Friday, January 29, 2010

Happy New Year Twenty-Ten!

After Lulu's, we headed to the Riverwalk.  I love the Riverwalk, the culture, the sights, the sounds and the smells.  I love watching the first-timers there too especially since we have been there a million times.  The place was so crowded with football fans.  The AlamoBowl was that weekend and Texas Tech was playing Michigan State.  We even ran into a friend from high school who went to Tech.  The funny thing was, we had mentioned we thought she'd be there earlier that morning and then all of a sudden there she was!

It was not super fun pushing a stroller with all kinds of people everywhere, but we had fun anyway.  We do the touristy thing and go to the Rivercenter Mall, the Alamo and ride the river boat.  The river was so pretty at night with all the lights hanging out of the trees.

Lulu's Bakery and Cafe

We all enjoyed spending New Year's Eve at Sea World!!  It was fun doing something different.  It was especially strange to be at a theme park in Texas and have beautiful weather.  Instead of smelling sweaty people, you could smell laundry detergent.  It was quite refreshing to stand in line and be happy and not all sweaty and grumpy!!

We watched the Sea World fireworks and then headed to our favorite Mexican eatery in San Antonio - El Taco Tote.  We headed for the hotel which was downtown and hard to get to with all the traffic.  Tim can't stand to get lost and he was soooo frustrated when turn after turn took us out of the way and then finally the street we were supposed to turn on to get to the hotel was blocked off by police.  We eventually made it and rang in 2010 in our hotel room while watching Dick Clark's New Year's Eve.  Tim took the kids to watch fireworks that were over downtown San Antonio. 

One of my favorite things to do is eat, so finding cool, one-of-a-kind hole in the walls in different cities is tops on my list.  On New Year's Day, our first stop was Lulu's Bakery and Cafe.  David had told us he saw it on the Travel Channel on Man vs. Food and said they had a 3-pound cinnamon roll.  We had to check it out.  The rolls were huge.  We had a sample and I thought my Paula Deen cinnamon rolls were better.  We had chicken fried steak that was soooo delish!  The girls behind the counter were the nicest ever.  We had a spilled drink and they though nothing of it, real nice gals!!

Check out the size of that thang!

I'm so excited that Lulu's made the top 25, it will be airing on Sunday.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Year's Eve - Sea World

We went to Sea World last July and our tickets were two-for-one.  The fall flew by so fast and baseball kept up so busy so we had to find time to use our extra set of tickets before the end of the year.  We decided to spend New Year's Eve in San Antonio.  We completely surprised the kids.  We packed all the bags and got everything ready without them even knowing.  There is nothing worse than being a kid and told you are going somewhere a week or two from now.  To kids, that's an eternity.  So, we wanted it to be a surprise.  We woke the kids up bright and early and told them we were going to get kolaches.  The gig was up when Blake tried to get in the backseat but couldn't since it was loaded with all the luggage and pillows and blankets.  He wanted to know where we were going.  Blake and Sydney were so excited to find out we were headed to Sea World for New Year's Eve!

Some conked out kiddos!

I was so excited that some nice person took our picture, but I guess Brody doesn't count!  Ha!

Our brood!

The 3-D short version of the Polar Express was so fun..."real" snow, wind, hot cocoa smells, it was like we were in the movie!

Some creepy guys!

I love flowers and stock is one of my favorites, they were so pretty!

Luckily, they all avoided a large soaking, it started to get chilly at night time.

The Shamu show was awesome especially at dark and set to Christmas music!  A nice couple behind us saved us, they gave Brody some suckers and he was good to go the entire show!

Happy 2nd Birthday Natalia!

Little Natalia turned two last Thursday, I'm waaay behind!  We went to her party on Saturday and she was just adorable.  She kept saying "Happy Birthday Talia"!!  It's such a joy to see how she has grown from a tiny little baby to a little toddler walking all around on her own with lots of spunk and personality!

Steph, Natalia & Matt

I think Natalia looks so much like Steph in this picture.

Brody enjoying a cupcake.  The look on his face cracks me up!

Monday, January 25, 2010

What a week!

What a week in the Fortunato household!!  Last week, we were all sick with the stomach flu.  It was a four-day weekend since the kids were out of school.  I thought we would get to enjoy all our family time together and go somewhere fun but it didn't work out that way.  Sydney kicked it all off for us and she stayed home from school for two days.  There's nothing like cleaning up (sorry) re-gurgitated spaghetti mixed with Sonic's blue coconut slushie turned green at 1am especially for Tim when he was supposed to up at 4:30 for his 5AM boot camp class.

Blake finally decided to go play over at Noah's for the first time in awhile and 30 minutes later, Toni calls and says that Blake was throwing up.  Then Tim got sick during church on Sunday and I caught it Monday night.  It was the worst!!  Thank goodness we are all well now and am thankful that little Brody stayed well!!

Luckily the weather is so gorgeous and in the 70's with my favorite blue skies.  The windows and back door are wide open, bring on the fresh air and the Lysol too!!!

Here's what last Tuesday night was like:

1am - Sydney gets sick, we clean up and "try" to go back to sleep
1:45 Another round with Sydney
2:15 Brody starts the itchy throat coughing for 30 minutes, give Benadryl
3:00 Sydney again
3:50 Brody cries for a bottle
4:15 Alarm clock goes off for Tim to wake up for boot camp
4:16 Cell phone alarm clock goes off as a backup
7:20 This momma couldn't climb out of bed to get Blake ready for school, thanks Tim!!!
Maybe one day, we'll get some sleep!

Speaking of Hoarders...

