10.29.2014

World Series 2014

As you may know, I am a huge, huge, huge San Francisco Giants fan.
Growing up in the Bay Area, we have 2 baseball teams, the Oakland A's & the San Fransisco Giants.
I have always been a Giants fan along with my entire family.
I'll never forget going to my first Giants game as a kid, at Candlestick Park.
I went with my parents, sisters and my aunts, uncles & cousins.
It was Mother's Cookies Baseball card day (anybody else remember those?) I remember being so excited that I got a Will Clark baseball card. I still have it!
The past 5 years have been really fun being a Giants fan because we won the World Series in 2010 and also in 2012. And, this year 2014 we are in the World Series again!
One of the items on my "Bucket List" was to go to a World Series game that the Giants were playing in. I was able to cross that item off my bucket list in 2010. 
You can read about it {HERE}
 The only problem about that was that Kevin didn't go to that game with me. The whole time I was there in 2010, I was wishing he got to experience it also.
When the Giants made it to the NLCS this year, I told Kevin that if they go to the World Series, then I am going to buy us tickets so that we can go (Thank you Rodan + Fields for my extra spending money!)
Well, sure enough, the Giants beat St. Louis and were going to the World Series! I bought us tickets for last Friday night.
Friday was a beautiful day in San Francisco. The weather was perfect.
 We took Bart into the city & got off at the Ferry Building so that we could walk along the water on our way to the Ball Park.
 The walk along the water was so fun...tons of people walking to the game & of course the views of the Bay Bridge were spectacular.
Loved seeing the Fire Engines with Giants flags!
 Kevin's sister and her husband were also going to the game and as we were walking to the Ball Park my brother in law texted us to tell us that he just met Willie Mays & shook his hand! What?!?! Willie Mays is a San Fransisco Giants legend! Mike said that he parked right next to him in the Parking Lot.
Here is a pic of Mike next to Willie Mays car.
 So once we got to the parking lot, the 4 of us took a selfie and texted it to the rest of our family saying that we wish they were there :)
 It's always sur-real walking into the Ball Park for a World Series game. The energy is amazing.
 I love that we are playing the Kansas City Royals....I love that they haven't been to the World Series in 30 years and that both the Giants & Royals were both the Wild Card teams this year. 

As we first got into the Ball Park....so excited! Could our smiles BE any bigger?
Announcing the starting line ups:
During the  Star Spangled Banner they had a huge flag on the field:
 Little Big Town sung the National Anthem. They were amazing. I tear up everytime I hear the National Anthem.
As the National Anthem finished playing 2 Blue Angels jets flew over the stadium. CHILLS!
 Time to play ball! Cheers to a $12 beer & souvenir cup!
 Kansas City got off to an early lead, so that was kind off a bummer.  
Our favorite Ball Park sandwich. San Fransicso style Philly Cheese Steak with Tri Tip & Hot Peppers. YUM!
I get this sandwich everytime I go to a Giants game.
If you've never been to a Giants game, I recommend going, we have such a beautiful stadium, right on the water.
 So beautiful.
 McCovey Cove is right behind the Park & that is where some home runs land.
 You can see all the people in their kayaks waiting for a homerun to land in the water
 More views of the park:
 It was a close game 3-2 with the Royals in the lead.
In the 8th inning we almost tied up the game....we all had our orange rally rags out.
 Nail biting game!
We ended up losing 3-2 but it was still a fun night & memorable experience.
 So glad I got to experience a World Series Game with Kevin!
 Game 7 is tonight. 
The Royals kicked our butts last night so now the series is tied 3-3.
I am so stressed out about the game that I even had a dream about it last night!!! #issues
Will you be watching tonight?
Who are you rooting for?
(It's okay if you say Kansas City....we can still be friends!)
Usually, I love rooting for the underdog like the Royals, but not this year since they are playing my team!

And, a few Nuts & Bolts:

Last week, Rodan + Fields Acute Care sold out in 24 hours! Want to get your hands on 2 free samples of it? For people who become a Preferred Customer this week, you will get $20 off your first order AND you will also get a 2 free samples of Acute Care (which is sold out & not available until January) and Free Shipping!
 Email me to place an order or if you have questions!
melissa_larson17{at}yahoo.com

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Tomorrow I will be posting my 4th Annual Crocktober Crock Pot Recipe Link Up!
Click {HERE} to see the previous years.
I got a few emails asking if I was doing it again and YES, I am!
I just forgot to tell you guys about it until now! It has been a crazy month!
This is one of my favorite link ups, I love Crock Pot Meals!
I am so excited to share my recipe with all of you!
You can link up any past or current Crock Pot recipes that you have or that you use.
And, there will be a giveaway, so you won't want to miss out!

