Tuesday, December 31, 2013

[Flashback] December 2013: A Blessed Christmas to You!

Yes, my favorite season is here!
From our home to yours,
a Blessed Christmas to you and your family!
From top to bottom, clockwise:  handmade Christmas tree ornaments, Santa's hat tarts, Handmade cards for the in-laws, Egg tarts, Christmas tree sugar cookies, decorated handmade tree
These Christmas Tree cookies are delicious.  I tweaked my sugar cookie and icing recipes and it turned out great!  Mr. C made a paper mache tree where we attached the cookies for display during our church luncheon.  The santa hat strawberry looked cute.  It took me awhile to make the tart shells - I had a hard time putting it on the baking pan.  
Oh, I tried making egg tarts that wasn't too sweet but nevertheless delicious.

For our gifts, we gave out "Some of our Favorite Things" this year from Trader Joe's.

Trader Joe's Goodies
Thank you for support and time in reading our blog.  
As the new year dawns, I wish good health and more blessings from God.

 michelle  ♥

Monday, December 30, 2013

[Flashback] October and November 2013: Sweet Reunions

October was an exciting month for Mr. C and I because my parents and sister came to visit us.  Yay!  They arrived on October 1, the day when President Obama announced the Government Shutdown after Congress failed to enact legislation appropriating funds for fiscal year 2014.  It was the third-longest government shutdown in US history after the 18-day shutdown in 1978 and 21-day 1995-1996 shutdown.

We planned to drive to Maryland to visit loved ones and then to Washington D.C.  Oh well... all the museums were closed which meant we had the streets all to ourselves.  LOL.  We went to Mt. Vernon where we had a great time learning about George Washington and viewing all the museums. The drive home was long but fun!  Mr. C drove 95% of the time - I drove 5% of the way, just to let him sleep.  LOL.  My dad insisted on driving but no way!   He's a very good driver in Manila but we didn't want to satisfy his "need for speed" - not in the US and certainly not with us.  LOL.

We had a busy schedule when we got back to Houston.  Mom had to fly to San Diego for her reunion while my dad played golf with friends.  We took my sister, who is into running , to Memorial were I surprisingly finished running 5k in under an hour after not being sedentary for a long time.  Whew!  
We were able to see Gary Thomas during one of his special engagement where I was able to let him sign my book.  

A vacation in Texas won't be complete without a trip to San Antonio, right?  Well, on the day that my Mom flew in from SD, we picked her at the airport and drove straight to San Antonio.  We were able to see more of my dads relatives.  It was during that drive that we were introduced to Buc-ee's.  Wow, talk about clean and huge bathrooms and delicious beaver nuggets!  
San Antonio

With good company comes great food and we had lots and lots of it!  
Oh, so many fond memories etched in my mind.

It's almost 2014.  See you tomorrow!
♥  michelle  ♥

Saturday, December 28, 2013

[Flashback] August & September 2013: Cakes and Bakes

We are looking back at August and September 2013.  
Wow... these 2 months were filled with baking and sweets - lots of it!  

I've always wanted to learn new skills and techniques so I joined a Wilton class at my local craft store.  I enjoyed every bit of it and was able to apply what I learned thereafter.
Isn't the hydrangea cake beautiful?  I bought a small round icing tip and tried my hand in making dainty "lace."
The rose cupcakes were for my little friends' tea party.  It's caramel cake with light butter icing.
The green cake on the bottom is Pandan chiffon cake that I made for a sweet 16 birthday celebrant.  The topper is handmade from polymer clay.

These are some of the handmade cards I made: for an infant, a girl, and an adult lady.  I'm running our of ideas, here.  LOL.  The heart pendant is for one of the girls at church whom we find so friendly, kind and sweet.  She always greets and chats with us after the service.  Oh, she won an award this year for having the most "stickers" in class.

It was in September when the Houston polymer clay guild hosted the Lone Star Retreat.  Wow, I had fun meeting and being in one room with creative polymer clay folks.  My beaded polymer clay pendant necklace won 3rd place in the "Friends and Faux challenge."

