Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Party Planning Mommy: DIY Popcorn Bags

Once we ordered the popcorn cart, the logical thing to think of next was popcorn bags. I had such a hard time finding just the right popcorn bags for JD’s party, some were to big, others were to small, I couldn't find any  carnival themed bags I liked and I definitely didn't find any bags with a monkey theme, so I kinda just gave up; that’s until Mari suggested, I make them myself! So, I took Mari’s suggestion and plan on making the popcorn bags myself and I’m so excited because I can personalize them anyway I like!

DIY Popcorn Bag Supplies:

$10.40 100 bags
I ordered these bright red bags for JD's party!

$1.49 each

I love this font so much that I'm using it for JD's cake
and a few other little projects too!

$13.39 150 labels

DIY Popcorn Bags

Friday, February 26, 2010

JD playing peek-a-boo...

It’s amazing to see how quickly JD is learning to do things on his own. He’s cruising (walking from one piece of furniture to the other) around the house, he’s crawling faster than I can keep up with, he’s eating his snacks and anything else you put in front of him on his own (he no longer wants to be fed, which makes me a little sad) and now he has figured out how to entertain himself and the rest of us, all at the same time! Here he is this past weekend at Farmers Market, initiating a game of peek-a-boo with his auntie Gaby.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

JD’s Library: Si Le Das Un Panqueque A Una Cerdita

JD’s Library is definitely a work in progress, but it still doesn’t stop the books from pouring in. His latest book was given to him by his Nina Angie and it happens to be one of my favorite’s too, Si Le Das Un Panqueque A Una Cerdita (If You Give A Pig a Pancake), by Laura Numeroff. I own the book in English but I had no idea it was also published in Spanish, this is such a great way to encourage bilingual children. JD has started saying a few words lately (some in Spanish too) and with the help of his grandparents, who only speak Spanish to him and great books like, Si Le Das Un Panqueque A Una Cerdita, he will be a bilingual baby in no time!

by
Laura Numeroff

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

JD Loves Paulette Macarons!

This Sunday while visiting The Original Farmers Market, we stopped by Monsieur Marcel Gourmet Market, I love this shop and I always make an effort to stop by for their delicious French baguette, they have so many exotic and unique products, it’s truly a cook’s delight. As usual everyone in the shop was really friendly and JD made a few new friends and even managed to come out of the shop with a free Paulette Macaron (macaroon). The macaron was delicious, not that JD shared more than one small bite with me and then devoured it (he’s a Garcia Foodie already), so now we must go back and try them all!

Mr. Marcel Gourmet Market

Paulette Macarons

Big Bite!

That crumb on his chin was all that was left!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Prosciutto Wrapped Caprese Bites

What can be better than a Caprese Salad? A bite sized Caprese salad wrapped in prosciutto! I saw this recipe in Fine Living Magazine and I had to try it, I can not believe I never thought of this myself, I love Caprese salad and I always have prosciutto in the fridge, this pairing was just incredible!

Ingredients:
  • 8 thin 1 inch slices prosciutto
  • 8 large basil leaves, torn in half
  • 8 small fresh mozzarella balls (about 1-inch in diameter), halved
  • 8 ripe grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Preparation:

Arrange 8 slices of prosciutto flat on a cutting board and put a piece of basil on one end of each slice. Top each piece of basil with a piece of mozzarella and a tomato half, matching the cut sides to make a ball. Season very lightly with salt and generously with pepper and then roll up the balls in the prosciutto. Secure each with a toothpick and set on a platter. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Drizzle with the olive oil and serve.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Party Planning Mommy: Retro Oval Fast Food Baskets

One of the things I hadn’t put much thought into until recently (since we finalized the menu for JD’s party) was, what we're going to serve all the yummy food on. Well, this weekend while taking a stroll with JD and the Garcia Foodies at The Grove and Farmers Market, we stopped by my favorite cooking supply store, Sur La Table and we came across these really cute fast food baskets and the decision was made right then and there! Although I love Sur La Table, the trays were about $1.50 each, which is pricey when you’re having a big party; but one thing I am definitely a pro at, is online shopping and I found them from an online wholesale company for about $0.40 each, needless to say at that price I ordered them on the spot.

Fast Food Baskets

Basket Liners

I thought this picture was perfect, since sliders are one of the items on the menu for JD’s 1st Birthday Party!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

TPPM: Buckets, Pinwheels and Monkeys! Oh, my!

I had such a fabulous day today, thanks to my hairdresser, manicurist and above all my mom for watching JD and my amazing hubby who insisted I take a "Me" day! Well, my last stop on this wonderful day before heading home was Target (of course) and I have to admit I've had the best of luck this week finding party supplies for JD's 1st birthday party and today was no exception, so I just had to share!

 Colorful Buckets and Bowls
$2.50 buckets
$0.99 bowls
I'm going to use these for drinks, snacks and a few other ideas I have in mind!

 
Colorful Pinwheels
$0.99
I'm so glad I found these, now there's one less thing I have to do myself, well maybe!

