Saturday, November 30, 2013

Christmas Giveaway!

Like so many other ladies and gents, the holidays especially Christmas are my absolute favorite time of the year!  I love giving gifts, whether it be small or big, homemade or store bought.  Just the thought of finding something special for that certain someone is so rewarding!  It probably also has something to do with me loving to shop! he he

I also love baking for people.( kind of obvious if you read my blog regularly)  Cakes, breads, cookies, you name it I want to do it! During the holiday season the urge comes on full force! My Mom and Grandma gave me this great appreciation for food. Sitting down together and enjoying it. Our tradition lives on!  Cooking is love.  Sharing is love.  Giving is love.

So in the Christmas spirit, or any other holiday you celebrate!  I'm going to do a small Christmas Giveaway through my blog.  Like a giddy school girl I thoughtfully put together this Little Gem of a prize.  I hope that you like it as much as I do.  Each little thing I adore and would love to get myself.  I know its not a huge prize, but its the thought that counts :)

To enter to win, please follow me below on my Google Blogger profile, and Instagram if you have one.  Please also leave me a comment on your favorite holiday tradition. I'm going to randomly choose the winner and announce it on December 5th.  That way I can mail it out in time for the winner to enjoy before Christmas! Thank you so much for reading and good luck!

Much love, Linzi

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Succes!

I'm happy to report my first attempt at a big turkey dinner was amazing.  I was a bit nervous, but with the help of my mom, dad, and brother, everything came out perfect.  After a nostalgic holiday meal we all reflect on what we are thankful for.  Most of all I'm thankful for my family, my support system.  Also my dear friends, I love you all!  I wanted to share a few pictures I took yesterday.
An overnight brine was all that was needed for the best tasting moist turkey around ;)
This little goobler.
Grandpa and his little nugget, Gia.
Grandma, Uncle Jared, and my wild girls.
Amira and Grandma. Love you Mom!
Our feast for the family, I might add the desserts are not shown. So yummy!
Some dranky dranks.
The adult table, ode to my Grandma.
My sweet babies in their matching sweaters.
Love of my life.
Today my family and I are just relaxing and taking down Thanksgiving garb. Then happily putting up the outdoor Christmas lights.  I did some shopping this morning and am very happy with my good deals.  I will need to be undergoing a serious cleanse after Christmas! My turkeytatoecoma is legit!
 Thank you for taking a moment a to read my little blog.  I hope that you all have a great weekend!
Much love, Linzi

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pink Holiday Salad.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve everyone!  I wanted to share a quick and easy recipe with you all before we take a few days off.  This fluffy salad is a great make ahead sweet dish (surprise, surprise) to serve along with any holiday feast.  Remember this a holiday, a day to unbutton those jeans and live a little. Be grateful for all in front of you.

I made my salad this morning and am storing it inside the fridge until Thanksgiving.  You should try to make the salad ahead so that all the ingredients can meld together nicely and the mini marshmallows absorb the yummy sweet pink sauce.  You can also prepare it the day of as well, it will be delicious no matter what!  The more things you can prep ahead of time the better, especially if you are hosting the meal, like me.

Here is what you'll need for the Pink Holiday Salad

1 20 oz. can of drained, crushed pineapple
1 14 oz. can of fat free sweetened condensed milk
1 21 oz. can of cherry pie filling
1 bag of mini marshmallows, I used about 12 oz.
7 oz. of jellied cranberry sauce
1 container of Cool Whip

Heat up the cranberry sauce over medium low heat until it softens and becomes saucy.  Set aside and let it cool off.  Add your marshmallows, sweetened condensed milk, drained pineapple into a big bowl.  Then add the cooled cranberry sauce. Mix until everything is combined.  Then fold in your cherries, careful not to break them all apart.  Lastly fold in your Cool Whip.  You will want to lick the spoon to taste the masterpiece you've created ;)  Put in fridge overnight or at least a four hours.
My fabulous mom always makes a sweet and fruity salad similar to this, called Acini Di Pepe for family gatherings.  My brother and I can eat it in mass proportions!  I decided to give her a break this year since my husband and I are hosting.  I am hopeful that my brother will like this one too. 

My folks are driving up today and staying a few days, I'm so excited as are the girls!  They don't get to see them that often since the drive is about 4.5 hours away.  Car rides with my young girls aren't the funnest. As some of you know ;)  I hope everyone reading has a great Thanksgiving with family and friends.  I am so thankful for you all and wish nothing but the best for you!

