Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake & A Brown Sugar Apple Cider Glaze

Oh my happy days, October is here, Fall is here, and that means it's time for pumpkin stuff and spice stuff!!

Last Friday we had dinner with some friends, and we were on Dessert Duty. Obviously, I perused good ol' Pinterest for a sweet and fancy fall recipe, and boy did I find a good one! Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake! Well, it was half good. The base was good, but I didn't agree with the glaze they suggested, so I created my own. I was more than please with the outcome, and now I am passing it along to you!

Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake

  • 1 Box of Spice cake mix
  • I can of Pumpkin
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine pumpkin and cake mix until light and fluffy, pour it in a greased 7x10 baking dish, cook for 28 minutes (or until a fork poked in the center comes out clean). It's that easy!
*I have heard of this being made with any cake mix, I have used yellow (pictured) but it is incredibly more delicious with Spice.

Brown Sugar Apple Cider Glaze
  • 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) of Butter
  • 3/4 cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Apple Cider
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Melt butter in a small skillet, add brown sugar and apple cider, bring to a boil. Add vanilla extract, reduce to simmer. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring regularly. Pour directly on the poked cake, don't let the glaze sit.

This is a good step to do while the cake is baking. When you bring the cake out of the oven and the fork is clean, let the cake sit for about 5 minutes. After it's settled, use your fork to poke holes all over the cake, about 1.5-2 inches apart, making sure to go all the way to to bottom of the cake. Carefully pour the glaze over the cake, trying to coat it evenly. You do not have to use the entire glaze. I ended up with about 1/4 c of glaze left over.

Also, I can't stress enough, make sure you smooth the surface of the cake before putting it into the oven! The shape you leave it is the shape it bakes. My cake came out looking like sweet potatoes! :)

We ended up serving the cake with some vanilla ice cream, and it was amazingly delicious. I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out so well, and was so easy!

I hope you try this recipe, and please let me know how it turned out for you!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Joys of Having A Self-Potty-Training Two Year Old

Yes, you read the title right. Bug is potty training himself. Yay.

Don't get me wrong, I'm really excited that he's doing it and actually *wants* to do it. But, there are good and not-so-good things about him potty training himself. 


  • +He goes potty when he needs to go.
  • +He is always super proud of himself.
  • +"I did it!" when he's all done.
  • +He certainly looks cute in his super hero undies he got to pick out all by himself.

  • -Oops.
  • -Takes off his diaper when he feels like it, regardless of what is in it.
  • -My hall bathroom has been taken over by potty-related stuff.
  • -He's not the biggest fan of going #2 in the potty, yet.
  • -He does silly little things, like get his head stuck in his training seat. (First I freaked out, then I realized I should probably take a quick pic or two. Then it took me about 5 minutes to get this off his head. As soon as I took it off, he gave me a huge hug and started laughing. Oh, Bug...)
Let's play a little game of I Spy... with a photo I took of my bathroom a few minutes ago.
I Spy...
  • Batman undies
  • Green Lantern undies
  • Two diapers
  • Training toilet
  • Step-stool to wash hands
  • Toy box
  • Toy truck
  • Open toilet
  • Towel thrown on the ground
...Ladies and gentlemen, my bathroom.

Here's the thing, he's been self-potty-training since right before he turned two. He was at his grandma's house, and he decided to go. And go again. And again. I think in total, he went potty at her house 4 or 5 times in the few hours he was with her. All on his own, with no coaxing from her. He went #1 and #2 without a hitch. We were so excited, we got him pull-ups, we put a waterproof cover on his bed, pulled out his training toilet, and got him a training seat for regular toilets. It was awesome! Here was our little brand new 2 year old training himself to go potty with no push from Mom & Dad! He was doing so so well!

And then... Squidge was born. I knew a regression would happen when his little sister arrived, I just didn't think it would be so far back. He refused pull-ups, he wouldn't go potty at ALL anymore, and even asked us to put his training potty away. However, over the last 2-3 months, he's been starting up again, and over the last month, he's been doing REALLY well! There's still a huge fear of going #2. We had a tiny breakthrough the other day, but that was it. Hopefully we just keep moving forward and soon we won't have any more Buggy diapers to change!! It will be great to having only one baby in diapers.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My DIY Dresser Refurbishment

I just realized I haven't posted anything about my dresser refurbishment!

