Thursday, March 27, 2014

Restaurant Review - Nordstrom Cafe Fashion Island, Newport Beach

Today I met my girlfriend Joy at Fashion Island for a little retail therapy and lunch. We shopped for quite a while and decided to eat lunch at the Nordstrom Cafe - because it is usually quite quick.  Today it was quite slow. First a little over a week ago they changed the format of the restaurant and now the hostess gives you a menu and you order with a waiter. They also have a wine list. They serve wine and beer now. They have also added some new menu items.

Today we both ordered a "new" salad. I say a new salad because I always order the Cilantro Lime Shrimp salad - yummy!

But today we both ordered The Fresh Berry and Fig Salad with Goat Cheese - the description of the salad -

Fresh seasonal berries, dried figs, goat cheese and spiced candied almonds on organic baby greens and arugula with a vanilla bean vinaigrette.

The fresh berries were raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. We both loved the fresh berries and goat cheese. However, Joy did not get any candied almonds. And the nuts are her favorite part of the salad. So they brought her a little cup of nuts. Then I said these figs are fantastic. Joy started digging through her salad. She did not have one fig. So once again they brought her a little cup of figs.

Then it took forever to get our bill and the change. Despite this incident - we will always love Nordstrom Cafe!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Need For Speed Party Gift

Christian was invited to a birthday party and they are going to see "Need for Speed" at Cinepolis. So you know I always present a gift card on a big piece of cardboard!

Since they are going to see "Need for Speed" I made the theme of the gift - racing.

I wrapped a piece of cardboard  (from a 24 pack of water) in black wrapping paper. And each of the different sized candy bars in white wrapping paper. I added the little flag toothpicks to each candy bar.

In between the candy bars I added a "hot wheel" but I cut the "hot wheel" cardboard off the car. I didn't want the gift to look juvenile.

The candy bars and car were taped on to the black wrapped cardboard.

When Christian gets home I am going to have him sign the card, the gift card and write his friends name on the front of the envelope. Then I will tape the envelope with the gift card inside onto the black wrapped cardboard.

I hope this idea inspired you the next time you buy a gift card for a gift!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Living Room Redo

I decided to fix up the Living Room! I tend to fix up one room at a time and that is because I cannot stand a big mess. So one room at time that is messy is about all I can handle. The biggest change that I made was to have the carpet removed and a wood tile installed.

Here are some before and after  pictures:

I love the wood tile. Friends come over and think that it is real wood and it blends with the stone.

I love the new look - and I am not sure I am loving the throw rug. But I was trying to cozy up the room.  Let me know what you think.

The room behind the arches is our family room - the one we spend the most time in because that is where we watch television.

This is the room you see when you first enter our home - so I wanted it to look fresh and uncluttered.

The carpet was 10 years old and I just wanted a little change.

I used the same furniture - just changed out a few pillows, vases and plants. The next room that I will work on will be the family room. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pecan Pie Granola

I have given up sweets for Lent - so I didn't want to make a pie for Pi Day tomorrow. Besides since Noelle is away at school and Christian only likes ice cream for dessert - would make a whole pie just for my husband?

So I ran across this Pecan Pie Granola recipe on the Dashing Dish and realized that it would be perfect for Pi Day tomorrow. However, I changed the recipe a little - I felt I could change it because I make granola all the time and often substitute ingredients.

Granola is a perfect snack, on top of yogurt or ice cream, with milk like cereal. And did you know that Pecan Pie is American's third favorite pie. The most popular is Apple followed by Pumpkin. And pecans are one of the most antioxidant nuts.


1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1/2 cup almonds, chopped

2 cups old fashioned oats

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2  teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg white, lightly beaten

1 cup butterscotch chips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray it with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl combine all of the dry ingredients - mix to combine. Add the maple syrup, vanilla and egg white. Stir until everything is well combined and pour the mixture on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 25 minutes.

 Once the granola is cooled stir in the butterscotch chips. And store the granola in a sealed container.

Tomorrow I am bringing pizza to Christian's math class in honor of Pi Day! Pi Day is yummy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Treats in Mason Jars

I love small little holidays like St. Patrick's Day. I made some cute little St. Patrick's Day jars filled with little treats for the sweet girls in my neighborhood.

Each jar contains a Lucky Charms treat bar, green twist lollipops and green sixlets.

Of course I had to add gold chocolate coins and some green hard candies.

To be silly each jar also gets a leprechaun, little green hat and a homemade shamrock pin.

Then I added all sorts of little pins, pony tail holders, a green and white beach ball. All the candy and little treats were purchased at Party City.

Before closing the jar I added green necklaces and bracelets.

To decorate the tops of the jars - I added a piece of green construction paper, green ribbon and a cupcake pick with the pick part twisted off.

I like to end my St. Patrick's Day posts with an Irish blessing! So here it is!

May your day be touched by a little bit of Irish luck. Brightened by a song in your heart, and warmed by the smiles of the people you love.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Treats for my College Girl

I started filling a box with some St. Patrick's Day treats for my college girl. I put in two small boxes of rainbow Goldfish and two cups of Lucky Charm cereal (it's magically delicious), some Lucky Charm granola bars, little tins filled with gold foil chocolate coins and a pair of green knee sox!

On top of those items - I added some St. Patrick's day pins, a shamrock parade ball and some handmade shamrock pins.

Of course I had to send these cute shamrock pajama bottom from Old Navy.

I also added some cellophane bags of green necklaces, green hard candy and green lollipops!

