A New Start

Hi Friends,

For a variety of reasons, I’ve decided to start blogging on my own, personal, individual blog. I’ve been thinking and praying a lot lately about blogging and whether I wanted to continue blogging, why it is that I blog, and what I want my writing to be about. I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus for this reason. And I’ve missed it.

So, although I’m still in the midst of some of my confusion and indecision, I will offer this: for now, I’ve decided to continue my blogging at www.laplantehouse.com. I know, deep down, that the only way I’ll be able to blog long-term is if I do it for myself and for God. All other reasons, no matter how powerful the force, will not be sustaining. So, I need to be able to be accountable to God and myself (for what I post, what my blog’s about and how much time I sink into my blog) and be motivated by God and by myself.

Another reoccurring nagging thought lately has been a pretty nasty one: comparison. One thing I hate about the world of blogging is the apparent comparison, judging and competition between women to be the best, to look like we’ve got our lives all put together, to have the most followers and have the best posts. Exhausting! I’m in favor of authentic discussion, honesty, growth and God-honoring words and feelings. In my life and in yours. I hope you’ll hold me to that and that LaPlante House will be a fresh start for me on that forefront.

So, thanks. Thanks for reading Lemontree3- these women, and your readership, means the world to me- please don’t stop. Thanks for sticking with me through the move (I hope you’ll add me to your reader and subscribe to laplantehouse.com) and as links and images get corrected/stay messed up.

I appreciate you.

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What’s in a kid’s travel bag?

It seems like I’ve seen so many ads lately in which a celebrity “dumps” her purse and we all get to see {gasp!} what’s in it. Then we all immediately jump in our cars and run off to buy all that we saw. Or something like that.

Well yesterday was one of those back-from-traveling days filled with unpacking. One thing I unpacked was Howard’s backpack (notice the adorable monogram – I couldn’t help it!) which he dutifully carried with him on the plane to and from my parents’ vacation home. So I thought I’d “dump” H’s backpack for you because I know you’re dying to see what he took with him.

Howard's backpack, "dumped"

Clockwise from top right:

  • Cars pop-up book with [relatively quiet] noise-making flashlight. This was a new toy for this trip and it began our journey wrapped in wrapping paper to make the excitement last longer.
  • Alphabet flashcards – the most educational toy he brought.
  • A stack of colored scratch papers for drawing, along with a sheet of stickers and a family picture with facial hair drawn on every family member except mom (I’m trying to preserve at least some of my dignity.) – the picture gets a laugh out of Howie about a quarter of the time.
  • A twist-top bowl of trail mix (peanuts, almonds, cashews, raisins, peanut-butter filled pretzels, and m&ms).
  • A bag of Snapea Crisps (baked snap peas that I buy at WinCo).
  • A just-right container (I can’t remember what it used to be – herbs, maybe?) to hold 6 or so crayons.

Well it may not have been what he packed that did it, but he and his little brother both did amazingly well on the plane. And for that, I am SO grateful.

What do your little ones pack around when they travel?

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A long-term relationship: Shellac

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I had the opportunity to try a Shellac manicure a few weeks ago at InSpa, my go-to spa. It was amazing. It lasted me about three weeks, though it would have stayed longer if it hadn’t grown out so much. The polish was great but my nails had grown a lot over the three weeks. I was so happy with the results and got a ton of compliments.

Read all about it here.

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Summer MiniBook Progress 2

Here’s how my summer book is looking so far. If you didn’t see, here’s the book from inception and through the first part.

If you’re wondering how many progress updates there’ll be, the answer is 3. I’m just now finishing up the last few pages from our Maine trip (more on that later) and that’ll be the end of Summer as I knew it.

Click on any image below to enlarge it.

For more book inspiration, check out Elise’s blog updates. She is, after all, the original creator of the idea and has the best videos and tips.

We’ve had a full Summer.

Posted in art, inspired, life | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

My Mantel

I know I’m weird, and I choose to blame my wonderful back-to-school memories, but I’m already looking forward to Fall. Here’s what our mantel’s looking like these days.

