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Bucket List Item #26: Practice Calligraphy

One of my best friends Chelsea has always had beautiful penmanship and practiced calligraphy years ago. She’d send mail with the fanciest addresses on them and it was a skill I admired.

When we were doing some of the DIY decor for our wedding in the summer of 2021, Chelsea drove up from Salt Lake City to hang out for the weekend. While she was here, I asked if she would write on name on all of our party favors. I tried to recreate her pretty letters myself but they just looked so amateur in comparison. Calligraphy is definitely a skill that takes some practice!

Last year, Zeb bought me some Calligraphy workbooks and pens so that I could have some guided practice. Since I had these new fun and beautiful resources, I wanted to make sure they had a place on my bucket list so that I made sure to use them!

Switching gears – though I promise I will relate these two topics soon – last September, I joined a “mom group” called MOPs. It’s an international organization with chapters all over, and my local Boise chapter has 100 women with a waiting list for more. MOPs stands for Moms of Preschoolers, though you can join as soon as you are expecting and stay until your last child turns 5 years old. I joined because my good friend Hayley speaks really highly of it and has met almost all of her friends through the program. As someone who is always looking for other girls to connect with, I was happy to see what it had to offer and meet other local moms around my age. :)

Many of the moms in my chapter have several kids and have been in the program for years. They provide an incredible brunch spread of homemade dishes on our biweekly Friday meetings, from quiches to crockpot oatmeals, banana breads, fruit salads, and even mini avocado toasts. You are assigned a “table” that you sit with for the entire year; so even though there are 99 other women, you always sit with the same 9. That way you can get to know each other and continue to build relationships and trust and conversation.

Since it’s all been my first time experiencing this program, I did not even think to bring a little Christmas gift for my table when our December meeting came around. I felt super lame arriving empty-handed when I saw my fellow table-mates bring cute little baked goods, homemade crafts and other sweet little gifts. I made a mental note to bring something for everyone on the next holiday – Valentine’s Day!

Here’s where my two topics combine :) I used my “Practice Calligraphy” task to write out little Valentine tags for every mom at my table to attach with their little Valentine’s Day gift.

I found these really cute earring sets online and got a pack of girlie stickers. I cut out some tags, one for each friend. I tried out different calligraphy fonts from my workbook for their names. I did have to throw away a handful of tags because the letters looked too funky or they just didn’t end up in a straight line. I have a newfound respect for calligraphers because it’s not as easy as it looks!

When I had a tag for everyone that I felt looked decent enough, I used a hole punch and then threaded a ribbon through the tag as well as the earring cardboard. I added a valentine sticker to the back and curled the ribbon tails. Voila! A cute little table gift and a perfect excuse to try my hand (haha pun intended) at calligraphy ;) It was a fun little activity while my daughter was taking her afternoon nap, and I’ll need to make sure I breakout the pen set for all my future gifts, cards, and tags!

I’m really impressed with how well-organized the MOPs program is. The schedule and email communications are always timely, professional, but personable. There is FREE childcare for babies through 5-year-olds. Each table takes turns providing a giant brunch and coffee spread for the group. There are scheduled Mom’s Nights Out and Play Dates every month. There is a “giving table” to bring in any children’s clothing and toys you want to donate; fellow attendees have first dibs to take anything they want from the giving table, and everything else is taken to a donation facility. MOPs headquarters also has a really well put-together magazine that is automatically sent to members, as well as a podcast with all kinds of topics from budgeting, marriage, decluttering, and discipline. It is a Christian-based organization and I’m very open about the fact that I am not a religious person and I do not attend church; I respect people’s faith and beliefs but I am primarily involved with this group for connection to other women in my community that are also wives and moms to young babes.

My calligraphy is not professional looking, but I got in a little practice and I’ll keep working at it.

Time to get to bed because I have a BIG day tomorrow that I will share with you!

Bucket List Item #20: Try Caviar

I’m not exactly sure what inspired me to add this to my bucket list, other than maybe it sounded like something elegant and unique for the year I end my twenties.

What is caviar? It is a salt-cured fish egg from sturgeon, which we have locally in Idaho.

According to The Wagyu Shop, the difference between caviar and the orange eggs on sushi rolls (which I eat all the time) is that sushi roe can be from different types of fish other than sturgeon.

There is a beautiful two-story restaurant and bar in downtown Boise right across from the Capitol building that has a very charming interior called The Lively. They posted about their monthly “afternoon tea” offering on Instagram, and I was intrigued for a mother/daughter outing. Once I saw an option to add a caviar tray to your tea service, I was sold! It was the perfect occasion to cross this item off the list.

