Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Baking days...

Yes, as planned we spent several of our days baking.. We made salt dough ornaments for gifts, we baked several varities of oatmeal cookies, a few batches of my version of a Russian tea cakes, gingerbread, sugar cookies for rolling out and decorating.. Yesterday I even treated myself to some scones.

Missy loves to play in the flour almost as much as she likes to eat the cookies.. Her sweet tooth has finally emerged..
The neighbors Victoria and Julio were also in on the salt dough cut outs...

When the Garibays' finally joined us for Christmas they were ready to cut out cookies..

We had a great week!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I don't know what it is about traditions.. I mean besides the obvious link to family or culture.. Some people just don't care..They ignore them or fight them as if that will change them.. Well, not me. I love traditions. I love the comfort of following in the footsteps of our ancestors. For me, its a link to my grandmother and the roots of our family tree..Its great memories.. Where is she going with all this rambling.. Tamales.. Of course!

Just keep up.. my grandmother would make food with so much love.. I can remember her sitting in her kitchen besides her beautiful stove (some day I will also have a vintage stove).. I was a small child but the impression was deep.. After she passed the cooking of traditional foods was up to my aunt Josefina, my mom and other women.. Some of my uncles have a mean hand with food so if they offer up Carnitas, fried fish or tamales you are there front and center eating as if for the first time.. Again, I digress..
After college I found myself cooking and craving some of the traditional foods that I grew up with.. I had seen people cook but had never really seen a recipe or heard anyone discuss ingredients.. Raw food, spices and pots came out and next thing I know there was the smell of food luring me.
At Christmas time, it was always tamales.. Every variety of tamales from savory chicken to sweet corn.. My mom had never really been into the traditional Mexican dishes venturing into Italian cooking and American cooking for every day food.. However, for special occasions she would make Mole or Chiles Rellenos..
Again, I am a bit long of the story... Somewhere along the way I decided that since I no longer wanted to beg my aunts to make tamales and no one else was volunteering, I WOULD. I would grab the torch of Christmas Tamales and bring it back to our family..
I know. I am a glutton for punishment.. I mean tamales are no small feat. If you take it on, you plan to hurt from standing, your back will ache from all the dishes and huge pans.. I don't care... Its been about 8 years and its going strong..Every year I have oraganized and invited othter friends to join the family for what tends to be a gab session over food. Just like quilting, the talking flows as your hands accomplish their task..
This year it was a 3 generation event. It was my mom, Missy and ME! That is it.. People were busy, traveling, caring for others.. We missed the extra hands but at the same time it was neat for me to see mom and missy in mischief mode deep in the throws of Masa..

In the words of one of my favorite Latin artists, Gloria Estefan "Que viva la tradicion!"

which tanslates to "Let the tradition live"..

Monday, December 21, 2009

Music and Magic

The Winter show at LES was a neat treat. All of the Kindergarten classes put on a show in their PJ's.. They signed Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Rocked out to Jingle bell's..

After the program we follwed them to the yard where the cardboard trains came out.. Missy was a pink felt car with a aluminum light and white felt snowflakes..
Here comes Room 3 as the Polar Express..

FaLaLa LaLa, LaLaLa La,

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Settling in for the Holidays..

We started the baking, we wrapped presents and made lists.. We are nesting for the holidays.. I can't wait for the end of the week. I can't wait to see my dad and Tina for our Holiday dinner and gift exchange..
It will be the first in a series of mini reunions that we will get to host. This year our house is the gathering spot. No pressure. In fact, I am ready for the fun to begin.. We will make tamales, host a cookie decorating day and at least one ornament exchange before the real event.. Christmas. It has always been my favorite holiday.. The lights, the mystery of presents, the food and most importantly family.. It's a time when we cocoon at our house. We eat, sleep and play together for a few days..
Can't Wait!

Book Review: The Calligrapher's Daughter

We picked a book set in Korea.. From the moment I picked up it, I was sucked in. The pace was calming and the story highlighted the fall of the Korean Royal Dynasty to the Japanese.. It was a historical view with life.. It was a story that highlighted the class and gender differences of that period in history. I was amazed, surprised and curious.. I giggled when I saw words in text that I had heard at my friend Katherine's house in my teens.
I really enjoyed the book and the lessons of a culture which was almost wiped out. It was also an amazing contrast to the life we live in this day an age.. To read about women having to walk steps beind a man and relegated to "women's work" always makes me grateful for the blessings of the U.S.A.
The main character was definetely strattling the past and the future. She was raised in a traditional household with a father who was bound and determine to resist anything new and foreign. While her open minded and faithful mother was receptive to education and the opportunity to learn. As much as she looked to the future and hoped to progress, there was no model yet for what that future looked like.. They would have never imagined the transition to modern living outside their family home without the ancestral tombs and lessons to guide them..
Happy Reading,

Festive Friday Night!

