San Francisco Days and Roasted Tomatoes


One of my favorite houses in the neighborhood.


Out on a trek through the woods of Golden Gate Park with this mini hiker!  

Hey there friends– Back from 3 weeks in San Francisco with new baby Oscar and his dear family. Missing them all from here.

We made this new favorite roast tomato pasta for dinner one evening there, and liked it so much we did it again a couple days later when friends dropped to meet that Oscar!

It’s super simple and the tomatoes and garlic smell incredible roasting in the oven!

ROASTED TOMATO PASTA
8 oz. mini ravioli (or your favorite pasta)*
2 cups small cherry tomatoes (red or yellow)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
a few grinds of fresh pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

garnish: parmesan romano cheese, grated & sprig of marjoram or basil

In a large bowl, stir together the cherry tomatoes, red onion, chopped bell pepper, garlic, basil, salt, pepper and olive oil.  Then turn it all out onto a baking sheet that has been lined with foil.  Scrape all the extra oil out of the mixing bowl on to the tomatoes.

Pop the tomatoes into a 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are just starting to brown a bit.

While they are cooking, cook up your favorite pasta according to the directions on the package.

Drain the pasta and spread it on a pretty platter.  Spoon the tomatoes and all the juices on the baking sheet over the pasta.  Serve it hot with a sprinkle of parmesan.  So so good!

*I used mini ravioli from Trader Joe’s here, but fresh ravioli is the best!

Hi again–

Just wanted to drop in a few more photos of our SF days (bits I want to remember)– Baby snuggling, good talks, quiet meals together, plenty of playground time with an almost 2 year old.  So glad we could be there.

     
Brand new little Oscar, at the hospital and on his way home for the first time.

     
Lois lined up with kids waiting to get in the library for story time.  With Mom on the playground.  Lois & Grandma Duplo tower!

     
And one Sunday morning Larry and I went out on the town– Breakfast at my favorite ever bakery– B Patisserie.  A wonderful worshipful morning of church at Reality SF.  And then off to a cool new cafe for lunch– Theorita, specializing in pies like the baker’s grandma used to make (we split a piece of chocolate, pecan bourbon pie for dessert!)

So glad to have those days to watch our Oscar come into the big wide world– and see him blossom and grow in his new family.  Thanks Ani & Brian for everything!

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P.S. Here’s a few other favorite simple pasta recipes:
Broccoli, Chicken & Bacon Pasta
Pasta e Fagioli Soup
Saucy Tomato Chicken & Pasta
Creamy Lemon Chicken & Pasta

New Guy in the Family


Lois gets to know her brand new brother Oscar at the hospital.
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Hey there friends– Up in San Francisco for a couple weeks, chipping in to care for our new little grand-guy, Oscar.  And also hanging out with his big (almost 2 year old) sis, Lois.  It’s pure joy.

I could sit forever with this one week old on my lap, taking to him about all he has ahead– walking and singing, bedtime books and trips to the zoo.  I’ve told him about chocolate cake and how much he’s loved by so many people.


First family of four photo– Oscar’s very first day in the big wide world!


And the little star himself — baby Oscar!!
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There’s just so many things I want him to know!  So I’m writing them down and someday (when he can read??) I’ll send them to him:

To Oscar–Things I Want You to Know For Sure:

#1.  You are so deeply loved– by mom & dad, by sister Lois, by Grandpa & me… and a long list of dear people!

#2.  I will be happy to play with you– hide & seek, legos, and even (my unfavorite) Candy Land game.

#3.  I’m ready to cheer you on at each new step ahead, on every new adventure.  (Save me a seat at your college graduation!!)

#4.  I’ll always be ready to listen  — to your knock jokes & long stories & anything you want to talk through.

#5.  We have some good times ahead!!  Family Christmases, camping hikes, birthday cakes and lots of snuggly story times.

#6.  I promise see you as your own little person– helping you grow and change in your own unique way.  I simply cannot wait to see the wonderful grown up guy you become!

#7.  You can count on Grandpa and me to be there when you need us– just text (or whatever kids will do to communicate in the future!) and we’ll come running.

