• 15 minute posts,  Beach Bits,  Buddies,  Bug,  easy on the words,  Family Matters,  heavy on photos,  Niece-com-poops,  Super Dad

    Girls of Summer: OC weekend (photo dump)

    starting our trip off with Starbucks

    We started at Starbucks—a very expensive choice made by me but happily accepted by four non-coffee frappuccino-slurping girls. I really need to curb my caffeine habit.

    dinner on the pier

    Then we took Bug to gymnastics (Ballet was out for the week) and afterwards Toby took all of us to dinner on the pier in Balboa. The good thing about not seeing Toby for a whole week is that when he does see us, he doesn’t mind if there are FIVE rowdy girls instead of just two. It was a real circus.

    M on the pier

    We took Bug’s good friend “Boo” from the neighborhood. We may have been trying to show off how cool the ocean is. She was happy to oblige us and be impressed.

    sisters getting along

    And the nieces. They miss their mom so much that whenever I suggested we take a picture of them together for her, they cuddled together like two little chicks and didn’t even whack each other, which is often their habit.

    us on the pier

    Us on the pier. I really need to try and be in more pictures.


    The light was really cool as the sun was setting because there was this heavy fog bank that blocked the rays that would normally blind you. So we got to take interesting unusual pictures we normally couldn’t see.

    walking to the car

    Long shadows on the walk back to the car…


    And more getting-along-nieces shots. Where did Rapunzel get such pretty lips? Not my side of the family.


    Of course Pouty McPouterson had to join the party.

    racing to the sea

    Thankfully the fun wasn’t hampered. “Don’t get wet!” I threatened in vain. Words to the wind, words to the wind…

    surf dancers

    Balboa Pier

    Pretty pier.


    Boo is properly excited.

    nieces Toby loves his girls

    It’s too bad I have my point-and-shoot camera set up to take super vertical shots and I cut off Super Chic’s face but I still love this photo. It really is a “slice of life.” A super narrow skinny slice. Super Chic is handing me shells to keep forever but of course I put them in some pocket and they are probably lost in the washing machine now. I love Rapunzel’s cackle.

    beach girl Toby and Bug

    More slices.

    goodnight, Sun

    seaweed jump rope

    I love this shot of Boo playing jumprope with a piece of kelp. She wasn’t afraid of the slimy kelp at all. That’s my kinda kid.

    breakfast on number 5

    The next day we initiated Boo into our traditional breakfast of doughnuts on lifeguard tower number five.

    doughnuts on the lifeguard tower

    patriotic doughnut

    Patriotic sprinkles were enjoyed.

    chomp diggin' the tradition

    long live doughnuts!


    and they're off

    And then they were off to the sea. There really was no stopping them.

    riding together

    Catching a few rides in the morning soup.

    surfs up

    This kid was unstoppable. She’s never had a boogie board before because technically she doesn’t know how to swim yet. But really, she can swim. She’s in the water more than she’s out and she’s not afraid to get her face wet at all. If she had her way, we would have been at the ocean all day and all night for probably the rest of the year. She never gets cold and she never gets tired. She borrowed a board this year and she may have found her life’s calling. I think I know what I’m getting her for her birthday this year: her own board.

    Eric and Deb

    Deb and Eric stopped by for a quick visit. I love my old beach friends.

    me and Deb

    By the way, Deb is on twitter now! One of these days I’ll get her to put up her own website. She really needs one. She has such amazing art.

    Deb's beautiful mess paintings everywhere

    We stopped by her house for a quick chat and I snuck in a few more photos of her art-filled house. She calls it a mess. I call it beautiful.

    rocks from Texas

    looks like cc Deb's bedroom

    Rapunzel was looking particularly pretty and blue-eyed next to this stunning painting. Not sure which is prettier.

    walking to the beach

    And then back to the beach! This time with sunblock.

    surfer girl

    Woooo-eeeeee! Boo took to the waves like a natural.

    monkey suit

    jump! spin spin

    Bug stuck to the sand, much to my relief. I took a book to read but I couldn’t get much reading done because I was constantly looking up to count off my chicks. One, two, three, four. Phew. They’re all still alive. Then back to reading.

    summer reading

    Which by the way, is a very good book Did you know Journey Mama wrote it? She’s such beautiful writer.

    the eve tree

    It’s just as much of a pleasure to read as her blog. She has a way with details…I’m completely engrossed in the story and quite attached to all of the characters. I’m not done yet but when I am, I’m going to have her do a guest post and maybe even a give away. I really think you all would enjoy reading it too. It’s a keeper. Of course I’m personally invested because it’s set in Northern California which is near and dear to my heart.

    riding the waves to the end

    But back to Southern California and the waves…

    sun kissed

    help! I'm burried alive!

    I think it’s safe to say, a good time was had.

  • domesticity,  easy on the words,  gardening,  heavy on photos,  Niece-com-poops,  the sticks


    time to pick

    We’d been yelling at the kids to stop knocking the apricots out of the trees for what seemed like months. Finally, it became apparent that the kids weren’t knocking the apricots out of the trees anymore. The birds were and the apricots were soft and ripe when they landed on the ground which means it’s picking time! (Yes, that chair is totally busted.)

    so many rotten apricots

    Hooray! I didn’t spend all spring paying that water bill for nothing. It was time for me to cash in on some yummy orange fruit!

    apricot fairy mmmmmm

    While I went to the store for canning supplies, the kids picked whatever they could reach and Rapunzel, my oldest niece, got a ladder out of the shed and picked the higher-up ones. They left some yellowy-green ones for later.


    still left to do

    You can’t just let these babies sit around and draw fruit flies. Nope. They have to be canned, into apricot jam specifically.

    yep, it's canning day

    This is the face you make when you know you’ve got a big ugly mess ahead of you. It’s canning day.

    wide-mouthed jars

    My mom did most the cooking. I just cut up the apricots. Boy, did they smell good.

    filling 'em up

    I love the smell of fresh hot jam.

    29 jars!

    We made 29 jars of jam which is a lot. Four batches. There are more apricots left too but I think I’m done with jam. My mom’s talking about dehydrating the rest but I’m going to let her do that at her house.


    I’m done with messiness for a while. Phew!

    pretty pretty

    It was worth it though. TWENTY-NINE JARS! Christmas presents, DONE. Now I just need to design some kind of cool label for them and maybe invest in some kind of big round paper-punch. There’s no way I’m cutting out 29 circle stickers like I did for the Marmalade. No way.


    I did make some scones with some of the leftover cut-up apricots though. I just used my lemon scone recipe and added apricots instead of zest except I added a lot more than 2 tablespoons. They turned out super dense. Kind of like an apple fritter without the glaze. Pretty tasty really. You might want to stop by if you’re in the neighborhood.

    I’m really digging this rural living. What’s next? Tomatoes, I think. Salsa anyone?

Secret Agent Josephine
Creative Agency
© Brenda Ponnay