Girly Nautical Baby Shower

One of my good friends is expecting a baby girl this summer and I could not WAIT to throw her a shower. I though that since her husband is a sailor (and she is a former sailor herself) that we could do a cute nautical theme. But forget just boring old navy blue, lets girly it up and add some PINK!

I wanted to make a cute banner and I was having such a hard time finding what I wanted on island (our craft stores are a joke) Finally, FINALLY I found the cutest chipboard pennant that I was able to customize. It was already white so I just added navy blue strips of cardstock in an alternating pattern. Then I added some hot pink letters. I strung it on some pink twine and was SO happy with the way it turned out!

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On the front door I made a quick welcome sign. I actually failed a bit because I accented with red instead of pink. Whoopsie. The whole party theme just fell apart right there. For this I just used posterboard and traced a life preserver shape. Then once cut out laid it on the red posterboard and traced it. Then cut out three sections and laid them on top. Easy peasy $1 door decoration.
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Food table! Can I be super-pretentious and say ‘table scape’? I actually had a ton of fun with this one. First off, my table is a massive square and NO tablecloths ever fit it. Well my mind must have been working on overdrive because guess what fits it perfectly? A shower curtain! I found this one at Target, $12 I think? Over the top of that went some craft store fish netting and then some broken sea shell vase filler (again from Target, so much cuter, less messy and more on theme than confetti!) The ceramic urchin was stolen from my master bathroom decor.
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I did also find some cute anchor wood cut outs I used to decorate here and there (painted reluctantly by my daughter):
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(Tulle from Walmart + wood anchors $1/chair decor!)

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The dessert table was the one thing I wanted to turn out perfect. And I am actually happy with it. Just bummed I didn’t have time to do a backdrop but you know what, most people don’t. My plates will have to suffice! I found the BEST fabric store on island (danger!) and found this cute chevron fabric. (Starfish print stolen from the guest bathroom)
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Macarons from Life Is Sweet. Yum! (and I could have gotten them all pink to coordinate but what fun is that?)

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Easy peasy berry tarts. Like no, REALLY easy! Pie crust (homemade for me because I am a pie crust snob, you could use store bought no prob) cut into circle (use the rim of a glass if you don’t have a circle cookie cutter) gently shove into mini cupcake pan (you can also make a ball and then just squish it into place. Whatever you feel like doing. Bake until done at 350. I think it was 9-10 min for me. Cool. Make vanilla pudding (oh yes, so cheatery and also delicious). Right before you want to serve fill with pudding and top with a perfect berry. No joke I couldn’t stop eating these little bites of yumminess.

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The cake I did NOT do. I know my limits on cake making and my idea of what I wanted greatly surpassed them! She did such a great job! (Kimmie*cakes located in Ewa, she is on FB) and the cake didn’t just look good it was delish. Red velvet with cheesecake mousse filling. Oh yes.

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I forgot to snap a picture of drinks before everyone hit them up, but I just had them on my bar. Plantation tea (the best drink eva! Iced tea with pineapple juice. In this case Mango Iced tea with pineapple juice. So. Good.)
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And make those gifts do double duty as decor! Thank you baby clothes designers for keeping on theme! Little girls have the best clothes. Another one of our friends had a couple of items custom-embroidered which was even cuter.
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Happy Baby Shower Alex! It was so much fun to throw!

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Oh don’t think even MORE nautical clothing didn’t show up in the actual gifts!

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Our great group of ladies! We had so much fun we moved the party outside, added our husbands and kids and hung out all night!

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Happy Mother’s Day to me!

A Sunday with nothing to do was just what I needed! We decided to make it an early dinner so we all just lazed around the house. Until I got bit by the cleaning bug and did a million loads of laundry, dishes and mopped the floors. Yes, I know. I am doing Mother’s Day wrong. However I felt a million times better having a clean house to start the week.

