2.23.2017

A Bit of Big Bear

A weekend in the mountains has been something we've been wanting to do since our last visit. So, this past weekend we decided to slip away to Big Bear, and bring my mom along for the ride.

The irony was not lost upon us that my mom left Iowa, in the middle of February, where it's usually freezing cold, to come to cold weather. What's even more ironic is that it was warmer in Iowa than what it was in California during her entire stay. Whoops. Sorry, Mom!

I digress....

Thursday afternoon we took off, and before dinner that evening we were unpacked in our cozy cabin and ready for a weekend of snowy fun. Rumor had it we were in for a "massive snow storm," which had me all sorts of excited. Neither of the kids has ever woken to a fresh blanket of snow, so we were ready.

Friday brought us a beautiful, sunny day. It was relatively warm and first thing on our agenda was snow tubing.
A good hour of sliding down the tube slopes was nothing short of thrilling for the kids. Though you can't tell by the look on Julia's face, each run down the hill brought "oohs," and squeals of delight. Marcus liked going between Grandma and Scott and myself to see who could take him down the hill fastest and furthest.

We were all solidly spent from tubing and retreated to the cabin. Julia napped while the rest of us played games to pass the time.
The cabin we've been so fortunate to utilize is a co-worker of Scott's. It's a no frills little place, but absolutely perfect for what we need. There is no tv and spotty internet, so games and reading are how we spend our downtime.

I figured while we had some time to kill I'd call to book reservations to get Marcus private snowboard lessons. Turns out, holiday weekend mixed with a prediction of massive snowfall meant that there were no lessons available all weekend. Last year Marcus fully enjoyed his snowboard experience, so I was so bummed for him. But, we forged on!

After a little rest and quiet we headed into the village to check out the shops, snag some dinner, and pop into our favorite candy store. I was beside myself with excitement when we walked past a massive mural along the side of one of the shop buildings. Naturally I made the kids get in front of it. I might have asked Grandma to join them, too...
As evening drew, we snuggled up to the fire and read books, played games, and completed puzzles. I kept checking the weather with religious fervor to see what the snowfall would be like when we woke on Saturday morning. Initially we heard reports of 18-24 inches. However, as the night progressed, the amount steadily kept dropping. When it was time to head to bed no snow had fallen.
We woke Saturday morning to a fresh, yet extremely light blanket of snow. I'm not sure the total quite reached three inches. I was disappointed more hadn't fallen, but, Marcus was totally ecstatic when he woke to see the new snow fall. He kept saying, "There's so much snow!"
Before 8:00am the kids were bundled up, making snowballs and building a snowman.
Once we'd had our fill of playing in the yard we figured we'd head back to the tubing hills since snowboarding was out of the equation.
After a good hour of tubing the kids were both demanding snacks.
Naps were in the future, so we called tubing good and headed back to the cabin.

Scott and I kept going back and forth on what we would do with our time if we stayed on the mountain. We knew both kids had had their fill of tubing, and snowboarding and skiing were no-goes. We decided to pack up shop and head home, a full day early.

Typically I would have been sad to leave so early. However, we were able to bring Grandma to the mountains, get in some snow time, and be back home to enjoy two more days of a long holiday weekend. We've certainly been in worse situations.

I'm now trying to figure out when we can slip away again, how we can convince Grandma to join us again, and to mentally note to book private snowboard lessons well in advance.

2.20.2017

M & J Monday

I like walking with Grandma,
Her steps are short like mine.
She doesn't say, "Now hurry up,"
She always takes her time.
I like to walk with Grandma,
Her eyes see things like mine do.
Wee pebbles bright, a funny cloud,
Half hidden drops of dew.
Most people have to hurry,
They do not stop to see.
I'm glad that God made Grandma,
Un-rushed and young like me.
Butterfly wall - 621 North La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood
Author Unknown
Happy Monday!

