Monthly Archives: July 2013

Stitchfix Friday

I took a Stitchfix breather for a while, because I finally got a box where I didn’t really like anything. It was painful to send the whole box back and lose that $20 styling fee! So I took a break, and months later, I was ready to get fixed up again.

I let Gabs give me her first impression on all the items. She’s my voice of reason when it comes to shopping.

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Bottom line- if they don’t taste good, ix-nay on the clothes. I loved the look of everything in the box upon first glance, and hoped for my wallet’s sake that some of the items wouldn’t fit so they’d be easy ‘no’s’. Does anyone else do that?? I’m probably just a weirdo who needs forced self-control.

#1. I was so excited when I saw this in my box! I saw another blogger get this top and I thought it was so cute on her!

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#2. I’m a sucker for the flowy tops. It’s my go-to for a quick outfit and is so light and airy for a summer day. I loved the print and small zipper detail.

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#3. I liked this fun and bright chevron print, but was not a fan of the length and neckline. I was disappointed on the fit because I love bright colors!

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#4. Again, loved the bright blue and the material this shirt was made out of was SO SOFT. If every piece of clothing I owned was made of this, I’d be in heaven. However, I don’t do cowl-neck. I just don’t. I had to adjust the shirt a lot to lay like this, otherwise it was kind of bunchy.

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#5. Lastly, this fun statement necklace! Navy with gold, and loved the length. I think this is the first time I ever kept jewelry from a fix!

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Man, I look like such a dweeb trying on clothes. Pardon the selfies! I do love that we can try on clothes in the comfort of our own homes with Stitchfix- as well as try the pieces on with items from our own closet.

This is the perfect shopping experience for me, as its not as easy to try things on at the mall anymore while trying to keep Gabby entertained- plus those fitting rooms are teensy! My stylist for this fix really listened to my comments and gave me an A+ box.

I ended up keeping #1, #2, and #5! Most successful fix thus far- and so easy to send back the items I chose not to keep!

Have you gotten your fix yet? Here’s a link to get you started!

http://stitchfix.com/sign_up?referrer_id=3030462

~M

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DIY Kitchen Curtains

I made curtains this weekend! Quite proud of myself, actually. Since I painted my kitchen months and months ago, my windows have been naked, and needing some pizzazz! So my mother-in-law helped me find some pretty fabric- at WALMART no less. Now just for the record, I shop at Walmart for a lot of things, but I was a little surprised and excited I found such good quality and cute canvas fabric there!
So here’s how I did it:
***first wash and iron your fabric so you start with it fresh and unwrinkled***

First, I laid the fabric out on the ground and used the curtain rods to measure how long and wide I wanted them to be.
Then I doubled the fabric over, so that the curtains would end up being double sided and also have a little volume, and I cut it and set it aside.

Because I used two pieces/styles of fabric (one for the curtain rod to pass through) and one larger section for the bottom portion, I cut a 7″ piece of the ‘curtain rod’ part that was the same width as the bottom portion.

Now for the sewing, this is actually the easy part, since you only sew five straight lines!
With this pattern, I basically made a loop of fabric with a seam sewn near the top for the rod to go through.
So, begin by folding and pinning the sides just a half inch or so and hemming the sides to create a finished look.
Then, I took the top edge of the bigger section of fabric and laid it pattern side up. After that I matched up the smaller section of fabric and laid it on top of the larger portion- patterned side to patterned side. I sewed the edges together in one straight seam, and did that one more time to the other side of the two pieces, creating that continuous circle of fabric.

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Then, I laid the curtains out how I wanted them to look when they would be hanging from the rod, and matched up the front seam to the one on the back, and sewed right over that seam (on my curtains, its the seam where the fabric changes) to make the loop that the rod goes through.

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Since I chose to use two fabrics, that complicated this a little- so if you decide to make your own curtains, know that you can do so by using one piece of fabric and sewing four straight lines 🙂
For the windows I decorated, I had two curtains to make, so I merely followed these directions two times to make two small curtains!
It took less than an hour, minus washing time 🙂
And now my windows are no longer naked!

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Now, if I could only get Jasper to help me fold my laundry instead of using it as a bed….

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~K

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Portobello Mushroom Tower and good news!

Good news: x-rays came back negative! We did a full hip-range-of-motion dance to celebrate that Gabs’ hips are perfectly placed, just maybe unevenly chubby for the time being.

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Not quite as good news: Gabs is experiencing her first cold ever and has had a rough past couple of nights. We’ve got the humidifier up and running, and Vick’s VapoRub and mommy snuggles are doing their thing. Also, Gabby has made her first enemy- Mr. Bulb Suctioner. I think that relationship is beyond repair at this point.

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Until we are back to 100%, we are hanging out in our PJ’s and in our little sicky corner of the couch. It’s way more fun than it sounds!

