Archive for June, 2008

Colorado Renaissance Festival

We’re in Colorado. Marcy, Baby Lorenzo and I arrived late Friday night. On the way from the airport we saw signs for the Colorado Renaissance Festival, so that’s where we went on Saturday, along with my sister-in-law Liza and her son Paolo. I hadn’t been to one of these since I lived on the east coast, back when I was a kid. My favorite things were gnawing on a roasted turkey drumstick, cheesecake on a stick, and seeing all the eccentric people in their period costumes. Other highlights included rides (for Paolo), a petting zoo, a juggler, a fire eater, fencing, madrigals, belly dancers, instumentalists and a “Joust to the Death.” I also treated myself to this silver necklace as a token of such a fun day.


The Grand Entrance

A Juggler

Marcy & Baby Lorenzo with Knight

Paolo modeling a pirate hat

Paolo & Liza on a swinging ship

In the petting area

Fire Eater

 

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Driftwood

This is a piece of driftwood that David found while we were fishing along the Wilson River. We both could see right away a strong resemblance to a bird skull in its formation. Too bad neither of us work in sculpture, because it would make quite a focal point.

Fresh fruit and cream meringue pavlova

This is the dessert I made yesterday – a layered meringue with a freshly whipped lemon cream filling topped with vanilla whipped cream and garnished with fresh organic fruit. I made the meringue layers using this recipe, but instead made two 8″ circles. Then, using a pint of heavy whipping cream, I made a batch of freshly whipped cream, which I divided into two bowls. The first bowl was for the filling. I added about a half a jar of lemon curd and about a 1/3 cup of sour cream and mixed it all together. The second bowl was for the topping, to which I added only some Swedish vanilla sugar (from Ikea) and some regular powdered sugar, until it was slightly sweet, enough to balance the tartness of the lemon cream. Then I decorated the top with freshly sliced strawberries and blueberries.

This dessert got rave reviews (and requests for second helpings), but I made a tactical error in assembling it too early. In order to keep the meringue crisp, this dessert should be assembled just before eating. Otherwise the meringues become soft, just like the whipped cream layers. It didn’t alter the taste, but the texture was all creamy, no crunch. I think if I decide to make this dessert again and want to do it ahead of time, I’ll scoop the creams and fruit into individual cups, and then top with a piece of crisp meringue, right before serving.

Plain & Simple Maternity Swimwear

Okay, finding a swimsuit is hard, but finding a maternity swimsuit is ridiculously difficult. And it doesn’t help that I am as picky as they come on this topic. As a matter of fact, my favorite pre-pregnancy two-peice is a red halter-style bikini top with boy short bottoms. It is a few years old now, but back then I drove to three different Targets in order to finally find my size. So you can see, during the rare times that I find one I like, I am willing to go the distance.

After doing a fair amount of internet searching and perusing the racks at a couple nearby stores, I saw a lot of ugly maternity suits. I really wanted PLAIN – no polkadots, animal prints, plaids, ruffles or hardware. It is bad enough that my stomach is becoming an ornament in itself. I don’t want to be baring it to the world either, so I’ll just take a one-piece (or a two-peice with respectable belly coverage), thank you very much.

So. I finally found three acceptable options. Each one simple (some would say boring) and no frills. Budget-wise they can be described as:

The extra fancy pro: gorgeous, con: expensive
Middle of the road
pro: somewhat more affordable, con: two-piece
The big cheapster
pro: cheap, con: not a very good fit

I deliberated for quite a while, but knew with the summer months ahead and a pregnancy swim class starting soon, that I had to make a decision. I’m kind of embarrassed to even admit which one I prefer, but it might just end up being my one big splurge. Am I just being crazy?

