frederick, a universal story for the sensitive outsider



My little guy hardly looks like a “sensitive outsider” in this picture, and he’s not really. He’s as cheeky as they come.

So I suppose this book could really be for anyone who has ever felt they have something to offer, but no one around them seems to appreciate or understand.


Frederick, by Leo Lionni, is the story of a mouse who is a bit out of place in his family, but finds transcendence through words and imagination when he and his family face hunger during a long winter.


The other day, my three-year-old found it, and when I read it to him, I couldn’t stop crying. It’s one of those books where the words are very simple, very straightforward. And yet, as you read it, you know the story is speaking volumes between its pages. It resonates, and you believe that somehow, it will leave you better off for having read it.


What books resonate for you like that?

a belated blogaversary


I didn’t realize until tonight that I started my blog exactly one year ago Sunday! It may not be that significant a milestone for many people who keep blogs, but for me, it has been a huge milestone.

Bear with me a moment as I get a bit personal without spilling too much (I imagine I will be spilling a bit more in the coming months).

A year ago, I started this blog as a way to express some of my interests and talents, hoping I would one day be able to see it grow into something more. Any of my expectations for readership were far surpassed in my first few months of blogging, and I was thrilled to see my stats on Google Analytics sky rocket in such a short time. It was in those beginning weeks I gained some of my most loyal readers.

Then in early October, my personal life was turned upside down (sorry I can’t really elaborate at this point, I can be more open about it in a future post), and blogging became very difficult. I want to say to all my loyal readers, who bore with me through the fall and winter, THANK YOU. I know there were weeks when I didn’t have much to share, but you came anyway, and I really appreciate that.

In the spring, I guess I got my second wind, because I was able to post more. That was also when my brother and I started to come up with the new look and feel of the blog, and the rest, of course, you can see before you.

I have grown in so many ways in the last year. Amidst my darkest days, I have felt the true love of friends, which has helped me carry on. Though I don’t know most of you, my readers, personally, your comments have helped keep me afloat in the most challenging time of my life. And because of that, this year has also been one of the most rewarding.

So, thank you! To everyone. I hope we have many more wonderful years to come, as we share with each other ideas on how to make our families well-read, well-bred, and well-fed.

big smooches,

greek yogurt with honey and figs


My daughter, of course, wouldn’t touch this dish, even though it looks like a sunflower.  My sons, however, did like it, especially the yogurt in the middle.

Some of these ingredients may be a little hard to find if you aren’t in a nicer grocery store.  I found the figs and the Greek yogurt at Whole Foods, one of my favorite places on the planet.  If you can’t find a Greek yogurt, substitute it for a vanilla whole milk yogurt, and drain it the same way as the directions.  If you can’t find figs, you could also use pears, or strawberries, or anything else you would like.

Also, if you don’t have a cheese cloth, that’s okay. just use a couple layers of white paper towels. I used cheese cloth because the lines look pretty on the yogurt.




Connie, our wonderful guest mom, is back with us again and shares her recipe of talamee, a traditional Syrian flat bread.  She and her husband came to our house a couple weeks ago to show me how to make it.  This recipe makes a ton, so be ready to freeze what you don’t use the first day.

With our leftovers, we sliced the bread through the middle like a big ciabatta loaf and covered with sauce and cheese to make pizza.  Then this morning, I mixed up some eggs, milk, cinnamon, and sugar.  I crumbled the talamee into rough 1 inch pieced and dredged it in the eggs and milk mixture.  I grilled it all together in a nonstick pan and made a cross between bread pudding and French toast.  Yum.

talamee and family traditions, by Connie

My father was raised mostly by his Lebanese grandmother.  She had already done her fair share of raising children, having 17 of her own, but when her daughter had to go to work in another state, she took in her two young grandsons.


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