Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Glitter Leaf Garland

I don't know what got into me (probably too many pumpkin spice lattes), but I thought that a glitter art project would be a great idea and Cece was only too happy to go along with it.

So while Rosie napped, Cece and I moved our art supplies to the backyard and began Project Glitter Leaf Garland.

Now I will be covered in glitter for the rest of my mortal life. As will our backyard and patio tables and chairs. 

What's funny about some of these seasonal art projects is that you can pretty much buy the finished version at any craft store. Chances are it'll look way more polished and you'll save yourself the labor and the mess.

But, Cece was so in love and focused on this project. She declared today the BEST DAY EVER. Although I learned that being a DIY blogger is seriously not in my stars, it was still worth it. I'm all about giving Cece more BEST DAY EVERS. So, we'll probably share more of our arting. 

Makers gonna make.

Glitter Leaf Garland

Want to give a try? This project is super easy (in theory). Just know that no matter how careful you are, this will probably result in the most gigantic glitter mess you've ever seen.

  • artificial leaves (can be purchased from a crafts store or the dollar store)
  • Elmers glue
  • paintbrush
  • glitter
  • ribbon

  • Use a paintbrush to apply glue to each leaf then sprinkle glitter over the top. Let glue set. 
  • Shake it off like Taylor Swift. (The excess glitter on the leaf, that is.)
  • Punch/cut a hole at the top of each leaf and attach a ribbon. 
  • You can then tie to a larger piece of ribbon to create garland. Or you can just dance around with it. 

Original project found here. We're going to hang ours in the kitchen window. Won't Joe be pleased??? He's so lucky he has his girls around to beautify and bedazzle EVERYTHING ; )
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Monday, October 5, 2015

Cabin + October

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."

-Anne of Green Gables

Our weekend was mighty peaceful and relaxing. At least it was for me. Joe was summoned up to the cabin to help get things winterized (wood splitting, dock removal, etc.) While he got all sweaty and dirty, I had the ever-so-difficult task of hanging out with the girls, eating snacks, and enjoying the view of the sparkling lake and the start of autumn colors. (Oh, and enjoying the view of Joe muscling things around. Yep. Am I the only weirdo who really likes watching their significant other do manual labor?)

I will say that it was a little strange to be at the cabin without the rest of the siblings and cousins. But I do have to admit that there were a few moments of silence and stillness that bordered on magical. I also think the girls had a great time. My hunch is that their favorite part of the weekend was staying up past their bedtime and having a dance party with Grandma and Grandpa while snacking on chips. (Have I taught them the secret to living the good life or what?) 

We were only at the cabin for less than 24 hours. But they were hours well-spent in my opinion. 

We have a BUSY week coming up ahead so it was nice to squeeze in some relaxing uninterrupted family time.

I hope everyone is enjoying fall as much as we have been!

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Friday, October 2, 2015

September Highlights

The past few weeks have me convinced that September just might be my favorite month of the year. Even if it's not my birthday month.To me, it felt like experiencing fall and summer at the same time. The beginning of the month had days so warm that the girls were still in bathing suits hitting up the splash pad. Even as the end of September drew near, it was still totally comfortable to still wear a summer dress, just with a good scarf or light jacket. And no one looks at you sideways if you order a pumpkin-flavored beverage. The tops of trees are just kissed with enough color to indicate that the coolness of October is on it's way. 

I could ramble on and romanticize fall forever, but instead, I'm just going to post some photos from my phone.


Splash pad in September. Love it!

It's also perfect playground weather! The slides are no longer fire hot, but it's not so cold that everyone's fingers are freezing. As you can see, Rosie really like to swing with no hands while leaning backwards with her eyes close. She tells me it's an adrenaline rush like no other.

We're still growing food in our backyard. Everything that has come out of our garden is totally crazy looking. But it's still fun to harvest all of these weirdos. (P.S. Like my temporary flower tattoo? It was in a birthday party goodie bag, haha. Cece thinks I should get one for real.)

 On a play date with Jack and Penny last month. PAR-TAY! (Alhtough you can't see Jack or Penny...)

Here we are dropping off Cece at her first day of school. She was bounding through the halls with excitement. Can she always be this enthusiastic about school? Please?

