Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Go go Power Rangers!

Amid all the holiday-ing and turkey-ing last week, it was also the Baby's birthday!

We don't always do big parties, but this year the Baby wanted to invite friends from school, family it was a big deal. Then again, turning 6 is a big deal!

The party was at one of those indoor jumpy places which is fantastic because all the noise, mess, havoc is all in one place faaar away from home. Sure, jump to your heart's content!

The Baby specifically requested a Power Rangers birthday. If you remember that's pretty popular around here right now.
I am not a fan of junky party favors that you'll just end up tossing, so I try to give kids things that they can actually USE. I mean how many mini bottles of bubbles do you need? For this party I went to the Japanese 99 cent store and luckily found some Power Rangers coloring books!

I hate to say it, but yes I do buy the girl guests more GIRLY things because I know that as a mom of boys who go to girls parties - they really hate getting girl party favors. I don't blame them - so I got the girls strawberry shortcake coloring books instead of the power rangers ones. But the comics stayed the same for both and I was thrilled to hear one of the little girls LOVED that she got a comic book! Yay for baby geek girls!
I added in some scented erasers, pencils and comic books from our vast unread collection. All kids need comic books.
The kids know full well that whatever they ask for cake/cupcake-wise I will do. (This is my punishment for following though on elaborate birthdays past.) So when the Baby said Power Rangers cupcakes - I knew I had to come up with something great. Homemade Power Rangers lollipops made great cupcake toppers! (recipe here)

The Baby had a memorable 6th birthday and now I can sit back an put my feet u...what's that? The Kid's birthday is next month? sigh...

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

The set up

When the Kid learns something he really takes it to heart. In school they taught him how to properly set a table. Awesome! I never learned that in school and I still struggle to remember which side the fork goes on.

He brought his template home and he was excited to show me how to use it on Thanksgiving. I happily employed child labor let him set the table for the holiday!

Napkins, plates. Spoon and knife on the right. Fork on the left. Cup on the upper right.

In the end we had a beautifully set table. The Kid even taught his brother how to eat with a knife and fork. Yay for manners!

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Give thanks

I'm thankful for family, food and mini gravy boats.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pie in the sky

Tis the season...for pie. Somehow my pie cravings kick into gear around the holidays - otherwise, I'm totally team Cake the rest of the year.

Luckily there's a cute little pie store in L.A. and by little pie I mean LITTLE PIES. The pies are seriously 2.5" in diameter and you know me, anything mini is my new fave.

Simple Things is a sandwich and pie store in mid-city on Third.

There are a variety of lunch items to choose from: soup, salad, sandwiches and of course, pie. Psst: if you get your pie ala mode, it's Fosselman's ice cream. THE BEST.

While the food was good it was the pies I was really after...

Every day they have different pie specials from key lime, peach, salted caramel to peanut butter pie. They tiny ones are called "Cutie Pies" of course they are! And because they are so small you can get a good variety to taste. The slightly larger pie (which is still small - approx 5") is available in most daily flavors as well. However a 'real size' pie takes 24 hours notice to order. But why buy a big one when a teeny one is so cute?

Of course packaging is everything to me and I was thrilled to see that if you buy just one cutie pie you get a teeny little pie box! Next time. This time I bought so many pies I had myself a big ol' pie bento box. The positive affirmation inside the box made me realize I had made the right pie decision.

I tried the chocolate cream pie, blueberry pie, and chocolate chip cookie pie - that one was more like just a cookie baked in a pie shell, not really for me. The key lime won me over for sure. It was the perfect tartness and sweetness - which is not always easy to accomplish with key lime pies.

I definitely satified my pie cravings but don't worry - cake is still my first love...

Simple Things Sandwich and Pie Shop
8310 W 3rd St, Los Angeles 90048 (At S Sweetzer Ave)

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Ziggy Piggy

It's that time of year again. O.G. hates turkey so she will be setting her sights on a Thanksgiving ham...

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Let's hope it's a good one, without any fear

This week has been awful and that's putting it mildly. So I'm going to get in my Delorean and go back to last week when life was simple.

This time of year O.G. loves to bring out her collection of Dickens Village houses. It's the one thing she collects and looks forward to every Christmas. They are expensive, so she only has a small set. She sets them up, lights them and stares at them for hours. It's her favorite hobby for the one month out of the year.

This was the first time the Kid helped. His Lego building experience surely came into play because this year there was much more road work, streets, activities - lots going on. I can see city planning in his future.

Now that the houses are up, we're ready for Christmas. Let's make it a good one.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Weasleys' Wild-Fire Whiz-Bangs

I had a bunch of candies lying around that I was using for baking. The Kid asked if he could "use" them - as long as that didn't mean eating them, I was fine with it.

He also asked to borrow one of my cupcakes stands. He always has some crafty idea up his sleeve and I was looking forward to see where this one was going.

I wasn't allowed to look, but when I was finally called back into the room I was handed a wad of fake cash and told to make my purchases.

Turns out the Kid had made his very own "Honeydukes!" (You see, Harry Potter is still quite influential around here - Honeydukes & the Weasley brothers)

I was impressed with his display skills as well as the attention to detail on the sign. However $10 for a tiny lollipop is kinda out of my price range...

