Wednesday, September 30, 2009

#235 - Toy Trucks

This summer we were at the thrift store and Kar found these awesome solid wood trucks. Only two are in the picture, but there are actually 3. They are Baby O's favorite toys...he says, "bbbbbbbbbbbbb" when he plays with them.

I was happy when I found this link. These are now his most expensive toys and I scored all 3 for $8 total.

Friday, September 25, 2009

#234 - s'mores t-shirt

I meant to post this during the summer, but hey, it's never too late in the year for s'mores? Right?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

#233 - Guiena Fowl

Pepe decided to buy some guinea fowl for our property. He even built them a cage.

Baby O is totally fascinated with them.

I hope they eat all the bugs and ticks.

Are we crazy? probably...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

#232 - Top 3 Meals (i've eaten with pepe)

Pepe and I are going to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary this week (wow, time flies).

Anyway, as I've been decluttering (seems like a theme of posts this week) and throwing away old receipts, I came across these 3 receipts.

Yes, all 3 are in Spanish.

These are my 3 favorite meals that I have eaten with Pepe (not including any meal he makes for me at home.)

Red Lobster (Langosta Rojo) - No, this isn't the chain restaurant. It was a a cute little place in the town of San Felipe, Mexico. Pepe and I went here on our honeymoon and this restaurant was amazing! I think we had 3 servers and the food was delicious. We ate outside . . . romantic.
  • Pepe had Shrimp
  • I had Eggplant Parmesan

Sotto Voce - The last time I went to Buenos Aires, Argentina for work, Pepe decided to tag along for a few days. I had to work all day, so our dinners out were such a treat. Sotto Voce was an Italian place (there are lots of Italian decedents in Argentina) and seriously, so good. If you notice the time stamp, we were eating at 11:11pm (yes, they eat very late in Argentina.)
  • Pepe had Black Spaghetti with Lobster - I'm not joking, this was amazing and I'm not a lobster fan. The spaghetti is black because it is dyed with squid ink.
  • I had Eggplant Parmesan - also amazing! (notice a theme?)

Viejo Gomez
- The last day Pepe was in Argentina with me, we went to this restaurant. You know how most places have a bread bowl or chips and salsa to hold you over till your food gets there, well this place serves homemade empanadas. They are amazing!
  • Pepe had Steak - seriously, the best steak Pepe and I have ever had.
  • I had Grilled Provolone (wish I would have ordered a steak.)

Some other AMAZING restaurants we have eaten at: Lauriol Plaza, Legal Sea Foods, lots of places in Costa Rica, Da Marcos, Cumana.

Do you have a favorite meal or place you've eaten at?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

#231 - joy of being a kid

ahhhh . . . the life of a kid . . . so simple.

his cousin makena helped to decorate the car.

and (i think) his cousin tyler took this picture.

Monday, September 21, 2009

#230 - Note from my sister

Ok, this may not make you smile, but it makes me smile every time I see it. While I've been decluttering (it's going to take forever), I found this little love note from my sister.

She wrote in about 7 years ago when she gave me her watch.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

#229 - Fortune Cookie Purse

Isn't this cute? A little pricey for a coin purse though (at least for me.)

via here

Friday, September 18, 2009

#228 - It's All Too Much

Just finished the book, It's All Too Much. I highly recommend it! Someone let me borrow their book, but you could easily check it out at the library.

Since Pepe and I got married, we've had the hardest time organizing our stuff. We've lived in 3 places and every time we moved, I thought I would organize and declutter our house. Finally, after my sister stayed with us this summer, she gave us a good kick start on decluttering. It's been great, but it is still hard for me to get rid of stuff that had sentimental meaning.

After reading this book, I finally get it! I get how to declutter and how there is a cost for owning stuff (not just the cost to buy it, but the cost to keep it.) Econ 101 (I didn't too well in that class, but I do remember opportunity cost.)

Here's some of the basic ideas from the book that I don't want to forget (it's really just thoughts I think will help me stay on the declutter bandwagon, so you don't have to read it all):

1. 5 minute purge (daily) - After decluttering your entire house (there's a whole process on how to do this), take 5 minutes every day to declutter your house. ie: go through on drawer in your kitchen, one shelf in the fridge, purse, etc. Set a time, grab a bag and trash anything that you haven't used for the past year. Stop after 5 minutes.

