Saturday, December 29, 2012

Carousel at Tilden Park, CA Holiday Time

Here are a few more pictures from our day at Tilden Park near the Carosel!

Global Winter Wonderland, 2012 - Chinese Lanterns

Last night my son and I went to Global Winter Wonderland which is at Great America in Santa Clara, CA.  The best part of this festival is the Peking Opera which is playing "Monkey King," directly from P.R. China.  This Peking Opera is on a U.S. 2012 tour and is Presented by China Performing Arts Agency and International Culture Exchange Group, Performed by Peking Opera Theater of Hebei, China.  Also, there were 60 gorgeous, gigantic Chinese lanterns depicting both holiday traditions and global icons.

Fun facts about the Chinese lanterns at the Global Winter Wonderland, 2012:
-Millions of LED light bulbs
-100 tons of various steels
-10 CBM of wood
-85,302 of electrical cables
-200,000 feet of silk materials
-35,000 pieces of recycled small glass bottles
-2,000 pieces of ceramic dining ware

This festival is great for families, as children are enthralled by the lights!  My son did not go on a single ride, though you can purchase a ride ticket for $10.00.   I got him one toy bubble gun which entertained him for 2 hours!  When it broke, we went back to the stand and he was given another one with a smile!  My son and I both enjoyed the Peking opera.  We had a snack and water at Biryani Bowl.


Global Winter Wonderland, 2012

Biryani Bowl

Monkey King - A Peking Opera
Location:  Great America Theatre
Monkey King is about Sunwukong, a magically powerful but extremely mischievous "superhero."  Peking Opera encapsulates Chinese culture, history, literature, music, dance, acrobatics, stage fighting, and acting with the specialty arts of face painting and elaborate costumery.
My four year old son and I both loved it.  The words were spoken in Mandarin with subtitles in English easily seen on the side.  My son enjoyed it without hearing the subtitles.  This also inspired my son to start taking Mandarin classes in the fall!

Bubble Gun
Made in China

Holiday Strawberry Smoothie - This Is Yummy!

My son and I made this yummy smoothie this morning, here is the recipe!

2 cups of plain or vanilla organic yogurt
1 bag of cascadian farm organic strawberries (or any frozen strawberries)
2 Tablespoons of fresh orange juice
1 Tablespoon of agave nectar or honey (I used  cadia organic agave amber nectar)

1.  In blender, place all ingredients.  Cover; blend on medium speed until smooth.
2.  Pour into glasses, serve immediately


Cascadian Farm Organic strawberries, 10 oz.
Cadia organic agave amber nectar
Straus Family Creamery European Style organic vanilla nonfat yogurt

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tilden Park Carousel, Berkeley, CA - Local Treasure!

The Tilden Park Carousel was built in 1911.  It originally opened in a trolley park in Urbita Springs,  then moved to San Diego, and on to Los Angeles.  Finally, in 1948 it found its current home in Berkeley, California's Tilden Park.  The East Bay Park District took over the ownership of the carousel in 1978, and at that time it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Tilden Park Merry Go Round "Christmas Fantasy in the Woods" ran from November 25th to December 23rd from 5:30PM to 8:30PM.  The carousel is also open this weekend during the day, but not the evening.

My son and I went there during the day today.  Most of the displays and ornaments are still up, but the lights are off during daylight.

Here are a few pictures:


Tilden Park Merry Go Round
Berkeley, CA
Wildcat Canyon Rd.
Berkeley, CA
(510) 524- 6773

Tilden Park Merry Go Round "Christmas Fantasy in the Woods"
Ran from November 25- to December 23rd from 5:30PM - 8:30PM
Also open this weekend, December 28th, 29th, and 30th during the day until 5:00PM.

The Great Christmas Tree Disaster of 2012

It is the first time in my history that I do not have a Christmas tree through the New Year.  As we explained in an earlier post, my son had a horrible allergy attack to our tree on Christmas so we had to take it out in the evening.  It is now sitting on our deck and I plan on putting lights on it so we can look at it while we eat dinner.

LED Lighted Branches - So Festive!

After the great Christmas tree disaster of 2012 I felt so sad.  I found these lighted LED branches and they lit created a festive mood in our living room.