Much Love, Linzi

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cinnamon Dolce Syrup!

My Starbucks pray has been answered!  As of late I have been loving obsessed with the Caramel Apple Spice drink!  I use to never love anything from Starbucks, I like their Chai Latte.  Not a big fan of their coffee. Which sort of makes me feel like a horrible Washingtonian.   I just don't like my shots tasting burnt.  One day I was reading one of my favorite blogs Little Baby Garvin and Jessica was raving about the drink mentioned above.  So I had to take her advice and try one out.   Oh good heavens, my taste buds were like, where have you been all my life?

So long story short, my taste buds and I are big fans.  I try not get one everyday, but its just so good! It is also the perfect cold weather drink.  I have a good friend Tony who works at a Starbucks and I asked what makes this drink so cidery good?  She exclaimed through a text message, ha ha "Cinnamon Dolce Syrup"  You cant just go to the grocery store and pick this stuff up.  I don't think they carry enough of it at Starbucks or want to sell it to a regular person. 

Firstly I was buying apple cider itself, you know the kind with the pulp floating around it.  Adding spices then topping it with whip and caramel on top.  It was good, but I knew I was lying to myself thinking it tasted similar. Plus the added cinnamon and nutmeg were staying at the bottom and sticking in between my teeth. So I did what any other Pinteresting person would do.  I started looking up recipes.  Of course there are lots of different ones so I made my own little version.

Here is what you'll need for the Cinnamon Dolce Syrup

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Vanilla extract
3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon regular ground cinnamon

Heat up your water, sugars, vanilla, and both cinnamons over medium-high heat.  Simmer away for 10 minutes or so.  Remove cinnamon sticks and take off heat.  Let it cool before putting the syrup into glass jar or container of your choice. I'm thinking it will stay good for about a month, but mine  will be demolished by then.  Shake well before pouring into mug.
Side note, Starbucks uses regular Tree Top Apple Juice, not cider.  They top it with whip cream and a caramel syrup.  The last few drinks are always my favorite.

This baby recipe is sure to please.  Hope you try it out and enjoy it in your own special drinks!

Much love, Linzi

Monday, November 25, 2013

Liebster Award Nominee!

First off thank you to Brittany over at Fabulously Faint for nominating me for the Liebster Award. She is an ever so sweet nurse with a truly inspiring story. She also has some delectable recipes to share with her readers. I love the fact the she was a dancer for Danity Kane, holler!

This is an award given to bloggers who have 200 followers or less.  That is definitely me, but that is ok! This award is used to promote each other in the blogging community and attract some attention to your blog in a positive way!  Each nominee must first list 11 random facts about themselves, then answer the 11 questions provided by the person who nominated them.  Lastly, you choose 11 other bloggers who have 200 or less follows on bloglovin and ask them your own 11 questions.

The rules are:
Thank the person who nominated you and link them in the post.
List 11 random facts about yourself.
Answer the 11 questions provided by the person who nominated you.
Choose 11 blogs you like and link them in your post.
Write out 11 questions for those bloggers to answer.
Go to their page and let them know that you nominated them.
Phew ;)

Random Facts about Me
1. I met my husband at a club!
2. I am a year and a half older than him. Cougar ;)
3. I love espresso, it can cheer me up.
4. I was a dental assistant for the same dentist for 7 years before I left to be at home with my girls.
5. I am half Cambodian, half Irish, but most people cannot guess my ethnicity.  I get Filipino a lot.
6. I was nominated for homecoming princess my freshman yr. of high school, I didn't win.
7. I was in fact very unpopular in school.
8. I was a total wild child, sorry mom and dad!
9. I have 11 tattoos.
10. I don't know how to do a cartwheel. Sad I know!
11. I cannot stand it when the beds are unmade in my house!

