around the house…

IMG_2364hey!  it seems like life has been a whirlwind around the house lately!  july is a busy month for us because of the 4th, the boys’ birthday and our anniversary.  i always feel like things settle down a bit in august, so i’m counting the days!  we’ve had parties almost every weekend and we’ve done several spur-of-the-moment home improvement projects.  IMG_2504 IMG_2478 IMG_2463 IMG_2370 IMG_2419 IMG_2559 IMG_2563today is christopher’s and my anniversary.  seven years!  i can hardly believe it.  we are heading to one of our favorite restaurants, bella italia, which is never open on mondays but just happens to be open today, and the owners asked us to please come have dinner there tonight!  i’m excited and am planning on dressing up for a change.

i hope you are having a fabulous day!



from the top: minion jack | ombre cake | gangsta girls | boys’ b-day party | d.i.y. new flooring in my bathroom | d.i.y. coffee table in the living room | we ripped up the carpet in the boys’ room upstairs and found gorgeous hardwood!

have a great weekend…

IMG_2257things are just as busy as ever here at the house of mayhem and chaos!  last weekend we went to portland to the oregon museum of science and industry and then to hood river.  we had a blast!  IMG_2280 IMG_2296i have work tonight and tomorrow night but on sunday, i am hosting a little gathering for my best friend’s 3rd annual 29th birthday (see what she did there?)  i’m looking forward to friends and food and kids running around!   then, on monday, christopher and i are thinking of taking the boys to see the new minion movie.  it should be a fun, action-packed weekend with a little relaxing mixed in. IMG_2331

i hope you have plans for a fantastic weekend!

happy 4th of july!


happy 4th of july, everyone!  we are having a wonderful day hanging out at home.  it’s been lazy and just what we needed as a family.  i got to sleep in and the boys have spent all day outside playing with their magic sand.  i got some tie dye kits from target on clearance and we just finished an epic tie dye session!  we are all so colorful (we don’t need no stinkin’ gloves!)  it looks like a bunch of hippies live here!

IMG_2246 IMG_2229 IMG_2235 IMG_2231 IMG_2243anyway, i hope you and your families have a fantastic weekend!  stay cool and Happy Birthday, America!




the kids are alright (we’re ok too) and why it’s important to have girl time…

IMG_2128 every once in a while a few of my friends get together for some much-needed girl time.  we are all moms and sometimes we need to take a  few hours to cut loose without the kids.  once, we made what could have been an ill-fated trip to ikea in portland, but instead it turned into a wonderful day-long road trip with a stop in hood river, great food, beer, conversation and company.  even though things didn’t go as planned, the day turned out better than we could’ve imagined!IMG_2213this weekend we got together at my house on one of the hottest days of the year and we just hung out in my kitchen drinking cucumber freshies, talking about life, sex, kids and having a great time unwinding from life.  we actually all had our kids with us this time and, even though they ranged from 17 months to 15 years, everyone got along splendidly and had a blast playing and watching movies downstairs while we hung out.

the afternoon turned into an impormptu dinner of salmon, rice and corn that my husband cooked for all of us and the kids.  a significant other or two joined us and we had a most lovely evening.IMG_2183when i think about the bond i have with this particular group of women, i realize that the most common factor is that we are all moms.  we are all strong women and our mom-ness doesn’t define us but it is definitely something very important to each of us. it joins us in a kind of unspoken understanding.  it doesn’t phase us that, more often than not, we don’t finish a sentence because someone little interrupts us, or that the conversation can bounce from subject to subject in the blink of an eye with no cohesion.  i love the bond that i have with these women.  we are all so different, but so much the same too.

cheers, girls.  i love you.


p.s. i’m working on getting the cucumber freshies recipe posted along with the apricot goat cheese bites.

around the house…

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you may have been wondering what the hell happened at the house of mayhem and chaos because i’ve been quiet for so long.

well, a lot, to put it simply.

i took a very last-minute trip to phoenix to see my family after some “family stuff” was happening (everyone is ok, so not to worry), the boys got glasses, finished preschool and we got them all registered for homeschool kindergarten. and, well, it’s just summer and that means our calendar is super full.

i’m trying to not overdo our schedule, but there are so many people to see and things to do!  i’m also trying to not spend as much time online (it’s a working goal, anyway) and focus on just “being” with the boys.  we have lots of fun things planned for the summer: t-ball, swimming, playdates, tending our garden, working on reading and math, camping trips and some museum visits.  ok, i’m already tired just writing out this list!

but, things are going really well.  the boys are getting so big and will be five next month (FIVE!!!!) and they have requested an epic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles party, so i have that to work on look forward to.  so, that’s what we’ve been up to.  please stick with me, i’m trying to get better at creating writing goals for myself with this blog and i have a lot of fun posts i want to share with you.  like i said, working goals.



cake of the mondays: strawberry lemonade cupcakes


yesterday was gloomy and today isn’t much better.  only little bits of blue sky peeking out from behind some seriously grey clouds.  and, the boys are cranky.  so, what could be better for a house with a Case of the Mondays (that continued into tuesday) than another Cake of the Mondays?

