Jeffrey bean’s 1st go on a sewing machine

Chloe let Jeffrey bean have a go on her new sewing machine, and not surprisingly, he was a natural too.  He caught on so quickly!  I was his age when I got my first sewing machine, a hand-me-down from my grandma’s tailor shop in Fallbrook.  Sewing is in our blood.  I can’t wait to see how the kids progress, and what beautiful creations they’ll be sewing in the near future. My heart is happy.

Day after Christmas 2016

I hope everyone enjoyed a relaxing day post Christmas.  Jeffrey and Chloe spent a good chunk of their morning and day out in our front yard with their new Stomp Rocket.  They had an absolute blast.  (See what I did there?) 🙂

I went to Crunch fitness to have a free training session with a personal trainer because one of my goals in 2017 is to fit into some of the clothes in my closet that I really love.  I did a bit too much baking in 2016.  Anyway, the trainer pretty much kicked my butt and I’m so going to feel it tomorrow.

In other news, Chloe got to use her brand new New Home Janome sewing machine for her first time ever, and she completed her very first machine sewn project!  She made a cloth napkin out of leftover floral fabric from a dress I made her a couple years ago.  She did really well for her first time!  She caught on pretty quick and she is SO proud of her first project.

I’m so proud of my little Chloe Michelle belle.  She sure is growing up fast. 🙂

Christmas Day 2016

Today was a great day and my heart is full.  The kids woke up this morning to find that Santa made all of their dreams come true. They got their sleds and their “flying” broomsticks, Chloe got her camera and Jeffrey got his sketch paper and pencils for drawing.  They played with their new things for a short time while I made us bacon, eggs and potatoes for breakfast.

Then we headed off to church for Christmas Day service and the kids’ Christmas pageant, which was Wizard of Oz themed.  The kids got to stay in their jammies for that one, which was really convenient. 🙂

Then we went to my parents’ house in Oceanside where the kids opened gifts and we all ate tamales—one of my favorite Christmas Day traditions!

When we got home the kids played, I read from my new book and then Keith and Jeffrey played a game of Harry Potter Wizard Chess.  (Thank you, grandma and grandpa!  Jeffrey has been eyeballing that at Barnes & Noble for such a long, long time!)

I hope all of you are enjoying a wonderful day with your families.  So much love to all of you.  Merry Christmas!


Gluten Free, Grain Free, Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (that taste REALLY good!)

It’s Christmas Eve and I’ve been baking up a storm today.  For the past few years we’ve been leaving Santa our favorite gluten free, grain free chocolate chip cookies.  Sometimes we make them vegan, and sometimes not depending on the chocolate chips we grab, but either way they’re REALLY good!

These are also my go to cookies for school functions because it seems that a good chunk of the families at are Waldorf school are gluten free, grain free and/or dairy free.  But honestly, these are a crowd pleaser even with gluten lovers!

They’re made with blanched almond flour (fine almond flour made from skinless almonds! Make sure to grab the blanched kind!)  I love almond flour because it tastes awesome and has lots of protein and fiber, and it’s easy to work with.  These cookies come together SO quickly and easily!

I hope you give these a try, even if you’re not a gluten/grain free person.  I haven’t met a person yet who hasn’t loved them!

Print Recipe
Gluten Free Grain Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
These cookies taste ah-mazing, even to gluten lovers! If you prefer milk chocolate chips, you can substitute those. They just won't be vegan or dairy free anymore. 🙂
Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients, making sure to stir thoroughly so it's well combined.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry and mix. I like to use a large fork. The dough will feel very wet. This is normal!
  5. Scoop the dough into 1/2 Tbsp balls on to a parchment lined cookie sheet and flatten *very* slightly.
  6. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until lightly brown.
  7. I like to scrape them from the cookie sheet while they're still somewhat malleable, because sometimes when I wait until they've cooled and are crisp they're more breakable.
  8. Enjoy! 🙂
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Jeffrey playing me Christmas music before we left for church

We spent this evening at Seaside Center for Spiritual Living’s annual candelight service.  Jeffrey bean had the honor of playing the little drummer this year. My sweet, sweet boy.  I love him SO much! You can catch the video below.

This night was so beautiful for so many reasons and I am so grateful we were able to make it this year.  It gave me all the feels.  I cried so much (happy tears) and my heart is overflowing with love and gratitude for our spiritual community.  Such a wonderful evening. Time to sleep and process it all.

Goodnight, world.


