Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Yummy Cranberry Muffins

You Need:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
Cream together sugar, butter and eggs. Add vanilla, milk and cranberry sauce and blend well. Add baking powder and flour and mix well. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake at 375 for 15-17 minutes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I've Been Bitten!

By the Holiday Spirit Bug! It's going around and it's a sneaky little bugger so watch out! Ok, so seriously I'm normally the kind of person who won't even think about putting up the tree until the calendar turns to December. I normally feel strange hearing Christmas music before then too. But this year... well that sneaky little bug got me. I turned on Christmas music today as I put together a Christmas wreath. And I sang along. Last night, we watched the Grinch and I GRINNED! A little bit ago I checked the tv guide and saw that Rudolph was on tonight and I WHOOPED! What's happening to me???

It could possibly be because the Christmas season is just more fun when you have kids. There's something so heart warming about kids getting excited over the trees, ornaments, lights, decorations and of course Santa. I can't help but smile at their excitement. Or maybe because I'm having an early Christmas with some family members this weekend and I've been as busy as an elf trying to get ready. I can't give too much away because my sister reads this, but I will say one project I'm really excited about is the tutu I'm making for my niece. She told me she wanted it to be "purple and blue and pink and green". And it is. I hope she loves it.

nd now I'm going to grab some egg nog and settle down wit my babies to watch Rudolph. :-)

Easy Enchiladas

Enchiladas are a favorite around here, although I don't really make them the traditional way. Here's an easy enchilada recipe that anyone can follow. It doesn't require a lot of ingredients or time either.

You Need:

  • 1 lb of chicken breasts (or steak) diced into small pieces. (around an inch long)
  • 1 green pepper (diced)
  • 1/2 of one sweet onion (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 12 whole wheat soft tortilla shells
  • cheese (a large amount)

Sautee the chicken (or steak) pepper and onion, seasoning with basil, cilantro, salt and pepper. Cook thoroughly until the chicken is cooked and soft. Pre-heat oven to 350. Place tortillas on a microwave safe plate and microwave for 30 seconds, just until soft and pliable. Place about 1/4 cup of the meat and veggie mixture into each tortilla, add a little cheese and fold. Place the tortillas in a large baking dish (make sure you spray the dish) and top with your choice of cheese. Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted. Serve with your choice of toppings. We use sour cream, salsa and guacamole. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Am Blessed

This is the time of year when everyone shares what they are thankful for. Some people think it's corny or sappy. I think it's a good idea and here's why. Life is tough. It's so easy to focus on what you don't have or what you want that you often forget to be thankful for what you have.   So what am I thankful for?

1. My kids. Sure, like every Mom I have moments when ripping my hair out seems kind of irresistible. But I love my kids and smiles and snuggles from my babies can make everything better.  

2. My husband.  He's a loving father and a good man. He's the kind of guy who will buy a homeless man breakfast when everyone else said no. He recently went out and bought 12 cases of food to donate to a food drive. And he is such a mush ball when it comes to our baby girl, I can't help but smile.

3. Family. The ones I like anyway and they know who they are. ;-)

4. Food in the kitchen and a warm home. I think those are pretty self-explanatory. Lack of food makes me crabby and foggy. And I'm not a big fan of freezing my rear off. I like a certain measure of comfort that includes not getting rained on, a working toilet and a coffee maker.

5.  Coffee.  Me without coffee is like Bella without Edward.

6. Robert Pattinson, Hugh Laurie, Johnny Depp and Will Smith. Because I said so.

7. Ellen. Because she should be on everyone's list.

8. Chocolate. Does that really need explaining?

9. Cafemom. Entertainment,  friendships, wtf? Lol and smh all in one place. 

10. A sense of humor.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Eggnog Spice Cookies

This is a great holiday recipe for yummy cake-y cookies. My kids gave them rave reviews in the form of begging for just one more and resorting to sneaking them off the cooling rack.

You need:

1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup of eggnog
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups of flour
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger


Cream together sugar, butter, egg and vanilla.  Add eggnog and blend. Add each spice and baking powder and blend again.  Add the flour 1 cup at a time, mixing in between. 

Scoop out about a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Place it on a greased cookie sheet and lightly flatten the ball with your fingers.  Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Do not over bake!


For an even sweeter cookie, roll the dough balls in a mixture of powdered sugar and cinnamon before placing on the cookie sheet. Use 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Holiday Gifts

I enjoy holiday shopping.  I have fun picking out just the right thing to make someone smile. I especially enjoy shopping for my kids and my niece. Nothing makes me happier than to hear their squeals of delight as they rip into the wrapping paper and discover a gift they love. And call me crazy but I even enjoy midnight madness at the mall on Black Friday.  I enjoy wrapping the gifts and I love watching the kids try to figure out what's inside. 

