Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trick or Treats? Halloween TREATS!

Sorry for the M.I.A.  I've been swamped at work and have such little time to dedicate to posting.

But I had to dedicate a post to celebrate one of my favorite holidays, Halloween!  At work last week, we had a Fall Celebration.  Members on our team signed up to bring in a snack or other goodies to share with the others.  It was 5 full days of heavenly good food and tons of carbs!  I'll have to work extra hard at my New Year's Resolution of losing weight... again!

Anyway, here are my "Fall Celebration Cupcakes".  I didn't have time to make anything fancy, so I used cake mix from a box.  Bought some candy corn pumpkins (really just pure sugar shaped as pumpkins), but they added that special pizazze that I was looking for!  Oh, and the frosting was also store bought.  I "Martha Stewart" it up a bit by putting the frosting in a plastic bag, cutting a hole in the corner and piping out the frosting in a beautiful little mound of delicious chocolate.  Start from the outside and rotate your wrist in towards the center.  So easy and pretty!

Have a Happy Halloween!


I ran out of frosting towards the end and had to scrape the bag for left overs, hence the sad looking cupcake on the bottom right hand side.  Don't mind him!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Not Super Mom.

The blog world is pretty new to me and it's opened up a whole new world of ideas and inspiration!  I usually follow blogs about organizing, crafting, parties, and cooking (just to name a few).  As much as I love following and reading these blogs, sometimes they make me feel like a bad mom and wife. 

Let me explain.  Most of these organizing blogs are written by stay at home moms.  Not only do these "Super Moms" have the patience to be at home EVERY.DAY with their kids, but they provide educational crafts and projects for them.  On top of that they keep their houses immaculently clean, make home cooked, nutritional meals, are beautifully made up, and make extra money for their family by having a successful blog!  Atleast that's what it seems like to me.  By the way, none of the description above apply to me! 

I'm a full time working mom.  During my industry's busy season, I work 50 - 60 hours a week.  There have been days where I work from 9 am - 8pm, come home to spend a little time with the hubby and Little Muon and then log back online to work until 3 am!  I don't cook any meals that require more then 30 minutes, my house always needs some sort of dusting or cleaning, there is always a ton of laundry to either wash, fold or put away and you'll usually find me sporting a pony tail and no makeup!

Inevitably, these Super Moms always seem to post on their blog about their day to day routine in the hopes of giving you tips and ideas on how to run a clean, organized household.  One Super Mom said that she cleaned and washed her kitchen and bathroom floors everyday (haha, yeah right))!  Some suggest doing one load of laundry everyday.  And one even had time to make a home cooked dinner, help her kids do homework, bathe them, and have family time before putting her kids down for bed by 7pm.  Um, I'm usually leaving work at 7pm!

So I thought I'd write my own version of tips and ideas on running a household... minus the super powers!

1)  Mahalo for Leaving Your Shoes at the Door -  That's the sign hanging on the wall as you enter my house.  This is my first line of defense in fighting and reducing dirt that enters the house.  Have you ever looked at the bottom of your shoes?  Yuck!  Not only do shoes bring in unneccessary dirt, but they can track in residual pesticides from the outdoors.  I read one study that showed that indoor shoe-wearing was a larger source of children’s pesticide exposures than eating non-organic fruits and vegetables!

2)  Vacuum high traffic areas EVERY DAY... well my Roomba does anyway!

Although the no shoes rules help reduce the amount of dirt that comes in the house, it can't be totally avoided.  I have 3 dogs that track in plenty of their own dirt.  Since the dogs don't wear shoes and can't leave them at the door, my Roomba has become my best friend.  I'm sure you've seen the commercials and have always wondered "is it worth it"?  Roomba's are not cheap, but trust me, they are worth it!  I bought mine on HSN.  You can opt to spread out your payments to help with the cost.  I don't have time to vacuum everyday, but my Roomba can!  I turn it on before leaving for work and have nice dirt free floors when I come home!

3)  Slow Cooking is fast cooking


Have you ever been so exhausted after a long day of work that cooking is the last thing on your mine?  Well, I have one of these days atleast once a week.  Eating out can get expensive, so enter my second best friend, the slow cooker!  We try to do at least one slower cooker meal a week.  There are so many things you can cook with a slower cooker:  pork chops, roast beef, enchilladas, even a cake!  There's even a blog out there about a family who only cooked with the slower cooker for a year!  McCormick even sells seasoning packets especially for slow cooking.  All you have to do is add the main ingredients and mix!