The afternoon tea was at 2:30pm on a Monday, and thankfully Zeb was home from work so that my mom and I could go enjoy an adult-only date. The interior of The Lively is really funky and pretty, and we were seated at a window table. We each ordered our tea and were brought our own teapots and teacups.

The caviar tray came with a mountain of potato chips, plus little cups of capers, crushed hard-boiled egg yolk, hard-boiled egg whites, purple onion, parsley and creme fresh. The caviar sat in a bowl over ice. We built our little potato chip bites and it was so delicious! I tried the caviar on a spoon by itself, and I really did like the subtle flavor. When it’s on the potato chip, there’s so much salt from the chip and the capers that you don’t pick up a ton of caviar flavor itself.

The tea also came with a pretty silver tower of sweet and savory bites. We sampled some of everything. I was in a more savory mood so I preferred the salmon puffs and the deviled eggs.

There were also macaroons, scones, cake bites and risotto balls.

This was such a lovely little event, and we would definitely go again for a special occasion like a birthday! I imagine they sell out fast near Mother’s Day.

We’ve been drinking more tea lately at home too, and I bought myself a tea kettle last fall. I really like citrus herbal teas. When I was pregnant with Brynnley, I read the many benefits of drinking Red Raspberry leaf tea and I drank at least one cup every day during my last trimester. I’ll never know for sure if it contributed to my positive labor experience but I tell all of my friends that it certainly can’t hurt! :)

Tomorrow marks ONE MONTH until D-Day! (AKA the deadline to finish this list.) 10 posts in 31 days? Here we go!

Bucket List Item #3: Visit a Museum

Tomorrow will mark 2 months since my 29th birthday, and we are only on bucket list item #3! A little behind pace, but so many of the events are weather-dependent and geared towards summertime. Finding the next task to check off was a little limiting as Boise wasn’t climbing past 60 degrees over the weekend, so I selected “Visit a Museum.” Ideally I would have liked to find a more exotic or adventuresome museum, but we made do with what our hometown had to offer.

Zeb and I looked up local museums that we hadn’t been to before. (For anyone visiting the area, the Warhawk Air Museum about 20 minutes outside of Boise in Nampa, Idaho is a fun visit and one we’ve gone to many times!) We picked the Idaho State Museum in downtown Boise and made it a full “date day” with brunch first a cute new-ish spot called Huck House Brunchette.

Everyone is short-staffed right now and we are always being reminded to be patient and give grace to the employees who did show up; which is why we decided not to say anything when my eggs benedict arrived….sans eggs. 😁 Oh well, the brioche bread, avocado, bacon and hollandaise sauce was still a delicious plate, and we had split a little flight of mimosas to go with our coffees.

The museum was three stories with exhibits that included little interactive stations for families and kids. Here’s a little Idaho history you probably didn’t know and can enlighten your friends with over your next happy hour:

Idaho’s Parachuting Beavers:

In 1948, Idaho Department of Fish & Game dropped 77 beavers via parachutes into the Idaho back country. The first was named Geronimo.

Credit: Idaho Fish and Game

At the time, the mountain town of McCall was becoming more populated and residential. However the pesky beavers in the area were becoming a major problem for the new residents. Trapping and relocating them was difficult as there weren’t many other suitable habitats to relocate them too.

A local Fish and Game employee named Elmo knew of the perfect habitat, the Chamberlain Basin in what is now known as the Frank Church Wilderness of No Return. Issue was, as the name implies, there aren’t any roadways into the basin. Next he needed to brainstorm a method of transportation that was safe for his team and the beavers. He knew there was a surplus of parachutes from World War II. He planned to put beavers into wooden boxes, but began to fear they would chew their way out. He designed a special box that would automatically open upon impact with the ground and allow the beavers to safely escape. Enter Geronimo, the guinea pig parachuter. Elmo’s team sent Geronimo up for test flight after test flight, parachuting him to the ground, watching him leave the box and repeating until they were sure it would be a successful mission for transplanting the unwelcome beavers into the wild.

77 beavers in total were sent into the Chamberlain Basin via parachutes and created their habitat in what is now the largest protected roadless forest in the lower 48 states.

And now you know a little something about Idaho State history that you probably didn’t before. :)

Another interesting tidbit we gleaned from our tour: The unique national monument in central Idaho called Craters of the Moon, which is a preserve made up of over 400 acres of lava fields, was visited by astronauts prior to their mission to the moon.

We learned about early farming tools, pioneer houses, mining, and rock formations. At the end of the day, we stopped at the gift shop for some “Beaver Brigade” stickers to mail to a friend, then we were eager to reunite with our little 6-week-old sweet pea.

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