Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Over The Rainbow

   My baby is one! I can't believe how fast this year has gone by. Wasn't I just walking around the halls of Tripler Army Medical center, in a too thin hospital gown, waiting to go into the OR and get this baby out? Now she's a big bad one year old. Okay, she's actually really tiny and super mellow. But still. It's going way to fast!
   At least we had a great party. I know that I only have a few years with each child were I get to make all the decisions for them. Clothing choices, Halloween costumes, and of course birthday party themes. I try to keep into account the child, but honestly, it's my decision. MINE ALL MINE!!! I may not be able to pee alone, but I will damn well choose the cake.
   So for Soph's big day we went with a rainbow theme. It seems to be really popular lately. I can see why. It's easy to find stuff around the house that fits in, so you don't have to spend an arm and a leg on something you'll use once. It has lots of creative food options, and what child doesn't like bright, fun colors?
   I had so much fun getting everything ready. I started with her outfit. I knew a tutu was a must so when the craft store was having a sale on tulle, I stocked up on a spool in every color of the rainbow. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, don't forget there's purple too. Rainbow colors for me and you! (If your kids are a fan of Micky Mouse Club House you will know this song. I've spent a lot of time this last month singing it.)
   I also got an iron-on "birthday girl" patch, a white onsie, sequin head band, bright flower clip, and some ribbon.
   After a lot of cutting I made my, her, tutu. I think everything turned out ADORABLE!

  Since I was on a roll doing the tutu, I made a skirt for her Bumbo and a wreath using the same method. The tutu, skirt, and wreath cost less than $15 to make. I got the tulle and ribbon on sale. The wreath form was half a length of plumbers piping that I got for $1.99 at the hardware store. It was meant to be a circle, but this stuff was flimsy, so I went with a rectangle instead. The letters I got as is for 99 cents each. I'm sure I could have made them with left over cardboard and some glitter from my girls craft box, but I was running low on time, so they were worth the three dollars.

   Next I worked on the cake. That was an epic fail. Pinterest fans have probably seen pictures of a beautiful layered rainbow cake. This is how mine turned out.

   Not what I had pictured. And the sticks? To keep it from falling over. Again. So with this fail behind me, I tried again. Different battle tactic. Screw layers, we're going mixed. With clean white frosting.

   I think it was a hit. In fact, I am amazed she ate it all. I mean, all! She did offer to share with me though.

   I made cupcakes with the left over batter from her cake. It was a lunch time party, so I didn't think we needed a whole other cake and ice cream. It worked out perfectly. Here's what the insides looked like.

   I wanted to keep the food light, and in the rainbow theme. And of course I wanted a lot of it to be stuff that the birthday girl could eat. So I went with fruit and veggie trays, wraps and a corn salsa we're all fans of. Since I'm trying to watch my girlish figure I also didn't want to get a lot of pop that wouldn't get drunk, so we made an awesome punch with jelly cranberry sauce and ginger ale. (I may have added some vodka to the left overs for a treat after the girls went to bed.)

   After the cake, a quick bath, and a costume change, Sophie opened her presents. We had a great time. She wont remember it, but Sophie will have some great pictures of her big day! Thank you to our wonderful family for such great time!

Getting some loves from Grandma

   And don't forget Daddy! Thanks to Amazon, he did all the shopping for her gifts, and even took this amazing picture. I think the machine guns really scream "Happy First Birthday". He may be half a world away, but he's always involved!

Friday, September 7, 2012



   I love to cook, and I really love to bake. And of course I love to eat! Most of the stuff I make goes straight to my belly. And not in the good digestion way, but  in the, I'm gonna hang out here and jiggle kinda way. So for the most part I try to contain myself.
   This is the recipe I am most famous for in my family. It is also one that I can eat a lot of without feeling guilty. You'll find that I am an extremely precise cook. I'll use lots of technical terms like "some" or "a handful" or even the complex "about". And I promise I wont leave out ingredients so that mine will always taste better, like my grandma does. Or give you the recipe written in Finish. Also like my grandma does. ;)

Erin's Salsa

1 can stewed tomatoes (whatever brand, whatever blend you like)
1 largish onion (I'm fond of Walla Walla's or Maui Sweets, but white is just fine)
2 good sized jalapeños
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2-4 tablespoons hot sauce (start with 2 and keep adding until you like the flavor)
Juice of half a lime
Salt & Pepper to taste

   I've used many ways to make this salsa, with a food processor, blender, most recently with a Pampered Chef food chopper. Sometimes I've hand cut it all with a knife. I'll use whatever is handy.    Hand cutting gets the chunkiest salsa, if you like it more smooth, go with a food processor. I get the most varied results with the blender, but most often it is very smooth, with very little texture. I like this when I plan to eat it with popcorn. 
   I know, it's weird, but it is healthy and sooooo good. Try it. Oh, don't just poor the salsa over the popcorn. That's disgusting. Dip my friends, dip. This is a great mindless TV munchie.

