Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Father's Day

Sundays are generally busy due to O35 soccer and whatnot, plus we had the B Team arriving, so we had an early Father's day celebration on Saturday at the Brooks.

We started off at the Brushmark, where my pal, Abby, has recently taken over as head chef. She hasn't done a total menu makeover yet, so I am saving an official review for later. Warren was quite pleased with his lunch--a burger, naturally.

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Then we went down to check out the Art of Video Games exhibit.

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It was very interactive and included a giant Pac Man game.

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(It moved really slow and reset the high score each game, so I didn't get sucked in.)

Overall I think everyone was impressed, so I definitely recommend it. I thought it would be more arty than it was, so I was happy to see that the last room contained some cool murals and painted arcade games. And tehy allow photos!

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On Sunday, Warren got to spend most of the day with all FOUR of his babies, which was pretty cool. He brought them to my soccer game, which was a nice surprise.

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Tasha was calling Satchel her tree, which was adorbs.

More on the B Team visit and Rock-n-Romp Camp to come.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Bass Pro

The only thing that appeals to me about the new Bass Pro, is the roof. I wanted to ride the elevator, check out the view, and maybe have a drink at the bar, called The Lookout. (I heard you get a free drink with your elevator ticket.) Anyway, last night, the monkeys and I decided to go check it out. Since Jiro had a $25 gift card from his birthday, he was totally on board. Satchel had to be nudged a bit, but he eventually came around.

I was hoping to get to the top for sunset, but as we pulled into the parking lot, we saw a fire truck and a lot of people standing outside. We waited a few minutes before throwing in the towel, and luckily they started letting people back in. I told the boys we should do the elevator first and they agreed. We tried to buy tickets but were told the elevators were out of service for a few minutes and to come back later. Of course, I had to ask why if it was just a few minutes, we couldn't just wait, but eventually they suggested coming back in a hour. Whatevs.

(We later learned that someone pulled the fire alarm which in turn stopped the elevator. People got trapped on it, and I'm sure there was a lot of ensuing drama.)

The boys and I commenced looking around for things to buy for $25 or less.

This Davy Crockett hat was a contender.

Bass Pro

These sunglasses were way out of our budget, but fun to try on.

Bass Pro
Bass Pro

Jiro ultimately decided to spend his money on a candy bar for himself, Pop Rocks for his brother, and a Father's day gift for Warren. Is he the sweetest kid ever?? I think so.

As we walked around, Satchel had an ongoing joke about everything camo. "Why are these racks empty?" he would ask. It was funny.

Bass Pro

Eventually we saw that the elevators were back in action, and we bought our tickets. $10 each, and sorry, no more free drinks! (Kids are $5 before 4pm.)

Bass Pro
Bass Pro

The elevator ride was fun, and fast, and we made our way out to the observation deck. We just missed the sunset! Surprisingly, Satchel was scared to walk out to the ledge. And even more surprisngly, Jiro and I were not. It was a little freaky though.

Bass Pro

After taking some pictures and enjoying the view, we went inside.

Bass Pro

They boys wanted to sit at the bar and get a drink, and maybe a snack. (They were also serving appetizers.)

Bass Pro
Bass Pro

I had agreed to basically get the boys whatever they wanted since I was chalking this all up to a one and only visit. But, none of the food sounded too appealing and I had already fed them a nice dinner at home. I wasn't in the mood for a drink, so I ordered two Shirley Temples. The bartender told us that you had to be 21 and up to sit at the bar, which must have made the kids look sad, because she then said the drinks were on her, which was sweet. (I tried talking her out of it.)

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The boys were thrilled with the drinks.

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Bass Pro

There are some pretty sweet views inside from the North. (East wall is the elevator, South and West face observation decks.)

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We went to take one last look, and Satchel got his nerve up for a quick picture.

Bass Pro

It was a fun visit. I can't see ever wanting to hang out in The Lookout, since it is very touristy, but it is definitely worth one trip. Kinda like Graceland?

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Hello Fresh

Everyone on Facebook is always talking about Blue Apron. It's a meal delivery service. Or a grocery delivery. Well, they send you recipes and all of the ingredients in a box and then you cook the meals yourself. My soccer buddy, Lauren, uses it. (I've been invited over for "I need to cook three Blue Apron meals before everything goes bad" dinner parties on a couple of occasions!) Another friend, Paul, told me that his girls have learned to cook using the boxes.

