Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Noah-The-Pooh Discovers "Dick and Jane"


Last year Noah-the-Pooh and I started our homeschooling adventure. Of course one of the measures of my success was teaching my little guy to read. We're doing it the old fashion way with phonograms and such, but it was still a slow go. He's quick in science and math, but struggles with reading.

I promised him that I would find the book that I learned to read from "Fun With Dick & Jane". I asked around at teacher stores and at the the library. Everyone gave me blank stares. Has the world forgotten Dick & Jane?

Well my sweet mama remembered. She gave Noah-the-Pooh a whole collection of Dick & Jane stories called The Storybook Treasury of Dick and Jane and Friends for Christmas and he can't stop reading it!

He is just so thrilled that he can read this big book all by himself that he actually told me "mama, you should write about this book on your blog. Everyone should have this book!". How sweet is that?
Now I know your probably wondering why I didn't search on Amazon. The truth is I don't know why. If I did I would've found a slew of Dick & Jane books at killer prices!

Here are some more Dick & Jane books you may like:

Oh how wonderful it is that Noah-the-Pooh and I can share the memory of learning to read with Dick & Jane.
Do you have memories of having fun with Dick & Jane?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Food That Sticks To Your Ribs

On my last post I kinda' teased you about my yummy Sweet Bourbon Ham, Green Beans With Hickory Smoked Bacon and my newest edition, Fantasia Cheesecake. The first 2 dishes have been a holiday tradition for several years while the Fantasia Cheesecake was new this year and has been a HUGE hit. My family has already requested this for New Years!

I prefer to save some dishes, like the ham, for special occasions. I think it adds to specialness of the dish, plus it helps to solidify the connection between happy memories and family holidays.

Here's a little background on the dishes. My Sweet Bourbon Ham was inspired by a recipe by Chef Alton Brown (well technically his aunt), to which I tweaked just a bit to give it an extra sweetness and tang. My Green Beans With Hickory Smoked Bacon was inspired by my sisters recipe, which again, I fudged a little to take it to the next level of heavenly.

The Fantasia Cheesecake comes from a cookbook full of recipes from the makers of happy memories, Disneyland And Disney World! This perfect cheesecake is served at the Plaza Inn on Main Street, USA in Disneyland (I can actually hear the fireworks from Disneyland as I write this post!) I love it for it's ease and my family loves it because it's SO DELICIOUS!

So next time you want to make some yummy comfort food that really sticks to the ribs, try these 3 winning recipes!
Click to play this Smilebox recipe:

Click to play this Smilebox recipe: Fantasia Cheesecake

Click to play this Smilebox recipe: Green Beans with Bacon


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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cherished Childhood Memories {12/24/09} plus 1 more

Hooray for Christmas! Usually I'm running around like a mad woman trying to get everything baked, kids ready and myself ready to rush over to my mother-in-laws house. My Hunny usually works Christmas eve in the morning so i have to do this all myself. But this year...aaahhh, my Hunny is home, the kids are clean and dressed, my in-laws will be coming over to our place this year and I've cut down on the cookin' and bakin'. I'm making my famous Sweet Bourbon Ham, Fantasia Cheese Cake and Green Beans with Hickory Smoked Bacon. I usually only make these dishes for Thanksgiving and Christmas so my family is very excited. I'm taking pictures to share the recipes with you next week!
Now on with this weeks Cherished Childhood Memory...
When I was 10yrs old, my family had fallen into hard times. Being that I was just a child, I didn't really know what was going on. I just saw that our home seem to have some furniture missing and the Christmas tree wasn't put up that year. My mom then told my sisters and I that we could not afford any presents that year. We were heartbroken, but we understood the hardship.
We weren't completely empty handed, we did get some gifts from my extended family and from my dad and step-mom.
The morning after Christmas, my mom was mysteriously missing. When she came home she called us to the nearly empty living room and handed us each a large plastic bag. She had managed to scrape up some money and went shopping in the wee hours of the morning. She had no time to wrap, so she just had the bags stapled on top.
In my mind I remember the bag full of clothes, but it probably had just few garments that my mom lovingly chose for me. My most favorite item was a beautiful, silky, pink bra. It looked much to delicate and fancy to give to a girl that just started wearing bra's, but she gave it to me anyway.
My sisters and I were so grateful for the sacrifice my mom and step-dad made to bring a Christmas smile to our faces. I know I'll cherish that memory forever.
Have a Merry Christmas Vintage Mama's!
Take lots of pictures and journal those memories!