4)  Never leave a messy kitchen - I don't wash my kitchen floors everyday.  But I do make it a rule to never leave dirty dishes in the sink.  After dinner, while one of us gets Taylor ready for bed, the other cleans up.  This means, loading the dishes in the dishwasher, washing and drying any pots and pans, wrapping up leftovers and wiping down the counter tops and stove.  With our hectic schedule, leaving clean up for the next day can easily allow the mess to get out of control!

5)  Pick a room, any room - Like I said, there is always something in my house that needs to be dusted or vacuumed.  And since I'd rather spend my weekends with the family then cleaning, I break it up throughout the rest of the week.  I'm not saying I clean a room every day, but say I'm in the bathroom washing my hands.  I'll go ahead and take an extra 5 minutes wiping down the mirror and sink and scrubbing the toilet.  For cleaning duties that require a little more time, like washing floors, I leave that as my weekend option.  I might wash the kitchen floor on Saturday and bathrooms floors on Sundays.  But since I maintain the kitchen regularly and do quick cleanings during the weekday, I can just focus on the floors rather then the entire room.

6)  Leave a room with atleast one item - In my crazy household, things aren't always where they're supposed to be.  So whenever I leave a room, I always make sure I take atleast one item that doesn't belong and put it back where it's supposed to be.  For example, I always bring a cup of water to bed at night.  In the morning, before I leave the bedroom, I always take the cups with me.  Otherwise, I'd eventually run out of cups!

7)  Don't be a junk mail Junkie- I was dog watching for my sister while she was on vacation for a week.  The amount of junk mail she got in that week was insane!  It made me realize how quickly this stuff can pile up.  That's why every night I do a quick look at the incoming mail and immediatly throw out or shred any type of junk mail.  If you're like me, you probably get a lot of catalogs too.  I rarely keep catalogs that come to my house.  If I don't usually shop at a store, then I throw out the catalog immediately.  If it's something I'm interested, I might keep it to skim through, but also trash it within a day or two.  If I see something I like, then I write it down and go online to order it.

Well, those are a few things to control the chaos and mess in my house.  I don't have super powers and am far from being a "Super Mom", but hopefully, you found some of these tips and ideas useful.  Good night!

Friday, September 10, 2010

I was featured on Sara's Party Perfect!

I am a loyal reader of the blog, Sara's Party Perfect.  I love all the creative parties that are featured here and it's a great place for inspirational kid parties!

Back in May, I emailed Sara when I was planning Little Muon's Nemo themed 2nd birthday. Sara features "Reader's Questions" on her blogs and I got so many great responses and ideas from other followers.

I thought it would be nice to show Sara pictures from the party and thank the readers who responded to my question. I emailed Sara and totally forgot about it. Well, just a couple of days ago, I received an email back from Sara saying she had blogged about my Nemo party on her blog!  Check it out here!

Okay, okay, she spelled my name wrong (it's not Nuong) and she didn't put a link back to my blog, but I'm still happy that she took the time to dedicate a post to my Nemo party.  Being new to the blogging world, beggers can't be choosers.  And I'm not going to nit pick about the details!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I was featured on Save the Date for Cupcakes!

My Blue and Green "Beachy" Dessert Table was featured on Save the Date for Cupcake's blog today! WHOO HOO! My first feature! I am so excited. Stop into Save the Date and check out all inspirational dessert table and party ideas.





Tuesday, August 17, 2010

MawMaw's Recipe Corner: Coconut Dream Pie

When I first met my husband, he would always rave about his "MawMaw's" cooking.  My husband's family come from West Virginia and MawMaw was known for her good ole' Southern cooking, especially her desserts!  The hubby would rave on and on about his grandmother's Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.  Homemade this and that.  Makes me hungry just thinking about it.

By the time I met MawMaw, she was well into her late 80s and had stopped baking and cooking.  But my husband's aunts continued to make some of MawMaw's favorite dishes.

On my first visit to meet the family, my hubby's aunt had made MawMaw's Coconut Dream Pie.  When I opened the fridge and saw a big mound of yumminess topped with coconut, I was in heaven!  And when I took my first bite, I fell over.  DELICIOUS!  After I picked myself up from the floor, I made the hubby ask MawMaw for the recipe. 

When my husband was growing up and MawMaw used to make this pie for him, he thought it was MawMaw's very own special recipe!  When he asked MawMaw for the recipe that day, she said, "Look on the back of a Dream Whip box!"  We later learned that many of MawMaw's "special recipes" came from the paper or magazines or even pudding boxes!  Regardless, before we left that day, we had a small collection of MawMaw's recipes. 

