Friday, June 28, 2013

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Thoughts

Sweater/ Target | necklace/ gift from husband | shorts/ REI | sandals/ Payless

Just five random thoughts for your Friday:

I probably could have picked a better backdrop considering the color of the sweater, but oh well, live and learn.

These shorts are actually hiking shorts (worn here), but they're cute and comfy, and olive colored shorts are something I've been wanting so hey, two birds one stone, right?

Do I wear these sandals too much? I feel like I wear these sandals too much. (Here, and here, and here.) I should probably add "more sandals" to the list of things my wardrobe could use. 

I'm very self-conscious of my legs. Between the little bit of extra girth in my thighs, and how goshdarn PALE they are, I'm just not a fan. So the past few months are the first time in, oh, eight years I've worn shorts for that reason. Which is probably why they're so pale. It's a vicious cycle I'm trying to break.

As of tomorrow, I will have been blogging here for one month. In that month, I have learned so, so much. But the most exciting part is how much more there is to learn. I feel like I've already vastly improved, be it pictures, design, HTML, and yet there's still so much more room to grow... and let's not forget the actual point of me starting this blog. I have some very sweet ladies coming here every day (hi guys!) to say sweet things about what I've posted. I'm having fun with my clothes. I have a place to document my journey with food and recipes. And I have a place to store memories or vent frustrations from our time out here, which to me is priceless. I had a feeling I would, but after this first month, I really do love blogging. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

(Linking up with AJ Wears Clothes for the Friday Favorites Remix!)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pink Champagne Cupcakes

adapted from The Boozy Baker by Lucy Baker

 Yesterday was the two year anniversary of the day my husband and I made a verbal agreement to only kiss each other (see also: going steady). Yes, we are sappy and sentimental and celebrate all the month-iversaries and anniversaries. Anyway, I decided to surprise him with a little sushi (takeout) and some champagne, in the form of cupcakes (the champagne, not the sushi).

Pink Champagne Cupcakes
makes approx. 16

  • For the cake:
    • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup cake flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 10 Tbs (1 stick plus 2 tbs) unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2/3 cup pink champagne (I used Barefoot Pink Moscato Champagne)
    • 5 large egg whites
    • red food coloring
  • For the buttercream frosting:
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    • 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 Tbs milk
    • 3 Tbs champagne
    • red food coloring
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake paper baking cups. 

To make the cake,  whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Alternately add the flour mixture and the champagne to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour, and beating well after each addition. At this point, if you want the actual cupcakes to be pink, you can add about 3 drops of red food coloring to the batter until it turns a light pink color.

In another large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Whisk a generous spoonful of the beaten egg whites into the champagne batter to lighten it. Then carefully fold the remaining egg whites into the batter with a spatula. 

Pour approximately 1/4 cup of the batter into each cup and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Drink a glass of that champagne while you wait for the cupcakes to bake. This step is not required, but highly recommended. 

Let the cupcakes cool for about 15 minutes in the pan, then remove them and allow to cool completely on a baking rack before frosting.

To make the  buttercream frosting, combine the butter and 2 cups of powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the milk and champagne. With the mixer running, gradually add 1 to 2 more cups of powdered sugar until the buttercream is thick and creamy. Then add a few drops of red food coloring to tint the frosting pink, as well, if desired. 

Mine are very, very barely pink

These are a big hit with the grown-ups in this house, and I could see these being cute for a bridal shower or bachelorette party as well.  Or just whenever, because I don't know about you, but I don't particularly need a special occasion for champagne. Or cupcakes.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Maxi Skirt and a Story

Tank, necklace, belt/ Target; sandals/ Payless; skirt/ Silver Charm
This outfit is basically pajamas. Which is great, as a stay-at-home mom, to look cute but feel like you're wearing pajamas. I wore this around the house doing chores and to the playground running around with E going up ladders and down slides and I swear there were a couple times I forgot I wasn't wearing yoga pants. A maxi skirt is the perfect length to be able to do those things and not feel like I'm going to flash anybody.

