Saturday, December 31, 2011

I got a feeling...

...that 2012's gonna be a good year!
I really do. I keep saying 2012 is gonna be my year! I can just feel it.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, I must give 2011 its due diligence. 
After all, it was the year that I got engaged...
...and that I started a blog.

My baby sister turned 21...
...and my dad turned the big 5-0!
My oldest sister and her hubby bought their first home...
(and with it came a lot of yard work!)
...and we checked "field pass @ Raiders game" off Corey's bucket list!
My family and I have SO much to look forward to in 2012 including...

*Our wedding! (can't wait to marry that big guy!)
*The birth of my first nephew (can't wait to hold that little guy!)
*Hopefully buying our first home
*Getting a puppy for our new home (named Ruby!)
*My 3rd annual jump house birthday party
*The 3rd of 4 Rosa girls graduating from college
*Many, many good times with family and friends!
May your new year be filled with love, laughter, and adventure!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Annual holiday dinner.

Most people attend their high school reunions only every 5, 10, or 15 years. I am fortunate enough to catch up with all my high school pals every year. Since we graduated in 2004, my high school friends and I have gotten together for dinner every single year, and it is a tradition I always look forward to.

We were ambitious at first, attempting to meet up twice a year...once during summer break and once over Christmas break...but with every one attending college all over the country, it became difficult to keep up. So we have made it a point to gather together once a year, always around the holidays, to catch up with all the fun things we have going on in our lives. 

Here is a photo archive of our holiday dinners over the years:
Winter 2005
Summer 2005
Through the years we have all changed so much, but I am so lucky to have each of these ladies in my life! I hope this is a tradition that continues until we are all old and grey and still talking about the good ol' days!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

This Christmas.

Is it just me or did Christmas come & go way too fast this year?

Every Christmas with my family is always wonderful, but this one was one of my favorites. Not only did we get spoiled rotten (as usual), but we were all able to spend Christmas day together. With 4 girls that all have a husband/fiance/boyfriend, it is sometimes tough to get everyone at the same place at the same time. Mission accomplished on this very merry Christmas.

Our family keeps growing and growing!
My Christmas vacation started with my sister Nellie and I driving around town looking at all the pretty Christmas lights while we sipped on hot chocolate and I sang Christmas songs to her unborn baby (I firmly believe that baby loves the sound of my voice!)
Pictures don't quite do it justice, but you get the idea.
On Christmas eve, I had to work. There are no holidays in television! So I drove an hour and a half back to San Francisco, worked a short shift (where the bosses fed us a delicious prime rib dinner), and then headed back home to spend the rest of the evening with Corey's family. We sat by the fire and chatted for a while before heading to what I believe was the longest midnight mass of all time. I've been going to midnight mass on christmas eve with Corey's family for the last 10 years, and every year Corey falls asleep during it...and this time, I was pretty close to dozing off myself. It was a long day between driving back and forth and working and I found myself struggling to keep my eyes open. The priest was just so excited about Christmas that he kept going on and on... I was as excited about Christmas as the next person but it was 2am before we got home!

I woke up to Christmas morning at the Rosa house, and from the start the day was amazing. My mom was in the kitchen when she looked out the window and said "what the heck are these guys doing out there?" So I ran outside to see what was going on, and it turns out my street was the christmas parade headquarters where all the cars and characters gathered together before the parade started. 
It was hard for me to get a good picture from my porch since I was still in my pj's, but there were tons of people with santa hats, a fake snow machine, and I think I saw Scooby Doo and Rudolph running around. They were blasting some pretty good old school jams and I prayed they didn't see me dancing on the porch. But they all waved and shouted "Merry Christmas!" to me when they left so I felt pretty good about myself after that.

