Saturday, January 30, 2010

Road trip? Oh yea!

After many nights staying up baking and decorating, I'm ready for a vacation! I absolutely am giddy thinking about it! We're driving up from San Diego to Mineral, CA. A very long drive.... not really looking forward to that part. I've offered to drive part of the way and then my husband will drive the rest of the way. It's a 10 hour drive. I know you must be wondering why drive?

Here's the reasons:
1) with kids driving is soooo much easier and even with ridiculous gas prices it's cheaper.
2) We're going into the snow so packing 4 snow outfits would take up at least 2 suitcases.
3) I don't even know how to put a snowboard on an airplane.
4) last time we rented a car we ended up with a 1997 Oldsmobile (no offense, I swear) but...I like my car better... Ok, that was totally mean but...when it's not "your car" and it has crumbs in the cup holders it's just kinda nasty.
5) Our trip back down is all about driving... keep reading I'll explain.

We're driving up to spend the weekend with our friends at their cabin and play in all the new snow! Just that sentence alone sounds like fun! Obviously, I'm a snow-deprived San Diegan. And yes, I know what to expect, I'm actually from Texas and have horrible memories of having to push my parents mini-van out of a snow bank. But I'm excited for the memories my kids will have from this. Plus, spending time with some of our closest friends on the planet is so worth 10 hours of driving.

On the way back we're stopping at the Monterey aquarium for the day.

Then spending the night in San Louis Obispo at the amazing "Apple Farm" Hotel.

Then....yes, there's more :) we are driving to Santa Barbra in the morning and spending the day there.

Then we'll drive back home. I can't believe that I'm actually looking forward to a "road trip." That word strikes horror into my bones! But, the places I listed are some of my favorite and I really think it'll be fun.... as long as a kid doesn't vomit in the car.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rainy Day Spotlight on "The Feather Series"

Finally it's raining! I kept looking at the gloomy oppressive clouds today wondering when they were going to fulfill their promise to me. It didn't seem right to publish a post called Rainy Day Spotlight when it wasn't raining.

So here we are at my favorite series.... The Feather Series by Abra Ebner. This series is amazing. It sucks you in and keeps you captivated throughout all the books. You know the magic that some books seem to have? The kind that grab the reader and instantly thrust them into a world that seems so real they could reach out and touch it? The Harry Potter Series has it.....the Twilight Series has it..... and The Feather Series has it!

If any of you have ever asked me for a book recommendation- this is the series to start with. It's truly a delight and will not let you down. It's not just for adults, I think most teenage girls will fall in love with these books too. I can't give a full blown description of the books because I don't want to ruin any surprises for any of you.....but... immortals, angels, a soul split between two, danger and adventure, love and passion... yep...just absolutely amazing! I got so attached to these characters and their story I didn't want this series to end. I hope you find this series as wonderful as I do.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tomorrow it's going to rain!

I've been saving my favorite for last! Tomorrow I'll be doing a spotlight on the Feather Series by Abra Ebner. It's my favorite series. She is such a talented writer and makes you feel like the worlds she creates in her books could actually be real. It takes some amazing skills to make that possible. Not so mention the connection the reader forms with the characters.... like I said....amazing. Can't wait for my next post? Check out her blog:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rainy Day Spotlight on Vampires

Since I did a spotlight on angel books I thought it was only fair that I did a spotlight on vampires. I realize many teenage girls are obsessed with a vampire named Edward Cullen. Yes, I am talking about Twilight. In truth, the books do deserve some credit. The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer is a very good series. I don't feel that I need to say much about them because by now most people know the series. My only statement is that they are PG romance up until book 3, when they go into PG-13 mode. In some ways they remind me of the Harry Potter phenomenon. Great books for readers who might not otherwise read....does that make sense? hmmm...I think they are great books for teens.

If you are not a teen: grab some chocolate and one of these books!
I highly recommend the "Black Dagger Brotherhood" series by J.R. Ward and "The Midnight Breed" series by Lara Adrian. These books are really good! I mean really REALLY good if you are interested by a hot vampire warrior. Let me explain.... pulse racing, take a deep breath while reading type of books. And despite the fact that they look like a cheesy romance novel they have really great plots with multiple twists that leave you very curious where the battles are heading. And yes, battles are fought in these books. Both authors also do an excellent job of character development. Since each series includes so many books the authors have the time to really develop each character and they do a great job. You will not be disappointed in these books. And do not laugh at how many I have....Yes I know, it's a bit much, but what can I say, my hubby works late :)

(notice the M&M's)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rain? I think not....

