Thursday, December 26, 2013

happy boxing day!

I am thrilled to note it's 10:30 a.m. in Los Angeles and I am still in my pajamas!

It has been a busy holiday season!

Cleo is still recovering nicely…I'm removing his heating lamp today. He's eating and moving about slowly. Tomorrow, I'll bring him back downstairs with Gunther. Today, I brought Gunther up for a visit and she stood on her hind legs peering through the bars of his cage. It was so cute. 

Every year we order our tree from Living Christmas Tree. We love them because instead of chopping down their trees, they pot and replant them each year. In theory, you could adopt the same tree every Christmas and hope that down the road it still fits. 

Well, this year we ordered a 6 foot tree, but Santa delivered a 9 foot tree!! 

There was no delicated placement of tree lights…it was more like a light toss and hope you like where it lands. 

It JUST fits in our living room and our DIY angel had to be strapped onto the top branch instead of place atop it. 

But it's pretty. 

We had friends over on the 23rd for a little get together. Mr. Meremade made this signature cocktail: tangerine juice, vodka, cranberries, fresh herbs and tangerine zest. 

And I made these eggnog doughnut muffins. Click here for the recipe. They were so good!

Christmas was spent with family. 

My dad enjoyed sunning himself (it was 80 degrees here)

And here is Doodle's favorite gift this year! He kept pestering me about what he was getting for Christmas and jokingly, I kept telling him he was going to get a leaf. See what happens when he actually gets the leaf:

We hosted Christmas dinner for 16 family members…Mr. Meremade is part Greek, so there was eggplant with feta, a Greek salad and a leg of lamb. We also had green beans, potatoes, kale and quinoa salad and homemade pigs in a blanket (they turned out great using this recipe)

For dessert, my mom made her famous chocolate cake and I made a Christmas wreath that I should be eating with my coffee right now!! Click here for the how to.

Here's to many more hours spent in my jammies…...

Monday, December 23, 2013

chocolate, cherry and walnut cookies

Tis the season to bake cookies! 

I made four batches of these chocolate, cherry and walnut cookies today. 

photo credit Emma Christensen

Delicious! Although, if you make them, you could probably cut the sugar by at least 1/3. 

guinea surgery

This is what happened….

We rescued Gunther. 

I was told he was a boy, the vet, however, confirmed he was a she. So we had a female guinea pig named Gunther. 

I tooled around online and learned that in Europe they don't let you get a single guinea pig because they consider it animal abuse since guineas are "herd" animals. (Yes, I realize I live in Los Angeles and not Europe.)

So,we got Elsa. 

As my four year old says, she turned out to be "cray-cray" and liked nothing more than running around in spastic circles, annoying our formerly male, now female guinea pig. 

We brought Elsa back, apologetically. 

Another guinea pig, Cleo, ready to be adopted to a good home, was staring me in the face with HER big guinea pig eyes. How could I say no? I had not one, not two, but three employees confirm that she was a female guinea pig. 

Cleo is so mellow and sweet. Like a dog but of guinea pig proportions. 

She came home and met Gunther for ten magical minutes. 

They seemed to get along nicely; two sororal companions. But I decided to keep them in separate cages until Cleo was confirmed to be a female by someone other than a Petco employee. 

Cut to Cleo's vet appointment. "Weren't you the one who had the guinea pig you thought was a boy?" said the vet upon seeing me. "Yup, that's me!"

He took a look at Cleo. A long look. "Cleo's a boy!" he announced, a little too enthusiastically. "I guess I have to give her back then," I resolved. I didn't want guinea pig babies. 

"Well, you could neuter him," said the vet. I had no idea they did that. It seems overkill for a rescue guinea pig. 

I told 8 year old, Mr. P. the situation. I said we could return Cleo or give HIM a small operation so he won't make babies with Gunther. His response was, "Cleo is my best friend in the whole world. Why would I give her back?"

"HIM," I said. "Give HIM back." I failed to remind him that he had yet to touch, hold or even look at his new "best friend."

So, it was decided. Cleo is being snipped today, Christmas Eve. 

We hope we have not ruined his holiday. 

We also hope that Gunther doesn't give birth to their love children ten weeks from now. 

Anyone want a baby guinea pig??? Just in case, I'm taking numbers. 

Cleo is home and recovering. He is on antibiotics and pain killers and I am feeding him water with a syringe, which means I have officially become crazy guinea pig lady. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Minecraft Birthday - Mr. P. turns 8!

I can't believe Mr. P. is 8! He was so excited to be turning a year older.

 Instead of having a larger party, he opted for a small, Minecraft slumber party here at home. 

There were balloons:

Some were decorated like creepers: (I just cut out black construction paper squares and taped them)

And the creeper wall made out of paper plates:

It kind of felt like an art gallery installation! And easy plate access!

The first activity was inspired by Frugal Family who has great minecraft printouts. You can print them on labels and then cut them into squares. Then kids can craft their own minecraft collages:

There were square-shaped snacks:

They had a taco bar for dinner:

I had fun making the cake!

