Bake Fest 2012

bakefest For Christmas this year, I decided to dabble in baking a few treats…5, to be exact.  Usually, I just bake “Food for the gods” – a Filipino dessert.  This year, I made all 5 from scratch (except Red Velvet Cake Poppers.  I used boxed cake mix for that).  Clockwise from top left to right:  Cake Poppers, Sugar Cookies, Pecan Tarts, Dark Chocolate Mint Cookies and Food for the gods.

I have to say, they ALL came out prettttyyyy awesome.  I only made one batch of the Dark Choco Mint cookies so only a couple of people got those – pDaddy had a hard time sharing them…he loves his choco-mint.

This bake fest took about a week – baking one type of treat per day, but took OVER a week to ship out to my friends in NJ.  We did get hit w/a bit of a “blizzard”, afterall (and by blizzard, I mean we got crazy wind and a couple inches of snow in the span of a few hours, but nothing crazy like other parts of the country).  So, the goodies got to my friends AFTER Christmas, but still, it was enjoyed and I’m glad.  Look how pretty I packaged them too – with homemade tags and my “Kitchen of” seal.  Stuck these inside of boxes surrounded by those air bag type things and/bubble wrap (that pretty box below was reused…originally had my modcloth order – reduce, reuse, recycle y’all!).

Baked Goodies - Tag Untitled

I’m glad that I sent them out.  Having them here was too easy to eat and gain the calories.   I’m going to stick to probably just 2 next year and make a ton of both.  The girls LOVED helping me bake though, so that might change.

My Little Bakers :)

evil goodness

evil goodness

Another thing I made this year which I wish I never did?  Pumpkin Cheesecake.  Before this year, I never liked anything pumpkin.  Then, I saw pumpkin cheesecake at our grocery’s bakery aisle.  Now, everybody loves cheesecake – at least in my house they do.  So, I figured I’d give pumpkin cheesecake a try and I.LOVED.IT!  It was over $12 though so I thought I could try to make it myself and it will be cheaper.  Truth.  Now, why I decided to follow Paula Deen’s recipe of diabetic goodness, I have no idea, but it is good.  Just too sweet.  I made it a second time and lessened the sugar by 1/2 a cup and I’m thinking I could have probably lessened it by 3/4 of a cup.  I looked on myfitnesspal.com to see how many calories this baby had and I wish I looked it up sooner.  1/12 of the cake has 460 calories.  Now, I’m not sure if that’s some ready made one (does she do that?) or if it is based on following her recipe, but 460 calories?!?!?  Holy Cannoli, Batman! And to think, when I was in full-on holiday busy mode, I would sneak a bite here and there.  No wonder I gained weight so easily.  Needless to say, I won’t be making this again anytime soon.  It is too good to pass up, but too many calories and I really have to lose weight according to my doc.  Maybe by next Christmas Bake Fest, I will think about making this again.  But GASP!  Look:

pauladeen_pumpkincheesecake

(No, I didn’t have it for breakfast.  I just wanted to show you the #s breakdown).

Holiday Party Dress – 2012 #1

affordable holiday party - 2012

I think this dress may be the winner…IF it gets here on time and fits.  I got my original order and it was too small so I ordered it again w/rush shipping.  Should be here tomorrow and I need to hope it fits bc I loved it!

So, which shoes?

 hmmm…long cardi, short cardi or blazer?

Accessories?  I need to go through and unpack my fashion jewelry now, I guess.

Windy City Dress in Forest – ModCloth.com
shoes from top left counter clockwise
Sole Society – “Stephanie” in black  | ModCloth – “Surprise and Shine Heel” in Gold  | Sole Society – “Stephanie” in Platino|  Sole Society – “Julianne”  |  Sole Society – “Margie” via Nordstrom

Meet Parker

elfonashelfOk, we did it, we adopted an “Elf on the Shelf” little buddy.  I was hesitant at first, but as long as he’s not in my face when I wake up, I guess it’s fine (my sister shares the same sentiment).  After a gazillion names being thrown out there, we all settled on “Parker”.  Maybe it had something to do with the fact that we just watched “Amazing Spiderman” and well, his name is “Peter Parker”.Other names were:  “Woody”, “Eli”, “Sebastian”, “Hagrid” (yes, the big guy from “Harry Potter”)  and I don’t even remember the others anymore.

