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Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Command Center

My Command Center.  I did not create this term--my little brother, Andy, gets credit for the title.  My mom has a place in her house that is where she sits with her coffee and her computer, a blanket, a dog or 2, and settles in.  He calls it her Command Center. I have one of those places as well, and the red couch is it.

I start my day here, and usually end it here, too.  I plan things, plan to create things, drink coffee, facebook, email, and sometimes even just sit and listen to music.

My favorite "Command Center" activity: drinking coffee. 

I leave my pile of magazines in this spot, and use it to rip out inspiration.  I write down or "pin" new recipes here, and review my week's itinerary.  It is one of my favorite spots in the house.
Where is your "Command Center"??
A recent magazine article that inspired me.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Williamsburg Mini Trip

Williamsburg, VA in only about 40 miles away from our house.  I, however, have never been, and needed a little getaway with the kids to just relax and get away from the routine of life.

We packed a few changes of clothes, filled a big rubbermaid container with games, legos, characters for Soleil, cards, and art supplies.  I also packed a bag with snacks and drinks, and sought out a deal on priceline.  My kids LOVE hotels, and it really didn't matter where we stayed, but we ended up lucking out big time...

We booked the Historic Powhatan Resort for about $80 total per night.  We headed northward, and since it was raining hard, and it was Friday, it took us about an hour and half to get through the tunnel to Williamsburg.  The kids were amazing, and didn't care... they had a huge snack bag, and I gave in, and threw in a movie in the car's DVD player.

We finally arrived to the hotel and pulled in to this beautiful resort.  The units are like little town houses, 4 in a row.  We had an upper level, which consisted of a living room, bedroom with king size bed and bathroom, an additional bathroom and a small, well thought out kitchen.  It also had another set of stairs within the unit (steep, but carpeted) that led up to another small room that had 2 twin beds in it!!  We were just expecting a standard hotel room, and got so much more!

And then we drove around the resort.  There was an indoor pool, with 2 hot tubs, recreation room with scheduled activities, a nice restaurant, tennis courts (you could check out equipment on site), good playground, and mini golf!! We hit the jackpot.

I didn't turn on the computer all weekend.  We played games, the kids played nicely, we had no other responsibilities and it was DELIGHTFUL.  Phase 10 is a great game, and Soleil will play forever with little characters.

 We did go into Colonial Williamsburg, which to be honest, is not interesting to little kids.  They did love the gardens behind the historical buildings, and we played there in the beautiful VA sun.  We tried "Queen's Cake" from the bakeshop--it was horrible.  We joked and said that it must have been baked in the 1700s.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Costco and Lemons!

We recently went with another family to Costco.  Being a small family, it always seemed like a waste to me--we barely get through the food we buy at the grocery store, so larger quantites seem like way too much.  However, when we split a few items, like the big carton of meyer lemons that they had there, it makes sense.  And I love meyer lemons!!

If you are regular reader, you will know that Soleil LOVES making lemon bars.  (Don't promise the girl that you will make them on a particular day.  She will remind you and remind you and remind you, much like a cat who has run out of catfood!!)
A friend of mine gave the greatest idea:  grate the zest and juice the lemons and FREEZE IT!!  I used little ice cube containers (from ikea) to freeze the juice, and froze the zest separately.  Now I have it in small quantities whenever I need it!
 I put some of the zest in the shortbread part of the recipe AND some in the curd portion.  They were VERY lemony.  (Paul thought they weren't sweet enough, while I thought they were perfect.)   I used Bakerella's recipe, using white sugar instead of powdered, because I was out of the latter.

 Here is all the leftover juice after it has been frozen and popped out into a freezer bag.