A long weekend of celebrations


As my 12-year-old son really wanted a sleepover, we opted for a Friday of a long weekend so that would give us enough time to recouperate. As it turned out it was a big night for Risk and playing the Nintendo Switch. Here are the boys eating pizza and taking over their countries and working out their “world peace” strategies. This game of Risk went on for around 3 hours until there were enough “peaceful takeovers” of the countries they cared about.


We took a break for cake time and this year as I do not have a great deal of free time I made a chocolate mint pound cake and iced it with melted chocolate with sprinkles which tasted a treat as well!

Saturday was a huge celebration for our littlest neighbour who turned 1! My neighbours are right next door, and we have hardly seen each other as their little one was born with congenital Glioblastoma which is a Stage 4 brain tumour and they have spent most of the last year in the hospital with their little one. I was so happy to have been invited to their celebration as I have hardly seen them and their little one. It has been such an arduous journey for my neighbours to go through as it was so worrying, but it was such a beautiful experience to be spending time with them over the weekend and celebrating their little girls birthday.


The theme for the party was ‘Super Girl’ as that was the costume for Halloween as well as being super for getting through such a stressful time. I love the superhero theme as it was so appropriate for what their little girl has been through – she is smiling, happy and super social just like her wonderful parents.


And what has been happening in the classrooms of late – I have been volunteering Thursday mornings for Arts Focus, and we are in our 4th week this week. Last week we did fleece pillows, and I found one of the students embellishing hers with plenty of bows. I love it when the kids go that extra step and get creative with their pieces.


And in the 2nd-grade classroom, one of the students has been working on pattern sudoku with shapes, and I was working with them to finally come up with the solution to their puzzle. It required a lot of examination and looking over and over at the shapes until we had finally solved it! This is how I like to see math in the classroom, hands-on and engaging.

A piece a week – A very Happy Birthday to Me!

Last week after the fun of my daughters 8th birthday it was my birthday week beginning with a lovely crepe breakfast with green smoothie on a Monday morning prepared by my family! We went out the Kumino the night before for dinner and as it is my birthday I don’t do any cooking – just catch up on projects to do and relax – hey it is your day so you have to make the most of it! 
So it was time to make away and I wanted to make a special birthday dress – this is a favorite pattern of mine as it can be worn in winter with layers or on it’s own in the summer time. This fabric was found at FabMo and it reminds me of an African tribal fabric so I have added interesting accessories like my scarab beetle earrings and a necklace I made out of tiger’s eye and random beads I inherited. I went out with my friends for my birthday on Friday to a favorite restaurant of mine in Sunnyvale – DishDash, beautiful cocktails and the food is Mediterranean and delicious! So much vegetarian to choose from and fresh flatbread and innovative cocktails is always a winner in my book. 
Get ready to celebrate
It was such a busy week with the school’s open house, PBL and Art show on Wednesday and the Art Show Reception on Thursday night. That the time in between was minimal so I had to quickly cut the dress and work on it in the evenings when I felt I had the energy – completing it with hemming on Friday when I helped take the CSMA art show down at school – whew! Hardly any time to read but my hubby found this dreamy book called Cabin P*rn at the local library – time to set up our future residence in the forest, where is that yurt??
Checking out the Cabins – for our future retirement Air BnB
Celebrating with the Funfetti cake the family made me! 
Here I am with my cat boy – Mack

Just before hitting the restaurant for dinner – I was starving and we had to wait 30 mins to get in!
Oh and another Badass selfie – this one with some wisteria, it smells amazing!

 The weekend was rainy so we went on a bike ride with the Superintendent from our school district and our school principal. Both Dr Rudolph and Ms Westover love riding so it was perfect for them, though not so perfect with the weather. The sprinkles managed to get us wet slowly but surely still it was refreshing and not too cold for riding. We stopped to check out the egret nesting area near Google and enjoyed some chocolate and some snacks for the slow ride back with the kids pace. Riding on the dedicated bike lane was such a treat in itself and if only the city can add more to make cycling safer – I volunteer with Safe Mountain View and with some perseverance we can make it happen!

Riding along in the rain

Love this bike lane crossing at Shoreline

Sunday was adopt a chicken day with the 4H Rolling Hills Poultry Project. As we enjoy getting up early and out and about on the weekends we hit the freeway early and headed over to Half Moon Bay to do some tide pooling – by the time we got there the tide was coming in super fast. Still we found something to do, breathe in the fresh and and go searching for crabs. The day was overcast and you can see the fog in these pics still it wasn’t too cold so we could hang out and enjoy our beach time.