GO GIANTS!!!!!!

10.28.2014

1 0 3

October 27, 1911.
Yesterday was my Grandma's 103rd Birthday.
Yes.
You read that correctly.
103.
Absolutely Amazing.

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you probably remember me talking about my Grammy and how amazing she is.
I blog about her birthday every year because I think it's pretty incredible that she has lived to be this old.
In years past, I have blogged about how incredible it is that she still lives in her own house by herself at her age.
But, unfortunately, that isn't the case anymore.
You see, 20 days ago on October 7th, we got a call from my Aunt that Grammy had a fall.
My Aunt lives in the same town as Grammy, so she checks on her several times a day.
The morning of October 7th, she went to check on her and Grammy had fallen.
Grammy wears one of those "Help, I've fallen and can't get up" necklaces so she can pull it and it will alert a dispatcher. Well, Grammy is stubborn and didn't pull it, so when my Aunt came over Grammy was on the ground. My Aunt didn't know if Grammy was hurt (because Grammy is stubborn and wouldn't say) so my Aunt called 911 and had Grammy taken to the hospital to get checked out and to make sure she didn't break anything.
The did some tests on Grammy at the hospital and nothing was broken.
They ran some labs/blood work and Grammy is 100% healthy.
The doctors and nurses couldn't believe how amazing her blood work was, they said it was better than most people who are in their 60's! That's my Grammy!
Even though Grammy  wasn't hurt, my mom and Aunt decided that Grammy shouldn't live on her own anymore. She is just too old and even though she can still walk, she is just fragile & her eyesight is going. My Aunt found a nice & clean old person's home for Grammy to live, so they moved her there right after the hosptial, just 20 days shy of her 103rd Birthday.
Pretty amazing that Grammy made it 102 years & 345 days living  by herself.
Even though it is sad that Grammy isn't living in her house anymore, it is the right decision.

This weekend we headed down to Grammy's in the Central Valley to celebrate her 103rd Birthday.
It was very strange seeing her NOT in her house.
The home she is at is nice, there are about 30 people who live there...Grammy is the oldest.
We reserved the outside area for Grammy's party.
  I made my Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes (recipe HERE} but I put pink frosting on them because pink is Grammy's favorite color!
I also made the cupcake toppers.
Every year, I get Grammy a balloon & roses for her birthday.
My mom, Aunt & Grammy.
 My sisters & I with Grammy.
 My Aunt & her 2 sons with Grammy (my cousins are SO tall....6'4 & 6'8)
 My family with Grammy :)
 Rebecca & her family with Grammy. This was the first time Grammy got to meet baby Olivia (that is Grammy's 11th great-grandchild)
 4 Generations in this photo. Love it.
Me & Grammy. Can we talk about how she is rocking the side pony? Love her. She is still a spit fire!

It was so wonderful seeing my Grammy & celebrating her 103rd birthday.
It was emotional...seeing her in the home & not her home.
Wondering if this was going to be the last time I see her.
Feeling sad that her memory is fading.
What a wonderful life she has lived.
103...Incredible.

After the party, my Aunt, my mom, my sisters and I went to Grammy's house.
All her things are still there and my Aunt is going to start cleaning it out so they can sell the house.
My Aunt told us we could take things that were special to us.
It was very surreal being in her house knowing that Grammy wasn't coming back.
I had 1 thing that I really, really, really wanted from Grammy's house.
Her recipe box.
Every memory of visiting Grammy includes food & something on the stove or in the oven.
Every time we would go to her house, she was making something.
I think I get my love of cooking & baking from Grammy.
She was always making something.
When we were at her house, I asked my Aunt if I could have Grammy's recipe box.
She said sure, but she couldn't recall Grammy having one, since Grammy had memorized most of her recipes.
I looked through every kitchen cabinet.
I couldn't find it.
I looked in her pantry.
I couldn't find it.
I looked above the fridge and found some of her old cookbooks, but no recipe box.
I was bummed. I really wanted her handwritten recipes. I knew they had to be somewhere.
I looked in one last kitchen drawer and at the very back of the drawer, there they were....stacks of recipe cards held together by rubber bands.
JACKPOT.
I was so happy I could cry. I totally teared up.
Stacks of Grammy's recipes held together by rubber bands that were so old they were crumbling.
Recipe cards with Grammy's handwriting.
Recipe cards typed out with flour dusted on them.
Recipes as far back from 1920's & 1930's
(Grammy dated most of her recipe cards, so I knew exactly when they were from)

It may be Grammy's Birthday, but I feel like I got one of the greatest gifts, her recipes.
Seeing her familar handwriting on the recipe cards is so comforting.
Reading through the recipe cards & recognizing some of my favorite things from visiting Grammy's house....so priceless.

