Food Friday

Oh boy…
What a day today has been! I just sat down to blog and its 11:43 PM!
So this blog will be short, and its basically a continuation from last week’s blog, and its not really a recipe its more of a little tip. I wish I could say I made up this little tip, but I can’t. My sister did. And if you know my sister you would know that she is the most organized and prepared food person on the planet. Seriously, she ALWAYS has something yummy sitting out on her counter. Her house is like a food tasting zone from Costco or something…ok, well, not really, but its pretty exciting to visit her ’cause you know she will have something appetizing to share.
Anyway, I was first introduced to this tip when my family was over at her house for an impromptu dinner. We threw together Spaghetti and a salad and when we were all done eating, we wanted something little for dessert. She popped out this little baggie of FROZEN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH BALLS!!

Now, if you know me, you know that I LOVE cookie dough. It’s my fave ice cream at 31 Flavors, so I about died when she brought it out. Anyway, after enjoying one ball {or maybe two, hehe} I watched as she whipped up a batch of freshly baked cookies in less than 15 mins.

So awesome!

And I realized this was a great way to keep cookies fresh as who really eats an entire batch of cookies in one night anyway? By the second day, they are aren’t so tasty.

Anyway, here’s what you do:

Pammy’s Frozen Cookie Dough Idea
{Snazzy name, huh?!? HA}

After making your dough, drop balls of it onto a pan that will fit into your freezer

Then pop them into the freezer for about 10 mins {don’t forget them! I’ve done that a time or two, hehe}
Then put them in a freezer ziploc baggie
And wahlah…you have fresh cookies at your disposal at any time necessary! Pretty cool, huh?
Oh yeah, I will mention that you should bake them a min or two longer than regular to get them the right consistency…and don’t eat them from the freezer, because that pretty much defeats the purpose, yes? :)

Some Sale Items

Just a couple things in the shop needing a loving home…
The Mini Grey Brilla
Runs big. One of my favorite hoodies. Does not come with an Evy’s Tree tag and is a final sale. Polyester blend grey hoodie.

The Mini Rubix
18-24 mths
I LOVE THIS HOODIE. I wish it fit Jake as I cannot find anymore orange hoodies like this. Runs big, poly blend orange hoodie, again, no Evy’s Tree tag.
Green Whimsy
One of a kind and so darling. Mossimo hoodie, ployester blend, no Evy’s Tree tag.

And a big thank you to my friend SoShawna. She wrote me on fb this morning and told me about a dream she had last night about a hoodie I designed by the name of “Maggie”. She thought it was so real that when she woke up, she went to my shop to see if it was there.

The thing she didn’t know is just yesterday, I decided to do a navy blue hoodie designed after my Maggie Tee called… “The Maggie Hoodie’. Definitely a divine dream for sure.

Thank you Lord and SoShawna for sharing that dream with me, as it has been soooo slow in the shop this past week, I’ve been wondering if I should call it quits. I believe that was a little bit of encouragement sent from Heaven.

Isn’t the Lord WONDERFUL?!?

I hope you all have a fabulous day!

Food Friday!

