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Posts Tagged ‘Mondays are for Dreaming’

Armchair Adventures: Julie and Julia

May 4th, 2010 by bsmith | 4 Comments | Filed in Mondays are for Dreaming, Uncategorized

I will confess yesterday was the classic terrible, horrible, no good ,very bad day.  I decided to take the tests for both my classes on the same night.  So I spent most of the day studying and reading, only to find when I got to class, that the key points I thought I knew so well had just flown from my brain and the 20 point question was on something that I didn’t quite understand from last semester.

I didn’t feel like I was a stellar mom either.  My littest guy had multiple tantrums, I made the mistake of asking his preschool director for parenting advice.  She gave me an answer that made sense for any ordinary kid, but my gut tells me that it won’t make sense for this particular kid, so I ended up still confused and angry that I had revealed my parental incompetence.

When I got home I turned to Netflix to find something to escape my troubles, usually a fruitless endeavor.  Then I came upon it…Julie and Julia.  I had heard a little bit about the movie, starred Meryl Streep and Amy Adams,  directed by Nora Ephron, what did I have to lose?  What hadn’t clicked for me is this is a movie about blogging and travel.

 A few minutes into the movie the Ah Ha moments started coming fast and furious.  Both characters spoke to me.  I appreciated Julie’s vunerability, her attempt to learn how to focus (also my quest), and her insecurity as she wondered if anyone was listening to what she was writing…well are you? 

Like Julia Child, I am learning more about where my passion lies and how I can pursue it.  I was inspired by the fearlessness with which Julia Child approached her life and her career.  I think that my approach is characterized by timidness and that’s something I need to try harder to overcome.  I’m heading to a blogger Mom’s Night Out on Thursday, and I’ve been desperately trying to find a friend or neighbor to go with some so I don’t have to approach that crowd alone.  Hopefully Julia’s spirit will embolden me to just march in, start introducing myself, and  passing out business cards. 

 Jared, my littlest guy told me this morning, “Mom, I’m so glad you’re a blogger so you don’t have to go to work.”  Funny how the little person in my life can remind me of my ultimate goal, carve a place for myself as a writer and a business person so I can be there at 2:30 when the kids come home from school and spend the summer days at the beach or at LEGOLAND.

The other thing that was wonderful about this movie is that it reveals to us how Julia Child fell in love with France.  This woman’s passion for the food and people of France has inspired me to dream of dining in Paris and taking in the Louvre.  A few years ago I read an article about a  bicycling  tour  through Provence.  Well, I would need to learn how to ride a bicycle…but wouldn’t the adventure be worth it?

It was a very powerful experience watching a movie about a person falling in love with a country, and it reminded me of how my visits to Latin America have transformed me as well.  Perhaps in my journey of self exploration it’s time to get back to that.  I’m wondering if food would be a way to reconnect.  Perhaps its time to learn how to make crispy Venezuelan arepas and Argentinan empanadas de choclo.   I would love to learn to make those gorgeous pastas  a la Roquefort.  Don’t get me started on the ice cream…we may be in Buenos Aires this December and the ice cream store is the first place I will be heading with my kids.  I have never tasted ice cream like that anywhere else in the world.

I may go on to read the book or I may not.  I did a little online research and the real Julie Powell is very different from her idealized movie counterpart.  Just as Julie enjoys the myth of  Julia Child, but is challenged by the real life person, I prefer to hang out with the idealized blogger and chef for a while before exploring the grittier side of her rise to fame.  I do, however think I’ll pick up a copy of My Life in France and enjoy Julia Child’s french adventures.

If you are interested in joining me on this armchair adventure here are some suggestions:

My Life in France (Movie Tie-In Edition) (Random House Movie Tie-In Books)

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen

Julie & Julia

Although it’s not Monday, I am including this post in The Mother of All Trips  Mondays Are For Dreaming blog roundup.  I hope it inspires other travelers and bloggers to do some dreaming of their own!

Happy Trails,



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Mondays are For Dreaming: Where to this Thanksgiving?

August 3rd, 2009 by bsmith | 5 Comments | Filed in Mondays are for Dreaming, Uncategorized

My husband had the chance to stay at Holiday Inns this summer for a number of nights for work.  This summer they are running a fabulous promotion, for every two night stay you  and get a third night free before December 26th.  The beauty of this promotion is that you can stay at any IC  Hotel Group Hotel for free, not just a Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express.  You can even stay internationally!  As a consequence we have spent too much time thinking about travel at our house.

Should we take a local road trip to Tahoe or San Francisco?  Should we get away somewhere warm and exotic?  Should we take the leap into international travel with our three young children?  The possiblilities are endless as are the opportunities to spend money.  We need to be careful, that our “free hotel rooms” don’t lead to a trip that breaks the budget.

