Thursday, December 29, 2011

Little Chef

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Our little chef in training.

When we first started thinking about a Christmas present for Peanut a few things ran through our minds.... all of which had wheels.  

Peanut seemed just a tad too small for push bikes and so we wanted to come up with something else.

As Peanut still had birthday presents stashed away to be re-wrapped for Christmas (thank you friends and family) the plan was to buy him one awesome gift.

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A few weeks ago Peanut was watching B sauté some veggies when he picked up a plastic something or other and started to mimic his daddy.

I got online a few minutes later to search for a wooden kitchen set.

I saw this vintage one, fell in love... and I thought Peanut might like it too but I think I might love it most..

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On Christmas morning Peanut ran (in that almost-falling-forward-motion way that toddlers do) straight over to his kitchen without even a pause for a wowwowwowwow!

He immediately started dipping ladles in pots and moving pans around.
He turned nobs and opened doors.

These pictures were taken a few minutes after he saw it.

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After reading the Amazon reviews I started to worry about assembly as the general word was that it took roughly 2-3 hours to assemble with one person saying 8 hours.

I decided to tell B about it sometime Christmas eve :)  but fortunately my very handy dad not only put it together but delivered it to our place, stashing it in our garage so Peanut wouldn't see it.

I went to Ikea and bought the pots, pans and utensils for super cheap.  
They really complete the feel of the set.

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B and Peanut did some father-son bonding in the kitchen as daddy taught him the basics of cooking.

You know, simple stuff like controlling the heat, heating your pan to get the proper sizzle, taking orders on the phone, how to fire tickets, how to time your orders, checking the temp on your food, tasting your sauces.... you know, normal kid stuff.

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I stocked the refrigerator with fruits and vegetables from Ikea and they use them in their dishes.

I'm pretty sure that Peanut is going to be a very inventive, cutting edge chef.
I can tell by his unusual flavor pairings.

I mean, who knew that grapes, oranges and garlic tasted so good together?

I know it tastes good because every time he "tastes" it he exclaims MMMMMMMM very loudly.

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Every morning he makes us breakfast, complete with sizzling sounds and tastes for everyone.

Here is a video of daddy showing him the ropes on Christmas morning...


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

52 Food Adventures! A 2012 Challenge

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Would you like to join me in a challenge for 2012?

Not sure?
It involves eating...
Are you in?

The challenge, if you choose to accept it,
is to try 52 new foods this year.

That's right, we're going to try something new every week.
If the challenge sounds too, well challenging, don't you fret,
scroll down for tons of ideas on how you can have 52 food adventures this year.

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~WHY~
Why not is a better question.
-You know that B and I love to try new things and
we also want Peanut to try new things.

-Well, because food should never be boring.  Ever.

-For new experiences, new flavors and lots of fun.

~WHEN~
There are exactly 52 Tuesdays in 2012 which sounds like a given but there could be more.
For instance there are 53 Mondays and 2012 is a leap year, giving it 366 days instead of the normal 365... am I rambling?
Anyway, I'm going to report back here every Tuesday starting with January 3rd.
So try something new on New Years Eve!
I'll accept cocktails for the kick off :)

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~WHO~
Anyone can participate, make it a personal goal or do it with the whole family!

~WHERE~
Have your food adventure wherever you please and report back here on Tuesdays!
If you miss a few weeks don't worry, just pick up where you left off.
I'll come up with a prize for the 3 people that participate the most.
Some kind of foodie package that I'll send to you.
It'll be something good that I promise you'll like!

Just comment on the Tuesday 52 Food Adventures post
OR
post on your own blog and link back here.
It'll be a lot of fun to see what everyone is eating.
As a blog post or comment you could include a recipe, a review,
a simple picture, a traumatic story, a few sentences or just a link back here
to see what kind of adventures we had.


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~HOW~
I'm not saying you need to go to some exotic restaurant and 
try something un-pronounceable that may or may not still be alive
(although B undoubtably will at some point during the year).

Here are lots of ways to have 52 food adventures this year:

*Order outside the box 
In every place you eat there are are variety of items that you always choose from.
This is not the entire menu but those dishes that you normally look order.
Get something different.  
Do you always get french toast?  Try huevos rancheros.

*Bring the restaurant home
Make something at home that you have only ever had in a restaurant.
Maybe you aren't trying a completely new food but you are trying something different
and that counts as a food adventure.
OR you could try making on your own, something that someone else always cooks.
Let's see if your grandma's cake tastes the same when you make it.

*Just one bite
Sound familiar? Whatever it is that you are unsure about, just try one bite.
You may like it, you may love it, you may hate it.
It doesn't matter because at least you tried.

