Friday, October 28, 2011

She said What??!!

Big One: "I have to go to the bathroom."
Me: "Ok, but please put my phone down here. Don't bring it with you."
Big One: "But daddy ALWAYS brings his phone to the bathroom!"

The End. 

Happy Friday Peeps! It's supposed to snow tomorrow. SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can't....pass the Baileys and the S.A.D lamp. I'll see you in April. 


p.s.  Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oh, Tuesday

Who knew Tuesday would become one of our favorite days of the week? After four days off from school, the littles (and I) are ready for a few hours of fun with friends. I get to grocery shop or have a cup of coffee with girl friends, they get to play on the playground, have yummy snacks, and make fabulous artwork. And then after a few hours of rest and some lunch, my big girl has ballet. 

This tiny dancer steals my heart again and again every week. Oh, Tuesday....who knew?


Monday, October 24, 2011

It's a mess...

My house is a pit. I would say 75% of the time this is what our house really looks like. Oh by the time we go to bed it's back to somewhat normal. Because I scrounge around like a lunatic from 4:00 pm till when I get to sit down around 8:30. But for most part of the day it's all this, all the time..

(dirty ones in the sink)

(this is pretty clean)

(un-made bed, un-made clothes)

(our bedroom floor)

And where I'm currently escaping to get away from all above. Our guest room. Thank god there's one place that looks like this 90% of the time. Because, yeah. Life is a messy, messy place. 

Erin (if you need me, I'm in the guest room hiding)

Monday Meal Planning

EEKS! It's cold this morning. I caved and turned on the heat. My 2 year old's frozen toes and very red nose made me bite the bullet a week before I wanted to. So that is that. I cannot believe it's a week till Halloween, how in the world did that happen? I swear I was just sunning myself in the middle of a lake two weeks ago. And now I'm wearing my old, gross, UGG slippers and a giant wool sweater. Time to find the hats and mittens! And try on last years winter coats and snow pants. NOOO!!! Oh well, at least we can warm ourselves up with some delicious meals, right? Right. Here goes nothing.

Meatless Monday: Hearty Winter Vegetable Soup

Tuesday: Spiced Chipotle Honey Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday: Flank Steak Stir-fry with Asparagus and Red Pepper

Thursday: Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

Friday: Mexican Meatloaf

Saturday: Tangy Spiced Brisket

Sunday: Roast Chicken with Sweet Plum Sauce and 15 Minute Asian Noodles

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ahh!! New Photoshop Actions. Flora bella Collections.

I bit the bullet this morning and ordered new photoshop actions. WHEEE!!! It makes me giddy. I ordered from a new vendor (for me) this morning, Flora Bella. WOAH! Hello, fabulous! I spent a little time this morning playing around and used my gorgeous niece as my guinea pig. I ordered Florabella Luxe and the Black and White collection. Color me happy. These are fantastic! Check it out.

Here's the shot SOOC (straight of out camera) btw, she's only 12!! My poor sister and brother in law.

Here's the shot edited with B&W Platinum. 

Here it is with B&W Rich Vintage

with Starlet

and with Gypsy

Fun!!! Check out Flora Bella Collection. I think you'll be pleased!

Happy Friday, loves!


p.s. Flora Bella Collections has no idea who I am. Just loving the product. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Meal Planning

Mornin' peeps. Cough, cough, sniffle, sniffle. I woke up feeling like poo this morning. Thanks sinuses! Food sounds less than appealing right now but I'm hoping that'll change once some medicine kicks in. I'm trying to stay optimistic. I have too many fun things planned for the week. So there!

Monday: White Chicken Chili

Tuesday: Dressed-Up Sloppy Joes

Wednesday: Ribollita (Tuscan Peasant Soup)

Thursday: Turkey, Cranberry and Havarti Panini

Friday: Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti

Saturday: Savory Beef and Potato Curry

Sunday: Honey Dijon Chicken Thighs

Happy Monday! (sniffle, sniffle)


Friday, October 14, 2011

5 Things She's Loving Right Now - 4 year old style {Fall 2011}

It's Friday! I've been waiting for today all week. A lazy morning at home in our pj's is just what we needed. Add in some rain and some pumpkin spice coffee, and I'm a happy lady..ahhhhh.