I was a little bit bummed by my meal out, we hit up Nico’s one of my favorite places to eat. It wasn’t too crowded which was great. I ordered a Pier 38 Punch to start, eh, it was okay. My husband decided to be brave and try the oyster shooters. My seafood lover wasn’t a fan, I was actually surprised. I could barely look at them, ugh. It was a brave person who first ate one of those. Well I decided to order the Steak Frites, ribeye steak, medium and was so disappointed to have it come almost well done. Awful. But I am one of those people who NEVER send food back. Like ever. (I have seen Waiting I know what happens!) I am kinda picky when it comes to steak, if you can’t grill it better than I can for $25 then shame on you. Also my husbands seafood scampi was pretty bland.

It’s such a surprise when one of your favorite places let’s you down! We couldn’t get reservations at the Japanese Steakhouse I really wanted to go to, and instead of postponing dinner out, I just went with a second choice. Dang it!

(Dessert partially redeemed it, however, dessert trio- mini lava cake, salted caramel ice cream and smore’s bread pudding)

At least I managed to snag a picture with each of my munchkins, you can tell how delighted they are.

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Really that is as good as it gets picture-wise. I am amazed I even got those.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the other mamma’s out there!

The Start of a Homemade Pantry

So for awhile now I’ve been making much more of our snacks and meals from scratch. I make dinner pretty much every night and I’ve been trying to eliminate as much processed food as we can. This is due in part to trying to eat clean, but also to reduce the amount of packaging/waste I create.

I bought a book last year that I loved, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making, I was inspired but still, it looked like a lot of work and lets face it… I am lazy!

Well today I got in a mood to play around in the kitchen and make some snacks and had a GREAT time.  A lot of this was pretty basic stuff but it was really cool to show it to my kids. And also to show them that sometimes disasters happen in the kitchen, learn from them and tweak your recipe!

Today we managed to make: butter, buttermilk (really by default because it is the leftovers from butter), fruit snacks, granola bites, cheese crackers, potato chips, compound butter, buttermilk pancakes and smoothie pops.

Yes it was a lot. Yes I was in the kitchen for 4+ hours. And yes I still have a sinkfull of dishes I will deal with later!

We had a couple of fails in there, the first batch of potato chips and the fruit snacks. The potato chips burned, the fruit snacks don’t taste like anything.  Second batch of potato chips we couldn’t stop eating hot off the sheet pan and I will revisit the fruit snacks with a stronger fruit juice.

DSC_0365Pretty but they don’t tast like much… Mckenna wants me to try them with lemonade. Its a really simple recipe, 1 cup juice with 4 packs unflavored gelatin. Microwave for 1 min and pour into a mold. Pop out when set. Target had this one in the dollar section. I was mad they didn’t turn out because I haven’t bought my kids fruit snacks in probably two years because 1)they are crap 2) they are individually wrapped crap.

Next up potato chips, which were a fail turned into a victory!

First thing to do, borrow a mandolin from your always accommodating neighbor! Then warn your son approximately 8,000 to NOT TOUCH IT!

cook1Easy peasy, cut potatoes, soak in salt water, pat dry on dish towel, toss with oil and salt, cook in oven. The first batch got way too toasty way to fast.

cook2The ones on the left were burned, the ones on the right were delicious. It was a fine line to try not to cross! These would be much easier in a deep fryer but, no, I don’t need one of those in my house. EVERYTHING would be going in the fryer!

cook3Butter wasn’t too exciting I guess. Next time I am going to make him shake it in a jar! Rotten child. Okay it was a little tedious, watching the mixer go isn’t too exciting. When the cream turned into whipped cream that was kind of exciting until I told them it was salted whipped cream. Eeew, not so much. I was wrist deep in butter at the end so didn’t take any pictures of the process. Once the whipped cream breaks you will see the butter solids separate from the buttermilk. Food is magic, I am telling you. Drain the buttermilk into a container squeezing as much out of the butter as you can, I got a cup of buttermilk from my pink of cream. From there keep kneading the butter with cold hands rinsing it under cold water until it isn’t releasing any more liquid.

But no, we couldn’t stop there could we? Got to make it fancy! We went with the compound butter, Omar picked strawberry, Mckenna was vanilla-cinnamon-brown sugar, and I went with pesto. They are all DELICIOUS!  The pesto one went right onto some french bread that Omar and I were fighting over!