Okay, so here I was, 7.5 months pregnant with my second baby, and I *NEEDED* something to do. I was going crazy. We had been in our new apartment for 2 months, and nothing was unpacked, I didn't have a place for anything, and our dining room was rather bare. We had a dresser we got from our friend... 

Yeah, this is the dresser your mom probably had. And your aunt. And their best friends next door. And the girls they didn't know 5 states away. My mom had this dresser set. I think she said her parents got it for her from Sears. All I know is, this was one of the most popular dressers of the 1970s (no really, google it), and I had to do something with it. We were getting new dressers for our room anyways, and I thought, "HEY!" why not turn this one into a buffet thing to go along side the wall in my dining room?

This, ladies and gentleman, was my very own nesting project.

I went to my local home improvement store and picked out the paint. I chose a really pretty robin's egg blue color for the all-over, and a black to dry brush it with. I got my sanding sponges, paint brushes, spray lacquer, and the plastic drop cloth stuff. Then I had to get my husband and brother in law to move the dresser downstairs to the garage for me. My awesome friend came over to help me with the bulk of sanding, but mostly, I was on my own.

I ended up sanding this thing for the next 2 days.

After all of the sanding, I got to start painting. YAY! You know, there's something very satisfying about painting, especially after you've been sanding something for 3 days just so you could paint in the first place.

I know, the color looks different... but lighting is funky in a garage! Don't judge. It is a gorgeous color!

After the blue dried, I got to dry brush the black over it. I had so much fun with this part!

Now, it was on to the drawer handles/pulls... I didn't sand those, but I wasn't too concerned about it.

Then I got to put everything back together!!
Folks, friendly reminder. Don't forget which screws were for which pulls... I got to undo and redo about 5 drawer pulls. Yeah, about as thrilling as it gets, right there.

I let my husband and brother in law know I was done. They were SO EXCITED!

They hauled it upstairs for me, and put it in the dining room.
It looks SO GOOD there! I'm quite proud of my little nesting project!

If you have any questions about what I used or how I did it, please let me know! I'm happy to answer questions, this was a really fun project for me... and if I can do it, anyone can!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Super Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

It has been overcast all day... more overcast than it has been recently, and the temperature has gone down considerably. We're in the Summer-to-Fall transition, and I love it.

I love the view from my dining room...

This afternoon my son had the right idea: "Mommy, I want cookies." But, we didn't have any. As far as I knew, we didn't have ingredients to make any. I KNEW we didn't have any chocolate chips, so I checked my sugar cookie recipe. Nope, don't have baking soda, don't have vanilla extract... damn. Mmk, what else can I do? Oh right! My sister told me about some peanut butter cookie recipe with only three ingredients. I knew I had the bare basics, so between getting my baby to take a nap, and getting my oldest to sit still long enough, I looked into it.


I think I found a good one here.

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Here's the lineup:
Guess how easy these were... go ahead! Nope, easier. Just mix up your peanut butter, sugar, and an egg. SERIOUSLY! Then you drop a spoonful onto a cookie sheet, criss-cross them with a sugared fork, and pop them in the oven for a few minutes. 

So then, after they're done, bring 'em out of the oven.

Let them settle for a minute or two, then they're ready to be put on a plate and/or consumed.

Don't forget the milk...

Here's the recipe! ::

  • 1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup White/Granulated Sugar
  • 1 egg
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees (f). Mix all ingredients until fully incorporated. Spoon 1 - 1 1/2 inch size balls onto a cookie sheet, then press the balls down in a criss-cross pattern with a long fork. To keep the fork from sticking, dip it in sugar after each cookie. Put the cookies in the oven for 6-8 minutes, taking care not to burn. Remove from oven, and let cookies set for 1-2 minutes before removing from cookie sheet. Make sure cookies are cool before eating. Enjoy!

I'm pretty sure my son just brought a chair into the kitchen... that means he's trying to stealthily find more cookies. (Little does he know, sound travels.) Now, if you don't mind, I have to go surprise him and eat some yummies :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Oh, the Facebook

There are certain things that bother me about facebook. I wouldn't say "facebook" bothers me, moreso the people that post on facebook, or the things that happen on facebook.

