Petrified Forest National Park Part II

Although I still was not feeling well in the morning, we proceeded with our plans to visit the southern section of the park and drive on to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  D was a trooper, because even though he was not feeling 100% either, he did all of the driving in the morning.

Our first stop was the Rainbow Forest Museum where D went with the kids to get their junior ranger badges while I stayed in the car.  We nixed all of the hiking plans we had and just did short walks from the various pull-offs throughout the park.

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If you’re curious about what petrified wood looks like, this is it.

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It basically looks and feels like wood that has turned into rock.

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I am glad these guys managed to maintain good spirits even though I was feeling miserable.

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Something was really funny!

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Even though we did not get a chance to do much exploring, I feel like we had a good overview of the park.

I continued to throw up bile in the car (with a bag) since I had no food or water in my stomach.  After a quick internet search, I realized that I needed to drink water even if I threw it up or I would risk becoming severely dehydrated.  Somewhere along our route in New Mexico, I was able to keep saltines and 7up down, and was able to do some driving.

The kids shared a sandwich from Westend Donuts & Deli in Gallup, New Mexico and they said was good.  We checked into Comfort Inn in Santa Fe.  We took a trip to Albertsons to pick up Gatorade, bananas, and chicken strips from the deli for the kids for dinner.  This was not how I had imagined our first night in Santa Fe! 🙁

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National Caramel Apple Day

It has been a while since we have celebrated a national food holiday.  Today we made caramel apples after school.  n could not wait for k to get home from school!

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We just microwaved Kraft caramels with a little water.  I think the key was pre-chilling the apples in the refrigerator before dipping.  The caramel stayed on pretty well.  We let them harden up in the fridge on a Silpat and they were easy to remove. 

The kids wanted to wait until D came home to eat them.  I think they wanted to experience his silly and dramatic reactions that he makes when eating yummy food. 

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Celebrating National Donut Day

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Last Friday we went to Krispy Kreme to pick out our free donut.  The donut machine is always fascinating.

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Both k and n picked the same one as last year—chocolate with sprinkles.

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This year, I was not tempted by the signs for key lime pie donuts and stuck with my tried and true favorite: custard filled with chocolate icing.

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Poundcake Day & Backyardigans

Happy National Poundcake Day!  I made this one from this recipe

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Not perfect, but I am not really on the quest to find “the best” since we do not eat it very often.  I think that is in part due to the name “poundcake” (which comes from the original recipe including a pound of flour, a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs and a pound of butter), but implies the pounds you will gain from eating it.  In contrast, I think Girl Scouts Thin Mints’ enormous popularity is largely attributable to the fact that the name includes “thin”!  Really genius marketing if you think about it.

In other news, k and n seem to have just discovered that the backyard is a fun hangout, after four years of living in this house. 

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They’ve been playing baseball, scootering in a small circle, and putting on “shows” for their stuffed animal audience.  I remember my mom used to lament the fact that the backyard I grew up with in Seal Beach was so much smaller than the one she and her sister had growing up in North Hollywood.  Now, our backyard is even smaller than the Seal Beach one!  But really, I am just grateful to have a space, however small, where the kids can play safely outside with minimal supervision.  And the kids make do, as kids do.   

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Celebrating National Pancake Day @ IHOP

Yesterday we went to IHOP for a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes.  The day before we went to Yogurtland for National Frozen Yogurt Day.  I have a renewed interest in celebrating national food holidays, which I pretty much only did in February of last year.  We’ll see if I can keep it up longer this year. 

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How does IHOP make these beautifully uniform golden brown pancakes?  Is this possible to do at home?  Do I need to invest in a flat top griddle?

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We took the leftovers home + I made eggs=breakfast for dinner!

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IHOP Pancake Day

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A friend told us about IHOP’s national pancake day. I wasn’t planning to go originally, but D wasn’t going to be home when we ate dinner, so I thought why not? We received 3 free short stacks of pancakes (which each consist of 3 pancakes). That’s a lot of pancakage. At first I felt weird about going to a sit down restaurant and only ordering free items, but the waitress was very nice and I noticed a lot of tables doing the same. Also, we left a tip and a donation for the Children’s Miracle Network, so it was for a good cause.
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I would also like to note that we celebrated National Banana Bread day on February 23:
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Foodie Finds

First, a little catch up on our food holiday celebrations. The list I have been going by can be found here.

February 8: National Molasses Bar Day.
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Didn’t remember to take a picture until they were almost all gone. I never knew what a molasses bar was before looking it up for the holiday. I guess it is a southern thing.

February 13: National Tortellini Day. I like how following the holidays helps me decide what to have for dinner. I tend to get in a rut.
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Over the weekend we went to Huntington, our favorite state beach. Before going to the beach, we made a couple of foodie stops nearby. First was The Donuttery. Don’t you like that name? This was from a tip D received from a friend of a friend (J–you can thank Max for us). Nice variety of flavors, including blueberry, strawberry and pumpkin. Baker’s dozen for $7.
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Next was a Mr. Pickle sandwich on dutch crunch bread from a new place called Mr. Pickle.
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This warm sandwich was so good! Chicken, bacon, avocado, jack cheese, red onion, garlic sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles, of course. ($8 inc. tax). The dutch crunch had the perfect texture. D said it had to be one of his top 3 sandwiches, yet somehow it did not make his list! Not sure how that happened. I might even like it better than Earl of Sandwich (which I’ve been tipped off is coming to Downtown Disney, I might add!)

The weather was nice at the beach considering it is February.
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I actually prefer going to the beach off-season because no one else is there.
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Except for the seagulls…
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More National Food Holidays

February 3: National Carrot Cake Day. Made a carrot cake for D to bring to a potluck at work.
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February 6: National Frozen Yogurt Day. Went to Yogurtland and waited in line for 15 minutes for free frozen yogurt/toppings.
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February 7: National Fettuccine Alfredo Day. Made “Spaghetti Alfredo” as I did not have any fettuccine on hand.
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Happy National Popcorn Day

Apparently, there is some dispute as to whether national popcorn day is today (January 31) or January 19. We’re just going with today to keep up the momentum.

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I made kettle corn on the stove using the recipe here. k was squealing with delight when the corn started popping.
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n missed out on the pop corn popping, but he ate some when he woke up from his nap.
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Happy National Croissant Day

I have decided to have our family celebrate national food holidays. I think it will help inspire me to try new things with the kids and break up the monotony. We’ll see how long I can stick with it.

Today, January 30th happens to be National Croissant Day, which is a nice way to start.
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Ralphs has 18 ct. packages of mini croissants for $5.99. Just thought that might be helpful for someone to know. They would be perfect for a tea party.

Unrelated to National Croissant Day: Someone thought it would be a good idea to drink his yogurt (k gave him the idea).

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