I thought it would be fun to do a 5 things post for both the girls. First up, the Big One.

1. Green Mountain Coffee - Hot Apple Cider K--Cups

Do you have a Keurig? I honestly don't know if I could live without mine anymore. Apparently, either can my 4 year old. She loves these! I love that they're quick and made with natural ingredients. It's becoming her favorite afternoon treat. Sometimes, she even lets me have a sip.

2. Fall Pumpkin Dip
She loves to have this creamy, dreamy dip with sliced Honeycrisp apples alongside her apple cider. I don't blame her. It's heavenly! Not to mention super easy to make. I'll have this on hand for the next few months.  It would be perfect to have out to snack on at Thanksgiving or for Football Sundays. And I always use fat-free cream cheese, can't tell.

3. Sticky Mosaics - The Orb Factory

These craft kits are hours of fun. The sticky, foam mosaics are perfect for rainy days. They have all different sorts of kits. Single mosaics kits, like this really cute Halloween Kitty, and 3-D kits, like this set of 6 Kingly Crowns. They even have a new i-pad app! She loves these! We'll be stocking up on some new kits to get us through the cold, snow days of winter. Shudder.

4. Toca Boca Apps
These are hands down the BEST apps I've found for kids. Both of my littles love playing all of these fantastic games. The graphics are awesome, the games are fun and engaging, even I love to play them! Make sure you check our two favorites, Toca Robot Lab and Toca Hair Salon. They are 4 year old (and 34 year old) approved! 

5. Amelia Bedelia
Can I just say how psyched I am that she loves Amelia Bedelia? Because, Amelia is awesome. The belly laughs that erupt out of her while we're reading these books are delicious. Much like the lemon meringue pie Amelia bakes on her first day on the job. They're just as funny and silly now as they were when I was little. I can't wait to add to our collection!

That's it, 5 things she's loving right now, Fall 2011! So, what are your littles into this season?

Happy Friday! Enjoy yourselves this weekend!!


(p.s. I apologize for the incredibly weird formatting of this post. Yikes!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

5 Things I'm loving right now {Fall 2011}

I thought it was high time for a 5 things I'm loving right now post! WOOOT! I love writing these posts. They're always so random and hopefully give you a glimpse into my weird little world.

I love me some fall. I love candy corn and pumpkin flavored anything. I love hay rides and harvest festivals. I love little ones in Halloween costumes and the smell of apple crisp baking up in the oven. OH! And fires. And candy corn. Did I say that already? 

This beer!! Oh this wonderful beer! Do me a favor and try it. Do me a bigger favor and try it in a frosty mug with a cinnamon and sugar rim. Oh, yeah. You heard me.

 You might not have heard of Rachel Platten, but trust me, you will soon enough. She's totally enchanting. Her debut album, "Be Here", has great pop beats but enough grit to keep it from being sticky sweet. Besides, she has the pipes to back it up.

I can't stop listening to the first song on the album, "Nothing Ever Happens." It's catchy and lovely and I can't get it out of my head. Song #2, "Overwhelmed", is a "sing at the top of your lungs while cruising down the road" kind of song. My favorite kind. I think it showcases her vocals more than any other song on the album.  Then there's, "1,000 ships", the 6th song on the album. I dare you not to love it! DARE YOU! The kicky, little, tap dance beat in, "Take These Things Away", the 7th song on the album, is totally perfect. It's a breezy, simple song that I love cooking to. Weird? Maybe, but it's the perfect cooking song for me. Sweet and a little slow but with beautiful lyrics and gorgeous vocals. 

Check her out. I think you'll like. It's more sunny and poppy than the typical music I subject myself to.  And I'm happier for it. 

