DIY: Personalized Mugs (aka Sharpie Mugs)

This is a great little diy project, especially with Valentine's day coming up! You can customize a mug, plate, or any other ceramic dish of your choice and make it really personal for that special someone.

I know the diy sharpie mug has been around Pinterest a ton lately, but beware, NOT all sharpie mug tutorials work...I searched long and hard for a tried and tested method, and now that I've done the testing myself -- it has been confirmed -- this method really works! (Here is the tutorial I based mine off of, but I will outline step-by-step how I did my mugs, with added helpful tips)

Materials you need:
- ceramic mug (or dish), cheap dollar store or Walmart kind works better
- Sharpie oil-based paint marker, available at Michaels or any craft store (make sure it says non-toxic)
- oven

>> Make sure the mugs are clean and no oil or residue is on it before you start painting. If you want to, as an optional step, clean the mug with alcohol to triple check its cleanliness.
>> I just free-handed my designs right onto the mug with the paint pen, but it's always a good idea to practice or brainstorm your idea on paper. (tip: if you do mess up, not to worry, it really isn't 100% permanent! I found that nail polish remover can actually help to dissolve the paint...however it can get quite messy so only use this as a last resort)
>>When you are done designing your mugs, let them sit and dry, preferably over night~a full 24 hours. It helps to set the paint for the baking process.
>> Place the dried mugs onto a cookie sheet upside down, and set it in the middle rack of the oven. DO NOT preheat the oven! Once the mugs are in, set the temperature to 425 degrees F. Start timing 30 minutes once the oven reaches 425. While in the oven it did seem to give off a weird smell, so if you are sensitive, make sure you let the kitchen air out while the mugs are baking.
>> Let the mugs cool in the oven as much as you can before removing them. I just left mine until the oven was completely cool. This is to prevent any cracking from sudden changes in temperature.

After they were completely cooled, I tested my mugs by lightly scratching it AND hand washing it in warm soapy water, and they seemed to hold up well. I did not, however, put them in the dishwasher -- I was just too scared to...

The final product:


Bye-bye Baby Curls.

And  H E L L O  big boy hair!

We cut Kai's little curls off. Even after 3 days, I still miss it. Sure, it was getting too long, too wild, and a tangled mess some days, but those curls were a part of my baby. It's a good thing HE is still the same cute, sweet, quirky boy, because I may just not be able to get over the shock... Someone just tell me that it'll grow back perfectly curly again...and that everything will be ok! haha

Here's a little tribute to those lost locks...


Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bites

It's time for another recipe! yaaaay -- There are actually a lot of recipes I've been wanting to share but I just haven't had the time. I'll be posting them one by one as I make them and take delicious-looking pictures of the finished product.

Lately I've been liking the quick and easy recipes, that are both simple and of course delicious! This recipe is just that - super easy to make and super yummy. I made these for a night-in with the girls, and they were a hit. Hope you'll give them a try!

Note: This recipe is also so versatile. One of my favorite appetizers is spinach and artichoke dip with crackers or crispy pita chips, so I made a variation on these and added chopped up marinated artichoke hearts. SO yummy! I have also tried this with crostini mushrooms sauteed with the spinach (that ended up being my FAVORITE). I think bacon will be yummy too. Feel free to share what combination of deliciousness you can come up with!

Spinach Dip Mini Bites

1 can crescent roll dough
Mini muffin pan (makes 24)

Baby spinach, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 tsp grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozarella cheese
**optional: marinated artichoke hears OR baby bella/crostini mushrooms

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray non-stick cooking spray on the muffin tin, unless you have a non stick pan then it should be fine. Unwrap the dough and take apart the pre-cut triangles. Cut each triangle into 3 equal size pieces. This part takes a bit getting used to, but now take those smaller triangles and fold the longer side onto itself and just seal the edges together to make a cone/cup shape (think about making a cone birthday hat). Take each dough "cone" and press into the bottom and up the sides of the muffin cup, while manipulating the dough to make a nice shape using your fingers. Once all 24 cups are made, set aside in the fridge until it's ready to fill.

