A hike to remember

Thursday, October 27, 2011

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world changes color 8x10
Art available for sale here 

To drive upstate New York during this time of the year is to experience an explosion of color and beauty as it seems that all the leaves are trying to compete for the prettiest fall color hue contest. We hiked with friends at the Mohonk Preserve, more famous for its Mohonk Mountain House, with a gorgeous spa, among the top 3 in the US and Canada. Not this time, maybe for our Anniversary, so we have a few more years ahead stressing over money to save enough for a stress free experience. 

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How cool is that? Robots

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Who is the little guy that does not love Robots!!

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One man, one wish, one day

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One man: My husband
One wish: a brownie
The occasion: his birthday

Picture via this shop on Etsy
Chocolate Cherry Brownies
I used a recipe from this blog for the brownie. Yummy!

glass bottles painted with chalkboard paint
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Are you a Starbucks fan?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Starbucks Anniversary Blend
Picture via the Starbucks website
I live very close to a Starbucks coffeehouse. So it is no surprise that I spot at least 20 people everyday holding a Starbucks cup. And I always wonder what it is that they have ordered that make them come back. Some hold it like a dear friend, which kind of makes me jealous of the whole friendship experience they are having at the moment. Like if with every sip, they whisper a personal secret inside the cup. 

I am not a coffee drinker, used to. In my country coffee tastes different, it has less water and it is drank in a different style. So after I moved to the USA and married my non coffee drinker husband, I slowly let the coffee drinking habit slide out of my life. 

However, there they are, the cup holders making me wonder if I am missing something that may turn my last words in this world into something like "I wish I had had more Starbucks drinks" So I decided to sneak into the habit. 

I am familiar with Starbucks. I have had many hot chocolates, some of the teas and smoothies, but I felt as like the list where coffee is one of the ingredients was always blurry, so many options, so many different names. So I went online, to research the subject, to find out the description for the fancy names. And then, as a pro I decided to try a different one every time I feel frivolous enough with my money to pay for a drink that I may like or not.

So far, I have tried 2. I would say that the first 10 sips were great, then they just lost their magic and I thought that the drink became too sweet. But I have challenged myself to try as many as I can and see if I fall in love with anyone of them (which could be dangerous, I know). 

What about you, do you love Starbucks? Do you have a favorite or do you just order different ones every time? Do you dream about your cup of coffee?

I have to disclose that for my particular experiment I am only having decaff, so the caffeine won't trick me into thinking that I love it, just because my heart started beating faster. 

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Stripes everywhere

Monday, October 24, 2011

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Maybe stripes are hypnotic, you look at them and can't let them go. Maybe they bring memories of the sea, summer vacations, pirate tales. Stripes work great for kids, as stains are under camouflage and there is always the chance that the tomato sauce will land in the darker stripe! This shop has some wonderful striped fun outfits for girls!

Girls Stripe Bow t-shirt Candy Cane Christmas size 7-10

Candy Cane Stripe Footless Ruffle Tights Red and white stripeGirls One of a Kind Sweater

Girls Sweater One of a kind Christmas    Tree Top Stripe Ruffle Pants
Pictures via Isadora Shop on Etsy.
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How cool is that? Shaped Crayons

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I would not mind having these crayons spread on top of my coffee table!

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One small step for man

Friday, October 21, 2011

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Some things I just take for granted. Like walking. Many can't. Some won't, rather sit. My baby decided he wanted to join the walking crowd last week. Good for him. But then I realized that with walking came independence and the desire to do everything his way. Even if that means that he wants to eat butter. By itself. Just like he did today. Go figure...

One small step and next thing you know Mark is eating butter, refuses to sit in the high chair and decided that he does not like his pacifier anymore. At the same time this mother in the elevator is lamenting that her daughter is becoming a toddler, joining the terrible two's group. And it all began with one small step...

I, on the other hand, also started walking. I have to walk a total of 40 blocks everyday to bring Luke to school and back. That is like starting an exercise regimen, except there is no way out, no excuses. Or I take Luke to school or I will have two boys fighting with each other for a full day! Rather walk.

And on Tuesday, as the rain washed my face on the way to school, I realized that this urban living makes me feel alive, for good or for bad. I walked by other soaked people running or walking to work and I felt that I was part of a community. Hard to find that these days. Maybe in January when the snow is soaking and freezing my toes I will have less flattering thoughts around my head, but for now I happily accept that even though urban living is harsh, my body was built for harsh. Not for a soft couch, TV and donuts.

If only to keep me going, I was happy to see this 100 years old man completing a marathon in Canada. Maybe he started 70 years ago just walking his son to school, one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!

Fauja Singh crosses the finishing line in Toronto
Picture via BBC news
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How cool is that? Play tent

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

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If I had more space in my apartment I would love to have one tent like this.

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And then there is Photoshop Lightroom...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My dad came for a visit last week. He crossed the many miles that keep his heart apart from his two grandsons most of the year. As he is probably one of the few people that reads this blog, I better say wonderful things about him!

Like what a great father he is to me and my brothers and how much he cares about making sure that we are happy and don't need anything he could provide. Also like what a great professional speaker he is, with a big audience of followers eager for his wise words (just like my big audience here that follows my playground wise tips!).

My sons made sure to make his trip unforgettable, as he got his back out of place with so much pulling and pushing of his body members. All in all, every time another goodbye comes, there is sadness. The only thing that lasts more than a week are the memories, and the pictures. And why not to make those memories feel more dreamy with my free trial of Photoshop Lightroom, that I am sure was created specially for enhancing the memories of grandpas and grandsons.

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Pick your own mangoes?

Monday, October 17, 2011

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On Columbus Day I decided that it was time to introduce my boys to the American culture of "picking your own" apples and pumpkins. It was also my first time pulling apples from trees and heavy pumpkins from the floor.

The "pick your own" activity is not foreign to me. My grandmother's backyard was packed with tropical fruits. There were mangoes, guavas, limes, lemons, avocados and some other exotic kinds. But it was never a planned family event, like here, part of a specific season.

I grew up watching Grandma Duck prepare apple pies from fresh picked apples to Huey, Dewey, and Louie Duck. So, if only in the cartoons, to "pick your own apples" was also part of my childhood memories, virtual memories that now became real.

I was surprised by how fresh the apples tasted. Even the supermarket local ones don't test as fresh. Maybe it was just the excitement of picking my own apples that made them taste better, one way or another, it was worth the work of dragging a cart full of apples and pumpkins (and my baby) back to the car.

I guess now that I have my table covered with apples it is time to expose my boys to the next adventure in American culture: "Bake your own apple pie". Except this one will require skills that I have never developed, as I never made a mango pie, guava pie or avocado pie in my country!

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Happily ever after

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Weddings always have the power of pulling a few drops out of my eyes. In the past, before I had kids, I could savor the tears. Now, I just wipe them off and move my attention back to my baby that is pulling my neckless so hard that the beads are getting emotionally ready for the fall.

Last weekend we attended my husband's cousin's wedding and the bride was a perfect picture of happiness. My son Luke took advantage of the ladies to practice some dancing steps. Why not? He knows that during weddings, the girls' hearts are the softest!

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