Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's that time of year...

...when all the email blasts come pouring into my inbox from my favorite retailers and I start drooling over the Christmas decorations. As if I don't have enough already. Here are a few of my favorites this year:
  1. Pirate Ship, Anthropologie $18 (I will be looking for this one to go on sale, it's so fairytale-esque!)
  2. Skating Sweater Kids, Crate & Barrel $23.80/set (I bet you can buy individually in-store as usual)
  3. Red Sock Monkey, Paper Source $6.95 (I've been wanting one of these monkey sock toys, I have no idea why)
Ornament collecting ideas:
  1. Host an ornament exchange Christmas party - My husband and I used to exchange tools [guys] & ornaments [ladies] at our annual Christmas party. Things get crazy when you let everyone pick from whichever category they like!
  2. Give a new ornament to your family members on Thanksgiving - My friend came up with this idea. She gives her parents and siblings a new ornament each Thanksgiving, isn't that fun?!
  3. Give each child a new ornament every Christmas for their collection - My mom did this just about every year and we all had our own Christmas popcorn tin that we kept them in. By the time I moved out, I almost had a tree full!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Quote of the Day

"When you're through changing, you're through." --Martha Stewart

Friday, October 2, 2009

Stuffed Peppers

Is it strange to love stuffed peppers? They are so simple and homely looking, but oh how I love them. They are hearty and flavorful. They are great leftovers, easy to transport to the office for the next day's lunch. A complete dish: protein, carbohydrate and vegetable. Here is how I like my peppers stuffed...

Stuffed Peppers
Serves 4-6
  • 4 bell peppers (red, orange or yellow)
  • 1 pound ground turkey or beef
  • 1-1/2 cups chunky, seasoned marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup white rice
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup white or crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup of water to a boil. Add rice and a pinch of salt. Cover pan and simmer for 15 minutes.

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil on high heat. Add ground meat and brown until no longer pink. Add mushrooms and onions, saute for 5 minutes longer until vegetables are cooked. Add marinara sauce and rice. Simmer for 10 minutes longer. Salt to taste.

Meanwhile, cut peppers lengthwise. Trim off stems, scrape out seeds and membranes. Place peppers in a large baking dish. Season the inside of peppers with salt.

Fill peppers with meat mixture. Top generously with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown and peppers are soft.

Tip: Green bell peppers produce a more bitter flavor, so I prefer the reds and yellows.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Best of Summer

[T-Street Beach, San Clemente, CA]

The best of summer is coming to an end. Be sure to soak it up while it lasts!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lemon Semifreddo

I hope you don't mind two recipes in a row. I've had some time off from work over the summer and have enjoyed some extra time in the kitchen. This recipe has been a hit at more than one girl's night at my house.

In Italian, "semifreddo" means "half-cold." This semi-frozen dessert is like an ice cream, but is less icy and dense. Both light and creamy, this dessert is a perfectly satisfying treat in summer. This is not a tart lemon dessert, but a sweet creamy dessert with a light, fresh lemon flavor. Please note this recipe must be prepared in advance.

Tip: If you don't care for lemon, this recipe could easily be prepared with orange juice, orange zest and orange liquor instead.

[Creamy lemon mixture]

Lemon Semifreddo
Makes 8 -1/2 cup servings or 4-1 cup servings.
  • 4 eggs yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 2 tablespoons limoncello (optional)

In a mixer, whisk egg yolks and sugar together until smooth. In a double boiler* bring water in bottom pan to a simmer. In the top pan of double boiler add egg mixture, 1/2 cup of the whipping cream, lemon juice, lemon zest and limoncello. Whisking constantly to prevent burning, cook mixture until pale and thickened, about 5 minutes. Pour mixture into a glass heat-proof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap by laying plastic wrap directly onto mixture to prevent a "skin" from forming. Refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours.