2.17.2017

The Year of Color {Pink} Edition

February is filled with all things love, and hearts, and red, and PINK! So, this month's Year of Color was devoted to pink!
I knew instantly where I wanted to head to snap a few photos with my babes this month. It wasn't even a question, I had to get to this spot.
If you saw the Wall Crawl - LA Love post a couple days ago I hinted at this wall, but I wanted to wait to share it today.
After Scott so kindly snapped a few pics of the kids and me I was able to convince him to jump in some shots as well. After seeing Scott with the kids, I think he should make cameos more often!

Marcus asked to try his hand at taking photos, so I passed the camera over and he started snapping away.  Marcus took the last picture of Scott, Julia, and me. Minus Scott's impeccable ability to spice up a photo, Marcus did a pretty good job!
The infamous pink Pall Smith wall can be found at 8221 Melrose Avenue.
After the pink photo op I did a little digging to read, bake, experiment, and craft with pink as our primary influence.

READ
Thanks to Julia's growing library, we had Pinkalicious on hand. I was initially worried Marcus would find the story "too girly," but he thoroughly enjoyed reading all about pink cupcakes.

BAKE
When I stumbled upon strawberry chocolate chip cookies I knew we had a winner. Not only was the recipe so easy Marcus could help whip them up, they were also mighty tasty. I had two little ones who couldn't have agreed more.
Recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction
Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 box strawberry cake mix
1 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In large bowl, mix together cake mix and baking powder. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk eggs, oil and vanilla by hand. Add egg mixture to cake mixture and stir to form dough. Stir vigorously until all of the pockets of dry cake mix are gone. Gently mix in chocolate chips.
Drop rounded balls of dough (about 2 Tbsp) onto prepared baking sheet. Make sure balls of dough are taller than they are wide.
Bake for 10 minutes. Do not let the cookies get brown. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes - they will be very soft at first. As they cool, tops may settle down. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  

EXPERIMENT
Pink flubber! Remember that gak, flubber stuff that was cool circa 1990? It was right there along side the silly putty and what not. Well, we attempted a super easy recipe and made our own.
Marcus helped with about 80% of the creation of the flubber. Julia tried several times to eat the flubber, and failed miserably with each attempt. The entertainment of the flubber lasted about as long as it took to make the stuff, but it was fun to see it all come together and try make bodily noises with it in a shot glass (just a heads up, we were not able to successfully make one single fart noise).
Flubber
1/2 cup white glue
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 tsp Borax
Food coloring (we used 6 drops of red)
Mix 1/2 cup glue and 1/4 cup cornstarch in a glass bowl. Add food coloring and mix again.
In a separate bowl, mix 1/4 cup hot water and 1/2 tsp Borax until it is dissolved. 
Add it to the glue mixture and stir again.
Get your hands in there to mix and work the flubber until it is no longer sticky.

CRAFT
This one was super simple, fast and easy, as any paint craft should be when it involves an 18-month old.
I know you wipe some away, but these prints were made to stay.
So keep them forever, a treasure they will be.
A special, "I love you."
For you, from me.
I had Marcus use a lighter pink to create the large heart with his hand prints. Once that was dried I wrangled Julia up and used a darker pink to create the smudgy mess in the middle using her hand prints. Once everything was dry I added the little saying to the bottom of the prints and mailed them off to the grandparents for Valentine's Day! Nothing too fancy, but full of sentiment and love.

Phew! That wraps up February's PINK prompt! If you've joined in the fun this month be sure to drop your link below so we can see how pink has inspired you.

Next month the color prompt is GREEN. We'll be linking up on Friday, March 17 - St. Patrick's Day!



Flubber source: Paper Tape & Pins
Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookie source: Sally's Baking Addiction

2.14.2017

Wall Crawl - Los Angeles Love

For Valentine's Day I thought it might be fun to do a wall crawl - with the babes, of course - through Los Angeles, featuring some murals and street art that showcase love.

In total, I had six walls I wanted to find. But, between the logistics of wall locations, traffic, kids, and Scott - mad props to him for putting up with my madness for as long as he could stand it - we were only able to hunt down four. 

