holiday treats

not ready for the holidays to be over? me neither! so here’s a holiday treat to keep you festive, unless of course you are counting calories now…then this is definitely not for you! but then again, it’s still december…so you have another day to not worry about calories right?? 😉

i hosted a little dessert/drink party and i wanted to make something that would use the pomegranate seeds i had from my tree and found two lovely recipes, one dessert and one drink.

the dessert is a chocolate pomegranate tart, recipe here.

she calls for two household items that most people don’t have, a food processor and a double boiler. you don’t need either for this recipe. if you have a simple pastry cutter that will do the trick for the crust

and by far the easiest way to melt chocolate is to microwave it. i’m sure a double boiler is easy too, but when you are dealing with a lack of kitchen space, it’s just one item that isn’t worth taking up room in my opinion. you can also boil some water in a pan and put a bowl with chocolate over the pan…a makeshift double boiler! i’ve done this method before and it works great too, BUT you have to be careful not to get even a drop of water into the chocolate or it will ruin the chocolate. that’s why i use the microwave, super duper easy. i just do a minute at a time and stir in between 🙂

and voila! perfectly smooth, not burned, not seized chocolate…

i seriously love how this turned out!!! it’s beautiful and pretty tasty too! the crust and pomegranate glaze and seeds are just the right amount of plain and tart to balance the rich chocolate filling. and i love that it’s all natural and that i used my own fruit! it also really wasn’t that hard, i was able to make it during nap time, and the only thing i needed to buy from the store was pomegranate juice for the glaze! not too bad.

the drink i made was a rosemary pomegranate martini, recipe here. (and yes, that is a dharma initiative shot glass)

also a super easy recipe, and i only bought the pomegranate juice for this recipe as well! i used pomegranate arils, lemon juice (i actually had to substitute some limes because i only had one ripe lemon on the tree, it was still delicious), and rosemary from my backyard.

i infused the vodka with the rosemary for a few hours, then put it all together in festive glasses.
it’s amazing how easy it can be to make something so much fancier with a sprig of an herb! i want to grow more herbs than this past year. i only had mint, rosemary and basil…what should i grow next?

so if you ever have an abundance of pomegranates, there are two things you can do with them. i would have used my own juice too instead of buying it but i had eaten most, i only had three left and not enough to juice and use the arils. but next time i’ll probably juice some. and next time i’ll also try making my own grenadine! since going all natural, i’ve been so sad about things like grenadine because it’s basically high fructose corn syrup and red 40 so it’s definitely out. but then i learned that grenadine comes from the french word grenade, which means pomegranate and the original syrup is pomegranate syrup, so i’m totally making this next year, yum!!!

some other desserts at the gathering, yum! although i think i’m still coming down from a sugar high

well, hope you enjoyed the holidays…time to say goodbye to all the ornaments until next year…even the weird ones


stroepwafels – a family tradition

my mom mentioned at thanksgiving that we don’t do enough home movies…i thought, she’s right! we do our annual christmas card films and travel films, but we really need to do more everyday things for memories to get into the habit for our little girl!

unfortunately, i don’t know too much about my own ethnic background. i know that i’m half dutch, and what i know further is limited pretty much to dutch desserts. pretty sad huh?

so here’s a fun little time lapse of stroepwafels in the making. My mom and I make these every year, it’s a dutch tradition! every christmas we make them. they literally translate to ‘syrup waffle’ and we have to make them each by hand. don’t bother asking for the recipe, you need a special waffle iron from the netherlands to make these. you also shouldn’t bother asking nutrition facts, they are buttery, sugary and delicious…you do the math! come on, it’s the holidays, splurge a little!

anyway, enjoy our last minute, fun little video 🙂

project nursery

well, baby kate is here! we welcomed her into the world on saturday and we are thrilled! she is so cute and parenthood is just as amazing and exhausting as everyone says. i’m so glad it finally happened for us and we pray for our friends who want the same thing to be blessed with their very own babies.

we had a really fun time working on her nursery over the months before she came. i really didn’t want to spend a whole lot of money on the nursery and wanted to make it as personal as possible. we also didn’t want to make it too girly since we were sure she’d get plenty of girly clothes!!

so we started with my old furniture from growing up! this antique dresser, the bureau that matches my old crib and a toy box my dad made me!

ditched the old knobs

used gray and white chalk paint since  we didn’t know the gender before we started and figured these were great colors to go with either!

yep, painted indoors…

then my friend dez and i worked on putting everything together! she is so good at design, check out their personal blog to see their fun projects!!