Thanks to these fondant strips (Sugar Sheets) I found at Michael's

I don't like to put photos of other people's kids on my blog without permission, so just imagine Mr. P. surrounded by 5 close friends:

And after dinner they hunkered down on the couch to watch Frozen. If you haven't seen it yet, it's pretty winter magical!

Then, after a few bedtime stories and lots of silliness,  it was time to sleep! Sort of….

Around 10:30, Mr. P. was fed up with the lack of sleep, so he came upstairs saying, "why would I want to sleep on the floor when I have a comfy bed upstairs?" Point taken. So, my two kids slept until 7:30 (I had to wake Mr. P. up!) and the rest of the gang was up and at em around 5!!! Luckily there was coffee brewing. And Pop Tarts! Because they're kind of square in keeping with the Minecraft theme. Let me tell you, Pop Tarts combined with coffee was kind of magical!

Then the kids played pin the tail on the Minecraft piggy:

The morning's craft was making Minecraft Perler bead pins. I purchased the beads at Michael's and used the square template that came with the set. 

The kids got really creative with their creations!

Two days later was Mr. P.'s actual birthday where the celebrating continued! Out to breakfast before school for some birthday pancakes!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

blu ray dvd winner

And the winner of the blu ray dvd giveaway is Kelly who wrote:

"Weeds: The Complete Collection is what i want"

We hope you get your wish, Kelly! (she's so sweet, she's shipping her dvd out to her sister for the holidays) 

Thanks for playing, everyone!

Monday, December 16, 2013

gingerbread happiness

Every year we construct this gingerbread house from Trader Joe's (it's the easiest one to make that I've seen.) We were extra lazy this year and didn't even bother to make the powdered sugar included in the pack into icing, but rather, dug into the baking tub and used whatever colorful tubes of icing that were there. 

The gingerbread houses were accompanied by a reading of Hansel and Gretel, which these particular houses are based on. 

Then I came across this guy who took gingerbread house making to an entirely new level. 

Unlike our houses, his has 2,240 pounds of frosting. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Blu-Ray Movie Magic Giveaway! (closes December 14th)

In the spirit of holiday giving this season, I am offering one of the following movie titles (to be chosen AT RANDOM) to one lucky follower! (also chosen at random.)

• The Little Mermaid - Diamond Edition 
• The Lone Ranger 
• Monsters University 
• Angels Sing 
• Rise of The Guardians 
• Despicable Me 2 
• Turbo 
• Grown Ups 2 
• Wizard of Oz 3D 
• The Wolverine 
• Star Trek: Into Darkness 
• White House Down 
• Fast 6 
• Pacific Rim 
• After Earth 
• Man of Steel 
• Red 2 
• World War Z 
• 2 Guns 
• Weeds: The Complete Collection 
• Predator 3D
Check out the movie magic app here!!

Did you know that Blu-ray offers six times the quality of a regular DVD???

This giveaway is open to U.S. mailing addresses only. Please note that: Each household is only eligible to win ONE #MovieMagic Title via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

To Enter: simply become a follower of my blog and tell me in the comments below what movie you'd love to see released in Blu-ray. Be sure and leave your email address so that I may contact you if you win! 

This contest closes on December 14th at 11:59 pm et.

Monday, December 2, 2013

giving thanks

We had such a great Thanksgiving holiday! It's getting me very excited for Winter Break!!

Well, things started out a little dramatically. Doodle fell at school and needed some stitches...
(sorry for the graphic photo)

But that led to an afternoon movie marathon, which we equally enjoyed!

So, maybe they both visited the dentist…but Doodle seemed to enjoy it:

There were games played:

and some major cleaning out of our baby / toddler supplies. I had expected a lot more tears saying goodbye to all those sweet clothes with all those memories. I saved my very favorite for the boys. Doodle kept some for his dolls. A close friend went home with a few more things for her four month old baby who is currently donning 12 month clothing! And the rest….

bagged and boxed up and on it's way to the Philippines:

I had time to sew some burp cloths and changing pad for my mom's friend's grandchild:

Then it was time to prep for turkey day:

There was silliness with their auntie:

roasted brussel sprout and pear salad (I told you I am obsessed with it!):

cranberry, blueberry pie filling!

A beautiful fall bouquet sent by my parents' friends:

pumpkin spice loaf:

Even Gunther enjoyed some greens! (Did I tell you Gunther is actually a girl? Confirmed by small animal vet. Oops! She's now Gunther Penelope):

The table was set:

Boat place cards for the kids:

Kids' table:

Ah, the turkey! My husband used a new Martha Steward method this year that involved cheesecloth…make the turkey so gorgeous!!

Everyone loves my mom!

The day at the beach was fun, although you wouldn't know it for the picture (this is what I get for trying to get them to pose for a holiday card)

Maybe I can Photoshop his smiling face onto this one?

We went to see Frozen last night and ran into friends who joined us for dinner afterwards:

And everyone was tuckered out by the end of it all…...