Story time: I picked up this maxi skirt from Goodwill last week, and was really impressed with how soft and comfortable the fabric was, along with the quality of it in general. I checked the tag and didn't recognize the brand, so I decided to google it. Turns out this skirt was made by an independent women's apparel brand here in the US that hand-makes and hand-dyes all their clothing, and their skirts go for about $95 apiece. I'm not sure how old the one I got is, but I got it for $5 so I'm pretty happy about that.

I'm also happy I was able to learn about company. They're called Silver Charm, and this is from their about page:

At Silver Charm we know that looking good begins with feeling good. That’s why we begin our collections with the highest quality “feel good “ fabrics imaginable working directly with our mills to develop new and innovative blends and textures.

Next, we design garments that fit and enhance the female form. You’ll find that even our most basic tee is anything but basic because our shapes are cut specifically to flatter.

Finally, our colors. We have a passion for color. Every season, we design fresh new washes and dye treatments nabbing this year’s color essentials along with fun and unusual accents. Because we dye by hand, every garment is an original. No two Silver Charm pieces will ever be exactly the same because being fashionable is not about looking like everyone else.

And, these beautifully unique garments are designed, constructed, dyed and finished, here, in the United States.

Seriously, how cool is that? I love good, honest companies that make good, honest products, so I thought it would be a shame if I didn't share my find with you all.

What about you guys? Any awesome thrifting scores or super cool companies you want to share?

(Note: This is not a sponsored post. Silver Charm doesn't even know who I am. I was just that excited about them and the skirt that I had to share.)

Linking up with Fashion & Beauty Finds for Keeping It Casual Wednesday!

Strawberry Basil Iced Tea + Gin

I am not a gin lover, or even a gin liker. So when one of our friends left a mostly-full bottle of gin in our freezer after a party, I was at a loss. I went through a few pretty terrible cocktails before coming up with this beauty.

You start with a couple of diced strawberries and about a teaspoon of basil (anybody else in love with basil in cocktails?), then muddle that in the bottom of your glass. I don't have an official "muddler" or pestle, so I just used an attachment for my hand mixer:

Then you add ice and an ounce (or two) of gin. Top it off with iced tea. 

If you like gin, you can probably stop at this point. It was still a little bitter for me, so I added a splash of grenadine to sweeten it up a bit more. 

My favorite part about this drink is the flavor profile of the strawberries with the basil, and when you add the iced tea, it makes the perfect refreshing summer drink. Plus, once you get to the bottom, the strawberries are soaked in booze and make this delicious syrupy goodness.

What cocktails are you loving this summer?

(PS: Fairy Wings Make Good Soup is now on Facebook!)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekend Recap

Because J had to work the night shift Saturday night, our whole schedule was a bit thrown off this weekend. We didn't really do much other than go to the playground on Saturday, so I'm just going to share with you a few photos I snapped over the weekend. (By the way, I totally forgot to snap a photo of our pizza on Friday, but a) it was just regular ol' pepperoni and b) I was so hungry by the time it was done that I just shoved it into my face without a second thought. Hopefully I'll have another pizza for you next week!)


was a gorgeous day.

Especially for a run.

Even though it was a couple nights early, I tried to get a picture of the "super moon" Friday night. Which turned out to be good, because I couldn't even see the moon Saturday or Sunday nights due to it being so darn cloudy here. 


 We played tag...

And red light green light. :)

Sunday was a miserable day. The weather was miserable, we were miserable because of the weather and because of our messed-up sleep schedules... Just miserable. So I didn't take a picture of one single thing.

Something occurred to me Saturday night, though. California is nice, it's great... but it kind of feels like a vacation that won't end. And I just want to go home. It feels like our life is completely on hold while we're out here. We want to have more babies, buy a house, get a second dog, but all of those things have to wait until we get back to Nebraska (or we would at least prefer them to, anyway). 