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

'My Favorite Book' contest!

I've said many times how important reading is to me and to the kids. Around here, books aren't just for reading - they inspire!

Especially in the form of food:

Frobscottle from the BFG (recipe here)

Max's dinner from Where the Wild Things Are (recipe here)

Ready. Set. Grow! is First 5 LA’s family resource website for parents with young children offering fun and safe ways for children to be healthy, safe and ready to learn. This November, they’re encouraging a love of literacy with their annual Read early, Read ALOUD campaign.

This year’s slogan is “My Favorite Book” and they're having a contest all month long with book giveaways and a grand prize! You could win a library of 50 books selected by the Ready. Set. Grow! team and a reading tips bookmark!

To enter, fill out the survey on www.ReadySetGrowLA.org/contest and/or Follow Ready, Set, Grow on Twitter and post a Tweet with the contest hashtag: #myfavbook

Also, leave me a comment on this post to tell me that you've entered or tweeted and I will randomly select someone to win a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Read to Your Bunny! (you have until December 5th!)

Free books - how can you go wrong? Good luck and have fun reading!

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Mochi Ice Cream

In my last post I wrote about the new front house confectionery boutique at Mitsuwa Torrance. Within that space there is a tiny counter with a plain black storefront name: Mochi Ice Cream. While I would run towards those words anyway, that sign does not do this place justice.

Here what they have are more than just pieces of mochi ice cream. You can get that at any Trader Joe's nowadays. No, these are true gourmet confections.

I've never seen such a wide and strange array of flavors. Tea, apple pie, sakura - the list goes on and on. I tried to peer in and get a good look at the choices but the mass of little old ladies people sort of pushed me to the front of the line. Then I was stuck. I had to choose quickly since everyone was waiting behind me.

The only 'normal' flavors I found were mango, chocolate and green tea and seeing how much I love green tea, that's the one I went for. I'll have to be more adventurous with the other flavors when I have more time.

The mochi was incredibly soft, it almost melted in your mouth. Inside was a surprise, not your normal ball of ice cream, but almost a green tea bean paste surrounding a cream like center - as if the ice cream was a soft serve.

It was delicious and I definitely want to go back for more, but the tiny line is long and I highly suggest you make your choice beforehand, lest you become overwhelmed like me. I hope this new place sticks around for a while. I need to eat my way through every single flavor...

Mochi Ice Cream
Mitsuwa Market
21515 S. Western Avenue
Torrance, CA 90501
(310) 782-0335

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Monday, November 07, 2011

Sweet dreams are made of this

In Japan, the bottom floors of department stores often have awesome food court-type eating areas. While we aren't lucky enough to have those here, the next best thing is the food courts inside Japanese super markets.

The Mitsuwa food court in the South Bay is home to the ramen house Santouka - a food blogger fave. And just recently they revamped the front of the market to house a 'confectionery' boutique - basically a sweet shop with a lot of imported Japanese items.

$130 for fruit jellies. What. While some of the prices are enough to make you faint, remember these items are hard to find and imported from Japan. There are a lot of other affordable options that are just too cute to handle...

Yep. An entire section of Hello Kitty omiyage food. Omiyage are gifts that you bring when you travel or visit friends. I am a collector of all things Hello Kitty and I have to say, I've never run across these before...anywhere.

Hello Kitty cookies, seaweed chips (?!) Pure treasure for a Hello Kitty fan.

But in the corner of the store was the best part. The biggest selection of gourmet mochi ice cream I have ever seen. More on that next....

Mitsuwa Torrance
21515 S. Western Avenue
Torrance, CA 90501
(310) 782-0335

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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Buy indie!

This weekend I will be at two events:

Comikaze
Saturday, November 5
This is Comikaze's first L.A. comic convention and it will be held downtown at the Convention Center. I will be there Saturday morning from 10am - 1pm at the LxL booth #124

Royal/T's Holiday Trunk Show

Sunday, November 6
11am - 3pm
Royal/T is having a collective of indie artists sell their wares for the holidays! Support local artists and buy indie for the holidays!

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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Halloween spooks, outside my window

It seems like Halloween came and went a lot faster than in past. Maybe it's just because I walked into Target this morning and it was like Christmas threw up all over the joint. It's not even December!!

Halloween is always at O.G.'s house. The streets are flat and the kids flood the neighborhood. It's very trick or treat friendly.

To get started I made a hearty Root Beer Pulled Pork on King's sweet bread and some mac salad and a few other things.

Even when it was still light out kids started hitting the pavement! Not wanting to be left behind, the kids scarfed down their food and off we went.

Since my nephew was just two, having him in tow was a little slower than normal - but it was all about the fun for him. He got tired after half a block so the kids picked up the pace.

We only went a few blocks this year but they seemed to gather even MORE candy than last year. Their haul contained a lot of chocolate as well as toothbrushes (there's always a dentist in the 'hood) as well as two VERY ROTTEN APPLES. Seriously? That's just mean.

Once home while the kids weren't looking, O.G. weeded through their loot and pulled what she wanted. Sheesh. Don't leave your candy unattended, kids.

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