1. Drain the liquid out of the tomatoes into a medium sized bowl. You want that liquid! Dice the tomatoes and add them to the bowl.
2. Dice the onion and garlic and add to the bowl.
3. Cut off the ends of the jalapeños. It should be shaped like a tube. Using a spoon scoop out the seeds and membrane. Discard. Be careful about touching the jalapeños. And be sure to wash your hands well afterwards. And maybe just keep them to yourself. Don't, you know, clean gubbers out of your six month old's eye, and leave her screaming in agony. Or something stupid like that. Ehem. I now use the little plastic produce bag as a glove.
4. Dice the jalapenos and add them to the bowl.
5. Pick a good sized handful of cilantro leaves. Bunch and roll it into the tightest ball you can. Dice it up, and throw it in the bowl. If 20% of your blood is made up of cilantro, like my hubby, add more. If you're not such a big fan, stick to a small handful of leaves.
   *If your using a blender or food processor, all you really need to do is cut the veggies into manageable pieces and toss them in. Pulse until you get desired consistency. Then add the rest of the ingredients.
6. Add the first two tablespoons of the hot sauce and the juice of half a lime. Add a few good pinches of salt and and one of pepper.
7. Stir it all up and give it a try. If you want to make it taste more fresh, or tomatoey, cut up some fresh tomatoes. If you want to taste more like restaurant, or canned salsa add more hot sauce.

A few more notes:
* This recipe also tastes wonderful with fresh tomatoes. When we lived in Hawaii, the commissary didn't always have the best produce. Weird, huh. So that's when I started to use the canned. And it stuck. If you do want to go fresh, use three large tomatoes, stems cut off.
* If you like it hot, add another jalapeno, or even add a Serrano to the two jalapenos.
* If you aren't a fan of the heat, skip the jalapenos, and go for a Anaheim or two. These taste SO good in this recipe.
* The lime and garlic help preserve this salsa, but not for long. This needs to be eaten within 2 weeks.
* This is a great base recipe. Add a cup of frozen corn, don't even thaw. Drained black beans are also delish.
* Salsa isn't just for chips. I love it on Triscuits. Try it over grilled chicken. Or like I said earlier, with popcorn. My two year old, Alli, eats it with a spoon. No joke, the kid loves salsa.

A final note, please excuse the lack of the tilde over some of the n's in jalapeno. For some reason, my computer automatically put it on some, but wouldn't on others. To be honest, I wasn't feeling the drive to investigate, and fix the irregularity. Carry on.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


   I survived, I mean, she survived her first day of kindergarten! After half an hour of tears, and clinging ,and protests of not being ready, I finally calmed down enough to drive home. How did my little girl do? Great! In fact she kept telling me to leave! "All the other parents are still here, you can't make me go yet!"

