Friday, June 29, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

History Repeats Itself

When I was a kid, there was a local woman that gave cooking lessons to the neighborhood kids. We would make entire meals from salad, to the main course to dessert. She even made us little cookbooks with the recipes in them to keep. I loved the classes because we were not making silly kid stuff. We made baked Alaska, chicken dinners and lasagna rolls. There are a few recipes that I use to this day. 

I also remember going next door to our neighbor who taught me how to make bread from scratch. That never quite took, because I still can't do it the traditional way. And please do not ask me to make a pie crust. I loved the lessons though, and they helped me foster the love of cooking and baking that I still have. 

I have a friend who has a daughter, who is so much like me, when I was her age, that we are kindred spirits.  She loves to draw, paint and cook. I am giving her a few cooking lessons this summer for dishes that she can take back and make for her family. Today was our first lesson. We made the Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls that I make at Christmas time. They came out great. Our future lessons will be lasagna (with homemade sauce), blackberry ice-cream, chicken pot pie and Italian casserole. I am hoping she will use these recipes for years to come. Some of them are very easy, and some are pretty complicated. But what I want her to get out of this is that cooking is fun, challenging and useful. But above all, you can't be afraid to fail. 

Cuteness Alert!!!!

Please note that the human child is no longer in the carseat properly, but the bear is very snugly belted in.  Safety first!

(On a side note, this bear was given to AJ when he was about a year old by Shawn's sister, Stacey.  I love that it has been passed down and is over ten years old.)

Stow Away

The Hotel

We stayed at the Paco Diablo Resort in Sedona. Honestly, it was not great and I would not recommend it. It was a little run down.  A lot of details were missed that should not be missed if you are going to call yourself a resort. When we drove up, I remember thinking that they must have used stock photos on the web site because we were not at the same place. 

They had a restaurant that was recommended at the hotel that had gotten some good reviews. The views off the patio were very pretty and if our room had actually faced this direction, I probably would not have been so disillusioned.  However, the food was not that great. We did order a pretty delicious appetizer though that I will attempt to make at home.  It was asparagus wrapped in pastry with a spicy, creamy sauce on it. Yum.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Soccer Championships

To cap off the birthday weekend, Shawn gave me two wins in the adult league soccer championships. He is so giving that way. It was 108 out and they played for 2 hours straight. I would have more sympathy for him but he is only 40, instead of in his 40s like me. So I figured the young whippersnapper could suck it up and deal. 

The championship team:

Birthday Trip To Sedona

This past weekend we went up to Sedona to celebrate my birthday. The worst part about turning 41 is that I am no longer 40, but rather "in my forties".  Blah. 

I wish I could recommend our hotel, but it was kind of yucky. It was called the Paco Diablo. Although there were parts of it that were beautiful, it was a bit rundown and needed some major overhauling. 

Sedona itself was very pretty. My favorite part was the little shopping/gallery/restaurant area. It was beautiful. There were a lot of cute shops and they even had an acting troupe doing Shakespeare.  The second day someone was having a wedding. 

We went to a brewery the first night and they had this cool copper vat.

 On Saturday, we drove through Jerome to to go get AJ at camp in Prescott.  Jerome is a very tiny town situated at the top of a very steep mountain.

The main street in Jerome.

The view from Jerome.

On the way up, we were behind this cyclist. He was insane. Not only was the climb very steep, but the constant switchbacks made visibility really poor. I was glad he was at least wearing a helmet.

 I texted this picture to Jeff and told him that for his birthday I climbed this mountain and made this "J" out of rocks. He texted back that he had invaded a small country and had renamed it "Heatherland". I told him to stop showing off and thanked him for getting my phone tapped.

We stopped at this cute fruit stand on the side of the road in Sedona. They had delicious produce. You can't tell from the picture, but behind the sunflowers are stairs that go down the hill. The woman who ran the stand had to go down there to get the pressed cider. We think that was where her house was too.

Some pictures of the famous red rocks.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dropping AJ Off At Camp

We drove up to Prescott today to drop AJ off at camp. It is 20 degrees cooler there than in Phoenix.  If that isn't a reason to love it there, then I don't know what is.

I am not sure if this is a good sign, but AJ was recognized by the counselor that checked us in. Everything at check in was going well until someone moved a rock that was holding down papers and they all blew all over. But other than that, it was pretty uneventful.  AJ moved up two cabins, so he was happy about that.

AJ's cabin counselor is named AJ as well, so AJ will be going by Alex while he is there, to avoid confusion.

A Small Highlight From Our Drive Up To Camp:

AJ (after about 45 minutes of endless chatter from his brother) Let's play the quiet game.
Charlie: Ok
 (30 seconds of complete silence)
Charlie: How do you play?

Friday, June 15, 2012

I Have My Very Own Garden Gnome

When Charlie and I started this garden, I bought him his own "Go Diego Go!" gardening set. The set included, gloves, kneeling pad, shovel and a rake. We both promptly forgot about them. My thinking was that if he had his own set of tools, he would become more interested in the garden and help. He actually needs no prompting. He is the first one to volunteer to water each day, and look for produce. I found the garden set the other day and Charlie wanted to try them out. I let him dig in the box where the plants did not survive. We even planted some new seeds. I doubt they will grow, but he was happy digging in the dirt.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Day At The Zoo

AJ, Charlie and I went to the zoo this week with my friends Kelly and Lauren. Kelly has two kids who are right around Charlie's age, so it worked out well. We had a great time.

 Charlie is trying to take a peek at the giraffes.

 This picture is for Gran. A picture with grandkids and giraffes, what could be better!?

 This life-sized  statue scared the day lights out of us. It is situated right when you turn the corner into the exhibit.  You think for second that one of the animals has gotten out.

 A very docile, and beautiful peacock.

 This is Kelly and her daughter, Katie.

 Kelly's son Sam, Charlie and AJ sitting on a giant crocodile statue.

 I am not sure what this ship's wheel, but Charlie liked it and pretended he was a pirate.

 Sam and Charlie walking back from looking at the elephant.

 The boys loved this statue of a orangutan and hammed it up for the camera.

 Charlie is striking a pose.

 They had a really pretty carousal that featured endangered animals. I didn't realize that fire-breathing dragons were endangered, but you always learn something new at the zoo.

 Katie, Kelly and Sam.

 I think the highlight of the trip was the last half hour when we looked at the sting rays. You were allowed to touch them. AJ loved it.

 And then, for some extra money you could actually feed the sting rays. AJ was really the only one in our group who wanted to do it.  Lauren was not a fan of the raw, slimy fish.