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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fun finds in Odessa, TX

On our last trip to Odessa I was shocked to make some new discoveries that I thought were awesome.

The first one is Shack in the Back. It is no longer what it was when I was in highschool. Now during the warm months it opens every Wednesday night. They have live music, a couple of bars, out door fire pits, pool tables. It is just an all around great hang. Probably the best hangout I have been to there ever.

The second one is a great little restaurant near Grandview and University called Mi Piaccia's. (sp?? something like that) It is bring your own wine, but you can also bring your own beer if you like. The food was awesome. It is what I would call Tex - Italian. Meaning there was jalapenos in my entree and my husband's entree as well.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Restaurant review -Panama City Beach

Shades bar and grill - very nice upbeat atmosphere. Prices are good. Large appetizers and huge entrees. You could easily just split an entree between two adults. Pizza was quite good. Kid meals run 5.75.

Dock Hoppers - food was great as was the service. Atmosphere was nice. We sat in the back patio overlooking there pool and the bay. Was family friendly and had good prices.

Margaritaville - long wait. Food was great but expensive. The kid meals were the most expensive I have seen at 7.95.

Billy's oyster bar - don't even bother.

Hunt's oyster bar - good food, good prices. Great local place. Great oysters!

Pineapple Willeys - very kid friendly. Huge deck with tons of outdoor seating with beautiful gulf view. Great food, fantastic prices.

Schooners - great view. Food not great nor the prices.

Bonefish Grill - best appetizer ever Bang Bang shrimp. Great food. Little pricey. Is family friendly but even better for a date night.

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Making your own Pumpkin Puree

I have been getting the Organic food boxes from OfftheVine.org now for a few weeks. I am splitting them with my neighbor. Here is how much half is.

In one of the boxes was a pumpkin and I wasn't sure what to do with it at first but here is what I figured out. First I scooped out the pumpkin seeds with an ice cream scooper. Then I washed the off in a colander. Once they were cleaned off I spread them out on a baking stone and sprinkled them with salt. I baked them at 325 for about twenty minutes. My kids enjoyed their roasted pumpkin seeds snack.Next I wash off the outside of the pumpkin and placed it in a baking dish with quite a bit of water. I put the lid on (even though it didn't actually sit right until half way through cooking it) and microwaved it for twenty minutes. Once it was soft I basically squished it out of the shell and into a mixing bowl were I then mixed it for about five minutes with a mixer. With the puree we then made bread maker Pumpkin bread.

Bread Maker Pumpkin Bread
1/3 cup Vegetable oil, 3 large eggs, 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, 1 cup sugar, 1.5 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 3/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger, 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup nuts if you like.
Spray bread maker pan with PAM.
In a bowl, mix the 1st 4 ingredients together until well blended; stir in the baking powder, soda, salt, spices and flour until mixed. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and use the quick bread cycle. Add nuts at the beep. Carefully loosen the loaf and put on rack to cool.
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No Sew TuTu

I decided I wanted to get my daughter a tutu and I knew I was going to pay around $35 for it. I wondered if I could make one cheaper or even make one at all. I looked around the Internet and figured out how to make one with out sewing, because I don't know how to sew. Well, I am so proud to report that I was able to do it and I think it looks pretty good!

1st - get your materials: Elastic, scissors, stapler, toil ( you can also put ribbon on, but the kind of ribbon I bought didn't work well because it was not flexible)
2nd - I measured around my daughters waist with the elastic and cut it to fit and then I stapled the ends together.
3rd - I cut up the tulle. I got a quite a bit of tulle because I just wasn't sure how much to get. I got a 1 3/4 yard of one color and 2 yards of a second color. (Next time I will get 2 yards of both, I am making this for a 6 year old.) I folded it in half, then rolled it up as evenly as possible. I felt the ends for where it thickened up and would be even and cut there. I then continued to cute it in 3 inch strips. I then took the 3in strips that were very long and cut them in half.

4th - I hung the elastic around a pillow to make it easier to work with. Then I took the strip and using a square knot tied them all around. As I went I would squish them together that way it would look full once she has it on.
And that's it. That is all I did. To bad she refuses to wear it!
Let me know if that doesn't make sense and I will elaborate. Please leave a comment with a link to your blog if you also have a post about how to do this better!


Monday, November 9, 2009

Family Friendly activities in Las Vegas

Most people do not take their kids on their Las Vegas Vacation, but if you have to, like us you will find that there is a lot to do.  Vegas can be quite family friendly and some of the kid's activities are free activities!

You can find nice child care facilities called Kid Quest in many of the Station Casinos and the Palms.  I made it a point to go in and look at a few the last time we were there. They usually have a large facility with a separate nursery area. My kids love these places.

Fun things to do with your children in Vegas are:

*Take them to a show - some of the Cirque du Soliel are kid friendly. I took my kids to Mystere almost two years ago and they are still talking about it. There was nothing inappropriate in it. They loved the big guy dressed as a baby!  Many of the comedy and magic shows are also kid friendly.

*Arcades: almost every hotel has one. The one inside the Excalibur is huge and they also have a diner show kids enjoy. It is like Medieval Times.

*Take them to the putt putt.  There are several around.  There is a huge one in southwest Las Vegas.

*Go see the dolphin habitat at the Mirage

*Take them to the M and M Store. There they have a very creative walk through "M and M factory" on the 3rd floor

*Go to the pool. If your hotel pool isn't that great you can pay to go one that is, like the one at Monte Carlo or Mandalay Bay.  I found out just today that the Flamingo pool is open to the public after 2 PM.

*Circus Circus is a must, they have a great arcade, an amusement park, and circus performers every hour. If you decide to stay there I would ask for the new tower. My friends stayed in the older part and were not thrilled with the room.

*Water show in front of the Bellagio. They do the water show up nicely and change it all the time; you can see multiple shows in one day.  Also, at the Bellagio is their conservatory. The conservatory is always changing. It is fun to walk through and get pictures.  Both of these things are free.

Don't bother:
I also was very disappointed with the gondola rides at the Venetian.  It was a extremely short ride, not worth $10 a piece at all!

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Bridgette Jenks Photography

Bridgette is a phenomenal photographer and was absolutely wonderful working with my children. She is just starting out so she has very reasonable prices. All of our pictures were just beautiful. With her reasonable prices this makes this a must when visiting Panama City Beach.

Bridgette Jenks

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dont waste your money

Ihave never done a review for this blog and I am not reviewing this product for anyone. I am just sharing my opinion on the Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker. I hate it. I wish I had never bought it for my daughter. It is a huge pain to make one cup cake at a time and it is a hassle to clean all the pieces especially the froster. If your child wants to make cup cakes just do it the old fashion way. In the process you will make more, save time and money.