Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
My sweet inlaws decided to get a few spring pots of flowers planted for my porch and I made the cute recycled plastic flower wreath for our front door (it's a little hard to see from this photo, but I'm planning another post on this soon). I cut the Bonjour letters freehand from glittery printer paper I had around the house and strung them on ribbon as a little French greeting for our guests.
The food and drinks were set up in the kitchen, and I already own a couple of red and white checked table cloths that seems appropriate for a French bistro. I used an old chalkboard to write le menu on, which included things like fromage, limonade, biere, and baguettes. I knew I kept my old English/French dictionary from high school for something! We already have a stash of white paper plates, napkins and silverware, so I didn't have to purchase those either. It was fun to pull out all our fancy crystal and white party dishes to use for the food, including a great crystal punchbowl that we recently scored for free.
We were lucky enough to have a sunny 70 degree day, so had the party festivities in the backyard. Once all the girls arrived, they decorated pink and blue aprons with Sharpie markers, stamps and stencils. We found these cute kids fabric aprons at Joanns Fabric for $1 a piece. I made these darling chef hats from this tutorial from Family Fun magazine out of white tissue paper and posterboard. They were super easy and fun and cost only about 60 cents total for the 2 sheets of posterboard, as I already had tons of white tissue paper. I used black eyeliner to draw whiskers and rat noses on all the girls, too, which completed their party ensemble.
I set up our patio to resemble a little French bistro for the girls. I covered our kids' tables with white 'linen' tablecloths that I made from cutting up a white bedsheet I got at a garage sale. I placed our numerous crystal candleholders and vases of roses around and put up a lovely poster of the Eiffel Tower. You can't really see them in this photo, but I spray painted an old sign (now announcing Le Ratatouille bistro) and an old chandelier gold and hung them as well. My mom bought the girls the Ratatouille movie soundtrack and we played this outdoors, adding to the French bistro air. The kids sat out here to eat their snacks, cake and ice cream.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
This was our second week participating in Simply Modern Mom's Project 52 and I have to say that this night was so much easier, cheaper and more successful than our first one. Taking an idea from Tiffany's list of 16 suggestions to get you started, I set up a game of "Would You Rather." Basically, you write down a bunch of different phrases on slips of paper (Tiffany gets you started with a great printable sheet) and put them in a bowl. (You could also print them instead of write them out longhand if you were more technologically hip than we are and actually have a printer that works.) Each of you takes turns picking out two and asking the other, for example, "Would you rather live with snakes or eat the same meal for the next 10 years?" The concept is simple and the answers always spark a little interesting conversation. It was fun to find out that we answered much the same on them.
I dimmed the lights and lit some candles. I poured each of us a frosty mug of beer (obviously I've never been a waitress, as my beer pouring skills have much to be desired) and popped some popcorn. Our poor 1960s transistor radio in the kitchen is on the fritz, so the only station I could get was some some light rock/Muzack type sounds. It felt a little like we were sitting alone in a really bad hotel bar, having a drink. Which, actually, suits us perfectly.
Anyhow, this week was PW's Penne a la Betsy, a speciality of her little sister, Betsy. I didn't have penne on hand and used a different tube shaped pasta, which worked fine. I have to say that neither Eric nor I loved this dish; he probably liked it better than I did. It was just, well,...meh.
Monday, April 5, 2010
I talked to Eric about joining in the project three months late, and he was as enthusiastic as I am to jump on board. I have been lamenting about us not taking enough time to nurture our relationship - to remember how we used to enjoy each other's company before there were bouts of pink eye, mountains of laundry, swimming lessons, and bathtimes. We really miss each other. This seems like the perfect way to fit it all in, especially with Tiffany's guidelines, adapted a little to fit our needs:
The plan was to take the girls to my dad's place in Ontario, Oregon, on Friday night and leave them there for our Saturday night of freedom. Friday also happened to be Alice's second birthday, in which she proceeded to get crabbier and crabbier as the day progressed and ended out her special day by projectile vomiting not once, but twice. And then developed a really high fever. Disappointed, I called the Geiser Grand and explained that I was going to have to cancel our trip and reservations. The receptionist could read the sadness and desperation in my voice and let me reschedule our room at a later date for no charge. It'll now be June before I get a night away with my hubby, but sometimes life and motherhood take precedence.
