What I did on my Summer Vacation: Part 1

July 1, 2010 at 4:39 pm (Makes me Smile, Marriage, Uncategorized)

Okay, I’m not going to bore you with all 173 pictures, but I just thought I’d write a bit about our wonderful time away.

We were so lucky that Doug’s parents agreed to watch our kids while we went to Europe. This is the first time that we had spent a night away from all of our kids … ever. I’m a big talker about leaving kids, but we just never had the opportunity to leave them all before this. I don’t know that I would recommend a twelve day journey … across an ocean for your first trip away, but we found a way to make it work!!

Originally we were going to do a three city tour of Italy, but then my friend Andrea found us a sweet deal on a Mediterranean cruise, and our decision was made. We flew into Rome and spent 3 days touring the city and then we boarded a very large ship and set about relaxing in style!!

Toulon Farmer's Market

We visited the ports of Genoa, Toulon, Barcelona, Palma, and Cagliari. Doug was a little apprehensive about the whole idea of cruising, but he adapted well. The only unhappy moment was the auction to win a tour of the engine room. If you know Doug at all you know that the engine room is where his heart was! Unfortunately the bidding went a little high for our tastes. More unfortunately though was the winner’s attitude. The tour was for a group of four and so Doug went to offer to split the bid with him and the guy told Doug he could have it … for $500, which was more than twice what he bid on it. It was a little annoying, but we survived.

Besides Rome, I would have to say that our favorite city was Barcelona. Doug only wanted to do two things in Barcelona and we managed them both. The first was a visit to the Sagrada Familia and the second was a tapas meal. The meal was probably the best meal of the trip. We picked a restaurant from our Lonely Planet guide and we were not disappointed. Bubo Bar was amazing. We just asked the waiter to bring us a selection of tapas and it was all delicious. The best though, was the roasted eggplant with goat cheese. After dinner we went next door to the Bubo pastry shop. Wow. I can’t even describe. Just go ans see for yourselves!

In France I really just wanted to go to the grocery store and the market. I picked up some fun stuff and we had what may have been the longest lunch of our lives. A relaxing lunch is not something we do very often so we were getting a little antsy at the end!

Rome was almost indescribable. It’s hard to really appreciate the vastness of all that city has to offer. It was also a little surreal knowing that everything was authentic. The Egyptian obelisks really were spoils of ancient war. Oh, and I also saw where Marc Antony gave his eulogy for Caesar. It was a special moment for me because I had to memorize Shakespeare’s version of the speech for Mrs. Merchant’s grade 10 honours English class.

This is a trip I would definitely recommend if you get the chance. If you do a cruise I would make sure you do your research on each of the cities. I think we saved a lot of money by not doing any of the organized port excursions. We just mapped out what we wanted to see before we left. It probably would have gone a little more smoothly if we hadn’t left two of the guide books at Doug’s parent’s house, but that just added to the adventure!

I don’t know when we’ll get the chance to do something like this again, but we definitely enjoyed every minute of it.

p.s. As per my usual we dealt with delayed planes, canceled flights and lost luggage on our way home!!

All these bags were carry on size!

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Afton turns 1!

May 30, 2010 at 11:05 pm (Family, Fun Stuff, It's a Girl, Uncategorized)

Someone isn't in love with her crown!

Last Saturday was Afton’s 1st birthday. I don’t know quite where the year has gone, but it’s definitely gone. Normally I’m not a big fan of birthday parties for 1 year olds, but we were doing cupcake week over at the other blog so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone! It ended up being the perfect amount of fun for the kids, and there were just enough cupcakes to go around! Afton has been an amazing joy to have in our home. The boys all love her to pieces, and she pretty much has her daddy wrapped around her little finger!

Enjoying the chocolate cupcakes!

Just one of the many flavors of cupcakes!

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Doug’s Big Day!

May 28, 2010 at 6:59 am (Doug Stuff, Food, Fun Stuff, Uncategorized)

I don’t know what it is about my husband; he’s not the most social of people, yet every year he wants to throw a big party for his birthday. One year we did fajitas and another year we did Turkey Legs. Last year we did something small at home because Doug was still using the cane, but this year we made up for it!

Back in August we watched a Man Vs. Food episode from San Antonio. This involved a 6lb cinnamon roll, and a 30 lb pizza! That’s right, a 30lb pizza! Obviously you know where I’m going with this! We got 8 people together and headed over to Big Lou’s for 42″ of dough,  meat, and a few veggies! We also had breadsticks just in case we were worried about not getting enough carbs! We definitely could have used two more people to finish off the pizza in the restaurant. It’s hard to imagine that a pizza that takes an hour to cook is going to taste good, but it really was yummy … once you got over the massive size! I don’t know if 42″ pizza is something that I could ever do again, but it was definitely a fun night!