we used a bunch of scrap fabric i had lying around

and here’s the final product!!

items for decoration from here and there. found the bunny bookends at a flea market but they were too expensive for my taste, but jared surprised me for mother’s day with them 🙂 good husband!

lamp from ikea

new knobs from world market

found the rocker/glider for $40 and then had someone recover it for me. much better than buying a brand new one with an ugly cover! and i sewed the pillows…something i can do with sewing!

mobile made by my talented dad

dad also made the valence and then we covered it

the blanket was from ikea which gave us the idea for the woodland animal theme.

dez and i spent some time on this wall and she finished the kate sign for me!

found this cute greeting card at trader joe’s and put it to good use since it worked with the theme!

my dad drew this tree and people put their prints and signed it at my showers. we have it hanging over the changing table and i get to be reminded of all the people who love little kate every time i change her.

rug made by my talented friend timmery.

these cute knobs also from world market

the whole thing!

and now all my old things are hers for a new generation 🙂


patience is a funny thing…

it’s all about perspective really

here i am, starting to get impatient that i’m a week overdue today, i’d really love to meet our daughter…but then i remind myself that it took us how long to get here? what’s a few more days?? i mean…seriously what’s wrong with me? i’ve said the whole pregnancy that i refused to complain because i wanted to enjoy every little bit of being pregnant, and i really do. i love all the little kicks reminding me that life has been created, but i also just want to meet that little person and find out who she’s going to be.

perspective… it only took us three years to get pregnant. i am well aware that there are people who have spent so much longer than that in their heartache, and my heart aches for those around me who are going through the same thing. when you’re in it, it feels like forever and then suddenly you’re about to have a child any day now and you wonder if all that pain was real.

so i’m trying to take advantage of this last minute free time. the baby room is done (blog post coming soon), the hospital bag is packed, the car seat is installed and i even made treats for the nurses. i’m getting lots of wedding films done and i’ve even been able to cross a bunch of things off my to do list that have been on there forever (you know all the annoying little things you just never get to). so i’m taking perspective and looking at this like a wonderful opportunity to finish some things i’ve started before i’m completely exhausted the rest of my life 😉 perspective…

and here are some photos from our 20’s themed maternity shoot with zelo photography! see their super sweet blog post on us here 🙂 shoot inspired by this movie, and hair and makeup done by this lovely lady! we wanted to do something a little different and i think the photos turned out great!

well i will have my baby in three days or less (since they will induce me if i’m too late) so literally any day now…woop!!!

lisbon, portugal – ’08

this is a story of two people trying to be clever and then failing…miserably…

we thought it might be funny on this trip to bring fanny packs back into style because we’re so cool we can restart fashion trends… or because we’re so cool that we can make fun of people who wear fanny packs…

well, lesson learned: keep reading for the rest

the fanny pack is on and ready to make a statement!

also, please disregard my horrible long shorts fashion phase in this post…see told you we’re cool!

so off we went to portugal to work with orphans and run a summer camp. halfway through the trip, we had some resting time in lisbon. jared was mistaken as portuguese throughout the trip which we figured was due to his incredible ability to tan! this is what a few days at the beach will do to him!

before the halfway point lisbon trip though, jared and i got to have a little sneak peek at the city only a few days in with the orphans because i got sick. the funny thing was that i was leading this trip because of all my travel experience and of course i’m the one who has to go to the hospital 2 days in and leave everyone to fend for themselves! our translator (who also had a job as a stunt driver randomly enough) took us to a hospital where she used to work.  jared was driving the rental van through the tiny streets and crazy traffic while i was rolled into a ball in the back. she wasn’t very good about giving directions in a timely manner so it was a slightly scary drive. the directions usually consisted of  ‘follow dat car!!’ or ‘left…i mean right!’ so jared was a little stressed while i winced with every bump in the road.

we finally  made it to the hospital and they examined me a bit, then the doctor spoke with our translator for 5-6 minutes which was a bit worrisome to me, but then she turned to me and said ‘you have a bladder infection’. oh…that’s ALL he said?? ok… i was pretty sure this was my problem because i definitely did not drink enough water on the flights over, that was partly because the airline wouldn’t give us water at all and i refused to purchase water on a flight. ridiculous of them, ridiculous of me…pride might be a good title for this entire blog post, i’ll be honest.

so he gave me a bunch of stuff written in portuguese, a shot in the back for pain, some antibiotics and some sort of weird cleanse drink.

