Monday, January 31, 2011

Twill Heart Garland

Happy Monday! Today, I am guest posting this adorable Twill Heart Garland at No Biggie. If you've never been to No Biggie ~ you must. Kami is amazing at crafts, cooking and thrifting.

You'll never guess where I found with the twill fabric?!?  So, you must hop on over to No Biggie and find out.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Midway Mania ~ Field Trip Fridays

Toy Story 3

My favorite ride at California is Midway Mania. It is the interactive 3-DToy Story Ride. We waited in line 1 1/2 hrs to take our turn. We waited so long in line, I actually got out of line, picked up dinner, brought it back, and ate dinner in line: Burritos, Hot Dogs, and Popcorn.

Midway Mania is a great family ride. My five year old and nine year loved it, but lets be honest, I loved it the most. One reason is: they let me ride and play the games while I carried the baby in his sling/carrier. As soon as we were off the ride, everyone was talking, comparing games and scores. Second reason I loved this ride: I won! best score in the family.

For more Disney Info on Midway Mania click here. Without question, we would have ridden over and over again, if not for the 1 1/2 hour long line. Next time we go; Midway Mania is our first stop.

You get to wear these fun 3-D glasses while riding/playing. Once you have your glasses you know you are almost there. To help pass the time here are three games we played to keep the kids busy:

I-Spy. With so much to do and see at Disneyland. I-Spy was a great game to keep the kids excited.

Line Competition. We played little competitions with the kids. ex. who can stand on one foot, the longest. Who can hold their breathe, the longest. Who can balance on the rail without their hands. Last man standing won. The line moves every couple minutes, even though it is almost a half a mile long! We played simple, small, physical activities that could be played and finished every couple minutes kept them entertained.

Roshambo. Thumb Wars, Arm Wrestling, Getting to Know other families in Line and Back Rubs. Ahhhh!

The funs not over yet! After riding, take a photo opp in the toy box!

Fast Pass

Upon entering the park it is critical to start your fast passes. Our family rule is Mom or Dad keep track/hold of the park tickets and fast passes. The sooner you start getting your fast passes, the sooner you'll get more. For more info on Fast Passes and which rides offer fast passes click here. We always get on-line before visiting and check which rides offer fast passes.

Lots of rides run out of fast passes before the day is over, so make sure you get fast passes early for the rides you can't leave the park without riding. Cross your fingers the other rides will still have passes available later in the day. We missed out on Tower of Terror, they said they ran out of fast passes by 2 p.m.. Also, even though a ride says you have to come back between this time and this time, you don't. As long as you use your pass after the time stated they will accept the fast pass, even if it is hours after the time you were suppose to return.

Questions, Questions, Question! Disney's Website is great at answering anything and everything.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Roast Red Pepper and Butternut Squash Soup ~ Mid Week Munchies

On New Years Eve, it was 17 degrees freezing. So we decided to stay in. We had dinner about 9:30 p.m. played a few games and then the kids went out and braved the cold to do a little car sledding.

The menu for New Years was a-ma-zing-ly delicious. My sister and I made a variation on Red Pepper Soup {we added butternut squash} parmesan rolls, cold roast beef, chips and dip, sweets, treats and candy galore. The soup turned out so out of this world, I had to share. Disclaimer: I was originally given this recipe from my dear friend Ella, the squash, cream, cheese and a few proportions changes are my personal variations.

Roasted Red Pepper and Butternut Squash Soup

2-3 Red Peppers
1 medium Butternut Squash
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
2 tablespoons flour
4 cans of chicken broth
3/4 cup of cream
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper

#1 Roast Peppers and Squash
Set oven to 450 degrees. Line your cookie sheet with tin foil. The pepper juice for some reason is really tricky to scrub off your pan. Lining with tin foil eliminates that problem.

