Friday, February 28, 2014

February Favorites!

Another ones bites the dust, goodbye Mr. February.  Hello Miss March, and yes I am half Irish so I'll be celebrating St. Paddy's Day in style!  Today I'm going over my monthly favorites which is always one of my fun posts to do.  My picks are all over the board, kind of like me.  This past week has been beautiful in Washington.  Like the 50's and sunshine, to some that may be cold still, but I think I speak for most of us when I say we'll take it!  Here is a necessity, sunglasses!
I don't own any fancy brand sunnies.  I have 3 pairs of Candies Sunglasses, including these and I LOVE them!  I always get them for a steal at Kohls.   I just cant justify spending a small fortune on things like sunglasses.  Maybe if it was sunny and hot more than a month out of my year, haha!
This Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy Sleep Lotion in the scent Lavender Vanilla.  I've been slathering myself in this before bedtime.  I have a very hard time relaxing and falling asleep so anything that might help in getting me there I'm all about!  I'm one of those people who lay there and go over the day, the following day, the things I need to do, and so on.  So annoying!
This is a fun color to get you ready for Spring time!  Its Revlon's Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya.  I love these things, it gives your lips a light peachy papaya shade. Perfect for everyday wear and mama life.  They're moisturizing as well, hence the butter campaign and come in a lot of shades. 
These Nutiva Organic Chia Seeds, I have been spooning them into every smoothie I make the past month.  They don't change the flavor of anything and I actually like the texture and bite they have.  They are super good for you, gluten free, and packed with Omega-3s.  Why not add them into your food?
I love my Kitchen Aid 5 Speed Blender.  I bought it at Target, who currently has it is on sale.  I use it everyday and have had zero problems with it.  It blends my smoothies perfectly!  If you want a mid price range blender with a great name I'd recommend it
Little Gems Favorite, the movie Stuart Little.  Oh my gosh we have been watching this movie repeatedly.  I'm not sure how my girls pick movies or what draws them in but this movie is the hot ticket here. It may be because we have Gia act out animals and she loves pretending to be a mousy.  She stands in front of you and quietly nibbles on imaginary cheese.  The movie is kind of old compared to my girls' ages, made in 1999.  They love it though and have been watching everyday!

What are some of your favorites?  Please share!  I hope that all of you reading have a great weekend.  I'm so looking forward to ours :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Recipe, Cherry Almond Cream Smoothie!

Strolling through Instagram one night I stumbled across my girlfriend's picture of some Amaretto Cherry Cordial Ice cream. Thank you, Monica!  I've never seen nor tasted something like that.  It sounds scrumptious to me and gave me some inspiration for my next smoothie recipe.  Instagram is my mobile vice!  I swear I can look at those pictures for an hour.  I'm so sad...
As we all know its a little hard to make every smoothie the same each time.  I don't really measure my ingredients, I use the "eye it" method, works like a charm.  You can add as much or as little of each ingredient you wish.  This smoothie will get you going for your morning routine!

Cherry Almond Cream Smoothie

8 oz. Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1/3 Cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
1/2 Cup or more Frozen Cherries
1/4 Cup Almonds
1 Banana
Few Ice Cubes
Blend away and enjoy this awesomeness!
Gia helped me out with this one and she just loved it.  We are big fans of healthy fruit and veggie smoothies.  She has never once turned her nose upon them which makes me so happy since big sis Amira isn't always the biggest fan.  Amira is my child who is more finiky on trying new things.  Which really sucks because I know she'd enjoy them and many other things but she is too stubborn.  Oh my little Taurus baby.  Thank you so much for reading and let me know your thoughts if you decide to make this one!

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Honest Life, bookworm talk.

