Knott’s Berry Farm – Family Travel

This summer we are trying to branch out and try new things and new places and take our kids to as many places as we can while they are still little! Last Friday we decided to take them to Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. Both my husband and I haven’t been in years and it was so much fun to see how things have changed!

There is something for everyone at Knott’s. My mom and grandma came along with us and they enjoyed it just as much!I was surprised at how may attractions there were for our kiddoes especially in Camp Snoopy. There is such a great mix of kids attractions mixed with rollercoasters. My husband and I took our middle son on a “big kid” ride, The Pony Express, and he loved it! We all went on the Calico Mine Train and although somewhat creepy it was a classic and I’m glad the kids got to go on! I wish we would have seen a show but we kept missing the times however we LOVED the characters in Ghost Town. Summer 2017 Ghost Town is Alive and the characters were owning it! Freddie kept laughing at all of the different parts being played. We walked, rode rides ate funnel cakes (which now come with soft serve on them!) drank a Sasparilla in the Calico Saloon and ended the day with THE chicken dinner! It was a wonderful day with the fam and I love having these memories!

Since we were new to Knott’s here are some things that we found helpful!

– You can purchase tickets online! We got a discount for making our online ticket purchase!

– Parking for the day is $18.00 and can also be purchased with your tickets online! It is quite a walk back to your car so make sure you have everything you need for the day!

– Camp Snoopy is amazing for little kids! They have a great variety of little thrills to baby friendly!

– Most of the attractions outside of Camp Snoopy are a 48 inch height requirement however a few are 52 inches! Make sure to pick up a map at the entrance and check the requirements before walking to a specific attraction.

– There are so many great places to eat! We opted for Johnny Rockets for lunch and Mrs Knott’s Chicken Dinner but want to go back to try Ghost Town Grill and Fireman’s BBQ.

Annual Passes for the new year start being sold in August. If you buy them before (like we were going to) you only have until December 31. If you purchase in August you get in the day of your purchase and then if you would like to go between August and December 31, it is only $10.00 per visit and then you get the entire year starting January 1! We are definitely getting passes!

– For additional information about the surrounding areas, hotels and other attractions such as Medieval Times (which is a favorite of ours) and Pirates Dinner Adventure check out www.visitbuenapark.com.

Graduation Days

Two of our boys hit milestones this year. Graduation Days. Freddie and I both went to catholic private schools so public school milestones are a little different…

When we went to school we had a big kindergarten graduation and when we got word that Ryder would only have the Three Piggy Opera to celebrate I was a bit disappointed. Not that I wasn’t jumping at the bit to see my son sing as a pig but I thought they probably would’ve done a little more. Well lucky, lucky us to have had Mrs. Ingraham this year because she was new to the school as well and had her own graduation after the showstopper performance that is the Three Piggy Opera! But I have to add that we practiced that line for weeks and he nailed it…as I toot my own horn…

She let the students pick what they should be awarded for and my son thought that the thing her did the best in Kindergarten was…being the best Lego builder. Future engineer? fingers are crossed. When the awards were being handed out Mrs. Ingraham gave the kids the option of a handshake, a high-five or a hug. My rough, hyper, daredevil of a son chose the hug. Which to me spoke volumes on his personality. The “All Boy” with the biggest heart.

In catholic school, leaving fifth grade wasn’t a big deal since sixth grade was right upstairs. With Hunter’s fifth grade promotion he is actually leaving the elementary side of campus and moving up to middle school. Its been a rocky road with Hunter this year. He started a new school and then was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes in January. So to see get his promotion certificate was an accomplishment. I almost cried twice…but held it together because I didn’t want to be that embarrassing mom…Im a cool mom! We now officially have a middle schooler and are headed into those pre-teen years. And if memory serves I am in a lot of trouble.

Hurricane

I worked at a southern BBQ restaurant when I was out of high school and every year we celebrated Mardi Gras. It was THE best time to eat there and I LOVED the special menu. Umm, hello fried pickles! Since those days of long ago I have always celebrated the holiday even though we are in southern California. We usually go to a Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in the Downtown Disney District but since the beginning of this year has been way too crazy for this tribe I think I am gonna have to try to bring New Orleans to my own kitchen. And to do that I may need a drink. And that drink may as well be the Hurricane.

I must say that the way I made this celebratory drink was not too shabby! I’ll just go ahead and toot my own horn! The verdict is still out on the juice to rum ratio but I liked it and it was very quick to make. Freddie and I recently tried Captain Morgan’s White Rum and loved it so I used a little of that and a little original!

