Monday, January 30, 2012

The One With the California Trip Instragram Recap

Here they are. The 48 instragrams from our trip last week. And I've cut these down from like 60. Yeah. I take a lot of pictures on my iPhone. It's just very easy to do. And when you've got your hands full of babies it's difficult to carry around and operate a DSLR. Maybe I'll post some of those pictures later on. But for now... here we go. Hang in there! I've got quite a few.
And now a quick recap:
Our plane left at 7 am on Monday morning. That means we got the babies up at 5 am. That was fun. Actually, they were pretty good sports about the whole thing. We arrived in Anaheim and drove to Disneyland. We had some amazing coconut shrimp at Bubba Gumps'. And then it was time to hit the park! It was raining pretty hard, so we got the babies in some rain gear. If you go back to the top of the pictures and check out Olivia's getup, you'll notice that her legs are tucked inside a plastic bag to keep her blankie dry. Yep. We're classy like that.
Despite the rain, Disneyland was beautiful. It was my first time seeing everything and I was just enthralled with all the details and thought that went into every aspect of the park. I could seriously go again and just explore, without even caring about the rides. Although those were pretty fun, too! (Peter Pan was my favorite. I know it's old school, but I think it is just so beautiful and magical. What's yours?)
We took Ellie to meet Mickey. She was scared at first, but eventually she warmed up and even blew him a kiss goodbye. On day two of Disneyland we went to the Aladdin show in California Adventures. Ellie was fake laughing throughout the whole thing. I don't even know why - at first she was doing it when the audience cracked up (the genie had a pretty comedic act), but before long she was fake laughing at every pause in dialogue. Everyone around us was cracking up at her. It was pretty funny.
I think my favorite part with the girls was going to the parade on the second night. By that time, they had gotten pretty comfortable with being waved at and adored constantly, so they waved and kissed and said hi to all the parade characters. Even Olivia waved with both hands and loved all the colorful costumes. Despite how loud it was I could hear Ellie calling, "Hi Princess" to all the girls in the parade. It was the best. <3
We drove down to La Jolla, where Steve was staying, that night. Around 11:30 we showed up to the hotel only to realize that Steve's mom had accidentally booked a different hotel and we were at the wrong one. Once we figured out what hotel we were actually supposed to be in and got the babies settled, everyone passed out.
Wednesday was spent strolling around La Jolla. It's such an incredibly beautiful place. I wish I lived there so I could walk along the beach every day. I saw moms doing that with their strollers full of babies and was pretty jealous.
On Thursday we went to SeaWorld. It was very fun to see the dolphins doing tricks and to see seals doing hip hop. Ellie liked the penguin exhibit and the polar bears. But I think she was probably most excited to see Elmo in 3-D (and who wouldn't be?).
Friday was our last day and we enjoyed an incredible breakfast at Aroma, a little cafe on the corner between ours and Steve's parents' hotel. They were voted best desserts and comfort foods in 2011, and there is no doubt as to why. We spent the day shopping and exploring until it was time to go to the airport and head home.

I'm thinking we should make this an annual trip. If for no other reason than to have crepes at Aroma again. That was pretty fantastic. And to just hang out at Disneyland and admire the incredible creativity that goes into that place. And to walk on the beach. Ok... the whole thing was fantastic. It was a much needed and very enjoyed vacation. It was the perfect combination of exciting and relaxing. And warm. I may have prematurely stocked up on some summer clothes... only to return to rain and cold in Portland. O well. I guess I'll be headed south again very soon!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Speechless Sunday

I'm headed to Austin later with week with Olivia and Mallory to visit our friend Cara. From Austin we're road-tripping over to Louisiana to see Kaycie and Erich. We're going to have so much fun! I can't wait to be reunited with my college besties. It has been far too long.

Austin via.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The One With the Baby Food

Let's talk baby food for just a bit. Feeding babies can be tough, but it isn't impossible to have your babies and toddlers eating a variety of foods and having a well-balanced diet.

