Sisi is 13 Months!

Monday, February 27, 2012

This month she made it through another wonder week, and now we're seeing the fruits of it. She's trying to put puzzles together (unsuccessfully, but trying), she's playing with her toys differently, she's communicating by pointing and speaking.  It's been another whirlwind month! She's looking more and more like a toddler!
headband by Petal and Thorn (soon-to-be-listed), overalls by h&m

Sisi at a glance:
  • if you listen closely to all the babble, you'll hear real words coming out of her mouth- doggy, ducky, li-li (lion), down (which she yells at the dogs while making the "down" motion), a-na-na (banana), manna (as in coconut manna), eeeease (please).  
  • hair is growing long!  she has one of those late 80's rat tails going on.
  • still crawling, cruising, and breakdancing.  
  • standing on her own, just barely.
  • sleeping through the night more often than not (hallelujah!) and totally night weaned (amen!)
  • size 4 diapers, size 12-18 month clothes.  
  • loves climbing into drawers, hiding in closets, and pushing stuff around.  
  • gives the dogs hugs on command.
  • when reading "mommy hugs", she searches for the page with the monkeys and pats her own head.   (all you mommies probably know what I'm talking about)
Thanks hubby for taking these precious pics, month after month.  It's a tradition we'll keep up as long as we can, although it gets harder and harder to get shots the more mobile she gets!

P.S. I LOVE overalls on babies. A lot of people purposely dress their babies like mini-adults.  I dress Sisi in things I could never pull off but secretly wish I could (like the silver sparkly jeans she was wearing the other day).  I don't think orange seersucker overalls are in my future, but they are certainly in Sisi's (they are so big she'll be wearing them til she's 4.)


    Instafriday 2/24/12

    Friday, February 24, 2012

    life rearrangedIt's instafriday, time to show off my week in cell phone pics!

    This week, I ditched the diaper bag for a regular purse. A symbolic moment :)

    I finally organized my jewelry drawer.  Little by little, I'm becoming a somewhat organized gal.
     Sisi bangs on the taiko drums at our fav sushi place.  Just a hint- some of the more baby friendly items to get at a sushi restaurant- tomago (sweet egg omelette), yellowtail kama (the collar of yellowtail steamed- tender and easy to eat), salmon eggs (fun finger food)

    I love flowers, but I absolutely hate gardening.  I'm no good at it.  But, we had packets of seeds, so I haphazardly threw them in the planter box, watered 'em, and we'll have to see... 
    forever 21 flats
    We were invited to my sis in law's house for bubbly and surf n' turf ...
    Because this heart model that her boyfriend gave her for Valentine's day happened to have a big sparkly diamond ring hanging on the heart strings.  That's right, the heart strings.  (Teresa is in the medical field, so giving her a heart model was not weird.)
     Cheers to the newly engaged couple! xoxoxo
    I was so excited about my new blue skinny jeans, that I wore them way too many times this week. 
    skinny jeans with tom's wedges
    skinny jeans with rope sandals and sherbet orange nails, plus pesto and basil


    Shaking the Sugar Habit (and a recipe)

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012


    You might know that over the last year, I've been going more and more paleo.

    I'm at the point now where I can't even remember the last time I had a sandwich or bowl of pasta.  I used to LOVE grains.  I could eat an entire baguette with jam in one sitting.  I'm happy to report I don't miss them at all now. AT ALL. 

    But sugary pastries, candy and coffee drinks?  Ummm...I'm actually sipping on an iced mocha right now.  I set some sugar rules for myself, but to be honest, I probably break these rules more than I keep them.

    These are my sugar rules: 
    1. One dessert per day
    2. No sweets before 2 solid meals.
    3. If I'm having a nighttime sugar craving, drink tea and get to bed as soon as possible.
    4. I'm allowed 2 coffee shop drinks per week, and they don't have to count as my dessert for the day.

    Some people might find these rules very liberal, and maybe a little silly.  But to a sugar addict like myself, it takes so much will power to obey them. I sometimes wake up in the morning wanting See's candy for breakfast, so to force myself to eat two healthy meals before I can indulge is very very difficult. And sugar is just so hard to eat in moderation.  if there is sugar in the house, it's on my radar all day long.


    I'm almost afraid to write this because it makes it real, but my new goal is to be *practically sugar free by 2013. Why?

    • Sugar is terribly addicting.  
    • It's horrible for my teeth and liver. 
    • I get a strange buzz in my temples and severe stomach cramps if I eat too much of it.  
    • It feeds cancer cells.  
    • In large amounts, sugar can be so toxic, some researchers believe it should be regulated like alcohol or cigarettes (the libertarian in me totally disagrees with this solution.)
    • Most importantly, I want to be a good role model for Sisi.  Whatever she sees me eating, she wants. 
    Ok, so I've set the goal, and I really believe in the goal.  Stop eating sugar! Just STOP IT. Easy, right? No.
    My husband dropped sugar cold turkey years ago.  That's just the way he works- he's more black and white about diet. But for me, I have to be more strategic.  I need a game plan to wean me off of it.  Hopefully next year I'll be as ambivalent about sugar as I am about bread or pasta. I'll report back to you on that. 


