Baking w the kids

Over the years it has always been hard to find a way to spend quality one on one time w each of the kids on a regular basis.  I am hoping I have found a solution to that problem! 

You see, I love to bake.  I bake when I'm happy, I bake for therapy, I bake to because I love to share and make people happy. I think I'm decent at it and hope to pass this skill along to my kids.
Here is my plan. Each week, I take time out to bake something w each of the kids.  We choose a recipe together, work together to make it and then they decide who they would like to gift it to.
On Friday I made pie for Pi Day (3.14) for teachers at Island School.  It was the perfect time to have Erin help.  She decided on blackberry peach pie and she helped make one to gift to her Godma Kris.  She will always help...pouring, measuring, mixing, rolling.  The girl does it all.  She could hardly wait to give it to Kris, she was so proud!
Today was the boy's turn.  Carlos made granola for his friend, Elaina (and some for the family!).  Levi made a blackberry pie for his friend, Ryan, and Trey made peanut butter cookies for Nana and Papa (shhhh, don't tell...we haven't delivered them yet!)
I'm excited for the chance to bake w all my kids!





Lent - what are YOU giving up?




 

We are embarking on a "de-crapify" your house for Lent project and (so far) it has been refreshing! 
We got a bag full of kid hangers out of the closet in the girl's room on Day 1, and today I cleaned out Erin, Miss L and my shoe bin.  What a difference it makes to have all the shoes that don't work gone.
The idea of the project is to get rid of a bag or stuff per day for each day of Lent.  The website has ideas for places to purge.  Doesn't matter if you donate, give to friends or throw away the stuff, it just needs to leave the house.  Also, the size of the bag doesn't matter.
Can't wait to see how clutter-free we are by day 40!
I challenge you to do this, too...what do you have to lose?  Oh wait, your clutter!


Random Cruise Pics

 It was an incredible, relaxing, perfect vacation.  We were incredibly grateful and feel so blessed that my parents chose to take us all on this trip.
I highly suggest it if you can make it happen.  Get pampered, endulge and kick back and relax while you see beautiful cities.
If you want to see more pics of the ship and get a feel for our experience, follow this link.  This blogger got some great shots of our ship as well as info about the experience.
THANK YOU NANA AND PAPA!!!







Ensenada

 
Of all the ports, Ensenada was my least favorite.  So hard much more poverty, kids as small as Erin in a life of begging and selling Chicklets and trinkets for pennies. 
 They did, however, have Super Viagra Man and I loved that we got this picture of the boys with him.  Sparked some major conversations about what Viagra is and what it is used for (there's a pill for that!?).
We had the very best cerviche tostadas on the street.  Deeeeelish!
Boys got some hats (Levi went Indiana Jones, Trey opted for the straight up cowboy) and we found a cool minion bank to give to our friend on the boat, Carlos.
Seeing the young kids on the street was a real eye opener for our guys.  We felt good spending the rest of our pesos on a few little trinkets for a young boy on the street and also seeing his face light up when we gave him some cookies we bought at the Oxxo store.  Guessing he doesn't get treats often at all and glad we could help with a little money and sweets.  Just wish I could take all those little ones home.






Dinner Friends

 I remember my mom telling me about cruises they have taken in the past and the people onboard that they met.  I didn't realize how much you really get to like and get to know the people you see every day onboard.  I was sad to say goodbye.  I know, for them, we must just be passengers passing through but I truly looked forward to our evenings in the Vivaldi Dining Room with Carlos and Carlos.  They were hilarious and treated our family like we were something special.  The kids were always on the lookout for the Carloses.  And, of course, our Carlos made a special relationship with them because of his cool name.  Erin won their hearts, too and got some pretty top notch service.  She knew that if she made minion noises (Bee-Do! Bee-Do!) "the other Carlos", as she called him, would come over and chat. 
One night Erin was so exhausted that she fell asleep before dinner and ended up sleeping the entire meal on me.  We got her back up to the room after we had eaten and had planned to order room service for her.  We asked what she wanted to eat and she said she wanted "the other Carlos' Mushroom Soup"  We
figured it was worth asking...so my Carlos and I went down to the dining room and asked "the other Carlos" if we could get a cup of soup for Miss Erin.  He was so sweet and had some (hush hush!) sent up to our room.  The girl was soooo excited and ate it up!  We will SO miss our evenings with those guys.
 
At about mid point in the trip, Erin decided she didn't want what was on the kid's menu and started eating what we were having.  On formal night, she tried escargot and caviar and had a full lobster tail as her entree.  Believe me, now that we are home she isn't quite sure about our plain ol food.




The Next Big Writer

 

 While we were trying to figure out what to put in our carry ons, Carlos asked me if I would buy him a journal so he could write about the trip.  At the time, it seemed like a good idea and I wondered if he would write anything past the plane ride.
To my surprise, Carlos spent a LOT of the vacation journaling.  It was a beautiful thing to watch and I was excited to capture a few of the many moments with my camera.
This picture outside of a church in Puerto Vallerta is my absolute favorite.









Cabo San Lucas

 Ah, Cabo...the place where I finally crossed "snorkel in crystal clear water" off my bucket list.  Well, mostly...it was mostly clear and not totally warm but I'm guessing it's as close as I'll get to tropical so I'm making it count.
 Jumped on the tenders and had plans to meet up with our pre-paid Greyline tour to board a catamaran, enjoy a lunch and open bar and go snorkeling.  You know what they say about best laid plans...we shopped the local crafts market while we waited for our tour and eventually found out that the boat we were supposed to be on had broken down and our tour had been cancelled. 
We ended up grabbing some fish tacos at a local taco cart and hopping a water taxi out to Lover's Beach.  It was gorgeous!!!  The sand was a bit coarse but the water was clear (and Carlos and I finally found some fish to watch while we snorkeled).  We had a mostly private spot and settled in for a few hours.  The boys built a giant sand hole with moats around to keep the water out.  We swam and worked had at keeping Erin off the huge rocks.  I swear she will be a rock climber someday, she is fearless and sure footed.  Good thing her uncle loves to climb, too!