But as much fun as I have shopping for others, I'm never quite comfortable answering when someone asks what to get my family.  For one thing, I don't want to name something that's too expensive or out of their budget.  And I don't mean things like expensive game systems or $100 dolls. Kids stuff is just expensive in general.  For example,  $10 for a car that's smaller than a deck of cards, $20 for just a train... There can be quite the sticker shock to someone who doesn't have young kids. So I don't give specifics. When someone asks I give them a general idea of what the kids like (and luckily my kids are pretty easy to please) and let the person choose something that fits into their budget.   And that's only after we go through the "You don't have to get anything" argument. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Once In A Lifetime

So, we just got back from Hollywood. Yep, Hollywood CA. Why? Because my daughter was one of the lucky winners of  The Children's Place Model Search contest. Yes, really. How awesome is that? :-)  Obviously we are thrilled and so proud of her! You can view all the winners HERE. They are a great bunch of kids.

Part of the prize included a trip to Hollywood for a photo shoot. It was a lot of fun, but quite the whirlwind! I did sign a confidentiality agreement so I can't discuss specifics, like the clothing. But, I can tell you a bit about it all in general terms.

We flew into LAX on Saturday evening. We weren't supposed to be there until Sunday, but we caught an earlier flight and paid for our own hotel that night. We didn't see much that night because by the time we landed it was nearly midnight East Coast time and we were wiped out. Sunday was really our only fully free day so we were hoping for big adventures and lots of exploring. Yeah, not so much. You know how you always hear about sunny California? Well, not on Sunday. We awoke at 3:30 am (Pacific time) to discover cold, wet California weather. It did finally clear up around lunch time so we ventured to the L.A. Zoo. The zoo itself is nice, there's a carousel which thrilled the kids. When the sun was out it was warm enough, but it was pretty darn chilly otherwise so we moved through the zoo rather quickly.

By the time we made it out of the zoo, it was time to check into our hotel. We stayed at The W Hollywood, which sits right on Hollywood Blvd. The hotel is very nice. It's not very kid friendly though. It's very modern with lots of glass, lots of power cords, lots of sharp corners. And if you ever stay here, be sure you're rooming with someone you are very comfortable with because there's a glass panel in the wall between the shower and the bedroom. The hotel staff was very friendly and helpful, especially the valets. The hotel has an area they call the living room which offers sitting areas and a bar. There's a lovely little restaurant in the hotel named Delphine that serves tasty food. The elevators also require a key card to access the floors which is a nice security measure. All in all, it's a very nice place.

The other parents and their kids were all nice. It was interesting to talk to other parents from all over the place. The kids are absolutely adorable. My daughter had her eye on Danny and she and Leah were so cute interacting with each other. Now, I feel like I have to say something about this contest. When the winners were announced on Facebook, some parents, who were disappointed that their children were not chosen, said things like the contest was rigged, we paid for our spots, we submitted photos taken by professionals and therefore had an edge etc. None of that is true. The contest was not rigged in any way, we did not pay for a win. As for the photos, well I'm choosing to take those comments as a compliment because I'm the one who took the picture of Mona. And as I've said before, I do not claim to be a professional photographer.

The photo shoot itself wasn't quite what you expect. There's quite a bit of hurry up and wait. But, the people running the shoot, the hair and makeup lady, the photographer, every last person on the set was so nice. They were all wonderful and patient with the kids, just a great bunch of people. The catered food was yummy too.

The trip was really a whirlwind but we managed to do a few touristy things. We were lucky that our hotel was located right on Hollywood Blvd. We got to explore the street and see the Walk of Fame stars. We spent a few minutes in the courtyard at Grauman's checking out the famous hand and foot prints. We toured the Hollywood Wax Museum as well as Madame Toussaud's. They were so much fun. I swear you truly expect some of those figures to speak to you because they are so lifelike. We also checked out the Guiness Museum (as in Guiness World records, not the beer). We did it because we got free admission for going to the Hollywood Wax Museum. It's a good thing that one was free because the most interesting thing inside was a large statue of Mario. One thing that got old very quickly were the offers for tours to see the stars' homes. Seriously, you couldn't walk 5 feet without someone approaching you about taking a tour.

Everyone has been asking the obvious question. Did we see any stars? Well, yes. Yes we did. Shakira was getting her star on the Walk Of Fame while we were there and I got to see her convoy leaving. That was madness! Crazed fans running in front of the car, clinging to the sides. Crazy! Spike Lee walked about a foot away from me as I walked my daughter around the hotel lobby. And we saw Ton from Auction Hunters at the airport. And that was it. Impressive right? Haha. I had a deal with my aunt that if I happened to run into Robert Pattinson I would share him with her. But, alas, he was nowhere to be found. ;-)  Seriously, what we discovered, and what makes a huge amount of sense, is that stars typically try to avoid tourist laden areas unless they have to be there or they are heavily disguised. I can't blame them. Fans can get insane, as I witnessed with the Shakira incident.

Everyone has this image of Hollywood. When you think 'Hollywood' you think glamour, shiny lights, glitz. The reality is different. Don't get me wrong, it's a great place, but it's not as glamorous as you imagine. You don't see stars and sparkly stuff everywhere you look. If you ever get the chance to go, you should. Just don't expect streets paved with gold or anything lol.