Friday, February 28, 2014

Adventure #1

I love Groupon.  I got an offer from Young Chefs Academy for a cooking class for kids.  So the girls went to learn how to cook and my hubby and I went out on a date!  Honestly, the girls had so much fun, I wish I had bought more Groupons for this. 
While the kids were learning to make Pierogies and Rugelach, Jeff and I went to a new restaurant for dinner.  For those of you who know my husband, this is a SHOCKER!  Jeff doesn't like to try new restaurants and I was surprised when he recommended this place.  We went to a Latin restaurant called Arepazo in Gahanna.  In fact, it turned out to be a great gluten-free restaurant.  We had fried plantains, which was not coated in flour before frying.

And we had some sort of fried plantain salad something or other.  I can't remember the name but boy was it good!  I've seen plantains in the grocery store and I know you have to cook them before you eat them, but I've never had a desire to try them.  Now, i'll be checking them out during my next grocery trip. 
It turned out that this little restaurant inspired my motivation to want to go to culinary school, or perhaps take cooking classes.  If I would ever become a chef, I would want to own a restaurant just like Arepazo.  It was very cozy, small and amazingly popular.
Meanwhile, back at the Young Chefs' kitchen, this is how we found the girls when we went to go back to get them: 
I was surprised to see Ellen having such a good time.  She's been my little shadow lately and haven't left my side except going to school.

Marcella liked the cooking class so much, she's been helping me in the kitchen.  She learned to chop tomatoes and green peppers.  Only homemade salsa in this house!!!

The next day we went to check out the Home and Garden Show.  We go every year.  It's a great way to get Spring Fever in high gear with landscaping ideas and oh!  the smell of fresh spring flowers everywhere!  I saw these flowers that I've never seen before.  They're called cyclamen.  I didn't care for the scent very much but they were beautiful.  They looked like paper petals floating over leaves.

Stringing tiny lights throughout your garden is the "in" thing this year.  I thought these were really neat.  Unfortunately, the girls pooped out on us quickly and we didn't get to see everything.  The show was much better this year than last year. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday 2/18/14

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday!  A little late, but better late than never!  Enjoy!

A Snowy Walk

You can see more of my work at

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Little Holidays Equals Big Deal

I hope you all had a nice Valentines Day.  Part of my happiness Project is to make a bigger deal out of the small holidays.  I've never really been big on decorating my house for holidays, except Christmas, and even Christmas isn't decorated on a large scale.  So this Valentines Day, I did a little more than help the girls sign their Valentine Day cards.  I decorated!

I love paint chip cards.  You can do almost anything with them.  I wrote a couple articles for Yahoo! on different crafts you can do with them.  You can check one of them out here:  Creative Crafts with Paint Chip Cards.

So, I cut out a million hearts out of all the different shades of red and pink and made them into a garland for our mantel.  The girls made Valentine Guys out of plastic cups.

My girls have been ruthless to each other lately.  I'm sure it's cabin fever and lack of fresh air, so I found this craft in Family Fun magazine.  I thought it would be a great way for the girls to write nice notes and valentines to each other.

I made a felt envelope for everyone on the back of our kitchen chairs:  Mom, Dad, Marcella and Ellen.  Even Adyson and Camden (our grandchildren) got one too because they are here everyday.  Ellen enjoyed helping Adyson scribble on papers and "deliver" them to the appropriate envelope.  It was a nice change of pace with giving someone something for a holiday and it not having to come from a store.

Since the girls didn't have school on Friday which was Valentines Day, and Jeff had to work, we celebrated on Thursday.  The kids had no idea when they woke up and found this:

 And pink heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast!

Of course, my girls are "Frozen" stricken like everyone else and about a month or so ago, I found Elsa dolls in her ice princess dress and nabbed two right away.  I knew they would be hard to find if I had waited.  Sure enough, I have yet to find hardly anything Elsa in the stores.  So the girls got their Elsa dolls, too.

It was the highlight of their day... Then they had to go get ready for school.  Ha!

It felt like a big holiday on what has always been "just another day", replaced with happy chattering, "thank yous", eating and excitement.  The envelopes were a big hit.

Even Camden got Valentines!

Now I'm looking forward to St. Patrick's Day.  I'll be back at Home Depot nabbing up all the green paint chip cards to make a shamrock garland and scheming up a pretty breakfast table with green pancakes, of course!

Oh, and in case you're wondering what happened to our colored ice balls, we found them just before it snowed some more.  What an interesting discovery we found....

The food coloring had leaked out of the ice balls and onto the snow around the balls.  Even though the balls are still there, we now have some very pretty colorful snow in our backyard!