Ok, I want to start off by saying I’m so sorry there are so many pictures, but I have good reason, I promise. Yesterday my dear friend Joy and her little boy Thaddeus came from the city to hang out with me for a couple days. The boys are having so much fun and had their first ever sleepover….
We were amazed that they were able to sleep in the same bed without getting out or waking eachother up! But they did great and it was so cute.
Anyway, I made cookies for them last night, while Joy made quesadillas and Brandon took pictures. My chocolate chip cookies are super well loved. Seriously, EVERYONE loves them and everytime I make them people ask me for the recipe. I have a good chuckle at their shock when I tell them its just the recipe off the Nestle Chocolate Chip Bag!!
It really is…but with a couple secrets and are you ready for them?!?
Here they are:
1. Flour
3. Cooling Racks
Yup…that’s it! People don’t believe me and tell me that when they try it doesn’t turn out like mine. Well all I have to say to that is…who’s cooking tastes as good as someone else’s? :) In other words, I’m sure they are great!  Give it a try and tell me what you think!
Amy’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
{Yes, Jenni, you are probably right, all these recipes probably start with “Amy’s” haha!}
Start with the Nestle Tollhouse recipe:
•2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
•1 teaspoon baking soda
•1 teaspoon salt
•1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
•3/4 cup granulated sugar
•3/4 cup packed brown sugar
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•2 large eggs
•2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
**These are also AWESOME with white chocolate chips as well**
So here you go….
Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla, it will look like this when done
Then add the eggs and mix
Ok, First trick…
Add the flour, salt, baking soda BUT….instead of 2 1/4 Cups of flour, do a heaping 2 1/2 Cups. By “heaping” I mean this…
After mixing together, do a finger test…if the batter sticks to your finger like this
then you need more flour. I add by 1/4 – 1/2 cup full like this
Then do finger test again. The batter shouldn’t stick to your finger like this
If the batter doesn’t stick to your finger, then the batter is good! Add chocolate chips and mix
Using a spoon, drop cookies onto sheet. You can put them somewhat close together like this
Ok, Second Trick…
Underbake the cookies. I believe the instructions say to cook for 10-12 mins, but I cook for 8-9 mins. My oven runs a little hot, so you will have to find the right time, but when you take them out, you want them SLIGHTLY browned, like this
Meanwhile, my family is doing their thing in the background
The “Keep calm and carry on” says it all. Anyway…
Ok, Third Trick….
Let the cookies cool for a min and then immediately place on the cooling rack
They will be a bit gooey and might lose their form a little, but that’s what makes them yummy, trust me…
Let sit for 5 mins, then enjoy. The backs will look like this
And they will look like this while being eaten
Gone in two seconds flat…literally.
And of course you will thank me for the sugar high. In fact, they will be so crazy on sugar that everyone will end up wrestling for hours on end, even when they are supposed to be sleeping.
Anyway, happy food Friday! I think its actually Saturday now, sorry, but Joy has been sitting here making fun of my blog so I’ve had to stand up for myself the entire time I have been typing this post.
She so doesn’t get it.

Happy Freedom Day…a little late!

Well, I’m a little behind.
Not intentionally, but I went to my parent’s on Tuesday and Wednesday to get my permanent crown {yuck} and of course I just have missed my Fourth of July post! :(
So here it is:
Happy Fourth of July!! I hope you all enjoy{ed} your day and I hope that you cherished your freedom and thanked God for the wonderful country that we live in. Which brings me to my title of this post…
On Sunday when we arrived to church, Pastor Tony Somsack, our associate pastor over the Asian/Mong community, walked up to my husband, shook his hand and said with a big smile, “Happy Freedom Day!” It brought tears to my eyes, as I realized, this wasn’t just a day to Pastor Somsack, this “freedom day” meant the world to him. You see when he was a little boy, he and his family walked in the jungle for 7 days from Loatia to an American refuge camp in Thailand to escape the communists and a death sentence they had placed on his family. They had one pair of shoes and they all shared them…by the time they reached their destination, their feet were a bloody mess. The Americans transported his family to here in Stockton and helped them set up a life of “freedom”. He will tell you that freedom never tasted so sweet.
It was such a beautiful thought…the 4th isn’t just about fireworks, or your BBQ, or what American Flag tee you are wearing- it’s about freedom. And I am so thankful for it. So here’s a few pictures of our “Freedom Day” {and weekend, haha}
Saturday night at the Sillimons with The Lee’s, Abraham, Brian doing fireworks in the street…
Sunday morning at church
Waiting for the fireworks to start at Lodi Lake…
AND….because all of my fb friends told me too…
on Monday morning I was working on some things on my computer and all of a sudden it got really quite. Brandon and I called out to Jake and asked him what he was doing and his response was…
“I’m helping mommy sew some hoodies.”
We ran out to my little factory and there was Jake, still in his PJ’s, with my pinking shears and a half chopped off sleeve on a FINISHED and waiting to SHIP hoodie. :( UGH.
Here’s the little stinker

White Lacey Zip Up Listed and a Cool Blog Giveaway!