Everlasting Glow
battery operated
LED Lighted Branches
with timer feature
(timer option can turn branch lights on for 6 hours daily.)
Natural Willow
5, 39 inch Branches
50 LED lights
The Gerson Company
Olathe, KS  66061
(SKU 5980610)
(Needs 3 AA batteries)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Missing Santa

We miss Santa already.  Here is a picture of the table we set up for Santa with cookies, milk, and crackers.

Historic holiday carousel in Tilden Park- still open

Tomorrow I'm taking my son to Tilden park to the holiday carousel.  Last year I missed it.  More on this later..........

Buche de Noel

Here's a picture of La Farine's Buche de Noel:

The frosting is sweet.  The cake is amazingly moist.

La Farine Bakery at the Holidays, Part II

Here's a picture of the front of La Farine Bakery on the morning of December 24th:

Here's the line outside La Farine Bakery, waiting to pick  up holiday treats -- holiday rolls, Buche de Noel, etc., on the morning of December 24th:

My Son and Husband Are Allergic to Our Live Christmas Tree

This year we didn't get our Christmas tree until Christmas eve day, so it was really obvious -- right when my husband brought our tree into the house and started setting it up my son started sneezing.  The sneezing and coughing became progressively worse throughout Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.

So on Christmas night we decided to take the tree outside.  My husband took on this task while I went out for a drive with my son.  As he moved the tree, needles went everywhere (a big downside to a live tree, as we discussed last year, but one we thought we could live with).  He started vacuuming and cleaning up.  And then he started wheezing badly.  He has allergies, and so typically has an inhaler around, but that night he had given it to me just in case my son needed it while we were out.  When I returned home, my husband came out wheezing in the rain asking for the inhaler.  I thought I was going to have to take him to the hospital!  It looked like he was in pretty bad shape for a few hours afterward.

My son is still wheezing and coughing, but is slowly improving.  I spent much of the morning cleaning up all the pine needles everywhere that my husband missed with our vacuum (we've also decided to go out and get a new vacuum this week).

Next year we'll be getting a fake tree, which saddens us a bit as we love the smell of real trees.  While we may love the smell, my son and husband apparently can't live with it.

My brother has an artificial tree that turns around slowly, and there are many more selections out there, but we'll wait until next year to start shopping for one.

Here's a picture of our short-lived live Christmas tree:

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas morning waffles- gluten free and regular

My son got a waffle maker from Santa Claus. He is is a true "foodie" at the age of 4!  My son got the Waffle Zoo Waffle Maker.  After my son opened the waffle maker, I had to find a recipe.  I know that pancake mix is different from waffle mix so I did some research.  One recipe I found is modified from Maria Cunningham's, The Breakfast Book.  
 Marion Cunningham's "The Breakfast Book". 

Marion's  Classic Waffles

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
2 tbs sugar
2/3 stick of butter melted
1/3 cup shortening (i just use veg. oil)
1 1/2 cups milk warmed slightly
2 eggs beaten
Mix all the dry and wet ingredients, without mixing the eggs ahead of time.   Pour into waffle iron.
 Set timer so you don't overcook.  

Gluten Free Waffle recipe with chocolate chips
I settled on a gluten free recipe I modified from Bob's gluten free pancake mix.
1 1/2 cups of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix
1 large egg
3/4 cup of milk ( or cow, soy, rice, or almond milk)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
2 tablespoons or more of chocolate chips
Mix all ingredients and follow waffle maker directions as they may differ.

I also made homemade whipped cream for the waffles.  It is so easy as my mom has made it as long as I can remember and is so much better than store bought.  Mix half pint of organic heavy whipping cream (I like Clover organic or Strauss) with a teaspoon of vanilla and some powder sugar, use hand or electric mixer to whip, then modify ingredients if you want to add more vanilla or sugar.  We never use a recipe, but a tip is to smart out light on both the vanilla and sugar.

Santa Visited Last Night..........

Santa visited last night.  He left presents for my son and ate the cookies we left for him.  We set a beautiful table for him!  (picture soon!)

I think Santa sat on the chair and ate the cookies and stayed awhile:

He must have been tired!