I've only made a few of MawMaw's recipes, but I'd like to be able to start trying out the rest of the collection (which is sitting in a folder waiting to be organized).  So I thought I'd get the project started by featuring a few of MawMaw's recipes here on my blog.  My first "MawMaw's Recipe Corner" post will naturally be of MawMaw's famous Coconut Dream Pie.  When hubby and I make one of MawMaw's dishes, it always brings some very special memories back for him.  I guess that's why he loved eating her food so much.  In the end, we realized that MawMaw did add her very own secret ingredient in all her dishes... love.

So here it is, MawMaw's Coconut Dream Pie:
(wish I had a better picture of this, but trust me, it's YUMMO! )


MAWMAW'S COCONUT DREAM PIE

Ingredients
2 env. Dream Whip whipped topping mix
2 3/4 c. cold milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 (4 oz.) pkgs. instant pudding mix, vanilla
1 baked 9" pie shell, cooled or 1 graham cracker or chocolate crust
1 small tub of Cool Whip
2 cups shredded coconut

Directions
1) Beat Dream Whip mix with 1 cup of milk and vanilla in large bowl with mixer on high for about 6 minutes until thick and forms peaks.
Warning:  Don't overbeat.  It will change the consistency of the mixture.

2)  Add remaining milk and the pudding mix; blend on low. Beat on high for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

3)  Spoon into pie shell

4)  Top Cool Whip over pudding mixture.  Sprinkle with coconut.

5)  Chill at least 4 hours.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Surprise Bridal Shower - Part 3: The Panty Poem

Last post from Yung's Bridal Shower.  Yung and Brad live in a small apartment with not much storage areas, so they opted not to register.  They pretty much have everything they need "household" wise anyway.  And because Yung LOVES lingerie, we decided to go with lingerie/panty themed gifts.  Jessica Weiss wrote a bridal shower panty poem for her best friend's shower that prepared the bride with a pair of panty for certain marriage milestones.  I found the poem here and decided to have each guests read a verse from the poem before presenting their corresponding "panty" gift.  It was so much fun for both guests and bride to be!

Here is the poem with the corresponding "panty":
We friends have a secret to share
About our little bride
She is obsessed with underwear
And that we cannot hide.

So for out little panty queen
We'll make her feel just fine
By working as a friendly team
To form a panty line.

Yung, these undies are to last you
All throughout your life
And Brad will be pleased to say
He has a sexy wife!

So listen up to hear about
Your lifelong panty plan
These underwear, we have no doubt
Will last your whole life span.

The first are for your wedding day
Of coure they are pure white
We know Brad will shout, "Hooray!"
When he sees you on that night.

(Bridal Whites)

The next are for your honeymoon
They're sexy and all lace
We hope you'll leave your hotel room
'Cause the Dominican's a gorgeous place!

(Sexy Lace)

On Valentine's you'll wear this pair
Before you hit the bed
Cuz Cupid's arrow in the air
Shoots tushies that are red

(Red for V-Day)

After a year has passed you'll face
Anniversary number one
With these you'll surely have a blast
'Cuz leopard's so much fun!

(Leopard print)

Then when the time is right for you
And don't be saying, "Maybe"
You'll wear your little pink or blue
In honor of your baby

(Pink for a girl and Blue for a boy)


And when your years of wedding bliss

Become the big 2-5
Don't worry - you'll just slip this on
To keep the sparks alive

(Silver sexy full cut)

When finally you're old and gray
With these you can't go wrong
'Cuz sorry Yung but at that age
You just can't wear a thong

(Granny panties)

I loved how each guest had their own interpretation of the "panty" for their assigned verse.  I think Yung is set in the underwear department!  Give this fun game a try at your next shower!

Surprise Bridal Shower - Part 2: The Food Table

Wanted to share with you some more photos of Yung's Bridal Shower.  As you can tell, alot of my planning went into planning and designing The Dessert Table.  To keep me from literally pulling my hair out from stress, I decided to keep everything else low key.  So that I wasn't spending even more time in the kitchen, I made the shower a potluck.  The guests really came thru and had some delicious and wonderful dishes to share.

I had a table cloth I had bought from Ikea two summer ago just sitting in storage waiting to be used.  I finally had the opportunity to break it out.

