Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dickens Fair

Aunt Shirley took these great photos at this year's Dickens Fair. We had a blast.

Jessica and David singing in the choir. This is during an act where some scallywags come in and add vigor to their show:


The bunch of us doing our best impersonations of Victorian peeps:


By the way, if you click on the pictures, Blogger now takes you into a photo previewing mode. To get back to the post you simply click the "x" in the top right corner. I kept hitting my back button and it would leave my post. Not the best upgrade if you ask me!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanks-we-gave

Thanksgiving the Burton way. My mom putting those marshmallows to use as she assembled the cranberry salad:


The table:


Tom and the turkey:


Full people:


The group minus my Nana, sister, and her boyfriend:


I wish I had pictures of the neighborhood boys playing together. It is fun to have a group of kids roughly the same age to play with. It was also a relief to hear how their boys behaved during Thanksgiving. I am not alone!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Slowing Down or Reving Up?

What a whirlwind Thanksgiving we had this year. I am thoroughly drained from all the fun and wouldn't have changed a thing about it. We started in Sacramento. My kids were pent up from the rain and holiday bustle so we let them run in Old Town Sacramento on Black Friday. Here we are blowing off some steam:


Blake was upset he couldn't ride on the trains:


Grammie and Papa Tom showing them the river:


My smartphone is dead so I feel super cut off from the blogging world. These were the few pictures I had on my camera so my goal for tomorrow is to download the pictures from Andrew's camera, phone, and tablet.

I love that I have three more days of November to revel in the fall leaves before winter sneaks on in. Can I find calm before the brouhaha? I hope so.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grams

My mother has started preparing her time honored Cranberry Salad.  It is a mixture of sugar, cranberries, and marshmallows.  She used to cut large marshmallows in quarters with scissors until she realized that my grandmother didn't have the option of using mini marshmallows.  We were giving my mom a hard time about counting out hundreds of mini marshmallows one by one so we decided to get out scales and do some math.  One Economics major,  one Computer Science major, one English major, and one Psychology major later and our problems were solved.

How many mini marshmallows equal one, large marshmallow?

Guess now...

The answer is eleven.

I can't believe Jet-Puffed makes flattened marshmallows for s'mores. 


Monday, November 21, 2011

A Year Ago

This picture is from last year's Thanksgiving trip. I had so many plans for Thanksgiving crafts and foods, but I think they will end up being thoughts of the past.



I wanted to make a wreath for our gate out of our neighbor's large leaves. I wanted to make oodles of pumpkin muffins to distribute around the neighborhood. I wanted to make that simple banner saying "Happy Thanksgiving" to hang below our compilation of preschool made leaves.

Maybe next year.

This crisp weather is my favorite and walking the kids to the mailbox made me warm and fuzzy inside. Family gatherings have already begun and I can't wait to see faces so familiar at this time of year.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Out

This is what I think is looking back at me when I look toward our front gate. Germs:


The flu has taken out this family one member at a time:

Here was our timeline...
Sunday - Andrew felt nauseous
Monday - Blake threw up during the night
Tuesday - Blake threw up during the day
Wednesday - I got a sore throat at night
Thursday - I threw up in the morning and couldn't get out of bed all day
Friday - Reade threw up in the morning (thank goodness it was in the kitchen)
Saturday - There isn't anyone left right?

Does this really mean we won't be infecting our whole family with a contagious disease at Thanksgiving? What a concept. How nice of us to get it out of our systems before the big day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Transformer

Someone was water coloring. Someone wanted to be Optimus Prime. Why stop him?





Monday, November 14, 2011

Still Time

My house, once again, has turned into an infirmary. One was throwing up all night (guess that wasn't one of the strains in the flu shot) and the other was crying off and on with green goo oozing out of his nose. Today is a wash. Actually, today I have to do tons of wash with all those icky bed sheets. I thought I would peruse Etsy for a few minutes before starting in on my chores. Act now and you can have these by Thanksgiving:


Link


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Saturday, November 12, 2011

More Yet

Mommy crafted a few days ago, but Daddy took the cake with this one! Blake wanted Buzz Lightyear wings so Blake got Buzz Lightyear wings. Reade wanted Baby Buzz Lightyear wings so Reade got Baby Buzz Lightyear wings.