Remember last week when I told you about my cousins and I doing the Sound of Music? Well here's a pic! My cousin on the right is Captain Von Trapp, greeting "Froline Maria" in the middle and "Baroness Schrader" looking lavish at the far right. And whose that cute-as-a-button little girl in the middle? Why that's me playing Gretl!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

50 Fun Things To Do On Rainy (or Snowy) Days


Believe it or not, southern California is not always a sunny 76 degree. We've been having quite a few rainy, chilly days this past week, which means no park days and not much visiting with family. But I have to keep my 3 rascally boys busy with something or else they will find something to stay busy with (last time it was breaking crayons). Here's your idea's list to make beautiful rainy day memories! Download a printable pdf here. Don't forget to keep your camera handy!
  1. Build a fort or clubhouse out of sheets
  2. Play with play dough (you can make the play dough from scratch for an additional activity)
  3. Make rice crispy treats
  4. Watch a movie. Don't forget hot chocolate with giant marshmallows
  5. Play freeze dance
  6. Cut out snow flakes and hang them from the ceiling
  7. Do a fashion show
  8. Have a tea party
  9. Play dress up with vintage mama and daddy's Sunday best
  10. Spread your fluffiest blankets and pillows on the floor to roll around in and snuggle (and perhaps the kiddies will nap!)
  11. Write a book of poetry (yes I actually did this as a child! If you're nice I may even share one of my poems...)
  12. Write a book or a play
  13. Do origami
  14. Play Olympics (trust me, it's a lot more fun then it sounds)
  15. Sew clothes for dolls
  16. Do a photo shoot (I'll have to scan pictures of the photo shoots my sister and I did as kids)
  17. Puzzles
  18. Hide n' seek
  19. Bible study
  20. Make a map and play treasure hunt
  21. Look at photo albums
  22. Take a bubble bath
  23. Try to break a Guinness world record
  24. Play beauty salon
  25. Play fitness trainer or boot camp
  26. Do a parade
  27. Make tin can telephones
  28. Work on a model car, plane, ship, etc.
  29. Roast marshmallows
  30. Karaoke
  31. Paint a picture
  32. Make macaroni jewelry
  33. Color a coloring book
  34. Play with Lego's
  35. Make s'mores
  36. Read a favorite book
  37. Do a puppet show
  38. Do a pots and pans rock band
  39. Do a magic show
  40. Create a dance routine
  41. Play board games
  42. Make a rocket or car out of a large cardboard box
  43. "Make" clothes out of rolls of fabric (It's really more like wrap yourself in the fabric, but it's so much fun!)
  44. Play restaurant. Don't forget to make a menu!
  45. Make paper dolls
  46. Bake cookies and decorate them
  47. Camp out indoors
  48. Play charades
  49. Give each other facials
  50. Recreate favorite movie scene's and post them on youtube

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our Christmas Scrapbook 2009

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook:

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

What I Learned From A Rat; The Power Of Comfort Food

I was wrapping Christmas presents watching one of my favorite Disney movies Ratatouille
which of course got me to thinking about food, specifically comfort food for children. In today's overweight population (ahem, finger pointing at myself), we tend to want to steer away from using food for comfort. To this I say nonsense! There's no fighting it, delicious food combined with happy memories brings comfort and that's the way the good Lord meant it to be.

Check out this clip from the movie that captures that lovely, joyous feeling that only comfort food can inspire. If you haven't seen the movie, the grim, lanky looking man is a hard to please food critic, Ego, who is about to taste a dish prepared by Remy, a chef and rat.
*turn down the music at the bottom of the page before playing clip


>

Wow! Powerful isn't it? Food, just like scents and music, is so powerfully connected to our memory that just one bite can bring joy, delight, euphoria and peace.
Some of my favorite childhood comfort foods are my mama's broccoli casserole, my abuelita's Mexican rice, my step mom's lasagna.

