Thursday, July 30, 2009

Globe and Map Freak

Yes, that is what I am... I came across this party today at Project Wedding and immediately started trying to think about how and when I could justify having to have a globe themed party!

Double Click on the Photo to Enlarge

I thought this went well with my post a couple of days ago in regards to the map wrapping papers. I just have always loved maps. I think it dates back to family trips as a kid. My parents always let me have the map to look at and they bought me lots of books about the 50 states, and etc... I have always had a good sense of direction and my mom used to always tease, that if I had been there once, I would be able to get back again on my own.

The globe fascination, I think, has come about since I have started traveling the world. Round about the year 1999. Italy, our honeymoon, was my first trip out of the country. My whole life I lived about an hour and half from Mexico and had never even been there! We traveled plenty as a kid, but always in the U.S. Now I love traveling the world (particularly Europe and the Caribbean.) I haven't ventured out past there much. Really the only other location that just draws me is Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. Once the girls get old enough, we will make that trip for sure! Outside of that...maybe Macchu Picchu....maybe Russia. I like to think I am adventurous, but I am really not....

Anyway, I digress....I also found these photos from Pottery Barn Kids and PB Teen. I love kids rooms that have lots of globes and maps. I plan on continuing to collect items for my girls and their rooms. I think it gives them a sense of wonder, a chance to dream about a far off place, and most importantly a knowledge that we are not the only ones on this planet. There is a whole world out there full of other people, other beliefs, other experiences, and it is important that we subject ourselves to it. It makes us more tolerant, knowledgeable, well-rounded individuals.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cajun Chicken Pasta

This is a recipe I got from Southern Living magazine. It serves 4. Here is the "cast of characters" for tonight's dinner. (I love that phrase that other bloggers use to describe the ingredients of a recipe!)

12 oz cooked linguine
2lbs chicken breast strips
1 Tbsp. Cajun Seasoning
1.25 salt, divided
1/4 cup of butter
2 small peppers thinly sliced. (you can pick any color red, yellow, orange, or green, or do a little of them all)
2 green onions, sliced
1.5 cups of half and half
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
1/4 tsp of dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder

1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
2. Sprinkle chicken evenly with cajun seasoning & 1 tsp. of salt. Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat; add chicken and saute 5 or 6 minutes or until done. Remove the chicken.
3. Add peppers and green onions to skillet and saute 9-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and liquid evaporates.
4. Return chicken to skillet, stir in the half and half, and then the next 3 ingredients. Then add remaining 1/4 tsp. of salt. Cook, stirring often, over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes or until heated throughout.
5. Add linguine and toss to coat. Garnish with extra green onions.

Notes: This is an easy meal to make and it doesn't take that long. It also re-heats well in the microwave the next day for great left-overs!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pretty Papers

I just happened upon these beauties last week while walking through Northpark Mall in Dallas...

I happen to love Paper Source and was so excited to see it. I could live in that store. Everything is so pretty and it just inspires me to want to plan parties, scrapbook, do art (which I wish I was good at) and all other types of crafty things. Since I couldn't resist these wrapping papers (seriously who wraps a gift with something this pretty, only to have it be shredded up?) I bought one of each. I figured the world map would go perfect in the girls play room, the Eiffel Tower and the map of Paris would go perfect in Sarah's room since she is a Paris fanatic, and the Italy map would go guessed it, ME! I will post some pics of the finished projects later, but for now just enjoy these pretty papers!

BTW...there is another store in Dallas called Paper & Chocolate...carries these same ones, but also has a US map, an Ireland map, and a few others...I had to restrain myself to keep from having maps in every room in my house! I love them!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Swim/Play Date

Today Sarah and Lauren had their friends over for a little swim/play date. We had fun in the pool, eating snacks by the pool, eating pizza, and having fun in the playroom. Since my friend and I have girls that are about the same age, it makes for great play-dates. Sarah has another 5 year old to play with and Lauren another 2 year old. (Lauren is almost 2). The mom's just sit back, sip some wine, break up the occasionally spat over a toy and have good conversation. Sounds like about the best a Saturday night can get when you have 2 kids and a husband that is out of town! It was a fun evening!
The aftermath in the playroom!

Friday, July 17, 2009

My little angel

That is the only way I can describe how Lauren was this morning. She had her ear surgery to get her tubes in and she was perfect. She never cried once during the anesthesia process and after it was over, and they took me back to see her, she was just smiley and talkative. The morning could not have gone better and I am so relieved. Hopefully the rest of the day goes just as smooth and hopefully these tubes really help her out!

