Friday, December 28, 2012

Toddler Travel Pack

I mentioned yesterday that I was a busy bee days leading up to our trip to Boston gathering all the odds and ends to keep our two little ones entertained on a 6 hour flight from Los Angeles to Boston (...and back).  Here's a peek at all the activities and travel gear that helped make both flights smooth sailing (so to speak).

The boys have been on several flights since they've been born.  We're hoping they grow to love traveling... well they better since my family lives all over the map!  This was the first flight each of us had our own seat since the boys are now 2.  I've come to find when flying with toddlers it's better to separate them and bring the car seats on board.  What a difference! It's amazing how their little bodies will sit still for hours in that magical car seat...

So here's the run down on the travel gear and pack...

1) Go-Go Babyz gogo Kidz Travelmate.  This thing was a lifesaver!  You simply click the car seat onto the travelmate which makes it super easy to transport the car seat to your gate AND you can use it as your stroller in the airport.  It's funny how people think you're rolling a suitcase through the terminal and then... BAM!... there's a kid in there!

2) Snacks, snack, and more snacks.  The lollipops worked like a charm during take off and landing to help their little ears from popping

3) Wipes, hand sanitizer and Tylenol.  I really don't care if people in the adjacent rows think I'm a hypochondriac vigorously wiping down the tray tables, arm rests, windows and walls of our row... airplanes are gross.  I'll take the chance at looking like a neurotic mom to save my kids from a nasty cold or god knows what else.

And the Tylenol was just for emergency purposes.

4. Star Kids Snack & Play Tray... save the yourself the hassle of apologizing to the person sitting in front of your child because he or she finds it entertaining to put the tray table up and down and up and down and up and down... etc.  This tray works great for holding snacks, playing with toys, holding a book or iPad.  It sits right on their lap and even has little side pouches for easy access to toys and books.  Loved it!

5.  I packed a 2.5 gallon Ziploc bag with all the necessary diaper changing items.  This way I didn't have to lug that big backpack down 20 rows to the tiny bathroom while slugging each innocent bystander sitting on the aisle in the head.  It was equipped with diapers, wipes, a change of clothes for each child and a change of clothes for mom and dad.  Just in case someone tossed their cookies before getting to the barf bag.

6 & 7) Books!  We had books that you read, activity books, books that had wheels and looked like a truck, pop-up books, coloring books... books, books, books.  These kept the boys busy for at least an hour.  HA!

8) Cars.  As long as there is a car in one of their hands they are usually content.

9) The incredible and amazing iPad.  I must admit this was the piece de resistance of the travel pack.  We loaded each iPad up with educational games/apps and their favorite movies.  These kept the boys entertained for the majority of both flights.

10) Vtech Smart Phone - compact but packed with fun little games

11) Emergency pacifier if all else fails

12) Little trinket toys that they've never played with before.  Anything new will keep them busy for a least a little while

13) Stickers and temporary tattoos

14) Finger lights.  These were a surprising huge hit.  Kids... they like the strangest things.

I hope these little tips and tricks help any of you who have upcoming travel plans with your little ones.  For an inquiring minds, the boys did amazing on the flight out Boston.  The flight home was a little longer so each of them got "ants and the pants" syndrome before they passed out for an hour.  But all in all it was a success.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Year's Eve Cocktail

Hope everyone had an amazing Christmas holiday!  Apologies for being a bit MIA in blog land.  Our holiday was spent in Boston with my entire family.  Sooo in addition to all the usual holiday celebrating and preparations, my energy was also focused on preparing for the cross country flight with 2 year old twins.  I don't know about you, but I AM exhausted!  What better time to share a spectacular cocktail to help me (and you) stay awake to ring in the New Year.

It's your basic Espresso Martini with a few additional festive accents.  To dress up the martini glass, flip it over and dip the top outer rim in a shallow bowl filled water and then in a bowl filled with gold sprinkles.

To create the clock, I split open an Oreo cookie and filled a piping bag with black icing.  Using a #1 round decorating tip I then carefully drew the clock face and hands.  If you plan to make these at your New Year's Eve party, make all your clocks ahead of time (no pun!) and let them set in your  refrigerator.  You could also pre-dip your martini glasses in the sprinkles.  That way all you need to do is shake up the cocktail, pour and gently place the clocks onto the frothy espresso martini deliciousness!  Your guests will have a cocktail in hand within minutes of walking in your door.

This little cocktail will give you the shot of energy you need after all your hard work this Christmas season.  AND will help ensure you get that kiss when the clock strikes midnight to ring in the New Year!

Click here for printable recipe.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Seven Layer Bars

We decided to switch it up this year and plan to leave Santa some Seven Layer Bars instead of the traditional sugar cookies.  These are the most simple and decadent dessert to quickly whip up when you're in a pinch.  And the clean up is even easier because you can literally assemble and bake them in one pan!

The combination of butterscotch, chocolate and coconut melt together perfectly for the sweetest bite.  And the buttery graham cracker crust is a classic favorite.

Click here for the printable recipe

Whether you are making these for Santa, bringing them to a cookie exchange or serving them as a holiday dessert your friends and family will surely love them.  Enjoy!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

What a Knob!

