All posts by Amy

One-piece Christmas

This year we’re having a “One-piece Christmas”. Everything the kids get will be ONE PIECE! No puzzles, Polly Pockets, Lego sets, etc. I need a break from my other FT job of picking up, organizing and finding a home for all the small pieces that get scattered about the house each day! Sorry kids. Call me “Mean Mama”, but until I figure out a system that works, I need a break! Just keepin’ it real….

The holidays are here, folks! Santa is already meeting with kids from his Winter Wonderland at the mall. Snowflakes are greeting us on the Target front doors. As I try to do every year, I am going to enjoy every minute of the holiday season. This is my absolute favorite time of year ~ Thanksgiving through New Year’s.

Our Christmas will be simple ~ just a few nice things for the kids and that’s it. I am hoping that they will grow up learning that Christmas is more about giving rather than receiving. Sharing traditions with friends and family. Spreading cheer to those in need.

Santa is bringing Elliott a pink, acoustic guitar and Holden is getting some Transformers. Now I can handle that!

Here’s hoping that you make it through the 2009 Holidays in “One-piece”!

Burger Bliss

burger

OK, you have got to make these burgers. Seriously!

If you think you don’t like horseradish, you do. If you think you don’t like Rachael Ray, you do.

These are the best. I make them all the time. Perfect for Fall. Turkey & Cranberry. Yum!

Serve with Alexia sweet potato fries (in the frozen aisle) and a simple green salad. I roasted some brussels sprouts to go with this meal, but left them in a little too long and they weren’t very photo worthy.

Here is a link to the recipe:

Turkey Burgers with Horseradish & Cheddar Cheese

Enjoy!

Check Out These Beauties

gold

Aren’t they gor-ge-ous? I cannot walk past a cheap pair of Havaianas and not bring them home with me. (I take that back…I did it once at TJ Maxx. Still regretting it.)

These were $7.99 at my local Ross. They also had them in a breathtaking metallic blue, but not in my size. Bummer for me, great for the bank account!

A festive pair of gold flip flops ~ just in time for the holidays!

Bar Hopping to Park Hopping

In my 20s I went bar hopping, and now in my 30s, I go park hopping. Cocktails have been replaced by sippy cups and juice boxes, dancing has been replaced by ring around the rosie and duck duck goose, 2am burritos have been replaced by pb&j’s and apple slices and the dress code has gone from nice jeans, a cute top and some fun shoes to yoga pants, a wife beater (aka ribbed tank) and Havaianas.

Thank goodness there are about 9 parks here in the SCV that we currently have on rotation. I would go insane if we had to frequent the SAME park every time. And thank goodness I have my wonderful set of mommies that help pass the time at the park with chit chat and laughs.

I am grateful for park time, though, because it gives us a free place to run, jump, climb, play in the sand, explore and picnic. Soon enough our park days will be replaced with school and homework and that just means one thing…my babies will be growing up! So, I will cherish these mornings and afternoons and as I’m sitting out on the grass soaking up the sun or pushing the kids on the swings, I will remember the fun nights in Pacific Beach or downtown San Diego in the Gaslamp ~ and I will smile.

Quick Chili

I’ve been using this chili recipe for years. It’s from my good friend, Christina! It’s super quick, easy and a healthy lowfat Fall comfort food.

Here’s what you need:
1 lb. ground beef, turkey or chicken
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 big can chili beans
1 can diced tomatoes (I use fire roasted with garlic)
1 can corn, drained
1 small can tomato sauce
1 package chili seasoning
1 poblano or red pepper chopped (optional)

Here’s what you do:
Saute the onion and garlic (and peppers if you’re using) in a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil for 5 minutes, add the ground meat and brown breaking up with a wooden spoon. Add the package of seasoning mix with a little water (maybe 2 TBSP) Stir in seasoning mix to cover meat and cook until browned. Add in the beans, tomatoes (undrained), drained corn and tomato sauce. If you like a thinner chili, add another small can of tomato sauce. Simmer on low for an hour or so, ladle up a bowl and top with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream. I like to serve with Marie Callender’s corn bread and honey butter. Enjoy!

P.S. Sorry I don’t have a “finished product” pic. ;-(

chili

4 years ago today

November 5, 2005
Sunnyvale, CA

This is Elliott when she was 5 months old. We had just moved to the Bay Area from San Diego and were living in a TINY one-bedroom apartment in Sunnyvale while our house was being built down in Gilroy. We had NO furniture since all our belongings were in storage. We bought 2 black leather chairs from IKEA, an air mattress from Target & a small 13″ T.V. with DVD player from Costco and used the box it came in for a TV table! This was our life for about 6 months!

I look back and don’t know how I ever got through it. I was still a “new Mommy”, living in a new area, knowing nobody and living out of a huge, orange Kipling duffle bag! But life in that little apartment was simple. There was not much to it. There is something attractive about living the “minimalist” lifestyle.

Life on S. Mary Avenue in Sunnyvale seems like a million years ago in some ways and just like yesterday in others. The thing that I realize when I think back to this time in our life is that nothing is forever and once you get through it, you look back and think, “That wasn’t so bad!”

4yrsago

Conversations from the Car

Some very interesting verbal exchanges take place in the car these days:

Elliott: “What street are we on?”
Me: “Newhall Ranch Road”
E: “Oh, Newhall Ranch Road…(pauses) There are TWO Ranches. One that is a dip that is white and one that is a road!”
Me: “Ummmmm, yes, this is true!”

