Thursday, December 20, 2007

I walk with Isabella up and down the stairs on occasion. She will grab my hand and lead me down the stairs. As we walk down I count the number of steps.

I say "one" and she'll say "tooh".
Then I'll say "two" and she'll say "twee".
And then I'll say "four" and she'll say "tooh"...

So, she can count to three. I haven't actually heard her say "one" yet, but I still think she's a GENIUS!!!

Video: Frustration and the word "No"

These videos are a little old. I think they're from early November and in baby-land that's ages ago. I was having problems with my computer, but here they are.

The first video was the first sign of Isabella's frustration. For the past month I wasn't sure if it was her personality or the stage she's currently in; but, then Ed got scared that maybe she got that from him. Boy does he get frustrated. Keep complicated and expensive stuff away from him or else it might get broken.

This video shows Isabella using "no" for the first time. At first it started out as a simple "no" and then it progressed to a string of no's and today it is with force and frustration. When she uses it, she means it. Sometimes she'll say no when I help her. But other times she'll say it out of the blue without any interaction with someone else. I think she is practicing it for future use!!!! I have to say it was a little cute back then (in the video), but comment.

Scrapblog is Fun!

Okay the title says it all. I stumbled onto Scrapblog and think its fantastic for people who like to dress up their pictures but aren't as artistic to do the real thing. I love it. I've only played around with it a few times, but it looks like a lot of fun for future projects. When I have actual projects completed, I'll have to share.

Just Pictures

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I figured if I don't do them now then I'll never get around to it.

Happy Holidays

I will do my best to get some new pictures up on the blog. Until then have a safe and fun holiday with your friends and family.

The Kremer Family

Thanksgiving Pictures

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Here is the Thanksgiving table. Merah keeps telling me I need white china and I think the second time around I'd like to decorate the house in a more modern style.

Bummer, I didn't get any pictures of the entire family together. But this one makes me laugh. It wouldn't be Thanksgiving if someone didn't fall asleep on the couch. Though if you asked Leo he would try to convince you that he was not sleeping.

One holiday more to go

Wow, I didn't realize how much time had passed since I last posted. Thanksgiving came by so suddenly. Usually I have a menu prepared weeks in advanced, but not this time. I was wavering until the last minute. But it doesn't really matter because I had so much fun spending time with the family. We hosted and both sides of our immediate family came together to enjoy a long and juicy meal. It was pretty nice cooking with my sisters. Merah was my sous chef and Ann was the dishwasher. We were a well oiled machine. Though not as deeply thought out a menu, this is what we served...

The bird was absolutely delicious. It turned out juicy and full of flavor. I combined a few recipes together. I'm a Food Network fan so I usually turn there for my recipes. I followed Emeril Lagasse's Brined and Roasted Turkey for the brine only. I brined the turkey for about 15 hours and the salt water concoction made the turkey tender and super moist. I love putting bacon on my bird for a little extra flavor so I decided to use Tyler Florence's Maple-Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter. It was the most simple recipe to follow ever. The only thing about this recipe is that the flavors of the gravy will dramatically change with the maple flavored drippings. Probably why he didn't offer a gravy recipe. I made one anyway and it was too sweet. Like most things, I like my gravy savory. I definitely recommend trying this recipe. It was delicious.

I subscribe to Top Secret Recipes online and every week they release a copycat recipe of famous restaurant or fast food dishes. After the week is passed it is no longer available. They really want you to buy their many cookbooks. So I save ones that I want to try for later. Several years ago I received one on HoneyBaked Ham Glaze. I had to go out and buy a creme brulee torch to follow it exactly. It was worth it. I thought it was very tasty. It was such a huge ham that we divided it out, at it everyday since, and I still have left overs. I'm glad that I offered both the turkey and the ham. Koreans like to eat ham with rice in a bowl of water. Hmm, hmm, hmm. It reminded me of my parents house.

Here's the recipe:

HoneyBaked Ham Glaze Recipe

Purchase a ham that is pre-sliced. I purchased a pre-sliced, smoked bone-in ham from Costco. To get the coating right you must have a blowtorch that is used for creme brulee. I purchased mine from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

1 fully-cooked shank half ham, bone in
(pre-sliced is best)
1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground clove

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp ginger
dash ground ginger

dash ground allspice

1. If you can't find a pre-sliced ham, the first thing you must do is slice it.
2. Mix the spices together in a small bowl.
3. Lay down a couple sheets of wax paper. Pour the sugar mixture onto the wax paper and spread it around evenly.

4. Roll the ham over the sugar mixture so that it is well coated. Do not coat the flat end of the ham, just the outer, pre-sliced surface.

5. Turn the ham onto its flat end on the plate. Use a blowtorch with a medium-size flame to caramelize the sugar. Wave the torch over the sugar with rapid movement, so that the sugar bubbles and browns, but does not burn. Spin the plate so you can torch the entire surface of the ham. Repeat the coating and caramelizing process until the ham has been well glazed (don't expect to use all of the sugar mixture). Serve the ham cold or reheated.

