All we need is love

All we need is love
All we need is love

Friday, July 20, 2012

Norman Family Game Night- Quirkle

We played another fun game tonight- Quirkle. This is a newer strategy game that we discovered a couple of years ago. It's pretty easy to understand and takes about an hour. 
Each player gets 6 random blocks. The players take turns laying out pieces in a row that connect to other pieces which are already laid out. Touching pieces must be of the same color or shape. You get points for every piece you lay down, as well as the pieces in the row you added to. There can only be 6 pieces in each row and two of the same shape and color cannot be duplicated in the same row. Once you complete a row of 6, you are awarded a "Quirkle" with is worth double points. 
It's a lot of fun. I hope, if you get the opportunity, you'll give it a go! 
Happy Game Night!

Adventures in Sushi

Tonight we made sushi! We all love going to sushi restaurants, but with how expensive it can get to go out anywhere to eat, sometimes we have to make it ourselves when a craving hits. Oftentimes, I just have a craving to make something new and exciting! Tonight, both cravings were satisfied!  

We  started out by prepping our ingredients to make California Rolls and Philadelphia rolls. Both are easy enough and don't require expensive, sushi-grade, raw fish for me to fiddle with. I always get nervous at the idea of handling raw fish to serve to my family when I am not educated on how to do so properly.

Here we have avocado, Krab (imitation crab legs),  green onions, smoked salmon, english cucumbers, cream cheese and carrots.

We have an official sushi mat that we use to make these rolls on. They cost next to nothing at the Chinese Cultural Center or any other high end grocer. Here you see it with a sheet of nori on it, or seaweed paper.

Aria was most excited to help me with this meal, but that's no surprise- she's good in the kitchen. Here she's patting down the rice onto the nori with wet hands to keep it from sticking.

Then she set her elements for a Cali Roll on the edge of the rice- cucumber, carrots, crab, and avocado.

I am not sure if a traditional California Roll has carrot, but we thought we'd add some for crunch and color.

Rolling it up is made easier with the use of the mat. Just join the ingredients together, then continue to roll up the sushi until it's all one cylindrical piece. 

Coley made a Philly Roll.

A Philadelphia Roll consists of cucumber, cream cheese, and smoked salmon. We added green onion- just because.

Daddy made a "monster" roll. That's his name for adding a little bit of everything to his roll.

I made a couple rolls- one of each- but reversed the rice and seaweed, and sprinkled the outside of the rice with toasted sesame seeds. This is how they make many of the rolls at Kona so I thought I would give it a try.

Here's the finished product! 

Of course it's not complete without some Wasabi-soaked soy sauce! 


Chalk Art. . . on a block wall

This beautiful piece of art was what I woke up to today!
 Doesn't it just make you happy? 
I couldn't help but smile and laugh 
at the grand scale project she took on! 
I love it! 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Italian Sausage Bread

This is an easy side or appetizer to go with an Italian dinner- preferably one with some yummy sauce to dip your bread in. It doesn't really have a name- it's a concept. . . Italian sausage wrapped in French bread dough and baked. The bread shown has 2 different sausages inside for a little flavor interest- Italian Sweet Chicken sausage, and Spicy Pork Italian sausages. 

You can use prepackaged or homemade bread dough. When it's ready to bake, roll it out to length of 2 sausages and double the width of the sausages. Place 4 cooked sausages on the dough lined up, enclose them in the dough and then place this on a greased cookie sheet, seam side down. Brush a bit of beaten egg on the top (egg wash), sprinkle with some seasonings (garlic powder, oregano, salt, Parmesan cheese are all good) and bake in the oven according to the bread's directions. Let it cool and slice and serve plain or with some delicious sauce on the side! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Exploding Box Cards

I have to show you these ADORABLE little paper box cards I made this morning for my twin nieces for their birthday. I had never heard of them before stumbling upon them on youtube while on another search. But, I'm in love- and I'll show you why.

So this is the first one I made. It looks like a simple little gift box- about 4 inches squared.

But, once you remove the bow and take off the lid, it opens up into this!

It has little personalized details around it, like her first initial.

There is a little birthday cake in the center, with flowers on it and little butterflies floating around it.

Another side has her age and monogram.

And then as you lift each layer of paper on every side of the box, you will find little pictures of the birthday girl, and notes for birthday wishes!

The butterflies are floating around on little wires coiled around like a spring and attached to the bottom of the card.

Cute, huh?? LOVE it!
Here's the one for my other niece. . .

A little brighter and more colorful. . . 

. . .  but with the same personalized birthday elements.

Here's a side view of it.

So there you go! To cute not to share! Drop a comment if you want a tutorial on how to make them. They are pretty easy- just time consuming! Happy crafting!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Day at the Park

Yesterday the kids and I spent nearly the entire day at the park. Believe it or not, it was a lovely 83 degrees out most of the day, overcast and too good not to be out enjoying. Cole, Aria and Chloe packed the bikes onto the Element and we headed down to my favorite place to run- the Scottsdale Greenbelt. 

We started out by the lake where we stopped to feed the ducks and play in the shallow areas.

It was nice just to be outside with the kids-- something we don't do much this time of year unless we're in a pool because of the heat. 

They discovered this little island in the center of the lake with palms trees.

Initially they walked across the water to get to it. . .

. . . then carried big rocks over to create a bridge, so that I could join them on the island without getting my running sneakers wet.

The ducks were especially happy that they came!

After our adventures feeding ducks and playing in the lake, we went for an 8 mile bike ride (well- they rode and I ran). We stopped along the way to play on the playground, get a Gatorade and have dinner at Micky D's!

The kids were troopers- they didn't complain once! I think it was because they knew how rare our moment out in that beautiful Summer weather was.

Once we finished with our ride and played a little more on the playground, the kids went to the splash pad and played in the water for a while. It was a great way to end an exhausting, but fun-filled day in outside.
I can't wait for the monsoon to bring us another beauty of a day like yesterday! I'll tell you though- when it does, you know where we'll be!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Balloon Flip-flops

We saw a little girl wearing the cutest flip-flops the other day that were detailed with colorful balloons tied to the straps. We thought they were adorable and looked like a simple Summer project, so we thought we'd give it a try! 
The girls each got 2 new pair or inexpensive flip-flops and set to work.
 After a couple hours of tying balloons to the straps, this is what they came up with! Aria preferred the look of the water balloons, while Chloe liked the way the bigger balloons looked. 
I loved them both!

 I like how Chloe decided to put the balloons only on the outside strap. 
 They plan on wearing their new flippers when they go to the water park on Wednesday. Maybe they'll inspire some other girls to get crafty too!