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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Royal Canvas

A couple weeks ago, a friend from our Church had taken her girls to paint at The Royal Canvas and mentioned there was a groupon out for it. My littles love doing art projects but I haven't been as good at getting the art supplies out lately as I had been in the past so I knew they'd love this. I browsed the list of classes  and decided on what week I thought both kids would like painting they were doing. I love that they offer both a 4-6 and a 7-12 age group class at the same time. I've seen other kids painting classes else where they had both age groups but they were at very different times and discouraged bringing a child that wasn't painting along. For me that would be complicated to work out two different times to bring only one child so being able to bring both at the same time was a big plus! 

I didn't realize quite how far across town it was from us as I don't venture across town that often so we arrived 5 minutes late but the instructors were so nice and helped get the kids set up and painting with their classes in no time.  

The instructors take it step by step and show the kids where and with what color to outline each thing as they go and they trace along the pencil lines that are already drawn on the canvas. They add the colors of paint to the plates as they go so the kids aren't overwhelmed by colors either. In Abby's they even blended a couple colors to create some shading/highlights. 

Micah was done in just a little over an hour and Abby's class took the whole hour and 1/2 but Micah didn't mind waiting too much.
Both kids were so happy with their paintings they made! I just got an email this week saying it's groupon time again (the one I got was an older one) which means I can score another one and take the kids again when I find another weekend that works with paintings both kids will enjoy. I think this time I might get groupon for myself as well. I've never done the painting studio thing before but I after seeing how step by step they go with the kids I'm thinking maybe just maybe I could manage to make one look decent.
I was super pleased with the instructors at The Royal Canvas and the overall experience. The littles are loving having their canvas paintings art hanging in their rooms! 

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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Dinosaur George

If you are local and have ever watched PBS then I'm sure you've heard of Dinosaur George. He made the rounds of many elementary schools last year and Abby was able to see him when he was at her school. Micah however was not able to see him and so I was thrilled when I saw he was going to be at the libraries for the summer reading programs.

We got there about 20 minutes early thinking we'd check out books beforehand but there was already a fairly large group waiting so we went ahead and got a place on the floor so Micah would be able to see and not be stuck in the back. (Lexie didn't like this plan too much but thankfully I had a few snacks snuck away in my bag to pass the time)

Micah found the whole show hilarious and awesome (his new favorite word after watching the Lego movie!) He really enjoyed when Dinosaur George was pulling out the claws (forgive me that may not be correct dinosaur terminology) and went from smallest and kept saying that was the largest until 10 later he pulled out a really giant one. 

Micah also enjoy the tiny little dinosaur head that he showed them.
After the presentation we were able to look at all the fossils he had brought with him and the kids were given a card with information about Dinosaur George on it. 

I loved that the librarians had pulled dinosaur books on a cart for kids to look through if they wanted to read more about dinosaurs. Micah loved checking out some dino books after the show was over! 
It was the perfect activity for my dino loving little guy. Sadly I think Dinosaur George has finished all the library shows he was doing this summer but if he does a show near you then I'd say you should go check it out if your little loves dinos like mine does.  There are still several other library shows that are still going on too that your littles might enjoy. 

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Honey 5/4/2004-5/21/2014

Way back before Beau and I were married, he had a professor that worked with a mastiff rescue and he would bring his medical dog - a bullmastiff to class with him each day. Beau got to talking with him and he was actively looking for a home for a 4 month old French mastiff pup (as seen in the movie Turner and Hooch) as she was the bottom of the pack and very timid and would do better as the only dog in a home. Two sets of puppy eyes (hers and Beau's) were able to convince me and thus Honey became a part of our family. She was the most laid back puppy I'd ever seen - at 4 months she didn't like any toys (we tried and she sniffed them then ignored them) and and was content to just lay near you for the most part. I'd never been around mastiffs before but I quickly was convinced about what a great breed of dog they were. As a big bonus she was a big deterrent to anyone who might think about coming in the house. At that point in our lives Beau worked late nights and then into overnights and we all felt more comfortable that she was around. Even if she might have her tail tucked and hide behind a chair if Beau was home, if he wasn't she took it as her personal mission to protect us from any noise she might hear outside.

I'm pretty convinced there isn't another dog out there quite as tolerate of toddler abuse and gentle as Honey was. Abby (my total animal loving girl) was quickly best buds with Honey crawling all over her as soon as she could scoot. 

This quickly turned into toddler antics of being covered with blankets, food and water dished delivered to wherever Honey was laying down whether she wanted it or not. 
 And toddler piggy back rides (while Honey was laying down)
They really were best buds.

Micah wasn't quite as obsessed as Abby but he loved on Honey too and she him. 
He definitely enjoyed feeding her - it was especially easy and his high chair was the perfect height for her head. 

 She was never far away when the kids and I were playing outside.

 Or when Beau was smoking meat…. I'll never forget the time Beau was smoking all this (ribs, brisket, two chickens) and he didn't close the door all the way while bringing it in once it was done and she swiped herself one of the chickens. So thankful that the bones didn't harm her as she scarfed much of it down before we could stop her.

 If she wasn't laying in her spot behind Beau's chair, the kids loved to use her as a pillow and 9 times out of 10 she didn't mind and stayed right there until they moved.

 She always ending up with confetti on her with the cascarones. I think the kids loved smashing them on her more than on each other.

