Saturday, March 29, 2014

Feeling 22

I swear I will be restraining myself from posting about birthday cake for the next few months. Ryan's birthday marks the end of the birthday bonanzas that December-March throw at us. So this means a lot of things like our apartment will no longer have stray dollar store balloons floating aimlessly around and useless birthday hats that are just always a necessity, but still useless since they never fit our damn heads. This also means no dreamy creamy birthday cake which makes me kind of sad because birthday cake should have a phrase like "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." Am I right? I will probably find myself in the kitchen baking up a cake in the next few days because I have a whole tub of frosting that is just sitting so lonely in our cabinet just going to waste even though it's shelf life is like a billion years. It's okay though, a cake WILL be made birthday or not. There will be something to celebrate like LOLA'S FIRST TOOTH.
Yep, that's right while she was vacationing it up with Grandma this past week she sprouted her first nub of a tooth and I broke down a little in Walmart when my mom called me with the news. Growing up up up and away. Just like Ryan, let's get back to Ryan here...
He hit the big 22 on Wednesday and I decided to throw him a little bash. Stephanie and I experimented with fondant for the first time. I was pretty determined to create the House Stark sigil on top of the fluffy bed of frosting on his cake. It was a mega success and I'm no longer afraid of fondant, which means very very very big things are to come for Lola's first. Well, I hope so, my mind is just brainstorming right now, but fondant WILL be involved.
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In the end I spent my winnings on a Domo doll for Lola and a plastic kings crown because I thought it was appropriate for a Game of Thrones party. See, way better than casinos.
 photo ecb2ad119d808d325be585a26382354d_zps5872763e.jpg  photo 3b83d20b41b9fbc72e5c9779b69cd5a3_zpsb80bad4c.jpg Later on, after the majority left, we had paper airplane races which transformed into a contest to see who could build the best paper airplane (trust me we are 22). Needless to say, I think the winner had to of been the plane that was attached to a balloon that later got trapped in the tree. Which by the way, is still stuck in the brambles at this very moment, sad looking airplane and all.
The night was perfect.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

Springing into spring the right way

Lola had her very first beach outing on Wednesday. We packed up what felt like our entire house and headed straight for the beach with the huge fear that everybody else had the same idea is we did considering how gorgeous the day was. We got to the bridge and the coast was clear...what? I guess it must have been our lucky day. We've been dying to get Lola in the water, but since she was born in the summer and was too small (in my opinion) for the water we had to wait...and wait and wait. We arrived at the beach got a primo parking spot (this never happens guys especially since it's spring break month) and trudged through the snowy white sand to what felt like the "just right" spot for us. I literally painted Lola with sunblock until she started blending in with the sand and we made our way to the water. Seconds later our toes were like icicles because the water is still adjusting to the spring time sunny weather and saying goodbye to winter. It was a perfectly windy day too, perfect because it cooled our sun kissed skin, but way too windy for the little one to endure the sea. So what did we do? We sat on the shore while the salt water splashed our thighs and Lola dug her toes and hands into the sand. The bliss in being a baby, the newness of it all. I think she loved it? I mean she was probably confused as to how her bathtub became something so gigantic since that's the only water she's familiar with. Needless to say we can't wait for the summer to arrive so she can splash her way through the waves and float around on her turtle friend.
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After our skin couldn't handle the suns rays much longer and after transforming Lola into a ghost with ANOTHER layer of sunblock we decided to get some grub. I normally hate and despise GattiTown with a passion. I guess the passion part it why we ended up going, my stomach was growling and anything sounded delicious. I suppose the beach and GattiTown make a good match because I was pleasantly surprised that it hit the spot, and not just any ol' spot, the spot after having a "out in the sun" type day. Yeah one of those. So that may be a new beach tradition? Who knows.
We ended our day with a walk through our trail in our artificial backyard. I call it that because we're apartment livers and it's not "ours" but who cares, it's one of our favorite parts of living where we do and we've lived here long enough to dub it our own. We brought the cats along because we are crazy like that and have a cat stroller. Our cats are quite the spoiled type, but the best all in one.
Did I mention the day was gorgeous? Probably, but it just kept getting better and better and everybody we passed on the path was so cheery.
So thanks Spring, we've been waiting for you.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Disney in a Day

