Inside/Outside: Child-Friendly Vegetable Gardening (Part One)

The following is a guest-post by Nana who came to my house two weeks ago to help me with my vegetable garden and also to shoot some how-to gardening videos with Hal and our friend, Auggie. We had a full on production team here and my Nana at eighty-two dug in the dirt on camera for eight hours. Some of the pictures scattered throughout this post were taken during the shoot and as soon as the videos are edited together, I'll be posting them here as well. Last week my Nana generously wrote a guest post about child-friendly gardening for those of you interested in planting Fall veggie gardens with your spawn. I'll post sporadic updates as our garden grows (my fava beans, sugar-snap peas and radishes just started sprouting like crazy! It's very exciting!). In the meantime, take it away, Nana!

One of the best things we can do as parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents is to turn children on early to the joy of gardening. If our efforts work they’ll have a healthy outdoor hobby throughout life. If not, nothing we can do will change them. Some people adore gardening, others don’t—It’s chemistry. But maybe as parents and grandparents (and great grandparents) we can give kids the opportunity to make their own discoveries, and then stand back and not mess things up when the enthusiasm takes off.
When I was a child I was lucky to have gardens to play in. My brother John and I grew up in England and whenever it wasn’t raining we played outdoors on our tricycles. We climbed trees in the orchard, chased hoops on garden paths, or played games of imagination in the shrubbery and woods. One of my grandfathers had a vegetable garden as big as a city block. He didn’t do the work himself, a gardener called Viney did all that, but every day Grandad chatted with Viney and checked to see how things were growing. John and I watched Viney work. We liked the earthy smell of compost. John asked Viney scads of questions and Viney never was impatient. He answered our questions in a sensible and kindly way. He let us play hide and seek among the vegetable beds and pretended to chase us. Our grandfather picked ripe tomatoes in the greenhouse and handed them to us to eat. The juice ran down our faces. No tomato has ever tasted better than those.
John and I were still children—I was eight and he was eleven—when our parents left us in England and emigrated to America. Over a year later, after war had broken out in Europe, they sent for us to join them. They bought a farm in Pennsylvania and during the Second World War we all worked on the farm and in our “Victory Garden”. One winter, our stepfather Geoff told John and me he was going to give each of us a little plot of ground next to his vegetable garden the following spring. We could plant whatever we wanted. After that John and I spent many winter days poring over seed catalogues while snow covered the ground outdoors. Catalogues were black and white but their written descriptions filled our heads with dreams of stunning gardens overflowing with our favorite flowers and vegetables. In spring we sent for seeds, dug up the soil, and planted. No one told us what to plant, what to do, or how to do it. We forgot to amend the soil, fertilize, or water. The family vegetable garden was spectacular, but John’s and my plants died.

Our gardens were a failure, but it didn’t matter. Our parents never noticed. No one criticized us so our dream survived. John and I finally lost patience with our own little garden plots. Even then, no one minded or criticized us. From then on we concentrated on helping in the family garden, but we were turned onto gardening for life. The dreams we had enjoyed during that snowy winter stayed with us forever. Instead of the reality, we remembered the dream. Now in our eighties we are both still gardening today.
If you’re planning on growing vegetables in your own home garden and would like to involve your kids in the process, here’s an easy recipe for success:

Kid Friendly Organic Gardening
1 patch earth or raised bed in full sun. (6 hours or more of sun a day is best.)
1 set child-friendly tools. (Optional. These can be tools bought at a garage sale with handles sawed down to child size, but just a trowel will do.)
Adult tools: (Spade, hoe, rake, cultivator, trowels.)
Gloves for you and kids. (optional.)
1 bag organic soil amendment or home made compost per raised bed filled with garden soil.
1 small paint-bucket of full of potting soil for covering seeds.
1 small paint-bucket containing a cup or two of sand for mixing with small seeds.
1 small paint bucket to hold seed packets, scissors, plant labels, pen, and paper clips or clothes pins for closing up seed packets.
Several Plant labels and pen.
1 bag organic fertilizer. (This can be commercial packaged organic veggie food, chicken manure, or guano.)
Seeds and plants of vegetables you want to grow. (Choose cool-season plants when you start your garden in winter or spring. Choose warm-season plants when you start your garden in spring or early summer.)
Packaged or homemade trellis for tall crops like peas.
Posts to hold up trellis
A water system or the garden hose. (Drip systems make for easy care once installed. Water from the hose is fine too.)