  • 1 Like = 10 Prayers
  • Share this if you believe in Jesus!
Here's the thing... I can guarantee you, your God isn't sitting around checking how many people 'like' photos for prayers, or in support of Jesus. "Sorry kids, not enough likes on the facebook today, no soup for you!"

  • Like and share if you agree!
I'm also pretty sure if someone agrees with whatever you posted, they'll like it; you don't have to tell them to do so.

  • Breast Cancer week! Put a heart on your wall, but don't tell anyone why!
Posting something stupid on your wall in support of this or that doesn't actually give support to whatever it is you're supporting. CRAZY, I know.

  • "I don't like it when you post things I disagree with."
Here's something else that might also strike you as crazy: not everyone shares the same beliefs you do. So being surprised when someone posts something you disagree with just makes you look crazy, not the person who posted it. Same with being shocked when someone doesn't agree with something you post. You know what's funny? There's this option in your news feed to either block a person from showing up in your feed, or hiding a certain post so you won't see any more updates on it. It's really cool. You should utilize it sometime.

  • "I'm doing _______."
Oh hey, you forgot to tell me what you were doing 4 minutes ago, but thanks for letting me know you're putting your laundry from the washer into the dryer right now. Glad to know you're keeping us all informed, because inquiring minds are just dying to know.

...Anyways, I'm sure there's more I could write on this subject of facebook, and I probably will, but for now this is where I leave it!
like dislike
Like... dislike... what does it matter?

Monday, July 23, 2012

You Finally Made It!

Today I took my sister and her boyfriend to the airport, so they could do the Vegas getaway. While I was there, I saw something so incredibly sweet. Maybe it was just sweet to me, maybe I was reading too much into it, but I loved it and it made me think a little.

There was a little old lady, tiny frame, skinny, short haircut, looked rather frail, had to have been in her 70s or 80s. This lady was walking in front of the airport terminals searching for someone. She was holding a sign that was equally as big as she was, you can tell she made it all by herself. In big red letters, the sign said:

"Welcome Caroline! You FINALLY made it to California!!!"

She painted a bright yellow sun in the top left corner, and a bunch of blue waves at the bottom. (I wish I got a picture!)

Like I said, she was walking around searching for, I'm assuming, Caroline. And again, assuming, Caroline must be one of her old friends who always vowed she'd make it to sunny California some day, and today was that day.

It made me think a little more about where I live and how lucky I am to be here. To be born and raised in one of the most beautiful and sought after places in the world. I'm less than an hour away from Hollywood, about an hour from San Diego, in the heart of Orange County, 10 minutes from Disneyland, and another 10 from Newport Beach. I grew up going to places a lot of kids dream about. Songs were written about the beaches where I made sand castles with my sister. People from all over the world dream about and want to go to California. It is, after all, the Golden State!

So many people I knew growing up were dying to get out of here, only left wishing they could come home once they were gone. I, too, have made the outrageous claims to want to leave here... but then I realize how silly it is. Of course I want to leave here, everyone wants to leave their home now and again; that's what kids have a desire to do. I want to travel, I want to visit new places and say I've been "somewhere," but I really don't think I want to live anywhere else in the world. Granted, I haven't been to very many places, but I do know that I've never been anywhere I'd like to live, more than my hometown.

I know this isn't the place for everyone... I know so many people who absolutely love where they live, and I think that's fantastic! I know there is good and bad in every city, in every county, but to find the beauty where you live is something you hold in your heart. I grew up here, my parents and grandparents grew up here or moved here with their children. My parents went to the schools I went to. I met my husband here and had our babies in the same hospital my mother was born. That's something really special! It's history, MY history, the history of my family and our family, right here... we don't have to go looking for it. I love that.

I really do love where I live, and now that we've had our babies here and I know we'll be raising our family here, I feel like I really have FINALLY made it!

It's good to be home, and I know there's no place like it.

California the Golden State
Stay Golden, California!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

To Be Continued

Controversial topics for future entries:

  • Birth
  • Breastfeeding
  • Circumcision
  • Parenting
  • Tattoos
  • Fashion
  • Health
  • Religion
  • ...and more. (To Be Continued...)

I bulleted the topics so I can remind myself of the things I'd like to write about. Before I do, though, I'd like to make a few things clear--

  • My opinions are educated.

This does NOT mean I know everything there is to know on the subject. All it means is, I've gone looking for answers, and have found answers from both sides of the issue, as well as facts surrounding the issue. I've researched each topic and have personal experience with each topic. If I do not, I will make it known in the post.  