My plan is to go through the recipes and make a family cookbook for all the women in our family so that we can all have a piece of Grammy's cooking in our kitchens.
And, I will be sure to blog some of Grammy's recipes as well.

Happy 103rd Birthday, Grammy.
Thank you for being such an inspiration to everyone who knows you.

Everyone always asks Grammy her advice for living so long & for being in such good health 
Here is her list of advice:
1. Surround yourself with your family and people you love.
2. Drink Coffee every morning.
3. Have a Happy Hour cocktail everyday (Grammy's preference is a Cranberry Vodka)
4. Stay away from hospitals & doctors.
5. Be positive.

10.24.2014

Baked Ziti {with Pumpkin, Sausage, Spinach + Mushrooms}

The weather has finally dipped into the 70's this week and we are getting a glimmer of Fall around here.
I even wore boots for the first time this week! Yay!
Fall weather makes me crave casseroles & warm pasta dishes.
Every Sunday afternoon I do my meal planning for the week & go to the grocery store.
This past weekend we didn't get back from Tahoe until the evening and I was too tired to go to the store, plus the 49ers were playing the Broncos on Sunday Night Football and I wanted to watch the game.
Our fridge was pretty bare, but I had some sausage, mushrooms & fresh spinach.
I always keep pasta in my pantry, so I had a box of that. During the Fall, canned pumpkin is also a staple in my pantry. I decided to get a little creative & make up a recipe.
One of my favorite things to do is to test out different ingredients and make up recipes.
Sometimes they don't turn out so good and sometimes they turn out to be a winner.
This one was a winner! It was delicious.
Baked Ziti {with Pumpkin, Sausage, Spinach + Mushrooms}
 Here is what you need:
 1 (1lb) box of Pasta
1 lb of Sausage (I use Sweet Italian)
1 can (15 oz) canned Pumpkin
4 cups of fresh spinach
Diced Onion (I use pre-diced because my eyes are so sensitive to chopping onions)
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cayenne pepper
1 can (12 fl oz) Evaporated Milk. (I used low fat, but you could use non-fat)
2 cups Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup  Parmesan cheese

Directions:
{Boil water for your pasta & have your pasta cook while you are making the sauce. Cook pasta according to package directions}
Cut your sausage links into slices.
 Cook your sausage & diced onions.
 After your sausage is fully cooked, remove the sausage from the pan & set aside. I kept some of the onions & sausage grease in the pan.
In the same pan, add the can of pumpkin, garlic powder, salt & cayenne pepper.
 Stir it up.
 Then add the can of evaporated milk (you could use half & half, but I didn't have that, so I used evaporated milk!)
Slowly add evaporated milk, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken slightly.
 Then, add the sliced mushrooms to the sauce (if you don't like mushrooms, leave them out...we love mushrooms!)
 Then add the sausage back into the pan. Stir & cook over meduim heat for another 2-3 minutes.
 Your pasta should be done cooking by now, so in a big bowl, mix the pasta, spinach, sauce & 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese.
 Mix it all together so the sauce has coated everything. Put into a 9x13 baking dish.
 Add another 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese & the 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan to the top.
 Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Then for an additional 5-10 minutes bake with out the foil.
This dish turned out delicious! It was full of flavor & not too pumpkin-y at all. 
In fact, I didn't even tell Kevin there was pumpkin in the pasta until AFTER he ate dinner & declared it delicious. I think if I told him there was pumpkin in it, he would have been skeptical about eating it. Ha!
Plus, he thinks I over do it with pumpkin during October & November. 
What? You can never have too much pumpkin :)
We had pumpkin beer with this meal & it was a yummy combo.
I love it when I can make a meal/recipe out of random things that I have in our fridge/pantry.
I also love that this dish had a lot of veggies in it....pumpkin, fresh spinach & fresh mushrooms!
This dish made a lot of food and it tasted great as leftovers the next day.

Check out more of my Pumpkin Recipes in my Recipe Box on my Toolbar!
Enjoy & Happy Friday!!!

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