It poured this weekend..
Friday night the storm made me slightly anxious as I drove to Vista with Maya in tow.. I gave myself extra time, I made sure I left a cushion between me and other cars and I am sure I signed the cross at least once.. Thankfully, we arrived safe and sound.. Monica's house was shelter in the storm.. I am sure it was a great night for the menorahs to be lit in Jewish homes.. An opportunity to reflect on the miracle of the 8 nights under the cover of cleansing water.. Shalom..
I unbundled Missy and snacked on the goodies Monica was getting ready to set out for the rest of the ladies. She would make Martha herself proud with her cheese plate, tiramisu cake, artichoke salad and other savory treats..Hugs and kisses, I will be back.. I am off to drool at Julie's fabulous home and wish my quilting pals a Merry Christmas..
Drool is right.. Julie has a lovely home. It's not only charming and welcoming it tells the story of a lovely family.. The Isa's are a happy and rambunctious bunch.. You smile when you see them because they emit a friendly warmth and kindness..
The ladies brought some fabulous food ranging from a light and tasty salad, which I need to request the recipe for, to an amazing red velvet dessert that made me wish I could like the spoons! No matter the food on the table it was the company and the delightful snow man craft that made the night.. How lucky are we to have such an amazing group of women to share our family stories over quilts with? Blessed and grateful...
Now back to the second party of the night.. The white Elephant party at Monica's was in full swing and to my surprise a cousin whom I hadn't seen in ages was present. How sad is it that we let so many years pass? Thankfully we all seem to find our way back to our family in time of need and festivity.. My cousin Evelyn is now a woman.. She has a family and a little boy who shares my name.. Small world..
The night was spent catching up and eating Monica's amazing goodies..When we were as satisfied as chesire cats it was time to pass our mystery gifts left and right according to the reading.. We had a blast and ended up with new treats to take home..
What a wonderful night to kick off a much needed weekend..

Monday, December 7, 2009

I can't belive it!

It's December.. I feel full from Thanksgiving still and now I have to move on to presents, cookies, tamales and ringing in the new year.. Yikes!
Thankfully the Christmas shopping is about 90% done. I have a few stocking stuffers to find and lots of wrapping. Yes, I wrap. I love to wrap. Presentation is important! I remember as a small kid my cousins and I would spend hours wrapping. I loved to see the perfect present unfold.. To this day I love receiving a true gift wrapped and if there is ribbon I am drooling.. We have gotten a little lazy and spoiled with gift bags but for Christmas, I am all about wrapping..
It's frosty outside.. A chilly 50 degrees and a rain filled day. I enjoyed my hot chocolate and restocked my tea supply. I should be set for the rest of the year..
Speaking of which, let's not rush. I am so excited for our holiday shutdown. I need the mental breather. I can't wait to fill the house with the smells of cookies. My cousins and their families have been annual recipiants of my baked goodies.. I have a cookie exchange to attend too. I love tasting new receipes. Maya and I are also hosting a mom and me cookie decorating party. I can see the sprinkles all over the floor and the faces filled with frosting. Should be a sweet afternoon.
I already sent out the Tamale party evite. I can't wait to taste our annual tamales. It's a tradition I forced on my family but I think they secretly love it. I felt the need to preserve one of my grandmother's traditions. I love the idea of gathering once a year for tamales and then sharing with friends and neighbors. Isn't that what the holidays are all about? For me it is.. I love the time with all the women in the kitchen. We share stories, memories and we each have our own way of wrapping tamales.
December is here. Christmas is around the corner. It's time to spread the love..

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What a week

We had a really full week and boy did it fly by.. It was a good week filled with family, friends, food and memories..What more could we ask for?
The week started with errands, shopping, a trip to the spa, more shopping and then 2 days of cooking and baking.. Missy and I spent many hours in the kitchen and washed a gazillion dishes.. It amazes me how well she knows her way around the kitchen at six..Our final products were 2 apple pies, 1 cheesecake, 4 pumpkin pies, 2 batches of peanut butter cookies, 2 batches of white tea cookies, a veggie strata in cheese sauce and a large casserole of potatoes au gratin..
Mona hosted Thanksgiving dinner at her house. I love that we ate outside on beautiful tables with real dishes.. We didnt have to eat in shifts or throughout the house. In California we have the luxury of 75 degree weather in late November. The weather cooperated long enough for the feast and dipped the next day just in time for the mad dash to the stores for black Friday.
A little collage of the sights of our Thanksgiving..

The girls, Ally and Irma, came down with my Aunt Lidia and her yummy milk jello. Thankfully Adrian came to help keep Maya giggling..My Aunt Chelo came and brought flan and arroz con leche (rice pudding).. Monica made some amazing green beans with seasame seeds and stuffing.. Mona's ham and my mom's turkey were amazing. Abel and Martin roasted corn on the grill.. We ate and talked into the night..

Have a blessed day,

It's a sickness I tell you...

