Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vegas Baby (Make That Two Babies)

I guess we had so much fun in Vegas last time we had to do it again. Except this time we threw in a nine-hour-round-trip road trip, twenty-degree warmer weather, the most crowded holiday weekend of the year, and, oh yeah, two kids. Call us crazy. But it was fun to see Vegas through the kids' eyes, and there was a lot for them to see and do. Here they are high atop the Sphinx.And here they are enjoying the afternoon at our hotel pool. The cocktail waitress was more than happy to bring Snook a virgin daiquiri with whipped cream on top. Make mine a regular. I couldn't let her drink alone. Walking back to our digs at The Excalibur. Snook couldn't get over the fact we were sleeping in a real castle.Cute kid-sized costumes are also available in Vegas. Which we found out after a very messy chocolate ice cream incident. We happened to be at Caesars soooo, when in Rome. Bubs took his gladiator role quite seriously.We also visited a carnival, where of course Dad had to win the jumbo dog.Bubs didn't win anything but he was still happy. Bad timing kind of plagued us one day. As you can see, S 'n' B were sacked out by the time we made it to the MGM to watch the lions eat lunch.
The kids never missed a meal. Yes, the buffet was a big hit. The first time. Don't ask me about the third time. Ugh. Have you checked out Vegas's one and only dinner and jousting show, Tournament of Kings? The one where they throw a whole chicken in front of you but forget to give you a fork?We have! It was actually pretty cool, and the kids were mesmerized. But the highlight of our trip was seeing The Lion King. The second act really choked me up. I feel bad saying too much about it though because although Bubs was an angel for the first act, he made his poor dad hang out in the lobby for the second one. But it was so good! So despite Vegas's recent protests to the contrary, with a little planning and a lot of patience, it can be a pretty darn family-friendly place. Not that I'll be heading back there with kids again any time soon. Still kind of recovering.

Take a Hike

This one is for my brother. As an occasional reader of this blog, he recently offered me some constructive (I hope) criticism. His main point being, "Why should I care about what shoes you want to buy? I'd rather read about a hike you went on so that maybe I can decide if I'd like to go on that hike." Okay, for one thing, never bash a girl's shoe obsession! And for another, 33-year-old single guys are not exactly my target audience. But if he wanted a hike, I decided I would give him a hike. So here are some images from a truly magical nature walk the kids and I went on the other day down into the canyon that runs behind our house. Snook with her basket, just waiting to be filled with treasures. And what a treasure trove it was!We came upon the funniest little garden gnome.How's this for the mansion of all bird houses?Just a brilliant bougainvillea.Isn't this some very impressive terracing of a steep backyard? The H and I really want to do something like this at our place one day.
We spotted this painted window tucked in amidst some wildflowers behind a blindingly white fence.
Doesn't this old wooden door look like it leads to a secret walled garden?The kids were delighted by these dancing fence decorations and inspired to copy some of their moves.

Such gorgeous flowers!A plucky pelican.A whimsical birdhouse.A once babbling brook.The cutest sheep lawn ornament you ever saw.Climbing up, up, up . . . . . . to a golden meadow (Bubs didn't quite make it).There goes my adventurous twosome.Bubs was so proud of his rock.Snook showing off her basket full of treasures, including a very uncooperative roly poly bug that didn't make it home. Darn. My favorite part!
So what do you think Uncle Josh? Can we count you in next time? I hope so!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Crafty Bug

The crafty thing is not my forte, AT ALL, but Snook and I whipped up some pretty cute little critters the other day. if I may say so. A happy-face puppet.
A stray cat.And a butterfly. Not the most inspired creations in the world, I know, but since the crafty bug only bites me once in a blue moon (thank goodness for preschool), I had to memorialize them somehow.

