Game Plan for Turkey Day

Living so close to both of our families is both a blessing and a challenge. First, we will visit my in-laws for lunch. Then we will head to my folks’ for an early dinner around 4pm. Most of my cooking will be for the feast at the in-laws’ and since it’s at noon, we have to get started on our cooking super early. Here’s what we’re bringing:

  • Turkey – it will be our first attempt – wish us luck! I’m kind of excited for it.
  • Cornbread Dressing – another first.
  • Mac & Cheese Bake – Hubby makes a really good and fancy M&C!
  • Double-Stuffed Potatoes OR Mashed Potatoes – that’s moi! Everyone seems to love these.
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake – the girls will make this with my supervision :)
  • Flan Cake – one of my special desserts – this one is going to my folks’ house.
  • And I’m contemplating on a Green Bean Bake for the in-laws’. We’ll see…

Now that we’ve completed some of our bigger home projects (thank you Hubby) AND two big holiday projects (our photo books for our parents), I can actually relax and enjoy all the cooking (and eating) this Thanksgiving!

I feel so blessed…

Pumpkin Pecan Pancakes

This morning I woke up to my usual alarm which is Ella saying “Mommy, I need a snack.” at 6:30am on the dot. So I got up and decided to start breakfast for the family.

Okay, so my new favorite place to shop is Fresh & Easy. Great prices and great products!  Last year, I had gotten a package of Pumpkin Waffle mix from Trader Joe’s. It was pretty good. But the Pumpkin Pecan Pancake/Waffle mix from Fresh & Easy – now these are delicious! At only $3.99 a canister, they are seriously restaurant worthy – you add your standard mix-in ingredients of milk, eggs and butter and you end up with a stack of fluffy (really fluffy), tasty pancakes. And when you get a bite that has a sugared pecan…you’re in trouble! So SO good.

Pumpkin Pecan Pancakes

Birthday Bag

This morning, I’m dropping the Tween off at a birthday party. While I have a stash of paper gift bags I could grab at my convenience, I thought I’d introduce a craft to make her gift even more special for her friend Kylee. I had picked up some cute remnant fabric from Wal-Mart for $0.99  and thought this would be a perfect occasion to make use of it. No sewing involved here, just my handy glue gun. I had the Tween pick out ribbon for the finishing touch. Inside the bag: A personalized card, an Abercrombie tee, a Hello Kitty lip gloss and those silly rings that seem to be very popular these days :)

A Very Special Package for Kylee

Proud MOMents

I have to share some proud MOMents – these moments are golden and worth sharing. They’re like chicken soup for my soul. ;)

Yesterday was mine and the Hubby’s Starbucks anniversary – we meet each other every year at the same Starbucks on the same day that marked the start of our friendship turned relationship turned marital bliss! The Hubby asked our boy if he can watch his baby sister for an hour or two so we can have our date.  Our boy texts me on his own accord that he was practicing late, with consideration that we had plans in place. Why? Because our boy is THAT considerate! Here’s his text, unedited. 

“Hey mom did dad tell u im practicing till 4:30? I should be out around 7 so ill get to the house right after so u and dad can go on ur date.”

I asked my Hubby repeatedly if he told our boy to text me that message – and he didn’t. I know it’s not a big deal to most people, but I was so touched that he took the time to reassure me that we can still go on our date and that he would go straight home to make that happen for us. :) Love him.

Later that evening, our teen texted us an update about her basketball tryouts from her mother’s house. She also added:

“ps Happy starbuckaversary! :) Love u and tell Ella I love her.”

How nice of her to recognize a day that is so special to her Dad and I. And by the way, SHE MADE THE JV TEAM!!! So proud of her. I thought the little message to her baby sister was precious too – makes me feel that she really does miss her when she’s not around.

I also appreciate how our tween eminates a motherly quality towards Ella in preparing her breakfast every morning. I really think she enjoys doing that for her baby sister. And she does this without us having to ask. Amazing!

Then, this morning, I asked Ella if she knew where my make-up brush was (she likes to take it from me and pretend she’s painting). I had not seen that thing in TWO weeks! She squeezed her little body in front of me to open up the hair accessory drawer (which did not house my make-up brushes), dug through the hair ties and other accessories, and yelled “I found it! Here it is momma – I put it in this drawer. I’m sorry.” My little 2 1/2 year old apologizing for misplacing my make-up brush? Wow!