Damn you, Trader Joe's! Why did you have to come out with something so insanely awesome??!
These are perfect. Go grab a bag. That way I can't eat them all myself!

It's no secret that I sort of, kind of, totally love Zooey Deschanel. I find her to be adorable and funny and quirky as hell. Her new show on Fox, "New Girl" is awesomesauce! It's so flippin funny. I almost peed in my pants watching the pilot. I was totally bummed when it wasn't on last night thanks to baseball. Baseball can suck it.....Sorry, baseball. I just missed watching the show last night. You're totally fine. Go back to baseball-ing. But seriously, you all must watch this show. Tuesdays, 9pm EST. on Fox. It's major funny. Dudes will love it too. Promise. 

Ohhh! I love these new jeans I got in San Francisco. I wanted a break from skinnies and jeggings and reached for these beauties. They're awesome. Especially with a pair of beat up cowboy boots. I feel a little Jaclyn Smith in them and that can't be a bad thing! 

So that is that. 5 things I'm loving this Fall! What are you loving right now? I'd love to hear!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Meal Planning

Mornin', Happy Columbus Day! I have an awesome round-up of dishes from around the web this morning. And even though it's supposed to be 80 degrees here today, I'm pretending it's really 65. I'm ready for FALL!

Monday: Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Tuesday: Weeknight Bolognese

Wednesday: Crunchy Honey Chicken

Thursday: Rainy Day Salmon

Friday: Beef with Snow Peas

Saturday: Chipotle Meatballs

Sunday: Grilled Flank Steak Salad with Chimichurri Dressing

Here's to a fabulous week ahead!


Friday, October 7, 2011

Vacation (all I ever wanted) Vino, Part 3. day two, Napa. This day started out with a bang. Champagne before we hit the road had us all very loopy and um..raunchy. Our poor driver, Delos. I'm not sure he knew what hit him. Turns out it was only his second day driving! Poor guy. 

First stop, Pride Mountain Vineyards. The drive from Sonoma to Spring Mountain, where Pride is located, is insane. Like, grip your seat, hold on tight, don't look down, crazy pants. In fact, on the back of Pride's t-shirts it says, "I survived the drive to Pride." Yeah, that.

We are all huge Pride fans. I think my brother in law has been drinking Pride wines for close to 12 years. Besides for the insanely awesome wine, the vineyard is gorgeous. A tour is a must. It's informative and totally down to earth. Which, for me, is a perfect wine tour.  


This picture would be perfect. If it wasn't for the 80's porn 'stache my loving husband decided to torture me with all day. He went to shave of the scruff, came out to show us this little number, and decided to keep it when he saw my reaction. Seriously. Look at it. I kept expecting him to say, "Da Bears." 

Barrels in the cave at Pride.

After Pride we drove down the hill for lunch. The winning choice was, Gott's Roadside. Formerly, Taylor's Refresher. If you're planning on going for lunch, which you should, make sure you get there early! Before noon. Otherwise the line is long. And you'll be bummed you have to wait when you see everyone around you eating garlic fries, burgers, and really awesome shrimp and fish tacos. 

Those garlic fries came back to haunt us. But I wouldn't mind some haunting right now. 

Next up was Cade, up on Howell Mountain. Cade is Napa's first organically farmed, LEED certified winery. Which is pretty awesome. The view, more awesome. I've never seen anything like it. The picture doesn't do it justice. 

It looks amazing, right? More amazing in person. You'll just have to go visit!

Cade's Sauvignon Blanc. It's my favorite Sauvignon Blanc to drink with a meal. So delicious and crisp. It's also my favorite to drink without a meal. It's good.  

Yes, his shorts are what you think. Yes, his mustache is hidden, thank you very much!

Our third winery of the day was Joseph Phelps. It was probably the most commercial winery, well maybe second most commercial winery, that we went to on the trip. After the quiet and beauty of Cade it was a little overwhelming with all the people, but the wines are still delicious. If you like really rich, full bodied, red wines, their Insignia is lovely.

And the view, pretty flippin' beautiful. 