Three parks in one day. We conquered three whole disney parks in one teeny tiny day. Not to mention running on four hours of sleep and the Grateful Deads that I drank the night before were still rumbling around in my tummy. All of that didn't matter because Stephanie (J) and I (yes, I have two best friends named Stephanie) were headed to the most magical place on earth for her 22nd birthday. That's right Disney World.
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A few twists and turns later we started our day off at Animal kingdom to brighten our morning with the sounds of elephants and monkeys. We got to gaze upon the gigantic Tree of Life and I made a few wishes secretly that I could plant a tree so magnificent in our future backyard. Next, we learned that it really is "Tough to be a Bug," in one of those 3D experiences where you get squirted with bug insides and smell the wrath of a stink bug farts. After that, we headed to Expedition Everest and got chased by a yeti via roller coaster and it was off to DinoLand to be rescued by the extinct of course. We made it just in time to see the Finding Nemo Musical and I was automatically in so much love. I mean can there just be a law that all Disney movies must be replicated into musicals? I think yes, so many yeses! So we rode a few dinosaurs and our tummies started growling so it was time to travel to Epcot. 
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Epcot delighted us with probably some of the most beautiful flower beds and structures I've ever seen before. Visually I think Epcot is one of the prettiest parks and they did such a fantastic job of replicating all the countries to a tee. I was impressed. We frolicked through the multiple disney characters covered in moss and flowers on our way to Mexico to chow down. The food was decent considering we went to one of the cheaper restaurants, I got empanadas which I've never had before, and they were pretty lovely, and it was super tempting to get an authentic margarita, but my belly and my wallet stated otherwise. We said adios to Mexico and I was on a hunt down mission to meet Alice. We spotted her in the United Kingdom surrounded by a tea garden with actually tea leaves growing in tea cups. I was in wonderland heaven. Wonderland heaven? I mean that's like the best of both worlds. So I got my picture and we were off to get launched into space. At this point we were getting worn down beyond belief. I made the horrible mistake of not wearing socks with my vans that day and my feet were transforming into one big blister. We were steadily limping to our car and decided that it was time for a break. After Epcot we refueled at Hess because water at disney horrified my pocket and we kind of just vegged in the car with our shoes off while Magic Kingdom awaited us.
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We stumbled into Magic Kingdom blisters on our feet and all ready to conquer our homeland. Waited in the longest lines, but was well worth it because flying with peter pan and getting "It's a small world," stuck in your head is a staple when it comes to Magic Kingdom. After lines and lines and our grumbly bellies frowning at the price tags on food we stuck it out just for Space Mountain and then it hit us. The overwhelming feeling of leaving Disney World and being an adult. The horrible realization that our legs could no long endure the wrath of disney world much longer. We glanced at each other and then took a last glimpse of Cinderella's castle and made a run for it...or should I say a limp for it. Yes, we were pretty much penguins at this point. (by the way it takes like an hour just to get back to your ever loving car so the last hour was a blur for the both of us, but nonetheless HILARIOUS). Especially when we saw our car in the distance after getting off the tram we literally started galloping to the car with joy.
I so wasn't ready to say goodbye to Disney, but I know we will be seeing each other again very very soon because there's a little girl that I KNOW is dying to meet Ariel and her gang.

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Until next time Disney :)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Picnics and New Beginnings

When Florida hands you a chilly but sunny day you say thank you very much and go on a picnic. Florida has actually been treating us with at least one chilly day a week the last few weeks. It's very odd because at this point I'm already melting into my shoes because the humidity is so god awful. I guess things could be way worse right? Like all the snow flurries going on all over the country, but I would be grateful to pile on clothes, instead of fighting a war with my wardrobe and finding something that won't make me turn into a pool of sweat. So anyway it was absolutely beautiful yesterday so Stephanie and I headed to Phillipee Park (one of my favorites) and broke out the picnic basket for some prime time picnicing. We grabbed some publix subs because why make your own picnic basket food when there is BOGO cheez-it's and goldfish that taste like breakfast?

