Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Pair of Jacks

January is half way over!
And it's all good because this month we're taking off our Lady Gaga meat dresses and have been eating VEGETARIAN! So, we're half way through this project, and are pretty anxious for February 1st, because, well, WHOPPERS WITH CHEESE.

The first home project of 2017 was the family room, otherwise known as the rainbow room. I cannot imagine why.
But.
She got a new dress in what has become my favorite paint color (It has slowly taken over, room by room...) - a very light grey. The color cubbies also got a remake. I raised them up a few inches so that I could 1.) Finish them off with matching trim and 2.) Put in a vent for the floor vent that previously sat there like a chihuahua with a big butt on it's face, unable to unleash the powers of cooling and heating deep within...


Also, there is a sad tale of a cactus by the name of Jack. It involves a baby Saguaro from the Tucson airport, an Elvis Impersonator, a Twitter saga, and a sad cactus mother. But that is a tale for another day, because on this day - this happy Tuesday - the cactus mother found her an un-dying replica of poor Cactus Jack, bought him a new shiny pot, and added him to the collection of happy thoughts over there in the corner of the rainbow room.


He's precious, no? 
I seriously need to learn to crochet...

And then there's my other Jack, all ready for Valentine's Day.


Have any good vegetarian recipes?!? 

xoxo
H.

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Well, Hello, 2017!



Oh, man! What a year 2016 has been! I have to say, that although it probably wasn't my very best year, I don't quite understand why the general consensus on the interwebs is that 2016 ranks up there with Felicity cutting her hair or Dumbledore's death. 
There are countless horrible things going on in the world that hurt our souls deeply, but for our little family, 2016 wasn't half bad. I guess that could be seeing the glass half full.

Have you made your resolution? Or do you have a theme or word for the new year? They're not a huge ordeal in the house of Castro, but we make them, nonetheless. This year, my word is FLY.

Don't worry, I'm not going to jump off the roof with my blankie again. 2017 is going to be an amazingly big year for growth and change. 

I'm going to fly.

  • I'm going to get out of my comfy nest and explore new things! This homebody is going to get wild this year! Maybe order something other than chicken fingers at a restaurant! Maybe I'll go to lunch with the girls! Maybe I'll wear lipstick and heels! Okay, I probably am getting a little too excited now. Gotta save something for 2018...
  • I'm going to face changes with grace and splendor, and let God fill my wings with His wind! Change has never been my best friend. We fight a lot. Change comes on over after I write out my itinerary and scribbles on it. He makes the grocery store run out of ginger when I need it for tonight's dinner. And he even makes my friends late for stuff! CURSE YOU, CHANGE!!! But, this year, we're going to try and get along, Change and I. He's gonna pull his crap, and I'm gonna be all "Whatever, man. Just lock up when you're done." Or at least let John have a few dozen less times of saying "You can plan a perfect picnic, but you can't control the weather, babe!", and then getting yelled at because WHY CANT I CONTROL THE WEATHER?!?!? 
  • I'm going to soar above all the negative people and things in my life, and try my hardest to be the wind in others' sails. This has been a work in progress for YEARS now, and it gets better every year! New Years goals don't have to have an ending date, right? Kinda like a house mortgage. I'm probably on that 30 year plan. Negative people have a place in my life, and a purpose, but MY goal is to love them anyway, and NOT let their rain clouds cover up my sunshine. Because we all know I control the weather. And I like sun. 
  • And I'm going to help my little ones learn to fly, too. Emma's pretty independent. She's been stretching out her wings since the day she was brought into this world. She's always been strong and brave and ready to take on the world. Just like her daddy. Evan and I are a little less so. We like to snuggle up in our warm nest and watch the world from our safe little home. We have everything we ever need or want, so why risk going out with the hawks and owls and falling blue ice?! We have our family and a couple close friends, so why make more? (I still don't really have an answer for that, but I'm sure there's a few). Wanna be friends? (And go ahead and picture the guy from the sonic commercial, because that's how awkward I would sound)
In FACT, we were in Guthrie this past month and we *almost* went to find a dear blogging friend I've never met in person, but has been there for us since I started this whole blog. The sicknesses and sadness. the happy times and growing children. But then I thought "Wait a second. If we look up this woman's address, drive to her house, knock on the door, and say 'hey! what's up?!', I'm pretty sure she'd call me a stalker and dial 911. So, there's that.
(Although if you live somewhere completely awesome and have floor space for 4 sleeping bags, I may risk the 911 call...) I kid, I kid! ... maybe. 
(Anyone live in Pompeii?!?)

