I have a long time love affair with succulents and cactus'. I love how minimal and classic they are. And although I say classic in a modern setting they look oh so modern. No blowing in the breeze, just stark, stiff and always so green. Yes they are low maintenance which was my original draw to these plants but over time that was the furthest from my mind.
For the last few summers I've wanted to make a drought resistant terrarium, with succulents, cactus, river rocks, air plants etc.....And every summer I procrastinate and it falls further down my list of things. Although its not summer I finally made it, without the help of my kids. I made it my project and my baby and my thing that I look at and it makes me smile.
My mom sent me a little kit meant to be a terrarium starter: it included river rocks, soil, charcoal and sheet moss. This was the nudge that I needed. I planned a trip to The Palm Room in Ballard and picked up a few items so I could absorb myself in my little living centerpiece.
I bought a fabulous concrete planter. It's not to deep and the base sorta tapers in, it somewhat resembles a more angular wok shape. I also picked up a few plants and two gemstone pieces for added decor.
I put it all together, and I am super pleased with the final product. It's very minimal, but still decorative. It's eye catching but subdued. I smile at it every time I sit at or pass by my dining table. And now I want to make myself another but with miniature ferns.
|Photo from Kali Meadows|
Anyway, this post isn't about doughnut shops, which I'm happy to cover some other time. Instead, this post is about one of the many kid time activities I organize with my brood. That is making mini doughnuts.
We use a DN-6 Babycakes Doughnut maker and various doughnut recipes. However on this day we used a basic chocolate doughnut recipe, Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers as the icing and various toppings such as sprinkles, walnuts, chopped up mounds and chopped up snickers.
The kids helped with mixing up the batter but left it to me to pipe the batter into the doughnut maker. If you use one of these contraptions trust when I say you want to pipe it in! If you don't have a pastry bag you can use a ziplock filled with batter and just snipping a corner off in order to squeeze the batter out. One batch includes 6 doughnuts and only takes a couple of minutes. As each batch finished up, I allowed it to cool for a few minutes then dipped it into the melted chocolate quickly followed by a sprinkling of topping. After another few minutes of cooling so the topping and chocolate could wet the mini doughnut was ready to eat.
And eat it up they did!
Here's our finished product:
Yep, that's our finished product and they were delicious!!!!
My son was so proud of his baking skillz that he had some friends over to indulge in the sweet with him. His friends were so stoked that the doughnuts were home made it was kind of touching and of course I let out a little giggle when one of the little boys said, "you guys made these? My mom NEVER makes us doughnuts."
The Makapu'u Point trail is one of the easier hikes I enjoy doing when in Hawaii. Located on the southeastern side of the island, conveniently located near Sandy Beach and nearby Hawaii Kai. From the road you can see the trail zig zagging up the hill and the lighthouse is also visible.
The trail is totally paved and there is a pretty decent incline as you make your way up the hillside. It's a beautiful hike up so remember to take a moment and take in all the beautiful views. Every time i've done this hike I always stop at the same points to take in the views of the beautiful, Hawaiian coast line and all that my eyes can see.
|The view from the start of the trail, looking south|
There are several viewpoints further up along the hike that are pure ocean views, and on a clear day you are able to see a couple of the other Hawaiian islands. It is quite amazing! These viewpoints are also the best spots to see some whales. On my recent trip back we were lucky enough to see several baby whales frolicking in the ocean and more exciting was seeing the water geysers shoot up and out of the water from the whales blow holes. I didn't realize how exciting a whale sighting was until I did the hike with my 4-year old daughter!!
|Whale watching while the little one tries to hide out in some shade|
Yep that's my new haircut. Yes it may look suspiciously like my old hair but its not, it really, really is not. You see although the bangs are there and the med to long locks are still present there was so much done.
You see I hadn't cut my hair in over 2 years. Besides trimming my own bangs rather poorly during this time I had let my hair just grow and grow and it was nearly at my waist! Yes my WAIST!!! I felt like a crazy person and rarely wore my hair down. If I did, it had to be flat ironed otherwise you can bet my hair was either in a bun at the very top of my head or braided into some sort of "masterpiece." My hair is naturally wavy and with super-long, one lenghted hair it was sort of a mess, all the time unless it was in one of my two sure fire updos.
I felt like I had let myself down and just given up. One thing I NEVER wanted to do to myself, especially as a stay at home mom: give up & let myself go! I felt letting my hair get long and unruly I was standing at the edge of this potentially downward spiral.
After obsessing over Salons via Yelp! I settled on Tigerlily. They had amazing reviews and they were nearby. I called asked if they had any last minute appointments available and scheduled and appointment. I was scheduled to see Ava, her reviews were so positive and she seemed like the hair whisperer, I was actually excited to see her.
I imagined i'd cut my hair to just above boob length with lots of layers (something i've never done) and thinning out my obscenely thick and wavy hair. When I met with Ava I explained this to her and she actually suggested I don't cut it as short as I originally wanted, so maybe instead of cutting off 7 inches I cut off 5. I understood her reasoning why and she even offered to cut it shorter if after a couple of days I felt as if it were still to long. I retrimmed, my completely over grown bangs and my god the layers!!!!!
