Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Don't Just Eat Them!

Having a 3 year old living in with me has brought out a very silly, crazy, and creative side I haven't seen in myself for a while. I have found myself trying to think of ways for her to express and nurture her creativity...not that she needs much help.

Here's the first one...I will be posting more of our projects as they manifest.

The other day my Mom came home with Girl Scout Cookies. Something I love (so yummy!!) and truly are a part of who I am (I sold about 350 boxes every year for about 11 years). As my Mom was flattening the boxes to throw them away I found myself getting an idea and yelling, "Don't throw those away yet!" She looked at me with a "What the heck" expression and very hesitantly asked, "Why?" to which I stated very matter-of-factly, like there was nothing bizarre about what I was about to say, "I'm going to turn them into shoes for Izabella." Once again I get the "What the heck" look to which I replied, "Trust me. It'll be rad and she'll love it!"

As the night went on I kept thinking about how I was going to do this. The first idea was to cut a hole the size of her shoe and then put string across it like a strap to keep them on. I didn't like that idea, so I thought about just cutting a slit the width of her shoe. That didn't work because she couldn't get her foot all the way in. So I cut the back part of the slit into something that looked like a capitol D and it worked!

Make sure you take the cookies out and tape the opening of the box closed before cutting!

To get the shaped I basically cut around the back half of her shoe leaving a little extra room. They fit perfect and she was off! Laughing the entire time!

They were a little difficult to walk in and definitely slippery on the tile floor, but she got the hang of it pretty quickly. We are taking her ice skating for the first time on Saturday and told her it would be slippery like her cookie shoes. She's been wearing them around the house working on her skills and telling us she's "Practicing her ice skates."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Upside Down Girl

When you're three years old having someone hang you upside down might possibly one of the best things in the whole wide world. When that person is your Auntie and she also pretends you've disappeared while swinging you around the room looking for you, it might make it that much better.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Etsy Finds and a Lost Wallet

This past Friday I cleaned out my purse while waiting for a friend to get a delicious mid-afternoon ice cream treat. When she got there I got up and threw all the trash away. I distinctly telling myself NOT to throw away my wallet and put it in my purse. The next morning I woke up with a terribly nasty horrendous cold (that I still have) and didn't leave my house. Sunday I picked up my purse to go grocery shopping and it feels surprisingly light. I looked inside and my wallet is GONE! I searched the entire house, my room, car, bathroom (hey, you never know), and anywhere else I could think of. It's no where to be found! I called the ice cream shop and they didn't have it either! I quickly checked my credit/bank card accounts and none of them have been used (thank goodness!).

It's now Wednesday and I still have no idea where the darn thing went! I may be am most definitely losing my mind...sigh.

Anyhow, all of my cards have been turned off and replacements have been ordered. It was the best wallet I've ever had...simple, classic and, well, perfect. 

The plus side - losing it means I get to go shopping for a new one! I decided to support handmade, naturally, and will be buying my new wallet on Etsy. After spending most of the morning looking, I have decided to go with this one from LBaccessories. She is even going to do a little customizing for me (making the leaves all the darker green color)! I can't wait to get it in the mail!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How I Spent My 4 Day Vacation Part 2 - Elephant Seals in San Simeon

As briefly talked about in this post, here's the pictures/info from visiting the Elephant Seals in San Simeon, CA last weekend.

First, I had no idea there were Elephant Seals anywhere close to California. For some reason I have always thought of them as mammals that would only live in the Antartic, Alaska or somewhere super cold like that. So when I found out from a work friend that we could see these giant beasts up close I was really excited to make it part of our Pismo Beach trip.

For those of you not familiar with the area, Pismo Beach is about 15 minutes south of San Luis Obispo, and San Simeon is near Hearst Castle and about a 45 minute drive north along the coast of California. Due to all the rain we've been having, the hills are lush and green which truly made for a gorgeous site! Unfortunately I was driving so I wasn't able to take pictures of the beauty.



The different sizes of Elephant Seals. The largest is a full grown male, middle is a full grown female, and smallest is a juvenile/sub-adult.

We happened to be there are one of the best times!We were able to see them in all stages, feeding and even some mating!

There were SO many, almost every inch of sand was taken!

A lot of them had what seemed like a cold. They kept sneezing which would make their entire body jiggle.

The full grown males are HUGE! About 7-8 feet! The smaller one's surrounding this one were sub-adults.


This guy was really talkative! Did you know their noises sound like a human burping/farting? Izabella found this hilariou...OK, OK so did I haha.

They get itches on their flippers

And flip sand on their backs. We aren't sure why, maybe to help keep them warm?


A little tiff

This guy was chasing after one of the females and started mating with her. It sure was a site! With all the "yelling" and biting it was interesting trying to explain to a 3 year old what was happening. Oh the questions she asked!

Kisses for the mama :)

And a BIGGGGG stretch

We had a great time checking out the Elephant Seals. If you ever find yourself in the area I definitely recommend making the trip to check them out!

Recipe Wednesday - Fast and Easy Chicken Teriyaki Burgers

One of my favorite things to order when I go to Red Robin or Island's is their Teriyaki Burger. I love the tang of teriyaki with the tart of pineapple together. A year or so ago I was really craving one but didn't have the money to go out to eat so I decided to see if I could make one myself and it came out darn good! I have since played with the recipe a little bit and have it pretty much perfect (I think).

One of the things I have played with is the bread. I started out using just regular wheat bread, then moved to wheat burger buns. However, since Oroweat has come out with their new 100% Whole Wheat Sanwhich Thins they are the only thing I've been using. They are super tasty and only 100 calories! We have started using them in our house for everything from burgers to sandwiches to mini pizzas. Happy cooking!