2 pounds Easy-Does-It: (If a child runs away to play, let them go. Don’t fuss.)
1 bucket Fun: (Gardening is work but it’s also fun and satisfying. Children will catch on if they see you having fun.)
1 large dollop of Knowledge: (Know what you’re doing. Do your research first.)
1 plan of action. (Think out what you’re going to do and write a list step-by-step.)

• Collect ingredients.
• Dig the ground to the depth of a spade and turn over the soil.
• Spread a layer of about 4 inches of organic soil amendment or homemade compost on top of soil. Mix it into the top 8 to 12 inches of soil.
• Apply the right amount of fertilizer according to package directions and cultivate it into the top 6 inches.
• Rake the top of the ground level.
• Plan to plant tall crops to the north and shorter crops to the south. Or plant tall crops in north-south rows so sun passes over them and hits all parts.
• For tall crops install trellises using fence posts for supports.
• Plant seeds and transplants of crops correct for the season of the year.
transplants include cilantro, lettuce, cabbage and bunching onions
• Read seed packets and labels for correct distances apart.
• Water the garden after planting.
• Continue on: Water your garden, weed when necessary, release ladybugs, pick off bad bugs, and watch your garden grow.

Thin crops that need it as they grow. Feed when required and harvest when crops are ready. Apply “Garden Know How” as needed in an ongoing way whenever necessary.

Here are some of the things vegetables need:
• A plot of ground in full sun.
• Organic soil amendment to loosen up the soil and create microbial action.
• Fertilizer to feed them.
• Water for them to drink.
• Protection from pests and diseases.
• Correct planting time for each crop.
Here are the times of year to plant various crops:
• In warm-winter climates: Plant cool-season crops in fall and winter.
• In cold-winter climates: Plant cool-season crops in early spring.
• In all climates: Plant warm-season crops after the weather warms up in spring when all danger of frost has passed.)
Here are some little things to pay attention to:
1. Correct planting depth.
• Each seed has a correct planting depth.
• Follow package directions and you will do okay.
2. Covering seeds with potting soil can help them sprout in heavy soil.
3. Mixing fine seeds with a little sand can help spread them out evenly.
4. Loosening up the roots of transplants can help them get off to a good start.
5. Humic acid is a great transplanting fluid and root stimulant. Find it in catalogues.
6. Follow the organic way:
• Feed plants with organic fertilizers; they’ll taste better.
• Use organic methods to control pests and diseases.
• Never use pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.
• Make a compost pile or buy a couple of composting bins and follow the directions that come with the bin. (While you are filling one, you can be using the compost out of the other.)
• Encourage earthworms by digging lots of organics into the ground or start a worm bin.



With very young children give them little jobs like digging or raking that could be fun, and if they wander off, just let it happen. If a child is forced to garden, it’s simply another chore. Some children love gardening while others do not.
releasing ladybugs with the kids after the garden has been planted
My great grandson Archer is a boy with wheels and construction toys in his head, but Fable seems to take to gardening like a ladybug to an aphid. If kids see grownups gardening correctly they’ll learn by osmosis. And by knowing the basic facts ourselves we’ll be ready with answers if a kid should ask. And if we don’t know the answer to a question, we can always look it up and tell them later.

That’s enough for a start! Good luck and have fun gardening, either with your kids or without. Stay tuned for some videos on “Child-Friendly Gardening” and “Cool-Season Crops” to get you started on the road to success.

Rebecca’s Nana, AKA Pat Welsh



Tonight, 6:23pm, Hollywood Sky

I feel kind of silly posting these photos because my camera never in a zillion years could do justice what we saw this evening but alas, here they are. After a week of record heat, (Monday was the hottest day in Los Angeles' history) tonight's brief thunderstorm brought with it a double rainbow that lasted almost an hour. My Nana* was in town, passing through Los Angeles for dinner after taking a trip up north to say goodbye to a friend of hers who's very sick and soon to pass.
Nana had just arrived when the rainbow showed and the two of us stood outside the house for the entire hour it lasted, watching the rainbows fade in, then out, disappearing one and then the other as all things must do.
Life is a poem.


