Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Always Potterheads Festival 2017

It's no secret that I'm a huge Potterhead (a fan of all things Harry Potter), so when I had the choice of attending a fun, great cause fundraiser party or hit the city up to regale the glory of Potterheads like me, I went for the obviously selfish choice, which ended up being much more fun for me! ME ME ME! 

The weather was pretty much freezing with a subzero wind chill, but the line to get in was wrapped all around the huge building like a scarf, weaved out of wizarding robes and house colored scarves. Hagrid headed up the front of the line along his his family members, two of which we shared a table with at the Quidditch Team Fundraiser Ball last December! Small world!

There were food trucks set up outside with their fun menus carefully laid out, luring us in with the warm scents of dragon flesh on a stick and hot butterbeers.

When we finally got inside, the place was AMAZING. The house cup contest hadn't officially started yet, but by the time we left, those cups were filled to the brim with cash. I'm not sure which house won, but at any rate, it was going to be a close call. 

The first thing we did was to get in the line for wands. Evan had his heart set on getting a wand, if nothing else. (But there was a list, if course, of things he "NEEDED" to find while there in Diagon Alley)
Emma & I shopped at a couple booths while the boys held our spot in line. I ended up with a crochet Mandrake-in-a-pot to keep Cactus Jack company in the rainbow room, and we caught up with the guys just as they purchased their wands. 

Evan decided on Ron's wand while John went for the Elder Wand. They promptly took them out of their silky boxes and began having a duel right there in the middle of Diagon Alley, which was probably a good choice, seeing as how within minutes, it was too crowded to even walk around!

Another stop we made was at the broomsticks shop, where Evan carefully and sloooowwwwly chose the best broomstick in the lot. It had to be green. It had to be a certain size. It had to not be too straight or too crooked. It had to have the right bristles. (The muggle seen here is actually removing a couple not-right bristles from the final pick.) 

Emma & I had planned on buying a sorting bathbomb. They're white, but once you put them in your bath, they reveal a color to "sort" you into your right house. BUT, when we saw these, we went a different direction. Each of these house bathbombs have a patronus charm inside! We grabbed one for each house, of course. 

After shopping the booths at Diagon Alley, we headed upstairs to the food & activities. 
The decorations were AMAZING.

We signed up for a potions-making class, and then casually strolled up to get tattooed. 
We live on the edge like that.

While Ev was getting inked, Em and I checked out the goodies at the sweet shop and the trolley. 

I ended up buying a sorting hat cookie. When we bite into it, it'll show the color of the house we're sorted into. 
Any guesses??

Isn't this the sweetest Slytherin you've ever seen?!

The house band was playing versions of Hedwig's Theme and covering other songs from Christian to Hip Hop. Pretty impressive!

The glowing cotton candy line was uber long, mostly because every 15th customer got a free wand and the cotton candy was only $3!
From this line we watched the band play, muggles and wizards heading in and out of the card reader's tent, Azkaban photos being taken, and a "sexy Harry Potter" selling photos and prints. 

That's a family four pack of Butterbeer, folks! My man knows how to party!

The Potion-Making class was fun! He got a little bottle and labelled it, filled it with potions and ingredients, and had it sealed and hung around his neck.

Then it was back down to the car, backpack bulging with wizarding gear to last us until next time!

The little wizard flew around the parking lot while we decided on what to grab from the coffee truck.

Emma went for the "Ghostly Mocha", while I couldn't pass up "Dobby's Drink", because, well, DOBBY.

Dobby's Drink turned out to be a shot glass of Cortado, which was awful-tasting, but for the experience, I drank as much as I could.

It was an AMAZING festival, and I absolutely can't wait until next year!
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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Blooming Where You Are Planted....or not.

I like winter and all, but it's kinda like my grandpa always said about fish & family - after a few days, they start to stink. (That's my grandpa for you!) I love the winter when the snow falls softly and the kids are bundled up and re-enacting Randy from A Christmas Story, taking turns saying "I can't put my arms down!" and "Just put them down when you get to school." after a few attempts at pushing them down. I love slouchy hats with big puffy balls on the top and furry boots and catching snowflakes on your tongue. But where we live, the snow doesn't come very often anymore, and we are left with the browns of the grass and naked trees and wind that rushes by so fast and so cold that it actually, seriously, HURTS your face and takes the breath right out of your mouth. And that's when I'm all "Bye, Felicia!" to winter, but she doesn't listen. She just stays here for a couple more months, whipping winds and redding noses. 
So, to fight back, I buy flowers at the flower shop and hang a few more strings of colorful happy and light a candle that smells of springtime. And I buy bulbs to force. Usually tulips or daffodils, but this year, a purple hyacinth. And today, after a couple weeks of inpatient waiting, she is awake and blooming and beautiful and fragrant!! And I'm doing a dance of "YESSSSSSS!!!" and pointing at winter outside like "Take THAT, winter!!"

And then I calm down, and stare at the hyacinth and apologize for "forcing" her to bloom earlier than nature had intended, but my GOSH she did so great, and then I think, 

this is me.

Some people will never get out of their comfort zones. They're happy and content and by gosh, we're not gonna change it. Which is all good, except there are things we are sent here to learn and do, and sometimes we have to be forced. And I am one of those people. One day God sticks me in a special vase, all balled up and introverted and happy just being safe and stagnant, and waits. And even though I don't wanna, my roots begin to grow, and I feel like this is too soon! I don't like change!, but every morning, He peeks into my vase and talks to me, and tells me i'm doing well, and I grow a little more every day, even though I may not be ready. And my leaves begin to blossom, and I'm becoming a little bolder every day, and one day, I'll bloom into a magnificent creature that I wasn't sure I ever wanted to become, and he'll take pictures of me and show his buddies and say "Isn't she MAGNIFICENT?! She was content on blooming in the springtime, but I knew she could handle the winters of life, and I loved her enough to be by her side every day until she blossomed, and just LOOK at her!"

And I'd just smile and show off my bravery and change that I never knew I had, until I was forced. 

Happy Thursday, from Heidi the Hyacinth

p.s. Thank you for all the vegetarian recipes!!! They were AWESOME additions to our menu!!
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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.
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?!? 


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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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