Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Go, go, go

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Our apartment complex used to have a sand volleyball court that ,in the 3 years we've lived here,
I've seen used once.

They recently decided to turn it into a little playground and I've seen kids on it every day since.
May I also say that I'm glad we don't live right by it because who wants to hear the kids screaming 
and yelling and playing all day?
Ha, I totally sound like an old lady.

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Peanut's first steps were a week after his birthday and he hasn't slowed down since.

It still throws me off when I see him walking across the room.

Oh I love that little drunken stagger.

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It's awesome to be able to take him outside and let him walk around.

He loves being around other kids and it's even better now that he can interact a bit more.

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It's also great that he's not putting his hands down on the ground all the time.

We're obviously very concerned about sanitation.

Totally ignore his mouth on that plexiglass panel.

At least it's high enough only adults and kids being held up by their dads can reach it.

Maybe.

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Peanut walks around looking longingly at the places he can't reach.

Does anyone else feel like they end up watching other peoples kids at the park?

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Anyway, although I love that he's walking it could really take us 45 minutes to make it 20 feet away.

He has to stop and look at everything.
And he always wants to be off the sidewalk and in the bushes or grass or potted plants.
And poke the flowers
or pick things up off the ground
or wander in circles.

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But he sure is cute and I just can't resist seeing him take it all in.

I barely even have to lean over because our height difference is only about 2 feet.

:)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Recovery

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I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend!

We've been recovering over here.

We started off the day by getting ready while B went on a Turkey ride with some friends.
Peanut opened a bottle of baby oil and doused himself and the carpet (and eventually my shirt) in it.
So we actually got ready twice.

My dad, Peanut and I stopped by my grandma's house in the morning.
Peanut got to play with my cousin's 10 kids and their 2 puppies.
Yep, I said 10.  The youngest, #10 was born on 10/10/10.

Needless to say that by the time we got back to my parents where we have our
main Thanksgiving extravaganza,
with nothing but a 30 minute car nap,
Peanut was exhausted and cranky and in rare form with bouts of crying.

I can't really complain as this was really the first time he's ever been like that around other people.
Eventually I was able to get him down for a 45 minute nap and he was better after that.

Phew.

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We had quite a few new faces at dinner this year,
and by dinner I mean everyone loading up plates and sitting wherever as they graze thru the evening.

For the first time everyone brought something so we ended up with no lies than a bazillion things to eat.
Seriously.
Some of us brought several things.

The menu went as follows:
Cheese and crackers
Veggies and dip
Stuffed mushrooms
Deviled Eggs
Bacon-wrapped Almond-stuffed Dates
Butternut Squash, Onion & Roquefort Galette
Turkey (2 of them)
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Stuffing
Corn Pudding
Curried Broccoli
Candied Yam
Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole
Mac 'n Cheese
Salad
Cranberry Sauce- the jellied kind from the can that I adore
and Hawaiian rolls.

I know!

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Oh and we can't forget about the Pecan Pie (from pioneer woman, it's fantastic)
Apple cranberry blackberry pie
and the pumpkin pie...

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but the clear winner were these Pumpkin Whoopie Pies that my sister Sherri made.
I'll request a link from her for these!

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And of course, we had to take a Peanut and turkey leg picture.

Gobble, gobble, gobble!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving from

Daniel the Pilgrim
and 
Peanut the Indian!

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It just wouldn't be a holiday without making the boys take pictures in some kind of prop.

So yesterday in the middle of the thanksgiving preparations
I decided that we needed to make them a pilgrim hat
and an Indian headdress.

No, there was no plan on how to do this
and no I didn't have anything ready for it.

My niece Makayla and I threw these together in less than 30 minutes
after consulting my mom who has made countless costumes over the years
and trying to find things to use (like the oatmeal container as the hat base)
and running out of hot glue (thank goodness felt sticks to felt)
and figuring out how exactly we wanted it....

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while both the boys were complaining because it was past nap time
(did I mention this wasn't very well planned out?)
and you can see by the look on their faces they really don't want to sit for pictures.

Why do you do this to us all the time?

Oh boys, just be thankful I didn't plan this ahead.
It could've been so much worse.

Do you know how hard it is to keep a toddler still for a picture?!

While I made the pilgrim hat, Makayla made the headdress.
Don't you love the feathers?
I feel a future Indian costume coming on...

Anyway, she's just as anal meticulous as I am so
given more time I can only imagine how things could go.


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This is their imitation of the boys.

Yay!  Clap your hands!

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

This year I'm thankful for all these turkeys in my life.

I hope you have a wonderful day and eat lots of yummy food!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mini-History Lessons in OC

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Peanut tastes his first turkey leg... but he'll get his own on Thursday!

