Monday, June 30, 2008


My nephew, John, came over today and we made chocolate dipped strawberries. John is a head chef and loves to cook. So I thought it might be fun if we played around with some food while he was here.

It seems like everyone is always so impressed with chocolate dipped strawberries. Yes, they are very tasty but, they are so easy to make.

For those of you who have never made them, I thought I would share with you just how easy and fast these are to make

So let's get started.

We went to a local strawberry stand by me. They grow the strawberries right there. You couldn't get them any fresher, even if you grew them yourself.

Be sure to wash and dry your strawberries. You don't want to eat any dirt when you take a bite. Also, they must be completely dry before you dip them in chocolate or the chocolate won't stick.

Be sure you get good tasting chocolate. Melt the chocolate, and make sure all the lumps are out of the chocolate and it's nice and smooth.

Then take your strawberry and dip. It's better to get the bigger strawberries to dip but since it's towards the end of the season we had to settle for what they had.

Lay your dipped strawberry on waxed paper and let them dry. Now you can go ahead and eat these as they are but I like to pretty them up a bit.

So I melt some white chocolate. I use these little buttons of chocolate. You can just put them in a bowl, heat them in the microwave until melted and then dip. Some chocolate you have to temper and that is when it gets a much harder and takes more time.

I start off with heating them in the microwave for one minute then I take it out and stir. I put it back in and heat for 30 seconds, stir and keep doing that until completely melted.

Be careful not to over cook the chocolate as it will burn and seize up. Once it does that you can't do anything to fix it and you have to throw it out then start over.

Once the white chocolate was melted I put it in a pastry bag.

Cut the tip off. Make sure the hole is very small or the chocolate will pour out to fast.

Then starting off the strawberry, drizzle the chocolate. Be sure to end the drizzle off the strawberry too.

OK, silly me! I forgot to take a photo of the dark chocolate being drizzled with the white chocolate.

But I make both kinds and so this is a picture of the strawberry dipped in the white chocolate and drizzled with the dark. But you get the idea, right?

After they dry, put them on a pretty plate and serve. Watch your guest ooh and aah as they enjoy their fresh dipped strawberries.

So there you have it. Pretty fast and easy huh? We did 3 baskets of strawberries in about 1/2 hour from start to finish.

I must tell you, they were so good! They were sweet and juicy with just the perfect amount of chocolate on them. YUM!

Now it's your turn to give them a try. Let me know if you do and how they turned out.




I don't know if you all know Donna from Donna's in the Attic or not, but, you must go to her blog and check out her wonderful quilts. She is also hosting a great TURNING 20 QUILTING SHOW.

She also did a great giveaway where the only catch was you had to send her some material to make a quilt and then the giveaway was a quilt that she is making with everyone's material they sent.
This is the front side. It's it beautiful! I just love the colors and romantic flair to it. I'm hoping I win so badly!!!
Even the back side to the quilt is beautiful! She is showing step by step instructions for those of us who have never made one. She is making it look pretty easy. But you know how that goes. A pro always makes it look so easy. Then you give it a go and it's a mess. Her work is perfect.

Here is a quilt she made. I just adore the pink color. I would buy this quilt in a heartbeat if I saw it anywhere.

This is another darling quilt. Look at all that hard work she puts into her quilts. A real labor of love.

Here is yet another beauty. I could just look at Donna's masterpieces all day.

So if you are quilter, or just learning with her step by step instructions please join her in the Turning 20 Quilt Show.

Even if you don't quilt you will still enjoy her blog. She is so nice and fun.


Sunday, June 29, 2008





I've always thought it would be fun to be a restaurant critic. You get to eat and then just tell people about what you had and rate the place.

So, I wanted to take you along with me while I did my own taste test and pretended I was a real restaurant critic. I hope you are hungry. Now come along.
For our taste tests we are going to go to two different local restaurant chains here in So. California, RUBY'S AND JOHNNY ROCKETS. I'm not sure if either of these are in other states or not.

Both places are known for their hamburgers and shakes. Both have a theme decor of 50's dinners. I wanted to keep this a fair taste tests.

Our first stop is going to be to RUBY'S. Now, I admit I do go to RUBY'S often and I already know I like their food a lot. But, it's the closest thing to JOHNNY ROCKETS, so let's go in and check it out.
Isn't the counter area cute? Just like back in the 50's. Can't you just see, the girls with their pony tails and the boys in their white t-shirts with rolled up sleeves, sitting there drinking a coke or sharring a shake.

Most people like to sit in booths or tables though. There are plenty of them for you pick from.

All the RUBY'S are pretty much the same decor but they each have a little something that is different from each other. They all have a little gift shop area where they sell t-shirts and vintage kitchen reproductions.

