Monday, December 5, 2011

Updates... Finally!

So I pretty much stink at consistent blogging... but it wasn't all my fault... Really, it wasn't!  :) For some reason my computer is acting wacky and won't always let me access the site I am trying to get to. Shockingly enough... this was one of those sites... and I'll admit it... I was just too lazy to keep trying. So here comes a long post with all of my news. Luckily, I am pretty boring and there isn't much news to share!

Here are my Halloween cuties all dressed up. We went trick or treating with the cousins and Nannie and Pop in our neighborhood.

On 11-11-11 I celebrated 8 years of marriage with my wonderful husband... AND we were even able to get out of the house ALONE for our once a year dinner date. Okay, sometimes we get out TWICE a year... what can I say... we just don't have eager babysitters beating down our door trying to take care of our kids. We went to a little Italian restaurant and had a great time... it is so nice to enjoy a meal and a glass of wine and be able to talk WITH NO INTERRUPTIONS!!!!

The next day we celebrated Pop's 65th birthday at the Mexicali with the family. Two nights in a row of dinner out!!! Yippee!!!

Jack's 3 1/2 year birthday was on the 14th. Yes, we celebrate half birthdays here... any excuse to celebrate with cake, right? Well, this year Jack was super excited for it... and so was Hailey. She made him a cute birthday crown to wear with pictures of Thomas the Train (Jack is OBSESSED!). He requested a Thomas cake too. Since I am not a cake decorator, I just decorated the top with Thomas figures... he LOVED it!

We spent Thanksgiving with my family at my Mom and Dad's house. It was delicious, as always. We were so happy to get to spend the day with our family. We were especially thankful to see my uncle and cousins who came up from San Diego... we just don't see them often enough. The next day we woke up and began our tradional day after Thanksgiving decorating extravaganza!!!! Everything goes up that day... I like to be able to enjoy the season for as long as possible. That evening we went to Jason's parent's house for dinner to celebrate with his family. We really enjoyed a nice long weekend together playing games, and watching movies and being thankful for our many blessings! 

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I cannot believe that my last post was on Halloween... I am a SAD excuse for a blogger. Not a whole lot has happened this month... but I will update soon. :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

I LOVE getting ready for Halloween. I love making fun fall themed and spooky treats, doing crafts with the kids, and going to the pumpkin patch. I love the harvesty feel that October brings... I just don't care much for trick or treating. I don't know... there is something about going door to door begging for candy... it is just NOT my thing. Unfortunately, the kids love it... so we will be partaking in the fun this evening. Hailey is going to be a rock star, Jack is Thomas the Train, and Paige is a peacock! They are so cute!

We finally made it to the pumpkin patch this past weekend! Here are some cute pictures of our fun at the patch!

At least one kid knows how to look at the camera! :)

Sweet girl!

Picking the perfect pumpkin!
Hanging with the scarecrow!

After we got home, Daddy took the kids out back for pumpkin carving. He is the resident carver here. I usually have the extreme pleasure of being the "pumpkin guts scooper"... FUN! Surprisingly, I escaped that duty this year!  Yay!

The rest of our weekend was spent playing games with the kids, baking, a little cleaning, a LOT of laundry (Boo! ), and of course... Dressing up!!!

Arrrggg matey!!!!

Happy Halloween!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

So Tired

I just cannot shake how tired I have been the past several weeks. It is awful! Maybe I should take better vitamins or something... I don't know.  I just feel like I can't accomplish anything lately. We have been in our new house almost one month... its so hard to believe. I was so energized when I started moving everything in and the past couple of weeks I don't think I have touched one single box... SAD! I feel so lazy! Oh well... they aren't going anywhere I guess! Ha! The days just go by so quickly... here's hoping I get my groove back soon.

Just a few things that have been occupying my time in the last week! :)

My baseball boys

Not happy that the other kid on the team got the ball first!