These are the things that 4-year olds come up with which are so simple, innocent and true! Gotta love it!

Meanwhile Holden is yelling, “Fire truck, Big truck, Trash truck, Policeman, School bus!” That kid is all about things with wheels ~ don’t know a 2-year old boy that isn’t, though!

Behind the Name

Lately I have become a total Blog Stalker ~ jumping from one blog to another, clicking on links taking me to blogs of complete strangers clear across the country. You get sucked in, like a good book and you can’t stop reading. I enjoy the party planning blogs, wedding blogs, cooking blogs, etc. I have been wanting to start a blog for awhile, but couldn’t think of a fun name.

It seems that my foot covering of choice these days is flip flops. I HEART them! Growing up in San Diego, this shouldn’t come as any surprise. But, since I was pregnant with my daughter in ’04, I have never been more attached to my flops! I had a brown pair and a black pair and I wore them to work EVERYDAY. Comfort while you’re pregnant is key. And I’ve learned that comfort with a 4-year old and a 2-year old is still first priority! I could wear flops daily, but that means you have to always have the toes polished and looking nice which means you have to go get a pedi regularly, and well, that is a rarity around these parts. I know I should treat myself more often, but it just doesn’t happen. There is always something more important to do. So, I have also become a big fan of ballet flats, which I adore, but my true love is with the flops! Earlier this year I discovered Havaianas and it was an instant love affair. So there…that is the “Flip Flop”part.

As a parent, I have discovered that life is one big LAUGH and it is all about how you handle it that gets you through. It’s almost like some days are a joke, like Ashton Kutcher is going to pop out and “Punk” me all of a sudden. Life with 2 kiddos under 5 is like this definition below:

folly (fäl′ē)
noun pl. follies -·lies
a lack of understanding, sense, or rational conduct; foolishness
any foolish action or belief
any foolish and useless but expensive undertaking

Sometimes (OK, maybe daily) I feel like my life is a folly. But at the end of the day when the kids are fed, bathed and tucked in bed and I’ve had a chance to get some quality time with the elliptical, showered and watched a DVR’d show before bed, THAT is when I can let everything go that has occurred that day, take a deep breath and prepare to welcome what the next day has to offer.

I am hoping that Flip Flop Follies will enable me share this roller coaster ride called “Parenting” and help me realize that I am not alone on this ride! It’ll also be filled with my favorite tried and true recipes, bargain hunts and just complete randomness!

I’m so excited to be entering the blogosphere and I hope you enjoy coming along with me! Don’t forget, comfort always comes first so, please, wear your flip flops! 😉

Steal of the Week

shoe

OK, so you may be wondering with a name like “Flip Flop Follies” what is a cute pair of peep-toe heels doing as my first shoe pic? Well, there is a very good reason for that…I wore these to Jay’s & my 5th anniversary dinner last weekend. But, almost better than our anniversary, is what I paid for these cuties. Are you ready for this? $6.52 (that includes 9.75% tax!). Are you kidding me? Genuine Leather, not “pleather”. I love that Kohl’s has designers like Vera Wang helping to make fashion more affordable. But seriously, these were regularly $69.99 (which I would never in a gazillion years pay at Kohl’s – not to mention that Kohl’s would ever actually sell them at this price either. They totally overprice stuff and then immediately throw up a 30% sale sign the minute the new merchandise hits the floor!) Anywhoo, I was looking for some sparkly shoes for Elliott’s Halloween costume and when I didn’t have any luck in the kid’s shoes, I wandered to the “big girls” shoes and stumbled across these that were marked 90% off and were $6.99. Well, thank goodness I am a size 10 and needed a nice pair of black shoes for Jay’s holiday party. I took them to the checkout and as if $6.99 wasn’t low enough, the nice woman at the register gave me an additional 15% off for “friends and family”. LOVE her!! Now, comes the hard part…I have to retrain my feet to walk in these things. My tootsies have become extremely fond of flip flops, ballet flats and New Balance over the past, oh, 5 years. I hope that wearing heels after 5 years is like riding a bike. I will let you know on Sunday, December 13th after I have worn them all night the night before! Maybe I should hide a pair of flip flops in my clutch just in case!

Bliggity Bloggity BOO!

Welcome to my blog! I thought it’d be fun to make my first post on Halloween, but it looks like the carriage has already turned into a pumpkin!

My two little sugar-filled monsters are all tucked in and I have an extra hour to rest my weary head on my pillow tonight ~ what a TREAT!

I was inspired by a martini I saw on Food Network’s website for tonight’s ghoulish cocktail. It involved candy corn and vodka so I was immediately intrigued. The recipe called for an egg white which freaked me out so I decided to improvise a bit. I got some Mandarin Mango juice and decided to throw that in a shaker with the vodka, ice and a squeeze of lemon and see how that went. The jury is still out, but I feel the drink needs a little tweaking. Perhaps the Food Network has it all figured out with their egg white and has a higher salmonella threshold than I do. At any rate, I thought the concept was super festive for this fun Orange & Black holiday! I added a halved black licorice vine as a garnish along with the candy corns. At least I have 365 more days to perfect this for next Halloween…below is the link to FN’s version. Enjoy and nighty night!

Candy Corn Cordial

Candy Corn Cordial