Christmas at home

Hello Christmas morning! I’m up at 7:30 in the morning and it’s 39* out. The sun is stirring from his slumber. I can see him through the bare trees. And I’m standing in the hallway shivering in my jammies. Bah humbug! Time to turn on the heater.

Just two days ago, on the eve of Christmas eve, to be exact, I had rejoiced in shrugging off my hoodie at the Target parking lot in the 77* sunshine. That’s 77 on the second day of winter! Unbelieveable. Yesterday was a sunny 66 and today, whoa, we’re down to 56!

But enough about the weather. We were full of plans last night. We had planned to drive out to Christmas Tree Lane to see the lights after dinner. Christmas here is more about family and celebrating at home with loved ones. A far (literally!) cry from the commercialized Christmases we’re used to seeing in the city. Happy we don’t have to contend with the crazy crowds, and ripoff restaurant prices.

Anyhoo, by the time darkness fell at 5pm, we had changed our minds about Christmas Tree Lane and decided to stay home instead, declaring we would stay up late to usher in Christmas day, not that we had to but we thought it might be fun… and we almost made it too. With only a half hour till the stroke of midnight, the sleeping beauties were, well, fast asleep. So much for Christmasy plans!

So here we are chilling on Christmas day after spending 2 hours in the kitchen making lunch, and washing the car together. How’s that for family time? I bet our car is even happier now that it’s all shiny and spanking new again. 😀

Happy Holidays 2014!

Happy Holidays 2014!

Here we are on Christmas Eve having spent the past few days running around as if we were celebrating which we don’t, not in the religious sense anyways but I’ve always loved the holiday spirit. We’re just excited to join in the shopping frenzy even though we have nothing much to buy. Well, that’s not true. Packages from our Black Friday and after-party escapades are still arriving at our door every other day.

Oh, and after that Thanksgiving turkey fest, and eating turkey leftovers for days after, I’ve decided to hang up the pots and pans, and eat out instead. Let’s see…

Yesterday, on the eve of Christmas eve, while running some last-minute errands, we were contemplating lunch at Denny’s, Carl’s Jr or Subway but ended up splurging on a Korean buffet lunch instead. After all, it’s Christmas, right? What the heck? Let’s pig out and be jolly.

Korean buffet lunch

The day before that, we were rejoicing that gas prices had plummeted so we treated ourselves to a road trip, driving two hours to the factory outlets for some retail therapy. It was a cool day, really nice for a long drive, and for walking around from store to store. We even took some time to enjoy an outdoor lunch.

rejoice!

We got back late and decided to stop for Thai. We ate in, the servings are huge and we were stuffed but still had enough red curry chicken and eggplant with black bean sauce leftovers for another meal.

Thai dinner

Looks like for us, the holidays have already begun. I hope you have a jolly good time of being surrounded by loved ones, pigging out, and giving and receiving. Remember to spare a thought for the less fortunate. And with that, I’d like to wish all of you, my darling readers, a safe and blessed Christmas and Happy Holidays 😀 !!

Turkey days

Turkey days

Woah, is the long weekend over already? Is it December already? And on the first day of December, we have loads of sunshine!! Yup, that’s California for you. It’s 70* outside, sunny but cool as we head into winter. Amazing as is the fall foliage. I have to put up some pictures of the fall colors.

So how was our Thanksgiving? Our roast turkey turned out fabulous, crispy skin and all. We’re thankful we didn’t have to go hunting for a turkey like we’ve been doing the past few years. This was the feast we prepared for the 10 of us. I’m kidding, of course, there’s just the 3 of us.

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We stayed in all day Thanksgiving (since most stores were closed anyways) fussing over our turkey and preparing the sides which included stuffing, mashed potatoes, salad, brown gravy and cranberry sauce. We’ve been eating turkey leftovers ever since, hahaha… a-and I still have a whole leg of turkey ham sitting in my fridge so I foresee there’ll be more turkey days on the horizon for us.

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We were excited about the Black Friday sales and we’d had a shopping list going days ahead. Dare we go out shopping? Well, the answer is no. Too much of a hassle piling on layers of clothes to get out there with the crowd since we really didn’t have much to buy.

Didn’t have much to buy? That list had been growing steadily but these shopaholics were definitely staying home to shop. In their pajamas. And that’s exactly what we did. So yes, we have been busy… with the holidays and a million other things, not even kidding. Hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving and long weekend.

Clouds and hanging out

Clouds and hanging out

Okay, so fall is finally showing up. It was 95 on Thursday and the next day, we were in the 80’s. An unusual cloud formation was hanging in the morning sky and it was a wonderful 60+ degrees outside. Folks obviously have been waiting for this and were busting out their full winter gear. He-llo? This is California, we don’t let a few clouds get to us eh 😉 so I stuck with my tank top and shorts. It wasn’t too bad, just a bit chilly but nowhere near boot, scarf and jacket weather. Today we’re back to clear skies and searing sunshine.

sky

In other news, we hit the adventure trail at Trader Joe’s. So excited. They’ve got tons of whacky, exotic stuff and I’m so in love with their fun packaging. Okay, so here’s our stash – goat cheese, and 4-cheese ravioli (both yums), Bavarian bratwurst, and smoked apple chardonnay chicken sausages (both yums also), hash browns, habanero sauce (super spicy that but a bit too sour for me!), and a frozen pumpkin cheesecake (that we’re savoring slice by slice, so good).