*Nana wrote a spectacular guest post about child-friendly gardening that I'll be posting here tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Gone Style: Picks for Fall

Today on Momversation we're talking about fashion! And style! Specifically Fall picks via, a new shopping website we momversation(alists?) were given the option to be a part of.

(ED: No, I was not paid to be involved, nor is this a sponsored post. My Fall pick is indeed my *actual* pick and I happen to really dig Opensky and am stoked to support the site as well as the small designers featured there. Let's see... what else can I include in this little fine-print area.... Oh, yes. Sorry about the blue eye-shadow in the vid. I got a little excited for Fall, and can see now that it was a terrible call. That rhymed. I also seem to be channeling Rachel Zoe's vocal stylings as I draw. Out. My vooowels. But that's because I watched, like, three Rachel Zoe eps in a row last week and I got confused. Still. Apologies for that. You should also know that although I was not paid by Opensky to be involved in this video, I was gifted the necklace (after I chose it as my pick) care of the designer which was very kind of her, indeed.)

If you love my gold/silver Dragonfly wing necklace (featured below and in the momvo vid) it's available in my OpenSky shop, here. Use discount code "rebecca15" for 15% discount on the necklace. (If you loved Giyen's tote, her 15% discount code = Giyen10 and/or for Mindy's pearl necklace, discount code = Mindy25. Produx also available to order, here.)

You can also browse my newly opened Girl's Gone Child virtual shop, which I hope to update regularly with my favorite picks. In the meantime, behold my dragonfly necklace in all its professional close-up glory. It is goddamn gorgeous, I tell you:

More on Julia Failey (who is AMAZING, by the way) here. Adore her work, philosophy and person.

I'm hoping more small businesses (yours?) will get in on the Opensky thing. For now it's miniature in nature but has huge potential to empower the marketplace of online shopping, specifically for those of us who blog about fashion, style, products that excite us, et al. I'm way stoked on my little online boutique and hope to expand it as Opensky matures into puberty. (In brief: anyone can become a "seller" by signing up, clicking "become a seller" and then stocking your virtual shelves with things you love and or want to recommend to users. It's like becoming virtual shopkeeper to your own boutique, an empowering way for you and me to bring in some extra cash (in sales commissions, very similar to Amazon's Affiliate program) by supporting small business(es). It's sort of Amazon Affiliate meets Etsy.

Sound neat? Go, here. And tell them GGC sent you. Just kidding. They will have no idea what you're talking about if you say that.

Moving on.... Let us all for a moment forget the fact that it's still a zillion degrees outside and talk fall must-haves. What are your eyeballs salivating over this season? Anything you're coveting? Besides my pretty necklace for everyday I'm pretty much obsessed with Pixie Market's entire moment right now. Especially this little number. And these are pretty amazing, too. And this? I mean... You know I love me a gold charmeuse jumpsuit. Just ask Rodge.


hand me downs

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Hand me downs haven't had much of a place in our house. Archer wore some of Hal's old sweaters as a baby but mainly only ever wore new clothes or those purchased at resale shops. I was the first of my friends and family to have a child so everything had to come new, unattached to siblings, friends, stories... Stain-free and tagged in paper bags with their receipts.

And though in my head I figured Fable would be able to wear plenty of Archer's old clothes, when it came time to go through some of them I realized that, no, I didn't want to dress my daughter like a boy. There were far too many beautiful dresses in the world to put her in grey drawstring shorts. And yet. A handful of Archer's old clothes made sense, a few tee shirts, a pair of jeans, some black boots.... If Fable so desired to wear them, they were hers. So I made them accessible, folded them next to the various floral thises and striped thats in her dresser, gave her the option to choose.

Fable turns two on Saturday. I've been preparing myself for this day since Fable turned one and now, this week, I finally feel ready. I'm ready to watch her blow her candles, ready to quit with the "twenty-something" months and call her "two!" Ready to start seriously looking into preschools for her to attend. Read to buy her her first tricycle.