Good morning everyone! I hope you are all recovering from the 4th’s festivities and hopefully not too depressed that we are all back at it this week. :(
It’s always so sad to have to return to reality, yes?
First, a couple fun shots of me with my kiddos and my husband on the 4th. I am sporting Evy’s Tree {of course}, wearing the very patriotic Anchor Hoodie
I hope you guys had as much fun as we did! :)
Just a couple things…the White Lacey Zip Up is now in the shop. I only have enough lace to make TWO hoodies, any size, so hurry! If you would like one, click HERE. They are $49.50. Don’t forget that I also have the same zip up in black and chocolate brown as well!
I also have the above hoodie that I used for pictures on sale. It is a size Small. Some of the stitching is a little crooked as I sewed it in about 15 mins with my kids screaming in the background, but you can’t see it at all, its just not “perfect” in my book.
If you would like that sale zip up click HERE.
Lastly, my friend Amy at Buggie and Jellybean is having an Evy’s Tree giveaway…if you win you get a free hoodie or tee of your choice. Not too shabby, eh? :) Click on the button to take you there.
I am off to my parents house to get my crown on my tooth fixed. Say big prayers for me…I hate those shots!! :(

The White Lacey Zip Up

If you know me well, you know that I have a love affair with WHITE.
White is definitely amongst “a few of my favorite things”…
About 10 years ago, I was introduced to Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic and her minimalist way of decorating with old vintage items, drippy chandeliers, simplistic white slip covers, squashy sofas and wonky tables and chairs. Ever since, I have been addicted.
Although I have not been able to do everything I want to my house to make it 100% “Shabbified”, I do have the white slip covered, squashy sofas and lots of wonky furniture to go with it. Rachel also encourages a lot of a couple other things I really love: roses and candles.
Again, if you know me well, you would know that I would make my family eat Top Ramen for a week just so I could purchase a couple Trapp Candles and make the house smell “like a boutique”, as our friend Josh once told us it smells like.
Yes, I am a loser, I know, so shoot me.
Anyway, summer time ALWAYS make me love my decorating philosphy more, especially since my roses are in full bloom and white is the color of choice for those hot summer days out at the pool or beach.
So since I am in full “Rachel Ashwell” swing, I decided to make my Lacey Zip Up in white…
Oh yes, I forgot to mention…one of my other “favorite things” are bistro sets. I have three and would buy a dozen more if my husband would let me. :) This set above is my very first one I ever bought. The table is lopsided {or “wonky” as Rachel would say} and the chairs used to be oh so darling and rusty, but my dad came over one day and decided to paint them GREEN{?!?} for me. Yeah, they all had to be redone, so I am waiting for the rusty, crusty look to return someday….
The White Lacey Zip is completely white… lace and knit ruffles cascading down the shoulder…just how I envisioned it should be for an afternoon tea in the garden. And the roses below are the most incredible roses ever…they are called “Evelyn” and smell HEAVENLY. Part of the reason why I gave my daughter that name.

The White Lacey Zip Up will be available tomorrow sometime in sizes S-XL and Plus Size XL & XXL.

I am also going to do a mini version of the Lacey Zip Up this week as well…will keep you posted.
And if you would like to read a very long post about how I met Rachel in person, you can click HERE.
Lastly, my family at church on the fourth…
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday! Thank God for our freedom…and thank God for those who fight for it!

