Thursday, December 29, 2011

After-Christmas Cheer

Christmas might be over, but we are celebrating the weather here in San Diego! Tourists have invaded our town and everyone seems to be in a good mood.

This week we've been buzzing around enjoying the outdoors. We walked to the end of the pier to see the Christmas tree before they took it down. Leila was very interested in all the fishermen and listening to the waves crashing.
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That same day I decided I was over Christmas. I took down all the ornaments and packed them up while Jeff micro-managed my work. I'm ready for our space back. This apartment is too tiny for our family of three, a cat, a Christmas mess, and a tree.

Well, today is Thursday and our tree is still up and the lights are on. I guess Jeff wasn't on board with killing the after-Christmas spirit so soon. This is the beauty I've been looking at for the past two days.
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Now instead of having a Christmas tree we just have a very large lighted houseplant that clearly looked better with ornaments.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Enjoying her second Christmas!
Leila 15 months


Rewind to 2010
Leila 3 months


What a difference a year makes, huh?

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas! XOXO

Friday, December 23, 2011

Eats- Christmas morning BEST egg dish

I posted one recipe on this blog about a week ago and somebody actually tried it (thanks Grandee!) and another friend sounded genuinely interested in thinking about making it. Go me for making it sound good enough to try!

So this BEST egg dish I'm making for Christmas brunch is just as good as the Cheesy Stuffed Red Peppers I made but way easier. The best make it the night before so on Christmas morning you can worry about cleaning up piles of wrapping paper instead.

Julie's Eggs- aka Jen's Eggs (no one actually calls it that...yet!)
Place 2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese in a 9x13 baking dish. Dot 4T. butter over the cheese. In a small bowl combine 1 cup half-and-half, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and 2T. prepared mustard. Beat 12 eggs and combine with cream mixture. Spread evenly over the cheese in the baking dish. Make the night before. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until fluffy.

I love simple recipes!

I came across this recipe while organizing my recipe box last year. It is typed onto a half sheet of plain white paper with a tiny old clip art picture of a hen in the corner. In neat purple letters I wrote, "Yum!". That was enough to convince me to try this mystery recipe (although I am pretty sure I got this recipe from a Julie I once worked with).

This egg dish is now made by me, my mom, and two aunts. That's FOUR families! (not including Julie's family, where ever they are) Look at my influence! You just can't beat how easy and delicious it is. (Actually you DO beat the eggs ;) Just tell me to stop. Now.)

Random reflection picture of us on one of our morning walks

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

This is love

I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for the day that Leila would snuggle up with me on the couch. Yesterday it happened!

After straining a muscle in my back (from a too hard workout maybe?) I was glued to the couch most of this week so far.

Not the best time of year to be sitting on my ass. I have presents to wrap, more cookies to bake, shopping to do, cleaning that needs done, and fitness to be working on. (Remember I said NO to holiday weight gain this year!)

This super Type-A Momma has a really hard time sitting still. I am jumping out of my skin right now!

I guess good things can come to those who take it slow...extra love from my little girl.

And seriously, I know I can get it all done in one stinkin' day if I need to. I am that crazy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I discovered my pockets. Where have these been all my life?


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I love this town!

Living in decent sized city has its advantages. There is always something to do!

San Diego is the perfect sized city for me! No matter where you go it will take you 25 minutes or less to get there. We have beautiful beaches, harbors, bays, and parks galore.

Last week I took Leila to Balboa Park for the first time. I have no idea what took me so long to finally take her there! So much to see and huge open areas for her to walk around without worry.

She ran through the botanical gardens (and quickly found the exit),

Was mesmerized by the musicians,

Walked around like she owned the place,

Explored to her little heart's content,

And found the people watching to be equally as exciting.

Definitely heading back to this place more regularly. Free museum admission on Tuesdays, beautiful architecture, a carousal, a playground, fountains, big trees, an International village, wide open spaces, and the San Diego zoo...what's not to like?!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Femullet be gone!

Those of you that have been reading my blog (or even seen one single picture of Leila) know that she has no hair.

People are surprised when they actually see her in just the right light and notice a few blondie blonde strands coming from her head. "She does have hair!" is usually what I hear. Really people?!? Of course she has hair, just not enough to mention so therefore I just say she has none, to be dramatic.