We toyed with the idea of Costa Rica (definately my first choice!) or perhaps a fun island like, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, or Puerto Rico.   So far it looks like we may be settling on Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  They have a Presidente Resort there. We won’t be spending to0 much time in a plane, and I’ll get to practice my Spanish :) .  Now comes the hard part: finding affordable plane tickets, researching fun things to do, not going too crazy with expensive activities, and of course making sure that our trip doesn’t trigger any hotel black out dates.

If all goes well, we may be swimming with the dolphins and boogie boarding at the beach on Turkey Day.  Funny, my kids have told me that they would rather be skiing.  Still, I have no doubt they will enjoy our Mexican adventure.

Has anyone been to Puerto Vallarta with kids?  I would love to hear about it!

Happy Trails,



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Dreaming of A San Antonio Roadtrip

June 8th, 2009 by bsmith | 4 Comments | Filed in Mondays are for Dreaming, Road Trips

My husband may be heading to San Antonio business at the end of the month, and suggested we bring the family.  Well,  to be precise he suggested that I bring the family…to San Antonio by car and meet him there.  He would travel by plane due to work constraints. 

Being an adventurous sort of person I almost went for it.  My kids love to explore new places and stay in hotel rooms.  We miss Ken when he travels, and it would be fun to spend the evenings with him exploring San Antonio.  Then I checked the length of the trip from San Diego, California.  The journey would be 1,8304 miles and 18 hours of driving!!!  This would be two days of nine-10 hours drives with minimal stops and no time to explore wherever we crashed for the night.  With three kids ages 4, 5, and 10 that promised to be a driving purgatory.  I don’t think that make enough DVD’s and CD’s and Starbucks Frappuccinos to help me survive such a drive.

So today, instead of planning a San Antonio roadtrip, I’m dreaming of one.   The following are some of the fun family adventures that would await us. 

We would be exploring the Natural Bridge Caverns  by taking a cavern tour or doing some gem mining.  Justin has just finished up a study of California History and my great grandfather was a gold miner so this would be a particularly exciting activity. (Photos courtesy of the Natural Bridge Caverns Media Packet)



We would pay a visit to the Alamo.  (Admission is free.) Justin would love learning more about this historic  battle. and the colorful characters who participated in it.  It would also be fun to compare this Texas mission to the Calfornia Missions we have already explored.

The Smith family are suckers for good old fashioned amusement parks so a visit to Kiddie Park would also be on our list.  Billed as “America’s Oldest Children’s Amusement Park” (Since the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk was founded in 1907, I don’t know if that’s exactly accurate) this park promises plenty of vintage fun.  A sucker for a good bargain, I would be sure to visit on Wednesday when the offer unlimited rides for $7.50.

The San Antonio Zoo also caught my eye.  Apparently parent’s magazine thinks it’s one of the best in America.

There you have it, the roadtrip that I wish I was brave enough to take this summer.   If you want to see someother dreams or share one of your own, visit my friend Mara at The Mother of All Trips .  Her Mondays are for Dreaming feature is a delightful way to share your dreams of travel adventure.

Happy Trails,



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Mondays are for Dreaming: The Perfect Camping Trip

May 25th, 2009 by bsmith | 5 Comments | Filed in Mondays are for Dreaming, Scouting, Smith Family Misadventures

Ok, I screwed up.  I was trying to post a comment on the Mother of All Trip’s blog and ended up  entering the “Mondays are For Dreaming” blog round up instead.  Oh well, it gives me a chance to show off my cute kid pictures from this weekend.

I am dreaming of the perfect camping trip.  Somewhere far away and wooded.  It should include a lake  for canoeing and fishing, flush toilets and showers, a campsite and trails that allow dogs, lots of trails to explore, and plenty of boulders to climb on. 

 On this perfect trip I  would cook healthy gourmet meals and the whole family would eat them cheerfully.  The kids would entertain themselves effortlessly with twigs and dirt.  Someone would watch the other kids so I could go on stress free jaunts with each one individually.  Perhaps I would be able to squeeze in a solo sunrise hike.  I would have remembered everything including socks for each member of the family and tent poles!  Oh, and every kid would eagerly pose for pictures with a perfect smile.

OK, that’s my dream camping experience.  Now on to what happened this weekend:

Here’s what we ate:


Destiny's Healthy Dinner-S'mores Followed by Pizza

Destiny's Other Dinner Courtesy of a Mom Who Brought Healthy Food

Destiny's Other Dinner Courtesy of a Mom Who Brought Healthy Food

 Here’s where we slept:

I Forget the Tent Poles for the Big Tent So Mom and the Kids Squooshed into this Tent.  Dad Slept Outside Under the Stars.

One Small Tent for Five People

 (I forgot the tent poles so four of us squeezed into one small 3 man tent. Daddy slept under the stars.)

Here’s how much my son liked posing for pictures:
Justin's Grumpy Face

Justin's Grumpy Face

 Seriously,  we enjoyed our Mataguay adventure, and I look forward to sharing it’s beauty with you in a future Photo Friday Post.

Happy Trails,


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