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I just can't even get enough of her criss crossing her feet like this lately ^ like it's her new thing and I'm eating it up.
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We lounged under giant pine trees, blasted tegan and sara and soaked up probably one of the last chilly but sunny days Florida will offer us until December. It was a nice goodbye to winter and also a sweet welcoming hello to spring. So after our day at the park and getting beat up by the playground equipment with Lola we headed home and the boys (Ryan and Kyle) watched the honey while Stephanie and I spent the evening gathering plans for something that I'm truly excited to announce. We are going to do some testing with it and see how things go, but within the next few weeks Stephanie and I are going to be opening an Etsy shop selling everything crafty and beautiful, but our main focus for the shop is going to be handmade candles. I'll be discussing more of the details as the weeks go on, so keep a look out for links and such! The rest of this weekend is going to be jam packed so I probably will be taking a slight break from blogging up until next week-ish. So I hope you all have a lovely weekend and Happy Pi Day!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Honeycomb sheets

Oh this morning was so joyous. I feel like I've been waiting for daylight savings for many many moons now. I think the concept of our room being absolutely pitch black in the early morning hours somehow transformed our bed into a cushion made of clouds. Our squeaky sunken bed has never felt comfier. Lola on the other hand, was wide awake, every hour from 6:30 to 8. It ended up being one of those mornings where I scooped her giggling self up from her crib and tip toed back into our bed cloud and snoozed while she tugged at my hair and face until she fell back into dreams with me. This is a rare sighting because of two reasons: Lola and her everlasting independence since she escaped my womb, and a little help from sleep training rituals. Yes we believe in them, and yes they work for us. So it's mornings like these that I cherish with all my pumping heart, moments where the only sound I hear is pitter pattering of cat paws through the halls, and little murmurs from Lola while she runs her fingers through the closest soft object available. Then after the sleepy morning snooze fest, I woke up in a slight panic wondering where I am and where she is. There she is just laying their babbling and yanking at my hair to wake up already! Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
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We also finally trashed our ancient bed sheets and replaced them with these lovelies. I'm really not too sure what the design actually is, but it reminds me of honeycomb, peachy honeycomb and that's a very scrumptious duo. But let's get serious now, I don't think you guys understand how long I've been craving new bed sheets. It's been ages, our old ones were so worn that the leaf prints were beginning to look like blobs of green and they were getting that worn beady texture to them. These new sheets are my new best friend and also a huge reason why staying in bed this morning and initiating them was a necessity, baby scents and giggles included.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Thank you fleas

So we had to de-flea our house. I'm almost positive that bugs upon bugs are just attracted to us and maybe just like our living quarters. We have struggled so much with bugs in this apartment from german roaches, to annoying specks of ants, now fleas. We are clean people, trust me! We treated the cats like three months ago thinking to ourselves, well that was treatment and we are good to go. Little did we know it's a process a huge process especially when we have three cats that the fleas are taking joy rides on all throughout the day.
All the madness started last week when I started recognizing little red dots all over Lola's skin... I was horrified at first thinking it was chicken pox, but that's gonna be a different day I suppose because we realized it was flea bites. She doesn't seem bothered by it all, but mommy and daddy think otherwise. So while she stayed at my moms house on Sunday we spent the entire day of "relaxation" killing the little monsters and cleaning every last piece of fabric in our house. It was actually kind of nice because we did some much needed house cleansing. That means, discovering crumbs the size of Jupiter in our couch cushions and finding our spare car keys (finally) while vacuuming. That means, working our washer and dryer over time ALLLLL day long, but in the midst of it all making our house permanently smell like laundry which is a mega plus to me. That means, being "those" people that spring clean their house every year when we have never been those people, but now I kind of want to be one of those people if that makes any sense.
So fleas can suck, like suck really hard...but it turned out to be a successful day and I got brand new bed pillows out of it too! It also sped up the process of baby proofing our not so baby safe house.
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So thanks fleas, even though you are a total nuisance and you're making my cats go crazy, you brought a few positives in the mix. You gotta take the bad with the good I guess. I've learned that's the best thing you really can do in sticky situations. And the cats? Well the cats are finally not licking themselves dry every second of every day since our bug guy came. So I'm guessing that's a good sign. Lola is still the fleas favorite candidate, but her bites are healing slowly and she's still the happy camper that she is.
And me? I'm loving our freshly vacuumed furniture (goodbye to the galaxy of crumbs forming under the cushions). I'm loving that this pushed me to go through my plethora of clothes and de-clutter and finally pack away the maternity wear. I'm loving being a spring cleaner and I'm loving these bug journeys in our apartment because we are always up for a challenge especially a bug war...we ALWAYS win. So this is goodbye fleas, your stay has been long over due.
Sincerely, three scratchy kitties, a polka dotted baby, and two overwhelmed parents.