 She also loved a good mud puddle in the summer. I would often buy her a baby pool to lay in during the summer as well. Such a good way to cool off - though once she found the shady mud puddle at our current house she preferred that much to my annoyance because it meant more work for me when I let her in during the day as she had to get hosed off every time.
 Lexie wasn't as quick to warm up to her as Abby and Micah. She was a little worried about the size of Honey compared to her and for about a year (6 months - 18 months) she would squeal if Honey so much as looked in her direction.

Finally seeing Honey on a leash made her brave and as gentle as Honey was, Lexie was fully capable of walking Honey with no issues. 

Until the last week of her life you'd have never guessed she was 10. She still acted like the same puppy we'd had all along (being a mastiff she was never that active so there wasn't much to slow down from though!) and she was still running around with the kids in the backyard. She never greyed in her face either like you see in many elderly dogs. Those last two days she had just stared walking a little slower, a little more like an elderly dog and passed away in her sleep. 

She will be deeply missed and has left a big hole to fill. For the first week Abby didn't want to play outside in the backyard because Honey wasn't there to play with.  

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Papa Murphy's: Your new pizza night go to

Friday night is most often pizza night around our house. The littles and I love a good pizza (as does Dad but he's just not as crazy about it as we are.) Often I make my own dough and we do a homemade made pizza which the littles love to help with. However there are always those days that we get busy, or just plain don't feel like going through the trouble and that's when we get on our phone and order from the local pizza place. That's not a bad thing but it's always greasier and not as healthy as homemade. 

I have the solution though to those nights we want the homemade without the effort of homemade. Papa Murphys! I was invited to go on a behind the counter tour last week of our local store (1604 and Bandera) and see exactly how fresh everything really is. When you walk in you can see the counter with the ingredients as well as the to-go  selection of cookie dough, fresh salads and kids Mini-Muphy kits (so they can make their own!) 

We go to see a little more than just over the counter though. The owners told us a little about them and a lot about the pizza and we got to see everything! This is one of the two lines where the pizzas are made. You can add whatever you want to your pizza and you'll always get the same amount no matter who makes your pizza because everything is measured either by scale, counted or by a measuring cup to make sure your pizza tastes and bakes exactly as it should. Too many ingredients can cause it not to back properly - resulting in you not able to enjoy your pizza and too little is just going to leave you wanting and they don't want that! 

Look how fresh (and nicely chilled!) everything on the line is! 

Most pizzas you can pick what you want when you order and they'll bring out the crust and top it with whatever you want (can even be 1/2 and 1/2, or even a 1/4 with a something different!) Behind the register in the glass doors of the freezer are also a few Fave pizzas ready to go (great if you are in a hurry) along with dessert pizzas (cinnamon or s'mores - yum!) and breadsticks. 

Then we headed back into the back area. This is the large freezer that the glass doors in the picture above also open into. In here you'll find all the dough balls sitting a proofing after they've been made as well as tons of freshly shredded 100% whole milk mozzarella cheese. 

We watched as they mixed up a batch of dough - right there. No frozen dough shipped in. It all starts with flour, the right amount of water that's at the perfect temperature and yeast. While the dough mixed in the giant mixer. We saw how the dough balls that were ready are sheeted (no rolling pin needed here!) and placed onto the baking trays - ready to be topped however you want. 
Then we saw the giant dough ball and how it is weighed out into the perfect sized dough balls for all the various sizes of pizzas. 
Finally we ended back where we started and got a lesson in making our own pizzas. The perfect amount of sauce, plenty of cheese (but not too make where it won't bake in the center) and toppings galore to choose from. We all tried our hand at pizza making and went home with dinner. 
Come dinner time all we had to do was turn on the oven, unwrap and bake the pizza. No photos of the eating because everyone was so hungry it was eaten before I remembered! 

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I was provided with the tour and pizza to take home but all opinions are my own.  

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Micah's Dragon Party

Micah's birthday just snuck up on me this year with a busier than normal April. Since my parents and brother were going to be in town for Mother's day weekend and it was the weekend after Micah's birthday, I decided to go ahead and try and make myself crazy by having his birthday party on the same weekend as Mother's Day and my first triathlon since high school. (Talk about cramming it all in!) 

I went pretty low key and unlike my usual self - I failed at documenting his party in pictures - he did had a blast though. Due to the weather (what?! it's not often here we have things cancelled due to rain) the threat of storms cancelled the bounce house (and it was clear and beautiful about 15 minutes after the scheduled time they would have dropped it off!) so we went with the back up plan of having the movie How To Train Your Dragon. 

Beau grilled up hot dogs and sausage along with grapes (dragon eggs), chips and salsa, and cheetos.
 Jeremy's friend made adorable dragon cookies for Micah's party! They were a huge hit and so darling! (Beau says I'm replaced as hers were better than mine - ha!)
 I cut shields out of foam board and had crayons and markers to decorate the shields along with die cut dragons once the silhouette decided to cooperate.
 After eating and the piƱata, everyone played outside for a few minutes then it was time for cupcakes and presents.

Despite the weather changing our plans and not getting as elaborate as I usually do I think this was one of the more low key but relaxing parties I've done in a while. Micah was just thrilled to see his friends at his house. (He's already wanting his best friend to come back and play again)  I might start to take this route in the future. I think Abby has decided she wants to do her party somewhere other than home which will be a first for us. So we'll see how that goes and I guess I better book that soon to have the date we want.

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