In a clean mixer, whip remaining 1-1/2 cups of whipping cream until stiff peaks form. In a separate large bowl, stir thoroughly 1/3 of whip cream with cooled lemon mixture. With a rubber spatula, fold in remaining 2/3 of whip cream. Spoon the mixture into individual ramekins and allow to freeze for 6-8 hours.

*If you don't have a double-boiler you can use a heat-proof glass bowl set over a saucepan of water. The bowl should not be touching water.

[Luscious homemade whipped cream]

[The alluring final result]

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tri-Colored Potato Salad

Over the Labor Day weekend, my man and I wanted to make potato salad for our BBQ. I'd never made potato salad before. It seems to be one of those dishes that is often bland and boring. But we put our tastebuds together and came up with this simple but tasty version. We were really happy with it. It was also really nice to make one dish ahead of time that was ready to serve right out of the fridge. I found a bag of red, gold and purple potatoes already packaged together at Trader Joe's - beautiful! Using a variety of potatoes adds an extra dimension both visually and texturally.
  • 3-4 pounds mixed baby potatoes (red, gold, purple)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons grainy deli mustard
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup diced dill pickle
  • Salt

Bring potatoes to boil in a large pot of water. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. (Note: You want the potato to slide easily off a fork when pierced but not so tender that the potato crumbles when pierced.)

Drain and rinse with cold water. Let stand until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Cut potatoes into bite sized chunks.

In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, and celery seed together. Pour dressing over potatoes. Add in onion and pickle. Toss gently. Salt to taste. Chill for 2 hours before serving.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mckena Landing

Mckena Landing quickly became our favorite beach in Maui this past May. On the remote southern end of the island, Mckena is south of Kihei. Its a small quiet beach and despite what some websites say, we found some great snorkeling there. Although you do need go out a bit to the edge of the cove to find anything. We discovered more sea turtles in this area than any of the other beaches we visited.

Mckena Landing is also a great kayak spot. We rented kayaks in Kihei, put them on top of the Jeep and took our own kayak trip in Mckena. This spot is a bit off the beaten path, and doesn't have any amenities which may be why it stays empty. So shhhh! Don't tell anyone!

For more information including directions, visit Hawaii Web

You may also like previous posts on Maui:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fruit Water

Lately my man and I (by the way, I've decided to start calling my husband "my man" instead of "hubby" - he hates that word) have been trying to drink more water at home. We have a bad habit of drinking ginger ale with dinner every night. So we agreed to start being positive about drinking water. Instead of saying, "I'll just have some water." as though we hate the thought (which we do) we say "I'd love to have some water. Water is good." (Insert sarcastic positivity where the italics are.) We are being facetious of course, but it makes it fun.

Our other part of this goal is to have fruit on hand to make the water more tasty and desirable, which has really helped us. We started out with orange slices. Then my mother-in-law recently served us water with strawberries and limes - even better! You can let your imagination run wild here.

What are your favorite fruit water combinations? Maybe something you've had at a spa?

Tip: Keep sliced fruit in a separate container in your fridge and add to water when you're ready to drink it. Keeping fruit in water for over a day can become bitter, cloudy and soggy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Maui Blow Hole

I never did finish the posts I had planned from our trip to Maui this past May. I wrote one post about our favorite food finds. But you don't really go to Maui for the food, well maybe you do. We love the beach, riding around all day in a Jeep with the top off, kayaking, snorkling and just discovering nature.

One of our highlights this visit, was a stop at the Blow Hole. The Blow Hole is an opening in a lava shelf where the ocean crashes right through! The hike from the road is stunning and it's a very interesting rocky area with beautiful views of the ocean. We had a great time waiting for the hole to blow and enjoying the views and rock formations. Kids will enjoy trying to get soaked by the water sprays.

