Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Life lately

My go to line for dangerous chair behavior is, "Do we sit on chairs or stand on chairs?" It works great because they technically aren't in trouble, they fix the behavior and then I get to say "You're right!" and they get a positive. Works grand in the junior high circuit, but my little girl found a way around it.

M has been loving his Legoland souvenir Duplos, courtesy of Cheryl the Great. Right now he likes to dump most of them out, then shake the box as fast as he can to make thunder noise. And destroying whatever his sister has made.

He really does love his Auntie.

And donuts.

I love seeing quirky stuff like dogs in goggles.

Trina spent the a couple days with us while my friend was working. J actually let someone do her hair and taught her to make funny faces at the camera.

I made homemade fried chicken from a Martha Stewart recipe. Mostly because I like a challenge and I needed something to do with leftover buttermilk. New cooking methods and recipes is part of my strategy to stay self-actualized as a SAHM. Guys, this chicken was delicious. I highly recommend you give it a go with the recipe here. Warning: Requires brining the night before and marinating 6 hours before cooking. And bringing the chicken to room temp for an hour before cooking. And before you roll your eyes and say, "Ain't No One Got Time For That!," know that I agree with you and it's worth it for special occasions only. The hands-on time itself isn't bad though. And thanks Madre for giving me your spice stash before you left or I would never have had dry mustard.  M really liked the chicken, even though it about killed me to give up any heavenly pieces for my children to destroy.

I gave him J's remnants so he could double fist it.

In other culinary adventures, we went to a donut place called the Fractured Prune. You get to watch the donuts made hot in front of you and can customize them however you like. The Peppermint Pattie was interesting, as well as Cookies and Cream. My favorite was the OC Sand that had cinnamon sugar and graham cracker crumbs over the vanilla glaze.

And this is just M being completely delighted to run around in the retention basin without his mother chasing him or directing him.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Cheese, Gromit!

I embarked in a cheese making adventure this week. While in my French pastry chef phase, I was in AJ's looking for snobby chocolate couveture (they were a ridiculous $7 for fancy chocolate disks, but oh honey, they did taste good in those croissants), when I spied rennet tablets. I am one google search away from actually knowing what rennet actually is, but I did know it was necessary for making some cheeses. I had stumbled on a pinterest pin for ricotta and loved it because it only took buttermilk, cream, milk, and salt to make. Now armed with my rennet I could explore the world of mozzarella, feta, and cheddar. 

It sat in my cupboard next to the cheesecloth for 6 months. 

I blame the delay on the mobility of my second born.

But this week I went for it! And didn't get a picture of the finish product floating bloated in a pool of salted brine. This is the spongy fresh stuff that comes in balled in tupperware, not the shrink wrapped variety. I did get a picture of it on the pizza though and it was excellent!

Mushroom and Onion Pizza from here gets two thumbs up. The fresh basil and tomato is equally excellent as far as toppings go

The beauty of cheese making is you get to use the left over whey to make even MORE cheese. Not to mention and increased understand of Little Miss Muffet. You cook up the gallon of left over whey and you get a cup of ricotta. A little gross looking when it isn't prepackaged, but it makes up for it in flavor.

I felt bad tossing the left over whey after the ricotta and decided to save it for protein shakes. I don't know why the idea seems grosser than my chocolate whey powder, but I imagine it's probably better for you without all the other junk packed into protein shakes. 

If you want to try your own hand at fromagerie, here are the rennet tablets and they come with all the recipes inside the box. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


I with originally a little skeptical on how much fun a theme park would be for a three year old and a 1 year old, but Cheryl the Great sold me on it months before the reunion. And there was SO much for J to do and enjoy. We sort of took over the park in our matching Tshirts. I gave a design to Cheryl and she had the brilliant idea of making names form the waves. She also did the cool logo on the kids shirt that is also on the back of the adult shirts. It's a snazzy top.

It's flat Elder and Sister Castillo again!

She isn't so great at waiting in line, but she liked the boat ride.

M preferred his freedom in the Duplo room.

 Mom and Dad helped build race cars too.

M already wants to play Xbox

The little model cities out of legos were pretty awesome as well.

After I said, "Take your thumb out of your mouth!," she put her other hand in front to prevent anyone forcefully removing it. Stubborn children are prepared to be on the defensive.

" I want to ride with Julie!"

Flat Mom and Dad helped Weston and I fly.

Husband and J did the rescue relay race.

Dad cheered them on.

M loved the set of the Lego Movie. I wish I had actually seen the movie so it could have made more sense.

They have an aquarium attached, but I must say that the Tempe one is better. It's the same company and had pretty much the same elements, but Tempe has a 360 tunnel instead of a half view one.

This, this is my biggest irrational fear. The room full of jellies both fascinates me and freaks me out.

After our jaunt in the aquarium's heaven-sent air conditioning, we checked out the shops. Dad liked this one.

J was a bit scared of this ride at the beginning but she really loved it and I was proud of her for not chickening out.

M likes ribs and ketchup. Maybe just the ketchup.

I think these two look so much alike in this picture, even if they are making goofy faces.

J had fun playing with Grammy and PopPop while we waited for fireworks.

They ate a lego picnic and had lego ice cream

Grammy shared a bite of hot dog.

They were impressed at the moon.

 Then we found out the fam was congregating in the parking lot to watch fireworks to facilitate an easy getaway.

I was surprised M wasn't crying and freaked out the entire time, but he was mesmerized.

 Mom and Dad were impressed too.

 It was a fantastic day and we were so happy Grammy and PopPop could come with us.


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