friday favorites…and they are fabulous!

I have 3 newly found websites, that I am IN LOVE with!!!

So Happy Friday Favorites to you all… goes…

Hair Thursday“.  LOVE this site!  From beauty tricks, quick hair fixes, to the most darling little boy’s haircut (though super stiff competition with my nephews’) you absolutely must check out this site.  Most especially this post, 4.9 – Preschoolers Need Style Too!

(Photo: Hair Thursday)

And if you like this undeniably handsome little guy’s haircut, then you definitely need to hear him tell you about his Favorite Things (since we all know I *heart* Favorite things!!).  His mom has awesome style and 2 very fun blogs to follow, Hair Thursday and Whoorl.  Most certainly check them out…I’m hoping just a small amount of her coolness is going to rub off on me!

The third fabulous site that also has an amazing mom with more cool than I know what to do with, (and who I also hope I can grab a bit of her coolness from) is Weelicious.  I’m not going to lie, I found this site by reading Whoorl, so see…the sharing of coolness has begun!

First off, check this photo out…if you saw this wouldn’t you have mom envy and want to know her tricks?? You might just want to hate her for being so amazing….

(Photo Credit: Weelicious)

But then when you found out you could make DELICIOUS and SUPER EASY Mac & Cheese like this, and when you see how incredibly down to earth she is, wouldn’t you want to follow her too? (and share a bowl of that Mac & Cheese)?! Loved watching the video!  She is sooo the mom next door that you would definitely be friends with!  Also love that her site is filled with great tips for making healthy food that your kids will love (avocado half with lime juice, delicious…). She gives great advice on cooking with and for your Littles, as well as shopping at your local Farmers Market, growing your own veggie garden, and shares her lists for your pantry for healthy eating!  I love her already and I haven’t even met her…

So happy Friday to you all!!  Hope you have an awesome holiday weekend! If you do nothing else, check out The Pioneer Woman’s photo contest for “Coming Home” Photos…here, here, and here….INCREDIBLE photography that will remind you what this holiday is for, and will bring both joy and sadness to your hearts.

One of my Favorites…

(Photo Credit: Joiedevivrephotography)

And all those fighting the post prego Belly Bulge with me…I’m posting my update on Sunday and CANT WAIT to hear how you all are doing.  Next week the workouts start – Lord help me now!!

friday favorites

Wow, every week I think I will be closer to getting my act together, and every week seems like that light is further and further away…thank goodness for Readers.

Do you know what an RSS feed reader is??  I’m probably calling it by the wrong name it’s so new to me.   Sandy Heit first told me about them…and I think I replied with “Yeah, yeah, yeah…but I really like my daily blog subscription emails coming to my in-box so I don’t have to do any work.

Well that thought was good, however I follow a lot of blogs for one reason or another.  That plus the My Favorite Everything emails, along with my personal emails, along with the comment emails, means 100s and 100s of emails that I try to comb through each day.  Not a favorite part of my day as I always feel like I’m letting someone down by not reading a post, not replying in a timely miner to an email, losing emails, etc.  It’s just tough to always feel like your drowning in emails.

So at least on the blog following side, I have moved all of my subscriptions to RSS feed subscriptions. Which means that my Google Reader is notified the moment someone posts something new to their blog.  Typically for me to read all that I want to read, I scan through all of these around 4AM from my iPhone in bed when I’m up feeding Piper her bottle.  I “star” the ones I want to go back to for any reason, but at least I’ve gotten through them.  It also makes it easy if I’m at an appt or waiting in my car since I have the reader app on my phone. One thing that I like in particular is that it lumps all of one blog’s updates in one place so, for instance, I can read ALL of The Pioneer Woman’s posts at one time.

So if you don’t use a reader, I highly suggest it.  Saves you lots of time and it clears out your email in-box a little bit!  (So sorry I didn’t listen to you sooner Sandy!!)

Onto my favorite finds for this week.

I love following Bakerella.  I remember seeing her demonstrate how to make her cupcake pops on Martha Stewart Living (which I don’t watch and for some reason just happened to be on in my house that day – that is the link to the video of that episode).  Martha asked her what she planned to do with her “cute cupcake pop idea” and she said she wasn’t sure, she was just having fun with it.  Do you think she knew her life was about to go crazy from that moment forward??