Some of my favorites going into 2017:
New season of Stranger Things
New Season of Unbreakable Kimmie Schmit
American Housewife (SO funny!)
The new LEGO sets are pretty Fab this year!
Wood burning fireplace!
Square prints


So, what's your goal for 2017?! I wanna know!!



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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

{Lego Advent} December 20


Guess who the little lego children have found?! 
Mrs. Claus!!

Sweet Mrs. Claus gives them both a big hug and welcomes them to Santa's workshop. 

 

She tells them all about how bust everyone is getting everything ready for Santa's big flight this weekend! They follow her over to a funny machine with blinking lights and gurgly popping sounds. 

"This is the toy conveyer!", explains Mrs. Claus. "The toys that the elves are making are sent underground on a traveling track that pops up out here! Then, the elves load them into the sleigh!"

The children are so in awe that they cannot speak!
Toys!? Sleigh?! Elves?!

 

They watch as one little elf picks up a spaceship and packs it into the big sleigh. 

 

Well, look who else is getting ready to go?!?
Can you name all of Santa's reindeer??

 

Don't forget this little guy!

 

Look at that nose!

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Monday, December 19, 2016

{Lego Advent} December 19


Did you have any guesses to where Brock's train was taking Emma & Evan lego?
They are so excited, they can't stop jumping up and down in excitement!

 

After what seemed like hours, the little train came to a stop and Brock helped them off the train.
The air smelled of cookies and candy and there was a stir of activity all around!
"Where are we?!", little Evan asks.

And just then, a toy solider replied in a booming voice "Why, you're at the North Pole of course!", and sure enough, his toy rifle pointed to a little sign that read... 

 

The little legos couldn't believe it! 
They were at the North Pole!

And who do you think they would see there?!?
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{Lego Advent} December 16


Have you been curious about what Brock told the little legos?!
Well, good thing I'm here to let you know!

Brock has been in charge of driving a train this year. But not just any train, a very special train that would take them to a special place!

The little legos were so excited! Brock told them to wait at the small candyland station and wait.
And wait they did.
VERY impatiently.

 

Mummy & Daddy lego watched with glee as the little lego children discussed where the train would take them. The zoo? The mountain pass? Or even to Lego City?!

Just then, a chug-a-chug-a sound came around the bend!
It was Brock!!
And he was engineering a tiny little train, all decorated in gold and green and red!

 

As the little figs climbed aboard, they waved goodbye to Mummy & Daddy and headed off...

Where do you think they are going?!?
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{Lego Advent} December 15


The smell of Alex's turkey and sausage stand draws Mummy & Daddy lego over from their bench by the bandstand. "Hello, Alex!", they exclaim. 
"Hello, there! You came just in time! I have just finished cooking these turkey legs and hot cider!"

The three chat for quite awhile. Meanwhile, the yummy smells have made their way to the carousel and the little figs rush over, tummies grumbling!

 

Unlike Mummy & Daddy lego, the minifigs head straight to Akiko's sweets stand, where they find Brock, gobbling down some cookies. 

 

Emma wanders over to Grammie's bakery stand to grab a fresh pretzel while the boys take even more cookies to one of the pub tables close to Mummy & Daddy lego.

 

Little Evan seems very interested in what Brock has to say, and he calls Emma over to hear. 
I wonder what it could be??
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{Lego Advent} December 14


Once the Christmas Faire kicks off, the children know exactly where they want to go. Do you have any guesses?

It's to see Mr. Hudson over at the carousel, of course!

Little Emma lego buys tickets for her brother and cousins with money she has saved up hauling firewood for Daddy lego. 

 

The younger minifig cousins are helped into the sleds while Emma & Evan climb atop the rocking horses and the ride begins!

 

They've waited a whole year to ride the Carousel again, and around and around they go!

 


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{Lego Advent} December 13


It's the week before Christmas! That has everyone in Bricksmeade excited because it's the start of the big Christmas Faire!
Do you hear that? The little bandstand is cooing a soft melody! Let's head over and see what's going on!

 

Well, the Faire has indeed started! It's the annual "Carol of the Bricks" that signals the start of the Christmas events!
It looks as though Mayor Kurt has made it in from his highrise in Lego City to join in the fun!
Oh no! He's forgotten his gloves! Poor Mayor Kurt! He is not used to the cold weather! And now he is lost in the song!! Poor Michelle is struggling to hear Anitra & Kyle's lead over the Mayor's stumbling singing!
What a funny show! The children are giggling with delight!

