Noodling this and noodling that

Okay, so I haven't gotten around to posting vacation pics yet. In my defense, I took a lot of pics and it will take a wee bit o' time to go through all of them. But, in the meantime I have to share this very cool site called CharityGuide.com. It's a site filled with different ways you can donate time or money to different causes. I took note of it while browsing a Wondertime mag article because the article talked about Volunteer Vacations. Wouldn't that be a cool way to spend a vacation... by helping others?

The hubby and I have considered considered something like the volunteer vacation in the past through a program named Cross Cultural Solutions. The idea never flourished because we decided we'd wait until the kids were old enough to experience it with us. Cross Cultural Solutions helps connect you to a community abroad that is in need of help. It's kinda like Habitat for Humanity, but instead of helping out communities in the U.S. you help other cultures abroad. So, when I checked out CharityGuide.com I became excited. Their ideas for Volunteer Vacations sound pretty neat and something I'd definitely consider for next summer since some ideas are family friendly.

Now why didn't they publish this article pre-Summer 2008? Darn it. Oh well. The beach and safari we did get were most enjoyably appreciated.


Back from vacation and it was a blast, but...

Image from Curly Girl Designs (totally fun and wonderful artist)

Vacation details and photos will hopefully follow soon.


Christmas in July?

The kids were silly this afternoon. They decided it would be fun to celebrate Christmas. They pretended they were the parents of a family of stuffed animal children. They also gathered a bunch of their own toys and pretended to unwrap each one all the while commenting on how shiny or cute or cool each thing was. They even blasted some Christmas tunes. So, Christmas in July? I guess anything is possible with a little imagination.

And if you could have Christmas in July why wouldn't you be able to throw in a little Halloween too? A few days ago I ventured into Home Goods with my parents and the kids. This store always has the cutest stuff for your home. As we walked in my mom and I were surprised to see a whole display devoted to Halloween stuff. Can you believe that?! Every year the holidays creep up on us before we even start thinking about them. Apparently, some marketing genius had Halloween on the brain. And, GoshDarnIt, that marketing worked. I ended up walking out of the store with this little jack-o-lantern in the box:

and this funkadelic family portrait wreath:

It seems I have money to burn. Shhh, don't tell the hubby. I don't think he's had time to read the blog yet. Happy Chrismoweenummer!


Green Clean

This year I decided to start cleaning more naturally. It just seems right for me, my family and my house. Plus, I'm a little less lazy and a little more organized which has helped motivate me to get into action. I found these nifty household cleaners recipes over at Women and Environment. Women and Environment is a wonderful site that helps makes us aware of "the connection between human health and the health of the environment."

So, I gathered my supplies and made some non-toxic household cleaners. I made these sweet little labels too.
Here's what I used to make the All-Purpose Cleaner (recipe found via Women and Environment):
2 cups white distilled vinegar
2 cups water
20-30 or more drops of essential oil (I used Lemon Grass)

Try it out! I think it worked as well as some store bought brands. Plus, you can't beat the fact that you can customize your own scent.

And while we are on the subject of "green" you'll have to check out Ecobunga! It's a pretty awesome site that gives you links to giveaways and coupons for "green" products. Happy "green"ing!


The girls are alright.

What do you get when you mix 3 girlfriends with the beach, great food, even greater conversation and no hubbies or kids? You get a pretty darn relaxing weekend of rejuvenation and reconnection.

I met up with my friends Heathbar and Adj for some girly time in San Luis Obispo. It was trip we all needed. We savored every minute together and took advantage of the awesome weather.

Friday night we arrived at our little hotel room and immediately sprawled ourselves out on the beds. After getting caught up with eachother's lives, we ventured out to Mervyns. Yes, Mervyns. My dear, lovely, moxie-ful friend, Adj, forgot to pack accessories and needed some for the weekend. It was a fun trip out, but boyohboy, retail employees sure aren't fond of you when you walk into their store 10 minutes before closing.

Our next destination was the Madonna Inn for some yumm-AY dessert. The Madonna Inn is this kitschy, overpriced hotel with themed rooms. We wanted to stay here, but we thought saving for retirement was a better option for us. So, I don't have pictures of a cool hotel room to share with you, but you have to take a looksie at this beauty. She was so pretty we were afraid to eat her. We did anyways. Hungry girls have no mercy. I realize now that this picture does not do this white cake with raspberry cream filling justice.

The next morning we set out for some downtown San Luis Obispo shopping. To our amazement we didn't buy much. It was nice to window shop though. As a mom, window shopping of any kind is non-existent. You usually try to get from point A to point B in as little time as possible before the kids realize that you are actually out and about and not at home catering to their every need. Okay, I admit it's not that bad, but it's pretty darn close.