Monday, July 13, 2009

La mia Italia: The Italian Slurpee

I think the official name is a granita, but we usually go with slush or slurpee. Anyway...whatever the name, I think it is safe to say if you live anywhere with this oppressive heat right now, you could probably go for one of these. I think I have tasted almost every flavor and can't choose a favorite. They are all good and COLD! Wishing I was in Florence today sipping one of these.

My daughter, who was 3 at the time these were taken, seemed to love them just the same!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Gotta Love this Party!

Today Lauren was invited (Sarah, too) to her little friend's birthday party. Her friend was turning 2 and is just as in love with Elmo as Lauren is. Me and her mommy started brainstorming ideas about a month or so ago and I did a little research through the blogs I follow to get ideas and inspiration! We had previously collaborated on the May Day party. The following is the final product. Other than pointing out a few websites to the mommy, I cannot take any credit for this, although I loved talking with her about it! The kiddos had so much fun. She had cute activities for them like: digging for Elmo treasures in the sand "pit", playing with the parachute and the bubble machine, and watching a little Elmo himself on the Sesame Street. She had about 4 kids that were around age 2 and about 5 that were around age 5. We had yummy chicken and fruit for lunch with cupcakes and Elmo cookies for dessert. There were even little goldfish "Dorothy" snacks! All in all it was a sweet little 2 year-old party! Very cute!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Best Part of the Day...

Yes, it was this strawberry cake! My Charlie makes this for me every year (if he happens to be home) and it is so good. The tradition started with my mom. She used to make this for me on most of my birthdays. Charlie has very sweetly picked up the tradition. Sarah is most excited to get to take a slice in her lunch tomorrow to celebrate her 1/2 birthday!

All in all it was a good day.....A pretty typical day, but had nice gifts and a good dinner thrown in. We went to Fireside Pies. One of my favorites! We got the Italian salad, and both the triple-roni and the meatball pizza. I honestly have never had a bad thing at this place. I also love their Fireside cheese salad and the baby arugula salad. The North Beach pizza pie is also quite tasty. Their desserts are pretty yummy, too. Their brownie is VERY good and their cobblers are too. We went to dinner with Charlie's parents so we split the peach cobbler, but I was secretly saving room for my strawberry cake when I got home. If Lauren hadn't been a holy terror at dinner it would have been perfect, but she was not a happy camper. Thank God for a little vino! Thanks to everyone who sent me birthday wishes!

Lauren: 21 Months

Well, my baby is growing up! Today she is 21 months and 2 years is just around the corner. She has had a string of bad ear infection since February, so she got some not so good news today. She will be getting tubes in her ears in about a week and a half. I say "not so good news" because I know she will not enjoy this process, however, hopefully she will start feeling better and sleeping better at night. For both her and her tired parents!

That aside...there is other stuff to report at this milestone. Somehow over the weekend she picked up that my name is Tamara, so about 50% of the time, that is what she calls me. I try to correct her, but I must admit that it is very cute when she does it. Especially when I am awaken in the morning to hear her calling "Tamara? Tamara?" on the monitor!! She is also becoming quite the little talker. Not just baby talk, but making sense talk. She signs along with her words too. "More milk", "Please", "Thank you", "Bless you" after you sneeze, and other 2 word combinations like "Sarah's shoes" seem to be her favorites. She has even surprised us with counting to 11!! Her and the dog have become best buddies. Lauren likes to snuggle in the dog bed and Peaches is loving being treated to pieces of waffle and snack crackers. Lauren knows and loves bathtime. She scurries up the stairs like a little hermit crab. She doesn't love swimming so much and especially being splashed. I am sure that will change with age. We have now officially gotten her down to 1 bottle a day (bedtime). I know we are way behind on this, but this is an accomplishment even though it is a late one. She LOVES Sesame Street and thinks Elmo is the best thing since whole grain waffles. I can put Sesame Street on the TV and she is happy and content for at least a half hour at a time. (We watch a lot of Sesame Street these days!) She is becoming quite the little girl. She is looking less and less like a baby all the time. She likes to walk holding hands more, sit in big chairs, and feed herself with a spoon. I welcome the "terrible two's" (we all know it is really the terrible 3's anyway)! Lauren is a sweetheart and hopefully she will start feeling better in the next couple of weeks with her ears getting fixed.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Weekend in San Antonio

We started off the weekend by catching some local fireworks on Friday night! It was a great display!

The next day we headed down to S.A. to see my Dad, Myrtle, Taylor and Randi. We had a great trip down (no big tantrums in the car, by Lauren. Actually got a little bit of a nap!) We headed down to the riverwalk that evening. Yes, it was about 105 degrees, but we suffered through with a little mexican food and margaritas from Casa Rio and then a nice little river tour. We hadn't done that in a hundred years, so it was fun to take the girls on it! We brushed up on our S.A. river facts, so it was a success!