This hair I speak of has started to grow into the dreaded femullet (you know, when a little girl has a mullet). About a month ago I mentioned my concern to some friends and they laughed at me. I guess they couldn't see it. Lighting must have been bad.

Last night during bath time the aforementioned femullet met scissors.

Here's the inch of hair (about 20 strands in all) snip, snip. Gone.
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What does this prove?

Well, it proves her femullet is history.
It also proves that Leila has no hair.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Old traditions

I'm a sucker for traditions. My all time favorite is Friday night pizza. This has been my family's tradition for as long as I can remember...since Diet Rite came in glass bottles. Occasionally our new little family of three continues this tradition (with Aunt Val of course!)

Pizza night!!!



Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Eats- Cheesy Stuffed Red Peppers

Since I've known Jeff I have evolved from knowing how to prepare two meals, to actually cooking most nights of the week. He thinks that my cooking is awesome. Well, he didn't actually say that, but he did say tonight that I made the best Cheesy Stuffed Red Peppers ever!

The two of us have been searching for the perfect mixture to stuff inside red peppers for quite some time now. I finally found perfection a few months back and tonight I was able to make them even better than he remembered

Jeff has admitted that I "won" this dish. What does that mean exactly? Well, it seems that I am the one who gets to make it. Wow. Winning feels great.

This recipe made enough mixture to stuff six large peppers. Tonight I baked only two servings (Leila ate some of mine) then froze the rest into two serving portions. A simple salad on the side was all we needed because I stuffed these peppers to the max. I couldn't even finish my entire pepper! Jeff scooped my leftover mixture onto some chips. I bet it would even be good wrapped up in a tortilla!

Cheesy Stuffed Peppers
You can see the original recipe with pictures here on I basically followed it exactly, except I add more rice and sometimes I use extra lean ground pork or lean ground beef, depending what is on sale.

Ingredients: Serves 6.  I bake 2 servings then freeze the rest into 2 serving portions.
  • 1 lb (93/7) Lean Ground turkey
  • ½  package taco seasoning mix
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 cup of cooked long grain brown rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes (reserve some to top pepper before baking)
  • large red bell peppers (one per person)
  • Cheddar cheese
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2.    Begin preparing long grain rice (cooks 40 min)
3.    Prepare pepper by cutting off the top and insides.  Place on foil lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
4.    Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
5.    Place the ground turkey into a skillet over medium heat, and brown the meat, breaking it apart into crumbles as it cooks. Drain excess fat.
6.    Stir in the taco seasoning, water, chili powder, cooked rice, salt, garlic salt, black pepper, and 1 can of diced tomatoes; mix until thoroughly combined. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes.
7.    Place the cooked peppers into the prepared baking dish, place a slice of cheese at the bottom of the pepper, then fill with the meat and rice mixture.  Spoon the remaining can of diced tomatoes over the peppers.  Top with a slice of cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
8.    Bake in the preheated oven until the peppers are tender and the filling is hot about 25 minutes. 

(Oh how I would love to have a mouth watering picture of our delicious meal right here. Not today. Not ever. Taking photos of food is way too hard.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

15 months

Next week Leila will be 15 months old. She's a full-fledged toddler.

Leila weighs about 21 lbs (23rd percentile) and about 2 1/2 feet tall (64th percentile). She's independent, smart, funny, and sweet.
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I love that she hugs on demand and can actually sit through an entire book (if she chooses).
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Her favorite things are exploring, collecting "treasures", and chatting up strangers, especially children!
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Her obsession with garbage trucks is adorable.
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She has the cheesiest fake smile when you ask her to smile for the camera. And just today I saw her fake pout at me! I really have to watch my facial expressions around her. She imitates EVERYTHING!

She has a few words, but shows us that she understands a lot more. It's truly amazing to me that she can follow a simple direction (again, if she chooses...remember how I said she was independent?!)

She walks everywhere we'll let her, but still welcomes our arms or the stroller when she's tired.
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Oh, and did I mention that she wears a shit-ton of pink?!? It's her best color.