So I've been doing these rainy day posts....well, as of tonight I'm thinking I should call them crazy day posts. Yesterday my shutter came crashing off of my house and shattered next to my front door. To say the least it scared me silly and agitated my dog. Then while my kids and I are sitting down to dinner my son says "Look mom it's snowing!" Umm...wha? We live in So. Cal. I see the ocean (from a distance) almost every day. It does not snow here. For the record it wasn't snow, it was ice. LOTS OF IT! Here are some pics I had to share of our front walkway.

And yes those brown pieces of wood to the side are the remainders of my shutter.

Rainy Day Spotlight on Angels

This spotlight is on "hush, hush" bu Becca Fitzpatrick and "Kissed by an Angel" trilogy by Elizabeth Chandler.

Did you get sucked into the Stephanie Meyer Twilight craziness? Well, forget the vampires, angels are in. I combined these books because they are both full of suspense and romance and really hot angels.

In "hush, hush" our main character Nora finds herself attracted to Patch even though everything about him screams danger. Nora finds herself in a series of terrifying encounters which lead her into the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those who have fallen....

In the "Kissed by an Angel" trilogy Ivy's boyfriend Tristan dies and becomes her guardian angel. Their love is so strong that they find each other even in death. Ivy needs Tristan more than ever because Tristan's killer is now after Ivy. All three of the books are contained in the one book....kinda confusing since it's called a trilogy and you only have to buy one book.

Both of the books I listed are great reads and deserve their own spotlight...but since I'm not sure how much longer this rain will last I combined them. If you like the angel idea look out for a new angel series by one of my fav. authors Abra Ebner (I'll be doing a spotlight on one of her book series later in the week).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rainy Day Spotlight on "The Mortal Instruments"

The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare is a must read for teens and adults. It's a thrilling series with great character development and so many twists and turns you never know what's going to happen next. Our main character Clary Fray is thrust into a world of Shadowhunters (warriors dedicated to ridding the Earth of demons while keeping werewolves and vampires in line) after she witnesses a murder in a New York city club. Her mother disappears and Clary is attacked by a demon. Yet why would demons be interested in a regular human girl like Clary? And why does she have the "Sight"? Getting the answers is a wonderful adventure with a little love thrown in to the mix. Definitely a must read.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rainy Day Spotlight on "Griffin and Sabine"

One of my all time favorite book series is by Nick Bantock. It's called the "Griffin and Sabine" series. Nick Bantock is an amazing artist and these books combine art and literature in an amazing way. These books are truly unlike any other. The books take you on an amazing journey of art, love and adventure. He's also thrown in a sneaky villain that makes it impossible to put these books down. The artwork is stunning. Every page is a feast for your eyes.

One of my favorite things is that you actually open envelopes and take out what appear to be hand written letters. If you've ever wanted to sneak through your grandmother's attic and find love letters and read them- then these books are for you!

I've had these books for years and I find myself cozied up on the couch reading them time and time again. Each time I read these books I discover something new and take away a little something too.

Rainy Day Spotlight

I'm starting a new blog post series called "Rainy Day Spotlight". On rainy days what is the best thing to do? Cuddle up under a blanket and read! I love to read, it's honestly one of my favorite things to do. Friends frequently ask me for book recommendations so I'm going to be putting some of my favorite books and series in these "spotlight" posts. I'm planning on these to only last as long as the rain lasts- so be sure to check back frequently!

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Soda Crutch

The sugar challenge is going well so far! I thought it was going to be impossible to give up soda. I love soda. I'm not obsessed- but I definitely like a diet coke every now and then. I've also relied on soda to help curb hunger when dieting. Which, I'm kinda dieting right now. I say kinda because it isn't a "diet" it's just me trying to eat healthier. I know what you all are thinking! Honey butter?! Right? Ok, ok. That was my splurge. Everyone is allowed to splurge every now and then. But my saving grace has been this product called "La Croix." It's sparkling water that comes in different flavors. The best part- it is calorie and sodium free with no artificial sweeteners. When you look on the back of the can it's a big zero all the way down the nutritional facts. It's really helped me in the afternoons when I get the munchies but it's not time for dinner yet. I grab a can and it makes me feel like I'm having a soda. I know, it's slightly pathetic....but I'm trying. Enough about depressing diet struggles it's time for a fun recipe.

La Croix Skinny Mojito
8 oz glass
2 sprigs fresh mint
3 wedges fresh lime
4-6 packets sweetener organic zero (whole foods)
crushed ice
1.5 oz. clear "lite" rum only (approx. 48 calories)
6 oz. lime La Croix sparkling water

Squeeze fresh limes over mint leaves. Muddle mint, lime juice and sweetener. Add crushed ice. Add rum and La Croix. Garnish with mint leaves and fresh limes.

