Saturday, October 30, 2010

the rail road park

Last Sunday we went to the Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham.

fun, fun, exhausting fun.

The weather was perfect. We were there for almost four hours and Daughter threw the biggest tantrum of her life when it was time to leave. (that part was insano. Nothing like pushing a stroller with a SCREAMING and KICKING 3 year old in it as fast as you can trying to get to the car) But I didn't take any pictures of the tantrum, just the fun parts.

ANNNNNDDD GO:


walking in. We had the kids in the stroller at this point.

I didn't include any pictures but there was a huge spice garden with thyme, basil, chives, parsley, cilantro and probably a few others I couldn't identify. The cool part was, I would have never even noticed them but Son was walking so slow I had time notice all the plants. I pointed it out to Husband (he was walking with the much faster Daughter and didn't notice) and we both thought it was pretty cool.

And the play time begins.

the top

sliding

their new favorite seesaw

Son, still not sure and a little tired

a view of the city from the playground area

VULCAN

Son walking on the rocks and getting excited about the train

Daughter and I walked through the empty creek bed singing silly songs.

Son had to take a rest (and a water break)

another city view, with Son and Husband walking (Daughter is on the bridge already)

On the bridge. shortly after this shot she announced she needed to jump in the water to cool down. Nere, Boss.

walking, jumping and climbing the big steps

another city view

Daughter eating her Scooby Doo treat from the ice cream truck.
She said her favorite part was "eating stooby's eyes"
seriously.

more seesawing.
this boy she was seesawing with was so sweet. He told me he wasn't going to bounce much because he didn't want Daughter to get hurt. (and he called me "ma'am")

climbing

seriously, so fun. I think Son loved all the dogs the best. There were SO many dogs. We walked around the entire park almost twice. good times and we'll definitely be going back.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Food Day Friday: Husband's lasagna

Husband made lasagna a couple of weeks ago and said, "I took a couple of pictures of the lasagna because I thought you might want to blog about it." :-) How could I say no to the man who cooks me wonderful meals?

Husband used
no bake noodles (we loved them) some times He uses whole wheat and those are great too
browned ground veal and Italian sausage (when we don't have veal, he uses sausage -- but you can always use ground beef or even chicken)
shredded mozzarella in the layers and fresh on the top
blanched spinach (fresh or frozen)
ricotta
and the sauce.

The sauce is ever changing. When I ask him what he puts in it, he just says, "I try to make it not taste like spaghetti sauce." I think this has a jar of our canned tomatoes, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of tomato sauce and lots of basil. probably some s&p.

as for the layers:
this is what Husband told me via facebook chat

sauce on bottom of pan, noodles, meat/sauce combo, cheese, noodles, meat/sauce combo, cheese, repeat......end with a layer of noodles, covered with just sauce on top then, either put cheese on before you put it in the oven for a crust on top, or do it later for a more gooey, cheesy top.

Notice, there's not one mention of the spinach and he doesn't specify mozzarella or ricotta cheese. But you get the jist.

Next cook at 450 for about 40-45 minutes.

the whole.

a slice.

It's great. I wish he made it more often.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

blanket update

I took these pictures Wednesday (of Thursday, I forget), but I've almost a foot to each blanket as of today.


I'm using 3 different stitches in an attempt to create a pattern and a little visual interest.

The bottom (solid yellow) is all double crochet.
Then it switches to green and it's one row of half double crochet, three rows of triple crochet, two rows of half double and then repeating (minus the first half double).
I stuck in two rows of a half double yellow stripe and in the new (not shown) work the second stripe is there.
And I'll finish it again with yellow double crochet.

both blankets.
I was about a day and a half ahead with Son's when the picture was taken. Right now they are the same size.
I decided to work on them simultaneously so that they'd be done close to the same time. Usually I spend one day on Son's and the next on Daughter's. At the end of the week, I catch up which ever one is behind.

And, yes, both children have seen both blankets. And cuddled them and expressed how much they like them. I am the lamest sometimes when it comes to surprises, but the truth is, if I waited to work on them at a time when they wouldn't be around to see them, the blankets wouldn't be finished for a year!

And when Daughter asks, "what you doing, Mommy?" I tell her. "I'm making a blanket to give you (or Son, depending on the day) on Christmas." She's a smart girl. And I've decided that not lying is more important than a Christmas morning surprise blanket.

After reading the Fannie Flagg article in the current issue of Southern Living, I picked up Can't Wait to Get to Heaven and Welcome to the World, Baby Girl. So with something to read, productivity will most definitely slow down.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The GREAT pumpkin patch

Two weeks ago we took the kids to The Great Pumpkin Patch in Hayden.

Lots of fun was had by everyone. And I mean lots.

We were there for about 2.5 hours and spend under $30 (It's cheaper on a weekday). This included the petting zoo, the inflatables, a pony ride, a hayride and two pumpkins. I thought that was reasonable. Plus we only live about 15 minutes away. And bonus points because it wasn't crowded at all.


My sweet little buddy stood there with his head in a pumpkin cutout for about two minutes while we tried to get Daughter to join him for a "kids with their heads pumpkins" shot. She never did.

She did climb into the wagon though.

Next we went to the petting zoo. We saw llamas, goats, pigs, chickens, roosters, geese, cows and a donkey. Husband and I were much more excited than the kids were.

Husband petting a goat.

At the petting zoo, Son was ONLY interested in having us look at the ponies that were giving rides. Oddly enough later, he did not want to ride a pony but did cheer as Daughter rode.

Son loved the inflatables. They were in a giant pumpkin.
jumping, rolling, walking, falling, laughing. They loved it.
Husband and I found shade next to the giant pumpkin and let them have at it.