Friday, December 27, 2013

[Flashback] June and July 2013: Service, Sports and Recreation

Part of the group from our church
We are looking back on June and July today.  Wow.. time flies, huh?!

The month June brought us another opportunity for service through "Lving Houston."  

Our church was among those who volunteered and we were assigned to clean Olivewood Cemetery which was the first black cemetery in Houston. 

There no burials there anymore, the last was in the 1960's.  It is poorly maintained and seems to be neglected.  The area was huge with only 1 caretaker and limited equipment and resources.  He was a nice man and he felt so blessed to have people come and trim and clean up whatever we can.

July was the start of Mr. C's volleyball tournament.  Saturday after Saturday, we rallied and cheered their team.  It was their first tournament and they won 1st runner-up.  They did really well in competing with other teams who were very good as well.  

It was this time that I learned how to cook (and not to cook) Rice congee or Arroz caldo.  LOL.  We used 12 cups of rice and a lot of water / broth which still ended up sticky.  It was a blessing though because I was able to "re-do" the soup the next day that served more people after the church service.  

It was also in July that Mr. C volunteered to be a teacher in our Vacation Bible School.  Oh, he had fun with the children.

My craft room was busy this month.  The Philippine Polymer Clay Guild had our challenge on Mosaic where I made a "Hope frame."  I also joined the Challenge of Color for BrandiGirlBlog (green rectangle pendant).  There were other challenges this month  such as the Bead Hoarders Blog Hop and Studio Sublime's Focus on Life.

See those round pendants?  Oh yes, I got a bit obsessed with fabric.  LOL.  
Have a wonderful day!  Thanks for visiting Cabby Craft.
 michelle  ♥

Thursday, December 26, 2013

[Flashback] May 2013: Happy Birthday, Mr. C!

May is Mr. C's birth month.  
We hosted a lunch for his teammates and the church choir to celebrate our birthdays.  We did a "Barrio Fiesta" theme with banana leaves and mini buntings on the table.  Food was good:  rice, Bistek Tagalog (beef steak cooked with onions, Filipino style), pancitfried eggplant, pork barbeque, smoked fish, shrimp, fruit salad and canonigo for dessert.

He had another celebration on his actual birthday.  Read more about it here:  Cinco de Mayo.
♥  michelle  ♥

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

[Flashback] April 2013: Happy Birthday to Me!

A Blessed Christmas to you, my friend! 
 Happy birthday, Jesus, the Reason for the Season!

Since it's also April Flashback today, .allow me to say Happy birthday to me!  Wooohooo!
Mr. C treated me to a birthday dinner at Azuma Sushi and Robata.  This is one of our favorite Japanese restaurants.  We love the hot rock beef where sliced new york strip is cooked on a hot rock with a special dipping sauce, shrimp tempura, soft shell crab roll and the kamikaze roll.
Azuma Sushi and Robata
 A birthday is not a birthday without a cake, or in my case, cupcakes!
In the complex of Azuma is Houston's Crave Cupcakes.
Houston's Crave Cupcakes
I love cupcakes though the icing can be too sweet.  These 4 flavors are my favorite:  Red Velvet, German Chocolate,  Coconut and Chocolate & Cream.  Waaaahhh!  Aren't the fondant topping cute?
"A gourmet twist on a nostalgic favorite."
Now, that's what I'm talking about.

 michelle  ♥

5600 Kirby Drive #5
Houston, TX 77005
Telephone:  (713) 432-9649

5600 Kirby Drive
Houston, TX 77005
Telephone:  (713) 62-CRAVE (27283)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

[Flashback] March 2013: Cowboys and Highways

Have you ever been to a Rodeo?  Well, if you're planning to visit Houston, make sure it's during the Houston Livestock show and Rodeo.  We were there this year and it was really fun!  Incidentally, "the 2013 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo attendance reaches an all new-time high with 2,506,238 visitors. This number exceeds the city of Houston population."  

