The Thankful Mama

Thanksgiving Safari Park Style

Hunte Nairobi Pavilion

This review is a little late, but still close enough to Thanksgiving to count. πŸ™‚ We decided to do something a little different for our Thanksgiving celebration. The San Diego Safari Park put on a holiday feast complete with all of the trimmings. It was held at the Hunte Nairobi Pavilion, a lovely covered area that could seat a few hundred. The heat lamps were blazing keeping it nice and cozy on a damp and chilly day. We had a table reserved for us and they scheduled the seating so that it was provided for us for two hours. Plenty of time to eat slowly and enjoy the atmosphere.

The menu was a perfect blend of all of the traditional favorites. We filled our plates with juicy turkey, beef strip loin and the most delicious butternut squash lasagna. The sides were just as delectable, with choices of creamed corn, sweet potatoes with a perfectly prepared pecan praline topping and root veggies.Β There was also a kids buffet with lots of great choices for the little ones. The mac and cheese seemed to be the favorite…as it always is! The desserts were, of course, delicious as well, my favorite being the Pumpkin Pie. It tasted so incredibly homemade, I could swear there was a grandma in the back slaving away making pie after pie for the crowd.

One of the nicest parts of having our Thanksgiving meal there, besides no clean up, was that after all that good food we got to walk around and enjoy the park.

The park was not very busy so it was a great chance to linger and see some of the more popular animals. We also stayed for the Cheetah Run, which is always exciting.

Baby gorilla Monroe hangin' with Mommy


I’m really glad we decided to go to the Safari Park for our Thanksgiving celebration. It was a perfect day spent eating great food and being with those we love the most.

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More Christmas Knits: Seeded Rib Socks

I have been working away at my Christmas Knitting list that somehow doesn’t get any shorter. It seems as soon as I complete something, I find something else that would be a perfect knitted gift. All of that aside, though, I do have a finished project to show off.

I decided to make my in laws each a pair of socks for Christmas. I recently finished the pair of Purl Spiral socks for Mom and now I can add the Seeded Rib Socks for Dad. I love this design and have knit it before. It’s nice and easy and stress free (unlike the pattern I chose before it, that ended up being ripped out…twice!) Anyway, this pattern is perfect for socks that need to be knit fast and is great for the car. I think I knocked these out in a little over a week, certainly a record for me.

I used Knit Picks Stroll Sport in the colorway Midnight Heather. It’s not easy to tell in the photos, but this yarn is a mix of beautiful deep blue and green. There are little flecks of green that catch the light and remind me of a mossy glade. This yarn is great for thick and cozy men’s socks. It knits up quick, which is a plus when you are making size 12 socks, and it wears well. I also did something new and exciting. I added traction to the bottom of the socks via puffy fabric paint.

Anit-skid on the Seeded Rib Socks

My in laws have lots of tile floors to traverse in their home and between my hubby and myself, we decided it would be nice to give them a little anit-slip bonus. The process couldn’t have been more simple. After washing and blocking, I used Puffy Paint in a coordinating color and applied it in a zigzag pattern on the sole of the sock. The directions recommend washing inside out again after the paint dries.Β  I love the way this turned out so much I added it to the Purl Spiral socks as well. Now mom and dad should be able to have cozy feet and feel safe no matter where they walk in the house!

Anit-skid on the Purl Spiral Socks

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Purl Spiral Socks


I have completed my first Christmas knitting project! I am pretty pleased with myself too. πŸ™‚ This project is the Purl Spiral Socks from the book Big Book of Socks by Kathleen Taylor. I have made several patterns from this book and have enjoyed everyone of them. There are a wide range of patterns to suit any sock knitting mood you may happen to be in. From easy and basic to color work and beads, this book has it. There is also a handy reference section in the back for knitting different toe and heel styles. Toe up and top down patterns are included in this book.