There are some awesome places in OC
 where kids can learn about history in fun and exciting ways,
check them out!


As Thanksgiving draws near and the kids are learning about history in the form of pilgrims and Indians, put the menu planning on hold and spend some time learning about Orange County history. We're not talking about sitting and reading history books. We'd rather don Victorian clothes, pan for gold, eat the butter we just churned ourselves, and go on a pirate adventure!
These five historical destinations will teach your family history lessons in the most interesting ways:

Come see my article HERE!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Dandy Shoppe is open!

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On Saturday I finally opened The Dandy Shoppe
my new etsy shop!

Right now I have vintage, retro Christmas ornaments listed.

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There will be more ornaments going up throughout the week.

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As well as some vintage jewelry, books and accessories

and if I can figure out how to ship and price for shipping....
I'll list some awesome pyrex bowls.


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I was pretty excited to make my first sale that same day
and am feeling pretty excited about it.

I know I'm a little behind when it comes to listing Christmas stuff...

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so spread the word if you know anyone into vintage treasures!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Peltzer Pines Christmas Tree Farm

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How is it possible that I've grown up in Orange County and never known that there are Christmas tree farm where you can cut your own trees?!

For past couple years I have lived 10 minutes from one of them.
Ten Minutes!

My friend Courtney let me know about Peltzer Pines and 
we headed out to meet her this morning for the grand opening.

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these are itty bitty Christmas trees in training

They open every year the Saturday before Thanksgiving at 9 am
where you can go and pick out your tree for future cutting.

In fact, people get there early for the best pick of the year.
We arrived at 9 am and there were already plenty of people there and plenty of tags showing sold.

We were greeted by a man who asked if we'd been before, explained the process
and told me the best place to park so we would be near the tree sizes we were looking at.

So nice and friendly which was exactly what I had hoped for in a family owned farm
full of holiday spirit!

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Each tree has a tag.
White shows the price and you pull that to purchase the tree at the front of the farm.
The red tags show that they have already been purchased.

Once chosen you can cut it yourself or have it cut down for you and carried to your car.
They are open until December 23rd so you can have your fresh tree whenever you are ready!

You can see above that there are 2 different kinds of trees.
On the left the Leylandia, a type of cypress, 
and on the right you find the Monterey pines.

The Monterey pines are grown from seed imported from New Zealand (yay!)
and are incredibly fragrant.

These trees are going to make your whole house smell like Christmas.
Courtney tells me that they release more fragrance as they start to die, once they've been cut.
I love knowing that the closer to Christmas the more fragrant.

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Forget the trees, Peanut immediately found a stick and was pretty happy the whole time.

And there were rocks

and dirt

and even a few bunnies.

And bunny poop.

And he picked up all of it.

And tried (or succeeded) to put most of it in his mouth.

Well, except for the bunnies.

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Doesn't he look like a little elf?
His ears are a little pointy,
or am I not supposed to say stuff like that :)

The cutest little elf ever!

Anyway, the trees are pricier than most other places but I believe you pay for the whole experience.

Even if you don't want to buy a tree there,
it's perfect for some Christmas photos.

I did see some families taking what is sure to be holiday card pics.
Perhaps we'll have to bring the boys back for a little photo shoot!

Where do you get your Christmas tree
and what kind do you get?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Keeping the animal out

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We've recently added a gate to the kitchen entrance. 

 Our oven gets really hot and since it's constantly on I was worried about the Peanut getting hurt.

Plus I like to be able to move around without someone pulling my pants down as he hoists himself up,
or dropping pots on my toes,
or eating remnants of garlic and onion skins off my spotless floor.

I can almost ignore the constant rattling of the bars and 
the fact that he reaches thru and empties the drawers nearest him.

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In fact, I'm thinking about adding a chair, a laptop and maybe a sleeping bag into this 4 foot space.

Then we'd really be getting somewhere.

Would it be extreme to put one of these on the bathroom doors as well?
God forbid I pee without someone standing 6 inches away.

P.S.  If you look closely you'll notice that he has still managed to get some kind of paper in his mouth.  
Oh well, he'll survive.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Peanut vs. the Christmas decorations

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It's that time of year that flies by in record time.

It seemed that the festivities started early because of Peanut's birthday
and then Halloween and then...

all of a sudden Christmas was everywhere.

The day after Halloween I was at the grocery store and they were selling
Christmas ornament cookie kits in the bakery section.

Who on Earth is decorating cookie ornaments in the beginning of November?!

Hey, I love Christmas.

I listen to Christmas music during the year and watch Christmas movies in July
but I'd appreciate it if we could also enjoy Thanksgiving.

Right?


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Why then, am I showing pictures of Christmas ornaments?

