Christmas

Hello strangers, happy new year! I hope everyone had a great one and isn’t sick or drowning in rain…or both.

I left you with the best snickerdoodle cookie recipe and then ghosted you for the holidays.

Christmas eve had us cookie decorating, baking and prepping for Christmas day feasting.

The kitchen was busy, we made an eggnog cake, the ‘can’t have Christmas without sherry cake’, and creme de menthe brownies.

I also made this farro salad with apple, parmesan and arugula. You guys, this salad really is the best.

The girls had to wait until 7:00 AM on Christmas morning, how terrible of us huh?

Once we were cozied up and had coffee in hand, we started the festivities.

Halfway through the carnage we broke for breaky. and then we continued with the mayhem.

Out of everything Kaili opened, I think this was her favorite, sigh.

Her relationship with spicy chips is on another level.

Later that morning the family came over….. and with a baby black lab in tow.

This is Pluto, isn’t he the cutest?

Casey and Aileen were puppy sitting for a friend, and I can say that Pluto gave us all dog fever, well everyone except Shawna, pfft.

We spent the day opening more gifts, eating, playing games and saying “no” to the girls asking for a dog every other minute.

My dad and Casey put together Averi’s new Rainbow High doll house.

We played Right Left Center and Kaili won.

It was a great Christmas spent with all my people!

Those five days between Christmas and New Years is big question mark. No one knows what day it is or what they are supposed to be doing, it’s like existing in confusion.

I took the girls to Coronado for an afternoon.

We had a delicious lunch, enjoyed a walk along the water, more puppy love and some swimming.

The weather was perfect until the sun went down, and then it was time to head home and warm the bones.

Snickerdoodle Sandwich Cookies with Cream Cheese Filling

Snickerdoodle’s are not my favorite cookie, not even in my top five. So when I made this recipe, I did not think I would want them for breakfast, however paired with cream cheese frosting, they are suitable for any time of the day. With Christmas a short few days away, these are perfect to have out for little and big hands to grab.

I made these a few times, once from scratch and then I used a sugar cookie mix as a short cut and it’s just as good. Since time is minimal these next few days, get the mix and make it easy on yourself. But you do have to make the cream cheese frosting, that is a must.

INGREDIENTS

1 package of sugar cookie mix

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2-4 cups powdered sugar (depending on your sweet tooth)

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line backing sheets with parchment paper.

Mix the cookie dough according to the package directions. Using a 1/2-inch cookie scoop or spoon, scoop cookie dough and roll into balls. Roll the dough in the cinnamon-sugar and then place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Let cool completely.

While the cookies bake and cool, make the cream cheese frosting.

In a stand mixer or a bowl with a handheld mixer; beat cream cheese and butter until light and creamy. Add salt and then gradually add the powdered sugar, beat until smooth.

Once the cookies are cool, spread frosting on the bottom half of the cookies, top with remaining cookies and press gently together so the frosting spreads to the edges.

Store in an airtight container. They are good out of the fridge too!

Wake up, It’s December

This year we made reservations instead of recipes for Thanksgiving dinner…in Vegas. The next morning bright and early, we headed to the Las Vegas American Outlaws chapter bar to watch the US play England.

The vibe was phenomenal.

What happens in Vegas does not always stay in Vegas because we both got colds while we were there, the drive home was so much fun (insert sarcasm font).

About a week later we had our yearly visitor.

Everyone this is Tipsytoes Bellshire.

Casey and Aileen took the girls for a day of Coronado fun. They made ornaments and cookies with Santa, explored the Hotel Del and went out to lunch.

They came home happy and hyper, it was a fun holiDAY!

(Why didn’t anyone brush Averi’s hair that morning?)

I was unsure of how the World Cup would look during the month of December but I gotta say that I dig it. Waking up to soccer every morning has been wonderful.

We are about a week out from Christmas and I am happy to say that I think I’m ready for it.

Cold nights, toasty fires, eggnog espresso martini’s and the WC final match….not a bad December.

