Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cauliflower "Wings"

I fell off the radar for a while there.  But I'm back.  The writing bug hit me again.  I must apologize, I get into these funks and lose sight of hobbies I love.  One of them being writing. When I was younger I used to get journals and just sit with one open to a blank page, pen in hand, and just sit waiting for something to come to my head to write.  Because I knew there was something to write, I could feel it, but I just wasn't sure what it was immediately every time.  The feeling is back again.  And you are about to be the lucky recipient of these need-to-write moments now. Lucky you!

So this is a photo I posted on Facebook and was asked for the recipe so I figured I would share it with you too!



This was super yummy and really quite simple.

Ingredients:
Cauliflower - one head
2 eggs
salt, pepper, garlic
2-3 cups Italian bread crumbs (or breadcrumbs seasoned to taste)
about 1/2 cup Parmesan grated cheese
Butter (for sauteing)
Water (for boiling)

Recipe:
First, cut the cauliflower into chicken wing sizes.  (Yes, this is entirely subjective.  Just go with whatever looks appetizing to you.)  
Boil your wings for 6 or 7 minutes just to soften them up a bit.
Mix the eggs, salt, pepper, and garlic in a bowl.
Put the cauliflower in the bowl with the egg mixture.  It is not necessary to do it one at a time, but don't put so many you can't properly coat them in egg.
Once the cauliflower is coated, put them in a bag with the bread crumbs and Parmesan.  I really only sprinkled a couple handfuls of Parmesan, not much in relation to the amount of bread crumbs used.
Shake them all up so everything is nicely coated.
Saute in butter until they are golden.







Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Halloween!  Hope you all had a ton of fun, got lots of walking done, and a heavy bag of candy to add some resistance. =[:-)B

From my ninja and my vampire, too!
 Other years, I have insisted on having ridiculous professional-type pumpkings.  I carve ghosts, pumpkins, grave stones, etc.  But it was really all kind of compensating for hearing constantly about how I couldn't live up to other people's expectations.  (This all stems from issues in the past - a post for another day.)  But now I see how much more fun it is to just let the kids take a pen and go to town on the pumpkin.  They wanted good, old-fashioned vampire-esque jack-o-lanterns and I was happy to just cut what they drew.  It was faster simpler, and much more fun for all three of us.
This was our first year trick-or-treating with families in the neighborhood.  And I really enjoyed it.  It's nice feeling like part of a community and like I'm doing my part to try to keep the kids connected with their friends while I get friends too!

I hope you guys had fun too!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

10 Free Things to do in the Fall when you just HAVE to Get Out

As summer ends, I find that we stay inside more and more.  Because it's just easier to do STUFF outside in the summer.  The weather is way more conducive to outside activities.  And trying to get out of the house in the fall can be tricky because it seems like everywhere indoors costs money these days.
So I came up with 10 things to do outside in the fall.  Some might require some bundling up, but it's all worth it.

1. Take a hike
I am so lucky to live close enough to parks and rivers along which we can hike or walk.  Fall is a great time to hike - not too hot, not too cold.
(Okay yes, this was taken in the summer, but imagine how it looks when we hike now with all of the yellow, orange, and red trees. So beautiful!)
There is also a stream not too far away.  It's too cold to get wet, but throwing rocks is ALWAYS fun.

2. Rake Leaves!
I love raking leaves and the kids love to mess up everything I have raked.  Luckily we know raking is really not that important.  The leaves WILL biodegrade under the snow.  I love the look of pure joy on their faces as they jump in the piles and throw the leaves in the air.
My son still has his helmet on because we had just been biking.  (See #8)

3. Go to the Library
I love spending time at the library.  I love being surrounded by books.  I love that they are all beautifully order.  And I do love a little quiet.  
Going with the kids is amazing.  Seeing their excitement over the possibilities thrills me.  They can sit and read them there or take them home.  My daughter always claims she doesn't want any more books, yet always manages to emerge from between the shelves with a stack of books almost bigger than her. 
I really hope that I instill a love of reading in my children.
Also be sure to check out what events your library has.  There are books clubs, lego clubs, yoga classes, school bus rides and so much more happening!  Some has to be signed up for in advance, but for some things you can just pop on it.