I asked my Hunny and Noah-the-Pooh what their favorite comfort foods that I make for them are and they chose meatloaf, sweet onion chicken, coconut chicken soup and split pea soup. Did you notice that sweets are missing from the list of comfort food. I was just as surprised. Oh yes sweets do bring plenty of comfort (the pooch on my belly is proof of that), is seems that any dish, including vegetable dishes, can be a comfort food.

On that note, I want to introduce a new category dedicated to bringing you recipes and inspiration to create wholesome, delicious comfort food for your family.

What are some of your favorite childhood comfort foods?
How about your family's favorite comfort foods?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Vintage Scrapbooking Links

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I've been scrapbooking with the Tea Time Scrapperz (that's what we call our little club, tee hee), for about 8 years now. I'm embarrassed to say that I have been working on the the same 3 albums for those 8 years and I am nowhere nearly done. I haven't even started my wedding album! Ahhh!

Well you know mama, it's tough to get around to scrapbooking when you have to nurse, dig crayons out of mouths and referee a wrestling match between the boys. But sometimes we just have to let those dishes pile up, let the kids stay in jammies and watch cartoons all day, put on some Billie Holiday and get scrappin'. Here are some lovely scrapbooking links to get you in the mood!
Vintage Scrapbooking Heaven ~ The name really says it all! Plus is has link for tons of free downloads
Scrapbook Elements ~ Gorgeous heirloom style digital layouts.
Premade Pages by Nycole ~ This etsy seller has beautiful handcrafted, premade layouts for the busy mama (my aunt made me for my last baby shower. they make it so easy!)
Heartspeak ~ Another etsy seller. She makes cute, chipboard albums. All you have to do is trim the photos to fit the page and your done!
Vintage Collage for Scrapbooking - Beautiful idea book!
Shabby & Beyond Scrapbooking Ideas - Another great source of inspiration!

Cherished Childhood Memories {12/18/09}



Merry Christmas fellow vintage mama's! I hope everyone is having a fabulous December full of classic carols and vintage angels. I've been just as busy, not only with the usual Christmas hullabaloo, but also mulling over my goals for my blogs. This is part of the reason I haven't been posting as much (the other is that I'm a busy mama!). My vision is definitely become clearer and I am so excited, thrilled and even a little scared. I appreciate your patience and I promise that I won't disappoint!

I have some fun, new projects I'm working on as well for my blogs, one of which I'm debuting now!

Cherished Childhood Memories is a series were I will be sharing with you some of my most precious memories from my own childhood or my children's every Thursday. I invite you to share your own cherished memories about childhood as well in the comments below. I look forward to reading them!

In my post about our Fancy Nancy party, I told you a bit about my artsy, eccentric family. One of my fondest memories of my eccentric family is when we did "The Sound of Music" for Christmas. Oh, honey it was incredible!

I was about 7 years old when my cousins and I put on a fantastic show for our parents. I was the youngest so they pretty much handled most of the details while I concentrated on learning my lines and music. My older sister and cousins created programs, painted backgrounds, shopped thrift stores for costumes, and even choreographed dance routines...it was a production!

It was so much fun! My family still talks about how proud they were of us. I wish I had some pictures to share. I'll ask around during Christmas with my family to see if anyone has some. We actually did several plays and even some dance routines throughout my childhood. I share more of them later!
Share your Cherished Childhood Memory below!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Treats and Fun


Here some idea's to put an extra bright smile on your little ones faces for Christmas:

When it's time to go buy the Christmas tree, stay behind and have some hot chocolate and freshly baked cranberry muffins waiting for them when they return.

Have commercial free holiday music playing in the background all day long (try iTunes radio or music on demand via cable or satellite).

Have some freshly mulled apple cider (or apple juice) ready in the morning. The warm spice scent will fill the house and will warm their tummies.

Place a tiny candy cane under their pillow to enjoy in the morning everyday in December (after morning chores of course!)