Get into the Spirit

The week before Christmas break the girls had school spirit week.

They had pajama day.

And holiday fashion day.

And dress to impress, which Averi was all about.

One afternoon we decorated gingerbread men.

We had an early Christmas with the family and then spent an afternoon in Coronado.

We ran off for a few days over Christmas and celebrated with the girls a couple of days later. They were tortured by having to wait.

And wait.

Finally, they were able to open the ridiculous amount of presents that they had.

I need to have a talk with Santa about the Mini Brand Mart he brought all three girls. I think he needs to come back and put these together himself.

Save yourselves. Do not purchase unless you want to spend hours of your life putting together a million little pieces, that are flimsy… AND then watch the kids pull their hair out trying to the items to stay on the shelves.

Anxiety in a box. These should come with wine and a Xanax.

Elevated Wine, Really?

Last year my brother gifted us a night’s stay at Ponte’s Inn and Vineyard in Temecula for our birthday’s.

We finally had a free weekend to enjoy it. Once we checked in and dropped our stuff, we headed out for wine, starting at Altisima. They are a newer winery, making old world and new world wines with Spanish roots. The grounds are beautiful as is the tasting room. Luckily we had a knowledgable pourer who had a fun personality, that can make all the difference (well that can make a difference in the experience, not in the wine). Luckily the wine was superb, everything we tasted we enjoyed, and that rarely happens.

We moved on to a couple more wineries that we haven’t been to, and honestly, didn’t really like. We ended at Bottaia. Bottaia is Ponte’s sister winery, the same winemaker but elevated, I guess. I was eager to try it because I do like Ponte’s wines. When you walk in you are greeted and then asked to pay depending on what type of “experience” you want. Uh, ya, we want the one where we try your wine please. Their description reads “chic”, I say boujie… They say “elegant”, I say expensive. The experiences that they were offering were….we could either sit out on the deck and choose from a flight of wines or we could sit in the cold barrel room, and choose from a flight of more expensive wines. We chose the deck, ordered some hummus and wine.

Nope, not for us. It felt as if the focus of the winery was on the atmosphere, opposed to the wine. We didn’t like any of them and you guys, it’s not cheap. I wouldn’t go back on purpose.

However, the view of the vineyard when the sun started to set, was gorgeous.

We had dinner at Bouquet, the restaurant at Ponte. It was good, very intimate. Mushroom soup and scallops, not bad at all.

The next morning we were looking for egg bennies before we drove home. We stopped at a winery whose website said that they had it on their menu. Lies, all lies. Once we were seated we were handed a menu for lunch, which as you know, isn’t breakfast, it was very sad way to say, the end.

The next day the girls and I went to a Christmas party at the clubhouse.

They ran in and headed straight for the soda and donuts, and then waited for Santa.

Giving Santa the lowdown. Unicorns, horses and toys..oh my!

The girls met up with some friends and ran around outside for a good hour. Finally, when I was so bored I couldn’t take it anymore, we headed home.

The next morning we woke up to Cupcake confused on where he was at.

Definitely not summer weather here anymore.

Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

This is a festive and easy activity to do for the holidays. Two ingredients, that’s it. These will make the house smell amazing and they make a great homemade gift.

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup applesauce

4 oz. cinnamon

rolling pin

cookie cutters

glue

glitter various colors

straw

string

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 200°. Mix applesauce and cinnamon in small bowl until a smooth ball of dough is formed, your hands are the best tool for this.

I divided the dough amongst the three girls.

Roll dough to 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap.

Peel off top sheet of plastic wrap. Cut dough into desired shapes

Make a hole at the top of ornament with a straw.

Place ornaments on baking sheet.

Bake for about 2 1/2 hours. Cool ornaments on a wire rack.

Once completely cool. brush with glue and decorate with glitter.

Wrap them up as a gift or hang on the tree.