The funniest part of this stop was my brother in law telling some poor group of saps that he used to play professional football. This was after they asked if he was famous. I spit my wine out across the terrace and blew his cover. Sorry, man. It was too damn funny. 

We ended the day at Tacos Garcia. A crazy good taco truck parked in a parking lot in Yountville. It's like two doors down from The French Laundry and next to some crazy dive bar.  My brother in law and husband managed to drink a PBR while waiting for our food. 

The Chile Verde Burrito?? Do it. 

We ended the day in another blur of cheese, snacks, card games and bourbon. That's the good life!

Our last full day was pretty open. We only had one winery booked in the late afternoon and dinner in Napa. So we decided to head into the lovely town of Sonoma for lunch and a little retail therapy. We stopped at the Sunflower Caffe for lunch. 

The back garden is gorgeous. The perfect place for a glass of wine and a sandwich or salad. Speaking of sandwiches...

This sandwich? This one right here? My sister ordered it. We all tried it. It was hands down the best sandwich I've ever eaten. The end. Homemade chimichurri, marinated grilled flank steak, grilled onions, blue cheese....I need the recipe. I'm right on top of that!

Our last scheduled winery of the trip was none other than Staglin Family Vineyards. There are many reasons to love Staglin. The wines are phenomenal, the winery is gorgeous, the people are fantastic. It's a family owned winery and they take tremendous pride in their craft. On top of their fantastic wine, they are amazing Philanthropists. Since they began the winery in 1985, they have raised nearly $725 million dollars to support charities. Proceeds from their Salus Chardonnay, my favorite Chardonnay ever, and their Salus Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, go to support mental health research. Their Music Festival for Mental Health has raised over $135 million dollars. So, yeah. They're pretty awesome.

Oh hey, it's me and my man! 

Staglin's solar panels. The winery is 100% solar powered. 

Hello, beauties! 

Last winery of our trip was a random stop because we had time before dinner. So we swung into Grgich Hills. Grgich makes awesome, easy to drink Chardonnay. It's my sister's Chard. of choice. The winery itself was packed. Crazy-ville! Still, good chard. 

Plus, I got to take this ridiculous picture of my husband. I'm not sure what this is about. I do know by this point we were very slap happy. VERY. 

And last but not least, Redd for dinner. I had some yummy bourbon cocktails. In sweet little julep cups. 

And, a trio of foie gras. Swoon. 


Ahh...what a trip. It was everything a vacation is supposed to be. Relaxing, crazy, funny as hell, and with amazing people. Who, I'm so lucky to say, are my family. It doesn't get much better than that. 


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vacation (all I ever wanted) California Wine Country. Part 2

Ahh.....Sonoma and Napa. Just saying the words brings me to a happy place. And that's not just the wine talking. The area is so incredibly gorgeous. It looks fake. The landscape looks like a painting. It is so insanely peaceful and so insanely fun. Especially if you love wine and food. Which, lucky for us, we do! So does my sister, brother in law, brother and sister in law, who we got to spend this fantastic vacation with. The tears of laughter flowed like the wine we drank. Of which we drank a lot. Our first full day in Sonoma we had a driver. If you're ever planning on a visit, you should plan on a driver at least one full day, if not two. And if you're planning on having a driver, you should plan on calling the peeps at Beau Wine Tours. This is the second time we've used them and they came through again. Completely awesome. Our first day took us to wineries in Sonoma. First stop of the day, Alexander Valley Vineyards.

Where my, 6' 8" brother in law, tested out a shirt. Does this fit? I can't tell. If you stop, get some Cyrus. It's beyond fantastic. 

Second stop, Lambert Bridge. This was a new stop for all of us, recommended by our awesome driver, Dennis. It was phenomenal. The views, the people, the wine!!! My favorite winery in Sonoma, by far. 

Um, protein. Yeah, that's a slug. You'll be happy to know Lambert Bridge takes these suckers out. Most places, do not. 

