Friday, December 30, 2011

Turkey for me, turkey for you, let's eat the turkey, in my big brown shoe

Oh, the power of social media. When I posted about the Baby's turkey birthday cake, I thought it was hilariously hideous but I didn't expect it to go viral!

Baskin Robbins picked up on it via twitter and contacted me. I told them it was fine - ugly, but fine. While my family was horrified they sure weren't horrified enough to stop eating it. In any case Baskin Robbins were very apologetic and sent me a refund for the cake!

Our family eats a TON of ice cream on the regular as well as getting an ice cream cake for every occasion so yes, we will definitely be going for it again - just...maybe not the turkey this time.

Big thanks to Baskin Robbins!

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Man vs. Food

Here's what the past two days has looked like:

Six different main dishes for Christmas: beef roast, pork roast, tri tip, two types of salmon and a ham. (Again - Ham courtesy of O.G.)

I provided a tree of cupcakes for our Christmas dessert buffet table. Red velvet, lemon and vegan gingerbread.

And finally, 190 pounds of mochi and four (yes, four) buffet tables. Mochi making 2011 recap, here.

Food heaven or food hell? Depends on how you look at it...

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Have a holly jolly Christmas

Last night we prepped for Santa.

A tray was thoroughly wiped down.

Chocolate chip cookies were made because Siri told us that's Santa's fave.

We plated everything and then went to sleep.

Santa is lactose intolerant, apparently.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Eight crazy nights

My friend Hilary jokes that I'm part Jewish. I had a lot of Jewish friends growing up, I've been to temple, been to seders and I especially love all the Jewish holiday baking. When I was a kid I even played Dreidel for gelt. So it was fitting that the Kid came home from school with this:
A marshmallow menorah! I love it! Sadly those candles were gone in seconds. Marshmallows are one of his favorite things and I noticed the lights going out one by one as we walked to the car...
The Kid was trying to tell me all he learned about Hanukkah and the menorah but he couldn't remember the Hebrew word for servant which is also the name for the middle candle - "shamash." I couldn't remember either so he went with his new go-to for questions and asked...

...Siri! The kids have been asking Siri a lot of questions lately, it's pretty hilarious. Luckily she always comes up with the right answers, which is a good thing. So this week Siri's been working overtime helping the kids with their Hebrew.

Happy Hanukkah!

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Monday, December 19, 2011

All is quiet on New Year's Day

While most people are planning for Christmas, that's not even on my radar right now. No, I'm already moving on and looking ahead to New Year's Day.

New Year's Day in Japanese-American culture is huge. It's a giant food-fest celebration where traditional foods are eaten to ensure a good year. I've been looking through my past posts and none of those good luck foods has worked so far. What gives? But this year, this is the one - am I right? Hm.

In any case, it's always safe to hedge your bets and I'm already working on this year's menu. Each year it gets a little harder to pull off, could it be because I'm getting older...each and every...year? zzz I'm tired. I always say 'forget it' - then cut to me cooking for three days straight.

Take a look at how we celebrated in years past...

Oshogatsu 2011
Oshogatsu 2010

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Do it for the children

Here's a giftlist for kids - but let me tell you why it's good for adults too...everything's under $25!! Your wallet can breathe easy.

Harry Potter UNO game - $13
Man, I'm bad at UNO. Like seriously bad. The Kid beats me everytime to the point where I'd like to act like a child and throw a tantrum. UNO is a fun card game and with the added element of Harry Potter's magic, well - I'll totally win from now on, right? Hm.

A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song - $5
Starring Lucy Hale, this is a modern twist on the classic Cinderella tale - with music! What could be more fun! Great to watch over and over again and at $4.99 it's the perfect stocking stuffer!

Donkey Kong Jenga - $15
I know, is this giftlist for me or for the kids?? Donkey Kong takes me back to old skool days and well, the Kid asked for a Jenga game so this is Jenga, it's just 10 times better! Will Mario save the princess or will the blocks come tumbling down? It's all skill, baby.

Barbie: I can be an architect - $24
As a female architect myself, I think these 'career dolls' are awesome. I'll admit I never had a Barbie as a kid, I always coveted the Dream House. Hm. No wonder I chose the career path that I did...

Star Wars Heroes & Villans cookie cutters from Williams Sonoma - $20
I think you know how much I love cooking with Star Wars as my muse, and these cookie cutters are my all time fave. Very easy for kids to use and they give perfectly stamped impressions every time. Tons of fun in the kitchen! (Yoda green tea sugar cookie recipe, here.)

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy

When I was a kid my Uncle always bought us books for Christmas. We were typical ungrateful children and unwrapped his gifts to 'ohh....a book. sigh.' Hey, we wanted toys! Yeah well, the toys came and went but I always went back to the books, so he really did give us the best presents.

Here are some great reads for all different ages that will make fantastic gifts for the holidays! Oh, and thanks for all the books, Unc.