Fabric has this power over me. For my fellow quilters, I know they get it. As someone who is dipping my toe into real sewing, its even more dangerous.. Whereas before I would see a quilt or a hanging now I see aprons, bags and clothes.. Its dangerous. It's expensive.. Today as I was roaming around the blogosphere I ran across some cute sewing sites. As I admired their done projects.. I clicked around and landed here:
The site has a cute blog but what grabbed my eye was the bright ad for 40% off total order.. Are you kidding me? I mean I have seen 25% off and I have even seen the clear out sales for Christmas fabrics but 40% off on new stuff..NEVER!
I thought well, its old fabric, they have nothing I want or nothing I even know about. I was wrong.. I found several lines that I have dreamt about and more that I know I must have in my stash for upcoming projects.. I almost called Deanna to wake her up when I saw her line "Authentic" on the front page.. I know she will whip up some cute outfit or cover a chair in that amazing fabric..
I have to wait and let it sink in. I am off to workout and figure out in my head how much fabric I can buy before I will notice it on the credit bill.. I have NEVER purchased fabric online. It wasn't in me to buy online. I figured if I restrained myself to what I had to physically find and purchase I would surely keep within my budget. My budget is very worried..Wish us luck.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kindergarten Hoedown

It was a fun morning at LES.. The kindergarten teachers wrapped up the farm unit with an old fashioned "hoedown." Missy was ready with her western wear and her own touch of flair.. She was a little lady in her dress and a cowgirl in her Red boots!
The rotated from square dancing to making butter.. Can't wait to see what unit is next..

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Dressing up

Last Sunday Maya cashed in the last of her gifts.. Yes, I know, more presents..How blessed can one little girl be? Well blessed she is..She was gifted with Lion King tickets by grandma.. Yipee for grandmas!
Well it meant mom needed to show her the proper play ettiquette.. I mean besides the fabulous play to be seen, you want to dress for the occasion. What better excuse to splurge on a real dress than a play.. I had scored a great deal on a lovely knit dress at Janie and Jack.. Have you seen that store? Danger Will Rogers.. Danger to the wallet.. However, frugal fiend that I am.. I had gone shopping on my anniversary and dared to peek in that lovely store front. Of course, I had to see what was moving from the main stage to the sale rack.. In that store sale is still thought provoking.. Well this dress had Maya written all over it. First of all it was PINK.. and BROWN.. Yes, those of us who were made in the 70's and kids of the 80's love retro Baskin Robbins colors.. This dress however made me melt when I saw the matching beret.. I mean really why can't us 30 somethings wear a beret without it looking like a cheap B movie? C'est la vie..

She was an image.. What you can't see is her heels! (We must fire that photographer!) At 6 she wore her first set of peep toe pumps.. Yes, I too was shocked to find a brown suede, ruffle over the peep toe pump.. For a 6 year old.. Who knew? Well one look at them and she thought she would walk to the moon in them..

The best thing was watching her trying to walk in these little heels.. Adorable.. I could still see my little girl..
The play was amazing. There are no words for the loveliness of the animals..Their interpretation of the "Circle of Life" was inspiring.. Maya was staring and singing along to the whole show.. I hope those memories stay with her..

Thanks for the memories grandma! (from Maya)

Look who's back!

My hubby!

No, he didn't really go anywhere.. he was hiding..under hair..
After several sessions of cajoling and some hints from both Missy and Moi.. MAG decided it was time.. Mind you, when I say time, I am using that word in the most liberal of ways.. Many moons and day light savings happened before he gave up that hair. I think by the end he was really just out to proove his point and torture us for a little longer. That is why he is smiling.. he knows we know..
.I'd better schedule that family picture before the "Mountain Man" decides to return.
Just kidding honey...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Homemade pie...

Missy and I woke up on a baking mission. I had been wanting to use my new pie plate ever since I first laid eyes on it.. It was a gift from mom.... This is not just any plate. Its Red! The edges are ruffled.. Love it..I couldn't find my regular recipe so I improvised one based on a few other recipes I found.. Martin only likes crust, so Pate Brise from Martha was a must.. I like a tart apple and not too sweet of a filling so I borrowed from Ina Garten's apple pie recipe and added orange juice and extra lemon juice.. the result..well yummy and pretty...

Missy on the other hand was all about the flour.. at one point I wondered if there would be any left.. she was happy to spread it all over the counter..But baking is always fun with her as my sous chef.. Now that she can vaccum and sweep on her own. its even better, less clean up for me..

Let me know when you want to come over for some pie..
It will be waiting..

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Christmas Projects

Yes, I know the shock of Halloween having passed is still fresh.. However, its already November.. The air is crisper.. My mind starts to think of baking and tamales..It's almost Christmas time.. The holidays are trurly my favorite time of the year..
What is not to like? I mean , for us, having a "forced" two week vacation is amazing.. We get to lounge, sleep in, take day trips or longer without worrying about work..
This year we got a good start on the Christmas shopping but more importantly the projects are under way.. I tend to have a handle on the Christmas list as I do not like to see a mall in Decemeber unless its for the decor..We are over 80% done with the store bought Christmas gifts, now we can focus on the creating memories and those projects!
Yes, there are always more projects than time.. Well this year is no different. I had one big project that I HAD to get done. Having a deadline like Julie's Nov 5th deadline for quilting or the fact that the item is a CHRISTMAS gift really lights a fire under me.. Its been a long time coming and my fingers are raw and my joints are sore from all the stitching but the "It's a Wonderful Life" quilt has been submitted.. I worked and pieced and adjusted the appliques.. Its Done!! Julie will quilt it and when I get it back I will bind it.. I can only hope they like it as much as Martin does.. He couldnt believe it was not a keeper..
It's a Wonderful Life Quilt
Happy Saturday!
It's time to bake an apple pie...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The many faces of Maya....Halloween edition

Maya, like her mama, loves all things Halloween! Finally! someone who get's it..

