Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Creature Power!

First of all:

HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!!


Now back to the blog post:

There is a show on the television called "Wild Kratts".  On the show two brothers teach the children about animals and their "powers" and then they don "Creature Power" suits and take on the characteristics of the animal that they are teaching about that day.

My boys and my friend's children love the Wild Kratts and wanted to make creature power suits.  I kind of took over the project and made up the suits using quilters cotton. The project was incredibly cheap (about $12 all in for all 5 suits), and embarrassingly time-consuming.  The kids have suits that they like but, as a perfectionist, I don't love them.  If I were sewing clothing for myself I would have fixed a few things to make them tidier, but as these are for fun, I decided to "let it go".....difficult for me!

I also tried appliqué for the first time.  It's difficult and mine isn't as pretty as I'd like but it's actually not as hard as I thought.

This project really pushed me in terms of my sewing skills and creativity.  I had no pattern so I made one up and it is actually functional!  I have never sewed an appliqué or sewed a circular shape.  I learned a lot with this and I'm glad I took it on.

My kids have been wearing their suits all day....that's rewarding!

All the Creature Power suits in a row.

This is my appliqué.
The seams are reinforced on the sides of the large circles because they are actually pockets.
The top is open and the bottom is closed, so I needed to strengthen the sides.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

I'm Back.....

Hello again!

I've been away for a while.  It's because we had visitors and it's difficult for me to post to my blog on my phone (the app doesn't work for me).

We were also very busy with our visitors.  We did so many fun things - we went to the zoo; we drove to Dallas for a weekend trip to Grapevine; we went to Lake Sheldon State Park; we went bowling; we saw a couple of films; and we swam.  It was a packed week and I think that our constant activity, combined with the insane heat, has left us all a little exhausted.

Over the next few days I'll tell you about what we were up to during the visit and what we've been doing since.

This weekend was relaxing.  We went bowling and for a swim playdate on Friday (we had a swim playdate on Thursday as well....we love friends with pools!) and on Saturday we caught up with some old friends.  It's Sunday today and it's raining.  We are hoping for a game of street hockey if the pavement dries up later.

I'm also shopping for a new camera, which is tedious and boring.  But I really want to get it right.  I'm looking for a robust model that I can take with me always but that also takes quick, clear photos...and I don't want to spend a fortune.  I'm asking a lot!  If you have any suggestions, let me know sooner rather than later...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Opera Story Time

I took the boys to our local library for a special story time this week.  The story was a book about the opera read by a member of the Houston Grand Opera.  

It was wonderfully entertaining!  She read beautifully and sang for us a bit as well.  The kids really enjoyed it but it did run a little long.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Last Weekend

Last weekend was a good one!

On Friday night, I accompanied Big Boy to a dinner at Kim Son Restaurant - it was their Annual All A's Banquet.  It was a fun party and a great celebration of their achievement.  There was a lot of entertainment - a photo booth, balloon animals, face painting, games, music, food, prizes, and a couple of speeches.  

On Saturday morning, Big Boy and I went to see Jurassic Wold in 3D IMAX.  What a fun movie!

On Sunday morning we all went to the zoo.  It was a bit rainy so we spent a lot of time in the reptile house.  On Sunday afternoon we rounded out the weekend with a swim at the local pool.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Storm Preparations

We are preparing for another storm and more flooding here in Houston.

This time I actually took steps to prepare our family.  I went to our local Kroger this morning to stock up.  It was so busy!  There were huge lines for gas and groceries and the aisles were jammed up with carts.

This is a photo of the bottled water aisle:



My husband couldn't see the problem - he'd just reach up and grab the water from the top!

I din't need water because I bought some that we didn't use during the last flood.  But this morning I hauled out our camping water containers just in case....and they're all filled up.  I hope we don't need them!


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Dinosaurs at the Mall

On Wednesday I took the boys to Memorial City Mall to see Jurassic Extreme (http://www.houstondinosaurs.com).  Jurassic Extreme is a dinosaurs for hire experience.  You can rent out their two dinosaurs for a party or other event.  

The event was a bit disorganized....it wasn't at the location we were told...and it was very crowded.  The kids had fun seeing and touching the dinosaurs and they were excited to see how realistically they moved.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Camping in Louisiana - Part 2

We spent 2 nights at the lovely Palmetto Island State Park and then we packed up and moved on.  

Our first stop was the Tabasco Factory tour on Avery Island  (http://www.tabasco.com/avery-island/visitor-information/).  My husband loves Tabasco sauce.  I like green Tabasco (not as spicy) and I thought the tour would be fun.  Avery Island is a cute little place and the factory tour was short and informative (and free!).  We were given samples galore and after the tour we went to the store and sampled all kinds of Tabasco.  The most delicious thing in the shop by far was the jalapeño ice cream.  I've never tasted anything like it....it was amazing.  I also love the chipotle Tabasco - it has a very smoky flavour.

