Tuesday, August 23, 2011

pillow pet love, disney style

Could they be any cuter?

(Photo taken with Instagram - love that Apple app!)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

a surprise for me!

Look what I got in the mail!

Unexpectedly, I received this awesome keychain from the San Diego Zoo today.  I thought it was some more nonsense Matt bought that was being delivered but it was a package for me! :D  A few weeks ago, I donated to Yun Zi’s Wish List gift for a tree (my second time donating to the Wish List; I made a donation in Matt’s name for a marmoset snack toy a few months ago) and got not only a lovely e-mail a few weeks ago thanking me for my donation but now, I received this surprise treat!

This keychain used to be an enrichment item for a San Diego Zoo critter, and now it’s been recycled into a keychain for me!  How cool is that??  As if I wasn’t obsessed enough with the Zoo before, now I have a piece of it here with me!  I wonder what animal used my enrichment piece…there sure are a lot of scratch and gnaw marks, heehee.

I think it’s time to donate another amount in Matt’s and Daf’s names now!  Heehee.

You can donate here and wish Yun Zi a very happy birthday month! :D

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

teeny-tiny mochimochi

Have I ever told you about my love for mochimochi?  Anna is this amazingly creative knitter who makes these awesome knitted toys, her mochimochi.  I first discovered her when looking at books in Borders (RIP Borders, sigh) and I saw (and subsequently bought) her first Knitting Mochimochi book.  Then I found out about her awesome website and blog where I could purchase even more adorable patterns.  And Anna is a total sweetheart!  Between the awesome knitted monsters of Rebecca Danger and Anna's adorable Mochimochi, I knew I had to learn how to knit just so I could make some of these adorable new friends!  

Admittedly, my knitting is still in its early stages and I find that I'm just learning as I go.  But one day I hope to make all of the great patterns I've collected from all of these talented ladies.  I used to think crochet was really tough, too, and now it's a breeze, so I hope I'll be equally good at knitting before I know it!  You know how I love me some cute handmade critters.  Anna's designs are super adorable and whimsical - where else can you find patterns for all sorts of cute animals and, oh I dunno, a happy toilet?  Love them all!  (Reading her old posts about all the cute stuff in Japan makes Matt and I want to go, you know how we love us some claw machines and the prizes overseas are WAY better than the stuff we get here.)

Anna's been challenging herself to make tiny knitted items through the years and that's the theme of her newest book (pictured above) which came out yesterday!  I've been waiting for months for it to come out and was *thrilled* to see that the book even includes her pattern for tiny monkeys.  AND they're clutching tiny bananas!  How cute is that??  I was considering picking up the book at Barnes & Noble last night but decided instead to buy from Anna directly so I could get an autographed copy.  Unfortunately, she lives in NY so I wouldn't be able to make it to a book signing so this is the next best thing.  I can't wait until my book comes so I can check out the rest of the patterns and jump back into knitting!  Maybe these tiny mochimochi will be just the thing to get me going so I can soon be drowning in a sea of knitted fun! :)

(Have I mentioned lately just how much I love crafty cute things?)

never-ending weekend fun

Do you ever have one of those weeks that seem to blend right into the weekend and then blend into the new week before you know it?  Last week felt like one of those weeks!  Work was super busy during the week but it turned into no rest for the weary as there was a lot of nonstop fun during the weekend as well.

On Saturday, Matt decided it would be a great idea to hop on up to Fresno for that night's Fresno Grizzlies baseball game.   I was really tempted not to go as Fresno is three hours away, yeesh.  But it's pretty lame not to do stuff together even if it's crazy, right?  So we rented a car for the day and headed up at 1:30 p.m. for that night's game.  On the way up, we hit a snag in the plans when the 5 N halted at a dead stop because a semi carting new cars was ON FIRE on the freeway.  We could see the thick black smoke from afar and knew we were in trouble as we got closer.  Thankfully, the fire was contained fairly quickly and we were on our way soon enough although on reduced-down-to-one-lane traffic.  It was pretty crazy to drive past the mess - the front half of the truck was intact but the back half was burned from the inside out and you could see all the new cars inside.  Or, err, what was left of them.

