Monday, April 19, 2010

Catching Up on Some Cards and Other Stuff

Whew! Time sure goes by fast! I've missed out on posting my Valentine's stuff, some birthdays, some thank yous, gifts, cupcakes and other things. So... I'm just going to cut to the chase a post a coupla little stuff here (that I can find) and give you the short version of it.

This means, that... things will probably be outta order here for a while. I am at a standstill (as of this moment), due to the shaping of my craft/scrap/sewing room, so during my "off" moments, I will post things I can find... randomly... Here's a little for the day:

Here's a quick Thank You note I cut up... using my Cricut (Gypsy Font from the Gypsy) and the Cuttlebug, with some leftover papers circa Valentine's Day.

At some point this year, I went to a baby shower. This was for Little Baby Wyatt (hey, Jenn!). Made with my Cricut, Cricut Sampler, and Gypsy Font. Glitter paper and chalk (for the cheeks) go a long way. The baby was adorable (after birth shower) and the gifts were fun and a-hoy-y (pirate and sail-boat themed).

We also went to another birthday, this time a dual birthday party. Here's one of the cards. I made them both really similar, so that neither girl felt hers was "different" than the other's. They were made (once again) with my Cricut (Alphalicious and Gypsy Wanderings) and the Cuttlebug.

Valentine's Day kept me busy! First of all... money was a scarce thing. So... I got super duper cheapy bags ($.25 from Walmart) and used them for the wrap for the 5-year-old then stuck Cricut-cut hearts and stuff all over for decoration (like she even noticed).

For the older girls (and hubby) I bought the $1 miniature candy bars and made a vase (hot gluing it all together). Cut out hearts and flowers using various cartridges on the Cricut, doubled chenile stems, and hot glued a candy center for the flowers. To use as a "frog", I used Smarties to anchor the candy flowers. Tying a ribbon around for the final touch, and Voila! Finished. And really cheap.

Hubby got me something really good, though. He purchased tickets to the Eagles concert at the Hollywood Bowl (see my review here along with some great pics of the Eagles and the Hollywood Bowl).

My gift for the family? For everyone, I used my Cricut Deep Cut Blade (and housing) to cut out a stencil (with leftover stencil material) of a couple of hearts and stencilled colored sugar onto cupcakes. C'est bon! Fin! I had an extremely inexpensive Valentine's, but with a homemade touch. They all loved it, and I got to rest and eat a cupcake (which went straight to my hips)!

For all of the above (except the candy and bags), I completely used what I already had... SCRAPS and items from the pantry! I looked through everything I had and made the most and the best of it. Utilize your scraps, too. *It's a good thing! (Thanks, Martha!!!)

Rockin' Out With The Eagles (the Band)

It was a Friday. Much like any other Friday, except I was sitting in traffic, waiting... bumper to bumper... just anticipating my night. I was excited. This is something I had been waiting for... for months. I was on my way to the World Famous - Hollywood Bowl, to see one of my all-time faves... The Eagles.
We got there REALLY early (like at 4pm'ish, and the concert was set to start at 7:30). They do this thing called "Stacked Parking" (where everyone [car] is piled into a parking lot like a can of sardines, and the only way you are gonna get out is if the person or people in front of you have left already... needless to say, but... there are no early releases in this situation). We were the fifth in line of the first row of the parking. We had a easy out into the future traffic. Good to go!

I didn't take pics of the food... actually, I didn't take ANY pics (these are all Juan's doing!). We went with the thought we were going to eat at one of the restaurants. Uh... yeah... What we didn't know is... in the past eight years since we'd been to the Hollywood Bowl, things have changed a. lot. NOW... you actually can't get into the restaurants (any of them) unless you've made prior reservations. Ugh. So... we were stuck with concession stands or... we could... W A L K (gasp!) to a local restaurant (the nearest one being .5 miles away). We chose to walk to a pizza place.

As we were headed down the hill... one of the concession stands rolled up their doors... Juan went to ask about the Chicken Caesar Salad. Upon finding that the chicken is cold (not fresh), he started to walk away. The vendor said, "Well, we have burgers, hot dogs..." BURGERS? Uh... they aren't on the menu... "Yeah, they're not, but we have 'em." So... we ordered burgers (the man? ordered... 2. Me? 1.) and coughed up $11 a piece for them.

My thoughts? OMG! I coulda/woulda/shoulda had Red Robin or The RainForest for that kinda price! These are gonna be crappy little burgers for a mass expense.

But... I waited patiently and didn't say a word, as THIS is what my husband wanted to do... and I really didn't want to WALK up and down the hills of Hollywood (the Bowl is SURROUNDED by hills!).