I knit my Purl Spiral socks with Knit Picks Imagination Handpainted Sock Yarn in the colorway Evil Stepmother. It has beautiful hues of purple and red running through it. It definitely reminiscent of the colors of the Evil Queen’s dress in Snow White or even of Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. It is soft yet sturdy and easily withstood a few rip backs. I modified the pattern slightly by making the purl spirals mirror images of each other. I was pretty proud of myself for trying something new and succeeding! It turns out it wasn’t very difficult at all to achieve this look and it was well worth it. The finished product is soft and warm and I’m sure my mother in law will enjoy them on a chilly winter evening…just don’t mention the name of the colorway!


Project Details:

Yarn: (2 balls) Knit Picks Imagination Handpainted Yarn

Colorway: Evil Stepmother

More details on my Ravelry page!



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Primal Blueprint 30 Day Challenge: Day 30

(Note: this post is late, due to catching a nasty cold and forgetting about blogging for a week! :))

It’s day 30 of the Primal Blueprint 30 Day Challenge! I am pleased with my overall effort and results. I love the idea of the challenge and how it can help motivate and inspire an individual to reach goals. It’s also a great way to get introduced to the whole concept of living primal.

My results were pretty good. I think I did a good job sticking to the challenges I set myself. I managed to sprint once a week and made two primal recipes each week, except for the last. I tried new things and found I actually enjoyed them. I didn’t get out and exercise as much as I wanted, but did try to be present and enjoy the moments when I did.

Overall, I’m happy with the whole experience and definitely think it strengthened my commitment to the primal way of eating.

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Primal Blueprint 30 Day Challenge: Day 29

I had a good challenge day today. We started the morning off with a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs and avocado. I didn’t really have a full lunch, just snacked on some cheese and nuts. Dinner was a delicious hamburger patty with all the trimmings. I made grilled onions, bacon and guacamole.

We actually got out for a walk tonight. It was fun to be out in the fresh air and sunshine. We worked on our strength exercises along the way. I was a little rusty but I managed pushups, pullups, chin ups and did some vertical leg raises on the parallel bars. I really liked this one, it’s a good ab burner. We even tried a few new moves on the monkey bars…that was a little harder and not so successful. We’ll have to keep working on those.

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Primal Blueprint 30 Day Challenge: Day 27 & 28

Here we are at day 27 and 28. We had a great weekend, beginning with a trip to Peltzer Farms Pumpkin Patch. We went with some friends and family and had a great time. We got to enjoy the outdoors and got in some good sun exposure. The pumpkin patch has lots of activities for the kids and we enjoyed petting farm animals at the petting zoo, riding through a cornfield on a little train and a pony ride. My little girl rode a pony for the first time, it was exciting. Just three months ago, she was afraid to get on one. I think it helped to have her little friend ride before her. She was all for it after seeing her having so much fun. I had to walk the pony loop and hold onto my little one, so mom got a nice spontaneous bit of exercising in! We bought some baking pumpkins and I am planning on making the Pumpkin Soup recipe from Mark’s Daily Apple. I also have a pumpkin pear soup recipe I’m eager to try as well.

My primal recipe of the week that I made was Coconut Pancakes for breakfast. It has been kind of fall like weather this week and I thought a little comfort food was in order. It was also nice to have something different for breakfast for a change. I love eggs, but, yes, change can be good sometimes! I was pleasantly surprised that these pancakes turned out so close in texture to regular flour pancakes. Not rubbery or dry at all. I also really liked the flavor. The cinnamon and all-spice gave it that perfect fall, pumpkin-y taste! Hubby and I agreed, though, that this is not something we would like to eat for breakfast often. It’s a nice indulgence. I was also happy to see that I didn’t experience any effects associated with a blood sugar rise and drop. No sleepiness or sluggishness that I would normally get from eating flour pancakes. Gotta love that!

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Primal Blueprint 30 Day Challenge: Day 26

Day 26 has been a very productive day. I started the day off with a delicious and nutritious breakfast of bacon and eggs with a little avocado on the side. This was wonderfully filling and I needed it to keep me fueled for the busy day ahead. My little one has been amusing me with her appetite for bacon. I’ve discovered she likes to just work on a half slice all on her own. She even double fists it sometimes! That’s my primal baby!

