Friday, July 20, 2012

Summertime, Summertime, sum-sum-summertime...

It's been hot here, and Starboy and I discovered an old-fashioned soda shoppe. YUM.

The Fair Oaks Pharmacy in Pasadena has been around for 85 years, and embraces the nostalgia of more simple times.

They're a compounding pharmacy and seller of clever tchotchke, new toys made to look old (but then marked "not a toy"), and "penny" candy. With a soda fountain and vintage dance music. Just like the old days, but with tiki stuff for sale.

It also offers a freakin' gargantuan banana split that includes at least three pints of ice cream. And for only nine bucks! This one went to a couple who took down about two-thirds of it.

 Starboy had "half" a serving of strawberry ice cream (a giant single scoop, which was maybe half or a third of how much they usually serve). Ahh, summer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Aquarium field trip

Fantastic day at the aquarium with Starboy and Mary Jane, our resident butterflies. Otters and diving birds were a big hit, though watching the Thumbstumbler tough it out with a creepy licky lorikeet bird on her arm to convince her daughter it was safe to feed the birds herself was very entertaining.

Luckily no birds landed on me. This time.

We all liked the guy in the penguin suit—a real penguin suit, not a tuxedo—Starboy and MJ squished some pennies and took home some plastic otters, penquins and sea lions. The scuba divers cleaning the tanks were a point of concern and likely will cause nightmares tonight for everyone involved. Starboy for sure does not like anything with a creepy face or buggy eyes. The potty with the loud toilets didn't make the Top Ten list, either.

 Look it's an awesome water table! But I'm no way touching those sea urchins. Line? What line of 15 people behind us? They all look like adults. Don't they know this is for kids?

No photoshop. That thing had a legspan of, like, four feet across. Super creepy.

Sharks and Rays tanks. Short mommy discussion about what a bad idea it is to step on a sting ray.

 This guy was a good 11 inches across, and scooting sideways like wildfire.

Intrepid traveling toddlers.
Can I even say that any more? These guys are tall. They're practically....preschoolers.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fairy Garden Redux

We've created another fairy garden, for Aunt Troi.* Her kids are grown, so we gave her a downsized edition, in a railing-planter. Starboy insisted on a terra-cotta colored planter to match her yard, and on one that was large enough for the fairies to really set up shop.

There is an arbor and a path, and the same mossy grass that needs mowing occasionally. We're hoping the kalanchoe clipping will root and thrive.

Troi loves a little Parisian theme. so her garden has a place for the more civilized fairies to take some tea and catch up. The little fence is from Joann, but the rest of the store-bought furniture is from the Miniature Garden Shoppe online.

If you are making a garden this year, you need to check out Donni's contest at The Magic Onions! More than 75 families from around the world have created wonderous gardens and linked to photos there, and they all are pretty incredible. So many brilliant ideas! The contest closes on August 1.

Also, I've started a massive Pinterest page for fairy gardens, with heavy pinning of Magic Onions contest entries. These miniature gardens are so enchanting and inspirational!

 Always take time to stop and smell the flowers.

The little bushes are hen-and-chicks succulents.

Starboy loves opening and closing the arbor gate. The animals like to walk through it, too. He helped make the plan for the garden, especially its design, but I don't think it was as experiential for him as it will be even next year, or with less fussy materials. I have to say, it's fun to have a neat and lovely organized (store-bought) setup, but there are a ton of creative and more homespun gardens over at The Magic Onions. You really need to check them out.

*Nearly everyone on the blog has a code name.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ready for an all-American holiday

Delicious baked beans for 72 revelers. Luckily it's an outdoor party!

Bugitybaked Beans

First, mix together in a very large bowl:
1/3 cup BBQ sauce (shop carefully to find one without HFCS)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp., heaping, horseradish mustard
1 large onion, chopped small
1 tsp., heaping, sugar (note: recipe is for delicious baked beans, not healthy baked beans)
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. marjoram powder (or flakes)
1/8 tsp. dill weed
dash or two garlic powder, additional fresh garlic optional

Next, take a 48oz can of pork and beans, with the fat removed, and drain in a colander in the sink (of course you could use fresh beans, soaked the night before, to avoid BPA and myriad other additives, however, I haven't experimented with this).

Then, pour your drained beans into the giant bowl with the sauce, and mix it up. You were wondering why we started so big, eh? This is easier than trying to mix it all in a lasagna pan, trust me.

Last, pour the flavored beans into a baking dish such as a glass lasagna pan.

Bake uncovered, at 350 for 20 minutes, then at 300 for 45 minutes or until desired consistency.

Also delicious as leftovers. To achieve total bean-ness as pictured above, use six 55oz cans of beans and multiply the recipe by seven, rounding up in quantity wherever necessary.