Holiday Photos

Better late than never. Every year the girls and I meet uncle BK at a certain location for the holiday pictures. This year we chose La Jolla for the backdrop. We decided to have the girls do a take on the “trash the dress” theme. If you haven’t heard of “trash the dress” before, basically it’s a photoshoot where the bride wears her wedding dress for a second time; but this time it ends with the dress being creatively ruined, whether it’s while jumping into a pool or being saturated in wine. I always loved the idea. The idea in my head however was much more grand than what actually played. Mostly because the water was ice cold and even the girls didn’t want to get wet. I need to remember to take Christmas pictures in the summertime.

IMG_2830IMG_2345

imgsvr-10imgsvr-6imgsvr-12

Kaili ended up knocked over by a wave which was amazing.

imgsvr-7imgsvr-8imgsvr-9

imgsvr-13imgsvr-2imgsvr-5

IMG_2828

Once the sun set a little lower and the weather got chillier we wrapped it up. After a quick change into dry clothes, a seaside dinner awaited. The pictures turned out beautiful as they do each year.

imgsvr-4imgsvr-11

Cancun {part one}

A couple of weeks back we left San Diego before the sun was even awake, viva Mexico. We headed to Cancun for an adult only Mexican holiday. It was a long day of travel but we had the best seat companion, Lily the dog.

wNquVCHjRBGbU9s0JukuWA

By the time we got our luggage, hopped into our ride and barreled through the traffic it was late into the evening. We chose to stay at Secrets Playa Mujeres, an adult only all-inclusive resort. North of the hotel zone where it’s more quiet. We were greeted with Champagne and shown to our room.

fullsizeoutput_8cc

Our room was nice, we had a soaking tub in the bathroom and the patio, a rain shower with all the amenities one would need. After we dropped off our stuff, we headed down to the first restaurant we saw for dinner. Sadly, we were not impressed with our dishes and had our fingers crossed that this wasn’t setting the bar for the rest of our meals. After dinner we went back to the room to unpack and shower. We decided dessert was a necessity. We put on pj’s, ordered room service and ate in bed while binging the Investigation Discovery channel. Pretty sure that channel stayed put all week, those stories are horrifying.

The next morning we ordered breakfast and ate it on our patio amongst the breathtaking views. We sat and wished the clouds away.

fullsizeoutput_8cb

The weather didn’t heed our wishes and the rain came on and off and ON for the next couple of days. Not that that hinders anyone, everyone was still doing their thing while we sat out in one of the many jacuzzi’s. When it did stop, we moseyed down to the beach to drink in the beautiful grounds.

I0yW6080RVumrCi17tl7yAY2ARH6CzQXSAxHaAyfHqtwj0DqLDr6TiunBUxoZNBKqQ

This was our first all inclusive experience. Since cash wasn’t needed (aside from tips for the staff) I was sort of hoping that they would have a set up like Great Wolf Lodge. A bracelet that has your room key and a credit card that you wear the entire time. Leaving you not having to worry about a lone room key. When I asked the concierge if I needed to carry the key everywhere, she replied, “you do if you want to get into your room.” Side eye. So no matter what, we were stuck with a key to carry around all day and night.

There were around 7 restaurants on the grounds. steakhouse, seafood, Asian, French, Italian a buffet/cafe, an upscale Mexican and coffeehouse. Plus 24 hour room service. The food was hit or miss. Some things were incredible and some were incredibly bad. Case in point…This shrimp dish was delish.

IMG_3150 3

This potato soup served during the same meal, was absolutely not delish. It tasted like raw potato water.

IMG_3152 3

Each night we ended up at the dance club which is a really strong word for what it actually was. Some nights were busy but most were quiet. They did have a couple of pool tables but the sticks weren’t taken care of so after the second day we gave up.

We had a really good meal at the seafood restaurant the following day. We ordered the whole fried fish, the octopus, the chocolate crepe cake and the apple crumble. I was excited to have all this with a cold Chardonnay but the wine was very underwhelming. They poured a basic brand from Chilé and honestly none of the varietals were good. But I guess that’s what happens when we are so spoiled with wine where we live.

