Thursday, December 09, 2010

For Steve

video video

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Matchy-Matchy

I love buying Christmas jammies for the boys each year. I'm sure in the not-too-distant future, I won't be able to get away with holiday-themed jammies anymore, so I'm enjoying it while I can! I just love the children's Nick & Nora jammies that Target carries. I wasn't able to get matching sets in the right sizes this year, but they are cute, just the same.

I like a good set of pajamas myself, so my mom and I bought each other these cute Croft & Barrow flannel pajamas at Kohl's this year. I just love them!

Camden and Griffin's pajamas are wrapped and under the tree, for opening on Christmas Eve, but Mum and I had to try ours out the other night, before my parents headed back to Maine.

Monday, December 06, 2010

A Great Gift for Giving

I love to buy children's books for gifts for the children in my life, and recently I found a new one that is just lovely. Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama is a beautifully illustrated book with a great message.
The book begins, "Have I told you lately how wonderful you are? How the sound of your feet running from afar brings dancing rhythms to my day? How you laugh and sunshine spills into the room?" It then goes on to ask, "Have I told you that you are creative/smart/brave/strong, etc.?" and then tells about Georgia O'Keeffe, and on through many notable people through history. The message of the book as a whole is the potential that all people have, to do great things, no matter where they come from. The illustrations by Loren Long are amazing!

Now, I love this book because it is truly a lovely book - - nothing to do with whether or not I like President Obama (I do, by the way). I'm curious to know - - do you teach your children to respect the President, regardless of your political views, or whether or not you think any particular president is doing a good job or not? I ask this because I have gotten some bizarre reactions from grown adults, mind you, when I've brought up this book in conversation and recommended it as a potential Christmas gift. Sad, my friends, but true. Anyway, enough about that...if you have a little person in your life that loves books, then this book is a gem. FYI, the best price I've found so far is at Costco.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Major Bummer


My parents left this morning to head back to Maine, and boy do we miss them already. The arrived in early September, and we have so enjoyed having them here. It was great to have their support while the boys and I adjusted to having Steve away. All of that aside, my folks are just really great people who we love and enjoy being around. I can't even put into words what it has meant to me, having them be a part of the boys' every-day life. Probably something a lot of people who live near their parents take for granted from time to time, I would imagine. Both my mom and my dad are really wonderful grandparents - - loving, gentle, attentive, but able to keep the boys in line when needed. It was really nice to have their companionship. Many times today already, I've had to stop myself from "popping in" next door, to see what they were up to. So, while it is going to take us a few days to adjust to not having them here, we are also going to look forward to their next visit. We miss you, Nana and Papa!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Saturday Pictures

The boys, posing with the gingerbread house they made with Nana. A more accurate description might be 'the boys posing with the gingerbread house their Nana made while they supervised'



Random shot by Griffin. Right after he took this photo, he wandered off with my camera and "misplaced" it. I'm happy to report that it turned up after a massive search effort was executed. Little stinker.

I think the boys were playing "Titanic" in this shot. I like the clip-on neckties with their t-shirts. Fancy.

And finally, a super-creepy shot of Riley, playing dress-ups with the boys. He yawned right as I snapped the picture.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Festival of Lights

Tonight was our local Festival of Lights, and so I decided to whip up some homemade pizza, bake a few goodies, and have a little party. We had some friends join us, along with Nana and Papa, before heading over to the city park.

Here I am with my mother and my good friend Jeanie. I met Jeanie at Camden's school - - she has a great little boy who is Camden's age. My mom got to know Jeanie too, this fall at soccer practice, when Jeanie's son and Camden were on the same team. It is impossible not to like Jeanie because she is so bubbly, fun, and friendly. I am so glad to know her!

There was entertainment at the band shell, food, cocoa, and a gingerbread house contest. We wondered around but mostly watched the boys play in the snow and throw snowballs.

Of course, Santa and Mrs. Clause were there. This picture of Griffin, getting squashed by Santa cracks me up. My ears perked up when I overheard Griffin telling Santa that he wants an electric guitar for Christmas. That's a new addition - - hadn't heard that one before. Unfortunately for Griff, the gifts have been purchased already, and he's definitely not getting an electric guitar!

It was a fun night, even though I think it took everyone a little while to thaw out after we got home!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Snow Day #2



As I mentioned yesterday, snow days are rare around here, but somehow we ended up with another one today! Camden was so, so happy when he woke up and I told him that school had been cancelled for the second day in a row. The conditions weren't as good today though...lots of rain mixed in with the snow, and cold that goes right to the bone. I snuck out of town for a few hours to do some Christmas shopping, and the boys did some themselves, with Nana. They also totally lucked out when she took them on a date to McDonald's, for lunch. When I returned from my shopping adventure, Camden and Papa were out in the back yard, building a snowman. I'm pretty sure that there will be school tomorrow, but Camden's hoping for another miracle.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Snow Day