Brittany's Questions she had for Me
1. If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life what would it be?
2. What is the most exciting/adventurous thing I've ever done?
I think the most adventurous thing I've done is that zip lining bungee thing in Las Vegas. Sorry its not more exciting.
3.Describe myself in 3 words.
Sensitive. Loving. Shy
4. Who inspires me?
My dad.  He is the most hardworking, determined, and loyal dad.  He came to the U.S. as a Cambodian refugee and taught himself to drive, get a job, etc.  He is living his own American dream and I am so proud to be his daughter! 
5. If I could choose any career what would it be?
Aside from being at home with my girls, my dream job would be traveling to different places, eating the best foods and getting paid for it.  I'd love my own cooking show.
6. What is my favorite piece of clothing?
I love comfy soft sweaters, not tight clingy ones.
7. If I could switch lives with someone for one day who would it be?
Hmmm, maybe Giada De Laurentiis
8. What is my guilty pleasure?
I love food. Cake & Pasta
9. What is my dream vacation?
My dream is to travel around Cambodia and Greece.
10. Who are my style icons?
I love Jessica Alba's style.  I like being comfortable but still cute and trendy.  I'm not a big heels girl, but if the occasion calls for it I'm happy to get dolled up!
11. What is my biggest achievement?
At this point in my life I would say being a mother and wife.  There is no better job, or anything more rewarding than being with my girls.  I have never loved anything more than them, and life my with my husband.

My Nominations
Jaclyn at Los Dos Aiko's
Kate at The Little Fischie's
Holly at Sweet Orange Fox
Jewel at Jewel Sha'ree
Aspen at Makeover With Aspen
Corianne at
Christina at This Woman Cooks
Osh at Sun-Kissed Peony
Kimberly at The Ellertson's Everyday Adventures
Megan at Willow Way

Questions for my Nominees
1. Do you like to read, what is your favorite book?
2. Are you left or right handed?
3. How many children do you have, do you want to have more?
4. Do you have a secret talent to share with us?
5. Can you speak any other languages besides English?
6. What is your favorite band or artist?
7. Who are your style icons?
8. Are you a hoarder of anything in particular?
9. What are you hopeful your kids will be when they're older?
10. What is your favorite meal to eat?
11. Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

Thank you for reading and hopefully participating.  I know I'd love to hear more about you!
Much love, Linzi

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Weekend before Turkey Festivities.

This last weekend was the big preparation bonanza for Thanksgiving.  I found myself driving to the grocery market for little odds and ends (mini marshmallows, chicken broth, k-cups) I thought I needed.  Running recipes through my mind making sure I have a the right ingredients and the oven time.  I'm planning on making and keeping my mashed potatoes warm in the crock pot.  Also I'm trying something new by cooking the dressing outside of the bird, in a dish.  Sometimes it just comes out too soggy the other way, and no one wants to blurt out this stuffing stinks! Especially since I'm the one in charge of those big dinner items.  Finally, I managed to talk my hubby into going up in the attic to find my grandma's good china.  Seriously, I somehow misplaced a entire box of china.  Or should I say Mario lost it since I'm not allowed up there, ha.  Low and behold it was recovered, yes!
The girls and I lived in footie jammies all weekend.  Minus when I went back to the dentist to get my gums looked at. We are all still sickish, but slowly getting better, I think.  Hopefully by T-day we wont have snot running down our faces and hacking up a lung!  I will be doing a big deep cleaning on the house this week and getting rid of any lingering germs.
Daddy has been working overtime so we do things like coloring, and painting ornaments.
Mario and the girls made special chocolate chip cookies for everyone.  It was a nice break to let them do the baking! We also have been setting up in the living room for picnics.  Both of the girls love that idea.  
I was requested by my husband to only buy Nestle chips from now on, they bake up better he chimed in!  I currently have 2 bags of Guittard chips, they are so yummy!  To each their own.
Amira is still singing away in her room practicing for her Christmas program.  She is so excited for the holiday and has decided on baking pumpkin bread for her teachers.  I will also add she is currently expanding her vocabulary and asking me questions like," Are you awkward?"  I'd say yes, see picture above. Questioning me if she can just call me Linzi?   Um no.
We seem to watching these movies a lot lately. I love the Charlie Brown one!  I finally found a cup cover at Starbucks, reminds me of my gold loving friend Kay!  I am also in the process of making my own Cinnamon Dolce Syrup, the kind they put inside the Caramel Apple Spice drink at Starbucks!  I'm so excited to taste test!  This would save me money and time since I'm always going out to get one.  I will post a recipe if it is good.  Anywho, I hope everyone had a nice and relaxing weekend.  Now bring on the chaotic Thanksgiving day fun!
Much love, Linzi

Friday, November 22, 2013

Day in the Life of Me

Mostly my days are pretty laid back.  We kind of have a routine here, it works for us.  Being able to stay home with my girls has been such a blessing.  Thank you, babe!   I know being a stay home mommy isn't for everyone.  I have few mommy friends who say they'd go stir crazy.  Or it just isn't their thing and they like being in the work force. More power to you! I, on the other hand absolutely love it.  I know what its like to work full time and have one baby.  Although I did like making money and feeling like I could contribute financially.  In the end though, I felt sad, like I was missing milestones.  Then I had the opportunity to stay home, so I did.  One day you're complaining how slow or stressful the work week is dragging and that you need a glass of wine!  Then the next minute you're saying how fast time flies.  Your children are growing like weeds!