I did mine early and put it in the fridge. In the last few minutes we carved, warmed, and served. The Grilled Potato Salad is something I discovered from watching Rachel Ray 30-Minute Meal. I've made it a lot over the summer. It was so easy, but different enough that everyone will rave over it. There's something about the roasted sliced potatoes in the grill seasoning mixed with red wine marinated orange slices and red onions all over a bed of arugula that is so tasty. It is ridiculously easy to make. I use my George Forman grill for the potatoes so I don't have to clean up the BBQ grill.

I'd never had acorn squash before but the picture from my November 2002 issue of InStyle (I love the Party Guide section of this's the main reason I get it) looked really good that it was worth a try. Merah made this one. Aside from laboring over cutting the rock hard squash, it was really good. Not at all what I thought. It was very sweet like sweet fact, with a similar consistency. It was sliced and baked in a cornmeal crust.

Of course I didn't take too many pictures this year. I'm getting worse and worse. I seriously flaked on everything. The house wasn't decorated, not that I traditionally decorate for Thanksgiving, but there is always the dream of doing so. Oh well...maybe next year.

My pictures don't seem to want to download. I'll post later. BTW, my computer died again!!! The logic board crashed during a software update. This is the second time on this second new computer that we received from Apple. Hmm...I thought Macs were supposed to be more reliable??? I'm a little disappointed.

Trick or Treat

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

trick or treat.
smell my feet.
give me something good to eat.
if you don't,
i don't care.
i'll pull down your underwear.

So we started the festivities with a little party at Karen and PJ's. Ed was in Colorado sitting in the stands of the Red Sox vs. Rockies World Series game. In his place, Ed's uncle, Wadeed, stepped in. Many pictures were taken at the party, but we'll have to wait until those get passed around.

Here we are posing like prom night.

This house gets the award for "best dressed" house:

I didn't decorate the house or yard, but I did make three pumpkins. I had so much fun at Christine's pumpkin carving contest that I now have the fever. I can't take all the credit on these; I used stencils!!! I think I'll decorate the yard really big next year.

The pumpkins made some really good pumpkin seeds. I found the secret to making crispy seeds. Put them in the oven at 250 degrees for about 1 hour to dry out before seasoning in a skillet, stirring occasionally. It makes a world of difference. I made two different recipes that I adapted by taste. The spicy wasn't spicy enough. Here are the recipes that I tried.

Sweet and Spicy
5 tbsp of sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of cayenne pepper or to taste (I added much more)
1 1/2 tbsp peanut oil

In a medium bowl, combine 3 tbsp of the sugar (you may try with a little less), salt, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne.

Heat the peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the baked pumpkin seeds and 2 tbsp sugar. Cook until sugar melts and the pumpkin seeds begin to carmelize (about 45-60 seconds). Transfer to bowl with spices and stir well. Let cool and enjoy.

Spicy and Savory
1 tsp Worcestershire
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 dashes of hot pepper sauce (I used Mezzetta Californa Habanero Hot Sauce Merah turned me on to)
1/4 cup peanut oil

Heat peanut oil in a nonstick skillet on high heat. Add baked pumpkin seeds and ingredients. Cook for about 45-60 seconds. Let cool and enjoy.

Isabella dressed up as a giraffe and helped me pass out candy to the 10 little kids that came through the neighborhood. This year I decided to go big and buy big candy bars. I overbought by about 50. Darn it. I thought it might inspire more kids to come by next year.

During the trial run she wasn't too happy.

But it turns out she was just cranky for her bottle.

Hilarious SNL Music Video

Monday, October 29, 2007

Not trying to make a political statement, but saw this a few weekends ago and had to search for it. It is absolutely hysterical and catchy. Watch it now before it gets removed off of YouTube.

It's getting hot in here

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No really, it has been in the 80's all week long. The fires have been devastating and almost unreal. Every local news show has been covering it from morning to night. It's like watching a movie; it didn't sink in until I got to work on Monday.

The Oakley building is at the edge of the fire zone. Not a very active person, I didn't even know where Modjeska Canyon was until I saw a map of it all over the news. It is literally up the street from work. I always thought it was a far away (mystical, even) Glamis, lol...really mystical.

We don't have windows in our department so I stayed out of touch with reality most of the day. We received emails by the hour providing status updates. By the end of the day it read, " Fires are one mile away. No new evacuation news. It's business as usual tomorrow." As Ed and I were leaving the building, it was smoky and hazy. You could see the fires blazing up the hill. We eagerly checked our work email for more news. As we leave the immediate area we can see blue skies. What was strange was driving into the dark gray covered sky that hovered over San Clemente. I could hardly sleep. I was glued to the TV as many of you were.

Tuesday morning. I check my emails and notice there were 5 updates since I last checked. The 6:00am email said the streets were closed off, but to flash our badge and we'd get passed the barricade because it was "business as usual". About a mile away and you can smell the smoke invade the car. It smelled like a camp fire--somewhat familiar and not yet repugnant. The scent in the building was not pleasant. The day goes on and people were antsy. Emails were delivered every hour on the hour. By noon, the fire had moved its way towards the building. Apparently, it's still not a threat. At around 2pm it moved across the street. Still not a direct threat. Hmmpf...I don't think people are buying it.