Daddy constructed, kids decorated:


Double fisted drawing:


I printed out pictures for Blake's wings, but he corrected me saying that Buzz Lightyear has a pack on the top of his wings. He ran to his room and got his backpack to put over his wings. Got to love those three-year-old technicalities. Reade was fine with my product placement:

Crafting Weekend

This weekend has been full of rainy day projects. Maybe we have been in a good mood because we started the day off at a bagel shop (yum!).

My son has been calling out for this from the Toys To Grow On catalog we received in the mail:


I figured I could make one out of fabric and elastic. Sure enough, he is just as happy with my imposter. He calls it his Batman tool belt:

Friday, November 11, 2011

$$$$

This year's holiday party theme: 1940's Aircraft Carrier on the Bay.

The possibilities are endless (in my financial dreams)...

Versace Fall 2011 Military Themed Dresses


Kate Middleton Style


Maybe I will play it safe and stick to Nutcracker style dresses?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Soda

I had some Italian soda left over from the baby shower so I decided to stand next to the fridge and down the rest of the bottle. I have never had this before and was intrigued when I read "Imported from Italy" on the Safeway Organics label. How odd to import sugar and fruit juice concentrate. Sounds like something the U.S. is good enough at. Why import it?

So my research began:

Photo

Wikipedia text:
In spite of its name, Italian sodas originated in the United States, not Italy.[1] One claimant to the introduction and increased popularity of Italian sodas is Torani: Rinaldo and Ezilda Torre brought recipes for flavored syrups from Lucca, Italy and in 1925 introduced what become known as an Italian soda to the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, California.[3]




Wikipedia text:

Chinotto is a type of carbonated soft drink produced from the juice of the fruit of the myrtle-leaved orange tree (Citrus myrtifolia). The beverage is dark in color. Its appearance is similar to that of Coca-Cola, but it is not as sweet as Coca-Cola, having rather a bittersweet taste.

Chinotto soda dates back to the 1950s and is produced in Italy by several companies. It is mostly consumed in Italy and Malta. San Pellegrino, the carbonated water company, exports it under the brand name "ChinĂ²." Coca-Cola produces it under the brand name "Fanta Chinotto" in Italy and "Fanta Amara" in Malta.

The origin of chinotto is unclear. San Pellegrino claims to have created it in 1932, and Neri claims to have made and marketed it first in 1949. Another important brand of chinotto was Recoaro, which was the best-selling chinotto soda in the 1950s.

Chinotto is fairly common in Italian immigrant communities worldwide. There are local versions of the drink in some communities:

  • The Brio brand of Canada.
  • The Bisleri brand in Australia (owned by Coca-Cola Amatil).
  • In Venezuela, a popular lemon-lime soda is sold under the brand name "Chinotto"; it is owned by The Coca-Cola Company.
  • Kinnie is a chinotto-like soft drink made in Malta.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Schooling

Moving into our new house meant a longer commute to and from Blake's preschool. It is now ten miles there and ten miles home. I have loved his preschool, but it was time to start researching some programs closer to home.

Come January, my child will now be in private school. Blows my mind. I never thought I would be choosing this option:


Here were my local options:
1) First Congo Preschool (non-religious based church preschool) - highly coveted, highly recommended, two year wait list (they told me that I should have signed Reade up the month after he was born). I tried twice to get Blake in, but he would never be looked at on the wait list of 20 other kids, affordable, biking distance, not walking distance.

2) Parents Nursery School (co-op preschool) - I would have to dedicate my life to helping out in the classroom once a week (1/2 the time) and doing two parent education classes a month in the evenings (great concept, but no thanks), affordable, in biking distance, not walking.

3) Every Montessori based program within a five mile radius - there are tons, but all require 5 days a week and are pretty pricey, absolutely great programs though.