 Since its pushing 40 degrees during the day here I'm not rushing out to the park or zoo. Sometimes they play on the swing set if its not raining out. Coincidentally both girls have colds. So during the day we have been mainly staying inside.  Playing dress up, playing restaurant, reading books, watching Christmas movies, baking, and doing crafts.  That could be why its not for some people.  They think its boring. 

Amira is in school three days a week so that is good for her because she's getting out, learning, and socializing with kids her age. She has been having a field trip once a month, so we are loving that.  This month was a trip to the skate deck. Sadly I didn't get to go with her on that one since Gia was so sick.  Here is a picture of her and her best friend, Kylie at the skate deck.  The boys are cute too!
Gia is my baby shadow and we do everything together!  We usually go out to the grocery store or Target once a day.  It seems I am always needing something!  We go get a Caramel Apple Spice, we say hi and bye to everyone walking by. Oh!  Did I mention she hates dropping her sister off at school?  Oh my gosh, meltdown city!  She cries, kicks, runs away into the boys bathroom, church office, or classroom.  That is why I contemplate the baby leash thing again!  Here she is fussing because she knows what is coming.
There is usually something fresh baked on our counter.   I tend to pack my husbands lunch with the treats we bake up.  Gia is at the age where she is curious to what I'm doing and she'll watch along side me on the counter.  This was just a box of Almond Poppy seed muffin mix.  I added in almond milk instead of water, one egg, almost cap full of almond extract, and some cherry pie filling.  Delicious and super easy!
I try to get my girls to nap but they're very resistant.  They end up passing out on the couch, hence all sleeping couch pictures.  I seem to get dinner made the easiest when that time rolls around.  We eat in mostly everyday, only the weekend is when we pick up food or do a date night out.  Which is totally fine for us because I love to cook and try new dishes.  Plus, I feel like its part of being a stay home mom!
Laundry.  The never ending piles of dirty clothes this family makes is of epic proportions! Doesn't help that my husband works in heavy roadway construction.  Or that my kids seem to have holes in their lips.  I admit, I dirty up a lot of kitchen towels. So ya, a day in the life of me can be pretty mellow.   Add in a nightly bath, a doctor appointment for someone, a play date, and some day trips to see grandmas and grandpas, aunties and we are done! 
 It might not sound like that much to some, but inside these precious days I'm seeing my little babies grow right before my eyes.  I'm filling up their hearts and minds. I'm kissing their boo boos and I get to be the one they come running to.  No better job than that!
Mucho love, Linzi

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cambodian Style Noodles

I thought it was about time I cooked up one of my traditional Cambodian dishes, seeing as I am half Cambodian and half Irishy.  I grew up eating a ton of rice and stir fry.  I use to dread eating it so often when I was in school.  Funny now because I crave these type of foods as an adult. 

Mostly all my friends/classmates in school were Caucasian and I think I wanted to fit in and eat Shake n Bake and Kraft Macaroni. I remember being teased in middle school for being "Asian"  boys calling my best friend and I very rude and offensive names because she was half Chinese.  Luckily that all changed in High School due to a more diverse place.  I also thought my friends were so much cooler because they were allowed to eat in front of the TV and I wasn't at my house.  We all had to sit together around the table and talk about our days, can you imagine?!  Well thank goodness for that, because its what I do with my family now!  It was a important and meaningful tradition. I just couldn't see it with my immature eyes. 

I've learn to cook over the years from watching my Dad, Mom, and Grandma, all equally amazing in the kitchen. They each have dishes I try to recreate and put my own spin on. The last 10 years I've become obsessed with cooking shows and I have a few favorites that I love to watch!  Finally Asian style cuisine is more popular, and I'm not talking about Chinese. That has been a hit for eons!

