Friday, 29 October 2010

My least favourite time of the year

It's Halloween this weekend. I really hate shopping at the moment and I can't take the kids anywhere. There are witches, skulls and cobwebs for sale everywhere. Why people want their house to look decrepit is beyond me. Why do you want your house to look like a graveyard? Are people inviting evil spirits in or trying to scare them away?

This time last year we were at Disney World. Hhmmmmm!

In any case we are heading to church's fall festival on Saturday and then will bunker down Sunday night.

The one positive is that once H is over, my two favourite holidays are coming up - Thanksgiving and Christmas. Christmas plans are underway!
Bring it on.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Natural Living update

I've got my groove on going natural and over the the past four months I've tried two new things.

1. Home made deodorant. I know it sounds kind of gross and I really resisted this one. However I had been using Tom's of Maine deodorant and during the peak of summer the deodorant just didn't cut it. I'll admit that I was sweating. I heard someone say that Tom's was designed for a Maine summer which is pretty different to a North Carolinian summer, both temperature and humidity-wise. So after a couple of smelly weeks I forced myself to make the deodorant. In fact it was simple. I have enough to last 3 months and it works. It WORKS! Just three simple ingredients: coconut oil, baking soda and arrowroot flour. The coconut oil makes it smell good. And a bonus is that you can use it straight after shaving.

2. Home made shampoo and conditioner.
My motivation has always been high to stop using shampoo. The ingredients list has always scared me. However I was definitely wary of doing this, especially allowing my hair to go through the transition period. However after 3 weeks my hair and skin had adjusted to the new regime. And my hair is very good. The shampoo is baking soda and water, the conditioner is apple cider vinegar and water.

So now my challenge is converting Andrew. At the moment he is using up all the old toothpaste, shampoo and soap bars that we had in stock. Once he's run out of supplies he'll be on the new scheme.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Board Games 21: Tobago

This game was a Father's Day present from June.

The game board is an island covered in palm trees, statues and huts. There are various landscapes like deserts, beaches and mountains.

The aim is to collect the most treasure. You do this by using clue cards to locate a treasure chest on a particular tile and them drive your ATV to collect it.

Watch out for the skull and cross bones. Collect amulets. Use the clue cards to locate treasures near your ATV. Have fun!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Weekend update

A quick update:
  • Friday night swaption at church (we purchased some nifty furniture movers)
  • Saturday pancake breakfast
  • gardening in the front garden (which consisted of one adult gardening, Lucy playing and the other adult stopping Henry from running on the road)
  • eating lunch and dinner outside in the beautiful weather
  • Church and Sunday School
  • birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese for AnnMari
  • pizza party with the Pennys and Mahlows
Following the very fun pizza party Henry had a bath and his milk. He was put in bed and then 1 minute later he vomited up the milk and all the pizza he had eaten (which was a considerable amount).

He is sleeping now but it will be a quiet few days for us and he will miss kindermusik (which is his favourite thing to do each week)

Friday, 22 October 2010

Andrew's Pizza Wilmington has opened for Fall

The summer has been truly hot. Too hot to have a pizza oven burning for several hours. Now the weather has started cooling off it is perfect to host parties. On the weekend we got all the gear out and invited the Lingenfelters over for pizza. It was lots of fun until the mosquitoes came out in force. The mosquito magnet was no match for them.

Lucy had a great time playing with the kids especially Isaac who did lots of juggling tricks for her.

Note the lanterns. Purchased from Pottery Barn, along with the rest of the furniture, I was wondering why the scene didn't look like the catalog. We figured out that they put the lanterns up but WITHOUT the actual string of lights and thus there were no unsightly cables. Despite that it looked cute from a distance.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Have you been hearing crickets?

The American Correspondent has been quiet.

I've been taking a 2 hour nap everyday. Henry has his nap at the same time and Lucy colours. The kids are awesome at letting me have this time especially Lucy who is super quiet while she is working on her drawings.

Cooking has been none existent. When a friend brought around soup and snap peas for dinner Lucy squealed "Vegetables!!"

Can you guess that I've had morning sickness?

I was in the thick of it during the New York jaunt but took nausea medication to get me through those few days. I mean who wants to get a table reservation at Daniel and then spend the whole time wishing that the food would disappear!

So now I am 14 weeks pregnant and I have emerged from the cocoon of sickness and am feeling better. Not normal. I mean who feels normal whilst pregnant but definitely better.
I started cooking and I am taking a nap every third day or so. Last night I went to bed at 8:30pm.

Between Lucy's incessant talking (and not listening) and Henry's climbing (and falling) escapades, life is full. Now I've added cooking again my hours are full.

I'll blog as I can.

Baby Thoms
#3 is due in April 2011.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

New York

After months of planning, emailing and laughing our girls weekend in New York was complete. And boy did we have an awesome time. And I'm not using the word awesome lightly.

Here's the top 10, in no particular order.