Yes Day - Amy Krouse Rosenthal
I am a huge fan of Amy Krouse Rosenthal - her "Little Pea" book is one of my all time favorites. "Yes Day" is right up there, maybe because it hits so close to home. I spend so much of my day saying "NO" to the kids, I know they would definitely appreciate a day full of YESes. This is a great book for kinder-kids learning to read or as a bedtime book. Tons of fun and totally cute!

Star Wars Craft Book - Bonnie Burton
This book handily combines my love of crafts and Star Wars! Lots of great pictures and fun things to make from an Admiral Sackbar puppet to a large Jabba the Hutt body pillow. You don't need kids to enjoy this book but you do need to enjoy Star Wars, and who doesn't? So much fun!

One Con Glory - Sarah Kuhn
Geek romance? Yes, it exists! One Con Glory captures all of it with great references and detail, all within the realms of comic cons and fandom. Great characters set within a story that leaves you wanting more - and hooray, it's soon to be made into a movie!

O.G. Favorite Recipes
Ok fine, this is my book but it does make a great holiday gift. Comics+recipes+true anecdotes from a crazy 90-year-old woman, this comic is perfect if you're looking for fun recipe ideas with a sense of humor. Listed as one of Five Comics to Read by USA Today's Pop Candy!

Legend - Marie Lu
I had the pleasure of hearing Marie Lu read from her new book Legend at a signing and was immediately taken by the storyline. I wasn't the only one - this book is already set to be made into a movie by the producers of Twilight. Legend is a young adult dystopian novel about two characters from different worlds in a futuristic civil war set in my beloved Los Angeles. How could I not be drawn to it?

Draw Star Wars - Bonnie Burton
Another Star Wars book? Yes, yes! This one is great because my kids LOVE to draw and it's so fun and helpful to see a layout of how to draw the characters. But it's not just for kids - I've bought this book as a gift for many adults who love drawing and love Star Wars!

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Teach them well and let them lead the way

I'm ready for Christmas! Bring. It. On. And while all of our family stuff is done, I'm now trying to appreciate the people who do so much for all of us.

Teachers are such an important part of kids lives - they work so hard for so little pay. My sis-in-law is a third grade teacher and it's hard work. I see her pay for things out of her own pocket, stay a little longer than she should, do a little more - and I can only hope that all those parents appreciate everything she does.

I made 24 cupcakes for the teachers and staff at the kid's school as a holiday thank you. While cupcakes aren't much, I wanted to send the teachers off on their last school week of the year with something sweet to show them that I appreciate all that they do for our kids.

Take time to appreciate your kid's teachers at the holidays - they deserve it! Also on behalf of teachers and my sis-in-law - don't buy them any more candles. Seriously.

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Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Last Bookstore

In this economic downturn it's odd that bookstores seem to be opening up everywhere. I for one, am happy. While I love buying things online I really enjoy roaming a bookstore and finding new, or in this case...old, things.

The Last Bookstore is located on Spring Street in the old Bank District of downtown L.A. The store has taken over the old Crocker Bank building, over 10,000 sq ft! Seeing as how it was once a bank, the soaring ceiling and spacious room and lends itself to feeling like a library from another era.

I love the way books are used as art for the walls and even the cashier desk. The books are truly more than just product and actually become a part of the interiors.
You can find old and hard to find copies of books but plenty of modern ones too, as well as cds, movies and magazines - all very affordable. Not only that they buy books too, which would really help me clear out my personal library.
The books are used (but in perfect condition) and therefore: cheap! We came here for one of our O.G. 'field trips' because I was looking for 1950s cookbooks and O.G. was looking for books on Japan. We both lucked out and found just what we were looking for. I can't wait to go back and see what's new....or old.

The Last Bookstore
453 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90013

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Monday, December 05, 2011

jive turkey

The Baby's birthday was on Thanksgiving. In some ways this is worse than an Xmas bday because no matter what, you always have to eat turkey.

So why not go alllll out turkey-wise? I saw that Baskin Robbins was offering up a cake shaped like a turkey filled with ice cream. Hilarious! How can you go wrong? Uh...
Well when I got the cake it looked NOTHING like it was advertised and it was a pretty sad cake, birthday or not. Seriously. Does that look anything like >> THIS??
Luckily no one cared because hey, the thing was filled with mint-chip ice cream. I know. Kinda weird.

It was a good thing we had a kids party the week before - remind me not to get this cake again next year. (I probably will.)
**update: Baskin Robbins saw this post and apologized by sending us a refund for the turkey cake!

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Thursday, December 01, 2011

LxL Craftacularstravaganza!

Friday night I will be at the LxL Craftacularstravaganza at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood!

Lot of geeky artists will be there to sell you those much needed nerdy holiday gifts! Stop by from 6pm - 9pm and shop indie!

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