The renovation is in its final, final stages and I'm so in love with all my design decisions so far in terms of the floor layout, the paint colors, the bathroom tile and countertops etc.  I can't wait to share how everything came together.  However, not just yet.  We've experienced a delay because of an issue with the stain color on the stairs (fyi, it doesn't match the wood on the second floor, Oy!)  Sooooo, we're kind of at a stand still until that is resolved.  In the meantime, I'm calling all second opinions and the peanut gallery!  If you had to choose between the below for your bathroom and closet hardware which would you choose? Decisions, decisions...

I could go for the Traditional Clear Glass Knob.  The natural light in the bathroom would bounce off the glass on this knob.

Restoration Hardware
The Gilmore Knob is a classic traditional look... maybe too boring for my taste.

Restoration Hardware
I'm partial to the craftsman/shaker look.  We have these Gilmore Pulls on our kitchen and I love them.

Restoration Hardware
The Aubrey Pull is really nice, too.  This could work on the cabinet doors or drawers... or both!

Restoration Hardware
The Duluth Pull is a little more modern take on the Gilmore Pull.

Restoration Hardware
Or I could totally go the opposite direction and use some Utility Latches on the cabinet doors.  I've always loved this look.

Restoration Hardware

I'm leaning towards the Gilmore or Aubrey Pulls.... or a combination of both.  I'd love to hear what you think.  Leave me a comment to share you opinions :)


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Oooooh Christmas Tree...

December is flying by and we've been very busy getting the house ready for Santa's arrival, buying gifts for family and friends and just having some good old fashion holiday fun around here.

We made some tree ornaments...

And Christmas forts under the tree were a huge hit.  I had to bribe the boys with cookies to get out from under there and into the tub that night.

I'm linking our Christmas Tree at the Christmas Cheer party over at Honey We're Home today.   Hope you are all staying stress free this holiday season!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Put a Cork In It!

I finally put a cork in it... so to speak.  Remember in October when I shared my little wine cork project?  Well the "S" is finally complete and has been hung with care next to our Living Room bar.  Click here to see the tutorial on how to start your own Letter Cork Board.

For any curious mind that want to know... it took a remaining 55 wine corks to complete this project from where I last left off 6 weeks ago.  But no, Andy and I did not drink all 55 bottles (i think).  We got some help from family and friends who saved some of their corks for us.  Thanks guys!   

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!  We are going to try to get our act together and take our holiday card photograph.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Classic Christmas Mantel

I love decorating for the holidays and today I'm sharing our Christmas Mantel.  I used to go hog wild with the glitzy ornaments, branches soaked in sparkles and glitter, poinsettias everywhere etc.  But for the last couple years, I've kept the look and feel of our holiday decor simple and classic.  

Well, hello there little dudes.  Santa and his Reindeer were a purchase from Pottery Barn Kids a few years back.  They always seem to find their way into our Christmas Holiday Card each year, too.  Which reminds me, I need to take that picture ASAP or our friends will be getting a Happy New Year card instead!

The J-O-Y wood letters were a find a Michael's Craft Store.  I thought about painting them but I kind of like the natural look.

I've also got into the habit of using fresh garland on the mantel.  This Cedar Garland comes as a package deal along with a couple poinsettias and a Christmas Tree from the nursery up the street.

Hope this puts you into the Holiday Spirit!  I'm linking to the Christmas Cheer party over at Ten June today.  Come check it out - so much inspiration for your holiday mantels!

And also linking to these fab blogs...
DIY Showoff Ginger Snap CraftsLil Luna The Lettered CottageThe Shabby Creek Cottage

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Baking Cabinet

So Operation Kitchen Cabinet Re-Org continues onto the "Baking Cabinet".  I think I've assembled it into a spot where I'll actually be more apt to bake something... which my husband is very excited about.

And the ever loving before pic.  Ughhhh, seriously?  I didn't even want to open this cabinet and take time out of my day to find the sugar and sprinkles to make a tasty treat.  (don't even ask how long that box of corn starch has been in there, never mind what's lurking in those silver tins).

I'm rather short so visibility is vital for this little lady.  Searching for ingredients when you're in the thick of assembling a pie is so annoying.  I saw this gorgeously organized cabinet on Jenny Steffen's blog and knew what I had to do.  Don't you just want to bake some scones looking at this?!

Using a few pieces of wood lying around the garage I was able make multiple levels within the cabinet.  And a little fabric to "pretty up" the space can't hurt.

There we go!

I used mini mason jars that I already had for some essential baking ingredients.  And labels are essential.  These were part of my amazing giveaway win from Jen at The Social Home and her Paper Society Esty shop! I'm totally crushing on them - labeling has become an obsession of mine.  As a joke, my husband labelled the oven and microwave one morning with post-it notes.  Damn you for mocking me, boy!


The cute oil and vinegar jars were a World Market find.

And who doesn't want to make sprinkled cookies when they look so cute on display... "they must be sprinkled".

And finally, a place for my Kitchen Aid mixers and measuring spoons to live using a few simple command hooks. Total easy access.

However, be forewarned. Just because you have a cute and organized baking cabinet doesn't mean you can make beautiful cookies all the time.  In an attempt to create these...

via Jenny Steffens Hobick
... mine turned out like this.  FAIL!  Clearly I need to step up my game on the cookie frosting front.  Despite their pitiful appearance, it didn't stop me from taking down 3 of the 5 cookies shown here.  Hello, holiday 5 pounds... I've been expecting you.

Nevertheless, I'm happy with my "before and after".  

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