Friday, April 30, 2010

New Idea

And yet not so new. I mean, there are probably thousands of recipe blogs out there, I know. But it's truly a passion of mine to share in my kitchen adventures and the idea came to me through a suggestion from my sister. Why not create a blog just for your recipes?? This, after posting on facebook that I had made "blue cheese stuffed chicken breasts, spinach orzo salad and roasted cauliflower" for dinner one night. I had several requests for the recipes and this seemed like such a fun idea. I've been posting some recipes right here on the family blog but realized that, while it's fun and inspiring for me, they don't seem to belong in the "story of our lives" format. And so the idea has been put into motion.

I posted a request for name suggestions and was overwhelmed with the amount I got. It may have had something to do with the fact that I promised a poll where the winning name would get a $5 Starbucks card...

So what I ask of you is this... please vote on the name for the new Recipe Blog (poll located on this page to the top left.) I appreciate any and all suggestions!! And while I don't anticipate a HUGE following, I'm excited nonetheless.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mexico Trip: Parte Dos

Our hotel may not have had the best food around, but the housekeeping was exceptional. There was a new "display" each day as we returned to the room. My favorite was the kissing towel swans, complete with fresh rose petals! I loved them so much, I didn't want to move them.

We spent days 3 and 4 just soaking up the sun and getting out a bit. The tasteless dinners left us desiring a good night out so we opted for a bus ride to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville (the chili's picture was just a quick use of the prop for a photo op... we did not actually EAT at Chili's) for an awesome dinner and the BEST Margaritas (mine was a "Pink Cadillac" made with silver tequila, triple sec and a special pomegranate margarita mix!) The dinner was also complete with balloon art (as evidenced by my beautiful hat that Joe made me wear all the way back to the hotel...) But it was after that night that we started to see a change in the weather. Big rain clouds encroaching on our sunny skies!! It was a good thing we had taken some relaxing time to soak up the sun by the pool the day before. Running from the incoming rain really wore us out.

Stay tuned for the story of the tiny rental car and our adventurous self guided tour to the Tulum Mayan Ruins!

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Never-Ending Conversation

B: "Mommy, why are you stopping the van?"
M: "I'm stopping here to get some coffee."
B: "Why did you tell her that?"
M: "I needed to tell her what I wanted."
B:"What is she doing?"
M: "Making my coffee."
B: "What is that noise?"
M: "The coffee machine."
B: "Do we have one of those?"
M: (smiling) "Not that kind."
B: "What kind is it?"
M: "The kind that makes espresso."
B: "What is a presso?"
M: "A special kind of coffee."
B: "Why is it special?"
M: "Umm... because it's different than the kind Mommy drinks at home."
B: "Oh..." (pausing)
M: (holding my breath, hoping we're done but knowing all to well that we're not even close)
B: "What did you just give her?"
M: (sighing slightly) "My credit card."
B: "Isn't that Daddy's credit card?"
M: "No honey, mommy has one just like Daddy's"
B: "Where is Daddy's?"
M: "In his wallet."
B: "Why did you give her your credit card?"
M: "Because I had to pay for my coffee."
B: "Why did you have to pay for it?"
M: "Because coffee isn't free sweetheart."
B: "What does free mean?"
M: (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

And such is a day in my life...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mexico Trip: Parte Uno

So I've been all about collages lately on the blog since it's such a great way to get more pictures into less space... and yet the story of our Mexico trip will be posted in three parts...

It's been YEARS since we've taken a vacation together. Our trip to Maui was before Brendan was born (almost 5 years ago!) I figured my 30th birthday was a perfect excuse to head for the beach, leaving the kids behind. We took the plunge, leaving our kids in great care and planning everything down to the last detail (including a typed and notarized Medical Consent Form and a three page "handbook" on everything involved in the daily lives of my children...) And yet I still felt a nagging sense of guilt for being the least bit excited to leave. I chose Cancun, never having been to Mexico, after consulting with several people about the "best" Mexican travel spots. Close to the Mayan Ruins, I figured my adventuresome husband could be persuaded.

