Tag Archives: family

Happy Mother’s Day!


Dear Mom,

Thank you for always reminding me to eat more vegetables, bring a jacket and go to bed early. It took decades of nagging reminders (especially during the tumultuous teenage years), but now I do all of these things regularly and I feel a whole lot happier and healthier for it.  I love you to the moon and back!




Dear Mom,

Modern culture has popularized the term “Super Mom” and you truly fit that mold. From gardening tips to troubleshooting health ailments, cooking recipes to travel tips—you are my go-to person for many of my questions.

Not to mention, you inspire me to stay fit and healthy! From completing a sprint triathlon to running a 10K after fracturing your foot, your accomplishments make me want to do more! One of my best memories was training to do our day-hike of Mt. Whitney, while we didn’t summit exactly at the same time, we were both able to check that off our “Bucket lists.”

Happy Mother’s Day, Super Mom!


Marianne Mere

Dear Mom,

I am thankful that you introduced me to popovers, afternoon tea, and JCREW cardigans. But even more, I am thankful that you instilled the value of education in me. You inspired me with your pursuance and I grateful to have followed in some of your footsteps. Thank you for putting me on the path for graduate school and encouraging me to shoot for the stars. And most of all, thank you for believing me – even when I doubted myself. I love you so much!

Happy Mother’s Day!


Dear Stepmom,

Thank you for the years of laughter. You have a contagious laugh—one that makes others (myself included) laugh along side and this is a special and admirable quality. Thank you for creating lasting memories from everyday moments, special occasions, and family travels. They will be with me forever!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Signature 3 (Mar 2016)

Pointers for Potlucks

Food often accompanies the festive winter holidays and what better way to make a gathering easier to manage than hosting a potluck? Here are a few of the tools I recommend for streamlining the scheduling and the menu planning.

Scheduling made easy:

My favorite solution to find the best date and time that works for an event is Doodle. Trying to coordinate schedules for multiple people can be a bit of a bear. Below is a screenshot of a fake poll that I set up to show a hypothetical potluck that is scheduled for April of 2016. As you can see from the user interface, folks can enter their name and availability. In this instance, Sat., April 9 at 12pm works best for everyone.

Menu planning made easy:

As for the dishes and accoutrements, this year I discovered the online tool Perfect Potluck. It is wonderful for coordinating ownership for various items. As the host you can list out what you think you’ll need; e.g.,: 3 appetizers, 4 mains, 2 desserts,  2 bottles of wine, 12-pack of soda, etc.  Then, participants can easily sign up. In the screen shot below for a summer picnic potluck, the names and phone numbers have been blocked for privacy.

 Our Favorite Potluck Dish

And speaking of the menu…perhaps you’d like to try one of our favorite recipes for your next gathering?

Meredith…My go-to potluck dish is Mac ‘N Cheese! My fiancé and I are suckers for cheesy goodness over pasta, but I don’t often make macaroni and cheese unless I’m making it for a crowd (goodness knows we’d devour the whole dish in one sitting!). I’ve tried several recipes over the years, but this Cheesy Macaroni and Cheese from Mommy? I’m Hungry! food blog is one of my favorites. Pasta, cheese, and butter…does it get any better? This dish is the homemade version of the classic bluebox from Kraft that started it all! Mac ‘n cheese is always a crowd-pleaser, and with this recipe you get it right every time!


Kristi…Whenever a potluck calls, I immediately think salads. First, my husband is a strict Paleo so I unfortunately have to stay away from those delicious casserole dishes and decadently sweet treats (…MOST of the time). He’s a major green veggie eater, and so am I, so salads tend to meet both of our needs. What I love about bringing a salad is that you can completely ‘style’ your salad to a specific occasion or season—something with fresh citrus, avocado and romaine for the Summer, to a cranberry and roasted walnut over a bed of spinach for the Fall. I typically start with some of my favorite blogs, including Gimme Some Oven who has a beautiful gallery of salad recipes, but I do like to go off the grid and incorporate in seasonal veggies that I have on hand. Finally, salads are incredibly portable. I typically weave as many ingredients as I can and bring a small mason jar of dressing. Also, there are so many fantastic multi-functional containers that allow you to prep, transport and serve your dish.

Salad 1

Bri… Seasonal fruit salad. (You can tell I’m not the chef of the group!) For a potluck this fall, I’ll likely use persimmon and pomegranate. For taste, price and environmental benefits, I prefer to use organic produce from local farmers, so shopping at my town farmers’ market makes it quite easy to put together a sweet and healthy dish for potlucks.

fruit salad

Bon Appétit!

The Poppy: Red or Orange, I’ll Remember Just the Same

My local park features a California Native garden. For part of the 2015 Earth Day volunteer weekend, I spent three straight hours in one small patch of that garden (pictured below). It was there among the various grasses and flowers where I slowly discovered that weeding puts me in a meditative state. It also gave me an opportunity to appreciate the Eschscholzia californica–the California poppy.


The bright orange flower in the center is a California poppy.

Yesterday I was at a farmers’ market and there was a man handing out little small synthetic red flowers with a tag that read: wear it with pride. When I got home, I searched online for a little more information about the little red flower and its connection to Memorial Day. What I found was a beautiful poem by Moira Michael, a woman who conceived the idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war.

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

I haven’t seen any real red poppies this year, but with all of the golden poppies filling the California landscape this spring, it’s a nice reminder of several things: beauty comes in all colors; consider filling your garden with drought-tolerant native plants; and take a few moments to remember the loved ones whose courage and valor allow us to enjoy an ice cold brew and a hot BBQ this lovely long weekend.

This post is dedicated in remembrance of my grandfather who served bravely for this country.