Category Archives: Flashbacks

The Big Green Circle

The other day I was thinking back to when I started going to Starbucks. It seems like now, after almost a couple decades, that it is just part of life. Just as we drop off and pick up our kids from school, run errands, fix dinner, etc. we run to the Starbucks drive-thru or pop into a store to fetch our morning, afternoon or evening cuppa joe {or tea. or hot chocolate.}.

It’s become part of the routine. At least for ME anyways.

My first real memory of Starbucks dates back to 1993 when I worked in Hillcrest at a doctor’s office. The office manager, Susan, and I would run across Washington Street to the corner Starbucks and always get a grande nonfat no foam latte with two Equals. A half caff coffee of the day for Dr. Schmidt.

A couple years later when I moved to Pacific Beach with my best friend, Denise, our thing was the coffee frappuccino. I remember one summer when a day might consist of a morning frap and an afternoon frap!

Then around 2000, my co-worker Deb, introduced me to the americano and it was over from there. We would go down to the little coffee cart at our building in the mornings and get a hot one, but once summer came I immediately started ordering them iced. I will say that a venti extra extra ice americano with 2 Splendas and a splash of half & half is my go to coffee beverage 9 months our of the year.


However, I do have other memories of phases that I went through in my own personal Starbucks evolution…

Like when my sister and I would carpool to work back in the day and grab 2 grande nonfat caramel macchiatos with extra vanilla for the road.

Or when we lived in Sunnyvale and I went through my tuxedo mocha {half regular mocha, half white mocha} stage.

At the holidays, of course, I get the pumpkin spice lattes and the peppermint white mochas.


It was fun to sit and reminisce about how my preferences have changed over the years.

How something as simple as a cup of coffee can conjure  up so many old, happy, fun memories.

How many times have we sat and shared a conversation over a cup of coffee or tea?

Sometimes the most simple things in life hold the fondest memories.

I will try to never forget that.

Stale Bread

Today Holden and I had a little morning adventure.

It hit me, after submitting his kindergarten registration papers to the office this week, that in just about 5 short months he will begin his academic career.

My baby will start kindergarten.

In 5 months.

5 months translates to about 2 weeks these days.


I have been stashing the old ends of the bread into the freezer for the past couple weeks for the sole purpose of taking him to sit and feed the ducks down at local Bridgeport Marketplace.

What could be simpler? Stale bread and a beautiful location just minutes from our front door.

As I sat and watched him jump and climb and search out the perfect spot to toss his ripped up bread, I recalled the days when my sister and I were children growing up in San Diego and my mom would take us to Vacation Village {now Paradise Point}. We would feed the ducks under the shade of a big tree and then walk up to the top of the tower and look out at the view and down at the guests splashing in the turquoise pool.


Sweet. Simple. Memories.

A Happy Meal for him, a 6″ tuna sub & raspberry iced tea for me…

…and stale bread for the ducks and pesky Canadian geese!

Sitting out in 80* weather in early March is such a treat.

I hope he enjoyed it as much as I did.

And as much as it hurts, I hope he enjoys kindergarten as much as I want him to.

Five years has gone by in a flash so I know 5 months will be here in the blink of an eye.

What happened?

We went from this…

To this…

Her very first girlfriend from 6 years ago, Charlotte.

Together again…if only for just 2 days.

So thrilled she is maintaining dear friendships from our Nor Cal days…I will do everything in my power to keep these friendships alive.


Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies ~ Aristotle

The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend ~ Henry David Thoreau


Tonight I had to go back and remember when Elliott was a newborn.

{3 weeks old}

Back before the word “NO!”, the sassiness {and I’m not talking about the good sassy, either}, the resistance, the “I hate you’s”, the storming upstairs, THE SPELLING TESTS.

Homework this week has been bad ~ especially THE SPELLING TESTS.

Yes, I am a spelling nazi and yes, I want a 100%…but at what cost.

Flying off the handle because she still can’t spell {immigrant} correctly after 4 nights is not the answer.

I need to do LOTS of praying to get through the next 11 and a half years of homework.

And I mean LOTS.

Homemade {Food Truck} Tacos

Korean tacos from the Kogi truck were Jay’s Father’s Day wish a couple years ago.

We checked Twitter and met the truck in Westwood for some Korean BBQ tacos that were out of this world.

Thanks to Pinterest, we can now make them at home.

I followed this recipe for the meat.

For the slaw, I just used one package of cole slaw mix and mixed it with the first five ingredients of this recipe and added a little squeeze of Sriracha. Let it sit and marinate for a couple hours and then get ready to build your tacos!

I used just under 3 pounds of meat {lean chuck roast} and cooked on low for about 8 hours…

These were to-die-for.

The meat and slaw would also be excellent in slider form or just pile a little meat on top of some slaw and call it a salad.

We don’t need no stinkin’ expensive gourmet taco truck!


One A Month ~ 2011 In Review

Last year I challenged myself to review the year with just one photo from each month. It was hard because there were so many picture perfect moments.

2011 was no different, but I was able to relive all beautiful memories month by month with just one picture….gotta play by the rules!

