Friday, March 30

{EXPIRED}Birch Aquarium Membership for 1 Year, $44!



If you live anywhere near San Diego or know someone who does, then this is a fantastic deal for you and/or them...and for me {I bought one for our family just seconds ago.}  This deal was definitely TOO good to hide and keep all to myself.  Besides, that wouldn't be livingsocial, would it?

In fact, this deal was presented on livingsocial.



It goes like this:

1 Year Family Membership for 2 Adults and 2 Children for $44!!
{Reg. $89}

Yay!

I'd say, get yours now before they're all gone...

If you've never been to the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla, now's your chance.

Regular prices as follows:
  • Family - $89
  • Dual - $70
  • Individual - $55
  • ...and then of course, Associates, Sponsors, and Ambassadors...

This deal includes:: 
• 4 guest passes, a $56 value
• 20% off admission coupons
• 10% off at Splash! Café & Gift Shop

...all for $44 {dollars}  WOW! This is even cheaper than the cheapest individual membership.  



-Becky Charms

Thursday, March 29

I was Bullied at Starbucks



I went in for a coffee to feel great, and came out feeling the worst ever about myself...

Here's what happened:

I pulled into my local Starbucks which I frequent often, and decided to park and walk in because my daughter loves to go inside, plus I wanted to make sure they understood my order so we wouldn't have any issues.  As much as I appreciate those "Free Drink" coupons when they make mistakes, I would prefer to have my drink made right and not have to go through that hassle.  Have you noticed they don't offer them up as freely anymore?  At least that has been my experience.  I've actually had to request a "replacement drink coupon".  That's not my job.

We waited in line which wasn't too long, and I was set on trying an Iced Coffee, and knew that I wanted "room", which means space for milk/cream.  However, being that it is Starbucks and most everyone that shops there knows what they want, I was no different and wanted exactly 1/4 cup of half n half.  This shouldn't be a problem {I thought to myself}.

I get up to the counter, order my drink, and specify that I would like a Tall Iced Coffee with 1/4 Cup half n half.  The girl stares at me.  OK.  Let me try again.  I would like a Tall Iced Coffee, and you can put half n half in there, right?  She says, "yes".  OK.  I would like 1/4 Cup of half n half.  She tells me that they don't have measuring cups.  OK.  I start to tell her never mind, because I want exactly 1/4 Cup.  I want to know exactly how much half n half is in my drink.  I had a thought that this might be difficult for the average barista...{no capital, I didn't think that this particular employee was deserving of a capital "B for Barista"...}.  She tells me that I can point out on the cup where I want her to fill it up with half n half, and I tell her that I don't know how much that would be, I want to be exact and precise.  She says....

"Why? Are you on a DIET or something?"

...I heard a man behind me snicker and giggle, and can feel the burning stares of those around me.  I felt embarrassed, singled

No, I'm not on a "diet", I just want to know what's going into my drink.  I tell her never mind, I'll just get something else...somewhere else.  I took my baby girl and we left, all the while she's{my daughter} asking me where my drink was, and why were we leaving.

Why do we pay for drinks at Starbucks when we don't even know if they're following their Safety & Sanitation procedures?  How do we know they have a HACCP plan in place, and follow it?  I've seen some greasy employees, and will walk out if they look like they're dropping sweaty grease droplets off of their face and hair into my cafecito.  Bleh.  

This employee ruined my Starbucks experience, but even more, she publicly humiliated and degraded me.  She made me feel alone.  She made me feel insignificant.  She made me feel that my request was too much to ask for, in an establishment that makes and creates custom drinks.  She bullied me.

Nevertheless, if this happened to me today, how many others are made to feel this way when they go to Starbucks?  How many of you have had a similar experience?  I hope not too many, but that's probably not the case.  There are probably many of you who have been in this situation...and to you, I'm sorry.  Not that it's my responsibility or "fault"...I'm sorry, because this shouldn't happen to anyone.

Starbucks on Plaza & Grove in National City, you're not my favorite place right now.  Just because you work in National City, doesn't mean you have to be a...an uneducated nitwit.     

FYI:  I came home and decided to try The Pioneer Woman's {Ree Drummond} recipe for Iced Coffee.  I'm cold-brewing mine right now.  I'll update you on the results...and let me know if you've tried it already. 



-Becky Charms

Coolest Sidecar, Ever!



