We Bought Our House!

Before...

Before…

I haven’t blogged in SO long for two big reasons…we bought the 100-year-old Spanish Revival home we were renting and we had a baby.  Needless to say, the second half of our year was really…um…intense!  I’m not sure if it was normal “new house” stuff, or pregnancy nesting hormones, but I spent every waking moment of 2016 rethinking, refinishing and refurbishing our house.  I’ll take you on that journey soon, but for now, take a look at our first big projects.  We removed the fence dividing our backyard in half, cut down the creeping fig eating into our stucco, removed the scary bars from the windows, and had our windows and stucco redone and painted!  There are still quite a few things to do outside, but this was a huge step in the right direction.  I love the giant yard, cheerful paint colors and the functional window planter that my mom filled with tons of succulent clippings.   Later this year, we will need to paint the studio and pergola, re-tile the front porch and replace the fence surrounding the whole yard…2017 will be a busy one for fixing up our beautiful new(ish) home!   Continue reading

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Toddler Cooking Party…He’s 3!

IMG_3064To say that George loves all things kitchen related would be a ridiculous understatement.  He doesn’t just like “playing” kitchen…he likes using the real stuff, carefully stirring at the stove, watching every single step and trying it out himself.  He even sort of non-verbally lures new guests or friends to lift him onto the counter near the mixer so he can touch it for a while (since he knows Jeff and I won’t).    Obsessed would be a better word to use.

Since George is still mostly non-verbal, we had to guess what theme would be best for his birthday and “cooking” popped into my head as a fun thing for all kids to do!   Here’s how we pulled it off: Continue reading

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Our Annual Easter Feast

The buffet ready for devouring.

The buffet ready for devouring.

In a little less than a week, Jeff and I will be waking up early to start our annual tradition of making my family’s pierogies for lots and lots of friends for Easter.   We will hand form each one on Sunday morning and line them up in neat little rows ready for boiling, all the while teasing each other about our very different techniques and Jeff will insist that his seal is stronger.  Mine will be fat and round and his will be long and skinny… I don’t think I have to state the obvious here… it never fails to make me laugh.    This party is my absolute favorite to throw every year.  We have a wonderful energetic egg hunt followed by a simple, heavy and delicious meal that always makes me think of my family.    Here are some photos from last year!  Continue reading

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Last Minute Valentine: Slice and Bake Butter Cookies

IMG_0683I adore a simple, crunchy, lightly sweet slice and bake butter cookie.   They are lovely rolled in colored sugar, chopped nuts or coconut.  For a quick Valentine’s Day treat, I rolled my cookie dough log in homemade colored sugar and shaped it into a heart when it was partially chilled.  Once it was completely firm, I just sliced it, revealing darling heart cookies with a red sugar edge.  Super simple and a gorgeous little gift!   Recipe after the jump. Continue reading

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Ikea Hack: Picture Ledge Book Pockets

IMG_1812Maybe you were like me and thought the Ikea Ribba picture ledges would make adorable bookshelves in your child’s room or nursery…?  Well, they are really cute, but two and half years later, when your child has A LOT of books, I promise that they will constantly fall off into a huge mess on the floor.  Frankly, I started to go crazy picking them up all day long!  I decided to modify our Ribbas with some white mesh to make book pockets that keep them from falling off the shelves.  I love this project because it was really simple and can be a temporary fix that doesn’t mar the ledges!   Instructions and materials after the jump.  Continue reading

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Valentine’s Day Cupcake Sandwiches

IMG_8617 IMG_8618Last year, I couldn’t think of what to bake for Jeff for Valentine’s Day when I ran across an adorable heart-shaped Whoopie pie/muffin top pan in Michael’s and inspiration struck.  He loves red velvet cupcakes so I decided to make him a sort of whoopie-pie-cupcake-sandwich hybrid.   The result was gorgeous, super tasty and a less messy version of a cupcake to boot!   I used the Magnolia Bakery recipe exactly, so no need to reprint, but be sure to check the cakes often because they don’t take long when they are in a shallow pan.

 

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Simply Wonderful Tomato Soup

IMG_0648There’s just something about homemade tomato soup in the winter (yes, even in LA) that warms me to my toes.  I was never a fan of the canned stuff growing up, but real tomato soup is the perfect accompaniment to almost anything.  When my friend served us this family recipe one night last year, I was blown away by how perfect it was and I’ve been making it two to three times a month since that dinner!  Her recipe is a little creamy, a little tangy and a little spicy.   It also freezes well which has been a lifesaver during busy months.  I recommend pairing it with a grilled pimento cheese sandwich or sweet corn muffins!  Continue reading

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