Things I Love : October, 2014

Dying over the colors on this Good Housekeeping magazine. Crap. October is over. That means that the holidays are right around the corner. Life is just moving way too fast. I’m going to make every effort to slow it down a little bit and actually enjoy the holidays this year. But for now, here is what I loved during the month of October:

Good Housekeeping NAILED it with their November cover. I never pick up this magazine but the colors really spoke to me. I’m not even a huge fan of Eva Longoria but I really loved the graphic design and so I bought it to check it out. I enjoyed the magazine and look forward to seeing what next month’s cover looks like. Maybe they are trying to young it up a bit? I love me some Erin Phraner and I know she works at the mag so…I’m going to just give her all the credit since it has a crisp clean look like her site :)

Ghostbusters Krispy Kreme donuts! When your oldest son loves Ghostbusters and Krispy Kreme puts out Ghostbusters themed donuts, you drive way far out of your way to pick up a few dozen. Not sure when they will stop selling these but I am guessing Halloween so RUN to your nearest store and buy some! They were so much fun. They also had ones that looked like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!

I can't stop wearing this House Dress from Henry Mack. I can’t quit wearing this House Dress by Henry Mack! It’s super comfy, can be dressed up or dressed down and I love the pattern! I wore this dress 3 times in one week to all kinds of events. One to a nice dinner out sponsored by a local magazine, a fashion show and a blogger event where I paired it with comfy flats. So versatile. I’m hoping they get more prints in soon! This is def a staple in my wardrobe.  Do your kids live for a photo bomb opportunity?

He is finally out of a car seat! Look how happy that makes him! Look at that face!!! It’s pure joy because this was the day we realized that it was legal for him to ride without a car seat. He felt like a million bucks. I still have him ride with the bottom booster most of the time to ensure that he is the safest. But I now know that he can ride without one. They are growing up WAY too fast!

Just the Wine drops for neutralizing sulfites in wine which I have an intolerance to. YOU GUYS. A few years ago my doctor told me that with my allergies and history of headaches that I should probably not drink wine. My nose gets all stuffed up. I get headaches pretty much immediately and the next day can be pretty unbearable. And that can be after just one glass. I pretty much stopped drinking champagne or sparkling wine completely because of the instant headaches. But stop drinking wine altogether? Absurd. Recently, I’ve been feeling exceptionally miserable after drinking wine. So much so that one morning I woke up and decided I couldn’t drink it anymore. Luckily, a mere 5 minutes later, I was reading OC Metro and came across a story on Just the Wine. The symptoms listed in the story were pretty different from mine, but I decided to try them out anyway. I am still trying them out to see if they really help me with my wine consumption. And so far I think the answer is yes! My nose still gets stuffed up, but I’m not getting the headaches like I had been. I tried these drops in a mimosa the other day and had no headache at all! These do not prevent headaches the next day due to over consumption. You put 3 drops in your 6 ounce glass of wine and give it a stir for 20 seconds. This is basically food grade hydrogen peroxide and it neutralizes the sulfites. I even take them with me when I go out now. My husband says it looks pretty shady when I put them in my wine but I don’t care. You can read more about them here.

Self-serve Iced Coffee at Whole Foods.Somewhere along the way I started upping my daily coffee intake. But as the day goes on, I’m less inclined towards a hot cup of coffee, and turn instead to iced.  So I was super excited to see this Cold Brew set up at my local Whole Foods! I pretty much have no understanding about what the different brews are, but love that you can serve yourself. And it was delicious too! I feel like this might be the next big thing. They took out their juice bar. And while this doesn’t exactly replace that, it seems like this is where the focus has shifted. And I quite like it.

Finger Limes! I finally got to try finger limes. The inside is not like a normal lime but are like tiny little balls that are tart and crunchy and awesome. While at Whole Foods, I came across a package of Finger Limes! I had seen them in a food magazine last year and almost went so far as to order them online. I’m a lime fanatic and these sounded super interesting. But I thought it might be a little obsessive to buy limes online. When I came across the package, I FOR SURE had to try them! They smell just like a normal lime, but the insides are totally different. I took the tip of my knife and sort of scraped at the flesh and these little orbs came out. They are crunchy and tart with a limey flavor. These would be so awesome as a garnish for a cocktail or appetizer. I made my whole family try them because who knows when the next time I’m going to have finger limes again! The kids thought they were hysterical. LOVED them! If you see them, pick them up!