4. Go to the Playground.
Playgrounds are not just for summer!  We will go in the dead of winter.  In fact, I love the "off-season" when we get the playground to ourselves.

5. Do a Fall Scavenger Hunt
Find items and have the kids take pictures of them.
Some list examples could include:
acorn
pinecone
orange leaf
green leaf
leaf from a deciduous tree
needle from an evergreen tree
twig
rock
skeleton
pumpkin
jack-o-lantern
etc
Another super fun scavenger that we have attempted multiple times, but never completed involves trying to locate the letters of the alphabet as formed by the surroundings.  This could be done outside or inside.
For example, the corner of this book is the letter "L":

6. Draw Outside with Sidewalk Chalk
It's always fun to bundle up and make a mural in the driveway, walkway, or even the deck.
We got buckets of chalk from Five Below.

7. Take a Pet (or a neighbor's pet) for a Walk
Walks are a fun time to talk and teach kids their way around the neighborhood.  Fresh air is wonderful and something that we often don't get enough of when it's cold and we want to remain cooped up in the house.  Get out! Get exercise!  Your pet will thank you.

8. Bike!
Just put on some gloves and get back out there before the snow and ice come.

9. Find a Place to See Animals for Free
This is really very cool.  I had no idea that these things were available, but there are animal sanctuaries that you can visit without having to pay.  We found one for owls and also one for other animals.  It had local wildlife and even a bobcat someone tried to keep as a pet until it got too big.

10. Check your Local Fire Station.
This is another super cool idea.  We have gone to open houses at our local fire company for the last couple of years.  Fall seems to be the time to do it - not too hot so the fire can be controlled and not too cold so people still want to be outside.
We always have so much fun.  There are rescue demonstrations, stations where the fire fighters teach the kids to use smoke extinguishers, fire truck rides, and even more.
I think that this picture is from a couple years ago.  That is one of the antique fire trucks they used for the rides.

So it's getting colder, no excuse not to get out!
What do you like to do in the fall?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Ridiculously Silly Monty Python Halloween Costume. Yeah I Did That.

Last weekend, I went to a costume party. It was so much fun.  I hardly ever dance and when I say I danced the night away, I was dancing when I was walking, when I was talking, when I was shaking hands and meeting new people.  I just totally let loose and it was so much fun.  


Weeks before the party I decided that for my costume, I would use an old school girl costume I still have from college.  The plan was to make it a zombie costume by ripping it up, pouring fake blood all over it, and wearing a wife beater I already have that is covered in fake blood.  (This was from one day when I just decided to dress up like Helena from Orphan Black for absolutely no reason.)


The day of the party I decided I didn't want to wear it.  The skirt is short, the weather is cold, and nobody wants to be THAT girl.  (You know the slutty looking one at a party where everyone else is covered.)


At the last minute, I decided to go for funny instead.  And what is more funny than Monty Python?  Yeah, not much. Especially when I comically recreate it.





I made this in about 3 minutes.  I used my mom’s nightgown, my sweater, a funnel, and a plastic chili pepper from my kids’ kitchen.  I looked for a carrot, but for some reason it was MIA. Yes the costume is ridiculously silly, but I sent it to my brother and he got the reference right away. People who got the reference really GOT it. And I was amused by it. That's what really matters.

Have I put you in the mood to watch? Well here's the scene:




Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Astrofizzatist

What do you do when your 4 year old tells you he's going to be an "astrofizzatist"?


a) kiss him slightly too aggressively
b) tell him that would be an amazing career and you are so proud of him
c) do a craaaaaazy happy dance
d) remind yourself that this must be a sign that regardless of all the doubts and guilt that come with motherhood you MUST be doing something right


The correct answer is ALL OF THE ABOVE!

...follwed by e) blog about it!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

My Daughter's Reading Nook

I'm going through a phase where I am just sick of almost everything design/decorating-wise that I've pretty much ever done.  I need to do some major reworking of it ALL. 

