A holiday shindig, mimosas, and an afro

What good are the holidays without spending time with friends, eating food, being merry, and…

Toasting with mimosas?!?!

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I hosted an annual get together with some friends this year, which I named:

The Holly Jolly Shindig.

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Go Niners, Pink Pasta Recipe, and Random Updates

I used to write to-do lists before starting the day. Now I write chalkboards.

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Go Niners! First game at the new stadium today! These pictures are old, but still good ones!

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The boys are getting bigger. Don’t worry. I tell them every day to stop it.wpid-20140813_111246.jpg

I’m telling you, they’re the ones begging for boba every day. I have to limit it to once a week.

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The sister and I braved the challenge of bringing the boys out to eat. It went well! a bit stressful and tiring, but we made it without a meltdown! wpid-20140814_113123.jpg

These sticky placemats were AWESOME. We could sprinkle some puffs and baby cheetos (they’re not really cheetos, don’t worry) on the mat and the boys could feed themselves. Adrian loves pho. He can eat anything.wpid-20140814_113247.jpg

Then we hung out outside of the restaurant. So hard to get both boys smiling so this was the best picture!

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Here are some funny faces Adrian made while I was trying to get a picture of the boys.

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After we tried putting the boys down for their afternoon nap, we found them like this. Cute you say? Well if you were there, you’d say STINKY! The boy had poopy diapers which prevented them from napping, but they were happy campers anyway. Silly boys.

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We went to a local baseball game last week. Fun! Can’t wait to bring the boys.

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Look who was at the game!!! wpid-20140812_200852.jpg

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I usually don’t do this, but I created something without a recipe! A co-worker shared a quick and easy pasta recipe and I just had to try it. I’m calling it: Pink Pasta. This dish is nice because the sauce is fairly light, which works out for someone like my mom who is not a big fan of red sauces.

Pink Pasta

Ingredients:

Pasta (I used shells, but would love to use bow-tie next time)

1 lb Italian sausage (I got the fresh one that looks like ground beef, not in the casing)

5-6 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 onion, diced

Half pint heaving whipping cream

One can diced tomatoes (preferable PETITE diced, but regular works, too)

Red chili pepper flakes

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Cook pasta according to package directions.

Heat oil in a medium sized skillet. Saute garlic and onion until onion is translucent.

Add Italian sausage. Cook until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Add whipping cream and diced tomatoes (do not drain tomatoes). Simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Add pasta and a generous sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Mix well. Simmer another 5 minutes.

Add sea salt and additional red pepper flakes to taste.

Ta-da!

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How was it? I really liked it, although  it was missing something. Hubs and I agreed it should have had chicken! I also am not a fan of tomatoes so I’m glad I enjoyed the meal. I did pick out the tomatoes though, whoops! I also want to add some CHEESE next time. I think it’ll be FABULOUS after the addition of chicken & cheese.

See more of my recipes HERE!

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Your turn to share!!!

~What dish have you created (or imitated) without exact measurements and directions?

~What is a go-to dish that you’ve mastered over time and don’t need to refer to a recipe anymore?

Five things I’ve learned about having twins

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A quick sneak peek at my new obsession… Can’t wait to really get into chalkboards and calligraphy and all things fonts/pens/writing!

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Jer takes a selfie

After doing this twin-raisin’ thing for a year now, I think that qualifies me to finally share some important lessons learned. If you’ve read some of my posts throughout the past year (plus my pregnancy), you know that I’ve not only dealt with my fair share of challenges, I’ve learned a lot about becoming a first-time parent and mother. Not only in figuring out how to care for two infants, but how to keep my sanity, stay strong, and do things for me.

Yes, he's a lot louder than he appears

Yes, he’s a lot louder than he appears

While this list could go on for much longer, here are the top five things that I’ve been thinking about lately. These five things pretty much summarize life with twins at my house. I think it’s safe to assume other first-time moms and especially moms of multiples can agree with me here. If you are not yet a parent, you would probably find this list intriguing, especially if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to raise a baby, let alone two! 🙂

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1. Lots of crying

The nature of having twins is that you cannot always tend to them when they need you. If I had a DIME for every time a baby cried while I tended to his brother, there would be no need for a college savings account. It breaks my heart and every bone in my body hearing them cry, but not only do I know that I will eventually get to them, I also know they won’t remember these days!

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2. It’s not double the trouble

It’s triple, sometimes quadruple, the trouble! Yes, it’s twice the diapers, twice the bottles, twice the soothing, twice the care. But the effort required to care for infant twins is compounded by the fact that you cannot always immediately tend to a baby’s needs, causing him to cry and fuss even more, and so you scramble around trying to finish tending to the first crying baby, and after you finally get to the second crying baby, you feel like you’ve run a mini marathon and can barely catch your breath. Then, you finally catch your breath, but it’s time to do it all over again!

