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Wednesday, November 28

Our Family Is Growing!!

Many of you have already heard the good news, my sister and brother-in-law are expecting number 2!!!

When we landed from Belize last month, I turned on my phone to find a message telling me the good news and I immediately gasped and squealed in the middle of the Houston airport...and then had to sit by a wall socket for half an hour charging my phone after I drained what was remaining on my battery sending frantic text messages.

Eli's little brother or sister will be here in June and this Auntie seriously cannot wait.

Congrats, Ryan & Kindy, we love you guys and are so so excited!


Friday, November 23

Black Friday Recap

Soooo, this was my first year attempting a little black friday midnight money savings magic.  Except that there was no way I could start at midnight since I have a granny sleep schedule to adhere to nowadays, so I settled for the 9pm Toys R Us/Target run.  I was not prepared for the hour long wait just to get inside, and my brother, who met me there to pick out O's christmas present, immediately bailed.  But I stuck with it..and got some great tips from staring in the windows of Jenny Craig for so long.  I also considered capitalizing on the bored people in line and the fact that no nearby restaurants are open and contemplated setting up a snack bar out of my car next year.  I know personally, I would have paid a premium for some popcorn last night.

I think TRU only lets a few people in at a time, so that by the time you are finally allowed in, you feel like you have to make your wait worth it and blow all your cash.  That brainwashing certainly worked on me...until I regained composure, of course.  

Between Coco and myself (and gifts we bought on behalf of my grandparents), we ended up with a cart full of toys for O, my nephew, and various other little people in both of our lives...each and everyone of them 50% off (or more!)  So for me, the hour wait was worth the $250+ in savings, plus was was some quality bonding time for Coco and I who rarely go anywhere together without the nugget.

Of course, babies don't understand the need for Black Friday and O was up earlier than normal today, punishing me for me midnight jaunt.  Super ungrateful, if you ask me.

It's a good thing he's so cute. 

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and that you are riddled with less guilt than I over what you ate!

IT'S FINALLY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, November 19

Work Party {Featuring things you should never do with your child}

A few weekends back, our friends Max and Amanda hosted a work party at their avocado farm.  Ty went early to help out with the actual work aspect of it, and O and I joined up later to enjoy the dinner and amazing beet cupcakes (yeah, I said BEET) and run amuck...guess who did which.

But here's some fun pictures and a couple things you shouldn't do with your young child.

Max and Amanda's property...goes on for days!

Super safe pile of freshly chopped firewood...

Seemingly safe hammock....

Whoops, spoke too soon...

Don't worry, I caught him.  Crazy fast mom reflexes.

Stealing a pinwheel in 1...2...3...

And finally, something you should never consent to.  Letting your husband strap your toddler into a polaris for a night time joy ride.  Face palm.  


19 Months! {What is happening??}

Another month has literally flown by.  We celebrated the anniversary of your surgery, your second halloween, and many new little milestones.  I can't tell you how much joy you bring me each day.  I love watching you play so independently, and I love when you want me to play with you.  I love how you will pull at my sleeve and say up to get me to chase you with your toy vacuum.  I love your infectious laugh.  I snuck into your room the other night and cuddled you when I couldn't sleep.  I love listening to you breathing.
Motor Skills:
Remember last month when you learned to jump with both feet?  Well, apparently, you enjoy this particular skill, because you jump all the time now. You've become a regular hopper.   

You learned how to crawl into the tall captains chairs outside.  Terrifying/proud moment for mommy.  You have the upper body strength I have always lacked. 

Mental Development:
Some of the new words this month 
*Mom (much more frequent now than mama)
*Thank You (an improved version of Thank You)
*Here I am

You've been saying it for awhile, but by far your favorite word this month is ball.  Everything round is a ball, except of course, your beloved bapples!

Animal Sounds:
You added an Owl, Lizard, Snake, Bee, Elephant and Fish to your list of animals this month.

Funny Stuff:
 I taught you to do a "Big Smile" for the camera....umm, let's just say you get quite carried away with your  facial expressions.  You squint your big round eyes all the way closed and flash the biggest cheeseburger smile I've ever seen.  It's amazing and slightly racist, all at the same time.

