Etsy monkey decal review

Jon and I are very excited about our baby's nursery since it's our first baby and...well...we're easily amused.  Ever since I got pregnant, I've been on this monkey kick.  I love monkey everything for the baby!Naturally, our nursery will have a monkey theme.Once our friends found out, I got lots and lots of awesome links to cool monkey things and one of my favorites were the decals from Etsy.  Here are the two we ended up getting:Monkeys on a Branch (XL) from XpressionsThatStickAnd Personalized initials by ToodlesdesignStudioI was so excited when they came, I could barely contain myself.  Unfortunately, you have to wait about 2-3 days for the decals to straighten out before you can put them on your wall.  Did I mention that patience is not a virtue I possess?In any case, the 2-3 days came and went and Jon and I excitedly put our decals up!We decided to start with the name one first.Here's my take on this one.  First of all, we chose to paint our walls with a semi-gloss paint which is super easy to clean.  This also means it is super hard to get things to stick on there.Let me start by saying that we absolutely love the decals.  They were beautiful and exactly what we wanted.But putting them on the wall was a pain.  A huge pain.  They kept coming off the wall and onto the clear backing paper.  Jon and I spent almost an hour putting these guys up.But the result made it worth it.Now on to the monkeys on the branch.  I … [Read more...]

Spanish rice

You know what side I tend to always overlook?  Rice.  I don't know why either because every time I make it, it's delicious!  It's super easy, doesn't take too long, requires very little maintenance (err....stirring) and tastes amazing.Here's a super easy recipe for Spanish Rice.What you'll need:2 tablespoons vegetable oil1 cup uncooked regular long-grain rice1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)2 and 1/2 cups water1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt3/4 teaspoon chili powder1/8 teaspoon garlic powder1 can diced tomatoes1 tablespoon tomato paste(you can use a can of tomato sauce instead of tomatoes and paste)Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat.  Cook rice and onion in oil for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until rice is golden brown and onion is tender.Okay, I know it doesn't look appetizing now, but just wait for it.Stir in remaining ingredients.Heat to boiling.  Then reduce the heat and smmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionall, until rice is tender.There. That looks much better.It makes a perfect side dish for just about anything!  I love the way it compliments almost any flavor.  And if you're not in the mood to cook something else, must throw some sausage or shrimp or even chicken into the mix (cook it first, then put it in when there's about 10 minutes left).  Or if you're me, just add some hot dogs. … [Read more...]

Bilingual families

Jon and I have a bilingual family.  I was born and raised in Moscow, Russia.  Jon grew up in the U.S. When Jon and I got married, we knew that we would always have to do things just a little bit differently because of our backgrounds, but we were ready for this challenge.  So far we've done amazing!  Jon is super patient at my parents' house as we sit and talk in Russian, our first language.  He's also incredibly understanding when my parents take a few minutes to find the right word for what they are trying to communicate to him.  He's even tried to learn a little bit of Russian when we went to Moscow a couple of years ago.  Now that my grandparents moved here from Moscow, things are even more different since they don't speak any English.  Our families have also been supportive (as they are in every single thing) by making the extra effort to spend time together and communicate, regardless of the language barrier.  Few things make me happier than watching my parents chatting joyously with Jon's family. With a baby on the way, we've had to sit down and make a couple more decisions.  The biggest question at hand right now is what language to teach the baby. On one hand I've always wanted to teach our kids how to speak Russian and to introduce them to my culture.  My family is important to me and Addi will need to know how to communicate with them.  I struggle with making this work since she will be surrounded by English and today it's easier for me to speak English as … [Read more...]

Orange and Balsamic Chicken

Do you get Everyday food, a Martha Stewart magazine?  It's super tiny and convenient and comes with a buttload of awesome simple recipes.  (ps- my spell-check didn't like buttload. I wonder why). Anyways, this is a recipe from the latest edition. Here's what you'll need:4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1/2 pound total)coarse salt and ground pepper1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar1 unpeeled orange, cut into 8 wedges1 tablespoon unsalted butterPreheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.Honestly, I hate the way raw chicken looks.  It's so...yucky.  It looks like...yucky stuff.Moving right along.  And away from the uncooked chicken.  We can fix this.In a large overproof skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add chicken, skin side down, and cook until golden and crisp, about 7 minutes.Okay, that might be just a tad too crisp, but it's the way Jon and I like it.  Slightly burnt.  Tansfer the chicken to a plate, pour off fat from skillet and return the chicken, skin side up.Take the whole thing and stick it in the oven.  Bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.Now on to the super delicious part.Heat skillet over medium heat and add vinegar and orange wedges.  Cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, until orange begins to soften (about 2 minutes).Remove from heat and stir in butter.  To … [Read more...]

We’re lucky peeps

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Jon and I are incredibly lucky in that we have some of the most generous family members and friends.  I'm absolutely positive that we wouldn't be as comfortably set in our environment if it weren't for them.For example, when we bought our first "fixer-upper" home just over 3 years ago, our families and friends all got together for a long weekend and painted every room.  For 2 straight days about 20 people came and went as we struggled to finish the paint in time for the floors to be redone.  There was no way we'd be able to get it done without them.  Our floors were a gift from Jon's family and we're incredibly thankful.  Our kitchen was a complete disaster with molded floor boards and nasty 50-year-old cabinets that smelled like something died in them.  My parents gifted us a remodel as a wedding gift (my dad spent 2 weeks at our house ripping our floors and cabinets and tiling along with Jon).Now that our first baby is on the way, we've had an outpouring of amazing hand-me-downs and untouched baby stuff from family, friends, and neighbors!  I can't even describe to you how excited we are for every single items.Baby bathrobeAnd the best part - these are all so freakin' cute!  My friend Michelle gave us two huge bags worth of baby stuff and clothes that filled up two bins!  I am almost positive that we won't have to dress our baby until she's 1 and a half.Snow suitHow cute is this baby … [Read more...]