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Friday 27 February 2015

52 Weeks: Week 8

Week 8: Gelato

About once a week I take the girls out for an afternoon treat after school. Since we live in sunny California the weather is usually warm enough for frozen treats - actually, even when it's not warm enough we still go out for frozen treats! Sometimes we'll get frozen yogurt or ice cream, but more often than not we'll get gelato.

We're lucky to have three good gelato stores on Shattuck Avenue all within easy walking distance of Ava's school so we try to mix it up a little. Caravaggio (1797 Shattuck Ave) is the closest to school and has a great range of flavors that the kids love so we tend to go there the most often. They also make delicious affogatos which is great when I need an afternoon caffeine hit! 

Almare (2170 Shattuck Ave) is located in Downtown Berkeley close to the BART station. We tend to go here when we're on our way to BART, the library or after school optometrist appointments. Almare has a great range of authentic Italian gelato flavors plus they make Italian hot chocolate which is a great Winter treat.

Our other favorite gelato store, and where we went this week, is Lush Gelato (1511 Shattuck Ave) in the Gourmet Ghetto. Lush is located in Epicurious Garden which is kind of like a small upscale food court. The seating is located outside over three levels of decked garden space. The girls like coming here because it's lovely to sit outside next to the water feature. Lush features the most gourmet flavors out of these three gelato stores. The flavors are often better suited to an adult palate and at times can seem quite experimental. They're all delicious but the kids find it best to stick to the simple flavors like strawberry or chocolate. Or in Ava's case this week, donut flavor! Imagine a glazed donut churned into gelato. Pretty tasty. Lola always, and I mean always, goes for strawberry no matter which store we go to. She'll often taste test another flavor but ultimately goes back to her favorite when it comes time to choose. Poor Mathilde doesn't get her own gelato yet - although she desperately wants it! She shares a little of mine as long as I don't go for one of the more grown up flavors (ie. the ones with alcohol!). 

Here's a look at this week's after school gelato pit stop... 

Thursday 26 February 2015

Ten Months Old

Ten months. We've hit double digits. Before we know it we'll be celebrating Mathilde's first birthday. I still can't believe my little baby will be one year old in just two months. I am in total denial!

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Lunar New Year in Berkeley

This weekend we celebrated the Lunar New Year with a festival here in Berkeley.

The Fourth Street shopping district came alive with the the sounds of traditional Chinese music, the color of ornate dancing lions and the excitement of the crowds.

Friday 20 February 2015

Popcorn Ice Cream Cones

Ava's recent birthday party at Fenton's Creamery was a first for me. It was the first time that we hosted a party at a fully catered venue. All of the food, entertainment and decorations came part and parcel with the booking. Apart from the invites, cake and party favors there was nothing else I needed to do. I kind of felt a little lost. Usually I'd spend hours scouring through Pinterest for ideas for party food, party games, party hats, photo booth backdrops... This time there was none of that.

There may not have been much for me to prepare for Ava's party but there certainly was for Lola's ice cream themed birthday back in October. In fact, I made so many ice cream themed goodies that I never got around to sharing them all with you! So before Ava's ice cream party becomes a distant memory like Lola's, let's have a look at some of the ice cream treats I made back in October. Same theme, different party.

First up I'm sharing this super easy recipe for Popcorn Ice Cream Cones. Think Rice Krispie Treats made with popcorn instead of Rice Krispies shoved into an ice cream cone and covered with sprinkles. Actually, that's pretty much it! So easy they almost don't need a recipe, but I'll give you one anyway.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

52 Weeks: Week 7

Week 7: Fairyland

This past weekend was a four day one for Ava with Friday and Monday off school for Presidents Day. It was also some of the warmest and sunniest weather we've had all year. We made the most of the beautiful weather (and no school) by spending much of the long weekend outdoors.

On Saturday Kim took to the water and went sailing on the Bay with a friend, while the girls and I headed to one of their favorite places: Children's Fairyland in Oakland.

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Valentine Heart Sun Catchers

Last Friday Ava had the day off school so we took it as an opportunity to do a little decorating for Valentine's Day. We made red and pink, sparkly heart shaped sun catchers for our windows. They are super simple to make but look really effective.

Here's a look at how we made our heart sun catchers...

Saturday 14 February 2015

Valentine, You're a Catch!

This year Ava's class at school was not allowed to give out sweets for Valentine's Day.

I had planned for Ava to give out marshmallows just like Lola but seeing as they contain "just a little" sugar(!) we had to go with another idea. Ava was still keen to give out something to eat so we decided to go with good old Goldfish crackers.

Ava couldn't just give out a bag of Goldfish though. There needed to be a card with a cheesy saying to go with it. I'm all about the cheese when it comes to Valentine's Day!

So Ava posed for photos pretending to hold a bag of fish, I added a cheesy saying in photoshop, printed out the cards, added an actual bag of fish (well, Goldfish crackers) and, voila.. Valentines done.

