Category Archives: Family

Monday Fun Day

Yesterday, the three of us took a little day trip to Flagstaff.  We rode the Scenic Chairlift up Arizona Snowbowl and were met with amazing views at 11,500 feet. The ride is 30 minutes each way and well worth the trip.  We got off at the top to do some exploring and take in the views that only double black diamond skiers get to see in the winter months (that would NOT be me). With temperatures over 105 at home, the 60 degrees at the top was a welcome change.

After our morning at the top, we headed east to see the 2.4 miles in circumference and more than 550 feet deep Meteor Crater. It was pretty impressive as well and worth a stop if you’re near the area.

It was a great way to spend a weekday off right before school starts.  On Thursday, we will have a Kindergartener in the house!

Flagstaff

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Filed under Family, Travels

Happy Independence Day, U.S.A.

FotorCreatedI love the 4th of July.  Combine that with a cloudy, rainy day yesterday and it called for a day of festive craftiness.

1. Stenciling stars and fireworks with sidewalk chalk.  With the intermittent rain, we chose to do this under the eaves of our front walk.

2. A paint by numbers American flag.  Once the paint was dry, she added a texture element with matching tissue pieces. She loves to wrap the tissue around the tip of an eraser and stick it on with glue.

For those of you who live here in the U.S., we wish you a safe and happy holiday!

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Filed under Celebrations, Creations, Family, Kid Stuff

Simply Dance

As a full-time working mother, my life already has a general complexity to it.  Being a ‘good’ mother, i.e. present and involved, adds to that complexity.  No, I’m not complaining, but rather getting to the point that my personal mission (hence the blog) is to keep the simplicity in my life as much as possible.  I’ve embraced the word ‘no’ when it comes to over-scheduling our already short family time.  I figure the days of running off with friends and extracurricular activities are ahead of us, but for now, I just want to enjoy our family dinners, after work walks and general togetherness.  The words “time has gone too fast” are bound to come out of my mouth at some point, but they won’t be without a valid effort to make the most of that time.

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Leaving for her second class, donning Gigi’s handmade tutu

One way I like to keep things simple is by involving D in only one activity at a time. She loves to dance, so we recently signed her up for a ballet/tap combo class.  It’s one hour every week where she gets to dress up, learn new skills and do what she enjoys.  She takes the class and the instruction very seriously and I love that, apart from preschool, it’s her only focus.  It keeps her life simple and leaves room for the spontaneous fun this family so requires.

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First class – barre work

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First class – barre work

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Freestyling at home

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How do you bring simplicity to your family life?

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Filed under Family, Weekending

Christmas Weekending_Part Three

This weekend was filled with homemade goodness, traditions and a couple little surprises and play in between.  Yes, this weekend was right up my alley.  It started with D receiving a surprise Christmas gift from a lady who works at our neighborhood coffee shop.  A little finger puppet penguin that was D’s constant companion this entire weekend.  It made my heart swell to see her appreciate the small gesture so much.  And to Terry at Starbucks…building loyalty through the children…well played!

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Saturday night was our traditional Christmas lights tour through our community, topped off with some delicious homemade hot chocolate:

HOT COCOA MIX (courtesy of Cooks Illustrated)
1 cup sugar
6 oz unsweetened chocolate bar, chopped fine
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
5 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp kosher salt

Process all ingredients in food processor until ground to powder, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer to airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 2 months.  For one serving of hot chocolate, heat 1 cup of whole, 2% or 1% low-fat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it starts to steam and bubbles appear around the edge.  Add 1/4 cup of hot chocolate mix and continue to heat, whisking constantly, until simmering, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Pour hot chocolate into a mug and serve.  We prefer a little more milk so it’s not as rich, and, of course, we add mini marshmallows.

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On Sunday morning, we walked to our neighborhood park to play on the swings and kick the ball around on the field. D has pretty good aim and foot work so we’re hopeful she will want to try soccer one of these days.  If nothing else, it could help her focus her competitive nature.

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Sunday afternoon was spent making goodies for work and handmade cards for teachers.  I love our time in the kitchen!

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ROLO DELIGHTS
Small Pretzels
Rolos Candies
Pecan Halves

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Place pretzels in single layer on prepared baking sheet.  Place one Rolo candy on top of each pretzel and bake in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes until Rolos are soft but not melted. Immediately press one pecan half down on the Rolo and pretzel and let cool completely. Simple, sweet and salty!

_DSC3292 _DSC3293To top off our weekend, we walked to our own neighborhood Candy Cane Lane to check out the spectacle of lights on foot, and D received a couple sparklers from the neighbors to add to the festivities.  A great weekend, indeed!

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Filed under Family, Recipes, Weekending

Christmas Weekending_Part Two

Geez, I’m not really sure what happened to this weekend.  Besides having to redo an entire batch of spritz cookie dough, this weekend went too quickly for my taste.  Of course, should I have been able to request a few additional hours, I’m not sure I would have used them appropriately anyway.  I had dreams of another “sleepover” in the living room, a few more snuggles, and more time outdoors, but I admit, I cleaned and did more holiday hustle and bustle than I should have.  And while I search for a self-help book for my OCD tendencies, I want to celebrate, through photos, the things we did do this weekend that remedy my need for professional intervention.  I’m also going to make sure I get in those extra snuggles and outdoor time this week!

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A dash of sprinkles make any cookie taste better.

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Taking a break from baking to have a little classroom time with Eeyore and Tigger.

 

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A special project T is working on. I look forward to sharing it with you once it’s completed.

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His vision is coming together.

 

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Someone received a letter from Santa declaring her space on the nice list this year.

 

 

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Filed under Family, Home, Weekending

Christmas Weekending_Part One

I love the feeling my home exudes during the Christmas season.  The simple little touches make it so special, from the handmade tree ornaments, evergreen wreaths and smells of a real tree to the nutcrackers, lights, cards from loved ones and classic holiday tunes.  Top it with a young child’s excitement for all things Christmas and it’s my little seasonal oasis.  While there are cookies to still bake and deliver, lights to still tour and gifts to still buy, this past weekend we kicked it off right at home.

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Decorating her very own tree for her room

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Helping hang the outdoor lights – a very good assistant

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Daddy didn’t forget to add lights to the other house

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At night, complete with a noble fir door spray – a warm welcome indeed!

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Sleepover in the living room while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” – it most certainly is!

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Decorating the family tree with the ballerina and soldier ornaments, courtesy of Gigi

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The December homework/family project – make a snowman. Thank you, Pinterest, for the cute idea!

How did you kick off your holiday season?

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Filed under Family, Home, Weekending

2nd Annual Pumpkin Patch Train

After another enjoyable train ride to the pumpkin patch, this fall excursion is making its way up the tradition list.  Only two hours from home, it makes for a nice day trip with a stop in Flagstaff for dinner before heading home.

D has grown up quite a bit from last year’s visit.  I found a couple photos to showcase just how much she’s grown over the last year.  Her excitement was no less abundant, however.

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2013

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Still loves Smokey the Bear  

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2013 – First ride on a steam engine

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2014 – Watching the pines go by

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A laugh with Daddy

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Getting ready to leave the depot

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Relaxed in anticipation

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With Mommy at the patch

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Filed under Family, Travels