Saturday, March 31, 2012

DIY Kids Kitchen

Before & Almost Done

My little girl is only 3 months old but we've already started on her homemade kitchen. Soon she'll be making mommy and daddy breakfast, lunch and dinner!

With help from Grandma and Grandpa we've made a kitchen to match her bedroom. With the extra fabrics from her bedding and paint colors to match, this kitchen will be used for years of fun!

Old nightstand for $20 at an antique store in Old Town Orange 
A little red paint, pink spray paint and a rubber mixing bowl from Ikea 
Fabric curtain from extra bedding fabric and a tension rod from Target 
Window: Picture frame spray painted pink & decorative bird paper from Aaron Brothers
Curtain Rod: Dowel rod with jeweled knobs from Anthropology
Stove Top: Black chalkboard painted circles & polka dot knobs from Anthropology
All fabrics sewn by Mama L - Thank you! (Apron, pot mits, curtains)
Left side: Pink frame with a chalkboard center & an S hook from Anthropology to hang her chalk
Right side: Towel bar for a dish towel. A drawer pull from Ikea spray painted pink

All that is left is to install the faucet (purchased on ebay) and to hang the butterfly shelf above the sink.

Be sure to check back for the finished kitchen - it's going to be soooooooo cute!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Coffee-Chocolate Walnut Squares

Coffee-Chocolate Walnut Squares

1 1/4 c sifted all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c soft butter
3/4 c brown sugar - packed
1 large egg
1/4 c plus 1 tbsp coffee flavor liqueur
1 c semi sweet chocolate pieces
1/3 c chopped walnuts
brown butter icing - recipe below
24 walnut halves - optional

Resift flour with baking powder and salt.  Cream butter, sugar and egg together.  Stir in 1/4 c liqueur, then flour mixture , blending well.  Fold in chocolate pieces and walnuts.  Turn into greased 11X7 baking pan and spread level.   Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly in the center.  Remove from oven and cool in pan 15 minutes, then brhcn top with remaining tablespoon liqueur.

When cooled completely, spreasd with Brown butter icing.  Let stand until icing is set.  Cut into bars and place a walnut half on top of each square.  It's a great afternoon pick-me-up.

Brown Butter Icing

2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp coffee liqueur
2 tsp milk or half  and half
1 1/3 c sifted powdered sugar

Place butter in sauce pan over low heat.  Heat until butter is lightly browned.  Remove and add liqueur, milk and powdered sugar.  Beat smooth.  Yummmmmm

by: Mama L

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Easy Easter Projects

Project 1: Bunny Food

Take a mason jar and fill it with good snacks. Pastel Eater colored M&Ms, pretzels, nuts etc. We also found, at Target, these fun bunny shaped cheese crackers to add (pictured below). It was the perfect touch!
A great gifts for kids, neighbors, teachers or a hostess gift for your Easter celebration. 

Project 2: Easter Decor with Candy

This is so cute and easy! To do this Mama L took mason jars and glued them to glass candle sticks to create these really cute display jars. They could be used for candles, flowers, etc. We filled them with a little green grass basket filler and set Easter candy and a chocolate bunny on top. We also used an apothecary jar to house the big bunny.

Tie jars with ribbon and set on the table for Easter or leave out on your kitchen counter for a touch of Easter whimsy.

Project 3: Easter Blocks

Mama L makes these blocks for almost every holiday! Cut a 2 x 4 into blocks, spray paint with desired color, decorate with scrapbook paper, buttons, rhinestones, etc. Pick up letters at the scrapbook store to spell out holiday words.

Here are our Easter blocks set up on the dinning room table.

Check back because we have more Easter fun coming soon!

Year Round JOY

JOY isn't just for Christmas anymore.  JOY should be year round - a reminder to have joy in your life everyday - no matter the size - a beautiful day, blue skies, sunshine,
spending time with the ones you love - all the blessings in life - yeah!!!!!

We love things with writing on it - papers, fabrics, ribbons - While doing the JOY project, I discovered a new, beautiful ribbon collection at Michaels and thought it was the perfect addition to our JOY project.  

The ribbon has writing  on it in black, creams, one with butterflies on it and they are beautiful - a bit pricey but really, really pretty.  So, I printed out a coupon from their website for 40% off and Michael's now takes coupons from Smartphones so it takes a bite out of the $9.99 price tag for 3 yards - but it's soooo pretty.    

Check them out "Celebrate It by Luxe".

