she’s 1!: braden’s one-year-old birthday party

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged…mostly because I spend my life online editing and running AOL’s Roswell Patch news site now.

But I wanted to take a brief moment to post something on the birthday party we threw for B this past weekend. Thanks to inspiration found scouring other blogs and Pinterest, I think we pulled it off rather nicely. Take a look and see what you think.

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do-it-yourself: harlequin patterns and changing tables…

I’ve been working on the nursery and it’s definitely coming along now…s-l-o-w-l-y, very slowly, but we’re getting there.
I still have three months, but I know that with the holidays coming up three months is going to fly by and Braden will be here before we know it.

Fortunately for us, my parents have given us the two main pieces of furniture that we’re using in the nursery! One piece is a wardrobe that was used in my own nursery. I love the idea that my daughter will grow up with something that I also grew up around.

The second piece my parents gave us was an old chest they used in their room for years and years. Deriving inspiration from the items on Layla Grace, I decided to try my hand at converting the piece into a changing table by utilizing a do-it-yourself harlequin pattern in the colors I’m using in the nursery.

This is how it turned out….

braden's changing table

Here’s how I did it:

-Remove any hardware (drawer pulls, etc.).
-Paint the entire object one solid color. Let dry.
-Use painter’s tape and create a diamond pattern over the entire object by focusing on one surface at a time. For instance, lay out your tape on the top first, then each of the sides individually and finally, the front (over the drawers). You can measure the distance between each piece of tape or lay it out freehand (like I did). Press the the tape down as firmly as possible to avoid heavy bleeding, but realize that this is a nearly impossible task and you WILL experience some bleeds. That’s okay.
-Fill in each diamond shape with a secondary color. Let dry.
-Once dry, remove tape. The diamond pattern should be obvious. Keep in mind there will be imperfections.
-Using a crafter’s angled-edge sponge brush (choose your own size, I used a smaller size), brush on a third color over each of the diamond’s edges, covering up any bleeds or imperfections along the way.

The trick, I learned, was to accept the minor imperfections (over-correcting also causes problems) while trying my best to achieve the look I wanted.

Overall, while it’s not perfect, I am really pleased with the way it turned out.

bimini…

I recently had the privilege of running over to Bimini in the Bahamas with my uncle, aunt and cousins aboard their boat. It’s about a 2 1/2 hour trip from Ft. Lauderdale over, so not bad at all! We even dropped in some lines and caught six mahi (two got away) within about 20 minutes! Seriously good fishing out there for anyone who loves deep sea.

Unfortunately the weather kicked up a bit and we had to return to Florida after only one night, so I didn’t see much of the island, but what I did see definitely makes me want to return sometime!

Here are a few pictures, enjoy!


family-style cooking…

Unfortunately, I tend to worry. I also tend to be a people pleaser. Don’t get me wrong, I can definitely stand up for myself and I have my own opinions, but I generally want others to be happy…and I sometimes see it as my job to help them get there.
This is a problem on vacations when I feel like I need to bring something home to show family that I was thinking of them while I was away. I can spend a good chunk of time worried over finding a meaningful gift for each person that is within budget…it’s a difficult task…especially when you’re in Europe dealing with the added problem of a weak dollar.
In Rome I focused on enjoying myself during the first part of the week, but as our return flight edged closer I began to scope out gifts and panicked when I realized that budget, meaning and luggage space were definitely going colide in a way that made it immpossible for me to accomplish finding anything.
And then my genius husband came to my rescue.

After making several local Italian friends who schooled him on different areas of his native culture, he purchased three jars of a sauce called “Nduja” (it comes from the region his family originates in Italy) to share with his family at a big dinner some night upon our return. And then he called it a day. Ah, to be so uncomplicated.
I, on the other hand, still looked and worried and looked and worried over what I should get my family.ย Finally, he convinced me that I should do something similar with my family and we ended up purchasing a bottle of wine, a block of cheese and some chocolates.
This Sunday, I will be cooking an Italian family-style meal for my family and sharing all the goodies we brought home for them in a way that also allows us to share some stories and quality time.
Genius.

I have been looking over recipes trying to find the perfect Italian recipe to share…I think I’m going with homemade pesto pasta, since it was a favorite of mine over there.