Food Friday

Ok, so I said in my last post that I would talk about potty training, but I changed my mind. Sorry. Post will come soon, I promise. I know you are all losing sleep over it and DYING to read about it. Fess up. HA.
But as I was making dinner tonight Brandon starting snapping away and after I saw the pictures, I thought I would try something fun. It seems a lot of my blog friends have “_______ Fridays”. My friend Jessica has Photo Fridays {check out this one from last week, she talkes about Evy}. My friend Danae has Fashion Friday…and I don’t know, there just seems to be a whole lot of interesting Friday posts out there.
 I had this great idea. What if every Friday I talked about food?!?
Serioulsy, I do.
Anyway, I thought it would be cool if every Friday I shared one of my favortie recipes that I made that day, or maybe I shared pictures of a fun restaurant I have been to, or maybe I just share a random food fact that I learned. Ha. Either way, I thought it might fun.
I thought it would be even FUNNER {I know, not a word, sorry}, if some of my blog friends joined along. Because, as I am sure it is the case many of you, I am always in need of some good new recipes. Or I would love to know about so fab new places to eat, even if it’s take out.
So I’m inviting you to jump on the bandwagon, if you would like. Go ahead…steal my idea and start a “Food Friday”. I would LOVE to hear about your food. :)
And with that, I introduce to you…
Amy’s Pasta!!!
Ha, sorry, boring name, but since I made this up, I don’t really have name for this one. It’s basically been dubbed Amy’s Pasta amongst the Miraflor family…it’s literally the thing I am asked to bring to almost every family get together, and in the info email/text/letter or whatever all the family members get mine always says “Amy’s Pasta”…so that’s its name. And it’s perfect for those hot summer nights…nice and light and so yummy with fresh basil and tomatoes and can be made in 20 mins.
Oh, and I want to say, especially for the benifit of my personal trainer Emily, I KNOW I should be using whole wheat, but sorry, pasta is just not pasta unless it regular. So please forgive me and my lack of health consciousness! ha
1 bag/box of pasta, preferably penne or bow tie
1 lb of sugar plumb or cherry tomatoes
Handful of chopped fresh basil {about 1/2 cup}- I grow a big pot on my deck during the summer…cheap!
String cheese
olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Parmesan Cheese
Boil pasta as directed, and while pasta is boiling, chop basil and put in a large bowl
Cut tomatoes into halves and add to the bowl. Add kosher salt…
*side note: don’t try regular salt for this one, it will change the flavor drastically. If you don’t have kosher salt, do yourself a favor and invest in a box. It lasts forever and is sooo yummy. And not to mention its healthier for you, I think? I can’t remember , but it does something better for you. haha.
Anyway, add kosher salt and pepper to the tomatoes and basil
Then drizzle olive oil into the bowl and stir contents together. You want enough to make it slightly soupy, probably 3/4 cup, but I never measure, maybe more. It will look like this:
*You can do all the above up to 4 hours before you add pasta. The longer the mix marinades, the soupier and yummier it gets. But usually I am in a big hurry so make it in 15 mins. :)
Cut up string cheese and set aside. I use at least 6 sticks, usually 12. I like a lot of cheese and so do the kids. And not to mention when you warm up the pasta the next day the cheese melts and is oh so gooey.
Stop what you are doing to help a screaming and fussy baby
{Remember what I said yesterday about looking horrible throughout the day? Well, you’re about to see a little sneak peak…}
And when holding her doesn’t help, put her down, even if she throws the biggest fit of the century…
Anyway, add pasta to the bowl and then sprinkle with parmesan cheese, toss.
Then add the string cheese last. If you add it first you will end up with big glob of cheese, not appetizing, trust me.
Toss and wahlah…
Everybody is happy, even little Miss Fussy Butt…
Hope you guys enjoy it!
And I hope to hear from you next “Food Friday”!!

