Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Our Airstream

So in yesterday's post I showed you this sneak peak of our Airstream:

We took that picture on our way down through California on Highway 1. If you have ever driven it you know its stunning, We had stopped on the side of the road for a potty break. While we were at my dad's he gave me a sign from my grandmothers house which has her house and street name on it, "Three Magee". She passed away a few years ago. Her land and houses were like being in your own private redwood forest. I wish my children could have experienced its magic. I photographed it when I went out for her funeral. We named our Airstream "Three Magee" and we're going to hang the sign inside when we get to the decorating part.

The nice thing about getting Three Magee from my dad was free. About the only thing in it we are saving is the water tank, air conditioner and the toilet, which is pretty new. Everything else had been exposed to the damp air of coastal California and Oregon and was a little funky. Here she is before we started demo.

Hello 1978!

We are almost done with taking every thing out. Need a good workout? Gut an Airstream!We need to replace the sub floor with new plywood clean all the vents and windows, replace the screens, take the paint off the outside, reseal it, repaint it or buff it out, put in new flooring, recreate the bathroom, fabricate our own double bunk beds, purchase a new refrigerator, seal and paint the walls and last but certainly not least create a pull out bed for Dale and I. So you know, easy stuff! Whew! I wanted to leave the divider walls out to create a more open space. Our bed will be a pull out that can be a couch during the day. The top bunks I want to be more like cots and fold up to attach to the ceiling so that it feels more open and we can use the lower bunks like seats. The only thing I really want to have in it is a good little refrigerator. I don't care so much about bringing the oven back in. Who wants to do a bunch of baking when you're on an adventure? We are really good at fire cooking and I'm going to have a microwave above the fridge. We also have a plug in single burner. I would rather have an outdoor kitchen and more living space inside the trailer. It is really important for me to be able to take a shower and go to the bathroom there too if we need be. On our first camping trip with the four of them the showers at the campsite were so muggy that we needed a shower after showering. It was gross and had no ventilation. Three Magee has a nice big window in the back!

So there she is. I will post updates as we take stuff out and really make some progress. I hope to have her ready to go by Spring Break. Fall Break would be awesome, but lets get real here! If you have any questions about her feel free to ask!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A little adventure

Last fall we drove from Oklahoma to Oregon to pick up a 1978 Argosy Airstream from my dad. We traveled through Denver, Yellowstone, beautiful Pacific beaches, downtown San Fran at rush hour hauling the airstream and Disneyland. We pushed hard on the way back to just get back in time and stayed extra at Disney so we missed The Grand Canyon. We crammed a lot in, which simply made us hungry for staying in one place and really exploring on our next little adventure. 

We visited Yellowstone and saw Old Faithful while basking in the most beautiful smell of real pine trees. The kids saw the ocean for the first time. My ocean, with cool water on a wonderfully cloudy and foggy day (in true Northern California/Oregon style). My kids got to see part of the not so little town I grew up in just north of the Bay in San Fran. I really missed mom when I was there, something fierce.We went to Disneyland and managed to surprise the kids. It was magical and I can't wait to go back and really spend some time in each place. Now we are busy remodeling our little Airstream to get it ready for our next adventure. 

I will really introduce our Airstream in the next post. Since she really wasn't stay ready we used her as a giant portable bathroom for us in the middle of nowhere. I highly recommend keeping those training came in so handy! Take lots of snacks but in lots of varieties, have packs of wipes and plastic grocery sacks for trash. Take a cooler so that you can save money on drinks (crystal light and water bottles y'all). Plan out stops and expect to have an accident. Pack your kids extra clothes for the car, some gallon ziplock bags in case they have one. You'll be prepared so you won't get upset and it will be less stressful, oh and some extra towels.

I planned out our Disney trip knowing we only had 2 days at the park. I studied the maps until I knew it nearly by heart. I chose one must do ride for each kid and then we were free to explore the things that were neat and caught our eye. We did do a character lunch at Ariel's Grotto...worth every penny. We also got the photo pass and we will get it every time we go from now on. I have great pictures of ALL of us. The photographers are really great and really do know how to get the best shot wherever you are. It was truly two days of magic!

