Friday, August 31, 2012

Blue Moon!

Friday night we met dozens of friends at Weed beach for the last movie of the season.  It was a gorgeous night and we all enjoyed the blue moon hovering above.  It was so bright at 10pm when we left that we could actually see our stuff as we packed up to leave.

Because we have done this picnic several times since moving here, I have started to compile a list of non-edible essentials for my picnic basket.  This list, which I keep in my basket is always a life saver when I start throwing things in the hour before.  It keeps me from having to remember everything every time. That is especially helpful if I have started on my glass of wine.

Here is what I carry:
  • Candle (in a small vase-- to keep the wind from blowing out)
  • Matches
  • Blanket (waterproof on one side)
  • Plates
  • Napkins
  • Utensils + Serving utensils
  • Plastic cups
  • Trash bag
  • Paper towels
  • Wipes
  • Bug Repellant
  • Flashlight

I have few more tricks too.  Instead of ice, I pour about about one inch of water out of my water bottles, freeze them, and then use those to keep wine and veggies cool.  Later on, as the ice melts, the kids have cold water.
I love love love this table from crate and barrel.  We have used ours a ton.  It is great to use at the beach, it is great for a  craft table for kids birthday parties, and it is super easy to store.  We paid about $40 and it has been worth every penny!
As for chairs, I love the Tommy Bahama ones I bought at Costco for about $25.  I would prefer if they didn't have a logo, but I can deal with that.  Anyhow, these are a backpack style, so they are easy to take to the beach and comfortable once you get there.  They have a pocket on the back and one on each arm where I keep extra sunscreen and lip balm.  These can also recline, which is awesome.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to school stats 2012

That old wives' tale (that kids grow more in the summer) is just that -- a wives' tale! We've had so  many people comment on Jackson's height that I felt sure I was going to see a bump in his measurements. Well, not even a half inch. But apparently my three ate enough to bump their weight a notch -- maybe our two popsicle a day routine led to that...

Anyhow, here are the stats -- "starting" and "ending" refer to the school year.

Baby J (5.6)
Starting height 2011: 44"
Ending height 2011: 47"
Starting height 2012: 47"

Starting weight 2011: 46.0
Ending weight 2011: 50.7
Starting weight 2012: 51.2

Chomps (7.3)
Starting height 2011: 51 3/4"
Ending height 2011: 53 1/2"
Starting height 2012: 53 1/2"

Starting weight 2011: 67.7
Ending weight 2011: 73.0
Starting weight 2012: 78.0

KF (9.2)
Starting height 2011: 51 3/4"
Ending Height 2011: 53 1/4"
Starting height 2012: 53 1/2"

Starting Weight: 67.7
Ending weight: 76.4
Starting weight 2012: 79.6

Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day of School 2012

Another school year has started and this will be a memorable one. For the first time ever, all three of my children were off to the same school. Not having to juggle elementary school and preschool is fantastic, but even better is having a stretch of time to myself. I haven't had more than 2.5 hours to myself during the week since 2003!

At 6:20am, when I got out of bed, I was met with three kids dressed and getting chores out of the way.  Okay...stop there...we did have to return to our closets and make some minor adjustments. Otherwise the above picture would have been completely different. The boys would have been wearing monster jam shirts and basketball shorts and the little lady would have been sporting her favorite summer comfy shorts and an oversized tee shirt. 

Our bus stop from last year had 4 kids, but grew to a whopping 10 kids this year. Jackson was joined by 3 other kindergartners and we had a smattering of other newbies. Thankfully, Richard our bus driver was back and ready to keep the chaos to a minimum.

Since the first day of school was only a one-hour orientation for J, he was actually not supposed to take the bus. But he was so super-excited that I let him go and raced the bus to the school. This actually worked out perfect as I could walk my other two to their classes and take a few more shots. Both of the big kids had their own locker -- which they quickly identified. And who knew there were so many different accessories to be had for lockers these days?

 Reuniting with some old friends was wonderful.  Trey and KF were both thrilled to have some good friends in their classes again this year.  That always helps make them comfortable!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Make Way for Ducklings

As we headed home the other night, Chomps called out to us to look at the geese.  When I looked down the side street, I saw a sight that had me in stitches.  Here were 14 ducks coming up the road like they owned it.  Well, I thought it was soooo funny that I asked the hubs to turn around and go back so I could get a snap for the blog.  Which I did.

 The funny thing is that by the time we turned around, they were crossing the main road.  I was laughing out loud by now.  I mean this is the cutest thing I have seen in a while.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dinosaur State Park-- Rocky Hill, CT

The Hubs and I have been wanting to take the kids to this Dinosaur Park ever since we we saw the signs for it on our way to Mystic, CT. This past week proved to be a perfect time as they were having a celebration day with plenty of kid activites.

The park is just about an hour a half away from us and is quite interesting. It actually has one of the largest sets of dinosaur tracks in the US. They have an amazing display of early Jurassic fossil tracks that were made 200 million years ago! After exploring the museum you can explore the property -- they have more than 2 miles of nature trails to walk. A little buggy, but very pretty.

Mining for gemstones proved to be one of the favorite activities of the day.  R happens to be from Dahlonega, Georgia (home to first major gold rush in the US and also home to the Zac Brown). So, this type of activity was second nature to him. KF got an enormous amethyst, Chomps found an arrowhead, and J got several shark teeth.