Meanwhile, I clean out her drawers (as I do every few months when I notice things aren't fitting like they used to) gobbling up memories just in case her outgrown dresses don't make it back into our home again. Folding. Sniffing. Looking for missing buttons before finally tucking the little piles of clothes into the storage bins in the garage.

Last Sunday Fable found Archer's old racecar tank balled up in the back of her drawer. She handed it to me and starter tugging at her pajama top.

"Cah!" she said. "Cah! Cah!"

So I helped her out of her pajamas and into the tank top with the race cah and away she zoomed, out the bedroom door and into the afternoon to find her brother.

I spent the rest of the day thinking about the shirt and where it came from and those first few wears - three summers ago before Fable was born. Before me getting pregnant again was even mentioned. How this little shirt had traveled with Archer on many adventures and in and out of two plus years of preschool. How he wore it before he started talking up until the days his sister was born. There's a picture I have of Archer wearing the shirt in Florida where we spent Thanksgiving three years ago, pictures of him at the beach, the playground, our old house, conked out in his car seat, eating birthday cake at the dinner table...

...Meanwhile, there she was, filling her backpack with tiny animals in the living room, wearing it too. Little tank top, nothing special. Faded and stained and nondescript. And then I started to think about whether or not three years from now, there would be another body to inherit the tee, dancing around the living room, differently accessorized, spirited.

I have friends with two boys. Friends with two girls. Friends who watch one child outgrow a dress, only to see it dance another day on their second child, third child, fourth... Sunday was the first time I have had this experience so for me, it caught me by surprise.

"It's just a shirt."

Nah. It's not though. Because time isn't measured by time. It's measured by things that change and memories and stains on faded tee-shirts. It's measured by waistbands that no longer latch and busted buttons and scars that fade or don't. And when they're little? When their years are measured in months after being measured in weeks after being measured in days, hours, minutes.... these are the things we have to cling to- tangible things that have adventured before and will, as they say, ride again.
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Later that night, I pointed out the "1" on the little race car on Fable's chest before pulling her shirt over her head.

"One, doo!" She said back as I flung the dirty tee into the hamper.

"Six days, sister. You still have six whole days before you're doo."

And then she smiled and stepped one leg at a time into her pajama bottoms.



This just posted on La Blogotheque a few days ago and man, does it make me happy. I want to ride around in their boat or something like it:

...Which reminds me of the time (many years ago) we took a cruise to Alaska for my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. It was one of those fantastic reunion cruises where all of us were given heather grey tee-shirts with giant wolfs on the chest and told to wear them by day as a statement of camaraderie.

Anyway, on karaoke night, my dad asked me if I was interested in singing a duet with him. I was indeed. We must have spent an hour agonizing over our song choice. Finally, we picked a song that seemed both appropriate for children and boats. Scribbled a number on a piece of paper and handed it over to the DJ.

Twenty minutes later my dad and I were singing "Row, Row, Row your Boat" on Alaska's finest Princess Cruise line. And I peed my pants I was laughing so hard because the song just looped and looped and looooooped for, like, three minutes straight...

...And we just kept on singing. And nobody laughed because it wasn't funny. Which, of course, made it even funnier to us. Until we couldn't sing because we were on the floor, convulsing with laughter. Not that we were really ever singing. I mean... my father's not exactly blessed in the voice department. And I am very much his daughter that way.


That was a good time.

66. Light of Day by: The Plastics Revolution


Radio Flying down Fairfax

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We move down the street with loud rattles and bangs, the wheels of the Radio Flyer click and catch on protruding curbs whose steps and cracks reveal the roots of decades worth of Oak and Magnolia trees trying to push through. They have succeeded all over town. I commend them with sprained ankles and walk on.

