Friday Five - Snow Day Edition

Today's Friday Favorites are brought to you by #allthesnowdays...

When it snows in The South, everything shuts down. We don't have the equipment to deal with it (since it happens so seldom), so literally the schools and businesses close - for one inch of now.

The school closings actually started last Friday when there was a threat of ice, but Parker and I snuck out for hot chocolate and cappuccino before the temperature dropped and the ice set in. #priorities 

Monday was a holiday for MLK day, and then Tuesday and Wednesday were called as snow days... they're fun at first , y'all, but then it gets a bit stir crazy. Also, we got one inch of snow. Not enough for the really fun stuff, but pretty nonetheless. 

I busted out the macro lens and tried to capture some of the snowflakes. I had so much fun but the macro lens is no joke. The depth of field is basically nothing, so for every in-focus photo, I had about fifty blurry ones! 

So what does one do on a snow day? Well, making an ice ring bird feeder was first on our list! We just filled a bundt pan with water and sprinkled in dried orange slices, cranberries and rosemary from the garden. It froze pretty quickly and Parker thought it was so neat. 

Playing in the snow of course, though we had to limit our time outside because it was so darn cold - like eight degrees when we woke up on Wednesday morning. 

Piano practicing - Parker even had a song in his book titled Snowflakes

And game playing. I introduced Parker to Race to 100, a game I used to do with my first graders. All you need is a Hundreds Chart (print one from here), dice and place markers. Each player takes turns rolling two dice (start with one die for an easier version for younger kids). The player who rolls the two dice adds the numbers together (encourage your little one to identify the larger number, then use the dots on the other die to "count on") then moves his or her marker that many spaces on the Hundreds Chart. The first player to 100 wins! I love that this game opens the opportunity for math talk and gives hands on experience with the chart (Parker was already making observations like "our numbers are ten apart" at points during the game). 

Give me this lunch on repeat for any snow day - tomato soup and grilled cheese. Yum.

I also tried this recipe for Banana Sticky Toffee (Bread) Pudding from my current issue of Food & Wine magazine. I randomly had cream, dates, and overripe bananas so it was just meant to be! The recipe is very forgiving - I mixed up one of the steps and used a circle plan instead of whatever it called for, and also accidently added an extra quarter cup of butter - but it was still delicious! Think banana bread, but better. 

While Parker napped I worked on organizing. Each year after the holidays are over, I hole punch that year's cards and secure them with binder rings like these ones. I love being able to look over past years' cards! I'm also making a separate book of our own cards to keep for Parker. 

The back of our cards usually have a little update from the year, and it's neat to look bak through all of them. The first card in Parker's book is the Christmas card we sent when I was pregnant with him!

I also love to reread Marie Kondo's second book every January for organization inspiration. It goes over specifics of how to store items, and I took the "everything vertical" suggestion to heart when cleaning out Parker's game cabinet. It's working well!

I was also able to get a bit of blogging done! I usually skip over writing about our travels. By the time we get home from traveling, I'm usually playing catch-up and never get around to it. Or, if I do write about a vacation, I peter out half-way (I think I made it to Day 3 of our Honeymoon, haha). But for our recent London trip, I made a real effort to record every single day. I wanted us to be able to look back on the experience, but also, when I was planning London, I loved reading every bog post I could find on every single aspect. The flying, the restaurants, the attractions. So I wanted to put our take on everything out there as well. If you missed the London recaps, you can find: Day One HERE, Day Two HERE, Day Three HERE, Day Four HEREand Day Five HERE (our last full day in London, Day Six, is coming soon!).

So, who else was "snowed in" this week? 



Happy Thursday! We're coming off of what seems like weeks of snow days here in Alabama (all for precisely one inch of actual snow... welcome to The South!). I'm happy to get back into our routine again. Yesterday I told Max I felt like I didn't have anything to tether myself, and I just felt lost and aimless - we were pretty much stuck at home with much (and at times, all) of the city closed. My Junior League meetings were cancelled, I didn't gave Pure Barre or Pilates, schools were closed, the things that normally give us structure were all gone! And while it's fun for a bit, with the MLK holiday it ended up being six days of this. The one bonus (I guess?) is that Parker was sick at the beginning (and then I caught it from him), and you don't feel like you're missing out on as much if you're ill on what's already a snow day. So. Welcome Thursday, and welcome back routine! I'm linking up for the first Girl Chat of the year: Reintroductions. If you've been reading here for awhile, you're sure to already know most (or all!) of this history below. If you're new, welcome! 