For Storybook character day at school she decided to be Mulan.. Thank you to auntie Katherine for the authentic Chinese clothes.. They fit perfect and she was easily confused for Mulan.. There must be some Asian in these Mexican genes because look at my kidlet.. I promise she came from my loins..

Then for Halloween it was Ashoka from Clone Wars.. Its all about the Clone Wars mom! Its the light saber.. I am the side kick, I have speed and did I mention a Light saber?

Maya as Ashoka, Grace as a Strom Clone Trooper and Maria as a Butterfly..

We had a few other Star Wars heros join us for Halloween..

Mateo made a fabulous Luke

His father, Darth Vader, was hissing in the background..

One of the cutest kids however, was Miss Lily, as a Ladybug.. How happy is she to have a full bucket.. Don't you just want to squeeze her?


Saturday, October 31, 2009


Maya was on fire today! She had an audience today and she delivered..
The whole team was motivated by the bright sun and great weather..
Those girls were awesome today!
We won our soccer game and are still undefeated.. Hard to believe.. Those girls worked so hard out there.. It just makes us smile from the inside out at their determination..

Go FireFlies! Team #3


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Happy Birthday to...

A very special friend.. Dan is one of my oldest friends.. He is one of the 3 Dan's and family..
We have known each other half our lives.. It's crazy.. We have been through it all.. We met in Middle school and here we are about 20 yrs later grown ups.. Right...
Now we are both married, have kids, jobs (by the time this post happens he will have yet another job).
Then we had crazy car rides through the backkroads of Vista, pool parties and music.. We rocked out to 3rd bass, PM Dawn and Kool Moe Dee.. To name a few..
We have a special bond and I am so grateful that he has welcomed MAG into his poker playing circle. It means so much that they are friends..
Dan is a crazy passionate Scorpio to the tenth power..
As soon as I can scan in a vintage Dan picture I will post.. I promise..
Happy Birthday!
Love ya!

Mrs. and Mrs...

Every once in awhile MAG is ok with being in a pic.. Thankfully, my comadre was around to snap this one..
See Pioneer Woman has her "Malbouro Man" well I have my "Mountain Man"
It's 85 degrees and he has a full beard.. Don't be jealous..
Send shaving cream :-)

Hee Hee,

A busy bee weekend!

October is beyond crazy and that was what this weekend was for us.. It was soccer and 3 bday parties.. It's too funny when even Maya wants a break.. Somehow we made it.. Now we just have Halloween.. What is not to like? Candy, costumes and general corniness... Love it.. Love the fantasy of it all..

Here is a sneak peek at our weekend..


Maya had to play the entire soccer game! Those of you who know Maya, know that a full game is too much.. She has little legs.. or something like that.. she plays when she wants, sits and subs herself when she wants.. That girl knows what she will and will not put up with on the soccer field.. We only had 3 players.. They were exhausted and hot.. They survived and won 5-3 (yes, we do keep score)...

Maya and Mateo,
Friends forever!

Mateo's party was a bouncing blast at Pump It up.. Yes, that girl loves to Jump and Slide.. Hold your ears.. Its all about noise at Pump It up.. we got to see so many old playgroup pals.. it was good.

Next it was off to the Izguerra's for Abelito's 25th.. I can't believe he is 25! I used to nanny for him. I made him mini-pancakes and chaned his diapers.. Now he and Maya even share a bday!

Mama Mona even showed up as the Money Lady!. Love it..Desiree is perfect as a Vamp Girl.. Lala struts her deadly stuff..

All of that in one Saturday.. Not to mention the house cleaning, Target run, work out, picture taking.. you name it we were in it and ate it.. There was food! We needed fuel..


Monday, October 19, 2009


Lion's Pride that is... Maya was selected as the "Pride of the Lions" for the week.. She gets to lead lines and sit on the special chair.. She was so thrilled. She had been wanting to earn it since she saw the first student get called up in front of the school and get a group ROAR!

Her teacher posted the following on her teacher website:
Lion's Pride

Maya was chosen because she is not only working hard to know all the expert
sight words, but she is already writing wonderful sentences in her journal.
She is sounding out the words and listening for the letter sounds.
I also love that Maya is so patient and kind to our friends in need. Thank
you Maya for being a good citizen in Room 3.
Be a good listener. Follow the rules. Be kind to your friends.
Be respectful. Share. Take turns with your friends. Be on time.
Do your best work. Do your homework. Help your friends.
Pride of the Lions will be celebrated at the Friday Flag Salute
each week on the Upper Grade Playground. Announcements will be
made from the Principal, PTA, and sometimes special guests. If
you are chosen as "Pride of the Lions," you will go up in front of
the whole school and be honored. And when you come back to class
you will receive a certificate and find out why you were chosen.
The Lions Pride in Room 3 will be our line leader all week and will
be the first to select books, computer, or free choice activities.
And every day that week they select a friend to take up the attendance
sheet to the office with them.
And guess what? You could even be chosen more than once. You could
be chosen twice or even THREE times. So try your very best to let
the teacher catch you doing wonderful things in Room 3.
Proud Mama,

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Must slow down....