The rest of the trip was uneventful and the game turned out to be pretty fun.  It wasn't too crowded so we got to sit in our section in peace.  At one point, they did a segment from the local ABC sports broadcast and I realized the sportscaster was one of my USC journalism classmates!  I completely forgot he worked in Fresno and it was cool to see and hear him being a pro.  I got a stuffed animal of the mascot Parker (he's a bear, obviously) to add to my mascot collection and they even had this awesome plush hat of his head/face that I bought and wore in the car on the way home, haha.  12 hours after leaving home, we made it back, definitely exhausted.  Phew!

On Sunday, we headed out to the house of my big boss for a firm BBQ/pool party at his house in Long Beach.  The whole staff was invited, as well as families and significant others.  Most of my co-workers were there and it was pretty fun.  Of course, the community is a gated community so when we pulled up, I had to give our info to the guard on duty and when she gave us the parking pass, Matt noticed that she had written 'Mr. Ho' on the pass (since he was driving).  Say what?  Ok then.  Only a few kids got in the pool and the rest of us relaxed at tables set up around the pool.  The weather was nice so it worked out, and it was nice to meet some of the spouses and significant others of some of my co-workers.  The food was typical fare (burgers, hot dogs) and some tasty bits like fresh guacamole and homemade macaroni and cheese.  Yum.

Afterwards, we headed to California Adventure/Disneyland since we were close and the weather was nice.  We first snagged a snack of mozzarella sticks and beverages at the bar in Rainforest Cafe beforehand.  The crowds weren't too bad and we got to enjoy a lot of different rides at California Adventure.  We did Silly Symphony Swings twice (which Matt had never done before even when it was the Orange Stinger), Goofy Flying School (re-done from Mulholland Madness), Golden Zephyr, Jumpin' Jellyfish, and although the Little Mermaid ride was closed at first, we happened to walk right up when it was just re-opening so we just about walked right on.  That's never happened before!  Much like my sister said, the ride has its creepy moments, like Ariel looking and dancing crazed in the 'Under the Sea' room, and the ending was somewhat abrupt as far as wrapping up the story, but some of it was cute, especially the depictions of Sebastian and the music.  I'm glad we did it but I can't say it would be worth waiting in a long line.

We zipped over to Disneyland for a short while after, so we could do Buzz Lightyear (as pictured above).  Don't you love my classic dumb-founded open-mouthed face?  Haha.  Matt was really proud of his score because he achieved it legitimately (the ride never stopped anywhere) and he hit a spot on Zorg that got him uber points.  He was really excited.  I'm just happy we got the picture this time, I don't always get it when I send it to myself, boo.  I picked up some freshly made pecan nuttles (aka pixies) when we were leaving afterwards, too.  I've been craving those things for a while but they haven't been making them!  But, mmm tasty.

I even found the Tigger pillow pet on the way out to add to my collection.  (Of course I failed to take any pics...pfft, I've been so bad about this lately.)  A few weeks before, I found the Pluto pillow pet which I had been trying to find for a while, and this week, I noticed that of the Pluto, Eeyore and Tigger pillows, only Tigger was left!  So glad I got Pluto the last time.  But I love 'em to death, they're so cute and soft, heehee.  A Jamba Juice on the way out and Taco Bell for dinner and the night (and weekend) were complete.  Exhausting! 

I still have pics to take and a post to make of my goodies from Renegade LA, and still have pics for a post about our trip to the East Coast to Virginia Beach, etc.  Super behind, I know.  Just trying to get back on my feet, I suppose, especially after all this craziness! 

Monday, August 8, 2011

cooking mama

Have you ever played the game Cooking Mama?  It's this ridiculous video game where the main character cooks up dishes and you get scores as you help to 'prep' all the ingredients and follow the recipes until you complete the dish.  It's awesomely kawaii and fobby and I turned my sister onto it not so long ago (or so it feels) and we cracked up endlessly.  Especially when we'd mess up the recipes and Cooking Mama would get upset with us and have flames in her eyes :)  Don't worry, Mama will fix it!

I've felt a bit like Cooking Mama lately, which isn't such a bad thing.  And no, no flame eyes for me - Cooking Mama would be proud of my dishes I think!  I forgot how much I've missed cooking! Here's what I've been making (some are from this weekend and some are from the past couple of weeks):

New York Times' easiest macaroni and cheese.  I read about this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and had to try it for myself!  It really was easy especially since you don't have to pre-boil the macaroni and I ate the leftovers for days.

Pepperoni pizza.  Well, obviously, this was for Matt.  I used the pizza dough from Trader Joe's as a base, then used their pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and gourmet pepperoni.  Did you know Trader Joe's sells pepperoni?  I like that they also seriously call it 'gourmet pepperoni.'  I think Matt liked the pizza a lot, he ate 5 pieces, haha.

Mini corn dogs!  I saw this recipe from The Cooking Bride and as lovers of corn dogs, I had to try it out.  It was really easy, fried up in a cinch, and they were SO good.  Crunchy and slightly sweet - totally delish.  We were happy campers that night :)

And this lovely banana bread.  As you may know, I *love* Mel's Kitchen Cafe blog since every recipe I've tried (and I've tried a LOT) is easy and turns out wonderfully delicious!  I've made this banana bread a few times and I was in a baking mood so it was a no brainer.  My bananas seemed a little small, so I ended up using 4 bananas instead of 3 as called for in the recipe.  It was as delicious as it looks.  

I also made butter chicken (or chicken tikka masala) again using this recipe for inspiration but I changed up a lot of the ingredients and the method.  Of course, I forgot to take any pictures of it in my hurry to eat the deliciousness, but trust me that it was good!  I used my food processor to really blend up the onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapenos so my sauce wouldn't be chunky.  And I usually use tomato sauce rather than diced tomatoes to make it smooth and saucy.  Perfect to use naan to sop it all up!  Also, I don't broil the chicken with yogurt beforehand, just plopped chicken chunks into the sauce and simmered away.  And to keep the sauce from being watery, I just topped with cilantro on my plate rather than mixed it all in.  

Tasty treats!  Looking forward to making some other goodies soon :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

crafty monkeys

Check out this adorable monkey print fabric I bought last weekend.  What do you I should make with it?

How about new kitchen curtains?  I sewed them on my sewing machine on Saturday night.  I bought some remnant fabric (muslin) to add as backing to each side to double up the fabric and add to the thickness.  Love the Joann's remnants section!  You can find some super finds sometimes of scraps of fabric that are all half off the original price.  The muslin worked perfect - although I took these pics at night so they're not so great (sorry), I noticed on Sunday that the combination of fabrics were light enough to let some pretty sunlight shine through still.  Adorable!  My sewing machine started acting up after I added more thread onto the bobbin so the right curtain is a little rough around the edges, but it still looks pretty good anyway!  The curtains hang from a tension rod and from curtain clips, both purchased at Target.  I sewed the curtains without a pattern, just from an idea in my head.  Not too shabby, huh?

It was super fun to be able to be crafty again and although I was rusty on the sewing machine, I was impressed I haven't forgotten the basics of how to thread the needle, etc.  I'd really love to keep a goal of working on/making a crafty thing each week.  Not a huge project, just small things...and fun.  I wonder what my next project will be?  I'm thinking it'll be something knitting related - I must practice and learn how to knit!  There are so many cute things to make :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

life back on track

Things have been unfortunately busy which has not helped the whole slew of photos I still need to upload off my camera and blog posts that still need to be written.  Food has been cooked, adorable purchases were made, and places have been visited - yet I haven't had the chance to write about any of them!  I'm planning for a big crafty weekend and staying home to relax, so hopefully updating everything at that time.  I'll also want to sew up some new curtains with adorable monkey fabric I purchased last weekend, work on some plush (hello, Angry Birds!), do a little more de-cluttering, and hopefully print out some pictures for my office and practice some knitting.  Phew!  It really stinks when there's so much you want to do and just not enough time (or energy) to do it in.  Lately I've been feeling pretty inspired, too, but I just can't find the time to get my act together.   I can't wait to get caught up on everything...and life in general.