: January ~ Snow in Valencia! :

: February ~ Holden celebrated {4} with a trip to the local fire station :

: March ~ Elliott goes to cheer camp :

: April ~ Jay after mud run @ Lake Castaic :

: May ~ Elliott & friends hunting tadpoles at her 6th birthday party @ Placerita Canyon State Park :

: June ~ Last day of kindergarten :

: July ~ Summer vacation in Myrtle Beach with Lolo & Lola :

: August ~ HOT back-to-school days :

: September ~ First Padres game at Petco Park over Labor Day weekend :

: October ~ Annual Yosemite visit :

: November ~ Welcoming in the holiday season @ Disneyland :

: December ~ Chocolate overload @ m&m World in Vegas :


Twelve moments frozen in time.

Looking forward to many more of these happy times in {twenty twelve} whether they be digitally captured or just simple memories of the everyday.

Going Door-To-Door

Still don’t have plans for New Year’s, but want to get out and do something?

Why not coordinate a Progressive Dinner Party with a few neighbors on your street? That way you can ring in the new year with friends ON your street and not have to be out on the roads. We have done this the past two years and it works well {especially if you have kids}!

Just get three or four families that live on your street {or around the corner!} and assign one house to a cocktail and appetizer, the next to a soup or salad, then a main entree and the final house can be for dessert and some bubbly to ring in the new year!

I think it’s fun to do big punch bowls of pre mixed adult beverages and have a ladle handy for serving. That way, the host/hostess isn’t stuck mixing drinks all night.

Here are a couple options:

{Malibu Mimosa Punch}

1.75 liter Malibu Coconut Rum

1 liter Champagne

2 quarts Orange Juice

{recipe via}

{photo via}

Note: I have not actually tried this, but I wanted to include something with champagne ~ it IS New Year’s Eve after all. It does sound delish, though.

I have tried this Swamp Water for Halloween, but it is a great beverage to mix up ahead of time and ladle into a glass of ice. You could call it {Countdown Cocktail} or {New Year’s Electric Punch} or something more festive…


Here are a couple sangria options, as well…

Simply Citrus Red Wine Sangria


Citrus Ginger Sangria Blanca


Here are links to some of my favorite appetizers…

Jalapeño Popper Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Baked Brie With Roasted Garlic

If you want to make it more courses, serve up a simple soup or salad:

Black Bean & Salsa Soup

Blue Cheese Coleslaw

Make the main dish simple and {serve yourself}:

Taco Bar

Homemade Sloppy Joe Sliders

And you can’t forget dessert!

How adorable are these New Year’s Eve Midnight cupcakes?


Or a dessert pizza with Nutella & fruit?

Or how about some espresso brownies to help your guests stay awake until midnight?


So, go door-to-door this New Year’s Eve and you won’t have to worry about driving home!

Progressive dinners are lots of fun ~ hopefully you have awesome neighbors like we do.

Can you believe there’s just one and a half days left in 2011?

Get Crackin’

Every year while growing up, my grandmother {Gam} would bring beautiful Christmas crackers and place them at each table setting on Christmas Day. During dinner, we would pop them open and all the little trinkets would fly out ~ usually a tissue paper crown, a teeny tiny plastic toy of some sort and a little paper with words of wisdom or joke printed on it. We’d go around the table and share our cracker contents and don our flimsy paper hats or crowns.

{Christmas 2003}

Last week as I was killing time in HomeGoods, I spotted some gorgeous crackers with vintage paper ~ 12 for $7.99

{same brand, different design}

Eleven more days and we’ll once again be sitting around the table popping these open.

What about you…does your family have any traditions like this fun one which originated in the UK?


I have about four different shopping lists swimming around in my giant purse. I need to consolidate them all and get shoppin’! I really am looking forward to the moment when I can exhale, sit, relax and sip a coffee spiked with Kahlua Peppermint Mocha.

How is your holiday hustle coming along?


This weekend Jay moved over some old photos to our new computer.

Today I spent some time reviewing them.

And drying my eyes.

Where do the days, weeks & years go?

It kills me inside to look at these pics and almost {forget} them being this little.

{September 13, 2007 ~ 2 years, 4 months}

{September 15, 2007 ~ not quite 7 months}

A harsh reminder to CHERISH every day with them.

Time goes by too DARN fast.



On another note, I’ve been starting to meal plan more so I’m not left with those {it’s 4:00pm and I have no idea what I’m feeding my family for dinner} moments.

Here’s what’s on the menu for this week:

Monday: Leftover Pot Roast from the weekend {one pot meal since I add LOTS of veggies}

Tuesday: Leftover Chicken Enchiladas {recipe below} from the weekend & fruit salad

Wednesday: Mexican Lasagna & simple side salad with romaine, carrots, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers & dressing of choice

Thursday: Antipasto Chopped Salad

Friday: Leftover Mexican Lasagna w/ side salad

Saturday: Buffalo Chicken Salad

Sunday: Asian Turkey Meatballs w/ Lime Dipping Sauce

I stole this chicken enchilada recipe from my friend {and old neighbor}, Gina.

You’ll need the following: meat of one rotisserie chicken {shredded or chopped}, a 16 ounce container of sour cream, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, a small can of diced mild green chiles, black olives {optional}, grated cheese and flour tortillas.

Mix together sour cream, can of mushroom soup and can of chiles. Spread one side of a tortilla with the sour cream mixture, add some chicken down the middle, sprinkle cheese on chicken, add some olives at this point too, roll and place in your pan. Repeat until your pan is full. Spread the rest of the sour cream mixture over the rolled enchiladas and then sprinkle with more cheese and olives if you wish. Place in a 350* oven for 25-30 minutes. Makes about 8 enchiladas. Enjoy!

Thanks again, Gina! LOVE this recipe!