I hope she likes this little treat box! And I always like to end a St. Patrick's Day post with an Irish blessing:

As you slide down the bannister of life, May the splinters never point the wrong way.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Forty Bags in Forty Days

Last year during Lent - I tried to do a 40 bag project in 40 days. After trying really hard I finished with only 31 bags by Easter Sunday. I felt like a loser. I kept going for a few more weeks until I hit 40 bags. However, today I made good start! Hopefully, I will make the 40 bags well before Easter.

The basic premise of this project is to sort through your closets and cupboards and donate the things that you no longer need. I also include bags that I make for Meals on Wheels, recycling and a local food pantry. I update this list every time that I make a bag.

1. Bag of clothing (March 5) for Goodwill

2.  Bag of craft supplies (March 5) For Goodwill

3.  Bag April Fool's Treats (March 5) For Meals on Wheels

4.  Bag of Felt Chicks  Easter Treats (March 5) For Meals on Wheels

5.  Bag of food (March 5) For Food Pantry at Church

6. Bag of clothing (March 6) For Goodwill

7. Bag of shoes and workout clothes (March 11) For Goodwill

8. Bag of dresses (March 15) For Goodwill

9. Bag of costume jewelry (March 15) For Goodwill

10. Bag of mens and boys shoes (March 16) for Goodwill

11. Bag of cake decorating items (March 16) for Goodwill

12. Bag of cookie cutters (March 17) For Goodwill

13. Bag of kitchen misc. items (March 17) For Goodwill

14. Bag of cans and bottles (March 17) for recycling

15. Bag of paper misc. (March 18) for church recycling project

16. Bag of cans and bottles (March 18) for recycling

17. Bag of cans and bottles (March 18) for recycling

18. Bag of paper misc. (March 23) for church recycling project

19. Bag of cans and bottles (March 28) for recycling

20. Bag of cans and bottles (March 28) for recycling

21. Bag of "Have a Ball" treats (March 28) for Meals on Wheels

22. Bag of "Maracas" Cinco de Mayo treat (April 1) for Meals on Wheels

23. Bag of food items (April 1) for Food Pantry

24. Bag of household misc (April 1) for St. Vincent de Paul bundle day

25. Bag of t-shirts (April 9) for Goodwill

26. Bag of basketball clothes (April 9) for Goodwill

27. Bag of outdoor chair pads (April  12) for Goodwill

28. Bag of outdoor chair pads (April 13) for Goodwill

29. Bag of kitchen linens (April 13) for Goodwill

30. Bag of placemats (April 13) for Goodwill

31. Bag of Easter decorations (April 13) for Goodwill

32. Bag of decorative baskets (April 13) for Goodwill

33. Bag of food items (April 13) for food pantry

34. Bag of misc. holiday items (April 16) for Goodwill

35. Bag of misc. kitchen items (April 16) for Goodwill

36. Bag of cans and bottles (April 17) for recycling center

37. Bag of cans and bottles (April 17) for recycling center

38. Bag of cans and bottles (April 17) for recycling center

39. Bag of clothes and shoes (April 18) for Goodwill

40. Bag of clothes and shoes April 18) for Goodwill

I did it!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

April Fool's Treat for Meals on Wheels

I make one little craft each month for Meals on Wheels and I always try to be proactive and make the April treats in March etc. So for April I already made the felt chicks for Easter/Passover but I thought it might be fun to make a silly treat for April Fool's Day.

I bought the packages of silly glasses and noses at Hobby Lobby. However, I am sure that many party stores also carry these in the party favor aisle.

I always have cellophane bags in my craft closet. So I made some bag toppers out of scrapbook paper and stapled them to the cellophane bag. Oh and I also have tons of scrapbook paper - all colors, themes and sizes.

On the front of the bag toppers I taped a little April Fool's tag and on the back of the bag topper I hand wrote on a white label sticker "It is time to be silly" from Teresa.

These would be fun to make for neighbors, coworkers, a club, classroom or sports team. It's just a time to be silly!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mardi Gras Baked Donuts

I made some donuts for Fat Tuesday (a day early) because I love baking on cold dreary days. I found this baked donut recipe on and she had some terrific recipes.

These donuts are baked and the recipe only makes 6 to 8 donuts - so it's perfect for your Fat Tuesday breakfast! I am giving up sweets for Lent. I will be baking very little during this Lenten season. But I will be working on lots of crafts and decorating projects!

 I am also going to try to do the 40 bags in 40 days project.


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1 large egg

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup rainbow jimmies


1/4 cup milk

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

extra sprinkles 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a donut pan with non-stick spray.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and granulated sugar in a medium bowl.

In another bowl whisk the milk, yogurt and egg together until everything is smooth. Add the melted butter and vanilla and whisk again. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until everything is combined. Batter will be super thick. Gently fold in the rainbow jimmies. Be gentle with the jimmies so that they don't bleed into the dough.

Gently spoon the batter into the donut cups. Full each donut cup about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake for 9 - 11 minutes - the edges should be lightly browned. Allow the donuts to cool for a few minutes before glazing.

So after the donuts have cooled - start making the glaze. Place the donuts on a wire rack over a cookie sheet. Simply combine the glaze ingredients in a medium saucepan. Whisk the ingredients over low heat until glaze is smooth. Remove the glaze rom heat and start dunking the donuts placing them back on the wire rack. Then dunk them again. Add sprinkles on top of the glaze.

Serve warm or at room temperature. These taste best on the same day. After that baked donuts can get a little stale.

Happy Fat Tuesday!