House Hunting (Pt. 1)

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A glimpse at the houses I’ve toured.

We officially began house hunting on February 7th of this year and since then I have toured over 80 houses. This whole process has not been easy at all.  If you guys keep up with the news you probably know that interest rates are at a all time low. Oh boy, did we pick a right and wrong time to begin looking for a house. Houses are selling at a ridiculous rate and prices are high due to the demand. Since we began our search we have officially put in 6 offers yet we don’t have a house. I say officially because there has been several times were we begin to summit an offer and then we are told that they already accepted another one.  We are currently looking for a house in the middle of Los Angeles and Orange County which has not been an easy task.  In fact my cousins in Kansas are trying to convince us to move out there because we haven’t had any success getting a house here.

What we are looking for in a house:

  • 3 bedrooms
  • 1 bathroom
  • Nice size backyard
  • Not a busy street
  • Safe neighborhood
  • Within our budget
  • Good school district

See we are not being too picky about what we want. We are even flexible when it comes to move in ready or a fixer upper. Anyways, I just wanted to share with you guys a tad about what’s going on with our house search.  Please send us lots of prayers and/or positive thoughts so that we get a house soon.

Hopeful 2015

Sweetsandlife: Sun and Clouds

Like I previously mentioned HERE 2014 was not very good to us. Besides our little setbacks one of our close friend’s was diagnosed with cancer, my best friend’s boy friend was killed, and countless other things happened along the way. Needless to say our close group of friends has begun the year full of hope. The first good thing that happened this year has been the birth of baby William. Secondly, the Hubby got a mini promotion and he continues to work for the company he loves. Thirdly, we began our house hunting journey. My friend who has cancer has only a couple of chemotherapy sessions left and we are hopeful he will kick butt. My other friend’s heart is slowly healing and she’s now dating a very nice guy.

Here’s to accomplishing more things this year that scare us and for finding happiness in the little things that matter. So far 2015 has been kinder to us than the previous year. I’m hoping your year is as good or better than the last.

1st Birthday Party (Mickey & Minnie Mouse)

Looking back at this past weekend I realized that I never did a recap of my daughter’s 1st birthday party.  I planned tirelessly for several weeks without realizing that the week before the party I was going to get a terrible cold. The day of the party everything that could go wrong did for but nonetheless we had a blast. Hardly anyone knew that I was involved in a hit-and-run accident on my way to the venue. My original cake that I stayed up all night working on along with 60% of my desserts were ruined as a result of the accident. My little Buttercup refused to take a nap that day and was super fuzzy. About 10% of the desserts that made it through the accident began to melt. Would I change things about that party? Absolutely. Would it really matter to anyone but me? Probably not. Like I previously mentioned here the day of the party is dedicated to fun. I had a blast watching everyone put on their Mickey & Minnie ears, playing carnival games, and mostly I enjoyed celebrating with those I love. Without further ado here’s a little glimpse at the party we thew my little Buttercup last year.

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Invitations: DIY

Venue: Newland Barn

Pinata and toys: Los Angeles Toy District

Taquero: Water store on Dale St. and Chapman in Garden Grove, CA

Food and drinks: Costco

Carnival Games: Amazon

Well there you have it folks bits and pieces of the party we thew my little Buttercup. Will she remember it? No, but will I tell her how much I loved planning it. On another note I really need to start taking more photos of all the DIY things I do.

Please refer to my two Pinterest board for more inspiration. HERE and HERE

Please stay tune in the following weeks for a re-cap of this year’s Frozen extravaganza.

Check out my Pinterest board for my little Buttercup’s 2nd birthday party HERE.

 

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2014’s Broken Resolutions

Hesperia

Now that we are in 2015 I feel that I should probably explain all the cryptic tweets I kept making last year about our New Years resolution. I should begin by saying that the Hubby and I are planners and for the most part every big decision we have made has been carefully thought out. (Well most of them except this one.)

Last year before the ball dropped in NYC the Hubby and I began to reminisce about the year. We talked about all that we did and all that we wanted to do this year. One thing that came up was that we both felt it was the right time to start thinking about purchasing a house. We began to day dream about what kind of place we might get and what we were going to do to attain it. While all our family and friends were out partying the night away we sat on our couch watching our little Buttercup playing as we thought about what the new year would bring. We decided that our New Years Resolutions would be to buy a house. At that point we did not know exactly what we were going to do about it we just sat there day dreaming and enjoying the moment.  Fast to a few weeks later when we devised a plan that I like to refer to as my crazy idea.  The Hubby came home from work one day and suggested that we have my parents move into our apartment to help us save more money for a downpayment. I thought that he went nuts when he suggested that. I mean I moved out when I was 18 years old I was used to being on my own. Why on earthy would I want my parent living with us in a two bedroom apartment. I called his bluff and suggested an even crazier idea. Whenever I try to explain it to people I get a weird look from them so here goes nothing. Try to keep up and don’t get lost. I’ll try to simplify it as much as possible.