Anyway, I saw this tutorial on her site this week and thought how fun it would be to do with your kids.  You make your own little pudding bowls with balloons!!  Truthfully, I think you could make these bowls for a lot of different things.  I just love them!!

And not to double promote Bakerella, but when you see a favorite, what do ya do???  She also wrote about a site, Bake it PrettyHELLO!  This is a Heaven of a site!  Check out Bakerella’s post to see all her wonderful finds….I’m trying really hard not to go crazy on Bake it Pretty right now.  Here’s a couple favorites I saw.

This favorite is from The Pioneer Woman who is truly my hero.  When I saw this post, I kind of giggled.  I mean seriously??  A step-by-step for making Cinnamon Toast??

But then I read it…

And I knew she was right (isn’t she always?)

And I HAD to go there.

Simply put. Yum.

You know if it starts like this, it’s going to be GOOD.

And finally, there is a meal plan up for next week.  We’re doing super simple meals in our house right now.  We are so sad to see our amazing friend meals end….mom is now back in the kitchen, SUPER simple stuff sp as not to put me over the edge!

Enjoy your weekend!  Hug your Littles, your Gran-Littles and friends Littles, and check back next week for Laundry and Organization tips!

(All of the above images are from their respective sites.)

friday favorites ~ meatless dinners

Happy Friday Everyone!!

So this Friday’s suggestions actually come from a reader that sent in a request for “Meatless Menus” for the next 5 Fridays in observance of Lent.  Now if you know me at all, then you know I’m not a seafood eater, so typically when we go in the seafood direction I’m heading to Bear Flag Fish Company for fish tacos because they are AMAZING!  Or to Gulfstream for their grilled Ono, YUM! Neither of these have any “fishy” taste to me and I HIGHLY recommend!  But we really don’t cook THAT much seafood at home, unless it’s shellfish, because it’s unfortunately not my thing.

But here are a few of my suggestions for “meatless dinners”, and then I turned to my brilliant middle sister, who is a vegetarian and much more in the know with family friendly meatless meals!  I’ll post more later this weekend or next week.  Hope these help whether you are observing Lent or not.  A meatless dinner is always good for variety!

Menu #1

Gumbo with Cornbread.  Use the shrimp only, omit the chicken and sausage.  And the cornbread can be made earlier in the day, just serve at room temperature with honey and butter (or honey butter!!! YUM!)  This is always a crowd pleaser in our house!

Menu #2

Pioneer Woman’s Mac & Cheese with Crunchy Romain Toss SaladYou really can’t go wrong with Mac & Cheese!

Menu #3

Make your own pizzas, just don’t use meat. Margarita Pizza anyone?

Menu #4

Veggie Lasagna (omit the meat and use a meatless marina sauce, Classico’s Sweet Pepper is good!), Strawberry Salad (spinach, sliced strawberries, red onion, and Girrard’s Champagne dressing), Garlic Bread (butter & garlic powder)

Menu #5

Tomato Soup (I love Trader Joes’s boxed Tomato Soup, and Wolfgang Pucks canned Classic Tomato is awesome!) with Grilled Cheese Fingers (just cut the grilled cheese into little strips for dipping! Try using different cheeses together – cheddar, swiss, havarti??)

I don’t think anyone will miss the meat in any of the above dinners!!  Stay tuned for a few more suggestions!

I had planned on giving you next week’s menu, but tonight was Addie’s 3rd night in a big girl bed and it took no less than 2 hours for her to fall asleep.  (I’ve been out of my chir so often I feel like I was doing squats at the gym!)  Addie loves the bed, just also loves being able to get out of it!  So needless to say, no menu yet.  Look for it this weekend!  Happy Friday eveyone!

friday favorites

Happy Friday!  We made it one more week without Baby #3 arriving, whooohoooo!!

Saturday is the girls double birthday party. Hoping the rain doesn’t come….rain and an outdoor Sock Hop just don’t mix!  Think good thoughts for me!  Addie had fun practicing her dance moves and trying on her skirt…hoping she’ll still like the skirt on Saturday…

The meal plan and shopping list are up for next week, as a reminder, I post the EXACT menu that our family is eating.  The past few weeks I’ve had a lot of evening events, so the meals have been simplified to have them ready for Dada and the girls.