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*Leap before you look
Also known as try now, ask later.
I've used this many times, especially at ethnic restaurants or get-togethers.
If you're not quite sure, sometimes it's better to let your mouth decide if you like it
before you brain decides for you.

*The change-up
Take your favorite dish and change it up!
You can make it healthier or gluten free.
You can change the ingredients, i.e. eggs benedict with pulled pork and bbq hollandaise
(that does sound good, doesn't it)
or add a new element or twist to it.

*Burst your bubble
Travel to different areas (outside your normal bubble) to find new stores or markets.
Maybe they'll have something you haven't tried before.
Ethnic stores are especially good for this.

*Just google it
Ever see something at the store and think, 
"I have no idea what I would do with that"
Well that is what the internet is for.
Buy the food and look up a recipe or description for it when it.


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*Opposites attract
Take 2 things you are familiar with and try them together.
Dare I say bacon and chocolate?  

*Come on baby, gimme a second chance
So you say you hate that food, and maybe you do,
but when was the last time you tried it?
If you haven't tried the dreaded brussels sprouts since 2nd grade,
give them a second chance.

*When in Rome
Whether you are traveling to foreign land, eating at a new restaurant,
or celebrating a special occasion,
make sure to try what they are known for, what is regional and fresh,
or what is traditionally eaten.
This is especially true when traveling.  Be adventurous!

*Menu Roulette
This doesn't happen often but there have been times when we really don't recognize anything.
Maybe it's in a different language or it might just be a unique menu.
So close your eyes and put your finger down.
Wherever it lands is what you order.  Yes, we have done this.


*One for you, One for me
Order something new and something that is a favorite and share.
This way you are bound to like something.
The more people eating out, the more things you can try
without feeling like you need to finish a whole dish!

*The Adventure Seeker
Look through a menu and order whatever it is you've never had (or maybe even heard of)


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*The Hybrid
Does this all sound like way too much?
Remember that you don't have to order live baby octopus to try something new.
Have you looked at the fruits and veggies in the market lately?
You could spend the whole year trying out things like pluots and grapples and broccoflower.

*That's very Pinteresting
Perhaps this year you could focus on making it through just 52
 of the one million recipes you've repinned on Pinterest.
Or is it just me?

*Around the world, in 52 weeks
Take a few of the weeks out of the year to find something of a specific ethnicity or area.
Try Indian, Chinese, English, Greek, African, Egyptian, Russian or Peruvian.
Eat at a restaurant or look up a recipe.

Still here?  What are you waiting for?  Get out there and try something new!


Join the 52 Food Adventures Community Board on Pinterest!

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas

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Our Christmas festivities start on Christmas Eve with 4 pm mass
where we get to watch the kids act out the nativity which is always my favorite part.

This year mass was a bit different as we had a little Peanut who wanted to walk around the whole time.

As we were in the church hall the seating was chairs instead of pews and I was worried that Peanut was going to poke the people in front of us through the slats in the chairs.

He has this habit of lifting your shirt just a bit and poking your skin (or fat).
I believe he learned this from B who likes to the same and poke my skin (or fat).

It didn't help that the man in front of us had a good inch of skin (or fat) showing whenever he sat down.
I was very careful to keep watch of Peanut and make sure that he didn't poke the man's skin (or fat).

Which of course he did the moment I wasn't looking.

I just pretended I didn't know what happened.
I looked the other way.

Is that kind of lying frowned upon in church?

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Peanut had his own tree in his room.
I grew up with one and wanted him to have one too.

He loved it and gave the appreciative WOW whenever we lit it.

And then he pulled it down (as you can see him doing)

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After church we headed to my grandma's house and we were just about done eating and unwrapping presents when I remembered that I didn't get any pictures of Peanut in his holiday finery.

That nice mark on his face is from a head on collision with a rocking horse.
He tripped right before he got to it and his face sort of just slid down the side of it.

It didn't bleed at all but has left a nice scab in it's place.

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Have I mentioned that Peanut loves Christmas?

He loves the lights, the decorations, the parties....he's quite the party animal.

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When we got home Peanut went straight to bed while daddy and I stayed up.

We ate Sticky Toffee Pudding, which is now a tradition, exchanged a gift and set up for Christmas morning.

I was completely excited for Peanut to see what Santa brought him
and I'll share more of that with you soon.

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At first all Peanut cared about was his kitchen set (which he went directly to) but eventually we got him to open some other presents.

All we actually bought him was the kitchen set and the rest of the presents under our tree were re-wrapped birthday gifts.