  • I am open-minded.

I like learning, and I like debate. If you choose to comment I will respectfully listen to your educated opinion as long as you respectfully listen to mine.

  • I do not tolerate hatefulness of any kind.

If you choose to comment and attack the way I parent, the things I do, the decisions I make, or the opinions I have, or you do this to anyone else on here, you will be blocked, reported, and your comment will be removed. Life is way too short to be a jerk.

  • I love my children and my family more than I could ever describe.

All of my research has been done to educate myself on the best ways to raise my family. I strive to do the best for myself and my family every day of my life and I believe I am making the best decisions for them.

  • Some of these topics are sensitive.

I do understand the sensitivity of these topics and would like to take the time to clearly write my opinions and personal (or very close) experiences with each. I expect my experiences and opinions to differ from yours, and that is just fine, I completely accept that. I ask that you realize that, and if you choose to comment, please keep it in mind.

kids on soap box
I like soap boxes... they stack nicely.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Things I Never Thought I'd Say... pt. 1

"That's not paint, it's cheese; don't rub it on your leg."

...I guess the cheese can walk away?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

Today was Friday the 13th. I don't consider it a scary or unlucky day; actually quite the opposite. Usually my best days are Friday the 13th's. (yes, that makes complete sense.)

I have family visiting from out of town, and they wanted to go to Disneyland... which is fine, because I love Disneyland, and I've had an annual pass since I was 6 years old! (If you do the math, I've had it for 20 years. BAM.) It was pretty rainy yesterday, so I assumed it would be a good day to go, since most tourists don't go to a theme park when it's wet and rainy. Well it wasn't wet or rainy. It was about 80 degrees, and it was around 99% humidity. Everyone was there. Party at Disneyland! It drizzled just a few times, but burnt off before it hit the ground.

I got there with my babies around 10:30-11:00 am, and I left around 11pm. I tell ya, if you want a good but abnormal workout, try pushing a double stroller full of stuff and two kids around two theme parks for 12 hours in full humidity, maybe you'll lose 2 lbs like I did!

We started at Disney's California Adventure...

I absolutely love what they've done with the place. I love Buena Vista Street (I've only been in one shop so far.), it's like walking around LA in the 30s. Beautiful. I feel like I belong there!

I also am totally digging Cars Land; it's like the Pixar studio just dropped the move right over the "real world"... it is literally like you're walking through Radiator Springs in the Cars movie.

The only "new" thing I haven't seen is the Hollywood Back Lot and the Mat Hatter Tea Party... definitely looking forward to seeing them hopefully soon!


The one and only original. I love Disneyland. I always have and I always will... I just hate that they took my "home" away. Carnation Plaza Gardens. Every time I see the top of the Plaza all torn apart over the fence, I get sick to my stomach and I want to cry. I spent a lot of time there growing up! Oh well, Disneyland needs more character Meet-and-Greet areas, right?

I guess that's all I can muster to say about Disneyland right now.

Anyways, all in all, it was fun being there. Despite frustrations that happened and not going on a single ride (I have babies, I'm used to it), I had a good time with my family.

The year is wrong... bad luck, Mickey!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Couple Lovies

These are my babies... Bug and Squidge. I love them to the moon and back.

I can't handle the cute...

Bug is 2 years old. He is hilarious, he loves his baby sister, and is also the sweetest child I've ever met. He has such an amazing heart and cares so much. He loves to play, dance, and sing. He's a rock star. ...and Bug is a mama's boy.

Squidge is 2 months old. She is my princess. She adores her big brother. She sleeps a lot, and smiles even more. She doesn't do much on the entertainment scale, because she doesn't know how to work those pesky hands. Squidge is definitely already a daddy's girl.

  1. I am 100% biased.
  2. My babies are perfect and are the cutest children on the entire face of the planet.
I will more than likely be talking about them a LOT on this blog, because Bug makes me legitimately laugh multiple times a day, and Squidge is growing non-stop.

baby girl
handsome boy

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Anniversary Numero Six

That's right folks. My husband and I have been married for 6 years and 2 days. We've known each other for 6 years and 3 months. No, I'm not kidding! We met some time around Easter in 2006, he proposed to me the weekend after his 21st birthday (June 21) and we were married just a few weeks later on July 8, 2006.