So these are the rules I try to stick to when it comes to feeding my kids:
  1. I try to introduce them to a variety of foods as much as possible. It is easy to get stuck in ruts, so I definitely have to make a concious decision not to.
  2. Eat together as a family whenever possible. We sit at the table for every meal (when we're not on the go). The babies sit in Tripp Trapps (the one baby product I whole-heartedly recommend) and we eat and talk and enjoy each other. They're learning good manners and they are much more likely to try something if we're eating it, too. 
  3. Model good eating habits. Babies are social learners - so if you want them to eat well, eat well yourself. This is much easier said than done, but it's a continuous work in progress.
  4. It's ok to run out of their favorite thing. When they get hungry they'll eat something new. Ellie used to fill up on goldfish crackers and not be interested in much else. One day I stopped buying them and she didn't starve to death or anything. When she got hungry enough she tried something new, and she's been just fine since.
  5. I also stick to the rule of no sweets until their first birthday. It keeps them from getting hooked on sugar too early, and it makes their first birthday party that much more fun!
  6. It's ok to use sauces, like ketchup or ranch, to introduce new foods. Hopefully you will eventually be able to wean them off their need for sauces to enjoy dinner.
  7. Baby food grinders are a gift from God. Use them to get your baby eating the same things you are from early on. I prefer the little hand held ones like this one, which are easy to throw in the diaper bag and take with you wherever you go. It's much easier to remember just that instead of all the other little snacks and jars and so on and so forth.
  8. Be careful. With all of these things I think the most important is rule #2 - eat with them. Watch your baby carefully to make sure they can handle new textures and that they don't have any allergic reactions when introducing new foods.
    I love the time we spend around the table. As Ellie is learning to talk more it is becoming more and more fun because she has a lot to say and I make the time to listen to her. Even Olivia likes to chime in with a few choice screeches. It makes me happy and reminds me why I'm doing this... every single day. It's great. :-)

    P.S. We're on our way back form our Disneyland and San Diego adventures today! So I'll post pictures soon, of course! Happy Weekend!

      Wednesday, January 25, 2012

      The One With the Vintage Necklace

      Allison and I went on an antique hunt the other day. We didn't score any big items, but I found a bunch of jewelry I just love. Notice a pink theme? Yeah...
      I found this little beauty for only three bucks. Pretty sweet. Except some of the beads were frayed.
      It wasn't anything a little trimming with scissors couldn't fix. And I thought I'd add a little bow for something special. And because I feel like it gives me an excuse to to wear my hear up (like I always do anyway - at least now I have a reason).
      I just used a little scrap of ribbon I had been saving in the craft supplies. Since I'm planning on using this bow multiple times, I wanted to make sure the ends didn't fray. So I melted the edges very carefully with a lit candle and voila! Mission accomplished. The ends won't fray and it didn't cost my anything in anti-fray glue or whatever.

      Monday, January 23, 2012

      The One With the Strawberry Pancakes

      It may only be January, but I'm glad that strawberries are gracing the grocery store shelves once again. I've been wanting to make a strawberry pizza for a while now, but we've been so busy that I had to content myself with some strawberry pancakes.
      I even whipped my own cream for the topping. I made buttermilk pancakes from a mix and then made a simple strawberry topping. To make some of your own, just slice the strawberries into a bowl and sprinkle with 2-3 tablespoons of sugar. Toss the strawberries and sugar together and then let sit for 10 minutes to soak in their own juices. It will make a great and healthy alternative to syrup. And it makes it seem like spring is just around the corner, which I hope it is.

      Sunday, January 22, 2012

      Speechless Sunday

      We're headed to the Magic Kingdom tomorrow! The girls and I are going with Steve's parents for a couple of days and then we'll be driving down to meet Steve in San Diego. He'll be there on a business trip and so we thought we'd make a vacation out of it. We're going to Sea World, too. I can't wait! This is actually going to be my first time at either place and I'm so excited. 

      I still have a few posts headed your way this week. And then get ready for Disneyland and Sea World pictures next week!

      Via unknown.

      Thursday, January 19, 2012

      The One With the Snow Day

      Snow in Portland is really magical. Magical because it only comes once a year. Magical because the city looks just beautiful all frosted in white. Magical because you usually get to stay home from work or school. Magical because you ought to get something good out of how crazy Portland drivers get when confronted with the first hint of white flakes.

      When we first saw the snow falling Ellie looked out the window and said, 'Rain." Steve told her it was actually snow. She replied with, "Snow. Snow? Snow! Snowman! Frosty!" She loves Frosty and snowmen and has been on the lookout for snowmen for the last few days of snowflakes that didn't stick. It seemed only fair that when it finally stuck last night we took a snow day to celebrate.

      And we quite enjoyed our snow day. I put Olivia out in her Bumbo, since we don't have any snow clothes due to the one-day-of-snow-a-year thing. Ellie walked out until she got shoe-deep in snow and then just stood in one place to enjoy her winter wonderland.
      Since there wasn't too much snow, I made her a little snowman that she enjoyed carrying around.This is her looking at the snowman and telling me that it's missing eyes and a nose.
      We went inside and found a baby carrot and some roasted nuts to remedy that problem right away. And here's her little baby snowman.
      The only way I could ger her to put her freezing little snowbaby down and come out of the cold was to lure her inside with hot chocolate and Frosty, of course, even though Christmas is very over.
      I've always loved snow and winter wonderlands. But sharing my snow days with my baby girls just makes them so much better. 

      Wednesday, January 18, 2012

      The One With the Bangsund Boys

      Way back before Christmas and roadtripping and moving, I took pictures of my friend Amy's boys. We used to be neighbors and I definitely miss having this awesome family across the street from us.