#8.  I will always remember the day you were born.  We were waiting to see who you would be!!  And you were perfect!

#9.  I will pray for you in your years ahead–  for you to grow and learn and walk in the way God has for you.

#10.  You have the whole world ahead of you little Oscar. What will it be like??  God bless you, sweet boy, in all the years to come.
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And here’s a few more photos of our time together:
     

    

     
 Above photos:  Scooter Girl!  Lois checking in on her baby Oscar.  Our girl mixing up a peach cobbler with Grandma.  Afternoon out with Ani for tea & treats at Andytown.  Lois’ walk in Golden Gate Park with Gr. Larry.  Shiny Oscar after his first bath at home.
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And P.S.
Spent this summer quilting up a little blanket for baby Oscar– such a fun project anticipating and praying for this little guy as I stitched along.
     

Links for a few more quilt pics–
A Quilt for Baby Otto
Quilt of Many Colors –Laurel & John’s Wedding Quilt
Quilt Story — A Quilt for Baby Lois
Little Quilts — Charlotte (7) & Maryann  (5) make tiny quilts
San Francisco Quilt Delivery–  Ani & Brian’s wedding Quilt

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And some last thoughts:

“Babies are such a nice way to start people”  –Don Herald

“Every child begins the world again.”   –Henry David Thoreau

“If your baby is beautiful and perfect, never cries or fusses, sleeps on schedule and burps on demand, an angel all the time, you’re the grandma.”   (that’s me!)   — Theresa Bloomingdale.

“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord”  –Psalm 127:3

So very thankful for the life of this dear little one and all he has to come.  Love you tiny Oscar.

Wedding Weekend


Hello all– We had kids come and stay a few days for a wedding weekend.  Our niece Alyssa and her Nick were married on Saturday and it was such a thoughtful, beautiful time together. So happy for them in their new life together–God Bless.   Here’s the highlights:

My favorite part of the wedding was 91 year old Grandpa Stu giving a blessing in the ceremony and a wonderful prayer before the wedding meal.  Here he’s chatting with the bride & groom.  And Micah, Jodi, Ani and Brian at the reception.
     

And after the wedding there were sunny days with Lois and her parents around the house –and at Grandma Lo’s pool.
     

Nothing better than time with the family– from the beautiful celebration to the  low key times around the house talking and eating together.

Good Times in San Francisco


Hi there friends– Happily home from a week in San Francisco.  Our Laurel was out in SF from Wisconsin so I headed up for a sweet time with my 2 girls together in the same city!  — and stayed the week to watch Little Lois.  Here’s the best parts:

Spent a morning wandering through Golden Gate Park and ended up at the Beach Chalet outdoor tables for a picnic-ish lunch.

     

And we had a day out at the Presidio, a former military installation, first established by the Spanish in 1776– strolled through the Officers Club, now with a Presidio Museum– And ended up at Native Burger for lunch (notice the small hand reaching for my burger–I didn’t notice it when I took the photo!)

     

     

But the real highlight of the week was watching Little Lois while her Mom was away.  We hit a couple library story times and a few playgrounds, baked biscuits and read so many stories.
     

     
So grateful to spend a “Girls Weekend” with Ani, Laurel and Lois (and of course, you too Brian!!)  Can’t wait to see you all again!

Beautiful Kyoto


Hello to you all– If you’ve been reading along here, you’ve seen our recent travels with Brian, Ani & their Little Lois. Finally our last stop– Beautiful Kyoto.  We took the Bullet Train south from Tokyo, past towns and rice fields to spend some days in this lovely old capitol of Japan.

Our Air Bnb In Kyoto was a traditional older house, with sliding walls and mat flooring.  The beds were rolled out on the floor and the table down low as well.  Loved the woodwork and detailed hardware.

     

This first evening we arrived we took a walk through our neighborhood–narrow lanes with kids playing ball and riding bikes and ended up by a local temple.

     

The next morning, we took a subway uptown to a large city park, nestled into a bustling shopping area.  We noticed many young women dressed in traditional Japanese outfits and later walked past stores that rented these clothes to tourists for the day of picture taking!!

