I must confess, the entire time I was making this lovely little stuffed spinach pizza pie, I was singing that song by Dean Martin to myself–you know, the one where he’s crooning “when the moon meets your eye,”–or is it “the sky?”–“like a big pizza pie, that’s amore…” I always butcher song lyrics.

Anyway, fun in the kitchen tonight! My mom (aka “Nana”) was here today, and after I finished writing, I got to do some cooking (my favorite). Ever since I found a friend’s famous stuffed spinach pie recipe in a box, I’ve been dying to make it. It’s so fun because you make it in a cast iron skillet! The recipe, and photos …


My dear readers, I’ll just say it: motherhood is hard. Joy-filled and wonderful, yes. But it is hard. Are you a mom? A new mom? A pregnant, soon-to-be mom? Then this list is for you. If you’re just thinking about motherhood or know someone who is, tuck this post away for the future (or forward it to that haggard, sleep-deprived new mom in your life–just don’t tell her she’s haggard. But you know that already.). These are the things that make my life just a wee bit easier, and I suspect they will do the same for you, too. This one’s for you mamas!

A friend of mine told me that she thinks it's so sad when people (especially people with kids) keep nothing on their refrigerators, as in no photos, kid art, magnets, random store coupons--nada. I have to say, I agree with her. In some weird way that's hard to quantify, a messy fridge door somehow signifies a happy, full, joyful life, doesn't it? Our fridge is normally cluttered with alphabet magnets, photos, and strange ephemera from 2003. But that all changed this summer when we put our house on the market. Our real estate agent mentioned that we might want to de-clutter the fridge (not a bad idea), so we did. But, it's funny, I felt like we were taking away some of the life--and some of the love--out of our home when we did. Now that we've taken our home off the market, the fridge is starting to--slowly--return to normal

This afternoon, I grated up the last of the zucchinis from my in-laws' Pendleton vegetable garden and made this tasty treat. The house smelled so lovely and delicious while it was baking and the best part was watching my husband and 2 year old, Carson, devour it. There's still a slice or two left, and I've hidden it away for a midnight snack.


(Side note: That is not my child, but isn’t he adorable?!) One of the great joys of motherhood, I’ve decided, is being able to dress your kids up in (funny) costumes. This year, Russell, who is 9 months, will be a monkey. Carson, the 2 and a half year old, is going to be a bumble bee (he picked out this adorable costume himself!) But, if I’d known about the adorable (and affordable!) costumes over at the Etsy shop, DIY Costumes, which I read about over at Green & Gorgeous, I would have had two little lions this year. Here’s how it works: You buy little kits ($15–cheap!) to transform a sweater or hoodie into an imaginative costume.

My friend Kathy sent me this photo of the amazing carrots her kids, Akemi (8) and Kai (6) grew in their garden this summer. Akemi's been gardening for several years now--since she was just 5 years old. In 2006, I wrote about her adorable story for The Seattle PI: She started a garden in hopes of selling her produce to raise money for the local hunger relief agency Northwest Harvest. Several years later, she's still gardening. Her mom tells me that she's raised $317 this summer to donate. I expect big things from this kiddo in the years to come (first female--Japanese American--president?! Maybe!). For now, I'm admiring her giving, curious spirit and her amazing carrots. P.S. Garden lovers, here's the seed blend that produced these amazing veggies.

Paraphrased from a line I read in the current issue of Parenting: "Look at the wear and tear your kids have made on your couches. Imagine what they've done to your marriage." (P.S. That's Carson (now 2 and a half) at age 7 months, with his favorite book on the couch, well love seat (but who calls them love seats anymore, really?!). The poor couch has taken a mega beating.)

I normally share healthy cooking ideas--especially on my blog, Vitamin G, but sometimes life calls for things like sugar cookies, you know? I recently tested out some pretty sugar cookie variations for a article which you can look for in a future issue of Glamour magazine. My favorite sugar cookie? These cute pansy cookies that are so elegant (and easy!)! All you do is press a freshly picked pansy flower on the dough before baking--dust with sugar if you want, but I like them plain. P.S. I'm getting a new camera. I can't stand the way mine is working these days. Any suggestions for a great "prosumer" SLR that happens to do really well with portraits and food photos?