And then, being home with E all day, every day, for the next few months until her dad returns from deployment, with no family out here to lend a hand, and no close friends that we can ask to watch her... I'm about to lose it. I feel so guilty saying that, because I know there are many mothers that would give anything to be able to spend as much time with their kids as I do with mine (and I am really grateful for it), but I can't just smile and pretend like everything is fine when it's not.

So instead of continuing to complain about it and feel sorry for myself, I'm going to try to come up with solutions to these issues. There are some things I just can't do anything about, but that doesn't mean I can't do anything about any of it. So today, I am taking E to the child development center to inquire about enrolling her in the part-day preschool program they offer a couple days a week. She wouldn't be going to daycare full-time (which would be ridiculous, there's no need for her to go full-time), but she would be exposed to the same kids over and over on a bi-weekly basis and hopefully be able to make friends. Plus I would be able to get a few hours to myself to clean or run errands or work out or *gasp* go shopping without constantly refilling juice cups or answering a million questions. If the price is reasonable, I have a feeling this one change could make all the difference and will make the next few months much more bearable. 

Sorry to unload on you all like that, but this is a safe space and I know how hard it is to admit when something is wrong, especially as mothers.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend, and have many wonderful things to look forward to this week!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Converse-ation Piece

Necklace and dress/ Old Navy, button-up/ Target (Converse One Star), shoes/ Converse All Star

I normally avoid wearing my Converse too much, because they make me feel more like a college kid than a mom in her mid-20s, but I love 'em. Converse, I can't quit you. These are my second pair, a gift from my mother after my first pair bit the dust (well, actually, I accidentally lit them on fire...). My husband has a couple pairs of the high-tops (one pair has the Batman logo on them; we were made for each other). Dork love!

ANYWAY. You guys remember this dress, right? This is how I usually wear it, when someone other than the kid or hubs will be seeing me. It's basically the same thing as last week (I even wore the same necklace), but instead I buttoned and tied a button-up over it instead of belting one. But the Converse make it even more casual and playful.

Here's a side-by-side comparison:

And here's me, trying to be all cute and catch a picture of me mid-jump with the self-timer (a fruitless effort, as you can see):

Happy Friday, everyone!

(Linking up with AJ Wears Clothes for the Friday Favorites Remix!)

A Day In The Life: Photo-An-Hour Challenge

I thought it would be fun to show you what my daily life looks like, so I took a photo-an-hour challenge. I tried not to focus too much on the quality of the photos and just take one every hour, on the hour, so... the quality isn't great. But it was a lot of fun! Enjoy!

7 am: I wake up to this face. 

8 am: Breakfast. Coffee non-optional.

9 am: Reading my blog roll aka my morning newspaper.

And since there are so many photos... you can continue reading after the cut... :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Jeans Forever

Necklace flannel and jeans/ Old Navy, tee and flats/ Target

Well, I'm back in jeans again. I know I said no more clothes for awhile, but there is a pretty glaring hole in my wardrobe. I have one pair of shorts, one pair of (brown) cargo pants, and one pair of "colored" jeans (they're grey; that was as far as I was willing to tiptoe into the world of colored denim at the time). But now, I want to add some more colored and possibly also some printed shorts, some more brightly colored pants, and a pair of olive cargo pants. 

So if anyone has any suggestions on where I can find these things on the cheap, that would be helpful! I'm really picky about my shorts, because my hips are so much wider than my thighs, but any recommendations are welcome! And I haven't had much luck finding colored pants because most of the ones I've found are made of that stretchy fabric that just love to show off my panty line.  I'd like some that are true denim because I need that extra bit of structure. Know of anywhere I can get colored denim like that?

As a reward, here is a picture of me getting photo-bombed by the kid and the dog:


And because it doesn't get much more casual than jeans and a flannel shirt, I'm linking up with  Fashion & Beauty Finds for Keeping It Casual Wednesday!