I'm Amanda, a former elementary school teacher (with an M.Ed. from UC Santa Barbara), and now a stay-at-home mama! I'm wifey to super scientist Max. He's hands down the smartest person I know, and I feel like I learn something new every single day just being around him. I'm also #boymom to four-year-old Parker Campbell. He's simply the light of our lives, and I love busting out my teacher skills and pretending he's my class of one. Klein dot Co is where I blog about our adventures as a young family of three navigating our way in the Deep South - adventures, food, crafts, books, and everything in-between. Here's a look back on a bit of our history...

Max and I met on a semi-blind (!) date in Campbell, California on November 14th of 2007. At the time, I was teaching 4th grade in California's Bay Area and he was working on his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Stanford. It didn't take long before both of us were smitten 😊 Max proposed in 2008, exactly one year from the day we met - one of the happiest days of my life! Read more about the proposal here :)

2009 was a busy year for us with our wedding...

Max's graduation from Stanford...

Our dream honeymoon to Bora Bora...

...and our move to Arizona for Max's new job. After renting for a year, we bought our first home (in North Scottsdale) in 2010. We spent the next few years doing home improvements and traveling! Max was promoted at work, and I was lucky to teach a kindergarten class, two first grade classes, and one year of Music to grades K-2. Teaching was more than just my job - it was my hobby, my calling and my joy all in one! 

Summer of 2012 we announced that our family would be growing

We decided to wait until baby was born to find out the gender. Nothing will ever compare to the moment I gave birth and Max got to tell me that we had a son! Parker Campbell Klein joined our family on March 18th, 2013 - the new happiest day of my life. My "California Hippie" came out a bit during pregnancy; I refused to paint my nails or so much as take a Tylenol, and I delivered naturally without an epidural. Read all about Parker's Birth Story here

After five years in Scottsdale, Max was offered a job opportunity in Alabama! By late 2014, we were all set up in our new house in The South. I penned my thoughts about our move in 2014 here and followed up with Seasons Change, So Do Cities

We are now in our fourth year of making Alabama our Sweet Home. We've settled in quite well - Max loves his position as CTO and logs in enough business travel each year to secure Platinum status on American Airlines (which gives us all tons of perks when we fly as a family!). Parker has loved playing tee-ball, taking piano lessons, and attending pre-school. He'll begin kindergarten later this year (seriously, where does the time go?). As for me, I feel so lucky to get to spend my days being a housewife! Taking care of our home (and my boys!) is just the best thing ever. I also fit in lots of Pure Barre, Pilates, Junior League Volunteering, experimenting with new recipes, and of course, blogging! 

Thanks for stopping by! 


Family Trip to London Day 5

On Day 5, we had tickets to see The Nutcracker at the English Coliseum! When Max and I went to London in 2010, we saw Wicked in London's West End, and as soon as we booked this trip I knew I wanted to do some sort of show again. The Nutcracker with the English National Ballet was the perfect option for us. We slept in a bit that morning since we had done so much the day before (and Max was exhausted after two full days of his conference plus keeping up with everything back at the office). Parker and I were stoked to have him all to ourselves for the rest of the trip!

We hopped on the tube around 10AM and headed straight to Covent Garden Market. Similar to Borough Market, it was open-air with food and shops. 

It was awesome but freezing. While they had lots of yummy food stalls, we really wanted to eat lunch somewhere indoors so that we could warm up. We let Parker choose... cheeseburgers from Shake Shack. Yep, we traveled all the way to England to eat at a Shake Shack (I had actually never been to one and it was quite tasty!). 

The London Transport Museum was right next to the market. I snapped this photo below while we were in line for tickets - we got such the kick out of pointing out all the different names for things to Parker.

The London Transport Museum was one of the activities Max really wanted to do (he thought Parker would love it), but I originally gave it the side-eye. I thought it would just be a bunch of buses. Yawn. So I was pleasantly surprised when we took the lift up to the top floor and I realized it was a history of London transportation. This mural showed London in 1800 - look what was already there so many years ago! Amazing.

We went through different models and replicas of how the train system and metro came to be, starting from horse-drawn carriages.

Give me all the history, please.

Kids were given a stamper page and were encouraged to visit each of 13 stations for a stamp. It really made the whole experience so exciting for Parker - he was all about getting those stamps (it also helped us make sure we hit each area - so clever). 

Parker was obsessed with the working crosswalk (he loved pressing the buttons for the real ones on the street, so he got a kick out of doing this indoor one over and over). 