Thanks everyone for the birthday/Christmas presents!

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After Christmas morning at our house we went to my parents for the feast to begin!

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My sister Sherri created "A Very Pinterest Christmas" by coming with 
gifts that included diy canvas photos, record bowls, homemade sweets, banana bread
and of course, Christmas photo props!

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The props included everything from elf hats and ears, santa's hat and beard, reindeer antlers, rudolph's nose and any variation on those things that we could come up with.

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I really like Scott's use of the elf ears and Rudolph's nose to create the Yukon Cornelius look.

I'm telling you, every Christmas party should have photo props!

We had lots of fun and all of us were spoiled, especially Peanut.
I'm pretty sure that at this point he thinks every get together is a party just for him.

How was your Christmas?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Irvine Park Railroad, The Christmas Train

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A few days ago my parents, B & I took the boys to Irvine Park Railroad to see Santa's Village and take the Christmas train to the North Pole.

Santa's village has a bounce house, coloring corner, cookie decorating area, games and much more.

Picnik collage Mrs. Claus reads stories and answers questions about Santa.

There are also lots of fun places to pose for pictures.

   IMG_3312When we got there at 4:10 the tickets were sold out until 6 pm!

Fortunately a very nice man was able to get us on the train about 15 minutes later.

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The boys were all loaded up, All Aboard!
and off we went!

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We passed by horses and a peacock, tree filled with lights and other parts of the park.

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Daniel absolutely loved the train!

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Peanut was just kicking back on papa's lap.
Later that night he said papa out of nowhere and hasn't stopped since.

When you arrive in the North Pole there is a big stage with Santa waiting for all the children (and one adorable puppy that we saw).

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Peanut was more interested in running around and picking apart the hay.

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The boys saw Santa again and it went a little better this time.
I'm pretty sure if Daniel hadn't started to fuss that Peanut would've been fine.

Smiling, I'm not so sure but I think he would have been okay sitting there.

I like the picture of Santa and Mrs. Claus in front of the Angel Stadium.

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By the time we were done visiting Santa is was dark outside and you could really see all the lights.

 Picnik collage The train heads back to Santa's Village past the trees and through the tunnel of lights.
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It was packed when we got back to the other side!

Lots of excited little faces just waiting to get on the Christmas train and go see Santa!

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It was really fun and we will definitely be going back next year!

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Merry Christmas Eve everyone!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Newport Beach Boat Parade (and kisses for the girls)

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A little over a week our friend Erica invited us to her parents house for the Newport Beach Boat Parade.

Despite having grown up here I've never seen it before.

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The added bonus is that we got to see this little sweetie.

Just look at those big eyes.

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Peanut couldn't stop kissing her.
He's a very lovey boy.

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I kept telling him to be gentle.

You see how he's all scrunched up in the second picture?
That's what he does when I'm telling him not to do something that he wants to do.

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Erica's parents have a gorgeous house that I showed you here.

We all brought appetizers and her dad made us warm apple pies which are actually the yummiest winter drink ever- just warm apple cider with a bit of Tuaca, topped with some whipped cream.

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After we stuffed ourselves we headed out to the beach to check out the lights.
The houses are just as amazing as the boats.

Can you believe this house and it's dock?
That is an actual snowman in the bottom corner.

I have no idea how they keep a real snowman.
Erica says they pack it in sleeping bags at night, I'm sure they are packing new snow/ice on during the day.

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Their house is decorated top to bottom
and although you can't really see it there is a santa on his sleigh being pulled by reindeer around and around on the roof.

Peanut was pretty impressed :)

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Soon after the boats started passing by.

Peanut liked to wave and dance and was generally impressed with the whole thing.

Besides, I think he just liked being outside and getting to walk around at nighttime.

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This ship was awesome!
A pirates ship with all the bells and whistles and if you look closely you can even see the alligator following, it's mouth opening and closing.

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Afterwards we headed back to the house and ate some more food
and Peanut got a chance to hang out with his friend Mia some more.

He decided that Harlow shouldn't get all of the kisses so he passes some to Mia
as you can see in the video below.


Have you been to the boat parade or do you have something like it by you?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Holidays Are for Giving

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It's that time of year, full of hustle and bustle and lots of excitement. 

There are parties to go to, wish lists to make, holiday baking, lots of shopping, fantasies about toys and playtime and special trips to see Santa and of course, gifts, gifts, and more gifts. 

Sometimes it's hard to remember that the holidays are also about giving.  

What better way to remind and teach our children then to get them involved 
in giving to these five child-centered Orange County charities:

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read the rest of my article HERE

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