Real Food Recipe: Bruschetta Salmon with Cheese Garlic Biscuits

 I've recently been making the effort to incorporate more "real" food into our diet: you know, less processed, more natural. So when I stumbled upon this blog, it was like being handed a stone tablet with the Real Food commandments written on it. There may even have been a heavenly chorus, I can't be sure.

So after reading all the rules and tips, I decided to try to come up with something that I know my family likes, but made with all (or at least mostly) real food. I think I hit my mark with this one.

My family loves salmon. Even the little loved it once we finally got her to try it. Plus I have an unhealthy obsession with bruschetta. And when you combine the two, you get a meal that is 100% "real food" approved. Bonus points for the fact that the salmon is wild-caught never-frozen from a local market, and the produce was from a farmer's market. 

Bruschetta Salmon
serves 2 (and a half)
  • 1 lb salmon (two half-pound fillets) (wild-caught preferred)
  • 2 ripe tomatoes (I used Roma)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano 
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Then prepare the bruschetta. Chop up the tomatoes and garlic, then mix everything together.

2. Next, put each fillet in a sheet of aluminum foil. Spoon half the bruschetta over each fillet, then wrap everything up in the foil and seal the packets closed, like so:

 3. Place the packets in the oven and set the timer to 30 minutes.

At this point, I prepared the biscuits. I used this recipe pretty much to a T except for the fact that I used regular all-purpose flour because I want to use all of it up before replacing it with the whole-wheat version. While the timer was running on the salmon, I was able to get these prepared and in the oven at the 19 minute mark, which ended up being perfect. I love it when everything gets done at the same time.

The salmon was juicy, and took on just a hint of the flavors from the bruschetta. And the recipe for the biscuits didn't lie: they reminded me of the ones from Red Lobster more than a little. The two together made for the perfect at-home seafood restaurant-inspired dinner, made with (almost) 100% real, unprocessed ingredients. Plus it got two thumbs up from my husband, so there's always that. 

Over the next few weeks, I will slowly be looking to replace the ingredients I currently use with more and more real food options, and any recipes I come up with that pass muster will be shared here. Just look for them under the "real food recipes" label!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Weekend Recap

This weekend was such a good weekend, I'm so sad it's over. Pizza (of course), hiking, a six-month-iversary (yes, we're dorks and celebrate month-iversaries), wine, the farmer's market... best weekend ever.

Friday: I threw together a last minute oh-crap-what-do-I-have-for-toppings pizza, a barbeque bacon pizza, with the obligatory spinach of course. We also went shopping for "adventure" gear for our hike the next day. That's how we got E excited for it, was to tell her we were going on an adventure. :)

Saturday: We got up early and caravan-ed with a few friends down to Big Sur, hiked about 3.5 miles up a mountain (I'm from Kansas, it was a mountain), then turned around and hiked the 3.5 miles back down. Four men, one woman, two dogs, and a three-year-old, and she was the only one of us not completely exhausted by the time we got back to the cars. And we barely had to carry her, she did about 90% of it all on her own! What a champ. After E was in bed, J and I watched The Hobbit (the first movie we saw together as a married couple), drank some wine, and toasted to being married for six whole months. I'm so lucky to be married to my best friend.

I went a little picture crazy, so if you care to see them, there are more after the cut...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Chocolate Coffee Cranberry Brownies

 I'm a dessert gal at heart. I've been baking for much longer than I've been cooking, and I've always had a sweet tooth, so desserts hold a special place in my heart. And my husband's heart. I'm so lucky to have married someone who is willing to taste-test for me. (He would say the same about marrying someone who lets him taste-test for her.) 

Anyway, I really wanted brownies. And not just any brownies-- fancy brownies. So after perusing my pantry for extra ingredients, this is what I came up with. (And after seeing how much sugar I used, I worked out while they baked. That makes it a wash, right?)