I understand why I was never crazy about my natural waves - it was the lack of layers. Having my hair all one length for most of my life I didn't know waves could be tamed because mine were always jumbled and knotty and realy, just made my hair look big and crazy. With these layers they totally work with the natural flow of my hair. I can let my hair air dry and know that when it dries my waves will curl and flow together, effortlessly tamed. I look at my hair now and think 'wow, this is what people try to accomplish when they say they want that just rolled out of bed look.' I actually like my waves now and since I got my haircut I've only flat ironed/blew out my hair twice. The first time when I got my hair cut and the second, when I got back from hawaii. Instead I've been sporting wash and wear hair, only blowing out my bangs (which need to be trimmed!).
I can't say how much I love my hair and how awesome a job Ava did with my haircut. If you are in Seattle and are looking for a new stylist I cannot recommend Ava enough. She is knowledgeable, friendly and so welcoming. Tigerlily is located right in Interbay just north of the Whole Foods.
2241 15th Ave W
Seattle WA 98119
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Saturday: 10am - 4pm
Crash officially started preschool this past September. As a toddler, she attended daycare when we lived in Portland then spent her first year in Seattle at home with me, full time. But she is in preschool and just loves the idea of going to school. And I mean everything that goes with it: carrying a backpack, having her very own lunch box and getting all dressed up just like her brothers. I was excited for her to start preschool and excited about the school she would be attending. It would be the preschool's inaugural year, the Director was a person I truly enjoy and the curriculum sounded so promising. The year started off great! Crash attends school 3 half-days per week and each day is 3.5 hours long.
We are now at the half way point of the school year, pre-registration for next year has reared its ugly head and i'm at a crossroads. I decided to not pre-register Crash for next year, I feel like I want to explore my options with regards to a strictly pre-K program and to pre-register (in effect "save her a spot") at her existing school I'd have to pay a non-refundable first month's tuition ("deposit") and a non-refundable $100 materials fee, that is a lot to ask for! I decided it was better to roll the dice and hold off on pre-registering until I know exactly what I want for her. Her current preschool is a blended environment of kids aged 3-5 years old. The advertised curriculum for next year has changed greatly from what sold me on the school last year. They updated brochure is filled with emphasis on a play-based environment, which I normally steer clear of. I'm all for play and kids get lots of that in preschool and pre-k but I really want to someplace that can provide a solid kindergarten readiness for my child. I've talked to some of the other parents about their feelings and many of them are happy with just the socialization. Yes, that is good and my child is beyond social and that does not concern me but being ready for kindergarten is important to me.
My boys are not that far removed from kindergarten which gives me some insight of what she will need to be prepared for when her time comes to start elementary school. I don't believe a blended, play-based, environment will provide her with the foundation she will need. Crash is ready to learn, she is super curious about letters and words. She is not getting any nurturing with this at school now which really leads me to believe that next year would be more of the same.
Honestly, if it isn't obvious, I am leaning towards removing her from her current school for the next school year. I want my child to get the best possible start to her educational career as possible. My two boys went to two totally different pre-k programs. One was definitely more play-based but it was a strictly pre-k classroom and they did do some kindergarten readiness curriculum every day. My other son attended a school where two days a week he was in a blended classroom that offered a lot of structured, well thought out activities and games and three of the days were for pre-k only for 50% of the day focusing on strictly academic learnings. There was a huge gap between what my 2 boys learned and how that affected them each in kindergarten. Yes they are different people, with totally different talents, interests, demeanor etc. but the readiness of my younger son far surpassed my older son. This has set my expectation pretty high in terms of what I want for Crash.
As usual Hawaii was the most fantastic break from our day-to-day lives. After a couple of months of cold and gray its always nice to pack up the swimsuits, shorts, tees and slippers and jet off to sunshiny Hawaii to hang on the beach and visit my entire family. This year some buddies of ours also flew out as well and it was their first time to Oahu; my brother-in-law also came out for the trip from Washington DC. Needless to say we had a nice group with us.
Per usual we stayed with my parents which I cannot complain about. They live in the same town I grew up in, Kailua. My favorite part of the island and the only part i'd live should we ever decide to move back. My entire family still lives in Hawaii so we always have a "homecoming" sort of BBQ when we get in to town, that way I have to opportunity to say hi to everyone all at once.
We did some mild hikes, lots of beach time which included a lot of boogie boarding and showing my friends around to some of my fave spots. It was nice that they weren't into a ton of touristy sites and it also helped that their time share was in Waikiki so they could do lay out on their local beach everyday.
The clock starts on a new year. Some people say "clean slate" and "new beginnings," me, not so much. I say bring it on. Let's handle the undone business of the previous year and grow in the new year. I set goals not make resolutions. I look to new challenges and welcome new opportunities. I feel 2014 will be great. 2013 was good to me and I don't say good riddance I can look back on fond memories and smile. And if I can build on what we created in this new year even better.
New Years Eve was spent with close friends, hanging out, eating great homemade tex-mex, karaoking it up and playing games. Nothing flashy, nothing scandalous just a down home good time. Kids change how you party and who you party with and this year was awesome!
May 2014 bring good times to all of you!