Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Post of the Year

I didn't post as much as I wanted to this year but oh well. Our Christmas was really nice. We spend  Christmas Eve with Hector's side of the family so there were lots of people and children. Of course, we say we should get together more often and end up seeing each other this one day out of the year. I will make more of an effort to have a gathering and spend more time with them!

Christmas day was exhausting yet fun. Hector and I were up until 3 am doing Santa's work then the kids were up early at 7am to check out their presents. I decided to make a rotisserie turkey in my Ronco Showtime and the turkey comes out great. I can fit a 12 lb bird in there and all I do is rub kosher salt all over it, inside and out. The bird is salted through and the skin is golden and crispy. Yum.
My mom came over to celebrate with us along with Carlos and we had a great time. I'm slow in discovering my inner chef and over the last 10 years I have been getting more and more comfortable in the kitchen. This was my first year making a pumpkin pie. Shocking, I know! Marie Callendar made the pie crust and I did the rest but it got some enthhusiastic thumbs up from my pumpkin pie lover Tyler.
December 26 I decided to make dumplings (potstickers) which is simple enough but tedious in the chopping of everything then stuffing the filling into the wrappers but it ends with the sweet satisfaction of having dozens of potstickers frozen ready to be cooked when I feel like having some. My cousins Hannah and Matt came over to help out and have some tamales.  We don't discriminate with our food, no siree!
December 27 is Joshua's birthday and he is now a proud 7 year old. It's a kind of hard to celebrate properly and we will do a official party soon. Josh is super easy going so he knows the time will come.
On the 28th we had an opportunity to have a family skate day with Bailey the mascot of the Los Angeles Kings. At first I thought we could skate at Staples center but no the event was held at LA Live on a tiny rink which was fine. The kids had never ice skated before and I skated once before. I was a bit nervous since I had 2 kids to deal with and Tyler's recent broken wrist in the back of my mind. Once Josh was on the ice he was off like a shot but didn't know how to stop. He stops like he's on roller blades. :)
Tyler is not as athletically inclined as Josh but he gave it a good try. I did try to help him skate and he ended taking me down with him. Uff. He did manage to go around the rink a few times, took a big spill and that was the end of that. Hector does want Tyler to learn so we'll leave that to him. Bailey did stop to take a picture with Tyler before the big spill so he's all smiles.

Joshua definitely took to the ice...he knows how to inline skate and loves it so this was a fairly easy transition. Now that he likes ice skating I asked Joshua about how he feels about learning ice hockey and got a big YES! I saw him fall a few times and get right back up so he has that determined attitude. We will get through basketball season first and then try hockey.

We actually have NYE plans this year. My cousin Hannah will be having a Brazillian bbq tonight so we will chow down on some great food. The kids are looking forward to staying up until midnight and sociallizing.
Have a Happy New Year and be safe tonight if you're going out....

See ya next year!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Knitting Stuff

I slowed down on my sock knitting because of some Christmas knitting and here is one of my gifts.
First, the Baby Jester Hat for a baby boy modelled by my baby boy. It is snug on Josh but you get the's super cute.

It could totally use some jingle bells but since the hat is for a baby, I'll let the mom decide and she can put them on if she wants. So cute. I need to figure out the adult size for this one.

Last week, I was a knitting fiend producing some spawn of the Monster Bear variety. I experimented with ears, eyes and colors. The pink/purple one is my Kool-aid dyed yarn experiment and somehow during the felting process, it lost an eye so I made a little eye patch for it. I still have 2 more bears to throw into the wash and today I dyed another batch of Kool-aid yarn. Think tropical colors like blue, green and orange. Yeah stay tuned....

This project was lots of fun and a definite challenge. It's a dodecahedron according to the pattern and I used my sock yarn scraps. It can be used as a tree topper or a baby toy. This was is going to be a toy for a baby but I forgot to add a plastic acorn filled with some beans to make a rattle inside. Still this is lots of fun...Josh and I had a great time throwing it to each other and it doesn't hurt when you get hit in the head. :) Easy to hold and's amazing what people can create in making these patterns.

Tis the Season

Christmas time in SoCal. Shorts and snow boots are the fashion choices of my boys. Not really, they tried the boots on to see how they fit and Hector took them for a walk around the neighborhood to check out the lights.

Tyler with his "gingerbread house".

We  had a very busy weekend. Hector had a work Christmas party at the Pomona Mining Company which has a great view of the freeway but the lights are nice. We danced the night away and enjoyed a child-free evening. The next morning we picked up the kids at Loop's house and headed over to the Wrightwood area to slide in the snow.

Snow was icy and slippery but the kids still had lots of fun sliding.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Budapest Labyrinth

In the castle district of Budapest, there are many cool things to see. Most are obvious, like the Fisherman's Bastion, the Royal Palace and St. Matthias Church but the labyrinth is a doorway that we almost passed right by next to a pub.