So what can I say? I’m one lucky mommy. They may not think I notice or even care, but I do. It’s those little things I tell ya. Those little things really do matter the most. And it’s these moments that will hopefully shape them into the considerate adults and parents they will be one day.

Inspired By A Champion

Last night was another Pacquiao victory over Margarito. More than I admire Pacquiao for being the greatest boxer in history, I admire his respect for other fighters, his work ethic, his generosity and his love for public service. He carries a confidence without arrogance, much to be admired. So this one is dedicated to someone who I believe is a true world champion and inspiration to all, someone who brings masses of people together in peace, and someone who reminds us to simply be kindhearted and gracious. For someone to be able to set this kind of example for the world in a career where you are throwing punches – now that’s amazing and it just goes to show that anything is possible!

Yesterday, the Hubby snapped some photos of Ella wearing her Philippines hoodie. Although this was going to be a piece that paid homage to our Filipino culture, I also wanted to extend a greater message: “Know Your Roots, Love Your Roots”. Growing up, I was unsure about who I was and knew very little about my culture. Everyone wanted to be the “same” as oppose to celebrating the differences. Now that I’m a mother, I see how important it is to a child’s self-esteem and confidence to really understand who they are and know their culture. Let’s teach our children to be proud of who they are and where they came from. Stepping off the soap box now ;)

Know Your Roots, Love Your Roots

Thank You, Sam!

I’m talking about San Diego’s own Sam The Cooking Guy of course! I have been meaning to try out this simple and tasty-looking recipe for quite some time, and yesterday I decided to go for it. It’s a nice down-home comfort dish that is easy to make and still has that gourmet feel. So if you want to impress someone, need a pot-luck dish or are hosting a dinner party, this is  a great recipe! And not only is it tasty-looking, it really IS delicious. You’ll be suprised at the few ingredients it calls for too. Sam calls this his Spicy-ish Sausage Pasta. The only thing I did differently was I used Barilla’s Mezzi Rigatoni instead of the penne that the recipe asks for.

I also picked up a French baguette from the local Albertson’s. I scored the loaf so it was easy to pull apart and popped it in the oven (uncovered) at 250 for 15 minutes just until it was nice and crispy on the outside and warm on the inside. This was the best $1.50 spent! I served it with butter, balsamic vinegar and olive oil on the side. The family LOVED every crumb of it. De-lish!

Spicy-ish Sausage Pasta (thanks, Sam!)

Note to Self

Now that I’ve received my new sewing machine (jumping for joy), I have a few projects on my radar. This post is basically to organize my scattered brain so that I don’t lose sight of these projects:

– Sewing machine cover
– Bulletin/inspiration board
– Stain and add upholstery to Ella’s work table and chairs
– Throw pillows for living room sofa
– Dresses for Ella & Addy with matching accessories (i.e. headband, hair ribbon, purse, or tote bag)

Other Projects:

– Our family holiday pictures
– Hang pictures on another wall
– Sewing table/desk for bedroom
– Paint TV wall
– Paint bedroom wall
– Ella’s craft kit gift
– Gift card holders

Hmmmm…I think that’s it. For now. ;)

Cracked Out

Here’s a list of things I’m cracked out on – in other words, “addicted to at the moment”:

  • Figuring out all of the characters on Sons of Anarchy…a little obsessed :)
  • Reading the Shim + Sons blog
  • Gift-shopping
  • Closely watching our budget
  • Watching the final season of Oprah…all of the shows so far have been amazing! It really is her last season :(
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Daydreaming
  • Listening to that new Bruno Mar’s jam
  • Planning the 18th bday party for our boy

Fabulous Fall Cookies

Because it’s Fall. Because THIS is the time of year when I bake my heart out. Because I LOVE the smell of these cookies baking in the oven. Because Ella enjoys baking just like her momma. :)

These are my traditional butterscotch spice cookies — so so easy to make! Even if you’ve never cooked or baked before, this recipe is almost impossible to fail.

Butterscotch Spice Cookies: Makes 2 dozen + a couple just for you & your little assistant :)

1 box of spice cake mix (any brand)
2 eggs
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of butterscotch chips

Preheat your oven to 375. Mix all ingredients together – simple! Use a melon baller to scoop perfectly round cookies onto your baking sheet. Bake for 8-11 minutes (every oven is different, so set the timer for 8 minutes and bake longer if needed).

Look who's helping Momma...

Time to add the butterscotch chips...

Scooping the last one onto the cookie sheet...

She's pretty proud of herself...

Her sweet creations...

Our taste-tester...Daddy!

Mmmmmm...delish!