing.  Unless of course, you think that bodyless babies are cute.  Well, she is pretty cute, but you get the point.}

Headband is from Amy.
Africa shirt is from Meg.

I'd love to introduce you to Keri from Forever Folding Laundry.  She is another cool Norcal blogger that I had the pleasure of meeting during my adventures in Holland.  Not only is she adorable, warm, tall (mostly everyone is taller than me...), takes gorgeous pictures, has a super cute family and finds time to be crazy crafty in the midst of it all.  Then she had to go and come up with another project to pull me away from my singleminded boycott of fall.  Burlap?  Roses?  Project Runway?  How could I resist?  I heart Keri.  I know you will too.

{{Hi - I'm Keri, from Forever Folding Laundry.  I couldn't have been happier when Julie asked me to write a little something for her blog.  Julie and I were able to meet in August, and she is just as sweet and genuine in person as she comes across on her blog.  I'm hoping by guest-posting here that some of her creative coolness will rub off on me.  Thanks for having me over, Julie!}} ************** Moving has seemed to sap all of my creative energy. For the last 5 weeks I've been spending my days unpacking boxes and organizing and arranging furniture and rearranging furniture and throwing out c-r-a-p that I've been holding on to for too long. But Saturday I was alone in the house for about 30 minutes. And it was just me and the newly organized craft room  a naked wreath, a glue gun, and some burlap.
{I've mentioned before my awesome burlap supplier.  My burlap cup runneth over.} And I started creating again.  ::ahhh...feels good::   This wreath was ridiculously easy. But a word to the wise: don't unwrap the plastic from the wreath. Trust me and my vacuum on this one. Cut your burlap in strips about 4 inches wide and start wrapping around the wreath and gluing as you go.
Once the entire wreath was covered I made some burlap roses. I just cut strips of burlap approximately 3" wide  and started rolling and folding and gluing the burlap. {similar to this tutorial.}
Oh, and it helps if you watch the episodes you've missed of  Project Runway while you're working.
Tie a pretty fall-colored ribbon around the wreath and you're done.
Ahhh...creating again. It feels so good.
Head on over to Forever Folding Laundry and say hi to Miss Burlap Fabulous herself.

Remember this bowl?
The most tragic casualty of the Great Cabinet Debacle of 2010?
I finally finished version 2.0.
It's similar.
It's different.
I have changed a lot in the twelve years since I painted the original.

I've grown up.  
Fallen apart.
Been put back together.

But unlike the original, with it's gaps, cracks and missing pieces,
The Great Healer has smoothed the cracks, filled the gaps and replaced the pieces.

I am in so many ways the exact same person.
Only completely, absolutely different.
Just like this bowl.
But better.


Welcome to the family, part two.
Now stay nestled safely in the cabinet please, 
that is after you are filled with cozy, happy White Chili.

You know the people.
The people who are done with their holiday shopping and crafting already.
Who laugh at those of us who are not.
Who enjoy free time come December.
I am not that girl.
Every year I try.
I make a plan, set goals, make promises.
My shopping will be done before Thanksgiving.
My December will be peaceful.
We will sit nightly by the tree, sipping hot cocoa and singing Christmas Carols.
But life gets in the way.
It may never happen.
Or it just might.
That remains to be seen.
Sixty Five Days.
Are you ready?
But before I can even think Christmas, I am thinking about crazy craft fair season.
Right now my house smells like paint, sawdust and Mod Podge.
I have more signs than I can count, all just nearly finished.
I can't see my dining room table.
I have hardly slept all week.
That is what happens when you aren't an early bird.

But what if you want to be one?
Feel like coming to take some signs off of my hands?

Live in my hood?

Come visit my sawdusty self..
Check some things off of your list.

Thursday, October 21st
(Where I plan on spending every dollar I make at the 31 Bits booth.)

Saturday, November 6th
(Where you might as well make your checks out to Leslie and Shauna's Tibit, because that is where I am shopping.)

Friday and Saturday November 12th-13th
Del Mar, CA
(Way too many rad vendors to even begin to list...)

For now I have a date with a whole mess of paint.