      They are pretty fun boys and we got some fun pictures that day.
      They weren't being the most cooperative at first, so I just kind of followed everyone around with a camera. Amy read a story to her boys and my girls on the couch. She's good at reading stories and all the children were entranced.
      After a soothing story, everyone felt more cooperative.
      This is definitely one of my favorites:
      These boys are a little crazy, as is demonstrated by this next picture, which they requested be taken.
      Anyway, you can see more about Amy and her sweet family and their adventures on her blog. Sorry, Amy, that these took so long to get processed!

      Monday, January 16, 2012

      The One With Ellie's First Haircut

      Ellie had her first haircut yesterday. It took two and one third years for her to grow out enough scraggly hairs that they actually had to be cut. Mostly it was just a trim to try and control some of the craziness. But it was big day, nonetheless. She sat in the big kid's chair and everything.
       She was pretty excited, as you can tell.
      This was literally her expression the entire time. That's my baby.
      All done!
      Sporting her new look alongside Daddy, who also got a haircut.
      And now I feel like paparazzi, having officially taken too many photos of my kid's first haircut.

      Should I be welling up? Every time I said we were going to do this, people would ask me if I was going to cry. The truth is,watching her grow up is so much fun that it doesn't leave me time to be sad she isn't a baby anymore. I get excited for every milestone and every new sentence and every new bit of her personality that emerges. The present and future are far too wonderful for me to be sad about leaving behind the past, at least so far.

      Thursday, January 12, 2012

      The Other One With the Grown Up Girl's Bedroom: Neutral and Woodsy

      On Tuesday I posted the moodboard for Allison's new Grown Up Girl's bedroom that I thought most reflected her style and design elements she had already chosen. But as I was collecting things for that board I may have pinned a few that ended up turning into a whole other scheme based on the Cherry Blossom Duvet from Pottery Barn. This one is a bit more neutral and light, which is the way I would lean. I may need some of these things for our room even if we don't have that duvet cover. Well, except that we have a totally different look going on in there. More on that later.

      Anyway, I can't help it. I love this idea for a bedroom. Really. A lot. So here goes:

      For a more muted, neutral look, I would pick up on the softer colors in the bedding: the beige, pink and soft yellows and greens. I would accentuate the browns in the bedding with some beige/light brown sheets to bring out the woody tones. I am absolutely in love with that carved wood side table. It is so intricate and beautiful, yet understated. And wouldn't it look great with a pink retro phone on top? Maybe a mustard colored bird votive as well? I like the idea of some stronger greens to bring some calmness to the room, as in the lime chair next to that bronze floor lamp. I'd bring in some texture with the striped green and woven glasscloth pillows.  And on the wall I would stick to colored photographs, but only those that are very simple and bold, and stay in my color scheme, with browns and yellows and greens. I would frame these in brown wood or metallic frames. And for a little sparkle I'd put a mosaic mirror up as well.

      I really love the mix of rustic, woodsy and sophisticated that I think this look offers. It is the perfect harmony of urban and earthy. Girly and plain. I'm all about harmony.

      1. Cherry Blossom Organic Duvet from Pottery Barn
      2. Gaspa Sheet Set in Beige from Ikea
      3. Sunshine Bird Votive Candle Holder from Urban Outfitters
      4. London 8 and Yellow House Prints from MKC Photography on Etsy
      5. Retro Pink Princess Phone from Crosley Radio
      6. Carved Wood Side Table from West Elm
      7. Gilded-Grasscloth Pillow from West Elm
      8. Sailor Square Pillow in Olive from 2modern
      9. Mosaic Wall Mirror from Urban Outfitters
      10. Pharmacy Floor Lamp in Bronze from Target
      11. Madeline Chair in Lime from Urban Outfitters
      If you're interested in seeing more of the things I am thinking about collecting for my new home, follow me on Pinterest:
      If you want a mood board created for a room you are trying to redecorate, shoot me an email at 

      Wednesday, January 11, 2012

      The One With the Tiramisu Cupcakes

      My sister-in-law, Emily, turned 25 last week. That makes it officially 5 years that we've known each other. And a whole lots has happened in those years. We got married within 3 weeks of each other to brothers that are often mistaken for twins. To this day, many people are unsure which girl married which boy. And less than a year later we were both pregnant with our first baby. Now Ellie and her son, Cyril, are best buds. And her second little one, Liam, was born just 4 months after Olivia. We've even lived together at Steve's parents' house for a summer. It's definitely fun having someone close by to share all these experiences with. And I just love that our kids are close in age and get to see each other often. I always wished for cousins like that.
      Anyway, she loves tiramisu and requested some for her birthday party. And so I thought I'd attempt Tiramisu Cupcakes.

