Category Archives: Books

Harry Potter Day


The HP Cookbook! An M & M day gift from Megan. I’m intimidated by a fair share of these recipes, but I thought I might be able to tackle the Pumpkin Pasties!

IMG_6341I was going for a fun day with minimal effort so we used premade ‘Pasty Crust”. We just cut circles out with a cup top and then plopped a spoon full of pumpkin inside. Fold it over and pinch up the sides and tada, you have a pastie! The whole time I could hear Cho Chang saying, “Two pumpkin pasties please”.


I added an ‘H’ for Hogwarts or Harry whichever makes you happy. Ara decided around this point in the day to change the name of our celebration to “Hogwarts Day” so it all worked out.


Maybe a little too brown on the edges but it didn’t matter, they were delicious all the same. I’m not really a pumpkin pie lover. It’s too much pumpkin and not enough crust. Well, these are the opposite. More crust than pumpkin. Not too sweet either. Which is good because we washed them down with…
 IMG_6356 Crazy sweet Butterbeer! This was my own concoction. I looked up a bunch of recipes on Pinterest and pulled whatever I liked from them. We did a layer of vanilla ice cream at the bottom, caramel, root beer (maybe cream soda next time?), and a dollop of cool whip on top. Ara saw me add the soda and was VERY skeptical (she doesn’t like soda), but she gave this sugary tower a big thumbs up!


And while we snaked on our delightful treats we watched the Order of the Phoenix because Ara has just finished the book. When we started reading the series she wasn’t really understanding and retaining a lot of the story. I would ask her questions to start a conversation about the last chapter we read and she was pretty clueless about most of it. Now, however, she is not only comprehending and retaining but she’s asking ME really great questions! She also passed her friend at school so now that girl can’t spoil the plot for her all the time! Crimes against Harry Potter! I wish I was just reading the books for the first time, so I love to hear her perspective.

Ara declared this the ‘best Harry Potter day ever!” and she requested to make it a weekly thing. Since we would run out of HP movies I was thinking of a book to movie night. We could re-watch all of the Narnia movies and maybe Anne of Green Gables… I love having a bookworm daughter!

What’s Up With Us?


On a Wednesday park playdate, our friends were running behind so Ara agreed to pose for a few pictures. I love that her ‘smile’ is so weird when I point a camera at her. Hilarious girl.


We’ve already had a few days over 100F here so our park play dates may soon become swimming play dates. Ara passed the YMCA swim test a couple months ago and is now considered an independent swimmer. Because of her age I’m still required to be beside her in the pool, which I would be anyway. She gets to wear the ‘big kid’ colored swim bracelet and if we happen to go to a YMCA with a pool slide, she can go down it! These are important things!


I’ve only ever seen this bird at Reid Park, and every time I do I wonder what the heck it is! Does it look lost? Does it think this shallow artificial lake is the ocean? I love it’s one long head feather and super intense red eye.


We recently enjoyed a bounce house Birthday Party. Watching the kids so occupied and happy (and in no danger of drowning) I started to think that’s the way to go. Of course Ara’s Birthday is in August, which means it will be WAY TOO HOT to bounce outside. Something to think (bounce) on though. I was just wondering when the grown-up bounce time was, I think I could have some serious fun in there!

The perennial issue at Birthday parties.. the artificially colored cake. I told her she could scrape off the red part pretty easily. Which she did.. she scooped it cleanly off with a spoon, straight into her mouth. And she looked pretty please with herself about it too. I let her make her own choice there. Usually she chooses not to eat artificial colors, sometimes the temptation is too great. I do know for a fact, if I forbid her to eat them, she would ALWAYS eat them when I wasn’t looking. I occasionally remind her that she gets the ‘crazies’ and ‘laughing mouth’ when she eats artificial colors and that she should be aware and use her self control. Those might not sound like bad things but they are basically our code for out-of-control Ara. As she gotten older she seems more capable of handling herself. It’s still a challenge though. Plus, they’re gross.


Our weekly trips to the library have involved lots of deep sea information. We are fascinated with Sperm Whales and Giant Squid at the moment. Did you know that more people have been to the moon that the deepest part of the ocean? There are whole eco systems down there that never see an ounce of sunlight. I could go on and on, Ara and I can’t get enough of BBC documentaries about it! Alex surprised us with the Deep Ocean Blue Planet and the entire Planet Earth series. I love the movies but one of my (secret) favorite things about it is that we watch them over and over and I get so sleepy. It’s the combination of the smell of Ara, the soothing voice of the documentary and BAM I get the greatest mini-naps ever! Don’t tell anyone, ok?


We’ve had some creative lego moments waiting for gymnastics class to start at the YMCA.


Our planter and aquaponics gardening efforts are still going well. This grasshopper is thankful to us. He was so nice to let me take zillions of photos of him, we let him hop off happily on his way. We are a no-kill garden so far. Although I wouldn’t mind if some ladybugs happened to want to eat all of our aphids.


Pretty, our live Christmas tree was decorated in mini flowers so that Ara’s dinosaurs could have a Christmas in May.


Now that I look at the picture I guess it was a dino/sea mammal Christmas.

IMG_2038 The herbivores seemed especially joyous.

And, that’s it for this GIANT update on our daily comings and goings!

Some Picture Fun

“Make a wish, Mama!”


A pretty moth hanging on our porch light, upside-down.

As long as she has a book, she’s happy.

Another happy bento lunch. Jason’s Deli ginger muffins, ww bagel, carrots, grapes, Yogurt, and fortune cookies from Panda.

Picking a book at a local used bookstore, Bookman’s.

Japanese fried rice from TJ’s, mango pieces, strawberries, cucumber, carrots, celery with peanut butter.

Trivia style flash card fun on a Friday night.

There is always room in her bed for ‘friends’. The question is, is there room for her?

Weekend Fun



Breakfast smoothie time.

Finger knitting. This blue scarf was for her Daddy.

Library time, she found a good book about a cat. She also found a bag FULL of dinosaur books. I picked up books about chickens and gardens!

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