Friday, July 29, 2011

Taking Pleasure in the Little Things

It's been a rough week here...between busyness and stress and a plethora of other things, I felt like I was in the worst mood.  Every time I felt like I got somewhere, there was another obstacle.  As Q said after getting a surprise bill in the mail one night: "And the hits keep comin'!"  Just one of those weeks...

Ray LaMontagne sings, in one of our favorite songs (Empty): "I never learned to count my blessings/I choose instead to dwell in my disasters."  That is so true of me. I know that gratefulness is an important part of happiness, and yet I can't help the but's:  I love my daughter but...I wish we could find a regular babysitter. I am so glad I have this new job but...I wish I could work more hours.  I'm so thankful for my husband's job but...I wish he could get home earlier.  On and on.

My friend, Katie, and I are always talking about how it sucks to be an adult.  Sometimes it really, really does. The weight of the responsibilities is enough to drive you crazy.  It makes you miss being a child, when all you worried about in the summer was who you were going to play with and if you were giong to get to the pool.

Aurora gives me a taste of that childhood lightness every day.  She laughs so easily. She loves so openly. She is entertained by the tiniest things.  Yesterday, it was a balloon:

Q brought this balloon home after Aurora lost a balloon she'd gotten the day before (it was also for my stepdaughter Emma's birthday!). Look at that smile! She literally played with that balloon for half an hour straight. Sometimes I let myself get too carried away, imagining her growing up and learning about all the ills of the world, experiencing her own hardships, and it makes me beyond sad.  I am prone to overthinking things and thinking about the future way. too. much.  This morning, I'm making an effort to be more like Aurora.  I'm taking these quiet moments, while she's napping, to write this post and remind myself of all the things I'm grateful for PERIOD.  In this moment. Right now. No but's.

I have an incredible husband. 3 beautiful daughters.  A supportive, loving family (and in-laws!).  A job that pays (most of) my bills. I have some wonderful friends.  I am healthy.  The good in my life outweighs the bad. Life is not perfect (and it never will be!), so I'm choosing gratefulness. I'm taking pleasure in the little things this morning: my cup of coffee (w/ soy creamer!), a sweet good morning text from Q, a vintage sale to a friend, the thought of last night's birthday party leftover awaiting me at lunchtime, the fact that it is Friday and we have the girls with us this weekend...

It's all so very good.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lyla Style: Bright as Yellow

First let me address the post title--Bright as Yellow.  I am a little obsessed with 90s music/culture and that Mazzy Star song (I'm sure you've heard it in the movie Empire Records!) is classic 90s.  Moody chick rock?  Yes, please.  Ok, now for some pictures of my little chick...

I love this yellow sweater (it's the same one she's wearing in the blog header) and I'm hoping it will still fit her once fall comes around.  But in case miss Lyla decides to beef up in the next couple of months, I wanted to get some more wear out of it now.  Other notable pieces of her outfit?  Her sterling silver baby bracelet (which she quickly figured out how to take off and immediately put in her mouth, like most things these days).  Her tiny vintage sandals (a gift from Aunt Amanda).  Her shorts--paper bag waist bloomers (cutest ever!).

cardigan- vintage, daisy print onesie- Target, shorts- Baby Gap, sandals- vintage, bracelet- gift

I went a bit overboard with the photos this week--it's just SO much more fun to take pictures now that Lyla can sit up!  We are linking up with Mama Loves Papa for Small Style as we do every Thursday!

Jayme & Lyla

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Trip to Vermont

The first summer after Andrew and I started dating, we spent apart.  His family has a house in Vermont that they go to for the summer each year.  That was a really tough couple of a time before cell phones, we actually wrote letters (on paper!  with a pen!)  to each other.  And here we are, 10 years later, married and taking our baby (!) to visit his family's home in Vermont.  

Vacations are certainly different with a baby in tow.  We spent a lot more time hanging around the house--which is right on Lake Champlain.  Andrew's mom made us some awesome dinners using lots of local ingredients (and gluten free to boot!) and we would sit outside and listen to the waves.  We did go on a couple of little adventures...

We visited the Magic Hat Brewery...and I failed to bring my camera.  These are a couple of cool snaps Andrew took back at the house (while HE was enjoying a beer... wine for me, since beer is made with wheat).