I could have stayed at Yellowstone for forever. Breathtakingly beautiful. I cannot wait to take our Airstream and have some awesome little adventures with the kids. We stayed at The Yellowstone Hotel. It has been beautifully restored in the lobby and dining areas, and they are working on the rooms. It was a little Shining-esque, but only for Dale and I :). I want to really camp next time. I spotted lots of animals and it was fun looking for them while we drove. 

It was fun and exhausting...worth every second!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ellie's Brave Party

It's February and Ellie's birthday party was a few months ago.  I have found that October through March is some sort of time warp and everything seems to be moving so fast that I have a hard time keeping up with whats going on and an even harder time documenting it.  I think that I enjoy planning her parties the far.  We usually have the same vision of where we want it to go.  We both knew that we wanted it to be simple and fun and most importantly special.  So here is her party in pictures...enjoy!

Bear claw cupcakes: chocolate frosting and almond slivers

Wisps: blue cellophane, balloons and a lightstick.  I had them through out the neighborhood leading people to our house!

Chocolate cake with almonds on the outside.  Green coconut grass. Marshmallow fondant stones.

I used an oval wood cutting base and got lucky that the number 8 was blue or wisp colored.

Bear paw cupcakes and a picture of the birthday girl with Merida from Disneyland!

Such a silly gal!

The girls wore their favorite dress up clothes- Ellie was Merida of course!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Fun Peacock Inspired Wreath

Making wreaths is strangely fulfilling.  I don't know why, but decorating my front door gives me such satisfaction.  I was hunting down Christmas mark down deals at Hobby Lobby and got everything (except the ribbon which was 50% off) for this wreath in the Christmas Clearance at 80% off!!  I think I maybe spent 5 bucks! Thank goodness for some non-traditional peacock sprigs, green blue and gold!  I think I'm going to try and incorporate that gold letter J in every wreath this year!  Challenge accepted self!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Best Grilled Cheese

I love grilled cheese.  It combines two of my most favorite foods cheese and bread, what's not to love? But my favorite recipe uses sourdough bread (Pepperidge Farm, Farmhouse Sourdough is my fave), 2 slices of colby jack and some Smart Balance butter on both sides...divine.  The sourdough gives it just enough kick and the colby jack mellows it out.  The kids always eat it up and so do I! So go on and try out a new grilled cheese, you're gonna love it too!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Super Easy Fall Wreath

I think I maybe spent $5 making this wreath and its my favorite so far.  I am still super frugal and cheap when it comes to wreaths. This is the only wreath I've ever owned, I just keep dressing and redressing it.  I think I only paid $6 for it too!  I got everything from Hobby Lobby, the corn on the cobs, glittery leaves, berry beads, feathery leaves and the letter.  I have also used the same "J" I just keep spray painting it.  No hot glue, I just stuck it in or tied it on.  I spent about 20 minutes getting all put together while the kids took a cold swim in the pool.  There was no way I was getting in there, but they had a blast filling up ziploc bags and splashing each other while I got my craft on.  Who needs toys, right?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Back to School

I love summer.  Back to school means more traffic and a stricter schedule.  It also means activities.  This year with 3 in school I'm feeling a bit nervous.  Not for them but for me.  Can I get their folders signed every night and all that other stuff?  I got their cubby space at home all ready for them.  Now I just have to remind them to leave their backpacks there and not drag them all over the house.  Ellie was up and ready by 5:30am...I believe she was excited for her first day of second grade!!  She helped me pack lunches and we curled her hair.  This all of course woke everyone else up so we got out the door for pictures pretty early. Happy Back to School!

Look how big my babies are!

He will probably be taller than me in the next year or two.  Too bad for him I'll always be tougher :)

Girls! Girls! Girls!
Finally getting back into the swing of blogging again.  I can't wait to show you all pics from our vacation.  We had so much fun and I learned a lot about traveling in a car with 4 kids.  I've also been super conscious about taking pictures with my kids and making it a priority.  They don't care what I look like because to them I just look like their Mom and they love me (for now, haha, there aren't any teenagers yet).

