Categories
family fun photography

Independence Day Weekend

This weekend was my first time celebrating the 4th of July without going to the town parade, fireworks, visiting family for cookouts, etc. We spent the entire weekend celebrating with just the 3.5 of us and I have to say it was a pretty nice weekend. Our original plan involved going to the beach on Saturday and making a huge feast on Dan’s tabletop grill, but those plans were rained out. So we decided to go to the beach on Sunday with a modest feast and cook the majority of it at home that day.

Saturday July 4th went a little something like this…

After a french toast with powdered sugar, strawberries and blueberries breakfast (so festive!) we spent Saturday morning mulling around Walmart spending a lot more money than we intended to, but on things we needed (we got the sleeping bag for MM and a great nursing gown for me and BB). That afternoon we had bratwurst cooked over a George Foreman grill (hot dogs for the picky three year old), homemade pasta salad and deviled eggs. I’m going to admit right now that Dan did almost all the cooking this weekend.

(We were talking last night about our culinary interests and what we thought they’d be etc. I always assumed I’d become this perfect homemaker who cooked amazing dinners, desserts, etc. and basically owned the kitchen. But apart from desserts and the occasional lucky recipe, most of my culinary prospects have been lackluster. I can do a quick, easy main dish like it’s no one’s business but when I try to get fancy, I rarely feel my efforts have been rewarded by an amazing dish. It never feels worth it – you know? Just stressful. Then somewhere in the middle, Dan got interested in bread making, which turned into pizza making, which, with the help of Food Network in the past month and a half, has turned into – he loves to cook. And his food is good, ladies. I am spoiled rotten and I’m not complaining. I actually feel relieved. Sometimes I’m a bit jealous but since I can still kick his butt in the dessert department and I still mostly own the rest of the homemaking gig, I think it evens out and I’m proud of him. So in general, the kitchen belongs to Dan during the weekends especially and more often on weeknights than I care to admit to – but I can play the pregnancy card for now.)

Anyway, this has very little to do with the weekend – so I’ll get back to my little recap. After lunch we spent some time doing MM’s favorite thing – playing with toys. Every day (several times a day) he will come over to one of us and say, “Do you want to come play in my TOY ROOM?” and you know I feel terrible when I am too busy which seems to happen a lot – even more so for poor Dan. So that afternoon we both said a whole hearted YES and spent awhile doing just that. MM was in his glory.

For dinner that night we continued our original menu plan with the second half of our feast – Dan made homemade beef teriyaki – complete with the wooden skewers just like at a Chinese restaurant and oh mylanta, it was Good. We had that with leftover pasta salad and celery with peanut butter and cream cheese and for dessert – lemon bars, homemade right of a Betty Crocker box. I always go back and forth between strictly homemade and “times-a-wasting” and to be honest, this lemon craving of mine is still so new to me that I wanted to try a couple of box recipes first – that I know I can’t likely screw up – so that when I try homemade later when my energy levels return to “normal” I’ll know if it tastes close to right and what things should look like. These came out pretty good – and Dan kicked it up a festivity level with his “plating skills” (all husbands should be required to watch Iron Chef America – I think he secretly scores each of his meals by flavor, plating and originality).

(this picture doesn’t do it justice, I am still working on my food photography and meanwhile the ice cream and whipped cream were melting so I gave up early and got to eating!)

Then on Sunday, our holiday weekend continued…

The weather was gorgeous so we were thinking it would be the perfect beach day. But we set out first thing that morning to Target (which was closed on the 4th) to buy one very special item – Baby Blueberry’s infant car seat and stroller. We got the Graco Mulberry style travel system I’ve had my eye on for months now despite going back and forth a bit, wanting to be sure it was the one, we can now safely say – yes it is, and it’s ours! We had a cheap Cosco travel system with MM that we loathed so much we actually donated it shortly after he outgrew the car seat, vowing to get ourselves something nicer for the next baby. I was worried that wouldn’t happen after Dan got laid off, but with the help of the $100 Rent.com visa we got, the price was cut in half and we decided to do our sanity a favor and go for it. We’re very happy with it from what we’ve seen so far. By the time we got home the weather was too beautiful to wait any longer.