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We have recently moved, so our mantel looks a little different than past posts. Another odd thing about me is that I love cows, and think they can look surprisingly chic if displayed the right way (in a simple, black frame) rather than the wrong way (as a border around your kitchen). I picked up this print by Irene Akio at The Urban Craft Uprising. I picked up these pinecones at Manito park in Spokane

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Fridge Frames

Look at these ornate fridge magnets I got at the Craft Warehouse in Yakima this weekend.

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They’re the perfect size for photo booth strips and were only 80 cents a piece. Love.

p.s. That’s our most recent photo booth strip that was in the lobby at the theatre in federal way for the Harry Potter film. I always use photo booths when I get the chance.

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[Not so lovely] Love Handles

I have a bit of baby weight to lose. And almost all of it is in my love handles.

I thought I’d share just two of my simple strategies regarding my fight with love handles.

1) to lose them: a lot of days I drink a medium-sized glass of chocolate or strawberry milk in place of lunch. It’s a good idea for three reasons: It helps me portion control at a time of day I’m prone to overdo it with snacking. It’s easy to ‘make,’ especially while feeding a toddler and holding a newborn. And it’s an excellent way to get liquids and calcium in my system – good things for a nursing mom.

2) to hide them: In the summer, I wear baby-doll dresses/tops (see left) for everyday and high-waisted skirts with blousy tops for dress up. In the winter, I layer a puffer vest on over everything.

How do you combat your leftover baby weight? How do you disguise your “problem” areas?

PS As I write this post, I’m watching the triathlon world championships in Maui…so. incredibly. inspiring. There’s motivation to work out for you!

Posted in body, savvy | 1 Comment

iPad Perks

 A lot of people complain about their jobs, and i admit that i’m not above doing just that. But this week my job has made me very happy.

Why?

Well, because this week they (and more specifically, a brand i sell, Wacoal) made it possible for me to start blogging from my very own iPad2!

I had an iTouch before, but really, this is so much bigger and clearer and easier! And my favorite bonus is the camera. I love my iPad! Now I just need some tips on how to maximize it and what apps to get, veteran techies!

What do you love about the iPad and what are your favorite apps?

p.s. my iPad cover is by Kate Spade and can be bought here.
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July Update

 

Working…
… My tush off at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale
… On my Summer Minibook
… On letting go

Reading…
Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Going…
… To Cannon Beach with E

Loving…
… “back-to-school” shopping and office supplies

Watching…
… Late showing of Harry Potter pt. 2 and old favorite movies in bed

What have you been up to?

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Yummy Coconut Cupcakes

About a year ago I had a “to-do” list of things about a mile long.  (A lot of you might be thinking, “That’s me everyday, Steph.”)  My list included things like buy a dress, pick out flowers, cake or cupcakes…you get the picture.  I was planning a wedding–my wedding & was getting overwhelmed with all of the necessary choices that I had to make in order for a wedding to run “properly”.  Thankfully, none of these things were life-altering & the only truly important thing that mattered was that I was going to marry my bff.

Anyway, one thing that I did put quite a bit of thought into was whether we would have a cake or cupcakes.  I liked the look of a cake, so we had a small two-tier cake & had cupcakes for guests–the perfect compromise.  Also, my mother-in-law graciously volunteered to make a variety of 300 cupcakes and the small cake.  My mother-in-law is a pro–seriously, I think she should quit her day job & open up a bakery…she’s that good.  Here’s proof:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orange blossom, chocolate, & my personal favorite–coconut!  This is the best cupcake I have ever had, so when I had the urge for cupcakes a few days ago I knew just what to make.  Here’s the recipe, courtesy of Ina Garten, for you to enjoy (by the way, I halved it & it made about 30 cupcakes):

Coconut Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
For the frosting:
  • 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • enough confectioner’s sugar to make frosting to desired consistency
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes (I’m not a professional like my mother-in-law & just used the back of a spoon instead of a pastry bag) and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.  Voila!

Do you have any yummy cupcake recipes?  I wouldn’t mind it one bit if you shared.

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