If you follow me on Instagram you've seen two of the walls. But, I had to share them all here. So, without further adieu, a little wall love on this fine Valentine's Day, courtesy of Los Angeles.
I literally stumbled upon this one by accident and made Scott whip a U-turn. I mean, a massive, sparkly heart on the side of a building? WHY NOT?!
I believe this was on Melrose Ave... 
LA Love!
6000 Santa Monica Boulevard - directly across the street from Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Perhaps my favorite wall find, to date. Who can resist a bunch of lipstick kisses? Certainly not me.
I do have to say, the kids sure put up with a lot of my hair-brained ideas. Julia isn't overly thrilled with most of what I plan, but hopefully one day she'll thank me for the madness. Marcus, that sweet child, he just tolerates me and does a pretty good job going with the flow.
Carrera Cafe, 8251 Melrose Avenue
The fourth wall will make it's appearance Friday. It may or may not have been the inspiration for the Love Wall Crawl, and may or may not involve the Year of Color link up. The color prompt just happens to be pink... 

Happiest of Valentine's Days!




2.13.2017

M & J Monday

I love you in the morning
at the start of every day.
I love you in the evening
when sunshine goes away.
I love you when the stars
glow in the dim moonlight.
I love you in the silence
that comes with every night.
I love you when the wind is still...
and in the warm spring breeze.
I love you in the summer sun...
and with the fallen leaves.
I love you in the crisp white snow
that quietly fills the sky.
I love you in the stormy air
when strong dark clouds pass by.
Let's watch the world together,
in rain, or snow, or shine.
I love you always and forever
sweet child[ren] of mine.
~Carolyn Jayne Church
Happy Monday!
Happy (early) Valentine's Day!

2.09.2017

Julia || 18 Months

A year and a half has gone right on by. While we won't celebrate with a cake or anything too fancy, I might have to slip over to our favorite donut shop and split a glazed donut with my favorite little lady. She and I share an affinity for those, and splitting one seems a mighty fine way to celebrate another six months gone by.

To the update!
Height: 32.5 inches (75th percentile)
Weight: 21.15 pounds (15th percentile)
Teeth: 16
Loves
Keeping up with Marcus.
Laughing and making others laugh.
Being outside.
Getting wet and dirty.
Riding in her tricycle.
Music of all genres.
Books - particularly the touch-and-feel and lift-the-flap books.
Mickey Mouse - even though she's never watched an entire episode of MMCH.
Dancing - shaking a tail-feather is her favorite.
Shoes - particularly her rain boots, and shoes that are too big for her (like Marcus' and mine).
Bubbles.
Attempting to go up and down stairs like a big kid.
Cheese.
Snacks.
Dislikes
Veggies.
Strangers who come at her abruptly.
Hearing the word no.
Cooperating for pictures.
Diaper changes - still.
Sleeping in past 4:30/5a.m.
The garbage truck.
Words
It seems as if Julia has slowed down a bit in the way of new words, however, she loves to babble non-stop, and is also a fan of the high-pitched girly scream (of which I'm none too fond).
Other notable moments
A few weeks ago we signed up for Gymboree, and Julia seems to really enjoy it. She's still a little leery of the teacher, but the music, dancing, and bubbles are right up her alley. I'm loving the one-on-one time with Julia, and a few times I found myself flooded with memories and emotions of doing the same songs and activities with Marcus when he was this age.
Last week Julia landed in the ER for her second round of RSV as well as a nasty ear infection. It was quite the traumatic experience for both of us. Thankfully Julia is feeling much better this week due to antibiotics and breathing treatments.
Julia has some of the most delicious little curls and I hope she hangs on to those for a very long time.
Speaking of hair, recently Julia has been on a kick of selection her own accessories: bows and shoes. For most of the photos pictured today I tried to get Julia to wear the neutral/gold bow, but she insisted on the pink headband. 
Cheers to the spunk, the sass, the snuggles, the mischief, the attitude, the laughter, and all that's in between! Onward we move to month 19!