   All joking aside, we did great. We have talked about kindergarten all summer, and always talked about how fun it would be, all the exciting activities she would do, and how many friends she would make. Most importantly, we were very careful not to associate anything negative with starting school. This is something to be excited about! Like going to Disneyland!
   I admit, I had worries. My oldest is smart and definitely likes being in charge, but let's face it, the girl likes being taken of care of. When she was a baby, she refused to hold her own bottle. I mean, she would not do it. If it came down to starving or holding her own bottle, she would choose to starve. She was perfectly capable of doing it, just wanted us to hold it for her. Same with feeding herself solids. At the great age of five it's not uncommon to hear her beg one of us to feed her. She's even asked her two year old sister to feed her!
   She's content for me to dress her, and she'll hate me later for saying this, but it took over a year to get her to put her pants back on after she went to the bathroom. She would be fully dressed going in, and I'd see her later rockin her undies, because it was too much work to pull her shorts back up. Thank God we lived in Hawaii and shorts were all we had to worry about! If I had to get that girl to pull a snow suit, or jumper back up, I would have been in for a battle royal!
   So with all this selective dependence, I wondered how she would do when she couldn't ask her teacher to open up her yogurt for her, or take her to the bathroom, and make sure she got back to the classroom okay. And goodness did I stress about her getting to her class each morning! I couldn't just leave her in front of the school, ten minutes before class started, and really expect her to get to the right place could I? She's just a baby! My baby!
   I lost sleep over this stuff. I just had to keep reminding myself, they are professionals! There will be adults to look after her, to tell her were to go, to help her with that tricky yogurt, and to makes sure she doesn't go to the bathroom and just take a trip out to the playground unsupervised.
   After I had wrestled these worries into submission I started worrying about my husband. This was a big moment for Bella, and most likely, he would miss it completely. I mean, he's deployed, so I knew he wasn't going to be there, but I had at least hoped he would call or Facetime. But of course, he would become unavailable, starting, you guessed it, Bella's first day!
    Someone was smiling down on us, and because of the time difference, Gilbert was able to Facetime Bella before she left for school. My wonderful husband forgo sleep to call his oldest child in the middle of his night and wish her well on her big day. He was even there for a picture!

  I love technology!
   It was a busy morning for us. We had to have the traditional 'first day pancakes' (a tradition my mom started). We had to fix the princess hair. Wash, blow dry and flat iron! And we had to have plenty of time for pictures.
   I've spent plenty of time lately perusing Pinterest in search of the perfect 'first day' picture. How was I going to document this momentous day? After all, this is a big decision. I have to live with, and repeat it for the next 12 years. My head might explode if I had to switch themes halfway through her school years. So it had to be perfect, and you know, easy, cause I'm lazy. But I couldn't pick just one, so I kinda went crazy. Here are my favorites:

    Funny story. In preparation of the picture above my family was asking Bella what she wanted to be when she grew up. Did she want to be a doctor, singer, painter or astronaut? A fire fighter, verterinarian, dancer or scientist? All of these awesome options were meet with exsaperated "Mommy's". I was at a loss. Then my mom asked if she wanted to be in managment. Bella looked intrigued. "Do  you want to be the boss, Bella?" That was it. Her eyes lit up. Bless her pointy little head, she wants to be the boss. The perfect job for her. Miss Delegation herself. What makes it even more funny is my parents. My mom workes in management for the city, and my step-dad is part of the city's largest union. So we always joke about my mom working for "the dark side" and trying to recruit people over. Point one for Grandma! Get your dark cape at the door.
   See the cute little printed out paper? I haven't uploaded it yet, but I had her write her name on it. I'm going to keep that, and by keep I mean take a picture of it, put it in a safe place and never see it again. But that's okay, cause I'll have the picture of it. And on her last day of kindergarten I'll print out that picture and have her sign it again. We'll be able to see how her writing changed this year. I'll do this every year and see how her style evolves!
   I hope your "first day" went as fantastic as our did! And wish me luck as I continue to let go of my babies, one white knockled finger at a time.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


   I love a good laugh. It's  not hard to get me to smile. From the knock-knock jokes my five year old tells me to the sarcastic memes, and yes often even the offensive jokes told in whispers. I love 'um all! And if you are dumb enough to give me your cell number I'm not shy about sharing.
   Sometimes all you can do is laugh. Like this morning. It's just one of "those" days with my girls. I had high hopes to go do some damage to the gift card my hubs sent me for my birthday (Thanks Babe!) but after the 10th warning, 3rd time out and 2nd meltdown, I was not in the mood to try and keep my heathens happy while I tried on clothes. I was not in the mood for much of anything. Except maybe hunting down a band of gypsies and seeing if they wanted to buy my children.
   I was on a ledge. Look at me wrong and I might have snapped. So I took a time out myself and did one of my favorite things. I got on Pinterest and turned to the "humor" page. I have now put the gun and knife away and am ready to share a smile.
   So lets have some fun! Seeing as it's Sunday, let's keep it  PG. What are your favorite Popsicle stick jokes? Share some, PLEASE. Help a mommy out.
   Some of my favorites:

What did the buffalo say to his kid when he left for collage?
Why did the picture go to jail?
It was framed.
What do lawyers name their daughters?
What's the difference between roast beef and pea soup?
Anyone can roast beef.
   You laughed, admit it! Thanks to Pinterest, here are some of those memes I was talking about:

   I hope this brightened your day! Remember, we love our children!!! Really!