My daughter, meanwhile, has been hard at work redesigning her room to make it look less juvenile and more her.  Her room really does look better now.  It seems bigger and lighter.  I really like her style and as pink as everything is, this corner of her room is now my new favorite- her reading nook. We made the valence together (I should blog about how). That canopy used to be over her bed, but it kept getting stuck on things and getting pulled down. It was really kind of annoying as she was trying to sleep, or reach her night table, or...well...anything. She found the bungee cord chair at target. The pillow on the chair she made from a kit she received as a birthday present. And the "area rug" was a crocheted baby blanket. 

It makes me want to grab a book and curl up to read too!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Belated Less-Words Wednesday

So I've been planning on participating in Wordless Wednesday, but wordless isn't always my way. (I like to explain things...a lot...even when people don't want anything explained to them). So I decided that I will give myself the leeway to do either a Wordless or a Less-Words Wednesday.  I cannot be the only one who cannot stand that grammar but Fewer Words just falls flat in the whole play-on-words category.




Big Man's fancy shoes he simply refuses to wear, but put them on for me for Mother's Day. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Farm Sanctuary

This past weekend we went to a farm sanctuary. It was such a fun experience for all of us. The kids fell in love with a goat that seriously thought it was a dog.  It was so incredibly adorable; the way it came bounding over to us and stayed part of the group for the whole tour.  There were also horses, miniature donkeys, cows, sheep, turkeys, ducks, geese, other goats, including a couple kids, pigs, and even a llama.

The most interesting part of it, for me, was not necessarily getting to see all of the animals (even though I loved that), but more hearing their stories and seeing the incredible differences from what you (okay, I) would expect to find in a farm.

Some of the animals came from pretty sad backgrounds. There were horses that had come from an animal testing facility and some that had come from a horse breeder, but the latter were in a different pasture as they were not able to interact appropriately with humans yet.  There were ducks people had gotten as Easter presents (people still do that?).  Once they were no longer cute little chicks and the owner could no longer care for it, they (hopefully) drop it off at the sanctuary. One pig had been spared from the slaughter house by a sensitive class of elementary school kids and their living teacher. I loved seeing these animals seem to be happy, well adjusted, and able to even have healthy interactions with us humans for the most part.

There were a good number of differences between what one would expect to see on a farm and the farm sanctuary.  Now, I have to be honest, I have only been on a farm once in my life and I was very very young.  All I remember was holding a lamb.  That was like my Lisa Simpson moment so it stuck in my head.  Therefore, I guess I don't have a good basis for comparison beyond the ideas that are in my head, but that is what we are going to go with for now.  

So one thing I expected was to see the  animals more separated.  The donkeys, cows, and horses all hung out together and ate from the same hay pile, ran around together in ample space, and seemed to get along so well.  Even the llama was in a pen with goats and other animals.  I've seen a llama at the zoo before and they were always kept separate from other animals sometimes even from each other.  

The animals also looked much different than you normally would see on a farm.  This was actually confirmed by other people.  Farm animals are normally fattened up.  These animals were healthy, not lean, but muscular and well built.  It was nice to see what a 500lb pig should actually look like - not like a barrel.  

Also, the animals here could live longer than they would in another farm.  Most cows are slaughtered at the age of 2.  One of the cows that was there was actually 22.  And still looked good!  

I thought it was amazing that the workers there could actually tell us about rituals the animals have shown.  Things like funeral-type rituals were interesting to hear about.  It kind of reminded me of when a goose died crashing into the window at my work.  I wasn't there at the time, but the way my coworkers explained it to me, the geese were mourning in a very anthropomorphic manner.  The workers were telling us about what the pigs did as another was dying-a ritual in which they gather around and take turns pressing their snouts upon the dying pig.  This is not seen very often in other farming environments because of the way dead and dying animals are dealt with.

All-in-all, this was a very interesting and educational trip for myself and the kids.
Look me in the eyes, little girl.  You look delicious. (What? I'm a goat. Eating's what I do.)
Gaaaaaah! He kissed me!

Um Mom, I think he wants to kiss me.



Go to sanctuaries.org, click on your state, and check out a farm sanctuary close to you!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Liebster Award!

My blog has been nominated for the Liebster Award by The Lady Prefers to Save!  It is such an honor.  I'm so flattered.  Definitely check out her blog.  It is full of great tips and advice!