2. Flat surfaces - flat surfaces are places to just stick stuff, so keep them clean. My mantel is my favorite flat surface and I need to work constantly on keeping it clean (I'm trying.)

3. Throw stuff out quick and fast. When you are decluttering, quickly go through stuff and don't spend time thinking about each item.

4. Sentimental stuff - Don't feel guilty for throwing stuff that you has sentimental value. Take a picture of it if you really want to remember it. If you don't use it, give it away. If it is really important to you, be sure to use it and/or display it.

5. There is a cost for stuff/clutter (THIS IS GOOD) - I get really frustrated when my house is messy/cluttered. So, the cost for STUFF is my FRUSTRATION. If I have less stuff, I'll actually be happier. Make sense? There is a cost for everything you own (good, bad, physically, mentally, etc.) This is hard for me because I am frugal, but I'm working on it.

Time Costs - If you have to search for lost stuff (keys, clothes, credit cards) every day, it wastes a lot of precious time. How much is that worth to you?

Space Costs - You pay for your home and your space, so if something is taking up space in your home make sure it is worth it. Make sure you can enjoy each room in your house.

"As soon as you calculate the cost of clutter, you'll realize that it's not worth holding on to things because of their value--because of what they're worth."

6. You can only have stuff for how much your place will hold. Everytime you buy something, you have to get rid of something else. Ie: one shirt in, one shirt out. It'll save you money too.

7. Experience Fund (I really like this) - every time you decide not to buy something, put that money in a fund and use it to go on a trip at the end of the year. You'll make a lot more memories and happiness that way.

8. Declutter Your Parenting - "Children are dramatically affected by clutter and disorganization. They are surrounded with too much of everything--except space in which they can breathe and think."
Just recently, I got rid of 1/2 of Baby O's toys and put them in our basement (I threw a couple out too). Anyway, it is so much easier to clean his room and he doesn't miss the other toys.

Teaching your kids at a young age about donating stuff and cleaning, will teach them that stuff isn't important, but making memories and helping others.

9. Gift Giving - give disposable gifts (ie: dinner, massage :), trip, movie.) Also, when Baby O is old enough, for Christmas, I'd like to have him pick out gifts for charity (or something like that.)

10. 10 minute box - fill a box with a list of chores/decluttering projects that would take 10 minutes. Every night have each family member take one of them and do it. (sort of like the 5 minute thing).

My favorite quote from the book:

"Getting organized because it helps you live a richer, less stressed, happier, and more focused life, now that's a goal worth pursuing. If you are not organized or if you are struggling with clutter, you are spending too much time just getting through the day. You are not thriving, just surviving...redefine [your] relationship to what you own...No permanent change can happen without this shift. You only have one life to live. How you live that life is your choice.

Disclaimer- if you visit my house, I'm far from being decluttered, but I'm trying. I just need to get Pepe on board completely.

Next project - my receipts (Kar, aren't you happy?) And now I can return the book (one less thing to get rid of - yeah!)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

#227 - learning ABCs

I saw this and it inspired me to use some frames I bought at IKEA years ago.

I painted the frames with the leftover paint from this project. Then, I framed some pages from the ABC Dr. Seuss book (I had 3 copies - not sure how that happened).
Hopefully, these will help Baby O to learn his ABCs, plus we needed some more decoration for his room.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

#226 - hello cupcake

On my journey (back in August) to find the best cupcake in DC, we went to hello cupcake in Dupont Circle. We (aka Pepe, Kar, Baby O and me) shared these between the 4 of us (ok, I'll be honest, Baby O just had a small bite of one and I ate the majority).
Kar and I have become connoisseurs of sorts (ok, to be honest, we're not the educated in cupcakeries and we're not that fancy, but isn't connoisseur a fun word to use?), we take a small bite and really taste it. Then move on to the next cupcake.

1. 24 carrot (aka carrot cake) - the best, great cream cheese frosting
2. you tart! (aka lemon) - 4th best, think lemon bars
3. vanilla gorilla (aka banana cake) - 2nd best, like banana bread with cream cheese frosting
4. peanut butter blossom - 5th best, better than this pb cupcake
5. triple coconut - 3rd best - i love coconut and there is a lot.
6. raspberry beret - blah...last place, although the chocolate cake is good.