We walked down, down down into the labyrinth. There are maps in several languages on the wall but none that we noticed that we could take along. Without a map, it becomes confusing after a point when the path splits and some are dead ends or split off into more paths. It supposedly was made by running water and there are still wet areas and it smells like damp.

Tyler's favorite part of our entire trip was the labyrinth especially the labyrinth of courage. We came across it and in the dim light we could see the big metal door with the words Labyrinth of Courage on it with a few instructions. It was best to go in and allow a few minutes between each party and hold onto the cable bolted into the wall. I opened the door and it was pitch dark in there. I couldn't tell if it went down or any direction, just blackness.
 Tyler promptly says, "Oh, I want to go in there!!"
 Joshua pipes in, "I DON'T want to go in there!"

Sometimes, having the kids disagree on what they want to do is a bother but luckily Loop says she will go on the other path with Josh while we head on in the labyrinth of courage. As soon as that door closes, you cannot see your hand in front of your face. I let Tyler go first since he wanted too , next me and then Hector. I'm hanging on the cable, creeping slowly forward while I have no idea where Tyler is ahead of me. Then Tyler calls out, "LOOK!" Um, I can't see anything....turns out that he had turned a corner and there was the dimmest of lights with symbols on the cave wall. We continue on and it wasn't very long although it seemed like it to me.

We finally come to a door and we made it safely through the labyrinth.....phew!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Joshua's Hot Chocolate tour

For those who know Joshua, he loves chocolate especially hot chocolate. I make him the instant kind at home but when I read about all the coffee houses in Budapest I knew Josh would be all over the hot chocolate.

Sure enough, Joshua had his hot chocolate every single day. The rich, creamy and very chocolately kind with whipped cream. Ah, he was in heaven!

Our first morning in Budapest in a tiny cafe/bakery that had only 2 tables and some stools. We took over both tables. It was early Saturday morning, soon after a crowd of people came in.

At the Miro cafe for lunch on Saturday. Yes, he had 2 that day. He earned them, we walked around for about 6 hours that day.

Hot Chocolate at Gerbeaud. Absolutely decadent.
These are just a few memorable times but believe me Joshua loved them all.

See? He's leaping for joy!

More funky hats

Can you tell that we were bored???
The shaggy dog look.

A swan hat...more like a dying swan.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Funky Hat day

With the cold weather in Budaest, there are many shops that sell hats.

We had fun trying them on.
Felted gnome hat

Don't know exactly what this is, some furry black hat...

with a nest of eggs on top.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Vorosmarty Ter

No matter what area we went to for sightseeing, we'd usually find ourselves back at Vorosmarty Ter. There were cafes, an outdoor market and shops. Plus the metro stopped right in front of Gerbeaud, a coffee/cake house.
We had our coffee, hot chocolate and cakes in the Neo-Baroque style cafe. A bit pricey but it is a place to enjoy the atmosphere and food. After we paid the bill which was around $100 (Hector ordered lunch) and got out of there. A few minutes later, our waitress found us and asked Hector to come back because there was a problem with the bill. Oh great, was it more than that? Turned out that we were billed twice for several items since we used 2 tables  but the staff was very apologetic and refunded us the difference along with a Gerbeaud chocolate bar. :)

Just outside the cafe, there are outdoor market stalls selling items and all sorts of food. Lupe and I shared this fried potato pancake with sour cream on the side. Not good for your cholesterol but comforting on a cold day.

Sausages, rooster testicles (no thank you), and other various food that I don't know the names of but you get the idea.

in a nutshell

Hey there. We  had a great time in Budapest. I need to organize all the wonderful places and sights we've seen here but my brain isn't fully functional. So I decided to share snippets in no particular order.

Day 1
  1. I went to sleep early (around 6pm) and woke up at 2am. Couldn't fall asleep again and found out that everyone else except Tyler had the same problem. We finally had to wake him up at 7am because the rest of us were ansy.
  2. Found a little pastry/bakery shop and had delicious fruit pastries and cappucinos.
  3. Had to hightail it back to the hotel to put on a heavier coat. It's chilly! 
  4. Got a bit lost as we are trying to get our bearings. Turns out we took the long scenic route to the Danube river but it's all good. 
  5. Found the Parliament building, the Royal Palace, Fisherman's Bastion and Matyas Templon (St. Matthias church).
  6. Had lunch in the Castle District at the Miro cafe. Had some awesome stuffed turkey with spinach and mushroom risotto. Joshua had his first on many hot chocolates on this trip but that's another story.