So we packed up our beach gear and the food we had planned for that day’s lunch and headed to our new favorite beach (not that we’ve checked out any others yet). Dan got to work immediately cooking the rest of the bratwurst and some more hot dogs for MM while MM got to work immediately playing on the beach’s playground.

Then after lunch we headed to the beach. Unfortunately the algae levels were too high or something so the department of health mandated the water be “closed” so we didn’t get any swimming in but the boys still had fun playing in the sand. After a couple minutes building sandcastles Dan taught MM the age old fun of being buried in the sand which he thought was just terrific!

That night we made homemade pizza with pretty much everything but the kitchen sink thrown on top, leftover pasta salad and some watermelon that was leftover from another culinary feat this weekend – we made this delicious watermelon lemonade that I saw on Smitten Kitchen last week. Everything was delicious, making a terrific end to our holiday weekend.

Again with the picture not doing the meal justice.

Categories
memes & carnivals

Aloha Friday: Do You Y?

It’s time for another Aloha Friday, the day that you take it easy and look forward to the weekend, in Hawaii and blog land anyway. As you should know by now, over at An Island Life, Kailani decided that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting and ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life’s blog. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

My husband has been telling me since MM was an infant that he wants to get a family membership to the Y – I’ve always said, “Sure sweetie, someday.” You know those things cost money – and it’s not like we used our gym membership enough to have justified buying them – would we use the Y membership?

But about a week ago he pulled up the website for our local Y and showed me all the things we could do there, what it cost, etc. and I have to admit I was tempted. They have free childcare for when Dan or I want to work out or take a class, they even have kids’ programs like, um, preschool and other fun classes the kids could take in art, sports, music, anything really. Swim school – yeah they have it. And the price was shockingly not bad for what you get out of it. But of course I am still sitting halfway on the fence, wondering, is this really the good deal it seems to be? Are their child care centers good enough? Are the classes that good? Would I use them? Is it REALLY as economically sensible as it seems?

So…

  • Do you have a Y membership or have you had one in the past?
  • Did you use it and like it?
  • What were / are your favorite things about the Y? Least favorite?
  • Any advice for Y newbies?
Categories
memes & carnivals photography

52 Weeks (9 of 52): Vilas Zoo Continued

52 Weeks is a year long challenge for YOU, hosted by Forever in Blue Jeans, to be in a picture once a week for 52 weeks. We are always the ones behind the camera, this is YOUR chance to get out in front and be in the pictures with our family. We are glad you are joining this challenge. More importantly your family will really enjoy having you in the picture. Thanks for playing along! Oh, you can just jump in now with 1 of 52, you’re not getting off that easy! Now go take a picture!

Yesterday I posted pictures of Dan and MM at one of the zoos in Wisconsin. It’s called the Henry Vilas Zoo and it’s free admission and open year round! Parking was a bit of a bear (hehe, get it?) but MM had a blast – this was probably our best zoo trip to date as he is finally at that age where he’s like, “Holy cow – it’s animals!” and he had preferences about what he wanted to see, etc. His favorites from this trip were the bears (obviously), monkeys, penguins and the giraffe but there were lots more animals than that, although it is a rather small zoo, I was very impressed over all. I definitely recommend it if you are ever traveling in the area.

Categories
memes & carnivals photography

WW: Learning To Grin and Bear It

For more wordless fun, head to 5 Minutes For Mom and Wordless Wednesday!

Categories
daybook memes & carnivals

Daybook: Monday June 1st

Today…

Outside my window: is blue skies with white fluffy clouds – high in the 70s with a supposed chance of rain – again. The weather here seems to be largely predictable these days: drizzly and windy / cloudy in the morning; Then building heat throughout the day and afternoon before it hopefully cools down again for the evening. Most of the rain I’ve seen has been in the early morning / late evening. If it wants to keep going that way, that’d be cool with me.

I am hearing: trucks driving by the road outside. Our balcony overlooks the main road that our street is just off of so you can see the traffic driving by most of the day. If you walked out the door though, you’d the smaller, suburban road the apartment complex is on, with lots of houses to the left and a couple stores and restaurants to the right.