 

Luckily, the band members begin to play a little bit louder so that the carolers can get back on track. Great job, guys!

 

It has begun! The Christmas Faire is here!! Hooray!!
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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

{Lego Advent} December 12


Today we find the little minifigs out at the skating pond with some of their friends!
What a cheery scene!
It looks as though little Ava has made it there just in time to see Hana & Will start a game of hockey!
I hope she is careful standing on that bench with Ethan in ice skates! My goodness!

  

Oh look at tiny Baby Johnny and his sisters, Hannah & Elizabeth! They've built a snowman! Their mommy is so proud of them! 
Say cheese, children!

 

Oh my goodness! What is that laughing and squealing?!?!

 

It looks as though Will skated too fast and would head down in a snow mound!
Silly Will!

See you all tomorrow! Stay warm!
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{Lego Advent} December 9


On Friday, Mummy & Daddy Lego headed out early to go Christmas shopping. The little ones were still asleep after staying out late helping Grammie at the bakery stand (and eating all those sweets!)

What did they buy, you ask?
Well, I can neither tell you nor show you, dear friends, or we might spoil Christmas!

But, I can tell you that after they shopped and shopped, Daddy lego was ready for a warm cider and Momma, who is always ready for a hot cocoa, suggested that they stop at the Bricksmeade Brewery to grab some warm drinks to fill them up!

Levi Lego and his wife Greta owned the brewery and it was rumored that they even brewed the hot cocoa that Mrs. Claus gave Santa! Nobody knew for sure, not even their daughter, Ava, but they all believed it. It tasted like magic!

 

"Where are Emma & Evan?", Ava asked Daddy Lego. 
"Why, I believe that after they got up today, they were headed out to the skating pond! I bet they're there right now! You had best get going, little Ava!"

And off she went, grabbing her skates and gloves!
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{Lego Advent} December 8


I'm sorry I haven't been around to peek into Bricksmeade with you for a few days! I had left on an adventure of my own, but now I have returned, and I can tell you all about it!
On Thursday morning, the children were just finishing up their bricks & blocks cereal when a knock came at the cottage door. 
"Who could it be?", asked Mommy Lego.
Just then the door opened wide, and there stood Grammie Lego! Oh, the little ones were jumping with joy!
"Hello, my dear ones!", Grammie said. "I have set up the bakery stand for Christmas Faire and I need help picking up the baked goods from the bakery today! I could sure use two strong little figs!", she said, with a wink.

 

It wasn't long before the three of them had made it to the glowing window of the Bricksmeade Bakery. The smells that filled the air were of sugary cupcakes and truffles and pretzels in every color and flavor. They saw Ms. Mable inside, waving warmly. 

 

Ms. Mable owned and lived in the shop with Mr. Wes and little Eli. Together they baked the most delicious little treats day in and day out! 
Grammie Lego was very excited to be selling them at her bakery stand this year! She happily paid Mr. Wes for all the delicious things she could fit in the tiny stand. 

 

While Ms. Mable boxed up all the yummies, Emma & Evan watched little Eli as he pulled a fresh loaf of bread out of the big stone oven. Eli was the best bread maker in the land, and it tasted as though you were eating a slice of heaven's clouds when you ate it. 
The little Legos' tummies rumbled from all the scents of the bakery!

 

As they said goodbye, Ms. mable gave them a tray of cupcakes for the road and Eli handed Evan the fresh loaf of Heaven Bread. 
"Goodbye!", he said to his dear friends. "We'll be together again soon!"
"Goodbye, Eli!", they all said, and off they scurried to the bakery stand, one cupcake in hand, and a bite of bread in the other. 

 
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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

{Lego Advent} December 7

The little Lego family has gotten an important call today! Grandad Lego has opened the tree farm that he and Granda run each year in Bricksmeade, and their favorite little grandlegos are going to have first pick of the trees this morning! How exciting!
The family walks across the snowy street to the tree farm, it's Christmas lights aglow!
Evan is so excited to see Grandad! He gives him a big hug as Grandad throws him up in the air. "Wheeeee!", he squeals. 

 

While he is up in the air, he notices something on the top of the light post and tells Daddy lego. 
"Quick, Mommy Lego, go and get your camera!", he says.
He points up at the brown owl that has taken perch on the flagpole as if he was wanting to watch the first tree cutting of the season. 
Mommy Lego takes pictures as the rest of the family checks out every beautiful tree on the lot, looking for their favorite. 

