Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Tribute To The Truffula Tree

This year to honor Dr. Seuss, I made Truffula Tree cupcakes for my son's third grade class. In the story by Seuss, The Lorax the trees are described as having striped trunks with soft as silk tufts of hair at the top.
They are suppose to smell like butterfly the story says. I was not sure what butterfly milk smelled like, so I envisioned a sweet candy vanilla smell.

 My truffula trees were made with a cupcake mix I bought around Christmas time. The flavor was "hot chocolate". I now regret only buying a few of these! Rich creamy chocolate cupcakes were dotted with marshmallows. The cupcakes really did smell like hot chocolate!! The frosting mix was included, and it was a marshmallow topping. Sweet and sticky this made a great base for my trees!

I bought some striped straws last year from my favorite online baking store Fancy Flours! By cutting them in half, it made a perfect tree trunk! The top was the hardest part of all. Cotton Candy was my billowy soft as silk tree toppers! If you have ever grabbed cotton candy with your fingers, you will know it almost melts on contact. So a fork is required to gently pick up and form a little ball to stick on the tops of the straws. Knowing what I know now, I would have topped these in the classroom after arriving. The gentle breeze of the morning picked up the cotton candy tufts and started blowing them away. There were only a few casualties that were fixed after entering the building. The Truffulas were a hit with the kids as we read Dr. Seuss books! So much better than green eggs and ham!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Bon Marche Epicerie, Paris

Most girls love shopping for shoes, clothes, jewelry. My eye candy, however, is in the grocery store. I am a sucker for a gourmet grocery with displays that would melt your heart! I love it all; from veggies to canned goods. One of my favorite is La Grande Epicerie de Paris. It is an extension of the Bon Marche department store on the left bank of Paris. Housed in a different building, you can hop buildings quite easily!

I was able to snap a few pictures until the sandwich maker told me to STOP! It must have been classified information. Regardless, I captures the ever so beautiful couregettes, or round zucchini! And then there were the bags of marshmallows or guimauve in French! I brought some home!

 They had a dairy section like non other! Here are yogurts housed in terracotta bottles! There were 20 kinds of butter, and forget about the cheese! There were rows of canned and bottles items; jams, mustard, meats, and veggies! The bread section had bread with crust removed for tea sandwiches! The cookies and candy section had everything you could imagine.

The deli section had marinating meats, olives, cheeses, pate and terrines. There were sandwich makers, Hot food counters, rotisserie chickens, fresh petite fours and cakes, mousses, and creamy confections! One of my favorite items I bought was a designer bottle of diet coke! I looked very chic drinking it I am sure! I can't wait to go back!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Nevada Reading Week

This week was Nevada Reading Week. Our school had a ton of activities for the children to participate in. Each class was given a set amount of pages to read for a heated competition to win a Subway sandwich party. My 9 year old took it upon himself to single handily win the party for the class. On his first day he read the 500 pages that were given for the entire week. Bursting through the door, he ran upstairs to read, read, read way into the night. Shall we just say,  Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series did the trick! He did not stop there though, he met the challenge given everyday after that as his teacher increased the number of pages. On dress up as your favorite character from a book my boy was...can you guess? Percy Jackson. He was so happy all day as he discovered that there were many other Percy Jackson young men walking around school too! How wonderful that in this age of computers and crazy technology that a paper book (and my son only likes paper books so he can turn the pages) can cause so much imagination, excitement, and motivation! Hurray for Nevada Reading Week!!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Escape to Monterey Bay

One of my favorite places to visit is the ever beautiful Monterey Bay. When I was much younger -- about 20 years ago -- I lived in Monterey. After a long day at work it was always a treat to run off to Asilomar Beach, stick my toes in the sand and watch the HUGE waves crash onto the beach and surrounding rocks.

When I got married and had children it was obvious where I wanted to spend vacation time. Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, and Carmel-by-the-Sea is the perfect vacation for families. One of my favorite activities in Monterey is going to the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. If you have older children, and plan your vacation right, there are wonderful marine biology classes and camps that they can attend. You can even learn to scuba there! If you are a beach goer there is a variety of beaches to explore. From the sandy Asilomar to rocky Lover's Point, and one can't forget Carmel-by-the-Sea white beach!

You can visit Carmel's old Mission, take nature walks right in the city of Carmel, and peruse the old storybook cottage neighborhoods. You can even have high tea at the Tuck Box! If you drive a little farther south to Big Sur you can watch wales migrating or stop off at the one of the hippie community restaurants. Don't blink though, you could miss the small town of Big Sur! On your way back up you can visit the EarthBound Organic Farm. There is a wonderful children's garden and store.

Finding a place to stay in the area is simple. From rustic lodges, to fancy B & B's, or to big hotels, the area has it all. We like to stay near Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row. There are fun shops, restaurants, and those every entertaining barking sea lions. There is even a fun maritime museum walking steps from the water. Just north of Monterey is a Dennis the Menace themed park great for little one's to run around. Why, there is so much to do on this little bay, I've forgotten to mention it is John Steinbeck country! Oh! And I must not forget the most darling lighthouse, Point Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove! Sigh! Just take my word for it and run away to Monterey!