Birthdays

To celebrate the February birthday’s in our family we all went to Little Italy for dinner. Although the food wasn’t anything to rave about, the company was well worth it. The best part of Italian food is that we know we can order the girls pizza and skip the dramatics. You guys, they are getting older, when does their pickiness go away?

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Later that night Kaili started to deteriorate and ended up with a bad cold. It has now hit the entire house, besides me; takes a bow while simultaneously knocks on wood. 

A week or so later we headed to Vegas. While we were waiting to check in, we saw Jesus, probably.

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We hit the arts district where we had an incredible lunch at Esthers Kitchen.

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So good in fact, that we went back once more before we left.

Once my brother flew in, we hit the town. Music, food, dancing and all the fun that we have there.

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The next day we decided to hit up Frankie’s Tiki’s Lounge before heading to the strip.

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We were almost committed to riding on the high roller, but then beer pong caught our eye.

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On the way back to the hotel, we saw the most amazing rainbow.

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With that we headed to a casino to test our luck. Some of us were luckier than others. We met some nice folks, crazy characters and spent the rest of the night singing and dancing.

A great birthday month in the books.

My Favorite Valentines

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We had a low-key at home Valentine’s day.  After taking the girls for lunch at the park, we went home to give them their goodies of love.

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Once they were all sugared up, we sent them outside to disturb the neighbors. For dinner I made Chrissy Teigens’ meatloaf.  I am in no way a fan of loafed meat and it took bottles of ketchup and bbq sauce for me to eat it as a child. This recipe combines ground beef and spicy sausage which is the real winner on the dish. Just try it, it’s good. We also had potato puree, green beans and chocolate lava cakes for the ending. Pictures are now in your imagination because I didn’t pause to take any.

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We finished the night eating chocolate on the couch as our favorite shows played. I hope you all had a wonderful love day. I know I did!

 

Mini Donuts

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Mini donuts are the best! Kaili says as I type this. She is on my lap dictating my words, so it’s all her fault, especially when you are thinking about donuts in bed. Kaili came home from school one day and said “mom, we made mini donuts!” And I said, “that’s awesome!” ” But wait, when did you make donuts?” She walked me through what I needed and it turned out, donut pans were a biggy.

The next morning I looked up a donut recipe, the only thing we were missing was a donut pan, just as Kaili said. Shit, I hate when the 8 year old is right!

Thanks to the amazing delivery services, we had our new silicone donut pans within days. I bought these and for the price, they are great. Just make sure to put the donut pans on a cookie sheet or they will fold on you and you will lose your donuts to the floor.

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I won’t lie, I haven’t made donuts before. So here we are with new donut pans and a recipe I found… Kaili assured me it looked A-Ok.

So, as the girls ate dinner, I baked the donuts allowing time for them to cool before the frosting commenced.

INGREDIENTS {DONUTS} *this recipe made a perfect dozen donuts

2 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

3/4 cup milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Sprinkles

{Frosting}

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray your donut pan with cooking oil.
Place the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
Add eggs, butter, milk and vanilla extract to the bowl. Stir until smooth.
Place the batter in a freezer bag. Snip off the tip of the bag and pipe the batter into the the donut pan.
Bake the donuts for 10 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean) Let the donuts rest for 3 minutes, then remove them from the pan and place on a rack to cool.
Place 1/4 cup of cream in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Pour in your chocolate chips and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for a few minutes and then stir. Your chips should melt, if not zap in the microwave for a few more seconds.
Dip each donuts into the chocolate ganache and then sprinkle the sprinkles to your hearts consent.
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*recipe adapted from here.

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.

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

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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.

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2020

Resolutions, traditions and parties, all of those words are used to describe New Years Eve.  One day you’re staying up late sipping sparkling wine all night and then before you know it, you are waking up every morning with young kids. That’s when you accept the fact that none of the “fun” of NYE events are going to happen again, at least for years. But then something wonderful happens, you realize that nothing else matters aside from waking up every day with the ones you love. Even if that means going to parks every damn day of holiday break. Where the kids would rather fill up their socks with sand than play on the swings.

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After an afternoon at the park we had managed to sneak invitations into the mailbox. Casually asking one of the the girls to check the mail, it only took a half a second of screaming to let the house know all the girls had a letter.

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We thought it would be fun to include the girls in one of the NYE traditions. Get dolled up, sip bubbly (soda sheesh), and dance till midnight. They were so excited. Nothing was off limits, want to wear make-up? That’s fine, one night and one night only. Fancy shoes, perfume, soda and no bedtime. What more could they ask for?

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We dined on charcuterie and puff pastry with cheese and passion fruit. These girls sat down in front of the food like we have starved them all day. Before you knew it, shoes were being kicked off and the whining was starting. You guys it wasn’t even 7:00. And then it happened, they asked if they could put on their pajamas and we said, “only after some pictures, party poopers” the nerve.

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We all sat in pajamas and sang karaoke but the party wound down quick. Before you knew it all the girls ASKED to go to bed. Apparently the moral of the story is this…. if you want to have an adult NYE with the kids in bed, take them to the park that day, stuff them full of meat and cheese and tell them they can stay up all night. Voila!

Cheers to a new year!

 

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Pavlova with Passion Fruit Whip and Mango

A little tidbit about me and this blog, the titles are the hardest part. So I apologize if you are underwhelmed with them, some days are better than others.

I have so many fond memories of my grandma. She loved me, she loved my grandpa, she loved to please and I am not sure if she loved to cook but that is one thing she was always doing, at least that’s one thing I remember. I remember fresh orange juice, scrambles eggs, homemade buttermilk ranch dressing, red hot cinnamon applesauce and strawberry shortcake.

Here is where it gets fuzzy. You see my grandma died before I was mature enough to really appreciate all that she was and did. But one of the many things I remember vibrantly is a dessert she made. Meringues with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.  I remember the dessert as “strawberry shortcake” but I may have made that up. However I have talked to my parents and they were no help, sigh. (LOVE YOU PARENTS)

This is where I am going with the story if you are nodding off; dad cough cough. As I grew older my friends, not naming names (Jess) told me about how they loved strawberry shortcake, I thought; OMG, (well I didn’t say that because I was only 10) I also love strawberry shortcake.  Turned out, their version of (can we condense it to SSC?) SSC was not the same as my memory of the dessert. Years and years went on and another SSC I did not order.

As time went on, cooking classes were taken and the words “Eton Mess and Pavlova” crept in. I wish so hard that my grandma was alive to answer all of my questions I need to ask her about one damn dessert. But since she isn’t with us anymore I must give you my own findings. The dessert was her own creation, half Pavlova (meringue dessert with a crisp crust and soft, light inside, usually topped with fruit and whipped cream) AND half Eton Mess. (dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries, meringue, and whipped cream). I think the thing I am asking myself is this….how has it taken me so long to make this dessert? Such a strong fond memory but yet, so distant.

I put a tropical twist on it using passion fruit, mango and some dragon fruit. It was incredible.

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Meringues

6 egg whites, room temperature
1.5 cups white sugar
2 tsp corn starch
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice or distilled vinegar
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

Combine cream, sugar and vanilla and nectar in a chilled mixing bowl and beat until soft peaks form. 
Smother your Meringues with passion fruit whipped cream and top with anything you want. I used mangos and dragon fruit but it will be good with anything or nothing at all. I promise.