Next week Dada has a lot of evening events, so the meals have been simplified for me.  Plus, why is it that when our hubby’s aren’t eating with us we seem to be OK with a less “fancy” dinner???  Next week has spaghetti, chicken nuggets, homemade pizza, quesadillas – total kid food that’s EASY for mom.  Hope it’s helpful for you too!

And it seems this “Friday Favorites” post is all about food!

Could it be because I’m about to have a baby and the “get out of jail for free meal card” is about to expire??

You know the time when calories start to count again???



This one I just had to share.  I think its adorable!  A friend and follower emailed me the breakfast she made for her 2 year old, LOVE it!  Isn’t it crazy just the little extra time we can take, that doesn’t cost us a single extra penny and it gives a little magic to our Littles!  Thanks for sharing A.!

The next is the recipe for the pound cake from our Valentine/Chinese New Year/Birthday extravaganza last Sunday that I promised to share.  LOVE this pound cake recipe!  A FABULOUS Jackson, Mississippi friend shared it with me YEARS ago…it is my go to quick cake recipe.  I think it takes me all of 15 minutes to mix all the ingredients and throw it in the oven where it bakes nicely all by itself for an hour and 15 minutes making your house smell sooo good. You can sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with fresh berries and vanilla ice cream, or sorbet….or vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce….pretty much anything goes.  We served it with fresh fruit, vanilla ice cream and chocolate fondue, YUUUUUUMMMMM!  Thanks S. for sharing this recipe!  Still have it on your original recipe card!

Third is a reminder for the Bandera Clone Cornbread that my FABULOUS Southern friend C. shared with us a few months ago.  I had never made it myself, only happily consumed it when C. brought it over for us.  But last night I was out of my Trader Joe’s cornbread mix, so decided to give it a shot. It MIGHT have taken me 8 minutes to mix it all up.  Popped it in the oven and HELLO HEAVEN!!!  I was out last night, so I whipped up Turkey Chili for the fam and left it in the crock pot to simmer.  The cornbread recipe should have baked for 45 minutes in a 12″ skillet.  I used an 8″ square baking dish which made it a little deeper and thicker.  I needed to bake it an extra 20 minutes.  I checked it at 10 minutes each time and when the top was slightly golden brown and just firm to the touch, I pulled it out to cool.  I made everything at 3:00 yesterday in order to have it ready and waiting, so there was no time crunch having it run a little long.  And the cornbread was WELL WORTH THE WAIT!  Everyone devoured it! Including myself that took a piece for the road as I headed out!  ADD THIS TO YOUR RECIPE BOOKS!

Lastly is a new found favorite that I could have been enjoying for years, except that I would be the size of a house by now.  I love making this super simple Chocolate Fondue recipe. And everyone loves it when I do.  We made it this past Sunday and I put the left over in a tupper ware in the fridge (I never have leftovers, but I had doubled the recipe).  It cooled, but never went solid again.  Instead it became like a homemade Nutella, but with the consistency of peanut butter.  My brain started twirling and I grabbed a graham cracker….OMG, don’t EVEN get me started!  It was like an indoor s’more!  This just unleashed soooo many possibilities!  Honestly, such a yummy snack, and could truly be used to make some pretty EASY and unique desserts.  Who knew chocolate fondue could have TWO LIVES?!?!?

Enjoy your weekend!

Check back on Monday….hoping to post come cute ideas for throwing a Sock Hop!

friday favorites ~ chinese new year love

So it’s Valentines Day on Sunday AND it’s Chinese New Year.  Not that I’m a BIG celebrator of either Holiday, BUT

1. When you have Littles, you can’t ignore that it’s Valentine’s Day

2. Celebrating other holidays can be a fun learning experience and add a little spice to the dinner scene.

3. In our family, it also gives us a theme for our February birthday dinner.  February is the one month out of the year that my husband dreads.  A whole ton of birthdays fall in February for us….2 of my hubby’s brothers, his mom, me and now Hayden… Valentine’s Day.  So we usually all celebrate with one big family dinner over Super Bowl.  But this year, we are doing it on Valentine’s Day/Chinese New Year!