Crunchy Granola

As anyone who enjoys cold cereal for breakfast in the morning but has small children at home will tell you, the two do not coexist harmoniously. Since there's no such thing as an uninterrupted meal for a mom, that bowl of cold cereal inevitably turns into a sloppy, soggy mush, if not before the first bite, then surely well before the last, assuming you can stomach it for that long. Even good old gravely Grape Nuts have let me down. That's why I'm having such a love affair with my new go-to breakfast-- plain yogurt and granola. Satisfying, delicious, healthy, and best of all, it can maintain its consistency for hours, which is sometimes how long it takes me to actually finish it. Too bad it took me over three years to figure this one out.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stem Sells

Hello perfect summer wardrobe basic. These organic cotton Stem tank tops are so soft and so rife with layering possibilities that I think I might need one in each color. Get 'em while it's hot (which hopefully it will be one of these days)!

Perfect Popovers

Snook and I really enjoy cooking out of this book together, her being the "preschooler" and me being the "& up."We've tried several of the recipes, but the other day we were inspired to make popovers. My girl was a pro at "painting" the muffin pan with butter and pouring in the batter.Tada! The finished product. They actually popped over!Bubs got in on the best part. Eating them with butter and pomegranate jelly. So the next time you pop on over, don't be surprised to be treated to our new favorite treat. Yum!

Here's the foolproof recipe:

Perfect Popovers

2 Tbs. butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
Extra butter, jam, or maple syrup for toppings

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Step 1: Brush the inside of 12 muffin cups with melted butter.
Step 2: Break eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add milk and beat well. Add flour and salt; whisk in until well blended. Pour batter into each muffin cup; cups should be about half to two-thirds full.
Step 3: Bake 30 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and prick with a fork to let steam escape. Spread with butter or jam or dip in a little bit of maple syrup.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Two For Tea

The MAMAS Children's Tea has become an annual Mother's Day weekend tradition for Snook and me (and several of my other dear mother/attorney friends and their children). We have a great time with everyone, and it feels good to celebrate women who find their own way when it comes to the challenge of balancing mothering and lawyering. This year Snook got to meet Ariel (or at least a brown-haired, gum-chewing, racy-Halloween-costume version of Ariel), . . .
. . . and the clown made her the cutest Ariel balloon.
She was also very flattered to get lots of sweet compliments for her tea party dress, which was an actual Tea Party dress. Pretty cool coincidence I thought. Although little boys are of course welcome at this event and catered to every bit as much as the girls (Spiderman was also on hand), I'll probably keep this a tradition for just my girl and me. Now to come up with an equally enjoyable Mother's Day tradition for Bubs and me . . .

Friday, May 15, 2009

Farewell, Anna

I was disappointed to find out that Anna Quindlen will no longer be a contributing columnist for Newsweek Magazine. This was her last "Last Word" column. My practice has always been as soon as my Newsweek arrives to flip to the back page and read her wise words. She was a voice of reason during the last political era, and her perspective on motherhood is always so poignant and honest, particularly in this piece which my friend Marcy reminded me of recently. Makes me cry every time. I'm sure she will continue to analyze and write about current events, and I can use this opportunity to finally read some of her books. But I'll miss the convenience and instant satisfaction of finding her up-to-the-minute thoughts and opinions in my mailbox every Tuesday. A fond farewell to you, Anna.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Lounge Wizard

The Lingerie Lounge is one of those newish stores in downtown San Diego that I've never wandered into for fear of falling in love only to find it shuttered on my next visit. Well, as of last month at least, it was still going strong. Probably because they offer helpful hints such as this one: If you're going for that garter belt and stockings look, hook it all together before you put it on and then slide everything on in one piece. Ohhhhhhh!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Duck, Duck, Gaufres

Yesterday evening was an ordinary Monday evening. A ho hum, nothing-to-see-here kind of evening. Until grown-up dinner was served, that is.
That's duck l'orange accompanied by a strawberry walnut salad and potatoes.
And for dessert, waffles ala mode with fresh, seasonal strawberries and pecan syrup. It was dee-licious!