Beans is 7 now and is the most excited out of everyone.  The other morning she squealed and laughed so hard when she found him – hanging around our tree!  I was upstairs and heard her!  I love this age…when the spirit of Christmas is so alive and the age off innocence is full on kicking!   Beans was the one actually asking for it all the time since the week of Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean that the other 2 gals don’t have fun looking for him either…

 

While the girls were making ornaments, I read them the story and that started our little guy’s adventures!

He was too tired to move one night, but I think he’s got himself rested up goes back to report to Santa every night since.

Here’s where we’ve been finding him lately…

I can’t wait to see where else he ends up!

New Year’s Resolution – 2013: #1

MIA for almost 1.5 months and I’m back with a confessional type entry…here goes…

New Year’s Resolution #1 will be to limit myself with shopping.

I’m not sure by how much yet.  Maybe 1 or 2 shoes per season, 1 outerwear, etc…or maybe by a dollar amount.  I’ll have to think about it.  It just can’t be ALL of this in ONE week.  This is all because we’re going to a Holiday Party next weekend and one thing led to another.

Exhibit A:

TJMaxx - DKYNC Dress

TJMaxx – DKYNC Dress

DKNYC Dress purchased at TJMaxx – Fits ok, but a bit loose on the shoulders (built in cami straps keep falling) and waist.  I’m afraid I’ll forget to suck in mah belly and I’ll look pregnant all night.

Exhibit B:

modcloth "Windy City Dress"

modcloth “Windy City Dress”

“Windy City” Dress from ModCloth.  Wasn’t sure about the Forrest Green color, but it is the holidays…and a bit more subdued than a red, but more than a black.  Besides, the shoes coming up would all look great with this…yes, that’s PLURAL on the “shoes”.

Exhibit C:

modcloth - "Essential Elegance" skirt

“Essential Elegance” skirt

Lot of Fashion Bloggers out there have nothing but love for this skirt sold by ModCloth.  Who am I to argue?  I thought I could pair this with a gold sequin top that I got on clearance from Target last year as a possible ensemble for the holiday party.

Exhibit D:

Sole Society’s “Margie” Studded T-Strap (purchased at Nordstrom).  What is not to love about this shoe?

sole society "Margie"

sole society “Margie”

It is feminine, sexy, femme fatale and a take on a pair of Valentino’s I saw at Nordstrom’s.  I was almost very upset because I had these as my FIRST Sole Society purchase, but there was some problem with processing my payment.  I had to wait until 7am PST to talk to a rep and by the time that happened and it got all sorted (which was fairly quickly once I finally was talking to someone), it was no longer available…as in SOLD OUT in my size.  Now, it’s rare Sole Society re-stocks and even if they did, I don’t think it would be before our party next weekend.  So, I was desperate and googled it.  Lo and behold, Nordstrom had them and saved the day!

Exhibit E and F:

Sole Society’s “Stephanie” cut-out heel…I mean come on, I had to, that’s my name!

sole society "Stephanie"

sole society “Stephanie”

I was looking for a gold shoe and I liked the look of this and that the platform wasn’t too much.  I’m pretty over all the platform goodness of years past.  If it’s more than an inch, I’ve started to look away.  I think I’m just getting too old to rock those (mid-30s, in case you were wondering).  Even these I had to think about longer than usual.  Anyway, I was looking for gold to pair w/the skirt and gold sequin top.  Now I can see this with the green dress as well!  Now, my problem is that none of these clothes are in my possession and I’m not sure how they’ll fit so I ordered these in black as well to wear with the DKNYC sequin dress…but now, I’m not so sure they’ll go together anyway.

Exhibit G:

Last, but not least, Sole Society’s “Julianne“:

sole society "Julianne"

sole society “Julianne”

When this first came out, they featured the cobalt/royal blue color which is gorgeous.  Problem is, I’m not young enough or confident enough to pull off such a bold color.  Besides, I’m trying to limit my shopping and am afraid I would have had to buy outfits for that blue suede lovey…I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve built outfits around shoes plenty of times, but I’m really trying to just work with what I have…at least after today ;)

So, I can’t figure out how to justify any of this except that dangit, I love them all – at least online.  I’m actually hoping they don’t fit right or are not comfy, etc…so I can return some of them because I think I would keep them ALL!  Mind you, 1…1 holiday party.  I work from home and can be in sweats all day long if I wanted.  I am not a Fashion Blogger…just someone who wants to have access to the fashion she likes.  I know I’m ridiculous though – I still have a pair of booties and a pair of riding boots STILL in boxes and I’ve had them for over a month now!  I also have other heels, flats, etc.  either just worn once or none at all.  I think I may have to sell some on eBay again…Really, I need to cut the shopping down or I’m going to need a second job just to fuel my clothes/shoes/home decor shopping addiciton!