Here's a look...

Squishy Marshmallow Hugs for Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

This year I had hoped to share the valentines that the girls gave out at school a little earlier as inspiration, but that didn't happen! Inspiration for next year, perhaps. I have a couple of Valentine's Day posts coming today but to start off with, here's a look at what Lola gave out to her preschool friends...

Lola was keen to give out something sweet. She was also keen to be my little helper in the kitchen. I had originally planned to make heart shaped gummies but only after I'd purchased all of the ingredients did I realize that they needed to be kept refrigerated. Not the best idea for school perhaps! With a huge box of gelatin on hand I looked into other ideas and came across recipes for marshmallows. Soft, squishy, sweet - perfect for Valentine's Day!


Marshmallows are surprisingly easy to make and contain only a few ingredients. Lola and I made up a couple of batches, I designed a simple bag topper, she wrote out the names and I bagged the goodies. All done within one afternoon. Easy peasy.

Below is the recipe that we used as well as a printable for the bag topper...

Friday 13 February 2015

52 Weeks: Week 6

Week 6: Silhouettes

Last Sunday the girls had portraits made by silhouette artist Karl Johnson of Cut Arts.

Ava and Lola had silhouette portraits made by Karl almost three years ago and when I learned that he was going to be in town again I jumped at the chance to get updated portraits. Plus one for Mathilde who wasn't around back then! You can see our original portraits here.

Wednesday 11 February 2015

A Birthday Party at Fenton's

This Sunday just past Ava celebrated her birthday with a small group of friends at Fenton's Creamery in Oakland. We hadn't been to Fenton's before but it's such a nice place that it kind of suited saving it for a special occasion. And what could be more special than a birthday party? 

As part of Ava's birthday party we went on the behind the scenes Arctic Tour. The kids, all wearing their "soda jerk" hats learned all about the history of Fenton's, watched how the whipped cream for sundaes is made, watched how the ice cream is made, felt the freezing cold conditions in the ice cream freezer, and, most importantly, tasted freshly made cookies and cream ice cream.

Here's a look at the tour...

Saturday 7 February 2015

Another Ice Cream Party

This week Ava turned eight years old. I still can't believe how fast my kids are growing up - and I don't even want to think about how fast this means I'm getting old!

To celebrate Ava's birthday we'll be having a party with some of her school friends at Fenton's Creamery in Oakland this Sunday. Fenton's is an absolute East Bay institution but we're yet to make it there. Sometimes not owning a car has its downsides!

As Ava's party will be at an ice cream parlor it seemed only fitting to go with an ice cream theme for the invitations. Lola celebrated her fourth birthday with an ice cream party only three and a half months ago so it did feel a little odd rehashing the same theme but I made sure to keep things very different. Lola's party invitations featured popsicles (you can see them here) so for Ava's I drew ice cream in a cone topped with chocolate sauce and a cherry. It goes perfectly with the make your own sundae bar the kids will be treated to at the party.

Thursday 5 February 2015

52 Weeks: Week 5

Week 5: Happy Birthday Ava!

This week Ava turned eight! I can't believe I have an eight year old.

We always let the girls choose where they'd like to go for dinner on their birthday. Usually Ava chooses the sushi restaurant across the road from our apartment which makes things really easy. This year she was desperate to go to Bubba Gump at Pier 39. As her birthday fell on a school day going to Bubba Gump for dinner was going to be a little tricky. It would've been really late by the time we finished dinner, caught the street car back to Embarcadero Station and then caught BART back to Berkeley. So instead we celebrated Ava's birthday a little early with a birthday lunch at Bubba Gump on Sunday. Much easier!

After lunch the girls were treated to a ride on the carousel before checking out the sea lions. We stayed until the sun set before heading home.

Here's a look at our afternoon out for Ava's birthday...

Tuesday 3 February 2015

Keith Haring: The Political Line

It's been pretty colorful here on Little Hiccups lately and today's post is no exception.

A few weekends back I visited the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park to see The Political Line, an exhibition of Keith Haring's work.

Keith Haring (1958 - 1990) rose to fame in 1980s New York with his bold urban street culture and graffiti style artwork. Haring's work was often political in nature, touching on issues that concerned the artist including nuclear proliferation, racial inequality, the excesses of capitalism, environmental degradation, and AIDS awareness. 

During his brief but intense career Haring's work was displayed in more than 100 group and solo exhibitions. He also devoted much of his time to creating public artworks in dozens of cities worldwide, many of which were created for charities, hospitals, day care centers and orphanages. Haring's life was cut short when he succumbed to an AIDS related illness at the young age of thirty one in 1990. Despite such a relatively short career, Haring's work has left a lasting impression on a generation of artists and the public.

The Political Line showcases more than one hundred and thirty artworks including large scale paintings on canvases and tarpaulins, sculptures and subway drawings. Several pieces have not been published or on public view since Haring's death in 1990.

Let's take a look at some of the exhibition...

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