Oh my goodness!!!  Blake got on the cleaning kick with me and started on his room.  This is just the stuff he pulled out from under his bed!!  I couldn't believe all this.  I always tell him though that sometimes you have to make a really big mess in order to not have a mess!!  Yes, I love to clean and organize and I luuuhv vacuum cleaner lines.  As a kid, when mom would grocery shop at Safeway, I used to straighten the aisles for free! 

Has it already been a month since Christmas?

Wow, the month of January has flown by.  Christmas was one month ago today, already!  Well, since I didn't do much blogging in the month of December, I thought I would post some pictures from Christmas!  Since having Brody right before Christmas, it has taught me to slow down.  That's what I wanted to do again.  We had fun painting and decorating our own ornaments, making clove oranges, decorating the gingerbread house, watching Christmas movies and traditional specials like the Grinch, Rudolph, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and all the movies on ABC Family, hopping into the car and going to look at Christmas lights...  We loved spending extra time with the family.  The kids were so excited to play with Madison and Faith since they don't see them all the time.  Only 333 more days til next Christmas! 

We kicked off the Christmas season with Grammy and the girls and saw The Nutcracker!

We enjoyed our annual family tradition of going to Santa's Wonderland with the whole family.  The lights are amazing!

I loooove cookies and  baked 22 dozen for friends, neighbors and teachers.  This was my first time making these yummy potato chip cookies.  Click here for the recipe, they are taste-eeee!!!  Next year I want to host a cookie exchange party.

Sydney helping me make sugar cookie cutouts

The kids loved assembling their gingerbread house and eating all the candy too!

Sydney's paper about Santa

Brody, the Christmas Elf, I had to snap this quick before he took the hat off!

Our Christmas Card

Brody loooved the Christmas lights!

Our un-official Christmas picture, with the craziness of it all, I didn't get one just of the kids in their Christmas outfits.

Uncle Mike and Aunt Christina

My Boys on the way to church.

Snow after church, it was so windy and freezing outside!!

Sydney and Alexa

Blake was excited to get his first $100 bill from Coachee!!

Little Elf

Our Family, we missed you Kirk!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy New Year and New Goals

I can't believe it's 2010!!!  It just sounds so futuristic.  It seems like yesterday when 10 years ago this time everyone was freaked out about Y2K and I was pregnant with Blake.  My baby will be 10 years old in May.  I don't even want to think it!

With a new year, comes new goals!!  So many times February or March comes around and baseball and birthday parties and showers keep up so busy on weekend, that I tend to lose track of my goals.  Not this year, I have promised myself to slow down and enjoy each day and not letting the hectic schedule over-run us! 

The kids went back to school a few weeks ago and I couldn't wait to start getting organized.  Blake and I watch the show Hoarders on A&E.  That show gives me such motivation to get my cabinets and drawers all cleaned up.  I watch as these people do not let go of anything and the piles are a mile high.  It's disgusting to watch but I feel so sorry for them since it's a mental illness.  So, I got to work taking Christmas decorations down and I cleaned out practically every drawer and cabinet, I also cleaned the oven out which hasn't been done since before Brody was born.  It was nasty and stunk up the whole house for 5 hours!!  Since being pregnant with Brody and having our little guy around in the last year, I haven't had much time for any deep cleaning or organizing.  But I decided it was time!!  So, he played and I cleaned.  I found lots of crumbs and tons of stuff I no longer use.  It feels so good to purge and start fresh.  If I haven't used something in the last year, it's outta here!  I cleaned under my bathroom counters and realized I am such a product junkie!!  I love hair products, lotions, stuff that makes me smell good and cool bottles.  I love pink too!!  I can't believe all this stuff...and it's only a small little portion of products!!

I bought my new Twenty-Ten calendar and printed off some freebie goal sheets from one of my fave websites - House of 3.  I filled them all up really quick. 

I finally feel like I have this three kids thing under control (most of the time) and have so many things I want to do this some books, get back to my Bible, take a beading class, take my online Photoshop class (thanks Steph)!!, volunteer again at school, take another photography class, learn cake decorating, organize all my pictures, join the Meals Ministry at church, work on some crafty projects that I have had in the works forever, the list goes on and on and on....

So, wishing you a fabulous Twenty-Ten.  It's gonna be a great year!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Paula Deen's Cinnamon Rolls

I loooove Paula Deen!!  I adore her accent, her stories, how she loves her family, how she loves butter and how she makes really good (bad for you food)!!  I watched one of her shows early last year and she had a friend on and they were making these awesome looking cinnamon rolls.  I knew right away that I wanted to make them for Christmas morning along with mom's traditional sausage breakfast casserole.  So, I made up two batches on Christmas Eve and used cream cheese on one of them.  They were a hit!!  Very rich, warm and gooey, mmmm, mmmm, mmmm!!  Knowing it would be so cold this weekend, I decided to make them again.  They are just so good and I don't even want to know how many calories or fat are in each one!!   Here's the recipe, you have to try it.  I know it's so much easier throwing the Pillsbury ones in, but these are to die for and super easy to make, it just takes some time and you have to make them the day before.  Here's the recipe...


1/4-ounce package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup scalded milk (I just put the milk in the microwave til it starts to bubble)
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for pan
3/4 cup sugar, plus more for pan
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins, walnuts, or pecans, optional

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 6 tablespoons hot water


In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a large bowl, mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

When doubled in size, punch down dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough (this part is messy when you get your hands all in it)!!  Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices with a sharp knife.

Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. I stick them in the fridge at this point and then the next morning, bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until nicely browned.

Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.

Pure heaven!!