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 *This week was the grand opening of Mellow Mushroom in our city, no pizza for miss Lola, but she had a blast regardless.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How I Meal Plan + Tips

I love cooking. I really love it. I actually enjoy cooking dinner for my family and being in the kitchen gives me a sense of relaxation. I suppose that could be a bit odd because most people avoid dinners and their kitchens like the plague. I felt this way at one point so I can completely and totally relate. What turned things around for me was meal planning. Once I started customizing and figuring out meal plan to fit my family things instantly turned around. I noticed that a lot of the stress came from the never ending question...what's for dinner tonight?
I dreaded the question because it sent my brain into a flurry of panic. I know you've all been there, mentally searching your recipe filing cabinet and then rushing off to the store every night to cram your cart full with more than anticipated and then off to your kitchen to throw it all together before bedtime. It's a mess and I'm gonna give you some of my tips that will make you enjoy your kitchen once again. Because if I can love my teeny apartment kitchen, I have faith you will rekindle the loves for yours.

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Step #1: Make a list and check inventory

This may sound like a "duh" moment to most, but I can't tell you how many times I used to walk around the grocery store aimlessly not having a damn clue what I needed and what the house already had. So that resulted in having multiple amounts of the same thing in our pantry/fridge. So I start my week off by marking on my calendar what we are having for dinner on each given day. (For us, we make dinners on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, Fridays are give or take on leftovers if we have them.) so once I've decided what our tummy's are having all week I make a list of all the things required to make the meals. After time has went with meal planning we have stocked up a lot of the necessities needed for most meals so it makes the list making process easier and easier and cheaper! You could hand write out a list or do it any special way you would please, but I MUST recommend an app that makes thing so so simple. It's called RecipePad and I'm not sure if other devices have it in store, but it know that the iPad has it and I use it every single week. It goes with me on every shopping trip and I would probably freak out if I ever left it behind, it's a special bond. The app organizes your recipes, that you transfer onto it or you can find recipes in the explore tab (kind of like a food version of pinterest). It has a nifty shopping list button on each recipe that lest you select the items from the recipe that you need to pick up at the store. Those items get transferred to your reminders (list) tab on your iPad and you're ready to get rolling. It is so easy and makes meal planning a cinch. You must check it out.
Also, when starting to plan your week go through and skim your fridge and pantry for stuff like condiments or essentials like eggs, milk and flour. Always make sure your stocked up for every week and you have enough of what you need, but not TOO much of it. And don't forget to check on your toiletries and cleaning supplies every few weeks as well. What I do is I have a magnetic list attached to the side of our fridge, whenever I use the last egg or last few drops of dish soap I write it down. That way, I don't forget and at the beginning on the week I just add it to my iPad list and I'm good to go.

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Step #2: Check ads for deals and coupons

Ryan and I are walmart shoppers, we just always have been. It's cheaper for us compared to some of the grocery stores in our neighborhood (sorry publix). Walmarts in our area do the ad matching thing and now have started supporting bogos (buy one get one frees) into that mix. The key to saving isn't to be one of those crazy people on those coupon shows....who needs that much toothpaste anyways? The key is to clip what you use and leave the rest for the garbage. Sometimes that means no coupons at all, but most weeks I find at least two or three that are beneficial to us and usually they take a whole month to expire so collect them for just in case. We do participate in the ad match guarantee, especially the bogos. We never go overboard and buy things just because you get something free, we always stay focused and buy what we need and if that means getting something free with it, so be it! Every week we always walk out of the store with like three or four bogo sets of items. We sometimes even work around the bogos and sales and incorporate them into our meals for the week. That's how I plan, around the deals and savings. You'll always get the most for your money with a little meal planning and ad searching. So don't forget to pick up your Sunday paper!

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Step #3: Go shopping!

My number one rule is to not get distracted by all the fancys. We go straight for produce first because that's where we get the majority of our items (fresh is ALWAYS best...and cheaper). Next we weave our way in and out of the aisles and let the list take us from there. And it's as simple as that, remember to keep an eye out for any other deals you see in the store and for stuff you may have missed putting on your list. And walk out of the store knowing that you didn't splurge too much and you got a cart full of groceries that you know exactly what meals they will turn into once you're home. It's a satisfying and stress free feeling. 

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I hope these tips work for you and if not tweak things a bit to work toward your family. Also don't forget to check out and download the RecipePad app here and start sorting your recipes and shopping lists now!