Useful Information:

  • Wear tennis or hiking shoes, you will be hiking on rough lava rock
  • It's a steep climb and may be difficult with small children, pregnant women, anyone not comfortable with a bit of climbing
  • You may want to stay longer then you would expect so you can enjoy the area and views, we stayed about 2 hours
  • Visit this site for more info


  • Follow Highway 30 (Honoapi'ilani Highway) north from Kapalua
  • Look for Mile Marker #38, about 1/2 mile past the Mile Marker you will see a large dirt pullout along the ocean side of the road
  • From there you should be able to locate the trail down to the lava shelf

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Storing Tomato Paste

Have you ever noticed that when recipes call for tomato paste, they usually only require 1 tablespoon? So you have to open up an entire can for just one spoonful and then what?

I've seen tips on how to store leftover tomato paste. Such as filling up an ice cube tray, freezing it, then putting the cubes in a freezer bag. Too messy.

Or by placing spoonfuls onto a wax sheet lined cookie tray, freezing them and storing in a freezer bag. Not fast enough.

Here's my cheat. Spoon tomato paste onto squares of plastic wrap. Roll wrap tightly around paste to keep air out. Throw the little balls into the freezer and you're done!

The plastic wrap comes right off when you are ready to use the tomato paste. And so far I haven't found a recipe where I couldn't throw in a little frozen ball of tomato paste in and let it defrost as it cooks in. It does melt very quickly.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fresh Peach Pie

I CANNOT believe it's been over 3 weeks since I've posted! What I thought was a little bit of slacking off turned into a huge land slide. I hope you all have been enjoying your summer in the mean time.

Here is a little bit of summer for you today: fresh peach pie. This is one of those desserts that is so easy to make, and so full of summer goodness, I don't know why I don't make it more often.

You don't even need a recipe, just a few storebought items:
  • Frozen pie crust (I prefer Marie Callender's or Mrs. Smith's)
  • 5-6 large fresh peaches
  • 1 jar or container of peach pie glaze (found in produce section)
  • 1 lemon, juiced (this will keep the peaches from browning)
  • Sugar

Sprinkle one pie crust with sugar and bake according to package directions. Freeze remaining pie crust for a later use. Meanwhile, rinse and slice peaches. Toss in a large bowl with lemon juice. Then toss again with pie glaze. Refrigerate filling while pie crust bakes. Let pie crust cool completely before filling. Store pie in fridge covered in plastic wrap.

Strawberry Pie: Peaches and pie glaze can easily be substituted for strawberry

Monday, July 20, 2009

Quote of the Day

"A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world." --John le Carré, English author

There is a thought worth musing over. Of course, I spend most of my life at a desk.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tucany Painting

I am finally making progress on my Tuscany inspired painting! I started this painting at least *ahem* a year ago, if not longer! I was getting really frustrated with a patch of trees that I couldn't get right and gave up for a while. One of my summer goals is to complete it. I'll admit though, that it took finding these topiary trees to finally incentivize me. (why isn't "incentivize" a real word? we use it all the time at work. another one of those made up marketing terms i guess.)

Wish me luck, I'm hoping to finish it within a week! P.S. It's not an original painting of mine, I am copying something I saw at Crate & Barrel. I think I spent almost as much buying the art supplies as I would've just buying the painting. Sometimes doing it yourself doesn't really save money!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Nonna's Lasagna

My Nonna (Italian grandmother on my mother's side) sent me a wedding anniversary card a few weeks ago and included a handwritten recipe for her lasagna. Which oddly enough, I've never actually had. She doesn't make lasagna much that I can remember.

My grandparents immigrated here in the 50s and still don't speak English very well. The best part about this recipe is trying to read it. I'll give a prize to anyone who can translate it!

If I try and speak like my nonna, with her accent, it starts to make sense.

Here are a few clues:
  • Miad = meat
  • Pis = pieces
  • Ef = half

My favorite line though is the one she circled at the bottom of the page, "Eskius may rait" which translates to "excuse my writing". This one is a treasure.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I thought I had decided...

I thought I had decided...on which topiary I liked best for our fireplace mantle.

Now that I am looking at the photos again as I post them...