Hello lovelies, Happy Monday!  Today I thought I'd share with you a book I'm reading.  Well, I suppose you could say I've read it and I re read certain parts because I love it so much!  Its written by one of my favorite celebs, Jessica Alba.  The book is called The Honest Life, Living Naturally and True To You.  I'm sure most of you know already who she is.  What has drawn me more and more to her over the years is that she is mother of two little girls, like me.  She is the also the co founder of The Honest Company.  A place where you can buy organic goods for your babies, home and yourself.
Since organic foods and products have become all the rage I started to get more interested in the benefits of them.  Especially because I have two girls at home and I want to be more educated on what is better for them and their growing bodies.  I know that I've blogged before that I like to buy organic food, but that I don't purchase everything organic because my grocery bill would be more than double!  I have to be choosy and smart about my purchases.  This book gives you great tips on what to buy organic versus regular produce and meats. She gives lists of what is highly covered in pesticides, and reasons to drink organic milks instead of cheaper hormone filled milk.  Which I've thought for years now is the culprit on why young girls go into puberty so quickly these days!

Jessica also gets into details about household products, like laundry detergent and cleaning supplies.  She really opens your eyes on what the government regulates and what can be slapped on a label.  A regular person like me believes what I read and trusts these companies.  Changing up your "go-to's" in your house might clear up your dry skin or allergies.  She writes about tear free baby shampoos and how they can be potentially harmful.  If there are studies about Cancers being linked with so many ingredients in certain products than yes I'm going to switch up a few things.  Especially now that my beloved grandma passed away from Cancer!
There is sections on recipes, which of course I love.  She also has a section on makeup!  She talks about parabens and phalates in makeup and why they are bad for your skin and body.  She also provides healthier options.  There is a chapter on how to decorate your home and your toddlers nursery.  She talks fashion and what key pieces a girl should keep in her closet.  Lets just say I love this book and there is something to read up on for most aspects of life.

If you're like me and want to learn more about this kind of lifestyle I highly recommend this book.  Whether its small baby steps on going green or organic.  Or you want to purchase things from Jessica's company.  I think this book is worth the trip to Barnes and Noble or Amazon! 
My husband would say "Don't believe the hype Linzi"  But, I don't think this is hype.  I think I care about my family and love them enough to do my best part in keeping them healthy.  Don't get me wrong when I'm shopping for macaroni & cheese I buy the KRAFT thick and creamy. Or when I get OREOS, I'll go for the Double Stuffed every time! Junk food can stay junk food.  However when I'm buying the girls body lotion I'm going to buy ORGANIC, PARABEN FREE, SULFATE FREE, PHTHALATE FREE kind.  Or when I'm buying milk and strawberries I'm getting the Organic kinds.

You can pick and choose.  I'm sorry if I sound like a freakoid in this post :) Thank you so much for reading!

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Walk in the Park!

Yesterday the sun was shining bright and the weather warmed up to a nice 48 degrees.  Since it wasn't pouring rain I thought I should take advantage of this gloriousness and scoop the girls off to a park day.  They love being outside and running around, what child doesn't?  I feel bad for them they don't get to play outside as much as our Cali and warmer climate friends.  We've grown accustom to this way of life and find things to do indoors. 
I hurried and made a turkey and cheese sammies, bagged up their favorite mini sugar cookies, ice waters, and some crackers. I know, I know, so nutritious!  Hey, they had plenty of time to burn off that sugar rush! I told the girls to get their boots and coats and we were off.  They didn't know that we were headed to park for a little picnic and play time.  These are the small details that make Amira so happy and smile from ear to ear.  When we got there Gia kept saying "park park." 
The York Park is small and perfect for us because not that many kids frequent it.  Plus school is in session and I figured we'd have it to ourselves for a while.  Amira runs like crazy and has Gia race her around trying to catch her.  Their cheeks get rosy and we sit at the benches and eat.  I take a few pictures to share with you guys and Daddy especially, since he misses these fun times too often.  Don't worry I put my phone away and played with them too.  It was a beautiful day with my two wild ladies. They slept like logs that night.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Meatless Meal! Baked Vegetable Gnocchi.