After mining, we made our way to the reptile wrangler from the Beardsley zoo.  He brought an array of animals for the kids to touch.  Our favorite was blue-tongued skink. After that, we walked the trails and explored the property. Of course, no trip to a forest would be complete without a meet and greet with Smokey the bear. KF and Chomps had no interest in meeting this big "animal"-- they are getting too cool for that. However, baby J was all over it. I love seeing this differences in age -- it's quite humorous. Anyhow, Baby J managed to get his sibs to pose for a shot with both the Dino and Smokey.

 After face painting, bowling, rubbings, coloring and tie dying, the kids jumped on these huge world balls and played.  Who knew they would love these so much?  

Since we headed home in the  late afternoon, Ric insisted that we stop at his favorite restaurant in Westport -- Shake Shack. This Danny Meyer restaurant started in Madison Square Park (just outside the building where I worked for Emanuel Ungaro). They are known for their fresh/organic ingredients and their custards (that change daily). Let me tell you from experience, you should just NEVER look up the calories on one of these bad boys. You'll be fasting for days if you do. The salted caramel custard was yummy, but I never tire of the plain vanilla shake -- it is wonderful!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ikat Pants

Ric and I grabbed dinner with our friends Serena and Brad over the weekend.  I FINALLY broke out my Ikat pants.  I bought these at the beginning of the summer on recommendation of my sister-in-law, Kara.  Frankly I forgot about them, but was so happy to find them and have something new to wear .  I needed a shot of color so I added my J.Crew bubble necklace in turq and I wore a white splendid bloussant top.  For some height, I wore my wedges and I carried a vintage gold bag that I received as a gift many many years ago.   I am thinking to add a little more color next time I wear those pants.  What do you think?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Flush with Blueberries!

About two weeks ago I had planned to pick blueberries with a girlfriend and her kids. At the last minute, I had to cancel. I was supremely bummed and then I learned that blueberries had had an early season and were wrapping up that day -- double bummed. Last year, blueberry picking ranked as one our favorite activities. Maybe it wasn't so much the blueberries as all the blueberry treats we made with the blueberries picked.

This past weekend, in an effort to find some fun things to do with our kids, Ric sourced out the Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, CT. When he poked around a bit, he also found that the neighboring berry farms still had blueberries to pick. JACKPOT! After a night dreaming of cobblers and pies, we packed up the kids and drove to Rose's Berry Farm. This was a quaint little farm with blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Thankfully, their bushes still had plenty of berries and I knew we could get 15 pounds before they closed at 1pm (have I mentioned my tunnel vision?). The kids lost focus after 30 minutes and my military orders (PICK, only dark blue, no stems, stop eating, stop throwing) -- were no longer effective anymore. I am happy to say, R and I did bring home the gold! We are a great team and managed to pick 14.8 pounds -- even with our little monkeys running around like hooligans!

Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans, right? Our main attraction, the dinosaur park, happened to be closed on Mondays. So, after an amazing lunch at The Mustard Seed Restaurant in Glastonbury, we just poked around this beautiful town. To our surprise, Glastonbury and the surrounding areas on the Connecticut river are home to one of the biggest supplies of tobacco.  Apparently, they ship most of their crop to the Dominican Republic where it is used for the wrappers on fine cigars such as Macanudos. Anyhow, if you haven't ever seen a tobacco plant, they are beautiful, lush, and big. But most interesting is the barns they use to store and dry the tobacco. Here are a few pictures from the day.

While we were poking around this town, We found out that Glastonbury has the oldest ferry service in the back to the 1600s! We drove down to the dock and took the 4 minute ferry across the river, just to say we've done it. En route, we HAD to stop at a couple of the wonderful farm stands that still operate on the honor system! I love a great farm stand.

Once we got to the ferry crossing, we found this sign.  Pretty funny if you ask me.

 Here are some shots from the ferry

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Darien Deals-- Sails to Sable

I love to support local businesses and this is a great one. The owner of Sails to Sable is from our very own Darien, CT and has some of the cutest tunics out there. I love that they can be worn with a pair of white jeans or as a dress...this usually isn't the case! The line is preppy, classic, and whimsical! The bright colors will definitely attract my southern girlfriends -- while the classic color combinations will appeal to my Northeast galpals. The attention to detail is gorgeous...including embellishments along the sleeve, down the stand collar, and along the bottom.

Where can you buy it? Well, SheLaLa in New Canaan carries the line if you're in my new neck of the woods. And if your in my old neck of the woods, Buckhead, I sent a message to Alice at Poppy's suggesting she check it out. Hopefully, she'll bring some tunics in for fall. Until then, you'll have to order online.  (However, my Atlanta girls over at the Americasmart can take a peak at her line in Brad's Showroom/Ambrosia)

You're probably wondering what's the Darien Deal here. Well, my cousin is having a giveaway on her blog It runs until midnight tonight. So, for goodness sake, go on over and try to score one of these $198 tunics!

Here are two of my favorites. Tell me you wouldn't wear these to the farmer's market every week!

Fishing for the big ones!

For kids, quantity is far better that quality when it comes to fishing.  That is why, everyone needs to hit Tilly Pond for a little fishing adventure this fall.  With a small worm (or a ball of white bread), you can reel these fish in like your Lefty Kreh.

Truth be told, I almost choked with laughter as each child pulled out what looked like minature fish.  It was like Honey I Shrunk the Fish.  baby blue gills and miniature catfish were the catches of the day!