Monday, November 29, 2010

gratitude :: holiday edition

so i am supposed to be at the grocery store right now.  but sofia decided that 10am was the perfect time to take a nap.  it was a long weekend people, with a lot of partying and a lot of late nights.  i hope the boys can get through their day.

thanksgiving: good food and good company. 18 of us gathered at my parents' house for a traditional dinner.  my mom made the turkey and stuffing, my sister made cornbread, my sister-in-law made the ham, i made the mash potatoes and salad, and my other sister-in-law made dessert. we were set.  everyone filled out these thankful cards and i will add pictures to them and put them into an album.

after dinner the kids watched movies and the grown ups including my niece monica, played "things".  it was so much fun.  we laughed at the answers and people's guesses.  and some of the questions had many interpretations.  it was fun that we all hung out and had a good time.

tangled: friday i did not head out for black friday sales.  instead we slept in then went to my parents' house again for posole.  yummy! (i know my mom worked hard.  that's why i love her.) everyone came over at various times and we looked at ads.  talked to those that did brave the craziness, monic waited 2 hours in line at urban. in the afternoon we took the kiddos to see tangled.  i was looking forward to it and was not disappointed.  it was funny, and sentimental and cute and a bit scary.  i loved every second of it . . .and so did sofia.  at least i think she did.  she was sitting with gaby and jessie.  andrew and i got really nervous at the end.  but it all worked out.  we loved that it was a return to a disney classic.  kind of like aladdin or emperor's new groove.  i would definitely recommend.

sushi with friends: saturday was another casual day.  slept in, then i headed out to the mall to check out some sales.  i really think i just needed a breather.  i looked around but didn't end up getting anything.  that night we went out to dinner with our friends bill and juliet.  her birthday was last week and bobby's birthday is this week.  so it was a perfect time to celebrate.  we see them a lot but always with the kids.  so getting a couples only night out was a little out of the ordinary.  we took them to a good sushi place on ventura where the rolls do not disappoint.  i even tried sake for the first, and maybe last, time.  after dinner we went to a coffee shop called aroma cafe.  i was stuffed from dinner but they ordered caramel cheescake, creme brulee and chocolate mousse.  i sipped on a delicious cappuccino.  it was lovely.

a day of rest: sunday was all about relaxing and staying in pajamas.  the kids played video games while we started putting up christmas decorations, lights and the tree.   we pulled out the box of decorations and let the kids have at it.  i made just a few tweaks since sofia can only reach so high.  and we only broke one ornament which is good for us. it looks great.   but i'll save the after picture for another day.  all i know is that we are ready for some good cheer.  we finished the day off with homemade pizza and toy story 3.  ahhh, the good life.

hope everyone's holiday was relaxing.

Friday, November 26, 2010

scrapbook basics (or more than you ever wanted to know about scrapbooking)

ok, so someone, who shall remain nameless, sent me an email asking what are the basic tools i use for scrapbooking for their christmas wish list.  after writing an entirely too long email i thought i would just share it here on my blog.  in case others were interested too.  and this way i can share pictures and links.

you know I'm a big fan of ali edwards.  she has a great list of  basics on her blog.  i use a lot of the same items, albums, paper and page protectors.

the mini stapler is great for getting small items on your pages, ribbon, tags, bits of chipboard and i love the look of the metal.  

i love these pens for journaling.  especially the .03 size.

this is the tape runner i use and you can get it at joann's,  michaels and target.  

i also have the crop-a-dile and i use it to punch holes in cardboard for mini books.  it's also useful when you want to punch through a lot of paper at the same time.

i've started using a lot of punches.  fiskars makes a bunch that i love.  so does martha stewart and ek success.  you can find a lot of them at michael's and joann's.  i especially love border punches.  this is my favorite right now.
i love how stephanie howell uses them. 

staz-on stamp pads.  i use the black one mostly.  you can pretty much stamp on anything.  also available at michael's and joann's.
i love these letter stickers.  they come in a million colors, fonts, sizes.  they are so easy to use for titles.  love them.

other fun ideas:
-a membership to a kit club - you pay on a monthly basis and you get one kit a month.  or you can pay a little bit more and just buy the kits you like.  i love that they coordinate the paper and the embellishments for you so you don't have to think about it.  there are a lot out there, but i belonged to studio calico. i'm not a member right now but when i was i really only spent money on that.  so in a way it was cheaper because i wasn't going to the scrapbook store and buying a lot of stuff. they also split items for you.  so instead of a package of 25 buttons you may only get 10.  that helps because you hardly ever use the entire package and it's cheaper. each kit includes the latest products to be released and an exclusive stamp. they are some of my favorites.  they have an awesome design team and i still get a lot of inspiration looking at what they do with the kit each month. in fact tomorrow they reveal the kit for december.  i'm hoping to see it under the christmas tree this year.