Wish me luck…I’ve never made pesto before, but I believe I’m up to the challenge. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Here’s the recipe I’m thinking about using, in case anyone feels like trying it for themselves:

Ingredients
2 cups basil leaves
2 cups arugula leaves
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 tablespoons walnuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 cups hot cooked linguine (about 1 pound uncooked pasta)

Preparation
Place first 6 ingredients in a food processor; pulse 7 or 8 times or until mixture forms a smooth paste. Add cheese, broth, salt, and pepper; pulse until combined. Combine pesto and pasta in a large bowl, tossing to coat.

Oh, and by the way, the Naniamo bars were excellent!!

drooling over Nanaimo bars…

For those of you who don’t know, my Dad is from Canada. Born in Alberta, he actually grew up in British Columbia….one of the most beautiful places on earth. Honestly.

Since I’ve been alive, we’ve lived in a lot of different places…mostly the Southern U.S. And because of cost constraints we didn’t get to visit my Dad’s home region very often, but there was a love of certain Canadian things he passed on to us even from 3,000 miles away…mostly of the food sort.

Roger’s Golden Syrup, plum pudding and hard sauce (actually an English tradition), White Spot Restaurant and…Nanaimo bars.

sugar heaven

Now, if you’ve never had a Nanaimo bar…or heard of them…you don’t know what you’re missing. We dream of these sweet treats, the only problem is the custard powder required to make them is very difficult to get here in the South. (You can substitute instant vanilla pudding, but can it really be considered authentic then?)

They were first invented in a town called…uh, Nanaimo, B.C. Shocking, right? According to legend, a housewife entered the recipe into a contest and history was made. People make these bars using all different variations…cranberry, mint, mocha…but original is still amazing in and of itself!

My brother has talked about these wonderful creations so incessantly that his wife, my sister-in-law Brittney, contacted my older sister, Michelle (who still lives in Canada), to have her send some custard powder our way.

Brittney made the bars last week and it took every once of self-control I had not to dive right in, since Michael and I aren’t eating sugar this month.

However, our sugar fast ends this weekend and the first thing I’m making is…you guessed it: Nanaimo bars!! Michael has never had one and I’m dying to try my hand at making them.

For now, I’ll continue to drool over the pictures attached to the recipe. ๐Ÿ™‚

Christy Parry is amazing!

Hello to everyone out in blog land…even though my consistent readership marks only about three ๐Ÿ˜‰

After watching “Julie & Julia” the other night, I was inspired to dive into this blog with new abandon…however, I don’t have any seemingly original thoughts with which to jazz up the page right now. But, you’ll be the first to know if/when inspiration strikes!

For now, I realized that I hadn’t put any photos up from our Christy Parry photoshoot in December…She really is so talented and I love how we get awesome pictures when all we’re really doing is walking around and hanging out with each other. I have some up on facebook already, but here are a few that I haven’t published thus far….

the sunshine state…

is a little cloudy right now…but that’s not stopping me from laying out on the dock as I try to catch a few rays in this 80 degree weather!

How I do miss this when the weather turns cold in Georgia…what can I say, I’m a warm weather type of girl. ๐Ÿ™‚

I got to Florida on Wednesday evening. Can we say, loving it?! Though I do miss Michael (it’s funny how you get used to sharing life with someone), I am coping just fine with my best friends: sun and water. They are two of my favorite things on earth. Cure-alls, I tell you.

Amidst a day of running around with Pam yesterday, we got a call from Greg who needed us to bring the Corvette to the hotel (Eden Roc) for sponsorship detailing. It’s going to be used in a celebrity rally/scavenger hunt/race around Miami this weekend.

Cue the cool music, pull back the hair and slip on the shades, right?

Umm. No. Traveling on 95 at over 60 miles per hour is not cool or sexy. It’s a constant pounding. I don’t think we said much to one another for the entire ride, except maybe: “Wow, this seems to be taking a really long time.(me)” and “I know some people love this, but this is not my idea of fun.(Pam)”

We made it to the Eden Roc valet looking like birds might have taken up residence in our hair. It was a really stylish look for lunch at the hotel’s Cabana oceanside restaurant. Gilles Marini, from Sex in the City movie, Dancing with the Stars and Brothers and Sisters, wandered through at one point looking every bit the movie star, while Pam and I were still pulling knots out of our hair and hoping we didn’t have bugs in our teeth.

Maybe we should put the top up next time…

Now, I’m going to get back to my hard life right now and work on this tan ๐Ÿ™‚