It has become our daily ritual, this walk. The children in the wagon and me pulling them down the sidewalk, down our street toward Fairfax, my old stomping ground and also our new one.
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When I first moved to Los Angeles I lived five blocks away from where we do now in a house with many boys and many goldfish they forgot to feed while I was away. They would die (killed) and I would buy (more) and they would die (killed) and I would buy (more) until one day I just threw the tank in the garbage and moved on. We used to visit The Kibitz Room at Canter's every Tuesday night. For years, we did, even after we all moved into new apartments with different roommates. We'd drink ourselves silly, make out with our feet in curb gutters, pass joints, lean back with our heads in each other's disposed gum and Parliament butts, go back inside and dance to G&R and Pat Benetar and pretend it wasn't 1999. I was eighteen then and there were no such thing as scanning for fake IDs. Vodka tonics until last call, then we'd grab a slice at Damianos and walk home.
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The neighborhood looks very different now. And not just because my vision has changed. "Vintage" has replaced "thrift" and the Hasidic-owned marketplaces now rent space to skate shops and salons, shoe stores with cellophane wrapped limited-edition Nikes and stores to buy bunk beds for dogs. It's a clash of every Angeleno, Fairfax is. The bleached out blondes with their pink collared pugs dodge boys who bend and sway down the sidewalk on their boards. A man in a wheelchair stops us as we make our way towards Canters and asks if we'd like to hear him play us a song on his recorder. We do. So we listen as the old man with holes in his shoes makes a face and turns away. When he finishes he pulls out his train whistle, blows it, and then he's gone. A man in a Maserati turns his hazard lights on, parked in the red behind a napping cabbie blasting Beethoven. Men in hard hats take breaks from filling pot holes to drink cold water out of small Styrofoam cups.
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Across the street there's a book store called "Family" that doesn't sell children's books. There's a Silent Movie theatre that hosts some of the town's finest events and a theatre attached to Fairfax high where I used to watch poetry slams with the boy who dyed my previously natural blonde hair black. A thousand years ago we had a moment. I have no idea where he is now but it doesn't matter, my hair has long since grown out. It's brown, now. Somewhere between the way I used to be and the way I used to wish I was.

There are no children running down Fairfax on this particular day but there are Hasidic men with bags of apples over their shoulders. There are grafitti'd store fronts and a gutter full of soggy script pages and lottery tickets (some would say the same thing.) There are boys on skateboards in men's bodies. There are overpriced glitter shoes in store windows claiming vintage status and young girls at the bus stop with their Samuel French bags. There are the palm trees that dance and sway like pole dancing mullets, cats with one eye and beautiful tails.
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In June, my friend Angela came out to Los Angeles for an art opening. It was my birthday the day she was here so I blew off work and we spent the afternoon together. She walked from her hotel to my house, bought me lunch and a beer float at the new diner that opened up next door to where Largo used to be before it moved. The diner all of our friends suggested we try. We watched the World Cup and talked about all the things that changed and the things that never would.

"So weird that you live here, again," she said. "It doesn't feel like ten years ago."

"Eleven years."

"Fuck, really?"

Later that night I walked to Angela's show, ran into people I used to know but forgot their names, said we'd never met before, finished my wine in a cup, kissed Angela goodbye and walked home. Past the darkened palm trees and the blinking cross-walk and the signs. Apartments, houses, my car parked in the driveway. Eleven years.
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I've wrestled in the past with the life we chose for our family. Mainly, I think, because I was insecure about who I used to be and what the hell we were still doing here. In Los Angeles. Gambling on the same bet everyone else in this town has double-down. I'm not anymore. I love this, all of this, every last inch of this and here and how. Here is a land where everyone's invited, where everyone can, mixing and clashing and forming a line at the same bakery. Where our little red wagon is always welcome, even when it doesn't exactly belong.
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There is life, here. Filthy, fascinating, glorious, all of it. Memorable and forgettable with old friends and new diners and bookstores that sell drawings of sexual positions on the walls. There is pizza by the slice and a bar to see stand-up and a man who carries a train whistle for the kids. There are girls who can't walk in their new shoes and dogs available for adoption and Simon Rex who just tripped over us on his way out of the hat store. God, I used to love him. I used to love this street. This world. I still do. Even if it spins backwards and around a different pair of stars. There is joy, here. There is joy and begging and puking and laughing and little old men hunched over with yarmulkes pinned to their very last strands of hair.
And at the end of road, there are cookies. Kosher cookies made by hand in the back of a bakery that's open at all hours. The kids choose which ones they want and the man behind the counter folds a pink box around them and we trade box for bills before pushing through the heavy glass door. And then we turn a corner and cross over into a different world, except it's the same, really. Fairfax separates past from future like all boulevards do. Like all street signs and crosswalks and sidewalk cracks torn apart by time and the roots of persistent trees.