This award is given to new and upcoming bloggers with less than 500 followers.  Since I've only really just begun to get my blog "out there,"  I was so surprised and delighted to be nominated. 


The rules are:

You must link the person's blog who nominated you for the award.

State 11 interesting facts about yourself.

Answer the 11 questions given by the person who nominated you.

Pick an additional 11 people to nominate with UNDER 500 blog followers.

Write 11 questions for your nominees to answer.



11 Facts About Me:

1.  My undergrad degree is in Therapeutic Recreation.


2. I work for an amazing nonprofit organization that has done so much to help people in need. We have programs in community service, health and social services programs, and disaster response and rebuilding.


3.  I get mistaken for either my kids' nanny or a teen mom.  I am, however, neither (and never was).


4.  I have signed up for a half marathon and the first time I ran this year was Monday.  The half marathon is 5-6 weeks away.  :( Uh oh.

5. My eating style cannot be labeled.
I don't eat meat, but I do eat fish. I am also cutting out dairy more and more.  I'm liking cultured coconut milk from Trader Joe's en lieu of yogurt, Earth's Balance (not really the best alternative, but I like it for now) instead of butter, and almond milk in my cereal.  I'm also starting to try to incorporate raw food ideas into my meal plans as well.

6.  I have always dreamed of going to the Galapagos Islands.

7. I like reading two books at the same time.
 I read one in paperback and one on my kindle.
  That way, I am still working my way through a bookshelf full of books I've been dying to read and another book I've been dying to read, but don't already have and need to read at night with my Kindle and it's lighted case because one of the kids is giving my a dead arm.  (Shh! I don't want to know about book lights. Give me a n excuse reason to treat myself to a new book.)
Currently I am reading Freakonomics in paperback (yeah, I'm that far behind) and The China Study (love it).

8. I am a total Sci-Fi nerd.  My obsessions include Doctor Who, Orphan Black, and The Walking Dead.  Star Wars is very important to me and I love going to Star Trek movies.  I watched an episode of Big Bang Theory where Penny told Leonard that when he asks her for a date night, sitting and watching TV doesn't count.  Leonard responded with "Even if it's Doctor Who?"

 I'm on Leonard's side.

9. I desperately want (have always wanted) a pot belly pig and my own chickens.

10. Every single time I volunteer for my daughter's outdoor program, it RAINS.

11.  I loooooooove being a single mom.
I am such a control freak, very my way or the highway.  It is nice when people let me mother the way I know best. :)
Of course, it helps that my kids are totally amazing, smart, and helpful.


The Questions and Answers:
1. Why do you blog?
I blog for the networking.  I love sharing with other women and moms, tips, tricks, stories about our kids, ideas of what to do with them etc etc etc.  It is really nice to get to talk and share with my fellow bloggers on a mom-to-mom level.

2. What is the strangest place you have ever woken up?
I am not so sure there is a strange place.  But I have to say when my kids want me to snuggle them a bit after we read at night, I am prone to falling asleep in their beds.  So I wake up in the middle of the night because I'm hanging off of someone's occupied twin bed more often then I would like to admit.

3. What celebrity do you admire the most and why?
I really don't follow celebrities very much, but I think if I had to pick someone to admire maybe Jessica Alba?  I think it's really cool that when I have seen her, she is dressed fairly conservatively and looks like a respectable mother.  I like that she has started her own line of products that are greener and safer than many of the mainstream products.  It's nice to see someone passionate about their kids and a good cause.

4. What is one of your major pet peeves?
Grammar!  I can't stand all of the "me and Jimmy" to start sentences!  I guess that is the one that grates on me the most.  But it's the worst when it's in kids' books.  Like seriously?  While we teach them to love reading can we at least be decent grammar role models???  "Jimmy and I played soccer."  "Jimmy and I!" 5. You're only allowed to eat one food indefinitely, what would it be?

6. Are you a cat person or a dog person?
Well, we just came back from the animal sanctuary and now we all want a goat.

7. Do you prefer dresses or skirts, and why?
Dresses!  I love wearing dresses because all you have to style is the shoes.  It is so much easier to have one piece of clothing that counts as an entire outfit.

8. What is your favorite post you've ever written?
I really love these bath toys.  I made more of them in shapes, letters, and numbers.  They are so much fun!

