Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Crave Wednesday: Malted Chocolate-Peanut Butter Sauce


It's time for our annual girls' weekend trip!  But this year it was a little different. 

I'll back up.

In March, Horsewhisperer let us all know she was going to be in town for a wedding at the end of June.  The wedding was on a Saturday, so she was going to come in early and wanted to know if we were free the Friday before.  Of course, we all jumped at the chance to spend time with her.  We love her!  We miss her!

We also knew it probably wouldn't be feasible for her to fly out twice in June, so instead of a full weekend, we decided to just do a girls' overnight - spend the whole day Friday with her, and then part ways on Saturday so she could go to her wedding.

We came up with a couple of plans, but ended up deciding on a resort not too far from where her wedding was.

And then life happened.  Life always happens, doesn't it?  Horsewhisperer wasn't going to be able to make it after all.  There was some discussion about changing weekends or locations, but in the end we decided to keep it just as we had planned.

On Friday we all met up at the resort.  As usual we spent a fair amount of time catching up in the hotel room before heading down to the main attraction - the pool!



Jurisslave had brought a stand-in for Horsewhisperer, not a replacement or substitute, because you just can't replace someone like that.  But the new girl was so thankful to be included that she got us all reserved lounge chairs just off the pool.  And like any good group of moms away from their families we took full advantage of just being able to sit.


We also took full advantage of the hot tub, complete with waterfall.



We tried out the "Lazy River" but with water fountains shooting at you, rapids, a waterfall, and a ton of children there wasn't much lazy about it.  So we found our way back to the adults only pool.  Know why it's adults only?  See that palapa? 



Swim up bar!  And we also took advantage of that.



We spent the entire day in the water or beside the water, sipping fruity frozen drinks out of our brand new souvenir tumblers.



Eventually we realized it was getting late, and we were getting hungry, so back up to the room to change.  We headed to dinner and sat around talking more.  It's funny how when you're with some people you never run out of things to talk about - and that's how it always is with us.  After dinner we bid adieu to Jurisslave and her friend and headed back up to the room where we talked some more until we all fell asleep - probably early than we do back home.  Because we're old ladies.

The next morning we parted ways.  I always feel so recharged after our time together, and it is never ever long enough.  I love catching up with some of my closest friends and getting away from the thing that brought us all together originally. 

But this trip was extra not long enough, not enough time, not enough talk, not enough indulgent behavior.  We're all older and less crazy than we were - and none of us were especially crazy to begin with.  I mean, our idea of adventure is a swim up bar! 

Sometimes it doesn't take much to indulge though.  Just a little twist on the ordinary - a day at a nearby resort, or adding peanut butter to chocolate sauce.  Both seems so simple, so obvious, but they're things we just never think to do.  So be like us.  Take the simple and obvious and just go for it.

Malted Chocolate Peanut Butter Sauce (From Cooking Light)
1/4 cup chocolate malted milk powder
1 can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Place malted milk powder, condensed milk, and chocolate in a medium saucepan.  Cook, stirring constantly over medium-low heat 6 minutes or until smooth. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla.  Serve warm.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Mommy Mondays: Dinosaurs and Ice Cream, a Roaring 3rd Birthday Party

This year Thatbaby wanted his birthday party at the local children's museum.  They had several themes to choose from, which included activities at the museum.  Thatbaby picked the fossil dig - so a dinosaur party seemed to fit well with that.

His other request for the party was ice cream.  And inspired by one of his favorite books, I decided to incorporate that into the theme. 

Guests were greeted upon arrival with a reminder of that theme - dinosaurs and ice cream cones dotted the entry way.

The outdoor space where the party was held didn't really have walls, so I made use of a lot of hanging decorations in the open spaces.  Lanterns and hanging ice cream cones were strung along the sides.






The tables featured dinosaurs enjoying their own ice cream sundaes.











Dinosaurs ate ice cream on the kid's water bottles, and their lunches were packed in little dinosaur lunch boxes.  Inside were dinosaur shaped turkey sandwiches, "dinosaur eggs" (grapes) and cheese crackers marked with dinosaur footprints.



Of course there was food for the adults too.


And the dessert table held cupcakes, ice cream cone shaped rice krispie treats,



Bone-shaped meringues



Dinosaur head cake pops


And of course, what would an ice cream and dinosaur party be without an ice cream sundae bar.  With bone shaped sprinkles, dinosaur shaped sprinkles, gummy dinosaurs, and dinosaur eggs,


And the fossil dig was a lot of fun for the kids.  They started with the kids on the edges of a sand pit with trowels, digging for fossils.


They found claws and dinosaur teeth.



They then moved into the sand pit and began carefully brushing the much larger dinosaur fossil buried there.



We let the kids dig into their goody bags early.  They were filled with toy dinosaurs, dinosaur and ice cream erasers, dinosaur and ice cream tatoos, a dino claw excavation kit, and the hit of the party - ice cream cone poppers.










Because we had the party at the museum, the kids also had access to all the regular museum activities.  And most of the dinosaurs found their way to the water table for a little swim.


Thatbaby had such a great time with his friends, playing and eating ice cream.  Another party down!