Ingredients

  • 2oz. light rum (I used Captain Morgan White Rum)
  • 3oz. dark rum (Captain Morgan)
  • 6oz. passion fruit juice
  • 6oz. pineapple orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. grenadine
  • orange slice
  • maraschino cherries

Directions

  • In a large liquid measuring cup, mix the first five ingredients.
  • Pour over ice-filled glass
  • Garnish each glass with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry. (and maybe a fancy paper straw!)

I think the next time I make these i may try adding the grenadine after for a swirly effect but they did taste as good as they looked!

An Old Fashioned

Freddie orders weird drinks. He will tell me that he is ordering a beer and then when he actually orders he will pick some sort of fruity concoction that arrives in a fancy glass. I personally think its hilarious! Especially when it comes garnished beyond belief and he doesn’t know how to hold his glass! It is now a running joke with us and I look forward to seeing “What will Freddie drink next”?

But then there are those times when my craft cocktail husband will reach out for the classics. The Old Fashioned  was one of those drinks. And because we wanted to continue having that drink at home I learned how to make them! Freddie prefers Jameson over my fancy Four Roses but he won’t argue when I share!

To create an Old Fashioned you will need:

  • whiskey or brandy of your liking
  • sugar cubes
  • bitters
  • water
  • garnish of orange twist and/or cocktail cherry

And then to prepare:

Place a sugar cube or two in a glass and saturate with bitters. Then add a dash of plain ol’ water. Muddle until the sugar cube(s) have dissolved. Fill the glass with ice cubes and add your whiskey or bourbon. Garnish with an orange twist and a cocktail cherry!

So simple to make at home and Freddie loves them! Chin chin!

The preparation…
This one was made extra sweet!
Muddle, muddle, muddle.
Sharing from my own stash…I must love him!
We have a surplus of kumquat trees so we were fancy and used a fresh one straight off the tree for our garnish.
TA-DA!!

The Family Photo…and our 2016 Christmas Card

We take a lot of pictures in this house. We document every little thing that happens around here so you would think that THE family photo would be a cake walk…

In an attempt to be ahead of the game this year I recruited my cousin Sam to photograph my family in our new neighborhood, quickly and nothing too fancy and before Thanksgiving at that! At the end of this session I felt like the Rocky theme song should have been playing just because we survived! If you can’t tell by that statement it was a rough time. Asher was whiny, Ryder wouldn’t smile etc etc. Sam was truly a miracle worker because the photos did not depict this at all! Well besides Ryder’s grumpiness which we couldn’t even bribe him out of (yes we were those people). But at the end of the day, when we look back at this time we will remember how awful it was, how tired we were after, and how much we wish we could go back.

This was our first shot…oh man!

The only child who cooperated! 

This is the photo that Freddie says looks like we are having fun…looks can be decieving!

Ladies and gentlemen, here it is! Our 2016 family photo and Christmas card. This year I went with Artifact Uprising as our printer and I could not be happier with the quality and efficiency of this company! The gold foil is subtle yet defining and the color and texture of our image was not distorted whatsoever. I cannot wait to get my 2016 album printed by them!

Next year the goal is to have our cards out by December 1…and maybe with older boys everything may go a little smoother. And maybe I’ll just keep it a secret that I wish they could stay small. Many many thank you’s to Sam Shapiro and Artifact Uprising.

Salty Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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 I love cookbooks, especially baking cookbooks. My Mom led me to a cookbook by Shelley Jaronsky who has a food blog and a book named Cookies and Cups! I tagged so many recipes in this book, but I thought if you are gonna bake from a cookbook where the first word is cookies…lets make the cookies! Lets start with the chocolate chip cookies on the cover.

There is a deep love in my soul for chocolate chip cookies. Out of all the cookies in all the lands, chocolate chip is my fave. When I stumbled upon this gem of a cookie recipe I decided it was the one. Browned butter? Any form of butter is the key to my baking heart. You then throw in sea salt to counter act the sweetness? It truly is the best of both worlds! The consistency of the cookies is so soft and I could not believe that they had absolutely zero greasiness. These are a keeper and may actually become my go to chocolate chip cookie recipe!

 

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used 1 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • flaked sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions

  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, swirl the pan constantly until the butter passes the foamy phase and becomes a deep amber color. Remove from the heat, pour into a separate bowl (this allows the butter to stop cooking) and allow the butter to cool for 20 minutes.
  • While the butter is cooling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside.
  • Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla to the cooled butter and stir to combine. Pour this mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture. Stir using a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Using a medium (2-tablespoon) cookie scoop, drop the dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. I always add extra chocolate chips on top for that bakery look. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until edges are lightly golden (or 8-9 minutes for extra gooey).
  • Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, sprinkle a small amount of flaked sea salt on top of the cookies as they are cooling.
  • Store airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days. (Ours lasted maybe a day!)