Still, my top favorite is a tie between vanilla 2 at Georgetown Cupcake and a mix of the cream cheese frosting at Red Velvet Cupcakery and red velvet cupcake at Georgetown Cupcake.

Do you have a favorite cupcake place?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

#225 - 16 and Pregnant

Ok, I so don't condone kids getting pregnant at 16, but I'll admit, this show was my guilty pleasure all summer.

My favorite episode was about a girl who decided to give her baby up for adoption. Wow, it was powerful!

Me = tears. I work on a lot of pregnancy shows (not this one), so you know if it tugs my heart, it's a good one.

It was amazing how this young girl was being unselfish and thinking about her child instead of herself. I really hope this show becomes an adoption advocate.

If you want to watch it, click here. Not sure how long that link will work. Also, be warned that the commercials are racy (ie: condoms).

Producers note: I loved the graphics and transitions in this show. Great storytelling too.

Monday, September 14, 2009

#224 - Tickle Weeds

I went on a walk with Baby O and we stumbled across some tickle weeds.

Do you know what those are? Well, when I was a kid, my mom used to let each kid pick out a tickle weed (aka a weed that has lots of little soft spikes on it, so it makes for good tickling) and then when we got home, we each had a turn tickling her face with the tickle weed (now that I think about this, that's sort of gross, but whatever).
Genius of my mom! Kept her kids entertained and she got a free tickle.

So, I let Baby O pick a tickle weed on our walk. He loved it! In fact, he loved it so much that it was bent, broken and throw on the road before we were even halfway home. (no tickle for me)

Happy Birthday Mom! If I were there, I'd tickle your face. I love you!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

#223 - How to Make a Homemade Pinata

Remember Baby O's birthday party at the beginning of summer? Well, I asked my sister if she could do a quick tutorial on how to make a homemade pinata.

She said, "Spend $20 bucks and go buy one from the store."

At least she is honest.

Oh, I hope she doesn't resent us too much for all that we put her through this summer.

Anyway, here is what she did:

1. Buy a big balloon (the Dollar Store has 3 punching ones for, you guessed it, a dollar)
2. Blow up big balloon and get a bowl or something to stand it on (see pic 1)
3. Mix a bowl of flour and water (it was a little soupier than pancake mix)
4. Tear up pieces of paper (we used some bills, old documents from work, receipts)
5. Dip paper in the flour mixture and lay it on the balloon (see pic 2)
6. Cover the entire balloon and let dry (see pic 3)
7. Repeat after it has dried (Kar did this for 3-4 days straight because she wanted a strong pinata)
8. Cut colored tissue paper into thin, long strips
9. Cut little strips (make it look like a banner) into the tissue paper (see pic 4)
10. Glue onto the pinata
11. Poke 2 hangers into the top of the pinata, so that it can hang (see pic 4)
12. Fill with candy
13. Let the kids smack the heck out of it

Or you can watch this video on how to make a pinata.

Happy Birthday Kar! We miss you out here and we love you!

Friday, September 11, 2009

#222 - The New Dutch County Farmer's Market

Remember when we went to the Dutch County Farmer's Market? Well, they closed this summer and yesterday, just reopened in a new location. Pros: new, wide aisles, shopping carts, more places to sit and eat, more stuff, great lighting, great bathrooms, same friendly folks that work there, unique.

Cons: not as convenient as old location, worse parking, and I sort of miss the grittiness of the old place.
However, our favorite place is still there . . . the ice cream from Kreider Farms. Such a good deal. Perfect for our Friday family night out together.

#221 - Famous Portrait

I saw this picture at the fair and loved it. (not a fan of smoking though)

Anyway, I'm wondering if I could take a photo of Baby O and do this same thing? What do you think? Which picture (above) of Baby O do you think would work best for this type of thing? Of course, I would clean up the photos and make it a lot more basic.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

#220 - Unsolicited Advice - College

see #17a below
Inspired by this, and the fact that today is my sister and brother's first day back to college, I decided to make my own list of unsolicited advice for college. Really, this advice is for my kids someday, cause I know my siblings already know much more than I ever did going to college. I can't take credit for all of this advice, I took some from the comments here.

