Sunday, August 19, 2012

"Pin"spiration - Doodle Nails

My "Pin"spirations are things I have found on or through Pinterest that inspired me to try something new, whether it's a new craft, a new project or a new recipe.

With school coming up I came across these really cute "doodle" nails.  I really wanted to try it on The Girl for the first day of school.


Her nails were a lot smaller, though...and harder to make look like notebook paper...and we wound up using a sharpie to make the doodles...and the clear coat smeared some of the black...but she got lots of compliments on it!



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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Last Summer Bash

For a while, we had been meaning to get together with one of Mr. LH's co-workers for some outside-of-work-family-time. Summer quickly sped by and we still had not made definite plans for getting together. Suddenly, school was right around the corner and it was now or never.

The family we were meeting lived in Brighton, about 45 minutes from our house. They also had a daughter that was between the "Pickles" in age. We planned to meet them and one other family for swimming and grilling at a community pool that was part of their HOA.

I've never seen an HOA pool like this one before! It was fantastic!


It was set up a bit like a lagoon with lots of plants and waterfalls.



There is a sandy playground for younger children (though the "Pickles" both enjoyed climbing the octopus).




A volleyball area and basketball court right next to the grill and picnic area.



There were lots of available lounge chairs, maybe because it was pretty late in the season, but also lots of thick, green grassy areas for beach towels if the lounge chairs are all occupied.


The Girl was required to pass a basic swim test before she was allowed to go into the deeper end by herself (3 to 5 feet). She proudly displayed the wristband she received once she passed. The Boy was old enough (or tall enough) to not have to take the test.



The Girl even spotted a rabbit munching on grass nearby.


The hammock was a great place to relax after plenty of exercise and a full belly.


We didn't want to leave, but we still had a bit of a drive to get home, and dinner to prepare. But it was a great way to spend their final weekend of summer vacation!



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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Afternoon Walk

We learned yesterday that The Girl's class listings were ready and posted outside her school. We planned to walk there (about a mile round trip) to get some exercise and find out which teacher she would have.

On the way, The Boy found an acorn.


Prior to moving here, an acorn wouldn't have seemed like something worth taking a picture of. They were everywhere in our front yard in North Carolina (and a real nuisance). However, this is the first acorn I've seen since moving to Aurora 22 months ago. In fact, the first winter I was so worried about the lack of acorns that I searched online for treat recipes for the squirrels. Mr. LH mentioned the squirrels here were pretty fat and didn't seem to be suffering from the lack of acorns.

The Girl checked the class lists out and was pleased to discover she got the teacher she wanted. She spent the next 5 minutes going through finding names of her friends.


On the way home, we took a different route. The "Pickles" spotted a couple evergreens with branches perfect for climbing.



It was shady and cool under the trees so Mr. LH and I let them climb around for a bit.










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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"Pin"spiration - Ginger Shortbread Cookies

My "Pin"spirations are things I have found on or through Pinterest that inspired me to try something new, whether it's a new craft, a new project or a new recipe.

I think I first came across these "grown-up" cookies through the Pillsbury Facebook Page but then later found the recipe on the Betty Crocker Website. No matter. It sounded yummy so I popped it on Pinterest for later baking. Thankfully, a cool day (down into the 80's!) allowed me to do some quick baking.


I hadn't made shortbread in years and I remember my mom sandwiching the dough between two cookie sheets and literally standing on the top cookie sheet to press the dough down firmly. I didn't do that with this shortbread. Maybe I should have because the cookies seemed a bit delicate even after cooking. Of course, maybe an extra minute or two in the oven would make them "firm up" a bit.


Mr. LH and I both liked the cookies. They were quite tasty, though I think I would cut back on the ground ginger (1 tsp seemed a bit much) and maybe add some cinnamon. The "Pickles" didn't care for them as much, but then I didn't think they would. Sometimes Mr. LH and I have to have an "adult only" treat so we won't have to worry about children coming around to eat it all.





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Monday, August 6, 2012

Santa's In Trouble This Year

I know it's a little (a lot) early to be thinking about Santa, but The Girl decided to go ahead and write her letter to Santa so he would have time to "whip it up".  Once I read her letter, I understood why he needed the extra time...

Santa has got his work cut out for him this year...


Translation (because I know her spelling here is lacking):
Dear Santa,
What I want for Christmas is (a) German Shepherd puppy that does everything that a German Shepherd does except shed and die. And I want him to not be like a robot, I want him to seem like a real dog.  I want him to communicate with dogs, to protect me, feel like a real dog, to bark like a real dog, to not run away, to walk like a real dog, to have feelings, to eat like a real dog, to know not to do something, to love me and my family, to grow up, to not get sick, to sleep with me in my bed, to not chew up toys, and be a great dog with a black collar with the name Max carved in gold and a leash that is black and my dog does not pull on walks. If you can't whip up something like that then you can get me a German Shepherd that is real.
Love, (The Girl)
P.S. Also with the German Shepherd robot I want an animal translator too.
Any suggestions for Santa?

I have to mention the following:

1. Mr. LH is allergic to most furry creatures.  If he were not, The Girl would have gotten a ferret 2 years ago and we would have something more fun than a tortoise and 2 African Dwarf Drogs.
2. Both The Girl AND The Boy have been lobbying pretty heavily for a dog lately. The Girl wants a German Shepherd (obviously, though I think she would be happy with any dog) and The Boy wants a Dachshund or a Beagle.
3. Since a dog would have to live indoors, we have already told The Girl that once we move into OUR house (not a rental), we would go to the humane society and find a dog that does not trip off Daddy's allergies (possibly a poodle or bichon - but even some labs will make my eyes water) but a German Shepherd is probably out of the question.
4. She has been told that Santa is a "feeling" rather than a "jolly old elf" (that couldn't be avoided reading the Little House books) but she still chooses to see him and the fat guy in a red suit.
5. She has been told that Santa does have limits (The Boy asked for the $400 Lego Death Star last year...not happening).



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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Another Backyard Campout

By the time we think about having a backyard camp out, monsoon season arrives and late day thunderstorms threaten any plans for pitching the tent and enjoying a peaceful evening under the stars.  We were finally able to find a break in the scattered storms and it came with wonderfully cool temps as well.





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Friday, August 3, 2012

The Korean Melon

Every once in a while when we drop off our rent payment, we hop on over to the huge Asian grocery store a couple blocks away. I love this place, though it's not exactly convenient for more frequent shopping. On this particular trip, I hovered around the mountain of ripe black plums and convincing myself we needed a few.

The Girl spotted a Korean Melon (apparently also known as yellow melon or dua gan). She wanted to try one. It was only 89 cents and since the crew was looking at me with pleading eyes, I agreed.


I had never tried a Korean Melon and I had no idea what to expect. I didn't even know if the one we chose was ripe...but we sliced into it anyway...


and scooped out the seeds...


and ate it.


The melon was crisp like a fresh apple and smelled a little like honeydew. Everyone gave it a "thumbs up". After trying my slice, I turned back toward my plums but The Girl munched her way through three more slices of the melon all the way down to the thin skin.



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