Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Iwanna Wednesday - What Iwanna in 2010

Well Christmas is over...although I'm still picking up pieces of tape from my carpet from the gift wrapping :-) Soon...we will be in the year 2010. Wow, can you believe that? 2010!

But it's been a good year for this Iwanna. I had a lot of fun posting about all the things that Iwanna see, own, eat, buy, visit and more. That brings me to wondering what Iwanna in 2010.

Rather than make a list of New Year's Resolutions I'm going to Iwanna instead (less obligation and stress to Iwanna than to make resolutions).

#1 - Iwanna in 2010
Iwanna what we all wanna...to lose some weight.


Duh...you knew that one was going to be on the Iwanna list right?

#2 - Iwanna in 2010
Vegas BABY! I'd really like to visit Vegas in 2010. I have a niece that recently moved there and I would love to go visit her...Hi Alicia (she's named after me).



#3 - Iwanna in 2010
Jodi Picoult Books! I own a few of them, but I would love to collect all the books written by Jodi Picoult. So far every one I've read I've loved! (I threw this Iwanna wish in here because this one is probably the most likely to actually come true.)





#4 - Iwanna in 2010
Iwanna appear on the show "What Not to Wear"! I know, you have to be a really lousy or weird dresser and c'mon...I'm a darn good dresser. But still...it's an Iwanna wish so it doesn't really have to be a reasonable or realistic wish, it can be anything Iwanna and Iwanna go to New York and spend $5,000 on myself and hang out with Stacy and Clinton.



#5 - Iwanna in 2010
Iwanna take a cooking class. Doable, don't you think? But here's what makes it Iwanna crazy. Iwanna cooking class with my own personal, professional chef teacher. Who you ask? None other than the IRON CHEF himself....Bobby Flay!!!



*sigh* Isn't he dreamy? Ok...I know, he's married, that's why I only want to cook with him. And I totally mean in the kitchen! C'mon...get your minds out of the gutter!

And my final Iwanna wish for 2010 is for everyone who reads my blog, or at least glances at the pictures. (See, Iwanna isn't selfish, she can Iwanna on behalf of others!)

#6 - Iwanna in 2010
What Iwanna is to wish everyone the following. . .


From Iwanna,


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Man with Horns robs Jack in the Box

Yesterday, at 8:30 am...in the morning mind you; some guy decides to rob the Jack in the Box that is one block North of my office.

You have to wonder about someone that wakes up fresh in the morning, with the whole day ahead of him...all the possibilities of the world open to him and what does he decide to do first thing? Well why not rob a Jack in the Box right?

And to further show the stupidity of this person let me describe this criminal as he is described in our local newspaper. He's described as a white man, 18 to 20 years old, 5'9", possibly with horn tattoos on his face! Horns! Really? Horns!

Don't you think that if you had horn tattoos on your face...and you are going to rob someone or someplace, ummm, don't you think you would maybe put some makeup on the horns to cover them up? Maybe some long bangs? Maybe not attempt to make a career in crime if you're THAT noticeable?

It just makes me wonder and say to myself..."Self, what the heck!"

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Glimpses of Christmas 2009

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and you're all ready to get back into the regular grind on Monday. Me...I'm not ready for the regular grind, I still want to revel in Christmas and Christmas food!

I thought I would share some photos of Christmas 2009 in our family. And what's Christmas without food, a baby and a puppy?

First the puppy. You all remember Chorizo, who I call Precious? Here she is in all her Christmas Finery! Isn't she cute as a bug? (Remember to click on the picture to enlarge...so you can see those big brown eyes.)


And here's a picture of our family's baby, the littlest grandchild, Melissa. She's all dressed and ready for Santa! (Click on the picture to enlarge as she has big brown eyes as well.)


And finally...Christmas Food. Here's a picture of a few of the grandchildren all enjoying Chocolate Fondue. From left to right, Sarena, Gabriel, Freddie, April and Clarissa. (Click on this photo as well as these kids all have big brown eyes as well.)


April, my daughter is the one with her mouth open eating. She made the chocolate fondue and we had pound cake, pretzels, marshmallows, strawberries, sliced bananas, apples and raspberries for dipping. It was chocolate heaven!

And a final mosaic of myself, my mom, my brothers and sister, their spouses, and the grandchildren. One very unique item you can see in the very center of the mosaic is a package that looks like it's meat purchased at a deli or at the butcher counter. The reason it's wrapped like that is that my nephew Sean works as a butcher and he wrapped gifts for his mom and his aunts in what he had available, which was butcher wrap and used butcher stickers! Is that unique and cute or what? I'm going to keep my package and display it every year under my tree because I loved it that much! Thanks Sean!