...Well, when you know, you know...

In these last 6 years, we've lived in 4 different places, I worked at 3 places, started my own company, he worked in two places, we've had two beautiful children, and have never ever been happier!

This year we had a lovely anni. We woke up when our son came into our room, so we snuggled with both babies for a while. We exchanged presents (I got him an awesome watch from Diesel, he got me beautiful diamond stud earrings from Tiffany & Co.) I got up and made my family real french toast with scrambled eggs. It was a pretty big and kinda late breakfast, so we didn't really do lunch. We hung out at home for a while, played games, did some normal 'around the house' stuff... then later in the day, my hubby's parents watched the kidlets so we could go to dinner!

We went to McCormick & Schmick's - Irvine for our 5:00p dinner reservation.  We get there and pull into the valet area... the valet guy is just hanging out in his truck waiting for the restaurant to open. He gets out and runs over to us, totally not "ready." He hands the valet ticket to my husband and away we go to the restaurant! He goes to open the door for me and almost fell over while trying to pull it open. He says, "It's locked..?" "It's locked because they're not open..." I replied. Then we just started cracking up. It was funny, because they open at 5:00, which we didn't know. It was also funny, because we tend to do the normal thing and arrive a few minutes earlier than our reservation time.

The hostess and manager inside noticed us and didn't do anything. For about a minute. Then they let us in and showed us to our table. Now we were the only people IN the restaurant, other than the staff. Super awkward for me, because that's never happened to me before. But it was kind of cool because we had the whole place to ourselves, even though we stayed at our table.

Our waiter was nice, but quiet, spoke fast, and spoke with an Asian accent. Just had to double check what he said a few times, but nothing major. Everything was going well-- until we moved the silverware and table settings. Maybe it's because we were the only people in there. Or maybe he was just extremely anal retentive. Either way, it was really funny for us. We didn't notice it at first... then he kept doing it. Every. Single. Time. We moved a spoon, he'd put it back on the placemat. We used a fork, he'd take it away and put a new one down. We ordered food, he'd move the settings again. He did it the entire night, and it was hilarious. Towards the end of the dinner, my hubby just started moving things on purpose.

Hubby ordered wine, I ordered a seasonal sangria. Then mango iced tea. Then regular iced tea. We got a caprese flatbread appetizer. Hubby got a iceberg wedge salad with bacon, tomatoes, and bleu cheese dressing, with crumbled bleu cheese on top. I got a caesar salad. For dinner, hubby got alaskan halibut with crab on top over a mushroom risotto. I got parmesan crusted chicken with a caper butter sauce next to garlic linguine. For our sides, hubby ordered creamed spinach and lobster mashed potatoes. I got grilled shrimp scampi style, and a lobster tail. For dessert, hubby got a mixed berry florentine over vanilla bean ice cream, served in a dish made of caramel and assorted nuts. I got a vanilla bean creme brule topped with strawberries.

First thing, I ordered a sangria that looked way yummier than it tasted. So I got a mango iced tea-- the waiter said the bartender would make it with a mango syrup. NOPE. Made it with mango juice. It was delicious, but not at all what I was expecting, so I just went with iced tea after that.  Our caprese appetizer out as a pizza, but it's okay because it was way yummy. Our dinners were absolutely AMAZING. The lobster mashed potatoes were literally the best mashed potatoes I have ever had in my entire life. I almost don't want to eat any other mashed potatoes ever again. The lobster tail was cooked perfectly. The shrimp scampi? To die for. Our desserts were perfect. All in all, it was a fantastic anniversary dinner... we got the bill to prove it!

After dinner, we picked up our babies and enjoyed the rest of our night together.

...and to my wonderful husband,
Thank you. Thank you for being my everything, I love you with all of me! Happy anniversary, here's to a million more! (...if you can handle me for that long!)

the happy couple
6 wonderful years... can you tell?

New Beginnings

Starting a new blog, for a few reasons.
  • I want to be able to remember specifics!
  • I want to be able to vent.
  • I have some opinions, damnit!
  • I enjoy cooking and sharing new recipes.
  • I'm a photographer.
  • I have two amazing children and a wonderful husband, and I think our lives are changing, so clearly I need a way to document!
  • Facebook is not a blog.
Keyboard with letters reading B L O G
Blogging is important, right?