Really, this is the only seal that matters.

Tabasco being bottled.

This is almost all of our samples....we ate one bottle of chipotle while we were camping.
After the Tabasco tour, we drove on to Westwego, a suburb of New Orleans.  Westwego is where Bayour Segnette State Park is located.  We camped in Bayou Segnette for the next 2 nights (http://www.crt.state.la.us/louisiana-state-parks/parks/bayou-segnette-state-park/index).  Our total drive from Palmetto Island State Park to Bayou Segnette State Park took about 3 hours.

After Palmetto, Bayou Segnette was a bit of a let down.  The campground is park-like and has all of the usual amenities but the washrooms and laundry area were dirty.  The laundry sink was particularly disgusting (it looked like someone had smeared some sort of "waste" in it) and it was not cleaned for the entire time we stayed there.  It was also less shady and therefore much hotter at this campground.

But the most prominent feature of Bayou Segnette State Park during our stay was the millipede population.  These bugs (?  not sure if they are bugs) were everywhere and when we accidentally stepped on them, their exoskeleton made a disturbing cracking sound and their insides squished.  Then they dried up into a small semi-circle.  They were disgusting and they crawled into Little Boy's shoe and my husband's sandal.  Yuck yuck yuck.  They were all over the roads, all over the grass, and on the sidewalks.

My husband was a bigger person about it than me and he tried to make the millipedes "fun" for the kids.  They collected a whole bunch in a container and watched them.  They found out that they poop out black goo and don't really fight with each other. They will also curl around a stick.  When the container was full they relocated the bugs to another campsite but there were still plenty in our campsite!

I have to admit I'm not actually sure if these are millipedes  that's just what the kids were calling them. Here is a picture of some if anyone knows better and wants to correct me.


After we set up our tent in the bug-infested campground, we went for a drive and visited nearby Jean Lafitte Natonal Historical Park and Preserve (http://www.nps.gov/jela/contacts.htm).

This is a beautiful bit of forested bayou with trails throughout.  We stopped and looked at one of the bayous and it was similar but more densely treed than the one at Palmetto Island.

The flat green parts are not grass, but
 thousands of tiny plants on the surface of the water.


We also managed to find a nasty bug at Jean Lafitte....


We drove back to the millipede-infested campground and ate supper, and then cleaned up and headed out to the French Quarter in New Orleans....on a Friday night....with small children....

Our campground was just over 20 minutes from the French Quarter and we easily found parking.  We walked around for a while and took the kids down Bourbon Street for a few minutes.  In the few minutes on Bourbon Street, the kids managed to see some scantily clad ladies, ladies wearing feathers, a small person dressed as a sexy leprechaun, and an old time big band.  Little Boy was fascinated with the big band instruments and we watched for a while before moving onto a more child-friendly street.  Then back to the campground.

Bayou Segnette had some lovely lightening bugs to watch as we drifted off.

On Saturday morning after breakfast we headed out to Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter (http://www.cafedumonde.com).  My husband found much cheaper parking while I lined up and we all met at the front of the line to gorge on beignets and cafe au lait.  After we ate we peeked in the window around the back to check out how the beignets are made.

We spent the rest of the morning wandering around Jackson Square, through the French Quarter, pas the French Market, and walking along the Moon Walk on the banks of the Mississippi River.  Then we drove around a bit, seeing the stately homes in the Garden District.

Jackson Square

Jackson Square
The day was heating up and we had planned to go back to our campground to swim in their wave pool.  Unfortunately we had looked at the wave pool and decided it looks old and sad and like it would not provide a lot of shade or relief from the heat.  Also the admission is very expensive.

So we decided to drive into Gulfport to go to the outlets.  This might seem like an odd choice, but we were finished with seeing New Orleans and we wanted to find a cool spot for the kids to nap.  They napped for the hour-long drive in the car and it was great!  On the way back they enjoyed driving on all of the bridges (our boys love bridges!).

We didn't realize Gulfport was in Mississippi so the kids also had their first journey into that state!

We drove back to the campsite on tiny back roads because of a traffic slowdown and it was a beautiful drive.  Then we were back to our friends the millipedes.

We ate supper and then let the kids play in the big playgound at the State Park.  It was a lovely evening.

On Sunday morning we packed up and drove home.  We made two stops right away.

First we stopped at Cafe Du Monde in Metairie.  The beignet and cafe au lait were just as good as the French Quarter, but the ambience was lacking.  It's a cute place but has a commercial feel - no charm.



Our second stop was at Zephyr Field, also in Metairie.  If you know us, you'll know why we stopped there.

Then we drove back to Houston, stopping at the baton Rouge outlets.  It's a fairly boring drive, and it was uneventful.  Unfortunately some of the drivers were not particularly courteous and that caused some stress but otherwise we had a nice day.