The second picture in the bottom row from the left is Sean just arriving with the presents. He had to work and he just stopped by on his lunch hour. Oh...and what was in the package you ask? It was a little angel wind chime. We all opened our present very carefully so we didn't mess up the wrapping.

And that's it...Christmas 2009 has come to an end. I hope your Christmas was everything you hoped for and more!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sunday Favorites - Reflections from a Mother's Heart

I love Sunday Favorites! Sunday Favorites is a time to re-visit a post from the past that was one of my favorites. It also makes it easy because I don't have to do a whole new post and I can go back to watching Hallmark or Lifetime :-)

I hope you enjoy this one because I wrote it back on January 8, 2009 and it was going to be a weekly post. It was actually one of my New Years Resolution and I didn't do it...so maybe in 2010 I will actually attempt to do a weekly "Reflections from a Mother's Heart" post again.

In the meantime enjoy this one then please head over to visit Chari with Happy to Design to see what everyone else is re-visiting this Sunday on the 36th Sunday Favorites!


A Favorite Post
from
January 8, 2009


It's been a while since I've done a Reflections from a Mother's Heart post, so let me bring you up to date on what this is about.

Several years ago, I found this really great journal and I bought it thinking how much fun it would be and how well I would use it. The journal was entitled "Reflections from a Mother's Heart" Your life Story in Your Own Words. Each page has a different question or idea to help you write. Sad to say I only wrote on the first page and never picked it up again. It's just been sitting here for years next to my PC.

I decided when I started this blog that Thursday's would be my "Reflections" day and I did do a few posts, but sadly, I didn't keep up with them.

The 1st one was about why I'm named Alicia and you can go here to read it.
The 2nd one was about describing my childhood bedroom, read all about it here.
The 3rd one was about being baptized as a child and can be found here.
The 4th one was about my first memories of going to church, and you can read it here.
The 5th and last one I've done has been about my dad and where he went to work and what he did and you can read that one here.

That last one was a really hard one to write, so many great memories and sadness in knowing my dad gets older and older every day and one day he won't be here anymore. I think that's why I haven't written anymore because the next one that's in the book is "How did your mother spend her day? Did she have a job or do volunteer work outside the home?

If it's hard to write about my dad and think of him someday not being a part of my everyday life, how much harder is it to write about my mom?

That brings me to my 2009 resolutions for the new year and gives me resolution #3:

#3 Faithfully do a Reflections from a Mother's Heart post on each Thursday in 2009.

So that's what this post is about, my mom. I had also put off doing this post because I wanted to have pictures of all the quilts she's done, but if I waited to put up pictures of all the wonderful things she's done and made, well there wouldn't be enough memory in all of Blogger.com to post it.

My mom didn't work outside the home, but she sure worked in it! My earliest memories of my mom revolve a lot around the Catholic Church and religion. My mom is the one that taught us our Catholic faith. She took us to church every Sunday and I very rarely remember my dad being there with us. I do remember that she would take us to her mom and dad's house and in one of the bedrooms there was a "ropero" (armoire) that had a cabinet that would open and my aunt had a bunch of hats and bonnets in there and we would get to choose one to wear to church that Sunday because in those days you didn't enter the House of the Lord with a bare head if you were a female! And on those days when we were running late and we didn't have time to get a hat at Mama's house my mom would use a bobby-pin to pin a Kleenex on our head! I swear to God, she did that! I remember wishing I was all grown up so I could wear a veil like my mom did.

I can't smell the scent of Pine-Sol or beans boiling without thinking of my childhood and of my mother. Our home was always spotlessly clean and smelled great. She took a lot of pride in her home and in us her children. We were never rag-tag or dirty. She loved to sew and would make matching dresses for my sister and I and sometimes would even make a dress out of the same material for herself.

Whenever we went on vacation, my mom would spend weeks sewing new outfits for us girls and purchasing new clothes for the boys. I don't know how much money she and my dad had at the time, but we never felt poor, we always were well dressed and had new shoes and sweaters!

My mom was also the keeper of the records and not just the household records, but the record of our lives. She took lots of movie camera films of us and pictures. A lot of the memories that I have of my childhood I probably have because I've seen the film of it, not because it's an actual memory.

Mom was also very good at making any house our home. I've already written in reflection on my dad that we moved around a lot, but each home we lived in was our home and it was comfortable, clean and safe. I remember once when we lived in Yuma in a rental home that one of my brothers for some reason turned on an iron and left it on the carpet and it burned a hole in the exact shape of the iron. My mom being ever resourceful cut a piece the exact same shape out of the carpet in the very back of one of the closets and sewed it in. When we moved and the landlord came to inspect, she put a box on the patch (even though it was in no way noticeable) and sat my brother Jaime on top of it so the man wouldn't move it!