DISCLAIMER - these pictures are bad (ie: distorted) because i didn't have a scanner, but you can click on them to see them better. Also, this post is very long, so now you've been warned.

1. Call home/family (ie: your sister) at least once a week. I had to buy calling cards when I was in college and write letters. Wow, how I wish I would have had a cell phone and easily accessible brother jordan and me 2001 (see #17b below)
2. Take lots of pictures/video.
3. Get a bike. I used my bike so much to go to class, store, anywhere. Plus, it is great exercise . . . I loved my bike.
4. Don't take a class before 10am (11am is even better).
5. If it rains or snows, go and play outside in it. (This is life advice.)
6. Don't sign up for free credit cards, accounts on campus, not worth the free t-shirt, or whatever else you get. It could wreck your credit in the future.
7. Eat lunch on campus, even if you bring it from home. I have some great memories of eating on campus and studying.
8. If you get a job, get a cool one. Don't waste your time cleaning bathrooms (no offense to anyone who has done this). Get a job you could only have in college or will help you with your future. I had some of the best jobs in college: student mentor, film tutor, camera operator/producer for KBYU, taking tickets for sporting events (got to see the game for free).
9. Go to concerts, art exihibts, museums, and free films on campus.
10. Do internships. I'm a huge believer in doing as many internships as you can. You'll be able to travel to new places and network like crazy. That's how I got my current job. If you get an amazing opportunity, don't think that college is the be-all, end-all, it's ok to take a couple days off or even a semester.
11. Make good friends and learn to network. Studying is important, but honestly, you'll be able to have so many more job opportunities if you make good friends and network with classmates, teachers and future employers (see #10). Or take an entrepreneur roommate mel and me (i think 2001)
12. Friday Night Dance Party. Once a week turn on the music really loud and dance with your roommates for 15 minutes (or lay on the ground and mediate to the loud music.) Or take it up a notch: invite people, have a theme and dress up.
13. Take a Real Estate Class. If your college offers it, take it. Buying a home will probably be one of the biggest financial decisions of your life, so get the real estate education cheaply while you are at college.
14. If you can, take a skiing class and a swimming class. Even though I had been skiing and swimming my whole life, I learned some new stuff and it was a great break from regular class.
15. If you have a class you are dreading, take the class at night. Usually the classes are smaller and it's only one night a week. Just make sure you have someone to walk with you home afterwards.
16. If at all possible, try to schedule classes so that you can have Fridays off or Tuesdays/Thursdays sister casi displaying some of the yard sale items (see below) it was late at night
17a. Make fun friends. Make friends that will be spontaneous (go on road trips, have dance parties (see #10), go do free stuff (see #9), dress up crazy and walk around campus, go do random stuff, play safe pranks (ie: set up a garage sale on your friends front yard (see above)) Join lots of groups/clubs on campus, you'll probably make some awesome friends there. Don't waste your time on people that are Debbie Downers and don't want to enjoy college. Be nice to them, but don't hang around them.Some of my cousins and me (i think in 2002)
17b. Hang out with your family members if they go to the same college as you or live close. I loved meeting up with my brother, Jordan, every day in the music library or playing pranks with my sister Casi. Also, I loved living with my cousins (horseshoe included), pumping them on my bike, or getting together with them for a picnic.
18. Take a photography class and/or film class that is hands on and you actually get to shoot stuff. It will give you a good basis for shooting pictures and filming video of your kids/family some day. (better yet, take a Photoshop and AfterEffects class, also another big money saver.)
19. If you don’t like the teacher or TA, drop the class or change to another teacher. Don't be afraid to offend them, your paying for your education.My last day at college (with roommates, cousin and sister) June 1, 2003
20. Don’t be afraid to move apartments if you don’t like where you are living or your roommates. See #17.(i got lucky, i loved 95% of my roommates.)
21. Take an art class, even if it is not your major, like painting, pottery, upholstery (I really wish I would have taken this), flower decorating, cake decorating, sculpture, etc.
22. If you can swing it (and I really think it is a must), study abroad. You'll learn so much more by traveling abroad.
23. Find hidden places on campus to hang out, study in the music library, take tests in the music section of the testing center.
24. Eat weird food combinations. Why not?
25a. MOST IMPORTANT - Always follow your gut and instincts. If you ever feel unsafe, then get out of that situation quickly!
25b. Wear sunscreen. Your skin will thank you in 10 years.