Clean, cut, scrap and place. I roast the peppers and squash together. The peppers roast at 500 degrees and take about 15-20 minutes. After roasting, immediately place peppers in a paper bag, seal top and set aside. (For wonderful step-by-step directions visit Tammy's blog) The peppers steam in the paper bag and the skins are easy to remove. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees and cook the squash for another 20 minutes or until tender, check with a toothpick. While squash is roasting add a dollop of butter and salt and pepper.

#2 In your Stock Pot
In your stock pot, saute 2 cloves of garlic and half an onion chopped/minced with 1/2 cube of butter. Add 2 tablespoons flour to make a paste. Add 4 cans (14.5 oz.) of chicken broth. Allow broth to come to a simmer and allow flour paste to dissolve.

#3 Peppers and Blending
Remove skins from peppers. Peppers should be flimsy, slippery and soft when skins are removed. Cut skinny lengthwise slices and add to broth. Pour entire soup into blender and blend until smooth. About 2 minutes. 

#4 Finishing Touches
Pour soup back into stock pot and simmer. Add 3/4 cup of cream and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Add cubed chunks of squash to soup by hand (approx. 2 cups), Simmer for 30 minutes on low heat and allow soup to thicken.

Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and Enjoy. The perfect soup on a cold winters day!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Winter Weather, Winter Quilting

Hello Friends,

Baby and I have the sniffles and it is keeping us up at night. Nothing like a little cold to keep you inside. It has been snowing all day and I am in the mood to quilt. I need to put bindings on these 2 quilts (here and here) and what better day than a snow day.

View from my backyard

I have my book club tomorrow night and I am busy finishing this book:

Anyone read it? What do you think?

Come back tomorrow for Mid-Week Munchies. I am sharing a soup I made on New Year's Eve. Butternut Squash and Roast Red Pepper Soup!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Knock, Knock

Today I am guest posting at Make and Takes. Make and Takes is a amazing Kids ~ Family ~ Mom blog with super ideas and crafts. With Valentine's Day around the corner I am sharing a Valentine How-To. If you have a little joker in your life this Valentine will be perfect!! Head on over and see this how-to by me on Make and Takes.

Featured at Make and Takes

Thanks, Marie

Friday, January 21, 2011

Christmas Time at Disneyland ~ Field Trip Friday

The day we visited Disneyland was a picture perfect day. Blue skies, warm 60+ degree weather, big crowds and Christmas!! Upon enter the magic kingdom you are greeting with the most breath taking Christmas Tree. The presents, poinsettias, wreathes and garlands all accumulate in the view of Disney's Christmas Tree. The "Tree" was spectacular. Town Square looked like a postcard from Christmas in the 1950's and my dreams. Walking into the Magic Kingdom and seeing the "Tree" I knew the today would be special.

As usually, Disney spares no expense and Christmas is no different. Visit at Christmas is a must see and well worth the trip. The ambiance, music, decorations and celebrations are all wrapped into a picture perfect snap shot.
Just a few of the larger than life (or at least larger than my head!) ornaments:
Gingerbread man
Toy Soldier
Musical Instruments
Stars, Balls, Bells, Bows
The kids had a complete blast. The whole family cannot wait to come back again at Christmas Time.

View down Mainstreet. Even at 9 am the crowds were forming!!

Poinsettias Galore!!

I am really grateful to Disney for complimentary passes to see, explore and experience Disneyland and California Adventure at Christmas!! Due to terrible weather in SoCal the week prior to our visit (on 12/27) Disneyland was packed. We were told by multiple cast members that they were expecting a larger volume of visitors (more than normal for Christmas) because of the rains the week before. I am not sure how many more people were actually visiting Disneyland but I personally had never seen it sooo congested. Long ride lines and stand still traffic was the order of the day.

That being said......We had a great time. It was magical and memorable and I would do it again in a heart beat.

Next Friday ~ Tips and Tricks to using the Fast Pass and what we thought of the Toy Story 3 ride!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nusery Photos

I am really proud of myself. I love baby nurseries and when I was pregnant I had a sweet, simple vision for what I wanted Henry's nursery to look like. I am almost done. Just a few more finishing touches and I can show you the whole room.

