Monday, February 25, 2013

Adventures in Tulsa: Pinot Palette


I planned this adventure as a surprise for Doc. Friday, Doc and I went to Pinot Palette in Tulsa on Cherry Street. They are opening a second location closer to us on the Jenks River Walk soon, which I am thrilled about.

So here is how this place works. You pick a class you want to go to. You pick based on the painting. Their website has a calendar that shows what paintings are available when. You do have to make a reservation ahead of time.

They have a bar in the studio, but no food. You are welcome to bring your own and a large number of people did. We stopped off at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Tulsa and bought several truffles to take along to the class (because Chocolate is fantastic with wine). Other brought baked goods, pizzas, food picked up nearby on Cherry Street, etc. They have tables you can put your food on with a label and you are welcome to get up and snack or eat through out the class. It’s pretty informal.

The bar had small selection of beer and wine, coffee, and tea. Water bottles are available at no charge.

They give you an apron to wear and you find your assigned seat. If you make your reservation together, you are seated together. If you don’t, you just need to let them know ahead of time who you are wanting to sit with and they will work it out.

Your seat has a palette with all the paint you will need. For our painting we had two brushes. An artist stands at the front of the room (and they are mic’ed so don’t worry about not being able to hear). They go step by step explaining how to create the painting. Another artist walks around while the instruction is going on to offer help if you are confused or feel lost and the main instructor takes lots of breaks to offer assistance as well.

Now, they take you step by step to create the painting you signed up for, but there was a lot of “not following directions going on”. Some people took off and created mountainscapes in their background, someone decided to do a cubist version of the painting, someone decided to paint a coral reef…and no one cares. So it’s really informal and fun.

Now we went as a date, but let me say that this wasn’t a “date night” only activity. There were several groups of friends that were there. I would say there were forty people or so and maybe ten of them were on dates.

Pinot Palette does fun family paint days or kid paint days too. Ages 6 and up can enjoy this so when I go back to work I’m definitely going to promote this as an activity the kiddos can go do to break up “movies” or “eating out” or “the zoo”.

Overall, we had a blast. Doc and I both really enjoyed the whole evening and I was pleasantly surprised by how good of a time everyone there was having. There is a wonderful vibe at this place and I highly recommend it.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Starving Mom Solutions


The “Mom” diet – noun. 1.) When a mom loses weight because she forgets to eat or doesn’t manage to make food for herself because she is too busy feeding everyone else or taking care of things that interrupt the opportunity for eating. See my food ended up cold so I didn’t eat it, I was going to eat but the baby cried, or either I ate, or I showered today. 2.) When a mom gains weight because she forgets to eat all day and then in a desperate attempt to make the hunger stop, eats a ton of freezer food or fast food because she is HUNGRY.

I think it has taken me 3 years to figure out how to get off the “Mom Diet”.

Here is what has finally saved me.


The things you always keep in your house and are always on the shopping list when you are low because you will need them.

These items need to be easy to prepare, easy to clean up, “real food”, and preferably not full of the kind of calories you don’t need and instead, full of calories that will give you energy and keep you healthy because GOODNESS KNOWS you don’t have time to get sick.

So here is what “staple” foods have worked for me.


Avocados are out of season so I’m still buying the cheap little 100 calorie guacamole packs and plain organic yogurt. I buy the tub of yogurt because I use it for everything from a sour cream substitute to a dip for just about everything to a snack by itself. I also love Triscuits and multigrain chips because they are a bit heartier and fill me up with fewer chips.



I keep whole grain tortillas for quick lunch wraps or quesadillas if I’m feeling fancy. I also love to keep granola around. I mix it with peanut butter and cut up apples or yogurt.


And then there is my “salad platter”. I always have apples, dried fruit, nuts, and oil and vinegar on the table. It’s easy to grab a quick snack or dress up some spinach. I also love nut butters. In my refrigerator I have sunflower butter, peanut butter with honey, regular peanut butter, and dark chocolate almond butter (my fruit smoothie fancy-up favorite).



And then deli meats, string cheese, fiber bars, dried fruit, and nuts are always around.

Most days, I can quickly grab an apple, fiber bar, nuts, dried fruit, or a cheese stick when I need to eat something fast.

BUT, I have three main things I eat that require a plate.

1.) Apple, granola, honey, peanut butter wrap

2.) 5 layer dip on days I have leftover black beans from dinner – black beans, cheese, salsa, guacamole, and yogurt. I do this with or without chips/triskets

3.) Wrap with deli meat and cheese

There isn’t much cooking, not even a microwave involved.

So hopefully, to anyone out there fighting the “mom diet” you have a few ideas that may work for you now. You can do it! Try to stay positive and celebrate when you do well with eating healthier options and eating enough and don’t be overly critical when you cave and go to taco bell. It’s a marathon not a sprint.

Adventures in Tulsa: Tulsa Air and Space Museum


For Doc and I’s Engagemaversary (yep…that’s a thing) I gave him an Adventure Book. It looks like the one from Pixar’s Up and the first page says “Stuff I’m Going to Do”.

The pages after it list adventure activities near Tulsa for us to explore. All he has to do is pick which one he wants to do and I set it up! Some are drop by and easy, some require reservations. Some are family trips and some are clearly just the two of us.

We went on our first adventure trip last weekend.

Despite driving by it many times, we had never been to the Tulsa Air and Space Museum.