And even though I didn't think I'd be impressed, the buses were actually quite neat 😉

The museum boasted a collection of vintage prints:

We just had a blast there! In all the articles and blog posts I had read before planning our trip, not a single person mentioned the Transport Museum (which is part of why I was originally skeptical), but I highly recommend it if you'll be in the area!

Obligatory red phone booth photo:

On our walk to The Coliseum!

The inside was even more stunning in person! We arrived just in time to check our pram and coats and find our seats (we were lucky to score seats in the stalls).


Ready for the ballet! The London Coliseum had a strict "five years and older" rule posted on their website, but since this guy was almost five, we thought we were good. Besides, it would be his fourth time seeing The Nutcracker! He started at age one-and-a-half in Huntsville, saw it again there the next year, and we took in a Nashville viewing last year. Not doing television or screens at home has made live shows like this a real treat for him, so he's been able to sit attentively from that young age.

We caught the 2:30PM matinee performance, and were so excited to see The English National Ballet and listen to the English National Orchestra!

Both were superb!

We let Parker pick out a small nutcracker to take home as a souvenir. 

After the show, we collected our coats and I snapped this photos of the pointe shoe Christmas tree in the lobby:

From there, we basically popped out onto Trafalgar Square. There were a number of different musical ensembles playing, but we made our was down to the base of the tree to catch the Christmas carolers!

We had a ten minute walk from there into Soho for our 5:45PM dinner reservation. Why so early you ask? Well, I had my heart set on trying The Palomar, another of the Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants. However, they only take reservations on weekends, and only for seatings of 3-4 persons from 5:30PM-6:00PM, otherwise it's first-come first-served via a queue that forms before they even open at 5:30PM. Have you ever seen that Seinfeld episode with the Soup Nazi? It came to mind. So, I made reservations in October for our December dinner, and chose 5:45PM to give us plenty of time to make our way over from The Coliseum after the ballet. 

We arrived, and there was a significant line, so we hopped in the back. It was probably 5:40PM at this point, and I didn't want to actually miss our reservation time, so I walked up to the front just to see what was going on. I asked if the group at the front had reservations. They did. I asked the couple in back of them. They did. I was getting a little worried at this point as the restaurant had only been open for 10 minutes, and there was a line of people with reservations. I asked the next group of people, and they did not have reservations (and I think I may have worried them terribly after they heard that everyone in front of them did). Turns out the line went very quickly as they were still seating everyone with reservations (it's only a forty top space, plus counter area). Once we got to the front and actually walked in, it was almost 5:45PM. We listened to the couple in front of us ask for a table, and heard the hostess let them down by saying maybe they could fit them in close to 8PM. Y'all. It was crazy. I think the man offered to pay the hostess off at one point but she wasn't having any of it. When it was my turn, I'm telling you, I had Soup Nazi running through my head. I walked up and recited our name and time and waited just holding my breath (I had never been so happy to have a reservation). Turns out it's a whole different story if you have one, and we were whisked back by a friendly host who told Parker he hoped he was hungry, and they even took our coats and pram. 

The Palomar boasts food of "Modern Day Jerusalem" with influences of Southern Spain and North Africa. It's a small plates menu, so we got to sample several different dishes including Kubaneh (a traditional Jewish bread), Burnt Courgette Tzatziki (eggplant is called courgette in the U.K.), Scallops (with potatoes, corn, and bacon - top right), Chicken with Forbidden Rice & Crispy Skin (bottom right), Pork Belly Siske (with celeriac, carrot and apricot - bottom left), and Kohlrabi (with sour cream, walnuts ands schug - not shown). It was all so different and fun. You know how there are people who eat to live and people who live to eat? I'm definitely in the latter group. The scallops were cooked perfectly, the pork belly was scrumptious, the chicken skin was so tasty, and I had never had cooked kohlrabi before (I had only eaten it raw) - I was in love! We had to try the dessert, so we all shared the Choclava Chocolate Crémeux (with caramelised pecans, citrus cream & chocolate truffles). Maybe one of my favorite desserts ever. 

We headed back to The Underground with full bellies. We had intentions of visiting The National Galleries that night (they are in the same area and are open late on Friday nights), but we were beat. So, we headed back to the hotel with hopes of stopping by the next day, which would be our last full day in London! 

If you missed our other London recaps, you can find:
Day One HERE, Day Two HERE, Day Three HEREand Day Four HERE
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