Everyday Reading

October 24, 2014

London Adventures: The London Eye

When I studied abroad in London back in 2006, I didn't visit the London Eye.

And I've regretted it ever since.

Almost the moment we decided to go to London instead of Barcelona, I told Bart that the London Eye was on my must-do list.

I also helped things along by showing it to Ella, who was immediately taken with the idea and has been asking for about two months when we were going.

We tried two weeks ago on a Monday morning, but right after we picked up our tickets, they shut it down for some reason (possibly due to the torrential rain).

On Monday, we headed out again, and this time the day was sunny and clear, and I kept telling Bart, "I'm so happy it worked out to go today instead." The views were spectacular.

I worried the girls would be bored, but they absolutely loved it.

Ani especially enjoyed looking out over the bridges and saying "bus! bus!" every time one of those iconic red double-deckers drove across.

I also loved that there were tablets mounted around the capsules so you could see what buildings and landmarks you were looking at.

There's also a 4-D movie included with the ticket price - it's about four minutes long and Ella was totally enraptured by the 3-D glasses and the fact that the dragon in the show "sneezed" on her (there was fog, mist, and wind, hence the 4-D title).

When we were high above London, the girls spotted the playground right below the eye, so as soon as we got off and collected our stroller, we headed over there.

It was the Jubilee Gardens, in commemoration of the Queen's Jubilee a couple of years ago, and they are gorgeous.

The playground is fantastic (the playgrounds here are way better than U.S. ones which I think are designed to be so safe that they are dull as dirt) and we spent nearly an hour there.

It didn't hurt that the sun was shining, the trees were all sorts of ridiculous beautiful fall colors, and the London Eye was soaring just above us. 

Eventually, everyone was getting pretty hungry and lunchtime was upon us, so we walked across the bridge toward Big Ben and Parliament and walked up to Soho for some Korean food at BiBimBap

Ella conked out in the stroller just before we arrived and slept through nearly all the lunch, so as we walked back home, we stopped at Pret to buy her a raisin bun. And then stopped ten minutes later at Caffe Nero to buy her a muffin. I guess she wasn't kidding about being hungry. 

It was basically the most delightful day ever (I could get really used to Bart only doing a three-day week every week), and I'm so delighted that after eight years of waiting to ride the London Eye, I've finally done it. 

October 22, 2014

Jacket Weather

When we were in Las Vegas and then Phoenix this summer, I pretty much couldn't stop dreaming about being able to wear a jacket or sweater once we got to Europe.

And, indeed, all of my dreams have come true here.

The weather has been remarkably nice for the past two months, with tons of beautiful, clear days, and temperatures just right for wearing jeans and a jacket pretty much every single day.

The girls both have real coats, but we haven't broken them out yet. It's seriously been the most beautiful fall.

Shirt: Old Navy // Jeans: c/o ShopBop
Jacket: Kohl's (similar on the high end and cheap low-end; guess which one mine falls on)
Shoes: Kohl's // Sunglasses: Similar

Of course, last night, on our way home from a BBC Radio taping (if you're in London, this is a really fun thing to do, and you can request free tickets to a taping!), it was preeeeeetty chilly, and I was wearing tights, boots, a sweater, and a coat and scarf, so the last of the warm days may be slipping away.

But I'm pretty sure I won't be able to break the habit of wearing my sunglasses everywhere, even when the sun is nowhere to be seen. I feel super American when I look around and realize I'm the only person out in public wearing a pair.

October 21, 2014

Easy Rice Pudding

You know what I am very lousy at?

Figuring out how much rice to make for a meal.

Either we're scraping the pan for the last bits or I'm packing up a huge container with no sauce to go with it after dinner.

Of course, it makes me feel better that take-out places seem to be equally bad. Sometimes we have twice as much rice as we need and other times we get half a cup to go with our two entrees.

Over the summer, I started making rice pudding with my leftover rice. The girls (and, let's be fair, me) love it for an afternoon snack, it's super easy, and it keeps my rice overages from going bad in the back of the fridge.

Also, that one time when I had some cream to use up in a hurry and used that instead of some of the milk? That was a good time.

Easy Rice Pudding
(Adapted from All Recipes

1 1/2 cups cooked rice
2 cups milk, divided
1 egg
1/3 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a saucepan, combine the rice and 1 1/2 cups milk together and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the milk is mostly absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup milk, the egg, and the white sugar.

Pour the mixture into the rice on the stove and stir, letting it cook, for a few minutes, until it has thickened. Add the brown sugar and cook another minute or two, stirring to keep from burning on the bottom.

Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla, and cinnamon. Let sit for about 10 minutes to thicken up and serve warm, or let cool completely in the fridge.


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