I was very active all morning and walked all afternoon intermittently carrying a 23lb baby. I did much of the walking outside, so I definitely got good sun exposure today. My breakfast really kept me going and I found myself not even a little hungry around 2 P.M., when we sat down for lunch. I split a hamburger patty with my little girl, giving her most of it. I was happy that I was able to get something reasonably “primal” in a not so primal friendly fast food restaurant. I usually bring food with me so I can eat what I want and not have to rely on whatever happens to be available, which is usually stuff I can’t or don’t want to eat. But this time I had to eat what was there, and thank goodness they had hamburgers with a removable bun! πŸ™‚

Since my lunch was so light I had a roasted acorn squash for dinner. My market has loads of lovely squash and pumpkins and my grocer always makes sure we get the best ones there. It was delicious with butter and a little allspice. Just what I needed on a cool autumn evening!

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Primal Blueprint 30 Day Challenge: Day 25

For day 25 I don’t have much to report or log. I’m considering my non stop movement as my physical activity for the day. I think I was moving continuously in some way for over 12 hours and some of it was play. I’m happy with that.

My menu today was a quick and easy breakfast of hard boiled eggs and bacon. It kept me going until about 3 P.M., when I whipped up a coconut milk smoothie. Hubby had an evening meeting to attend and grabbed dinner there, so I was off the hook for preparing that meal. I didn’t feel I needed much food after the smoothie, it really satisfied. Coconut is such a wonderfully versatile food!

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Primal Blueprint 30 Day Challenge: Day 23 & 24

Day 23 & 24 bring yummy new recipes and gasp exercise! I have been so jam packed with tasks to accomplish and chasing around my little girl that I haven’t really had a chance to sit down at the computer and keep up with all the challenge stuff going on at Mark’s Daily Apple. I don’t get much of a block of time to sit and read all the posts that are piling up in my blog reader. All of the major contests are starting to come due and there are so many great entries of recipes and workout videos that I really want to check out.

Speaking of recipes, I made up two recipes for day 23 and 24 that I was pretty impressed with and that got pretty good reviews from Hubby too. The first one I made was a crock pot chicken dish. I browned two large chicken thighs in butter and coconut oil and layered them with onion, half of a sweet potato and one apple. I used allspice, thyme, salt and pepper to season. After cooking for hours in the slow cooker, the chicken was juicy and tender. The little bit of apples and spice made it a perfect Fall weather comfort dish to have. My next recipe was, again, chicken. I made a soup full of aromatics for my sister, who was sick with a sinus infection. I simmered chicken drumsticks in a stock pot for several hours. I ran out of my homemade chicken stock so I used an organic concentrate. I just added everything in my fridge that need to be used. Some celery, onion and a few parsnips went in with sage, thyme and lots of garlic. The resulting soup was delicious and rich. It was cold and rainy outside, that may have made it taste better. My sister also loved it and I think it helped her sore throat.

I also got in my weekly Pilates class and it was a real muscle burner. I tried to really concentrate on getting an intense workout and pushing myself just a little bit harder. I was pretty sore at the end, but felt great. I also fit in a sprint session, completely spontaneous. It was a matter of trying to get from point A to point B in the rain while staying as dry as possible. Good opportunity for a good sprint! Thank you Mother Nature! πŸ™‚

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Primal Blueprint 30 Day Challenge: Day 22

Day 22 of my challenge is more of a focus on eating good food and staying busy than anything else. I have not been able to fit in specific exercises almost the entire week. The time change is also having an impact as it’s getting darker earlier and earlier, making it difficult to get outside after work. I do try and keep moving as much as possible during the day. Actually, I don’t really have to try, sometimes I think I have to try more to rest.

Another accomplishment today is my baby’s 15 month checkup. She got glowing reviews from the Dr. and she is right where she should be height and weight wise. These stats make me very happy as a mother since I have been very focused on her nutrition ever since we found the primal way of eating and it’s always nice to get positive reinforcement from others, especially the so called “experts.”

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