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Crave Wednesday: Brandied Cherry Sauce


On Mother's Day we were very much doing things that I enjoy doing, what with going to see camels and all.  Typically on Father's Day we go to the waterpark, but that's not exactly what Thatboy wants to do.  It just became convenient when Thatbaby was a week old and I couldn't see us spending a whole day at the beach with a newborn.  And a tradition was born.

But this year, he said he wanted to do something "nature-y" "like a hike or something."  So, in the midst of figuring out what I wanted to do for our birthdays, and planning a birthday party, I also started doing some research on local trails.  We've done quite a few which Thatboy has not been impressed with.  And some of the ones I thought he would like would NOT be enjoyable with our children.

But then I came across some reviews for the Santa Margarita River Trail, which stated that it was a nice easy trail, with scenic views as you walked along a river.  It sounded great, and so I forwarded it to Thatboy and asked what he thought.  He gave it a thumbs up.

Father's Day started with our usual trip to the Original Pancake House for breakfast, which is Thatboy's favorite breakfast locale.  And then we picked up some sandwiches and headed off to the trail.

True to the description, it was a lovely trail, under the canopy of trees, which is rare here in San Diego.  Most trails offer little to no shade, but this was shady and cool.  The river provided some nice background noise and some pretty views.


The trail was fairly easy, with only a couple of places where we had to weave through some rock scrambles.    The biggest hazard on the trail was the poison oak which was everywhere.  I had to remind the kids a number of times to stay in the middle of the trail.


The entire trail is about 2.5 miles long.  So we had to take a couple of sitting breaks on the way out, and the way back.




At a certain point, we reached an outcropping of rocks, and the river.  There was no way I was going to try to cross or ford the river to get to the other side, we decided to call this the end of the trail and sit and eat lunch.


Thatboy and Thatkid spent some time playing on the rocks, while I sat with the more cautious and less coordinated Thatbaby eating blueberries.


Heading back wasn't as successful as heading out.  There were some more breaks, and begging of Thatboy to drag them home. 


Thatbaby promptly fell asleep on the car ride home, and I gallantly sat in the car with him while Thatboy and Thatkid went into the house.  Around 4:15, Thatboy came out and asked if we could head to dinner, which woke up Thatbaby.  But then we head to dinner.   We tried a new place not too far from us, and it was fantastic.  We ate and drank, and had far too many desserts. Of course, I forgot to take any pictures.  But I'm sure we'll be back.

But since we're in dessert mode...we've been doing ice cream a lot lately.  I shouldn't say "we" since I'm not a huge ice cream person, but the boys have.  Thatboy has requested having it in the house, and so it's there.  I have been having fun playing with toppings.  We've got leftover chocolate and caramel sauce from Thatbaby's birthday party.  And a bag of cherries in the freezer were just begging to be put on top.  Boiled down with sugar and cherry liquor and it adds a very elegant topping to what could be a rather commonplace dessert.


Brandied Cherry Sauce (From Cooking Light)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/3 cup unsweetened grape juice
3 Tbsp kirsch
2 1/2 cup frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed
1/2 cup dried tart cherries

  1. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan, stirring with a whisk.
  2. Add juice and brandy, stirring with a whisk until blended.  
  3. Stir in cherries. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly.  Cool to room temperature.  


Monday, June 18, 2018

Mommy Mondays: Number 2 Turns 3.


As he does every year, last week Thatbaby went and got a year older.  He's officially a threenager.  Haven't heard that term before?  Well then you've just admitted you've never had a 3 year old child.

Thatbaby couldn't wait to start his birthday, so much so that he was up at 5:30am.  Nevermind that it's also my birthday and I didn't want to be up at 5:30am.  See?  Three.  The worst.

He made his way out to the living room where he found a mountain of presents awaiting him.  (Which didn't stop him from trying to also open my presents...)


He got some really great presents, but his favorite was from his brother - his very own Hatchimal!


Sharing a birthday means that Thatbaby got to pick what he wanted for breakfast - chocolate chip pancakes...



but I got to pick where we went - somewhere with mimosas and breakfast burritos!




After breakfast, we headed over to Thatbaby's "Preschool Popstars" class.  I don't think I've written about it before, but we enrolled Thatbaby in his first extracurricular activity.  He's spent the past 2 months movin' and groovin' to what was supposed to be pop music, but it turned out their big number (showcase next weekend!) is to "We Go Together" from Grease.  Which is still pretty cute.


I picked the next activity since he didn't have any concrete desires on what he wanted to do for his birthday other than eat ice cream.  So we headed blueberry picking!






After we picked berries he fed chickens and pet goats, so he was a pretty happy camper.  After that we headed to my favorite brewery.  Where they have pizza - one of Thatbaby's favorite foods.  See how well we share?



Then it was time to swing by the pool party our friends were throwing.  Sure it wasn't a party for us, but Thatbaby loved playing in the pool while I chatted with a bunch of my grown up friends.


We reverted back to Thatbaby for the rest of the evening.  His request for a birthday dinner was nachos, so we went home and I made them.  He also picked "Sword in the Stone" to watch during dinner.  Which was a nice way to unwind after such a busy birthday.  And now there are only 51 weeks of having a 3 year old left!