Monthly Archives: September 2011

Zara Kids

The fav international brand has now launched online shopping, which means you can snag some of their adorable (and affordable!) kids clothes for your little ones (and maybe even grab a few things for yourself!). Shop the collection online at

Courtesy Zara


Polka Dot Dress ($39.90)

Hooded Parka ($39.90)

Baby Boots ($35.90)

Banana Pudding Cupcakes

I came up with the idea for these cupcakes for my husband for Father’s Day this year. He LOVES banana pudding, and who doesn’t love cupcakes?! They turned out great and were such a huge hit! If you love banana pudding, you’ve got to try these- they taste just like the real deal. I used a boxed cake mix for the recipe because I was wrangling a 7 month old at the time and “made from scratch” just wasn’t in my vocabulary.

Banana Pudding Cupcakes

1 box of butter cake mix (oil, eggs and/or butter for mix)
1 package of sugar free banana cream instant Jello pudding
2 cups of milk for pudding
1 tub of vanilla frosting
1/2 tub of Cool Whip Free
1 banana
2 cups of crushed Nilla Wafers

Bake cupcakes according to the directions on the box. You can make homemade cupcakes if you prefer, but make sure they’re moist and spongy so they can accommodate the filling. The box cupcakes work great though and they’re easier. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are baking, mix the banana pudding and allow to set in the refrigerator.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, fill a cake decorating bag with the pudding and attach a small frosting tip (Wilton #4 works perfect). To fill the cupcakes with the pudding, put the tip halfway into the top of the cupcake and squeeze in the pudding from the bag. It will take a time or two to figure out exactly how much. Wipe off the excess pudding that bubbles out from the top so you have a smooth surface for the frosting.

For the frosting, puree a banana and mix it into the cool whip and vanilla frosting (again, you can make this homemade if you prefer). Allow the frosting to sit in the refrigerator for a few minutes to stiffen up a bit. Using either a spatula or a cake decorating tip, frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with crushed Nilla Wafers.

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Bubble Wrap Art

This is such a cute rainy/snowy day activity idea if you have little ones. I came across this on Pinterest earlier and immediately wanted to try it with my daughter (when she’s old enough to actually do this sort of thing). The original idea comes from The Honorable Mention Preschool Blog, hosted by Intello Kids®.

Just tape a sheet of bubble wrap down and let your kid loose with some washable paints. When their “artwork” is complete, press the painted side of the bubble wrap down onto a clean sheet of white paper or card stock, leaving a colorful imprint that is, at the very least, frig worthy!

Remembering. . . and Teaching

Ten years ago, I was in bed in my college apartment sleeping off the previous night before my 10 a.m. theatre set design class when my roommate threw open my bedroom door and told me I needed to get up and see what was happening. That was the morning of September 11, 2001, and I was wearing a gray and navy blue JMU t-shirt and navy blue pajama pants with little trucks all over them (Old Navy has had some strange designs in the past. . .) as my roommates and I sat transfixed in front of the TV in our living room. Even a decade later, I can remember so many vivid details of that morning: how I sat on the floor a foot from the television like a child all huddled up in myself; that I had a huge design project due that day that I just dropped off at the door of my classroom; the way it felt like the bottom dropped out of the world when the second tower was hit because we knew then that this wasn’t just some tragic accident.

Fast forward to today and the boy I had just started dating then is now my husband. . . and works most days at the Pentagon. Our daughter is still too young to ask questions or understand the images on TV. But I know the day will come when she will see those pictures of where Daddy works and look to us to explain to her who would have done such a thing and why. I honestly don’t know what I will say to her about what happened that day, but I do know that I will take that opportunity to teach her about kindness and tolerance, perseverance and courage. Because I think that teaching our children around the world these important lessons is the only hope we ever have of overcoming the kind of hatred, intolerance, ignorance and evil we witnessed on September 11.

For those of you already facing these questions, I don’t envy you. But I did come across a post on about children’s books written about September 11, including the book above, that I think could be really helpful for those conversations or may at least provide a little guidance.

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Happy Anniversary!

. . . to me (and my husband)! In honor of our anniversary today, I thought I would post about some cute anniversary art I found recently. I absolutely love this anniversary date print by blessedannouncements on Etsy. It’s so simple and understated, not to mention affordable at only $7!

I also love the idea of making my own anniversary art to mark the occasion using some wooden letters, a canvas and some spray paint. This is such a versatile idea because you can do everything from a quote to a child’s name in a variety of colors. I actually picked up all the supplies at Michael’s today and plan to make something similar to this for our front hallway.

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Vintage Matchstick Cords

I love love love love these! I have one pair already, and I am seriously considering investing in a couple more. Nothing says fall like comfy corduroys- and these are the most flattering pair I have ever owned. (J.Crew, $79.95— and pssst, you can find them at J.Crew outlets for around $40!)

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Sneaky Pasta

Those sneaky folks at Barilla are geniuses! Their line of Piccolini pasta now includes three varieties that include a full serving of veggies right in the pasta: mini pipe with carrots and squash, farfalle with tomatoes and carrots, and rotelle (wheels) with zucchini and spinach. The pasta really doesn’t taste any different than the regular kind, so your little ones will be none the wiser! And they are perfect for veggie-packed mac and cheese (recipe to come soon). Currently, it looks like these pastas are only available in the North East (which, apparently, Washington, DC qualifies as nowadays) but could expand into other markets.

Parenting News

The Anti-Choking Cheat Sheet (

Which 10 Women Should Make the Motherhood Hall of Fame? (

Fewer Baby Boys Getting Circumcised, CDC Says (

Kids and Pets:  A Safety Guide (

5 Unique Ways to Announce a Pregnancy (

War of the Words, How to steer clear of the “mommy wars” (

Moms, do you have a love-hate relationship with cooking? (


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Acorn Doughnuts

As I enjoyed a Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks on my walk this morning and felt the crisp air on my face, it hit me— it’s fall! I love fall. Aside from my birthday, my daughter’s birthday and my anniversary all taking place in the fall, I love the fall holidays, the smells, the sharp blue sky, the football. So when I came across this idea on Pinterest the other day, I jumped on it. What better way to kick off my favorite season than with these cute little acorn doughnuts?! The original recipe is from Disney’s FamilyFun Magazine and was recreated by, and I think made better (hello, Nutella? on a doughnut?! DONE.).

Just take some doughnut holes and dip them a third of the way into Nutella before sprinkling with chocolate sprinkles or crushed toffee bits. Stick a pretzel stick in the top and, voilá, the cutest little acorn doughnuts you’ve ever seen!

Vintage Clipart

Why oh why did I not know about Rook No. 17 when I was designing my daughter’s vintage nursery rhyme themed nursery?! This blog has some amazing FREE vintage clipart. Yes, I said free. After my first visit to the site, I couldn’t download fast enough. . .so many ideas going through my head! I absolutely love the alphabet clipart. It would be so cute spelling out a child’s name over a crib or as a single framed initial propped up on a bookcase.


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