Hooray for toddlers!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Toddler art {Christmas}

We all know Leila can draw and color a masterpiece, but she is much more talented than I lead you to believe. This toddler can paint and make salt dough ornaments. Amazing stuff only family can appreciate!



Pin It

Thanks to Pinterest for inspiring me again!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

New traditions

Starting a new tradition is as fun as continuing old ones.

Last weekend a bunch of friends met up at December Nights in Balboa Park. It's a great free event in a beautiful and historic park for all ages. Imagine food, drinks, Christmas lights, palm trees, singing children and adult choirs, carnival rides, and a ton of people in a festive mood.

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It was a great time! The International Cottages had the best food and vibe by far, but the Spreckles Organ Pavilion gave me that fuzzy feeling. (Or was it the spiced wine from Hungary?)

Definitely heading back next year, because really, it's not a tradition till you do it more than once!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Sugar high.
Holiday weight gain.
A dream come true.


Call it what you'd like. I'm calling it our new tradition. I'm hoping Betsy is up for making ten varieties next year!

Check out Betsylife! for details on these amazing sweet treats.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ho. Ho. Ho.

Jeff and I planned to take Leila to see Santa last Friday. Being the rookie that I am, I did not expect that we would have to shell out $22 to get a picture with Leila on his on lap. I also probably should have known that I was not allowed to take my own picture unless I paid for a photo package.

Forget it, we agreed no picture. Maybe no Santa for that matter since the line was a few families deep.

I went back to shopping and Jeff took Leila walking around the mall. I didn't think twice about what they were up to. I was way too busy buying a new pair of jeans! (Thanks in part to last month's challenge.)

When we got into the car Jeff said he had a surprise. He showed me the picture he bought of Leila. I about died it was so perfect!


Not for a second was I upset that he took her to see Santa without me. They did just fine without me. Imagine that?!?!



Did I mention that Jeff taught her what Santa says? "Ho. Ho. Ho." just like the Santa in A Christmas Story. Hilarious!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I've got that holiday feeling

You all know what I am talking about. So many people feel the exact same way this time each year. I am feeling festive!

I love everything about the Christmas season. The decorations, the music, the gift giving, the baking, the warm fuzzy feeling after one too many glasses of wine, and the traditions both new and remembered.

This is the first year we put our tree up in November. We purchased it at a local nursery. (It is so important to support small businesses when you can!) I am a big fan of our fresh tree. Honestly, the smell is faint compared to past years, but I love it's unique shape. It seems like each year we get the "best tree ever"!


Jeff and I were both given ornaments from our parents each year as children. We tell each other the same stories each year as we unwrap and hang them in just the right spot on the tree.

This year I laughed when Jeff said he had to take a step back after each ornament placement, take a sip of wine, and make sure he was happy with his choice. I laughed because I do the same thing! No wonder we end up drunk at the end of the night.

Leila help us put up a few ornaments this year. She liked throwing them on the tree but preferred to hand me the ornaments to hang. There were a few I had to pry out of her hands at the end of the night!


She's been great with keeping her hands off the tree. I set up two little spots of Christmas decorations that she can touch and play with. Check out her showing me the picture of her and Santa. (Posted pictures to come.) Adorable!


I am excited for all the fun holiday events this month. Kicking it off at Balboa Park's December Nights this evening!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our favorite spot

I have taken about a million pictures at this park. I consider it our backyard, since we don't have one. We visit this park at least once a day. It's so close to our apartment Leila can walk all the way there!

Such a big girl, who suddenly has an opinion about wearing a hat.

We've been teaching her our own version of baby sign language and she's getting the hang of it. She signs "milk" for milk or water, "more", "all done", and this is her showing me "up".

Leila likes to collect treasures from where ever we go. Sometimes they are for me. Other times they end up clenched in her fist until we get to our door. Today I got a seashell, a juice box, two rocks, and a piece of plastic that some how ended up coming home with me.

This picture is so typical of her these days.
It seems like Betsy is the only person that can get her to look at the camera. (Check out how we spent Thanksgiving at Betsylife!)


She picked out her own outfit today. (Too cute!) We have so many sundresses in her size right now. I'm glad we're having unseasonably warm weather this week!
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