For the record, I'm trying this recipe on Saturday night. I can't believe that it's only 48 calories! I love glad that this is one thing I can splurge on and not feel guilty!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Honey Butter

Mmmmm.... If you want to take a simple weeknight meal and turn it into something magical use honey butter. Last night I made my easy chili and some cornbread. I also decided to whip (ha- literally) up some honey butter. It made the cornbread magical. And I ate way too much as a result. But I don't regret it at all. For those of you who have seen the film "Julie & Julia" I thought of it last night as I was applying my heavenly glob of butter. For those of you who haven't seen that film - you need to. Immediately! Also Julie loosely states that butter makes everything delicious. You can't have too much butter. Want to know how to make honey butter? It's so simple.

Honey Butter:
2 sticks unsalted butter and 4-6 Tablespoons of honey (to taste)
Whip together while butter is soft. Serve when done.

Butter Tip: If you butter just came out of the fridge you can still use it! Microwave it on a plate for 45 seconds at 20% power. Flip half way through the warming. Add 30 second intervals if it is still too cold. I do this all the time for baking at my bakery.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Coffee Anyone???

Honey anyone? If you are saying yuck? I did too this morning when I thought of it.....but surprisingly it tastes good. I only needed to use one spoonful of honey vs. using multiple spoonfuls of sugar. You really can't taste the honey taste-- it just makes the coffee sweeter. And isn't honey healthy? Every time I look at my coffee I keep thinking wow did I really put honey in there? But it's good and I'm going to continue using honey in my coffee. I'm really excited that I figured out something healthy to put in my coffee in the morning. Yay! So far so good with the challenge.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Do you ever think about how much sugar you eat? I think the whole "new years resolution" thing got to me. Recently I've been trying to think healthier. Well, it's now led me to try and tackle my sugar issue. I eat a lot of sugar...I think. I also realize that I put one Splenda in my cup of coffee per morning. Two Splenda's if I need two cups of coffee. And is Splenda sugar? Nope. It's made from sugar. So what the heck is it? Probably chemicals. I'm done eating chemicals. I've decided I'm going to go on an artificial sugar strike. I'm no longer adding artificial sugar to my coffee in the morning. I thought about it and it made me sick thinking how much I eat in one month....yuck. And I drink too much soda. more sodas for me. I'll keep you posted on how it's going. Do you think I can do it? If you think I can you have no idea how addicted to soda I am....oh my. Not really looking forward to this challenge but I really want to get healthier. I'd also like to be a super strong woman who is totally in shape and runs every other day---- but that's not going to happen. And no that will not be a challenge on my blog! LOL! might be interesting to see how long I can last. Ok, ok. One challenge at a time... one day at a time. No more artificial sweeteners. Wish me luck.

By the way- I'm not picking on Splenda or Equal. I really do love both- trust me. I just think I might be healthier if I try to not eat them :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Crazy Roulette Cake

Basically my week was spent planning and working on this cake. It was a huge cake! The wheel was so much fun to make. And yes....all the details are accurate. This was going to an avid roulette player so it had to be accurate :) But I am very tired now that everything is said and done. Some of you might wonder how do I make cakes with kids in the house? It's very easy to bribe kids when cake is involved (insert evil laugh here). Although there were some times of telling the kids not to hit each other and to share. And maybe a couple of times that I wanted to hit my head on the wall. But now it's done and I was very, very happy with it. There's more pictures on my professional blog:

And now....I'm going to take a deep breath and read. Enter my happy space and savor every moment.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Celebrating the New Year with Friends

Yes! No more cold!!! I'm finally over the worst cold I've ever had. The thing lasted almost 2 weeks! Which was absolutely horrible-- because as I've stated mom's don't get sick days. But now I'm ready to put the dark days behind me and welcome in a new year. I have a lot of hopes for 2010. One being that it'll be a better year than 2009 was. Don't get me wrong, I have some wonderful memories from this past year. There were lots of precious moments and great celebrations last year.

Since we have young kids, we didn't really do anything on New Year's Eve. But on New Year's Day we had some of our friends over for a small dinner party. For appetizers we had chibata bread and cambazola cheese. The smokey flavor of chibata bread accents that cheese wonderfully- you have to try it!! For the salad I made a hearts of palm and prosciutto salad with parmesano regiano shavings on top....yum. For dinner I made chicken picata, risoto with crimini mushrooms and roasted asparagus. For desert we had french almond and fruit tarts. And I pared the meal with three wines. A rose to go with the salad and two white wines to go with the main course.

There is something about good food and good company that just makes me happy inside. It was a great way for us to start off this year. Did any of you do something special to start off 2010??
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