I made these "Martha Stewart" inspired poms from this tutorial.  I made them in two different sizes.  Smaller greens ones for the dessert table and larger blue and green ones for the food table.  Here's a tip, buy the tissue paper from Walmart.  They have a good selection of colors and they're only $1 or $2 per pack (depending on the color).  Much cheaper then Michaels and better colors then what the Dollar Store had to offer. I wish I could have hung the poms from the ceiling, but they were really HIGH and I didn't feel like falling that day!  I got the blue paper lanterns at Micheals in the summer clearance section for .49 cents each.  Can't beat that!

My sister found these adorable sea shell place card holders on clearance at Michaels as well.  They were perfect for the food labels and fit with the "beach" theme.  Oh and do you spy the blue buckets I reused from Taylor's 2nd birthday and Easter party?  And those blue bowls in the pic above were also from Little Muon's 2nd birthday.  I love being able to reuse supplies from other parties!

One last shot of The Food Table. 




































Thanks again ladies for all the yummy dishes you brought to share!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Surprise Bridal Shower - Part 1: The Dessert Table

My long time childhood friend, Yung, is getting married next week!  I'm super excited for her and am so happy she has finally found her "happily ever after" with a wonderful guy.  In celebration of the big day, my sister and I threw Yung a surprise bridal shower!  Yung is practically a sister to Trang and I and has always been there for us and this was our opportunity to finally thank her for being such a fantastic friend.

Since Yung is getting married on the beautiful beaches of the Dominican Republic, I went with a "beachy" theme.  And if you've been a follower of my blog, you know that I really like to focus on color rather then making obvious, over the top statements with the decor.  So my colors were green and blue with touches of "beach". 

When I started planning Taylor's 1st birthday, I discovered the blog world.  I found some fantastic party blogs and have gotten my ideas and inspiration from this community of creative bloggers.  The latest craze in the party blog world right now is the "dessert tables"; the most famous of them all being Amy Atlas.  She is absolutely amazing and so creative!  Yung's bridal shower gave me the opportunity to FINALLY do my own dessert table.  So I set out to make a chocolate dessert table, inspired by the blue and green colors. 

I was so happy with the way it turned out.  And I think Yung was too.  So many thanks to my sister for her graphic design talents and helping me with the planning and cooking.  We had many late nights, but it was so worth it! 

Here are some pictures... taken by none other then Trang Dam Photography.

Trang designed the sign and goodie bags.

We made caramel candy pretzel sticks and chocolate dipped pretzels. 




































Oreo Dipped Chocolates...mmmmm.  Exactly like the Oreo Lollipops I made for Taylor's birthday, minus the lolli!




































By the way, I had been eyeing a square cakestand like FOREVER.  But only could find them online and super expensive!  I went to one of my all time fav store, HomeGoods, and found this one for $12.99!  Can't beat that!  I added the green ribbon for a touch of green!

Chocolate seashells...

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries...




































Trang and I found that awesome P A R T Y platter at a consignment shop on one of our shopping excursions.  I fell in LOVE with it when I saw it!  We filled the letters with Hershey Kisses.

Can you believe that table cloth came from Goodwill... new in packaging!  I also scattered some blue and green glass marbles (from the Dollar Store) on the table as well as sea shells from my own collection.  These small touches really brought the table together.

Finally, the delicious cake...  Giant Food better cream!  How cute is this cake!

Along with the goodie bags, guests took home these adorable flip flop luggage tags.  These came in handy for those that were going with the happy couple to the Dominican.

To go over the dessert table, I made a "Sweet Love" bunting out of scrapbook paper.  I made a circular version of this for Taylor's 2nd birthday.

Yung, I hope you had a great time.  Congratulations and much love to you and Brad.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Taylor's 2nd Birthday - Part 4: Thank You Cards

One more post about Taylor's 2nd Birthday.  Finally getting around to sending out thank you cards.  My talented sister designed the thank you cards.  These will be going out to all the wonderful family and friends who helped us celebrate out baby becoming a toddler!

Love that it follows our Nemo theme!  See the invitation here.



Check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of Taylor's 2nd Birthday.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

100 Things to Do for Great Summer Photos

Wow!  It's August already and summer is almost over.  The older I get, the faster time seems to go by.  What have you done this summer? 

Kelly Willette from willettedesigns.com has a fantastic freebie:  a list of 100 things to do for great summer photos.  The premise is simple:  spend your summer with your kiddos (or for those who don't have any, your friends) doing some of these fun activities AND a camera.  These activities are great ways to spend a lazy summer day and the opportunity to capture memorable summer photos. 