I am thinking: that the dryer in my unit is probably broken or else just awful. It took about three hours for one load of laundry to dry and even then, I’m thinking it just sort of air dried as it tumbled around in there. That can’t be normal, right? The back of the dryer gets awfully hot but my clothes do not. I thought the problem was fixed, but I’m thinking no. I’m also thinking I’m lazy and don’t feel like dealing with it today – maybe tomorrow?

I am hoping: to get this whole doctor / health insurance thing figured out quickly and get an appointment with a local OB lined up soon.

I am reading: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown – now that the movie has come out I figured I’d better get around to reading it, not that we’ll be seeing it before it comes out on DVD. It’s been kind of slow going, much like The Da Vinci Code was for me, but I am enjoying it.

I am creating: calm inside the chaos of our new apartment, slowly unpacking those last pictures and finding homes for things. We started hanging shelves a shelf yesterday and I hope to get pictures hung soon.

I am wearing: pajamas – that’s the main reason I haven’t called maintenance yet to come fix the dryer. I don’t feel like getting dressed. Is that sad?

In the kitchen:
Monday: Grilled BBQ Chicken w/ baked potatoes and mixed vegetables
Tuesday: Spaghetti and Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs with Italian Bread
Wednesday: Hot Dogs & Macaroni and Cheese
Thursday: Grilled Cheese and Clam Chowder
Friday: Chicken Parmesan

Around the house: We finally unpacked our Wii so we were able to get back to our Wii Fit – I was really proud that I hadn’t gained an enormous amount of weight (or any really) after almost two weeks away from calorie counting / daily weigh ins.

Plans for the week: get new doctors / doctor appointments, finish unpacking, get the dryer fixed, finish the laundry

One of my favorite things: Bigelow’s Spiced Chai Tea – another chai find! This is a bit milder and sweeter than Tazo and cheaper than Yogi and all around delicious!

A picture thought:

Check out the awesome train table my dad built for MM!

Categories
family fun

52 Weeks: More Birthday Pictures (8 out of 52)

52 Weeks is a year long challenge for YOU, hosted by Forever in Blue Jeans, to be in a picture once a week for 52 weeks. We are always the ones behind the camera, this is YOUR chance to get out in front and be in the pictures with our family. We are glad you are joining this challenge. More importantly your family will really enjoy having you in the picture. Thanks for playing along! Oh, you can just jump in now with 1 of 52, you’re not getting off that easy! Now go take a picture!

Yesterday I posted some pictures from my grandmother’s 70th birthday party last week. These are two more pictures from the party that I managed to sneak into.

Today is our last day on the road to “Dream State.” We should be pulling into town tonight and moving into our new apartment tomorrow morning. This post was scheduled a week in advance so I’ll still be missing in action and missing you bloggy friends like crazy! Have a great day!

Categories
family fun memes & carnivals photography

WW: Memorable Moments From A 70th Birthday Celebration

These are some favorite pictures from my grandmother’s 70th birthday party last week.

We’re on the road today, headed for “Dream State” so this post was scheduled in advance.

For more wordless fun check out Wordless Wednesday and 5 Minutes For Mom!

Categories
memes & carnivals

t13: Things I’ll Miss…

In two days the moving company is coming to pack our things. In five days they will be loading the moving truck with those things and we’ll all be headed out to “Dream State.” It’s all happening. I’d like to take a moment today to reminisce on some of the (many) things I will miss when we are gone. I am looking forward to this new chapter in our lives but of course I have my reservations, and they are…