Out came the burgers, mine with no onion, his with cheese. Much to my surprise, we got three (count them... 1... 2... 3...) trays, each with their own burger in them. Curious, I looked at my burger, peeking through the open wrap. Mmm... grilled Artisan bread/bun. (Oh yummm...!) And the burger? Uh... HELLO burger! It wasn't a teeny-weeny 1/4-pounder. It was one helluva 1/2-pound burger (grilled to perfection... by the way!). Complete with butter leaf lettuce, succulent red-ripe tomato and a side of garlic-mayo. I am in HEAVEN! This was better than Red Robin and Rainforest put together (and I love their burgers!). And Juan said, "I thought they were going to be rinky-dink... and I ordered 2?" After he got through his first and half-way through his 2nd, he asked if I wanted more. Uh... no. I'm so good.

How'd we get the camera in? Turns out, regardless of their strict rules being handed out at every possible moment, as long as the camera is point-and-shoot, not one of those HUGE SLRs with the magnificent lens, they let them in. So... we went back to the car and got his camera (hence the reason why I didn't want to WALK to dinner... taking the hills yet again).

OK, enough of my bad prose... I'll get to the actual entertainment.

The Hollywood Bowl in the daylight, with fans still pouring in...

We got to our seats, and kicked back for a while. We people watched. We met seated close to us. Did you know... People came from all over the United States! The women next to me (who I seriously hope to be life-long friends with - HI, Kaye and Susie!!!) were from Alaska. The guy next to Juan was from New York, and another guy that my two new friends talked to was from Texas. And those are only the people we learned about.

Wow! I would never... well... I can't REALLY say that, as I've been exposed to Southern California and all it has to offer my whole life. We are SO spoiled here. We have everything at our fingertips, or at least within driving distance.

Ok... on to the concert (btw... I'm posting a video, and it is taking FOR.EVER. to process!)...

At 7:35, the Eagles took the stage. They sang in a cappella from their Long Road Out of Eden album. It was awesome. No one else opened for them. They did it for themselves. (*Note* I don't know what song it really was, as I'm not familiar with THAT album. I mostly listen to all of their older stuff. But... I will be getting this album, as what I've now heard... I like!)

These guys are seriously awesome! It was the best concert I've EVER been to (and I've been to quite a few). They joked around with each other, made jokes...

Glenn Frey mostly sang with his eyes closed (and his right finger in his ear), but had a great sense of humor in telling the history of some of the songs. My fave saying of the night? Glenn Frey: We are the eternal band. The Band that never dies! (and they played forever, too!... that's a good thing.)
Don Henley... sang his heart out! He even did some of his solo-ish songs (Boys of Summer and All She Wants to Do is Dance). He sounds JUST like he always did. And the guy is versatile... jumping from percussion to guitar... Timothy Schmit can still sing those high notes in I Can't Tell You Why, play bass, and sound GOOD! Joe Walsh? What can I say... He's CRAZY... He's unpredictable... On his first solo of the night, I seriously thought it was a mercy song (like they "let" him sing, just so he could get some credit). It was THAT bad (think The Who during the Super Bowl... like Grandpas Gone Wild [and horrible]!). But, as the night got on... he warmed up and got A LOT better. They took a short intermission (less than 10 minutes, people!) and returned to again start off with another a cappella from their latest album. This time, they sat together. It was great. This was THE FIRST concert (sans children) I've ever been to that I didn't have a drink. Not. a. drop. of. alcohol. was consumed by this here person here. Seriously. Don't know why, but hubby got some sort of stick up his ass (yes... I still love him!) that we were going to enjoy it SOBER. And enjoy it... I DID!

And the Eagles enjoyed it, too! They played for a whole 3 1/2 hours, with a brief intermission and two encores. They did it all! They were funny. They were entertaining. Their quality (of voice and of music) hasn't deteriorated over the years. They sounded SUPER awesome. But most of all... they enjoyed each other. They jammed together and had a blast. They made us (the audience) feel like they were doing this because they liked to do it. I have never seen a band enjoy performing as much as they appeared to.
I would like to personally thank the Eagles (all members) for this wonderful night in Hollywood. It was a night I will never forget and will forever remember as the BESTEST concert I've ever been to in my whole life. These are great memories, and I will cherish them.

I came out of this concert with a renewed spirit for music, the Eagles, and the Hollywood Bowl. I came out with a couple of new friends, too (and not high on second-hand weed smoke). Thank you, Juan... for your most wonderful Valentine's present.
The Hollywood Bowl at Night.
After all this gushing (my true feelings, by the way), I might probably complain, in another post, about the CHEAP-ASS quality of t-shirt you get for a whopping $35!, but I am still so elated right now, I don't want to go there... right now...
And (if it ever finishes processing...) here is a little share with you. I hope you enjoy it like I did!
SCRATCH the ABOVE! It just won't take!
and here's a much cleaner version (courtesy of someone off youtube)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Seriously Dating Myself! (the Musical Version)

On our short ride to school today, Borderline came on the radio. I quickly covered up the info track on the display and asked my teenage girls to name the artist. (I consider my kids well-balanced in the music industry, having urged them them to listen to ALL kinds and eras of the stuff.)