He is so polite that he even took the cup of milk and put it in the sink.  He left some crumbs on my momma chair, but we forgive him as he was in such a rush to visit all the homes.  I'm glad he had time to relax and stay awhile!

Bungalow Momma Wants to Visit Historic Hotels...

I've spent weeks getting ready for the holidays, yet I'm still working to create that perfect setting.  Our fireplace has a crack in it so we need to fix it before we put real wood in it.  My son has a cough this morning so I don't want to put a coffee log in the fireplace in it.  Santa came last night and brought my son presents so he's busily playing.

While I drink my coffee I dream now of going and staying at a historic hotel!  I like the website (NOT .com), because they have some fun choices such as the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs (which I visited a few years ago) and the El Tovar at the Grand Canyon.  It also lists the Queen Mary, where I've never stayed but have visited -- including for a friend's wedding reception.  It was a gorgeous setting for a wedding!

Since my son has a cough (he may be allergic to the real, pine Christmas tree that we got yesterday) we are home for at least a few days, but I'm dreaming of sitting in front of a huge, stone, historic fireplace with a hot drink and a good book in my hand.

I grew up in the midwest so when I think of the holidays I can't help but want to see snow drifting outside the window.  When I looked at the historic hotel website this morning I dreamed of staying at the Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri near Branson, Missouri.  A few of the lodging choices there include a knotty pine cottage and a log cabin.


Big Cedar Lodge Hotel
Ridgedale, Missouri

Here's a picture from the Big Cedar Lodge website:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sassafras Gingerbread mold for making houses

Here's an older gingerbread house kit from Sassafras:

The mold itself has been discontinued by Sassafras.  BUT, you can find them on eBay and via other online resale resources.


Superstone Gingerbread Mold
Made in the U.S.A.
P.O. Box 1366
Evanston, Illinois

My gingerbread mold kit was purchased in Healdsburg, CA on December 26, 2003 at a little home supplies store when I was with my mother and Aunt Betty.  The town of Healdsburg is just beautiful around the holidays.  We had stayed at the Healdsburg Inn at the Plaza.  This mold kit has special memories for me and I was saddened to find out it was discontinued.

Delancy Street

We've blogged about the Delancey Street Foundation in the past.  Delancey Street does amazing work helping some of our community's most challenged and at-risk citizens. 

Every year, Delancey Street is out in our community with enterprises selling X-Mas trees.  Trees are FREE today, Christmas Eve.  Donations are always welcome.  

La Farine Bakery at Holiday Time

Back in October, we blogged about La Farine Bakery at 6323 College Avenue near Alcatraz in north Oakland.  La Farine is amazing during the holidays.  There is a line out the door and around the corner for people to pick up one of their Buche de Noel cakes (log-style chocolate mousse cakes frosted with chocolate buttercream).  They are well worth the wait and have become one of our holiday traditions; we will be eating one at our X-Mas feast tomorrow.

Here's a picture of La Farine's Pumpkin Cheesecake, which we will eat today.  Very soon, in fact.

Here's La Farine's famous morning bun:

Here are La Farine's only-available-on-Christmas Eve Day dinner rolls:

La Farine also has locations on Fruitvale, Piedmont, and Solano Avenues.  


Yummy Uhuru Pies, 2012

I stopped at La Farine Bakery, which we'll blog about soon, and then got some ground ginger at Safeway across the street and I met Wendy, a volunteer from Uhuru pies right in front of Safeway. Wendy was so nice and she told me about all the wonderful things Uhuru is doing in the community! Uhuru is selling all kinds of delicious pies to help fund a commercial kitchen and to support the African People's Education and Defense Fund,  I came home and put all my supplies down and tasted a piece of the sweet potato pie, it was yummy and not too sweet!

I've never made sweet potato pie myself, but I used to teach with a woman named Shirley who gave me a recipe and brought in some to taste.  I loved it then, and still love it now!

[Picture from]


Uhuru Pies
Still available all day today, December 24th in front of  Claremont Avenue Safeway!

Pie flavors:  apple crumb, apple cranberry, berry, pecan, chocolate pecan, pumpkin, and sweet potato pie.