Have an assortment of homemade jams and marmalade's to choose from to top waffles, pancakes, biscuits and muffins.

Pop their pajamas in the dryer for a few minuets right before they dress for bed for extra coziness.

Buy a Christmas mug for each child so that they may enjoy their hot chocolate, yummy tea's and warm milk from their special mug.

Check your local TV guide and list all the holiday movies you must watch.

Okay, so this next one may not be fun, but it could be! Go through the children's toys and toss all the broken ones in the trash. Set aside the toys that they no longer play with to donate. Tell them they must make room for all the new toys they will get for Christmas!

Make it a tradition to donate toys or money (their own $ preferably) this time of year. If the donation is a gift have them choose and deliver it if possible, or have them browse a catalog to choose what type of donation they want to make. Our favorites are Samaritans Purse, World Vision and Toys for Tots.

Purchase an heirloom quality book of The Story of Christmas and read it aloud on Christmas Eve over peppermint-hot chocolate.

How do you make Christmas extra special for your little guys and dolls?



Friday, December 4, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NOAH-THE-POOH!

This week we celebrated my Noah-the-Pooh's 7th birthday. Yes we have been celebrating this whole week with play dates, movie nights, and now Fridays cake n' ice cream with family topped off with the series finale of Monk *sniffle*.

Noah-the-Pooh was a complete surprise. My Hunny and I had just got married in December (our 8th anniversary is coming up!) and we found out we were pregnant in March.

My *ahem* monthly had been quite irregular for many months (probably wedding stress) and I guess we were naive to think that we couldn't get pregnant. I had a sneaking suspicion I was pregnant so I took a test, negative. Phew! That was a relief. A week later I needed to take a TB test for a new job. Since my monthly had not come they required me to take a pregnancy test. Positive. What!? I began to cry, not because I was sad but rather a combination of joy and fear.

I went to the movies with my mom and sis that day and it was SO HARD not to tell them, I wanted to tell my Hunny first after all. They knew something was up because I had a silly grin on my face the whole time. I guess they thought it was still the honeymoon bliss!

So my Hunny finally came home about 11pm. This is how the conversation went:
me: So I went to get my TB test done today.
Hunny: uh-huh (looking for sweat pants)
me: they said I needed to take a pregnancy test first since I haven't had a period in a few months.
Hunny: uh-huh (starts to put sweats on)
me: it came back positive (pause)
Hunny: uh-huh
me: positive
Hunny: *cough* (falls over and looks at me with eyes bugged out. Thinks I may be joking but realizes it's true when he sees me teary eyed. He gets teary eyed and we hug and kiss!)

The next 9 months were really hard. I was on bed rest for 5 weeks due to a threatened miscarriage then again for the last 10 weeks for hypertension. It was during this time of uncertainty and despair that I finally surrendered my life to Jesus.
Praise God that my beautiful, healthy son was born December 2 @ 12:50 am













Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Calenders For A Vintage-Inspired New Year

Shopping for calenders is a real treat for me this time of year. It helps to to look ahead with bright eyes and great anticipation of all the things to come. My 2009 calender featured nostalgic wine and fruit paintings to complement my french country kitchen. My 2010 calender, which will now be in the living room, has gorgeous vintage black & white photos of Paris (I have a thing for vintage french as you can see) .
Here are some fabulously nostalgic calenders that I found on calenders.com. What will your new year look like?

Fun with Dick & Jane 2010 Wall Calendar

Anne of Green Gables 2010 Wall Calendar

Retro Kids 2010 Wall Calendar

Yes I Can 2010 Wall Calendar

Vintage DC Comics 2010 Wall Calendar

Flavia Vintage Treasures 2010 Wall Calendar

Vintage Travel Posters 2010 Wall Calendar

Vintage Redbooks 2010 Wall Calendar

Kitchen Kitsch 2010 Wall Calendar

Balanced Diet 2010 Wall Calendar

Hasbro Games & Toys 2010 Wall Calendar

Retro Mama 2010 Pocket Wall Calendar

Mary Cassatt Mother & Child 2010 Wall Calendar

Make sure to check out my other blog for even more vintage calenders!
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