I wanted to watch Bruno Mars but by the time we bought the tickets, it was almost gone.  We ended up sitting at the topmost level of Reliant - notice the aluminum siding behind us (3rd row, right most).  It was a nice concert - two children seated in front of us were grooving to his every song... they were a sight to watch as well.
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 2013
One of the long road trips that we did this year was when we attended our dear friends wedding at Hilton Head, South Carolina.  It took us a day and a half of easy driving where we ate a lot of good food.  On the way to NOLA (New Orleans, LA), we ate at Steamboat Bills in Lake Charles where we tried their shrimp etouffe pistolette.  WOW!  We arrived at 9 pm  where we had a late dinner at Deanie's Seafood.  We got to try their Barbecue Shrimp.  Delicious!

The next morning, we made a quick tour of The French Quarter and of course, we grabbed our Cafe du Monde beignets and cafe au lait.  The place is usually packed but we were fortunate that we were able to sit and enjoy.  Have you ever had a Po-Boy?  It is a traditional submarine sandwich that is served on a New Orleans style French bread.  Johnny's Po-Boys is one of the oldest and popular restaurants serving PoBoys. Oh boy, there was a long line when we got there and it took us 40 minutes to be served.  

It was a long and nice drive to Hilton Head.  The venue was beautiful and the wedding was lovely!  We were able to make a day trip to Savannah, Georgia.  We rode the Old Town Trolley which was cool because we were able to learn about the area and walk around.  We got to to try Leopold's Ice cream - it's a place with “Good Things to Eat. Good Things to Drink."
Wedding at Hilton Head, SC
Savannah, GA
Crazy Crab , Leopold's Ice Cream
See those Crazy Crabs?  Oh... yummy!  When you're there, try their "she crab soup" and those fried goodies that they call "hush puppies."
It was a wonderful vacation.  Good food.  Great company.
'Twas great to see loved ones and friends once again.
♥  michelle

Steamboat Bill's
1004 North Lakeshore Drive
Lake Charles, LA 70601
1713 Lake Avenue
Metairie, LA 70005
Telephone:  (504)831-4141

Cafe Du Monde
800 Decatur Street
New Orleans, LA 70116
Telephone:  (504) 525-4544

Leopold's Ice Cream  
212 E. Broughton Street
Savannah, GA
Telephone:  (504) 525-4544

The Crazy Crab
104 William Hilton Parkway
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
Telephone:  (843) 681-5021

Monday, December 23, 2013

[Flashback] February 2013: Firsts of Many

February 2013 brought many "Firsts" for us.  
 My dear husband was chosen to be one of the godfathers of this cute little baby.  
 Tried out Joe's Crab Shack on Valentine's Day.   Yummy to the tummy.  ♥
 I won 1st Place in our Department's Chili Cook-off.  Yay!  ♥

 Well, I made a several cards for family and friends this month (which is also a first).  
 I also tried making an Origami heart card for my husband for Valentine's day.  

 My necklace was featured in Art Bead Scene's monthly Challenge tour.  
Hmmmm.... I'd like to join more challenges in 2014.  That would be another "First" for me.  LOL.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

[Flashback] January 2013: Celebration and Travel!

Nine days from now, we will be welcoming Year 2014.  Oh boy... where did the time go?  
January is our wedding anniversary month and we celebrated our 4th this year.  Oh, what a joy to be married to my husband.  God has blessed our marriage with His grace and love.  We may not have a lot financially but we never grew hungry and even enjoyed the pleasure of travel and good food.  I totally love the professional stainless steel bowls that he gave me.

We've never been to San Antonio so we decided to visit and check out the featured restaurants for the weekend.  
Carmens de la Calle -  We were able to meet the owner, Carmen and watch Flamenco.  Very nice!  
Their sangria, paella and empanadas were delicious!

Mi Tierra - The place is open 24 hours and is always packed during peak hours.  We were lucky that there was no queue when we arrived.  When you enter the restaurant, be prepared to be transformed to a place filled with Christmas lights, shiny paper and trimmings.  As their website describes:  "MiTierra is a little loco and a lot of fun!"  Wooooo!  Their chicken tortilla soup is delicious and very traditional (not like those in TexMex restos).  Oh, when you do go there and try them out, check out their mural.