Our daughter loves planes and points them out all the time. We had been talking about going to see the airplanes for a few days. The only airplane she has seen up close is Doc’s remote control flyer that we fly behind our house sometimes.

So when we walked in to the Air and Space Museum, Little Bird gasped and dropped her jaw. It took her a while to let the size, color, and downright shiney-ness of the dozen some-odd planes suspended and parked around the room.

There were two different planes that allowed you to climb into the cockpit. In one of them, you could wiggle controls and watch the tail flaps move.



There were several interactive exhibits that Little Bird loved.


One of my favorite parts of this museum actually involved the staff. They are so well educated on the role that Tulsa has had in the aerospace industry. I had no idea that pieces of space shuttles were built here.


We spent two solid hours at the museum, which I thought was impressive considering that it was not an incredibly large museum. They do have a planetarium and the shows are included in your admission price.Had we called and checked planetarium schedules we would have stayed for a show. Our timing for when our daughter became tired sort of stunk. She was pretty well done about 45 minutes before the show we wanted to see at the planetarium started. It would have been nice to have timed our visit to place the show in the middle of our time there to break up the “museum”ing.

Still, we had quite a bit of fun. Not a bad first adventure!



Next up: "Post Oak Canopy Tour” Zip Lining in Tulsa!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Snow Day!

Ok, we had what may be the only snow that sticks in Oklahoma this winter yesterday.
I have no shame in admitting that I used my daughter saying that her tummy hurt once to call her school and say she was sick and couldn’t come.
I called her in sick because I wanted the snow day.
I bought these awesome snow day books a while back and I wanted to use them.
The Secret Life of a Snowflake is amazing. It is one of the best books I as an adult have read on snowflakes. I learned a lot and the pictures are amazing. Did I mention it’s non-fiction and written by a physicist.
The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up-Close Look at the Art and Science of Snowflakes One of the facts from the book was that Snowflakes all have six sides. So we took construction paper and I put a big dot to be the center of the snowflake, then six smaller dots around it. My daughter connected the middle dot to each of the outside dots and then we used glitter to go over the line.  Of course, she wanted to glue gems on it too.

Our other project was my favorite. First I used paint and a sharpee to quickly create a picture that looked like our backyard. Then Little Bird sat down next to our back window and we talked about where the snow was outside. We noticed it on the tree and on top of the play house and all on the ground. I then gave her white paint and she painted the snow on the picture where she saw it outside.
We played in our yards (front and back) as well as with my parents and sister over at their house. It was completely worth playing hooky.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stop the Fight

I am so tired of the Stay-At-Home Mom vs. Working Mom fight. So I’m speaking my peace and blocking any friends who post things that perpetuate it.

Being a parent is hard. Having an entire person or even persons you are responsible for completely is terrifying and scary and hard work.

If you stay at home, then it’s a 24/7 no real break from constant mommy-ing with infants, and then a constant schedule managing endurance challenge when you end up with children in school who have parties and after-school activities and friends over and homework. That’s rough. You also have to deal with criticism from people who are judgmental of your choice or think that staying home all the time is easy. It’s hard.

If you work, you go to work all day and then when you are home and tired from work you have to make the few hours with your kiddo really count. You have to keep tabs on what is going on at their child care center, make sure you picked a really good fitting one to start with, try to manage your sick days appropriately, and still try to live up to “mommy standards” while you are working a full time job. You may have to put up with people saying you are selfish for wanting a career or “why have kids at all if you’re going to let someone else raise them” or “I’m sure you’d stay home if you could”. It’s hard.

Parenting is hard.

I was pretty much always a working mom. By choice. I like working. I love my profession. I feel called to it and every day I worked as a teacher I felt like I made a huge difference that day.

I stayed home when my son was born. When I say stayed home, I mean that I became a full time nurse for my son and tried desperately not to fail my daughter at the same time. It was hard, but I felt like what I did every day was meaningful. I was keeping my son alive and creating amazing memories for our family. I was giving us all time with my son.

He died. I continued to stay home to help support my family through our grief AND…because it was too late to get a job for the year.

I put my daughter in pre-school part-time for a few months and worked on pulling myself back together while grieving when she was at school. I picked up nannying for a little boy a few months later. Now, I fully intend to go back to work full time.

It’s a choice I’m making. My life experiences are different than others and what gives me meaning in life is different. My daughter loves school. She’d be in it if I was working or at home (as seen this year, when I stayed home AND sent my daughter to school). I’ve given real thought to how I’d like to live my life. This is it. I’m really excited about going back to work. I love who I am as a working mom. I feel empowered and I feel like I cherish the time I have with my daughter when I’m not with her 24/7. It’s good for our relationship.

Now that said…there are very few people that have had the same life experiences as me….in fact, exactly zero have had the exact same. So what makes me happy and where I do well and thrive probably won’t fit everyone else.

I have several stay at home friends who feel completely fulfilled in their role. That is AMAZING! …and that is the point!

I have lots of working mom friends. They love working. That is AMAZING! and also the POINT!
We all have off days. Parenting is HARD regardless so we all need to vent. It doesn’t mean one way is better or harder than the other. Pick the way that is right for you, assume others do the same, and SUPPORT EACH OTHER!

Give each other helpful hints, don’t judge when someone didn’t bring a pinterest perfect party favor, don’t judge when someone’s kid has an off day, don’t judge when someone complains because that day was hard.

Offer some nice words of encouragement, tell them how good they look, and offer to have a play date or zoo trip or coffee.

Be. Nice.