Bollywood and Into the woods

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The wonderful summer heat was here this week for a fleeting moment and then by the time Friday rolled around the fresh winds came by in time for the Bollywood dance party organised by my friends as an auction item for the school! It was such a fun night with amazing food, cocktails and dancing! It was a gift to myself for submitting my second maths assessment a video presentation on a natural maths phenomenon, which I really enjoyed doing!

 

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The ladies ready to drink
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It’s selfie time 
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Enjoying cocktails together! 

 

There was even a dress up corner where you could put on a sari and add accessories of bindis and bangles – we had so much fun! The drinks were flowing, and friends came from the school community, and we were ready to party 😀

Check out the dance floor action here in the video – I loved every minute of this.

Sunday we met our friends from Oakland at Sunol Regional Wilderness Area, and it was the perfect day for a hike with friends. The sun was out as were the butterflies and the bees! It took us a while to find the trail as we wandered along the creek for a while through poison oak until finally, we saw the up arrow!

Along the hike, we spotted so many wildflowers. I have no idea what most of these are called except for the milk thistle and the California poppies.

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The boys work on getting us on the right track after we messed up the first attempt bush bashing through the woods.

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Finally, we were rewarded with open fields of grasses and wildflowers, and my hayfever was in full swing with all the blooms and pollen flying around everywhere. We wandered up to the top of the hill to see the view of Little Yosemite with all the falls below us. Once we got down there, it felt just like Yosemite with lots and lots of people wandering down this one little goat trail to get to the falls and rock scrambling.

I don’t know if the hills on the left are being mined for rocks, but they do look strange. We wandered down many paths, to get to the falls and to check out the water and rocks. It was just beautiful though it would be lovely with not at many folks around so I opted to sit quietly under a tree in the shade for a while to just listen to the water.

The kids really liked rock scrambling around the falls that were not very deep – off went their shoes so they could get their grip on the rocks and explore the area. I enjoyed watching them on a rock as I had a camera that I don’t like to get wet or to hit against rocks, which was fine to just bask in the sunshine.

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It was so fun to get together at last with our friends from O-town and enjoy a hike together amongst the wildflowers and the woods.

A piece a Week – A Tea Cozy for the Downton Abbey final

Getting motivated to fit in my special volunteer projects can be very tricky with my schedule. Last weekend I worked on a wrap tea cozy for the Downton Abbey final happening next week on PBS! In getting ready to say farewell to one of my favorite shows I have been listening to the podcast with behind the scenes interviews. 
With the celebration of the final, the library staff and I thought it would be nice for the Sew Sew with FabMo class to make their own tea cozy. This class is scheduled after the final but still it always nice to have a warm pot of tea in the evenings – I will have to give it a try. On March 13th at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon the library is having a Downton Abbey tea party at the Community Room, so if you are a local and enjoy Downton this is the place for you! 
For this tea cozy I used FabMo Interior Design fabric for the exterior and a quilting cotton scrap for the inside. Soon I will post a tutorial for this, definitely before the class on March 15th!
Fancy a cuppa love?
With the Spring weather at the moment we are taking advantage of the sunshine and hiking the amazing trails around us. We revisited a trail from 2007 the Wunderlich Park trail in San Mateo. We walked uphill to this beautiful meadow and then back down again to the carpark a grand total of over 4.5 miles (around 7km). When we visited this trail in 2007 we had to carry a 1 year old now it is so much easier with our 10 year old and 7 year old using their own legs and keeping their own pace. Once we reached the meadow from the Bear Gulch Trail which is around 1.5 miles from the sign near the carpark, we stopped there for a snack and time to roll down the green hills, it felt like we were in the The Sound of Music surrounded by all the green.

Playing on the meadow

The view from the sign

Part 2 of the above shot!

This hike is interesting with the flats of Redwood forest in between the woods that include eucalyptus, manzanita and oak. The kids enjoyed the Redwoods that had been hollowed out by fire creating little caves to explore and hide in.

A dancing tree

Hiding in a Redwood

Sunshine in the eucalyptus grove

Nice big hole from an amazing old redwood

The mountain goat in action with a hiking stick

After our hike in the lovely weather and lunch at this great little El Salvadorian cafe in Redwood City we dashed home made a lovely Kale, Chickpea and Cous Cous salad for the Cub Scouts Blue and Gold dinner. The dinner marks the transition of the boys to their next level to Boy Scouts. For Ash it was his final destination – the Arrow of Light. He had to cross the bridge below marking the final year of cub scouts – unfortunately he is not wanting to continue, it is his decision. I think it is something he has enjoyed with his friends and now that middle school is around the corner who knows what activities will take its place.

Take this bridge to cross to Boy Scouts

Watch my arrow fly! 

Yay I have my arrow now and all is done!!

The Salad for the potluck- there is usually never enough salads at a potluck!

Kale, Chickpea, Beech Mushroom and Couscous Salad

Ingredients


1 cup Israeli cous cous

Beech Mushrooms from the CSA box

1 cup of Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) soaked overnight and cooked in the pressure cooker

Za’atar (see this site here) or you can buy it at Penzeys

Curly Kale with Sesame oil

Preserved Lemon to taste – finely chopped

Spring Onions and Parsley to finish

Get to it…

1. Cook couscous by boiling 1.5 cups of water and adding the 1 cup of couscous. Take off the stove and leave the lid on the saucepan for the couscous to steam and absorb the water – takes about 10-15 mins. Then use a fork to separate. 

2. Prepare the kale by pulling it off the stem and making small pieces in a large salad bowl add a touch of sesame oil and massage through the leaves and leave to soften and marinate. 

3. While the couscous is doing its thing cook the beech mushrooms in an iron skillet with a little bit of olive oil – watch them and enjoy their smell – be careful not to burn them. 

4. Take the mushrooms from the pan and place them in a bowl. Take the prepared drained chickpeas and add them to the skillet with some olive oil and add Za’atar to taste. 

5. By this time the cous cous is ready make sure you have separated the cous cous then add it to the bowl of kale. Take the cooked chickpeas and add them with the finely chopped preserved lemon. Use tongs to mix it all together and top with spring onions and parsley and serve it family style. 

A piece a week – Making with the kids, crafting without the internet

I wanted to post the crafts the kiddos and I were working on when we were in the cabin in the woods. There was no access to the outside world so I could not post while we were there, which was fine! Amazing what you can achieve when there is no internet to distract you 🙂 We made embroidered photographs with embellishments. The idea was from an Etsy tutorial using vintage postcards.

Embroidered photos with sequins
A sequin goat and lichen in the snow
A glam marmot and mustang and sunset by the kids

I have a few select pics that caught my eye from the 1000 or so pictures that I still have to edit from our trip to Lassen Volcanic Park and Mt Shasta.

Kids making a cairn by the creek at Eddy Creek Retreat
Oh Deer
Hummer in action!
Jump in the lake! 
Junior Rangers doing their pledge
Talking to the birds via a stuffed talking bird
Reflection lake with Lassen Peak in and Brokeoff Mountain
Mt Shasta and the lavender
Lilypond lake
Mc Arthur Burney Falls – just incredible!
The yurt where we stayed, oh so relaxing!!

Gotta go hiking – Coyote Hills Regional Park

Colourful Lichen on a rock 
An Indian Chief rock

Grass on a sea of mustard

Mustard plants against the sky

Bull rush the show!

Poppy complete with a bumblebee

Back to California and we were wanting to go on a hike and thanks to Bay Area Nature magazine and it’s reviews on places to visit we were inspired to visit Coyote Hills. What a lovely place to wander with water surrounding you and interesting rock sculptures.