Lulu's Bakery and Cafe - Lulu's takes the quote:  "Everything is BIG in Texas" to heart.  Golly!  Their "Texas sized portions of great tasting home cooking at reasonable prices" philosophy is just that.  HUGE!  They were featured by Adam Richman of Man vs. Food for their Country Fried Steak and 3 1/2 lb cinnamon roll.
They speak highly of their country fried steak which my husband really loved - he got the "Deputy Special" which was more than enough for both of us.  Our visit wouldn't be complete without trying the cinnamon roll - it was really huge but surprisingly soft, moist and not too sweet.  We had to take it home where it lasted a couple of days before we could reach the "nugget" or the yummy, center of the roll.     
San Antonio Texas, Carmen's, MiTierra, Lulu's Cafe
 The Riverwalk was beautiful!  The weather was sunny and cool, perfect to take the river cruise!
That Sunday, we went to church at Oak HIlls Church after which we had a hectic social schedule:  we met with my Uncle and his family for dinner at the original location of Rudy's in Leon Springs.  Well, I don't know if our minds were conditioned, but it tasted better than the other branches (my folks said it's this particular locations' roasters makes the difference).  After dinner, we met with my sister-in-laws beautiful niece.  I made her a polymer clay heart monogram and card.
Rudy'sthe Alamo
Fun times and wonderful memories!  It was a nice way to start the New Year!
 michelle  ♥
Market Square, San Antonio

918 N. Main, San Antonio, Texas

24152 W. IH 10, San Antonio, TX 78257
Phone: 210-698-2141 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

[Food] Christmas Tree Butter Sugar Cookies

My husband told me today that I should not overdo myself with cooking and baking.  Well, that remark stems from my obsession for making cookies this Christmas season. LOL.  There are many online  bakers across the internet but it is SweetAmbs that has inspired me the most - her works are so neat and perfectly made!

I made this batch of butter sugar cookies for our church luncheon - the cookie was soft and delicious and I am pleased to report that my icing looks better now.  I used Wilton gel color in leaf green and red.

See those photos on the the bottom left and center of the collage?  Oh yes... my husband made them for me.  He recycled our packaging boxes and stuffed it with shredded paper.  He did a good job in  making it,  and with correct / accurate measurements (just as an Engineer should).  LOL.

The cookies were sealed and wrapped in a Treat Bag, and hung on the tree using double sided-tape.  Oh, they turned out nice - very bright and colorful!  

The star was printed from a Word document - print, cut and glue two stars together, leaving one open (so you can insert it at the top of the tree).

He was able to make 2 trees (one is smaller) and they were used to decorate the dessert table.

Are you busy cooking or baking this holiday season?  Here's my 2 cents worth:  Don't forget to rest, lest you pour more flour than called for.  Have fun in what you're doing - that would make it taste better and sweeter.

Have a wonderful and blessed week, my friend!
♥  michelle  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

[Christmas] HPCG 2013 Party

The Christmas season is filled with parties left and right and I am loving it!  The HPCG had our Christmas party this past Sunday hosted by the gracious Ms. SP.  I brought home made Chicken Enchiladas.  We had fun exchanging and stealing gifts - there were a couple "hot items" that were a hit!

I gave these:  LP's Magic Gloss, a set of bezels and a mother-of-pearl pendant/brooch.

I initially picked up a set of Lumierre inks but it was "stolen" from me.  LOL.  I ended up picking a book:  "How to Make Polymer Clay Beads" by Linda Peterson.  It's just what I need.

Until next year!  Now I'm off to more parties!
♥  michelle  ♥

Sunday, December 1, 2013

[Christmas] It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

It's the 1st day of my favorite season of all!

Polymer Clay Christmas Manger

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, 
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, 
Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, 
Prince of Peace."

Isaiah 9:6