Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Flashback

When I was growing up my mom always made our costumes. We decided what we wanted to be, then we would make a trip to the fabric store to search through the patterns and pick out fabrics. I always felt so lucky that she did this, I always had great costumes and got to dress up exactly the way I wanted!!
{Angel: age 1, minus the wings and halo because I kept ripping them off}
{Bumblebee: age 2}
{Clown: age 3}
{Princess: age 6. I was shown on the news with my first grade class. We all dressed up in our costumes and visited the local retirement home and made crafts with the residents}
{Pillsbury Dough Boy: age 11, I had a pillow in the apron for a belly and had a Pillsbury logo on the hat, but for some reason everyone thought I was a dead chef}
{Juliet: age 12, just months before I was diagnosed}

A few others I don't have photos of:
  • Pippi Longstockings, complete with red yarn wig that had wire in the braids to make them stick straight out, freckles, a dress sewn with patches all over, tights, and my moms gigantic boots.
  • A queen at age 4, and Nick was a king.
  • An elf. I had little elf-like shoes my mom sewed out of felt, and attached little bells on the ends. I had elf ears, a hat, and a little jumpsuit.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Five Birthdays

{5 years old}
{22 years old...last year}

It's Friday!! AND it's my birthday!! 23. I like it...for some reason I like the sound of odd-numbered birthdays better than even, I have no idea why! Sooo for this week's Friday Five I thought it appropriate to choose 5 favorite birthday celebrations. When Nick and I were kids, my parents set up a rule where we could only have a party every other year and a family-only celebration on the others. I hated it as a kid, but looking back I definitely appreciate it.

5th - Although I don't remember most of it, I do remember playing hide and seek with my costume-clad guests. I was a bumblebee, but I had taken off my costume in the above photo. This was my only Halloween-themed party and I love this photo. So serious!

7th - The years I did have a party with friends, I loved themed parties. I had a camping-themed party, a clown-themed party, and the aforementioned costume party. This year a had a California miner theme...everyone was to dress up as a miner, we panned for fools gold, and enjoyed a miner-decorated cake.

13th - I was still going through my treatment at this point. I was very swollen and puffy from all the steroids, had very short curly hair, and still very sick. My mom put together a wonderful sushi party for me, she made california rolls from scratch and decorated her condo with fresh daisies and daisy party decorations. I didn't feel great, but I loved my party.

17th - I didn't do anything special for my 16th, and my mom and stepdad wanted me to have a fun 17th. They rented a limousine and drove me and some friends down to the gaslamp district of San Diego for dinner at Dick's Last Resort. I felt like a celebrity cruising the town in the huge Excursion limo, and had a blast at the restaurant.

21st - This year was filled with all sorts of celebrations. The night of my birthday a big group of my family and friends had a wonderful dinner at Sarducci's, a restaurant next to the train depot in San Juan Capistrano. We had a private room, and I was in heaven with lemon drops and their food. A few days later I celebrated with mom and stepdad and Andrea down in San Diego's gaslamp district, with Brent as a surprise guest. AND went wine tasting a few weeks later in San Luis Obispo with my brother and close friends. Beautiful roses from Brent, daisies from Andrea, tickets to the Ellen show from Aunt Lori and many other goodies rounded out the birthday.

Thanks to everyone who has made my birthdays so special over the years!!

Pumpkin Streusel Snack Cake

Makes: 24 servings
Prep: 12 minutes
Bake: at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup pecan halves, chopped
1/2 cup biscuit baking mix
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

3 1/2 cups biscuit baking mix
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan** with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Prepare streusel: In medium size bowl, combine coconut, pecans, baking mix and light brown sugar. With a fork, stir in melted butter until mixture is evenly moistened; set aside.
3. Meanwhile, prepare cake: In large bowl, combine baking mix, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, eggs, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. With mixer on low speed, beat 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl, until blended. Beat on medium speed 3 minutes.
4. Evenly spread cake batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle streusel evenly over cake.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick insterted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
6. Cut into twenty-four 2 1/2-inch squares; dust top with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

**NOTE: I do not own a jelly-roll pan, so I use a 13 x 9 glass baking dish. This makes the cake thicker, and needs to be baked for approximately 45 minutes. If baking it this way, just check on it with toothpick.