The extra fancy

Middle of the road

The big cheapster

A lazy, sunny weekend


ceanothus ‘victoria’ & heather ‘c.d. eason’

lithodora ‘grace ward’ & yellow swallowtail butterfly on wallflowers

It feels like it has been a while since we’ve enjoyed an entirely sunny weekend. On Saturday we took a ride out to our favorite nursery (again!) to pick up some color for the two bare spots still left. We decided on shade tolerant impatients for under our front yard japanese maple, and a contrasting mix of spreading blue lithodora and rich magenta heather to add color to the back border of our “round” garden. The only spur-of-the-moment purchase was a lovely blue flowering evergreen called ceanothus victoria. We just couldn’t pass it up, and used David’s 30% off coupon on it. No idea where it’s final resting place will be just yet, but it needs full sun

On Sunday morning we woke up early and decided to head out to Ikea. We weren’t looking for much – a couple replacement 365+ square plates that mysteriously got chipped, a cushion for my office chair, two small vases and a couple of other kitchen and house gadgets. It was also a good opportunity for us to look at the nursery furniture. I thought I’d pick up some fabric, too, but nothing really appealed to me this time around. And if you ever find yourself at Ikea in the morning, their $1.99 breakfast is a tasty value (scrambled eggs, bacon, sticks of crispy french toast and breakfast potatoes).

The butterfly photo was shot moments after we pulled into our driveway. With our side garden in bloom, we always take a moment to admire the flowers when we get in or out of the car. This butterfly was taking a quick dip into our wallflowers and I was able to snap just a few pics before it fluttered away. The rest of the day was spent reading, helping David briefly while he installed irrigation to our vegetable garden, and a quick run to the grocery store for some Ben & Jerry’s and other staples. A sweet way to end the weekend.

In Our Neighborhood

While on a walk with Barkley last night I noticed that one of our favorite houses in the neighborhood was going up for sale. The previous owner was walking to his car just as I approached, so I was able to introduce myself and ask a couple of questions. Sadly, the house is smaller than I’d hoped, only a bit larger than ours, with 2 bedrooms, one bath, and a one car garage. Plus they are asking one of the highest $ per sqft in the neighborhood. Sigh. I guess when you know your house is this cute, there is no need to start pricing at the bottom.

What I love about this house is its mid-century modern lines. To some people, this building is probably no better than a track house, but to me it is so elegant, with a charming simplicity. There is such potential with regard to our style of living and sense of aesthetics. I love its flat roof, high vaulted ceilings and huge picture windows facing the sunny, landscaped backyard. If only it was bigger (and if only we could afford it)! As it is, I only hope that the next owners appreciate it and care for it as well as the previous owner did. He said it was perfect for when he was a bachelor, but now that he’s married, they decided to find somewhere with more space. I can’t blame them. With our growing little family, I already wish for the same thing.

Photos taken from the rmls website.

Maternity Shopping 101

The morning after we shared our Big News with David’s family, Sandy (David’s mom) took me for my first foray into the world of maternity clothes. I had just reached my first trimester, and because I was still under my pre-pregnancy weight, I could still fit a couple of my largest pants with a rubber band through the button loop. However, even I agreed that it might be time to see what was out there.

The shop we ended up in was called Motherhood Maternity. It wasn’t a big place, but it had the kind of packed in feel that usually overwhelms me when shopping. I remember initially feeling lost without David there to help me “see” through the compact racks of clothes (I rarely shop without him). I shouldn’t have worried though, because Sandy stepped right in. She claimed us a dressing room and immediately began to sort through the possibilities.

In many ways, I’m not very fun to shop with because I tend to wear simple basics, and mostly stay away from prints or too much color. Sandy was great though. She didn’t get offended on the pieces I declined, yet continued to find me nice items I would have missed, like a good-looking pair of khaki twill pants, and a feminine printed top that I normally wouldn’t have tried, but ended up loving.

Each dressing room contained a cushion attached to a velcro strap that you could fasten around your waist to show what you’d look like 3 months down the road. Whoa! Seeing that pillow stuffed into my waistband really put things into perspective. My little pooch is downright petite compared to where I’ll be at the end of summer, and I’ll be getting even bigger throughout the fall. Knowing this helped me to decide that maybe the “secret fit belly” waist panel was not such a bad idea (even though I originally thought they looked weird). Turns out comfort and fit really does makes all the difference.

By the end I was pretty tired, but was rewarded with two simple tees, two nice looking and comfortable pants, and the printed tank top. All mix-and-matchable, nice enough to wear out, but comfortable enough to wear in. I am surprised to find how happy I am with each item. Thank you Sandy, for making it such a good experience!