Thursday, August 15, 2013

An Ariel Party and Homemade Butter Cream Frosting

In the past (before I went back to work) I would have planned out what to do for Regan's party and done all of the shopping by myself.  This time we spent a lot of time at the computer looking at Pinterest for ideas.  I even let the girls go with me to Target to pick out all the supplies.  Since she is just turning 4 it was a family party with the exception of her BFF from gymnastics and her sisters.

I wanted simple and no stress.  So I really only decorated one area.  I used green crepe paper cut in various lengths, twirled and taped to look like sea weed.  It was a big hit.  It only took 15 minutes to cut them and put them up.  You could get more creative and add characters or fish, but we didn't get that far.  In fact I didn't even get a picture of it so use your imagination.  For the table we used red and pink (Target didn't have teal or purple table cloths!) which are the colors of Ariel's formal dress and hair color.  I also put out Hershey's pot of gold nuggets (because Ariel searched for treasure) and the spring M&M's (just the purple and teal blue ones we ate the other ones) in an Ariel cup.  

I poured my heart into her cake though.  We bought the Ariel bath set at Target to top the cake with.  It doubled as a present.  The cake was 7 layers and I attempted the color graduation with it in shades of teal.  I made homemade butter cream frosting (with homemade butter y'all) and tinted it teal (what she asked for) and shaped it to look like waves.  It was super yummy.  

Recipe for Homemade Butter Cream Frosting:

About 1 cup of Homemade Butter (unsalted) softened at room temperature
1 bag of powdered sugar
1/4-1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
Dash of salt
Approximately 1 tsp of vanilla (just squirt a bit in there)

Combine all ingredients until desired consistency.  Start with the smallest amount of cream and add more until  creamy.  Tint if desired.

The Birthday Girl.  

My first attempt at graduated colors.  Not my best work, lol, but it tasted amazing!
Lighting the candles!

And now I have a 4 year old.  A glorious little girl who amazes me everyday.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Things I Wish I Would've Done

Last time I posted it was Ethan's birthday.  My dear sweet mother had surgery later that afternoon and then went to the ICU.  Sadly she passed away two months later on May 30th.  While I have been through every emotion I feel like there are things that I wish I would have done with her that I am now doing with my own kids.  I'm sure that this list will grow but here is what I've got so far.

Take pictures together, often.  The last picture that I can find of my mom and I together, Ethan was just a baby.  So I have been taking pictures with each of my kids at least once a week and as often as possible.  It is one of my regrets that I don't have a recent picture of the two of us.

Just sit and talk.  We did a lot of talking when she was in the hospital but before that, while we would talk on the phone every day, we didn't get to sit down together as often as I wish we had.

Go through old pictures together and talk about them. I have already had the "I wonder what/where that was, wish I could ask Mom" moment.

Record your parents voice.  Well this one I already had, but it means the world to me.  I have all of my moms voice mails in my email.  I can hear her anytime I want to.  Not the same, but its comforting nonetheless.

So there you have it.  I am still struggling with the day to day, although I usually don't let people see how I am affected.  My husband sure knows, because I hate going to bed and usually fall asleep on the couch.  I often think about her before I fall asleep and sometimes I just need to watch tv and crash or distract myself.  Sorry babe, thanks for understanding!  The kids have been wonderful and just give me hugs when I start to cry reading a book or if I just get sad.  What a whirlwind the last two months have been.  Now everything is calm, no more trips to the hospital and staying out late or feeling like I'm torn between my children/husband and my mom.  But what I wouldn't give for one more minute.

Monday, March 25, 2013

My Baby is 10!!!

My oldest, my baby is 10.  So let me take this opportunity to brag on my tween.  Ethan is the most kind and loving child I have.  Even at 10 he has more empathy than a lot if not most adults.  He truly has a gift for understanding how other people are feeling and then trying to connect with them and lift their spirits.  He is a kid magnet and a "Baby Whisperer," give your kid to him and he'll get them to sleep!  He has a calming and nurturing nature to his personality.  I can wait, but one of the things I look forward to when he is an adult is watching him become a father.  He is going to be amazing, but I'm fine with waiting a couple of decades to see it :).  He is smart and school is easy for him.  He loves reading and playing basketball.  I love watching him play and progress in skill and confidence.  

He is human and imperfect and every now and then I see the teenager emerging in him, but for today, he is perfect and he is all mine.