Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy Apples!

It's that time of year. . . go pick some vitamin C. Keep that old bugger of a doctor AWAY!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I just love a good party!

A few weekends ago, we celebrated my niece and nephew's 5th and 2nd birthdays, respectively. My sister and brother-in-law put so much love and hand-made goodness into the "Country Hoe-Down" theme, and everyone had a real boot-kickin' good time. The party was held at my house (for all my grumbles, I have to say that this house does parties well) but the details all came from my sister's heart!
This was such a happy party, full of fun and joyful details, but take a gander for yourself, why don't-cha:

Here was the scene just before the chuck-line opened. I loved the red and blue checkered fabric that my sister bought in bulk. It became tablecloths and even napkins (my mom hemmed all of these napkins!). The lunch was really so yummy as well, if you can read that menu, every single item was delicious (I made the BBQ sauce) (and yes, Lisa--we "borrowed" your corn and cilantro salad!).

The children each received a boxed lunch:

Goodie bags are an integral part of every country birthday gatherin' and these ole boys were chuck full of kiddie goodness. The desert wildflowers that decorated the whole house were gathered by my parents on the drive "down" that morning. I thought they were so pretty so I left them out for several days after this before we realized they were the source of our terrible allergies. Oh well, they were pretty.

The entrance to the house displayed some cute portraits of the birthday Lad and Lassie (photography by their adoring auntie) and some cowboy hats, in the case that you might a'forgot your own. And some bandanas 'cause country picnics can get pretty darn-tootin' warm. You might need to wipe your brow. 
Oh, hey! There's the birthday mama herself! (This is my sister and party creator extraordinaire) I'm drooling over her boots (thrift store) and her long legs (seriously, we are so genetically different. . . ) and isn't she just adorable?
I had but one job, and that was to run the photo booth. Here is a product of my labor:
Horse piñata 
"Little ones go first--no grabbing--there's enough for all y'all so nobody push--no you may not eat that right now--give some of those to the smaller kids--wow that's a big bag of goodies--DON'T LET THE DOG EAT THAT!"   Ah. . . .piñata aftermath. So classic.
But will you just look at those precious cupcake cups!
And a custom horse-shoe candy on each one.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Penelope by the Sea

My husband frequently has business in San Diego and will stay in a hotel to avoid the drive several days in a row. And occasionally Meg and I will join him, if we have nothing else on our busy schedule. For that reason, we've spent several days this summer lounging at the amazing hotel pool (Grand Hyatt) and exploring the Seaport Village and downtown areas. 
This is Penelope, a public art installation along the Seaport Village boardwalk. Dozens of artistic creations line the boardwalk in this area, but this is the one Meg loves to return to. Part of the appeal is the fact that she can climb inside and look at the world from Penelope's eyes. But she also can't get enough of the story of the mythical goddess (she is a goddess, right?). Luckily, the sculpture features a brief description so I was able to sound really smart ("wow, mommy, you know about everything"), but I have actually been Googling in search of more details about Penelope and Ulysses, in order to answer Meg's questions. I'm struck with the irony that I never studied Greek Mythology, yet I hold a Bachelor's in Literature (how is that?). I'm also inspired by the constant questions about Penelope, and think that perhaps I will buy a book.

 I love this sculpture. Look at the weaving detail and the movement. It's absolutely gorgeous, and inspiring. Mostly, I love that it has actually inspired my four-year-old to want to learn about ancient Greek mythology. And in doing so, has inspired me to research, read and discover a few new things myself. Here is an article about Penelope and Michael Stutz, her creator, if you care to learn more. 

Here is another fun art installation along the boardwalk. 

The boardwalk is a great place to kill a few hours looking at free art in San Diego with kids--bring a little bike or scooter. It's also a great place to run, given that the weather is always balmy and the terrain is completely flat and the ocean is always on your left. Or your right. You know what I mean.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Dog Days are Over

Goodbye to summer. . . I don't know about you, but I just don't feel ready to let go of summer goodness. Our family has enjoyed a summer packed with trips, treats, fun, adventure, cuddling, family and friends. I hope you can say the same. And even though it's still warm (it's Southern California, after all), I'm just feeling a little sad about turning the page this year, a little sappy about sending my Meg back to school and dragging my feet to actually be somewhere besides the swimming pool at any given time on Monday morning. 

Goodbye to summer eating, al fresco, of course:

Goodbye to laying in meadows and blowing dandelions seeds:

Goodbye to summer activities:
Goodbye to summer s'mores (that's my grandmother! She rocks!):

Goodbye to summer friends, near and far, old and new:
Goodbye to vistas

Goodbye to smiling faces:

Goodbye to special places:
Goodbye to the amazing light that inspires me to run back for my camera:

Goodbye to happy people who drive around in happy cars:

Goodbye to this guy, whoever he is. Rock on, friend. 

Goodbye to crisp red white and blue:
Goodbye to young love--I mean--summer tunes. 

Goodbye to this moment, on the beach at sunset:

And goodbye to unforgettable "firsts":
Farewell summer and farewell summer friends. 
Until we meet again. . .

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"Make Coffee, Not War"

Today I saw this slogan on a sticker on a car that was parked next to me. I laughed aloud and then had to explain to my daughter why I was laughing: "because your mommy should get a sticker like that! It's perfect!" Sadly, she knows about mommy and coffee. Coffee holds a special place in my heart and in our home. Upon the occasional instance that I have a moment of frustration or grumpiness (these are few) my Meg suggests that I need some coffee to feel better. She is usually right.

We own a coffee maker that beeps obnoxiously when the coffee is finished brewing. We call it the "Sound of happiness." Hearing it, I will leap gracefully, drawn like a hummingbird floating toward red sugar water. If I don't hear it for some reason,  Meg will fetch me to tell me that the coffee is ready. I love her. I do not have a problem.

My love of the black stuff extends far beyond the kitchen, I am a great lover of lattes and these must be obtained outside of our home as we do not make our own. In fact, I have a very official list (which lives in my head) in which I have ranked the locations of the best lattes.  And so, dear read. Here, I share with you, in order of wonderfulness:
"Where to get the best latte without going to Paris"
1. The cafe at Stone Barns in Tarrytown, NY 
2. Bouchon Bakery (New York, Las Vegas)
3. Le Pan Quotidien
4. Holly's house (I miss you Holly)
5. The coffee shop at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas--what a surprise!

Honorable Mention:  Starbucks (only on the list because in all honesty it's where I usually end up and Meg yippees when I suggest it) (some baristas just do it better than others) 

P.S. I didn't realize it has been over a month since my last post! Not for lack of inspiration, but just for lack of time to write it down. . . It's been a good summer!

P.P.S. My niece has pink stenciled walls! More updates and pictures soon. Can you say "pink giraffe fabric?" Uh-huh.