I'm not really sure! Which ones do you like? The scraggly rosemary ones, or the two "ball" mint ones? I thought the rosemary ones went better with my half painted Tuscan scene. The mint ones look a bit to groomed "English garden" to me.

I've been wanting topiaries for the mantle since we moved in three years ago! And I finally found some on sale at Crate & Barrel for only $15 each. Now I just have to choose...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Orange Cupcakes Two Ways!

Mmmm! These cupcakes are my favorite! I'm so excited to finally share them with you. Just looking at the picture makes me wish I had one here to eat. Pictured are cupcakes I made for my sister's baby shower. I made fresh orange cupcakes, two ways. One being my favorite Orange Chiffon Cupcakes - they taste just like Sprinkles cupcakes to me. Nice and dense, not too sweet. Then I made an Orange Chocolate cupcake for all the chocolate lovers.

Orange Frosting

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoon butter, softened (1/2 stick)
  • 2 tablespoon orange juice
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon milk or cream
Beat all ingredients with a mixer until smooth. Spread on cooled cupcakes with a table knife. Frosting may also be refrigerated and used the next day. To re-soften frosting, set out at room temperature for one hour. Then beat with mixer adding one tablespoon of milk at a time until frosting is smooth.

Glaze Option: Add more milk to frosting to thin down to a glaze type consistency.
Lemon: For lemon frosting, use lemon juice and zest instead of orange.

Orange Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • Eggs, according to package
  • Oil, according to package
  • Orange juice, instead of water according to package
  • 1 tablespoon orange liquor
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven according to cake mix package. Line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners. Set aside. Mix the chocolate cake mix according to the directions on the package. Substitute orange juice for water. Add orange liquor. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill cupcake tins 2/3 full. Bake according to package directions for cupcakes. Let cupcakes cool in pan for about 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Orange Chiffon Cupcakes

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons orange liquor
  • 1 cup half and half
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoon orange zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake tins with liners. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks with a mixer. Slowly add 1/3 cup of sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the cake flour, sugars, baking powder and salt with a whisk (to sift ingredients together). Add remaining ingredients and beat with mixer (using same beaters) until combined. Carefully fold egg whites into the batter. Fill cupcake tins til 2/3 full. Bake for approximately 18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in pan for about 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

: I like to use a ½ cup measuring cup to fill cupcake tins. That way I only have to scoop the batter once rather than spooning it in.

Lemon Cupcakes:
Use lemon zest and limoncello instead of orange zest and orange liquor.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pollo al Diavolo

This past weekend we were treated to an excellent homemade dinner by my brother-in-law. He made Mario Batali's roast chicken recipe listed below. Along with the chicken he roasted potatoes in the same pan and served them with a green salad and fresh sliced french bread. This is the kind of straight-forward, simple meal that you want to keep eating and eating.

The chicken was moist and very flavorful. The spicy oil gave it just enough spiciness to make it addicting, I wanted to keep eating it just to savor that oil flavor. He plated the chicken on top of the parsley salad listed in the recipe along with the chicken. The spicy oil from the chicken dripped onto the parsley salad giving it a little kick of it's own. The parsley salad was a little intense, but I really liked the freshness it added to the meal and it helped balance the spiciness as well. The spicy oil was a perfect condiment to roasted potatoes as well. I can't wait to try making this dish myself.

The Devil's Chicken by Mario Batali

Pollo al Diavolo

Makes 4 servings
The peppery seasoning of crushed black peppercorns and crumbled dried hot red chile peppers makes this dish SPICY. The Olio piccante or spicy oil really adds the bulk of the heat to this dish. Use the spicy oil to add zest to any dish!