-take a class - i love classes because it forces you to get some pages done and it teaches you a specific skill.  some of the best pages/projects i have done have been after taking a class.  they always include downloadable instructions and range in topics.  i especially love classes from big picture classes.  the self paced classes let you take the course whenever you want and you are on your own.  the workshops start and end at specific times.  you follow along with the syllabus and do something different every day or week.  there is a gallery where you can view other people's projects and post your own.  it's a good way to do a specific project. my all time favorite class was yesterday and today.  i took it right before i turned 40 and it was the perfect way to tell meaningful stories from my past and my present.  

i have also taken classes from kelley purkey that i loved.  those are offered at a specific time on her blog.  many more designers are offering classes like this on their sites.

-mini books - another huge trend is mini books.  it's basically a small scrapbook, 4x6 or 5x7 that is about a specific event or theme.  I usually make them for trips or seasons.  I'm working on my december daily right now.  but they are also fun for keeping little bits and pieces about your life.  movie and concert tickets, one photo from an event that you wouldn't necessarily do a whole scrapbook page about, etc.  you need paper cut to size and binding rings that you get at the office supple store.  they are really easy to make and so much fun.  but if you want to get them already done elise blaha makes some great ones and sells them on etsy. she doesn't have a lot listed right now but I love the city mini book.  check out her blog for the one she did about san diego.

with all that said, i have to admit that i haven't done a scrapbook page in a while.  right now my space is not set up and i have my supplies scattered between my room and my garage.   but this post reminded me how much i love it.  my hope is that next year i incorporate more scrapbooking into my blog.  it will be a challenge but i really want to do it.  thanks for the inspiration.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

gratitude :: november 25

this quote: 

and this one: 

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
-John Fitzgerald Kennedy

i'm making mashed potatoes pioneer woman style and the winter fruit salad.  celebrating with family and feeling full of gratitude!  happy thanksgiving from the mitas family.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

gratitude :: november 24

a new smile: this kid is getting a new smile and we couldn't be happier.  the braces were put on today . i feel bad about scheduling it the day before thanksgiving but it had to get done and this way he doesn't miss any days of school.  he had the spacers put on last week and that went better than expected.  he is a trooper.  they are starting with the top braces because it's easier on them to do it in phases. he won't get the bottom ones until january. so for now he'll look like this.

we were given many instructions and tools to keep good hygiene and the poor guy has to stay away from sticky, chewy and crunchy foods.  not to mention the sugar.  he has flouride, a special flosser and some pain meds just in case.  i remember having braces and feeling uncomfortable but it was never terrible.  hopefully he'll do the same.

the process should take about 2 years.  but i'm looking forward to seeing his beautiful new smile.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

gratitude :: november 23

grandparent's - ok, this one was easy.  today the boys' school celebrated all of the wonderful grandparents that are a part of their lives.  we changed things up from last year.  first we got rid of the wind, but brought in the cold.  the grandparents were invited to have a look at a school day for each of the students.  they went to spanish class, science class and even participated in a bit of pre-algebra jeopardy. the boys had 5 grandparents there to  show off.  sorry you couldn't make it grandpa tom, we missed you.

 my responsibility this day was hospitality.  each grade was in charge of bringing a food item, bagels, fruit, coffee, etc.  we found 3 costco pumpkin pies in the teacher's lounge (don't worry they weren't going to eat them) and put those out too.  they were a hit.  grandparents do love their pies.

events like this tire me out big time.  and i have taken notes as to how to make things easier and better next year.  but in the end it's always worth it.

thanks grandparents for always being there, for lending support, for babysitting, for having fun with us, for your help.  we love you.

i was too busy working to get any pictures.  but i will post when the photos from the event are available.

Monday, November 22, 2010

gratitude :: november 22

birthdays and babies: i am a sucker for a good party. i love celebrations and traditions. and i love that our lives are FULL of them.  sometimes 2 or 3 in one weekend. yes, it's a lot of work but so worth it.  this weekend we had 3 celebrations.

the first was the birthday of our sweet friend rachel who turned 6. she is part of a family that is very similar to ours.  3 kids all the same age as our kids. they love the same things. they get along swimmingly. and their parents are really fun to be around.  to celebrate rachel's birthday they had bunnies to pet and a magician to entertain.  a perfectly wonderful kids' party.