And one last thing, my newest picture won an award on Pixoto (in only 2 days!).  When I took the girls sledding the other day, I didn't realize we were in the wrong section and we were walking on the golf course.  It was the most beautiful sight, with smooth snow and no footprints.  I took a very quick picture with my phone and this is what I got:

Here are a couple others I got:

Happy Valentines Day!!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Snow Fun With Girls

Marcella and I got to spend some time together the other day (happy goal accomplished!).  I took her to Target and we had hot chocolate (and a decaf latte) at Starbucks.  Marcella loves one-on-one attention.  She gets really chatty.  This was her first time in a coffee house, which made her feel grown up.  Not that Starbucks at Target is much of a coffee house experience, but she didn't know the difference. 

Marcella has been overly involved in these Rainbow Loom rubber bands.  She likes to look up Youtube how-to videos.  Her latest creation was a snake out of rubber bands.  I wish I had a picture to show you but I can't find it and she's in bed.  It's rather impressive.  She's made an ice cream treat bracelet and Minecraft charms, and numerous types of bracelets, all out of rubber bands. 

So as we're sitting in Starbucks, I thought I'd seize the moment and see if I can get any girl talk out of her.  She's been having issues with a couple of friends at school and thought it would be a perfect time to see how it's going.

Me:  So!  What's new?
Marcella:  You know....
Me:  Know what?
Marcella:  As she slyly pulls out her new Rainbow Loom snake out of her pocket and sets it on the counter, she eyeballs it then looks at me.
Me:  Huh?
Marcella:  That's what's new.

Well, I guess girl talk can wait.

More snow fun!

This time, we waited longer until the balloons froze completely.  This would be a great science experiment for kids.  When we put the balloons in the snow, they never froze.  Snow acts like an insulator.  If you bury a gallon of ice cream in the snow, it would actually start to melt.  So once we put the balloons up on a bench where the cold air could get all around the balloons, they froze in no time at all.

 These ice balls are buried in the snow now.  I don't want to dig them out because my hands were blue and purple for days. 

I took the kids snow sledding today (happy goal accomplished!).  As we were walking through the snow, I noticed there were no foot prints in the snow.  The snow was so smooth, it was breathtaking.  Then I realized we were walking on a golf course and took the hint that we shouldn't be walking in that area.  We moved to another area where we had the best time sledding!  There was not one other person in sight.  We had the whole ice-covered hill all to ourselves.  Got a few videos then my phone died.  Go figure.


My Happy List - Continued

I've pretty much conquered my Household Goals:  Simplify.  Although, there are always projects to be tackled, but those projects are the never-ending- tasks that no matter how many times you complete them, they're a mess the very next week; A.K.A.:  Kids' closets.  I didn't even bother to add those to my Happy List because conquering those tasks doesn't contribute to my happiness.  Yes, I would love the kids' rooms to be spotless and perfect, but why bother when the kids are just going to turn around and mess it up again?  No different than laundry.  One project that still needs to be done is putting photos in photo albums.  This project will take a lot of money only because all my pictures in the last 9 years are digital.  Can't put pictures in albums if I don't physically have them in my hand. Ya know what I mean???  This project goes under the "15 minutes of Agony" category.

So my Happy List continues.  These are my next goals I want to accomplish:

Learn something new
             ~ I want to learn to crochet.  By next winter, I want to have made my own hat and scarf.
             ~ I want to take tap dance lessons.  I've always wanted to when I was a kid.
             ~ I want to take a painting class.  Whenever I get a wedding invitation to decorate, I always have to ask my mom for help.  I love working with my mom on artistic things, but I've been doing these keepsakes long enough now that I should be learning how to paint simple flowers myself.
             ~ I want to take a cooking class.  I love to cook and bake, but I get tired cooking the same things all the time.  I thought maybe someday, I'd go to culinary school.
             ~ I want to learn to play the piano again.  I miss the piano.  I've been trying to buy a piano for years now and either I have the money and no room for one, or I have the room and no money.  This time, my mother-in-law is letting me have her keyboard.  It's not quite the same, but at least it's something to practice on.
              ~ Learn to sharpen knives.  Life is good when my knives are sharp and I don't have to saw my food.

Embark on new adventures
             ~ I've always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon.
             ~ I've never been to any other zoo except our own Columbus zoo and the Little Zoo near Oglebay Park.  So I want to visit the Cleveland zoo someday.
             ~ Take the kids to Old Man's Cave.
             ~ Take the kids to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.
             ~ Go on monthly date nights with my husband.  This was something we agreed on doing when I quit my job and stayed home to babysit.  That was 9 years ago.  It hasn't happened very often.

Just having fun
             ~ Spend more one-on-one time with my girls.  Not just sitting watching TV, but doing something together.  Playing a game, going to the museum, going out to lunch, etc.
             ~ Take the kids to breakfast before school.
             ~ Celebrate the little holidays.  I'm not big on decorating for holidays except for Christmas, but I always let the little holidays slip by such as Valentines Day, St. Patrick's Day, etc.
             ~ Send more photos to grandparents.  I used to send out a few photos of the kids through email every week and I've long, long, long gotten out of habit of this.

This seems like a lot.  It is a lot.  Part of my Happiness Project is to accept accountability of my goals and I realized I haven't blogged about my list of goals yet.  So, I'm off to a very big start!