After nearly a year of cooking the same things, I thought maybe Blue Apron, or something like it could help teach me (and the kids) a few things. At the very least it would add some variety to our dinners.

Several friends were giving away free codes and such on Facebook, but when I looked at the meal options for Blue Apron, it didn't really get me excited. Thanks to the magic of the Facebook algorithm, I started getting other ads for similar services. Enter Hello Fresh. Their recipe options all looked yummy, so I decided to sign up for three meals a week designed to feed two people. (I figured the 4 person option was too much, but if the recipes were a hit, I might bump it up later.)

The box was due to arrive Wednesday, but because of the holiday (Memorial Day), it came Thursday. It was heavy as shit! Haha. (There were several bricks of ice in it keeping everything fresh.)

I had invited my mom to dinner, so we decided to go ahead and make two recipes so we'd have enough for four people. Jiro was super excited to help, which was much appreciated.

Our first recipe was flank steak with bean salad. (The directions are on the left in the pic, and the picture is of the shrimp sandwiches that we did not make.)

Hello Fresh

We followed the directions very closely, and I was so glad that Jiro knew how to mince. (Thanks, cooking camp!)

Hello Fresh

We didn't care too much about the bean salad. It was all about the flank steak. I haven't attempted to cook meat in years. Maybe decades? So, I was so pleasantly surprised to learn how easy it was to cook the steak!

This is Jiro waiting for it to stop resting so he could eat it.

Hello Fresh

He agreed to put beans on his plate for a photo, but refused to eat them.

Hello Fresh

After he and I ate, we worked on the chicken tacos with mango slaw for my mom and Satchel. (I wasn't up for coordinating two meals at once quite yet!)

Hello Fresh

Jiro was a big help again, and I was once more amazed at how easy it was to cook chicken on the stovetop.

Hello Fresh

The tacos were a total hit.

Hello Fresh
Hello Fresh

I basically had all of the ingredients to make more tacos, so I did a week later. Only I may have been slightly overconfident as I almost set off the smoke detector. Which if you live in a house is no big deal. In an apartment building, everyone gets evacuated! Thankfully the windows open and we avoided any embarrassment!

I never made the shrimp sandwiches--we just ate the shrimp! And when I redid the tacos, I left out a few ingredients the kids weren't crazy about, like onions.

I don't know if we'll do this forever, but we'll definitely do it a little longer. It's been great learning new recipes, cooking together, and gaining some much needed confidence!

If you want to try it, this code (D4XYGC) will get you $40 off your first box. Woot!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Updatey Like

I feel like nothing is happening, but also that a lot is happening. A scroll through my phone pictures left me with the following updates:

Jiro played for idlewild this Spring. I think he only got to play in three games because of rain, rain, and more rain. He also missed one because of Rock-n-Romp and one because of a field trip. But, trust me, when he was there he was an absolute beast!

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Speaking of field trips, Jiro went on his first ever out of town field trip to the Corvette factory & museum in Kentucky. He was SO excited. On the long bus ride, he filled his Instagram account with a gazillion selfies. It was cute.

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We had some furniture rearranging in the apartment. Satchel slept on the floor on the new rug I got them for two or three weeks straight. I thought he just really liked the rug. He complained his bed was uncomfortable. Finally, he admitted that he didn't like sleeping on the top bunk. And finally, I realzied that just because beds can be bunks, they don't have to be. He was so happy to have his first ever bed on the floor.

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Jiro is handling the change just fine.

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There's been some cooking at the apartment, but not much. I still excel at breakfast and we have a few basic dinners we enjoy. Satchel tried his hand at making mashed potatoes from scratch.

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And Jiro has helped make brownies and cookies, in addition to his Japanese candy kits.

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Satchel's arm is still broken. He is on cast number 3. They change it every two weeks. Somehow I haven't gotten a photo.

School ends tomorrow. Both kids did well at the awards ceremonies. They prefer that I don't attend, and I don't argue. A friend sent this picture.

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Satchel got the Outstanding Student Award in Art and P.E. which cracks me up. At least the P.E. part. He is a pretty amazing little artist.

