Photography: Monarch Butterfly

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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.

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

DIYMickeyGumball2

DSC_0070_1DIYGumballMachine3Tips:

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

Revisiting my Day Zero Project

S&LDayZeroProject.jpg.

Remember back in 2011 when I posted this well I haven’t forgotten about the project although it might seem like I have.  My end date is fast approaching and I’ve decided that I’m dedicating the rest of the year to finishing off what I have on my list. I jumped on the Day Zero Projects bandwagon when a lot of the bloggers I followed began posting about it.  I’m a differently person from when I started this project and I feel like I should be allowed to alter it a tad to fit my current lifestyle.  Instead of finishing off my list in 1001 days I’m going to give myself until the end of the year to do as much as I can.  This project is now going to be 1174 days not 1001.

for others

1. Donate Blood (1/6)

2. Get Involved with Habitat for Humanity ( on going through the Advocacy Action Center)

3. Make Crème brûlée for my cousin.

4. Volunteer at the Rescue Mission (1/18) (on going donations)

5. Bake something to give to someone (5/8)

6. Advocate for an organization (3/12)

7. Donate to a charity (ongoing Kiva)

8.  Take a photo of my little Buttercup in my wedding dress and donate it afterwards

9. Donate things we don’t use or need around the house (ongoing becoming a minimalist)

10. Recycle everything we possible can (ongoing)

for myself

11. Get an awesome job that I love (in the works)

12. Try escargot (accomplished thanks to my cousin)

13. No social media for a month (accomplished July ’12)

14. Get a facial (accomplish June ’14)

15. Learn French

16. Get 3 massages (accomplished June ’14)

17. Not watch TV for 30 days (accomplished early 2013)

18. Learn conversational Mandarin

19. Wear a 2 piece bathing suit at the beach (shooting for next year 2015)

20. Learn conversational Italian

for health.jpg.

21. Start Couch to 5k

22. Only eat out 2 meals a week for 2 months (ongoing)

23. Go to bed before midnight for 2 months (still working on this one)

24. Run Disney half marathon (accomplished 1/29/12)

25. Run a 5k (accomplished January ’12)

26. Run a colorful 5k

27. Go walking everyday with my mom for a month

28. Give up fried food for 2 months (doing the Mediterranean diet with the Hubby)

29. Give up dessert for 3 months

30. Lose 50 pounds (accomplished but gained it back after the baby) (trying it again)

31. Give up dairy for a month

family friends and love32. Get pregnant (accomplished Jan ’13)

33. Signup my little Buttercup for a class (accomplished June ’13)

34. Visit my parents every month for year (accomplished March ’14)

35. Work on genealogy tree for our family (ongoing)

36.  Transfer family movies to dvds (accomplished summer ’13)

37. Go on an overnight trip with the Hubby

38. Have 5 date nights with the Hubby

39. Scan all old family photos on computer (ongoing)

40. Teach my little godson how to make Chocolate Chip Cookies (5/28/12)

learn creative blog41. Learn Lightroom

42. Learn HTML

43. Learn XHTML

44. Learn Java

45. Learn Excel

46. Learn all the functions in my DSLR (ongoing)

47. Enter a photo competition

48. Enter a baking competition

49. Complete a 365 project (ongoing will be finished at the end of the year)

50. Make our wedding album

51. Re-decorate our apartment (accomplished 3/24/12)

52. Learn how to use my mac (learning something new everyday)

53. Blog at least once a week for the 3 months (Beginning 09/15/14)

54. Bake colorful macarons

55. Bake 20 recipes from a cookbook

56. Make a photo book of the Hubby and I

57. Get CPR certified (accomplished 4/11/15 Adult & Pediatrics CPR/AED/First AID )

58. Grow an indoor herb garden (accomplished 3/24/12)

59. Carve a cool Halloween pumpkin (accomplished 10/31/11)

60. Learn how to make tamales (I will be relearning this holiday season)

61. Organize all our photos (ongoing)

62. Redo the chair I found in the alley (ongoing)

63. Repaint our dresser

64. Decorate a cake with fondant (I tried but failed Jan ’14)

65. Decorate a cake with royal icing

entertainment66. Visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris (accomplished 9/23/11)

67.Go to Kansas with my mom (accomplished 11/01/11)

68. Visit the Grand Canyon (accomplished 08/23/14)

69. Take my little Buttercup to Mexico (accomplished 07/16/14)

70. Visit New York, NY

71. Go to Yosemite

72. Go to San Francisco

73. Go to Sequoia

74. Take a family trip to Las Vegas

75. Go to a concert

76. Go on vacation with a group of friends (accomplished 08/22/14)

77.  Go on a cruise with the Hubby (accomplished a mini cruise while in Maui March ’12)

78. Visit Chihuahua, Mexico (upcoming trip July ’14)

79. Visit another continent

80. Go kayaking

81. Go on a road trip with the Hubby and our little Buttercup (accomplished August 2014)

82. Go snorkeling (accomplished 3/29/12)

83. Build a snowman (accomplished January ’15)

84. Go horseback riding (accomplished 3/30/12)

85. Visit a Lake (accomplished June 2014)

86. Buy another lens

87. Go to Monterey Aquarium

88. Go hiking at Point Lobos

89. Visit Big Sur

90. Visit Taliesin West (accomplished 08-29-14)

91. Visit my cousin in Arizona (accomplished August 2014)

92. Visit Yellowstone

business and money.jpg.

93. Open an Etsy Shop

94. Save up for closing cost for a house (March ’14 to March ’15)

95. Set up my own photography website (in progress)

96. Write out our living will (the Hubby is working on this one)

97. List 10 thing on Etsy Shop

98. Sell a photograph

99. Get sponsors for my blog

100. Get my own domain name (accomplished thanks to the Hubby)

101. Write code for my own blog

Our little Buttercup’s cute owl nursery

When we first were deciding on a theme we wanted to do something gender neutral but at the end we went with a cute girly theme. One day while we where at Babies R Us the Hubby saw the cute owl bedding and fell in love with it.  Since I originally wanted to do a Toy Story theme it took a little more convincing for me but after I found out my grandma loved owls I was sold on the idea.  The nursery is one of my favorite places to sit and relax.  I hope you enjoy our little Buttercup’s room as much as we do.

Cute Owl Nursery - Sweets and Life

Cute Owl Nursery - Sweets and Life

Cute Owl Nursery - Sweets and Life

Cute Owl Nursery - Sweets and Life

Cute Owl Nursery - Sweets and LIfe

Cute Owl Nursery- Sweets and Life

Cute Owl Nursery - Sweets and Life

Cute Owl Nursery - Sweets and Life

The details

Chair and foot stool- Ikea Poang

Owl decal – Amazon

Owl lamp – Amazon (baby shower gift)

Owl Crib Bedding – Amazon (we got ours from Babies R Us but they don’t sell it anymore)

Giraffe – Disney Store (Lion King Collection)

Books – Yard sales, gifts, Burlington Coat Factory, and Target

Crib – Graco Charleston

Mattress – Target

Dresser – Ikea Hemnes

Hampers – Ikea Filur Bin

Blackout Curtains – Target (At first we had white ones but the green ones made the room darker for nap time.)

I’m so happy to finally be able to share my little Buttercup’s nursery with you. I hope you all like it as much as I do. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.