     

     

One evening we trekked up the hill to a Shinto Shrine, following trails of archways partway up a mountain.  The sun was setting and it was a peaceful end to a busy day.

     

We spent an afternoon in the bustling indoor market (with a whole lot of other tourists), browsing over stalls of food, treats and souvenirs–and sampling a few snacks ourselves.

     

And one sunny morning, we strolled through the park and into the complex of ancient buildings that were the Emperor’s palace in the days when Kyoto was the capitol city of Japan.

      

Our last afternoon we studied our way through the Kyoto Train Museum.  Brian, an big fan of public transportation, led the way.  Lois favorite was the Thomas the Train tracks!

     

And don’t you agree that sampling new foods is one of the best bits of traveling??  Our first evening we wandered into a small neighborhood shop with just 8 seats around a small kitchen, where we watched our proprietor prepare the one meal choice for that evening.
     

Another dinner was at the local skewer shop– tables on platforms, sit on the floor to dig into small plates of all kinds of things cooked on skewers.

     

Our fanciest lunch was on a top floor of a tall downtown building– at a restaurant where you cook your own meal over a grill in the center of the table–veggies, mushrooms, different cuts of beef.
     

We ate at a crazy automated sushi place, where you ordered on a screen and a little conveyor belt brought dishes to your table.  Then you fed the plates down a slot on the table and for every 5 plates, you could play a little game on the screen to win a prize!  (There were lots of families with kids eating here!)
     

Our last morning we “yelped” a German-Japanese Bakery near our little house.  It was a wonderland of baked goods (my favorite kind of place!)

    

And one last photo–heading through the train station on our way to the airport and our flights home…

Ani and Brian–thanks thanks again for inviting us along on this marvelous adventure!!  You two and that Little Lois are the best kind of travel buddies.  Let’s do it again!!

Cream Biscuits

Good Morning!  I had a breakfast helper today– the “Mix it up” girl Lois (that is her only cooking vocabulary to date).  We made biscuits for breakfast– tender in the middle and a little crispy around the edges. They’re not the prettiest biscuits, but so delicious!  And then we sat down to eat them together with plenty of jam.

     

CREAM BISCUITS
2 cups flour
2 tab. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking power
1/3 cup cold butter (2/3 of a stick)
1 cup whipping cream

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.  Cut the butter into smallish pieces and then with a pastry blender or 2 forks, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in the whipping cream until you have a stiff ball of dough.  Flatten the dough onto the counter and cutout circles with a large cookie cutter (or like my grandma with a drinking glass).

Set the cut biscuits (about 6 large biscuits) onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray and set them into a 400 degree oven for 15 to 17 minutes until they are nicely browned.  Serve hot with honey or jam!!  yummm!

P.S. They’d be perfect “shortcakes” to serve with strawberries and cream.

Big City Travels– Tokyo

Hello there– On with our saga of travels with Ani & Brian!! We stayed a few days in bustling, efficient Tokyo  –checked in to our Air BnB, a sleek modern small home, just 8 feet wide, but equipped with tech conveniences that made it a great little place to stay.  Here’s our pint sized traveler Lois coming out the front door.

Our first morning we wandered down some shopping streets to a complex of temples crowded with  Japanese visitors enjoying the sunny day out.

     

With the help of the super subway system and Brian’s navigation, we touristed around town– from the city of views of City Hall to the alleys of food stands surrounding the famous fish market and for a Sunday stroll through a huge city park.

     

     

     
bottom 2 photos:  famous “egg on a stick stand” and my favorite– ginger octopus/shrimp on a stick!  –from the food stands by the fish market.

There were a couple favorite shopping stops. Near our Air Bnb was a long street of kitchen/restaurant supply stores!!  Loved that.  And downtown, the nine story Muji store– super designed housewares, clothing, stationery and a stylish cafe.

     

     

To complete the trip, we found a couple of wonderful Ramen places, a department store with a whole floor of food venders and a roof top park to picnic with your purchases,  and an old style  restaurant where you sit on the floor around a large grill and cook seafood pancakes.

     

     

     

From Tokyo, we boarded the bullet train south to Kyoto, passing Mount Fuji out our window along the way.  From amazing Tokyo to beautiful Kyoto…