Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's a sweet, sweet Christmas

This past weekend it was as though the Sugar Plum Fairy visited our house, and left all of her sugar. My mom and I were the amazing baking duo this weekend baking toffee, fudge, cookies and cake. My kitchen is covered in sugar and flour, as am I, but we have so much to show for all our hard work. We made some old favorites as well as some new recipes that turned out quite well if I do say so myself!

Every year it isn't Christmas until the gingerbread cookies are made so that is what we started out with. My cake decorating classes really helped in decorating the gingerbread and sugar cookies this year!

Next we tried out a new recipe by Martha Stewart (if interested in it please click here). They are Peppermint Meringues with a chocolate ganache filling. The secret to getting the striped look is to paint the inside of the piping bag with red food coloring. They turned out great!

We also made Russian tea cake cookies that are another favorite childhood cookies of mine.

I am hosting my Christmas bunko group this week so in my final cake class this week I made a cake for bunko that turned out pretty cute. I was proud of learning how to make simple roses!

As though all of this sugar load wasn't enough, I also decided to make cake pops for the first time. My mom had bought me Bakerella's cake pops recipe book and I just had to try out the Santa hat cake pops, they turned out so cute, especially for my first time trying them!
Besides cleaning and getting to the gym this week post sugar high, I will be working to finish up the last touches to the house for our Christmas party! The holiday season is in full swing...I love it!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

So much to be thankful for.....

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year and as always it reminds me of how much I have to be thankful of. We are all in good health, have a great home and wonderful friends and family to share it with.

We hosted Thanksgiving at our home this year and it turned out great. My mom made an apple pie and a chocolate pecan pie and I whipped up some pumpkin cheesecake. The kids loved helping us this year and were so cute in their aprons!

There was no shortage of food and we all enjoyed a wonderful meal. I was really happy with my table scape and all the beautiful food, like Paul's smoked turkey, that was delicious!

I especially enjoyed fueling up before Black Friday Shopping, there were some great deals out there! Now onto decorating the house for Christmas!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The world of Disney!

The time had come to visit with happiest place on earth again. This was Amelia's first visit, well outside of the womb that is since the last we went to Disneyland I was pregnant with her. I think it was a bit over stimulating for her but she loved "Mickey Mouse's house" as she called it. It was very special when we got to meet Mickey on Saturday morning!

It was every one's first time visiting California Adventure and it was a blast! Santa was there as well as a lot of fun characters. Between Disneyland and CA Adventure's, I think we met just about every Disney character.....

Alex was really into the rides this time and even braved the Haunted House. He also rode his first roller coaster, the Matterhorn! He absolutely loved it and could have ridden it all day. He also really loved the Toy Story ride and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Amelia was really into the rides when she wasn't too cranky. CA Adventure has a cute area called Bug Land (after A Bug's Life) and had lots of kid rides. The bug bumper cards where very fun. The kids also loved Dumbo over at Disneyland.

We also went right after Disneyland had decorated for Christmas and got to see the Christmas parade which was beautiful. Just the thing to get us all in the Christmas spirit! The kids really loved seeing all the characters dressed up.

Before we left Disneyland on Sunday we stopped by Goofy's kitchen and had breakfast. It was so cute and Alex had a belated birthday celebration by the characters. Fun for all!

We are back to reality now but Alex is already asking when we can go back...! It was great making these memories as a family and I do look forward to another trip, but for now we can enjoy all the memories and photos from this trip!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Race day!

The Trail of Two Cities Half Marathon was yesterday and once again Paul and I participated. The course changed a bit this year but I swear it was harder! Unfortunately my time reflected this at 2:17 which was much slower than my time last year of 2:05. Still, I finished and lived to tell about it!

Paul did amazing, despite slacking a bit on training. I swear that man must be 1/16 Kenyan!! He finished at 2:03 this year, what a stud! We are taking it easy these next few days but already talking about a spring half marathon, yeah! For now though - ice, wine and motrin!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween treats!

We have been celebrating Halloween in our household for a little over a week now and man oh man are the treats adding up! We started with a little Halloween themed movie night last weekend. I baked up some Halloween goodies to compliment the including Mummy dogs, mozzarella eyeballs, pumpkin creme stuffed brownie bites and carrot finger dip. We got a Halloween themed movie for the kids and us, however the Giants game started taking over....but a good time was still had by all! Especially by Alex and his new gal pal (don't call her his girlfriend or he gets so mad...!) Makayla. They are darling!!

This past Saturday Alex had his last soccer game and went out with a bang! He scored 3 goals during his last game!!! Very exciting, hopefully it continues over into next year so he plays again. Although now he is already talking about basketball. After the game we had a little pizza celebration. How cute is this monster themed cupcake cake?!