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We haven’t done a lot of cooking lately, but a few nights ago my little sister and I tried to duplicate my favorite dish from a local restaurant. It’s called the Portobello Mushroom Tower and it’s basically a gigantic bowl of perfectly roasted vegetables and a large Portobello mushroom (obvi) with lots of gooey cheese and tomato sauce over polenta. We subbed quinoa for the polenta since my cornmeal was 2 years old and filled with bugs was, er, past it’s prime.

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It was SO good. I’ve been nibbling on the leftovers for the past 3 days!

~M

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Portobello Mushroom Tower

Ingredients

2 large Portobello Mushroom caps

2 large zucchini, cut into strips lengthwise

1 cup chopped bell peppers (color of your choice!)

1/2 large onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

1 TBSP fresh minced garlic

1/2 tsp basil, oregano each

1/3 cup shredded parmesan

1 TBSP olive oil (for sauteeing veggies)

balsamic vinegar (for drizzling on mushrooms)

1 cup quinoa, cooked in stock

fresh basil for garnish

salt and pepper

Directions

** you can simplify and speed up this recipe by using a canned red sauce. I didn’t have any in the house, so I made my own.

First, cook your quinoa. (I always cook mine in stock- adds TONS of flavor!)

While that is cooking, start sauteeing your celery, bell peppers and onions in the olive oil. Saute until translucent, then add garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds on med-high heat and then add cans of diced tomato and tomato sauce. Season with Italian spices and S&P and let simmer on medium while you make the rest of the dish. When you are about ready to take the sauce off the heat, add in shredded parmesan.

Lightly clean your mushrooms, and put on a baking sheet. Also put the sliced zucchini (seasoned with S&P) on this baking sheet. Drizzle the mushrooms lightly with balsamic vinegar and broil for about 4 minutes on high, capside down. After about 4 minutes, take out the mushrooms and cover the cap with mozzarella cheese and broil for about 3-4 more minutes until cheese is gold and bubbly!

Layer the quinoa, then some zucchini, then the cheesy mushroom, then cover in your tomato sauce. Top with fresh basil.(For carnivorous husbands, feel free to add chicken to the tower like I did for Joey!)

Enjoy nice and hot for a light summer meal.

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choices

Gabby is already almost 5 months old, you guys.

She LOVES to jump.

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She loves to talk.

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Her expressions bring me constant joy.

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She sleeps through the night. Every night. Since she was 6 weeks old. {I can’t take any credit for that. Sure, I read 3/4 of the Babywise book, but I followed her cues. I wouldn’t even know how to start getting her to stick to a rigid eat/sleep schedule.}

She still sleeps in our room. We have a beautiful crib in the nursery which is about 10 feet from our room, which we put her to sleep in every night, only to pick her up and move her to the pack’n’play in our bedroom to spend the night. Yup, we are those parents.

She rolled over on Sunday!

I recently ordered one of these and it has made summer ten times more fun.

In other news, yesterday morning Gabs had to get some x-rays. A while back, I noticed she had an extra little roll of chub on her right leg and remembered that that’s the classic sign of hip dysplasia in infants. She doesn’t have any other symptoms that go along with that diagnosis, so we are hopeful that it’s just a little extra plumpness! If not, we will count our blessings that she’s healthy and happy and the worst thing that could happen would be 6 months of treatment. God is so good!

I was caught off guard yesterday morning though, when we went into the imaging room, the technician took great care to cover me with a lead apron to protect me from the radiation and make sure there was no possible way I was currently pregnant, as the radiation could be harmful to the fetus… but then Gabby was left completely uncovered! They needed images of her pelvis so obviously they couldn’t cover that with a protective apron, but I felt horrible that I was wearing protection and my little daughter was lying there completely exposed. All the nursing knowledge of risks of radiation at an early age were completely flooding my mind. Tears started to come, I felt overwhelmed at the choices- deny the -rays that we needed in case she needed treatment for her hip? Or expose her to radiation when her cells are brand new and growing? Oh gosh. Even typing this later makes me feel like an overprotective and over-sensitive mom. So many moms out there have kids with much more serious problems and here I am crying over one x-ray?

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Well, it was still tough. I did consent, after getting some thorough explanations on why an ultrasound wasn’t sufficient. And I prayed that God will still keep her little cells safe.

Every parent has those unexpected moments of ‘overwhelmed-ness’ and those feelings of ‘dang it, I should have looked this up before we came’. And I guess, part of being a parent is getting through those moments with a clear mind and weighing the risks and benefits while taming the part of your mind that will be fierce in protecting your child from any possible harm.

Yes, I know it was just one x-ray. Will she get cancer? Most likely not. But still. It made my heart hurt a little bit today.

My own momma made me some molasses cookies on Monday for this very occasion, I think! She must have known that cookies help soothe owwies.