 And then here we are on a family sushi date. By the way, I realize that this is NOT proper chopsticks etiquette. BUT it's better than having members of your party crying in a restaurant. So we pick our battles.

After being told to hold hands all summer, they (sometimes) do it all on their own!

When I get to have a night out, Joe's evenings with the girls look like this. And then I don't want to leave the house. I just want to stay and party too.

Did I mention we also attended a Magical Creatures party hosted by our dear friend, Azure? Fun for all ages!  As you can see, we were so excited to attend, we were the first to arrive. (I suppose we live kind of close...) We left with a dragon egg filled with a prize after having a lot of sumptuous appetizers and desserts. Great party! Throw another one, guys!

Did I mention the season of snuggling has begun? It has. And I don't want to ever forget how much I love having a cozy Rosie wrapped up in my lap with her baby blankie.

And one last photo of Rosie in a tutu dress just because she's such a cutie.

Onward to October! I have a feeling it's going to be great.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Deep Thoughts with Cecelia Ray Volume 5

Some delightful and insightful quotes from our favorite four-year-old:

(While trying to delay bedtime and have one of us snuggle with her)
"I just need to cuddle someone with a beard."

(While trying to delay bedtime and discovering Joe and I watching TV in the living room)
"Well, this looks like a cozy group out here. I think it would be cozier with one more person."

"Rosie, that's a fake cry. Stop that fake cry."

"Mom, you're my second best buddy."

"After lunch, let's do more yoga and eat cheesecake."

"When I graduate preschool, do I start college?"

Love you, Cece! Keep sharing your thoughts with us.
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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Homemade Happy Meals

Unlike all of the kale smoothie-guzzling children of today, I grew up not liking veggies so much. I liked happy meals. They were crunchy and salty and came with toys.

 Thus, most of my food memories from childhood are crispy and golden-brown. Chicken nuggets, french fries, corn dogs, fish sticks, etc. I guess I found proteins less intimidating when coated in breading and ketchup. 

And I'm not going to lie.  Even thought I've developed a more adventurous palate, a true love of produce, and a passion for homemade meals, I still have a soft spot for these kid/comfort foods. Also, when you're a parent at home making three meals and two snacks a day (at least), I definitely can't sneer at something you can just toss in the oven to cook while trying to do a dozen other things.

So. I've recently attempted at making homemade versions of all of these favorites, being sure to offer healthy sides too. The cooking process is a lot more involved and everything had a wonky shape. However, the results are seriously tasty and slightly more nutritious than their frozen store-bought counterparts. 

Below are some successful recipes I think you would love if you tried:

Fish Sticks

I saw this recipe on a Food Network commercial and knew I wanted to make it. (Thanks, Giada!) These fish sticks are way more substantial than the frozen ones. Less breading and more fish means that you could easily fill up on just four sticks. And this dipping sauce is finger-licking good, just ask Rosie. It did take me awhile to get the hang of removing the skin off the salmon (I eventually just had to ask my brother how to do it), but I'd be up for making these again soon!

  • 1 (18-ounce) center-cut salmon fillet, about 9 by 4 inches, skinned
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F
  • Rinse the salmon fillet and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the fish in half to make 2 fillets each about 4 by 4 1/2-inches in size. Starting on the longest edge, slice the fillets into 1/2-inch pieces. Lay the widest pieces, from the center, cut side down, and slice in half lengthwise so all the pieces are equally about 1/2 by 1/2 by 4 1/2-inches in size.
  • Place the flour in a medium bowl and season with the salt and pepper. Place the egg whites in another bowl and beat until frothy, about 30 seconds. Combine the Parmesan and bread crumbs in a third bowl.
  • Coat the salmon pieces in the seasoned flour and pat to remove any excess flour. Dip the floured salmon in the egg whites and then into the Parmesan mixture, gently pressing the mixture into the fish. Place the breaded salmon pieces on a liberally oiled baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with the olive oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

For the Dipping Sauce:

  • Mix the mayonnaise, yogurt, Dijon mustard, and fresh chives in a small dipping bowl. Boom.
Chicken Nuggets

I love how these turned out! They were full of flavor and texture. Not to mention it made me feel like a domestic rock star to bring something from Pinterest to life that wasn't complicated at all.  (Original recipe here.)