  

It looks as though Grandad and Emma have found it!
They all agree and Daddy Lego gets ready to cut the tree.

 


Chop! Chop! Chop!
"TIMBER!", Daddy and Grandad Lego yell, and the tree is ready to go home.
Just then Granda and the kids come around the corner with the tree wagon, and good ol' Gingerbread, their horse,  pulling it through the snow. 


The little family brings the tree inside and begins to decorate it with all the colorful ornaments they have gathered over the years. 

   

For the final event, Daddy Lego picks little Evan up to hang the star atop the tree. 
Mommy & Emma clap and cheer from above.

  

Their little lodge is ready for Christmas now!
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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

{Lego Advent} December 6

Happy Tuesday, friends! There is new snow on the ground in bricksmeade and we hear the little crunching footsteps of Evan & Emma coming down the street. Do you see what they are holding? Where do you think they are going?

 

Those are their letters to Santa Claus! And they are headed to the Bricksmeade Post to deliver them!
When they arrive, they greet their friend, Sophia, who is stuffing Christmas cards into the post boxes. "Hello, Emma! Hello, Evan!", she says. "So nice to have you back in town! If you are wanting to mail those letters, take them inside to my mom! These boxes are overflowing already with parcels and cards! My daddy is on his way to pick them up in the Post Truck!"
"Oh my! That is a lot of letters! Thank you!", the little legos reply, and head inside. 

 

Inside, Postmaster Staci has a fire crackling in the fireplace and "Jingle Bricks" playing on the radio. It feels just like Christmas should!
"Hi, kids! Welcome back!", she happily exclaims. "I've been expecting you! You two are the only ones that haven't sent their Christmas letters yet!"
Postmaster Staci always keep track of the childrens' letters to Santa. Mister B makes a special trip to Santa's Workshop to deliver them on the opening day of the big Christmas Faire!

 

The children place their letters on top of the ever-growing stack of cards and letters on her desk. 
"I sure hope Mr. B comes soon, or we'll have mail flying out the windows!", she says. 
The children giggle and say goodbye. 

 

Outside, they hear the recognizable putt-putt-putt of Mr. B's Post Truck. He has come to pick up all the mail that has been mailed today!
"Hello, children!", he says in is booming voice. (He has to talk very loud over the old truck!)
"Hello, Mister B!", say Evan & Emma. "Hi Daddy!", says Sophia. 

 

They make plans with Sophia to meet up at the frozen pond soon to skate and head back in the crunchy snow to their cozy little home. 
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Monday, December 5, 2016

{Lego Advent} December 5

Good morning from Bricksmeade! The little winter village where we find little Emma and Evan heading out for the day. Mommy lego waves them off, reminding them to keep their gloves and jackets on. Where do you think they're off to?

 

The little figs are excitedly talking about which gifts they would like to give to their family members and friends. They are having so much fun, they didn't even notice notice their friend Caleb until they hear his excited voice exclaim "Emma! Evan! You're back in town! Hooray!"

 

The children are hapy to see their friend, Caleb. He and his family live upstairs in the Bricksmeade Toy Shop. The little figs have always thought how wonderful it must be to live in a toy shop!
"come on in!", Caleb says. "The elves just dropped off a bunch of new toys for the shop today!", he exclaims. 
Emma & Evan can hardly wait!

 

The shop is warm and hustling and bustling with children looking at all the toys. It always smells of sawdust and paint. Mommy Lego always said, "Bricksmeade has every scent of Christmas! There is never a need for a candle here!", and it's true. 
Ms. Sunny greets the little ones, delighted to see them again. While Emma catches her up on all they've done since last winter, Evan finds his friend, Brite and they begin to explore the many toys inside the shop.

 

Everyone stops and looks as a loud squeal comes from the corner of the shop. "It's okay!", says Cole, "It's just my sister. She found the giant teddy bear she wants for Christmas."

The children giggle and go back to pushing buttons and pulling levers. Melia doesn't want to leave the bear's side. "Maybe Santa will make you one!", her brother reassures her. 

 

Evan and Emma take their time looking at every toy as though they were judges in the Snowman contest. "Have you gotten your list?", Emma asks her little brother. 
"Yes, I do!", he says.

 

They say goodbye to all their friends, and make plans to see them at the Christmas Faire in a few days before heading back out into the snowy village streets on their way home. 

After a warm dinner, the little figs head up to bed and write their letters to Santa before bath time. 
"We'll take them to the post tomorrow!", says Emma.

 

That night they both sleep well, with dreams of Santa's Toy Shop and the hammering of little elves... 

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