The first time he was able to dip his cookies in Cow's Milk! He's outgrown that allergy! This kid has had food allergies since he was one year old. This right here is the first time he has ever dipped Oreo‘s in to cow’s milk. We are so grateful that he has outgrown that allergy. He seems to be fine with eggs as well, but he still resists the foods that were harmful to him for so long. This was such a great moment for me to see him acting like a normal kid and not being afraid to try the milk. I know that over time he will learn to like eggs as well. So cool! And we’re keeping our fingers crossed about the nuts as well. Because Butterfinger.

*I’ve been making some changes to the back end of my blog and as a result I have lost my spell check! I read through this post to the best of my ability but there could very well be some errors…I don’t need to know about them. And I guess I shouldn’t rely so heavily on the spell checker, but I do! Fingers crossed I can figure out where it went!

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New Music Mondays Dinner Time Playlists

New Music Monday Dinner Time Playlists for teaching kids about good music. It is finally happening.  My son is taking an interest in music.  Better music.  He has always loved music but as of late, we’ve been forced to listen to novelty songs and One Direction.  Non-stop.  And his preference for Radio Disney left me and my ears wanting more.  A month ago I subtly suggested we try our local radio station, KIIS FM since a lot of the songs he likes are played on that station too.  And it worked.  That helped us to expand the genres of music is he is hearing.  As a result, he has shown interest in Imagine Dragons and One Republic.  But my happiest moment came the other day.  Although he wanted to create a playlist on the iPad to listen to (hurrah!) he was grounded from screens (boo!) so instead I turned on the radio in his room.  He came out after a few minutes, made me stop vaccuuming (amen!) and said, “I have a new favorite song.  It’s ‘Ain’t it Fun’ (Paramore).  Come on mom.  Come listen to it with me.”  I shot put the vaccuum and ran down the hall to his room.  I am a big fan of that song.  So we listened (he listened, I lip-synced) together.

I’m not a music snob but I don’t think that music needs to be dumbed down for kids.  Music is a big source of enjoyment for me and has been for as long as I can remember.  I was allowed to listen to pretty much anything that I wanted and I knew my boundaries in terms of language and themes, etc.  Just because I heard 2 Live Crew in junior high did not mean it made my behavior change.  I certainly wasn’t slanging rocks or getting horn  y.  Knowing how music has changed, I am not willing to just send my kids off with a radio for them to learn on their own.  I see music as a great way to open the dialogue between our children about not only music, but the art form and life lessons that come along with it and the words being sung.

So we are starting New Music Mondays Dinner Time Playlists!  Notice the new tab at the top of the page under the header?

I’m going to attempt to post a new New Music Mondays Dinner Time Playlist each Sunday night.  It will be right on my sidebar (do you see it over there on the right hand side of the screen?).  And you should be able to just hit play and listen along if you want to participate too.  Although I am listening to the songs all the way through as I make them, I can’t gurantee that they are free of all bad words.  I am pretty sure there is a “damn” in the Old School Rap Songs for Kids playlist.  Depending on your views, values, etc. I suggest that you listen to them through first so you are aware of exactly what you are sharing with your kids.  But be prepared for dance breaks.  We allow them to get up from dinner a few times to dance along with the music.  Mondays are pretty fun.

I LOVE old school rap.  And rap has been one of the hardest genres to share with my kids thus far.  When in the car, we mostly listen to Sirius which means that the rap stations are not edited or the clean versions of the songs.  So we have to skip them.  But I know that some of my favorites from when I was younger are just fine.  And beat boxing!  What kid doesn’t love that?!

So enjoy this week’s playlist.  I’d love to hear if you listen along so leave a comment!  Of course it doesn’t have to be on Monday.  I’ll leave the playlist up for the whole week and then I think I am going to host the past lists on my Facebook page so you can check out those too.  I’ll update you on that.  And I’ll update the tab at the top of the page with quick discussion tips for each playlist.  But only if you want to go that far.  These are just things we will bring up to our kids while listening but while this is learning for them, we really just want it to be fun.  Let’s rock.

