Friday, March 29, 2013

Hoppy Spring: 12 things to enjoy this weekend

Enjoying the weekend yet? It's a long one for us, so I found a little time to write this post. Plus, college basketball is on and we're up cheering for our teams to advance to the Elite 8, to win the championship really, but we're getting closer one round at a time. But, I digress.

The point is we're taking a collective breath after a number of action-packed and work-filled weeks. Today, I told my hubby, actually felt like the weekends we used to know. I mean, these days, weekends are as full of work as weekdays - all the work blending together. Work at work, work at home, drive, write, meet, teach, care for, cook, clean, play, pay bills, strive, learn, love, so many important things fill our days and nights. Maybe it's because we have kids, but it feels like we're running non-stop, and it is good, we just need a little downtime. Doesn't everyone?

Here's to long weekends. We'll be trying to slow things down and enjoy some special moments. Maybe these will help inspire you to enjoy a few of your own favorite things. 

  1. Family gatherings, big and small
  2. Spring
  3. Celebrations
  4. Sunday clothes, or comfy ones
  5. Family meals
  6. Kids
  7. Flowers, even if you just see them at the store
  8. Breezy days
  9. Sunshine
  10. Singing
  11. Low-tech fun
  12. Enjoying a little downtime 

Baskets, grass on the outside
by K. Gibson

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Pasta with asparagus and proscuitto is a family fave. Get your spring veggies and a dose of yum all in one dish!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

French Toast and Formula 1

In our house, racing rules. We’ve got a long-standing tradition of having French Toast and watching each F1 race. We sometimes change it up, but this year we celebrated the inaugural F1 race with my famous French Toast. Yummy, happy family!

Sweet Syrup Drizzles
by K.Gibson

Friday, March 15, 2013

Decorating for baby: Cheap and not so chic

When we set up the nursery before our daughter was born, we looked for the safest, most reliable and adorable things we could find to outfit it. I searched catalogs, stores and web sites for items that fit the baby animal-early-learning-we’re new to parenting theme. She got a well-made crib from Cali – no recalls and we’re into our second child, matching comforter, sheet set and crib bumper (not recommended these days), an organic changing table cover and more.

It wasn’t an over-the-top scene like Christina Aguilera’s son Max’s nursery – mostly sweet, except for the 11-ft.-tall ominous moon overshadowing baby Max’s crib, a prop from her super-mega music tour. I like her and the Voice (when she was on the show), and she may love mega moon man, but I think he looks kinda scary. Our kid’s digs were much calmer, simpler, and less expensive, but we did manage to make it look nice.

While staring at our plain white Home Depot shade, plain even with matching baby animal curtains and valence, I knew something had to be changed. Scouring catalogs, stores and web sites, again, I decided we needed a custom shade.

It was easy. We only had to measure the window, and re-measure it 35 times, decide on Honeycomb, Roller or Roman, pick the fabric, choose the trim and lift system. Then we had to answer the question, is it worth the money for the blackout lining? Let me be clear when I say this next part. YES! If you’re going to spend the money to buy custom shades, and you live in a place, on earth, that gets any amount of sun, pop for the lining! We did not. It was an economical decision and it seemed like the right choice at the time. But, we have struggled with it ever since.

When we installed this seemingly perfect shade, it was summer. The summer sun shone so bright it sometimes felt like we had no shade up at all. Our solution? DIY, of course. We bought a piece of blackout lining and a can of fabric spray and went to town. Brilliant. It actually worked, sort of.

It blocked the light shining directly in the window, but did almost nothing at the top and sides. When the sun was high, you could imagine it like Close Encounters, or Indiana Jones when the Ark opens (not the melting faces though, this is about a kids room), or some more modern reference to intense blazing light.

Soon, the liner rolled up and somehow fell over the shade. This meant the white liner was on the outside, and all we could see was a couple inches of our custom shade. My hubs was not too eager to climb up and fix it a dozen times a day, but he did. What a guy! I even learned how to do it, sort of.

This method of wrapping and unwrapping our shades worked until the blackout liner got so tangled up we couldn’t even pull the shades down or up. We (mostly he) fixed it, again and again. Then we settled on a fix that left us with a band of light at the bottom of the window, but it was good enough.

You might wonder how we got our children to sleep? We flung blankets and diapers at the top valence until they blocked the light. Okay, okay, I flung blankets and diapers until my husband got on a chair and neatly stuffed a big blanket behind the top valence. It’s there right now, nestled on some wire bracket or something, I think. To deal with the light shooting out the bottom, I started leaning a Boppy, or two, against the bottom of the window and stuffing blankets on top of them to wedge the shade close to the wall. And the sides? Well, I got frustrated one day and started using thumbtacks to pin the curtains to the wall. We’ll have to putty the pinholes someday, but for now, it works. This must be where all my time goes!

The sad part is, this has been going on for over five years. The light still shines through, but it’s not so bad the kids wake up, much.

Dear readers, learn from our mistake. Whether you’re preparing for a baby or upgrading a guest room – if you’re going to spend the money on a custom shade or curtains – don’t cheap out on the liner!

When I have a good picture of the shade, I'll post it. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It’s Baaack!

We brought the Porsche home from a warm winter slumber. The kids were as excited as we were to get it back. Let me just say, Thomas the Train has got nothing on this car. Our little guy can hardly keep away, “Porsche, Porsche!” he declares as he runs through the house hoping to get a peek in the garage. 

This is not so different from his sister’s reaction when we bought it. The car may be old, but it’s really cool. With all the upgrades my husband made, oil cooling – so it doesn’t overheat going around the block, tires, alignment, lowered a bit, front and rear spoilers, it’s even better than when we got it.

I do, however, admit to loving and loathing it on occasion. It’s a project car, so he spent a lot of time, and money, to upgrade it, and there’s plenty more he could do. Plenty more I’d actually like to see him do, but it takes time. Parents of young kids don’t have a lot of extra time, or cash, but we try to find what we can to get things done.

When he lets (encourages) me to take it for a spin, I sometimes feel guilty. But, it’s really fun to drive and it gets a lot of looks and thumbs up around town. It’s the lowest car I’ve ever been in, and sometimes feels like a Smart car could dwarf it. Really. I’ve pulled up next to trucks and been eye-to-eye with the running boards. There was even a time I imagined myself doing the Clark W. Griswold act from Christmas Vacation. Driving along and all of a sudden I'm driving under a semi, it seems possible sometimes.

While it is fun, it’s hard to steer around a track at high speeds – or anything over 50 mph. Holding the line through the corners is a workout since it has no power steering. Did I say how much I appreciate power steering? A lot. The car also has no heat, or air, and a bunch of other stuff he removed to decrease weight and increase speed. It worked, but some amenities might be nice when touring around town in the summer.

It’s just nice to have it back, and running. Although, it needs a tune up and who knows what else. At least now we can start planning track events and weekend drives, too bad there’s no back seat for the kids. Oh well, here’s to almost spring!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

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