When we reach the lawn of our front yard the kids pour out of the Flyer and onto their backs, sweaters oversized and slouching off their shoulders. It's too hard to pull the wagon through the grass. Its wheels catch.
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Someday I'll tell them my stories, show them my old house with the bars on the windows and the bars where I came of age. I'll point out the skate shops and the pizza place and the diner on our walks down the Avenue. I'll play them songs that were written about this place, this street they spent their childhoods rambling down, picking cookies from behind glass, fingerprinted with stories, then wiped away with Windex.

"I was a child here, too," I'll say. "Kind of in a way I was."

For now, though, we're home. We spend a moment on our backs in the front yard discussing the leaves. They're falling, we think. As much as leaves fall off the trees around here. And then it's suddenly cold so we get up and pull our empty wagon up the driveway and through the wooden gate. "We're home now," I say aloud. And it's more than just the house I'm talking about.

One day they'll know what I mean. For now, there's a box full of butter cookies, many of them exploded, their sprinkles and crumbs everywhere. Just as they should be after a long and bumpy ride.


where were you when you knew?

I feel like I've talked about this moment a thousand times before and I'll likely talk about it a thousand times again but here we go, another conversation about the "fuck me, I'm pregnant" moment. What's funny is that when I found out I was pregnant with Fable, even though the circumstances were so totally different, in a way I was equally terrified. Excited, yes, but also terrified. Because no the matter, beginnings are a nervous thing. Setting off on new adventures with backpacks stuffed with question-marks...

Behold, our momversation:

...It would be impossible for anyone to deny the clusterfuck of emotions and disbelief that finding out one is pregnant causes, no matter the circumstances, planned or unplanned, prepared or taken totally by surprise. Pure, you've-got-to-be-shitting-me-emotional-whoa.

And between you and me, I can't wait to feel that again someday.

Where were you when you first found out you were about to be a parent? What was that moment like? I'd also like to invite those who have adopted children to partake in this conversation. I'm pretty sure the shock and awe is universal, no matter how we come to be mothers and fathers.


*The above video is a spec-ad my friend, David shot of his wife and him when she found out she was pregnant with their first babe. They just had their third child together and could not be cuter. Seemed appropriate here so I thought I'd share.

Eat Well: Apple Risotto with WWW

Tomorrow is the first day of fall and in coastal southern California there isn’t a whole lot happening to remind us of the season change besides the days getting shorter, school starting, and the temperature going from 75 to a "nippy" 69. (Time to get out those scarves!) But we do have apples…shiny new crop apples. And apple festivals.

And nothing around these parts speaks more about Autumn than a crisp apple from the farmer’s market. My favorite are Honey Crisps and although I am sad to see the summer fruits disappearing, a juicy tart-sweet apple is definitely right up there as one of my favorite fruits. Many years ago I celebrated this season by treating myself to a cooking class—Apple Dishes from an Italian Kitchen—taught by Nadia Frigeri. Nadia made five courses of apple inspired dishes and ever since then, I have been making her Risotto di Mele. I think it’s Rebecca’s favorite dish that I make—her favorite comfort food. (ED: Hi, this is Rebecca and she's right. It totally is.) It’s as close to heaven as food can come. I have tried many other risotto recipes and none of them come close. Because, really now, how can you improve on heaven? Something about the warm soft rice and apples, flavored with lemon zest and nutmeg, gives a lingering memory of summer coupled with a hint of the holiday season yet to come.

Like most risottos, this recipe calls for Parmesan cheese. I buy mine from farms where the animals are humanely raised, but I recently read that substituting nutritional yeast for Parmesan cheese gives food a similar flavor. (I haven’t tried this yet, so let me know how it turns out if you do!) Nutritional yeast is low in fat, high in protein and B vitamins, and it's not made with any animal products. Or simply omit the cheese…the risotto will still be delicious (add a little more salt to taste if you do this). The original recipe calls for chicken broth, but I substitute with vegetable broth.