I think everyone should do a little research into what the Food Network says  is fun to do in their town! I check them out a lot when we’re about to make a road trip so that we don’t just end up stopping at McDonald’s when we’re ready to eat!

I will say though, that I didn’t understand the restaurant’s bathroom situation. There were two toilets in one room. There was one door to the hallway, but no doors inside the bathroom. I’m pretty sure you were supposed to lock the door. I don’t care if there were people waiting when I got out!

What was left!

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April 26, 2010 at 8:52 pm (Food, Fun Stuff, Uncategorized)

Girls' Night Out!

Tina and her Brighton helpers

Well it’s been a little while, but you all know how busy my life is! If I’m not changing diapers then I’m watching t.v. and eating bonbons! I feel like I should be a bit more exciting so that I can have more exciting things to write. So, wouldn’t you know that last week I did something pretty exciting.

The throngs of people!

It was Fiesta here in San Antonio, and I participated in my first official Fiesta event. It wasn’t Battle of the Flowers (I’m not brave enough to head downtown during the madness), but it was Taste of the Northside. It’s a great fundraiser for the Brighton Center, which is a group that helps developmentally delayed children. A friend of mine has received a lot of support from this group, and if we can give back by taste testing awesome food, then who am I to argue?!

The Drunken Strawberries

As a bonus, this event was filled with inappropriate clothing and inappropriate displays of public affection (I’m not judging, but once you reach a certain age, making out gets creepy!)!

Fiesta hats

The food was great. There were truffles, chocolate chip cookies, lettuce wraps, frozen lemonade, and much more. I think a motivator for some people may have been all of the drink tickets that came with your admission, but I used those for chocolate shakes from Cheesy Jane’s.

Who knew this was back in style?

I'm putting that stomach on my visualization board!

It just seems wrong!

Towards the end of the night I may have had one too many shakes because I was getting a little silly, but really, I wasn’t nearly as silly as half of the people on the bus ride back to the parking lot! If you’re in town for Fiesta next year, you should definitely attend.

Fiesta buttons

Don't forget a flower for your hair.

Right before she fell down!

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April 9, 2010 at 3:11 pm (Grrr!, Uncategorized)

I think I’ve been in a little bit of a funk today. I was going to catalog a list of my current pet peeves for you (things like: not putting away grocery carts and women who are far too old, wearing skirts that are far too short on windy days, sans underwear!). Anyway, the whole thing seemed like a bit of a downer, so I thought I’d look for happier news on the internet. That was a bit of a wasted effort. I came across this story, which I find slightly disturbing. It really annoys me, because when I’m looking to get away from it all I tell Doug that we should move to Maine! Now, I have to find another place to move in my imagination! I don’t understand why things get “confusing” when you want to separate public bathrooms by gender. Help me out on this.

On a more positive note, and completely unrelated, we’re having a giveaway today over at Frankly Entertaining.

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Like Manna from Heaven

March 31, 2010 at 7:18 am (Food, Makes me Smile, Uncategorized)

A couple of weeks ago I posted about my love for a certain Canadian margarine. Look what arrived in the mail yesterday:

Postal goodness from Canada


My dad sent this off to me before I wrote that post. It’s as if he is completely in tune but my margarine needs. For a split second I thought that I was getting some environmentally friendly boxed wine

What's hiding in th box?

, but then behold what to my wandering eyes appeared:

This should get me through the next year. There shall be toast in our home again … at least for me!

Thanks Dad!

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Dream a Little Dream

March 12, 2010 at 5:20 pm (Makes me Smile, Uncategorized)




So, it’s Friday night, and we have big plans here. I borrowed La Vie en Rose from the library, and I will be dreaming of moving back to France … just for a little while.

Sometimes Doug and I talk about how much fun it would be for us to have a short term international adventure. I would love to spend a couple of years in Europe. I think it would be an amazing thing for our entire family. Lately I’ve been think about it more because I have a cousin who is moving to Chile, and my brother is considering a job in the middle east.

I also follow a few blogs that make me dream. Do you ever read Stephmodo? Her experiences renovating a house in the french countryside make my heart ache just a little bit. Then today I was talking to a friend about some photography classes that she’s teaching. She and her friend are planning a French Photo Retreat at Stephmodo’s house. How amazing is that? Could I convince my husband to send me to France for a few days to learn how to make the most of my fancy camera?( I already tried to convince Candice to let me tag along as her interpreter, but apparently her teaching partner speaks french) Could I convince him to let me take Candice’s online class by showing him what a bargain it is compared to the trip to France? Would it be weird to take an online class from someone that you know?