I am tired..we are tired.. Maya and Martin took a nap today.. As much as I wanted to I didnt.. I was on a mission to find my coupon organizer, clean the kitchen for the 50th time in two days, get some laundry put away, sort through Missy's gifts, bake more banana bread, write out a few more thank you notes, make a mini scrapbook for my mom, upload my pictures, oh and figure out Picasa.... you catch my drift. Oddly most of that got done, along with 2 Target runs for household items, birthday gifts, halloween candy and even a few Christmas gifts.. Can you hear the Ca-Ching sound of those purchases.. yeah. me too..
You will just have to bear with me while I recover.. I will fill you in on Maya's Pump It up Party..her Lion's Pride on Friday.. The yet unwrapped bday gifts from mom and dad and the all night poker game..

For now I will leave you with a random picture of our little family.. Its our Disney pic.. Its us huddled into the image.. It was a great day.. Before Maya was in the "school system" when we could take a random Friday off and trek to the House of Mouse. It was when we had passes and when we learned how much Maya loves rollercoasters..



Make a Wish!

Birthday wishes for the birthday girl..
That cake was bigger than she was but she loved blowing out her 6 candles..Where has the time gone? How did she make it to 6 so fast?
I guess we can't freeze time and keep her a baby forever.. Ok, I will brace myself..Its zooming by..
Happy Birthday Big Girl!
Love you,
mom and dad

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Snickerdoodle cupcakes?...

Who would have thought to combine a cookie and a cupcake?.. Bakerella that's who..
Can you tell me how it is that sweets can look so good on the screen? I mean really? Look at these cute Snickerdoodle Duos. I could just lick the screen.. I am trying to think of 5 reasons not to make these.. Its Halloween, they could be a base for my ghost cookies.. They could be cupcakes.. heck they could just be pretty cookies to have for company...You coming over?
I know Sharon is probably hating me right now.. I like snickerdoodles..there is no word for Sharon and the relationship she has with that cookie.. Every time I see anything related to them I have to immediately contact her and promise her there is help...
I am on my way, with snickerdoodles in hand!
Hee Hee Hee..

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New Hair...

Well Hair COLOR.. My mother who spent her entire weekend with me was kind enough to do my hair tonight before she left.. As if the food, the spa, the laundry, driving, cake and movie watching with me was not enough, she even gave in when I asked for her to dye my hair.. THANK YOU MOM!

Its fall! Its time for the rich deep dark tones.. I hope you like the new do!

So blessed!

Where do I start? My birthday weekend has been amazing.. Not only was I spoiled with a Spa Day (a now yearly tradition) but I spent time with my family, suffered food/carb overload, too deep of a massage, and that was just Friday!
Really I can't even believe how much happened over these three days. I want to Thank God for blessing me with an amazing family and life.. I have to pinch myself.. I feel so fortunate to have some amazing friends and a family who can make a spa day even more fun!
Friday morning, I was lucky enough to wear my new vintage apron from Katherine.. She mailed it and it arrived just in time for it to be my first gift...
Before I could jump out of bed Missy was in my bed with me wishing me a happy birthday.. How sweet that morning cuddle was.. I am a lucky mom...
My buddy and I headed downstairs to start the scones..I figured my Spa girls would want a treat with their morning coffee.. It was an all girl outing to Glen Ivy.. Mom, Monica, Mona, Miriam, Laura and Jordy came along for the experience..

The massage treatment I had would later prove beyond painful but more on that later.. We all enjoyed the mud, the sauna, the food!
The lunch we had at the spa was nothing compared to the feast my mom had in store for me.. She made Mole (Moh-Leh for non spanish speakers) and Chilles Rellenos for my birthday dinner.. What more could a girl want? Dinner ended up being an impromtu event.. My cousins came to my house, my uncle Pancho and family drive down from Perris.. Andre and Diana even stopped by with some coffee for me..Arthur and Christine were the last ones to join us.. it was a great night.. We ate.. There were lots of funny pictures and oh yeah, CAKE! my mom brought a cake. I honestly thought I was going to have to bake myself a cake.. Well this cake was wonderful and worth every calorie! It was a lovely light sponge with strawberries in a light whipped sweet cream.. YUM! Almost a chinatown cake but better in a French way.. Smooth!

Saturday while Martin was out pretending to be a sniper on the paintball field.. I was writhing in pain.. I couldnt move my arm and an emergency visit to the chiro was in order. Thank goodness grandma, uncle Arthur and Christine were there to save the day and take Maya to soccer.. Her team remains undefeated! It was the only game mom has ever missed.. So I was sad to miss that but the pain in my arm would have surely kept me in bed all day had I not made it to the chiro.. Go Fireflies! Look at our girl turning that ball! Love it!

While Saturday seemed to go in slow was pleasant to be forced to rest. It was good to have my mom and brother in the same house.. It was like the old days.. We enjoyed the company and maximed the beautiful weather by spending the afternoon chatting with the neighbors and again..eating! Reheated mole is richer and the tomato sauce for the chiles is further developed.. Yum!

No big events. Just several small moments of conversation and coffee with my family made me feel so wonderful.. So blessed to be safe, healthy and loved..