Precious girl

Learning to ride without training wheels

A baby shower for a dear friend

We are trying to get the kids to the pumpkin patch... here's hoping this weekend we will make it! :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Black Magic Cupcakes

I think I said in a previous post that I had been baking/cooking a lot... and I do mean A LOT! Everyday has turned into Kitchen Fest 2011. If I see something that looks good, I can't get it off of my mind until I make it. This week has consisted of making several pans of lasagna and baked ziti... (I even gave some away and still have some in the freezer... yay!), chicken tortilla soup, this Honey Sesame Chicken, with a side of Pioneer Woman's Sesame Noodles (these are so good i will eat them cold for days after...) and much more.... including these cupcakes...

Don't mind the picture... I tried to make them look Halloween-ish for the kids... I'm not a food stylist...Ha!

 I found this recipe for Black Magic Cake on Pinterest (shocking, I know given my new love for Pinterest)! It looked sooooo good I had to make it. I wanted to make a cake, however hubby and I have differing views on frosting. He prefers disgusting canned frosting, which I usually will not buy, and I prefer homemade. I'm not particular... cream cheese frosting... good; buttercream frosting... good; ganache... good!!! While Jason is not a fan of buttercream, he does like the other two and I wanted to experiment with different frostings so I made cupcakes. These are so YUMMY! I made a mochaish (is that a word?) buttercream, and a ganache and they were great with this cake. I would imagine a peanut butter frosting would be fantastic too... I guess that gives me a reason to make this cake again!

Black Magic Cake - I read that this is originally a recipe from Hershey's cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
  • 1 cup strong black coffee OR 2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee plus 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (Batter will be thin). Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick
    inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool
    completely. Frost as desired. Yields 10 to 12 servings.
I made 24 cupcakes and a large ramekin and baked them for about 18 mins... they were perfect!

These are kid approved too... 

(I left off the one with him EATING the paper towel to get every last bit of chocolate.... BOYS!)

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I've had a lot of workers in and out of this house in the past few weeks...

But I think I'll keep this one...

He's been running through the house "fixing" things. Love this kid!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pinterest and Yummy Muffins

So I originally took awhile to check out Pinterest. I have a problem with becoming obsessed with checking things on the internet and I didn't need ANOTHER site beckoning me to the computer. Finally, I gave in. I didn't get the hype at first... unfortunately, now I do. I dig it... BIG TIME! It was a great help when I was looking for ideas for the house, but I am really on there for the recipes. I am a cooking blog hound... I LOVE them... as in I can't get enough looking at recipes. I look at so many that when it comes time to bake or cook... I can't decide on what to make because I have seen SO many! Anyway... today I was going to make pumpkin spice mufffins. Its raining here and cool and pumpkin muffins just scream fall to me. So I had planned on making Pioneer Woman's recipe , which are to die for, but I didn't have any evaporated milk in the house. Hoping to find another worthy recipe, I turned to my new friend Pinterest... and there were plenty to check out there. This recipe was the winner...YUM!!! Make these... trust me... you will thank me! SO good!!!! Even my picky 3 year old loved them...which is saying something!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Courtesy of Annie's Eats
Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Printable recipe here

Yield: 24 muffins
Ingredients:For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ cups vegetable oil
For the topping:
½ cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth.  Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter.  Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil.  Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.
To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line muffin pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil.  Mix on medium-low speed until blended.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend.  Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.  Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons).  Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces.  Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well.  Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely.  Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.  (It may be hard to resist immediate consumption, but the cream cheese filling gets very hot!)

I didn't have cloves and I couldn't find my nutmeg so I just used 2 Tbsp of Pumpkin Pie spice... still good!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011


We have been moving for the past week... it has been SO fun!!!! (sense the sarcasm here). Seriously, though... I do enjoy getting everything settled in and put away. I have been able to make REAL meals... in a NORMAL sized kitchen which has been HEAVEN!!!! I still have my handyman in the house completing all the little projects we have going... they seem to be neverending! I am also proud to say that my not so handy husband has surprised me in the past week. He replaced light switches in all the bedrooms... and he did it CORRECTLY!!!! He also drained and cleaned the spa, replaced outlet covers, and put together furniture, on top of moving all of our stuff from the apartment and storages. I think that there just may be a handy guy in there waiting to come out... or maybe not! :)   As soon as I get most of our junk things put away... I will update with a few pictures! Now back to unpacking!!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Remodeling for Dummies

