Thursday, May 31, 2012

Road Trip-Atlanta

We took advantage of the long Memorial Day weekend to road trip it to Atlanta! We got up on Friday morning, packed our bags, and headed out. We didn't tell the kids anything except that we would be sleeping at a hotel and that the hotel had a pool.
Our hotel was in downtown Atlanta. Looking out our window, we had a gorgeous view of Centennial Olympic Park.
After we got checked in at the hotel, we walked 2 short blocks to the Georgia Aquarium. We saw amazing fish and water mammals, watched a 4D movie, saw an amazing dolphin show, and got to pet bonnet head sharks!!

On Saturday morning, the kids and I went to World of Coca-Cola...just across the square from the Georgia Aquarium. We saw all sorts of Coke memorabilia, watched another 4D movie, saw the Coke polar bear and did some serious taste-testing of Coke products from around the world! We ended the tour at the Coke Freestyle machine where we customized our own drink, collected our souvenir glass bottle of Coke and headed back to the hotel to meet up with Tony.

Saturday afternoon, we drove to Turner Field to watch the Braves play the Washington Nationals! We lucked out with very shady seats and a great view of the field. The kids had a pretty good time and we stayed up until the 7th inning and then headed back to the hotel. We were exhausted after such a fun day! We ordered pizza, and off to bed.

The next morning, we hit the hotel pool, enjoyed a huge breakfast in the hotel lobby, packed up and headed home. We got home late afternoon on Sunday, and took ALL Monday to recover!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gift Card Monster

My niece is graduating from high school this Spring and for a graduation gift, my sister-in-law suggested a Subway gift card. Perfect!! The only thing is, sending a gift card is boring. Seriously boring. But I remember seeing these adorable gift card monsters by Basic Grey and decided to try to recreate one with supplies I had on hand. And this is how my version of the gift card monster turned out. Tony said he thought it was the ugliest thing he'd ever seen.

I think he's kinda cute.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

National Jr. Beta Induction

This past week, Sam was officially inducted into the National Junior Beta Club at school. He had actually been participating since Christmas, but this was the official induction ceremony with candle lighting, certificates, oaths and pins. In order to be eligible, you have to carry a perfect 4.0 GPA. They meet once a month, but also work on activities and perform service for the local community. We're so proud of him!

And this is a little boy who thought Sam was getting way too many pictures taken of only him...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Teacher Appreciation 2012, Part 2

And capping off Teacher Appreciation Week, another Pinterest winner! Toffee chip caramel dip and an apple.

Original post and recipe here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dad's Famous Caramel Popcorn

As requested, here is my dad's caramel popcorn recipe that I made and took to the Castle season finale at the Lee's house last night. Not disappointed, my friends. In the popcorn OR Castle.

My dad used to make this recipe every couple of Sundays when I was growing up...we tried to watch a movie as a family as often as we could on Sunday nights. The recipe calls for about 3 quarts of popped popcorn. If I'm in a hurry, that is two bags of microwave popcorn. In I'm not in a hurry, it is about 3 batches of hand-popped popcorn from my dad's special popcorn pan.

Dad's Easy Caramel Popcorn

3 quarts popped popcorn
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar

Put the water, butter and brown sugar in a microwaveable bowl and cook on high for 6-7 minutes. Make sure it reaches and holds a rolling boil for a least one full minute. Give it a good stir. Let it cool for about 5 minutes and then pour over popcorn. Stir to coat every couple of minutes until popcorn is coated and caramel is cool.

And voila. Easy-peasy.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Teacher Appreciation 2012

I am turning into a HUGE Pinterest fan. It has (not to be dramatic or anything), changed my life. But I also think that Pinterest is only as good as the pins you actually USE. And here are two separate Pinterest ideas I used for Teacher Appreciation Week this week.

I am also in love with Hershey Kiss stickers! I found the stickers and the matching tags here (you just send her your email and she immediately sends the files to your inbox). I bought four $1 store canisters and filled them with Hershey Kisses with the school-themed stickers on the bottom. Added a tag and some ribbon and done!

Then after dinner tonight, I had the kids help me make these darling owl gift bags to put our Kiss jars in. The kids did all the cutting, punched out all the circles, and wrote "Thank you for making me wiser" at the bottom of the paper bags.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Happy Supermoon!

We just came in from observing the moon almost at perigee with the kids in the front yard. Before tonight, I actually had no idea what that meant!! Now we know that when the moon reaches perigee (and it will a little after 11:35 tonight), it will be at its closest point to the earth this year. A minute after reaching perigee, the moon becomes full and will be called a "supermoon."

I'm so glad that my husband and kids are fascinated by science so that they can make me look smart.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Brazil-Last Day

Life has gotten in the way of finishing my Brazil blog posts!! But here it is...the final day in pictures.

The last morning in Salvador, we slept in and headed down to breakfast. They had a large group of iguanas that live on the hotel grounds and they seem to have learned that breakfast=fresh fruit and gullible tourists. I swear this one was ready to bite my ankles and steal my breakfast!

After we finished eating, we hit the hammocks in the courtyard and literally "hung out" for a while. I love that we are both in this photo!

I talked Tony into staying downstairs (didn't take much convincing) so I could pack in peace. We checked out and stowed our bags at the porter station and checked email, played Angry Birds and a couple games of pool in the lobby. The whole reason we hung around the hotel is that on Saturday, they have a huge traditional feijoada lunch at the outdoor restaurant. It was the only time we had it while in delish!!

We also had breaded and fried bananas and glorious desserts! For these special lunches, they have a local band play traditional Bahian music. They must have been having a birthday party of some sort, because the whole time we were eating lunch, we were entertained by singing and dancing older ladies. It was so fun to see them enjoying the day in beautiful Salvador.

This last picture is the wait staff at the restaurant. We loved that they were dressed in Traditional Bahia dress. They loved to chat in Portuguese with Tony!!

After lunch, we met out driver and headed to the airport. We had a short 2 hour flight back to Rio and them the long trek home. We landed in Charlotte at about 7:00 in the morning and headed up to the USO to relax until we could get out flight to Montgomery. We got home about noon...and Brazil already seemed like a dream. It was the trip of a lifetime.