Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day 2010

I love this day so much and unlike other holidays...this one can and should be celebrated everyday! I wrote last year about some of the things my family does to help out the Earth, and I am glad to say we have added to our list, well, just a little. But every little bit helps, right?!

In addition to last year's list, here are a few things we have added:

1.) We no longer buy plastic water bottles to keep in the house. The only time these are purchased is for a party or to take when feeding a group of kids. Otherwise, we use our re-usable containers and drink our water from the tap or filtered from the frig.

2.) We finally got an energy efficient washer and dryer. They are great! They hold so much more, so I am doing less loads of laundry. I can also customize my settings which helps out with not wasting energy.

3.) We only buy organic dairy, egg, and (almost all) meat products for use in our home. It has resulted in a slightly higher grocery bill at the end of each week, but I feel if you don't put priority into what goes in your body, then you have your priorities mixed up. I don't mind paying extra for certain clothes and material items, so why not what I eat. Our health is the most important thing, so it is worth the extra cost. So what does this have to do with the Earth, you might ask? Well, animals are part of our environment and are a part of the life cycle and if they are being unnaturally subjected to hormones and anti-biotics then that is harmful to the Earth. A cleaner Earth is what we should strive for. Less of this type of stuff where it is not needed. I would eventually love to be vegetarian all together, as not to harm my animal friends at all...but this is requiring baby steps on my part, but steps nonetheless. I been very intrigued by Alicia Silverstone and her book the Kind Diet and her blog the Kind Life. I strive to get a little closer to this everyday.

Along the same lines of is also important to try and eat locally. That is why I want to remind everyone that the Keller Farmer's Market is back. You can read about it HERE. I have blogged about it on my other blog...Le Petit Hameau.

There is also a new magazine out in the DFW area all about eating locally. It is called Edible. Go to their link HERE to read more about it and subscribe!

So those are the few changes we have made in the last year.

Some other things I want to share with you today are as follows:

The new Disney movie OCEANS is out today. If you go see it within the next 7 days a portion of the profit will go to saving the coral reefs in the Bahamas! I can't wait to take Sarah. I think the earlier you start your kids thinking about saving the Earth, the more it just becomes second nature to them. For Sarah, recycling is not a concept we are trying to get her to grasp...she already gets it and is teaching Lauren. She talks constantly about doing good for the Earth.

I have recently come across this product that I will be purchasing this week. It is called Lunchskins. They are basically a re-usable form of baggies for your kids lunch. Since Sarah does not like to eat what is at the school 90% of the time (I am a glad...we need a little Jamie Oliver to make a stop by), we use at least 2-3 baggies everyday. So that is about 360 baggies per school year. So, if I use these, just think how much plastic I am keeping out of the landfills and the environment in general. They are too cute, too!

I have a another blog I like to read in addition to The Kind Life. It is called Nature Moms Blog: Guide to Green and Natural Parenting. She has had so many good posts on so many topics. Check it out if you have some free time. Go back and read some of her previous posts, too!

Hope you have enjoyed some of these tips and ideas and strive to be (not perfect) but a little greener everyday!

Monday, April 19, 2010

First thing First

I am heading into one of my busiest weeks of the year. This weekend is the Iota Lambda chapter of Alpha Chi Omega's 20th reunion. It was 20 years ago this month that our chapter was invited on the campus at TCU.

Check out their website here: Alpha Chi Omega, TCU

Since moving back to Texas I have become involved with that chapter as an advisor and have served as the Ft. Worth Alumnae Club president for the past 3 years. So in the summer of 2008 while at the AXO National Convention it was brought to my attention that our 20th reunion would be coming up in 2010, so we all began brainstorming what we wanted that weekend to be like. I cannot believe it is already here, and I am so glad. We have put together a great team who has really pulled this weekend off. Although my main duties were to keep the group on track and make sure nothing was forgotten, I still am the MC for the Saturday night event at Colonial Country Club and I am running the ceremony that takes place on Sunday for our new graduating seniors.

I am so excited to see old friends and have fun re-living those college years. I am, however, so in vacation mode, it is not even funny. In a little over a month, we will be jetting off to Europe for a little over 3 weeks. We will be spending 2 of those weeks in Ireland. We are pretty much doing a grand tour of the country and it's famous landmarks, as well as, doing a little family history research. We have located some locations of interest in our families past, and we plan to stop for visits. We will end our trip in Northern France and spend the last 4 days in Paris. I cannot wait for Paris. I cannot wait to take my oldest daughter there. She is excited beyond words. Charlie and I will celebrate our 11th anniversary with a dinner at the Jules Verne on the Eiffel Tower. Although I am not a big fan of heights, I cannot think of a more romantic location. mind is in Paris....

but I have a lot of work to do for this reunion this weekend, so first thing is first.

Not to mention I still have a May Day party to throw, soccer games, dance recital, Wicked to go see, just to name a few things here between now and then. So I have to stay focused and take it one week at a time. June will be here before I know it.

Now if only that volcano would simmer down......

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bluebonnets: A Texas Tradition

It does not get more Texas than photos of your kiddos in the native flower. Every year I swear I am going to hire a professional to do these photos. It is always so hard to get them to cooperate, especially for the same picture. Either on is smiling or the other, but rarely both. I should have learned by now, that these pictures do not have to be posed. They do not have to both be looking at me with smiles on their faces, they just need to be natural. I wonder sometimes how a professional would get them to do what he/she wants, then I think, they are probably just capturing what the kids give them. And they will give you a full range of images to capture....smiling, looking away, studying the flowers, running away, being scared of a bee, name it they will do it. So....this year after we were done and I looked at the photos I had taken, I decided to vow to never have a professional take these photos. I expected to not get but 1 or 2 shots that were decent, but then I found I had so many more than I could have hoped for. Each one was unique and captured something about my girls that I love, and I am so glad that I, captured it. Next year, I plan to relax, wait and see what they do, not stress about smiles and looking into the camera! What a great way to spend a warm, spring afternoon.