Our last night we went to a family favorite--Blue Paddle Bistro.  A cute little restaurant in an old lake house.  The photos above are of Andrew's family (3 of his 5 siblings)...they are a fun group!

I don't think we could've asked for a more well-behaved baby.  She was such a trooper on the 9 hour car ride, there and back!  She loved the water and she loved having an audience to show off for.... she even started sitting on her own and pulling herself into standing position while we were there.  Vacation does a baby good!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Guest Post: Bella Bambini Vintage Nursery Inspiration

Hello friends and readers!  Today we're excited to have Cara of Bella Bambini Design guest blogging!  Bella Bambini is, as Cara explains on her website, "a baby planning company dedicated to creating beautiful spaces and inspiring fashionable mamas."  Cara has an amazing eye for bold pieces and--our favorite--vintage treasures!  Check out her blog and consider having her consult with you on ideas for your nursery design!


Hey Miskabelly readers! I am so excited to come for a visit from the Bella Bambini Blog and share some vintage-style nursery inspiration. Aside from two fun design boards I've put together, here are a few tips for building your own vintage nurseries:

1. Family heirlooms are a great starting point.
 2. Look for one piece to inspire you and build a room around it.
3. Balance authentic vintage pieces with retro-inspired new things for a functional & aesthetically pleasing room .
4. Make sure any real vintage pieces you are using meet safety requirements.
5. Don't be afraid of color - vintage can be bold too!

wall stencil: Royal Design Studios ($49) artwork: framed vintage bookplate, Little Imperials ($50) curtains: Woolrich, Target ($30) lamp: CB2 ($100) dresser: walnut low dresser, CB2 ($499) rocker: mid-century rocker, UO ($199) rug: zigzag rug, West Elm (from $49) fabric: (for crib sheets) crib: Jenny Lind (vintage) buy a new one here! blocks & game: vintage

artwork: photo, etsy ($30) lighting: IKEA ($40) curtain: waterfall ruffle ($79) blocks: etsy ($22) crib: pottery barn kids ($899) crib bedding: vintage fabric, etsy ($40) rug: Urban Outfitters (from $34) chair: vintage, etsy ($84) print: vintage inspired alphabet, etsy ($20)

Thank you so much to Amanda & Jayme for inviting me to share some of my nursery inspiration today. And for the love of all things vintage, happy decorating!

For more nursery inspiration & mama style visit us at the Bella Bambini blog.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vegan for a Day: Wilted Kale with Baby Red Potatoes, Grape Tomatoes, and Warm Sweet and Sour Vinaigrette

We are back from a long, hot (but fun!) trip to North Carolina.  We came home late Saturday night to empty cupboards and a lack of cooking motivation.  But we hit the grocery store on Sunday and even though it was still sweltering, I managed to create this delicious, healthy accident.  I made the two part of the salad separately, but then realized how delicious they would be together! And a star was born.

Wilted Kale Salad with Baby Red Potatoes, Grape Tomatoes, and Warm Sweet and Sour Vinaigrette


1 bag fresh kale, stems removed (7-8 cups)
1 small tub grape tomatoes, halved
3-4 pounds baby redskin potatoes, baked and cut into chunks

1 small sweet onion, sliced thin
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. brown sugar (or 1/4 regular sugar + 1 Tablespoon black strap molasses)
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Rinse kale (or chop if using not bagged), dry, and add to a large bowl.
2.  Add 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil to frying pan on medium heat.
3. When olive oil starts to sizzle, add onions and brown, about 3-4 minutes.
4.  Add remaining olive oil, vinegar and sugar, cooking 3-5 more minutes until sugar dissolves.
5. Add potatoes to bowl of kale.
6. Pour warm dressing over potato and kale mixture and mix well. the heat from the dressing will help to wilt the kale and coat the potatoes.
7. Add chopped tomatoes at end (you can add them before, but I like them to stay cool!).  Mix again if you'd like.

I love the variety of textures and flavors, and I'm always excited about finding yummy new ways to eat kale. It's so good for you! This is a variation on potato salad, but the kale makes it extra-filling...enough for a meal!  (Q and I were certainly full!)

