Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
The Observatory had been closed for several years, reopening at the end of 2006 with limited, advanced, timed-entry reservations only for the first year... yes, it's that popular! We patiently waited for the hub-bub to die down as well as for Em and Ro to grow up a little... and finally this year, off we went on a hot, sunny, summer day for a visit. The Observatory is now over twice the size it once was (they built two new floors down into the mountain) but still retains its' signature 1930s architecture with copper clad domes and white plaster.
One of the main features I used to be fascinated by was the Foucault Pendulum... apparently Em loves it too. The ceiling from which the brass pendulum swings was painted by artist Hugo Ballin.
Ro's favorite sections were about the sun...After looking at everything inside, we went outside for a quick snack and to let the munchkins roam free on the large grass lawns.
Monday, September 22, 2008
All packed and ready to hit the road... my Mom was very happy and excited! We made excellent time and were at camp with plenty of time to unpack and admire the scenery.
A few of the campers and their shirts in various stages of completion. Campers came and went throughout the day patiently waiting for paint to dry and fitting in other projects such as archery, canoeing and of course, the ever important spa treatments!! My high school "reunion" friend, Kerri is on the far right... we got to be bunkmates too. Hi Kerri!!
The walkway from the lodge up to the camper cabins and the craft room. This path is nearly pitch black at night (hey... it is the forest) causing caution to all campers to have a flashlight and buddy with you at all times... in case of bear sightings. I never saw one luckily.
After a fantastic weekend, this was the view that greeted me as I came up the driveway. Excited munchkins and a wonderful hubby are right behind that door.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
First, the reveal of our costumes!! My mom is going to be "Nurse Zone" and I will be "Dr. Twilight" from the Twilight Zone episode, "Eye of the Beholder". The costumes themselves are easy enough... look like a doctor and a nurse. But the faces... those were tricky!
We started with a plain plastic mask from Michael's and first made a molded mask with heavy salt dough-like modeling clay... the first attempt really looked super awesome but cracked and almost split in two as it dried. The added setback that the mask would be ridiculously heavy if we figured out the cracking issue meant we had to abandon this way of making the masks and switch to papier mache instead. Ultra light and easily moldable (with some patience) ... the final touches were pretty cool. Now all we needed to do was paint them. Since the original Twilight Zone episodes were all filmed in black-and-white, we made our masks black-and-white for authenticity. I also made a name tag for each of us with the original pictures you see here as our form of "hospital identification"... tee hee! A syringe for the nurse, a stethoscope for the doctor, and our costumes are complete!
I honestly can say, I'm very proud of how my mask turned out... I'm so not the painting or special effects type of artist so this was very fun and adventurous for me to make. We'll see how it plays out at the party. Em thought the mask was cool and keeps asking when Halloween is... so that's success for me! I can't wait to see how my Mom's turned out!!
And, I know it's not 100% perfect or accurate, but where's the fun in that?!
I have to get back to packing but wanted to put up the picture of the mask and reveal our characters.
The new contest will commence Monday or Tuesday when I'm back from camp and settled back in to a somewhat normal routine.
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Crisp lettuce, crunchy carrots, homemade dressing
Eating outside with friends... yummy yogurt and berries for dessert
Falling into bed, happily exhausted-- lungs full of cool, fresh, evening air
Days of Summer, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Every trip to the grocery store adds on an extra bag of flour or sugar or butter for more upcoming baking... and more root vegetables to roast to caramelized goodness.
Every afternoon has a bit of Fall Cleaning of closets and drawers and cabinets. Summer reading books have already been banished to the top bookshelf making way for all things autumnal (reading "A Creepy Countdown" above).
Halloween costume suggestions by both Em and Ro change hourly... even one little leaf fallen along our evening walking path is excitedly celebrated!
It's "only" going to be 90 today... Fall is finally, hopefully on the way!! With all this hustle and bustle in the house, I've been trying to whip up quick meals and make the most of the cooler temps. Here's a fast recipe I'm sure many of you have already done... otherwise, how did California Pizza Kitchen come up with it!?!
BBQ Chicken Quesadilla Pizzas (seen here being munched down by Ro)
These are a wonderful family favorite! I round out the meal with sides of a fresh salad, corn, rice and beans... oh, and fresh brownies for dessert! This meal is fun and fast!!
Ingredients: All at room temperature. (Flickr pic is bigger)
Add freshly sauteed veggies like red onions, peppers and tomatoes as your family prefers.
What to do:
Put a large non-stick skillet, dry, on a medium setting on your stove top. Let the skillet warm up. Place flour tortilla in pan, then add about 2 tablespoons sour cream/BBQ sauce, then 1/3 cup cheese, then 1/3 cup leftover BBQ chicken & veggies. Let cook for about a minute.
Add another tortilla to the top, cook another 30 seconds. Gently flip over.
Cook another 1-2 minutes and remove to cutting board. Cut as you would a pizza. Repeat process until you're out of ingredients. Use the remaining sour cream sauce as a dip.
We made a total of four pizzas for 2 adults and 2 munchkins... there's a little leftover that I'll be shamelessly eating, cold from the fridge, right after I publish this blog.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Way way back when I was a kid, the hobby of reading was the one I did more than pretty much everything else. From birth, my room was strewn with books. Books that were mine, books that came from my Mom's childhood , books that were my Dad's, Grandma books, etc. When I got older, I participated in book reading contests at school and started reading to my little brother.
I don't remember the day I went to the Tarzana library to get my very own library card, but I do remember being slightly annoyed that I could only check out three books. What the heck is that!? I would beg my Mom and Grandma to take me as often as possible. Of course, I did have other hobbies, but reading was the one thing I could do (and still do) everywhere. Riding in cars, at the beach, on the airplane, during a lunch break... you can't just carry a sewing machine around with you and pop it in your backpack like you can a tome.
So, when Em and Ro were born, really before they were born, I read to them. When I think back about it, I actually began preparing their library far before I was even pregnant... grabbing a board book here, ordering a volume there, researching different subjects and such while still single and newly married. I have always known reading was important to me and that gaining knowledge from books was one vital habit I wanted and needed to pass along.
Back to the library. I still read, review and research books to buy and have a steady list of "to-read" books on online sites such as Paperback Swap and Goodreads, but with the economy the way it is, I cannot just buy every book that catches my eye. Enter the Los Angeles Public Library! I LOVE my library! With the advent of the WWW, I love it even more! !!!!! Online reviews, databases, friends' recommendations... a zillion ways to find quality books for my family and I to read.
So this past Tuesday, I took Em with me to get him his own library card and continue my bookish family tradition. I will still continue to find books I would like to read to him and Ro, but now, I believe Em is old enough to come along with me and add his own tastes to the reading pile as well.
There are so many thoughts swirling in my head about reading. The importance of reading aloud to children, reading to get lost in another world, reading for research, seasonal reading, avoiding empty books... many other blogs for many other days.
Do you go to your local library? What other online book sites do you like?