By the way, these can also be found on my Pinterest Board: Style & Fashion

WW – It’s Beginning to (FINALLY) look a lot like Christmas…

We’ve had our tree up for a few weeks now, but didn’t finish putting all the ornaments up until late last week. I usually have some sort of color theme/scheme for our tree (duh…doesn’t everyone?).

We’ve had some kiddie craft sessions and so can you guess what our theme is this year? Why, YUP, it is Kiddie themed. We decorated it with their foam craft ornament creations and accented it using some old red ball ornaments, snowflakes and icicles I’ve used pretty much every year since I moved out of my parents’ house in 2002. You’ll also see their “first year” ornaments and some Dora and Rudolph ornaments. Couldn’t find Frosty ones :(

I present to you, our CHRISTMAS TREE v.2009 :)
Christmas Tree 2009

I, actually, really, really, really, REALLY like it :) It’s fun, festive and showcases the girls’ creativity! At first, I thought of getting a small tree for them and then still keep a more fancy-schmancy theme on our regular tree, but really? We have no room for a smaller tree and besides, I really like it (did I say that already?). I think this is the best tree we’ve ever had! Great job to my girls, cousin T and Auntie Chris from TX who was took some time out of her schedule to help craft w/the girls!

Here are some close-ups of their creations…Santa by Razz & Mommy; Rudolph by Beans & Mommy; Yellow ornament by Beans:
Santa Rudolph Yellow

Red by Beans; Yellow by Razz; Green by Beans; Yellow Ball w/sequins by my 14 yo SD (and an old icicle that’s been with us forever):
Red Yellow & Green yellow ball

Here’s the set-up. pDaddy actually did the putting up of the tree this year – by HIMSELF! BIG Round of APPLAUSE, please ;) lol I was feeling exhausted so he actually done did it all by his lonesome…

IMG_6873

LOVE this pic of Razz (and yes, she’s obsessed w/her tutu):
IMG_6890

Putting up and then staring at their works of art:
IMG_6910

Yes, my 1st round of decorators did an A-OK job :D :
after putting up the tree

And here’s just me w/the girls:
Me and my decorators My Beanster
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To see more Wordful Wednesday entries, check out Angie’s Blog and 5 Minutes for Mom

WW: Kiddie Craft – Christmas Style!

To see more Wordful Wednesday participants, check out Angie’s Blog.
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Not only did I pick up some new toys for myself while Black Friday shopping, I got some goodies for the girls too!

Here they are busy making some foam ornaments the past couple of days…I think we have some future scrapbookers in the making… ;)

Monday night, their cousin and Aunt from Texas joined in on the fun:
making ornaments w/cousin T beans w/her ornament

While I wrapped some presents:
christmas presents

And here’s more from yesterday!
Beans making foam ornaments Her eyes are better in this pic...lol

The NOT so fun part of craft time? Cleaning up the mess! But it’s all good :) I don’t mind…the girls get to be all creative and busy :)
the mess

Here are their finished works of art :) Glitter Glue is still drying on some…
finished ornaments!
These are going to be give aways to their Grandparents and Beans’ TKD Instructors…
ornaments!Let me take this moment to share the fact that Razz (the 2 year old) doesn’t like being helped! Lil’ Miss Independent!!!
tryin to help razz, but she's not likin it! lil miss independent

PS – Glitter Glue + Girls = Ginormous tubs of fun and mess! lol

PPS – Guess they got tired…They started playing “camping” under the table…heheh
camping out under the table... camping out
PPPS – Scratch that, they got out from under the table and asked me to help them make more “decorations” (aka ornaments in their speak).
more ornaments more ornaments by beans w/razz looking on
More ornaments!