Looking for critters on their little island before the tide came in
Fishing with kelp

Finding baby crabs

We were lucky to find this guy – he quickly skittered away

I always like to take my camera out on the weekends to see what we can find and as the weather was overcast that can be a great opportunity to take some pictures without any shadow so it was an excellent opportunity to take close ups of what I found on the beach. We are at Pillar Point as we went there on a super low tide one year and it was so good. This time we had to make do with the still creatures washed ashore which still are beautiful.

Sea glass AKA a broken coke bottle in the sand, the shells trying to shoo it away

Beautiful seaweed growing on a rock

The colors of the seaweed and shells always are impressive

Sheltering from the winds – a ladybug on a rock

The kids enjoyed picking up the seaweed and exploring the rocks to look for elusive crabs. The snow boots did come in handy though by the end of this the tights and the boots my daughter wore were drenched from walking in the water! Examining the seaweed colors in and out of the water was fascinating for my daughter and then she found a mussel and wanted to open it, I said to her I think it will be happier in the water.

Fly and be free little seaweed

Walking out looking for little critters in small tide pools
Coming back after a wander

Finally after lunch of some local fish and fish tacos at the Princeton Seafood Company – super fresh fish and chips with local fish on the menu. They also had a fish market with super fresh fish ready to go home with you. The cool thing was seeing the boats bring in the fresh live Dungeness crab at $6 a pound – so many crabs going to peoples homes in bags fresh for their dinner.

We met the Poultry project kids at the Half Moon Feed and Fuel to choose our foster chick – Missy chose a Production Red chick that we will be looking after in a couple of weeks. Each child looks after the chicks for a week with all the supplies and the heat lamp to keep them warm – we are looking forward to our time with the chicks.

Chicks ready to be fostered

On our way home we stopped by at the Worlds Rare Plants who came and spoke to the 2nd grade class about their Venus Fly Trap habitat project. Right next door is Highway 92 Succulents – now that was a treat for a succulent collector like me!

Love the colors of this plant now it lives in our place – an Echeveria – gibbiflora

A display of sundews, venus fly traps and pitcher plants by the owner who used to be a landscape architect
Tonight I am teaching this class at the local library, we have 11 signups so it will be fun – I better go get myself prepared and start cutting some fabric. All in all it was a fun week – how do you celebrate with your special day – week – month?

A piece a Week – A fun party skirt

Following on the grand success of the circle skirt pattern from last week I had found the perfect fabric with a lovely soft drape for a circle skirt! As it was Ash’s 10th dodge ball birthday party what a great excuse for a party skirt and to dress up 🙂

Let us party down at the park on this hot October day!!
On top of my usual boutique preparations and general house management I also made this amazing cinnamon roll pound cake from Grandbaby Cakes – it was such a hit with everyone! It was perfectly moist and the flavor was not too sweet. Super easy to make and the bundt tin was perfect for a party of 20 people. It was fun to break away from the theme cakes of the past and make a big boy cake 🙂 with a little hint from mum to say, you like cinnamon right?

The birthday boy and his yummy cake
And the beginning of my week I went to open studio to collect some ceramic pieces – yes more bowls but in an interesting array of glazes. I was so happy with some of them that I would love to repeat the experiments and see what happens – as it goes with glazing you never know what to expect! 
A stack of bowls – now only to get them all the same size?!?

52 week project – Sri Lankan Cookbook – Breudher

For some reason over the last couple of busy weeks in my schedule I have chosen to do somewhat complicated recipes. I have managed to fit in making a Breudher this week after a hectic week of preparing for the trunk show (see previous post). I loved the show and the time to get this done last week was slim. So yesterday I got a start on it in the afternoon after volunteering in the classroom and made the first step for this recipe is the bread dough. My house is way too cold for bread to rise so I left it out in the sunshine and it rose just perfectly doubling in size. So thank goodness for the warmth outside as it would take forever to get this done! This is a cake that is usually served at Christmas with Dutch Edam Cheese – we would have this for breakfast and what a treat it was! The Breuder was part of the Dutch influence in Sri Lanka – actually my ancestors from way back are Dutch. Be sure to have a bit of time on hand and a warm area for the bread to rise before getting a start on this recipe. 
This has been adapted from a Anita Dickman and Charmaine Solomon recipe due to being confused about how to incorporate the ingredients. Prepare the dough first as it has to rise twice and then once Breudher ingredients are incorporated it has to rise again. Prepare a Bundt pan for this recipe as it looks wonderful – I just used my ring pan which does not have an elaborate pattern like the Bundt tin so it does not have the ‘hanger appeal’.  
Basic Bread Dough
(White Bread)
500g (1.1lbs) plain flour
2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
25g (1oz) of melted butter (optional)
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1. Dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup warm water, sprinkle yeast on top and leave aside for 10-15 minutes until it becomes frothy.
2. Sift flour in a bowl make a well in the centre of the flour, add yeast mixture, melted butter and the balance water.
3. Add the water gradually until you get a soft, sticky dough.
4. Cover bowl with a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for 15 – 20 minutes or until bubbles start to breakthrough the surface, which indicates that the dough has started to rise.
5.  Punch the dough in the middle. Then turn the dough to a floured counter and knead the dough until it is no longer sticky. Dust occasionally with flour. 
6. Put back in a clean bowl and leave to rise for 1 – 11/2 hours or until double in bulk. Turn dough out onto a floured counter and knead lightly for a few seconds. Add the salt at this stage and place in a huge mixing bowl.
7. Follow the Breudher recipe from here. 