This is my take on my Daddy's rice noodles, he always adds a meat, like beef or shrimp.  Tonight I choose beef and chicken, as my girls are more prone to eating chicken than anything else.  If you have a Asian market close by than the ingredients are easy to find.  Although I have noticed more chain stores carrying things like Sriracha and fish sauce.  Back when I was young those things would have never been in the isles!

Here is what you'll need:
1 package rice noodles or you can even use regular pasta like fettuccine, cook accordingly to package
1.5 lb or so of sliced chicken, sliced beef or shrimps
1 medium sliced onion
1/2 cup pea pods
2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 TBSP Seasoning Sauce, kinda of like Soy Sauce if that's all you can find
2 TBSP Sesame oil
1 Tsp chili pepper flakes or whatever you like spicy wise
1 TBSP Fish Sauce
1 TBSP Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tsp sugar
Fresh cut cilantro and crushed peanuts to garnish
We always put Sriracha on top and mix it in.  Like everything else you can omit this.

Marinate your meats in Seasoning Sauce, Fish Sauce, Rice Wine Vinegar and sugar.  Meanwhile cook up your noodles and set aside.  Heat up your oils in large frying pan on med-high and add chili pepper flakes.  Then add your onions and garlic.  Try not to burn.  Then toss in pea pods, meat and marinade making sure to cook chicken through.  Then you can add in your cooked noodles and you fry everything up together for a few minutes.  Plate up and garnish with cilantro, peanuts or even green onions.  Enjoy!

P.S. One of my chores was to make the rice every night.  You know your Cambodian when???

Thanks so much for reading my blog!  Much love, Linzi

Monday, November 18, 2013

Weekend Report, Weekend Report! I'm saying that in Octonots fashion!

It is very drizzly and cold here in the Pacific Northwest these days.  So the weekends have been pretty laid back.  I just want to lounge in my sweats, watch the Cooking Channel and eat all day. But I cant really do that.  I started the weekend off right by baking up a batch of fudgy brownies with mint and dark chocolate chips inside.  These did not disappoint, so good!  I'm definitely on mint and peppermint kick this season.  I love walking down the baking isles at the stores to see what's new.
Mario has been working nights the past few weeks so its good to see him during the day and not walking around the house like a zombie.  The night shift sucks for the girls and I but he is super dedicated to his job and I love that about him.  Amira came down with a bad cough and cold, even threw up.  I hate seeing my little mama sick and miserable.  So I do what I always do when she's sick .  I made her a sick couch.  Bring out her soft blankies and pillows and just let her sleep and watch tv.  She wont stay in her room alone, that's partly why I do this.  Within the next day Gia became sick as well.  A lot of smearing of snot happened this weekend!
We also went shopping for new Winter jammies.  The girls really have minds of their own and know what they want. This is a perfect example of letting them choose their own things and giving them independence. They ended up with Monster High, Sponge Bob, Strawberry Shortcake, and snowflakes.  What a mish mosh!  They always look cute no matter what they're sporting. I also picked up my first new rolls of Christmas wrapping paper and a few decorations.  I'm so excited to decorate the house, after Thanksgiving!
One not so fun thing I elected to do to myself was getting a gum tissue surgery.  I know it sounds like self torture but it was pretty quick and easy.  I have a few sutures in my mouth I have to get removed on a later date.  I will probably end up taking them out myself because they'll drive me nuts and I like doing stuff like that.
Here's daddy and his little helpers raking up leaves and picking up dog poo!  Rocco is humongous!  I took this picture from inside the house so I could be all warm and cozy. 
Look at this awesome care package my girls and I received on Saturday.  How thoughtful is Kayla?!  She is a beautiful mommy and blogger, whom I've never met in person but we chat on IG and our blogs.  Just shows you can open your heart to people and make  genuine friends. Thank you again, mama! 
 This outfit was as dressy as I got for the weekend.  Still loving cowl necks and Mario suggested I wear my cowgirl boots.  Yee haw!  Sunday I went to a perfectly pink baby shower for my friend Holly.  She is having a precious little girl and I'm nothing but excited for her, and her family. Don't you just love showers?  Her mom and sister did an amazing job, very classy! The party was at Maggianos Italian eatery, so double fun.  I sure seem to have a lot friends expecting and its sort of giving me baby fever for #3! Mario even wants another little girl, how sweet is he!  I'm not sure if it we are ready for another just quite yet...
 The girls are feeling a bit better now but the horrible coughs and runny noses are still lingering about.  Here they are rocking out in Amiras room to Christmas music.  She is suppose to memorize about five songs and some dances for her pre-k Christmas performance.  We are all so excited, she already has her outfit picked out.  Such a mini me!  
  Thank you for reading and Happy Thanksgiving week eve!  Much love, Linzi

