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CARAMEL CORN

we typically do a movie night every friday.  we like to make a big production of it with popcorn + treats + a new or favorite movie.  one of our favorite treats is caramel popcorn.  this recipe is really good.  i know it might sound s little strange with the cinnamon bears and walnuts but i promise its amazing!  give it a try.

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mix together in a large bowl

 

3 bags cooked popcorn

3 c. mini marshmallow

1  1/2 c. cinnamon bears, cut in small pieces (sometimes i leave them whole)

2 c. chopped walnuts

 

on the stove combine

2 sticks butter

1 1/3 c. sugar

1/2 c. karo syrup

boil for 3 minutes then add

1 tsp. vanilla

pour sauce over mixture and stir quickly

 

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ELLE TURNS 5

elle was a hard baby. she had acid reflux + torticollis + she threw up all the time.  she would stay up all night and scream.  she hated eating.  she had different therapies for all her different issues.  she never left my hip.  when i was pregnant with jack i would joke he better be easy because i’d been through it all with elle.  we all know how that turned out.  she was an easy baby in comparison to jack but extremely difficult compared to your average baby.  i was with her so much, she would never let someone babysit her, that she became my best buddy and still is.  we have very similar personalities and we get along so well.  she’s happy all the time, loving, silly, kind and genuinely a good person.  she wants the best for everyone.  she lets things roll off her back.  elle is an old soul.  i asked her what she wants to do for her birthday and she said “I want to go in grandma marie and grandpa jacks car and get candy.”  jack and marie are our neighbors behind us.  we’ve adopted them as grandparents and they treat my kids so good.  elle’s just that easy, candy with the neighbors.  no fuss.  i hope we always have a close relationship.  i hope she always knows how much i love her and how much fun + laughter she brings into our family.  love you so bad elle.

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THIN CRUST PIZZA

grimaldi’s is one of our favorite pizza places.  the crust is thin the sauce is simple and the cheese is fresh.  everything about their pizza is delicious.  this is another one of those places we went to 11 years ago when we lived in phoenix.  their scottsdale location was 10 minutes from our house.  grimaldis started in brooklyn.  i havent actually eaten at the one in dumbo.  when we walked by the line was so long and i thought not worth waiting when ive got one back home 5 minutes away.  ivan is really really good at recreating recipes.  his grandma’s even better.  leave it up to him to put together a recipe that i think tastes identical to grimaldis.  the kids love to get involved with dinner prep and this recipe is perfect for just that.

grimaldis pizza

ingredients:

1 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
1 c. cold water
1 tsp. salt
3 c. flour (king arthur)
1 package fresh mozzarella thinly sliced
1/2 c. crushed tomatoes (i prefer pomi or cento brand)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6 leaves fresh basil
place yeast into warm water, let stand for 5 minutes.  add salt and cold water then stir in flour a cup at a time. knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth usually takes around 10 minutes. cut into two pieces and form into a ball.  place dough in a sealed container and place in refrigerator over night.  do not skip this part.  the dough will rise so make sure you leave room to grow.

remove dough and sprinkle with flour and stretch until it is around 12-15 inches (the thinner the better).

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preheat the oven to 550 F. place the dough on a pizza stone that has been dusted with flour.  add sauce + slices of mozzarella.  sprinkle black pepper and oregano, place basil leaves on the pizza and drizzle with olive oil.  we like to add pepperonis, you can add whatever toppings you like.  bake in oven for 5-7 minutes (the oven will be very hot so it cooks very quickly) or until crust is brown. enjoy.