9.  How did you pick your blog's name?
My blog's name is me being rather tongue and cheek with my father who likes to tell me all the time that I "swill never make mother of the year" and that I'm "certainly no super mom," but I try to be so I chalk it up to being sort of super for now.

10. What is your favorite poem?
This is a good question.  And one to ponder.
When I was in school, I really liked Lawrence Ferhlingetti.  Then, in and after college, the poem I clung to was Still I Rise by Maya Angelou.  Now I don't really read poetry, not because I don't want to; it just, for some reason, hasn't happened.
I do, however, really like reading Oh The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss.

11. Knowing what you know now, what is one thing you would have done differently in your 20's?
College!!!  I did not take advantage of all of the things college could have potentially had to offer.  I started thinking I would join a sorority and the honor society and do all these great and wonderful things, have a degree in business or engineering, and become so cultured and grown up.  I did not one single one of those things.  I think the most I did was go to a couple hip hop work out classes with a few of the girls in my dorm.  I loved it, but why did I not continue?  I picked a major that my mom wanted and that I thought would be all easy As etc.  I totally wasted the whole opportunity.  I would love to do it over and do it over properly (and end up in a career that I would love...I am now, but I'm also back in school 10+ years later.)

The Nominees:
Kinky Cherries
I Saw a Star
Being Barlow
Robot Eats Ice Cream
Gorgeous and Gossipy
Living in Heels in a Lego World
(not 11...let's pretend I can't quite count for now...)

Questions for the Nominees:

1. Tea or Coffee?
2. What is your favorite children's book?  (Either from your childhood or that you now read to your children)
3. What is the last thing you ate?
4. What is your go-to pick-me-up when you are feeling down?
5.  Is there an app that you wonder how your parents made it through your  childhood without?
6.  Strength training or cardio?
7. Why do you blog?
8.  What is on your iPod right now?
9. What is your dream vacation?
10. Do you have any special weekend rituals with your spouse or your kids?
11. What is the one item in your closet you can not bear to part with?

Why Going Pescetarian is Awesome!


Wow! I cannot believe how incredibly busy I have been.  It has been crazy.  (And I have many ideas swirling in my head that I simply MUST blog about ;) Man, I am going to need some extra hours in the day.)  I'm currently working on my Liebster award post.  Yeah, I have been taking like 3 minutes a day to answer another question.  But I promise I will get it done ASAP.  I think things are starting to slow down.  

In the meantime, I figured I will leave you with the following reasons for loving going pescetarian:











Monday, April 21, 2014

One Month Vegiversay

Last Friday, the 11th, was my one month vegiversary! (And this post has been waiting for me to edit ever since then.  Sorry.  Sometimes life has other plans for me than the ones I have made.)  Yup, I've been vegetarian for a month.  Well, pescetarian really. I am still eating fish.  I like to leave the fish option open so I have more protein sources for quick dinners for my children.  I am, however, careful about amounts and mercury levels.  Not eating meat was something I have wanted and attempted to do for a long time.

Ever since I was in second grade I have wanted to be vegetarian. My reason then was as simple as I don't want to eat an animal. I loved animals. Eating them was akin to eating Prince, my dog. It was unimaginable. I went veggie for a week. Then my mom said 'enough, [she wasn't] going to keep making me special meals each night'. I gave in because well, in second grade, that's what you do: listen to your mom. It didn't stop me, however, from announcing my vegetarianism a few more times, only for it to last equally as long. 

When I was in high school I went vegetarian and it lasted maybe a little longer, I had a bit more independence, but I didn't cook, didn't do a lot of research, and didn't grocery shop. So it still came to a point where, if I wanted to eat, I had to eat what was in front of me. You know you've said it to your kids: you get what you get and you don't get upset. My parents didn't have our catchy little saying at the time, but if they did, I'm pretty sure those words would accompany the end of my vegetarian stints. 

But I'm at a place in my life where I feel good. Things are coming together and is time to do things for me (and in this particular case, mistreated animals and everyone who can benefit from less pollution also known as everyone). 