My mom was the disciplinarian in the family and the one that made the decisions about what we could and couldn't do and where we could and couldn't go, but for some reason I don't remember the No's she gave us. I only remember the Yes's.

I remember her immediately saying yes when I called her one day from school and told her I had forgotten we were having a potluck in our math class and I had forgotten to tell her and could she make some sandwiches and bring them to my class. My mom said YES. Now mind you, we lived 8 miles from the school and from the nearest grocery store. I don't know if she had the ingredients at home or if she went to the store, then back home, then back to the school, but I know that the lady at the office brought us a big tray filled with sandwiches, bologna, ham and tuna! I don't know how my mom even knew to make tuna sandwiches because it was something we never ate at home as she HATED fish and the SMELL of fish!

I remember telling her I wanted to be a cheerleader and that I would need money for uniforms, shoes, pom-poms and cheer leading camp...oh, and a ride home every day after school because of cheer leading practice. My mom said YES. I don't know how tight money might have been, but she made my wish come true and I went to cheer leading camp and had all the other cheer leading equipment all the other girls had!

I remember telling her that I had told all the other cheerleaders that my mom would make our uniforms for basketball season and that my mom would take us to El Centro shopping for the materials and thread and pattern we would use. And once again, my mom said YES. And she made us the most awesome cheerleader hot pants ever! And she made one for each of the girls and I believe there were 8 of us!

I remember during the awful parts of my marriage calling my mom in the middle of the night, or the middle of the day or whenever and telling her I wanted them to come and get me, that I was ready to leave my husband and would she come get me? And she always said YES.

I remember telling my mom that I wanted to go back to my marriage and try again for the sake of my kids or because I loved my husband or for whatever idiotic reason I felt I had to go back and she always said YES.

My mom is a miracle worker. I've always said that my mom was the brains in our family and my dad was the brawn. (I said that once in front of my dad and boy did he get mad, he thought he was the brains!)

There was nothing my mom couldn't do. She could sew and she still does. She taught us to embroider and crochet. She loved to do puzzles and arts and crafts. She make quilts, rosaries, bracelets and tons of other things. I remember one time, she made a peacock using Styrofoam egg cartons. It was a white peacock on black velvet and it was beautiful! I wish we still had it, but it was just like this one.

My mom crocheted a beautiful scene of the Last Supper that measures about 5' x 6' and is framed. It took her a long time to do this but my mom's hands were always busy. That's why we all have a quilt she had made us and each grandchild had a baby blanket my mom made for them.

Many years ago I took a bible study class and I came across a chapter in the bible, Proverbs 31 and when I read it, I read the story and life and love of my mother.

Proverbs 31:10-30 (NIV)
10 A wife of noble character who can find?

She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her

and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,

all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax

and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,

bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still dark;

she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it;

out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;

her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,

and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff

and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor

and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;

for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;

she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,

where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,

and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;

she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,

and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household

and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;

her husband also, and he praises her:
29 "Many women do noble things,

but you surpass them all."
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;

but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Iwanna Wednesday - What Iwanna for Christmas

It's been a long year of Iwanna wishes and wants. Some of them came true, some of them were reaching for the stars.

This Iwanna Wednesday what Iwanna is to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year.


Iwanna wish everyone much love, laughter, joy, hugging, smiling, eating, partaking, joking, prayer, closeness, peace, warmth, safety, family togetherness, friendships and everything that means Christmas.

There are many beautiful Christmas songs and my very favorite is definitely O Holy Night, but the one sung in the video below by Jose Feliciano goes much better with Iwanna Wednesday. Please listen and enjoy!

Merry Christmas




Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Baking - Biscochos

I'm so mad at myself! I took my camera to work to try to get some pictures of storm clouds and stuff and I left it in my desk and tonight was the night my sister came over to help my mom and I to bake our families Christmas Cookies...Biscochos!

So I have no photos to show you today, but I wish everyone in the world could smell my little house right now. The smell of Cinnamon, Anise, Cloves, mmmmmmm! The crunchy goodness of these little cookies.

The blare of the tv as my niece and nephew watch Ice Age. The sound of my mom and sister in the kitchen rolling out and cutting the cookies. The clickety-clack of my keyboard as I type out this post! Ahhhh, life doesn't get any better than this.

I promise to post some pictures and the recipe, maybe for Foodie Friday, but for now I best get back to the thick of things before I get yelled at!

Merry Christmas!