      I should start out by saying that I don't really eat Tiramisu often, so I wasn't really sure what I was going for. But these turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. Now, I am no connoisseur of this fancy dessert, so if you are, you may want to look elsewhere for a recipe. However, if you're like me and just want to give it a shot, this might work out just fine.
      Tiramisu Cupcakes
      • 6 egg yolks
      • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
      • 1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese*
      • 1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
      • 2 packages lady fingers, 3 ounces each
      • 1/3 cup Godiva chocolate liqueur or coffee flavored liqueur**
      • Chocolate shavings***
      *You can probably find this in the special cheese section near the deli of your local grocery store. If you need help finding it, tell an associate you are looking for Italian cream cheese.
      **I didn't have any coffee liqueur and so I used chocolate instead. I think it made the cupcakes delicious, but if you're going for more authentic tiramisu, use coffee liqueur. 
      ***You can use a vegetable peeler to shave chocolate off a chocolate bar, or you can melt chocolate chips onto a plate, let them cool and solidify, and then use a peeler to get the little curls.

      Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and whip until thick and lemon yellow colored.
      Add mascarpone to the egg yolks and whip to combine.
      Clean your beaters and dry them off. In a separate bowl, whip your heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form when you remove your beaters. Using a spatula, gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the whipping cream, being careful not to over process.

      Fill a cupcake baking pan with cupcake liners. I used the foil ones because they are little more sturdy, which is a good thing for this creamy cupcake.

      Tear one lady finger into 1/2 inch pieces to line the bottom of each cupcake liner. Use a pastry brush or a folded cupcake liner to brush liqueur on top of the lady finger layer. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the egg yolk and cream mixture on top of the lady finger base.
      Add another layer of lady fingers, again tearing one lady finger into 1/2 inch pieces. Brush this layer with liqueur.
      Finally, add your final layer of cream. I used a pastry bag and Wilton tip 1M to make it look a little fancier and get the cream to stand up instead of just falling into the cupcake. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings.
      Refrigerate for several hours to overnight to let them set.  You could also put these in the freezer to give them a more ice-creamy feel. Either way, they're pretty good. And a good alternative dessert to the classic cupcake. How fancy and fun would these be for a bridal shower?
       I linked this recipe up at Tastetastic Thursday #17 on A Little Nosh. 

      Tuesday, January 10, 2012

      The One With the Grown Up Girl's Bedroom: Bold and Sophisticated

      I mentioned earlier that we moved into a new house. And I am loving decorating it. Not so much loving having to find a place for everything, but it is coming together slowly. We live in this new house with a roommate, Allison. Or, as Ellie likes to call her, Assesor. Assesor wanted some inspiration for her new big girl (as in college graduate) room, which she is basing off this Cherry Blossom Duvet from Pottery Barn. She has also purchased this Avington Headboard from Target, which I didn't include in the moodboards but did keep in mind while creating them.

      The first idea I came up with is a little more bold and sophisticated, and incorporates several design elements she has already decided upon. 
      I like the idea of introducing some less girly, more classic colors to the room to compensate for the very soft and sweet bedding. I think pops of romantic red, like in the clock and sheets would be a nice touch. I chose the brass lamp and bedside table to bring back a little feminity, and because I think the gold undertones would be fantastic next to that bedding. An ink blue chair and some accent pillows would look smart and strong, and would pick up the darker tones of the bedding quite nicely. Because the bedding and furniture have so much color going on, I would stick to a gallery wall of black-and-white photography to keep things from getting too crazy. I would get some of the pictures from artists I like on Etsy, but I would also frame up pictures of family and friends.

      1. Cherry Blossom Organic Duvet Cover from Pottery Barn
      2. Somnig Sheet Set in Dark Red from Ikea
      3. Vintage Floor Lamp in Brass from Urban Outfitters
      4. Madeline Chair in Navy from Urban Outfitters
      5. Brass Leaf Side Table from Urban Outfitters
      6. Black and White Vintage Camera and Typewriter Photographs from Marianne LoMonaco on Etsy
      7. Monogrammable Outdoor Pillow in Navy with Lettering in Sandalwood from Pottery Barn
      8. On Time Wall Clock in Red from Urban Outfitters
      9. Vilshult Picture of Amsterdam from Ikea
      I think it would be a fun bedroom for a big girl. Don't you?
      Check back on Thursday for another moodboard designed around this duvet!

        Monday, January 9, 2012

        The One With the Inaugural Bath

        In our new house we have a great big soaking tub. The inaugural bath in the new tub was a pretty fun one.
        It's more like a swimming pool than a tub, so there was lots of splishing and splashing. Ellie was good enough to teach her little sister the ropes of bath time fun.
        And she even helped bathe little Olivia. She is just the sweetest. They both are.
        And I just love them so very much.
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