Joy Project Supplies: 

3 Wooden Candle Sticks
3 Blocks of wood (2x6) cut into squares
3 Wooden Spindles for the top
Letters from the scrapbook store 
Spray paint
Wood Glue 
Metal brads
Attach burlap to wood blocks with metal brads.
Glue letters onto burlap with the glue gun.
Decorate letters with paper, rhinestones or anything else you like.
Tie ribbons to the top and you're done! 

Ribbon line at Michael's - Beautiful! 

by: Mama L

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tailgate Wednesday in Tustin

Looking for some good grub mid week? Head over to Tailgate Wednesday at 13270 Newport Ave. Tustin between 5:30pm & 9:00pm. 

Not only are you in for a treat, but you're also helping out Tustin High School, another great reason to go.

We tried food from a few different trucks - and it was all delicious!

First up: The Burnt Truck

Vietnamese Pork Slider, Cheeseburger Slider, Tater Tots
Second: The Lime Truck

The Lime Truck was the winner of the Great American Food Truck Race on the Food Network!

Sweet & Spicy Steak Taco - my husband ate most of it before I got a photo
Third: Bacon Mania 

mac'n bac'n - cheesy, bacony & spicy!
Last: Longboards Ice Cream

Great concept - you choose your ice cream flavor, then choose your dip (dark or milk chocolate) and lastly you choose your topping to dip it in! Endless options for a scrumptious dessert!

We tried a Cookies n' Cream ice cream bar dipped in milk chocolate and then little bits
(small bits of all of the toppings - every bite was a different experience) 
Dakota (my cousins daughter) eating a Cookies n' Cream ice cream bar dipped in milk chocolate and sprinkles
(From Left to Right) Savannah sleeping in the stroller, my husband Jon, Aaron, Dakota  and my cousin Robyn.
We will all be returning next week for another truck food adventure! 

There were other food trucks there as well - we will be trying them next week. 

We didn't eat Dos Chinos tonight but I've had it before and it is delicious!
We will try it next Wednesday when we return for another great dinner1 

Ragin Cajun - we sampled their amazing corn & sausage chowder!
They were one of the trucks on the last season of the Great American Food Truck Race on the Food Network. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The oc mart MIX - LOVE IT!

Last Friday I was up at 4am to feed my 3 month old daughter and unfortunately I was unable to go back to sleep. I grabbed the baby monitor and stumbled downstairs to lay on the couch; I didn't want to wake up my husband and the dog with my restless moving. 

While I curled up on the couch with a blanket I turned on the channel 5 news. They were doing a segment on a new gelato place in Orange County, Costa Mesa to be exact. I'm currently on maternity leave so every day is a new adventure for me, my little girl and most of the time Grandma joins us. The new gelato place was giving away free scoops from 12-4pm. As soon as it was late enough to call my mom, around 8am, I called to see what she had planned for the day. After her morning tasks she was free to join us on our outing. 

I looked up the location of the gelato place to find that it was in the SOCO shopping center off of the 405 in Costa Mesa. I've been to this shopping center before, it's where TPT Home is located, but I couldn't picture where this place was. 
We arrived and were pleasantly surprised. The oc mart MIX is FANTASTIC! It's one large retail space that has been built out to accommodate numerous small boutiques. There is a spice shop, specialty clothing stores, jewelry shops, baby stores, a coffee shop, a cheese shop, there is even a Fashion Camp for kids called Fashion Camp OC. But most importantly, and the reason we went there, N'ice Cream; organic gelato made fresh every morning. For my free scoop I tried the Salted Caramel and it was out of this world! Today I happened to go back with my husband, who is a gelato snob, and we tried the Stracciatella and Biscotti, they were both FAB! For more info:

My free scoop of Salted Caramel gelato

They look so rich and creamy!
Stracciatella (white) & Biscotti (brown) = YUM!

Check out the website for the oc mart MIX for more info - they have new shops still going in! I will definitely be back and you should check it out too! 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Chalkboard Paint

I've always loved Chalkboards...and once I found out that there was chalkboard paint I had to find a place in my house to put it!!!

I figured it out. I have this small wood panel in my kitchen that is part of the kitchen cabinets and hides the side of the refrigerator. I thought it would be the perfect place. So I went for it. I taped off the edges from floor to ceiling and applied the paint per the directions on the paint.

I also decided to screw in a decorative door knob and tie a ribbon on to hang a piece a chalk, that way it's always there for me when I need to jot down an idea, dinner menu thoughts, an item to pick up at the grocery store, or a love note to my husband.

I also think that it will be great when my daughter gets older. I can be in the kitchen working on dinner while she draws a masterpiece on the chalkboard wall. She will be entertained and in my sight at all times! Perfect!

If you have the perfect place in your home for messages and notes - try some chalkboard paint from your local hardware store.