This RUBY'S is at the beach so you can see the skateboards parked here. Good for them for saving money on gas when they go out to eat.

I love the way the servers dress. Again, a look from the 50's. I don't think the girls wore their dresses that short back in the 50's though...did they?

Yeah! The food is served! Let's try it out and see how it tastes.

The shake is wonderful. It's nice and cold, thick but creamy and lots of real strawberries. Plus you get all the extra shake that wouldn't fit into your glass. They give you the whole cup they mixed it in. It's almost a full glass more. Just perfect for a nice hot day.

The fries are cooked to perfection and my veggie burger is the best I've ever had!

OK, I can hear you now. What! A veggie burger? YUCK! Well, I don't eat meat so I always get veggie burgers. But, when I did eat meat, I used to have real burgers and they were some of the best burgers I've ever had.

Well I didn't find anything about this stop that I didn't love. All in all, I would have to give RUBY'S a BIG A+ or 5 star rating.

Well, our next stop is JOHNNY ROCKETS. This place is always crowded but since I'm a big RUBY'S fan I have not been to JOHNNY ROCKETS in years. In fact, I think I've only been one time and I only got a diet coke. So this should be fun.

Let's go in!

See, like I said, it's always crowded. I'm sure the food has to be super.

They have the counter like RUBY'S. Very cute.

Look at all the cooks working hard to feed everyone fast. Boy, I'm hungry! How about you?

Oh no! I just got told I can't pictures. What? Why would they care? Oh well, I'm just going to have to be careful I don't get caught. Let's go sit down.

How cute is this! Each table has their own little jukebox. Plus, it's only a nickel to pick a song. Of course, we put some money in and picked out some songs. They are all from the 50's. Helps to put you in the mood.

Either these are just for show and really don't work (but it took the money) or there were to many people ahead of us because, our songs never did play the whole time we were there.

I think the menu is cute too. Look at the little hat they give kids. How darling!

So far everything is going great! I am really expecting the food is going to be yummy too!

In order to keep the taste test fair I got the same thing. A strawberry shake, fries and a veggie burger.

First they brought the shake out. I liked the way it was served. But hey, where is the rest of the shake? Remember at RUBY'S they give you all the shake. What doesn't fit in the glass you got in the silver cup they mix it in.

That's OK, let's give it a try. My first thought was "This is a shake but it's warm!" How could a shake be warm? It's also very runny. More like strawberry milk. I didn't like it at all. Everyone else at the table with me had different flavor shakes and they said the same thing. Thin and warm. That's a big strike and sure to take the rating down.

Then they brought the fries out. The waitress gave us each a little bowl and made a happy face with the ketchup. Very cute. But where is our burgers? Why bring the fries without the rest of the food.

Finally the burgers came out. I took a big bite and almost spit it out. It was the worst veggie burger I've ever had! So I went for the fries. By now, they were cold and taste like they were frozen and had freezer burn or something. Not good. Not good at all. I'm afraid this will lower the rating too.

The rest of the table agreed with me. This was the worst meal we have had in a long time. YUCK!

We didn't complain. I just hate to do that. But most of the time when the waitress sees you didn't eat much of your food they ask if anything was wrong and then I will tell them. No one asked us here.

So we paid the bill. Higher then RUBY'S but still not to bad in price. Well, thinking about it, since we couldn't eat the food it was a big waste of money. So the price was not good either.

I loved the decor and the little touches that JOHNNY ROCKETS has but the food was not good at all. So I give this place a D or 2 stars.

I think the reason JOHNNY ROCKETS is always crowed is because they are good at where they place their restaurants. They are always in tourist areas. People look in and think the place is cute so they go in.

I won't ever go back to JOHNNY ROCKETS unless it's for a diet coke. But RUBY'S, I will refer everyone I know to go there.

Final score is RUBY wins by a landslide!!!!

So what did you think? Was being a restaurant critic fun? Would you like to do it for a living? Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.


Friday, June 27, 2008


Yes you read that right! It even says so in the local newspaper. They have pictures and everything. There is Trinity on the left of the picture. She is reaching out trying to touch that dinosaur. What is she thinking! Doesn't she know dinosaurs can bite!

This is what the paper says "The young Tyrannosaurus Rex looked hungry. It paced back and forth, snapping its jaws at anything that moved, swishing its tail like a huge club. Everyone once in a while the monstrous reptile would lean back and deliver a blood-curdling roar!"

Now if I was there, I would be freaked out. But not my little Trinity. She was so brave, in her dinosaur mask that she wore like a hat. She pet that big old guy like he was her own friendly little dog or something.

OK so the whole story is, Trinity went with her brownie troop to the Discovery Science Center and they were greeted with a great show preview called "Walking with Dinosaurs - The Live Experience".

