Los Angeles.

Los Angeles. It's a real love-hate relationship between me and this city by the oily sea. It's smoggy, it's crowded. It's dusty, it's overpriced.

But, on other days I simply swoon at its beauty. It's natural, natural beauty.

Here are a few unedited images captured by my husband less than a mile from our home during his morning walks with our little Noah Finn.

What a beautiful, beautiful place this can be.


Toys For Tots.

With the holidays ever-so-rapidly approaching and Black Friday just a sneeze away, it's never too early to start pondering what's going to adorn the underside of your tree come Christmas Eve. Since we are going to be celebrating both Noah's first birthday and Christmas 3,000 miles away in North Carolina, I have had to start buying and shipping any presents we'd like to give him already--we leave in just under two weeks--oie!

When you are shopping for your kiddo this holiday season, here are a few things to keep in mind while strolling the toy aisle:
  • Try and seek out natural, wooden and green toys --they are good for kids and for the planet. Not only do they promote positive childhood development but they are made under sustainable practices.
  • Buy toys that are made of reclaimed or recycled plastic using environmentally-sound practices--toys that are finished with vegetable or other natural dyes, polished with beeswax, painted with water-based and non-toxic paints, or retain their natural, unfinished beauty.
  • Avoid toys overloaded with sounds, gadgets, etc. Natural, simple toys promote positive childhood development through play. They encourage children to think and use their imagination -- thereby stimulating their intelligence and natural curiosity.
While pregnant with Noah I did some research on why selecting natural toys is so important and I, of course, wrote a blog about it here. My photography skills weren't quite what they are now, but sans the photo, the info. is compelling enough.

Here are a few sites that has made finding beautiful natural toys on the internet a whole lot easier:
  • Enfant Terrible: Incredibly French and oh-so-hip
  • Oompa Toys: huge selection of green and wood toys, as well as, free shipping over $65.00
  • Wild Dill: achingly cute organic and fair trade dolls and animals and a large selection of toys that encourage imaginative play
  • Child Trek: large selection of wooden Haba and Plan toys
  • The Little Seed: a local Los Angeles haunt of mine that has a great online selection too--and it's owned and operated by none other than Punky Brewster herself
  • Plan Toys: a Thai-based company with incredibly made wooden toy instruments--the drum and xylophone are household favorites
  • The Playstore: great selection of Waldorf toys
  • MiYim: great for your littlest one--beautiful plush animals
  • Camden Rose: incredible hand carved wooden toys--Noah has a rattle that remains a favorite teether
  • Little Wonderland: large selection of wooden toys made in the USA
  • Etsy: don't forget about this little gem--it's an internet marketplace for all things (not just toys) handmade right here in the USA by crafty people just like you and me
Happy shopping--and remember, less is more. Giving from the hands and heart is always more meaningful than from the wallet.


Picture Perfect: Part Two.

Here are a few more amazing pictures from our little family photo shoot with David Trotter of 8 Track Photography. For more images from our session, visit our flickr page. Enjoy!


Picture Perfect.

YES! I have been a lazy blogger as of late--well, actually not as lazy as much as really, really busy. No major anything going on--and, yes, there is still laundry to fold, dishes to wash and errands to run-- just busy with life, I guess--being a mom and wife and teacher of the little foodie feast workshop, etc. I haven't written anything cerebrally exciting or even stimulating. But, I will and soon. I promise.

In the meantime, until I get my mojo back, enjoy this beautiful sneak peek image from our little family photo session this past Thursday by photographer, David Trotter, at 8 Track Photography. We'll use one for our holiday card and the others will simply adorn every nook and cranny of our humble little abode.

He did an amazing, simply amazing job, yes? We love what we see so far!


API Article: "If You Love Sombody, Set Them Free"

Another one of my articles appears today on API Speaks, the Attachment Parenting International blog. It is a post that I wrote for this blog back in July, but it still rings oh-so-true today. The title is "If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free" and you can find it on API Speaks here and on my blog here.



You Know You're A Mama When . . .

--you try to use the car's auto door unlock controller to open the front door of the house.

--you find, while undressing your son for bath time, and eat a stray piece of fruit leather from this morning's snack that has stuck itself under his shirt and onto his chest.

--you wouldn't change a single thing.


My First "API Speaks" Contributor Post: "Doing The 'Right' Thing Is Never Easy"

As many of you already know, Dean and I subscribe to a gentle parenting philosophy called, Attachment Parenting. It's not that we stumbled upon these parenting principles one day and declared, "Ah! Now, that's the way we want to parent"--instead, we read them and thought "Here is a philosophy that has put into words the way that we already feel about parenting--and we will use it for support".

As such, I have often turned to the API blog, API Speaks, for support--to read of other families' struggles with the woes of parenting and to find comfort in knowing that we are not alone. Choosing alternative parenting methods like cloth diapering, wooden toys, co-sleeping, baby wearing, even breast feeding, etc. has resulted occasionally in judgments from family members, strangers and other mothers who don't. Wearily waking after a long and sleepless night to read a fellow mom's post about her own long and sleepless night--and her reminder of why it's important that we listen to and follow our instincts--helps.

So, for these reasons and so many more, I am very excited to announce that I will be joining the leagues of fellow API mama writers by regularly contributing to API Speaks, the API blog. I have not yet determined my ideal frequency of publication--once a week, twice a week, etc.--but I will at least be published there once a month. And, this morning, my first post has been published--click here to find it on API Speaks. It is a post that I wrote for this blog two weeks ago titled, "Doing The 'Right' Thing Is Never Easy".

Please, read, enjoy and visit often!

Happy Day,



Feeding Little Foodies House Calls.

Feeding Little Foodies is proud to announce that it's taking the show on the road--well, making house calls, that is.

If you are interested in taking a "Little Foodie Feast" or "Little Finger Feast" workshop but are having a hard time getting out of the front door with tot in tow these days, or would rather learn in the comfort and familiarity of your own kitchen--after all, that's where the magic is going to happen--then "Feeding Little Foodies House Calls" is for you!

Simply say the word and I'll come running on over to your place armed with all of the gear, fresh produce, spices, handouts, reference books, inspiration and information we'll need to whip up a batch of yummy puree or finger food for your little foodie-to-be.

Your private one-on-one session will include:
  • cooking demonstration from start to finish
  • sample menus
  • sample recipes
  • sample food introduction schedule
  • food allergy guide
  • tricks and tips for planning, making, spicing, storing and freezing
  • gear overview (what you'll need)
  • freshly prepared food for your wee one
  • a list of additional references and informational sources
For further information about "Feeding Little Foodies House Calls", please e-mail me at: feedinglittlefoodies@gmail.com.

Happy Feeding,
Joni :)


Feeding My Little Foodie: Roasted Spiced Pumpkin and Pears.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love fall--it's my favorite season. I especially love nature's culinary bounty--it's aplenty with home cooked goodness--baking, roasting, spices, sage, creamy, brothy, aromatic goodness. I love fall.

This past weekend I glazed fall up and put it in my oven. For the most decadently glazed pumpkin recipe you'll ever tickle your tastebuds with, go here. Enjoy. Noah did.


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