 

 

 

Easter

This year Easter was a bit different for us. We didnt know if and when we would be moving and because of that our entire townhome was packed! We were living out of boxes! So we planned for the boys to have their Easter Bunny visit at home and then an egg hunt and dinner at my moms house.

Moving or not these boys were hooked up by the bunny this year! Their baskets were full of Disney goodies and doodle pads. Tracks led up to the baskets as they do every year and Asher LOVED getting into everything in his basket!

At my moms house the boys were given baskets from their grandparents and their aunt Hillary and Uncle Rene. Can you say spolied??? And on top of the eggs from their easter bunny my mom totally outdid herself and covered her entire yard with eggs as far as you could see! What a great time watching all of the boys run around looking for their names on the many eggs!

Between all of the stress of packing and loan documents Im so happy that we got to take away to actually enjoy our kids and family and spend no time worrying about every day things that tend to take over our whole life! Thank you Mom for having Easter at your place this year! Ill take it on next year!IMG_0125 IMG_0126 IMG_0126_1 IMG_0127 IMG_0132 IMG_0133 IMG_0137 IMG_0143 IMG_0151 IMG_0152 IMG_0154 IMG_0155 IMG_0159 IMG_0161 IMG_0162 IMG_0163 IMG_0165 IMG_0170 IMG_0181 IMG_0182 IMG_0195 IMG_0204 IMG_0207 IMG_0211 IMG_0212 IMG_0220 IMG_0228 IMG_0232 IMG_0234 IMG_0237 IMG_0238 IMG_0239 IMG_0243

Thirty-Two- Family-Disneyland Birthday

 This year I had a birthday and turned Thirty-Two! What does one do when they are that age? They go to Disneyland! We are at Disneyland…A LOT…but I couldn’t pass up my birthday pin and a stroll around my happy place. Disneyland birthday’s are the best!

 We actually went to celebrate Disney style the day after my birthday. The night before, Freddie had made dinner reservations at my favorite restaurant, The San Franciscan, with my family. It was a wonderful evening and I got to have my favorite shrimp cocktail and baked potato dinner! I do love me a good shrimp cocktail! We ate and drank and it was a little bittersweet for me because I realized that since we are moving so soon it may have been one of my last dinners there! Until I come visit…the shrimp will be waiting for me!

At Disney I got my pin and we took some photos to commemorate my day of birth! My brother Josh ended up getting his annual pass so that was awesome! Josh is so great to be around and just got our of the Navy. I’m so happy that my boys will get to go to Disney with him now! My favorite cousins Sam and Savannah who are also Disney nerds met up with us and as soon as Josh was cleared to roam the parks we headed over to California Adventure. California Adventure is my favorite place to be! We rode the newest addition to Cars Land, Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters, and had a fancy shmancy dinner at Carthay Circle. If you have been to Carthay Circle or if you haven’t…the Fried Biscuits are what heaven must taste like. They are one of my favorite things in the world. Too good!!

We ended the evening with a walk around The Mad T Party and had to end early to go be the Easter Bunny! It was a lovely day with family and my brood. I can’t wait to see what thirty-two can do!

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Hunter Aidan, Ryder Aaron

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Happy 5th Birthday Ryder!

 

 

 

 

 My middle son Ryder made his birthday plans in July. His birthday is in December! He made some pretty darn good plans too! His agenda consisted of a ride on Hyperspace Mountain and The Little Mermaid, and dinner at his all time favorite restaurant The Rain Forest Cafe. So what do you do with that request? You take a jaunt to Disneyland!

 The lucky duck got to take a day away from school to fulfill his birthday wishes! The best thing about his birthday being in December is that it is our FAVORITE time to be at Disneyland. Besides the huge crowds the holidays draw there seems to be just a little bit more magic in the air and we can’t resist it! Ryder got to take his trip on an X-wing and ride Hyperspace Mountain and then on the opposite side of his personality we did ride The Little Mermaid.

 At dinner our whole family met in Downtown Disney to celebrate our five-year old. He ordered his chicken nuggets and per his request we sang Happy Birthday to his bowl of dirt and worms.

 Ryder is such a joy and blessing to us all. He is honest and genuine and is still in that cuddly stage that I hope never goes away. He makes me laugh everyday and is so smart and witty! I love watching him grow but secretly wish he would stay little forever! I cant wait to see what year five has in store for my Ryder Aaron!e1014 e1015 e1016 e1017 e1018 e1019 e1020 e1021 e1022