-Becky Charms

Wednesday, March 28

The Renaissance Palm Springs 2012

The Renaissance Palm Springs 2012, beckycharms, travel, california, palm springs, hotel, review, photography, relax, rest, CUE Conference, 2012


The Renaissance Palm Springs 2012, beckycharms, travel, california, palm springs, hotel, review, photography, relax, rest, CUE Conference, 2012



The Renaissance Palm Springs 2012, beckycharms, travel, california, palm springs, hotel, review, photography, relax, rest, CUE Conference, 2012




The Renaissance Palm Springs 2012, beckycharms, travel, california, palm springs, hotel, review, photography, relax, rest, CUE Conference, 2012


The Renaissance Palm Springs 2012, beckycharms, travel, california, palm springs, hotel, review, photography, relax, rest, CUE Conference, 2012



The Renaissance Palm Springs 2012, beckycharms, travel, california, palm springs, hotel, review, photography, relax, rest, CUE Conference, 2012

The Renaissance Palm Springs 2012, beckycharms, travel, california, palm springs, hotel, review, photography, relax, rest, CUE Conference, 2012

The Renaissance Palm Springs 2012, beckycharms, travel, california, palm springs, hotel, review, photography, relax, rest, CUE Conference, 2012

The Renaissance Palm Springs 2012, beckycharms, travel, california, palm springs, hotel, review, photography, relax, rest, CUE Conference, 2012

The Renaissance Palm Springs 2012, beckycharms, travel, california, palm springs, hotel, review, photography, relax, rest, CUE Conference, 2012

The Renaissance Palm Springs 2012, beckycharms, travel, california, palm springs, hotel, review, photography, relax, rest, CUE Conference, 2012

The Renaissance Palm Springs 2012, beckycharms, travel, california, palm springs, hotel, review, photography, relax, rest, CUE Conference, 2012


We stayed here for 3 nights, and it was amazing.  The facilities were clean, the staff members were friendly, and the ambiance was beyond enjoyable. 

{There was a daily fee for the internet: $12.95/24 hrs.  I thought it should have been free...but who doesn't?}

During our stay in Palm Springs, we ate at the most delicious Breakfast/Lunch Cafe at a place called Cheeky's.  Check them out here.

-Becky Charms

Tuesday, March 27

Harry Potter Moleskine Cahier Notebook:: Etsy

sparrownestscript

Harry Potter Moleskine Cahier . I Solemnly Swear That I Am Up to No Good . Large . Brown Kraft

This clever notebook is hand-calligraphed, brought to you by Emily from sparrownestscript on Etsy.

She states that the turnaround time is 3 days, so plan ahead and order NOW.  I know many people that would appreciate this multi-functional piece of art...*ahem*!  I have the perfect pen for the first page.



I love her "About" section.  She knows who she is and what she stands for.:

"About

I have always highly valued the written word; my parents read to me constantly when I was young, and I majored in English in college and went on to get my Master’s degree in English as well. I still love rainy weekends because they let me relax on the couch with my nose in a book without any guilt that I should be doing something else. Becoming a calligrapher just made sense to me--my craft centers on the visually pleasing arrangement of words on a page, combining my love of words as tools for communication with my love of words as beautiful works of art in themselves.

I am very environmentally conscious when I create; I utilize recycled, recyclable, and responsibly-sourced papers as often as possible and ship orders using upcycled, recycled, and recyclable materials..."

Cool work!

-Becky Charms

Low Tea at a High Table


This past Saturday, Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Chula Vista hosted their Annual English Tea Party to benefit the Alaska Mission Group.  Individuals pick tables to host and decorate them special for their guests, and include things such as fancy napkin rings, creative centerpieces, place tags, etc.  My mom hosted our table and decorated it with a "Spring" theme, complete with bunny napkin rings, a nature bunny centerpiece, and mini carrot chocolates!  Should I say it?  I'll just say it.  Should I say it...Adorbs!  


Spring Bunny

We were served tea sandwiches, scones with Double Devon cream {apparently clotted cream from Cornish is the same thing, but there's a trademark on it...at least that's what we were told at the tea. However, according to this article, it's not true...who knows?  Our tea host is from England...so...}, and of course, we drank traditional English Tea {decaf was also available}.

Then we were served a tray of home baked sweets and treats...There weren't enough on each tray for the attendees to try one of every mini-bite, but I think we tasted enough. 



The presentation also included 3 short movies with pictures from previous trips to Alaska, and a PowerPoint with additional slides of landscape shots and ambiance. 



Beautiful China, mom!  Great Job, everyone! I even overheard many people say that this was the best Tea!

If you're interested in attending this event, please leave a comment.  I will post details ahead of time for next year's English Tea.

-Becky Charms

Sunday, March 25

Chicken and Biscuits:: FAIL



Looks can be ARE deceiving!!


The biscuits were the ONLY edible part.