 
Monkey Banks
$2.50
These were just too cute not to buy and I'm already coming up with a few uses for them!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Levi's 528 Juniors' Curvy Boot Cut Jean

I do not consider myself a fashionable person, I pretty much just make sure things match and above all fit, but one article of clothing I do know about, are jeans. About a month ago while looking for a new pair of jeans to add to my collection I came across a pair of 528 Levis at Macys and was so impressed by the fit; they we're perfect in every way, except they were one size too small, but I figured I’d eventually find them, boy was I wrong! These jeans were so hard to find (in my size) and by the rave reviews curvy women all over are giving them, I wasn’t surprised.  Well, thanks to Amazon I found these perfect jeans on sale with free shipping (denim always ships free at Amazon.com) and they arrived today. I love these jeans, I'm thinking about wearing them everyday. So if you’re a curvy girl looking for a great fitting pair of jeans, these are definitely it.

$25.94
Amazon

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Daring Kitchen

One of the items on my 2010 to-do list is to learn new cooking techniques and try to create recipes that I would never have the courage to create on my own. So, this brings me to my latest culinary adventure, I have joined The Daring Kitchen and I’m officially a Daring Cook (after more than a month of waiting to be approved). For those of you who may not have heard of The Daring Kitchen please click here for more information. But, in a nut shell The Daring Kitchen is the online home of The Daring Bakers and The Daring Cooks, both groups create one recipe each month that is given by a monthly host. We all create the same exact recipe and then post about it on our personal blog on the designated date. I just received my first Daring Cook challenge, which I will reveal in mid March and I’m really excited. I will be adding The Daring Cook Challenge as an official monthly post on my blog, so please stay tuned and wish me luck!

eBay: Converse Toddler Olive Chuck Taylor

I love eBay! It’s a great place to find things you need, that you’re having trouble finding anywhere else, or if you’re looking for a bargain; or in my case, things I do not need, that I find at a bargain and want. About a week ago I bid on a pair of really cute olive/camouflage toddler Chucks for JD and completely forgot I had bid on them. Today I received that well-known email “You won this item on eBay” and I was pleasantly surprised, no one else had bid on them, so I won them for the asking price of $9.99. If you’re looking for something you need or just want, try eBay, you may be pleasantly surprised too!

Toddler Converse Chuck Taylor
I paid $9.99
(Sorry, I do not have a retail price because I couldn’t find them anywhere else)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Party Planning Mommy: Carnival Games

I can’t believe JD is officially 9 months old as of today and lately with all the packages (supplies) that have been arriving for JD’s birthday party, we have a daily reminder that his 1st birthday is just around the corner. Last night (UPS always runs late in our neck of the woods) we received a few games that I thought would be cute for the smaller kids, these games will give them a chance to win prizes (although every kid will be a winner at JD’s party), which is the best part of visiting a carnival, aside from the food! I found the games below on eBay, for half the price of most online party stores; now I just have to hide them from JD, because he thinks everything is a new toy for him!

Bean Bag Toss
$14.00

Duck Fishing Game
$11.00

 Can Toss
     $12.00    

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Party Planning Mommy: Old Fashion Popcorn Cart

One of my favorite ideas for JD’s 1st birthday party is this Nostalgia Old Fashioned Movie Time Popcorn Cart . Although you can rent similar, smaller and larger carts at any local party rental company, we decided that we would purchase a 4 foot (kid sized) cart for JD’s party. Not only is this popcorn cart perfect for parties, but it’s also great for movie nights and get-togethers and renting one wasn't that much cheaper than buying one, which was our reason for purchasing it.

Vintage Collection Old Fashioned

This 48" tall vendor-style popcorn cart will be the hit of every party. It pops up to two quarts of hot, fresh kettle cooked popcorn per batch. Providing a vintage look and feel, reminiscent of silent movie houses and carnivals circa-early 1900's, the Old Fashioned Movie Time Popcorn Cart is designed for home use. It features a large, stainless-steel kettle with a built-in stirring system and kernel catcher to keep out the unpopped kernels. There is a compartment in the base of the unit to store supplies, making it easy to keep the cart well-stocked and organized. The Old Fashioned Movie Time Popcorn Cart has an easy-to-clean design and is approved for commercial use. Its accessible height makes serving a snap.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Our Valentine’s Day in the snow…

This weekend we decided to combine our Valentines celebration with our yearly trip to Big Bear. I love cold weather and I’m completely fascinated with snow (I was born in New York, during a snow storm). A few years ago the hubby and I went skiing in Big Bear and we made a promise to visit every year and so far we have, even last year while I was 5 months pregnant! So, this year was JD’s first visit (second if you count his visit while in mommy’s belly) to Big Bear and although he didn’t seem too interested in the snow, unless it was in his mouth, he still had a great time (I can’t wait until he is old enough to go skiing with mommy and daddy). We had a chance to meet up with the Lopez Family and that definitely added to the fun, watching the excitement on our kid’s faces at the Moonridge Zoo and listening to them giggle as they threw snowballs at us, made this Valentine’s Day, a day full of fun, laughter and love, I couldn’t have ask for anything more!

