5/31/12

My Life in an Instagram #1

I have enjoyed the creative spirit my fellow bloggers have with their link parties.  In fact, I participate in several all week long.  I wanted to host one as well, and hopefully indulge in the ME side that we all love about blogging.


*cue fanfare, trumpets and fireworks*


I give you:


According to L






My Favorite Moments from Memorial Weekend

5/30/12

Ad Space Now Available!

Last night, it really dawned on me.  I love this place.  I love writing.  I love my Etsy shop.  I love the community that this is, and the wonderful, funny and smart people in it.  I told the hubs that I want to do this more, so I'm taking the first (of many baby steps) in making that happen.


Today, I bring you my sponsorship opportunities.  I have sizes and packages for all kinds, and even a trade option for FREE.  Hello!  Who doesn't like free, am I right!

SO WHAT Wednesday #4

Hump Day - Happy Day.  The second day in a four day week.  Hooray!



  • We ate at McDonald's TWICE on Friday during our road trip.  At least breakfast included yogurt and fruit, but we wanted to hit the road baby!
  • I took a half day of PTO and promised myself it would be a relaxing time, but instead and I worked on Etsy orders and a tutorial for a kiddo step stool.  Oopsie.
  • I bough Olivia another dress when I set out to buy more shorts in the hopes that she might actually wear them to play outside.  But it was on clearance at Target, so it's justified.
  • I tried on neon shorts from the Gap, but put them back.  I just can't justify $50 for shorts, even if they were adorable.
  • I bought the iBook Snow Flower and the Secret Fan to read this weekend and got to page 4.  Luckily the poolside season is just starting and I've got three months to get through it!
  • I sat in the back seat with the girls on our way home from my sisters so I could stretch my legs into the front seat (read: watch Sleeping Beauty - it was my favorite Disney movie before I even had kids!)

I hope you're all having a wonderful week!


5/29/12

Roasted Broccoli

More grilling deliciousness from our favorite {bucket list} of the summer - this time, we have a side dish to go with our dinner of grilled chicken, rolls and strawberries.

Take a head of broccoli and separate the florets.  If you're me, you buy the Green Giant pack in the produce section, where they're already separated and washed.  I enjoy cooking, but not always the prep work.  And on a work night, I need all the time I can get with my family, not my kitchen.


Drizzle with olive oil, 1/4 tsp red pepper flake and salt (I used about 1/2 tsp), 2-3 minced garlic cloves - toss and add to the middle of your foil, making sure that the little dinosaur trees are in an even level.  My Green Giant bunch took 2 packets because I wanted to make sure they were flat and cooked evenly.



Grill over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes.  Watch for the steam when you open - ENJOY!


5/28/12

I'm-So-Excited-It's Summer Sale!

I mentioned this sale a few days ago {here}, and wanted to make sure that all my fans A. saw it and B. take advantage of it!

Shop According to L on Etsy and use SUMMER123 to save 25% off!  Also, you can still use the 3SHIPFREE (even though Etsy won't let you use two codes at once) and I'll credit back the shipping if you purchase three items or more!

You can shop items from my DESTASH SALE and the 25% off still applies!  Most of the amazing items are shown {here}  Super huge deals here people!

Or, get one of my newest bracelets.  These babies are so gorgeous.  And most of these designs have a twin that has made it into my jewelry box.

Macrame Bracelets

Macrame Bracelets

Macrame Bracelets

Single Ring Macrame

Three Ring Macrame

Bubble Bracelet


Happy Summer!  I hope your Memorial Weekend is wonderful and relaxing - or wild and crazy.  Whatever blows your hair back!

5/25/12

Mini Fruit Pizza

I love a good sugar cookie.  Add fresh fruit and cream cheese and you really can't go wrong.

I first made these for my BFF's baby shower and I've been meaning to share with you all on how you can enjoy these at your next party (or Sunday night, I don't judge the need for sweets!)


Bake sugar cookies according to your favorite recipe.  I personally love my grandmother's recipe:  Nestle Tollhouse. {if you watched FRIENDS, you're laughing right now}

The "sauce" is a brick of cream cheese, softened to room temperature, mixed with a jar of marshmallow fluff.

Top with your favorite fruits - I used raspberries, blueberries and kiwi fruit, but the choice if yours.  Go nuts!  or Go Fruity as the case may be!

5/24/12

Going on a Bear Trip

I am not a frequent flyer by any means, but I have gone on enough trips to be a fairly efficient packer.

For myself.