Ok, so what's your advice? I'd love to hear it!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

#219 - He's got hair

Baby O has been bald since birth, but recently he's been getting some locks of hair. At the fair, we stood in front of a fan and it was so cool to see see his hair stand up.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

#218 - Big Cream Puffs aka Profiteroles

A few weeks ago at Joseph and Alyssa's wedding lunch, we had the best ice cream cream puffs. Seriously, Kar and I were in heaven and we are not even cream puff fans.

I wish I would have done this to make my photo a little better.

Monday, September 7, 2009

#217 - Artisan Bread

My cousin Matt came and taught us how to make Artisan Bread. We used this recipe from my cousin Michelle (Matt's sister). We baked it in the Dutch Oven Pepe got for Father's Day.

Formula and process created by Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan St Bakery.

3 cups (430g) flour
11⁄2 cups (345g or 12oz) water
1⁄4 teaspoon (1g) yeast
11⁄4 teaspoon (8g) salt
olive oil (for coating)
extra flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal (for dusting)

Two medium mixing bowls
6 to 8 quart pot with lid
(Pyrex glass, Le Creuset cast iron, or ceramic)
Wooden Spoon or spatula (optional)
Plastic wrap
Two or three cotton dish towels (not terrycloth)

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add water and incorporate by hand or with a wooden spoon or spatula for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Lightly coat the inside of a second medium bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest 12 hours at room temperature (approx. 65-72°F).

Remove the dough from the bowl and fold once or twice. Let the dough rest 15 minutes in the bowl or on the work surface. next, shape the dough into ball. Generously coat a cotton towel with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal; place the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with flour. Cover the dough with a cotton towel and let rise 1-2 hours at room temperature, until more than doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 450-500°F. Place the pot in the oven at least 30 minutes prior to baking to preheat. Once the dough has more than doubled in volume, remove the pot from the oven and place the dough in the pot seam side up. Cover with the lid and bake 30 minutes Then remove the lid and bake 15-30 minutes uncovered, until the loaf is nicely browned.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

#216 - Big Bling

At the fair, Kar, my sister, found some really fun earrings. Which earrings do you think she got?

Kar hearts elephants.

i love fun earrings.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

#215 - So Many Flavors

I've been craving these specialty ice creams all summer long . . . but I haven't caved.

Ice Cream that is easily accessible + me = not a good combination.

Have you tried any of these? Are they good? Hopefully, they'll be around next summer.In the meantime, why does this new ice cream have to come out in October?
Doesn't it sound delicious?
I wonder if it tastes like this or this?

Friday, September 4, 2009

#214 - County Fair

After I saw this post, we decided to go to our county fair. Here are some pics from our trip. They're big photos!
Kar and Kelsey

Kar took these next 3 photos. I think she did an amazing job.
I love art work at the fair.

We totally dressed up Baby O in his cowboy gear. He wore his cowboy boots his grandparents got for him.

(side note: I will not take Baby O to the fair again until his is much older. He went crazy with all the lights and noise and didn't clam down for 2 days!)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

#213 - Homemade Flash Diffuser

Inspired by this, I made my own quickie homemade flash diffuser (or flash sock) when we went out to eat Ethopian. I took a picture with my flash (above) and it was too bright.

Then I took one without my flash (above) and it lost some of the crispness and clear focus.

So I took a paper napkin and gently wrapped it around my flash. It was amazing. If you are ever in a pinch and need a flash diffuser, it's a quick fix for no cost. I'm totally going to do this again.

Which photo do you like best?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

#212 - Chillin in DC

Just a few pictures from this last weekend's trip to DC with Aunt Kar. Baby O has so much fun flying in the air with Kar and running around on the mall.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

#211 - Cow spots

We went to the fair 2 weeks ago and Kar snapped a picture of these cool cow spots. I love how it's black and gray.
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