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christopher and i had gotten a giant box of strawberries from costco last week and some weren’t looking so great anymore and i needed to do something with them before i had to toss them out.  so, i cut up about two cups of strawberries, added a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of lemon juice and smashed them up with my potato masher.  then i mixed up a quick batch of Bisquick® Velvet Crumb Cake.


this is my favorite easy cake recipe.  i use it as the base for my strawberry shortcake, raisin cupcakes and just about any other simple white cake i need.  it’s a little heavier than a normal cake but not quite like a pound cake.  i also never have made the coconut topping in the original recipe.  i always just make the cake part!  and just in case you are wondering, this is not a sponsored post.  i just really like this recipe and i use Bisquick® pretty often from pancakes to muffins.


i lined two cupcake tins with papers (i got 21 cupcakes out of this recipe, but you could fill the cups with more batter and get about 16 cupcakes) and preheated the oven to 350°.  i zested one lemon and juiced it.  i used 1/2 cup of lemon juice in place of the water/milk in the recipe because i wanted a nice, zippy lemon flavor.

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then i mixed all the ingredients together.  it is kind of lumpy and a little thick, so don’t worry.  then i took about 1 1/2 cups of the strawberry mash (reserve 1/2 cup for the frosting) and gently folded it into the batter.  this makes the batter way thinner than the recipe usually is, but that’s ok.  also, because of the lemon juice, your cakes won’t rise as much.  i didn’t care about this and sometimes, i like a denser (is that a word?) cake anyway.


i used our good ol’ ice cream scooper to measure out batter into each cupcake liner.  bake for 15 minutes on two shelves in the middle of the oven and then rotate the tins.  bake for another 15 minutes.  baking times can vary and because this recipe is a little runnier with the strawberries in it, you may need to bake a bit longer.  i needed to let mine bake for an extra 10 minutes.

once the cupcakes are done baking (when a toothpick comes out clean,) cool on a cooling rack, completely.  i had a hard time figuring out what to frost these with, but finally decided on a simple strawberry whipped cream frosting.  whip up 1 cup heavy cream, 4 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  when the cream is stiff and whipped, gently fold in the remainder of your strawberry mash and the lemon zest.  use an offset spatula or piping bag to frost the cupcakes.  store in the fridge until ready to eat.

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i love the big chunks of strawberry and lemon zest in the frosting!  the boys gave them two very enthusiastic thumbs up and they were a nice treat for an icky day.

such a great way to turn around a monday!



embracing the mayhem and chaos…

i often hear, when people find out that the boys are twins, “oh, double trouble” or “you must really have your hands full!”  while i’m sure their intentions are good, i can’t help but think, “why are you assuming that my boys are too much to handle?”  why would you think that having twins is anything less than totally awesome?  i’m sure it’s no different than the experiences of anyone else.

it’s true that there is a lot of chaos and mayhem in our home.  i have no idea what it would be like to have just one kid at a time but i don’t assume that our chaos and mayhem is any different than anyone else’s.  our routines are all i know and since we are not having any more kids, i will never know any different.


i have learned to embrace the chaos and mayhem and love it for what it is.  so what if my house is never all the way clean.  there’s almost always some mess or weird smell.  it’s never totally organized.  so what if they dug a giant hole in the middle of our yard to make themselves a sandbox. i have two little boys who are happy and messy and blissfully unaware that this isn’t the way it is everywhere.

and isn’t that what really matters anyway?


i guess what i’m saying in a very roundabout way is that we do what works for us and that is the best and only thing we can do.  i recently had a woman at costco ask me if the boys were twins and she happily said that she is expecting twins too.  she asked me if i had any good advice and, without even thinking about it (there was a long line behind us,) i said, “yeah, don’t listen to anyone else’s advice!  do what works for you.”


i read a lot about different parenting styles and theories on how best to raise children and while there are some really good ideas out there, at the end of the day, i find that christopher and i really just come back to what works for us and the boys.  we don’t have many rules in our house.  we believe strongly that the boys should be able to express themselves freely, whether it’s in their artwork, clothing choices, or in their speech (occasional profanity included.)  i get that this does not work for everyone, but that’s ok.  i don’t need it to.  i just need it to work for us, which right now, it does.


i say “right now” because we also believe in changing our minds.  christopher and i make sure the boys know that we aren’t perfect and sometimes mommy and daddy make mistakes.  we try to emphasize the importance of respecting others, apologizing when we are wrong and being mindful of the world and others around us.  our goal is to try to raise loving, caring, empathetic boys who care for themselves as well as those around them.

and that’s the best we can do.

and that’s good enough.

have a happy weekend, people!