Posts Tagged ‘Fall’


Being a Graduand

I have met the requirements for my degree. My cover sheet has been signed (the last signature was acquired Friday and, according to the shipping tracking information, arrived on campus Monday morning), my dissertation has been submitted online. I am a Graduand. There is nothing left for me to do but wait for my paperwork to be processed and the degree to be officially conferred.

That still feels so surreal to think about. It wasn’t that long ago that I wasn’t sure if I would graduate. I did order a copy of my thesis in book form. Maybe it will feel more real seeing my name ‘in print’.

Our Amazing Daughter

Nicki has been such a joy, I don’t even know where to begin. She’s adapted amazing well, (and quickly!) to her new life – the new home, the new daycare, the new schedule. She’s an incredibly happy little girl and tolerates most anything life throws at her, which in the past month has included six new teeth (4 molars!) a stomach bug which she handled better than Mommy & Daddy, and a cold. Her sunny personality has made this whole transition so much smoother.

I’m also thankful that she appears to really enjoy having her photo taken which lines up nicely to my hobby of taking her photo! Sometimes I think she even understands what the camera is for. Lately she’s smiling for the camera and not just at me behind it. She can even be quite the little ham at times, and loves seeing the photos afterwards. This afternoon she kept asking to see the view screen when I was flipping through the photos. She recognizes herself.

The Best Partner Anyone Could Ask For

Domingo has so many praises to be sung: awesome father, amazing husband. He was willing to move here to be closer to my work, never complains about the late shift with Nicki, and can operate under less sleep than I thought humanly possible. I know it’s trite and cliche to say, but I love him more and more each and every day.

In keeping with the photography theme, I will add how thankful I am that he puts up with my obsessive momtographer tendencies. The above photo was taken at the park Thanksgiving morning. A few weeks back I was perusing facebook and envious of all my friend’s fall photos. Here in California highs were still in the near 70s. We have two seasons: summer (hot and sunny), and winter (rainy and cool). We were still in ‘summer’. Since we don’t really have fall here the way the rest of the country does, it doesn’t really make sense for me to lament not having an opportunity for fall themed photos. After all, those aren’t our memories. Still, they reminded me of growing up back East and I wanted some!

I found a park with some leaves on the ground (a thin layer atop mostly wood chips). The park was fairly busy on the weekends with little league, but we figured it would be fairly empty Thanksgiving morning. We dressed Nicki in her light sweatshirt so the photos would feel more fallish, went early in the morning before it warmed up too much for her to wear it. While every sane person was getting their turkey prepped, we were snapping our ‘faux fall’ photos. Our little ham loved it.

The Starting of New Traditions

We started a new tradition this year. After Nicki went to bed Thanksgiving night, and with family still visiting, we decided to put the Christmas tree up. I think it ads a little bit of extra holiday magic to have the tree appear overnight – kind of like the tradition of Santa bringing the tree, but much earlier in the season.

Nicki woke up first in the morning, per usual, and was completely mesmerized by the tree. When Grandma woke up an hour later, Nicki ran to her, exclaimed ‘Tree!’ and lead Grandma back to it. It was adorable.

I can’t wait for her to experience the magic of Christmas, and to make that happen for her. I loved the holidays growing up (what kid doesn’t?) and I’m so excited to be creating these new traditions with my family.

September 7, 2013

Hello again, Mr. Fall

Fall snuck up on me. We prolonged the feeling of summer with our very belated summer vacation to the beach a last week. Despite the previews for the coming fall lineup on TV and Back to School sales, fall was the last thing on my mind. Confession time? It didn’t hit me that fall’s almost upon us until I saw a flier for Hallmark’s October ornament premier.

Time to start planning for the new season!

Nicki’s Halloween Costume – I bought Nicki’s Halloween costume on August 15th last year for under $10. We weren’t planning on it being her costume at the time, or even having a Halloween costume, since she would be 3 months old. At the time she had just outgrown her newborn sized clothes and needed new pajamas. I saw the skeleton sleep and play and was hooked. I figured she’d probably wear it up until Halloween. Ha! She outgrew it by mid October. When she started to outgrow it, we decided to take some photos and send out a Halloween card to our families, since there would be no wearing it on Halloween. Cheap, comfortable custom for a baby that looks great in photos? Yup, I’m sold.

