Monday, October 28, 2013
Everyone needs a little break from routine. Since the start of school this year it seems that every moment has been scheduled and accounted for. We all get a little burned out following the calendar and tracking our every class and playdate, no matter how fun they might be. Just so happens that this weekend was another of those over scheduled weeks where just getting to all the activities seems exhausting. We had several things on the calendar for downtown so I thought it might be interesting to stay downtown and walk to our venues and play tourist in our own hometown. Oh yes we were busy, two shows in the Theatre District, brunch with friends and a costume event at the zoo. We stayed at the Hotel Icon and amazingly avoided traffic and arrived on time for EVERYTHING. kinda rare around here. This is definitely something we would do again. It was pretty great not nagging the kids to hurry up, letting them get a sense of their own downtown and having someone else do all the cooking and cleaning up.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
It has been so long since a post, I go back in forth with to post or not to post. Part of me thinks I should be better preserving these snapshots of our precious fleeting time and part of me thinks my time would be better spent making more memories. I'm torn but today I'm thinking just start again, make it quick so that maybe just maybe I can accomplish both goals. I have a lot a catching up to do so I'll start with posting a few images of our get away weekend in Bastrop Texas. The kids love when we have a "country" get away. They go gaga over the animals, the big sky and running & playing weekend cowboys & cowgirls. This was the first year that Theo jumped at the opportunity to ride the longhorns, he even hammed up the experience by posing with his drawn on mustache. It was probably the last weekend for lazy river rides and all day lounging in the pool. The weather has just started to hint of fall and temperatures in the day were around 73 and then dropped to 51 in the evenings. Just perfect for our sweet family escape.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
I had to post about the most amazing new book find. We ordered a bunch of books from Usborne Books and everyone in the family is in love. We first came across Usborne Books when T was a baby and they quickly became her favorite books. When T2 came along he was just as enamored with them. He really loved all touchy feely books and the early words books and mom loved that they were not filled with licensed characters and inappropriate content. But since then I just haven't seen a lot of Usborne titles around. Come to find out Usborne is an international publisher and that's why I just didn't seem to come across them in our local bookstore. Anyway long story short once we found a source we ordered an entire library of these books. I will be posting on my favorites as we discover them. A real stand out are the Lift & Discover series. We have the Question and Answers book. The illustrations are just so precious and the quality is amazing, the best part is how much my kiddos love this book. You can order them from www.usbornekid.com
Friday, December 21, 2012
This year I wanted to do an Advent calendar to bring daily awareness to this special time of the year and talk about the meaning of Christmas with the kids. I wanted something that would fit into our existing holiday decor and be easy & inexpensive to make. I decided on using my favorite old standby the rubber stamp. All the stamps we used to make the calendar had previously been purchased for other projects and the brown bags we had in the pantry so...the price on this holiday project was almost nil. The entire project only took about 30 minutes from start to completion. I filled the bags with a mix of holiday projects, small sweet treats, stickers and words of giving. One of the bags had a gingerbread cookie cutter with a note that said, Lets make holiday cookies today. Another bag had a bag of decal gems and a styrofoam ball with a message that said, "Design an Ornament". The calendar has been such a hit, every morning the kids come down and can't wait to see whats in the baggies and count down the days until the 25th. This is most definitely a tradition we will keep up with. So far I have been able to recycle and save the bags so next year we are good to go and can use them again.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
We booked a last minute family vacation to see the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, NM. It was an amazing trip. We stayed at The Tamaya resort outside of town, the hotel is located on the majestic lands of the Santa Ana Indians surrounded by mountains and several buttes. This festival is the only one that allows viewers to be right up next to the balloons as they prepare for ascent. Roughly 750 balloons cover the open field gearing up to go before the sun even rises. You get there while it is still dark, bundled up in warm gear, drinking hot chocolate and eating the most incredible green chili breakfast burritos while watching the preparations. At dawn they send up the initial patrol and the balloons are alight from within as they rise up and test the air. Once the sun come up the rest of the balloons all go as up they are inflated. The kids loved it. Beside the balloons Albuquerque offers so much to do as a family, we hiked and found a meteorite, went to local crafts shows and ate great New Mex food. We are already longing to get back to this very very special place.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Mr. T's birthday was right on the heels of our coming back from a family vacation and just a few days before Halloween. It was a crazy time around our house and so I just wanted to do something small, low key and just family to celebrate his turning the big 2. At almost the last minute we decided to call see if some family friends wanted to join in the fun and so that put the pressure on to do a cake. Now if you read this blog you will notice for one that theres not alot a posting going on but also in the few post I do have that we have kind of a family tradition of trying to do great cakes. I have to preface that by saying it's not that we are great bakers or cake makers but that we have cake envy and always want to try and do something new and challening. My husband and I collaborate and always make the cake thing happen and by some miracle we are always smiling and happy with the results, even if some times they are less than perfect. This year was a bit of a challenge in that since the last cake efforts we have discovered that we as a family have gluten issues. The kids and I were tested and things have not been the same around here when it comes to sweet baked treats. For this cake I used the chocolate gluten free mix from King Arthur, to my surprise is was very good. Moist, tender with good chocolate flavor and none of the grit you get in alot of store bought GF mixes. For the icing I used Martha Stewarts recipe chocolate ganache - it was the first time I had made a ganache. It is now my go to for quick chocolate icing. So easy and it looked so professional. I can't take full credit for the design, I was hard pressed to do a big bad wolf cake from scratch and I was inspired by a cake I spied online wolf cake inspiration.
Without a doubt Halloween is my favorite holiday. What's not to love there is obscene amounts of candy, spooky movies, creepy decor and the best part... dressing up. Well maybe not so much dressing up for me anymore. Luckily, I've discovered that I like making the costumes better than putting them on. This year I didn't have to put a lot of brain power into coming up with a concept - our littlest one is obsessed with the big bad wolf so that was pretty much a no brainer,which in turn made coming up with costume for big sister just as easy, she was going to be Little Red Riding Hood. I started working on the costumes early this year trying to avoid my typically last minute all night sew-a-ton and to my surprise I was actually done the a few days before. I have to say I am very proud of the costumes, the dress was a real struggle that I nearly abandoned. I had never made a dress from a store bought pattern before - I found the whole thing incredibly frustrating and must admit reading patterns takes the kind of smarts that I just don't have. At one point I even went up to T's closet in search of a red dress that I could just throw a home sewn apron on and call it day, but after letting the project sit for a day or two I pulled out my seam ripper and tried again. Not perfect but a huge milestone for me in my self taught sewing education. Little mans costume was much easier, no pattern just complete trial and error. I used an old pirate costume vest as the go by and the hat I just kind of eyeballed and figured out as I went along. Halloween was a blast, the kids spent it trick or treating with friends and even thought I would have loved to dress up I just couldn't bring myself to be the grandma to their red & wolf.