There are 15 life-size dinosaurs that represent 10 species. There is even one, gigantic Brachiosaurus that measures 56 feet from nose to the tip of his tail. WOW!

Now I've never been a big fan of dinosaurs but I would like to see what they really looked like. I guess this show is the closest any of us will ever come. They walk, roar and move around just as if they were alive.

The show started in Australia and is now making the rounds here in America. So be careful, if your little boy/girl comes home and tells you they just saw a dinosaur, they may be telling the truth!

The newspaper THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER was even there and took the above pictures. First they were on the web site and we were thrilled to see Trinity not only made it in the pictures but they also talked to her and so her name is the article too!

Then today the paper came and low and behold there she was again! The photos were even in color. Now that is not normally what they have. Most of the time it's black and white only.

So my sweet great niece, Trinity, is a news worthy little girl. Oh I hope she doesn't end up like Paris Hilton. LOL

Now tell me, have you or anyone you know, been in the paper or on the news? If so, leave me a comment telling me the story. I would love to hear all about it.



Thursday, June 26, 2008


So I finally got a photo I liked and thought I would use it for my new header. What do you think? Should I keep it or get a different look?

I want to make my blog one that everyone loves. So, can you let me know what you like to read about. Do you like the garden, thrift shopping, going on day trips with me, my family? When you come here, what are you hoping to find?

Do you ever go to the right side and click on the giveaway links?

I also added a link on the right side to rate my blog. Please take a second to click on there and let me know what you think.




Wednesday, June 25, 2008


It was such a pretty day today. The heat is gone and we are now having beautiful weather. Not hot but, not cold either. Just a perfect nice sunny day.

My sister, Maureen, came over and we decided to go to Roger's Gardens in Newport Beach.

I thought it would be fun if you came along with us. If you have never been to Roger's Gardens you are in for a nice surprise. It has to be one of prettiest gardens.

The best thing is it's not just a garden you walk through. You can buy everything you see. So come on, let's take a look around.

The place is full of color! The flowers are all top quality.

The way things are set up is so pretty. Sometimes they put the same colors together. Other times they will go with a theme. Here they have all white flowers. So pretty. I hear white flowers are a great way to enjoy your garden at night because the white shows up nicely under the moon shine.

Roger's Garden also has a lot of outdoor furniture. I love this cute table setting. It looks so inviting to me.

I love the way they did this bird bath up with purple flowers. I think this would be a wonderful way to use those birdbaths or fountains that are old and can no longer hold water.

When you walk through this beautiful arch that is covered with climbing roses the first thing you notice is the smell. It's the entrance to the rose garden.

We spent about 1/2 hour in this area. I was looking for pretty pink roses to buy. I wanted the climbing roses but there was so many to choose from I had no idea which one to go with.

Don't you just adore this wreath! I would love to have this but the price was way out of my budget. Maybe I can make something close to it. I would like to hang it on our gate.

Look at this pop of yellow! I was thrilled with out pretty this photo came out. I think these flowers look fake. They are just so perfect looking. But trust me, they are real.

The gazebo is a favorite spot of mine. It's always done up with decorations of the next holiday coming up. At Christmas Santa is here and is always happy to listen to the children's wishes. He will even take photos with them. When I say children I mean children of all ages from 1-100. Santa doesn't care how old you are. He will let you sit on his lap and whisper your Christmas wishes in his ear.

This rose bush is called 4th of July Roses. They almost look like a firework bursting open in the night sky.

They have the best hanging baskets of any place I've seen before.
This urn is just breath taking. It's so big and full of color.

I just had to take this photo. I'm taking classes on how to make different flowers out of sugar paste and this is one of the flowers I'm going to learn. I love the bright purple color.

There is even a waterfall at Roger's Gardens. Look at the turtles on the rocks. They are saying hi to everyone that walks by. OK, so they aren't real turtles and they don't really say hi, but in my mind they do.

Here is an easy way to decorate your outside for the up coming 4th of July. Just tie a big bow out of flag ribbon and have a pot of flags sitting near the pot.

They really do sell just about everything at Roger's Garden. They not only have the best plants and flowers, but, they sell table clothes, napkins, dishes and just about anything you would need for your outdoor entertaining.

These are the roses I ended up getting. The pink is so pretty.

I think the roses are going to be perfect for my back yard. Don't you?

Here are all the plants I ended up getting. Now I need to get them planted.
Well, I hope you enjoyed coming along with us to Roger's Gardens. If you are ever in the area please be sure to make time to stop there. Even if you don't buy a thing you will love walking around and seeing all the beautiful things.

I thought I would leave you with a photo I took last night of the sun setting. The sun was a beautiful reddish color.
Don't forget, I'm having a Giveaway. If you have not signed up scroll down or click on the link on the right of my blog and put your name down. Never know if it's going to be your lucky day.