for my sis-in-law's 40th (oops was i supposed to say that?) she threw an 80's birthday party.  i was skeptical at first.  the 80's weren't the best of times for me and i wasn't sure i wanted to relive that.  but i went.  i found the jacket, complete with shoulder pads, in my mom's closet (oops, was i supposed to say that) and it was perfect.  the hair and makeup were easy, and i added the earrings, the bracelet, and a pair of jordan's high tops. i felt a little silly driving over there, but it really was a fun party.  the music brought me back. songs i would tape, yes on a cassette tape, and listen to over and over while i thought of alfredo, or hector or whoever i was interested in at the moment. i especially loved when they started playing spanish music because that is really what i listened to, menudo anyone?  luis miguel and my favorite, flans.  oh it brought me back.  i danced a little with the girls and my nephew who is quite the dancer.  it wasn't so traumatizing after all.

sunday sofia, mackenzie and i drove to irvine to shower sarah, steve and baby boden who drove in from colorado.  the theme of the shower was books.  perfect for this family that loves to read.

every guest brought a book to add to boden's library.

the food was our favorites, pesto pasta salad, chinese chicken salad, bruschetta, shrimp cocktail.  and for dessert chocolate cupcakes with book toppers.

the games were fun.  name the book title based on a line from the book, a baby relay race, and the cute game, where you can't say the word "cute".  and that is hard to do at a baby shower.
Sarah rapidly reading brown bear to her baby.
and the gifts were adorable.  i thought i had taken a lot more pictures but i realized that i took them with other peoples' cameras.  so i am hoping they will share.

and we got to see grady.

made it home in time for dinner and then i fell asleep on the couch after a party filled weekend.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

gratitude :: november 20

early thanksgiving:  i have only cooked 2 turkeys in my life.  i have only hosted thanksgiving once at my house.  but a few years ago i decided that even though we were not celebrating thanksgiving at home that didn't mean i couldn't make thanksgiving dinner for us.  so our tradition of an early thanksgiving began.  one week before the big day i make a turkey dinner for the five of us.  the house smells of turkey and we get to enjoy some of our favorite dishes.  but there are other reasons that i wanted to do this.

  • we have leftovers all to ourselves.
  • we eat the things we love.
  • we don't feel like we have to pig out on thanksgiving because we just had it last week. (who am i kidding?)
  • i get to try out new recipes without the pressure of ruining it for 20 people.
  • i can eat canned cranberries which i love.
i usually put something together in a couple of hours because i'm not cooking a large turkey.  one year i made open faced turkey sandwiches with gravy. one year i tried to make the cubed turkey and gravy on top of an ice cream scoop of mashed potatoes like i remember from elementary school lunch.  this year i spent big bucks on a jenni o oven ready turkey breast.  not really big bucks.  it was on sale at ralph's but it cost more for this 2.5lb breast than a whole turkey would have cost.  but i didn't have to do anything to it.  it comes seasoned in a bag that you just throw in the oven for 2 hours.  and it has a pop up thermometer that tells you when it's done.  no fail, really.  and it was delicious.  on monday i made cornbread for dinner and used the leftovers for this cornbread stuffing minus the kielbasa and prunes.  yummy, especially the toasted edges.  a few mashed potatoes and my beloved cranberries and that was dinner.  no dessert, no rolls, no sweet potatoes. simple and good.  and it was a true thanksgiving experience because i fell asleep on the couch watching icarly with the kids.

we will spend thanksgiving with my parents, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews this year.  and it will be good.  and we will be stuffed. and happy.

this weekend: soccer was cancelled this morning due to the rain. finishing up prep for the baby shower tomorrow. going to a kid's birthday party this afternoon and an 80's birthday party for my sister-in-law tonight.  the boys will be working on a school project, and going to see harry potter tomorrow.  

i'm finishing up my december daily book and starting a christmas inspiration notebook.  i want to have it all finished over thanksgiving so that on december 1st i am ready to go.  considering getting the glee christmas album. it's the most wonderful, and busy, time of the year.

Friday, November 19, 2010

gratitude :: november 19

a few from the last few days.

a wonderful doctor: sorry boys, but i had my yearly doctor visit with my beloved gyn.  i miss her.  she became a friend during both of my pregnancies and now i only get to see her once a year.  makes me want to get pregnant again, just kidding!  anyway, we caught up a bit.  talked about life, our kids and school.  i almost forgot what i was there for. she always had a way of making me feel like i was one of her "extra special" patients.  and it's funny that i have encountered many women who know of her or have her as her doctor.  and they all love her.  she's the best.

celebrations:  we have had so many celebrations and events over the last few weeks and the month is not even over.  we've celebrated 2 birthdays, a wedding, the end of swim.  this weekend we have 2 more birthdays and a baby shower.  next week it's grandparent's day, my niece's birthday and thanksgiving.  and i thought december was rough.

