Jenna has asked to be a skeleton princess for Halloween. While past years have been filled with ladybug, kitten and other sweet costume themes, this year is the first time that something on the spookier side has been requested. Kind of a turning point, I think.
In addition to her dress (which we purchased here), she’s also asked for matching jewelry. We decided to make the jewelry ourselves, and last weekend we got started on a few rings and necklaces. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out, and even if I don’t dress up this year, I’ll definitely be sporting some matching skeleton princess rings.
Over Christmas, I fell in love with a set of white feather wreaths from West Elm, and after purchasing them, I realized that they would have been really easy to make using feather boas. With Halloween coming up next month, I decided to try out my idea by using black feather boas to create a raven-themed wreath. (more…)
When I wrote this post earlier in the week about copper spray paint, I mentioned a similar project using copper contact paper. And while I had purchased the contact paper along with the spray paint, I hadn’t actually completed said project. Over the course of the week, I attempted to cover a small cylindrical vase with contact paper. Wow. I had no idea how difficult it would be. The sides of the vase were perfectly straight - no tapering at all – and, yet, there seemed to be no way the paper would adhere smoothly to the vase.
So that’s when I started thinking, how can I make this easier? (more…)
Jenna started asking for Lunchables last year after seeing some of her classmates bring them for lunch. Not wanting to give her pre-packaged, highly-processed foods, I never gave in to the request. This year, she spotted the Revolution Foods brand of pre-made lunch kits at the grocery store and asked if we could try them. After reading the ingredients, which admittedly are better than Lunchables, I decided to buy a couple of kits even though I still wasn’t entirely comfortable with the pre-package food concept.
My daughter tried the first one at home over the weekend, mostly because I was curious about the contents of the box and how easily she would be able to assemble the pizza on her own. (more…)
Jason and Jenna headed back to school last week, and, today, I’m sharing some ideas for getting a handle on all of the papers, projects and artwork that come home in those backpacks each day. Read more on Modern Parents, Messy Kids.
My favorite souvenir from our recent trip to California is a small sculpture made out a crystal-filled piece of pipe from Calistoga. The pipe once carried water from the natural hot springs to nearby mineral pools, but calcium carbonate crystals formed in the pipes cause them to be replaced nearly every year. (more…)
This week’s start of a new school year also marks the one-year anniversary in our new house, something that has me thinking about how much the house now feels like our home. Last year at this time, I was writing about our ‘blank canvas‘ of a living room and sharing ideas about decorating a completely empty space.
Now that the room is mostly furnished, I’m turning my attention to the walls. The first area I plan to tackle is the large wall behind the couch. I’m considering having one or two of my recent photos printed for this space, which got me playing around in Photoshop with a few options. Here are my top picks so far:
We recently returned from a trip to Napa Valley and, while we certainly enjoyed the wine, the highlight of our trip was definitely the food. Here are a few ideas for tastings in Napa Valley of the non-wine variety:
Gourmet Food Tour
I learned about the Gourmet Food Tour (1) of downtown Napa through a website called Peek, a travel tour site featuring off-the-beaten path tours and activities in major cities in the U.S. and Europe, including Napa. We didn’t take the tour, but now that I’ve discovered I love the food as much as the wine in Napa, it’s definitely on my list for next time.
Wine and Cheese Pairings
Many of the wineries feature food and wine pairings as part of their tastings. Two of my favorites are the St. Supery Cheese and Wine Pairing Class (5) (great if you want to understand how different food flavors influence the taste of wine) and Domaine Carneros (2) (perfect if you want a light snack while sampling the sparkling wine and enjoying the amazing views from their patio).
Napa Valley Distillery
If you enjoy hand-crafted cocktails as much as wine, Napa Valley Distillery (3) is a must-see destination on your itinerary. I like to go just for the display of tiny bottles. It’s located inside of the Oxbow Public Market, which is worth the stop just for the selection of gourmet food, drinks and home decor accessories all under one roof. The distillery features an extensive collection of bitters, spirits and syrups, all of which can be sampled in their shop for free or you can attend a Craft Spirit Tastings.
Gourmet Grocery Stores
There is no shortage of places to stock up on gourmet foods in Napa Valley. In addition to assembling your picnic fare, many of these offer samples of locally produced culinary treats, including oils, vinegars, cheeses and tapenades. We visited Oakville Market (4) and Dean and Deluca (6).
The Napa region is filled with olive oil shops and at one point my husband and I joked that we had purchased more olive oil than wine during our trip. In addition to oils, many of these shops also feature flavored balsamic vinegars and tapenades, all of which can be sampled for free. We visited Olivier (7) and St. Helena Olive Oil Co (8), but there is also Lucero Olive Oil and several others.
Culinary Institute of America
One of our favorite stops during our trip was the CIA (9). For food enthusiasts, the school offers a variety of tours, tastings and demonstrations, mostly during the weekend. If your visit falls during the week as ours did, you can still visit the large gift shop, Ghiradelhi Chocolate tasting center or one of the school’s restaurants. We stopped at the cafe and enjoyed a basket of organic cherry tomatoes direct from their garden.