    I've noticed that I have sugar cravings at 10am, 4 pm, and 9pm.  Like clockwork, those are the times when I reach for the cookie jar.  I just have to get through each craving, one by one. I have to fool myself a little bit. 

    • 10am craving hits:  retaliate with 1/2 cup of organic coffee or tea with a spoonful of xylitol or erythritol, and a splash of heavy cream.  Feels like a treat, tastes sweet and delicious and keeps me occupied until lunch time. I'll do a separate post about xylitol and erythritol, for those of you who've never heard of it or think they sound like some creepy chemicals. (It's funny, I read an article called "The Dangers of Erythritol", and the only "dangers" it listed was possible gassiness and stomach gurgling sounds if eaten in large amounts.  Run for your lives!!!!!!!!!)
    • 4pm craving hits:  By then, I've had my two solid healthy meals, so I'm technically allowed to have a dessert.  I used to grab a pastry from a coffee shop, a bowl of ice cream, or (way too many) cookies from the pantry. Now I always have sugar free, gluten free paleo cookies on hand.  I even keep a few in my purse in case I'm tempted to make a sharp turn into the Sprinkles Cupcakes parking lot. They are so filling, so I am satisfied with just one or two, and I don't feel that awful sugar buzz afterward.   These cookies are like a "nicotine patch"- they get me through the craving.  Recipe below.
    • 9pm craving hits:  I drink some plain herbal tea.  I find that the smell and warmth of the tea is comforting enough to distract me until the craving passes. Even better to add a pinch of cinnamon, which helps fight sugar cravings even more. Before I know it, it's time for bed, and I've made it through the day, practically sugar free!

    I've stuck to this plan fairly well for the last two weeks. My clothes fit better. I tried on bright blue skinny jeans yesterday and I actually bought them without hesitation because they looked nice.  For a pear shaped girl, that's saying a LOT.  But even more importantly, I don't have sugar on the brain constantly.  This is the closest I've come to being truly paleo, and I feel GREAT. 

    Soooo Scrumptious Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from Baker Gal's recipe)

    Baker Gal's done a lot of research on paleo cookies.  After comparing 6 different paleo chocolate chip cookie recipes and not loving any of them, she decided to come up with her own.  It really is the best I've tried.  However, I'm not big on agave nectar (very high in fructose), and I try to limit my honey intake (it gives me that same weird head buzzing that sugar does).  I made a few changes to suit my own version of the paleo diet, and it's super yummy! 

    Here's her recipe (my  changes are in bold.

    Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, Makes 16-20

    5 oz (1 1/4 cups) very finely ground blanched almond flour (I used JK Gourmet)
    1/4 teaspoon salt (I used finely ground sea salt b/c it's better for you and so tasty in desserts)
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda

    1/4 cup raw agave nectar (I used 1/4 c. pure maple syrup with 3 tbs erythritol or xylitol mixed in)
    1/8 cup macademia nut oil (link goes to amazon)
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    A scant 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips.(This is the only blatantly non-paleo part of the recipe- I put a mere 3 or 4 semi-sweet chips in each cookie after shaping it on the cookie sheet.  You can buy a super dark chocolate bar and crush it into chunks if you really want to go sugar free.) 
    I added a handful of chopped pecans, too, to make these cookies more filling.
    ingredients- some are a little hard to track down, some are pricey.  it's worth it!
    • Heat oven to 325.
    • Mix almond flour, salt, and baking soda well. In a small bowl, mix maple syrup, erythritol, Macadamia nut oil, and vanilla. Combine wet and dry ingredients, mixing well. Batter should be thick enough that you can roll a small ball between your palms and set it on the cookie sheet without it drooping or losing shape. Add a handful of nuts.  
    • Mix wet and dry ingredients together.
    • Make 16 - 20 small balls of cookie dough and space them evenly on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Press the cookies down as flat as possible with the palm of your hand. This is important! The cookies will NOT spread out on their own.
    • You need to squish these yourself- they don't change shape after baking.
    • Rather than mix chocolate chips into the dough, I press 3 or 4 chocolate chips into each cookie.
    • Bake about 6 minutes. Watch closely and remove when the edges start to brown. . . they could be done at 4 minutes or at 8 minutes depending on the size of the cookie and your oven calibration. 
    • This is how many cookies I got from doubling the recipe.
    Big thanks to Baker Gal for creating the original recipe!  Your cookies are helping me achieve my goal of being sugar free by 2013!!!

    *I say "practically sugar free" because I plan on eating things like wedding cake, thai food, and ketchup from time to time.  There is sugar hidden everywhere (especially if you eat out!), so I don't want to go insane trying to eliminate it completely. But no more blatant everyday sugar binges.  That was soooo 2011.


    Just Listed! Cherry Blossom Comb

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    Wow, I made and shot this comb months ago.  I'm just now listing it in time for Cherry Blossom season.  It's one of my favorites. The perfect shade of peachy pink beads- some sparkly, some clear, some milky, almost like rock candy.  Definitely worth the blistered and wire-pricked fingers :)  Find it here.
    ***Thanks to my hubby for photographing!