18F3AC25-E4CA-4E6F-8EB8-D87F07978902f1d01366-404e-4366-bbab-10d02aca1c49833d9a00-1831-4cb0-959f-884b9c68e87b9752da20-5ddd-43f1-9ac2-3f2982bebe867a73135b-45a7-4adf-abee-0d8c0d5429c9b54d6350-668e-44dd-b242-026f986bfd98

We ended the day on the patio in the tub with wine. We learned that if you want to order a bottle of something through room service they will charge you, but if you just order 4 glasses of wine, it’s included. Brilliant.

fullsizeoutput_8d6

To be continued.

Holiday Holiday

Somehow it’s already mid December, I have so much to catch you up on. Currently our Elf, Peppermint Sugarcookie is playing Twister with a few scantily clad and very limber Barbies.

5E32E779-20DD-4404-B407-2AB3C327C017

Every morning the girls give a full report on what trouble he got into the night before.

fullsizeoutput_82dfullsizeoutput_890

Our neighborhood puts on a Holiday party each year. It’s the perfect time to meet the neighbors we never see and probably won’t see again until the next party. It’s also a great time for the girls to see Santa. Averi loves to get fancy for all occasions, she also loves to have her photo taken.

fullsizeoutput_84dIMG_3035

Our Elementary school put on a Frozen movie night and of course the girls had.to.go. We saw Frozen 2 the day after it came out and that is all Averi can talk about. Frozen Fever. But the movie theater is different than the school auditorium. Drinks were spilled, bathroom needs were constant and the Avester decided she was “too tired” and stayed put even after the lights came on. Yep that’s my kid.

fullsizeoutput_880SdV2FHojTXapTH76CNuYsA

The next day we spent swimming at uncle Casey’s new place. They decided to slum it for a bit and move to Coronado Island, sigh. The view is awful. And yes it looks cold, but the pool water was just fine….for the kids…and Casey.

fullsizeoutput_834fullsizeoutput_8be

Since all three girls weren’t able to attend the holiday party, we went back to the mall for another visit with Santa and some quick shopping.

As luck would have it, when we went to walk the neighborhood Christmas lights, we ran into Santa again. What a tiring job he has. Luckily he will have cookies waiting for him as a reward, or treat? So many kids and cats, I can’t keep it straight.

FVXl1noHSuWyD3fMTahjUg.jpgfullsizeoutput_894

fullsizeoutput_882fullsizeoutput_881uF08bYzpTyaLJeTFnGvVUQ

Averi’s teacher held a rehearsal for the Kinder Christmas show early so I could record it. The girls are heading up to WA with their dad this holiday and she’s missing the show. It was both super cute and painful at the same time. The first picture is when they just sat down in the auditorium, the video is 30 minutes later. Wrangling cats, that is another word for teaching Kindergarten.

 

fullsizeoutput_88e.jpeg

Wrapping up the Holidays

To say I slacked on Christmas pictures this year is a bit of an understatement. I procrastinated taking our pictures and then slightly panicked when after I purchased them,I was told they may not make in time. On top of that, I somehow didn’t order nearly enough. So if you did not get a card from us this year, I apologize. You will next year.

We took some day time photos at Crystal Pier in Pacific beach. I think they turned out great.

fullsizeoutput_66fullsizeoutput_63fullsizeoutput_5efullsizeoutput_61dsc_4449dsc_4458fullsizeoutput_65dsc_4471

fullsizeoutput_97

On Kaili’s last day of school before break, her class had a Christmas performance.

csc_4776csc_4813fullsizeoutput_83

It was the cutest thing and they sang some great traditional and non-traditional songs.

Once school was out I decided I probably should take them to Santa.

img_0852

As you can see, Averi didn’t want to sit with Santa but other than that it was painless.

Our Christmas was nice, despite poor K bear getting sick most of Christmas day. She wanted nothing to do with her presents until later  when she started to feel better.  I hope everyone had a great holiday. Only a few days left on 2016 can you believe it? See you in the new year.