~M

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Espresso Meringues

This one is going to be short and sweet. I just had to share this recipe I made a bit ago and it is such an easy one! You probably have all the stuff to make it in your pantry right now!

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I made some just to nibble on and I brought the rest to work to share with the girls- they were gone in a heartbeat. Which is always a compliment 🙂
Make these, and have a coffee date with someone.
~K

**Espresso Meringues**
6 large egg whites
1 1/2 TBSP corn starch
A pinch of fine salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 packets VIA or 2 TBSP instant coffee (plus a little extra for dusting the tops)
1 TBSP vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 285 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In your stand mixer (or using electric whisks) whisk the egg whites and salt on high speed until frothy.

Add corn starch and sugar (1-2 TBSP at a time) gradually and continue whisking.

Add the sugar in small quantities until the end of the process- about 15 minutes.

At about 13 minutes add the VIA or instant coffee and vanilla. Taste the mixture and add more vanilla if you like.

When the egg whites form stuff peaks, spoon into a frosting bag (or my fancy way- into a large ziplock Baggie with a very small part of a corner cut off) and swirl into small dollops- about 2 inches wide and high- with an nice between. They will expand a little in the oven. Now, with a sifter, dust the tips with a little instant coffee/VIA for prettiness.

Bake about 30 minutes and check often throughout. When done, open oven door and let cool in oven for 15 minutes.

The instant coffee/VIA and vanilla addition is optional- another idea is pomegranate juice (fresh, straight from the pomegranate) or any kind of flavorful juice like that. Play with it!
Enjoy with friends.

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Filed under Coffee, Cookies/Bars, Dessert, Food Stuffs.

semi-homemade summer pasta salad

So, waking up at 4:45 to run is crazy. First of all, because it’s so early. Too early, actually- because it’s too dark to run safely in the country. I ended up rolling out of bed on Saturday a few minutes before 5 and hit the trail by 5:15, and went for a quick 2.5 miler. My pace was slightly faster than usual but only because I had to be back by 5:40 so Joey could get to the orchard. Also, my dogs went absolutely crazy and it was all I could do to keep up with them- which is totally unusual! Despite the extreme early-ness of the workout, I really enjoyed being up before the world and checking a run off my list early on in the day.

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4 cups of coffee later… I was SO glad I woke up before the sun because I went out to pick a zucchini from the garden for this pasta salad and I almost shriveled up into a raisin in the mere two minutes I was outside. No, seriously.

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In other news, our friend Hiro is visiting us from Singapore this week! Hiro has been a good friend of Joey and mine since freshman year of high school. Actually, fun fact- he introduced Joey and I! Way back when I was a freshman in high school, I’d always stop in the hallway on my way to class and talk to Hiro and his group of friends. One day, there was a guy standing there that wasn’t usually there, so I asked Hiro who he was. Hiro blatantly told me that it was his friend Joey that thought I was cute. So, to my absolute embarrassment, he called over Joey and introduced us two blushing kids and 7 years later we were MARRIED! (Awww) and 2 years after that, this sweet thang came.

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It was Hiro’s birthday on Saturday and per his request, I made him this. I feel pretty honored that he came all the way from Singapore for my apple pie a wedding this weekend. 🙂

After making the pie, I was putting away the ingredients and a box of ‘Suddenly Salad’ in the pantry caught my eye. I had been trying to think of a good COLD lunch idea and when I saw this, I knew this was the way to go! My mom got me hooked on this recipe- it’s her favorite thing to serve at bridal/baby showers for a lighter food option and it always gets rave reviews!

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It’s a super refreshing and healthy option for a summer lunch or dinner, and you can tweak the recipe based on what you have in the house. I’ve learned that those recipes are gold! The tweak-able ones. Joey’s favorite is when we add linguica- it definitely gives it a delicious (and manly) kick.

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It even passed Joey’s taste-test mid picture.

~M

Suddenly Salad with fresh veggies & turkey Kielbasa

1 box Classic Suddenly Salad

2 TBSP canola oil

3 TBSP water

1 package turkey kielbasa (or linguica, chicken, whatever meat you like!) cooked and sliced

chopped zucchini

1/4 chopped red onion

1 diced avocado

2 diced roma tomatoes

1 cup diced red, green, orange, and yellow bell pepper (beautiful colors!)

1 cup chopped mushrooms

(you can add corn, squash, green onion, carrots, whatever else you have in the house to add pizzazz to this- any flavor goes! The key is FRESH vegetables. Please don’t use canned!)

Follow the directions on the box, and prep all the veggies you want to add. Once the pasta is cooked & drained, add the water & oil and mix well. Add the seasoning packet from the box, and mix again. Once the noodles are evenly coated, add all the chopped vegetables and cooked kielbasa, and chill in the fridge for a few hours until cold, and enjoy!

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