I'm putting together an etsy shop to sell some of these fantastic vintage/retro ornaments.

I've been meaning to do it forever.

Anyway, I bought Peanut this cute white Christmas tree
and I used it today to take pictures of some of the ornaments.

Oh man, Peanut loved the tree!
He wanted it so badly.

And now I'm starting to get nervous about how Christmas is going to go
and how I'm going to manage a Christmas tree
with my destructive, octopus of a child grabbing everything he can and
either eating it or throwing it over his shoulder.

I imagine him covered in glitter for the month of December.
I imagine broken ornaments.
I imagine the tree on the floor with my child underneath... probably having a great time.
I already know I can't put presents under the tree ahead of time
because there is nothing my child likes more than eating paper.

So any fun child vs. Christmas stories for me?

Any suggestions?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Butterbeer, Pumpkin Pasties and Knickerbocker Glory!

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It all started a couple days ago when Courtney said she was bummed she had to wait 
until her box set arrived in December before she could watch the last movie on DVD.

I told her we were getting it and she could come over.

Then there was talk of Butterbeer and the next thing you know, 
we're having a Harry Potter party.

See that wand?
That's Severus Snape's wand and it's pretty awesome.

Courtney got it as a gift this past week,
directly from Ollivander's Wand Shop.

If you aren't aware, that;s in Orlando at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
I want to go!

Anyway, the wand really has a weight to it, I was really impressed.

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Can I just say that the Butterbeer was delicious?

We used this recipe and it was just what we pictured it to be like!

The nice beer-like foam you see in the first photos is because there was a bit of whipped cream
in the glass when we refilled it.  So theres your trick to make the perfect butterbeer.

I also made this artichoke bread (and did not get a picture) and it was a hit.
I found that I would have liked a bit more filling to get it to look like the picture.
Tons of possibilities for that appetizer.  Try it.

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Courtney went to the library and picked up the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook
for some recipes.

The book is pretty awesome with some serious recipes like salmon and steak and kidney pie.
The dessert section looks fantastic.

My only complaint is that there aren't any pictures.  
I may have to get the book and recreate some dishes.

Courtney's Pumpkin Pasties are incredible.
They have all the elements of a pumpkin pie and you just can't go wrong with that.

Did you notice the lightning bolts on top?
I love details like that.

Anyway, I'm having a pumpkin pastie with tea for breakfast.
If only it were off the trolley on the Hogwarts Express.

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At the end of the movie we wrapped it up with Knickerbocker Glory!

It's layers of vanilla bean ice cream, jello, raspberries, blueberries, 
homemade custard, and freshly whipped cream.

I loved all of it.
Why don't I eat jello more often?  I love jello.

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We had a really great time and I only cried a minimal amount.

That movie really gets me.

I know, we're nerds.

Any Harry Potter fans out there?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Rainy Day Fun in Orange County

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Sometimes there is nothing better than a rainy day at home. 
A day full of snuggles, movies, fresh baked cookies, and the sound of laughter can soothe the soul. 

Sometimes the only thing soothing about a rainy day is the thought of getting the kids out of the house. 

When the day becomes more clingy then cuddly, 
the movie has been on repeat all week 
and the only sound is of your little ones bouncing off the walls from all that sugar... 
well then, these are the places to escape to. 

Click here for the full article!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Peanut's 1st Birthday

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Despite the 100 clear pictures I got, you'll never believe that 
there was so much more to the party that I didn't catch.

I should have stood by the front door taking pictures of everyone.

I'm notoriously bad at taking pictures once the party or event is going.

The best part of the party, by far, was seeing all the little ones in costume.

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We created Peanut's Pumpkin Patch in the corner of the backyard.

I painted the sign, my dad built the fence, my mom decorated and 
mom and I sewed all pumpkins.

Although she did majority of the work.

In fact, she was whipping out pumpkins so fast that we abandoned our first project and
decided to use these as gift favors.
(The first project is being saved for next year's party)

Every child got to pick a pumpkin and take it home.
Actually there were a handful of people that either didn't see the Please Take One sign or never even made it to that corner of the yard.
I need to get better about directing people or delegating a friend to point things out.

Did I mention there were around 70 people?

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Over by the pumpkin patch we had the kids tables.

I drew some shapes on foam and my dad cut masks out of them,
then B's mom attached elastic and I bought those foam stickers for them to 
decorate the masks with.

We had bat, butterfly, super hero and cat masks
as well as little pumpkins on sticks.

We had a kids boo-fet set up with lunch meat and pb&j sandwiches cut out into Halloween shapes.
Thank you grandma for doing that.

Oh and mummy hot dogs.

We put fruit cups in cupcake wrappers for added color.