Here are some of my favorites from her list:
1)  Go to the beach.
2)  Build a sand castle.
3)  Visit a local museum.
4)  Have a sleepover.
5)  Make home-made ice cream. 
6)  Blow bubbles.
7)  Press summer flowers.
8)  Play outside in the rain (or sprinkler and hose).
9)  Create a nature journal of what you find in your yard.
10)  Write a letter to a soldier overseas.
11)  Make banana splits.
12)  Have a water balloon fight.
13)  Watch all your old family movies on a rainy day.
14)  Create a scavenger hunt.
15)  Tie dye t-shirts!

Here are some of the things we've done so far this summer:

Turned TWO years old!


Went to the beach:


Blew and caught bubbles:


Blew out candles, just for the pure enjoyment, on Uncle Dave's birthday, mommy's birthday and Grandma's birthday!


Had a family picnic at the park:


Got some fishies!


Got a "big" girl bed:


Went to the pool... ALOT!


Made music with all of mommy's metal bowls:


Had a GI procedure done (what a sad day):


As well as laughed, sang, and danced alot!  Check out Kelly's site and grab your list of 100 things to do and finish off your summer with some great photos!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Taylor's 2nd Birthday - Part 3: Dipped Oreo Suckers

I've been meaning to write this post as a part of my "Taylor's 2nd Birthday" series, but somehow time got away from me.  Well, I finally got around to posting it!  In case you're interested, Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

I wanted to share with you my new favorite party treat idea, Dipped Oreo Cookie Suckers.  I found this at one of my favorite new sites, HowDoesShe.com.  It is so full of fun and creative ideas.  I wish I had more time and a vinyl cutter machine (check the site out and you'll know what I mean) to try my hand at a few of the projects.  But when I spied this tutorial on their site, I thought, "I could do that"!

It is so easy and so yummy!  Here's what you need: 
1)  Oreos
2)  Lollipop sticks
3)  Melting Chocolate
4)  Sprinkles
5)  Lollipop bags
6)  Bag ties or ribbons

Believe it or not, you can get all these items at Walmart.  One stop shopping I tell ya! 

I used Golden Oreos for mine.  OMG!  These cookies by themselves are DELICIOUS!  Dip them in chocolate and sprinkles, and you've got a little bit of heaven....

My first attempt at these were at Taylor's Easter Egg Hunt that she hosted with her little friend Cameron back in April.  Walmart had colored melting chocolates that were Easter inspired.  I picked up a bag of yellow and orange.  The orange I saved for Taylor's birthday party.  Always thinking ahead!  I also found a spool of Easter ribbon for .99!  And you probably can't tell, but the sprinkles were even Easter inspired!  See the little bunny rabbit ears?  So adorable!  The little blue bucket, I found in dollar bin at Target, which I later reused at Taylor's birthday party as well.  What can I say, I'm a thrifty mom!


I made a batch for Taylor's birthday that followed the Nemo inspired color theme, orange and blue. 


Give them a try.  I promise you won't be disapointed!  Send me pictures of your creation!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ah-B

Wubby, blankie, banky, lambie... there are a ton of names for security blankets.  Taylor has named hers "Ah-B".  Pronounced exactly how it sounds.  We can never leave the house or go to bed without it.  Taylor cuddles and hugs Ah-B like it's a real person.  It must be a comfort mechanism, but Taylor also likes to pull and pick at Ah-B, causing huge holes.  She also likes to wrap the strings around her feet and fingers.  We've replaced Ah-B twice already, worried that the damaged Ah-B could potentiall create a safety issue. 

Here is Ah-B #1.  Notice the huge hole.  We replaced it because we were afraid she would get wrapped up in the hole.


Here is Ah-B #2.  Not even 2 weeks old, Taylor managed to pull it apart already. 


I don't have a picture of Ah-B #3, but Taylor wasn't interested in it at all.  She has proclaimed it to be "Not Ah-B" and tossed it aside in defiance!  Kids!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Taylor's 2nd Birthday - Part 2: Friends & Family

I blogged about the party details in my last post, so here are some pictures of Taylor's guests.

Taylor and her Grandmother (my mom):


Taylor and her Paw-Paw (hubby's dad):


Taylor and her Godmother Tina:


Taylor with my parents and cousin Josh.  He's such a cutie!


Taylor with her cousin Alivia and Kala:


Some of our friends who helped us celebrate!






Thanks to my awesome sister for her gorgeous photos!

One last shot of the birthday girl blowing out her candles! 

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