  • 3 cups corn flakes
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease cookie sheet.
  • Put flakes in large plastic bag and crush to fine texture. Pour into medium-sized bowl.
  • Add cheese, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper to corn flakes.
  • Crack and whisk eggs in a separate small bowl.
  • Place flower in a separate small bowl.
  • To bread chicken, coat chicken piece in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in the egg, coat in corn flake mixture.
  • Arrange chicken on prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown (about 12-15 minutes)

For dipping, I whisked together equal parts yellow mustard and honey to get (you guessed it!) a tasty honey mustard sauce.

Veggie Bites

These little guys are awesome for several reasons. First, they only take ten minutes to prep. Secondly, my girls love them. Cece ate three last time I made. Lastly, they don't require many ingredients. You probably have everything in your house. (Original recipe here.)

  • 16 oz. package of frozen veggies (steam, drain, and chop)
  • 1 ½ cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 cup of seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
  • Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • With your hands, form small patties and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes, turning the patties after the first 15 minutes.
  • Let cool and enjoy!

Fruit Bars

And lastly, a yummy little snack that doesn't require bread crumbs! I've seen so many awesome fruit pizza recipes online, but most use a sugar cookie as the "crust" and I wanted to do something slightly less sugary than that. So I came up with these:

  • Fresh fruit of your choice
  • graham crackers
  • Vanilla greek yogurt
  • cinnamon
  • Break apart graham crackers (or don't).
  • Spread yogurt on cracker.
  • Add a pinch of cinnamon.
  • Arrange your fruit of choice in a delightful way.
  • Serve to your delightful child.

I promise, if you try even one of these, you won't be disappointed! Thanks for reading my first food/recipe post in a long time. Hoping to put more of these out there soon!

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And we're off to join the circus...

I decided for my 29th birthday that I wanted to check off a bucket list item and take a flying trapeze class. It took a little effort to pick a date and arrange for a babysitter. But we made it happen!

And I wanted Joe to take it with me, of course. Even though he warned me that he might be really amazing and I might get jealous of his skills. (Obviously.)

Here is a video of each of us during our first class, successfully making our first "catch."

 I would highly recommend Twin Cities Trapeze Center for anyone who enjoys, well, anything fun!  I seriously feel like I've fallen in love. I find my mind constantly wandering back to trapeze and smiling whenever I'm thinking about it. And I'm trying to figure out when I can go back next.  Even though climbing the ladder, standing on the platform, and grabbing the bar was nothing short of terrifying, the thrill and exhilaration I felt once in the air was just incredible. I mean, come on, it's FLYING!

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

18 Months!

Yesterday Rosie turned 18 months old which means she is a full-fledged toddler with a wispy mullet, often blowing in the wind, and there is no slowing down in sight. 

She still adores Cece and sometimes the two of them will hold hands or hug unprompted. (Which is the BEST. It makes up for the moments when the love isn't exactly flowing freely between them.)

She also really loves to deposit her clothes in the laundry chute and throw wrappers in the trash can, which I very much appreciate.

Her current favorite foods are clementines, blackberries, smoothies, corn (on the cob is preferred), noodles of any sort (She says "NOO-NELLS" and gets excited by the sight of pasta.)

Of course, Rosie is a runner and a climber and saving her from dangerous situations is my current form of cardio.

Like most babies these days, she loves to get her hands on phones, remotes, tablets, etc. So chances are, you may have received some text messages from Rosie recently.

She says a WHOLE bunch of words, including several variations of  "no". Like "NOOOOOOO!" and the ever-popular "No way." A few more frequently used words are "Mommy, Daddy, Cece, Elmo, cup, night-night, blankie, read, bubbles, hi, bye, shoes, and MINE." Usually not in that order. But she can convey the essentials. Especially "blankie." Ain't NOTHING coming between her and that blanket (except me who tends to leave it at other people's houses... face palm.)

(As there was not adequate napping yesterday, Rosie was in no mood to take pictures. She also gives me this look a lot. Actually so does Joe. I don't know why.)

She mostly just really wanted to hold a stick and chew on her fingers. I feel you, girl.

So that's what Miss Rosie Grace is up to these days!

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