Chain Bridge at night

Friday, November 20, 2009

travel day

It is never easy travelling long distances especially with children but we made it on our 12+ hour flight from Los Angeles to Budapest. You might remember that my cousin and her family and my family were originally supposed to go to Shannon/Limerick, Ireland. It was a great deal with a castle in the Irish countryside. Stop. Because of poor customer service and airline cutbacks, both our family trip took a detour. Our family booked for Budapest and Hannah's headed to Dublin.

Even our departures were disjointed. Both of our flights left at 3:55pm but ours was British Airways and theirs was Air France so even the terminals were different. We were at Tom Bradley and they were at terminal 2. Uff, so much for hanging out before the flight. Oh well, we are still connected via our netbooks...

Check-in was a snap. I had already checked us in online and picked our seats for both the London flight and the Budapest leg. Our timing was perfect. Short wait to the counter to weigh in and put the bags thru. I turn to look back at the line and it had filled up with people. Phew!

Our London flight was uneventful. The kids were delighted to find Up and Ice Age 3 as selections on their entertainment channel. Their children meals arrived first so it gave us time to feed them before the adult food arrived. The kids got a great meal. Chicken strip a la Chick-Fil-A, mac n cheese, broccoli for the main entree, carrots and celery sticks, grapes, vanilla pudding and a Kit Kat. I wish I would have one too but the adult dinner was good too.

Oh wait, there was an event. An older man a few rows up needed some medical attention and they eventually found a MD to talk and help him. A little tank of oxygen was brought out and that aisle was pretty crowded with flight crew and the MD. When we arrived in London, the paramedics came aboard to assist him.

The kids slept for about 3 hours and I got about the same off and on. The sky was gray and cloudy as we descended so I was startled when we landed. From our middle row I couldn't tell when we would land so when we finally did, I kind of gave  out a little cry because I was unprepared for the loud thump at landing. Good thing Lupe said we landed because I was very nervous when that happened. You know it's a scary thing to hear a really loud noise during a flight. Okay I'm fine now. :)

Terminal 5 at Heathrow is really quite nice with swanky designer shops like Gucci, Prada and more. Lupe and I had fun walking around checking out the latest purses at Coach and browsing Harrods. Mental note to do shopping at Harrods on the way back.

The flight to Budapest was nice since it might have been about 50% full at most so we got to stretch out a bit. To board the plane we had to get on shuttle buses which seemed to drive about 15 minutes through 3 tunnels and various roads to finally reach our plane.As we settled in, an announcement tells us we will be delayed due to the back up caused by bad weather and 2 engineering problems with the plane.That set us back about 45 minutes but at that point it didn't really matter (to me, anyway); I fell asleep for about 30 minutes.

Going through the Budapest airport was a breeze. Short wait for immigration, nice modern airport from what I could see. We were disappointed with the stamp in our passports since the entire stamp wasn't visible and only the date was shown. Boo.

Hector was the human spectacle in his Hawaiian shirt and shorts in the foggy, 50 degree weather. Not too cold but pleasant. We grabbed a taxi for a short 20 ride to our hotel. I'm still in a daze with the lack of sleep so I'll talk a better look this morning. Very unassuming from the street but nice and modern inside. I booked 2 suites and unfortunately I forgot to remind them to put us close together. You would think when you book through Expedia they would automatically do that and well, they didn't. Oh well. Live and learn. We are in separate wings which is a short walk and elevator ride away.

Hector did a quick walk around while I unpacked and showered. I made some ramen noodles and popcorn for a quickie meal for the kids. It's always nice to have some shortcuts! Hector found a place that has Mediterranean food so he got some wraps with meat, cabbage, onions with some spices and sauce that was so yummy. Of course when you are starving, most things are good. I'll have to try it again tomorrow. :)
It's 3am here and I slept for maybe 4-5 hours. Hopefully I can take another short nap then we can start our Budapest adventure....

Oh, by the way, I was able to take my plastic interchangeable needles on the plane at Heathrow but didn't want to push it by knitting in the terminal or plane but it was nice to know that my knitting passed the sensors.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


passing the time waiting for take out so I took pics of the fountain...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Super Mario Brothers



Every time I see them, I have to hum the theme song....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hat Heads- Guitar Hero

Here is a hat that I finished last night. I originally made it for 'someone' who is an adult than changed my mind since it started looking smaller and kid-sized. I kept trying it on Josh since he has the kid sized head in this family of big heads. For the record, this hat does fit me too but I think it's more kid style. I took pictures of Josh wearing the hat since he is my model and now he wants it. I guess I should take a hint since the hats I made lately, Josh asks if it is for him. He even asks if the hat is bright pink and definitely for a baby. It suits Josh and it'll be nice and warm since I use 3 different colors of yarn which get carried along the inside so the hat is thick and cozy.

Do you want of piece of me?

Side view of hat while in mid-lick of watermelon Ring Pop.