Then add in the husband who waits until the last minute to get anything together, and then remembers as we're walking out the door that he needs ANOTHER pair of size 14 shoes.  Things get trickier.

And then the kids.  Think back to that overwhelming afternoon after you'd opened all those baby shower gifts and thought:  how could one tiny person need so much stuff?  And then they grow, and get MORE stuff.  And then you travel somewhere, and need to plan for every meal, meltdown and nap in between.

This Memorial Weekend, we're heading to Geneva, IL (a burb of Chicago) to visit my sister and her family.  I AM SO EXCITED!  My sister and brother-in-law moved away almost five years ago, and I still don't think I've fully recovered from their departure.  I miss them, and I miss my nephews and niece, so any chance that it's feasible for a trip (read: can tolerate a 6+ hour car ride) I want to go for a visit.

Being that I need to start to plan and organize well in advance to get myself and the kids (and let's face it, the hubs) out the door, I like to make a list.  Check it off, know it's in the car (somewhere) and we're good to go.  Wanna know what we're taking with us this weekend??


This list is not complete.  I know I need to pack clean underwear.  Mama raised me right!!

I also need book recommendations to load up the iPad with those gift cards I mentioned (mine!  not sharing with those sticky faced beauties!)  I've read the Hunger Games series (could have stopped with #1), Sarah's Key (LOVE IT, if you haven't read it already you need to) and I don't think porn (aka 50 Shade of Gray) is appropriate for a road trip.  Gimme your best!

5/23/12

SO WHAT Wednesday #4

I love Shannon - she's a girl after my own heart.  Kind, thoughtful, witty and she loves beer.  And she's proud of that!  HELLO!!

She also hosts my favorite linky party of the week.  Sure tutorials and recipes are awesome for sparking my own creative juices, but I love the opportunity to just vent/share/brag/and otherwise talk about ME :)






Here's what I'm saying SO WHAT to this week:
  • I have been seriously disappointed with season finales this time around:  Grey's and Desperate Housewives - thumbs down.
  • I am so excited that Pregnant in Heels is back on Bravo.  Rosie Pope is adorable and I know that if we met in real life, we'd be best friends.
  • I snagged about 200 paint chip samples from Lowes with the intention of a project and haven't decided on one yet.
  • I have purposely NOT looked at kid apps for the iPad this week.  I got gift cards for Mothers Day, and DANG IT, they're mine!!


Also, this Wednesday, I bring you a super awesome deal for my Etsy shop!

This deal is exclusive to my blog readers, so ENJOY!!!

SUMMER123
gets you 25% off!!
through May 28th


5/22/12

Some of my Etsy Favorites

I love Etsy - even before I started selling my own lovelies out there.  You can find ANYTHING you're looking for from jewelry to iPhone cases to purses to graphic images to holiday decor to well, you get the point.

I wanted to take a moment and share with you some of my favorited shops.  Check them out - I don't think you'll be disappointed!



Clean Mama Printables
Becky has designed tons of printables to keep you and your home organized.  Who doesn't need more of that?  I especially love the ones about keeping a house clean.  Now if only the cleaning fairy would USE this checklist once in a while!


Lala Crystal
Lala has amazing jewelry.  I especially like her sideways crosses (and I know many of you do too - I've seen your Pinterest pins!)  Unique designs that are wearable everyday.  And super affordable.  Lord knows I love that!


Folding Chair Designs
I love headbands.  It's part of the reason I started selling on Etsy, because I kept finding cute supplies to make stuff for me and my babies!  Amy has super cute designs, like the leaf design you see above.  Plus, her photos are amazing - you can tell she really puts heart into her shop.  Another plus as a buyer.

What are some of your favorite shops?

Garlic Shrimp

I bring you #8 from our list of 50 Grill Packets.



Let me tell you, they were amazing.  I followed the steps from Food Network, but I have a few tips that I want to share that I think would make things easier than the mini book outlines.

Serves 2-4, depending on how you plate it.  Nate and I ate the pound between us for dinner with a few sides.  I can see this being a yummy starter too.

  • 1 lb shrimp (they pictured unpeeled shrimp, but I would have purchased uncooked, peeled shrimp if Target had them in stock)
  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped (or pressed if you're me and love the taste of garlic, but don't like the smell on my hands)
  • 1 c chopped parsley
  • juice of one lemon
  • S&P to taste
This isn't exactly how FN suggests, but this is how I would do it next time.
  1. Season shrimp with salt and pepper - divide and center into 2 foil packets.
  2. Mix together the butter, garlic, parsley and lemon juice.  The lemon juice and oily butter won't exactly combine, but do your best to work it all together.  (my photos don't have parsley because I am personally not a fan)
  3. Dot garlic butter mixture onto shrimp packets

     4.  Roll and seal, allowing room for steam - these babies will come off the grill like balloons with all     the moisture inside.
     5.  Cook over high heat for 8 minutes
     6.  Serve hot, with crusty bread to soak up all the extra (and super delicious) garlic and melted butter


So simple, with so few dishes to wash.  What's not to love?!

5/21/12

S'mores Popcorn


Super simple.
Super yummy.
Enough said.

#23 from our Grill Packet list.  I cheated this time and use the microwave stuff on a rainy Saturday night, but promise that I'll attempt the "grilled version" too.

5/20/12

Firefighters Can Wear Pink

We have the great fortune that both of my parents are retired and willing to watch the girls a few days a week.  You can't beat the love and attention that grandparents pay (even if they do have a tendency to spoil) and hey - child care is EXPENSIVE.

Across the street from my folks lives an adorable family.  Their two little ones have birthdays close to one another, so we were invited to a combo Fireman/Hello Kitty birthday.  It was awesome.  Hello Kitty cake, along with a real fireman and truck!



Maple Grove Engine 11 came down Berkshire Lane, lights and all.  The Birthday Boy, Elijah, was beyond thrilled - and so were all the other kids, adults and grandparents.

All smiles from the inside of the truck

Birthday party crew, and Fireman Andy

My Mom and Dad, and my Sweetheart
Andy let the little ones use the fire hose

And the grown-ups wanted to get in on the action.
You bet I took a turn!  When was I gonna get another chance!?

Liv had to ask if he rescued kittens from trees.
Not so much, kiddo.
After all the fun and games, we went back to swim at Casa de Kipp.  First time for 2012.  I can't wait for more summer days like these!



5/18/12

50 Things to Grill in Foil

I subscribe to the Food Network magazine.  If you don't, I highly recommend it.  So many yummy, and easy recipes, along with the fun, would-be-great-to-try-but-probably-won't-ever-be-that-ambitious foods too!

Each edition has a mini-book, with 50 themed ideas.  There was one month for pizzas, one month for eggs, December usually has to do with cookies.  June 2012 has 50 Things to Grill in Foil.  The husband has challenged me more than once to make more of the actual recipes from my beloved magazine, so we have decided to make this mini-book part of our summer bucket list.


Photobucket


At first, I thought about going in order, but you'll see it's outlined with apps first, main dishes, side dishes and so on, so I may bounce around a little.  I promise I'll always link back here with ingredients, steps and photos.

Some have seemingly rare ingredients (what's a shishiot pepper?), and my dislike for beans may make the "Succotash" a night where I try some, but end up with a PB&J, but I'm willing to make of a go of it!

Who's with me!?
  1. Jalapeño Poppers
  2. Spiced Nuts
  3. Tomatillo-Pineapple Salsa
  4. Jerk Chicken Wings
  5. Roasted Garlic
  6. Spicy Olives
  7. Quesadillas
  8. Garlic Shrimp
  9. Lobster Scampi
  10. Mussels
  11. Gnocchi
  12. Paella
  13. Portuguese Clambake
  14. Coconut Shrimp
  15. Lemon-Herb Chicken
  16. Meatballs
  17. Popcorn
  18. Asian-Style Ribs
  19. Glazed Pork
  20. Zucchini and Tomatoes
  21. Ravioli and Zucchini
  22. Chorizo and Peppers
  23. S'mores Popcorn
  24. Fish Provencal
  25. Mexican Fish
  26. Mustard-Dill Salmon
  27. Succotash
  28. Pattypan Squash
  29. Baby Beets
  30. Shishito Peppers
  31. Mexican Corn
  32. Italian Corn
  33. Portobello Mushrooms
  34. Roasted Broccoli
  35. Cipollini Onions
  36. Sesame Bok Choy
  37. Spicy Scallions
  38. Potatoes with Bacon
  39. Salt-Roasted Potatoes
  40. Spiced Potatoes
  41. Potato Gratin
  42. Cheesy Garlic Bread
  43. Toad in a Hole
  44. Plums and Onions
  45. Baby Carrots
  46. Bread Pudding
  47. Upside-Down Cakes
  48. Glazed Peaches
  49. Rhubarb Compote
  50. Apple Dumplings
Happy Summer everyone!