My team left for a while. Had no idea where the all went. Only when one returns to say she was not interested in climbing a steep ladder to check out the view from our fire-proof roof...however, not very fire proof when you are standing on top of it. People came back saying how you can hear the fire roaring --crackle, crackle-- and feel the wind it created with force, very much alive. I'm kind of sorry that I didn't check it out. By 3pm we finally got the email for a voluntary evacuation. We were the only building working in the area past 10am. The streets were closed off because the fire was threatening to jump across it. Behind the building I can see the hoards of news vans and camera crew capturing the fire dance. I didn't think of taking pictures until I was in my car. We have quite a few aspiring photographers in the building that took some amazing pictures. I can't take credit for most of it.

Here is a picture of our building in relation to the fire area.

Tuesday, October 22, 2007

From the roof of our building. You can see how close it really did come.

Give credit where credit is do. These were taken by Jerry Kasai. Amazing photos.

Into the evening...

We had an amazing sunset at T Street in San Clemente.
I had to pull over to capture it. You can see the smoke roll in.

Before I snuggled into bed, we were alerted of another fire closer to home. Five miles south of San Clemente, a fire broke at the border check in Camp Pendleton. Before snuggling into bed, the fire had hopped over the 5 freeway to the west side moving in the direction of San Onofre nuclear power plant, which is about 3 miles south of us. I capture a few pictures of the area from my balcony.

Wednesday, October 23, 2007

This is what beautiful San Clemente looked like this morning.

The I5 freeway was closed two exits south of us. It was eerie to see it so empty. But it started to fill up quickly. You can see the smog filled sky and the little patch of "clean" air.

At the end of today, you can see the ash falling.

The latest stats (as of 10:05pm, 10/23/07):
  • 22,000 acres burned
  • Approximately 3,000 homes have been threatened and 43,000 residents have evacuated
  • 30% containment
  • Suspect arson
  • 8 homes damaged and 14 destroyed

These sites are great for updates:
  • OCFA (Orange County Fire Authority)
  • Cal Fire
  • CalFireHelp pairs residents in need of shelter with those that are willing to give it

Proof is in the pudding

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

This is the proof that Christine asked for in yesterday's post. Interestingly enough, I captured this video yesterday as it was happening, but I didn't think it was good enough. But it'll do for now until I can capture it on my camera.

Yesterday, when Isabella was chatting it up in the car, I tried to record her. Whenever I try using my cell phone it becomes a distraction and she stops what she's doing to check out the phone. So in this video, you'll notice that I'm trying to slowly bring up the phone. In the very beginning she says "dog" and then the "wuh-wuh-wuh". Yes, I did coach her on it at first until I knew she understood what I was asking for. I'll try to get that on video later.

The second video was taken last month (9/20/07). You can hear her saying "Alex" and "wuh-wuh-wuh". But at the time, she didn't associate the "wuh-wuh-wuh" to a least not that I know of.

Words, words, and more words

Monday, October 08, 2007

On the way home she starting saying a bunch of words - some old and some new.

  • "Ee-dah" is for Vida, her daycare provider.
  • She also says "dogguh".
  • And when you ask her what a dog says, she'll say "wuh-wuh-wuh-wuh".
  • Then you can ask her what a cat says and she'll say "mmooowh". Check out the video from September 17.
  • She can also say "duck" and "ball". And we swear we hear her say "what's that" or "what's this", but I doubt it.
  • And of course, she can say "dada", "mama", "bye-bye", "hi", and "hello".

Fun day

Sunday, September 30, 2007

I took Isabella to the pool club today and we had such a fun time. She loved "swimming" and watching all the big kids.

Later I took her to the park. She absolutely loves the swing. When I tried to take her out she started crying so I put her back in. We went down the slide and played in the sand.

She's starting to have temper tantrums. Not like an older toddler, but she gets more vocal when she's frustrated. I've seen other babies when she was younger begin to demonstrated frustration much earlier than her. She was always so content. Now she's starting to show when she's frustrated with something not working the way she wanted it to. For instance, she's been teething so she hasn't wanted to eat finger food as much. She started screaming until I gave her soup, which she slurped right up. Then she was playing with those rings that you stack onto a pole and when one wasn't stacking properly she started to get frustrated. So far, it's been tolerable, but I'm trying not to encourage it and to calm her down. Hopefully, she won't turn into one of "those" kids.

Here are some more videos from today:

She's definitely one of us; she loves eating cheese.

I finally caught her saying "mama" sort of. I couldn't get the camera fast enough.

More pictures:

The Phone is NOT a Toy

I captured Isabella with my cell phone just in time. Here she is...

Later in the day, I put the home phone down. Isabella started to play with it and was dialing.

A few minutes later I look at the phone and notice it's been on. I look at the redial and it read "911...." trailed by 15 more numbers. Seconds later I received a call from the Sheriffs department. He told me "the phone is not a toy". We tied up the emergency line for 6 minutes, yikes!!! I was so embarrassed. The phone is back in the cradle where it belongs.

Latest pics

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Here are some pictures from the past week: