Friday, July 29, 2011

Parenting Advice

This week at Show us Your Life is Parenting Advice.  I'm sure every single blogger is going to say there is no such this as being a perfect parent, and I think that's true.  I also think each blogger will say that they're still learning how to parent, and I think that as long as you know that, you're headed in the right direction.  My Dad always tells me that when children are born they don't come with a "How to be the world's greatest parent" book.  And although Liliana is only 14 months old, I have learned a GREAT DEAL about parenting already.

I've decided to give you guys MY piece of advice, and then my favorite Dr.'s piece of advice to parents (aka Liliana's Daddy).

Cristina's Parenting Advice:  TEAMWORK

I HATE the notion that it is the woman's job to get up every night and give the babies their bottle or that women change the majority of diapers, etc.  I think parenting is ALL ABOUT TEAMWORK.  I think women too often think their husband's can't handle doing these things or don't know how to do them correctly and honestly, I think that's showing so very little faith in your spouse!

When I go see a new baby in a house, I'm astonished at how many Dad's aren't ever waking up in the middle of the night or how many Dad's simply hand the baby over to Mommy when the baby has gone to the restroom.  REALLY?

If you MADE the baby, then CHANGE the baby ... that's my motto!

Evan and I are ALL ABOUT TEAMWORK in our household.  Since Liliana was born we've made it a big point to do this TOGETHER in every single way possible.  If one of us is getting her changed because she got her outfit dirty, the other is washing her bottles, putting the dirty one in the hamper, and choosing a new one.

Do you know what the result of all of this is?  Less frustration on either parents part!!  When Liliana is fussy, I only have to deal with HALF the fuss because Evan's there to help pick her up half the time.

Now that he has started residency, this has obviously changed some.  He works ridiculous hours and quite honestly, he has literally shed tears because he sees her so much less.  That being said, when he gets home he tells me to go to the couch, relax for 30 minutes, and just does everything with Liliana.  WHENEVER we have a diaper change while he's around, he does it, whether we're at Target or home because he knows that since he's started residency, he owes me! : )

We honestly make parenting a JOYFUL thing not a stressful thing!  People always joke with us that they've never seen parents FIGHTING over who gets to bathe her or put her to bed.  We switch who gets these honors every night so to us, yes it is a privilege!  SO YES, TEAMWORK.

You both made the sweet thing, now both PARENT.  Parenting isn't just fun or just discipline.  It's a TON of things in between and you BOTH should be involved throughout it all.

 ENJOY their smiles. 

Dr. Daddy's Advice:  They Will be FINE

I told Evan I was going to write this post today and he said "my best parenting advice to parents?  The kid is going to be FINE!"

Throughout medical school Evan worked quite a lot in the pediatric clinics and time after time he saw parents concerned about: "the baby isn't eating well, the baby isn't pooping, the baby isn't as mobile as he should be," etc.  I am going to say RIGHT NOW that I am NOT AT ALL judging these kinds of mothers ... I become that mother ALL THE TIME!

And do you know what Evan tells me every single time I express concern?


And gosh darn it, he has been right every single time.

When Liliana turned one, I was SO concerned because she wasn't walking yet.  I fussed about it every single day.  Evan kept telling me 'are you serious?  She'll walk!'

Well ... guess who was right?  I now have a 14 month old that NEVER crawls, and more like RUNS everywhere.

 Running at the AWESOME splash pad we have downtown

Dr. Daddy always puts in a caveat and says "we'll keep an eye on this and if EVER we think there's a need to do something, then we'll do it!"

And he has kept his word.  If I ever tell him, "no I think she's sick enough to take to the Doctor," he never makes fun of me.  We're a TEAM so he's on my side.  And I'm on his side, because the majority of the time, I have learned, she is going to be FINE! : )

My sweet girl, Liliana, playing in her tunnel.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard: Book Review

I haven't done book reviews in a long time and I met my New Years Resolution goal ... I've read 11 books!  Since I last did a review, I've read Baby Proof, Sex and the City, Carrie Diaries, Summer and the City, Freedom, AND most recently, A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard.

One of these days, I MIGHT get around to reviewing the other books.  I DO want to add... Summer and the City was my overall favorite book out of the above mentioned list.  It was cute, whimsical, simple, and yet thought provoking.  Really enjoyable.

Right after I read that book, I jumped into A Stolen Life.

I'm sure you all know the story of Jaycee Dugard.  She was kidnapped at the age of 11 and held in captivity for 19 years.  It's VERY difficult to give this a review because it's the story of her LIFE and so what if I wanted to read less of one area and more of another?  This was HER choice and nobody can say what she should have or should not have written.  I will try to be as neutral as possible while most importantly stating that this woman is one of the most remarkable women I have ever heard of.

A Stolen Life
By: Jaycee Dugard
Grade: I don't feel right grading this book...she flat out gets an A+ for bravery.

How Long did it Take to Read: I read this book in about a week.  It actually isn't THAT short but I just could NOT put it down!  I wanted to read how she prevailed through everything that he put her through.  I wanted to try to understand what she had been through.  Again, she was remarkable. 

why I Read it:  This is a good question ... it's difficult to WANT to read about how she was sexually abused for 24 hours STRAIGHT sometimes.  It's difficult to WANT to read about how she was tied up for DAYS and had to pee in to a bucket that usually was full of feces.  But honestly what I wanted to read about?  Her role as a mother.  I wanted to see how she made it.  How did she know to teach her children math, social studies, science, and english?  She had a FIFTH grade education!  I wanted to read about the legal process and how 60 parole visitors did not catch her.  That was a BIG part of it too ... the lawyer and the educator in me wanted to read those things.

Plot: Jaycee starts the book off by writing about her life BEFORE the kidnapping.  She mentions things that SEEMED like a big deal BEFORE it happened. How trivial things would seem afterwards huh?  After that, she goes through her 19 years of captivity.  There are quite a few journal entries from her stay there.  The MAIN thing she focuses on?  What really helped her through these years?  Her pets!  She loves kittens and although the Garrido's purposefully kept killing the animals that Jaycee adored, she would get so attached to them...probably because these animals were the only true companions she had for 19 years.

At the end:  At the end of the book, I finished it feeling angry with the world.  Angry that for some reason we decide the Garrido's should still be alive.  We let men like this go out on the streets and do NOTHING about truly checking up on them.  I finished this book furious with the legal system.  Furious that nobody caught this girl until she had lost so much of her life.  Garrido had to wear an ankle monitor for YEARS during her captivity.  The monitor shows that he went into the "secret" backyard where Jaycee was multiple times a day ... yet out of the 60 parole visits, they NEVER went to check in the backyard.  It's purely disgusting.  So yes, that's the way I felt.  I was angry and SO upset for this girl and her 2 daughters.  By the way... Jaycee?  She specifically says she doesn't hate him.  She is, like I've said multiple times, remarkable.  She doesn't waste her time with those kinds of feelings because she says that would waste time.  I could learn things from Jaycee.  I think everyone could. 

Why no grade:  Jaycee wrote what SHE wanted to write.  Who am I to say that she should have written about how much of an ass this guy was?  She didn't write much about the education lessons that she taught to her daughters, but that's probably because to her that was motherly instinct and nothing interesting to write about (obviously, I disagree.  She's fascinatingly intelligent to have had the instinct to look up lessons for her girls until they reached the age of 15).  She barely talked about the parole officers reckless disregard for their duty.  But like I said, she said it's a waste of time to focus on what "could have been."  Therefore, I can simply say this ... i am GLAD I read it.  I am GLAD there is someone as strong as her out there talking about what happened.  Good for her.  Truly inspiring.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Best Marriage Advice

This Friday at Kelly's Korner is share your best marriage advice.  I have only been married for a little over 4 years so I'm aware I'm not an expert.  However, I didn't see a caveat that said we could only contribute if we had been married for over 20, so here goes.

My answers for best marriage advice might be a tad bit unconventional, but the more and more I thought about it, the more I couldn't decide between the two things that came to mind: (1) be silly, and (2) the importance of "cuddling" with your spouse!

Recently, I saw this quote and absolutely fell in love with it:

This quote kind of summarizes BOTH of my marriage advices!    

Let's start with #1: BE SILLY

Life is too serious for you to incorporate too much seriousness in your marriage as well!  Evan and I make a HUGE point in our life to have fun and be silly.  Yes, we obviously accomplish a lot, but we love to sit back and be silly as well.  We laugh together... ALL the time.  There is NEVER a quiet moment in our household.

I don't think there is EVER a day that we aren't cracking up together over a dorky comment someone made, or because we're rolling around with Liliana all tickling each other.  Being silly involves things such as mentioning HOW MUCH we have to do and deciding spontaneously to go out to Target and waste an hour instead.

This?  We do this all the time.  We'll be on our way to run an errand and one of us will say "yumm...cupcake..." and before you know it, we've gone to our favorite cupcake shop, had a great time, and didn't run our errand.  Being silly. 

It keeps your love FRESH and at the end of the day, it's simply FUN.  Marriage should be FUN!!!

NOW cover your eyes if you don't want to read #2: cuddle time

Now I'm not going to get in to too many details here at main point with this one is that couples need to take the time to be together, just them two and I think this falls to the wayside when children and more stress come in to the picture! I know life gets stressful, trust me, my husband works approximately 95 hours a week...but you surely have 30 minutes to at the VERY LEAST cuddle without distractions getting in the way.

The best part about the intimacy  It's truly the ONLY time in the day where it's just YOU TWO.  You aren't looking at your cell phone, or checking your email, or worrying about the kids.  It's just you two.  So when things get stressful later, you can look back at those moments and don't get as upset with each other because you know that you guys do indeed have a true connection.  This connection should be SUCH a priority.  Sure sometimes you can't just be lying in bed intertwined all day long because you have things to do, but sometimes when you can, cuddle for hours!  It's the best!

Like I said earlier, I know I've only been married for over 4 years (together for almost 10) but those 4 years have been filled with things that could break many couples ... we both endured law school and medical school, we had a baby, and we have been in debt our entire marriage, but we are so very happy to be married.  We NEVER fight over money, we have fun together, we "cuddle" lots and lots, and we respect each other (we both think the other person is the smarter person in the relationship...something my Dad always says is key to marriage and he's been married for 40 years, so I'll take that advice!).

I can honestly say that marriage, for me, has been the best thing that has ever happened to me.  I adore my husband and am so fortunate to have him as my best friend.  He is, by far, my favorite person in the world.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chocolate Chip- Peanut Butter Pound Cake with Peanut Butter Glaze

I am sharing for you one of the best recipes I have EVER made for the Weekend Wrap-Up.

Last week, I was looking over recipes while Evan was falling asleep next to me (what we do every night now since he wakes up at 4:03 every single morning).  He was about to fall asleep when he saw this recipe and told me "you would officially be the sexiest woman EVER if you made me that recipe!" haha.  SO, of course I had to bake it the next day!


- 3 c. all-purpose flour                                            - 6 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder                                     - 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt                                                  - 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips
- 1 c. creamy peanut butter (don't use natural)          - 1/2 c. butter, room temperature
- 3 c. granulated white sugar

- 1 1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar                             - 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 c. milk                                                         - 1/4 c. mini chocolate chips
- 1/4 c. creamy peanut butter


(1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 10 c. tube/ bundt pan generously with nonstick spray.
(2) Prepare cake: in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.  In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together peanut butter and butter.  Add sugar and beat an additional 5 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat until well combined.  Add dry ingredients a little at a time, beating until just incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Scrape batter into pan.  Tap it a couple of times on the counter to shake out air pockets.
(3) Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes, checking on the cake at 1 hour (mine took a total of 1 hour and 5 minutes) to make sure it's not too brown.  If browning too quickly, just place a piece of foil loosely over the top of the pan.  When a toothpick is inserted into the center of the cake and comes out clean, the cake is done.  Let cool for 20 minutes, then flip it onto a rack or platter and let it cool completely.
(4) Glaze: in a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, milk, peanut butter, and vanilla until smooth.  Drizzle glaze over the top of the cooled cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.  Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.  Glaze will set eventually.

ENJOY!  Guys, I promise you this recipe is OUTSTANDING.  After Evan tried it, he told me it was OFFICIAL, I was the sexiest girl on earth!

What can I say?

I know the way to his heart ...

peanut butter.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Two BAD Things That Happened To Me Today (Make That Three)

Today started off like any normal day.  I got dressed in my workout clothes and headed out to the gym.  Our gym has this great little daycare downstairs and Liliana LOVES when we head over there ... she starts clapping when I park.  To say that this baby is bored with only my company is an understatement.  I think she'll be thrilled to start daycare again soon once I start work in the fall.  Her boredom with me isn't the shitty thing that happened to me today though.

As I drove to the gym (which is approximately 2 miles from our home), my car started acting weird.  It couldn't accelerate more than 20 miles an hour.  And it was noisy.  And it was shaking.  And it was scary.

And right as I pulled in to the parking lot?  The transmission light let out a big DING for me.

Note: This is the first shitty thing that happened to me.

Then, after a great workout and having to call people throughout to hear about mechanics, I got back in the car to go home.  On the way home, my car could barely drive a second without causing problems.  I had to slow down, put it in first gear, and try to get home as safely as possible. All with my daughter in the car...yes, I was worried.  Yes, I tried contacting my husband and he helped as much as he possibly could from work.  The sweet life of being married to a resident let me tell ya ... and a surgery resident on top of that ... but that's for another post.

As I pulled in to my garage, my car made ANOTHER DING noise for me.

This time?  The engine light turned on!

Note: This is the SECOND shitty thing that happened to me today.

Fortunately, Evan's family is so kind and his uncle came to our house, took Liliana and I to the mechanic, and to top it all off?  They're going to let me borrow one of their cars so I don't have to pay for a rental.  Heaven sent for sure.

When we got home, I sat down to eat some lunch.  I realized I was really sore from my workout yesterday.  I don't want to toot my own horn or sound conceited.  I by NO MEANS have a super slender body or am really thin.  I love my food and I love the peanut butter chocolate chip pound cake that Evan and I finished in a matter of 2 days (in the spirit of honesty, he was gone for the majority of that ... I ate most of it).  HOWEVER, I am in shape.  I workout at least 5 times a week and my running skills aren't too shabby.  I did my personal best the other day and ran a 5K in 26:35 ... rather respectable.

Note: Part THREE of the shitty thing that happened to me is coming up ...  Here is the workout I did yesterday that got my butt, quads, inner thigh, triceps, AND chest sore:

Dear lord.  I did the Situation's (the idiota from Jersey Shore) Workout DVD because it streamed for free on our Wii and I needed a light workout day since I have really bad shin splints right now.  And, the situation got me sore.

That sentence sounded disgusting on many levels.  Not intended.  My bad. 

This lame-o DVD filled with about 100 sexual double entendres has my thighs and my butt hurting JUST as bad as Jillian Michaels.  Wow, apparently, yours truly isn't NEARLY as in shape as she thought.  Apparently doing 5 hours of exercise a week isn't cutting it.  THAT, or I need to do less cardio and more weights.  OK, that's definitely what happened, but either way, I'm a wimp.  That's the moral of the story.

And the fact that my car broke down AND the Situation from Jersey Shore taught me something all in one day?

Oy ... I should have just stayed in bed!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Mom Thought Somone Had Died.

This week on Show us Your Life is "How did you tell your family and friends you were pregnant?"

Well, as many of you know, our sweet Liliana wasn't what we would call a planned pregnancy.  I have, since forever, had problems with my cycle and even went 100 days without having a period.  In fact, the only reason I had one is because I went to the doctor and he gave me medicine to MAKE me have it.  While there, he told me that getting pregnant with this kind of cycle would be very difficult.  He said "WHEN you guys decide it's baby time, come back to me and we'll probably put you on Clomid."

That month, I really didn't have time to be upset about this news...I was in the middle of law school midterms and was working like a madwoman at the firm hoping they would hire me on as an associate.  I told Evan we'd worry about it when we wanted a kid and for now, let's just save on the money and not use the birth control.  As an extra protection, we would use protection from days 10 - 17 of my cycle just in case this time was crazy.

WELL, at day 23 (as I learned later), we conceived LILIANA! haha.

SOO ... how did we tell our family?

I didn't really have time to do something creative because we were in so much shock ... I had never thought about HOW I would tell family or anything like that.  PLUS, I didn't have TIME to do something cute.

We called my brother almost immediately after finding out and my sister-in-law and him were pretty shocked.  After they realized I would at least graduate from law school before Liliana was born, they seemed more relaxed.  Then Danny said "are you going to call Mom and Dad?"

Here's the problem.

When we found out ...

My parents were in EGYPT.

YES.  They were on a freaking cruise on the Nile River.  I thought about just telling them when they got back in 10 days but my brother insisted that I had to tell them NOW.

SO, I called the emergency number that my parents had left.  The lady answering the phone ASKED me "Is this a family emergency?"

I quickly said NO.  Not at all.  This is just a bit of good news that they really need to hear.

A day goes by with no word from my parents so I figure they never got the message.

Then, one day in my Health Law class, my phone starts going off CONSTANTLY.  Everyone in my family says my Mom is crying because she heard there was a family emergency and death in the family.

WHAT IN THE WORLD was this lady for the cruise ship thinking???

I quickly left class and called my Mom ...

I told my parents, "NO ONE DIED ... IT'S JUST THAT ... WE'RE PREGNANT!!!!"

My Mom started laughing and quickly screamed to the entire cruise ship during their dinner time "MY DAUGHTER IS PREGNANT!"  (Yes, she did this RIGHT AFTER I asked them to keep it on the down low until I was 12 weeks ... so much for that right?)

AND THAT is how I told my parents.

HOW did we tell our friends?

We found out we were pregnant on October 4th and my birthday follows really quickly.  We went out to eat with a few of our best friends and told them to come over to the house for dessert afterwards.

I then put this on our beagle Linda and had her run around the house  and told them "Linda has something to tell you guys!"

There were a few tears shed and then we showed them a picture of ALL our pregnancy tests ...

It was a good day.

And 36 weeks later, it was a GREAT day.

PS  Do you guys like my new blog makeover!!! I had it done by Brea at Utterly Chatoic Designs.  It was FAST, and SUPER reasonable!  I think it's awesome ...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ms. Liliana Phelps

Since Liliana was a wee baby, she has adored water.  From the very beginning, Evan was adamant on pouring water on her hair, on her face, and even dunking her underwater.

 Even at 8 weeks, she adored bath time!!  Water on the face was a breeze!!

At just a few months old, she started holding her breath under water and even blowing bubbles.  Evan was super excited about that ... he said that is the hardest thing to teach kiddos.

Let me back up for new readers:  my husband is a swimmer to the bone.  He got All American in swimming and water polo in high school, swam competitively in college, and played water polo in college too.  Through highschool, he was a swim coach and in fact, I used to go watch his kiddos swim!  Through MEDICAL SCHOOL even, he had a little side business where he taught swim lessons just for some extra income.  Like I said, swimming is his thing. To him, having a kid that likes swimming is a HUGE deal.  Ok, back to your regularly scheduled blog post...

As soon as it got warm enough to take her to the pool, we got her in and realized QUICKLY that she adored it.  I mean she liked it so much that the grandparents started making phone calls to us saying "we're scared she likes it too much and will willingly jump in while she's too young."  My Dad even insisted that we start teaching her THIS summer because of this.  I kind of thought he was nuts because she's so darn young, but we said, "why the heck not?"

For the last couple months we've been passing her back and forth between us in the pool, each time getting further and each time letting her stay under water a little longer.  Nothing much was coming about because of it, but she definitely knew when to hold her breath and definitely screamed in joy each time we pulled up to our neighborhood pool.

Last week Evan said "would you let me try something with her?"  I gave him my "what are you doing?" look, but agreed.

He had me let go of her and he just let her be in the water for quite a while (quite a while longer than I had been doing! hee hee) ...

And ...

The 13 month old stinker started SWIMMING towards him!  She kicks her little arms and legs and brings herself to the surface!  We couldn't freaking believe it.

I don't know if to call it swimmers intuition, if Evan was flat out crazy, or if it's a Daddy's stroke of good luck but she was awesome and SO excited every time.  She wanted us to turn her right around and do it again.

So then, we tried something else ... we put her to the side of the pool (as evidenced in her chubby self up above) and told her to walk towards the pool.  She made her way over getting MORE and MORE excited.

She looked at me like "am I gonna get in trouble for this?"

But she just walked STRAIGHT in to the pool without hesitating (not the steps ... off the ledge, just walked straight in) and swam up to the surface trying to grab on to the ledge.

The moral of the story?  TEACH YOUR KIDS EARLY to swim ... it CAN be done.  I'm not sure if all babies would be as fearless, or silly enough to take it on this early ... I don't have experience enough to say that. 

But, at 13 months, your little one could surprise you by swimming.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Best Side Dish Recipe: Garlic Mashed Potatoes!

When I saw that this weeks "Show us your life" was Best Side Dishes I have to admit I was stumped.  I mentioned to Evan that I didn't know what I was going to do and he said, "why don't you do my garlic mashed potatoes?" 

Therefore, today ladies and gentleman, you're getting my man's favorite side dish recipe!!

 Someone this handsome can't guide you wrong right?

and let me tell you ... I'm not just saying this because my husband's a hot man, but these mashed potatoes are AWESOME.  We make them often and enjoy every time.


6 Idaho potatoes, peeled and boiled (we've done Russet as well)
2 tablespoons garlic (we've used anywhere from 3 - 6 cloves before just depending on how garlicy you like it)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan (you can either use the Kraft shredded OR go all out and buy a block ... I must admit, the extra expense makes a huge difference)
1/4 c. Heavy Cream
1/4 lb. butter


Thoroughly mash potatoes and then mix together with other ingredients. 

YEP, that's it people!  It's easy!  You tend to have MOST if not ALL of the ingredients already in your refrigerator already ... but I PROMISE you these are WAY better than just your average potato and butter mashers.  These slight changes will make all the difference in the world.  Enjoy!!  

And if you like them, don't thank me, thank Evan! ; )

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tour of the New Home: Livingroom!

We've made it through the front room (study/ exercise room), Liliana's playroom, kitchen, and dining room.  Today is the most important room of any house (in my opinion):


The livingroom has BY FAR been the priciest and the most work to make it in to something I like.  While we're still not completely done with it, it's definitely at a point where it'll look like this for a long time to come.  I am SO happy with it and spend a great deal of time in this room, whether I'm on the computer, reading a book, playing with Liliana, or most importantly, snuggling with Evan after he's home from a LONG day of work.



This is what it looked like after we moved all our furniture in.  But I would sit in this room, and honestly, feel unhappy!  We bought the TV stand at Target for about $100 bucks and it looks wonderful.  But still ... it's crazy sounding, but I knew something just wasn't right.  Evan came inside one afternoon after staining the deck and just knew I wasn't feeling right about the room ... he asked me in that sweet, yet "oh no" voice: "What's wrong?"  Before we knew it, we had plans to paint this room.  

BUT that's the problem of an open concept house ... we didn't have to paint THIS room alone, but the livingroom, dining room, AND kitchen! Joy!

 I decided the color they had on the walls looked remarkably similar to poop mud.  And weirdly enough, that wasn't too appealing!

Therefore, we lightened the WHOLE area ... see the big difference?  Color: Oat Straw from Behr.

SO, after we painted the walls, I bought cushions for the couches, moved the rug to the dining room, and bought a new rug for the living room for an awesome price on  The finished product?


 YAY!  Much brighter and much more inviting!

 YES, we painted the brick wall as well.  And you know what?  It wasn't bad AT ALL like I anticipated.  It would take one person about 3 hours if I had to guess.

The new carpet and cushions.  I went for a carpet with much less color on it and I think that also helped to brighten the room.  I also bought cushions with less color on them too.  Bed Bath & Beyond had an AMAZING selection of cushions.  Although they were EXPENSIVE, they make a huge difference.

 My favorite corner of the house.  I don't know why I like it so much ... it just has a lot of personality, especially the two Puerto Rican works of art.

 Our wonderful friend gave us this picture (that she took) and frame as a good-bye gift. 
It's BY FAR my favorite item in the house!

 My new cushions! LOVE them! 
(even though they were about 20 bucks a piece, yikes)

My favorite cushion of them all ... love birds on the love seat.

There's the livingroom!  We're officially done with the downstairs of the house!  

Next: Liliana's nursery!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tour of the New Home: Kitchen/ Dining Room

We're back to the home tour!  So far you guys have seen the front room (study/ exercise room), Liliana's playroom, and today, it's all about the kitchen/ dining room.  In other words, an area of the house where I am ALL the time!  I have done a crap ton of cooking in our new home ... we've had quite a few get togethers and just last week had about 15 people over from Evan's family.  Our house is AWESOME for get togethers.  Love it!


Here is the kitchen beforehand.  It was already pretty to begin with, but of course we had to put a little bit of our own touch on it ...

The kitchen today:

 So as you can see, I added some artwork, put a few green pieces on the counters and I also left one end completely empty if you noticed.  I had an island in my old kitchen and that's by far the thing I miss most ... therefore, nothing is aloud on the right side countertop.

My favorite change in this kitchen?  My granite countertops!  They are SO awesome. 

Do you notice a cute little baby on the floor there?  She has a drawer in the kitchen and she LOVES playing in there.  I highly recommend giving your baby a drawer in your kitchen, it will make your life so much easier.
 Close up of the kitchen.

Liliana with her drawer ... look at those teeth!

Dining room:

 We bought this table at Walmart.  The table, bench, and four chairs TOTAL cost $250!!  It was SUCH a great price and really is pretty in person. 

 Another view.

In the very back, you can see Liliana's playroom, then the kitchen, and dining room!  This home is so open and I love it.  We painted all these walls ... it was a dark brown before and I think this lighter color really opens it up.  It made a huge difference.

Next: the livingroom!  
We made LOTS and LOTS of changes to this room and a ton of work went in to it ...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Stuffed French Toast Recipe ... WARNING: you will be DROOLING!

It's been quite a long while since I linked up to Show Us Your Life over at Kelly's Korner, but yesterday when she said it was going to be breakfast recipes, I decided to once again break with the tour of the new home and give you guys this recipe ... Stuffed French Toast.

I got this recipe from "anyone can cook" and it's a Better Homes and Garden edition, which of course, means it's great.

Stuffed Croissant French Toast


1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened                                    1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/4 c. maple-flavored syrup                                                    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 c. chopped fresh strawberries                                           1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 large baked croissant                                                           fresh strawberries, halved
2 eggs                                                                                  maple-flavored syrup
1/2 c. half-and-half or light cream


(1) For filling, in a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese and the 1/4 c. syrup with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined; stir in the 1/2 c. strawberries.  Cut each croissant in half, leaving one side intact.  Divide filling among croissants.

(2) In a large bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Using your hands, carefully dip each side of the filled croissants into the egg mixture, being careful not to squeeze out the filling.

(3) Lightly grease a 12-inch skillet on a griddle.  Cook filled croissants, two at a time if necessary, over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  If some of the filling leaks out into the skillet, wipe it off and lightly grease the skillet again before cooking remaining croissants.  Serve warm.   Top with additional strawberries and drizzle with additional syrup.  Makes 4 servings.

(4) Eat and decide to double recipe because it was so delicious!