In our home we have meat at almost every dinner.  Mostly because that's the meal my husband is home for and I want him to eat something hot and hearty each night. Oh lalala ;) Plus he's a big eater and he likes meat. (Plain and Simple) A lot of the times the girls will skip the meaty portion, which is fine with me.  They like to eat smaller meals, and a few snacks during the day. I could eat pasta and veggies every night.  Or any other starchy carb and veg, that's just my style.
This is a recipe I've been making for years.  I love that it feels healthy and delish!  Mario has to get use to a meatless meal, but its super easy to cook up a chicken breast or steak and throw it on the side.  Gia is obsessed with gnocchi so this right up her alley!  Also, this meal doesn't take much time at all because I used store bought gnocchi.  You could add any other of your favorite vegetables too, mix it up a bit.
Fresh Vegetables and Gnocchi

3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 package dry Gnocchi (in the pasta isle)
1 small Yellow Onion, chopped
1 small Zucchini, cubed
1 box of Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
1 can Diced Tomatoes
1 Bell pepper, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 cup Mozzarella or Parmesan
Red Pepper Flakes, to your taste
Generous Salt & Pepper, to your taste
Pre heat convection oven to 350
In a large pan on medium high heat soften up your bell peppers, onions, and zucchini in the Olive Oil.  After 5 minutes add your garlic, mushrooms, and red pepper flakes.  Then add your can of diced tomatoes, season with salt and pepper. When everything is nice and tender turn off heat and remove.

In another pot, bring to boil water for your gnocchi.   These regularly take about 3 minutes or until they float to the top.  Drain your gnocchi and add to 9x9 baking dish. Then spoon on top your mixed vegetables and sauce.  Sprinkle generously with cheese and bake off for 15-25 minutes.

I hope that you enjoyed this simple recipe.  Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Baby Shower Ideas!

My good friend Brittany is expecting her third baby in May.  She is having a sweet little girl, to go along with her oldest daughter who is 5, and her son who is 1.  She and her husband make the cutest babies, oh my goodness!  Little blonde and blue eyed, Gerber babies.  Makes the non preggo mama have baby fever!

Since it had been a few years since her last baby girl, she needs a few things.  You know, all the essentials that come along with having a baby. I might add she has put together a lot of her baby girls furniture already, that woman can do it all!  

I was honored that her bestie Sarah asked me to help with her shower.  Brittany is having a few baby showers, I know a lot of you know how that goes.  I am helping out with the "friends" one.  Being the weirdo planner that I am, I started thinking and pinning ideas asap. Plus I hadn't planned a shower in 9 years and that one was for my sister in law Christina, who was expecting her first!

I was given a theme, which I screwed up right away by thinking she said hot pink and zebra. When actually it was lavender and zebra.  That was easily fixed and the few things I had purchased were changeable.  Here is a picture of the animal print baby bedding, she's going to be a wild one ;)
The area that I'm helping out with is the tablescape, which I'm all over because I just love that kind of thing.  Also I'm doing a shower favor for guests and some food.  Brittany suggested doing the nail polish gift and I love that idea!  I actually had done this last year for Amira's 4th birthday party.  Lets just say I've ransacked Target's polish selection!
Here is a picture of the glitter garland I ordered.  I'm thinking I'll put it on the wall or door behind the table.  I was able to custom pick all the sparkly colors and I just adore it.  I purchased this off of Etsy at Simply Scissors.  This shop is also where I ordered Gia's 2nd birthday heart garland.  Holly, the owner is so sweet to work with!
This is the table runner I'm going with.  I love black and white, and these stripes should work well with anything.  I didn't go with zebra here, sorry!  I ordered this off Etsy as well, from the Luxury Linen Loft.  I've got a purple tablecloth to go under this so it'll really pop.  (I hope)
This is some of the tablescape randomness.  I'm hoping that Brittany likes what I've picked so far.  Her shower is right around the corner of next month.  Woo Hoo! Does anyone have any shower planning or ideas to share?  Thank you so much for reading!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Weekend Report!