Christmas 2007

Razz and Beans - Christmas 2007Christmas Eve 2007 was spent at my parents’ house- as usual.  We always have “noche buena” there.  Noche Buena is, basically, Christmas Eve festivities – eating, praying at midnight, wishing Jesus a Happy Birthday and opening presents.  If you want to read more about Philippine traditions, click on the link above – though we don’t practice that to the T.  Anywho, we go to my parents’ house and gorge ourselves on food and more food.  Liquor is there if you’d like, but each year that passes, there are less “drinkers” in the fam (me for example…I didn’t even have a glass of wine – just a sip of champagne).

The kids were all wide-eyed and pushed themselves to stay up past midnight to get all their gifts.  The adults (my siblings, in-laws and I) have given up on giving gifts to each other – we really just buy for the kids and our parents.  In lieu of the adults giving individual gifts to each other,  we do a Secret Santa so we only have to get 1 gift.  Usually, we pick names on Thanksgiving, but this year, my brother and his family were sick so they didn’t attend; my sister was in the Philippines so she, obviously, didn’t attend.  So, this year, we used an online tool to pick out all the names and post our wishlists with items that were, or could total, $50 since that was our min/max.   It worked out pretty well – I got my mom :)  My Uncle got me and got some stuff on my wishlist: my Swivel Sweeper and new cookie sheets :)   Even though we do the Secret Santa thing to limit gift buying (there are some members of the family where only 1 spouse works), I usually buy everyone – including my siblings and in-laws – gifts anyway.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t buy to the point where I bury myself in debt, but just a little something here and there.  I only buy when I can and usually I can – except for last year when I was blind-sided with some unexpected bills.  Anyway, I always wondered if that made my siblings/in-laws feel bad…like they have nothing to give in return or if I’m rubbing in a double-income marriage or whatever.  But, that’s what I like to do…spoil the ones I love.

Anyway…we got Beans a tricycle even though she already got a bicycle on her birthday from her Godfather.  We figured we should give her a tricycle to start off with.  Good thing she is still at the age where she doesn’t care what she gets – she just wants to tear off all of the wrapping paper.  She got money, lots of clothes, toys and books and our house is living proof of that.  Our living room constantly looks like Christmas morning – you know, like when they open all their presents in a “Christmas Story”.   We haven’t introduced Santa Claus to Beans yet.  Well, she knows who he is, but not what he is capable of and what he does for all good boys and girls on Christmas.  I guess the “introduction” will be next year…oh boy, oh boy!

Razz got the same as Beans sans tricycle – money, clothes and toys.  She’s at an even better stage of gift receiving – she has not a clue at all…not even tearing off the wrapping paper ;)   Poor Razz missed out on all the festivities as she was sleeping the whole time, but we woke her up to take family portraits after opening presents (at 1:30 or 2am).

I’ve been building up “our” camera and recently gave pDaddy a new lens (Canon 28-200mm). So for Christmas, I gave pDaddy a flash (Canon 430EX) and diffuser for his “son” (he doesn’t “know” how to make boys so his gadgets become his sons).  He got me my DDR for PS2 and surprised me with a PS3.  Dude?  PS3?  I was expecting a Wii since it was cheaper and that’s what we’ve been talking about where video game consoles are concerened, but apparently they were harder to come by.  Still, PS3???  I was shocked.  We still talk of getting a Wii, but I told him that we would need to return the PS3 if we were going to get a Wii.  Neither of us are made of money and neither of us really need both, ya know?  Although, the PS3 does double up to be an HD-DVD player (which is why I think pDaddy got it in the first place…wink-wink).  I don’t know even know all of it’s capabilities – they seem boundless.

Christmas Day – we decided to just hang out at my parents’ house since we slept over.  Razz opened her presents in the morning since everyone else opened theirs the night before.  We just lounged around until it got dark and finally dragged our bum-bums and presents home.  This time, there was room in our mini-van for me to sit comfortably in the back.  I guess I failed to mention that I actually sat in the front seat going to my parents’ house.  We had to use the 3rd row seat (where I usually sit) for presents.  My mom summed it up best “Guess you gave more than you received.”  She’s right and I’m totally ok with that :)  Christmas is my favorite holiday and I would rather give than receive.  It took me a while to get into the Christmas spirit, but I got there eventually, though not whole-heartedly and I still have no idea why.  All in all, I still always kept the true meaning of CHRISTmas in my heart – the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

–keep the CHRIST in CHRISTmas–