One 2½- to 3-pound chicken, rinsed and patted dry
¼ cup freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 cup roughly chopped italian parsley
1 red onion, thinly sliced
12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
spicy oil for drizzling

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Truss it and brush with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Place on a rack in a roasting pan and roast until browned but only about half-cooked, about 40 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the ¼ cup black pepper, a pinch of salt, and the mustard and stir well. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, whisking until blended.
4. Remove the browned chicken from the oven and brush with the black pepper and mustard mixture. Return to the oven and continue roasting until the juices run clear when a thigh is pricked, about another 30 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes.
5. While the chicken rests, in a medium bowl, combine the parsley, onion, tomatoes, the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, the vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste and toss well.
6. Carve the chicken and arrange on serving plates. Drizzle with the pan juices and the spicy oil, top with the parsley salad, and serve immediately.

Spicy Oil
Olio Piccante

2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
8 jalapeños, seeded and cut into 1/8-inch dice
2 tablespoons hot red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sweet pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the oil, jalapeños, red pepper flakes, and pimentón and heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 175°F. Remove from the heat, and allow to stand overnight.
2. Strain out the solids from the oil. The oil will keep for 3 weeks in a cool, dark place.

Recipe Source: http://www.italiankitchen.com/recipes/devils_chicken.cfm

2005 Mario Batali from Molto Italiano
Photograph © Beatriz Da Costa

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Taste of Maui

We just got back from a wonderful family trip to Maui and I wanted to share some of our highlights with you in case you are planning a trip there as well. First and foremost, the food!

My husband and I love to enjoy vacation through food. Hawaii of course is filled with delicious fresh fish, pork tacos and exotic fruit. I also ate more than my fair share of cheeseburgers. Since we were on a tight budget we mostly ate at casual restuarants, but we still found some really tasty food.

Our favorites:

The Hula Grill - the Hula Grill will always remain our all time favorite restuarant. Since our honeymoon in Maui, we've often dreamed of going back just to eat at Hula Grill. The food is great, the service is excellent, but above all it's a beautiful plantation style restuarant on the beach in Kaanapali at Whaler's Village. There are two dining areas at the Hula Grill, the Barefoot Bar is an outdoor, cafe style menu that is more affordable. Here you can sink your toes into the sand underneath your table and enjoy live music from local bands each evening as you watch the sun set over the ocean and sip a Lava Flow. The Dining Room offers a traditional steak and seafood menu in a more formal dining atmosphere. Dinner at the Hula Grill is my idea of a perfect, relaxing evening in Hawaii.

Cheeseburgerland - this trip we discovered Cheeseburger Restuarants at the Shops in Wailea. I didn't think we were going to be able to afford a sit down lunch in this upscale shopping center, but low and behold the most fun looking restuarant was a cheeseburger joint! It's a little pricey for the menu items, but the food was great and the beachy, rock and roll atmosphere made it a really fun dining experience. They offer much more than cheeseburgers and fries so don't be turned off if you don't feel like a burger. I had an excellent chicken salad for lunch. The french fries are a must, I think they had the best fries I've ever had. Big potato wedges that were crispy on the outside and seasoned - yummy! There is also a location in downtown Lahiana that is on the water, but the restaurant itself isn't nearly as nice as the Wailea location. This is a great place to take the family or a large group.

Genki Sushi - for lunch one day we tried Genki Sushi and it was amazing! We enjoyed some of the best sushi we've ever eaten and the prices are very low. The two of us ate and ate: miso, edemame, teriyaki chicken, veggie roll, sushi roll and drinks for just over $20!

Local Food - don't overlook the fun local roadside food! One of our most fun meals was a roadside stop along the Hana Highway (before reaching the town of Hana). A little outdoor food marketplace was serving up homemade tacos. We had the slow wood fire roasted pork tacos topped with black beans, homemade salsa, cabbage and the local favorite sweet chili sauce. They also offered chicken and fish tacos. Other vendors were offering kabobs, hot dogs and roasted corn.

