Category Archives: Weekending

Bringing the outdoors in

With the usual hot temperatures hanging around outside, I decided to keep things interesting this week by bringing the outdoor feel inside.  For a family who likes to be outside more than not, creativity is a must to get through the summer months here.

For dinner one night last week, we spread out a blanket on the living room floor and feasted, picnic-style, on hot dogs, baked beans and tomatoes. It was like we were camping with a TV and without bugs… next stop, imagination station.

_DSC4458On Saturday night, we pulled out the Aerobed and had a movie night/sleepover. I’m really not sure why we haven’t done this since Christmas because it’s so much fun and takes very little effort. It’s especially worth doing while we have a great snuggler in our midst.  I mean, who can resist that precious face? I know I can’t, even when I had a couple limbs thrown at my head and multiple blanket adjustments throughout the night. Ah, motherhood._DSC4468

Of course, with a movie night comes homemade popcorn, and I found this really good popcorn seasoning that is worth trying.  I made extra to have on hand the next time we make popcorn because it was a hit in this family.

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HOMEMADE POPCORN SEASONING

Ingredients:

4 T celery salt (Here is how to make your own celery salt.)
4 T dried parsley flakes
6 t garlic powder
6 t salt (I recommend Real Salt.)
6 t ground summer savory (can try subbing thyme, but it will be a tad stronger)
2 t dried marjoram
2 t dried thyme
1 t pepper
1 t turmeric
1 t ground sage

Directions:

Combine all in a small bowl.  Store in glass or plastic container with a tight fitting lid.  Stir or shake occasionally before use to redistribute ingredients.  Simply sprinkle on top of freshly popped popcorn and enjoy!

How was your weekend? 

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Five Senses Monday

On Saturday, we took a day trip to Sedona.  Here’s how one day in this beautiful place filled my senses.

Hearing. The sweet sounds of an acoustic guitar while lounging out on the patio at The Enchantment Resort.

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Tasting. A glass of red wine sangria while lounging on the said patio and listening to the said musician.

Seeing. A 360 degree view of these red beauties while watching a mix of sun and developing storm clouds create a stunning light dance on them.  A great backdrop for a little game of croquet.

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Smelling. Fresh air and a newly built fire as the sun goes down along with the warm day’s temperatures.

Feeling. Privileged to have such beauty close to home. It makes those day trips easily obtainable when the need to get out of town seems so great.

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Please feel free to join in.  You can also visit No Apathy Allowed for Five Senses Friday.

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Filed under Five Senses Monday, Travels, Weekending

Weekending

Hiking, parks, backyard play, very few errands, less housecleaning and no dance created a very fun and spontaneous weekend.  During our hike on Sunday, D said she didn’t want to go to school because she always wanted it to be the weekend.  I really can’t begrudge her statement because it was a great weekend – spent out of doors enjoying the warm weather and springtime beauty.

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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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Desert Snow

Snow is almost an oxymoron here in the desert, but on those rare days when the temperatures and precipitation align just right to do that wonderful snow dance, it’s absolutely beautiful.  To wake up to our surrounding mountains and prickly cacti dusted in snow on New Year’s Day, it certainly required a little exploration with the camera.  I’d also add the snow here is the perfect mix of fluffy, compact, dry and, dare I say, edible??  Snow cone machines have nothing on this natural mixture.

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Spur Cross Ranch

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Spur Cross Ranch

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Spur Cross Ranch

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Desert Mountain – The Ranch

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Desert Mountain – Chiricahua Golf Course

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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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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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