Reminder to me... DO NOT REMODEL HOUSE EVER AGAIN! This is a nightmare! Seriously... I don't have the energy for this. My mother keeps telling me how "fun" this is.  FUN???? I think she may need to check out the definition of fun again.... It just seems like one project turns into 15 other related projects that need to be completed by different people and add more to the cost. So here is a list of a few remodeling do's and  A LOT of don'ts from me:

DON'T let your tile guy talk you into letting him remodel your bathroom without completely finding out ALL ADDITIONAL COSTS!!! He BEGGED me to let him tile the bathroom and shower area in addition to the flooring that I wanted him to do. So I agreed... with the final price in mind. After he rips everything out he starts asking when the plumber will be there. Say what??? The PLUMBER? I didn't call a plumber... I had no idea that I needed to call a plumber! So, apparently, I now need a plumber. Tile Guy recommends one and we call him... plumber crisis resolved for a mere $1000. :(

DON'T anticipate being able to reuse ANYTHING after tile guy gets ahold of it.  I see the shower glass is outside while bathroom is being tiled and it is still is good shape. So I plan to just replace the hardward and reuse the glass. YAY! The next day... GLASS IS BROKEN INTO A GAZILLION PIECES!!! Now I have to get quotes on replacing shower glass... again crisis solved for another $1000!

DON'T assume Tile Guy will replace everything he rips out. Apparently replacing baseboards is NOT in his job description. GRRRRR!

DON'T listen to Tile Guy when he tells you that he has a buddy who will replace the baseboards for "real cheap". Apparently "real cheap" means different things to different people.

DON'T pay Tile Guy for his finished work when he still has to replace a few poorly placed tiles... He may SAY that he will be back on Monday... but he has yet to return a phone call. Hmmmm???

DO find yourself a nice, hardworking handyman that can do multiple things for you when you barely mention it to him. I LOVE the guy installing my new pantry. That was what he was hired for... however our conversations go a little something like this:

Me: "Hey, Sean... Tile Guy left the front door with an inch gap at the bottom and say's he can't fix it... do you know anything about that?"

Sean: "Yeah... I can fix that for you."

Me: "Hey, Sean... I really would like to remove the flourescent lighting in the kitchen and put in canned lighting and finish off the ceiling... do you  know anyone who does that?"

Sean: "Yeah, I can do that for you"

Me: "Hey, Sean... the previous owners ripped out this cabinet and left this awful looking space here... do you know where we could get a matching cabinet and have it installed?"

Sean:" Yeah... I can get you a matching cabinet and install it."

Do you see the pattern here??? I LOVE this guy! :)

He is doing all of this, plus installing the granite in my bathrooms and later he said he would come back in put in invisible hinges on my kitchen cabinets, because we currently have exposed ones and they don't look that great with the new paint.

Here are a few pics of the project that is still underway...

Kitchen with painted cabinets

Still need to get rid of the hinges and replace the hardware

Removed the wood desk and installed a BIG pantry... Woohoo!!! Mama likes her some storage space!

Master shower (sans shower glass... grrrr and tub)

Middle of the backyard and built in kitchen



So there it is... this has been an UTTER and COMPLETE... PAIN. IN. MY. HINEY. I am praying that we will be able to move in this weekend. We will see. :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Paige at 15 months

Our sweet little girl is 15 months!


You are a walking machine now. You didn't start walking until about 2 weeks ago, and now you can't be stopped. We think you are so cute when you toddle around.

You like to talk now... A LOT. You can say Mommy, Dada, Hailey, Jack, Nana, Pop, Hi, Bye, dog, duck, thank you, ball, baba, night-night, no, mine... (and more)

You love to suck your thumb... :)

You weigh about 22 lbs and wear 12- 18 month clothes

You are starting to be a picky eater. You used to eat EVERYTHING... but now you turn your head when I offer you food. Right now you will eat cereal, yogurt, grilled cheese sandwich bits, peas, nilla wafers, graham crackers, applesauce, bananas, refried beans, rice, raviolis, and sometimes squash and sweet potatoes. You love to have little samples of my food and have eaten lasagna and fish if I feed you off of my fork... but NOT if I put it on your tray.