5/17/12

Jalapeño Poppers: Foil Pack #1



As promised, we started with #1 on the list tonight.  I was expecting them to be super spicy, but taking the seeds and ribs out really cut the heat.  The creamy muenster cheese was a perfect balance to the heat and - hey - who doesn't like melted cheese??  I mean really?  Want cheese with that?  WHO SAYS NO?!

Makes 4 servings, 2 poppers each

8 whole jalapeños, stemmed, seeded and ribs removed
1 Tbsp olive oil (more or less)
salt - to taste
1/4 tsp ground coriander seed
1/4 tsp ground cumin
4-6 slices muenster cheese



1.  Using a pairing knife, separate the ribs from the flesh of the pepper.  
2.  Scoop and tap the ribs and seeds out - rinse well.
3.  Tuck 1/4" slices of muenster cheese into the little jalapeño cup you've carved


4.  Toss stuffed jalapeños in oil and seasonings.  
I used a toothpick on a few of the cups that had split slightly with my digging and removal of the insides.
5.  Wrap in heavy-duty foil.
Fold over the two short sides and fold over twice.  Bring up remaining sides and fold, allowing room for steam.
6.  Grill over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, flipping several times.  Unwrap carefully (remember that steam-room I mentioned a moment ago)  There will be some cheese loss, however, it's easy enough to scrape up and enjoy with the rest of the popper!


My Little Duck

She staggers around on legs that move more like Frankenstein than a graceful girl.
She babbles and laughs - naming most everything living: "dog."
She eats anything green, rejects most fruit and loves to drink from straws.
She's amazed by everything, because everything is new.
She makes me laugh and smile every day.


With that little hair growing down the back of her neck,
She's my little duck.

5/16/12

SO WHAT! Wednesday #3

Hump Day.  Here we go




  • Olivia got a pack of Gummy Bears from our favorite server at the 5*8 Club last week, and I've eaten every single one of those sugary little buggers.
  • I pay good money for a cute haircut, but I end up using a hair tie daily.
  • I was pleased with my sun-pinked shoulders from gardening this weekend.
  • I drank a glass of wine alone on my deck this past Mother's Day while the girls napped.
  • I have listened to "Call Me Maybe" more than a person should.  Partly because Liv loves to dance to it, and partly because I find it entertaining as well.
  • I am shamelessly linking up with other bloggers in the hopes that this can turn into a full-time gig for me someday.  Do you host a party that I should join??  Let me know!
  • I only mildly care that Avery eats the sidewalk chalk more than she draws with it.  She's my second - what can I say - I know she'll survive it.

What are you saying SO WHAT to this week?

5/15/12

My Favorite Cancelled TV Shows

I make no excuses for my love affair with TV.  The warm glow that envelops me and I lounge quietly on the couch.  I do not have the luxury of being the couch-junkie that I would like (remember those two gorgeous girls I mention every now and then?) but I do have the fortune of DVR and a few quiet hours every now and then to soak in as much non-Nick Jr. fair as I'd like.



In thinking about all of the shows that do make it to screen, some of which I do watch, there is a lot of good stuff that doesn't make it - and a lot of crap that just hangs on for way too long.

Sadly, Cancelled

1.  Reunion
Who remembers this show??  I think that my BFF, Genna, and I may have been the only 2 people who watched it back in 2005 before The O.C. made it big on Fox, which is probably why it didn't last.  I still loved the drama, cliff-hangers and flash-back elements that took us through the lives of 6 friends from a high school mishap, to now 20 years later.  Ending after only 13 of the 20 years shown, the show left me more than a little disappointed.  I guess the plot lines were released to blogs and the last episode was shown (not in the US of course)  Ugh.  I'm still bitter over this one.

2.  Samantha Who?
I loved her when she was Kelly Bundy, and Christina Applegate only got more beautiful and charming.  Insert her best friend, Melissa McCarthy (now famous for pooping in a sink in Bridesmaids) and you've got  wonderful chemistry.  Oh, and let's not forget the hottie Barry Watson as the male interest.  The show ends before we know if they get back together after Samantha's accident.  And before I learn to curl my hair like her character!

3.  My Name is Earl
If you watched movies in the 90s, you've certainly see Jason Lee perform as the charming, stoner friend in many Kevin Smith flicks.  This series was perfect for those who wanted a humorous take on faith and kindness, without religious anecdotes shoved down their throats.  Karma:  Do good things, good things happen.  This is the basic tenet of my life!!  I'd found my soul-mate on TV (minus the trailer park and dirty flannels!)  It was episodic enough that you could miss a week or two and not feel lost, but the story followed well enough to make the plot run smoothly.  I miss that mustached fool.