We had a snow day today - - that doesn't happen very often in these parts! Only once in a great while do we get snow that actually "sticks" for more than a few hours. So, what a great surprise to wake up this morning and find all kinds of snow. It was made even better when we got our automated call from the superintendent of schools, telling us we had a snow day. The boys were thrilled, and I have to say, I sure was too! My mother and I braved the elements to hit up the local department store for some snow block makers, and then my dad made snow forts with the boys. It was a great day!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful



I'm so happy that my parents were in Idaho this year, for Thanksgiving. The boys and I are going to miss them so much when they head back to Maine in the next week or so...I can't even stand to think about it. I'm extra-thankful that they have been here to help me recuperate from gallbladder surgery this week - - while it is an outpatient procedure (like most surgeries these days) I can tell you that it wasn't exactly a pleasant experience. Ouch! I really didn't feel well at all today, but I'm hoping that I'll be on the mend in the next day or so. I don't enjoy sitting around!



Here's what Thanksgiving dinner looks like when you've just had your gallbladder removed. I can tell you that the mashed potatoes agreed with me, so that's probably what I'll be eating for the next few days. We spent the afternoon relaxing, and now I'm getting ready to tuck the boys in (after we finish watching Elf, of course).

These boys of mine have it pretty good. It is a regular occurrence to be sitting on Nana's sofa in the evening, eating an ice cream cone, sometimes while getting a "lotion foot rub". Lucky boys!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Wee Little Patient

Poor Griffer. He's had a rough week. He was sick last Tuesday, while I was kicking my heels up in New Orleans. In fact, in case you were wondering about the level of my mother's awesomeness, he threw up all over her, and she didn't bat an eyelash. She and my father spent the rest of the day taking extra-special care of him in my absence, ensuring that I didn't need to worry about him. Unfortunately, he was back at it early this morning (throwing up, that is), so we're off to the doctor this afternoon. He's had a cold for weeks that just won't go away, and the doctor thinks it sounds like a sinus infection. I'm hoping that is the case and that he'll soon be on the mend.
So, for today, life is on hold while we snuggle in the family room, and watch lots and lots of cartoons. And do laundry. And Lysol-wipe everything.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New Orleans: Food, Food, Food

In the short amount of time that Steve and I stayed in New Orleans, we managed to eat a lot of wonderful food. I keep thinking of Julia Roberts in the movie Eat, Pray, Love - - that every bite I put into my mouth was going to be savored and enjoyed...and, it was. Besides beignets and cafe au lait, we made sure to indulge in other local favorites, such as gumbo, red beans and rice, hush puppies, catfish, and pralines. We had been given quite a few recommendations for restaurants, but found that our favorites ended up being places that we just happened to stumble upon.


Pecan Pie and cocktails at Pere Antoine on Royal Street, French Quarter

10-cent martinis with lunch, Bacco on Chartres, French Quarter

The most unbelievable Portobello Mushroom Bisque at The Marigny Brasserie, Frenchmen Street

We ate a couple of times at a great place called Stanley on Chartres...take a look at their website and read the "our story" section. We both had gumbo at Stanley and it was absolutely delicious. They also served a wonderful hearts of romaine salad, which we ordered both times we were there.
I do wish I'd eaten a Po'Boy while I was there, and also some bananas foster. Next time!
**Just wanted to add....I am having a terrible time uploading pictures to Blogger. I can upload them, but no longer seem to be able to move them to where I want them in my post, as I'm composing it. Is anyone else having this issue? It is driving me nuts!**

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Orleans: Cafe Du Monde


Lets start at Cafe Du Monde, shall we? Cafe Du Monde was first established in the 1862 in New Orleans in the French Market at 800 Decatur Street. Pretty much, if you go to New Orleans, you have to go to Cafe Du Monde and eat beignets. Beignets are pretty much fried square
donutes, heavily doused with powdered sugar. They are delicious!


We headed straight to Cafe Du Monde the morning after I arrived in New Orleans, found ourselves a table and ordered some beignets and cafe au lait. Cafe au lait is coffee with chicory, mixed half and half with hot milk. Chicory comes from the root of the endive plant (a type of lettuce, oddly enough) - - it is roasted and ground and mixed with the coffee. The chicory cuts the bitterness of dark-roasted coffee. Cafe Du Monde serves only cafe au lait, beignets, milk, juice, iced and frozen cafe au lait. It is open 24-hours per day, and is always busy. I think it is a great place to go and people-watch.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Beautiful New Orleans

Decatur Street, New Orleans

I've just returned home after three days in New Orleans, Louisiana, where I went to spend some time with Steve before he left the country for his second deployment to Iraq. I was so lucky to have my parents here in Idaho, so that I could take this trip, as the boys stayed home with them. The trip was nothing short of wonderful! We had been to New Orleans before, back in 2004 for a quick weekend, but at the time I was pretty busy tending to a 10-month old baby, and didn't feel as though I was really able to take in my surroundings. Not the case this time, though! We did tons of walking, sight-seeing, and enjoying all of the fabulous local food. So, stay tuned for the next few days, and I'll tell you all about it!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Soup Time!