You are sassy and sweet. Your sweet smile can charm anyone... but you sometimes make people work to see it! :) I guess you got some of mommy's attitude! haha

You love to play with your brother and sister... one of your favorite things is when they come into the room in the morning... you light up when you see them... it melts my heart!

Paige, you are such a precious baby and such a wonderful addition to our family. We all love you so much!

Happy 15 months!

P.S. Taking pictures of you is nearly impossible right now... you DO NOT like to pose... we will have to remedy this soon! :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Gymnastics for the WILD man

In my last post, I spoke of taking Jack to gymnastics. He LOVES it! He goes once a week with his little friend Natalie and they are SO CUTE! We were worried that he would run around doing his own thing and not listen to the teacher, but he has done a great job!

Mama's sweet boy!

Being a good listener!

Floor time

Backward somersault... He gets his skills from me! HA! The little girl behind him likes him... a lot. She is always trying to sit next to him and he just pushes her away... its tough being a ladies man!

Waiting for his stamp and sticker

The coolest sticker EVER!!!! :)

I have enjoyed watching him grow and learn to listen to others. I hope he continues to do great job.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How I get through the day...

My existence today is brought to you by the letter C and the number 2. Do you ever have those days where you wonder if you can make it through the day??? I do. That's why coffee is my friend. He gets me through the day.Today was a home brewed day... I am partial to Folgers French Roast (ahhh... can you smell it???) with a splash of Coffee Mates Italian Sweet Cream... (I am actually drooling right now!). If you haven't tried it... DO! It is fabulous! If its a Starbucks kind of day, I am all about the Skinny Vanilla Latte... YUM!
It has been a rough week... and it shows no sign of stopping. I am currently watching my 3 year old undress himself for the third time today so he can wear his beloved Thomas pajamas...

Me: Jack, we are leaving for gym class in a minute... keep your clothes on.
Jack: (pointing to his Thomas pj shirt) This is mine outfit.
Me: No,(holding up normal shirt that I dressed him in this morning) THIS is your shirt.
Jack: (Pointing again) THIS is mine outfit.
Me: You can't wear pajamas to class... let's put on your shirt now.

Three year olds are nothing if not persistent...  I think it may be time for a third cup!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Living La Vida Loca

As the title of this post suggests... life has been CRAZY!!!! The week after school started, the house closed escrow and the fun began! We are redoing A LOT inside this house. The people who owned it before us obviously had NO IDEA how to treat a house as it was pretty beat up. We are installing all new flooring, new paint everywhere, new bathroom tile and granite, installing a pantry, etc. It has become a fairly costly large  project... and that doesn't even begin to describe the little things that you don't think of, like drawer pulls, and fixtures, and baseboards, and fans. It is all a bit overwhelming for someone used to moving into a "new" new house! But I am SUPER excited to see how it all looks when we finish. Mind you I say "we" are doing all of these things, but "we" are not so handy... okay not handy AT. ALL. Jason tries... he really tries... and I love him for it.... but... well... let's just say Ty Pennington won't be recruiting him to help on Extreme Makeover... (unless they need help on the demolition crew! ) HA!
Here are some "before" pics of the house...

I wanted to redo the cabinets, but OH MY is THAT ever expensive. So for now they are getting painted! :)
Living and Dining Room... can't wait to see the new floors!
HUGE Master Bedroom
The family room... it is getting new flooring and the wood cabinets will be painted.

I can't believe that I didn't take a picture of the front or the back. The back yard is what sold me on the house. It is great! So far, all of the flooring has been cleared out and the painter begins today! I'll update the pics soon ...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Crockpotalooza - Italian Dip Sandwiches... YUM!

I am going to TRY to link up with Kelly's Korner for her crockpotalooza today. I LOVE her blog and I LOVE my crock pot, so what better day to give this a try. I use my crock pot all the time... with 3 kids running around, plus all those years of working from home, I had to. If I didn't start dinner in the morning... dinner may or may not happen in the evening. We packed away my beloved 6 qt. crock and, while I thought she was headed to the apartment, apparently she was shipped off to storage... I miss her! I can't wait to bust her out in a couple of weeks when we get in to the new house. Thankfully, I brought her smaller, though still useful, sister with me. So I am still able to make a few crock pot meals in this sad little excuse for a kitchen. So here it is... a meal that EVERYONE is happy to eat. This is super simple and even requested by my "sandwiches are not a meal" husband... Italian Dip Sandwiches.

