Friday, September 28, 2007

Daddy's Girl

Regardless of my age - I am a "Daddy's Girl".
I am so very blessed to have a wonderful family. I'm very close to both of my parents who divorced when I was 8. Over the years we struggled as most families do but my dad and I have remained close. He now lives in Oklahoma. But we still talk almost every day at 5:00 (on my way home from work) we have a date - I call him or he calls me.

He is such a huge part of my life - I am very very blessed to have such a wonderful Dad!!!

I love you Dad!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cheesy Baked Ziti

This is a new favorite in my house - it's cheesy yummy goodness!!!

1 (16 ounce) package ziti pasta
24 ounces ricotta cheese
1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 (32 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse.
In a medium bowl, mix ziti, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, egg and 1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and spoon in ziti mixture. Top with remaining spaghetti sauce, followed by Parmesan cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes; let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

**I sometimes add cooked ground beef or Italian sausage in the spaghetti sauce**

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Kitchen Items I love!!!

I dream of having a big kitchen where I have lots of counter space and even more cabinet space to store all of my kitchen appliances, cookware and gadgets (the ones I have and the ones I want). On my list of favorite gadgets I have are:

On the top of my list is my all time favorite is Wolfgang Puck Immersion Blender and Chopper. I love this appliance. I use it all the time. Chopping, blending, whipping, everything. I love it!

I love my hand held Cheese Grater from Ikea - It's a cheese grater and a food saver all in one. Very simple but I use it all the time.

My Apple Wedger from Pampered Chef - again very simple but use this all the time. It's the easiest way to cut apples and core them at the same time.

One of my favorite pans is the Kitchen Essentials® from Calphalon - my brother got me this last year for Christmas and I use it almost everyday.

The kitchen items I want

For our wedding we received a gift certificate for Pampered Chef. I have the order coming so until I have them and can use them they will be under my want list. I've always been interested the the Stoneware from PC and have heard great things. I'm excited to get my bar pan. A definite want has always been a Kitchen Aid mixer. I have watched friends make cookies, mashed potatoes, dough using theirs. I've literally drooled not over what they were making but the mixer itself.

I have so many more I could list - I'm getting depressed thinking of everything I want. Click here for a better idea of what other kitchen gadgets I want.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Field Trip - Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens

My son's third grade class had a field trip at the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden today. It was absolutely wonderful. The weather was beautiful as was the scenery. We arrived around 10:00am and first went on the tour of the gardens.
The class was split up into groups of 6 which was great! Our tour guide or "docent" was Bill. He was great and very informative. He made the tour interesting for the boys and kept it fun.
There was a lot of Poison Ivy all around. The saying here is "Leaves of Three - Let them be". Good to remember.
All the boys had a great time.
After the tour they were able to go into the Lab and for a hands-on with the microscope. They were all impressed and I think a lot will have a microscope on the Christmas list.

After lab and the tour we were able to have lunch in one of the picnic areas they have. It was very nice. The last part of the day the kids were able to go shopping in the Garden Shop (little gift shop). The have a lot of cute little things. My son was super impressed with the Scope It Out Indoor/Outdoor Lighted microscope $9.95. Sadly is only lasted a few hours.
It was a wonderful day. Actually, any day that I can spend hanging out with my buddy is a great day!!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

What a GREAT Weekend!


The weekend got an early start on Friday. I took the day off so I could take my daughter to get her license. She was able to get her last "behind the wheel" in with her drivers instructor who took her to Santa Paula where she was going to test at 2:00. She got a good idea where everything was and what she could expect during her test. Before her test we went for sushi at Yomama Sushi. California Roll and Spicy Tuna Roll. It was the first time either of us had been there. Definitely not as good as Sumo Sushi or Ozeki but it was still good. Then it was time for her test. We got to Santa Paula a little early to go through the "course" one more time. She did fine. She was so nervous. The Santa Paula DMV is unlike the other DMVs. It's bright, people are nice and helpful - they actually act like they like their jobs.The instructor seemed to be a nice man. A few minutes going over the basics and then they were off to continue the test. Yay! She passed. She has not stopped smiling. She was thrilled beyond belief. Next stop Ventura Toyota. Her dad and I agreed to get her a new truck. Again, she has not stopped smiling and looking at her new truck. She got to witness first hand car buying negotiations and re-negotiations. Quite an experience but a definite good one. It has definitely been different. For so many years I've heard "Mom, can you pick me up?, Mom, can you take me here?"..... So to have her say "Mom, I'm going here". Period. Was very odd all weekend. But nice at the same time. It's a good thing we have free text messages - when you get there - text me, when you leave - text me.