4.  Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Oh Matthew Perry.  I loved you on Friends and I loved you on this show.  I even loved you in The Whole Nine Yards (but not the sequel.  Leave it alone people!)  Think 30 Rock in a dram-edy setting.  Sure, it didn't have Jack Donaghy, but it was still awesome.  One season - that's all it lasted.  Maybe that's why I love Tina Fey so much. (PS, read her book Bossypants if you haven't already.  Laugh out loud hilarious.  I promise.)

5.  My So Called Life
Teen angst.  Romance from afar.  Jansport backpacks over one shoulder.  Crazy ripped leggings, and other funky styles you wanted desperately to try but we're "cool" enough to start the trend.  The token non-white, who's also gay.  What more could a show need!  Another one-timer.  And what was worse was that I started watching the show with my older sister the night of the finale.  My love of this show comes purely from re-runs in syndication.  That's devotion.  Plus it helped that Claire Danes was in Romeo & Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio.  Yum.

What shows make your list??



5/14/12

Happy Day for Mamas

Mother's Day is one of those Hallmark holidays that I didn't appreciate as a youngster, and probably even as a young adult.  And then I became a mother.

I tried explaining to Olivia, as she screamed at me from the stroller at the Como Zoo, that I wanted the day to be a nice one.  It was a celebration for her and me (and Avery too, of course, but she was too busy jabbering at the giraffes to be offended).  Olivia made me a mom.  She made Nate and me parents.  She was the thing that first made us a family (sorry furry friends, you only "kinda" counted).

We had our mix of laughter and tantrums during this sunshine filled weekend (not to mention quite the display that caused her crackers and juice to make a second appearance and thorough scrub down of the back seat a required activity on Sunday afternoon).


Picking the perfect spot for planting

Special pink leaves for Liv (would another color even be an option?)


Me and my girls (and my Diet Coke - don't judge)

Avery was nose to nose with the snow leopard

In between stubborn fits, she can be a very a sweet girl

The Driving School Ride - which ended too soon

It was a wonderful weekend, even with the tears.  It's all too real and it goes by all too quickly.

How did you spend your day??




5/11/12

Mom Enough

I feel like I want to say something about this.  I was trying to avoid any coverage on the topic because I knew that Time was getting exactly what they wanted out of the shock and awe they splashed on the page.  It's a heated topic - people feel very strongly for one side or another.  And I hate that things like this make it so personal and vicious. 

But this morning, I broke down and read an article on Yahoo.  I will preface the rest of my entry with the following: 
  • I didn't breastfeed my girls for many reasons.
  • The choice was mine.
  • I fed them, cared for them, and bonded with them as best as I could.
  • The bottle was best for my family. which also happens to be the only family I am responsible and concerned for.
  • I do not take away the safe, happy, healthy choices from one family to the next.


And there it is.

I do not have issue with the breast on the cover, or the fact that the 4-year old is standing on a chair to latch on to his mother.  I don't even take issue with the concept of "attachment parenting" mostly because I don't know enough about it - just not something that I choose not to practice in my little split-level in the burbs.

ARE YOU MOM ENOUGH?

It's not the image or what the stories and choices of these mothers may be.  The TITLE pisses me off. 

I said that I chose not to breastfeed my girls.  I am a minority in that decision, and I'm OK with that.  This cover makes me question:  Am I really less of a mother because I didn't?  My God, my deepest fears and anxieties about my life in motherhood are true.  I am a failure.  These milky moms said so. 

What of the women who did breastfeed for "only" 6 months, or 6 weeks for that matter?  Are they Mom Enough??  Are they doomed to wear the big red F on their chests too?

This cover and it's story depicts everything that I hate about "other moms."  Why does it have to be a competition?  Why do we have to challenge the safe and reasonable choices of another?  It's a bad, grown-up version of Mean Girls.  I feel like I'm going to hazed or something just so the Pink Ladies will like me. 

It's my opinion that if you really want to bond with your child and teach a good lesson then it should be one of acceptance and tolerance:  Mommy chose to nurse you until you were five, but not all mommies do, and that's OK. 

You worry about you.  I'll worry about me. 

And as far as I'm concerned, the only option on my "enough" status are my girls.  I'll know the answer to that question when I've raised two beautiful, kind and generous young women.  I'll know then that I was enough for them.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the article, cover or otherwise, just please be respectful (read: be a nice girl, not a j-hole)

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