This snack cake is simple to make, and good as dessert, or in the morning with a cup of tea or coffee. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Coffee Date-An Autumn kind of weekend

Hey it's Tuesday! Time for our weekly coffee date. The last Tuesday of October, that's weird. If we were meeting for coffee this morning, I would make myself a really strong latte because last night was a bad night. Then I would offer you some of the pumpkin snack cake I made. Yum!

At our coffee date I would tell you about my weekend, my fabulous weekend. Saturday night we attended the 27th Annual "Bid for the Kids" put on by PCRF-Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation. Brent's best friend Jordan is very involved in the organization and his dad is this year's president. A fancy evening with a live auction, silent auction, magic show, live band, dancing, etc. etc. They raised a huge amount of money and it was very special to be a part of!
Sunday we invited Jordan and his girlfriend Kaitlin over for an evening of pumpkin carving and related festivities. It was perfect Autumn weather, crisp and cool. The house was filled with smells of cinnamon and pumpkin cake in the oven.
Wine, pizza, pumpkin carving, music, laughter, story telling and candy-eating. What could be better!
Pumpkins carved by: Jordan, Kaitlin, Brent, Me. Photos taken using the polaroid app on my iphone...thought I would try it out!

If we were meeting for coffee I would ask about your weekend. Is it raining were you are? I am still enjoying the sporadic rain, the overcast sky, and cool temps. What are your plans for Halloween? Are you eating lots of pumpkin baked goodies and candy? This will be a big weekend coming birthday, the USC homecoming game and Halloween! Stay tuned and I will post the recipe for the delicious pumpkin streusel snack tastes a lot like coffee cake and is amazing in the morning with coffee, or for dessert!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

-Mary Anne Radmacher

For today's Friday Five, I wanted to post 5 photos from other photographers that inspired me, made me smile, and made me think of appreciating the little things in life.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Coffee Date

If we had plans to meet for coffee this morning I would have to call and cancel...or keep it over the computer or the phone. Because I am sick. Yuck. Since saturday I have had some kind of stomach flu, and haven't really been able to get out of bed. I am snuggled up in my bed with the computer on my lap and a cup of mint tea next to me. This is going to be a short one...

Last night I woke up at 3 AM to crazy loud thunder and lightening that filled my room with light. I just laid there listening to the loud rain. It was really cool because we rarely get storms like that.
I would tell you how much I wish I was in a living situation that would allow me to get a cat of my own. I feel so comforted and loved when I snuggle with Jazz, and every time I walk past Tubby sunning herself on the stairs, I just want to steal her!

We watched MacGruber over the weekend, I found it pretty disappointing. Some funny moments but overall not my type of humor and just dumb. But we watched Dexter, still this season seems slightly weak compared to past seasons, but we are only 3 episodes in. I have faith. We also watched the movie "The Book of Kels" which we enjoyed, the art was very beautiful and the story was different. We also started Pushing Daisies which we are liking a lot, and the Big C. Have you seen any good movies or tv lately?

One last mom started an Etsy shop, selling homemade star tree toppers. They are very pretty, and all made out of repurposed materials. Check it out HERE. We just don't have a banner done yet. She is in the process of making some different ones and if there is something specific you want they are customizable!
Anyway I hope you have a great Tuesday, and PLEASE do not get sick! Sorry this was such a lame coffee date with not much to say and not many cool week.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Rainy Weekend

I love rain, and always have. Yesterday was drizzly all day, we got bagels and coffee, then caught up on movies and our TV shows. Some photos taken on a damp walk through Brent's complex...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Picture Fall

I probably sound like a broken record, but I LOVE FALL.

As a way to document the season, I am participating in an online photo class called "Picture Fall." A daily photo prompt is accompanied with inspirational words of how to celebrate not only the season but ourselves as well. I feel I am appreciating and observing the subtle changes brought by fall in such a different way than any other year. I am picking up on the little details and seeing how they relate back to me. For today's Friday Five I wanted to include FIVE of my favorite photos taken so far for the project.