We flew from Redmond to Seattle then Seattle to Cancun in a LONG 9 hours of total travel time. Fought through the crowds of Timeshare pushing salespeople to the shuttle that took us to our resort. Our expectations diminished as we checked in and unloaded our things. Even more so when we picked up our forks at one of the 5 "restaurants" that would be serving our "all-inclusive" meals. So it wasn't the best food ever and the room left a little to be desired (our "mini bar" was a semi-cold mini fridge stocked with canned beer, soda and two small bottles of water...) but the sun and the beach were a welcome retreat from the 20 degree weather we were enduring at home (we RAN from the truck into the airport that morning, hoping not to freeze!) It did not mean, however, that we weren't pining for a room at the Hilton as we explored the white sand beaches.

We spent the first day getting out. Joe decided a kayak adventure was in order so we shuttled to the adventure spot and hopped ourselves aboard a tandem two-seater (kayak rentals were one of the obvious benefits of "all-inclusive.") I eventually let go of the worry that we were floating "too far" from shore and rested my paddle on my thighs (Joe is much more efficient at rowing when I'm not attempting to "help" by splashing with my oar...) So after about an hour on the water, soaking in the sun, we waited for our ride back to the hotel. But with 20 minutes to spare, we opted for a quick walk down the street that resulted in an indulgent McDonald's ice cream cone. After all, who could pass up a $7.00 ice cream cone (pesos that is... it took some getting used to, seeing some crazy prices... the cones were approximately 55 cents!)

Day 2 involved a bus ride down the hotel strip to the local Wal-Mart. With dismal resort food, we at least needed some snacks to tide us over. And so began our adventure with the Cancun city bus system. Fortunately for us, our hotel consierge informed us of the $7.50 bus fair (again... only about 60 cents in US dollars.) So with our converted money, it was easy to shell out an exact $15 pesos to get on the bus. It was the unfortunate people who didn't know exactly how much to give who ended up getting robbed as the busdriver pocketed the change. Knowing which bus to get on was the second challenge. I envisioned a bus much like the city of Portland (lighted displays clearly stating the route.) But I was in for a shock when I realized the destinations were PAINTED on the front windows of the buses. So it seemed obvious... if we wanted to go to Wal-Mart, we looked for a bus with "Wal-Mart" painted on the front (among various other points at which the bust would stop.) And on the way back? "Zona Hotelera" So after our Wal-Mart adventure we longed for a good cup of coffee and spotted the Starbucks like water in a desert, the addicts that we are. And after some much needed coffee and lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, it was back to the hotel for sun and relaxation. Stay tuned for parte dos...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Color Me Orange

Eggs and Jesus

Seriously... cutest kids in the world. This was before we left for church with only 15 minutes to spare. BIG mistake! Somehow, the fact escaped me that half the city would be at church on this given Sunday. As we neared the entrance to the church parking lot Joe exclaimed "keep going! If there are cars coming out, it means there aren't any more spots." "Are you kidding me?!" I cried. There has to be at least a hundred parking spots in that lot!! But he was right. We followed the "smart" cars and parked in the school lot down the street. Joe held Aubrey and we each held one of Brendan's hands as we rushed the half mile walk from the lot to the church in what felt like 30 degree weather with 20mph winds. We took our seats on the floor outside the interior doors and couldn't see or hear a thing. But we were there. And I suppose that's what counts. We did our best to teach our kids that Easter is about so much more than eggs and candy... that Jesus died and rose again for our salvation (the REAL reason we enjoy this glorious holiday!)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Words of Wisdom

I cannot tell you exactly what was being said here, but it was too precious a moment to pass up. One of them was likely imparting words of wisdom and, by the looks on their faces, my guess is it was Brendan...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fishing For Fun

You may think me selfishly biased but my husband has got to be the best daddy who ever walked this earth. Perhaps being a child at heart gives him an added advantage. While perusing the aisles of a local craft store, he spotted a small (albeit cheaply crafted) wooden model sailboat kit and decided it was a "must have." I could not resist or complain, for the toy cost only $1. A bargain for the fun it would likely create.

The excitement was overwhelming as Brendan and Daddy painted and glued the pieces of their special boat, working side by side with priceless smiles plastered to their faces. And when Brendan sadly wondered where they would be able to sail their boat (the weather was not conducive to outdoor adventures), Daddy came up with a plan...

I heard their voices coming from the master bathroom and wandered in to observe the fun. Joe had filled the bathtub with a few inches of water and they were taking turns blowing the sailboat back and forth. As the proverbial "light bulb" came on inside Joe's mind, he left the room and returned with Brendan's fishing pole which he then tied to the boat as a "steering" mechanism. I believe Joe was upgraded to hero status in that simple moment... a moment of priceless fun between a father and son...