So Sunday is going to be a FULL holiday day for us.  We’re starting it out celebrating Valentines Day with Heart shaped pancakes, whipped cream and strawberries (because that TOTALLY says LOVE)!   I plan on using the AWESOME Blueberry Pancake Recipe and omitting the blueberries in order to top with Strawberries

There really is no better pancake recipe than this one.

Not that I’m biased

And then we will end the day with our family eating yummy Chinese food (what better party to throw than one you can order all the food relatively inexpensively AND not have dishes to wash???)

Plus Chinese New Year is all about the color red, and doesn’t that go with Valentine’s Day??

See where I’m going with all of this?  FUN and EASY!

Here’s a brief tutorial for you from Wikipedia so you don’t need to dust off the school books:

Ancient Chinese New Year is a reflection on how the people behaved and what they believed in the most.

People will pour out their money to buy presents, decoration, material, food, and clothing. It is also the tradition that every family thoroughly cleans the house to sweep away any ill-fortune in hopes to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red colour paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”. On the Eve of Chinese New Year, supper is a feast with families. Food will include such items as pigs, ducks, chicken and sweet delicacies. The family will end the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes. The Chinese New Year tradition is a great way to reconcile forgetting all grudges, and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.

So call up your favorite Chinese restaraunt, order up a feast and invite friends and family over.  Here’s a few thoughts:

  1. You can make paper bag luminaries to welcome people.  All you need is a paper lunch bag, thick black pen, candle and something to weight the bag.  Google “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity” Chinese symbols, then duplicate the symbol on the bag with the pen.  It doesn’t really matter if its perfect or not. Feel free to add a heart or 2 if you want…
  2. Make paper lanterns with your Littles to decorate the house with:
  3. Serve a Woo-Woo Cocktail to the adults.  (Not necessarily Chinese, but it’s red, it’s yummy, and it’s called a Woo-Woo and every good event needs a good cocktail!) BTW – I’m adding a disclosure. I’ve served this cocktail MANY timesit has GREAT powers….use/drink wisely and be ready, it can lead to children
  4. I plan on serving chocolate fondue for dessert.  Again not really a Chinese New Year treat, but a fun twist and definitely one for Valentine’s Day.  Serve with fresh strawberries and a big bowl of fortune cookies that come with your dinner order (again EASY!!)!
  5. Make a heart wreath for your door.  It celebrates Valentine’s Day AND gives you the red door for Chinese New Year.
  6. Have a red take home envelope for each person to open the next day and fill it with a “little fortune” to bless their New Year.
  7. Google Chinese Astrology and let everyone figure out what their Chinese Zodiac sign is….always a fun party conversation!

Most of all, keep the day stress free for yourself! It’s all about having fun!

Make it a day filled with LOVE, good fortune, health and longevity!

Have a great weekend!  See you back on Monday!

(FYI – I’m still working on next weeks meal plan, it will post Monday…)

friday favorites

It was a crazy busy week again (What weeks aren’t for moms??  Do any of you have a new found respect for your mom?? I sure do!) And I can’t believe it’s just over 4 weeks until the newest babe is here!  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t make a showing any earlier!!!  I love ya and can’t wait to meet ya, but you just go ahead and stay nice and cozy until March 9th, Pretty Please!

OK, onto the fun things from this week.  I actually had to edit this a bit because I saw so many fun things to share and try!  Here is just a sampling….

These are just too darn cute! Sweetie Pies, from Williams Sonoma. YUM!!

“Pure edible nostalgia, our heart-shaped treats recall the whoopie pies beloved by kids but with a decidedly sophisticated twist. The sweet valentines come to us from a bakery in Maine that uses local butter and free-range eggs to make individual rich, moist red-velvet cakes that are filled with decadent buttercream in three delicious flavors: chocolate, raspberry and classic vanilla.”

I {HEART} whoopie pies!  If you live in the Orange County or Los Angeles area you might also try Susie Cake’s whoopie pies. I think they got me through Hayden’s pregnancy, PURE DECADENT HEAVEN!  But I love that these ones from Williams Sonoma are red velvet cakes and are in the shape of hearts for Valentine’s Day.  Yummy AND cute!