We were pretty low key for Halloween last night, just stayed around the new neighborhood and trick or treated. Very fun though and Alex ran into some school friends. Amelia really got into the trick or treating and had a blast running up to the houses. She was a darling ladybug and Alex was a great vampire. Paul even dressed up as a Chilean miner, so creative!

Happy Halloween everyone!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Today was a wonderful fall day, finally!! With all this 90 degree weather I was wondering if Mother Nature was just going to skip fall altogether this year. In celebration of the beautiful fall weather I made a great dinner that I felt properly celebrated the season. It turned out delicious, my thanks to Giada and Food Network Website! To get the full recipe below click here!

I did cheat a little and bought the butternut squash ravioli at the new Fresh N' Easy store in town. But the sauce was adapted from Giada's recipe. I first lightly toasted 1/2 a cup of toasted walnuts in a pan. After they were done (you know they are done once you can really smell the walnuts, great aroma!) I put the toasted walnuts in a bowl and then melted 2 sticks of butter over medium heat. I then added the walnuts, 1/2 cup of dried cranberries, some dried basil leaves and pinch of salt. After about 3 minutes I took it off, poured it over the cooked ravioli, added some Parmesan cheese over the top and......a great taste for fall! Yum!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Good bye 20's, Hello 30's!

Yes I bid (a not so sad) farwell to my 20's this weekend. I wasn't too upset about it though since I really feel I am in a great place going into my 30th year. I have an amazing and loving husband. Two beautiful and healthy children who continue to amaze and delight me everyday. What is there to complain about?!

div>Speaking of that wonderful husband, he threw me a wonderful party! Now I haven't had an official party since I was about 13 years old so this was very special. He was a little nervous about throwing the 'party planner' a party, but he did an amazing job. He was helped out by our friend Brett who catered the party and did an amazing job!! Check out his website here!

I really do want to thank all my wonderful friends (and cousin Sarah!) who came out to celebrate my birthday with me. It meant a lot of bring in my 30th year surrounded by loved ones. And of course a big thank you to my Mom, without you I wouldn't be here!!!

Here is a photo of me and my wonderful hubby!

The 3 liter bottle of wine we had for everyone to sign.

Some of the wonderful friends who came out to celebrate....

Some of the amazing food! It was all so delicious!!!

My hubby also let me go a little crazy with flower arrangements since I love flowers so much. I LOVE these pumpkin branches I found at Trader Joe's!! Yes, they are real and so cute!!

Thanks again everyone for a memorable birthday!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Soccer time!

With school in full swing now it is time for some fall activities!! Alex wanted to play soccer again this year so we signed him up for his school's soccer team. This year though he has a very special coach.....his daddy! Paul was really excited to be a coach and Alex was excited to have his daddy out there at practice and all the games leading his team to....well the field. I mean come on, they are all only 6 years old and aren't doing too many goals out there. They are all quite darling though and I love getting to know all the parents!

I am happy to report that Alex is adjusting really well to school. He has made lots of new friends and his current new 'best friend' Dylan is a very nice boy that Alex has a lot of fun with.

Although mother nature has not been cooperating with the temperature, the kids have been happy with the weather and loving our new house. My cousin Sarah took this amazing photo of the kids that I just love! It just looks like a great fall photo, such a great photo of the kids - it looks like it could be on the front of a card!

Happy fall everyone!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A big 40th celebration!!

This weekend one of my great friends Debbie turned 40! Her husband planned an amazing weekend getaway with about 30 of her closest friends & family at the Central Coast. It was an amazing weekend of wine, food and great memories had by all. The birthday girl had lots of surprises all weekend long and really enjoyed herself.

We started off the weekend with a little bit if wine tasting and then dinner at our favorite sea side restaurant, The Sea Chest. Dave presented Debbie with a very special gift of a strand of pearls that were his late mother's. It was a touching moment that was special to be a part of.

We stayed the weekend in our favorite rental home right on Moonstone Beach drive and soaked in the sea air. The next morning we got up and Dave had arranged for a limo to pick up 17 of us to go wine tasting for several hours. Debbie had no idea and was so surprised when the limo pulled up to the house!

We tasted some great wines at Eberle, Castoro (and we joined yet another wine club, eek!), 4 Vines and Eagle Crest. The wine was great and the scenery was beautiful!

After wine tasting we got ready for Debbie's big dinner celebration at The Hamlet. It was a great dinner, with an awesome cake drove over from Eddie's Bakery! Dave also put together an amazing slide show of photos for Debbie and we did a mini roast. More food, more great wine and lots of laughter.

What a great weekend! Happy 40th Birthday Debbie!!!