Saturday, April 25, 2009

What's in my suitcase?

I got the inspiration for this post from the pages of Vogue where celebrities share essential items they take with them on vacation. I am by no means a celebrity, which means I'll be showing off my Target swimsuit and $20 sunglasses. But that just goes to show that you don't need to drop a lot of dough to look cute for your next vacation!

The hat and shorts are from J.Crew--my favorite store for stocking up on everyday casual clothes. I have these shorts in every color of the rainbow. I also like that they offer them in 3 different lengths and hold up well in the wash (the most important aspect when it comes to being a mom with a toddler, at least in my opinion). The hat I've had for years and it's gone with me on many many vacations. I can fold it up and stick it in my suitcase and it comes out looking great. It also has a wide enough brim to provide adequate shade.

Cute tops are a must...this particular one comes from BCBG. I like that they have unique but classic designs.

The swimsuit and bag are from of my favorite places to shop! They're great for trendy clothes and accessories, and totally affordable too!

Sunblock--an absolute must if you're out in the sun!! I've had my share of baking back in the day and I'm much more diligent about taking care of my skin now. I love this one from SkinCeuticals, "Ultimate UV Defense SPF 30". It provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and contains 7% transparent zinc oxide - a physical barrier from the damaging effects of sun. I use it on my face as well and it's lightweight enough to wear under make-up. The best's exactly 3 oz so I can throw it in my carry-on!

For fun shoes (or all shoes, really) you should check out I've been using this online shoe store for years and it's the most convenient way to shop for shoes! Depending on where you live, the shoes are delivered to your door in 1-3 days and shipping is FREE! Know what else is awesome? FREE 365 day returns!! That means I can sit in the comfort of my own home, browse their huge selection of shoes, order them in different sizes, colors, etc., and then return the ones I don't want! Does shopping get any better than that??!!

And lastly, no vacation would be complete without the iPod and the latest issue of Us Weekly. In my defense, I don't normally read trashy magazines, 12 year old neighbor was selling magazines to raise money for her school and I thought, Why Not?! And I tell you, every Thursday when that magazine arrives in my mailbox, I rush out to get it like it's Christmas morning. Now why would you want to deprive me of that joy?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Favorite Fridays

"Favorite" Fridays seem to be very popular in the blogging world. In keeping with this tradition, I too, will write about my favorite item(s) every Friday.

This week, I'd like to introduce to you my favorite candle. It was a gift from my lil' sis Christy for Christmas, which I just received last month. Yeah, we do things a little differently in our family...Basically, we're all procrastinators, but we seem to get the job done nonetheless :)

But, as usual, I digress.

Bistro Candles is based in Beaverton, Oregon and their candles are handcrafted and made with simple ingredients. I have the large tumbler in the Ginger Crème scent which I keep on my bathroom counter and I plan to try out their Mango Jasmine or Vanilla Cassis next. With descriptions like, "...the subtle sweetness of ripe fruit and tropical flowers drifts through your home like a gentle Caribbean breeze, offering a sunny, tropical escape on a moment's notice..." how can one resist??

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Five Things

There have been a lot of "Five Things..." floating around Facebook lately. I must admit I have succumbed to filling out more than one of them. Actually, it's much harder than it looks, trying to come up with only five items, whether it's 5 cars you want in your garage, or 5 celebrities you'd like to date, or 5 places in the world you'd like to visit. It's thought-provoking...and that's what I'm all about! :)

Here are my 5 "Fives":

5 cars I've owned (or have had the privilege of driving)
1984 Buick Skyhawk, Toyota 4-runner, Toyota Avalon, Honda Accord, Volvo S60

5 things I carry in my diaper bag
Diapers, Baby Wipes, Sippy Cup, Hand Sanitizer, Band-Aids

5 things I'd rather be doing right now
sunbathing on a secluded beach, reading, napping, shopping for new sunglasses, painting my nails

5 gadgets I can't live without
iPod, Blackberry, Laptop, Microwave (is this considered a gadget??), Calculator

5 things I'm scared of
spiders (all bugs really), heights, strangers, growing old (or just acting old), ghosts

What are yours?

Are you alive?

“Are you alive??” This is the subject line from an email I've just received from my concerned friend Dana. Apparently my disappearance have some people (or at least one) worried. What have I been up to??

I've just spent the last 4 days dealing with a sick toddler and husband. Here are some things I've learned:

-When your kid is throwing up, DO NOT feed him more food. Especially food that has color.

-Slipcovered couches are the best invention ever!! Thank you Ikea!!

-If you suspect your kid is about to throw up, try to move him to a non-carpeted area. Even being puked on is better than trying to clean puke off of carpet. If anyone knows how to get the smell out, please let me know.

-Vomiting in combination with diarrhea is awesome! Especially for the person who gets to clean it up! It’s also great that my kid loves water because we've had to spray him down about 6 times a day.

-Watching cartoons anytime he is awake is totally acceptable, and even better if it stops him from whining all day long.