My idea involved asking for help from both sets of parents which we would normally not do. We don’t like asking for help and usually we don’t share information with anyone until the plan is complete. The first part of my idea was to get my in-laws to agree to let us borrow their house for a year. You see my in-laws had purchased a house last year and nobody was using it. They bought it as a retirement house the house was just sitting there empty. Part 2 was to get my in-laws to agree to let my husband stay with them at their one bedroom apartment during the week. Part 3 involved my parents. I had to get them to agree to move in with me and our little Buttercup for a year.  They had to leave the comfort of their small town in order to help us out. I have never asked my parents for help and have always done things on my own so I felt odd even asking. With both parents aligned and the details worked out we set a date to move.  We decided that it would be best to move when our lease was up from our apartment.

Although we’ve been here for almost 10 months now it doesn’t get easier saying bye to my husband every Sunday night. Nothing about this whole process has been easy and we’ve all made sacrifices. In early October we had an appointment to get pre-approved but for some reason we couldn’t make it that day. A week later the Hubby was notified that he was being laid-off from the job that he LOVED. About 300 employees were affected in all. We were crushed by the news! All the sacrifices we had done meant nothing. Everything went numb for us and I know that it might not seem like a big deal but it was to us. We went through all the stages of grief and decided that 2014 couldn’t be over soon enough.

…To be continued…

Life: 15 Years Ago

It all began shortly after high school like most great fairy tales begin. Right?! 15 years ago I walked into a bakery bright eyed, timid, and a total nervous wreck but little did I know that my life would change forever.Sweets and Life: Blue Ribbon Bakery Disneyland

I grew up in a very small town in the Central Valley where after high school you either enter the military, get married (more likely pregnant), or you leave town in hopes of a better future and I decided on the latter. In a manner of a few days I applied, had a phone interview and was on my way to my first real interview. With my parents blessing I took enough clothes for 3 days and headed out as the Dixie Chicks say to Wide Open Spaces. By the end of the week I was given a position as a “culinary hostess” at the Happiest Place on Earth.  Words cannot describe my delight as I began working on October 23, 1999. The friendships and memories that I made there by far exceeds what I ever expected out of my “first” job. (I worked as a welder for a summer when I was 16 so technically my second job.)

Sweets and Life: Cast Member name tag

I worked full time in several positions throughout the park for almost a decade while I attending school full time on and off. I wouldn’t change anything about my time there because I believe it has made me who I am today. The values the company instilled in me will be part of me for as long as I’m alive and I’ve very proud to take to any company I might work at in the future. At Disneyland I learned how important it is to initiate guest contact, that picking up trash is done by everyone throughout the park, maintaing the “show” aspect is what makes this place special, and genuinely caring for our guest is the number one priority. Keep in mind that when I refer to the guest I’m not just talking about the adults but to children as well. I learned how to communicate with children more easily and how to get down to their level. I learned about public speaking and now I’m able to communicate with anyone I come across.

Sweets and Life: My buddy Mickey

I was part of the magic that was created there on a daily basis.  Some of the moments guest felt were above and beyond were documented at guest relations and in 2008 I was lucky enough to be nominated for a Service Excellence award for it. Most of what I did will never be known and I’m okay with that because it will stay in my heart.   Here is just a small glimpse of what I helped create and to my defense I left the couple without refills to go get a piece of cake at another location. Guest go to the park for different reasons and one cannot assume that they are simply there on vacation.  Wether it be for an afternoon of fun with their families, trying to escape something difficult in their lives or to celebrate something people always turn to the Park. Some of the individuals that go saved up for months or years to be able to take their families there. (My family was one of those people.)  I was taught that you threat everyone the same whether they be an annual passholder, a celebrity, or a regular person.  I learned how to deal with different personalities from all over the world. Through my guests I learned about different cultures and customs. My co-workers became part of my family as I spent most of my holidays working long hours.  In fact I loved working holidays because everyone was so happy to be  there celebrating. What better place to ring in the New Year or 4th of July?