Check out more info about New Music Mondays and see playlist talking points.

 

 

 

Choosing a Rug with your Spouse

*This is part one of a two-part post series I am doing for Flor Modular Carpet Tiles.  All opinions and arguments are mine.

I'm just a girl on a computer shopping for home decor. \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou may remember that I got a new dining room rug not too long ago.  It is from Flor and we LOVE it!  The colors make me SO happy and it really was the catalyst for making me want to bring more of my personality in to my home.  So now we’ve decided to add a Flor area rug to our living room.  At the moment, we have a rug in there that we bought two houses ago simply because we had a ton of space to fill and needed cheap rugs.  The color is boring and I just can’t wait to see it go.  Since I picked out the first rug, without even a mention to my husband, I knew it was important this time to let him weigh in on it.  So I browsed the site and he browsed the site and we compared our picks.  Choosing a rug with your spouse takes much compromise, discussion and bribery…

Great Flor Tile choices for a living room area rug.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOh hey, color.  How are you?  And patterns, welcome to the party.  These are my picks.  I felt like I was playing it safe with #2 but thought it might be an interesting choice and a way to really add color to the room with accessories.

1  .  2  .  3

Dark Neutral Flor Tile options for living room rug.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThese are my husband’s picks.  A little bit different feel, wouldn’t you say?  When I got these choices from him I wasn’t that surprised but knew we would have to both compromise a little.

4  .  5  .  6

There are certainly things we need to think about, in terms of the space, that guided our choice.  But I think men and women think very differently about them.  We have two young boys so it had to be something that would hide stains pretty well.  Also this room is very dark by late afternoon.  We aren’t quite ready to get rid of our couch so the rug would have to at least go be able to play nicely with it for the time being.  And since this room adjoins the dining room, where our other fantastic rug is, the two rugs should probably speak the same language.  This was much harder than I thought it would be.

Flor Tiles are a great option for families with children.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAre you dying to see which one we chose?!  I can’t wait to share it with you!  Our plan is to put it together this weekend so be on the look out soon!

*Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Cupcakes and Cutlery going.  All opinions will always be mine.  Thank you Flor!

Getting a Modern Look in a Traditional Space

*This post is sponsored by Sauder. All opinions and tips are my own. My husband and I have really been discussing our home design aesthetic lately. We are currently giving our living room a makeover. But the process can be a long and difficult task when you are short on money and long on individual opinions. Add to the fact that we are renting our home and we kind of have to work with what we have. Our “base” is pretty traditional while our tastes run more towards a modern look. The modern feel we love nods to mid century modern with a clean, uncluttered vibe that is full of natural light. We struggle with just how modern we want to go (my husband – all the way, me – a more laid back, homey modern approach). We also struggle with the use of colors. I LOVE colors, whereas to keep it looking clean, my husband prefers to have only a few pops of one or two colors. As you can see from the mantle, most of the color comes from the flowers while the other accessories remain neutral. We don’t always have fresh flowers in our house, but they are the perfect way to add more color to a room, temporarily. And you can keep them in just a few colors or really mix it up with a colorful bouquet. Our biggest hurdle has been finding affordable furniture, that fits our budget, that will have big impact on the style of our room. But I think we finally have a solution in Sauder furniture. Until we decide on what furniture we need and how to lay it out in the room, we have focused more on the decor elements of the room to get us closer to the look we want.

To keep a clean, modern look, everything should have a use. To me, that can look a little to sparse and cold. So I’ve been searching for accessories that have a modern vibe. I found this vase, which reminds me of a high end modern pottery designer’s products, at my local craft store and was able to purchase it with a coupon. With the traditional look of the fireplace, we really need to try hard to add modern touches through decor.

Because I need to buy a few pieces of furniture to make this room over, I’m really trying to watch how I spend my money in other areas of the room. By repurposing things I already own, I am able to style the area without spending money. Here I’ve used an empty whiskey bottle and a wooden candlestick holder as vases (the wooden candlestick holder actually has a little metal insert for the candle so it can hold a smidge of water to keep that flower alive for a few days). The brass candlestick holders were purchased on clearance around the holidays and provide a little shine to the mantle. And while I used to hate the wall of mirrors, it is needed to keep that room bright all day. Thanks to the position of our home, that room loses natural light just after lunch time. But thanks to that wall of mirror and a sliding glass door opposite, light gets bounced back in to the room.