1. Daniel. It took much planning and scheming but eventually we managed to secure a 7pm reservation at Daniel, one of the best restaurants in NYC. In fact it was ranked the 8th best restaurant in the world in 2010. We dressed to the nines and strutted to our table in the inner sanctum. Here's what followed. Cocktails, pre-dinner parsnip samplers, a three course menu, warm madelines, petit fours, chocolate course, superior service, synchronised table clearing, wine pairings, congratulations dessert tasting plates and a special present. No detail was left to chance. As we sat down two handbag tables arrived so that we did not have to put our bags on the floor or table. You can imagine the rest.

or the record my menu consisted of:

aspberry Purée, Orange, Pineapple Juice

Chilled Soup with Eggplant Caviar
Salad with Arugula and Ricotta Salata
Sorbet with Saffron Tomato Coulis

Braised Leg-Chestnut Cannelloni

Honeycrisp Apple
Roasted Breast with Brussels Sprouts Fondue, Calvados Sauce

2. Riding to the top of
the Empire State Building via the express line. Given our limited time in the city we made the plunge and purchased the more expensive express tickets. And boy was it worth it. We breezed past the extensive crowds by way of our own VIP lane and reached the top in no time. After a number of photo attempts at all four aspects we finally got a good one of the three of us towards the east. We expressed our way back down and ran towards H&M. On the third floor I grabbed anything purple or Hello Kitty related and I was rewarded two days later with Lucy's happy dance in her new purple ugg boots.

3. Drinks on the rooftop bar of The Peninsula hotel. Dinner finished around 10:30pm so we were still ready to head out somewhere (despite the late finish the night before). After a false start at the King Cole bar at the St.Regis we ended up at the rooftop bar of the Peninsula. It was still a balmy 74 degrees so it was perfect weather to sit out on the balcony and gaze at the city lights.

4. Wicked. Our broadway show of choice was Wicked. It is the prequel to the Wizard of Oz and tells the story of the good and bad witches. The production was superb with amazing sets and effects. The cast was incredible and boy could those ladies sing. The Gershwin theatre is perfectly constructed so that there wasn't a bad seat in the house and there are no viewing restrictions no matter how tall the people in front might have been.

5. San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy. Amy's must do was to eat cannoli in Little Italy so during our Soho we wandered over. The annual San Gennaro was in full swing so the streets were crowded with rides and stands. On the whole what was for sale was primarily junk but the atmosphere was fun. We had a quick pasta lunch before heading over to Ferrara's for their famous cannoli.

6. Afternoon tea at the Plaza Hotel.
Of course we couldn't miss high tea at the plaza! I mean how many times had Amy, Alexis and I had tea together at the Wilmington tea room? We all ordered the 'The New Yorker' version of the tea as shown below. Somehow they knew it was Amy's birthday and brought us all a glass of rose champagne on the house.

Cucumber, Radish, Green Herbs

Smoked Salmon, Endive
Roquefort, Shaved Red Grapes, Watercress
utto, Mozzarella, Pesto
Roast Beef, Horseradish

Freshly Baked, Warm Seasonal Scones
Double Devonshire Cream, Lemon Curd, Preserves


Black and White Cookies, Raspberry Rugelach, Chocolate Cupcake,
New York Cheesecake, Lemon Tea Cake

7. Hot chocolate at Jacques Torres.
One of the great chocolate shops, this place was my must do. We drank chocolate beverages and ate vanilla cream filled pastries whilst soaking in the cocoa atmosphere. I was happy to secure some chocolate dipped orange peel and a tin of drinking chocolate to take home for Andrew.

8. Dinner at Trecolori. Our pre-show dinner was at a local Italian restaurant staffed by Mexicans. The food was excellent but best of all was the happy birthday singing for Amy from the wait staff. We had pre-arranged for her dessert to be specially autographed but they forgot to do it! Alexis spoke a whole of lot of rapid Spanish to our waiter and he resolved the situation quickly. Poor Amy was embarrassed but it was a really fun time. Prior to dinner we had presented her with a Kate Spade handbag and Coach wallet. Alexis and I had literally spent hours choosing the right bag and we were ecstatic that she loved it.

9. Reading the New York Times Weekend Edition. What a treat to sit quietly for a few hours and read the newspaper. Even if it is in the airport whilst we are waiting for our delayed plane.

10. Hanging out in Soho and doing some window shopping. Since we took small bags so that we could carry-on rather than check there wasn't much room for shopping. Especially since there was quite a bit from H&M for Lucy. But that didn't stop us enjoying looking.

And if I could add one more it would be getting Alexis and Amy to ride the subway.

Because we live in the real world all things in travelling are not perfect.
Boo to the small shoe department at Bloomingdales, the flight delays, crazy taxi drivers, and free Friday nights at the Moma (it was so packed out we couldn't get in).

If you want a view of New York with a 16 month in tow check out this
prior blog entry - it has a nice description of New York in the introduction which remains relevant three years later.

And there you have it, our NYC girls weekend in a nutshell. But of course you know I haven't told you everything!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

With the wind in my hair...

I've thrown off the shackles of domestic life temporarily and escaped to the local coffee shop for 2 hours. Jessica, our trustworthy babysitter is in charge and I am sitting at Port City Java with a grande decaf latte in hand.

You've been waiting for this right? The update on New York. The weekend that felt like a dream and yet there is evidence that we were actually there.

I've been in a low since getting back. Truly I went from top of the world (on the Empire State Building this is almost literal) to back in the kitchen scraping breakfast oatmeal off the floor and wishing I had ear plugs to keep out the squealing (from the kids that is). It took me four days to get back into the swing of things. But now I'm back to some form of normal and I'm ready to resume my domestic CEO duties.

I'm also about to blog so look out for the new entry tomorrow (hopefully)