That's it for now. We are looking forward to a relaxing summer break. The boys only have a couple of camps this year, but they have three road trips. And lots of free ranging!

Friday, May 01, 2015

11

We are wrapping up birthday month over here! On the 29th, this little cutie turned 11.

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He chose to start his day with a kolache from Donald's Donuts and some apple juice. (Notice the new 'do, inspired by Renaldo.)

His birthday party was the preceeding weekend. It started with a trip to the Rec Room with some of his best buddies.

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I rented one of the livingroom areas so they could play Wii-U on the big screen.

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Then I let them run wild for a bit.

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(How many 11 year olds does it take to keep a ping pong in play?)

Then we procured pizza and I passed the baton to Warren, who hosted the sleepover. The next morning, Warren sent this: The official list of challenges.

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(1. licking foot, 2. onion, 3. mio, 4. cat food, 5. licking Satsuki (the dog), 6. nice, relaxing mio)

In the morning they went on a donut run and then played soccer in the park.

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Ok, fast forward back to the actual day. After mastering his math TCAPs, Warren took him out for a treat. Then he had soccer practice, and finally a family dinner at the restaurant of his choice: Outback. That's right. He really wanted a steak. And he inisted I take a photo. (That's my boy!)

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His list of wants was very small this year, and his favorite present was his Real Madrid James (pronounced HOM-es).

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He really is the sweetest kid there ever was, and I thank my lucky stars that I get to be his mom. Happy birthday, Jiro!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

43

This is my blog and you'll just have to excuse the self-indulgence. This is what I want to remember when I can't remember anymore.

There was lots of celebrating to ring in my 43rd year. It started with a lovely lunch on Felicia Suzanne's patio with my Brantley teh day before.

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It was a little chilly, but I love a good patio! I tried the chicken and biscuits.

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They were tasty, but I'll probably go back to my usual shrimp po-boy on my next visit. However, I'm going to eat ice cream sandwiches everytime regardless of whether it is my birthday. Yum!

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My actual birthday coincided with the first Rock-n-Romp of the season at Mud Island. Both monkeys tried to get out of going--Jiro because of his first soccer game and Satchel because of his general dislike for everything--but in the end they were both there and they both had fun.

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(Photo by Chip.)

Satchel actually said, "I had a really great time today. I'm glad I came." That was all I could ask for!

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Another benefit of having my birthday at Rock-n-Romp was seeing all of my friends. Well, some of them anyway!

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(Photos by Chip.)

I even got a cupcake. (Thanks Kristin W-C!)

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After Rock-n-Romp, Ross took me to Jasmine for dinner. Even though I love around the corner now, I haven't been in forever. It's still awesome. And we sat on the patio!

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Then we went to the Rec Room where I got the high score on Ms. Pac Man on my first try! It really was super exciting and Ross was the best cheerleader ever!

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Then it was on to the Cove for drinks on the patio, of course. Lots of people came by and Launa and I ended the night at CKs! It felt like Christmas! Ha!

The next day was family Sunday brunch at El Toro Loco.

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My birthday isn't truly over until I play hooky from work and hang out with my other birthday twin, Colleen.

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We started the day with yummy coffee at City & State, then yummy breakfast at Porcellino's.

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Dutch Baby Pancake at Porcellino's

Mmmm dutch baby pancakes and bruleed grapefruit!

We shopped for a few hours and then found ourselves on the rooftop patio at Aldo's.

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It was a party!

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Willie Cheech & Bob is the best pizza there. Midtown makes fresh mango chutney.

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We waited til noon to start drinking!

Then we went to visit Caleb in his studio...

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Popped into Hoot & Louise for some more shopping, then went to see Seamus at the Brass Door and had another beer on the street.

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We'd hoped to end the day on a high note by riding the bull at the newly opened Red Zone, but it only goes on Friday & Saturday nights.

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Probably for the best!

Launa met up with us and then I had my cabal celebration at the Cove with Aimee & Mary too.

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I thought that was it, but then Tracey and I had to wait all the way until today to have our birthday lunch with just the two of us. We had Fuel tacos at the Tenneessee Brewery.

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I feel very loved and excited for this year.
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