Our Version of a White Christmas

I've seen so many pictures lately online about the beautiful gorgeous white Christmas' that many of you are enjoying and hey...I didn't want to be left out. After all, we here in Kern County have our own version of a White Christmas. So I wanted to share.

Here's a picture from my front porch this morning right before I left for work at about 7:15 a.m. I commute about 25 miles one way to work each day and I like to take my time, so I leave pretty early. Can you tell why it's a White Christmas?

How about now? Getting closer to guessing why it's a White Christmas?

And no...it's not just that my windshield is dirty!

This my friends, is FOG... Tule Fog.

Tule fog (pronounced Toolie) is a radiation fog, which condenses when there is a high relative humidity (typically after a heavy rain), calm winds, and rapid cooling during the night. The nights are longer in the winter months, which creates rapid ground cooling, and thereby a pronounced temperature inversion at a low altitude.

In California, tule fog can extend from Bakersfield to Red Bluff. Tule fog occasionally drifts as far west as the San Francisco Bay Area, even drifting westward out the Golden Gate, opposite to the usual course of summertime ocean fog.


We moved to Kern County in 1977. Up until then I had never seen Fog and had no idea what it was. I had to learn to drive 25 miles one way to go to college in this stuff! And for some reason, it seems like in 1977 it was much, much worse. Back...way back, in those days it was difficult just to see the front of your car. I used to drive by making sure I stayed within the white lines.

I drove on a wing and a prayer everyday, sometimes with the windows rolled down so I could hear oncoming and cross traffic.

I've learned to love the fog...I don't love driving in it, but if you can just stand somewhere and listen it muffles all the outside noise of cars and people and it's pretty peaceful. And although I love the fog, I really don't wish for this type of White Christmas because I know so many people are going to have to drive to their loved ones homes for Christmas and it's too dangerous to be out in this white stuff.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Brother in Law Ornaments

I don't mention my brother in law very often in most of my posts. He's kind of one of those strong, silent, stay-in-the-background kind of guys. But for the past few years he and I have been exchanging Christmas ornaments. Don't ask me how or why, cause I don't know. It just started and now, it's kind of a tradition.

Here's a picture of my brother in law Sean affectionately known by all who love him as Guero. This was taken at Sean Jr's high school graduation and that's my sister Lisa. Doesn't he look like the strong, silent, stay-in-the-background kind of guy?


He certainly doesn't look like an ornament shopper, but last year he gave me a gorgeously special ornament that he picked up while he was at Pismo Beach camping with my sister Lisa and their boys, Sean and Isaac.

A seascape ornament. If you click on it to enlarge you can see all the little tiny seashells sitting on the sand. There's even a starfish in there! And shells of all shapes and sizes. The really cool thing is that you can change the look of the ornament simply by swirling it gently and getting a whole new display in there. Is that awesome or what?

This year was a two'fer...I got two instead of one. Yippee for me!

First I got this cute little one with my name on it. It was tied to the top of the package that was holding the one I'm going to show you next.

I noticed on their tree that they also each have one with their names on them.

Then I also received this one.

This one is pretty cool because where each star burst or flower, depending on how you see it, comes to that trumpet-like end, there's a hole from the outside so you can actually put your finger in there. It serves absolutely no purpose to put your finger in there, I just thought it was pretty cool.

So thank you Guero! Thanks for all your help this past year. Thanks for always loaning my sister to me for those out of town trips and for loaning her to me on Friday nights. Thanks for the Christmas memories and for being a great father and a great husband. Thanks for the help you've given my family with both my mom and especially with my dad. God Bless you and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mosaic Monday - The Nativity

It's time for mosaics again. Please visit Mary at Little Red House to check out everyone;s mosaic's. Especially Mary's. If you aren't having a white Christmas where you are then you can share in hers.

Merry Christmas Mary!


Yesterday we celebrated my mom's 73rd birthday and my brother Jaime, his wife Connie and their children gifted mom with a beautiful Christmas Snow globe that highlighted The Nativity...The Reason for the Season.

So for Mosaic Monday I wanted to share this gorgeous, musical snow globe. It plays Silent Night. Now my photos can't possibly do it justice, but at least you can get a small idea of how beautiful this is. Please feel free to click on the image itself to enlarge it and check out the detail.


May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.
~Author Unknown


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sunday Favorites - I show you how to make Tortillas!

It's been a while since I've participated in Sunday Favorites. Sunday Favorites is when we take a past favorite post and repost to share it with everyone. You can see mine below from November 8, 2008 where I show you how to make home made flour tortillas. There's even a video with my own two little hands rolling them out. Please be sure to go over to Happy to Design and see what else everyone is sharing from the past...and Happy Sunday Favorites!