1 beef roast ( I have used chuck, eye of the round, and even tri tip... use whatever!)
1 envelope of Italian dressing mix
1 can of beef broth
1 jar of pepperoncinis

All you do is place the roast in your crock pot, pour the dry dressing mix over, then the can of beef broth. Put in 10 or so pepperoncinis( depends on your spicy-o-meter... I shoot for spicy so I usually toss in a few more)  and pour in some of the juice from the jar. Cook on low for 8 hrs. When it is done shred the meat and let it soak up some of the juice. Then place on crusty rolls with melted provelone cheese if that is how you like it, ( and I do!!!) I like to serve with a side of juice for dipping... SO good. Even my picky 7 year old loves this.

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day of School

The lazy days of summer are over! BOO!!! Today, my sweet Hailey entered the first grade. First grade is SO different from Kindergarten. It means lunch at school, longer days, more interaction with the "older kids", bathrooms down the hall rather than in the room. All of these things make me nervous... then they make her nervous... which makes me even more nervous! However she was very excited to be a big first grader and start back to school. I am not! I can't help it... I like all of my babies home with mama. Truly, I did not think I would be so sad about it. I was more concerned with the fact that we needed to be at school by 7:45am...Yikes!  This is the same time we are usually rising around here... like I said... they have been lazy days indeed!

This morning began at 5:15am!!! Yes, you read that correctly... 5:15!!! Apparently there was an air of excitement in the house as Hailey came dashing into the bedroom asking if it was time to get ready and then Paige woke up too. Any previous thoughts I had about being able to get ready in peace were soon dashed... Paige was NOT having it this morning. Thankfully, Jack decided to stay asleep... LOVE him! Miraculously, by the time my dad came over to sit with the younger two, we were ready to head out. I still wasn't thinking sad thoughts... just getting excited for her as she was so obviously excited!

Once I got her in her classroom, the big lump in my throat came. I gulped it away and started chattering about something else... and it came back again... and again. I knew that I could not cry in front of her... and I didn't. But once the teacher told them to say goodbye to their parents and she ran across the room to grab me for a hug one last time... I was done. I made it outside before the ugly cry face came and I bailed out of there and made a beeline to my car... which was, of course, about a mile away because the place was a zoo!!! At least I got some exercise... nothing like a power walk in heels!!!

So here I sit... anxiously awaiting pick up time. Jack has asked to go pick her up no less than 15 times already and we still have 3 hours to go. I am wondering how lunch is going. If she found the special Hugs and Kisses and note that I tucked into her lunch bag. If she found the bathroom when she needed it. Is she playing with her friends? I thought about going to school and spying... (yes, I do that... one day I'll share my preschool stalker story... I am THAT mom!)!!! Haha! I know that with each day that passes it will get easier. I am praying that she had a wonderful day and comes home with a smile, excited to go back tomorrow. But for today... this mama is sad. I'm missing my little sidekick snuggling in the chair next to me in the morning, and sitting across from me at lunch. At least the weekend is only a few days away. :)

This little poem I saw on FB... it makes me cry ( surprise, surprise) but it is so true! :)

I don't want to kiss you goodnight,
so I'll just keep holding you tight!
Because I know, you'll change and you'll grow...
You'll get bigger with each morning light.

I know that the sky is full of stars,
and dreams will call your name from afar...
I'm anxious to see all you're going to be,
but I'm sure gonna miss who you are!

But I'll keep you right here, in my heart,
and I'll memorize each little part.
One day you will grow, and I'll miss you so,
But I'll keep you right here, in my heart.

Each tooth that you'll gain or lose...
Each time you'll need bigger shoes...
Each step that you take, will be further away,
but to stop you is not what I choose.

These fingers that curl around my hand,
must do things that no other can.
I know you're not mine, but God's own design,
and I want you to follow His plan.

But I'll keep you right here, in my heart...
And I'll memorize each little part!
Because one day you'll grow, and I'll miss you so...
But I'll keep you right here, in my heart!