Thursday, April 16, 2015

Coconut Water

What's the deal with coconut water?

A couple of new recipes I've tried call for coconut water.  It's showing up in all of the grocery stores and lots of people are talking about it.

I bought some coconut water and tasted it - I can't stand how it tastes!  It's kind of like bland, unrefreshing, textured (grainy), water.  It doesn't taste like coconut at all!  I've used it in smoothies and it doesn't ruin the smoothie but it certainly doesn't add to the flavour either.  I used it in ice lollies and it gave them a strange flavour.

I think this product is not for me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Freezer Jam

Today I made freezer jam with a friend.  Yesterday my friend went out to a farm and picked fresh strawberries for our jam and today we cleaned them up and made them into nice jars of freezer jam.  It was pretty easy and it didn't take long, I can't wait to try it!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Green Bean Salad

I tried out a new grocery store this week (by "new" I mean that it just opened).  It's a "Sprouts" store near our house.  I thought it was a small but tidy store with a lovely selection of well-priced produce. I bought a large sack of green beans and now I have to figure out what to do with them.  The boys like them steamed lightly with a finishing salt but today I decided to try something a little different so I found a recipe for a green bean salad.

The salad has a basic vinaigrette with basil over green beans and cherry tomatoes.  You finish it with toasted almonds, purple onion, and feta cheese crumbs.  It was delicious and I toasted almonds in a pan for the first time - so easy and it makes the house smell wonderful!

Here are a couple of pictures:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Summer Skirt

Last weekend I finished sewing a skirt to wear this summer.  I love the fabric (I think it is whimsical and even though I generally hate clothing that is meant to inspire whimsy, I love this fabric).  It has a drop waist and gathered skirt which should be perfect for the Houston summer.  It's light and airy - it actually feels like I'm wearing nothing at all!  I plan to wear it for all of my everyday activities this summer.

I'm very proud of my set-in invisible zipper.
The pattern instructions were to mount the zipper on the outside of the waistband,
but I think this looks so much nicer!

The Very Long Weekend

Last weekend was a 3-day weekend for the whole family and a 4-day weekend for Little Boy who was finishing up his spring break.  We spent our very long weekend doing some fun and exhausting things.

On Friday we took the kids to Lake Sheldon State Park.  It's really close to our home - it's about a 1/2 hour drive through a terrible part of Houston.  We saw many attractions as we got close to the park such as trailers with graffiti and bullet holes, stray dogs (everywhere!), and a raccoon licking something dead off the road.  Good times.

Once we arrived at the park, we were unimpressed.  It is a vast and flat expanse of treeless swamp.  But then a cover of trees rises ahead and it's a hidden gem inside.  The park is a series of ponds with wildlife.  We saw a massive alligator and there were places to fish.  We also spent some time geocaching.

Unfortunately I broke my camera at this park.  I need to see if I can get it repaired or if I need to move on to a different camera (likely my old one).  My broken camera means no pictures of the park.

On Saturday morning my husband took the bigger boys to Home Depot to do the building project for kids.  It is so cute!  It's a planter with a chalkboard sign.  Big Boy planted beans in his and they have already sprouted!  Little Boy planted flowers and nothing is happening with his seeds.

On Saturday afternoon we went to a pool party.  It was really fun!  They had a crawfish boil - I've never eaten crawfish before.  I love how they taste but they are an awful lot of work.  The kids swam for hours and we got to catch up with friends.  There was even an Easter egg hunt.

Sunday was a laid back day for us.  I finished a sewing project (I will post about it another day), and the boys caught up on homework and other things.  I also found a new beer that I like.

On Monday, I spent the day out in Katy lounging by the pool with the two younger boys at my friend's house.  It was lovely and so relaxing.  The temperature was perfect for a swim and it was nice to have a chin wag with my friend.

After all that I am exhausted!  Now I need to get back to the daily reality....

Thursday, April 2, 2015

So I got a watermelon for free....

On Tuesday Little Boy and I were grabbing some groceries after dropping off Baby Boy at school.  In the produce section of our store there is a giant display of the smaller watermelons.  Little Boy asked if we could have one and I looked over at the price label....when I saw that it said 4/$5.00 I said we could buy one.  I think that $1.25 for a watermelon is very reasonable.  To be clear, in this particular store you generally don't have to buy all 4 items to get the discount price, so a single watermelon would have cost $1.25.

We moved the cart closer to the watermelon display and I saw that the 4/$5.00 label was meant for avocados.  Watermelons are not avocados so I looked around and the only watermelon tag I could see was on a different display (that didn't have watermelons or avocados) and read $5.99.  

I wasn't about to spend $5.99 on a watermelon so I told Little Boy we couldn't get a watermelon.  Of course he complained - he loves watermelon and I had just promised it to him.  I was pretty annoyed with the whole situation.

Just at that moment - with whining Little Boy in tow - the produce manager asked me if I was finding everything all right.  I truthfully but not rudely said not really.  He asked what the issue was and I explained about thinking the watermelon were 4/$5.00.  He said they were moving stuff around and apologized and I accepted the apology and went on with my shopping.  All was fine.

Later, when I was in one of the aisles in the middle of the store, the produce manager caught up with me and explained that he checked and indeed the watermelon were labelled incorrectly.  He gave me a free watermelon to make up for our disappointment.  

That was very kind of him, but thing is it's not like the watermelon price issue is unique.  The pricing is a mess in that particular store, on the same day the organic carrots were in the space where the regular carrots are supposed to be (and that would be a shocking price difference at the till!).  I could not find any price at all for the small Gala apples on our previous visit to the store and I had to ask...I hate asking for help with prices, it's time consuming and annoying.  

I was at another location of the same store on Wednesday morning and they had a display of watermelons as well....they were 2/$4.00 (correctly priced).  I would have bought the melon for $2.00 and Little Boy would not have complained and the produce manager would not have had to give me a free watermelon.  It all could have been avoided with the right price tag.

We had the watermelon for snack last night....and it was terrible.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


This morning I took Little Boy to Wonderwild(er), the "big kids" side of Wonderwild, a local indoor play centre.  This was a rare treat for Little Boy for a couple of reasons - it's expensive ($10 per kid no matter how long you stay); and I can't take all of the kids at the same time.  There are two sides to the play area (Wonderwild and Wonderwild(er)) and Baby Boy can only go to Wonderwild while Big Boy can only go to Wonderwild(er).  No-one can play unsupervised, and I can't be in two places at once, so I can't take the kids as a group.

Little Boy was the only child in the entire play centre for the first hour (after we'd been there about an hour some other people arrived to play in Wonderwild) and he had his play area to himself the whole time.  He had a blast!  He could go on anything and had no worries about waiting or sharing.  It is a spectacular play centre with a jumping pillow, pedal cars, soft blocks, a ball area, a ropes course, and Tarzan ropes.

Imagine not having to share this whole play structure!