Have you tried any vegan recipes lately? I'm looking to find a few more new ones this week...

Bon Appetit,

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Aurora Style: Cutest Jorts Ever

Hello! It's Amanda (and Aurora) reporting to you LIVE from North Carolina.  This little style post isn't live, however. It's a little number that Aurora wore this past weekend while visiting her grandparents and aunt/uncle/cousin in Pennsylvania!

This is a head-to-toe thrifted outfit, even though the pieces are like new! I had been looking for jean shorts (aka jorts) for Aurora every time I stopped at our thrift, but I could never find the right size.  I bought a pair of 2T's that were still too big on her and just fell down. So when I found these adorable Levi's, I was really excited! And I think every little girl needs a pair of jellies for's practically mandatory. ;)
Top-Carter's (thirfted), Jort-Levi's (thrifted), Jelly Sandals-Old Navy (thrifted)

It's also your lucky day, readers.  I have two Aurora style posts in one!  I couldn't resist sharing this cute little idea for growing toddler hair.  I tied a silk scarf around Aurora's head like a headband, and she loved it!  Maybe because she matched her mama or maybe just because she looked extra cute. This is a silk scarf from years ago (I think it may have even been Jaymes?!) the size of a handkerchief (the extra large square scarves might not work as well on toddler heads.)

As we do every Thursday, we're linking up with Mama Loves Papa for Thursday's Small Style post! Check out more stylish babes over on her blog.

Now, I'm off to get some more work done while my pretty little babe is napping.

Amanda (& Aurora)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lyla {7 months old}

My little girl is 7 months old.
We are our Vermont trip this week, as we do every year and I can't help but remember our trip last year, being pregnant with this now 7-month-old.  What a way we've come.  I am so excited to take Lyla on this adventure...and a little apprehensive about the 9 hour car ride.

Lyla can crawl.  She can sit up on her own.  She can blow raspberries.  She can charm the socks off anyone who looks her way. She is quite the handful with this new crawling thing but her newfound independence has also made her a much happier baby.  She is great at keeping herself busy....even though sometimes this means she is chewing on the remote or grabbing the dog's toys.

We're still nursing and now starting to add more solid foods.  I love watching her reaction to each new food she tries.  Those little scrunched face expressions and puckered lips are too funny.  

She's also been testing out a sippy cup.  She pretty much chews on it and ends up with water all down her shirt.  But just like everything else....I'm sure she'll get the hang of it before we know it!  I LOVE this little peanut.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Beach Bums: A Little Weekend Adventure

In the middle of central Pennsylvania, you'd be hardpressed to find the ocean (obviously!), but there are little lakes here and there. About 10-15 miles from State College is a place called Whipple Dam. My cousin's son was turning 3 while Q and I were in PA, and they were having a party out at the "beach."  It was a gorgeous day to put some babies in the water!

Warning:  Adorable Partial Nudity Ahead!

 Lyla didn't mind getting her teeny tiny toes wet, and Aurora LOVED the water! We had her at the beach last summer, but she was only 7 months old, so we spent most of the time holding her while she slept or ate.  needless to say, we're super excited to see how she enjoys the real beach this summer! (And in case you were wondering, Aurora's hat and bathing suit were both thrifted...and that Gymboree suit still had the tags on! It fits her perfectly!)

 We spent some time teaching Aurora how to make sand piles, which she also loved.  Q and I had fun making the babies' initials.

 Could they be the best looking family ever?!  Especially that Lyla, in thrifted red gingham Gymboree head to toe. 

 Lyla's bathing suit got a little saggy, and she was not happy about it.  So she went free and easy for a while! Until her momma got worried about sunburn (and modesty!) and made her a makeshift diaper sarong with her vintage scarf.  I made the (bad) joke that this was not a topless, but a bottomless beach.

 No bathing suits for us...but it was fun standing in the water, getting a little sun and cooling down. And yes, Q and I are wearing almost-matching fedoras. They're our beach hats!

I'm really anticipating next summer when our girls might get to be at a real beach together, running around and splashing. Aurora is a little water baby, and I have no doubt Lyla will be too. Both their mommies love the beach! (Though these days, they like laying out on the beach with drink and magazine in hand, a little more than swimming.)