I had some frozen chicken tenders and thought I'd try a "Chicken & Biscuits" recipe for the CrockPot {Slow Cooker}.  My mom has been saved on numerous occasions by her trusty CrockPot.  If it can work for her, surely it could work for me.  NO.  It can't, and it doesn't.

I no longer root for SlowCooker cooking.

I started with Google to find some recipes to compare for this chicken; A cross between "Chicken & Dumplings" and "Chicken & Biscuits", since we already had the biscuits from the day before. 


Chicken slop
Here are the instructions NOT to follow:  Do not cut up potato, carrots, and onion and put in the CrockPot.  Do not empty two expensive cans of organic cream of chicken soup from Sprout's.  Do not cover with water.  Do not cook on low for 8 hours. 

Solution:  Go to the grocery store and buy a Pot Pie.  Really.  Didn't you see the photos?  Bleh!!

I don't blame you for not eating it, baby!


These are the not the typical posts I like to publish, but I had to show the ugly...It won't happen often.  This dinner was disgusting.

If you have a great recipe, please share!

-Becky Charms

Saturday, March 24

Pin it, period.

 

Follow me!  Find me and all the things I vouch for here...


-Becky Charms

Chocolate Chip Cookie Doh! Fudge


Doesn't this look delicious?  That's what I thought when I found it!  If it weren't so late...er, early, I'd make it right now.  I know it's a million Weight Watcher points, and I know I'll eat lots of it, but I think I'll make it tomorrow.  There aren't any crazy wacky cuckoo ingredients.  Pretty much good ol' classic chocolate chip cookie dough ingredients, yum!  It's never been "safe" to eat chocolate chip cookie dough {even though we ALL do it...sometimes we eat it ALL before it ever gets baked...oh, don't even pretend you've never done it!}, but this fudge is like the heavens are giving us the "OK"...in fact, we're being encouraged to eat it.  YES!



{The only thing I'm unsure about with this recipe is what size pan to use.  The recipe says to "lightly grease an 8x8 pan", but later it mentions a 9x13...and forgets all about the poor little 8x8. I'm waiting on a comment reply.}  ...wait, never mind. This originally came from Bake at 350, and says to use an 8x8.


Today will be a sweet day...I can almost...well, Taste it!

-Becky Charms

Friday, March 23

Baking {the easiest} Buttermilk Biscuits



Since Tiny Baker has turned 3, she has become ever-so-persistent in helping out with even the most mundane house chores, and she has a particular soft spot for baking.  Perhaps because her mommy {that's me!} has learned to love baking, and has instilled in her the same love and appreciation for it since she was born.  Perhaps.

I had been craving some biscuits...well, truth is I was craving orange scones, but was missing sour cream, so I started craving biscuits.

It doesn't happen enough that we bake a batch of biscuits and invite over our friends to chat and visit, and stay awhile.  I say we change that, and bring it back.  My parents live in the same house they have my entire life; the house I was raised in, and I fondly remember their friends "stopping by" out of the blue...Do you know why?  Well, one they had to use the bathroom and they were in the neighborhood, but secondly because they knew my parents would be home.  My parents are the rock.  They are the constant in an ever-changing society.  They can be counted on.  I love that about them, and hope to follow in their footsteps with regards to our friends knowing that they can count on us, and always stop by to a. use the bathroom, and b. sit, chat, and stay awhile.

Come over, I'll bake you a biscuit.  

Drop Biscuits

I found this recipe, and figured it would be the perfect way to let Tiny Baker help out in the kitchen while making something simple, yet delicious that we would enjoy together with some strawberry preserves and a glass of chilled milk.

Alterations: Cheddar Jalapeño Biscuits, Ginger Peach Biscuits {I just bought some Ginger syrup that I'm eager to try...and I'm not even a huge ginger fan...but I like ginger/spiced baked goods and cookies}, Blueberry Biscuits...even a sprinkling of coarse sugar on top...let your imagination fly...

So easy...even a 3 year-old can make 'em.  

How can you make the easiest buttermilk biscuits??  See below for the easy recipe and how-to...


The Easiest Buttermilk Biscuits
Click here for recipe.
6 WW Pts+

Ingredients::
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Preparation::

Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large bowl to blend. Using fingertips {or pastry blender}, rub/cut 3/4 cup chilled butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir until evenly moistened. Using 1/4 cup dough for each biscuit, drop biscuits onto baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until biscuits are golden brown on top, about 15-17 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm...even great the 2nd day.

These are delicious with jam, preserves, coffee, and tea...and ice cold milk!

It's the little things in life that make it worth living.  Enjoy!


