Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Iwanna Wednesdays

"Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness, and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again." - Og Mandino

On this last Iwanna Wednesday of 2008 I wanna pass the buck.

HAPPY 2009! May it be the best ever!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Sadness

I don't want Christmas to be gone already. Mostly because I really love my house when it's all decorated up for Christmas. It's so pretty and cozy and I love to just sit on my couch and turn off the TV and stare at my tree and all it's bright, colorful lights. I love the way my house looks when I get home and the lights outside are on.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

William's Celebrity Morph by MyHeritage

MyHeritage: Celebrity Morph - Family pictures - Printable family tree

April's Celebrity Morph by MyHeritage

MyHeritage: Celebrity Morph - Family history

What I got for Christmas

I was a good girl this year because Santa was very generous to me. I got lots of good stuff, including a blue tooth earpiece since California is now a "hand-free" state. Up to now I had just been blatantly breaking the law!

But I really wanted to share pictures of these awesome bowls and plates my daughter gave me. She knows me so well! I didn't even have them on my Iwanna Wednesdays and she knew that Iwanna'd them!

These plates are a set of four and they are so cute! I have to get plate holders so that next year I can display them in my kitchen at Christmas time. They would be the perfect size to serve pie or some other luscious dessert, but I will cherish these and not use them because I already had a casualty involving my Christmas goblets!

And don't you love these? I love the bright colors and they way the bowls all nest one inside the other, makes it great to store them. The little square plates are great too and match the bowls. These I will definitely use all throughout the year!

See how they nest together for storage? They also make a really pretty picture don't they?

And here they are all in a line, I love them. I wish that my kitchen cabinets didn't go all the way up to the ceiling and instead had room for storage up above them so I could display the bowls separately like they are below!

Thank you April! You know your momma! Love you!!!

Last Day of my Christmas Vacation

Today is the last day of my Christmas Vacation. Our company graciously gave us the 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th off. It was so wonderful having that much time off at Christmas! We have to work on New Years Eve, but we have the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th off! So next week is going to be very, very busy, but also a very, very short week!!!

So what did I spend my last day of freedom doing? Well I spent it cooking! What?? I know right? Me, cooking on a day off? What was I thinking? But cook I did and I went all out making Meatloaf Pie, click this link to see the recipe. I made two meatloaf pies, a big one for us since my son is having his friend William, who is home from Basic Training in the Army, come over for dinner and a little one to send over to my mom and dad.
I also made Scalloped Potatoes and Ham, which is my daughter's favorite and she had begged me to make it at Christmas and I didn't have time. I haven't made this dish since I was married and that was over 15 years ago. So I hope it comes out. I’m sure it will cause I’m just that good!

Here’s the cast of characters: Butter, Salt, Milk, Onion Powder, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Flour, Pepper, Cooked Ham and Sliced Potatoes (complete recipe below).
Dice your ham up, however big you want, I like little pieces so you get a little in every bite. You need about three cups.And yep, your eyes do not deceive you, that is one WHOLE stick of butter! Yummy! Hey come on, I make this once every 15 years or so! Surely one whole stick of butter isn't going to kill me!

Once your butter is melted, then you toss in the flour, salt and pepper and stir, stir, stir because before you know it, this stuff can burn. Be sure to turn the heat down. You want to cook this until it's a nice golden color.

Then you take it off the heat and stir in the milk slowly, stirring the whole time. Once the milk is mixed in, then place it back on a low heat, stirring constantly. I prefer using a whisk.At this point in the process I got a little help from William who is home from Army Basic Training. He's been friends with my son since high school. These are his lovely hands helping out so I can take action shots. This is a good one don't you think?And you also add in the ham once the roux is thickened and bubbly! Hey William! Look over here! Give us a smile!There you go, that's the William I know and love, always smiling!
Ok, once you run the boys out of the kitchen, you turn the heat off of the ham/cheese/roux sauce pan and turn your attention to the potatoes. As you can see here, you just slice them into rounds, not to thinly, but thin enough so they cook thoroughly.You then place the potatoes in a bowl such as the one below that was given to me as part of a set by my daughter for Christmas which I totally LOVE! and you pour the ham/cheese/roux over the potatoes. Stir gently with a spoon and you're ready to pour them into your baking dish or bowl. For some odd reason I placed them in a big Pyrex bowl instead of in a baking dish. I think it's because my baking dish is black metal and I prefer glass so I put them in a Pyrex because it's glass...that's just the way my mind works.Here they are in the Pyrex bowl, cover with foil and place in the oven.Set your timer to 30 minutes! After the 30 minutes are up, then you uncover and bake another hour. And here's the finished product. Mmmm, gooey and cheesy and delicious! I love the way they smell. I had forgotten how easy and how good this dish is.Here's a spoonful on the little plates my daughter also gave me for Christmas. See the next post to see the whole set of bowls and dishes she got me!
Beautiful? no? And the crocheted table covering you see under the little plate...I crocheted that! Yep, uh huh, lil ol me! I'm very talented aren't I?
So bake this up, or the meatloaf pie and let me know how you like it, better yet, make it, invite me over and I'll tell you how I like it!

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham (serves 6)
½ cup butter
2 tsp. salt
3 cups milk
1 large onion chopped (or 4 tsp. onion powder)
½ cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
½ cup flour
¼ tsp. pepper
3 cups cooked cubed ham
5 cups sliced potatoes

Heat butter in large sauce pan over low heat. Blend in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly (I like using a whisk), for one minute. Remove from Heat and gradually stir in milk. Return to heat, cook til thickened and bubbly.