The answers I got made my mouth drop. "Pat Benetar" (Seriously? You really think it sounds super-rockin'?); "Stacey Q" (Yougottabekiddingme!)and others were mentioned. They didn't even get close! I told them who it was, that it was off her first album from 1983. Their response? "She's OLD!"

Then they told me, after a short discussion of Madonna's age (She is 51), that Michael Jackson was in his '60's when he died. Uh. huh. He was almost 51. OMGosh!

My kids add an extra 10 years to almost everyone, apparently. While I thought Madonna was much younger (she sure doesn't look 51... or act it for that matter!), she certainly is not old, and neither was Michael. This makes me wonder what they think of me... Do they add 10 years to my age, too? That would make me almost 50, whereas... I am really almost 40 (nope, folks! haven't joined that club yet) and hope to make it well past that age.

But, what they really meant to say to me was, "Mom... We can't believe someone that was popular that long ago is still popular today and that YOU used to listen to them!" Yeah...

*Note: Borderline's embedding feature was removed, so I decided to still add a little nostalgia with Ms. Stacey Q's Two of Hearts for your old-school pleasure. Enjoy! (I did!!!)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Decisions... Decisions...

YAY! Juan (my hubby... for those of you new...) has finally decided to "let" me have the extra room. I mean... HECK! It's about time! I mean... his son has only stayed one night in a whole year, and has never actually seriously lived here... SO... what the HECK were we saving it for?

Got everything moved out and the son's stuff packed up (was a mess!). Walls are dusted and inside the closet painted. Juan did most of it (almost all of it). I opted to take the closet doors off.

You see... until just the other day... he had "ideas" about what he wanted to do with my new room. Then at various times, he asked me what I had thought about what would go where. And when I visualized it to him... he said he had changed his mind, stating he was planning some other arrangement. WHATEVER! So I boldly told him, "When you have a final decision in what YOU are planning to do, then you can ask me. I have based everything I've decided on what you've told me previously. When you keep changing it, it confuses me... and PISSES me off!" Like the graceful adult that I am... I stomped out of the room. (I was pretty pissed...)

On his way to work the following day, he called me and told me to figure out what I wanted to do. Afterall, he pointed out, it is my room. He knows what I'm going to use it for, but didn't know how it would be best suited for me. And so I've been surfing the internet for ideas.

I've asked my Twitter peeps to help, and they have delivered. I've got lots of ideas and have a basic format in my brain for my 10 x 10 ft room (with a closet).

Tomorrow, the guy will show up (hopefully) to clean the carpet [much cheaper than renting a machine!]. After that, construction will ensue. Yippee!

My items will disappear from their disarray on the dining room table and all over the coffee table on the living room floor and will reappear in an organized state in my new room. I am SO excited!

Along with this revolutionary experience, I've decided to re-combine my many blogs. SO... Lisa's Little Bits will once again include my creative items. I've already started earlier this week by posting the rice recipe. There is more to come. I have crafts (cards, mostly) and other dishes just waiting for my lazy blogging butt to write, download, and hit the button. Wait for it! It. Is. Coming.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Viva Arroz! (the Gringa version of Mexican Rice)

I live in an extremely mulit-cultural family. I have cousins that are black, cousins that are white, cousins that are colored like a rainbow, etc. My motto? It doesn't matter what "color" you are... it's what you bring to the table... FOOD talks! FOOD also rocks!

I love to play with food and will often re-create and adjust a recipe I've tasted in a restaurant. My kids love this taste-bud feature. We were tired of boring Mexican Rice, made with rice (of course!), stock and tomato sauce. So... after tasting LOTS of different rices, I played and added, took away, and tested This is my ultimate rice recipe. By my Mexican portion of the family (my husband's), they consider me "white" (a gringa).
And today... I'm taking cue from the Pioneer Woman and adding LOTS of pictures. (I figure this way, my kids will always have something to look at to show them how it's done, so if I'm not around, they have somewhere to go looksey.) Thanks, Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond) for your inspiration!
The Ingredients:
  • 2 cups white long-grain rice
  • 2-3 Tablespoons chopped onion (to taste)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons chopped tomato (to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
  • 2 teaspoons ketchup (yes... you heard me)
  • 4 ounces (half a can) tomato sauce
  • 4 cups HOT water
First, set your burner to medium. Too high and you will get a dark brown... burnt! rice. Too low and it could just take. for.ever. [The trick with this rice, to make it perfect (because I'm a perfectionist! lol!) is to keep the temperature at a level that evenly browns the rice and carmelizes the onions and garlic. You'll see in the recipe... wait for it...]