I Am a Working Mom

Three years ago this past March, I pushed my little four month old baby boy onto the school campus I taught fourth grade at, sat down in my Principal’s office and signed my letter of resignation.
I was no longer employed by a school district. Almost six years of working with a classroom of kids, laughing, crying, singing, writing {by far my favorite part of school}…
One of my fourth grade classes on crazy hair day.
I joined the “Stay-at-home Mom” ranks.
And I was terrifed. I was terrified for a couple reasons, but mainly, it was a step of faith. We were DRASTICALLY cutting our monthly budget. Money would be very, very tight for us. But more than that, I was scared because I wondered…
Can I do this?
You see, my mom was also a teacher. She taught Kinder. But when she had me, she also joined the SAHM ranks. And as a kid I can’t tell you how much I LOVED having her at home. She was there ALL THE TIME {well, ok, there or at Nordy’s, but at least I knew where she was :)}.  When I was sick, she would pick me up from school, when I forgot my lunch, she brought it, when I wanted to know if a friend could come over and play, I had my answer.
The school payphone and I were good friends. I always knew my mom would answer.
Anyway, I wanted that for my kids. But I have to be honest, it was hard for me. Not that I didn’t love being home. It was wonderful at first. I slept when the baby slept. I went where I wanted to go. I ate whenever I wanted. I didn’t have to ever leave him.
But I got kinda lonely.
I live in California, and if you want to have a nice life here {probably like most places in the US} most families will require two incomes. So thlife at meant that hardly any of my friends stayed home with their kids. I had one or two, but we were usually so broke we never could go anywhere, ha!
So at the time, my husband owned a fence company, and it was decided that I would answer the phones, type all the contracts, order the material, get the jobs rolling, etc. And that worked. For a while. But then Jake got older and more unmanagable and it got harder and harder to answer the phones with a screaming baby in the background. And then Evelyn came along. And wow. That made life with the business MISERABLE. I seriously had no time to do ANYTHING for it.
At the end of 2009, our business partner decided to move to Texas. He and his wife had a baby and wanted to be closer to her family. And somehow, in just a couple months, God shut down the fence company. But then the hoodies came along….
…and well,  I am still working. :) It was such a seamless move. Definitely a God thing.
And I love it. I love being able to have extra income. I love feeling like I am putting all my college education to use, even if it is in a completely different field. I love feeling PRODUCTIVE.
But there are few things I HATE:
1. My house is a mess ALL THE TIME.  I think any stay at home mom would tell you that you are cleaning constantly. But then add a business in and your living room looks like this:
This is my work space in action. Actually, this is the end of the workday, and I am getting ready to clean everything up.  Evy thinks she is a big help… :)
2. I hate that I never have to leave the house to work. I stay home all the time. I have more PJ’s than I do normal clothes. HA. And I used to have a “work” wardrobe. Well, that hasn’t seen the light of day in a LONNGGGG time. Positive: think of all the money I’ve saved! :)
I WILL NOT show you what I look like during the day…SORRY! Only the Mail -lady gets to see me like that- when she comes for my scheduled pick ups!
3. I hate that I don’t get to socialize as much as I like. Most people get to go to work and leave their kids and get things done. I wake up, get breakfast, work for 10 mins before someone starts crying, take a 30 minute break helping everyone, work another 10 mins, someone is hungry, get food, work again…well you get the point.
The other day as I was frantically driving off to Joanns before they closed so I could get some necessities for my evening of sewing, I drove past all the neighborhood moms sitting in lawn chairs on the street corner, sipping iced tea and watching their kids play. They waved, I waved…and I started feeling a little sad. I know most of those moms have jobs, but they got to leave their work at the “office”. I was savoring the few short minutes I might have before everyone lost it at home and I needed to be back.
Definitely #1 bummer of being a SAHM/Work at home Mom is the lack of social outlets.
I LOVE that we have some financial freedom. I LOVE that I work for myself. I LOVE that I am here for my kids whenever they need me. And I LOVE that I get to see this:
PLEASE ignore the LARGE pile of laundry that is waiting to be folded. Laundry is the first thing I try to do in the mornings. Jenni R…recognize the tee?!? :)
So what’s my point of this very long, very random, very boring post?
My point is this:
I get asked a lot by moms contemplating staying home… what should they do? And I think I have to say, the answer is entirely up to you. I have many friends who work and LOVE it. But I have some friends who stay home and wouldn’t have it any other way.
I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I love the flexibility of staying home and raising my own kids, but I hate the isolation, the lack of money, the lack of challenge that I felt staying home brings. So I have tailored it to fit my needs. Sure, I don’t get to hang out on the street corner with the other moms, but my kids have ME all day long. And that is the most important thing to me.
So if you are trying to decide what to do with your job…pray about it, follow God’s direction and leading, and bloom where you are planted. Sometimes its not always the most comfortable place, but its the BEST for YOU.
PS…Potty training post coming tomorrow. I’m super excited to tell you about the potty training. Is that weird or WHAT?!? HA!