Every October, when I see these three cereals on the end cap near the registers at Target I become a little kid again.

 They are fun, happy, and spooky.

When General Mills and MyBlogSpark offered to send some our way, how could I say no?

Spooky treats?
Yes please!

But the best part, how would you like some spooky sent your way?

General Mills has graciously offered one winner their very own
Monster Cereal Prize Package

*one box of each of the three cereals,
*a Monster Cereal trick-or-treat tote bag &
*a $10 Target gift card

What better way to eat your spooky cereal than Frankenberry Bars?
We made these last year, and they are so fun, pink and yummy.  I can't wait to make them again.

How to enter:
Leave me a comment telling me if you are
Team Count Chocula
Team Franken Berry
Team Boo Berry

One winner will be chosen at noon PST
on October 20, 2010
Comments are closed.
The winner is
who roots for 
Have a super spooky day.

I love people who have the skill and desire to get past the safe, standard, small talk and really delve into lives and stories of others.
Wendy Hagen is that girl.  Within one minute of meeting her, you will be laughing, and then a few minutes later, you will find youself comfortably chatting, like she is an old friend.  She brilliantly draws out each person's story.  That is a beautiful gift.  Wendy loves people.  Truly, deeply, cares about them.  I am so happy that I got to meet her during my Holland adventures, and even more so, that she is coming to speak at my mom's group.  Meet Wendy.  I know that you will heart her too.

Julie asked me to do a guest post for her so she could sit on the beach. She just asked that it not be about sharks (because she was once attacked by Jaws) or clowns (because she works as one on the side). Fine.

Normally I blog about motherhood, 
my experience in Hollywood as a former teen/child actress, 

the lack of fashion/craft savvy in my household, 

and things of that serious nature. And while I know you were hoping that I might unveil the secrets to my 270-Day Potty Training Method here . . . no such luck for you today.

I prayed about it (because I do that and I love Jesus but I don't often blog about that) and here is what came spewing out of my fingertips, which are closely connected to my heart:

Have you ever felt disconnected to God? Have you ever doubted He even existed or if He really cared? Have you ever been in season of doubt? Have you ever been desperate for a touch from God and wondered when He was going to show up? Have you ever found yourself in a spiritual desert? If you answered yes to any of the aforementioned questions, then your name is probably . . . whatever your parents named you. And you are probably normal. And you are growing. And God has a story for you that you are living out. And it's an awesome story so just hang on.

How do I know this? Because I've been there.
And because doubters and questioners (who loved God) are found throughout the Bible. Besides just Thomas. Don't use Thomas for all your doubt stories. Poor guy. Lay off him.

Job, Jeremiah, David, Sarah, Elijah, Peter, John the Baptist . . . men and women of faith who at one time or another questioned God, or the task God had called them to, or their season of life.

If you are in a funk and waiting for God to "show up" in your life I want to encourage you to wait, trust, and keep showing up. I don't know when or how, but I know He will.

How much do you want to have more of the real, funny, encouragement that only Wendy can bring, in your life? She wrote a warm, hilarious and reassuring book titled Totally Desperate Mom
It includes many of the following things that I am sure we all would want from a book about motherhood.

1. Laughter that causes me to text "LOL"
2. Support for my motherhood journey
3. Encouragement in my faith
4. Short chapters that I can read while my kids take their 20-minute naps
5. Practical tips for mommin' it
6. Free babysitting
7. One million dollars

It should be required reading, if you ask me.
I love it.  I found my self laughing and crying.  Often at the same time.  Your heart will be warmed, your soul refreshed, but most of all, you will walk away knowing that you aren't a total freak.

Be sure to visit Wendy's blog.  Tell her your story.  She'd love to hear it. 

How can someone possibly do something good everyday?

It sounds exhausting, doesn't it?

I get that.

But there are so many ways to do small, good, things.  If I can fall asleep, at what is most likely way to late of an hour, knowing that I made an effort to make the world better in a very small way, then I rest sweeter.

Do I save the world every day?


My version of goodness might just be spending an extra few minutes chatting with my neighbor who is struggling in life,
sending a quick text message to a friend,
or choosing to be thankful as I fold and sort a mountain of laundry, because that mountain of laundry represents the little ones entrusted to my care.