Risotto di Mele (Apple Risotto)

3 T olive oil
2 T butter
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 cups Italian Arborio rice
1 cup white wine
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
1/3 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups vegetable broth
chopped zest of 1 lemon
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Chop apples into small dices.
2. Melt butter in a medium skillet and cook apples and nutmeg, stirring occasionally, on medium for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Cook apples in butter with grated nutmeg.
3. Heat broth in large pot.
4. Melt olive oil in a large casserole over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and sauté until transparent.
Cook green onions until transparent
5. Add rice to the pan, and using a wooden spoon, stir for one minute.
Add rice and stir over medium heat for about one minute
6. Season with salt and pepper and add wine and turn stove to medium high.
7. Stir until completely absorbed.
Add wine and stir until absorbed
8. Add hot broth, ½ cup at a time, and cook, stirring, until broth is absorbed.
Stir until absorbed
9. When about half of the broth has been used, add apples:
Add apples about half way through cooking
10. Keep cooking, adding broth, ½ cup at a time until the rice is tender, about 10 more minutes. You will use up almost all of the broth.
11. Add lemon zest and Parmesan cheese and serve hot.
Stir in the Parmesan cheese and lemon zest
Serve with a salad and roasted veggies or quiche for a perfect autumn meal!


Gone Style: Playing Dress Up (Sponsored)

*updated with winners, below!*
One of my favorite things to do as a little girl was dress up in costume and put on child-sized productions with my friends. My mother was (and still is) the music director for a children's theatre group so we always had the most amazing costumes lying around the house, all hand-made and one-of-a-kind.

Growing up my mother made my Halloween costumes as well. I was Rainbow Brite one year, Raggedy Ann and one of my all-time faves, "Kevin" who was my pet rat. (My mom sewed black spots on the back of a white sweatshirt and a giant pink tail on my butt and omg, Kevin and I were SUCH twinsies.)

For the last five Halloweens I've fantasized about sewing my kids' Halloween costumes and although I've learned to sew somewhat (and with training wheels) I'm not quite there yet. But that doesn't mean we can't still play dress-up. Our costumes may be of the purchased-and-gifted variety but they're still special.

I recently went to a birthday party where the child's mother asked in lieu of gifts to bring old costumes to add to a giant chest for her son for make-believe. A great way to do no-gifts whilst still .... well, having gifts. Brilliant! I was thinking we'd do something similar for Fable's second birthday (coming up around the bend) That is, if we decide to have any sort of party for her. In eleven days. I should probably get on that, no?
yes, probably.
...In the meantime, we have a small collection of costumes left-over from Halloween and other such dress-up occasions and are known to bust them out frequently. Because costumes are just clothes. And in my opinion? Always appropriate no matter the occasion.
Tutus for every day? Hooray! Hooray!
Fable rocks last year's Halloween costume (she was a "flower garden") around the house:
I had to pin the straps last Halloween but these days it fits her perfectly:
"ma tutu, pees!"
This dress was a resale find we purchased at a sidewalk sale:
If this was in my size I'd wear it on the daily. I've been trying to figure out how to incorporate it into this year's Halloween costume with little luck. Maybe that's because we're planning on going as a family of Justin Biebers and I don't know if Justin Bieber would wear this dress.
Probably not, I'm thinking.

This will be the last of the $150 Old Navy gift card giveaways sponsored by Old Navy. (Thanks, Old Navy!)

To win? Just tell me in the comments, below, about your all-time favorite costume. Mine was probably my chicken costume I wore when I was four-years-old, homemade by my mom complete with tissue paper feathers and dish gloves for feet.

Behold the genius of my mom's fro:
For rules and regs, go here. Winners (for all three drawings) to be picked EOD TOMORROW, September 22nd via

In the meantime, check out Old Navy's Halloween costumes and baby sale, here. Good luck to all and thanks, again, for participating!


Updated: congrats to Adventures with Addison, Cora D and JWhite for winning the three Old Navy drawings! And thanks to all of you for participating! xo!