Gingerbread House Making 2016

Tonight we had our friends Maddy and Liam over for gingerbread house making.  We were able to grab some kits on clearance at Michaels and we also picked up some Wilton’s cake decorations and extra candies.  So much fun!

I baked my famous gluten free, vegan chocolate chip cookies, we drank hot cocoa and fun was had by all.

Now, off to dreamland because Jeffrey bean is performing in our school’s winter assembly in the morning, and then it will officially be winter break for nearly 3 weeks!  So excited!  Goodnight friends. 🙂

Santa Lucia Day 2016

Today was Santa Lucia day.  Yesterday I volunteered in Jeffrey bean’s class to help the second graders make Santa Lucia saffron buns, and I got to be with them this morning as they walked allover the school singing a sweet song and handing out their saffron buns.

It is our school’s tradition that the eldest girl in the second grade class gets to play the role of Santa Lucia.  Our Santa Lucia was very brave as she walked from classroom to classroom, with a crown of boughs and candlelight atop her head, and Jeffrey bean followed closely (and cautiously) behind her.

This was the song they sang.  I may have cried a little.  They looked and sounded so angelic with their sweet little faces and white clothes. I was able to capture the very first class they visited on video, which you can see below.

My heart!  This day was so beautiful and wonderful and I will always remember it.

The saffron buns. Photo cred: Alex Rymal

Cinnamon Applesauce Gingerbread Ornament Tutorial

Every year a bunch of our school’s parents gather together to make handmade gifts for all of the teachers and faculty members.  For the past couple of years I have been our school’s Chat ‘n Craft lady, and this year I remembered a beloved Christmas craft from my own childhood, and one that I did with my kids back when I home schooled them.

We made 50 or so cinnamon applesauce gingerbread person ornaments!  These are so fun to make and so easy.  Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce (I got mine at the dollar store since we’re not eating these)
  • 1 1/2 cups of ground cinnamon (again, the dollar store is your friend here)
  • 2 Tbsp of craft glue, such as Elmer’s
  • large mixing bowl
  • disposable drinking straw
  • rolling pin
  • gingerbread men cookie cutters
  • baking sheets
  • parchment paper
  • cookie cutters
  • access to an oven
  • acrylic or puffy paints for decorating
  • red and white baker’s twine for hanging

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the applesauce, glue and cinnamon with your hands until you have a dough that is just slightly dry.  You may need to add more applesauce or cinnamon, depending on how wet or dry it is.

Once your dough is a good consistency, separate it into workable chunks by making a few balls of dough.  On a smooth surface, roll out the dough until it’s totally smooth and about 1/3″ thick.  If you roll it too thin your ornaments will be fragile and will break when they’re stored. Ask me how I know. 🙁

Now we cut our shapes!  Once you’ve cut your shapes, use a straw to create a small hole near the the top of the ornament. This is where you’ll thread your twine so you can hang these after they’ve baked.

Then bake these on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper at 200º F for about 2 1/2 hours or until the gingerbread men are hardened and dry.

Allow them to cool completely.

Then the fun part!  Use your paints to make cute little faces on them.  Use your imagination!  I wanted more sophisticated ones since I am gifting these to faculty, so I just used black, white and red acrylic paints with fine tip paint brushes.  Allow these to dry completely and then use pieces of baker’s twine through the holes and hang them!

Aren’t they cute?!

These ornaments will last indefinitely, or at least I think so; my mom still has the ones my sister and I made in the early 1990s!  If you want you can take a Sharpie and write the year on the back.  These smell SO amazing and they make really great gifts.  As with the felt Christmas tree ornaments, these would also make cute gift toppers, in lieu of or in addition to bows.  I hope you have so much fun with this!

Winter Spiral at our Waldorf school 2016

Winter Spiral Photo cred: Embry Rucker

As the days grow shorter and darkness engulfs us, it is time to turn inward and create a little light of our own.  The kids’ Waldorf school has its Advent Spiral today, during which each child carries an apple candle through a winding maze of boughs towards the center where the light is.

They light their own small candles and carry their light forth on their return trip around the spiral, and then they set them down along the path.  While the children travel through the spiral, a harpist plays a soft, angelic tune.  When it is over, everyone exits the room singing Silent Night, softly.

I really love this festival and it’s among my favorite Waldorf traditions.  It really sets the mood for a different sort of holiday season filled with more stillness, reverence, contemplation and beauty, a stark contrast to the usual hustle bustle that we’re all accustomed to this time of year.  I always get emotional watching this, and I walk the spiral myself whenever I get the chance.  There’s just something so special about it.  I know I say this a lot, but I am so grateful my kids get to experience this each December.