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Grimaldis pizza

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WASHINGTON D.C.

for christmas my sister and i got a trip to d.c. from our husbands.  i was so excited, i’ve wanted to go for a while now and ivan was never very interested so this was a perfect girls trip.  we both hadn’t been so of course i got to work on researching everything from where to stay + what to do and where to eat.  i had heard the food is really good and i have to say it was everything i imagined and more.  the city itself is charming and old.  the architecture is beautiful.  i love an old city.  i love the history of an old city.  i also love a walking city.  which d.c. definitely is.  we only took the metro one time and that was to get to eastern market, which ended up being the farthest place we went to and we ended up walking back.  we stayed in dupont circle.  it seemed pretty centrally located but i think if i went back i’d stay in georgetown.  georgetown has a lot of restaurants + shopping and is such a cute area.

 

we left friday morning and the flight took around 3 1/2 hours.  not too bad except the time difference puts d.c. 3 hours ahead of us so we lost a lot of our day.  we checked into our hotel and ended up grabbing sweetgreen for dinner.  i really liked sweetgreen.  the salad was really good and the portions were big.  the cherry blossoms were in full bloom and absolutely stunning!  they dont last long so i feel very lucky we got to see them in all their glory.

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the next morning we went to founding farmers.  it was one of my favorite breakfasts.  they told us the wait would be an hour but it only ended up being 20 minutes or so.  this is when we realized everywhere in d.c. takes reservations.  very different for home where no one takes reservations.  my sister and i split the pancakes and farmer breakfast.  the eggs + bacon + hash brows were some of the best.  i highly recommend this place.  we walked down to the white house and the national mall.  we saw the washington monument and abraham lincoln.  we walked over to arlington.  the size of arlington national cemetery is massive.  its quiet and peaceful.  very beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time.  the weather was beautiful and the cherry blossom are stunning.  we walked to georgetown, which i absolutely fell in love with.  we went to baked and wired, a cupcake place with rave reviews, but the line was so long we left.  then we came back and the line was still long but we waited and i’m so glad we did.  the best cupcake far better than georgetown cupcakes.  for dinner we had the best falafel at amsterdam falafel.  they have tons of toppings and the shop is really fun.

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sunday morning we took the metro down to eastern market.  an outdoor market known for their blueberry buck pancakes.  we waited in another line for breakfast.  i think this was by far the longest line, we waited probably an 1+.  the blue bucks were worth it.  we walked around the smithsonian.  the museums were a lot of fun. we ended up eating indian food for dinner and having an early night.  all that walking is exhausting.

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monday morning we went to old ebbitt grill near the treasury.  we didn’t make it in time for breakfast so we ended up having lunch and getting the kids gifts.  a giant penny no less.  we walked by the white house again, which was blocked off by security this time and they made us keep our distance from the gates.  we walked back over to georgetown grabbed another cupcake and did a little shopping.

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i had so much fun.  its always nice to get away.  even though i was hesitant to go.  i hate leaving my family.  the night before i left i told ivan don’t ever do this to me again.  ha!  i was only joking babe.  send me on another trip just give me a year and i think ill be ready to leave again.  d.c. is great and i think everyone needs to visit once in their lifetime.  i’d love to bring my kids when they are a little older and can appreciate all d.c. has to offer.

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GETTING YOUR PICKY EATER TO EAT

i remember when we were in the hospital with jack.  after his open heart surgery we had a lot of struggles with getting him to eat.  i nursed him and when he was put on a feeding tube i pumped.  until he had a leak in his lymphatic system and had to be put on fat free formula.  he hated it, it upset his stomach.  he would scream and cry for hours.  i remember the nurse telling me “heart babies are difficult babies.”  i was eventually able to nurse him again thank goodness because he had a very sensitive stomach and couldn’t tolerate any formula.

so we nursed and nursed and around six months i introduced solid foods.  he loved them until he didn’t.  he’s a picky eater.  he has texture issues.  he can gag on a dime and throw up even faster.  he will gag at the sight of certain foods.  so we get creative.  i don’t push foods.  i know if i push him to eat a green bean everything else he ate will come right back up too and then we are back at square one.  we had a food therapist come in and she told me to take the pressure off.  make eating fun.  she put food all over the table which is not something i ever would have done.  but when you’re dealing with a baby falling off its growth chart you will do anything they tell you.  so i lay back and i let him choose.  i put out healthy options and i wait.  somedays he eats great and others he barely eats at all.  i’ve come to the realization that the less pressure i put on the situation the better for us both.