You love the talking hippo app on Mama and Nana's phones.  You like to show off for the hippo...basically you want him to watch you just do you.  We have to prop up a phone with him on there watching you, you get a little testy if you notice Hippo has disappeared aka drained mommy's entire battery in like 5 minutes.  Please pick an app that requires less battery usage, my dear.

The Bad News:
I was totally right about the 2 year molars.  After you chewed the lids off half your cups, this was confirmed.  You've got all your teeth!

You lied to me this month.  On two occasions you have said "I poop" under false pretenses.  Not cool, son.  Not cool.  Granted, this could me completely my bad for assuming you got your tenses messed up (because you're a baby and all) SO maybe you weren't lying after all, and were just stating a well known fact.  That you do indeed poop.  If so, my apologies.

Mama loves you more than anything, baby!

Wednesday, November 14

My First Photo Dump

I'm going to start doing a regular photo dump of all the "quality" (read: sucky quality phone pics, instagram photos,  some crazy under exposed delights, ect.) that despite their grainy-ness, truly reflect our day to day life up here.  Premium memories, coming right up!

You'll notice a distinct playdate theme today...

O and my nephew Eli checking out the seals in La Jolla

Kindy & Eli


Java Mama with buddy Mason (and friends Danielle and Laura plus both of their newborn baby girls!)

Joelle and O getting to meet a conductor who promptly doled out choking hazards in the form of tiny toy trains.  Someone gave O's train to Joelle's big brother Jude.  It wasn't long before we heard "I ate Oliver's choo choo."  LOVE that kid...and FTR the record he didn't really eat it, or at least he didn't swallow it!

Dancing for Mardi Gras beads

"Mama, Up!"  for a rhino ride at the Wild Animal Park.

Checking out the view with Hunter and Peyton.  We have it pretty good here, I suppose.

Some Halloween goodies...

Little Lion Love

These two were not exactly thrilled about posing in their costumes...this is as good as it got ha.

Piano time

Totes reading music already.

It was the day after Election Day.  
My thoughts on the whole sitch as displayed on my kid's Peek tee:  
Regardless of if you're happy or sad about the outcome...
"Be the change you want to see in the world." 
The End.

Just kidding...this is the end.  


Thursday, November 8

Chicken Pie, Monster Cookies and More, Oh My!

The onset of colder weather always puts me in a cooking and baking mood...except that it's not cold at ALL here.  It's supposed to rain here in the next few days, but so far, my little mountain has yet to see that.

Anyway, on to this week's recipes!  

Monster Cookies 

(aka Ranger Cookies aka Everything Cookies)

If you've seen me in real life in the past week, I've probably given you a pack of the freshly baked monster cookies I keep making despite knowing their crack-like danger...this is half generous, half selfish of me, because once I baked these delicacies I wanted to devour every single one, so I'm really just helping myself out by giving them away.  Martha Stewart calls them "Ranger Cookies", some people call them "Everything Cookies", but Ree Drummond calls them "Monster Cookies" and I like that best.  

I stick to the recipe here, and it has yielded fabulous results time and time again!


 2 sticks (1/2 Pound) Butter (salted) Softened
1/2 cup White Sugar
1-1/2 cup Brown Sugar, Packed
2 whole Large Eggs
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1-1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1-1/2 cup Oats (either Quick Or Regular)
1/2 cup M & M's (more To Taste)
1/2 cup Pecans, Chopped (more To Taste)
3/4 cups Chocolate Chips (milk Or Semi-sweet)
1/2 cup Peanut Butter Chips
2-1/4 cups Rice Krispies

Preparation Instructions


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
 Cream butter with sugars until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat.
 Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt. Add to mixing bowl and mix till combined.
 After that, add in remaining ingredients in whatever quantity you prefer. Add more nuts if you'd like, or more M & M's, more peanut butter chips or chocolate chips.
 Add Rice Crispies at the very end, mixing until just combined. Do not overmix!
 Use a cookie scoop to scoop balls of dough onto a cookie sheet. Bake until golden brown, then allow to cool on a rack.

Next up, Two easy to prepare dinners.  Seriously, easy, not like one of those people who say something complex is easy, just so you think complicated things are easy for them?  Forget that.  

Trisha Yearwood's Chicken Pie

I've been a big fan of Trisha Yearwood's cookbooks, and this little gem was an answer to the nights I've spent way too long on homemade pot pies.  
I make one BIG (important!!) adjustment...I add a ton of  frozen veggies (peas, carrots, ect.) to the top of broth/chicken mixture.  I feel like that redeems the excessive butter usage, just slighty.