What more could a girl ask for? Nothing.. I have more than I could need or want.. I am so blessed! Thank you mom for the spa day and the food! Thank you Martin for being the type of husband who encourages me to enjoy the spa and will work out with me at the gym all week to recover! Thank you Arthur and Christine for loving to eat with us and making the house feel complete.. To my cousins I thank you so much for spending my day with me.. Thank you for the memories!

P.S. more pictures and story snipets to follow..

Big hugs!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Ok, tomorrow is my birthday (in case you were wondering or forgot).. Anyhow.. I have cake on the brain.. However, I can't decide..every site and recipe I find looks amazing.. I mean I stumbled across a PINK Lady Cake at SmittenKitchen and was tickled pink.. really.. so darling and strawberries are folded in.. I mentioned the strawberry obsession already..
Then last night I was trying to find cute treats for Missy's birthday since all the real heavy lifting will be for the Pump It Up crew.. I ran across all of Bakerella's cake pops.. How do I decide? The cupcake pops looks so cute and fun.. then there are all of the seasonal ones.. How much time can I spend on treats for 6 yr olds?hmmm... I know.. so maybe we need to host a Halloween Bash just to make some of these amazing treats I keep finding..
Speaking of which..cupcakes are always fun and I have so many cute cupacke displays, its almost mandatory I make some cupcakes..well just as I am thinking of cupcakes I come across these Designer cupcake baking cups.. Polka dots, gingham, and more! Who thinks of all these cute things? Too cute.. I know Julie will love them and put them to good use..She is the cupcake queen..
On a related note.. the queen of the ranch..or PW as we know here is releasing a cookbook!.. I want it.. Seriously.. Have you seen her site, the recipes? did you bother reading yesterdays post about cakes? Both were from her! I can only imagine how FABULOUS this cookbook will be.. Is there a midnight line for it? If so I will see you there..this is bigger than Twilight..
Ok, off to dream of cake, pastries and coffee..

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What I want for my birthday...

Well as you know its that time of year.. The most wonderful time of the year.. well my year.. my birthday month kicks off Fall and I just love it!..
Anyhow... you know I LOVE coffee.. I just stumbled across this COFFEE CAKE over at Pioneer woman.. I know. I hate her too.. and now coffee cake.. What I am going to do? how can I justify making coffee cake for myself.. I would eat the whole thing and not share.. So if you love me, you will make this cake for me.. I would share it with you....please..
Ok, so you aren't a coffee fan.. STRAWBERRIES are my favorite.. Always have and always will be all about the strawberries.. Think Strawberries in summer, ice cream..this cake..also by her. I know.. it's not fair.. the man, the kids, the ranch and FOOD..
You know where to find me.. my own ranch.. no one bearing cake has ever been turned away.. ok, no one has ever brought me cake ..
A girl has to try..

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I had to post this.. look at that face.. pure Joy! Daddy I just scored a goal.. Weee...

Proud Mama Bear..

Pizza from the Gods...

Ok, I think we all know and love pizza.. Yesterday, however, I was dumbfounded by the best pizza I have ever tasted south of San Francisco.. Some day I will find that place, again.. but I digress... Until then I have a gem in my own back yard! I must share..

I must spread the word about this place because not only are they Green, gluten free and organic, they are DELICIOUS!!.. Which really is the only thing that matters to me, the rest is bonus.. The rest means we sleep better at night.. But the taste was out of this world.. The name Pizza Fusion does nothing to tell you about how fresh and fabulous the ingredients are.. I mean this is not a pepperoni pizza place like we are all used to..This is not your kid's greasy cheesy pizza.. Don't get me wrong, every once in awhile only that will do, however, for the rest of the time we just avoid pizza, stick to a diet and only if the taste, flavor and preparation is worth it do we indulge in ingredients like feta, artichoke hearts and cheeses not processed and orange colored.. This is pizza for people with a real palate..
Ok, again, getting ahead of myself... I can pass up most samples (Costco is no longer a caloric mine field) but I was fortunate enough to peek into the very traditional pizza box in time to see Kalmata olives and artichoke hearts on the sample tray.. How could I pass that up??

I tried, I kept thinking of my diet.. but my nose had taken control of my legs and was determined to get closer to that food.. the kind and friendly guy holding the box outside of Trader's Joe's said, I have 2 types..would you care for a sample? I looked again..inhaling the aroma which knocked me over... I asked if that was feta cheese..his grin confirmed..Yes, Feta on the Greek Pizza.. hmm.. That one 2x4 inche rectangle was glorious..The olives were tart against the smooth feta.. I was amazed at how mild it was and almost thought it was goat cheese.. A happy me continued on my way into Trader Joe's with a menu in hand.. I savored those three small and tasty bites.. I sailed pasted the TJ samples..afterall I just had a pizza like no other and I was beyond satisfied...
Next thing I know I am at the register and the cashier asks "Is this menu yours or trash?" What? No, Mine.. It belongs with me and not in the trash.. "Oh yes, I just had a sample outside.. It was awesome" I told him..The guy smiled at me and says "Yeah, well if you turn around..that guy is the owner"... Oh wow..
On my way out of TJ's the kind man who introduced himself and smiled at my compliments on his pizza offered me a free pizza.. What could I say? I couldn't believe my luck.. I double checked and he was talking to me.. no cameras..just us walking out of TJ's.. Is there a camera somewhere? I mean I didn's ask him for anything I just gushed about his pizza.. But it was honest gushing.. again.. did you read? Feta, Artichoke hearts, kalmata olives.. yes, in the words of my dear friend.. BEYOND FABULOUS!