The rest of Christmas day was spent with all my sisters and their boys, my parents, my aunt sis, my grams, my grandpa Jack and Helen, and a few family friends that stopped by. We always have an open door policy at my parents' house, and at one point my older sister happily greeted a family of strangers as they came in to our house. After about 5 of them came in, my sister and I looked at each other like "do you know them?" "no, I don't know them! Do you know them?" A few moments of confusion and some awkward smiles later, we finally realized they were at the wrong house! We had a good laugh about that.

Like the people at the door, the presents just kept coming and coming!
Sorry Shawna! My camera was on a setting that made you blurry!
Dad and all the boys.
My aunt, my grams, and my mom.
Baby love.
Corey and my brother-in-law Bryan with their special gifts from my dad.

We all got way more gifts than we deserve. Our families are too good to us. As much as I loved everything I got, my favorite thing about Christmas was being with all my family. We even had a huge slumber party, with all 8 of us kids sleeping at my parents' house. It's always fun when the gang is all together.

It was definitely a Christmas I will never forget!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sometimes and always.

Sometimes I go four or five days with out writing a new blog post, but I am always thinking about what I am going to write about next!

It's been a very busy past few days and December is flying by faster than I can keep up. So to celebrate my return to blogging after my recent mini-blog hiatus, I am linking up with Megan over at Mackey Madness for "Sometimes and Always."

Sometimes I think about cutting back on my sugar intake.
Always I eat candy like it's a food group. A meal is never over until I eat something sweet!

Sometimes I go weeks at a time without working out.
Always I feel bad about not working out. 
So true. Via Pinterst.
Sometimes I set my alarm to wake up early.
Always I hit the snooze button at least once (or twice).

Sometimes I crave Taco Bell.
Always I eat taco bell once a week. And don't feel bad about it at all.

Sometimes I can't sleep at night when I get home late from work.
Always I put on a Disney movie and it's lights out!

Sometimes I wear high heels.
Always I regret wearing high heels.
So beautiful. So painful. via Pinterest

Sometimes Corey thinks I don't listen to him when I'm doing other things.
Always I hear every word he says, I just don't always respond. (working on this!)

Sometimes I watch bad reality TV.
Ok, ok... Always I watch bad reality TV. And love it! I just can't stop watching the Kardashians, the housewives, and Kendra/Giuliana&Bill/Bethanny.
My all-time favorite reality TV show. Yes, I've watched every season.
Sometimes I talk to myself, laugh out loud, and sing & dance in the car.
Always people look at me like I'm crazy.

Sometimes I wish I had a big house close to my family complete with a pool, beautiful fireplace and a brand new puppy (named Ruby!).
Always I am working towards making my dreams a reality.

My dream house.
It's always easy to want what we don't have and compare ourselves to others, but sometimes it's important to take stock of what we do have, and to always be thankful for it! 
Hope you are all having a happy Christmas week!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It made me think of...

DMB = my big sis
It happens to me at least 3 or 4 times a day.
I'll be doing something, and either see, hear, or smell something that instantly triggers a memory of something else. For example, I was driving home from work last night when "Crash" by Dave Matthews Band came on and I immediately thought of my big sister. She loves DMB, and it was a connection I made in a millisecond. It made me take inventory of all the small things that I instantly attach to a person, place, memory, or moment. 

-Fruit by the Foot always makes me think of elementary school...when I used to trade my snacks for lunchables. 
-The game Apples to Apples makes me think of all the weekends we've spent in Santa Cruz...staying up all night, laughing til we cry...some of the best times!

-Mint Tea makes me think of going to my grandpa's ocean house when we were little.

-Sunflower seeds make me think of sitting in the stands watching Corey play baseball. I used to eat seeds until my tongue and cheecks started to hurt. I couldn't stop eating them because I was a nervous girlfriend watching my boyfriend pitch!

-The movie "The Big Green" makes me think of my sister Nellie. We love the song in the movie when they are playing in the mud. "I like the silly side up! Baybay!" (probably only she will have any clue what I am talking about!)

-The song "All My Life" by KC & JoJo instantly takes me back to high school.