Sweets and Life: Carnation Cafe

The company also instilled in me a sense of citizenship. I participated in several VoluntEARS events throughout my time there. They encourage cast members to help out in their community. I relished in helping out in any way I could whether it be by raising money for a walk, painting a playground, spending time with the children at CHOC, or other events throughout the year.

Sweets and Life: Disney VoluntEARSOut of all my time working for the company the position I cherished working the most was being part of the Dream Squad. In order to attain that position you had to get nominated and approved by the operations manager, turn in a resume, and get interviewed.  I’m not going to say much about the Dream Squad except imagine being Santa Clause everyday. It was simply phenomenal.

Sweets and Life: Dream Squad

So, you might be asking yourself why on Earth did you quit this magical place? I quit simply because I was accepted into UCLA on a summer scholars program and I was unable to work full time, commute on the Metro, and attend all my classes without something suffering. I could only stretch myself so far.  But before I’m done reminiscing I would like to say that Disneyland gave me the greatest gift of all, my Husband.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen when the person that interviewed me on the first day told me that I was going to find love there I dismissed it.  Little did I know how truly magical my time being there and how it would change me forever.

Sweets and Life: Disneyland

Maybe one day I will return to the place I consider my second home but for now I’m setting my sights on other things.  I’m very happy about the work skills I acquired while I was with the company. My Husband often thinks I’m weird for asking people if I can take their photo for them when we are out and about but I can’t help myself. There are so many magical stories that I’ve yet to share with you and so many things I have learned that I would love to list but that will have to wait until next time. In the mean time here’s a little glimpse of me when it all began circa 1999.

Sweets and Life: Cast Member of the Month

 

 

Recipes: Chile con Queso (Chihuahua Style)

Sweets and Life: Chile con Queso (Chihuahua Style)

One of my mom’s favorite things to eat is chile con queso.  This dish shouldn’t be confused with the every popular chile con queso dip that you find at many Tex-Mex restaurants. It is not drowned in a sea of  Velveeta by any means but it is delicious in its own right.  Growing up I would spend my summers in Chihuahua, Mexico where I ate more than my share of chile con queso.  On any given day I could go to any of my aunt’s houses and often than none they would all be making this dish.  Seriously, my people love this dish!

Now that my parents live with us (more on that later) I often find myself eating this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This dish is so versatile because it can be served with different things.  You can have it with eggs for breakfast, you can have it as a burrito for lunch, or you can add steak in it for dinner. I hope you are able to try and enjoy this dish as much as we do.

Chile con Queso (Chihuahua Style)

The main ingredient you need for this dish are Anaheim chiles. Once you wash them put the chiles directly on a cast iron skillet and roast them over medium high heat.  Be careful not to burn them too much otherwise you will find yourself coughing up a lung and rushing towards the fire alarms like we often do.

Sweets and Life: Chile con Queso (Chihuahua Style)

Once they are completely roasted and the peel begins to loosen take them off the heat.  Caution they will be extremely hot! Please try not to handle them with your bare hands.

Sweets and Life: Chile con Queso (Chihuahua Style)

Let them cool for a few minutes before peeling them because like I said before they will be extremely hot.  By the way don’t scratch your eyes or any other part of your face because they might be a tad spicy. With your hands careful take off the peel and throw that part away along with the stems.

Sweets and Life: Chile con Queso (Chihuahua Style)

Once the chiles are completely clean go ahead and give them a rough chop.  We usually leave the seeds in but if you don’t want it too spicy go ahead and take some off.

Sweets and Life: Chile con Queso (Chihuahua Style)

Oops, I just realized I forgot to tell you to chop your tomato and onion so at this point go ahead and rough chop them now. When you are done with your crazy rough chop add them to the chile.

Sweets and Life: Chile con Queso (Chihuahua Style)

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat.  Once the oil is hot add your mixture of chile, onion, and tomato in the pan. Stir it a few times so it doesn’t stick to the pan.  It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes for the onions to become translucent.

Sweets and Life: Chile con Queso (Chihuahua Style)

Pour the water into the frying pan very carefully and let it boil for a tad.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sweets and Life: Chile con Queso (Chihuahua Style)

This is my favorite part because this is where the cheese marries this delicious concoction. You can add whatever type of white  melty cheese you prefer but we usually use either mozzarella,  monterey jack, or asadero. Our favorite of the three being asadero directly from Chihuahua. Let the cheese do its magic and melt into the chile con queso goodness. Serve it with some beans, rice, and tortillas. Enjoy!