When I was pregnant, I knew I wanted my amazing friend and extremely talented photographer to take my birth photos for me. I wanted the experience of giving birth to be documented through photos. I couldn't have been more pleased with the results.....every time I look at these photos I am reminded sweetly, of my baby's birth.

Here are the details:
Pictures: Black and White Photos 12 x 12. (Costco Printing, I think they do a great job)
Frames: IKEA, Ribba Frames 20 1/2 x 20 1/2
Matting: Roberts Craft framing department. I picked out the matting and had them cut the mats to fit my photos.

With so many precious photos to pick from, I like that in a few months I can switch these out and enjoy a whole new set of birth images. (Descriptions from L-R)
  • They have just given me Henry. He is all wrapped and has his little hat on. It is really hitting me. He is all mine.
  • I swooned when I first saw this photo. Adam and I becoming parents all over again.
  • I am a tough sell liking a photo of myself, but this one I could stare at all day. I love my serene face. You would have never guessed a few minutes before I had an unmedicated birth! I am at peace.

Want to see other posts about the nursery? dresser, garland, quilt and quilt

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Creamy Potato Leek Soup

I love this soup. It is perfect in the winter when the sun goes does at 5 o'clock. It is creamy and chunky and taste even better the next day. The leeks add an extra "something" you just don't get in your everyday cooking!! Enjoy.

Creamy Potato Leek Soup:
1 bunch of Leeks (thinly sliced, using only the white part)
6-8 medium potatoes (peeled, and chopped)
1/2 cube of butter
~ Saute for 15 minutes on low heat 

3 cans of chicken broth (16 oz. cans)
1 ham bone
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup of diced ham
Salt, Pepper, Parsley to taste

In your stock pot combine: butter, leeks and potatoes. Allow to saute on low for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally. Add: chicken broth, cream, milk and ham bone. Having a ham bone to add makes the soup taste exponentially better, in fact, I only make it when I have a ham bone.** Simmer on low for 45 minutes until serving time. I've had my simmer for up to 2 hours, if soup is getting too thick while simmering you can always add more milk. Before serving remove ham bone and add ham, salt, pepper and parsley to taste.

**Ham Bone: I will typically buy a bone-in ham from Costco, cook it and then save my ham bone for this soup to make during the coming week.

Don't forget to add your favorite rolls to dinner. Rhodes Rolls are always my go-to rolls at dinner time.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Weird Al

Somehow on the trip home from California, my boys got a hold of a Weird Al CD (Luckily for me, the baby and I flew home!!) Bless their hearts, they have been rocking out on Weird Al ever since.
"White and Nerdy" in "our hood", was as popular as the original.
"Ebay" I bought and sold a few things on ebay and the lyrics couldn't be more true.
"I'm Fat" an instant classic.
What is your favorite Weird Al song??

Monday, January 17, 2011

We are the Champions!

We'll actually my 9 year old is! But, my husband and I are taking full credit because are combined DNA gave him his awesome Arm Wrestling Powers! Yes, in third grade there is class "Arm Wrestling Championships" in P.E.. He was so excited to bring home his "super old fashion" certificate.

But wait there's more:
Because he won the "Leftys" too! Double the Power.

Friday, January 14, 2011

California Adventure ~ Field Trip Friday

Hello! We are still on vacation for Field Trip Friday, this time in Anaheim, CA. Disney gave my family and I complimentary day passes to visit and blog about Disneyland at Christmas Time. For the next several Fridays I am going to be posting all about Disneyland. It should be alot of fun, Stay Tuned!!

California Adventure

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Parmesan Rolls ~ Mid Week Munchies

After Henry was born so many neighbors and friends brought me lovely meals, but one dish in particular really hit my post-baby-belly spot. Parmesan Rolls! I was dying for the recipe and ever since, I make this recipe constantly. My dear friend Wendy swore they were so easy to make: all you need is Rhodes Dinner Rolls, mayonnaise, and grated parmesan cheese.