-Becky Charms

Thursday, March 22

Potstickers, Coconut Rice, & Green Beans with Almonds


With a sink full of dishes and a longing for eating at home {I just bought groceries, and we usually eat out despite the fact}, I was determined to make dinner and prepare at least 3 different foods to eat.  I have never made this kind of dinner, and was very excited to try new recipes.

You see, I have a new way of thinking.  First of all, I now only buy food that we will eat, and want to eat.  Second, if I'm going to try a recipe or make dinner at home, I want it to taste good so if that means I have to buy the "real stuff", then that's what will happen {I will measure and count my points, period}.  Case in point: This coconut rice called for Premium Coconut Milk, so that's what I bought.  No skimping.  No "Lite".  This was my first time making this rice, so I wanted to make sure that I made it how it was supposed to be made.

Here's how I did it:

1. Prepare the coconut rice and start the rice cooker.
2. Prepare and cook the green beans.
3. Prepare and cook the potstickers.

Dinner is served.  Total time took about an hour.  

We sat down together, prayed, and had a lovely dinner.  The clean up was well worth the quality family time...and Mr. Google and Tiny Baker loved the dinner...especially the green beans!  She devoured them!

 ...{whistling}...some of us had seconds...I'm just saying!


-Becky Charms

Monday, March 19

Define The Reason



-Becky Charms

Cheeky's Palm Springs : Breakfast & Lunch

Cheeky's cafe palm springs, food, brunch, beckycharms, palm springs, san diego, celebrity, foodie, eat
Week 192

Yelp Reviews raved about this place, so we were going to try 'em out, no doubt.  The entire menu changes weekly, on Wednesdays, and is the creation of one female, Eva Couturier who was promoted from a waitress position.  We entered and dined as a family of 5 {"4 and a high chair" as we call out}, and for once, we wanted to try everything on the menu.  We all ordered something different and tasted each others' dishes.  Our waiter/server was amazing; he was super friendly, service with a smile, and very accommodating.  He received a $15 tip. 

The atmosphere is very fun, with cement tables, translucent orange lucite chairs, and their lighting is all natural, relying on that good ol' Palm Springs Sunshine!  {They offer inside and outside seating...but it was rainy that day, so outside wasn't for us, but don't be fooled. The place is so popular, that the outside patio was packed and just as busy as inside.}


The love is in the details, and there is no lacking here.  The water is served in old fashioned bottles and the maple syrup is served in miniature glass log cabins.  

Let me say that I've been telling myself and everyone else I know how I am done eating fried food, but I had to try the Pesto Fries.  They were the BEST fries I had and have ever eaten.  They are so delicious.  Really.  Don't be fooled by their smaller size and their smaller serving.  They pack a lot of pesto flavor without being greasy and overly sauced.  Go to Cheeky's just to have them! {hopefully they'll be on the menu...no promises.}



Cheeky's cafe palm springs, food, brunch, beckycharms, palm springs, san diego, celebrity, foodie, eat
✮Cheeky's BLT w/ jalapeno bacon and pesto fries [add avocado]

breakfast chilaquiles at cheeky's palm springs california, cheekys, Cheeky's cafe palm springs, food, brunch, beckycharms, palm springs, san diego, celebrity, foodie, eat, restaurant, review
✮Chilaquiles with homemade chorizo, tomatillo, queso fresco, cilantro

Cheeky's Palm Springs Eggs Benedict Breakfast, Cheeky's cafe palm springs, food, brunch, beckycharms, palm springs, san diego, celebrity, foodie, eat
✮Blondie's Eggs Benedict w/ real bacon, sauteed arugula, Deb`s Cheddar Scone, hash browns





Cheeky's cafe palm springs, food, brunch, beckycharms, palm springs, san diego, celebrity, foodie, eat
✮Breakfast Quesadilla with scrambled eggs, bacon, green onion, avocado, and Tillamook cheddar


Cheeky's cafe palm springs, food, brunch, beckycharms, palm springs, san diego, celebrity, foodie, eat
✮Fruit plate: Local Grapefruit brulee



[pictured below courtesy of Melissa Kaseman]: 

✮THE BACON FLIGHT 
{a bacon sampler}
Nodines applewood
Beeler Apple Cinnamon
maple crust
pepper
Jalapeno 


[not pictured]
✮Crispy buttermilk waffle with salted butter and maple



Cheeky's cafe palm springs, food, brunch, beckycharms, palm springs, san diego, celebrity, foodie, eat





Cheeky's

(760) 327-7595

622 N Palm Canyon Dr Map.20dd4bc
Palm Springs, CA 92262

Click to add a blog post for Cheeky's on Zomato

Thank you, Cheeky's!!  Mmm...


-Becky Charms

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