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Sisters in Seattle

February 18, 2009 at 12:19 am (Family, Fun Stuff, Uncategorized)

So, to continue my lucky streak, I thought I’d write about how lucky I was two week-ends ago when my husband watched all the boys while I flew half way across the country to see my sister. This was the first time that I’d been on a plane by myself since before William was born. With the exception of the previously mentioned creeps in Las Vegas, the whole week-end was wonderful.

Miss Delia with the silhouettes my sister made
Miss Delia with the silhouettes my sister made

 I went to pick up my sister at her home so that I could also see Delia and Joshua. Christina was also going to get a break, because her husband was watching her two older kids. Can I just say here how much I love the GPS. I put it in the bag and it made my driving in a brand new city completely stress-free!  Also, how much do you love the silhouettes my sister made of her family?!

Joshua not being too impressed with my arrival
Joshua not being too impressed with my arrival

 My nephew usually keeps it real by never being too impressed by my arrival. Perhaps if I had brought his cousin he would have been a little more enthused!

My sister-in-law, Susan, and Jett

My sister-in-law, Susan, and Jett

 Doug’s sister lives about fifteen minutes from my sister so we stopped in to say a quick hello. I also got to meet baby Jett for the first time. She is actually preparing for her own sisters’ week-end in Seattle next month. You’ve got to love the Southwest sales!

Christina, Eliza and Me at our hotel

Christina, Eliza and Me at our hotelHaving brunch with Margaret at Etta's


 We stayed at a really nice hotel on the waterfront (thank-you Priceline). The best part of this place, besides the amazing view, was probably the free shuttle that dropped you off and picked you up anywhere downtown.

Eating brunch at Etta's

Eating brunch at Etta'sWe met up with Margaret, who we used to work with during the BYU veg prep days. We ate at Etta's (thanks for the idea Kemille!). It was a very yummy meal and it was wonderful of my father to sponsor a fun meal for Christina and I! Thanks Dad!The Famous Market

 We went to the market. It definitely puts any market that I’ve been to in Texas to shame. There was everything imaginable. There were lots of families, and couples. It seemed like it would’ve been a fun place to go on a date. I don’t know how comfortable I would have been with all three boys there; it seemed like there were a lot of places to hide!

The best breakfasst potatoes ever!

The best breakfasst potatoes ever!

We spent most of Saturday shopping. We visited the flagship Nordstrom and of course we had some hot chocolate at Starbucks! Saturday night we went out for Chinese food and a Romantic Comedy.

On Sunday morning I drove Christina home before I had to catch my plane. Before I dropped her off, we went for breakfast at Maltby’s which I think is in the town of Maltby, which is close to MillCreek. If ever you are in the Seattle area, it is worth the 40 min trip north to visit this place. I think they’re only open for breakfast on the week-ends, but they have, without a doubt the best breakfast potatoes … EVER! Also, the hot chocolate was just a lot of fun!

This week-end was an excellent getaway for me. I think Doug and I should try it where we do a relaxing week-end away together, instead of going away separately. This is why we need family close by so that we can have someone to swap week-ends with! Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids to death, but Doug and I have not had a night away from all our kids . That is over five years. I’m making plans, because I came back super relaxed, but Doug was a little stressed because he had his first week-end all alone with the boys. One day we’ll coordinate our schedules!

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Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

February 16, 2009 at 11:46 pm (Uncategorized)

Oh, what a happy day! First my cinnamon bread turned out very yummy, then I didn’t make a complete disaster of the dinner I was taking to someone in the ward and then for the cherry on top:

I won a Design Mom  random giveaway! I won’t go on and on about my 100 business cards because I don’t want to make you all extremely jealous of my good fortune, but if you’re curious, you can see what I won here. This might be the start of something for me!!

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Are These Guys Famous?

February 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm (Uncategorized)

I will post details about my super fun sisters’ week-end in a bit, but until then, does anyone recognize these two guys?


I was in Las Vegas waiting for my flight to Seattle when I sat behind the two most obnoxious people I have ever come across (and let me tell you, I’ve come across some very obnoxious people in my day!)  I wouldn’t normally think they were famous because we were in the Southwest terminal, but then I saw Scott Hamilton (who was in no way obnoxious) get off a Southwest flight. This was Vegas, so anything is possible, and I’m actually hoping these two were just really drunk, but you never know.

Every single person who at near them got up and moved because they were so offensive. I cannot describe how offensive, but it was bad. I was just praying that they weren’t headed to Seattle. Thankfully, they were not, but I feel horribly for the passengers on their flight!

Don’t worry, the rest of my trip went much better than the Las Vegas portion!

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