But some days the only good in me is holding my tongue when I want to absolutely
that my jumpy, fidgety daughter has yet again, spilled all over the table.

Because, let me tell you.  All that is in me wants to freak out.  Some days I just pray that we can survive breakfast without a spill.  I consider those mornings a gift.

But in my annoyance when I am spending my nearly daily ritual of cleaning up some sort of spill, I rarely see past the fact that in my frustration, I am taking something for granted.

Clean water.

Water that does my laundry.  Water that bathes my children.  Water that I mop the floor with.  Water that fills our cups.

So some days, my goodness is small.  Globally insignificant.

But other days I want my goodness to change the world.  If only for one person.  One family.  One community.

Last year God planted a dream in my heart.  A dream that my sweet friends believed in.  A dream that you believed in.

Together we built

We altered the future for two communities.
We chose goodness.

It is time to do it again.

We are dreaming again.  Trusting again.  Believing that 
we can accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

Will you join us?
Please visit Project 320 to learn more.

This year is going to be even better.

We simply cannot wait.

School picture day.
Why, oh why, has it not changed since I was in school?
The hideous electric blue background?
The weird posing?
The forced smiles?

But why do I feel like if I don't buy them, than I am missing out on some great, important childhood milestone?

Tell me that I am not the only one.

Thankfully, I am not in that "Mom, I need 276 wallet pictures to pass out to my friends" stage.  I'm still in the "I am going to buy the smallest package possible to keep the grandparents happy" stage.

To make matters worse, picture day is always on PE day.  Which means there is some crazy hair going on.


Can anyone say "I'm so thankful for re-takes?"

This year I decided to mess with tradition and sit them down for a thirty second school picture day sesh.
I am pretty sure that I already like these better than the "I'm a photographer that just got here in a time machine from 1986" pictures that I'll get in a few weeks.

We will see.

Important F.Y.I.

These are not the teachers real names.
Although that would be amazing.

There is a dentist in my office named Dr. Rad.
Sadly, he is not my dentist.  If he was, maybe my extravaganza would be more, well, rad.

In case you have a few minutes/ hours to kill, there is always so much mockery to be had at Bad Yearbook Photos.  I am thinking that I could submit a few (all) of my own.  It was tough being a child of the 1980's.  The ugliest decade in all of history.  All of it.
I also love Rage Against the Minivan's take on picture day for her kids.
While you are there I dare you to read this.  Dare you.

All of you who complained all summer long....

"Wah wah wah.  It's freezing.  Summer is supposed to be hot.  Blah blah blah."


Because now it's hot. All the people who complained  that summer was too cold are now complaining that fall is too hot.

Boo on you.
It is all your fault.

So what did I do?
Cranked up the air conditioning.  At this point, what's another million dollars on top of the already exorbinant monthly electric bill?

Tied on my favorite apron.  The one that I didn't sew.  Because I know you will ask.  Pier One did. My sweet friend gifted it to me for my birthday last year.
I highly recommend always cooking with an apron.  Not necessarily for function.  Mostly for fashion.  Plus, guys dig it.  Just saying.
Then I got out my $5 garage sale masterpiece.
The bread maker that I decided that I needed as soon as I saw this Rosemary Bread recipe.
It had me at Macaroni Grill.
Jeannett, the bread queen, suggested that I use the bread maker just for the dough cycle, then transfer the dough into a loaf pan and bake it in the oven.  This was a brilliant tip.
It took all of two minutes measuring and pouring the ingredients into the bread maker.  A mere, effortless, 90 minutes later I had perfect dough.  30 minutes at 375º after that, I had fresh, fluffy bread, instead of the tell tale dense square that many bread makers produce.
Next was the soup.  Hot, spicy, hearty, bubbling, Pasta e Fagioli.  Herbs and spices and meat and dreams, all in one big pot.  It momentarily made me forget that it was 89º outside with it's warm, cozy aroma.

So take that, hot fall, and all your haters.
I chose to override you.  It was awesome.

Now I think I'll go swimming.
That's the only thing you are good for, dumb, hot fall.