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3. If it’s not one, it’s the other

Even when you think you’ve got the hang of this twin-parent thing, it’s such a challenge figuring out what they need. You finally get one baby happy, then the other is not having it. Or one baby finally gets through a week or two of fussiness ALL THE TIME, and then now the other baby is fussy all the time. It’s almost like they know how to tag team it. On a less difficult note, the same goes for other things as well. Taking a picture of the babies together is quite a feat. one baby will be cheesing and laughing while the other is mean-mugging. Then they’ll switch. Not gonna lie, it can take up to 5-10 pictures just to get one DECENT one.

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4. You have a built-in excuse for quite a while

I have no shame (maybe a drop) using the boys as an excuse to be too tired to work out or do anything productive, an excuse for a messy home (don’t all new parents get to pull that card?), and an excuse to do be grumpy and irritated. Yes, they’re a joy, but the happiness is not without the struggle. If I have to go through all this work for the babies, don’t expect me to do much else! I used to tell myself that I get double the clearance time to workout (typically new mothers have to wait 6 weeks until cleared by the doctor to work out). That doubled clearance time tripled and quadrupled and now it’s one year later and I’m still not trying to lift a single dumbell. I can barely trot down the block without dry heaving, so I am just not ready to work out yet.

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5. You’re heart wants to explode

Ok, I’ll stop complaining. How is there even anything to whine about when I get the blessed opportunity, privilege, and honor of being the parent to two beautiful, healthy baby boys? Every day they amaze us. It sounds cheesy and cliche, but they truly do fill my heart beyond capacity. Just this morning when they were being difficult at breakfast – they weren’t eating, refusing and whining and pushing the spoon away – I was very frustrated because I put so much time and energy and MONEY into preparing them good ol’ homemade baby food. I didn’t expect the rejection to be so heartbreaking and irritating. After I put the boys in their playyard alone and walked away, I overheard them laughing with each other. These boys were seriously cracking up. I go and peek at what is going on and find Adrian playing peek-a-boo with Jer and they were both hysterically laughing. It is those breakthrough moments that bring me back to the ground and realize that we are doing just fine.

Homemade Ball Pit and a Fruit Mash Up

My babies are almost one!!! I was warned time would fly, but it was hard to believe it. When you’re running off 4-5 hours of choppy sleep, up 2-3 times during the night, tending to two newborns ALL-DAY-LONG, you don’t even think the light at the end of the tunnel is around the corner. You feel trapped in a deep, dark abyss called first-time-parenthood-to-twins and you just fight to survive while praying for the sun to come up!!! Sorry if this sounds super depressing, but those first few months are ROUGH. The great news is, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel! It started to make an appearance for me personally when the babies could reciprocate smiles and laughter. As much as you can love a newborn, those challenges in the beginning are very trying and it takes a little while before you can enjoy being a parent. For those parents out there with newborns, check out these great reads here and here and here that helped inspire me and support me in terms of being a mom, parent, and just getting through the beginning!

wpid-img_20140722_081100.jpgHere’s a glimpse at how I get to blog:
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Yeah, they were knocked out. wpid-20140721_090220.jpg How cute that their got all cozy next to each other?

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Homemade ball pit!!! How cool is this?! We ordered these ball pit balls and threw them into the pack-n-play. Instant success! See video for proof. I was concerned about the price of the balls, but when a fellow mom told me her 2.5 year old twins STILL love them, I was sold.

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They LOVED it!!!

How funny is this? Coffee and water for mommy, bottles and straw cups for babies.

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Costco shopping carts for the win! They boys lasted about 2/3 of the store. I had more on my list to buy, but since we ended up having to carry them, we headed straight for check out. There’s something hilariously ridiculous about carrying a baby (or two) while pushing a shopping cart designed to hold them both.
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Nice shot of the boys playing together:
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Last Friday’s boba trip. Jer couldn’t believe the bill even though we get the same thing every single week.

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Can you believe Prince George turned one??? I remember watching Will and Kate’s first appearance with baby George while I was on bed rest. I almost cried at the time. Re-watching the clip made me feel happy for them and bittersweet that babies really do grow so fast! Something about how humble and accessible this couple is, despite their high rankings. They seem extremely down-to-earth and I wish I could meet them! Plus, Kate’s wardrobe is AMAZING.

