Avia and PopPop Step In

When DaddyO found direct tickets to Denver in January for just $77rt he immediately started planning  ski trip for our 15th anniversary. The only thing we needed was childcare. Thankfully Avia and PopPop were more than happy to to step in for the weekend and parent while we were away.

Time with the grandparents means crafts, fun recipes, and new adventures. This time Avia taught them how to make sock dolls...

...and two new cookie recipes.

They also dropped EJ off for a couple days at our church's retreat.

The boys played a soccer tournament.

Went to see the ice flyers.

And sent us lots of photos reminding us of how much they loved us

The weekend got thumbs up from everyone:)

Swim Team Fun

The kids seem to have never ending energy so I always jump on events that can give them an outlet. The kids spent four hours over the weekend swimming, jumping and sliding on the giant inflatables the swim team coaches setup over the weekend.

It was a great team building event as the kids got to know each other better in a fun environment.

Even after all the playing I still had to coax them out of the pool when the event was over. They slept well that night!

BreakerSpace Electronics

CPU, graphics card, motherboard, power supply...just a few terms the kids learned as they took apart a computer, saw the parts, and then reassembled it.

They even got a first hand lesson on electrical shock and its effect on the heart. A classmate brushed the power supply of an old record player and there was still some electricity stored in the capacitor. He received quite a jolt and it was a good lesson about how to handle electronics.

Some of the best lessons are free and the kids sure enjoyed the library’s BreakerSpace Electronics class.

learning from the instructor
learning the parts

Japan-America Society New Year’s Celebration

Celebrating the "Year of the Rat" with the Japan-America Society of Northwest Florida. The food, the dress, and the sound took us a across the Pacific to remember all the things we enjoyed in Japan.

(fried chicken)

The kids dressed in their kimonos and yukatas.

And enjoyed various demonstrations highlighting the Japanese Culture.

The drummers were our favorite. They traveled all the way from Orlando where they perform at Disney.

Duck Birthday Dunks

EJ's swim team has a unique way of celebrating birthdays and EJ made sure she didn't miss it when her birthday came up.

 The coach told a long story about her that involved lots of "ducks" and dunks and splashing.

being dunked
 Then EJ had to sing "Happy Birthday" to herself while her teammates were lined up along the edge of the pool ready to dive in and try to catch her when she finished the song.

singing to herself
the race is on
caught by the seniors

Birthday Breakfast

Birthday breakfast in bed has become an accidental tradition. We have done it a couple times in past years and as their birthdays now approach the kids remind us of how much they look forward to serving/receiving the breakfast to/from their siblings. I guess it's now expected:)
happy big 10
This year Pat was home for EJ's birthday so he did the pancake making with the boys. One nice thing about having a 10 year old is she sleeps in which makes it much easier to wake her up with a tray of birthday cheer.

From Offer to Walkthrough

It is a bit of a whim that is turning into reality. In just a day we went from seeing a two cottages on Zillow to having our bid accepted and then I was on a plane to Dallas to see them.

This magazine seemed like a fitting reading at the airport as the cottages are just an hour from Waco, TX and will need some renovations. I was inspired!

I met up with my mom in Dallas and had some time to visit with my brother before we drove an hour south to get our first view of the cottages we had so quickly fallen in love with online. I was preparing for disappointment (we could still easily pullout our offer) but thankfully they were were everything we hoped they would be.

The inspector found minor repairs that will keep us busy this summer but nothing major that would cause us to rethink moving forward. I love the size, charm and location. There is a book and tea themed cafe next-door that hosts musicians to play outside in the summer and we we are just a couple blocks from downtown.

A little over 24 hours later I was back on a plane to return to family.

Home Depot Kids Workshop

We're back in the land of Home Depot and DaddyO is back to spending his weekends around its aisles. The store is smart and connect with its future young customers through free workshops. The kids got their orange apron and first pin for making a tabletop hockey table. They nailed, measured and painted to finish their project. Did I mention this is free!

Such a fun way to spend some time with DaddyO on a Saturday morning. They can't wait to collect some more pins. Here is the registration link!

Pantry redo...✔️

The pantry was one of the areas that was remodeled after the fire of 2012. While the ceilings were hire and the door was taller, for some reason the pantry felt smaller. When we returned to the house, tearing out the drywall and adding the shelves back was on my list to do list.

Pat and the kids were up for the challenge and got right to work with the demoltion.

DaddyO repurposed two setions of a cubbie to add some apron and boot storage.

And then put in lots of shelves for my jars.

I sure love the end result. It feels open and provides much more storage area.

Thank you DaddyO and kiddos for all your hard work!

Our Osechi Ryori Tradition Begins

It took a bit of shopping (two Vietnamese grocery stores) and a while to cook (about four hours) but the excitement on the kids faces as they watched DaddyO open our Osechi Ryori box made it worth all the effort.
waiting to open the box
I went with five Japanese dishes (plus an Irish stew) and, like most intentional dishes, the majority of the ingredients were fresh and the directions easy to follow.
  new years tree at our favorite vietnamese grocery store
Many Japanese friends recommended their favorite dishes. This website was a fabulous resource for easy to understand recipes. I had a long list of ingredients when EJ and I set out to shop.
the ingredients

Traditionally in Japan these dishes are made a day or two in advance so the family can relax and simply eat on New Year's Day. Unfortunately I'm not that organized and spent most of the afternoon preparing the dishes.
datemaki (egg omelet) ingredients...
EJ watched a YouTube video which helped her make the majority of the roll herself
could not find dashi (fish stock) anywhere
but fortunately it’s easy to make with these two ingredients
japanese sweet potatoes and chestnuts. such a simple yet delicious combination.
oh, and the vietnamese grocery store has the special potatoes for under $2/lb!
Our first layer included Kuri Kinton and Datemaki.

Our second layer had Kuromame and Namasu.
In the third layer there was Simmered Ebi and Irish Stew.
The kids eyes lit up as they saw all the Japanese food and dug right in with their hashi.

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