Breudher ready to go with some Australian Tasty Cheese
500g (1.1lbs) basic bread dough (see recipe above)
1/2 teaspoon salt

150g (6 ozs) sugar
6 egg yolks

75g (3 oz) butter

100g (4 oz) sultanas
1 tablespoon flour
1. Make dough and leave aside to rise. 
2. When it is well risen, punch dough, add salt and knead well.
3. Then weigh the dough to make sure it is 500g (1.1lbs).
4. Put it into an electric mixer and beat (with a dough hook) while adding the sugar slowly.  
5. Add the egg yolks one at a time. Add the butter a little at a time.
6. Dust the sultanas with 1 tablespoon flour and mix through the dough. 
7. Pour the breudher mix into a ring mould and leave in a warm place to rise for 30 – 40 minutes until it doubles in bulk (I used a preheated oven that was turned off as it keeps its warmth, as it was evening). 
8. Bake at 200 degrees C (or 400 degrees fahrenheit) for 10 mins and then at 180 degrees C (350 degrees fahrenheit) for a further 10-15 minutes. 
9. If the top starts to brown too soon, cover with foil and cook until a skewer comes out clean. 
10. Cool for 5 minutes in pan and turn out on a wire rack to cool completely. 
11. Serve with butter and Dutch Edam cheese.
Note: It is important that the ingredients are added gradually to keep the batter firm. 

A slice of Breudher and a cup of tea was always a pleasure at family gatherings

Countdown and today is one crazy day…

For my little sea lover Ash who turned 7 today… I had a crazy busy day of gathering last minute party supplies, then into his classroom for his Star of the Week project that involved decorating cookies with kids in small groups of 6. It went pretty smoothly I would say! There were rules with no sugar and no nuts so I found a super oat cookie recipe from my favourite cookbook – King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking and made an icing from this recipe here which was quite tasty as it had a slight coconut flavour to it.

I would say that around 90% of the class enjoyed it, which was good to see as I am not a fan of frosting on American cakes at all! So the decorations were orange flavoured cranberries (thanks to TJs), raisins, dried papaya and coated dates (which looked like licorice bullets). The most popular of course was the dried papaya as it is super sweet – I asked the kids if they knew what it was and most of them did not know. Maybe I was lucky growing up in the tropics in Australia and living in a family who came from tropical Sri Lanka. After all that, the kids did enjoy the cookies and scoffed them down – a few keeping the cookies for later with their lunch.

So after the fun with cookies and the classroom I dashed home to get my lunch of buckwheat noodles and tofu and hung out while my son enjoyed soccer in a class of older kids thanks to his birthday today. But the day did not end there… a parent/teacher conference was next which went well and a huge thank you to his amazing and caring teacher. After that was over it was homeward bound yay!

Dinner was a lovely gnocchi primavera with a very tasty banana cake recipe from A Homemade Life what a glorious way to end a crazy day. So here’s to my big boy my latest inspiration a tidepool inspired cushion – it will add colour to where ever you throw it!

Starfish cushion – under the sea, under the sea, anyone seen Finding Nemo?

Party time

Peach blossom

I haven’t been blogging as I was busy organising a party for my now 4 year old. We had a garden party in our back yard and it was such a beautiful day. While out buying supplies I found a bunch of peach blossoms which were a perfect addition for the table. I planned on getting a huge glass vase but I couldn’t justify spending the time and money to find it. Instead I found an old vase from a yard sale and dressed it up in ribbon. The flowers were the standout and we had a enjoyable afternoon feast with a cake in the shape of a butterfly – what a day for a spring fling. 

Butterfly cake with 4 candles as antennae 
The idea for the cake was found in a cake book I picked up at the library and I was impressed by the design and the fact that it was just one 9″ round cake cut into the shape of a butterfly. I think I made a 2 layer cake and the body was a genoise cake that failed miserably due to my lack of a KitchenAid Artisan. Still the cake was delicious and loved by my daughter 🙂 I love making cakes for the kids for their birthdays.