I've been doing a lot of reading and research. I've read about the mistreatment of farm animals, the amount of protein adults and kids need, alternate ways to achieve optimal levels of protein and nutrient, family friendly recipes, environmental reasons for going, and even though I don't want to use much fake meat or soy, lists of the best fake meat alternatives. I've also been watching food documentaries on Netflix.  Some I take with a grain of salt because people always have their motives for making documentaries, but you have to admit the scenes of animal treatment are pretty convincing in and of themselves.

To strengthen your conviction:
Food Inc, on Netflix
Vegucated, on Netflix
This article comparing the environmental impact of switching to a veggie lifestyle to switching to a hybrid car.
I also have been meaning to watch Forks over Knives (but I have not yet, so I can't give a whole hearted endorsement, but I did hear it's awesome)

For recipes:
Moko Brown Vegan, on YouTube or her blog HERE - My first dinner since pronouncing my vegetarianism was adapted from her YouTube channel for "CheeseSteaks" or as we call them....sandwiches :)
The vegan zombie, on YouTube (so I've never actually made any of his meals yet, but gosh he makes veganism look so fun!)
Pinterest, of course
This recipe I adapted from YouTube for a quick chickpea salad sandwich was awesome 
The Hungry Channel has some amazing vegetarian and vegan recipes as well


For mock meat:
I don't really do mock meat, but for things like hot dog day, when the kids and I don't want to be left out fake hot dogs seems like a good idea. A lot of mock meats are soy based which I hesitate to give much to my son, but every once in a while it is ok.  Plus I'm also noticing more and more that there are non-soy based alternatives.  I don't want to belittle the great things that Peta stands for, but I feel the need to point out that I don't condone extremism, throwing paint, or causing controversy over a swatted fly.   So anyways all that being said they have this list of favorite vegan/veggie substitutes
.To find restaurants:
Happycow.net - I love this website. It is awesome. It definitely helped me plan a couple trips and dinners. I gave shared it with some non-veggies at my work and they love it too and have shared it with others.  In fact today one of my coworkers told me today that she used it on her Spring Break trip last week and the restaurant they found using Happy Cow was probably the best meal that they had on their whole trip.  And they aren't even vegetarian!

So are you vegetarian/vegan or just thinking about incorporating a Meatless Monday into your routine?  What resources do you use or what tips can you share with the rest of us newbies?

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Best Brussel Sprouts

 My kids love brussel sprouts!  Wooooow.  I NEVER thought I would say that.  I actually can't take any credit for it.  It was all my brother.  He wanted to make dinner with my dad for the whole family one evening.  It was delish as always, but he really shocked me with his brussel sprouts- shocked the kids too!  Even I didn't like brussel sprouts until then.  Everyone enjoyed them so much, he e-mailed the recipe to my mom and me.

They are now a regular item on our weekly menu.  Being lazy cheap busy, I really simplified it.  But we all still love every bit of it.

This is all you need:

Brussel Sprouts, however many look like they will feed your family
Olive oil, a drizzle
Balsamic vinegar, regular or white, a drizzle
Salt and Pepper
**Optional: Parmigiano Reggiano and a grater

This is all you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Some people say don't wash your brussel sprouts.
I have a hard time with that.  I like to wash everything.  If you are like me and neeeed to wash everything, the key is to make sure that you dry them completely. You do not want to bake wet brussel sprouts, the water releases a chemical that causes the stinky brussel sprout smell/taste which is the reason that growing up, so many of us couldn't stand our parents' boiled brussel sprouts and why we still think we don't like them. 

Once you have your dry brussel sprouts, cut them in half (or quarters for the bigger ones).

Arrange them cut side up on a pan. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over them and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. 

Put the pan in the hot oven for 30 minutes.


**If you opted to use the parmgiano reggiano, take the sprouts out after 20 minutes, grate the cheese over them and then put the pan back in the oven for the last ten minutes.

And that's all there is to it!