Happy Monday friends!  This past weekend didn't fly by like so many others, which was very nice.   The girls and I really took advantage of the sweet holiday by stopping by our favorite Donut shop not once but twice!  Bad mom/good mom.  If we go there early enough you can catch us in our jammies and slippers still. 
Saturday we tried again with studio portraits for Gia.  Things didn't go accordingly, which was not a big surprise.  Seeing as what happened last family picture day.  Many growling no's and tears were shed. Positive she ran numerous times into all three of us arms.  Her Italian and Cambodian attitude was definitely showing that day. Next time we do this it'll just be Gia and I going.  She looked so pretty with her new bangs and her rose print dress and tights.  There were zero smiles coming from her when the girl started snapping pics.  I could never do that job!  After we left we all went to frozen yogurt.  Guess what, Gia was all smiles, waving to everyone, saying "cute" with her hands on her hip!  Why couldn't she have done that 40 minutes ago?
We basically had our normal weekend activities.  Its been raining like crazy here so we didn't get out too much.  Amira and I went grocery shopping together.  We went to the pet store and checked out all the stinky ferrets. (her favorite)  Mario chopped fire wood when the rain let up.  I totally fell off the health wagon, so sad.  Pre Valentines and Valentines Day festivities screwed me up royal.  How was every ones Love day?  I hope super good! 

Our Valentines was extremely relaxed and chopped full of love.  The girls loved their ponies and Daddy brought them each home a goodie bag, that he made up all by himself!  He is so wonderful, let me tell ya.  The girls wore matching floral dresses, so fun!  They cut and glued Daddy a handmade card.  For anyone who wondered what we got him; a chain saw file and gauge, chain saw oil, and a Seahawks mag.
Of course I'm going to let you all know what I made, lol.  I started with truffles, which were so delicious.  For dinner I made fresh salmon cakes (Mario caught) wedge salads with proscuttio and blue cheese, and some curried cous cous.  I picked out Prosecco to drink and Mario brought home Riesling.  The girls and I also made a chocolate cake with lavender cream cheese frosting, can you say chocolate overload?! Mario gave me a dozen stunning red roses which smell divine.  I must admit I felt pretty special.  When you have a husband like mine.  One that is straight testosterone, its pretty amazing that he does these things all on his own.  No prompting or pressuring.  Even picking out the girls Princess and Hello Kitty things is damn right amazing, at least to me!
All in all it was a great weekend.  So happy to have spent it inside my home with my family.  I'll probably be taking down my V-Day d├ęcor as it seems I like to rearrange quickly.  Thank you so much for reading!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentines Day Chocolate Truffles!

I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into these truffles.  I knew from the start that this year I wanted to try and make my own truffles. They are pretty to look at, decedent, and rich.  The perfect gift to give your loves or special somebody. Especially because they are homemade, and anything homemade and from the heart is most important and memorable.

This recipe, it's so easy your laughing.  Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  Double points if you can.  You may have the ingredients at home already so that you can whip up a batch for your loves today, just in time for VALENTINES!

Chocolate Truffles

2 Bags of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

1/2 cup Powdered Sugar in a bowl
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder in bowl
Melted Almond Bark in bowl (half a package)

I wanted to roll mine in Cocoa Powder, Powdered Sugar, and Almond Bark.  I also had sprinkles for the Almond Bark ones.  You could choose one or all, like me.
In a large pot heated with light boiling water, filling only halfish the way.  Place a glass bowl on top to heat your ingredients.  Add your chocolate chips till they start to melt.  Then add sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.  Start to slowly mix and let everything melt and mix again till smooth.  After the chocolate is at desired smoothness remove from boiling water, and turn off stove.  Let Truffle mix cool on the counter then place inside fridge for at least 30 minutes so that you can roll out your truffles by hand. 
Use a spoon so scoop or a mini ice cream scoop.  Roll truffles in your palms and then place them on a cookie sheet with Parchment Paper.  Put cookie sheet inside freezer so truffles can firm up and you can dip them and roll them.  If using Almond Bark, I just heated half a package of the white kind in microwave.  Instructions say heat at 90 second intervals till smooth and runny. 
Take out truffles and roll in powders.  For Almond Bark dipping, I just rolled them with a spoon and then placed on parchment cookie sheet then put inside freezer again to harden.  You can keep your truffles at room temperature.  I'm sure they will be given away to family and devoured quickly!
I hope that you get to try this heavenly recipe!  Happy Valentines Day, loves! xoxoxo

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentines For My Little Gems.