Every girl needs a “go to” pair of “Flips” (as they are called in our house) for Spring and Summer.  I’m personally addicted to Havaianas Gold Slim Flip Flop, they are SUPER comfortable, don’t need breaking in, they always look good, and a gold pair is JUST what your wardrobe ordered!  Gold goes with EVERYTHING, add this to your wardrobe and simplify your “what am I going to wear today” daily decision.  (I also recommend buying early as the slim gold Havaianas tend to sell out closer to late spring and summer.  I like to have them waiting for me when I need them. Just ordered mine this week from Amazon.)

I seriously love Make and Takes blog!  If you don’t subscribe, I would suggest doing so.  Not every daily email has something for me, but when it does, IT REALLY DOES.  I saw this tip for making  your own microwave popcorn bags last fall and LOVED IT! But then Make and Takes has to one up themselves and show us a fabulous Valentine snack….who doesn’t love white chocolate, M&Ms and popcorn!?!?  Check out their White Chocolate Valentine Candies….such an easy fun project for you and your Littles (or just you after the Littles go to bed and you’ve poured yourself a glass of wine to go along with your People magazine….not going to lie, eating this by myself on the sofa watching my DVR shows in peace and quite sounds REALLY good!)

OK this last Favorite of the week is DEFINITELY a FAVORITE.  You must know by now how much I love the work that family photographer Sandy Heit does.  If you don’t, check it out here and here.  And lucky us, Sandy is offering this great mini photo session (LOVE that they are only 30 minutes!) to celebrate her natural light studio.  Sandy is extremely talented and so amazing at catching those little “looks” and moments in your Littles that you will treasure foreverBe sure to check out her blog for more information. (Great way to get an early Mothers Day gift taken care of for the Grandma’s, or just for the fun of updating your wall photos).

WHAT: 30 minute photo session
WHEN: February Only – contact Sandy for available dates & times
COST: $250
INCLUDES: Session Fee, (1) 8×10, (2) 5×7s

Call 949.515.3905 or email to reserve your spot

(Images: Sandy Heit)

Anyone want to know who won the Valentine appliques???
We have 2 winners that have each won 1 Valentine applique:

Tiffany Lockette and Chrystal @ Happy Mothering


Thank you so much for entering!  Please email me at

And last, but not least here’s the meal plan and shopping list for next week. Don’t be too critical!  I’m trying to keep it real for us all.  What I give you for a meal plan is what my family is TRULY EATING. I used to make the menu ahead a week to test for you all, but it became too much of an extra step.  So now we eat the same thing in the same week  Next week has some challenges – it’s my birthday, I have bookclub, and I have a conference.  So hubby has the girls 2 nights on his own.  Therefore next week’s menu is how I’m planning for all of that.

Would love to hear any suggestions you all have for your regular easy week night meals. Or what you do for your family when you will be out! I tend to stick to the same things that just “work” for me to do quickly, would love to hear your easy favorites too!  Email me your recipes, and I’ll try them out for including in the meal plans. Looking forward to reading and sharing them! Thanks!

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you back here on Monday!

favorite finds friday

These weeks keep flying by, HOW does that happen?!?!?  I must say, I LOVED my week off from cooking!!  Such a treat!  I can honestly say I have never done that before, but will definitely again.  It was obviously a little pricier than cooking every meal, but if you balance it between some lower priced places, it’s not too bad.  And fun for older kids too, you could have everyone pick a place for a night.

(And YES,  I Have posted next weeks meal plan and shopping list – we’re cooking again!)

I’m actually getting doubly lucky as our fabulous neighbor offered to bring us dinner tonight (Thursday) and I’ve learned NEVER to say no to any kind offer like that!!

As a side note, I love to do this for friends….you don’t need to have just had a baby or have had something tragic happen to appreciate meals brought to you.  Who hasn’t had a busy, trying day and just WISHED that they didn’t need to make dinner?  It’s like playing the “Dinner Fairy”.  So next time you’re making a big batch of chili, lasagna, soup, etc, instead of freezing half for your family, send an email to a friend and tell them you’re dropping dinner off and they can’t refuse.  You’ll make their day! I truly love to surprise friends like this.  Once a friend called to say she had made a roast beef the night before and she wanted to drop off sandwiches for us that night as she knew my week had been pretty crazy, she did along with chips and a fruit salad. I had actually made spaghetti sauce that morning, so I was able to send her home with something for another night too!  Just something to think about….