Sweets and Life: Chile con Queso (Chihuahua Style)

Ingredients

  • 8 to 10 Anaheim Chiles
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 white onion
  •  A dash of salt
  • A tad of pepper
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 cup of white cheese (the kind that melts)

Directions

Roast the Anaheim chiles over medium high heat. Once completely roasted take off the heat and set aside for a few minutes. Peel the skin off the chiles. Pull the stem off and rough chop the chiles. Throw away the stems and peels. Dice your tomato and onion. Mix in tomato and onion with the chile. Heat oil in a frying pan.  Put the chile mixture in the frying pan carefully and heat for about 5 minutes. One the onion is translucent pour water into the chile mixture. Boil for a few minutes. Add the cheese. Let the cheese melt. Serve alongside tortillas, beans, and rice. Enjoy!

Note

This dish can be made into a burrito or served alongside eggs for breakfast.

Life: A Hello Kitty Baby Shower (dessert table)

A few months ago my half-sister approached me and asked me to help her with her son and daughter-in-law’s baby shower. If you have been following my blog you know that she had me by the time she announced that it would be a pink Hello Kitty baby shower. I helped her out by doing the dessert table for her.

Sweets and LIfe: Hello Kitty Baby Shower (dessert table)

I began a baking a week before the baby shower because I’ve learned from previous parties that sugar cookies work better with royal icing when they are completely dry.  I used Sugarbelle’s recipe for sugar cookies because I’ve always had good results with it.

Sweets and Life: Hello Kitty Baby Shower (dessert table)

Once completely dried I placed the cookies in cellophane bags and I added pink ribbon that I already had.

Sweets and Life: Hello Kitty Baby Shower (dessert table)

I worked on the Hello Kitty cake the day of the baby shower. I baked a Hershey’s chocolate cake and frosted it with a buttercream frosting.  I use the Hello Kitty cake pan mold and I loved how the cake turned out.

Sweets and Life: Hello Kitty Baby Shower (dessert table)

My mom loves chocolate covered pretzels so I had to include those in the dessert table.  I purchased the pink baskets at the Dollar Tree and the Hello Kitty in front of the baskets are actually stickers placed over cardstock.

Sweets and Life: Hello Kitty Baby Shower (dessert table)

Another must have item in any dessert table are chocolate covered Oreos which I love.

Sweets and Life: Hello Kitty Baby Shower (dessert table)

I made the same type of sign I did for my daughter’s 1st birthday dessert table.

The sign says:

The dessert table will be open after Dinner!

Please use the tongs, chose what you like!

Leave some for others, Please be polite!

Sweets and Life: Hello Kitty Baby Shower (dessert table)

Here’s the final dessert table.  I baked brownies, cake pops, cake balls, brownie bites, and cupcakes. I used Billy Vanilla, Vanilla recipe for half of the cupcakes.  My niece and sister decorated the background.

Sweets and Life: Hello Kitty Baby Shower (dessert table)

Sweets and Life: Hello Kitty Baby Shower (dessert table)

Sweets and Life: Hello Kitty Baby Shower (dessert table)I hope you guys enjoyed the dessert table I created for baby Natalie.  I’m glad to say that last week my nephew and his wife had a healthy little girl.

 

DIY: Mickey and Minnie Mouse Gumball Machines

Sweets and Life: DIY MIckey & Minnie Gumball Machines
One of the cutest projects I did for my daughter’s 1st birthday party was the Mickey & Minnie Gumball Machines.  I received so many compliments from this project and it was pretty easy to make.  I followed Damaris’ directions on how to make these colorful centerpieces and they turned out super cute.  For complete directions on how to make these please go HERE.  Please enjoy the photos I took of the process.

DIY: Mickey & Minnie Gumball Machines

Sweets and Life: DIY MIckey & Minnie Gumball Machines

Sweets and Life: DIY MIckey & Minnie Gumball MachinesSweets and Life: DIY MIckey & Minnie Gumball Machines

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I filled the gumball machines with candy from the Dollar Tree.

This project is easy but be aware that it requires a lot of time to dry.

Be prepared to get glitter everywhere!

White buttons- Michael’s.

Door Knobs for lids- Ikea.

Minnie Bow- Fabric Barn.

Fish bowls- The Dollar Tree 

The remaining supplies – Moskatels