Here’s another “recipe” I want to share! I was proud of myself because even though this “recipe” is not completely ingenious, I did come up with the idea spontaneously. I basically needed to do something with the pears I steamed and wanted to mix up the flavor for the boys. I knew pears and blueberries went well together, thanks to Wholesome Babyfood.

Pear and Blueberry Mash Up

Ingredients

3-4 pears (I prefer to use organic Bartlett, but these were whatever I found at the grocery store)

1-2 cups organic blueberries

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wpid-20140723_214427.jpgThoroughly wash fruits.

Core pears and slice into 1 inch pieces. Steam for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

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Place in food processor or blender and puree to desired consistency. Since the boys are almost one, I don’t worry about the skin any more, so long as it is chopped (not offering a whole blueberry because it is still a choking hazard).

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The results resembled an applesauce consistency.

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One thing I noticed is that after putting the fruits in the fridge, it solidifies a bit to resemble a very firm jello consistency. I thought it would remain like applesauce, but it may be that I didn’t add additional water when pureeing. The boys enjoy the mash a lot. Over the weekend, I would scoop out a dollop to go with whatever meal they had (not just breakfast) and I didn’t even warm it up. I would just take it out to room temperature and offer it as a palate changer.

See more homemade baby food recipes and tips here!

Don’t wanna work out… and green baby food

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Do I have to get back into shape? For the LONGEST TIME (essentially since the boys were born), I’ve used the excuse of having twins to avoid working out extensively. Not only did I tell myself that I had three long months of strict bed rest, but I gave birth to twins! So instead of getting back to the gym or hitting the pavement once my doctor cleared me at six weeks, I just kept making excuses. Work, being tired, maintaining a house, caring for two infants… Granted, I did run once, play a bit of golf, and an entire season of recreational volleyball… But fast forward almost a year later and I have no excuse. It’s not about a bikini body or fitting into prepregnancy pants. It’s about HEALTH and being able to MOVE with my children without losing my breath or fearing I can’t keep up one day.

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The following pictures are random stuff and updates. Scroll down to get straight to the baby food recipes!

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I keep telling myself that this blogging gig may not last too much longer, but then I wouldn’t have a healthy outlet for my endless, random thoughts, nor would I have a convenient online journal-thing. I revived my favorite bloggers page in case you’re interested!

Celebrated my sister‘s birthday over the weekend! By the way, I’m really loving my new chalkboard!

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How cute were they in their Hawaiian outfits from their Gramma and Granpa??? They are joined in this picture with the singing Jellybean Rabbit. My goodness, it’s hilarious when the rabbit sings and dances because the boys stop in the tracks and are mesmerized by him!

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We ate at a restaurant and MY GOSH Jer screamed practically the entire time! My new nickname for him: Jerodactyl!!! We need to nip this NOW because we can’t have a crazy baby out in public. It’s one thing to deal with the screaming at home, but he is learning FAST that it gets him what he wants and it’s also amusing (at least to himself). Behavior therapy effective immediately.

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New play pen is under construction! Adrian’s loving it. Both babies are crawling – it’s great, as well as tiring!

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Adrian tends to hold toys and items in the air.
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He climbed up here himself.
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Bathtime has upgraded from the little tub to a… fancy shmancy laundry basket! First day we tried it, they hated it. Second day, they hated it half the time. Third day, they would have begged for five more minutes if they could talk! It’s so fun seeing them splash around, but that means as we bathe them, we are in the splash zone!

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Finding them like this in their cribs more often… I’m just waiting for the day they pull themselves up and we’ll know it’s time to lower that mattress! Jer (Camera 1) & Adrian (Camera 2):

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It’s nice being able to trust them to sit long enough for me to prepare food and whatnot. Here they are hanging in the kitchen as I prepared their breakfast over the weekend:

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Well, the homemade baby food saga continues!!! Here are two green “recipes” I’ve followed myself and had great success with. Again, I use the term “recipes” very loosely because they are hardly complicated! They are more like instructions to prepare baby food. But if you are like me, you want clear explanations and pictures in order to gain a foolproof method for yourself.

Asparagus Puree

From Tyler Florence’s Start Fresh

Ingredients

1 lb (10 medium stalks) asparagus, washed and tough stems removed

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Mashed Peas

Ingredients

One bag frozen peas

Directions:

– Cook peas as directed on package (I boiled them)

– Drain peas and cool

– Mash in a mixing bowl (If baby is not ready for texture, puree with a little bit of added water. If baby is old enough, no need to mash at all!)

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After I scooped some peas into small containers for daycare, I divided the rest into an ice cube tray. This is after it froze:

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After it freezes, I pop the cube out and store em in a ziplock bag. It’s so easy to defrost or pop in a cube or two in whatever I am cooking (chicken soup, pasta, etc).