Friday, November 15, 2013

The (lovely) terrible twos

The time is upon us here in the Scarsella house.  The terrible twos have hit.  Little miss sunshine is a tiny force to be reckoned with!  I remember thinking Amira was hard, but Gia, she is winning the title now.  Maybe that's because Amiras two's are such history?   Don't get me wrong, she is my doe eyed angel baby.  I love her more than words can express.  Just lately the words I have been expressing on a daily basis are, oh no Gia, don't throw that book at my face.  Don't hit sissy.  Do you wanna go in time out?  She is really testing out the boundaries and seeing what my limits are. Look how adorable she is, its sooo hard!

I know I know, I try not to let it stress me out. I try to be rational and not to say NO & DON'T, but sometimes its all I can think of.   I try to give her options to calm her down.  Mostly it doesn't work and she ends up having a meltdown. Both of my girls are very stubborn.  I am the best parent I can be, nurturing, loving, and fun.  I am not perfect, and sometimes I feel like I want to pull my hair out! If anyone has any advice I'm more than willing to listen.

I hope you don't think I believe she is really terrible because she's not.  She is cute as a button and so loving and cuddly.  My two little ladies are my pride and joy!  She just has her streaks, you know what I mean.  I am happy to update you that her ear tubes have been a big success.  No ear infections since they were placed!  She is talking more and more, bigger sentences too!  Her appetite has grown some, but not leaps and bounds.  This girl loves her milk!  I promise I'm still trying to get her off these Dr. Browns bottles!

Gia will be turning 2 December 16th. I can hardly wait to throw her a birthday party. With it being so close to Christmas I'm making sure to give her that special and separate party she deserves. I am working on her party details as I type.  Try to picture pink, turquoise and pops of Sponge Bob, haha! My husband recalls being jipped as a kid on his birthday, Dec 30th.  I do something nice for him too! 

Thanks for your support and happy weekend! Much love, Linzi

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Child of the Week

 This week at Amira's Pre-K she was chosen to be "Child of the Week"  she has literally been asking me every week since she started school to be this. When we found it out it was her turn we started counting down the days/week. Happily she searched her room for the perfect show and tell item to bring.  She came up with two things, her favorite hot pink sparkly headband and her sparkly My Little Pony necklace.  I had to let her down easy because she was only able to bring one, her final decision was the necklace.  That made me smile Big because we gave her that as a good luck gift for starting school.
Looking so festive and proud!

Being child of the week also means you get to bring snacks in for the class.  Amira wanted to bring marshmallows and candy, of course.  This however is frowned upon, so are cupcakes.  Which made me almost cry at parent orientation.  I still plan on making them for her birthday though, sorry teachers! Together we decided to bake up some brownies.  My girls pretty much have my sweet tooth.  We also brought in mandarin oranges, to keep it healthy. haha.  The next day she opted for her all time favorite, chocolate chip cookies and cucumbers. She is also bringing in her kitten Bella for Pet day this week.  She is extremely excited about that, she says she's Bellas mommy, and I'm the grandma! haha.
I promise she didn't lick the beaters and put them back into the batter!
Life goes by so quickly and my girls are growing so fast.  Next year Amira will be 5,  I seriously cant believe it!  It feels like only yesterday she was a tiny little thing sleeping in her crib.  I am beyond grateful to be a stay at home mommy now.  When she was younger I was still dental assisting.  I felt like I was missing so much.  But it makes all the other times spent together priceless.  She will always be my baby.  My first born daughter, my sweet little soul mate.  I love you Amira!

Thank you for reading my blog, I appreciate it so much!  Much love, Linzi

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's begining to look a lot like Thanksgiving

Just a few more weeks my friends until the big Turkey day is here.  I don't know about you, but I just cant wait!  Like so many others, this part of the year is my favorite.  So many special memories I get to remember.   My entire family would celebrate the holiday at my grandparents house.  Their home felt like coziest blanket you could wrap yourself up in. Way back when we all lived within 30 minutes of each other.  We'd meet in the morning and the women would start stuffing turkeys, boil up potatoes, and everything else imaginable.  The guys would gather downstairs in my grandpas rec room and drink gin and tonics, snack on meat and cheese, watch football all day.  You know real men stuff.  All was fine and dandy with the ladies because they were having their own fun.  I was in charge of setting the big table, we also had a kids table which my mom and aunt would always sit at.  I cherish these memories deep in my heart.  My beloved grandma passed away three years ago.