2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the spinach until wilted, then add the garlic, and stir/cook for another minute or so. (**IF adding mushrooms, sautee the mushroom first then add the spinach and garlic). Take off of heat.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together softened cream cheese, sour cream, cooked spinach/garlic, red pepper powder, sea salt, and parmesan cheese, until well combined. (**if desired, add chopped artichokes here)

4. With a small spoon (I used two baby spoons), scoop ~1 tsp of the filling into each cup. Top each cup with a pinch of mozarella cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown and top is bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before taking them out of the muffin pan. Best served warm.

Bon Apetit!


Kona | 9 months and a birth story

You must all be thinking "FINALLY!"...or "that's a little  really late..."
I started writing his birth story MONTHS ago, but I just never had the chance to finish it. Since this little chunker turns 9 months today, what better time to post about the day he came into this world (after being in the womb for 9 months)? -- nine in, nine out...get it? --

I seriously couldn't hold back tears as I was looking through these pictures. Such precious moments and such priceless memories...(hint: skip to the pictures, they are the best part)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

At one of my last prenatal appointments, my doctor suggested that I schedule an induction, "just in case" my baby didn't come early. My babies never come early, so I wasn't expecting this one to either. Sure enough the day before my induction day came, and nothing...no baby, no contractions, not even dilated....I was a bit frustrated and disappointed, as I wanted this one to "come on his own." With my previous pregnancies/deliveries going the way they did, I was okay with another induction though. I packed my things, got ready for the birthing center, and off I went - by myself -- which we also planned out because of our two other ones that needed looking after. The agreement was, hubby will come when things started to progress. Roughly 11:30 PM, they place the cervidil and the waiting began. Next day rolls around, still no baby and still not much progression. I told Chad to take his time getting the kids ready and don't rush, while in my impatient head I'm thinking, "isn't the 3rd supposed to just come right out?" ...but this one was stubborn too.

Finally noon comes and goes. By this time, I'm thinking to myself, this baby is coming out today! whether he likes it or not...(I know, I was a little selfish by that point, but can you blame me after 3 inductions??) I was hoping that he would come without pitocin, just as my second did but the clock was ticking and I didn't want to be "in labor" for over 30 hours like my first...so I called the doctor in and asked her what was next. She knew how I felt about pitocin so she was patient in waiting with me until that point, but since labor wasn't progressing on its own fast enough, she advised me that that would be next best option. She started a low dosage of pitocin and shortly after, my water broke! Things didn't go as quick as I had hoped even after that, but it was progressing. At this point pretty much everyone was at the birthing center in anticipation of this baby coming. By late afternoon, I was dilated to about a 9-10 and Dr. Moore determined that I could start pushing around 7 PM. My baby didn't come until 8:22 PM...so as you can imagine, it was a long and tiring process from the time I started to push until he decided that he was ready. But wow was he worth it! My baby angel came into the world at a whopping 9 pounds 3.8 ounces and was welcomed by his loving brothers, dad, uncle, aunts, and cousin. He was and continues to be a huge blessing in our little family. Not a day goes by that I don't thank Heavenly Father for sending this precious spirit to us. His smile alone melts my soul completely. We love our Kona Liam.

I want to give a special thanks - to my little sister who came all the way from Vancouver to be there for me through this process. She took care of my boys, along with her own, being 2 months pregnant herself, AND she even documented this momentous day by taking these photos. Yoko, you are amazing.
ALSO to my kind and loving husband, who supported me through the pregnancy and was there as much as he could through labor. Just having him there gave me the courage and strength when I didn't think I could go on. Love you, babe, you are my rock.

AND to my Kona baby, even if you made us wait and wait and wait, we love you more than words can express. You make our family more complete and filled a void in it we didn't even know existed....