Hope you all stayed cool this weekend! We'll have some more photos of our weekend to share later this week.


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Monday, July 18, 2011

Vegan for a Day: Quick and Easy (and Vegan!)

If you've read our blogs and tweets this weekend, you probably know I was visiting Jayme in Pennsylvania so I didn't have much time to plan, cook and take photos of a meal yesterday!  But it's still Monday, and it's still meatless.  I thought I'd share with you four quick, easy, and delicious meals that are easily vegan and are perfect for big family dinners.  These are also four of my favorites when I'm feeling less than creative around dinnertime!

1. Spaghetti with Marinara with a Summer Salad

This is an easy and adaptable meal!  Use canned marinara or make your own.  Pile the fruits and veggies (and nuts or seeds!) into the salad bowl with your favorite greens and top with a vegan (usually vinegar-based) dressing.

2.  Black Bean and Rice Burritos with Guacamole

It doesn't get much yummier than a burrito bar!  You can use canned black beans (though they'll be pretty bland) or make your own mix with onions and seasoning.  Add rice (season it with lime, cilantro and salt!), salsa, lettuce, tomato, and of course, a healthy dollop of guac. Be sure to check your tortilla label to make sure it's vegan--most of them are, but you never know.  I recomend the Habanero Lime tortillas from Trader Joe's for an extra little kick.  Blue corn chips make a crunchy, easy side for dipping!

3. Pita Bread with Hummus and Mixed Olives

If you're looking for a light, delicious meal, take some inspiration from the Mediterranean.  Make (or buy) your favorite hummus and pita bread for dipping (again, be sure to check the ingredients--no milk or eggs, vegans for a day!).  A bowl of mixed olives is perfect--dip them in hummus, put them on top of the bread, or simply pop them in your mouth (just make sure you don't swallow a pit!)

4.  Veggie Burgers and Oven Fries

 Veggie burgers can be easy to make, but there are definitely some yummy pre-packaged ones out there (I'm a fan of Amy's Texas Burgers myself).  Of course, some of them can contain eggs, so be sure to read the label!  Pile a bun with a burger and your favorite vegan fixings--BBQ sauce, avocado, lettuce, sprouts and tomato are some of my faves.  Bake a quick batch of oven fries on the side.  SO easy and yummy!

 Images/Recipes:  one. two. three. four. five. six. seven. eight.

What's for dinner tonight? I still don't know since I have to hit up the grocery store in a bit, but these options are certainly tempting...

Bon Appetit,

Friday, July 15, 2011

Studio Re-Do

This past weekend we did a mini redesign of our "studio" space.  Lyla is loving crawling around the [now] cleaned up room.  Click here to read all about it at our sister blog, Miskabelle! 

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Amanda & Jayme

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lyla: Stylish Baby on the Move

Now that Lyla is doing more photo-worthy things (crawling, blowing raspberries, being impossibly adorable) it seems as though I can't a decent photo.   A baby on the move is a baby that is no longer easy to photograph.  Between crawling away from me and grabbing at the lens, I am lucky when I get a photo that isn't in full-on blur.  But I'll keep trying!

Now that it's summer, Lyla is having the same style dilemma as me--outfits can no longer be layered to add interest, so it's more about having individual pieces that are interesting all on their own.  This morning it was a bit cool, so I could at least add a lightweight cardigan to her outfit.  But even without, the embroidered shirt and plaid shorts (with ties on the sides!) are special pieces.  And of course, minnetonka booties make any outfit instantly adorable.

embroidered top-Carters, smocked cardigan-vintage, plaid shorts-Gymboree, minnetonka booties-vintage
She wore this outfit to go see her Papa (grandpa) play a bluegrass show (Papa plays banjo).  It got a little hot out, so the shoes were the first to go, then the cardigan... but we did add a little sunhat.  Both cute AND practical. 

We are linking up with Mama Loves Papa for Small Style (as we do every Thursday)!  Be sure to check out the other cuties!