Favorite Post from
November 8, 2008

Today I awoke to a rainy, overcast day. I LOVE days like this! But it was a bit chilly and I get cold easily. Right now it’s about 54 degrees outside, so I decided the best way to keep warm is to cook something. I thought about making Popovers using this recipe. That way my oven would be on and it would warm up the house. But then I remembered the Mexican popover…the tortilla!

I haven’t made tortillas in years, but it sounded like fun. I tried to make them from memory. When I was a girl we used to make tortillas all the time, flour and corn. Nowadays I can just drive a few blocks to our local grocery store, but growing up, we always lived on the ranches my dad worked for and they were all miles and miles away from stores. So we made stuff from scratch.

Here’s a picture of the finished product. And rolling these out does warm you up, so does cooking them.




Since I made them from scratch I kind of had to estimate what I used. The recipe below will make about 10 10-inch tortillas.

2 cups Flour (I used Pillsbury All Purpose Flour)
½ cup shortening (I used Crisco, but when I was a girl we used Lard)
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
¾ to 1 cup warm water

In a large bowl first combine the flour, shortening, salt and baking powder. Using your hands, breakup the shortening, mixing it with the other ingredients. Then add water a little at a time until the dough gets kind of sticky and comes together. Then knead it until its smooth and elastic. I like to transfer it to my the wooden board I’m going to use to actually roll out the tortillas and knead it there. Then you separate the dough into little flat balls as shown below.




Before you start rolling out the tortillas, get your comal ready by placing it directly on the stove with medium heat. A picture of my comal is shown below. This one was given to me by my mother many years ago. It’s been used so often (though not by me J) that it has started to crack. My son uses it regularly for toasting hamburger buns and making quesadillas. If you don’t happen to own a comal, you can use a non-stick frying pan.


Here's a video showing how to roll out the tortillas and then step by step pictures.
video


So that’s it. It’s really simple and a nice treat. Now I’ll be honest, I prefer store bought tortilla’s, but it is fun to make them and it gives you bragging rights cause not too many people make homemade tortillas.

My dad makes homemade corn tortillas. I’m going to see if next weekend he can make some for us and I’ll do a blog and a video showing his technique and his homemade corn tortilla press, you’re gonna love it!

Happy Birthday Mom aka Nana

Today was my mom's 73rd birthday! Happy Birthday mom. We celebrated by having a dinner for her at my sisters house. My sister made a great dinner. Open face roast beef sandwiches with gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon and corn. Mmmm!

I baked my mom's favorite; chocolate cake with milk chocolate frosting and we also had Brownie Fudge Ice Cream and Cookies and Cream Ice Cream. And of course, chips and salsa...it wouldn't be our family if we didn't have chips and homemade salsa!

My mom Tomasa is the youngest of ten children, Nicolasa, Leonor, Jesus, Eustino, Maria, Casimira, Eliza, Herminia and Elena. Of the ten children only five are still living, my mom, Eustino, Maria, Casimira and Herminia. A couple of weeks ago my mom made the trip back to Phoenix, Arizona with her sister Casimira to visit another sister, Herminia that was in the hospital. My cousin Norrie was kind enough to send some pictures of the brother and sisters that are remaining.

This is from left to right, my mother Tomasa aka Tome, her brother Eustino aka Tino; her sister Casimira aka Casi or Casey and her other sister Maria.


Here again from left to right my Uncle Tino, my mom Tomasa and my Aunt Casi and in the wheelchair the sister they all went to visit, my Aunt Herminia aka Minnie.

My Aunt Herminia unfortunately had a brief stay in the hospital but by the time my mom and her sister Casi came back Herminia was home and doing much better.

These brothers and sisters all went through so much together and now these are the only ones left.

Here's a picture of my mom surrounded by some of her grandchildren today at her birthday party.

In the blue sweatsuit is Clarissa, standing in the back is Isaac, in the Billabong sweatshirt is Freddie and the baby of the family Melissa. Melissa is pretty darned thrilled by the candles!

Here's Issac and Fred again. My mom's grandsons.


Here are my mom's sons....on the left Jaime and then Fred. What is it about fire that turns grown men into little boys?


And my mom's daughters, me and my sister Lisa. That's me on the left. Lisa, thank you so much for opening your home to us. We had a great time and you're an awesome cook!

It was a fun day for all of us as it is almost every time we get together. December birthdays are always difficult because there's already so much to do to get ready for Christmas but this year especially it was important to get together and celebrate our mothers birthday.

Happy Birthday Mom...we all love you so much!