The other two butters as well as the buttermilk? I had other plans in mind for them. (Oh yeah, I also made a ready pancake mix!) Buttermilk pancakes for dinner with some yummy homemade butter on top. We didn’t even need syrup these were so good!

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Tiring but really fun as well. I think the kids had a good time seeing how easy it is to make something out of a few humble ingredients. I am looking forward to making a few more homemade items, especially mozzarella and toaster pastries.

Dinner Al Fresco

DSC_0340So the other night I suggest we eat dinner outside. The kids jumped right on it. We NEVER eat out on our lanai and it’s a shame. Unfortunately I am SO unhappy with my backyard/lanai that I just don’t use it like I would like. I canNOT grow grass… The green you see up there? Mostly weeds and some groundcover. The red dirt is everywhere and Bowser tracks it up on the cement lanai and makes it all dirty and when he runs back and forth the dirt gets all over the and chairs so I have to hose them off. (First world problems, amiright?) We I finally decided it was going to be worth it, I made a delicious pesto chicken dinner, Mckenna cleaned off the patio furniture and set the table, and we had a nice relaxing meal out there. Well until Bowser realized that now everyone’s food was at eye level for the first time (we eat at a counter height table). I even enjoyed a cup of coffee out there when was over, the lanai is great, there is even a ceiling fan. If I could only grow grass I would be a happy camper!

(Also citronella candles, those mosquitoes were annoying!)

 

Spring Break is here! Day 1…

It’s that time again where I trade in the drudgery of early mornings and packing lunches  for the drudgery of keeping my children entertained for the next week and a half.

Day 1, we started off Spring Break with a bang. Dave and Busters for lunch and games. In hindsight I should have probably held off on this one as a bribe until the end but oh well. They have actually been fairly decent to each other lately.

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Look they are even sitting on the same side of the booth, that NEVER happens!! I love Dave and Busters Military discount, especially since I have banned them from drinking anything but water when we go out (I am sorry, $3 for a soda or juice that is hardly touched? No thanks!) Our lunch ends up being quite the deal… Of course I took NO pictures of us playing games, the lighting up in the arcade is horrible anyways. We didn’t hit any jackpots on anything but we had a good time playing.

As we were headed out to the car I decided to take a little detour and hit up Menchies.

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Seems like we are one of the last to hop on this new trend of building your own dessert… There was nothing like this in Spain and we really don’t go out for dessert much. The kids LOVED it and can’t wait to go back!

menchiesIf you haven’t been to this type of FroYo shop before, you get to pick your flavors and topping and add whatever you want to your bowl. Then you pay by the ounce. Needless to say, keep a sharp eye on your kids so they don’t fill up the entire bowl! I went simple with cheesecake flavored frozen yogurt with fresh strawberries, while the kids had some interesting combinations. Mckenna got red velvet and mint with red velvet cake chunks, Omar got mint, ice cream sandwich and coffee with sprinkles.

We will be back! Must try everything!

 

Reducing my grocery budget

Right now I am just feeding three people yet I have been having a REALLY hard time spending less money at the grocery store. I’ve been shopping a week at a time (we eat a LOT of produce) and I do add household items and food for the dog in that total as well. I would REALLY like to get back to $100 per week and I’m hoping some of the brilliant minds out there could show me where I can do that.

So here is my most recent grocery trip:

DSC_0055The cold stuff… of the bags of chicken were for the dog and the coffee creamer is non-negotiable!

DSC_0054The junk food… disclaimer: the crackers and cereal were a pretty good price, the cup o’ noodles are getting packed off to my husband and the caprisuns were a one time buy because we were going to have some friends with kids over this weekend.

DSC_0056The produce, already the broccoli, celery, pepper, cuke, and most of the carrots, apples and grapes are gone. Produce gets eaten like it’s going out of style around here.

DSC_0057This is what my fridge looks like pretty well stocked.

Maybe I just have to realize that living in Hawaii with two growing kids (my daughter is almost as tall as I am now) that this is as good as it’s going to get. I do plan on trying some cracker recipes, my kids LOVE homemade granola bites, I can’t keep them on hand!