Friday, February 5, 2016

Ready for Valentine

You know that with Valentine right around the corner I've been having some fun getting the decorations changed out in the house.  It is certainly time consuming and often ask myself why I put myself through changing out the decorations...but once they are up I complete forget that thought!  Then I go buy more stuff for that holiday :-)




 
I posted about a really fun heart garland made from felt here.
 
 
 
And if you want an easy Valentine treat then check these out.
 
 
You can see some of the decorations from years past here.
 
 
And my cute table setting from a couple years ago
 
 
Looking back at the older pictures just reminded me that I need to pull out those dishes!
 
Hope your week is going well my friends. 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Plans for the New Year

I know we are a good month into 2016 but I am just now sitting down to make plans for The Busy Bryant's Adventures of 2016.  I usually have done this by now but I've been a tad busy this month with Girl Scouts, work and a snow storm that had us buried in for 3 days.  Planning while the storm was going on sounds like it would have been the best time but honestly all I could do for an entire day was stare outside at the snow coming down.  Then once it was finished falling we headed outside!


 
Yes that is a kayak!


Ok, so now back to planning...I have an on going list that I keep of the places we (I) would like to visit.  I would say 95% of the places are here in Virginia.  Every now and then a place out of state ends up on my radar and I feel the need to write it down.  It seems that for each one I get to cross off the list I somehow add two in it's place.  I guess that is also what keeps us busy :-)  And with each new year I rewrite my list with all the places we want to visit minus the ones we've gotten around to.

 
Some of the things are just local places I want to try out while other things will take longer to plan and actually get around to.  And now looking at my bucket list and what I'm actually planning I realize the two lists don't really match.  I have some things I'm planning that didn't make it on the paper list...they are just on the mental list.  Visit ALL of the Virginia State Parks, run a race every month, try a new restaurant when we can...that type of thing stays on the Mental List. 
 
So far this year I am planning a trip to Hampton for a 10 mile race this month, a trip to Hungry Mother State Park also this month, a camping trip to Douthat State Park in the summer, a couple hikes, a winery trip early fall, a bike trip on the Mt. Vernon trail and a few half marathons.  My goal every year is to schedule an adventure every month.  This year I want to add in a race once a month along with the adventure.  I already know some months the adventure will be the trip for the race...win-win.  I know a lot of people that plan beach trips every year or a big family vacation once a year....we tend to go for long weekends and the occasional week long trip that allows us to visit a couple places.  That's how we roll. 
 
Anyone planning anything exciting here in Virginia?  I'd love to hear about it :-)
 
Happy planning. 
 
 


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Not Just Blue....Blue Velvet

 
I was looking for something to lend itself to my recent need for blue.  What I found was something that not only added to the blue phase but something to also satisfy my sweet tooth.   Blue velvet cupcakes :-) 

My inspiration for these cakes came from One Particular Kitchen.  The recipe can be found here.  I did get some questions as to what makes a cake "velvet" versus just straight up cake...and I still can't really put my finger on the difference.  There is cocoa, vinegar and buttermilk in the recipe.  I don't usually add those ingredients to my cakes so I imagine the combination of them has something to do with the final product.  Most of the time the velvet cake is associated with the color red.  But since I was working with a blue theme I used blue food color to get the final look. 

 
 
They turned out very moist and just the right amount of sweetness.  The icing is cream cheese.  I do think I would try these again with a butter cream frosting instead.  The cream cheese was good but just a tad rich for me. 
 
I other winter news....since I've been held up inside I decided to finally put a couple recycled jars to good use.  I used a paint pen to draw snow flakes on an old sauce jar.  Then filled it with Epson salt and a votive candle.  It makes a nice addition to our dining table.
 
 
And I can check off the Richmond Frostbite 15K.  When I singed up for the race I had no idea it would actually snow the day of the race.  I'll just call that a bonus. 

 
I'm trying to convince myself that I love winter.  It's.  NOT.  Working.  Come on Spring.
 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Winter Blues not Blahs

I have to admit I am suffering from a terrible case of the winter blues...and by winter blues I don't mean blahs...I mean I'm seeing blue, eating blue, dressing blue.  I think I'll call this my Blue Period.  It's January, it's cold outside, I would even say it's slightly dreary.  So a bright pop of blue, the shimmer of silver, the fresh white of a winter snow...all have me happy to get out of bed in the mornings. 

Of course the seasonal tree is all blues, silvers and whites


Something fun for the kitchen

Blues and teals to set the table


I'm pretty sure if I buy any more converse my hubby will have a baby cow


I have girls coming over next week for Girl Scouts and have an idea of making some blue cupcakes with white icing.  I might even try out my new Kitchen Aid Mixer.  If they come out ok I might share them next week.  Last week I was feeling crafty and wanted to try making a skirt for the littlest.  The blue/winter theme played heavily into it.




I have never sewn a skirt so I was a little hesitant to get started.  But I found this tutorial on Pinterest and it was so easy I made a couple in just a couple hours.  You can find the tutorial at Dana Made It.


 
 
This weekend we have a few fun things on tap.  I'll be doing the Frostbite 15K in Richmond.  It will be a new race for me but I'm trying to embrace all the glory of this winter.  I just hope it doesn't live up to it's name!  There is also a newish brewery in Richmond we might check out.  I don't know about you but I'm not going to let the winter blahs get me :-)




Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Happy New Year and a First Day Hike


Happiest of New Years to you!  We are just getting settled back in from a quick New Year/Birthday trip.  I got the wild idea that since we've never brought in the New Year at the beach it would be the perfect year to mark that off the list.  Plus it was my birthday and everyone knows that if it's your birthday you get to pick where/what you do :-) 

Our nearest beach is Virginia Beach-about 2 hours away.  With all the kids in tow we headed East and in no time found sand, waves and a boardwalk still decorated for Christmas.










 
Three miles worth of the boardwalk is decorated with lights.  At night you can drive on the boardwalk to take in the full affect.  We did that on a visit a few year ago. 
 
 
We had a great dinner and played board games until later in the night.  Then headed inland just a smidge to actually bring in the New Year.


Laser show

Virginia Beach puts on a big celebration including a laser show, live music, a ball drop and fire works.  Last Night on the Town. 

Last Night on the Town






Everyone but Emma managed to make it to the new year awake and standing.  It was a fun night celebrating with family....and of course a few thousand strangers :-)
 
The next morning we continued a Bryant Family tradition with a First Day Hike.  Since we were at the beach we visited First Landing State Park for our hike. 
 
Bald Cypress Trail





 
I have been here countless times.  We have camped here, biked here, stayed on the sandy beach for hours here....but I have never hiked here.  In fact I have never been over to the hiking trails.  Can I just tell you that it was awesome!  First off the weather in the area had been raining for days, if not weeks.  The day of our hike the rain stopped and for a brief minute the sun actually came out.  Secondly I love swampy areas with a boardwalk.  Weird I know but I LOVE it.  There are plenty of boardwalks over swampy land here.  As an added bonus this is one of the few areas in Virginia that grows Spanish moss.  I was in heaven.  Third...my family was all together.  With Tommy off at college and working we don't often get everyone together as much as I would like. 
 
 
Now we are home and getting back into the routine of work, dance classes, scouting and crafting.  I hope that you all are enjoying the New Year.  May you and your family share many bright blessings.