Fold in ham, onion and cheese. Pour over potatoes in a large bowl and stir gently to combine. Pour into buttered 12 x 9 x 2” baking dish and cover with foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, uncover and continue baking for 1 hour or til browned & bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Childhood Memories

As I was shopping this Christmas season for my various nieces and nephews and wandering through the toy aisles or glancing over the Christmas ads in the paper, I was amazed by the toys that kids have today. I remember when I was a kid that girls had dolls and tea sets and boys had trucks and guns. We didn't have video games, rock guitar and drum sets, mind numbing DVDs. We had good old fashioned toys and games.

Remember playing Jacks? I loved to play jacks, especially with my mom who would always win! I think it's because she had huge hands...well not really huge, but when I was little they seemed huge to me. I remember you were really one of the cool kids if you had a golf ball to play jacks with instead of the little rubber ball they usually came with. We would sit on the cold or hot sidewalk, depending on the time of year, for hours playing jacks. Remember how mad your mom or dad would get when they would accidentally step on a jack! Wowee!

Remember coloring books and crayons? I remember every year my Tia Nico would give each of us a color book and a small box of crayons, the one that had only like 8 crayons in it. It would entertain us for hours. I can remember coloring pages in so many different ways, outlining the drawings, coloring them in very lightly making them almost pastel, coloring them super hard with the crayon so the color would be rich and deep and crayon crumbs would be all over the place. I especially loved the dot-to-dot pictures that you had to connect before you could color them. And the smell, mmmmm, the smell of crayons, that's the smell of childhood to me.

Remember Pick-up Sticks? I loved that game and again loved playing with my mom, even though she always won. She had very steady hands and lots of patience.

Remember Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head? We played with them for hours, putting the ears where the nose goes and vice versa.

Remember jumping rope? You could single rope jump, or jump rope as a group with friends, you could double rope jump. I remember, "Cinderella, dressed in yella, went upstair to kiss her fella, made a mistake and kissed a snake, how many doctors did it take? One, Two, Three, etc til you were too tired to jump.

Remember Hopscotch? We would play this every recess for months. Always drawing a new hopscotch board. And you always wanted to have your special item that you used to throw. It had to be something that was heavy enough to stick where it landed and not slide. I liked throwing small chains, like bracelets that you could get in the gumball machines.

Remember marbles? Again a recess favorite. My mom would sew little marble bags for us to store our marbles in. And we always had favorites, the cats-eye and the steelies and the big one, don't remember what we called that one.

Remember tiddly winks? My sister and I were talking about that game the other day, she didn't really remember it, but I sure did. I loved that game, even though I wasn't very good at it.

Remember Etch a Sketch and Twister? The Hula Hoop and Frisbees? GI Joe and Barbie? Silly Putty and Slinky's? Clackers and Yo-yos? Remember Tops and Checkers?

I wonder if our kids now even know what these toys are, and would they be bored to death by them? Ask your kids, see if they know, let me know what they say.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Melissa's Christmas

What is Christmas without a child? It's like a burger without fries, like a cupcake without frosting, like chips without salsa, spaghetti without meatballs, peanut butter without jelly, like a blog without pictures!...a Christmas without a child is just not Christmas.

Here's some pictures of Melissa's Christmas...

Christmas Eve Gift Opening

I saw a poll that was taken on Monday about how many people open presents on Christmas Eve as compared to Christmas Day and I think a lot of Mexicans must have voted because 84% said they opened them on Christmas Eve. I know that we have always opened them Christmas Eve and I know that my sister-in-law Norma's family waits til exactly midnight on Christmas Eve to open them. I've never known anyone that waited til Christmas morning, have you?

Here's a few pictures of our Christmas Eve...

Me and my sister with my dad and his sister, from left to right, my sister Lisa, my aunt "Tia Mary", me and in the back, my dad Federico. To get the festivities started, lets make some pomegranate martini's or pomtini's! Just some pomegranate martini mix and vodka (you wimps can add a splash of sprite).

My namesake, Alicia Jr wondering how she can steal this bottle for later. See that evil grin? You know she's up to no good! (She's so me, hahaha)

April, the official taste tester. See my pretty Christmas goblets? One of them did not survive the festivities :-( The official story is that April didn't break it, but the investigation is still on-going.

MELISSA!!! Wake up, it's time to open presents! You don't want to miss it do you??? Melissa is the littlest grandchild, she still doesn't know what these presents are all about, she just thought it would be fun to sleep on them.April is the oldest grandchild, and she's an old pro at Christmas. She wastes no time in opening those presents!And you can tell that I've had way too many pomtini's already cause I'm singing as I open my presents and really only the little kids had to sing Alicia!A gift from my daughter, look at us two pomtini-heads! Hee-hee!More presents for April.
Lisa gave mom (Nana) a beautiful red jacket,which she put on right away. Yep that's right, eat your hearts out Jim and Fred! Nana is Stylin!And Fred is styling himself in this new black cowboy shirt from his mom and dad. Lookin good Fred!Fred gets all romantic with his woman...awwwww, que bonitos!No Tata, this isn't a "show what you got for Christmas" photo! It's a grandparents and grandchildren photos. Geesh Tata!
Ok, never mind Tata, lets just take a picture of the girls. Here you have Nana (my mom), and my nieces Sarena and Clarissa...aren't they beautiful!OMG...A Christmas Midget!!! Oh, never mind, that's just me :-) Me and my mommy and daddy.Me and my namesake, Alicia. Doesn't she have beautiful eyes?And the Fred Alarcon family. Little Fred is a little blurry, I think Melissa was kicking him and he was moving away, but still, all in all, a nice picture.
And here I am, all pomtini'ed and tuckered out. It was a long, long day, but a lot of fun, a lot of love and a lot of Christmas blessings to our whole family.