Fall is in full-swing here in Idaho, and when it starts to get chilly, I want soup. I love to sit down to a bowl of soup for lunch, and one of my favorites is butternut squash soup. I love butternut squash anyway, but as a soup, the texture is perfect and the flavor is so comforting. Here is a little recipe that I came up with after looking at a few different recipes. It is super simple!

Ingredients

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 vidalia/sweet onion, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 can vegetable broth (you can use chicken broth, if you prefer)
salt and pepper, to taste

Peel and cube squash; set aside. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic; cook for another minute or so. Add the squash and stir to combine. Add the can of vegetable broth, and enough water to just cover the squash. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Puree the soup mixture with an immersion blender, or you can blend it in a blender in small batches (never fill the blender more than half-full when doing this!) until the whole pot has been pureed. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.

I like to serve this with a dollop of sour cream. Delicious!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Disney Surprise


A few days ago, the boys received a package in the mail, in a bright, red Mickey Mouse box. Griffin immediately asked, "Did Mickey Mouse mail this to me?" Unfortunately for Griff, I informed him that we'd have to wait until his brother got home from school to find out. Believe me, he made me pay for that decision for the next 4 1/2 hours! When the boys finally opened their package, it was full of candy, Disney World trick-or-treat bags, pirate goodness, and a letter from Minnie Mouse herself. Turns out, my cousin had recently been to Disney World with her family, and went out of her way to send a special surprise to my boys. Although I haven't seen my cousin in about twenty years, and she's never met my family, she frequently takes the time to check in on me and the boys to see how we are doing, and boy, does that mean a lot. Thank you, Janet - - you really brightened the day of two Disney-lovin' boys!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Round Up: 2010 Edition

A few weeks back, my sister-in-law, who also owns a vintage camper, suggested we have a little camp out in her back yard, just us and our posse of little boys. Hence, The Round Up was born. This gave both of us the jolt we needed to really hunker down and work on our little campers.

Since purchase, my camper has been parked out in my back yard. To get to Kasey's house, I obviously needed to hook the thing to my truck and drive up there (a mere 3 miles away). Luckily, I spotted my neighbor's son and begged him to help me hitch it up, and then even had him pull it around front for me. I'm such a wuss. When the boys and I arrived, we found Kasey and Banzer decked out in all their cowgirl/cowboy finery. I was feeling quite under dressed in my jeans and sneakers, but lucky for me, Kasey quickly produced some duds for me. Thanks, Kas!


Here's The Sweet Dream, in all her glory. Not so pretty on the outside, but I promise, she's very cute on the inside.

The bed came out just as I'd hoped it would...super cozy.

Here's the foot of the bed. I ended up putting a tension rod in the "ramp" area and hanging a sheer panel, in hopes of disguising the weird ramp/door - - I like how that part turned out.


I think my favorite bit of decor is my wine glass rack, made from a recycled rake. I had Steve save it for me years ago, as I'd seen this idea somewhere. I'm glad I finally remembered I had it, and that I got to use it!


Here we are in front of Kasey's camper. I think it is a 1956, but I'm not sure of the make. I love the shape of it.



Kasey's bed. I love the colors she chose for the interior. It is kind of hard to see in the picture, but she used rope as a trim piece, where the walls meet...I love this!

This is the end opposite her bed, which is a twin bed, but doubles as a sofa. I love the fabric she chose to cover the pillows and the sofa.

Once we got settled in, we sat down to a cowboy feast of brisket, corn on the cob, baked beans, yeast rolls, and Griffin's favorite, Little Smokies. After dinner, a fire was blazing in the fire pit, and we all kept nice and warm there.



By the time I went to bed, my boys were snug as could be. I have to say, even when sharing a full-size bed with two little guys, I was plenty comfortable and slept great. When we woke up in the morning, Camden declared that he was going to live in the camper from now on.

The next morning, we enjoyed another camp fire and some hot chocolate. We all had a great time, and I'm already looking forward to a trip to Sagehen next year.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Griffin's First Day of Preschool

My wee Griffin started preschool this morning...I seriously can't believe it! He will go two days per week and I think he is going to love it. He was a bit unsure this morning, and was pretty nervous when I dropped him off, but luckily his buddy Aidan is in his class, so I think that helped. He looked like such a "big boy", all dressed up and ready to go. Now, for the first time ever, I will have two days per week where I have approximately two hours to myself. Unfortunately, I work at the library on Tuesdays, so I guess really I have one two-hour stretch to myself, but I'll take it!

Monday, October 04, 2010

A Little Peek


I'm still working on my camper, bit by bit. Last week, my dad helped me cut out the linoleum for the floor. I still need to secure it, but you get the idea. A huge improvement over the ratty old plywood that was serving as the floor, before. I also ordered a mattress for the bed, and when that arrives in a few days, I'll post another update of the completed project!
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