3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups chicken broth
One 10-ounce can cream of chicken soup
1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken
*12 oz (or more!!) frozen veggies

Preparation Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Put the chicken in a 2-quart casserole dish. Combine the broth and soup in a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Pour the broth mixture over the chicken.
In a separate medium bowl, mix the flour with the pepper. Stir in the melted butter and the buttermilk. Pour this mixture over the casserole and smooth the top; do not stir. Bake the casserole until the crust is brown and the filling beneath is hot and bubbly, 45 minutes.

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken

This chicken should be called "Tastes Just Like Chinese Takeout!"  Love. Love. Love.  Thank you to Miss Erin for passing this along :)

Many of the reviews for this recipe says the red pepper flakes add too much heat...but I disagree.  I cook everything with the intention of feeding both myself, my food-snob husband and little O.  He ate this with no problem, and I added twice the amount of red pepper flakes and twice the amount of garlic.

 Photo and Recipe Courtesy of: 365 Days Of Crockpot


2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut each thigh into about 6 pieces (don't use chicken breasts)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup cashews

Preparation Instructions

  Combine flour and pepper in resealable food storage bag.

Add chicken. Shake to coat with flour mixture.
Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken about 2 minutes on each side.

Place chicken in slow cooker.

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes in small bowl; pour over chicken.

Cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours. Add cashews and stir. Serve over rice.

I'm always looking to try new dishes!! Please send me your fave go-to recipes!!  If you do and I like it, I'll feature you on here and make you famous :)

Happy Cooking and Baking!


Sunday, November 4

Halloween Wrap-Up, Part 1

I LOVE Halloween, but this year, I completely hadn't planned on getting to into it.  I normally put way too much thought and energy and money into my costumes, but this year, we were just coming back from vacation and wanted to keep expenditures somewhat low.  Not to mention my current energy levels do not allow galavanting all over town to multiple box stores and thrift shops to piece together the perfect costume.  

Thus, this year, my little fam all settled for the store-bought variety, so sad, but true.  Technically, this is  all O's fault.  I had the perfect costume in mind for him, and then he clung to a "rawr", aka Lion, costume at Costco.  That started my slippery slope of convenience. Don't worry though, I am coming back HARD in 2013.  I already have my costume planned and it's a group thing, so I'll need some back-up (volunteers???)  Bree is already down..and yes, I'm asking you to sign up without knowing what the costume is.

Anywho, enjoy my crappy phone pics and generic gypsy blah-ness of the weekend leading up to Halloween :)

During the day, we headed out to my neighborhood Halloween carnival.  It was WAY too freaking hot  for O to put on his lion costume (thank you, 92 in San Diego during the end of October) ...but luckily this mama has a stocked costume box and an impromptu pirate came right up.

Baby's first ink...a truly special, proud moment for any mother.


First time in a jumpy house 
(Note: it is pure coincidence there are two jumpy houses featured in this post, they are NOT in fact at the same party.  I probably would have been arrested for having O at the other party.)

Anyway, for a little adult Halloween fun, we headed out to Jeremy's annual Halloween party, bouncy obstacle-course included.

Bree went as Flo and was instantly a Mega-Celebrity.  
Are you kidding me??? Best Costume, Ever!!

Bree (Flo), Me (Store bought, last minute Gypsy, lameness), Jackie (Dia De Los Muertos)

Jackie and Anthony

Bree and a Progressive commercial

Adult-party bounce house...I believe this would be a match of Duff Man (Jeremy) Vs Gumby (Tyler).  Normal.

Why did I even bother standing next to here???  She blows everyone out of the water. 

Ty & I

Sunday Night we headed out to the Harvest Festival at Maranatha for some Trunk or Treat.  

O had grown attached to his pirate hook.

Mmm...what's in my bucket?

Allyse, this trunk made me think of you!!

The boys and a DeLorian.

The main reason we headed out to the festival was for the chili cook off.  I am always amazed how people can settle for such sub-par chili.  Next year, I will dominate the competition with my mom's tried and true AMAZING chili recipe.  

Watch out world, "Chili Coco" is coming for you.

Pictures from actual Halloween cuteness to come...