 Big Bear

 
Our little family at the
Moonridge Zoo


 

  

Gabi, Mari, JD and the hubby

 
JD and Daddy
(JD refused to wear his hat)

 
Mel making a new friend


 
Alex and Eve 

  
 JD making a mini snowman

 Angie and Eve
(she loves mommy's glasses)

 
JD all bundled up

 
the hubby and me

 
my Valentines gift, the key to my hubby's heart!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Infant and Child CPR Update

About a month ago I blogged about Infant and Child CPR Classes at TMMC and I’m proud to say that as of today, my Mom, my sister-in-law Mari (JD’s sitters) and myself are all Infant/Child CPR certified. Obviously, I hope we never have to use these skills on JD or any other child; but if we do, I’m confident in saying, we will be ready; with 25 dollars and 3 hours of your time, you can be ready too! 

Julian David
 
my reason for taking this class...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Olive Garden’s Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara

Valentine’s Day is this Sunday and I have the most decadent pasta recipe for anyone looking to make a Valentines meal that will leave their loved ones begging for more. This Olive Garden dish is my absolute favorite pasta dish ever, but it’s also the priciest dish on their menu; so when I came across this recipe last year (while pregnant of course) I had to try to make it myself and let’s just say I haven’t ordered it since. This recipe has many ingredients and directions, but I assure you, it is worth the time and effort!


Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara

Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ cups roasted red peppers, cut into small strips
  • Cooked Pasta 2-14 oz boxes of any long pasta (spaghetti, linguine, etc.) cooked using instructions on box
Marinated Chicken and Shrimp 
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 ½ lbs chicken strips
  • 1 ½ large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Sauce 
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 ½ tsp chopped garlic
  • 3 tbsp diced pancetta or bacon bits
  • 3 tbsp flour (all purpose)
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 4 cups milk
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
Topping 
  • 3 Tbsp Romano cheese, grated
  • 3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 ¾ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 ½ tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 ½ Tbsp melted butter
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
Directions
Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Whisk extra virgin olive oil together with hot water, seasoning and chopped garlic. Add the chicken strips and shrimp. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and pancetta or bacon
bits. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add flour, Parmesan cheese, heavy cream, milk, pepper and salt. Use a wire whisk to whip all ingredients together. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer.

Combine Romano, Parmesan, mozzarella, panko, chopped garlic, melted butter and chopped parsley in a mixing bowl. Stir until well blended. Set aside.

Preheat large skillet, add chicken and shrimp to pan, add red peppers. Cook for 3 minutes or until cooked on both sides and internal temperatures reach 165ºF for chicken and 155ºF for shrimp. Add sauce, (from above) stir until well blended.

Place hot, precooked pasta on a lager serving platter. Top with chicken, shrimp and sauce. Evenly distribute topping over top of chicken and shrimp. Bake for 15 minutes or until top is golden brown (or place in broiler until top is golden brown). Serve immediately and enjoy.

Serves 8

Thursday, February 11, 2010

HomeGoods: Chunky Board Books

By now you all know how much I love HomeGoods and once again they have surprised me with their low prices and great finds. While shopping for something completely unrelated, I came across this set of Chunky Board Books by PK Press and I just had to buy them for JD, he absolutely loves books. These books are sturdy and the ideal size (3 x 3 x 1 inches) for little hands, their also the perfect size for carrying in a diaper bag or purse.

Home Sweet Home Chunky Board Books
Retail: $15-$20
I paid: $5.00

Each set includes three 24-page board books that explore simple concepts for easy teaching. With beautiful illustrations and minimal text, each book creates a charming way to engage a young child in learning about the world. Parents and children will enjoy reading these books together. For ages 0 to 4 years.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

JD showing off his new winter boots...

On this blustery Saturday, JD sported his new winter boots to grandma and grandpa’s house; he really seemed to like wearing them and now that he’s trying to walk, we want him to get used to wearing shoes on a daily basis, instead of eating them! So here he is (resembling a lumberjack), showing off his new winter boots.

Jumpy-jump time!

these boots were made for walking...

I'm off to Grandmas!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Party Planning Mommy:Carnival Cupcakes & Monkey Cakes

For JD’s 1st birthday party the hubby and I have definitely agreed on cupcakes (I’ve had an obsession with cupcakes for a few years now, especially the ones from Torrance Bakery), so now I just need to decide on which cupcake accesorries I like more (I may just get them both); but we also want JD to have his own 1st birthday cake and I’ve come across some really cute ideas. Here are a few cakes that really caught my attention and I’m thinking of combining different elements from each one into one little cute and yummy cake for JD!

Cupcake Kits
24 for $11.95

This cake looks so yummy!

I love the number 1 and the letters on this cake!

I love the monkey face on this cake! 

This cake is so adorable!
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