I think it is also very important when designing a room, even if you are trying to keep to a certain look, to put some of yourself in the room including one or two conversation pieces. Those tend to have big impact while not cluttering a space. This George Washington pillow is the only throw pillow we have on the couch (otherwise, my kids would make a fort out of them) and it demonstrates both my love for U.S. Presidents and my husbands love of Americana perfectly.

Modern rooms tend to be clear of clutter and with everything having a purpose. The media console we have now does not provide a spot for us to hide the DVD player. So it sits out on top of the console which I think is an eyesore. In this case, I felt a little styled vignette was in order to draw the attention away from the DVD player. And look, it is holding our Apple TV remote so that counts as function, right?

The media console is one of the pieces of furniture that we will be replacing. I am in love with the clean lines and modern vibe of this media console from Sauder. And guess what? My husband and I both love the style. You know how you find a new company and get super excited over their stuff only to click through and realize that you can’t afford any of it? Well, that is not the cause with Sauder. Not only do they carry pieces that perfectly fit our modern aesthetic, but the prices are totally affordable. This company gets it. They think you should be able to furnish your home in style without breaking the bank. Amen. You can see the entire Soft Modern collection, which is TOTALLY amazing, on their website or their Pinterest page. And they have styles to suit all different tastes. With these pieces, we can achieve the modern look we want in this house but can take with us if we move again. And because the furniture is so affordable, we can change out some of the other pieces that don’t fit the look we are trying to achieve. Awesome. This room is far from finished but I am super excited with how it is coming together. I can’t wait to feel good about inviting people in to our home!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sauder Woodworking. The opinions and text are all mine.

Healthier Snack Ideas for Kids

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There are decent granola bar options for kids to snack on.I decided to sit my kids down the other day to see if I could figure out some healthier snacking options for them.  I started off by asking them what their favorite junk foods are.  My oldest said, “the middle of those chocolate sandwich cookies, chocolate caramel pretzel granola bars, lattes (He’s joking, he’s never had a latte.  That I am aware of.) and ice cream.  My youngest said, “ice cream, any kind of chocolate, pretty much all candy and gummy fruit snacks.”  I wasn’t surprised by their answers.  And that was a good starting point for trying to give them better options while still getting a little bit of what they want.  What do you think your kids would say?

Both of my kids love chocolate so I try to cut down the amount they get by pairing it with fruit or pretzels. Studies show that dark chocolate has good properties, right?  And moderation is the key.  So I am fine including chocolate in their snacking.  But I make sure that it isn’t the entire snack and that I pair it with fruit or pretzels, both of which go AMAZING with dark chocolate.  This way, they aren’t eating an entire chocolate bar, or a bunch of chocolate candy, but getting a little to satisfy their cravings.

Dried fruit can take the place of high sugar gummy snacks.My youngest would happily survive on gummy snacks if I let him.  So I decided to try swapping them with straight up dried fruit.  While there is still a lot of sugar in dried fruit, there isn’t all the other funky chemicals like in those crazy-colored, super chewy fruit gummies.  At least I am pretty sure there isn’t all that other stuff in there…

sunflower seeds make a healthier snack for kids but is still crunchy with some salt.Sometimes they ask for chips or sugar cereals for a snack.  Due to food allergies, we can’t give them nuts, but salted sunflower seeds are a great substitute.  They are crunchy and salty with good fats which their little bodies need.  I, on the other hand, need to be careful with these in the house because I want to eat them by the spoonful.  So yummy.

sunbutter and banana "quesadilla" is a great after school snack idea.When they get home from school I like to give them a snack that is a little bit more hearty.  If I don’t, I find they ask for more food several times leading up to dinner.  For this snack I make Sunbutter and banana “quesadillas”.  There is no cheese in these, they just look like a quesadilla.  The Sunbutter is a great substitute for peanut butter (dumb allergies) and the banana is a nice sweet touch.  You can make it even a little bit more decadent by spraying a non-stick pan with a little bit of spray oil and then grilling it up.  Oh man.  Try this.   [Read more...]