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anything i can do to make eating fun i will.  when i saw this nuby monster plate and spoon set i knew jack would love it.  he’s into anything monster right now.  he gets so excited for his monster plate and if i can make eating an enjoyable experience my job is done.  i love the side grips on the plate making it easy for him to carry.  the fork and spoon are perfect for little hands and make learning to use utensils easy.  i love the bright colors and design.  if you want to purchase these product you can find them here and here.

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i was sent this product to review, but all opinions are my own.

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WHITE CHOCOLATE GRILL

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white chocolate grill in scottsdale, az is a favorite of ours and when we take our friends it becomes a favorite of theirs too.  when i find what i like at a restaurant i don’t venture out much, unless i get a recommendation and then still i’m hesitant.  i typically stick with that same item and go to that restaurant for that specific craving.  wch grill has a few  favorites and i rotate between them.

first ivan and i both get the tomato gin soup.  its a tomato soup with mushrooms + bacon and spices.  its our favorite soup and even friends who don’t like mushrooms love this soup.

Tomato gin soup

spit roasted turkey sandwich with mushroom gravy and a side of carrots.  this is the first thing i tried at white chocolate grill and i still really love it.  the sandwich is amazing.  the turkey is thin sliced with melted cheese and the bread is delicious.  it comes with a dipping gravy and the carrots are the best i’ve ever had.

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filet mignon cobb salad.  lettuce + blue cheese + eggs + mushrooms + tomato + bacon + filet mignon + avocado.  everything a salad should be.  its huge so you can easily share it.

banana cream pie  i’d come just for this.  a waitress gave me a free one of these to try once and i’ve been hooked ever since.  its graham cracker crust + vanilla cream + bananas + white chocolate shavings + caramel + whipped cream.  i’m not a big pie person but i think because this isn’t a traditional pie crust i love it so.

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next time you’re looking for a new place to eat give white chocolate grill a try and let me know what you think.

 

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LIFE ACCORDING TO MY IPHONE

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got these new illesteva sunglasses.  i absolutely love them.

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initially the chickens made her really nervous.  now i see her out there holding them, petting them.  its really sweet.

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our neighbor gave us goose eggs to paint for easter.  if you haven’t seen one in person they’re huge and heavy.  the kids had a lot of fun drawing on them.  they ate them too and said they were good.  i’ll take their word for it.

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jack loves watching kinder egg videos on youtube.  its becoming and obsession.

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cheering ava on at tennis.  he just yells hi ava the whole time.  its really cute.

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it was all fun and games letting jack crash into them with the baby doll stroller until henri got it good.  that’ll teach ya!

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ironically we didn’t have church on easter we watched it on tv.  so this was our week before easter church picture.  minus new easter outfits.

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he’s finally starting to pretend play.  i love watching his imagination grow.

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i love this swing in the yard.  so does jack.

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elle’s date night at zin burger.

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catching up on missed homework from being in mexico.  neither one of us was very thrilled.

 

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we had cousins in town for easter.  jack and amelie on the piano.

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elle doing ami’s makeup.

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ava, always the animal lover.

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date night with ava, i love that she still loves little girl things.  i know these days are numbered so ill take as many as i can get.

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would you believe me if i told you we are finally celebrating henri’s birthday.  only 4 months later.  christmas day is just a hard day to have a birthday.  anyone else with a christmas birthday out there have any advice for me?  im struggling.

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feta dip

FETA DIP

i love this as an alternative to traditional bruschetta.  its a quick easy lunch or the perfect snack or appetizer.  i found this recipe years ago on pinterest.  i tried to source it and my best guess is it came from clover lane but im not positive.  wherever it came from its a keeper.