So we ended up tending to a really sick baby at my dad's place all weekend, but had a great time watching movies, playing Wii, hiding Easter eggs, and taking long naps. Eric and I did manage to get away for a few hours on a date on Saturday - we spent an hour or two browsing thrift shops and a flea market in Ontario. Later that night we spent more than $20, which totally contradicts the idea of Project 52, going to the movie theater to see Hot Tub Time Machine. The movie was horrible, but come on, our other options were Clash of the Titans, The Bounty Hunter, and that new Miley Cyrus thing. The date redeemed itself with a delicious Mexican dinner at Tacos el Zarape, a little gem of a place hidden behind the Pilot gas station near the freeway. While this was totally not within the guidelines of Project 52 or our normal nights, it is always fun, every once in a while, to have an old school, traditional date. It kind of felt like we were in high school again, holding hands during a really bad 80s movie. And we actually had time during our meal to enjoy it leisurely, order a beer, and have a conversation. And we sat IN THE BAR.
I'm really excited to post about our dates each week, and hope you'll follow along, as we have some fun ideas planned. Actually, YOU should think about joining in, too, with your significant other. It is a realistic project with a focus on nurturing our most personal relationships, so what could be bad about that? And we're bound to have a good time and learn a few new things about each other along the way.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
My mom has been an avid scrapbooker for as long as I can remember. As the oldest child in my family, of course, I have the most pictures, many pasted and carefully captioned in a number of scrapbooks, from one lovingly hand-quilted and cross-stitched by my mom to a puffy painted one in my high school colors just for the hundreds of cheerleading pictures I have. Both my parents are really into family history and documentation, and I certainly gained that interest from them. As my adult life gets busier and busier, I still have the good intentions of scrapbooking but never seem to get around to it. I have boxes and folders full of old love letters from my husband, concert ticket stubs, restaurant menus, city maps, positive pregnancy tests, first haircut snippets, and, of course, photos galore. Like all first time moms, my documentation of my pregnancy with Lucy and her first year or two of life is great. But, poor Alice, got the shit end of the deal, as my second baby. I still have good intentions, mind you. My mother-in-law is a rep for Stampin' Up, so I've got gorgeous scrapbooking supplies coming out of may ass. I just don't really have the time. Nor do I have the inclination to print the hundreds of digital prints that are collecting on my laptop; there lies the unfortunate dilemma of film photography vs. digital. Thankfully, great sites like Shutterfly will do most of the work for you. I just did Alice's first year baby book on Shutterfly for about $25 and 3 hours of time. I do think, though, for that amount of time, I could've done it myself for free (sigh).
What I love about this blog, however, is that it acts in much the same way as a scrapbook does because it includes photos. To me, though, it's more like a journal. I don't usually cuss in my scrapbooking - "Happy Motherfuckin' Birthday, Baby Girl!" just doesn't seem appropriate. It is, however, a more accurate portrayal of my everyday life and is more real. Which is what I love about this online journaling. I get to document some unique, silly parts and activities of our everyday lives, like this:
Earlier this week marked the 1st Annual Brown Family March Viewing of The Wizard of Oz. When I was little, the airing of The Wizard of Oz on television in March marked the beginning of spring and my parents made it special.
We all put our 'jamas on, got our sleeping bags out, and ate Jelly Bellys. In the early 1980s in rural Idaho, Jelly Bellys were gourmet candy that we only got once a year. I anxiously waited for mixing those tasty little morsels in my mouth to make flavors all my own. It's Buttered Popcorn, however, that still remains my favorite.
While you can now pick up Jelly Bellys everywhere, including your neighborhood dollar store, I've tried to keep them a special treat just for this movie viewing occasion. We all love this movie so much and never tire of watching it. I've had this VHS copy of the film for as long as I can remember. In fact, Eric and I watched it on one of our very first dates and, years later, the iconic theme song played as we walked down the aisle after saying "I DO!" in Nevada.
So out came the Sleeping Beauty sleeping bag and all our beanbags, too. Alice was so worried for Toto and Lucy realized for the first time it was all a dream. These are the sorts of things I love documenting on this blog, these sort of special, ordinary moments. And, sometimes, some extraordinary, sad things, too. This week also marks the one year anniversary of my traumatic layoff - the one that scarred me, scared me, and shook me to the core. The one it took me a year to come to terms with. My metaphorical house was whipped up in a tornado and came crashing down, killing the big bad witch, but leaving me lost in a world I'd never seen before. With a little help along the way, from new friends and old, I grew to love Munchkinland and realized that there truly is "no place like home."
Thanks for coming along on this ride with me and reading my blog as I stumble my way through it. I do see what a special document this is, not only for my sanity, but what a unique chronicle of a piece of my family's life and our story for my girls to have and share with their kids in the future. Now, if I can only find the time to print it....