My bro showing us the clarity of the wine. p.s. It was HOT. 

Testing the newly pressed Sauv. Blanc grape juice. It was pretty nuts. Crazy sweet. We arrived just at the beginning of harvest which was awesome. We got to see the first grapes of the season being sorted and pressed. Very cool. 

My brother in law, tasting the juice. 

I almost stole this truck. Ok, not really, but I wanted to. 

Hello, ladies. How's your wine? 

We had stopped to pick up sandwiches and ate our lunch on the picnic tables at the winery. I highly recommend doing this. Much easier and takes far less time than to stop to eat at a restaurant. Plus, you can buy wine and bring it outside to drink with your lunch. Bonus! 

After Lambert Ridge, our last stop for the day was at Deerfield Ranch. The hubs and I are huge Deerfield fans. I love all of their wines. We belong to the wine club and eagerly anticipate when the next shipment is arriving. I took not one pic at Deerfield. I was too busy drinking the wine in the gorgeous wine cave, which was too dark to take pics in anyway....the rest of the day we spent swimming at the house, eating cheese, drinking more wine and watching Bridesmaids. It was the only movie we brought, we ended up watching it everyday. I can now recite 99% of the movie, test me.
"You're more beautiful than Cinderella. You smell like pine needles, and have a face like sunshine." 

The next day we slept in. Watched Bridesmaids, again. This time with the whole gang who couldn't stay away, what with the insanely loud belly laughs coming from the down the hall. Seriously, it's hilarious. The only thing we had planned for the day was dinner. Another tip. Try to keep one, if not two days, without set plans. It keeps the trip spontaneous and allows to you stop at wherever you feel like, whenever you feel like it. As long as they're wineries that don't require reservations. We headed over to Sonoma in the early afternoon. As we were driving into Napa, we spotted Domaine Carneros and decided to swing in for a stop. Hurray for sparkling wine! 

I tried the Grande Tasting. Two sparklings and two reds. Yummy. We also ordered some munchies. Charcuterie and cheese plates. I could live on sparkling wine, charcuterie and cheese plates.

My sister could have lived off this olive. It was like an ovary. It was friggin' huge! She said it was good. I'm not sure I believe her. 

Next stop, Trefethen! It just so happened to be their 125th birthday party. I thought the party was from 11-4, turns out it was from 11-2. Whoops! Didn't matter, we got to visit their gorgeous winery and taste some really phenomenal wine. 

His future's not so bright, he just can't see with out his prescription. At all. 

She was awesome. She wore this hat the whole day. Brilliant, yes? 

If you visit you have to try their Chardonnay, Quandary, Dragon's Tooth and HaLo. All phenomenal. I could go for a glass of Quandary right now. 

Next stop, Miner. Where I bought a really awesome shirt and went to the bathroom. Ha!

My sister told me to, "Pose It" And so I did. That backdrop is outrageous. 

Look at the light! Look at the view! Look at my sister! 

We also stopped at Robert Sinskey. They have a kitchen right in the tasting room. She was making gougere. They were delicious. 

Our last stop was dinner. At Auberge Du Soleil. In a word, spectacular. 

On our last trip to wine country, our visit to Auberge was the day after we had gone to The French Laundry. Unfortunately, I think it got overshadowed by our awe of the Laundry. Which is crazy, because it is beyond fabulous. The view, the food, the service, all of it is perfection. 

My sister in law and Miriam our waitress. 
Remember how I wanted to take the truck home with me? I'd rather take Miriam. Her voice! She could make a prison menu sound like a 4 star restaurant. She could read me a prescription label. Anything! She was lovely. 

I would like 100 more of these, please. 

The Hubs bought a big, bubba, bottle of HaLo for us to have with dinner. Thanks, babe! 

There he is!

I think she's thinking, "This is too damn fun. Or, put your camera away. Or, that olive is coming back to haunt me." Maybe all three?

Cheers, peeps! 

And that's only half of it! Stay tuned for part three. Garlic fries, taco trucks and the best view in Napa.