Holidays like Valentine's Day are either loved or hated.  I happen to enjoy all holidays so I don't mind all the mushy and gushy stuff.  If you're in love or just genuinely love someone, anyone, than its nice to show your appreciation to them.  You can do it any day, but this Friday its celebrated by many. 

Maybe its because I have two beautiful daughters.  Or maybe its because I like buying them special gifts ( I know its not about presents.) Even before children we celebrated with flowers and dinners.  Now a days we don't get as many romantic date nights but I still plan on showing my admiration for my husband. 

I'm still not positive on what I want to get him, but I'll let you all know what I do.  He is a very practical guy.  He loves his family, his job, swingin' an ax, fishing, real manly stuff.  He is totally out numbered with us girls but he loves it!

Here is what I picked out for my babes.  Like I talked about before, I am getting them very similar things from now on. In hopes that they don't bicker.  We shall see how that goes.  A few of the things are from Target's dollar section and the ponies were very reasonable.  Amira and Gia are both fascinated by horses and ponies at the moment.  So I thought these would be the perfect gift.  The chocolates were a small sugary must.  They both love chocolate, its ridonkulous!
What do you do to celebrate?

Thank you for reading.  Much love, Linzi

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Where you been girl?

Broken phones, busy days, wild girls, I'm toe up in life!  I try to get a post on here every Monday but I failed.  Sometimes life just happens.  My littles have been fighting over everything these last few weeks.  Ugh, when does this end?  I guess that's what happens when they're almost 3 years apart.  From now on I am getting them the same toy, the same food, same clothes, same everything!  I'm sure this is just a prelude of their teenage years! Oh my lanta!  Hopefully they don't give us as much grief as I did my folks!  This is Gia during a no nap tantrum when mama said no more fruit snacks. Such a sweetie.
We were battling colds again and I think they are at bay now.  This has been the worst flu season yet!  I feel like I cant take them any where with out sanitizing wipes and a box full of Kleenex. Thank God for Gia's ear tubes or I'd know she'd be on her billionth ear infection by now. 
She put herself down for nap in Sissy's room!
Amira had her Royal Parade at school yesterday.  Which just comes naturally for her since she thinks she's one already.  She dawned her Frozen, Queen Elsa costume.  Believe it or not she was the only one, there were a couple adorable Annas though.  Everyday we sing "Do you wanna build a snowman?" All of the kids were super cute, but this was definitely most enjoyed by the girls.  She has her Valentines Day party this week as well.  She has been asking me everyday if its goodie bag day.  She made sure to pick out her teachers a special gift and her classmates a few fun things from the Target dollar section. 
Monster High Valentines, is it just me or did Valentines shrink up and come envelopeless?
During the past weekend we hit up all kinds of places. The dentist, Lowes, Oil Can Henrys, Red Robin, and Tarjay.  Sounds exciting huh?  I was joking around with my husband about how much our lives have changed since having kids.  9 years ago on a Friday night I'd be going shopping at Forever21 for my "going out outfit" getting ready with my girls and dancing the night away!  Now on a Friday night at 8:30 pm I get excited to go grocery shopping with my gal pal Brittany, who is currently very preggo and I helped push the cart.  Wow! 

I'll be making my family a special dinner and dessert for Valentines Day. My husband loves steak and the girls love chicken so I'll probably do both.  I really want to try my hand at truffles this year so well see how that goes.  I'm definitely going with a chocolate dessert!  Sadly I haven't been eating as healthy this last weekend as I wished.  Its ok, I'm just going to start over.  When I get stressed out I want eat, normally junk.

Thank you for reading!  Much love, Linzi