Grocery - be sure to check out the local favorites in the grocery stores. From the sweet chili sauce found in dishes island-wide to the coconut syrup served with your pancakes you'll find unique food discoveries at the grocery store too. My favorite, the Hawaiian Sun drinks. Local exotic fruit juices such as Passion Fruit are combined with pure cane sugar for the best canned drinks ever!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Shopping Tip for your Spice Rack

Growing up, it used to drive me crazy trying to find the right spice jar in our kitchen drawer that was filled with random jars and tins of spices. The one I needed was always way in the back. Now I keep a rotating spice rack, like this one at Target, on my kitchen counter. All the spices I use regularly are right at my finger tips when I cook and I can easily see when I am running low on something. I have also found that it is much cheaper to buy in bulk or loose form and fill these (gloriously matching!) jars myself.

For example, yesterday I bought a bulk container of Paprika at Smart & Final for under $4 and it will fill my spice jar at least 5 times. If I had just bought the brand name spice jar at the grocery store, I would have paid at least $4 to fill it once.

Where to buy:
  • Bulk contatiners of spices you use most often (garlic powder, parsley, bay leaves, paprika) at Costco or Smart & Final

  • Loose spices at Henry's market cost just cents on the dollar versus grocery store jars (you bag and weigh your own spices)

  • Cello bags of spices found in the International section of your grocery store or at Cost Plus
Tip: Use a funnel to get your spices into the jar

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Find of the Day

Perfect little porcelain condiment spoons from Crate & Barrel for just $1.50 each.

And I, um, already have bowls to match... (green one not pictured)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Crystal Cove Beach & State Park

Crystal Cove Beach is one of our very favorite beaches. It's a bit of a pain to get to (park across PCH and a long walk to the beach or pay $1 to take the bus down) but it is less crowded than most beaches and is always so pretty.

At the beach you can enjoy exploring the tidepools, go for a morning walk or just lay out and play in the water. At the State Park in the bluffs overlooking the beach you can take a nature walk, have a picnic lunch with a spectacular view or even bike the paved roads.

Parking is $10 at all of the Crystal Cove parking lots. Crystal Cove beach is located just south of Newport off of PCH.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Honey Pot

It's been a while since I've shared any fun dish findings with you. I love this Honey Pot from Anthropologie - it's just like Pooh Bear's! Scrawled out writing and all.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hiking in Laguna Canyon

So after almost 6 years (ahem!) of living in Orange County, my husband and I FINALLY went hiking in Laguna Canyon. I still can't believe it took us so many years to get around to checking this activity off my mental list. The one time we did go try and do this hike, the trail was closed from too much rain! Ha - just my luck too!

The park is called the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. We parked in the Willow Canyon Staging Area right on Laguna Canyon Road just below El Toro. It was a beautiful hike, especially right now during the springtime while the grasses are still green. I'm sure it gets pretty dried up in the fall. There isn't much shade at all on these trails so I'd recommend going early in the morning or on a cool day. The trail is also very steep in some places, so no strollers, pregnant women, young children or people not strong enough get in gear and attack steep slopes.

Bring plenty of bottled water too. We thought we were just going for a little hour long hike, but you could go on for hours! We lasted for about 3 hours on my half drunk iced coffee. The views kept getting more and more beautiful that we hated to stop going and turn around. We did finally get to see the ocean as well.

P.S. Don't pick the flowers. Or even a flower! I picked one teensy flower along the trail at the top of the world, with no one around, and stuck it in my hair and the park ranger actually pulled her pick up truck over along the trail to stop and tell me to leave it there so it can reseed more flowers...for goodness sakes! At least I didn't leave my Starbucks cup up there!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Baby Shower Season: Invitations

Six of my friends are expecting this year! It's baby shower season for me. Is it baby shower season for you too? Several showers are on the horizon including one for my sister. She's expecting the first baby in my family! The little guy is supposed to arrive in August so her shower is coming soon.

With such a baby shower flurry, I thought I'd do a series on "Baby Showers" for you. First stop, invitations!

My sister's nursery theme is the Jungle and I found these perfect Jungle Boy invitations for her shower! When looking for invitations, my first stop is to peruse my favorite paper websites. I like to look through these websites to find ideas if I'm going to make invitations by hand, a ready-made invitation to purchase and print at home, and even ideas for how to word invitations.

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