Now onto the rest of the Friday Favorite Finds….

(Image: Whisk Kid)

The first Friday Favorite, I apologize, as I first read about this cake on Twitter, but I’m not sure who tweeted about it now!!  Some of you may have seen it earlier this week when I posted it to Facebook.   None the less, check out this AMAZING Rainbow Cake from Whisk Kid! Can you STAND IT! How awesome is this cake??  Of course if you felt a little too stressed out to try it,  you could always ask your bakery to do it for you, or a thought I had (since I think this would be so cute to do for a March “Lucky Birthday” and I’ve got a few myself), is to bake a vanilla cake, and then divide up the vanilla butter cream frosting and color it all the rainbow colors (instead of the cake layers).  Use the white buttercream on the outside and the colored buttercream for the layers.  Not exactly the same, but a time saver.

The next Friday Favorite is the Valentine Cornerstone Dish from Juliska.  I most definitely {HEART} this dish!  And I also {heart} Juliska, read more here…This Cornerstone dish is so perfect for putting rings and such in.  It would be so sweet on a nightstand or next to your sink with your jewelry, or maybe at your desk with paperclips.  I just think it’s simple and chic, and knowing that it has the little love message underneath just makes me smile.  And a GREAT Valentine minding to give at $20!  Call Juliska toll free, 888.414.8448 and order one up for your mom, your girlfriend, your daughters, your grandmother!  I placed my order this week as I’m sure they will sell out before Valentine’s Day!

This third Friday Favorite is BOUND to become a new full time favorite.  I LOVE Bumble and Bumble products and I LOVE Holiday Salon. When I got their email newsletter this week, this is what I read about the Bumble and Bumble Thickening Serum:

“Wearing thin? This nightly, leave-in treatment fattens and fortifies over time for thicker, stronger strands and fuller hair (really).

Who: Those wearing thin, the fine, and the ultra-fine.

When: Nightly. Twice-daily for the ultra-fine.

How: Before bed, pump serum into palms 2 or 3 times; work into roots and through damp or dry hair. Longer hair types should pump again and be sure to smooth through ends.”

The reason this was soooo exciting to me is that after being pregnant for 3 years, my hair is WHACKED OUT!  I have short hair, long hair, lots of stand on it’s end baby hair, Ewok hair that looks like it’s growing out of my ears, but it’s NOT!!  The thought that there might be something out there that will help my thin and depleting hair become whole and thick again is WORTH my trying it out!  AND Holiday Salon is offering 25% off the B&B Thickening Serum until February 1st if you mention their January newsletter….run, don’t walk and purchase this! (I checked with them and they are cool with our readers mentioning it too for 25% off!) GO, GO, GO and get that thick hair back again!  I want to hear your success stories!

You may have seen my last Friday Favorite this week from my Facebook post.  It comes via Tiny Oranges, a Favorite local OC blog.  One of her readers shared her favorite nursing sports bra:

“My Stroller Strides instructor recommended the Fiona bra by Moving Comfort. I found it at Roadrunner Sports in Laguna Hills or many online retailers. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but WELL worth it!  The velcro straps come down easily and also adjust if you need a bit more or less support.  It think it will be great even when not breastfeeding for this reason. It also comes in sizes up to DD/E, which is hard to find in a jog bra.  So, happy pain-free running to new mommies!!”

I remember STRUGGLING to find a good sports bra after #2 was born.  I don’t know who those HUGE things on my chest belonged to, but they were not mine and they didn’t fit into any Nike XL sports bra that I thought would be AMPLE big.  I’m thinking nursing or not, that this is a GREAT tip to know about while you work on that baby weight. OOHHH, and it also comes in 5 colors to suit your fancy. I ordered one this week and will be sure to let you know!

That’s it!  Have a great weekend and we’ll see you back here on Monday.  Don’t forget to check out the current Giveaways (at the top of the page).  And there are a couple more fun ones coming up next week!  Friendly reminder to GET YOUR VALENTINE CARDS ordered, made, addressed, glued….whatever you need to do to get them COMPLETE!

New Valentine's Day Cards