Sunday, December 28, 2008

Our Little Old Man

Our friends from Germany sent us this little wooden man for Christmas, isn't he adorable? His pipe actually smokes too! It came with a box of little cones of incense that you place in his pipe, light, and he smokes! Such a cute little old man ;)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Printable Holiday Gift Tags

Check it out! My friend at Double-Sided Tape posted a listing of FREE Printable Holiday Gift Tags! Just print one of the free downloads she found on cardstock paper, cut out, and attach to your gifts with double sided appropriate! Happy wrapping!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Him

Trying to figure out what to stuff in his stocking? Here are some ideas to get you going...
  • Gum
  • Seasonal candy, movie sized candy box
  • Trail mix, energy bars
  • Tins of flavored peanuts or almonds
  • Hot sauce
  • Gourment snacks
  • $5-15 gift cards: iTunes, In N Out, Best Buy, Home Depot, Sport Chalet
  • Movie tickets
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Pocket knife
  • Corkscrew, bottle opener
  • Baseball
  • Nerf football
  • Golf items: golf balls, golf tees, golf towel, divet tool, ball bag
  • Fishing supplies: lures, bait, hooks, line, weights
  • Camping accessories: compass, first aid kit, poncho, tin cup, utility knife
  • Small tools: screwdriver, measuring tape, wrench, pliers, stud finder
  • Flashlight
  • Deck of playing cards
  • Poker chips
  • Gaming accessories
  • Calculator
  • USB drive
  • Rubik's cube
  • Hacky sack
  • Travel games
  • Wood airplane gliders
  • Wool socks
  • Cologne
  • Shoe horn, shoe polish
  • Wallet
  • Money clip
  • Keychain
  • Sunglasses case
  • CDs

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Her

Ladies - you may want to forward this posting along to your husbands/boyfriends to give them some ideas! Ideas for Him coming tomorrow...
  • Gum, mints for purse
  • Seasonal candy, movie sized candy boxes
  • Trail mix, energy bars
  • Gourmet snacks
  • Specialty chocolates, small box of See's
  • Large peppermint stick
  • Tea bags in travel tin, tea infuser
  • Small coffee pouches
  • Gourmet hot cocoa
  • Lip balm, lip gloss, eye shadow
  • Purse sized hand lotion
  • Face mask
  • Hair clips, headbands
  • Nail polish, nail clippers, nail files
  • Tweezers
  • Travel mirror
  • Travel sized toiletries
  • Purfume
  • Luggage tag
  • Keychain
  • Watch
  • Sunglasses case
  • Earrings, bracelet, necklace
  • Tights
  • Socks
  • Scarf, mittens, beanie
  • Christmas ornament
  • Wine stopper
  • Small cooking tools: cookie cutters, measuring spoons, spatula, hand juicer, grapefruit spoons, cheese knives, spice grater
  • Small gardening tools: hand trowel, knee pad, flower seed packets, shears
  • Sewing notions: scissors, tape measure, seam ripper, thimble
  • Scrapbook supplies: pinking scissors, paper punches, brads, colored pens, rubber stamps
  • Trendy designed office supplies
  • $5-$15 gift cards: iTunes, Starbucks, Target, Golden Spoon, Pinkberry, Corner Bakery
  • Note cards, thank you cards, note pads, magnetic fridge pads
  • Scented tea light candles
  • Coin purse
  • Pocket calendar

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Things to Love about the Christmas Season...

...Disneyland decorated for Christmas. The Christmas lights on It's a Small World are just incredible!

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Perfect Mac and Cheese

Well I just couldn't take it anymore, I had to have homemade mac & cheese. There was buzz around the office last week about making mac & cheese for Thanksgiving. Why don't we have mac & cheese on Thanksgiving? As I excitedly made my sinful dinner, I thought it would be fun to share a post on how to make it.

But if you don't like to cook, I highly recommend Trader Joe's 4 cheese mac & cheese. It's in the freezer section, and it's phenomenal. Maybe you should stop reading this post and go out and buy it right now. It really is that good. I keep one on hand in my freezer in case I get a craving.

Here's how to make my favorite mac & cheese...

Mac & Cheese
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2-1/2 cups milk
  • 1-1/2 pounds Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 pound dry elbow macaroni
  • 3/4 cup Panko or plain dry bread crumbs*
  • Cayenne pepper**
  • Salt

*Panko is a Japanese bread crumb, look in the Asian section of supermarket
**If serving to children or guests, don't make dish too spicy

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Bring a large pot of water to boil for macaroni. Generously butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish.

While water is boiling, melt 3 tablespoons of butter on low heat in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat for 2 minutes, whisking constantly until lightly browned. Ensure mixture does not burn.

Add the milk and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly until thickened, about 3 minutes. Add mustard. Add cayenne to taste. Stir in cheese and cook over low heat, stirring until melted. Salt to taste.

Cook macaroni until al dente. Drain well. Return macaroni to the pot. Add the cheese sauce and stir until combined. Spread the macaroni in prepared baking dish.

In a small glass bowl, melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in microwave. Add breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, stir until moistened. Sprinkle mixture over macaroni.

Bake for 45 minutes or until it's reached perfect bubbly yumminess. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with a light salad so you feel better about all these cheese you're about to enjoy! You can also easily cut this recipe in half if needed.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Cottage Restaurant

So I forgot to include a very important part of my Saturday Morning post: yes the breakfast is great at the Cottage! We've had breakfast there several times and the food is always tasty and fresh. The egg scrambles and eggs benedict are very good. They have great bacon too - mmm cooked just right, a little cripsy but not burnt.

The prices are a couple dollars higher per plate than Coco's or Mimi's but the food is better and the portions are large, plus you're at the beach! If you sit inside, it can get noisy as the tables are a bit crowded and the floors are wood. The little indoor porch is a nice area to sit if you don't want to be outside.

We also noticed this time that they have a few parking spots behind the restaurant in the alley. Now we know to check there first before we search for a metered spot on the street.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Item of the Day

We started decorating for Christmas this weekend and I wanted to share my favorite new item: a remote control for Christmas tree lights! Our tree is in a corner where it is difficult to plug in the lights so I went to Target and found this remote control device for only $10. (I couldn't find it on so I found this version at Amazon so you could see what it looks like.) You plug the device into the wall, plug your Christmas lights into the device, and wha-la! lights turn off and on at the click of a remote control!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Saturday Morning

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and was able to take some time to relax. The weather was beautiful here in South Orange County on Saturday and my hubby & I got to get out and enjoy some of it. We had breakfast on the patio garden at The Cottage in Laguna Beach (on the corner of PCH and Aster/Cliff drive) and then went for a walk along the Laguna Bluffs (off of Cliff Drive). We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place where you can enjoy these type of activities this time of year. Every time we take advantage of it, we wonder why we don't go more often!

If you don't normally get down to the beaches in winter, November/December is actually a great time to go have breakfast or lunch outdoors and go for a walk on the weekends. The sky is usually clear this time of year (less morning fog) and there are less crowds.
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