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Check out more recipes on my Homemade Baby Food page! It’s a work in progress, but slowly growing!

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Do you have foolproof baby food recipes? Please share! I’d love to try new ones.

The twins at 11 months

(Plus a sweet potato “recipe” below!)

AJ & JT @ 11 months!

AJ & JT @ 11 months!

The twins @ 11 months

Things they’re doing these days:

  • Clapping their hands (Jer is getting better each day!)
  • Getting louder
  • Still sleeping through the night (knock on wood!)
  • Playing more – they imitate and pick up on things better
  • Eating table foods
  • Army crawling (Jer)
  • Scooting backwards in crawling position (Adrian)

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AJ @ 11 months

AJ @ 11 months

Adrian Joseph

(No height or weight measurements this month!)

I have 6 teeth.

I can get into a great crawling position, but I’m still on the fence about crawling.

I like to clap my hands and cheer.

I’m a chunkster.

I can say “mama” really well, but I forget who I should be calling “mama.”

I started out grasping the concept of brushing my teeth and now I just shut my mouth. Get that thing away from me!

My laughter and smiles fill mama and papa’s hearts.

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JT @ 11 months

JT @ 11 months

Jeremiah Tyler

(No height or weight measurements this month!)

I have 7 teeth.

I can army crawl so fast that you’d better not blink.

I am getting better at clapping my hands.

I have been extremely clingy to my mama these days. Don’t you dare take her away from me.

My screams are deafening. Use caution when holding me near.

I still love my binky.

I am a pro pincer grasper.

My laughter and smiles fill mama and papa’s hearts, as well.

Wow, what can we say? The boys are almost one. ONE FREAKIN’ YEAR OLD!!! That’s 365 days around the sun, countless hours of crying, endless number of diapers, a gazillion bottles, but not enough hugs or kisses. We could NEVER love them enough because our love just somehow grows more each day. Right when we think our hearts are full and content, the boys squeeze in more happiness and joy, causing our hearts to burst. This is only year one. The future years to come will only be full of more surprises and enjoyment from these two monkeys. Thanks for following us on our journey through parenthood and life in general!
See more monthly updates HERE!
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Some updates… and a “RECIPE!”
My new obsession: Chalkboards! Not just any chalkboard, but one with chalkboard markers! All the fun without the dust. Here are my first two creations:
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The boys really enjoy their mesh teethers. For starters, we’ve put frozen pear puree in them. At the very start, Jer loved it. Adrian didn’t want anything to do with it until the next day. Now they are both loving it. It’s awesome to not only sooth their aching, teething selves, but to use frozen fruits! Natural remedies for the win!
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Soon I will post recipes (instructions) for roasting fruits! Fruits are not only an awesome source of fiber, vitamin C, and more, they are a wonderful way to sweeten other foods and add a yummy flavor. Not gonna lie, I use the fruits to entice the boys to eat more greens and blander foods. But at least they are getting their veggies and the sweetness is natural, not added refined sugar.
Pears to make easy, yummy frozen pear puree!
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I need to hurry up and post these “first foods” recipes because we’ve already moved on to table foods! Here is how I prepared sweet potatoes. I need to work on the picture-taking. I am really good some days and completely forget on others. Again, I don’t really consider these “recipes” since they are more like instructions, but either way, hope they help!
Did you know people often confuse sweet potatoes and yams? To this day, I’m not sure if I’m distinguishing them correctly. From what I gather, sweet potatoes look similar to russet potatoes (white potatoes) and are a light yellow color inside. Yams (there are a variety of types) are orange inside and darker on the outside. If you can help me tell the difference, please share!

Sweet Potato Puree

Ingredients:
3 sweet potatoes
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Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse and scrub potatoes under running water. Pat dry them.
Pierce several holes around each potato using a paring knife or fork. Do not peel for baking!
Wrap each potato in foil and place on a baking sheet.
Bake for 30-60 minutes or until soft.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Slice each potato in half lengthwise.
Scoop out the meat. Mash or put in food processor as you see below:
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I combined the pureed sweet potato with the butternut squash I roasted at the same time. These two-food combos are fun and colorful and a great way to mix it up for you and baby.
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The aftermath:
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After I prepare a few containers of food, I fill ice cube trays with the rest of the pureed food. Thaw, warm, and serve the ice cubes when needed.
One day, I will write, party plan, and cook/bake for a living. Until then, I will continue to blog, throw shindigs as best I can, and pretend I know what I’m doing in the kitchen. Thanks for reading!