Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring Break

I love where we live.

With less than a two hour drive from our house - we can have Sunshine, Snow or the Ocean Breeze.

And we experienced them all during Spring Break this year. Hubby took the week off work and we had a little family Staycation.

We started with some time at home, working on the never ending house projects, and enjoying the Sunshine that finally seems to have made it's appearance.

Daisy Chain

Next - a few sleepovers for Little K followed by a Day Trip to Tahoe for some skiing.

Ski Tahoe

This was the last week before most of the resorts closed for the season, but there was still plenty of Snow to be enjoyed.

On Friday, we headed to the Coast to spend a few day in the City by the Bay. I tried to convince hubby to detour up to the Wine Country (yep - that's less than 2 hours away as well), but thought I better save that trip for a girls weekend.

We started at Pier 39

Battleship and Gulls

Fresh Catch

Giant Gulls

The Sea Gulls were as big as our Cat - maybe even bigger.


Loved the Kite shop. If only there was some wind at our house....and a few less trees.

The Kite Store

We enjoyed the Aquarium of the Bay.

Moon Jellies

Jelly Fish

Full of all kinds of native California Sea Life.



That evening we stayed at the Fairmont Hotel atop Nob Hill. Amazing!
Had we planned better - we would have stayed and had Easter Brunch.
Had we planned better - we would have moved in there....forever.

Vintage Sports Cars

Not sure what was going on, but these amazing vintage Sports Cars were delivered while we were there.


I only had to sneak into the Valet Parking garage to see them up close. That's not really trespassing - is it?

The next morning we started at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.


Bamboo Fence

Little K is already sketching out a new design plan for our backyard to make it just like the Japanese Garden. There go our Palm and Orange Trees.

Zen Garden


Bento Lunch

We had a yummy lunch in the Tea House, including one of my favorites - Taiyaki. I really need to get one of those cute little fish irons.

Then over to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Flowers and Bridge

Under the Bridge

This is the first time we have walked across it.

A Long Walk

Only made it about half way. That was far enough for me (and my new found fear of heights).

Golden Gate

Golden Gate Bridge

We made it back home in time to enjoy a wonderful Easter Brunch at The Zinfandel Grille.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Teachers Appreciation Week

Next week is National Teachers Appreciation Week.

Last year - we were in the middle of selling our house in Arizona and looking for a new place to call home in California.

While I did manage to show our appreciation for Little K's teachers last year, I didn't post about what we did, so here is an update from 2010.

Little K had 2 teachers that we wanted to Thank for all their hard work throughout the year.

First, was her ELP teacher (Extended Learning Program - what they call the program for gifted students)

Off to School

I put together a basket filled with green and flowering plants.

Flower Basket

With a little note of Thanks from Little K.

I didn't realize what a wonderful ELP program the Mesa School District has in place - until we moved and discovered the GATE program (Gifted and Talented Education) in California is not quite the same.

Maybe we should have gotten Mrs. S something better?

I am more thankful than ever for the great year she was able to experience while we were in Arizona.

For her everyday teacher (also Mrs. S), I asked each of the students to bring in a handwritten card or note telling what they liked best about their teacher.

Fabric Cover

I made a scrapbook album from a basic binder, and covered it with padded fabric and swatch details.

Cover Detail

I had to add a fabric flower, and buttons too.

Inside, I used Page Protectors in a variety of configurations, filled with embellished cardstock.

Decorated Pages

This way the kids notes and cards could easily be slipped into the pockets.

Decorated Pocket Page

I also added a decorated envelope - to hold more notes and cards and keep them all tidy inside the album.

Baseball Card Page

This page protector was the perfect size to hold the kids wallet school photos.

Note Cards

I included some note cards made from the same scrapbook paper and cardstock, and tucked them into one of the pockets.

We also asked each of the students to bring in a single flower. I had an empty vase, filled with water and tied with a ribbon sitting on her desk. As the kids brought up their note/card - they put the flower into the vase and she had a bouquet of fresh flowers for the rest of the day.

Teacher Bouquet

Each of Little K's teachers over the years has been completely different - and yet each one has made such an impression on her (and us). I am thankful for all they have done to help us nurture the loving and kind young girl she has become.

Thank You!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Big 10 Birthday

We just celebrated Little K's 10th Birthday - Again.

Her actual Birthday was several weeks ago, but we were out of town on our annual Ski/Snow Trip with friends.

Snow Bunny

Not to worry - we brought along some cupcakes to celebrate.

Raspberry Cupcakes

Almond Cupcake with Raspberry Coulis Filling and Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Coconut Cupcakes

And Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate Ganache and Toasted Coconut Topping

Happy Birthday

10 candles just barely fit on that little cupcake

Donut Cake

She also celebrated with her classmates and a Donut Cake.

But last weekend was her party at home with friends from school. It was one of the easiest parties I have ever done - mostly because Little K planned it herself. I was just there to execute it all.

The most time consuming thing was the cupcakes.

Animal Cupcakes

Her Party Theme was "Favorite Pets", so I had to decorate the cupcakes with each of our family pets.

Cat Cupcake

Peanut Butter the Cat.

Crab Cupcake

Tabby the Hermit Crab.

Bird Cupcake

Baxter the Parrot (OK - it's really just a birdie - but it's in reference to our pet parrot).


Plus a little Puppy - because her guests have dogs.

Pinwheel Cupcakes

I've been wanting to make these little pinwheels, and I had some extra cupcakes (since I made both chocolate and vanilla), so I used them as centerpieces.

Blue Pinwheel

The house was decorated simply with balloons and streamers.

Birthday Banner

I did add a little Happy Birthday Banner because I had some paper leftover from the pinwheels.


And I wanted to use my Cricut machine that I haven't played with much since I treated myself to the purchase.

The weekend celebration started with a trip to the roller rink.

Ghost Image Skaters

Why is it that these places all look the same no matter where we live?
(note the Medieval Theme)
They haven't changed much in the 30+ years since I used to go as a kid.

Skating Girls

I guess that's what makes it to much fun.

Cupcake Tower

Then we headed home for pizza, snacks, cupcakes, presents...

Sundae Bar

...and a Sundae Bar.

Ranunculus Gift

While the girls were playing Twister - one of the neighborhood boys stopped by with some flowers for Little K.

Neighborly Note

His note is very careful to point out that the gift was just because they were friends, classmates and neighbors (just in case anyone might think there was some crushing going on). I'm sure his mother had something to do with it - but the sentiment is so sweet. I love our new neighborhood!

After more giggle time, movie watching and many rounds of Truth or Dare (thanks Aunt Lisa) - the girls finally fell asleep (and so did I).

I think I can get used to this low key kind of Birthday. Turns out Little K knows how to throw a mean party.
Until next year!