    Instafriday 2/17/2012

    Friday, February 17, 2012

    life rearrangedDue to technical difficulties, this Instafriday post is a little bit late.  Sorry! 

    Sisi is savoring the remnants of my chai tea.
    A little late night crafting (and these days, late for me is anything past 10pm)
     Our rain soaked yard. BTW, we need a major yard makeover.  Although I wish we could pour our tax return into it, I know Dave Ramsey would chew me out for that.  Maybe we should be on a TLC show or something.
    How gorgeous is this wooden platter sent by my dear friend all the way from new york?
     This blanket has been in the hamper for 2 weeks.  Every time I try to wash it, some canine or human wants to play or nap on it.

     I cooked two pork tenderloins with apple bacon relish for my in-laws.  We had dinner together, just because.  It was nice.

     Yay for cheap entertainment!

    A trio of camellias in crystal goblets.
    Last year, I was considering plucking these sickly camellia plants out of the ground.  Suddenly, this winter, they decided to burst with fuchsia blooms.  I think I get more enjoyment out of this tiny arrangement than any flower-dripping wedding arch I've ever made.


    Embellished Onesie Tutorial

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    This project was addicting.  I ended up making 10 onesies in all for my little rascal using this freezer paper technique. I can't take credit for "discovering" this method though- I used this freezer paper stencil tutorial and tweaked it a little bit. 

    Materials:  fabric paint, sponge brushes, freezer paper (this one comes already cut in letter sized sheets, perfect for crafting), onesie, jersey fabric (I just repurposed an old t-shirt.)
    Supplies: iron and Silhouette Cameo *or other die cut cutter.

    (((*I've never used a cricut before, so I'm not sure if these instructions will apply.  I know with cricut you can't really create your own logo like I did here, you're limited to what's on the cartridges.  Am I correct?  But I assume you can still cut the cartridge shapes onto freezer paper with the cricut, and the rest of the tutorial will apply.  Any cricut users wanna chime in on this?
    **I know most people don't have a cutting machine.  You can go old school and print your design onto the freezer paper and cut it out with an exacto knife, if you're really patient and committed to such a project.  Just make sure the shiny side is down, and you're printing on the matte side. )))

    Here's what I did. 
    1.  I designed the "I'm This Many" logo using the free software that comes with the cameo.  I used fonts from my computer for the lettering, and clip art of a pointing finger and arrow that I found online and traced with the software so it could be cut.   I made sure the logo was no wider than 6 or 7 inches.  Then I drew a square around the whole logo, as I would be using the negative space as a stencil, and wouldn't want to deal with the whole sheet of freezer paper on a tiny little onesie. (This youtube tutorial helped me figure out the studio software.)

    2.  I flipped the image using the mirror function. 
    Here is slightly different version I made for my friend's 2 year old.

    3.  Settings: I set my silhouette to the "vellum" setting.  I placed the freezer paper on the cutting mat shiny side UP (this is why you need to mirror your image!)  and adjusted the blade to 2, even though it tells you to put it at 1.  It just wouldn't cut through the freezer paper on 1.  I found that cutting on the shiny side resulted in less tearing.

    4.  I let the cameo do it's thing, and when it was finished, peeled away the paper from the cutting mat.  Once again, you're creating a stencil, so you just want the negative space and any center pieces (such as the fingers on the hand.)  Discard the rest. 
    5.  Place the freezer paper shiny side DOWN onto the onesie, and iron it down (no steam).  It only took a few seconds.  Iron on any center pieces, one by one.  Freezer paper is awesome and forgiving.  If you mess up, peel it off and try again. 

    6.  Paint the design however you want to.  It's super satisfying to peel the freezer paper off.  I can never wait until it's dry, and I always end up smudging something. 
     7. For the ruffles, I cut up an old t-shirt, and more or less followed this tutorial for attaching the ruffles. I found it helpful to sew a ruffle down, and then always bring the needle back up through an edge of that ruffle before sewing on the next ruffle, that way each ruffle was stitched twice and felt less floppy. I  wanted it to look a little bit like a shrug.  At first, the ruffles were so big that the shirt made Sisi look like a bull fighter. I trimmed them down and it looked a lot cuter.

    I happened to find that skirt on sale at old navy for 10.00 after I made the shirt. I couldn't resist, the colors were SO perfect!  All in all, her entire outfit cost me 15.00.  Not bad, eh?
    Photoshoot photos by Trista Lerit Photography!


    Instafriday 2/10/2012

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    life rearranged

    A beautiful summery day in February spent at the dog beach.

    Boyfriend jeans and aqua toes.
     I walked into the kitchen to find Joe's bacon-drying apparatus.
    Joe's crazy bulletproof coffee ritual.
    Shih tzu ponytail.
    Beading a dragonfly for an etsy customer.
    In my bead box, I found an abandoned project from long ago.
    Pesto got a puppy haircut.
    Aww flowers.  No, wait!  Those are thai chili peppers!  No touching!

    delicious paleo cookies using this recipe.
    q-tips are going back on the grocery list.