**Angels - lost - needed ONE win to clinch the AL West Division title**


Another good day. "Buddy" made his first goal this weekend. AND the Green Extreme had their 2nd win!! Woo Hoo!!! What a great game. The boys were passing, aggressive, defensive, taking shots, etc. Everything a good soccer team should do. Very Exciting!!!! Buddy was so happy and proud of his goal.

**Angels - lost - needed ONE win to clinch the AL West Division title**


What a great way to end a great weekend. My wonderful husband got us tickets for the final game of the regular season for the Angels. This was the game they HAD to win in order to clinch the title of AL West Division Champs!!! J kept telling me all weekend - they will win on Sunday. I thought so too but yikes! My sister, J, "Buddy" and I got to the game early. Foam finger, thunder sticks and of course the Rally Monkey, in tow.

We arrived early to the game so we could soak in all the wonderful atmosphere at the stadium. The weather was great - it had been raining the day before. We were all so excited to see the Angels clinch the West at home. The game started out exactly as we had hoped. With a home run! And we never looked back! The Mariners tried to threaten but they never really had a chance. The Angels won!!! Winning the AL West Division Champions title. It was an awesome day, great game, perfect way to end the season. Now on to playoffs!!!!! Of course I got a new hat (to add to my collection).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Good 'Ole Comfort Food

Twice Baked Potatoes

4 large baking potatoes
8 slices bacon (optional)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
8 green onions, sliced, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
When potatoes are done allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; save skins. To the potato flesh add sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 the green onions. Mix with a hand mixer until well blended and creamy. Spoon the mixture into the potato skins. Top each with remaining cheese, green onions and bacon.
Bake for another 15 minutes.

These are an absolute favorite in my house. A bit time consuming but worth it!!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Biggest Loser

One of my favorite shows has started a new season - The Biggest Loser. I love this show for so many reasons. I love reality shows, I love to see people go through huge changes, I love to see them work so hard and want something so bad. The show motivates so many people - I'm one. I worked really hard before the wedding and was where I wanted to be. Since then, I've noticed the scale slowly going up. I'm joining the club (not technically). I want to get back on a good schedule. I want to get up early, exercise, eat better, etc. All the things needed to be healthy. We'll see how well I can do.

*****Back to the show. I'm not sure who I want to win. I'm not at all happy with Amy - she bugs. She gave up so easily. This is going to be hard, it's not vacation. You are here to make a change. I hope she gets tough. I like Neil, Patty, and of course Jerry (the oldest on the show) I can't wait to see how they change. *********

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cupcake Envy Continues

I made a trip to Bread Basket at lunch on my quest to find a cupcake bake shop in Ventura County. Only to learn that they do not stock the cupcakes - you have to pre-order them. I'm sure they would be wonderful as are all the cakes from Bread Basket. My search continues.....

Cupcake Envy

I read so many posts and see so many blogs about Cupcakes. Sprinkles, Vanilla Bake Shop, Ledas Bake Shop, Crumbs - just to name a few. All of which are out of my area and I'd have to travel into LA to get to try the of yummy goodness. Just to far to satisfy and sweet tooth craving. I've had this craving for weeks now and I just want to find somewhere local. Yesterday I received great recommendations for The Breadbasket in Camarillo. Wonderful! They make the best cakes - I'm sure they will make yummy cupcakes too. I couldn't wait until I got off work. I was so excited to pick up a few and take them home to enjoy for dessert. Traffic was bad but I didn't care - I was on my way to get cupcakes. I pulled into the parking lot, got up to the door and read....

Closed on Mondays!!!! How sad.....

Monday, September 17, 2007

Weekend in Review


* Soccer game - Lost 5-1 (Green Extreme is now 1 win and 2 losses)

* Lunch Red Robin for lunch. YUM!!!!!

* Old Navy + great sale = Duncan in a red polo shirt (1/2 off - Thank you very much!)

* Bath and Body -bought the last Sandlewood Vanilla

* A dead 70 foot Blue Whale washed ashore 10 miles North from us. VERY STINKY!!!!

* Cleaned - I LOVE Mr. Clean Magic Eraser!!!! It is truly a miracle worker!!!!

* And Cleaned - I'm a cleaning product junkie. Especially anything that smells like or contains high levels of bleach!

* Meatloaf - My mom makes the absolute best meatloaf ever. I attempted my mom's recipe. Even though I don't think I'll ever be able to make a meatloaf as good as mom's - according to my son (her meatloaf's biggest fan) "this is as good as Grandma's"....

* Emmy Awards - Sister works (VERY HARD and VERY long hours) on the ABC Show Brothers and Sisters. She is the Production Coordinator and does a wonderful job! Sally Field won Best Actress on last night's Emmys. Way to go Sis!!!!