4) Grace Lutheran Preschool (gentle Christian undertones preschool) - my first choice because it is just down the road and I would be able to walk and drop Blake off, did a trial day and Blake loved it, I found one teacher to be a bit quick tempered (my close friend actually has a great relationship with this teacher so don't judge on my account), the kid's bathroom was dirty and stinky, and it is a co-op (only once a month would I be in the classroom), great play yard, super affordable.

I checked one more time to see if there were any other options in close vicinity and Stratford School popped up. I didn't think I wanted to go this route because I had checked out a similar private school in my first round of preschool interviews and it was all academia and very little play. I called Stratford's office to inquire and they reassured me that there is a balance of academics and play in their preschool programs. There just happened to be an open house last weekend so all four of us had to check that out. I was impressed. Andrew was impressed. Blake likes it. We will be starting Blake there January 3rd so that Andrew can drop him off before work (a 4 minute car ride from our house) and I will pick him up in the afternoon. We did a trial day today and the teachers are fantastic. A good combination of cozy and firm. Some might say kids just need to play at this age, but I have no issue giving my kid structure for two years before he experiences 13 years of California public school structure. It will be good for him and I promise to take him to the Redwoods or the beach once a week (wink, wink).

What we like:
- AM slot available now
- A bit cheaper than the preschool he is at, but they make up for that in the 4's class
- Each day the class is visited by Specialists. Today, he had a Spanish Specialist for 20 minutes and a Music Specialist for 20 minutes. The Music Specialist actually sat down at a piano (every room has one) and sang along with the kids.
- They had a good combination of typical preschool songs, but also included educational songs like one about the planets.
- There are bikes and play structures the kids can play on outside. Challenger didn't have bikes or a water table.
- Art is teacher guided on one day and then they do a free-art activity on the other day.
- They told me it would be okay if my child got paint on his face (Challenger said that "hasn't happened before")
- Again, I really liked his teachers and the other kids weren't robots, like I had expected, and actually wiggled around like normal kids.

As God is my witness, I promise to leave my kid in one preschool program so he can build a stable experience! Poor kid tried out so many programs he doesn't know where he technically is enrolled!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Parties

The surprise is out! I got to host a friend's baby shower yesterday and it was super fun. I decorated in a travel theme since this baby comes from a Brazilian mommy and a German daddy.

The back of the invitation envelope:


The invitation:


The inside (the top being a German passport stamp and the bottom being a Brazilian passport stamp):


The snacks were divine:


The cakes even better (It was potluck so everyone brought something yummy):


Cheesecake:


Decorating was fun:


Baby gifts are so new and adorable:

These were just my pictures before the party started so forgive me for the lack of baby bump pictures.

**************************************************************************************

Allen and Angie's professional photos just went public. I thought I would share them here because my pictures did not do the wedding justice!

The venue:


David being the officiant:


The awesome wedding party:


Bride and Groom looking so fabulous:


Aunt Shirley still adding wild to the party even on crutches:


Boy did we dance that night away:

Friday, November 4, 2011

London

Jessica is home from Singapore and is off to London for her next project. I have been dying to get over to France so here is my opportunity. We just have to go see Jessica and check in on her. Isn't that what brothers are for (and their wives plus two kids)? My bags are packed and I just have to find the right family to do a house swap with. Know of anyone???

Sights to see:

Until then, I will read these British blogs to get me ready for family life the "proper" way:

Urban Mums:


Lisa Gusto's Blog:


I started reading French expat blogs, but that is just painful to watch my dream being lived, day after day, by other people.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Warmth

New idea alert! I read online that you should blend pancake batter in your blender for an easy make-then-pour system. I had to try that. I loved the convenience:


I used this recipe:

Whole-Wheat, Sugar Free Pancakes

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 1/4 cup whole milk


The pancakes turned out alright. Not super fluffy, but good enough for a quick, weekday breakfast. I liked that the recipe didn't have sugar or butter. Made me feel better as drenched them in syrup and gobbled down a stack of them. The recipes I looked at all called for buttermilk. I think that just might be the missing ingredient I need.