I've mentioned already that my husband and I are having Thanksgiving at our place this year.  It will be the first time and I'm trying very hard to make it as special as I can.  I want my girls to have the same kind of happy memories about the holidays as I do.  I've never cooked a big bird before but my mom will be here to help!  One thing I know is that I'm brining that bad boy.  Trying to find the perfect recipe for stuffing and mashed potatoes has been fun.

I'm going for a real retro look with my table setting. You know, something my grandma would have chosen. I found this table cloth first which has been my inspiration from the get go.  I don't normally go for stuff this busy or should I say tacky, haha.  I just love it though. I still have a few more things I'd like to get but the stores just don't have too much Thanksgiving d├ęcor to choose from.  Like my grandparents house I will be having a kids/smaller table too.  I will for sure be sitting at that table with my little gooblers! 

The last few months of the year are our busiest yet.  Gia has her 2nd birthday on the 16th.  The hubs has his on the 30th.  Plus my dad, and all kinds of aunts, cousins, and uncles! Helloooo Black Friday!  Do you guys shop BF?  I went for my first time last year.  I had woken up at 2 am and was like what the heck, might as well do it!  I got in, I got out.  I saved some good money and got all my shopping finished.  Came home made a BLT and watched Steel Magnolias. 

Hope you all are having a productive week so far!  Much love, Linzi

Monday, November 11, 2013

When in doubt, bake Banana Cake

I obviously don't get that much time to myself.  I'm not even alone when I'm showering or going to the bathroom.  What they say is true!  Your little munchkins will follow around like a shadow.  You know what though?  I love it.  Many, many years down the road they will not be my shadow.  That brings tears to my eyes even thinking about it. 

So this last weekend Mario took the girls up to his grandmas place, we call it the barn.  His grandparents have a hay and grain business.  They also have a ton of cows, ones that just live there and eat the grass.  We love going up to visit Nona and feed the cows.  If you've never drove around a farm truck with big bales of hay feeding these huge animals its quite the experience! I am still so intimidated by them.

I sort of missed the point, I stayed home.  I went grocery shopping for the week. Stopped in Bath and Body Works, got a few things for my Christmas giveaway! They have some new delicious smelling candles out, I snagged a few!  I also hit up my favorite place on Earth, Tarjay!  I'm trying to get my Thanksgiving table setting finished.  Did I mention I'm hosting my 1st one this year! Unfortunately they were sold out of the plates I needed, darnit!

Well that took a few hours.  Then I did some more laundry, changed the cat box, Yuck!  Had some dinner, drank a energy drink, and had a glass of wine! But they still weren't home.  So, when in doubt I bake.  Plus we were having Mario's other grandpa over for Sunday dinner and I needed a dessert.  I always have beyond ripe bananas collecting in my freezer so I baked up a simple banana cake.  Nothing fancy, no layers, just a regular ol' 9x13 pan.

Here is the recipe: pre heat your oven to 325 degrees
Banana Cake
1 cup sugar
2 cups AP flour
1 stick softened butter
3 very ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick softened butter
1 8 oz package of softened cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cream cheese emulsion (if you don't have it, don't worry)
1 Tbsp half and half

For the cake, cream your butter, sugar, and eggs.  Add in your mashed bananas, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, cinnamon and mix.  Then gradually add your flour, baking powders, and salt.  Mix for a few minutes.  Pour into well greased pan and bake for 35 minutes.  Do your toothpick test, poke in center of cake.  If it comes out clean cake is done.  Let your cake cool and then frost. For the frosting mix cream cheese and butter.  Add in your extracts.  Then slowly mix powder sugar and half and half. 
Amira decorating her Turkey day mirror
Gia the toy solider

On a side note, my girls and I drove to a nearby town and found the plates I needed at that Target.  We also snail like walked up and down the toy isles, I took notes for Santa.  It is pain stakingly hard for my girls not to want a toy, and me not buy it! Eek!  Here are a few pictures of our Sunday.

Playing in the backyard with Rocco

If you end up baking this cake let me know how you like it!  Much love, Linzi