"Some seasons come on fast and furious while others take their own sweet time. Where Mother Nature is concerned, there's really no telling. Sometimes things just refused to be rushed.The same goes for our own hearts and minds. There's no way of knowing when we're ready to make changes, shed some skin, grow our wings or when we just need a little more time to hold on to what has been before. There's nothing wrong with that." -Tracey Clark, teacher of Picture Fall

Monday, October 11, 2010

Coffee Date - Greek Style

::Good morning! Happy Tuesday! Are you enjoying fall? I sure am::

Coffee time. Lately I have been dreaming of traveling all over the world. Escaping for awhile to foreign countries, eating the best food I could find, and taking pictures to my heart's content. Where would you go if you could travel anywhere in the world right now? I think I would choose Greece. The beautiful sea, the picturesque blue and white buildings, the food, and just the thought of it evokes feelings of calm, relaxation, and beauty. The Greek word for coffee is Kafes. So why not? Let's imagine we are on vacation together in Greece, find a local Cafe, sit outside and enjoy some Kafes and Baklava, soak in the sun, people watch, and of course, chat. If we were having coffee together I would tell you...
So yesterday I was making a smoothie. Frozen peaches leftover from summer, raspberries, banana, milk, ice, and protein powder. Sounds good! Pulled out raspberries one by one inspecting for any sign of mold before tossing into the blender. Pulled one out that had black inside and I assumed it was mold. However, upon further inspection, I realized it was a Pincher Bug. YES. Pincher Bug, Earwig, Forficula Auricularia...I don't care what you call it, it was inside my raspberry. At first, I was just a little grossed out by the idea that I could have ingested it, and the photographer in me had to get a picture of this sight. Held it up next to the window and in between clicks of the shutter, I could see through the lens that the bug started to move. I thought it was maybe just slipping out, but no...all the sudden that little thing starting crawling out, and fast! I yelped, threw it on the counter, and finally had to kill it - I should have ushered it outside but I panicked. PHEW! That was a weird 5 minutes. But my smoothie was tasty and I can say with confidence it was definitely Earwig-free. P.S. if you are wondering why the one on the right is blurry...when I saw it moving and threw it down, I had to get a photo but I was so flustered of course it didn't come out!
Saturday I took my computer to the doctor (a.k.a. the Apple store) because the trackpad kept freezing. Brent said I am lucky I have a cute face because a repair that is normally $350 was given to me for free. That would have been such a bummer! And it is working fine now.
Sunday San Clemente was hosting the SeaFest at the pier. It had all sorts of activities like surf contests, face painting, arts & crafts etc. but we went for the chowder. 16 restaurants and individuals cooked up their best clam chowder recipe, and the public could purchase $6 tickets to sample 5 chowders of their choosing. It was fun, they were all pretty different, one was even dyed pink for breast cancer awareness month. We headed to farmer's market, admiring the produce, the dogs, and the newly added pumpkins. We picked out 3 mini pumpkins, and afterward we bought more at Trader Joe's...6 more to be exact. We came home with TEN pumpkins. On 10/10/10! Ha. 4 large pumpkins-2 for carving and seed roasting, 2 of those big flat weird looking ones, plus 6 minis-a mixture of pumpkins and gourds. Neither Brent or I have ever bought that many pumpkins, but we were having a blast and his house is filled! Have you bought any pumpkins or other decorations yet?
Tonight we are going back to Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine to see Jack Johnson. I am hoping it won't be as brutal as the Tom Petty concert, I think Jack Johnson fans are much more mellow than Tom Petty fans. So maybe less pushing, fighting, getting stepped on, and this time maybe bring a chair. And an ice pack for my back. I will let you know tomorrow how it was.
Did you see Dexter on Sunday? It was a really good is definitely getting back into things, and the previews for what is coming just makes me so nervous! But it's going to be a great season...Dex never disappoints.
How about this weather huh? Here in Crete, Greece it is a pleasant 86 degrees. Your turn, tell me about you.

After our chat it is back to reality, it is nice here in San Clemente too...typical Fall weather. ♥
I hope you have a great Tuesday!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ten on Ten (on Ten)

Ten on Ten: Take a photo every hour for 10 consecutive hours on the tenth of the month. This month is particularly special because it is 10 photos over 10 hours on the 10th day of the 10th month of the 10th year of the century. Happy 10-10-10!

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