apparently europe doesn’t like to hand out water either and i had a tough time getting them to fill this water bottle up for me so i could drink my nasty mystery drink. they look at you like you’re crazy if you want tap water (instead of water with gas for purchase). man that is one thing i am so thankful of here in the states…they just GIVE YOU WATER at restaurants…like for free!!

so then i was all good, we went back to the camp (blog post in the future on the camp) and then came back to lisbon halfway through the trip.

portugal has some interesting things going on with their real estate and they have to make sure that there isn’t some living relative somewhere that could take over a property before they sell it again or some strange rule like that so there are tons of places that would be beautiful but are all boarded up empty.

ahh, more long shorts…what’s wrong with me?!

the beaches were beautiful! tops optional yikes!

loved the random banksy style art

except this one above was creepy…it was on the outside of a travel agency

there’s a big obsession with roosters here because legend has it that some dead rooster miraculously proved the innocence of a man who was sentenced to death for allegedly stealing silver. he said the roasted rooster would get up and crow to prove he was innocent, and he did. now it’s a popular symbol there, random.

mocktography for the win!

this just reminded us of our former governator, hee hee

love the upcycling going on here!

sometimes the graffiti didn’t really make sense to us…

had to indulge in a yummy treat called pasteis de belem, which is kind of like a flan type of custard but crispy on the top like creme brulee but not as sweet. it was good but not amazeballs like we were lead to believe.

recognize this skyline from two different continents? the ‘golden gate bridge’ and the ‘christ of hope statue’ from rio de janero (this one is called christ of peace)

yes, this says urinal…and yes, there is someone currently using it…

yes, they don’t believe in guard rails here…

and yes, jared and i are NOT tour people…we like to explore and take fun pictures, it was not our vote to take a tour of a castle 🙂

but we did have a fake tea party overlooking the city which made it worth it

so we met up with some of the group for lunch in the town center and this is where the fanny pack comes back into play. i was holding on to my camera bag really well because i’d been robbed before (story to come) while traveling and so i had warned everyone to be super careful and watch out for gypsies. i think i even warned people more than a few times about this. well so as much as i was paying attention to my camera bag, i didn’t care about the fanny pack too much, it was more for the fashion statement and didn’t have much in it. well, we were approached by gypsies while we were eating and while a couple of them were getting really close to us demanding (not asking) for money, their partner in crime (apparently) took advantage of us being distracted and nabbed my fanny pack!!! i didn’t realize it until we got up to leave and then i was laughing about how stupid i was for warning everyone else when i’m the one who gets robbed!! (see: pride)

then i stopped laughing because i realized what i did have in there…3 things: chapstick, the cell phone we were loaned while we were working there, and my antibiotics

so the rest of our ‘down time’ in lisbon was spent hunting down a pharmacy open on a weekend so i could convince someone that i needed to finish a round of antibiotics without a prescription, fun times…but i did think that the gypsy would at least be sorely disappointed with her loot 🙂

we also enjoyed trying to find coffee in a full sized mug (another difficult thing to do in europe – they like their little coffee drinks) and watching as jared and another guy in the group got offered to buy drugs multiple times. we were never quite sure if it was because they were tourists or because they had beards because portuguese men didn’t have beards at the time. my hubby is so shady with his beard!

 good times…

project crib repurpose

 so with decorating our baby room, i’ve been obsessed with doing as much DIY as possible, and decorating with random finds. it’s been really fun putting it all together and i’ll have a post dedicated to the room soon! but for now, just a post on my old crib 🙂

my parents saved my old crib all these years thinking it would be fun for me to use it for my kids someday. of course they never knew that there would be laws about drop-side cribs and all that so they took it out of the rafters and asked me what we should do with it. i quickly ‘pinterested’ and saw some fun ideas of what you can do with old cribs.

here are my brother and i looking super weird in the crib, crazy kis!

and hopefully my mom doesn’t kill me for putting a belly pic up but that’s me in there, so fun!!

this brings me to my dad. his love language towards others is acts of service. all you have to do is talk about a fun project and before you know it, he’s out in the garage helping you bring your idea reality. it helps that he is super creative and talented. all i did was show him a picture and he went right to work on taking apart the old crib.

my mom took some behind the scenes pics for me 🙂

so he made a cool bench out of the crib, and the other color wood was a piece of wood leftover from when we got some new shelves, he’s so resourceful!!

then it came to me and i painted it to match the other furniture in the nursery. i did chalk paint, sanded it after, and waxed it.

and to finish it off, sewed a pillow and pad (well dez mostly did the pad) to match some other things in the room. can’t wait to show you the whole room!

voila!! what do you think of my repurposed crib? great for a little reading seat?