- Spring is here...so is allergy season.
- Did You Know?
- Local News
- Happy Passover & Happy Easter
- Recipe of the Month
- Learning to Garden
- Real Estate News
Spring is here...so is allergy season
The flowers are in full bloom and Spring is here! I have the sudden urge to slow down, swim, wear flip-flops and eat outside! We are so lucky to have so many good restaurants in the East Bay with outside seating. I'm going to try to make it to a few this Summer! (I'm thinking about trying the new Burger Lounge at The Orchards Shopping Center this weekend)
Due to all the rain we had this season, they expect plants and flowers to be in full bloom (along with lots of pollen) Both our primary care physician and pediatrician have warned us that this Spring is going to be really tough for those prone to allergies. Be proactive! Don't let is sneak up on you!
It has been so rainy this year. I know we need it, but I have been ready for some serious sunshine. I found myself singing with my sons "It's a rainy day, it's a rainy day. It's raining outside so I can't go out and play. Why do we need the rain anyway". It reminded me of watching PBS & KQED as a kid. It made me nostalgic, so I decided to look up some interesting facts about rain and below is something I learned that I never knew before:
The least rainy place on earth isn't in the desert
It may be covered with ice, but Antarctica gets only 6.5 inches of rain or snow per year, making it the continent with the lowest annual rainfall by far. On the other end of the spectrum, Lloro, Colombia, absorbs 534 inches of rainfall per year. North America is relatively dry by comparison, collecting 256 inches of rain annually.
We are so lucky to live in an area where there are new restaurants opening up all the time and lots of fun things to do. Some of these restaurants are family friendly, but others are definitely for adults night out only. Either way the sun has finally emerged so get out and have some fun this weekend!
WHAT SHOULD I EAT?
Burger Lounge at The Orchards Shopping Center in Walnut Creek: Coming soon
Wayback Burgers on Clayton Rd in Concord: Coming soon
Pizza My Heart in Walnut Creek: Spring 2017
Nobu (popular sushi restaurant in SoCal in Palo Alto: June 2017
Philz Coffee: Will open in Downtown Walnut Creek in the former Marie Callender's location
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Through 4/12 Follow Odette and Odile through sublime choreography in San Francisco Ballet’s reprise of Helgi Tomasson’s take on Tchaikovsky’s timeless ballet. sfballet.org.
Diablo Trails Challenge
4/15 Take in some fresh spring air while you run on Mount Diablo. Choose from a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and 50K. Part of the proceeds go to Save Mount Diablo. savemountdiablo.org.
Earth Day 2017—Action for Wildlife!
Head to the Oakland Zoo for a global celebration. Explore hands-on Earth stations, get your face painted, watch a high-flying trapeze performance, and check out the animals.
Bay Area Craft Beer Festival
This waterfront event in Martinez features more than 50 local breweries, live music, and food from East Bay food trucks and vendors, all of which highlights the art and flavor of craft beer.
Relive those summer nights with Sandy, Danny, and the rest of the Rydell High crew in one of Broadway’s longest running musicals, at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek.
Water’s Extreme Journey
Become a raindrop for a day at The Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley. Explore a maze, ride a zipline, walk through a giant wetland, and more in an interactive journey through the water cycle.
Monet: The Early Years
Get a peek into Claude Monet’s early period of work at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco to better understand the famous artist’s evolution to Impressionism.
Easter: Sunday April 16th, 2017
Passover: Monday April 10th to Tuesday April 18th, 2017
o all those celebrating a holiday this month, I wish you and your family health, happiness, great friends, good food and beautiful weather.
Yield: 8-10 servings
Total Time: 1 hour
For the Cookie Cake:
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup M&Ms (Use spring colored M&Ms)
- 1/2 cup Easter sprinkles
For the frosting:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream or milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9” round cake pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Make the cookie cake: Beat butter and sugar with a hand or a stand mixer until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla, then mix in baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar. Slowly mix in flour. Stir in M&Ms and sprinkles.
- Press batter into prepared pan, pressing more M&Ms onto the top as desired. Bake for 19-22 minutes or until the edges are just turning a light golden brown. It’s better to under bake this dough than over bake it. The cake will continue cooking a bit as it cools so err on the side of underdone for the best tasting cookie. Let it cool completely before frosting.
- Make the frosting: beat butter until smooth, then slowly beat in powdered sugar until crumbly. Add salt and vanilla, then add 1 teaspoon of heavy whipping cream. Beat until smooth, adding another teaspoon of heavy whipping cream to get a spreadable texture.
- To frost: use a 1M tip and a ziplock or piping bag to decorate the cookie cake. Top with more sprinkles and M&Ms.
- Store loosely covered for up to 2 days.
I am always looking for ways to improve my gardening skills. A lot of trial and error has lead us to some great harvests and others that were just short of a disaster. There have been years where we had pumpkins as big as my sons! I am hoping that the rainfall this year will bring us some amazing fruits and veggies. When I need some advise I have found that the Sloat Garden Center website has great information. Here are a couple quick tips for those of you who dislike slugs and snails as much as I do...yikes!
Water early in the morning to prevent wet foliage at night. Wet foliage attracts snails and fungal diseases.
Snails and slugs are hatching in your garden right now. Non-toxic
Sluggo helps keep slugs and snails under control. If earwigs, sowbugs, and cutworms are also a problem, use Sluggo Plus with spinosad. Edge containers and beds with copper tape.
Spring is here! It's a great time to pressure wash your driveway, fence, outdoor furniture and outdoor play equipment to get it ready for Summer. Below are some tips from HGTV. Make sure you check out the whole article at hgtv.com
Fence: Slimy mold, moss, algae and mildew are common issues that are easily cleaned up with a pressure washer. For stubborn areas, consider pre-treating with a solution formulated for this type of dirt and grime.
Grease: If you’ve got a nasty driveway with oil and grease stains, never fear! A degreaser can help you get the concrete looking great in no time.
Outdoor Furniture: A pre-soak with soap, then a strong rinse with the pressure washer can keep your patio furniture and cushions looking like new. Just be careful with painted surfaces; too much power will chip the paint.
Kids' Playset: Another great way to put that washer to work is to use it on your kids' playsets. Go with a 40-degree nozzle to start. Plastics and woods can be soft and damaged if you’re not careful. Pre-treat with a vinegar-based cleaning solution, then rinse from the top down.