  1. Friends & Built-In Playmates: As I type this MM is playing with one of his best friends, the three and a half year old son of one of my best friends. All of my close friends have children – and we all live in this area. That’s four friends of mine that provide MM with six friends – a long standing legacy of friendship that will be sorely missed. I think I’ll probably be putting MM in preschool this fall, despite having planned not to, now that his little net of social activity will be no longer available.
  2. Game Night: Those great friends of mine and I have had a semi-long standing tradition of getting together about once a month. Even living as close as we do, having families means that we get busy and it’s not always easy to get together. I will miss those game nights a lot, miss the getting together with good friends. We like entertaining and love this little circle of families of friends that we have here – they will be sorely missed.
  3. Free Anytime / Anywhere Babysitting: Yeah we are pretty much leaving the lap of luxury. With so many family members nearby, we’ve actually never had to pay for child care, never mind the process of finding and hiring a complete stranger to watch my children – yeah I’ve never done that. I’m sure I’ll be coming to you guys for tips and advice on that in the future.
  4. Old, New England Nature: The roads here will built around cow paths, a lot of the nature has been here longer than the people. This makes for some pretty crazy driving conditions but also some beautiful landscapes. The nature here is strongly rooted – the trees are majestic. There will definitely be trees and water in Dream State but it’s much more cleanly maintained and probably man made and designed. I know I’ll come to love it, but it’s these old trees that feel like home to me. It will be interesting.
  5. History and Heritage: My family is straight off the Mayflower. The history here is my history – it’s the story of my life and the lives of my family. There is history everywhere – stories of the ones who came before and while I look forward to learning these new histories I will miss this one, which is also my own history.
  6. Family and Family Parties: They will be very different from now on – birthdays up until now have meant family and lots of it. Both of our families are in the area and sometimes a family event will be celebrated multiple times just to see everyone. Sure that can get a little tiring, but it’s also nice. I’ll miss seeing people on a regular basis, being able to keep up with everyone and watch the little ones grow.
  7. My Library: I’m sure the one in Dream State will be wonderful but I’ve gotten used to mine and know my way around.
  8. My First Apartment: While I’m growing weary of some of the less than wonderful things about this place, it was our first apartment. I’ll miss my tacky 70’s style kitchen and all the memories we’ve made here.
  9. Our Extended Family Kitty Cats and Puppy Dogs: Our parents have pretty much the greatest pets ever. The assortment of puppies and kitties in our families are just so sweet, so cute. I love watching MM interact with them and I’m going to miss all the cute animal moments we have with them. I look forward to getting our first pet someday, but it’s nice to have these wonderful animals to spend time with without having the obligations of owning them full time.
  10. My Favorite Potato Chips: Wachusett Sour Cream and Onion – they are made by a local company and they are the cheapest brand in the grocery store. They are my favorite and I will miss them terribly. Potato chips simply won’t be the same. Here’s hoping Dream State has some acceptable equivalent that won’t cost as much as the main brands.
  11. My New Favorite Mexican Restaurant: It’s hardly fair that I finally found a wonderful Mexican place just months before moving away. Dream State had better have good Mexican food – also Italian food, Chinese Food and breakfast places – In short – I’d better not go hungry!
  12. All Our Favorite Vacation Spots: They are all in New England. While I know we will be coming back to visit family, I don’t know how often we’ll be hitting up our regular vacation spots now. I know the first couple years in Dream State will make for easy vacations because there will be fun new things all around that we’ve never seen before – but New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania in particular all have some wonderful places to travel to that I will definitely miss!
  13. All The Things I Haven’t Thought Of Yet: But I know they are there. The little things that I’ll be too late to appreciate properly one last time, the things I’ll remember when we’re gone and miss horribly even when it’s silly. Again, I am totally looking forward to the new memories, the new things to fall in love with in our new “life” in “Dream State,” but I know more pregnant hormones are going to go into overdrive soon – and I will miss all these things mentioned and more a lot.

Thursday 13 is a pretty self explanatory meme – write thirteen things about something, anything, whatever is relevent and interesting to you in that moment. For more information and rules about the meme you can look here.

Categories
memes & carnivals photography

52 Weeks: Mothers Day (7 of 52)

52 Weeks is a year long challenge for YOU, hosted by Forever in Blue Jeans, to be in a picture once a week for 52 weeks. We are always the ones behind the camera, this is YOUR chance to get out in front and be in the pictures with our family. We are glad you are joining this challenge. More importantly your family will really enjoy having you in the picture. Thanks for playing along! Oh, you can just jump in now with 1 of 52, you’re not getting off that easy! Now go take a picture!

These pictures are from Mother’s Day which we spent with Dan’s family (we saw my parents the day before and head breakfast in town, but I didn’t take any pictures that day). Here are two shots from that day, both of which I managed to find my way into. In the first shot, you’ll see some interesting Christmas decorations on the roof – this is part of a very long story involving an ongoing “feud” with the next door neighbors. We thought we’d take this opportunity to snag a good Christmas picture early before taking it down to plot the next step. The other picture is just a generic shot of MM and me.