In less than 20 mins I was gifted my special pizza and rushed home to enjoy.. savor the pizza.. That slice was worth those grueling 60 mins on the treadmill. (I told you I was on a diet.. I must burn off anything extra). The other 3 slices are carefully and individually frozen for later enjoyment.. YUM!

Bring your own milk....

Yesterday was one of those days blessed days where no plans for the day lead to baking.. The fall weather just called for some oven time and sweets...Missy and I pulled the usual containers and her ladder so she could help...Before I knew it we were maiking two types of cookies.. Thanks to Deanna and her gift jar of organic peanut butter we made some Peanut butter blossoms for Martin.. Since we were heading to the compadres house for dinner we had to make Chocolate chip..

I mean what kind of guest doesnt bring something to share with their friends? We love to bring home made goodies and in this case they were the perfect dessert....

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Ok, so I am not a big rock fan..But I am a fan of October.. What is there not to like?.. I mean yes, there is that little thing called my birthday..but October is far bigger than my birthday.. that is just icing..
October is Fall. Yes, in california it looks this sunny!..
October is the cool air, the pumpkins everywhere..its the cheeriness that comes with eating baked goods.. Its baking.. It's drinking hot chocolate with a good book.. It's having a reason to put on shoes and maybe even a sweater! Bring on the fall.. We are way ready...Then you have all the reasons to dress up, buy candy and parade around to all your neighbors seeking out the sugar laden goods..It's Halloween!
The sugar buzz is coming..
Enjoy a sweet treat with me..

A sweet escape....

Tomorrow will be a sweet escape..a day off.. Just the two of us, sans the missy.. While she learns we will be off for some catching up.. We always take our days off.. The important ones.. Our Birthdays and our anniversary.. This one is a milestone.. TEN years! I won't even count the 4 before that wich were dating and engagement...That was a blink..
We are a little beside ourselves.. 10 years? really.. wow.. I offered to get a big 10 tattooed on my leg but figured something less ghetto and more classy is more our style.. afterall only this year is 10 and I plan on celebrating a lot more..not to mention that tattoing involves pain.. Pain and I have never been friends..And unless Kat Von D has an opening in her appt book I am not going anywhere near a needle..
There's no easy explaination for it.. Our marriage has somehow made it.. we beat so many of the odds.. I mean just think, we got married in our early 20s.. The research is not in our favor.. we both come from divorced parent.. strike 2..... I wanted and thought I would wait until 30 to get married... I selfishly figured I had so many things to do, books to read and degrees to earn.. Funny how life works.. How much God has in store for us..
I always tell everyone how Martin tricked me.. He asked why he should wait so long to marry me..the real comment was "If you are going to marry me when you are 30 why not marry me now?" Well I just couldn't argue with that one.
My husband has been my number one fan and if I wanted to earn another degree he would be the first one saying "Go for it!" We are a team.. I am so blessed.. I truly feel that way and thank my lucky stars for blessing me with MAG.
I have been blessed to find a man like my dear Hubby.. This love is a gift.. Don't get me wrong.. that gift is work, it needs protection and nurturing.. But it is more than I thought I deserved..
I had no idea what a real marriage is, who does? We read fairy tales (Disney is a billion dollar industry with all those "Happily ever after" stories!) and then there is the real day in and day out of a real marriage.. People marry and divorce, some don't bother to marry and then they break up..You watch, you don't want to look to close, you may see your relationship in the pieces of those..You wonder how to navigate through your own marriage without knowing if you are doing things right.. just like parenting, there is no manual.... there is no one way..
It's highs are high and lows resemble the grand canyon.. Yes, its a winding road through which I have often felt like an old VW bug driving backwards looking out a tiny window for the light.. That light has often been the love and committment to this relationship. It's been honoring my husbands words and actions by saying "Thank you" to God for a strong husband...its been cooking his favorite dish out of the blue because he deserves nothing less than my love in his food..
On that note, food, of course! I will move on.. the count down to my birthday and some fattening cake, has begun.. My Spa day is almost here.. Missy's bday is around the corner..But tomorrow is about us.. our sweet escape...
Happy 10th Anniversary..
To borrow a line from Miss Janet.. "Love will never do with out you!"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A sleepy Saturday

Well not really sleepy but I did get a 40 min nap! In the middle of an afternoon on a Saturday that is unheard of.... I think the heat drained us all. Maya had a late game this morning which meant the sun was out in full force.. If it was under 100 degrees I would be surprised.. Did I tell you how ready I am for Fall? I am!

I started the day determined to get some Sunflowers.. Boy, did I score.. I got some HUGE and beautiful bright sunflowers from my usual stand at the local farmer's market.. its the best deal out there.. two bunches for $5! Those 5 bucks make me sooooo happy.. Just looking at those blooms on the counter makes me thank God for gifting us humans flowers..These blooms as as large as Maya's face..