-Anything St Louis Cardinals/Dallas Cowboys/or Boston Celtics related makes me think of my dad. Actually, a lot makes me think of my dad. He's my best friend.
-The buzzing of a bee instantly makes me think of the time I stepped in a beehive when I was 10 years old and got stung a bunch of times. Yes, I freak out now, at just the site of a bee, let a lone the buzzing in my ear!
-The smell of Polo Sport cologne makes me think of my handsome future husband.
-Sweedish fish (the candy) make me think of my baby sister. I don't eat them, but I always think of her when I see them.
-The cinnamon-apple scent instantly makes me think of christmas and my cozy house. I buy way too many candles in this flavor!

Home cooked meals make me think of my mom. She's the best cook I'll ever know, and I know that for a fact! Also, any Earth, Wind & Fire songs make me think of her too!

-Fog makes me think of when I was younger, playing competitive soccer in the cold with my long sleeves, gloves, and beanie. I hate being cold more than anything!

-Anything Alabama related, including Roll Tide and big, huge Reese's Peanut Butter cups makes me think of my BBF Dayna. 

-Jump houses always make me think of my birthday. I've made jump houses mandatory at my most recent birthday parties, and I plan on making it an annual tradition until I am physically incapable of jumping in the jump house.

I guess when it comes down to it, everything can make you think of something. There are countless songs that take me to a very specific moment, many movies that make me think of a certain events, and many smells that trigger certain thoughts almost immediately. It's all in my memory bank, and I get so excited when they pop up in my daily life. 

What are some things that make you think of a specific time, place or person?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

In the kitchen: Potato Soup

I'll be the first to admit, I'm no professional cook.
 While I have my go-to recipes that I've become fairly good at (stuffed bell peppers, enchiladas, and taco salad)... I'm a far cry from Julia Child. It's not that I don't like to cook, because I do. It's that I rarely have the time to cook. I work nights, so if I want to cook a full course meal, I have to start at 11am, which I do when I can. 

This past weekend I took full advantage of some free time and made my first ever homemade soup...and it was delicious, if I do say so myself!

I found this recipe on Pinterest, courtesy of the Mama Loves Food! blog

*Slow Cooker Cheesy Potato Soup*
The picture behind the inspiration. Found on pinterest.
My helper.
- 5lbs Russet Potatoes, washed but NOT peeled. Diced into 1/2 inch(ish) cubes
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 10 cloves of garlic (you can use whole, crushed, or minced)
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 16 oz cream cheese (I used 8oz regular and 8oz lowfat)
- 1 TBS seasoned salt or all-purpose seasoning

- Crumbled bacon
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Green onions

- Add potatoes, onion, garlic, seasoning and chicken stock to slow cooker.
What the soup looks like in the crock pot. 
- Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.
- Remove and puree the garlic cloves (if you used whole cloves) along with 1/2 to 1/3rd of the soup and the cream cheese and then reintroduce to the remainder in the crock pot.
- Stir every 10-15 minutes until soup is well blended.
- Top with your choice of garnishes & serve!

My finished product!
Yields about 10-12 servings. (a.k.a. A LOT! you need at least a 6qt slow cooker)

The above recipe is straight from the Mama Loves Food blog...and I made a couple small changes. I added a few strips of cooked bacon, which I diced. I also added a few handfuls of shredded cheese at the very end to make it nice and cheesy. 

Don't make the mistake I made and not start this soup until 3pm in the afternoon. Corey and I didn't eat dinner until about 10pm! I made an insalata caprese (tomatoes, mozzarella, basil leaves, and oil & vinegar) appetizer to hold us over, which was light and fresh.

For desert, I used up all the apples I had bought at the Farmer's Market that we didn't get around to eating to make an apple crisp from scratch. Find the super easy recipe here. It didn't turn out as picture perfect as my previous apple crisps, but it tasted delicious!

Not gonna lie, I felt pretty darn good about myself after my Suzie homemaker Saturday! It's amazing what you can do when you have the time to do it!
What are some of your go-to recipes?