The next day, we took Sarah to Sea World. A big thank you to "Opa" and Myrtle for watching Lauren. She would have been miserable in the sweltering heat out there. Sarah had a blast! Her favorite part was getting splashed by the Shamu's (there were 3 of them) and I must admit that was my favorite part, too! Took me back to my childhood when we came to the park. That was always the highlight! That night we had a nice little birthday dinner for your's truly! My dad cooked steaks and Myrtle made these fantastic pies. It was a nice little trip and I am glad we got to visit with everyone! Sarah and Lauren had a blast with Opa and staying in a hotel was a highlight for them. Hope everyone had a great 4th of July!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th of July weekend!

We are off to good ol' San Antone for the weekend to visit my family! Sarah is looking forward to going to Sea World and taking a little road trip. Lauren has not a clue, but I know she will enjoy seeing her Opa and having a new place to explore! I will post pictures when we get back! I hope everyone enjoys the 4th and all the traditions that come with it. This year we will be having the celebratory "tamales and margaritas" so if you are reading this, have a hot dog and blueberry pie for me! We hope you and yours have a great (and safe) holiday weekend! Happy Birthday USA!

Love these cupcakes from Martha Stewart!

This was our attempt (Sarah and I) last year for the 4th of July. Very Yummy!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

La mia Italia: Positano

Welcome to my new little segment titled: La mia Italia (My Italy). I figured I would share with you (or at the very least, document my travels) all my favorite things about the country that I so love. I thought it fitting that my first post in this category be about Positano. Not only is this the place that I visiting 10 years ago today on my honeymoon, but it is the location that started my love affair with Italy. Thanks to the movie Only You, I had been captivated my this magical location. I had no doubt that it was going to be the most romantic spot I could spend my honeymoon and that it would be every bit of what I imagined it to be from seeing the movie.

We only spent about 3 days in this town perched on the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean along the Amalfi coast. I in no way claim to be an expert. I have not eaten at all the restaurants, I have not stayed in all the hotels, and I have not shopped in every shop, but I will say, that my little taste of Italian heaven was just about as good as I could have expected.

We arrived by car from Naples. We took the scenic route by taking the Autostrada down to Salerno and traveling along the cliffs of the Amalfi coast north to reach our destination. This is the longer route. From Naples you can go straight south along the Amalfi coast and get there much quicker. Because we took the more scenic route, it took a little longer than expected. The roads are very tight and very windy. The large tour buses you meet at almost every corner do not make the trip any less apprehensive. We arrived mid-afternoon (after hoping to arrive in time for lunch). This was our only snafu the whole time. We were starving for lunch and the town was shut down for the afternoon! We had to settled for bananas and a box of Pringles we got a a local gas station. We then headed to our hotel. The Hotel Poseidon. What a gorgeous place. I had dreams of staying at the Le Sirenuse, because that is where the group stayed in the film Only You, but due to the large price tag associated with that hotel, we "settled" on the Poseidon. Settle, we did not. It was so nice. We had a gorgeous room with a view of the ocean and the mountainside. We had a great dinner on the terrace at the restaurant (see photo) and we enjoyed lounging by the pool. When we go back, this is where I will want to stay again. Le Sirenuse will be a place we visit for a cocktail or something, but I loved the Poseidon.

The walk down to the rocky beach is a bit of a trek (especially on the way up), but there are all sorts of shops along the way and the beautiful scenery to take your mind off the hike. If there are 2 things I love it is bougainvilleas and lemons. Bougainvilleas grow wildly in Positano and are the most perfect pink color you can imagine, and lemons grace every piece of hand painted pottery in all the shops. I literally thought it could not get any prettier. We ate at a couple of restaurants that were great. We had a great lunch on the beach at a place called Bucca di Bacco and a nice dinner at the restaurant Covo dei Saraceni. We ate at this last place because it was where Marisa Tomei had dinner with her "Damon Bradley" the night they were in Positano (a scene from Only You). It was our first real experience with having to decipher a menu in Italian with not much help form the waiter, but we did pretty good.

Aside from seeing the sights, shopping, and relaxing at out hotel, we did do a day trip to Capri. Boats leave on a regular basis from Positano, but I will save that story for another installment of La Mia Italia! Positano is a dream location to visit and I dream of going back there one day!

Don't we look like typical tourists! Us 10 years ago getting ready to depart Positano for the Isle of Capri!
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