I didn't even realize I had taken this one until I got it on the computer!

She looks like a little lady

Striking a pose...but really probably wondering if she was in ants

I love them checking out the flowers. Love Lauren's eyelashes!

Eyelashes Again!

My sweet Sarah...

....Loving spring and the bluebonnets

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Keukenhof Gardens - Netherlands

It is that time of year....actually the only time of year to go and view the tulips in the Netherlands.

My first trip to see the tulips took place in May of 2000. My husband was working in London and had a football game to cover in Amsterdam. So I got my college roommate to go with me and we were on the search for the fields and fields of gorgeous tulips and the Keukenhof Gardens. We searched and searched. I swear the guide book said that you could see tulips into May, but however, I guess that did not really mean the end of May. There was nothing but empty fields and when we finally found the Keukenhof Gardens it was like showing up at Wally World. Closed down....done...not opening again until March of 2001. There wasn't even a guard we could harass to let us in and enjoy it all to ourselves. Probably because there was nothing to enjoy. It was literally 'dead'.

So I was very fortunate to have a second opportunity in the Spring of 2003 to try and see the tulips. This time...I did my research and actually found out what the best week to go was. Again my husband was working in Europe and my in-law's were living in Belgium, so I was staying with them. So on my husband's off day we all drove up to Amsterdam and visited the Keukenhof. This time it was mid-April. This time tulips were all around. This time it was perfect.

Keukenhof Gardens: outside of Amsterdam

I highly suggest you make this trip once in your life. It is gorgeous and if you have will be an experience they will never forget. I showed Sarah these pictures the other day and she was in awe! I can't wait to take her some day. (She was technically there, as I found out I was pregnant with her just a few days before, but you know what I mean!)

Not only is the Keukenhof amazing, Amsterdam is a joy of a city as well. It is gorgeous with the canals and everything is easily accessible by walking or bike. It gets stereotyped so much for it's red light district and "coffee shops", but it is truly a great city and very kid friendly. I would for sure do the Anne Frank house. Older kids will especially get something out of it. It is truly amazing to see how her and her family lived and truly amazing they did for so long. Very moving. Also...the Van Gogh museum is great. There is good shopping, there is a Hard Rock Cafe if you need a break from European food and need a nacho fix, and there are even boats you can take out on the canals. Amsterdam and the area surrounding is so pretty and should be added to any one's European travel plans...especially in April!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter 2010

Easter: One of my favorite holidays (I love them all, really). I love the message and the meaning of the day, but I also love that it means spring, warmer temps, floral dresses, yummy feast, and egg hunts. Oh boy, did we ever have egg hunts this year! Here are some picks from our week. Hope it was a great weekend for all of you, as well!

Friday, April 2, 2010

My Tree and Me

One of the things I love and am currently obsessed with his family history. I have spent the better part of the past few weeks diving in to the sea of information that I have on my ancestors. Thankfully, my mother kept excellent records and my dad's side of the family is all German, so being from Fredericksburg, TX everything is recorded. My husband's side of the family is proving to be a little more difficult to find. Not only because I am not as familiar with his family history, but his ancestors are relatively new to the country. Ex: his grandmother was a war bride and came from France. His great grand-father on his mother's side hails from Dublin, so records are harder to find when they are overseas. On my mother's side of the family we have ancestors that date back in the US before it was a country and in TX before it was a state. I am proud to say that that heritage entitles me (and my daughter's) to be members of the Daughter's of the American Revolution and the Daughter's of the Republic of Texas. I am in the process of becoming a full member at this time.

So anyway...I digress and could talk about this topic and my family history all day long. I have thought about doing a blog series of posts on it, so we will see. So in my quest to finish the puzzle which is the Tatsch/McDonald family tree, I came across the most awesome ways of displaying your tree in your home. I saw it the March issue of Martha Stewart Living and the website is My Tree and Me! Check out some of these options:

There are others but these are my just thought I would share! If there is anyone else out there who is into family history like I am, send me a line if you have found any cool websites yourself, or any genealogy search engines that you have found most helpful in your search. And if you think you might be related to all me!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rob and Nina's Wedding: Rehearsal Dinner

What a night to kick-off the big event! Rob and Nina selected a very popular Dallas restaurant as the location for their rehearsal dinner. In fact, they selected the whole restaurant. It was private just for their event. I am still not sure how exactly they pulled that off on a Friday night, but I am sure a pretty penny was involved. The location was La Duni Latin Kitchen!

It was a fantastic party. The ambiance inside was very festive and the staff was great. Mojitos and other drinks of choice were easy to find and the food was amazing. It was served family style and we had a selection of Spanish favorites. For dessert, the tres leches cake they made in house, was fantastic! It was great to have food that was different from what the wedding reception menu was planned to be! The party lasted well into the wee hours of the morning. I headed back to the hotel around midnight, so I could get my beauty sleep...only to get a call from Nina, whom I promptly told to go to bed so she could get her beauty sleep (not that she needed it)! My husband wandered in at some point hours later. I was told the father of the bride was buying drinks for the staff, I am sure it was a lively party after I left!

Here are some photos!

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