Daughter "mushing" her face.

Daughter went down the inflatable slide at least a dozen times.
Son tried to climb up but was too short. And there was a rule that parents couldn't help.
So he split his time by returning to the giant pumpkin inflatable and running around.

Next was the pony ride.
Daughter LOVED it!
absolutely.

Now our hayride to the pumpkin patch!

Daughter and Husband checking out the selection.
She quickly picked a great pumpkin -- for the main reason that she wanted to run and jump and climb in the hay maze!

jumping in the maze.

I just wanted to toss my camera and roll around in the hay with this man. Sadly, there were strangers around.

Son climbing.

He had to play in the hay a little before he was ready to pick his pumpkin.

the ride back.
those are our two pumpkins behind Husband.

We still haven't even decided if the kids are going to dress up this year, but picking out pumpkins is something fun we all love to do.

Daughter has decided that she wants to paint her pumpkin so I'll have to post about that when it happens.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

(un)Spirts Sunday


We found this stuff on sale at World Market. It was great.

It would definitely be fabulous for a Hockey Day Seal Party at The Judson. (sigh) good times.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

a Christmas gift for the kids - crocheted blankets

Yes, Christmas. gifts. yes. In October. And I actually decided to do this about two months ago, but it took me a while to pick the yarn and the yarn colors and find a new crochet hook that would help me work for longer.

Yes, a hook that helps me work longer. I've been using the standard aluminum Boyle crochet hooks and I really thought that's the "best" there was. But during a trip to Jo-Anns recently a cashier told me she switched to a wooden hook and she can work for a lot longer without pain. Nice. sounds fabulous. I'll check that out soon.

On their website, Jo-Anns have a few wooden options. I chose two (both on sale) to see what I liked the best. I actually thought I would like THIS one the best. It's solid bamboo. And I have to tell you, it really did speed up my work -- EXCEPT for the fact that I am so used to having that little thumb rest, I realized I needed it. My thumb kept sliding all over the hook so I could never really get a rhythm going. I tried a couple of different grips and grippers but nothing really worked well for me.

So I settled on this beauty. I really shouldn't say "settled" because it really is the better hook (for me). It's fast and the thumb rest is exactly what I'm used to so getting a rhythm going is easy. and the bamboo handle helps out too.
I'm using a J for this project.

the full sized view.
I really wish I could find a solid wood hook WITH a thumb rest. Until then. This is my hook.

Next, to decide on yarn brand and colors. I love Jo-Ann. The store and the website. The have a great selection of yarn and something I like is ALWAYS on sale (or clearance). Plus, I'm on their email mailing list so I get coupon codes for extra off (including free shipping).

I started with my favorite brand: Lion Brand. and then began narrowing down from there. I picked Vanna's Choice. (yes, Vanna White has a yarn of choice) It is regular $3.29 but on sale for $2.47. NICE.

The two colors I chose for Daughter, charcoal grey and eggplant.

The grey is going to be a "border color" at the top and the bottom and two little stripes in the middle of the purple.

Son's colors are mustard and olive. Really pretty colors and they make me want to redecorate this room to match the new blanket!

His main color is olive and the border color is mustard.

There really are so many pretty colors in this line, it was hard to pick. I consulted Brooke and Husband. We must have all come up with 12 color combinations we liked. In the end, these were my final choices.

Next I had to decide how many skeins I needed. Sheesh, I had no idea. But I knew I wanted to make BIG blankets. Something they could cuddle and snuggle with for years and years and years. The kind of blanket you reach for when you're sitting on the couch and cold. I ended up with 4 grey and mustard and 8 purple and green. For a grand total of 12 skeins per blanket. Let me tell you, that was a big box my mail carrier brought me!

I think I really chose the numbers well. The blankets are going to measure 46inches X 54inches (ish)[Yes, I did say big] when finished and it looks like I'm going to have less than a whole skein of each color left over. maybe enough for a scarf for each kid that matches their blanket.

At the risk of sounding like a cheese ball, I really hope these blankets are something they love and cherish for years and years. Alas, every time Daughter catches me working on Son's blanket, she tells me how much she loves it and how beautiful it is and how green and yellow are her favorite colors!

seriously.

I guess the one person I should have consulted about blanket colors was the three year old!

{I'm almost half way finished with the two blankets so I'll post an update in the next day or two with pictures and stitch talk}

Bham Botanical Gardens

A couple of weekends ago we took the kids to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

They ran through the Woodlands, skipped in the Japanese Gardens (and spotted lots of turtles and fish), played in the Iris Garden, smelled through the Rose Garden and then finally threw the tantrum that ended the day in front of the Green House. It was a fun day - tantrum included.

Poor Son. He just can't handle it when there's a body of water that he's not allowed to play in.

Daughter in the Woodlands.
We spent a lot of time picking up leaves and rocks here.

Son and Husband, climbing.

Daughter running around on the way to the Koi Pond.

Here she told me something silly like, "Mommy, there are so many leaves in my way."

They didn't need us. Independent playtime commenced.
sidenote: I've never actually been to the Iris Garden when the irises were blooming.

talking.

climbing.

Son splashed and splashed and laughed and laughed.
Until he tried to swing his leg over the side and was told no.
He was moved away from the fountain.

Then it was screaming and tears.
We rallied and made it through the rose garden. BEAUTIFUL this time of year. Son ran around in the grass, barefoot. And Daughter and I went from rose to rose, smelling and announcing how wonderful they smelled and how beautiful they looked.

But then in front of the Green house, we ran into a few more fountains and Son's tantrum returned with fury.

And we called it a day.