Monthly Archives: November 2012

A Beach in Winter

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Things have been fairly hectic around here lately.

Christmas is just around the corner and the holiday baking is in full force. Between decorating sugar cookies and icing the gingerbread men, it’s easy to forget that Josh and I leave for California this weekend!

Yup, sunshine here we come! Or rain; I think it’s raining in California.

Either way, it has to be warmer than England. It was minus five last night with snow supposedly on the way.

Also, we have had some wonderful visitors staying with us the last few days.

That’s right; Laura and Elle are back with us and what better way to celebrate the cold weather and being in Europe than three Californians taking a trip to the beach.

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We drove down to Brighton and played in the sand rocks, which Josh especially loved throwing around.

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Josh was thrown up in the air, his favourite, by Elle.

Elle is one strong lady.

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I think Tim is the only other person I’ve seen able to throw him that high.

We went for a walk out on the pier.

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On the pier, Josh, Laura and Elle had their very first Brighton rock from Brighton’s best rock shop, though I think they all probably say that.

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Best shop or not, it was pretty yummy.

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So, even though we weren’t in California, we had a great day.

Eating Brighton rock and watching an amazing sunset.

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We’ll be seeing you very soon California!

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Salt Dough Ornaments

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I’ve been trying to get Josh to help me in the kitchen recently.

Sometimes it’s a good idea.

Other times, it’s not.

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Despite not actually getting anything in the bowl, Josh loves helping out and he really enjoyed making this salt dough recipe that we found here.

Salt dough seems like the perfect recipe for little hands as it only has three ingredients; salt, flour and water.

And then there’s all the fun of rolling it out and cutting it into shapes.

Or big lumps of shapes in Josh’s case.

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During one rainy day several weeks back, we went ahead and made the dough, cut out some shapes using cookie cutters and baked them.

I’ve been saving them for a cold and rainy day to use as a fun, little activity to do with Josh.

Today turned out to be that day.

So, nice and warm inside, we got to work painting some of the ornaments.

Josh especially liked the fish.

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I decided to try and make something to hang in Josh’s room and used some of the stars and a map of the USA.

I painted the map white and the stars red, white and blue.

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Then, using some string, I threaded the ornaments onto the string.

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It turned out better than I thought it would and I’m thinking that tomorrow would be good day to hang it up in Josh’s room and talk to him about Thanksgiving being celebrated back in America.

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Though he’d probably be just as happy hanging the fish up instead.

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

A Perfect Sunrise

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This last weekend I had a great idea.

Sunrise.

We should go watch the sunrise.

It would be perfect.

We would get all bundled up, take a mug of hot chocolate, go hike and see the sunrise.

The weather was even supposed to be perfect too on Sunday.

Crisp and sunny.

Sadly, the weather was just about the only thing that did work out right.

Despite Josh happily being woken at 6 am and bundled into the car, asking “where we going mama?”, the rest of the morning did not quite go as planned.

The drive took a bit longer than we thought and we got there just after the sunrise.

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It was still a beautiful view though.

But it was cold.

About 30 degrees cold.

And despite all his layers, Josh wasn’t having any of it.

He cried, refused to walk and screamed “hands not working!” I imagine because they were so cold. Poor kid. He clearly has inherited his mother’s Californian weather sensibilities.

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Tim, always one to look on the bright side, suggested going for another hike in the afternoon to see the sunset, which happens over here at about 4pm.

I took a bit more convincing, as usual, but we ended up going on another hike to see the sunset, and I’m so glad we did.

There was beautiful light for photos.

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Josh was much happier, rolling around in the grass and being thrown up into the air by Daddy.

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We even managed a quick family photo.

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And, of course, we saw the sunset.

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It turned out to be the perfect plan after all.

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Mason Jar Salads

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I have been procrastinating so long on writing this particular post, which is ironic given that it’s all about being more organised.

Tim has been really busy with work lately and I have been trying to manage meals at our house a bit better.

This usually involves one night at the start of the week, after Josh is in bed, sitting down and planning out all the meals for the week, then making a grocery list.

It’s annoying and a hassle sometimes, but it really has helped me to organise a bit more.

I’ve become so organised in fact, that most nights I will usually even make our lunches for the next day.

This has been aided immensely by the idea of putting salads in mason jars; yet another Pinterest discovery. It says that as long as the dressing and lettuce aren’t touching, the salads will stay fresh for up to a week.

I haven’t yet tried out this ‘stay fresh for a week’ hypothesis, but that’s hardly been necessary, as usually by the time I am done adding the toppings to the salad, I don’t have room for the lettuce and end up putting the lettuce in its own jar.

Either way, it’s pretty nice to have lunch all sorted when I get home. It also doesn’t hurt that they are in these cute mason jars.

So, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite ones, it being such great salad weather here in England.

Here they are in no particular order…

20121108-185535.jpgCaprese Salad

  • basil pesto, thinned out with a little olive oil;
  • pre-cooked chicken pieces;
  • cherry tomatoes, either halved or quartered;
  • cubed mozzarella;
  • fresh basil leaves, lightly chopped; and
  • lettuce, in a second jar.
  • 20121108-190123.jpgAsian Style Salad

  • Asian style salad dressing;
  • pre-cooked chicken pieces;
  • mandarin orange slices;
  • lettuce; and
  • sliced almonds.
  • 20121108-190558.jpgGoat Cheese and Strawberry Salad

  • dressing (probably a vinaigrette would work well here);
  • pre-cooked chicken pieces;
  • crumbled soft goat’s cheese;
  • strawberries;
  • sliced toasted almonds; and
  • lettuce, in a second jar.
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    Feta and Avocado Salad

  • dressing;
  • pre-cooked chicken;
  • cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered;
  • crumbled feta cheese;
  • corn;
  • toasted pine nuts;
  • avocado; and
  • lettuce, in a second jar.
  • You can see from the picture above, I waited until the morning to slice the avocado to keep it from turning brown.

    It sure looked nicer in a bowl then it did in the mason jar though.

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    Waldorf Style Salad

  • dressing;
  • pre-cooked chicken pieces;
  • sliced celery;
  • apples, cubed or chopped;
  • toasted almonds; and
  • lettuce, in a second jar.
  • You can probably see now why I’ve been putting off writing this post.

    There are endless possibilities.

    These are just a few of the ones I’ve enjoyed but maybe you all have more ideas you’d like to share?

    I’m always looking for some nice, quick lunch ideas, as I mentioned earlier, it being such nice salad weather and all.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to scrape the ice off my windscreen.

    Happy eating!

    Autumn Leaves

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    Last weekend, it was just the right freezing crisp conditions that made all the fall colours really stand out.

    We took advantage of this by pushing Josh in as many piles of leaves as we could find.

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    Thankfully, he didn’t seem to mind too much.

    In fact, he loved playing in the leaves, gathering up as many as he could hold and throwing them up in the air.

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    I think he especially enjoyed it when Mommy joined in and we threw leaves at eachother.

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    Now that’s something I can’t remember getting to do in California.

    We were probably too busy going to the beach…