Enjoy watching your loved ones actually enjoy their brussel sprouts.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

These Might Just Be The Last Selfies I Take With a Three Year Old

I can't believe my baby is turning four this weekend. I'm having such mixed emotions about this. I love the way he is growing up. He's so sweet and smart. For such a little boy, he has such a big personality.  But I just can't get over the fact that he is about to be four.  I won't be the mother of a three year old any more! I know four is a great age but so is three.  I'm not usually this emotional. I don't know what this birthday is doing to me, but I'm not dealing well. I was going through some of his old clothes and as I was doing it, each piece was another tug at my heart strings. "He'll never got into this again" went from a mere statement in my head to a whole new reason to turn into a blubbering mess all over again.  I love seeing the man he is becoming, but I can't believe I won't have an itty bitty anymore!!!  I'm not usually a big selfie person, but I took the opportunity to take some of the last selfies I may ever take with a three year old for a very long time.

14 in 2014: Family Ski Trip

Okay, so I hope you didn't think I would really go all out and do an overnight, stay-in-a-cabin kind of family ski trip.  What I meant was more along the lines of "I asked for a groupon for lift tickets for Christmas so I can take the kids skiing, grab some hot cocoa, and drive back home" kind of thing. Knowing that the mountains are not going to be open for much longer, I knew it was time to finally fulfill this item on the list.  Plus my groupon expires soon.

So in order to make the trip go a little smoother,  I brought my son up to the mountain for a private lesson and some fun just with me first in order to determine his reaction.  He's the kind of guy who will either love something or hate it.  I did not want to end up out there with two kids and find out that one hates skiing, mountains, boots, going downhill, chair lifts, who knows what else.  If he hates something, he HATES it.

It turned out that he not only enjoyed it, he was super good at it!

This was us on our preemptive ski trip.

So then came time for our day long family ski trip. My daughter, who has skied before and is pretty good, decided to try her hand at snowboarding (thank you Disney channel). So I arranged for my son to meet up with his teacher for a little reminder session because he would so not want to hear it from me and I got my daughter in a group snowboarding lesson because I don't know the first thing about it.

Things went pretty smoothly while they were in their lessons. But I can't explain to you my trepidation as we approached the chair lift. Just me (basically a beginner) and two beginners. It wasn't horrible, but we had our share of struggles. The first time my son jumped off too early and ended up pretty much under the chair lift. One time my daughter's snowboard ended up twisted under my ski and we all ended up in a big heap. One time we made it off smoothly, but I didn't realize big man's ski popped off and we totally tripped the poor snowboarders on the chair behind us. But we all had fun skiing/snowboarding, eating junky food (even though I packed lunch),  and spending time together as a family.

I have to say overall it was a total WIN.

Tips and Takeaways:

 - Seriously think about getting a locker.  I decided to just put our boots on top of the locker as most other people did.  But I didn't take into account the fact that I am short. Like I had to stand on the steps adjacent to the lockers and reach over from the third step just to get our boots on there. And as more people came, our boots got pushed further back and further from the steps.  It took me a good 8 minutes to get our boots down.  Here I am on the steps, stretching, grunting and groaning like a sick cow, looking probably pretty ridiculous, until finally, for just a second, I am able to balance on the very edge of the steps with one leg outstretched to help me balance against the locker and my arm extends just far enough for the tippy tips of my fingers to grab a boot and fling it off of the locker to the floor.  Once I figured out this magical extendo-arm ability, I still had to repeat the whole ordeal 5 more times. Ugh!  Yep, I looked insane and wibbly-wobbly, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do, right?  Well then maybe next time, I will be prepared and not have to do it at all.  We can get a nice low locker that we all can reach and this may also help prevent giant pocket syndrome.  This occurs when you have 3 neck warmers in your pocket because you know that if you didn't bring them, necks would be cold.

 - I can not give you one iota of advice about lunch.  The first time I went, I did not pack lunch so we bought lunch but were basically right next to the car.  I could have gone to the car and gotten a freezer bag I had packed in the morning.  So that is exactly what I did the second time we went, but this time we got there just as they were closing the parking lot because it was full and we had to turn around and park in the overflow lot.  It was too far away.  So the food sat in the car all day and we bought junky food and fruit at the cafeteria.

 - HAVE SO MUCH FUN!!! This is great family time.  Don't take it too seriously.  It's awesome to spend time with your kids and share your hobbies with them.  Also be prepared for them not to enjoy the same hobbies you enjoy. It happens.

What other tips can you share with me?