1. Can you believe it? We’re at the end of September! Where is this year going??? It’s officially Fall, and we had a sneak peak of the cool weather for about 4 days and then it went right back to the high 90’s and 100’s out here in Southern California. I personally love summer and enjoy the long days because I get more time in the garden. But truthfully, we’ve put a lot of big projects on hold until it cools off to at least the 80’s. So we had started trenching for water and sprinkler lines and then stopped. We are calling it a moat for now! But hey, look towards the back fence… the fruit trees got planted!!! There’s a Meyer’s lemon tree (ooooooo, ahhhhh) and two apple trees. Maybe next year we’ll be able to make apple pies from those trees.
2. We’ve had a bunch of healthy bugs in the yard this summer and Fall. I’ve been a little worried with hearing everyone talk about the bees and how they are dying off in record numbers. But I must say that I spent lots of time checking on our garden and we were lucky enough to have lots of bees, hornets and butterflies. We planted Marigolds to keep out the pests and attract the “good bugs,” and those got started kinda late. But once they grew and flowered, it seemed like the ecosystem came alive. Now the Marigolds must have hundreds of little blooms on them and the bugs seem very happy! I love this story about a father and son who invented a new way to do bee keeping.
3. Speaking of bees, we went to the LA County Fair this last weekend and there was an educational booth about bees. It was great to meet with a few beekeepers and hear them talk about how the bees work hard for our benefit. The fair itself was amazing. We enjoyed walking around the more quiet section where they had set up huge garden boxes. There were rows and rows of all sorts of plants growing. We were able to get some ideas about watering and also learned a few things about natural weed control. We stayed until night time and the lights from all the booths and rides was quite a show stopper!
4. We visited a local comedy club in Claremont for the first time called Flapper’s. We went with a friend and just happened to look up the show times on Yelp and there was a 2 for 1 deal if you checked in online. SCORE! I hadn’t thought of checking Yelp first before going places to see if they had check-in deals. I must remember this for the future! The show was incredibly funny. One of the comedians, Bethany Dwyer, had me laughing so hard my cheeks were hurting! While I was there, I ordered an Italian Peaches and Cream Soda for the first time! What the heck?!? I’ve been missing out! It was so yummy, like drinking a peach pie!!! I’ll be back for more of both Bethany and the Cream Soda!
5. Okay, speaking of Italian foods, we visited San Diego a few weekends ago and I had Italian ice cream for the first time. It was made with real fruit and it was so soft and heavenly. We tried a few combinations like raspberry with lemon and mango with coconut. I became addicted immediately! Not sure why, but that’s two Italian sweet treats things that I have never known about until now! What else am I missing out on?
6. I went to Target the other day and checked out the kitchen gadgets and appliances. I’ve had my eye on a Kitchen Aid Food Processor for a few months now. I thought it might be nice to have one to chop veggies quickly. My sweetie pie is also wanting to make his own almond butter at home and I saw a nifty Youtube about making homemade almond butter. I checked prices for the food processor on Amazon and it was showing at $120. When I went to Target, they had them on Clearance for $99. Then when I went up to the counter, the checker lady told me it was ringing up for $68!!! She mentioned that every store does Clearances on their own for various products (so no two stores will have the same mark downs), but this was a big eye opener for me! I will definitely be checking prices for gadgets and gizmos more often. I wonder if the brick and mortar stores are trying to compete with Amazon???
7. I’ve been enjoying adding new articles and content to the food blog. I recently read an article that described Warren Buffet’s productivity methods. It’s very easy with a food blog to get side tracked into 100 different little tasks. There’s search engine optimizing and social media and writing posts and upgrading photography skills and adding in videos, etc. etc. Sometimes it’s hard to know which things matter most. I found this article very enlightening and it really helped me prioritize the major tasks for my day!
8. Sugar and Cashew have been teaching me some very important lessons as well, especially about getting out of the house, walking and being curious. Their favorite thing to do is to take a mid day walk into downtown Claremont so they can get their “pee-mail” and adventure around. Who would have thought that dogs would teach a human to STOP WORKING and GO PLAY for a little bit each day 😉 So, I’m learning from the dogs to take breaks and go for a walk. I’ve been hearing how sitting is the new silent killer anyway, and I’m prone to sitting for hours in front of the computer to get my writing and editing complete. Who could resist their little faces anyway?!?
9. We’ll be participating in the 8th annual KCRW Pie Contest this weekend! We’ve decided to only enter the pecan pie this year and try to up the ante a bit by making the pie look amazing (we already know it tastes amazing!) So, I just bought these cute Fall cookie cutters to cut leaf designs out of the crust. The pie contest really starts this week for us as we are honing our crust making skills and buying ingredients. Saturday we will be baking the entire day. And then Sunday we check in and hope for a winning pie!
10. I’ve got my eye on a Zen style Garden Arbor. We are hoping to eventually turn the backyard into an oasis. Right now, it’s more like a war torn zone! But I’ve been playing this silly game on my iPhone called Fishdom and you can earn gold coins as you play the game and then you buy things to put in your aquarium. I realized while playing this game that I haven’t thought about adding any little figurines, statues or designs to our yard!!! It reminded me to get creative again and think about what accents would make it feel more like home. The zen peaceful style is right up our alley. If you think of anything that would be a great addition, please send me a link!
~Mandy Gatlin, Sweetie Pie and Cupcakes