2 for 1 at starbucks: not sure if this is true of all locations but around here holiday coffees are 2 for 1 from 2-5pm.  i went in yesterday to get a gift card for my sis-in-law and saw the sign.  i just didn't know what to order.  i ended up with the caramel brulee on the rocks.  oh my, it is goooood.  i walked out with two of them and knew i wouldn't drink them both.  at carpool a friend of mine walked up to my car to chat and i asked her if she likes caramel.  she said yes and then i handed her the other coffee.  it made her happy, which made me happy.

family get togethers:  so yesterday marked the beginning of once a week family get togethers.  my sister-in-law had her birthday yesterday and we all went to her house for empanadas and chocolate cake.  next week it my niece's birthday.  the following weeks it's bobby's, then my mom's, my nephew's, my dad's, then christmas and ending on january 1st with jordan's.  i love this time of year where we get to visit each other's homes and celebrate and i don't have to cook.  i just need to make sure i'm stocked up on cards and wrapping paper.

student council days at cha: there have been some fun ones, like mixed up day, pajama day and sports day.  today it is superhero day.  the kids could dress up as well known superheroes, heroes from the past to go with the ancient worlds theme, or made up heroes.  and that's what my boys did.  well . . . jordan was "random boy."  his logo was taped to his shirt.  he has post it notes on his shirt.  and he taped flashlights to his hat. he gave up on the spongebob blanket as a cape.  i love that he went for it.  andrew went as the superhero "chop suey".  when we were first planning this he was going to wear a long white beard, put chopsticks in his hair and tape fortunes all over his shirt.  but this morning the only thing he wanted to go with were the fortunes . . . in his pocket.  ahh, he is a superhero in disguise.  

it's supposed to be a rainy weekend around here.  it won't stop us from celebrating though.

Monday, November 15, 2010

wedding wrap up

how do i condense this past fun filled weekend into one blog post?  well how about a wrap up and a video.  here's how our wedding weekend went.

we arrived on thursday night to the hotel, which was amazing.  we stayed in a two bedroom suite that was right next to the beach.  here's a view out of our window.

it had a really cool deck with ping pong tables, mini golf, and a giant checker/chess board.  the kids loved it.

friday the girls went to get mani and pedis.  it was sofia's first time and she was so patient waiting her turn.  she picked out the brightest pink color she could find.

after we were dry we met the bridesmaids and moms at novo for lunch.  it has been fun getting to know these girls over the past few months.  and mike's sister, katie, flew in from japan the day before.

of course i had to post a pic of sofia's burger.  it's a shame she only took two bites of it.  but she at all the fruit.

the next item on the agenda was rehearsal at the barn.  well actually it was the dana powers house in nipomo.  i had seen pictures of it online but it doesn't compare until you see it in person.

this place was perfect for a fall wedding.  the decor and little touches throughout were enchanting, as someone said.  the rehearsal took about 20 minutes.  and sofia was perfect walking down the aisle.

we went back to the hotel to change for dinner.  then it was off to mama's meatball in slo for a full on italian dinner.  antipasto, caesar salad, manicotti, spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, chicken scalopini, and mini desserts.  oh and did i mention there was wine.  well, both families are italian so there was plenty of wine.

it was nice seeing everyone and listening to mike talk about his family.  we all came home with little gifts of thanks from the happy couple.

saturday my job was to get the flower girl, the bride and the mother-of-the-bride to where they need to be on time.  that was not an easy task.  the first thing we needed to do was take angela's cell phone away.  someone else would have to deal with issues that came up throughout the day.

we made it to the hair salon on time, ok 15 minutes late.  but from then on everything went smoothly.  hair was done.

makeup was done.

and we were off to the barn for pictures.

i got this one right after they saw each other for the first time.

the barn looked so beautiful decorated with all of their things.  i love the way the seating chart was displayed.  i wrote them on the windows with a sharpie and i will have to think of an event to use this again.
and the favors, jars of apple butter from our trip to oregon.

after pictures the ceremony was ready to begin.  bobby did his magic again and performed a touching, yet humorous ceremony that was completely personal and heartfelt.  he really amazes me.

sofia did  a good job throwing petals on the aisle.  she got in some good practice for the next two weddings she will be in next year.

after the sweet ceremony, more pictures and appetizers we went into the barn for the party.  first dance, father & daughter and mother & son dances.  and even a step daughter/step dad dance. dinner and then toasts.

and lots of dancing.  i think i love this the most about weddings, the dancing.  and the cake.

and the wine.

it was a perfect wedding and we are so happy for both of them.

here's a slideshow of the event with some of my favorite pictures.
Angela and Mike's wedding from Gioconda Mitas on Vimeo.