We got hungry after all that walking so we picked Big Sky Cafe as our lunch destination. And, what an AWESOME choice we made. The food here was brilliant! I absolutely lost myself in the Vietnamese Bahn Mi Pork Loin sandwich. It was amazing. I drool as I write about it now. What a delicious combination of flavors... spicy cucumbers, carmelized onions and pickled carrots. Wow!

The most relaxing part of the trip came after lunch when we ventured to Avila Beach. We grabbed some blankets, drinks, books and tunes and enjoyed just be-ing. It was nice to not have to worry about a thing for a few hours. It also was a wonderful time for reflection. Although I was happy to be in that moment sharing it with two very important friends whom I love I did catch myself daydreaming about my little family which consists of a hubby and 2 kids. It made me appreciate them and feel grateful I have them in my life. Sometimes you get so consumed in the crazy, busy-ness of every day life that you forget the whole reason you put yourself there in the first place. It also made me appreciate my beautiful friends whom I can turn to for support and reassurance.
Me and Heathbar

We spent a good deal of our Saturday hanging out on the beach. And by early evening our skin had had enough so we went back to the hotel to freshen up and get ready for dinner. We wound up at a mexican restaurant and shared a very large Peach Margarita. We had some food too. We then headed back to downtown San Luis Obispo for The SLO International Film Festival presentation of SHORT SHORTS on the TERRACE. This was an awesome evening under the stars watching seven short films by independent filmmakers. It was fun to be outside on our beach chairs reacting to each flm and cheering for the ones we thoroughly enjoyed. The audience vibe was cool and it was so fun to be a part of the experience.

The rest of our night was spent browsing books at the local Barnes and Noble. In the morning we got up early, went to breakfast at The Apple Farm, grabbed a couple of pretty gifts from their gift shop and then said our goodbyes. We hope to do it all again in the Fall.


It's kinda fun when...

you are driving home on a long stretch of road and blasting Disneyland's Space Mountain music 'til your ears bleed. It makes you feel wild and free. It makes the kids go nuts too. Good times.


Moooom! Is it midsummer already?

The kids were bored this morning. With 20 slow don't-have-to-get-up-for-school mornings behind them they are feeling midsummer starting to creep into their bones. I think it was out of pure boredom that they decided our cat, Max, needed to tie the knot. And tie the knot he did. With a kiss to seal the deal and everything!

Poor guy has to spend the rest of eternity with a colorful, bright-eyed, stuffed Panda. The bride looks mighty happy with her coyish grin. Can't say the same for ol' Max. It looks like he's planning some kind of escape. Death by kitty niblets perhaps?

The heat wave hitting us isn't helping matters either. Because I'm not totally organized with activities this summer I decided to let them play in the mud. The kids are alright when anything involves mud.

They did get to pimp it with their "cool ice" necklaces. It sure kept them nice and chilled while they played outdoors. Thank the maker for sites like the Crafty Crow's who share awesome ideas, like the ice necklaces, with the rest of the web world.

And, one of our sunflowers finally bloomed!

I think we're ready to take on midsummer.



This morning I'm pondering and dreaming and almost floating away with my thoughts. And if a song could be a soundtrack to my day so far, it'd have to be Weird Fishes/Arpeggi by Radiohead. The sound is ethereal. Ed O'Brien's backing vocals are amazingly airy and light. I can't help but get myself lost in the music.


It's going... going... gone

The 4-day weekend flew by us pretty darn fast. We celebrated at my parent's place and had a lot of fun visiting and eating. The kids were as colorful as the fireworks.

The Statue of Liberty has some competition.

He should be in a barbershop quartet.

Legal Fireworks. Heh.

Our area played it safe this Fourth of July since California is so super dry right now. Although our legal fireworks weren't as eye catching as the illegal ones some neighbors blasted through the sky, the kids had a great time whooping it up and hollering after each light show.

Saturday night we did some backyard camping. Nothing beats sleeping under the stars on a warm, summer night. We originally wanted to pull out the ol' tent, but decided to camp out on our trampoline instead. We blew up the air mattresses and gathered our sleeping bags for a bed like no other.

Prepping the bed.

Cheering on sunset.

Once the sun went down we knew it was time to fire up the camp stove for some S'Mores.

Dad handles the flames like a pro.

After dessert was out of the way we headed back up to the trampoline to get comfy and to prepare ourselves for a spooky story.

I read Where is my Golden Arm?

We gave the story 3 screams out of 4.

What a happy 4th we had. Can't wait 'til next year!


Red, White and Blue

Starting the day off with a sweet, patriotic breakfast helps get us in the mood for the day. I hope you all have a safe, happy and yummy-filled 4th of July!


Kisses for the Kids

So, there they were this morning. Both of them asleep on the bed all snuggly and warm with Sandman dust still on their eyes. Their faces reminded me of the first time I held each of them in my arms. And that's all it took. I leaned in and gave them the biggest, wettest kisses my lips could muster.

Life, the gift of nature.
Love, the gift of life.
A kiss, the gift of Love.
-Author Anonymous