-Being stuck in a smelly vomit/poop saturated house on the hottest day we've had so far totally blows (no pun intended).

-Being sick makes my baby extra snuggly and sleepy. A nice change from the Bouncing Off The Walls Baby I normally have.

-I don't have very much sympathy for sick husbands. Sorry Scott! :)

-Scheduling a vacation to Florida with a departure in 3 days is absolutely brilliant on my part!

My sick child watching cartoons with the aforementioned dinosaurs lurking around in the background.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What happened to my house??

As I look around my house, I am amazed at the transformation that has taken place in 19 short (but sometimes very very long) months. Instead of coming down the stairs in the morning to a bright & shiny CLEAN house, I am greeted by a big yellow CAT truck placed directly in my path so that I have no choice but to step on it and roll right down the stairs. It's hard to tell what color my floor is these days as it's littered with toys, animals, tiny socks, hats, food (play & real) and things I can't even identify.

To one side of my living room sits a huge green slide. To the other is a bright red play kitchen and bench which stores the majority of O's toys. The console table that was originally used to display my collection of beautiful teacups is now home to 4 ugly dinosaurs. My office has been attacked by a sand & water table filled with rice (because it's too cold to play outside and the neighborhood cats would have a field day with the sand). I'm constantly stepping over little matchbox cars as I try to make my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. My son's fascination with toilet paper (unrolling it, ripping it, eating it...) has left me with nearly invisible strands of white paper all over my bedroom carpet and my bed. How lovely it is to crawl into bed at night and roll over to a huge wad of crumpled up TP next to your pillow. Almost every window in the house has sticky handprints stamped all over them-a detective's dream come true!

Shall I go on? I think you probably get the idea... The lesson in all of this? I've just learned to let go (kinda) of my obsessive-compulsive need for a clean orderly home and in exchange, I get to spend more time with this amazing little person who fills my heart with so much love and joy that there's not much room for anything else!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My very own Picasso

In trying to come up with new and exciting activities for a very active toddler to do while being stuck inside because it's 50 degrees in the middle of April and either raining or snowing EVERY SINGLE DAY, I decided that it might be time to bust out my famous "craft kit". What is in this craft kit, you ask? Anything from ribbons and stamps to glitter and beads. For this particular rainy afternoon, I chose to experiment with paints-washable of course. You all know me better than that!

I taped a big sheet of butcher paper to the dining room table, strapped Big O to his booster seat, and let him go wild with the paintbrush and colors! He had a blast! It was his first time painting and clearly, won't be his last. When he was done, we cleaned up and I hung his masterpiece on the kitchen cabinet to dry (and admire).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Deceptively Delicious

My son is very opinionated about many things. What he eats has never been one of those things...until now. Much to my dismay, he has suddenly developed a "palate" for certain food items. Scarfing down ANY and ALL foods without a second thought has now been replaced with vigorous head shaking accompanied with a defiant "no no no no no!" Sometimes he'll even repeat this a few times lest there is any confusion. Obviously I am more than annoyed. Meals that used to take minutes to get through are now being dragged out because I'm rifling through the fridge trying to come up with something acceptable for the little food critic to eat. I mean, I can't let the boy starve, can I?? I know he's got some reserves (especially in those cankles and cheeks) but still!!

The advice I've gotten so far? Kids will eat if they're hungry enough and don't get into the habit of letting them control you!! I guess this would be a good time to try out a cookbook I bought last year, "Deceptively Delicious" by Jessica Seinfeld (yes, Jerry's wife). She has some great recipes and ideas for sneaking veggies into your kid's diet, something I never thought I'd have to do!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hoppy Easter and a New Start!

In honor of Easter, I've decided to "resurrect" this blog...something I've been meaning to do since I last posted, what 6 months ago?? But what do you write about after being missing in action for so long? start, this blog sort of encompasses all aspects of my life--my family, my work (stay-at-home-mom & housewife), and random thoughts that go through my mind on a daily basis.

For example...yesterday afternoon, I began the preparations for my Creme Brulee French Toast to serve for Easter Brunch this morning. As I cracked egg after egg, I began to do other people crack their eggs and what egg-actly is the BEST way to crack an egg?? (Sorry...I'm a mom; thus, I'm a nerd) Do you crack them on the counter? On the edge of the bowl? And how do you get it to break cleanly with no shards of shell floating around in your eggs? On Foodtv, they do the cracking and opening of said egg one-handed! Hey...I didn't say these would be intelligent thoughts!!

Anyway, the french toast was a success and everyone involved had a great Easter. Below is the recipe I used for my signature dish.

Creme Brulee French Toast
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • an 8- to 9-inch round loaf country-style bread
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth and pour into a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish. Cut six 1-inch thick slices from center portion of bread, reserving ends for another use, and trim crusts. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.

In a bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 350° F. and bring bread to room temperature.

Bake bread mixture, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes.

Serve hot French toast immediately.

Hoppy Easter everyone!!