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There were super heroes, princesses, hello kitty, pirates, a transformer
and various animals (real and fictional) roaming around the yard.

Hello Little Cow!

Let's not forget the geisha dog.

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The Bird and the Bee!

What more can I say?

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I don't think my mom has ever had so many kids at the house at one time.

I believe it was around 20 and a 90% of them were under the age of 4.

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Some of the adults even dressed up (besides B & I)
and it was awesome to see all the different groups of friends and family
gathered all together.

Although, like my friend Kelly said, it's almost like your wedding
as you try and make your rounds to welcome everyone but don't really spend much time 
with any of them.

The time just flew by....
and I didn't even get pictures of the food!

The carnitas that B made and the mummy mushroom dip,
the cheeses and the fruit and veggies are all missing here.

Of course, I did get pictures of the cupcake table.

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After most everyone was gone,
and the cake had been eaten,
with just some family left,
we decided to open Peanut's presents.

LOADS of presents.

Holy moly.

Thank you everyone!

While we opened presents, Daniel sat and smoked his cigar.

Anyway, can you believe we didn't get a single repeat?
I've taken out a handful of presents and stashed the rest away in the closet.

I'll bring them out over the next couple months and as someone suggested
some of these will be re-wrapped for Christmas.

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Peanut spent most of the present-opening picking up pieces of paper and string 
and putting them in his mouth.

The upper left picture is of me telling him to spit it out into my hand.

All these presents and the boys decided to play with the ball they already had.

In their defense, the mound was a little overwhelming and most the toys were still in boxes.

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Peanut was really winding down here.

He's sitting on my grandma's lap, next to my mother-in-law.

We didn't have a single meltdown all day.

I was pretty excited about it.

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Eventually we put voodoo in charge of watching the presents
(isn't she a good dog?)
and took Peanut home.

It was an amazing day,
we are so lucky to have so many people
to love and support our little Peanut.

Thank you everyone!

Until next year...
and yes, plans are already in motion.

I mean, we didn't get to use up all our ideas this year :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween Cupcake Table

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This year for Peanut's birthday we did a bunch of different Halloween themed cupcakes.

I just kept finding inspiration on Pinterest, didn't want to have 70 of the same ones,
and decided to just do a variety.

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Luckily I had tons of help.

My mom, mother-in-law and I spent a good portion of the day before
assembling cupcakes.

I didn't think about taking individual pictures but I'll take you thru them as we look at the table.

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I have a thing for dessert display tables.

I do an annual Christmas cookie display for my parent's Christmas party and
there was the candy display at my wedding, done by Shawna Yamamoto.

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I did learn a few tips for the future.

Next time I'll put little labels out for everyone to dive in and take a treat.
I'll make sure to tell all the guests where everything is and to please eat the sweets.

Not a single one of the suckers and candies you see in the upper left corner were taken
because none wanted to ruin the display.

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The same happened with the cupcakes.
I told people to dive in but I should have told people earlier as many left without dessert!

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I ended up sending quite a bit home with a few people
and making a delivery the next morning for a friend to take cupcakes to a Halloween gathering.

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My mom did these awesome candy dishes.

My friend Theresa even recognized them from a pin on pinterest.

They add such an awesome pop of color.


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Now for the break down of cupcakes and what they are decorated with

Witches cupcakes: The hats are sugar cones painted with corn syrup and covered with sprinkles,
attached to a Fig Newton fruit thin as the brim with frosting.
The hair is licorice and the eyes are mm's with frosting dots.

Bat cupcakes:  The wings are the fruit thins cut in half, the bottom part brushed with corn syrup and dipped in sprinkles.  The face is a hershey's kiss and eyes are sprinkles.
The frosting should have been much more vibrant.

Frankenstein cupcakes: Humongous marshmallows brushed with corn syrup and rolled in sprinkles,
pretzels in his head and frosting for his eyes, mouth and hair.


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Owl cupcakes:  So cute and easy!  Oreos (white side only) for the eyes, with mm's for the pupils and nose

Pumpkin Cupcakes: The orange frosting is used and then just rolled in sprinkles, the stem is a peanut butter filled pretzel and the creases were made with the side of a skewer.

The RIP cupcakes:  chocolate frosting rolled in crushed oreos for dirt, a milano cookie with RIP written in frosting and a pumpkin candy.  For a little added color I brushed the top of the tombstones with corn syrup and dipped in sprinkles.

After all this was done I then remembered I didn't have the cake ready.
Ugh.

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We gave Peanut the cake and he immediately went for the oreo eyes.

It's always fun to see how they react to the cake.

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I knew once he dove in he would really love squishing it in his hands.

You've seen how he squishes all his food in his hands.

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Birthday cake in mouth.  Finger in nose.

I wonder what next year will bring...
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