 

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3 tomatoes

1 small bunch of green onions

olive oil

block of feta, crumbled

3 tsp cavenders all purpose greek seasoning

loaf of bread, i prefer french

 

dice up your tomatoes and onions, layer on a tray

cover with olive oil

crumble feta over the top and sprinkle with 3 tsp of cavenders

dip your bread in and enjoy!

 

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SEATTLE- CITY GUIDE

we really love seattle.  although i feel like we still have so much to explore in our favorite city and im sure i will have more to add when we head back up in a few months.  i do have a good start on what to do and where to stay.  so i thought id share with you a city guide on seattle.

 

Seattle gasworks

 

 what to eat

pike place chowder- in pike place. hands down the best chowder i’ve ever had.  ever.

piroshky piroshky- in pike place.  i get the moscow roll and its amazing.  i tend to lean towards the sweet over the savory but both are good.

beecher’s handmade cheese- in pike place.  the mac and cheese is to die for.  its more of an adult mac and cheese but my kids love it just as much as i do.

the crumpet shop- i love the pesto tomato and english cheese and the vermont.

daily dozen doughnut shop- in pike place. the best hot mini doughnuts

honey hole- capital hill.  they make some really great sandwiches and fries.

scooters burgers- great for a quick burger and fries.  get the onion rings and shake too!

paseo-  you cant go to seattle and not go to paseo.  the line will be long but it will move fast.  get the carribean roast.  its really really messy but really really good.

din tai fung- i always talk about this place.  its just so good.  we eat here several times every time we come.  get the juicy pork dumplings, shrimp and pork dumplings with spicy sauce, these are my absolute favorite and the green beans.  the best green beans you will ever eat.  i know green beans don’t sound exciting but i promise you will crave these.

dicks drive in-  a seattle staple.  there are several locations and they’ve been around forever.  burgers + fries + shakes.  don’t try and change your burger toppings, they won’t let you.  to keep things moving fast it only comes one way.  oh and its super cheap.

el diablo coffee- in queen anne, mexican hot chocolate + whipped cream.  the best.

 

what to do

discovery park

woodland park zoo

ferry to bainbridge island

space needle

emp museum

seattle aquarium

museum of flight

the pacific science center

seattle children museum

visit the fremont troll

pike place

ferris wheel on the water front- this one was tough for me.  its enclosed and i’m extremely claustrophobic.  its about 10 minutes but since it wasn’t busy when we went he let us keep going.  i wanted to die.

go on a hike

go to the beach

gum wall

go to a football game- the crowd is called the 12th man for a reason

there are plenty of outdoor places to explore.  we love to find the closest trail and go for a walk.  we usually end up at the water and play there for a while then hike back.

 

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Crumpet shop pesto

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Gum wall seattle

Wallingford

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Din tai fung

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SALTED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

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when ivan and i were first married we lived in phoenix near a cute little restaurant called La Grande Orange.  they have delicious food and an entire dessert case full of goodies.  i dont frequent it nearly as much now that we are across town and in the last few years its gained a lot of popularity.  they have a sea salt chocolate chip cookie that i love.  its the perfect amount sweet and salty.  i made my own version at home and its satisfies my LGO craving.

 

sea salt chocolate chip cookies

1 c. salted butter, room temp

1/4 c. white sugar

1/4 brown sugar

1 1/2 turbinado sugar

2 eggs

3 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

3 1/4 c. flour, i like king arthur brand

2 cups chocolate chips

maldons sea salt

 

mix butter and sugars fo 3-4 minutes until fluffy

add eggs and vanilla

combine dry ingredients in bowl

stir dry ingredients into wet until just incorporated, don’t over mix

mix in chocolate chips

i use a large cookie scoop like this one here to form cookies, i also always use a silpat baking mat

then top with a sprinkling of maldons sea salt

bake at 350 for around 12 minutes or until just golden brown

makes 24 cookies

 

 

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