Jayme & Lyla

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mama Wardrobe {Must vs. Lust}

I promised myself as a stay-at-home-mom I would not succumb to the practicality of staying in sweats all day.  I have only stayed in my pajamas all day about three times since Lyla was born, yesterday being one of them (and I did end up changing into a clean shirt once Andrew got home from work).   On the weekends I like to challenge myself to try new outfits.  And by "new" I mean, new-to-me.  I haven't gone shopping for a very long time (babies=expensive), so when I want to change up my wardrobe, I dig through all my bins of vintage clothing.  I found this pastel striped skirt (that I had previously hemmed shorter).  It hung a bit low on the hips so I quickly sewed up the back of it to make it smaller so it could be worn higher on the waist.

(Vintage yellow belt, vintage silver cuff bracelet, vintage brooch worn as a necklace)

I honestly feel like I have a make-shift wardrobe.  Not only do I wear a lot of vintage but I also keep my modern-day stuff for a REALLY long time.  Case and point--this purple tank top.   I got it back when the empire waist/baby doll style dresses and tops were really in.  (It's from Urban Outfitters via a discount store.)  On this day, the color worked with my candy striped skirt but the cut was not doing it for me.  So I took a cue from Kendi (LOVE her.) and knotted it in the back.  Instant update!
Isn't this a great photo??  Totally not staged!  Andrew took it as I was getting into place for my posed pics.

Lastly, let's talk shoes.  I love shoes. But like the rest of my wardrobe, my shoe collection hasn't been updated in a very long time.  And I am way too practical.  I'll admit--I buy shoes I don't like that much just because they're cheap, or they're comfortable.  So the silver, strappy sandals I wore here were not my ideal...BUT they were great for carting around a baby on my hip.  I would have loved to have worn something more like these:

But as moms, we make sacrifices!  (Clothing choices being the least of these.)


Monday, July 11, 2011

Vegan for a Day: Artichoke Stuffed Portobellos

Happy Meatless Monday (again)!  I am pretty psyched to be sharing this recipe with you because I'm still thinking about it today--even though we had it last night for dinner. It was that good.

I'm also excited because this recipe came totally from my creative, food-loving brain rather than a simple modification of a recipe I already had.  All of my cooking has really paid off.

***This recipe is a bit more adventurous for non-vegans because it includes tofu cream cheese, vegenaise and nutritional yeast (aka nooch) and vegan parmesan cheese.  While I challenge you to find and use these items, if you simply want to make your Monday meat-less (not vegan), you could use regular cream cheese, mayonnaise, and regular parmesan cheese to replace the nooch/vegan parm.  But I seriously don't think it will be as good.***

Artichoke Stuffed Portobellos
serves 2

 2 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed 
4 artichoke hearts, chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup red pepper (about half a medium sized pepper), finely chopped
1/2 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
1 heaping Tablespoon nutritional yeast
6 Tablespoons whole wheat breadcrumbs
4 oz. Tofutti Cream Cheese
2 Tablespoons vegenaise (vegan mayo)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1. Preheat oven to 350. Remove stems from portobellos and scrub outside of mushroom gently with a damp washcloth to remove any dirt. Place mushrooms on nonstick baking sheet and set aside.
2.  Heat olive oil in large pan.  Add garlic, onion, artichoke, and red pepper.  Saute until tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

3.  Combine cream cheese, vegenaise, nutritional yeast, and seasonings in a bowl.  Mix well.
4.  Add cooked veggies and breadcrumbs to the cream cheese mixture and stir until well blended.
5.  Stuff each portobello with the filling. Press down gently after first scoop to fill inside of mushroom. Don't be afraid to heap on top!

6.  Sprinkle tops with vegan parmesan cheese.
7. Place into oven and bake for 15-17 minutes, until tops/parmesan are slightly brown.


They were absolutely amazing! So many rich flavors that went well together.  You won't miss the meat at me.  Q grilled up some zucchini w/ just olive oil, salt and pepper on the side, and we were both extremely full at the end of the meal.

Aurora didn't have a portobello, but instead, indulged in some of her favorite foods: cheese,  hummus (on a tortilla) and peaches.  She tried the zucchini, but wasn't a fan...but she still went meatless!


You could also make this filling and fill up a bunch of button mushrooms as an appetizer for a summer party/BBQ (I'm hoping to throw one in the near future and plan on doing this!).

Try it, and I promise you won't regret it!

Bon Appetit,