The game was a hoot.. those poor girls were tired but fighting for every ball..They missed as many goals as they made but we had a blast watching, cheering and mentally pushing the balls into the goals on their behalf...

Go Fireflies!
Tata For Now!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Birthday Express is coming our way!

Every year for the past 5, September starts off the birthdays and its a whirlwind until the end of the year. This year will be a little different since the playgroup kids have grown up and are making friends at school and separate from the mommies.. It's a milestone year on many levels.. While Maya is just starting Kinder the rest of the original group actually started First grade.. In some ways we have grown apart and in other ways we have grown closer.. We were so blessed to share those 5 years with the playgroup..Our Friday afternoon playdates, themed birthdays and Halloween pictures that I will cherish forever.. The friendships among the mommies have also changed.. Jenn is now the fitness trainer and I love her kick butt workouts.. Deanna and I are peas in a pod who talk often and share everything from feelings to fabric obsessions and interchangeable families...The compadres peek in and out when they miss us and we enjoy their Sayers spunk..The memories will last forever.. and this Saturday we made some more memories...
We celebrated at the Bell home.. Gracie turned 6! The kids bounced until they were cold and soaked in the water slide.. Presents were made with lots of love.. like this lovely butterfly quilt from grammie..
I can't believe this was the same little girl that used to trade moms and strollers with Maya at the Wild Animal Park.. She is a tall girl with so much energy and some fierce determination.. I can't believe how photogenic she is and I enjoyed capturing some pictures of our Gracie Girl...

Happy Birthday Miss Grace!

Much love and Many Blessings,
The Galvans...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

An easy peasy party plan..

This year Missy has decided that she wants to have her party at the local jumper place.. I should be happy.. I am, no work for me.. yipee.. I am estatic. Sort of.. I mean nothing for me to do except show up, hand over a credit card and watch from a bench with the rest of the parents....I will not attempt to take pictures of the jumping.. we will save the camera for cake time..A store made cake, not a mom made cake.. However, crazy moi was slightly excited about a thematic party.. I mean afterall its been a tradition. Every year we have had some theme.. something tying it all together... last year's princesss tea was work and I was crazy with the whole thing..However, the event itself was so sweet and the pictures are priceless! It was small and meaningful with her little friends as adorable princesses. Pink tea was served in real tea sets. gloves were worn, ball gowns and imaginations were in full gear..There are some great images still in my head of Maya in curls and gloves looking at herself in the mirror .. what bliss.. the smile on her face as she saw her castle shaped (and awfully decorated cake) was worth every min of sleep I lost trying to keep in the theme..The year before that it was all things Little Mermaid. it was not one but 2 cakes.. It was Arthur and Christine piping a thousand little stars to make Ariel's face and me using ground graham crackers to mimic sand on the large cake.. They were home events. They were a busy bees favorite thing to do even if it required more time than possible, a creative mind (internet ideas were a great tool) and a reasonable budget after all this bee is frugal. For me half the fun is figuring out how to do it all without breaking the bank, its just a kid party in the end..
Anyhow, as the party talk started this Sept. I thought forsure Maya would ask for something from left field like a Star Wars themed party or a pony.. instead she stuck to her original request.. a jumper party at Pump It Up.. we went to atleast 100 in the past 5 years and all she cold say was "Mom, it was soo cool".. ok.. I will remember its her party and thank her for saving me all the work..
Just so you know, I even had a theme in mind.. Candyland or Candy Shop.. I have not only recently been obsessed with old fashion candy store set ups.. Think glass apothacary jars filled with colorful candies of all types. I see clear wrapped and bubble gum machines...You with me?. So as I venture on my usual haunts, Julie (also has great party ideas) posts about a great hosting site.. then I find these cute mini bubble gum machines.. Wouldn't those be cute favors? Missy loves gum! Now tonight another blog with a fun name with a candy shop party and all of the associated regalia! Go see it and tell me you dont want to go to that party.. Its too much.. HMPF! I mean look at the table settings here. easy! and practical.. I can put some lollipops in a vase and call it a centerpiece, it decorates itself!
Ok, I will leave it alone for now.. afterall its her party and I dont want her crying.. .Maybe next year she will ask for something so over the top I will want to eat my words.. When it comes to Missy anything is possible.. I mean afterall she has already scared me with the biggest party request of all.. a QUINCENERA. For those of you who don't know what that is consider yourself lucky but I am sure you have your own version, be it a Sweet Sixteen, a coming of age, a debut, a cotillion or even a beautillion.. that is a production.. that will be my nightmare.. let's hope she forgets.. right.. my child forgets nothing.. she can still tell me how I pinched her chin with her new jacket or how uncle Carl pushed her off a swing (she let go!) and the list goes on..she won't forget..
Saving my energy for now..

We are the Fireflies!

Soccer kicked off at 8:00am sharp! The girls were still slightly sleepy and the morning was already warming up.. The game was fun and fast.. Its fun to watch them run around after the ball.. The looks of determined confusion making us laugh on the sidelines.. This season we are the fireflies..check out the uniforms..Could we be anything else?

Let's Glow Girls!
Team Mom Alex