1 serving = 1 burger (recipe will make 2)

* 2 Oroweat 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins
* 1 8oz chicken breast
* 1/2 cup chopped romaine lettuce (or lettuce of choice)
* 2 canned Pineapple slices
* 2 tbsp Light Miracle Whip or Mayonaise
* Teriyaki Sauce
* 1/4 cup shredded low moisture part skim mozzarella

1. Poke the chicken a couple of times on each side and marinate in 1 cup teriyaki sauce for about 30 minutes. (This is optional. If you choose not to marinate then put some sauce in the pan while cooking chicken)

2. Lightly coat a frying pan with spray oil and cook chicken. To get extra moist chicken, cook at high temp for about 3 minutes on each side. Then reduce to medium heat, cover and cook on eat side for 5 minutes or until done)

3. While cooking chicken toast your buns (this is optional). Once they are done lightly apply 1tbsp to each bun (this is for the whole burger so split the 1tbsp between the two sides of each bun). Pour about 1tsp of teriyaki sauce onto each side of bun.


4. Place pineapple ring on 1 bun and romaine on the other.

5. Cut the chicken breast in half horizontally. (You can either put the cheese on top of the breast while in the pan, recover and let melt and then move to bun OR put the chicken on the lettuce side of the bun and then cover with cheese.)


6. Place one bun on top of the other and enjoy!

*** To mix it up try adding some red onion or avocado. These two ingredients are not included in Nutritional Information

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How I Spent My 4 Day Vacation Part 1 - Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach

Every year from November - February the monarchs migrate and make the Pismo Beach Butterfly Grove a stopping point. We have visited at times were tree branches were almost falling off the trees from the weight of all the monarchs! My Mom, Sue, Izabella, and myself decided to make the trip this weekend to check it out. Unfortunately, due to weather, most of the butterflies have moved on from area already and there weren't too many left. We did learn that the best time to go is in Dec. and are already planning our trip!

Pismo Beach is known for their clams. All around the city there are GIANT clams that are painted/decorated by local artists for each major holiday/event in the area.



 Flooding from the rain that made it difficult to see the monarchs that were still there.

 (can you see it?)

(Oh look! There's TWO!)

(If you click on this one you can tell it's a monarch)

There is a trail you can follow out to the ocean. Near the end of the trail there were a bunch of really cool trees so we stopped for a little photo shoot and to play in the water.



The water was SO cold!

Popping seaweed pods

Izabella used my "big girl camera" to take her first "big girl camera" picture 

Later in the day we drove an hour north, to the San Simeon area, to check out the Elephant Seals and I'll be posting more on that later this week.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Have You Ever Seen A 3 Year Old Run??

Especially when she...

Is trying to keep her unzipped jacket on

Has been cooped inside for 2 days due to traveling and rain

And is REALLY excited to "see" butterflies for the first time?

This is something what it looks like. A video would do it better justice but hopefully this gets the picture across pretty well. She wasn't just running, she was doing this weird booty wiggle/gallop thing that had Sue and I almost falling over in laughter.


More on the butterflies and the other adventures we had this past weekend coming soon.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Deanna's Banana Raisin Bread

With all the people in my life that love to cook I think it would be fun to showcase them, and their recipes, once a month. This one comes from my step-sister Deanna, also known as my niece's Mom. She is a very creative cook who isn't afraid to try new things and have fun with what she makes.

This is one of those recipes that is never made the same way twice, yet is always super moist and can add nuts, take out the raisins, not put the brown sugar on top...however you like it! After the recipe check out a quick interview with Deanna. Happy cooking!

Deanna's Banana Raisin Bread 

1 serving = 1 slice

* 2 cups flour
* 5-6 medium bananas (about 2 1/3 cups mashed)
* 1/2 cup butter
* 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1 tsp nutmeg
* 1 tsp allspice
* 2 eggs
* 1 cup raisins (optional)

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350degress. Mix flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice in a large bowl.


2.  Cream butter and 3/4 cup brown sugar in a small bowl


3. Beat 2 eggs in a separate small dish

4. Peel and mash bananas in their own dish as well (it helps if you have the best banana masher ever help you)


5. Add the eggs, butter mixture, vanilla, bananas, and raisins to the dry ingredients and mix well.

6. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 9x5 bread pan and crumble remaining brown sugar on top.


7.  Place in oven and back for 60 - 65 minutes.


8. Slice into 12 pieces and serve. 

 ***For an added bonus, try toasting your piece before eating it...soooooo tasty!

Meet Deanna

1. Tell us about yourself:
 I am a single mom and a part time student. I love being a mom and all the hard stuff that comes with it. I love food. I love to cook and make yummy meals. 

2. Why do you like to cook?
I love to create. The best thing about cooking is you get to eat what you create. I love to experiment with recipes. It is so much fun. The more I cook the better I become at it.

3. Your favorite thing to cook:
I love to bake, but my favorite thing to make is meatloaf. Using my hands is the best part; getting it all in the perfect texture. I wouldn't be able to tell if I was mixing it with a spoon.

4. Your favorite type of food?
Mac and cheese for sure. I love homemade mac and cheese. I have not found the perfect recipe yet but I am working on perfecting one! (Side note: I can't wait to try it when she does...and I'll make sure you share it with you all!)

5. Anything else you'd like to add?
You won't know if you are a good cook unless you try. So get up and try sometime. Also taste something before you serve it to other people; sometimes it just needs a little something else that was not on a recipe.