PS: The paint comes in colors now too not just black!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Revolutionizing Outdoor Living & Entertaining

Do you enjoy entertaining? Are you a sports fan? Do you enjoy watching movies? Do you like spending warm afternoons/evenings outside?

If you answered YES to any of these questions then you need a MediaLifTV!

How cool is this?!? We can now watch our favorite teams while enjoying the outside air, watch the evening news while having dinner in the backyard, or enjoy a movie under the stars on a summer evening. This is amazing! 

This will revolutionize outdoor living and entertaining! Check out the website as well as the blog which shows so many applications and reasons to get a MediaLifTV!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Scrumptious Chicken

I tried this chicken recipe last night and it was delicious.  It is from Rachael Ray's EveryDay Magazine April 2012 edition.   It was easy, quick and delicious.

Saucy Salsa Chicken
4 chicken breasts
1 cup of salsa verde
1/3 cup creme fraiche
1/4 c chopped cilantro
corn chips and lime wedges

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large nonstick pan.  Season your chicken with salt and pepper and brown until golden on each side.  Remove chicken from pan and add the salsa verde to the pan and cook for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring.  Remove from heat and add creme fraiche.  Return chicken to the pan and cover and simmer over low heat for 3 minutes.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with corn chips and lime.  It was delicious.

I actually transferred my chicken to an oven pan and baked the chicken for an additional 15 minutes and topped with Mexican cheese and served over Mexican rice.  It was very flavorful and will definitely make it again. 

Mama L

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Glitter Fest

While at the Irvine Antique Market, the first Sunday of every month, I found out about Glitter Fest. Not knowing what it was exactly my mom and I decided to check it out.

Glitter Fest opened at 10am so we thought we'd get there early, especially since I had S and the stroller with us! But when we got there at 10 minutes to 10am it was packed. The parking lot was full and there was a line of 100 women waiting to get in.

We eventually got in and we were pleasantly surprised...there was great things! All of the vendors sell handmade items. There was such cute and creative items, and lots of glitter. Mama L bought a flower made of coffee filters dipped in glass glitter and stemmed with a piece of sheet music - SO CUTE!

Whimzy, a boutique in Old Town Tustin, hosts this event twice a year, Spring and Fall. I'm so excited to go to the Fall Glitter Fest it's my favorite time of year!

Check out the website for more info -

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Caesar Salad Twist

I often get stuck in the salad rut.  My husband likes lots of lettuce in his salad, I like lots of goodies in mine.  So I did a twist on the traditional caesar salad and it turned out pretty well.  Here goes:

4-6 washed romaine lettuce leaves
butternut squash peeled and cut in to bitesize chunks (about 1 - 1 1/2 cups or the precut in the little bag from the produce section will do but it is much cheaper to peel and cut up yourself
Parmesan cheese
Bolthouse caesar dressing (only 45 calories per serving - pictured below) 

1.  Toss butternut squash in a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 
2.  Lay on a baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes (until the edges are slightly browned and the squash is tender.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes or so.
3.  Wash and dry your lettuce leaves and tear in to bite size pieces.
4.  Assemble your salad.  Lettuce, scatter the butternut squash over the lettuce.  Drizzle with dressing and top with Parmesan cheese and pepitas. 

It was a nice change from the traditional Caesar salad and I will definitely make it again.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Irvine Antique Market

I always look forward to the first Sunday of every month, it's the Irvine Antique Market. Formerly located in the parking lot of Irvine Valley College, Mama L and I used to grab our coffee and walk over to explore the aisles and aisles of treasures.

Several months back we were all excited for our upcoming Sunday adventure. As usual we grabbed our coffee and headed over to IVC only to find an empty parking lot! We were surprised and so upset but luckily I had my phone with me and started searching for the Antique Market. I was happy to find that it had just relocated and didn't disappear.

Now located at The Great Park, there are so many more aisles of new vendors selling amazing trinkets and treasures. We look forward to the first Sunday of the month more than we did before!

There is also an added bonus, The Irvine Farmers Market is right next door. The Farmers Market is there every Sunday, but we like to make a whole morning of it and walk both.  There is also a small car show, delicious food trucks and live music! Great for the whole family.

About Me

My photo
My mom, referred to as Mama L, and I have been talking about starting a blog for quite some time now. We are always trying new recipes and making new crafts - always being told by friends and family that we need to sell our creations. Instead of selling them we've decided to share our crafty ideas, yummy recipes along with our funny adventures here on our blog. Please follow us and enjoy. We are always trying to find new places to explore, new recipes to cook for our families and most of all we're just having fun!