Place your 2 quart pot (that has a lid that fits - VERY important!) over the flame. It's ok to set it down at this point. Add your oil and heat.

Next, add the rice to your hot oil, then add the chopped onion and tomato (see how "rustic" mine look...). Then...
add your garlic (I use a garlic press at this point). Stir to coat. Stir occasionally (every couple of minutes). The rice should begin to brown and the onions and garlic to carmelize. Everything, including the rice will become fragrant, filling your house (or campsite) with a wonderful scent.
When the rice is golden and the onions are slightly browned, add the tomato sauce, ketchup and bouillon. (Be careful, this could cause scalding steam... in other words... quickly pour and STEP BACK!)

Mix it all together. Uh huh, being very careful of the steam. Now... pour in your HOT water and stir again. When it all begins to bubble turn down the heat (just a little teeny bit) and put your lid on. Set the timer for 20 minutes. No more, no less. Leave it alone! When the timer goes off, be sure to listen, 'cause it will... Turn off your heat (if you are using an electric burner, move the pan/pot from the burner to a cold burner). Let the hot pot rest (LEAVE THE LID ON!!!) for 5 more minutes (that's right... set the timer again).
Fluff it up and you have the "Perfect" Mexican Rice, by this little Gringa!
(for added "fresh" flavor, add a little chopped cilantro and the juice of 1/2 lime)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Beachy Fun

I have a lot of catching up to do! So if this all seems far behind... remember, I'm just catching up! So... here goes...

G-Ma and the Gang! As the first actual outing with just Grandma and her grandchildren [sans babysitting], the beach (we went to Huntington) was a wonderful and peaceful experience. Right before Spring Break, we (my mom, my brother's boys, my girls and I) went to the Beach. It was a beautiful day. A little hazy, but that burned off in the early early afternoon.
Mr. J loves the ocean. He loves to pick up the wet sand and dribble it through his fingers, run it through his toes... He loves to get wet and have the waves chase him up the shore. He is always laughing and playing and just having fun. His laugh is infectious and makes you smile. (Right here, he doesn't look too happy... I think we were calling him up to eat... lol!)
Mr. M is as cute as he looks. He didn't like the ocean very much at all. Actually, he screamed when the water tried to tickle his little feet! [It really was pretty cold... I didn't go in either!] But, Mr. M had a great time playing peek-a-boo, hanging in the shade and making sure he got attention at every. single. moment. He loves the camera, too. Kept trying to reach for it, and move other body parts into the view. (See his foot? Isn't it just WAY adorable!!!)
Miss Marissa is such a cutie [when it comes to the beach]. Along with Mr. M, you couldn't stay away from the waves and the sand, as they were continuously running about into it. Luckily, she just loves her life jacket and wouldn't be caught dead [in the water] without it. Marissa had lots of luck that day... she just kept finding sand dollars... almost whole ones, without much damage to the shells. She loved playing with her cousin(s) so much, she didn't want them to go home.
Grandma made sand castles with her grandkids (I took control of the camera, with Mr M's help, of course)... We all just enjoyed the sun and the fun and made the best of our day! You see, we rarely see them, and we are rarely all together. Even though we all live in Southern Cali, life is busy. We all have different schedules and lots to do. So... we cherish every moment we have with them and with each other.
Just a little note (off-topic), I am getting seriously tired of Blogger! The formatting doesn't do what you code it to do and it just does your own thing (I really did not format the original this badly!... So... don't be surprised if I find another venue to switch to... On the lookout... any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

OMGosh! It's April, Already?

The past two weeks have been a major rush. Lots has happened, including the ending of March, Ricky Martin's coming out (Good for you, Ricky!), our week-long camping trip, and Easter. Now the kids are back in school (2 weeks of Spring Break is O.V.E.R., Baby!), and hopefully life will resume back to normal... must.get.the.camping.laundry.done.FIRST!

After I conclude this small feat (or maybe even before... let's see how my attention span is to cleaning...), I will post lots of pics and posts. Ha... ha... Seriously. I will.

Until I next see you (which will be soon, I assure you!)... I'm usually (at some point in my day) on Facebook or Twitter! But here's a teaser from camping pics... Well... *boggle*, I can't seem to download pics from Facebook to here!

So it doesn't work... you'll just have to wait. BUT... if you are a Facebook friend, you can see my mobile uploads... and go figure! Not of all the pics I took would upload. So bummery!