Chocolate Coffee Cranberry Brownies, makes 9
 Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1-2 tbsp instant coffee (depending how strong you want your coffee flavor to be; I used 2)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a small microwavable bowl, melt butter in microwave for 30 seconds to one minute. Pour into mixing bowl. Add sugar, flour, cocoa, coffee and eggs. Whisk until well combined. Fold in cranberries.
  2. Line a 9x9 inch baking pan with parchment paper (I do this because it makes it so much easier to get out of the pan later). Spray pan and paper with non-stick spray. Pour batter into dish, spreading evenly. Bake for 22-25 minutes. I like my brownies a little under-done and fudgy, but you can add about 3-5 minutes for more well done, if desired.
  3. Cool completely (this is the hardest part). Top with powdered sugar or your favorite frosting recipe (a chocolate coffee frosting on top of this would be divine). ENJOY! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Lonely Housewife: Why I Blog

I have had this post in the back of my mind since starting this blog, but I just now feel ready to share this with you. 

When we found out in October of last year that J would be coming out here in January/February for job-related training, we were only dating. We were serious, hell we were living together, but the subject of marriage had never been broached (although we had both been secretly thinking about it). One night we were talking about the ramifications of his year-long stint in California and what that meant for our lives and our relationship, and he said something along the lines of, "I can't help but think that this would be a lot easier if we were married." 

I breathed a mental sigh of relief, as I had been thinking the same thing, but did not want to be the first one to bring it up. Once we agreed that was our best plan, he called my father to ask for my hand (d'aww), proposed in November, then we were married in December.

our reception

We also agreed that it would be better if I didn't work while we were out here: it meant that I could take all of the household duties onto my plate so that he didn't have extra stressors on top of his already-stressful training, it would actually be cheaper than putting E in a daycare, and a myriad of other reasons.

Coming to California with him came with a lot of pros:
  • we got married (duh), let alone were able to stay together
  • living somewhere besides the Midwest for a little while was something that's been on my bucket list ever since deciding to attend an in-state college, and Monterey is a great place to do that
  • E went from being two time zones away from her dad to being three and a half hours away from him
  • I get to be a stay-at-home mom again

It also came with one pretty big con: it meant moving half a country away from all of our family and friends.

J has a few friends that are also out here for the same reason he is. Two of which I already knew, one of which I became friends with since we moved out here-- none of which are married or have children. I have no mom friends. I have no one (of the adult variety) to talk to during the day unless you count the checkout people on the days I go to the store.

Which, for an extrovert, is slightly maddening. I'm lonely, I'll admit it. Even though E and I have done our very best to take advantage of this opportunity (and we are), I'm still lonely. I have tried to make mom friends with the other women living in the military community, but military wives are very clique-y (that's not to say I'm judging them for it, there are some restrictions on who can hang out with whom in the military community). I'm pretty much limited to the wives of those that are in the same career field and pay grade as my husband, and I haven't met one yet.

So, I started a blog. I've been wanting to start one since we got out here, as a sort of online scrapbook of our time out here. But I didn't think I had the time to devote to it until I realized how much time I spent online already doing basically nothing. 

And so FWMGS was born. I told myself at first that it was just a hobby, something to do after E and J had already gone to bed that wasn't just mindless web surfing and watching reruns of Chopped and What Not To Wear.

I have slowly come to realize, however, that my true intention (subconscious at the time) was a way for me to redefine my identity, as Kim, and not as one or all of the hats I wear. To renew my excitement in the things I am interested in, and to push myself to explore them further, to better myself, so that I can be better for those around me. 

these two <3

I also realized that it was a way to find a community. To write as military wife and stay-at-home mom who likes to cook and put together outfits, and hope to find other like-minded individuals. To build online relationships in place of wasting my time making temporary friends out here, just until they leave and move on to the next base, or we do. This little blog of mine is (fingers crossed) my ticket off of Lonely Island, and I feel like I'm already off to a pretty good start.

So if you like what you see here: please, won't you be my neighbor?
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