Step 1: Roll dinner rolls in mayonnaise.
Step 2: Roll dinner rolls (with mayonnaise) with parmesan cheese.
Step 3: Allow rolls to thaw and rise according to package directions. (3-4 hrs)
Step 4: Cook rolls according to package directions. (400 degrees, 10 minutes)


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nursery Garland

Now that little baby H. is out of his bassinet and into his big baby crib I put up his Nursery Garland. Remember this post all about finding these vintage playing cards on Etsy? The garland was so easy and I had everything on hand, including the ribbon, I had previously used on his bassinet and the little itsy ~ bitsy clothes pins!!

Two minutes later I was done with the garland. Lets see how long it takes him to notice his garland and start grabbing at it!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Christmas Wrap-Up

Just thought I would do a little Christmas California Wrap-Up 2010. Here is our tree Christmas morning. I love the sunlight in the room, I love the frosted tree, and I love all the presents!! This picture doesn't do it nearly justice. I AM CONVERTED: FROSTED TREE next year.

We re-enacted the Nativity.
The boys got Red Ryder BB Guns, and we hid them just like in a Christmas Story. 6,000 BB pellets. Oh, it was glorious.
Adam got me this amazing perfume. The fragrance is Marigold and I love it. (purchased: Anthropologie)

Too cute!
This is the only family Christmas picture we could muster. Christmas Eve Night, Thousand Oaks, CA. 2010
Not our best.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pawn Stars ~ Field Trip Fridays

Seriously, my family (kids included) love to watch Pawn Stars. If you've never checked it out, I would highly recommend. Chumlee is our favorite, "and after 21 years you never know what's going to walk through that door." (from ~ Rick) My five year old walks around the house quoting this line from the opening credits.
How much do we love Pawn Stars? Well, we love it so much this Field Trip Friday we are traveling all the way to Vegas, Baby!! On our way, (to California for Christmas) we spent the night in Vegas. Bright and early Thursday morning (8:30 a.m.) we stopped by see "the real" Pawn Stars.

Once we got in there, they had signs posted everywhere to not take pictures, which was a bummer. But I did sneak one photo of Chumlee's biggest fan by the pin ball machine. He kept walking around the store yelling: "Where is Chumlee?".

Over all they had alot more t.v. show merchandise then "pawn stuff", but it was memorable and we even got to glimpse "The Old Man" walk right through the front door.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pasta Alforno ~ Mid Week Munchies

For the next several weeks, I on want to focus on hearty, yummy, home cooked dinners. Soups, pasta, rolls etc. Dinner around the kitchen table is a big part of my family's life and when the food tastes great who doesn't want to sit down and visit. Pasta Alforno is a dinner staple. My husband taught me this recipe and over the years I have tweaked the original recipe, just slightly.

Although homemade pasta sauce, like my mom makes is delicious, I make this quicker version and it still tastes amazing. Start out with your favorite pasta sauce. I use 1-2 jars of Barilla marinara sauce, then I add my own homegrown stewed tomatoes (1-2 bags). Let sauce and tomatoes simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Add some of your favorite cheeses: romano, gouda, mozzarella or parmesan. You pick.

1/2 cup to a full cup of heavy cream. This makes a creamy (less acidic) sauce. I first add a 1/2 cup and then go up from there. Continue stirring.

I also add a pound of browned ground beef. A few bay leaves, a dash of oregano, italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
This is approximately what your sauce should look like after simmering on  low for 20 minutes. This recipe should make about 6-8 cups of sauce. Any left over sauce can be refrigerated or frozen to use later.

I love Barilla penne pasta, but I also buy Garofalo penne (from Costco) and it is great. Cook the pasta only half way in boiling water for 5-7 minutes. The pasta will finish cooking in the oven.

Mix pasta and sauce in a large bowl until pasta is covered with sauce. Pour pasta into a 9 by 13 pan add a little cheese to the top and cover with tin foil. Cook for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Alforno is an italian word for baked! Enjoy!
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