This afternoon we were at the store looking for clothes and found several dress up play outfits in the same vain. Nicki gravitated to one of the blue ones (it’s her favorite color) so we decided to purchase it.

Maybe next year we’ll do an authentic custom, but this is good enough for our pre trick or treat days.

Black Friday Prep – I like to get started thinking about Black Friday long before the actual day. I like to build a list of what we’re seeking before I see any fliers to avoid being enticed by a good deal for a product we don’t want or need.

So far I can think of just one thing: A play kitchen. They’re usually geared for toddlers age 18 months and up. Nicki will be 17 months at Christmas, right on the cusp. We figured it would be a good “santa” present. Looks like these are a Black Friday staple, so I might as well save a few dollars if I can, right?

Everything else – The whole finish the thesis, graduate, find a new day care and move thing. Why was I in such a hurry to finish up again?!

October 5, 2011

Fall Traditions

I can’t believe it is already October. It’s been raining off and on since Monday which signals the start of the California winter season. Time to break out the fuzzy socks and pumpkin lattes! Living in California pre Domingo I never got excited about the change of season. Since then, my husband’s love of fall has rubbed off on me. We’re still a new family, but we’ve already formed some traditions.

I always try a new recipe using pumpkin for my husband, as well as make some of his favorite pumpkin treats from past years. Pumpkin is his favorite flavor, from pumpkin spiced lattes at Starbucks, to pumpkin muffins. I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin, and Domingo likes thinking of it as a special treat, so we rarely make pumpkin anything at any other time in the year.

In mid November we cook a mini-thanksgiving meal for just the two of us and Lily, our kitty. We spend the day cooking in the kitchen, together. Since it’s just the two of us, we stick to the basics: turkey breast, stuffing (following my mom’s recipe), cranberry sauce, asparagus, and mashed potatoes. Lily gets her annual can of tuna. It’s a lot of food, but the left over’s keep well and are just so yummy! Our mini thanksgiving is a chance to try out new recipes and I experiment with a new fall themed dessert. If the desert works out, I make another for Thanksgiving with our extended family. Otherwise, I go back to a tried and true recipe. (My mother in law things I’m a great cook, in part because she never finds out about my failures *wink*.)

Not surprisingly, some of our traditions center around shopping. We both love to shop and save money, and when can one do that better than the season that has Black Friday? We go usually spend some time leading up to Black Friday “gathering intel” as my husband would say. You can tell what will go on sale on Black Friday by looking around at the inventory. Target especially keeps excess stock in the shelves above the aisles. If they suddenly have 200 of a particular type of vacuum, you can bet it will likely be a sale. We really enjoy our shopping trips together. No one can make me laugh like he can.

Before you know it, it’s already winter. In honor of the first holiday in fall, I redesigned my blog.

It’s October and time to break out the pumpkin! Pumpkin cupcakes that is. I found the recipe for pumpkin cupcakes online a few years ago. I think I may have changed the recipe slightly. The cake batter recipe was my own idea. I wanted an icing that had a doughy kind of taste (like the crust of a pie) but a little sweeter. It’s not a very exciting recipe, but it is the first one I came up with on my own. The idea to decorate the cupcakes to look like little pies came from the book Hello, Cupcake!.

Pumpkin Cupcakes


  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup milk

In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a bowl.

In large bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat eggs until frothy, combine with butter & sugar.

Blend in mashed pumpkin. Alternate between stirring in the dry ingredients and the milk, blending until batter is smooth.

I fill the cupcake tray 1/2 full instead of 2/3rds so I don’t get the cupcake top, and the cupcake is more pie shaped. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes.


The secret to the cake batter taste is a touch of anise. I add 1 teaspoon of butter extract and 1/4th teaspoon of anise extract. Anise has a licorice like flavor, so add very little to not overpower the vanilla and butter. The butter extract gives it that nice buttery taste (like dough). I used like half a drop of red food coloring, and 3ish drops of yellow to give it a batter-like color.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Add sugar slowly, mixing it in with the butter. Add extracts, salt and milk. If your frosting is too thick for your tastes, add a touch more milk. If your frosting is too thin, add more sugar.

To get half a drop of red icing, I typically insert a toothpick into the food coloring container, and then wipe said toothpick on the icing to transfer a tiny amount of food coloring.