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We stopped by Barnes and Noble, bookworm haunt #2. The girls are blown away by the massive, ultra-modern library on campus which boasts millions of books, so that’s #1 on their list of places to hang out between classes. But yeah, we like Barnes too. Was flipping through this book while I was there.

bookstore

So that was our week/weekend. Been cooking a lot (warning, more food posts on the way). How was your weekend?

The weekend that was

The weekend that was

Now that was one lazy weekend. We slept in on both days, a rare luxury as we’ve been so busy lately trying to stretch these already long summer days by getting an early start. Up at 9 and enjoying an unhurried breakfast of coffee and mini wheats at home.

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The previous weekend, we’d visited a farmer’s market where we bought a jar of delicious but expensive homemade apricot jam. The box of raisins is from another farmer’s market.

jam

Saturday, we decided to go back to the farmers’ market where we bought the jam. That rustic feel of roaming among a dozen or so stalls of farmers selling their fresh, recently harvested produce and folk music playing in the background is somewhat new and exciting to a true blue city girl whose never even seen a live chicken before 😉 . This time, we bought an eggplant, okra, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and a quart of freshly squeezed orange juice (so yummy!).

Sunday was a sizzler. 102 degrees, to be exact. We were contemplating staying indoors all day – to avoid the heat, plus we desperately needed to sort out the packages that have been trickling in from our online purchases. It was good we got most of the stuff put away. I hate the sight of boxes laying about (don’t you?).

As we were throwing the bed linen into the laundry later, we decided, what the heck, we’ll just go to our newly-discovered Chinese fast food for their delicious Hong Kong dimsum. We like going there because we can always get a parking spot and table no matter what time we show up. And I think this goes for just about every restaurant around here 🙂 .

We spent the rest of our Sunday pottering around the house. It’s nice. Different from the city rush. And in the evening, we cooked our first meal at home. Our new set of cookware has finally arrived and we have pots and pans to cook with again. Strange feeling 😆 . Eating out is fun and all, but did you know you can actually get bored from eating out too often?

I’ll have posts of our dimsum lunch, and homecooked dinner up next. So stick around.

Another day of snow

Another day of snow

It snowed all day Saturday and it was still snowing all through Sunday and right up till this morning. We peeked outside and we’re laughing. Pure white snow, even thicker and whiter than the day before, coating everything in sight. Prettiest thing ever.

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It was 30 degrees outside but we didn’t care. We piled on the layers and headed out again. It was snowing heavily. I love the sight of the snowflakes coming down and the feel of it on my face. #prettyawesome

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Our feet sank deep into the snow and we left even deeper footprints. There must’ve been at least a few inches of snow. If there’s one thing about snow, it’s that it has so much more character than rain. Rain is, well, just rain but snow, now that’s something else, it has a whole different personality.

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Everything was covered in a thick sheet of white. No kids on this playground and no one else around. Just us. People must think we’re crazy, trudging back and forth in the freezing cold, throwing snow at each other, building another snowman (a bigger one this time, the girls are getting pretty good at it) and taking pictures like it’s going out of style.

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I can’t get enough of seeing how beautiful the snow looks on the trees, the branches, the leaves. It’s stuff we see in the movies and yet it’s all real. It’s all right here in front of me. I can touch it, feel it and I’m a part of it. Pretty awesome. It makes me happy inside.

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Something fishy

Something fishy

First thing I do when I jump out of bed these days, I’m checking the weather. Ya never know, right? Turns out Saturday was the day we’d been waiting for. 40+ degrees and no sign of the sun or those 100km/hour winds the weather man had warned about. A steady breeze blowing in from the ocean, so cold and refreshing, and the lightest of sprinkles from the cloudy skies. Such beautiful weather.

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Perfect for a walk to that neat little fish and chips place not far from our place. The kids jumped at the idea. We don’t eat out often these days. All they get for dinner are my failed Asian cooking experiments, haha! Of course, they wanted to eat out.

So we set off on a leisurely walk. There’s no hurry in weather this beautiful. The previous week, we wanted to try their calamari but they ran out. So we ordered their cod fish special aka all you can eat. That was the day I single-handedly gobbled up 5 pieces of fish 😳 and drank 3 cups of coffee. #notevenkidding

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Anyhoo, back to this calamari which still smelled of the ocean. So that was kinda weird. I have to admit too I was a little freaked out by those tentacles. They reminded me too much of Davy Jones (remember him from the Pirates of the Caribbean? eww!)… so no, we probably won’t be ordering this again.

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The cod fish was yummy as usual. I could eat 5 pieces… okay, I already mentioned that so I won’t embarrass myself again. But it’s so freakin’ good especially since each table has its own bottle of tartar sauce. Me and the kids, we practically get drunk on the stuff, haha. I remember the times we’ve had to ask endlessly for refills till one restaurant even had the nerve to ask us to pay for extra tartar sauce. What?!

And our server kept coming around offering more coffee and of course, how could I say no? So I drank every last drop of those endless cups of coffee she poured me. Their coffee is that good, seriously. Or maybe it’s cold out and any piping hot coffee would taste good. Nah, they honestly do make one mean brew. So there, that was our little outing – a very pleasant walk, a nice little treat and good company.

Did you eat out this weekend? What did you have?

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