Best Friends: Zoey & Rylie

by ilene on March 11, 2014 · 6 comments

in Uncategorized



My twin sister and her baby girl Rylie visited us last week!  They live down in Southern California so we are always so excited to see them whenever we can.  Our baby girls are only 6 months apart in age so its been a real joy raising them together.  Its been a lifelong dream of ours to have daughters together and we feel so blessed to share this experience with each other.  We hope that they will become BEST FRIENDS like their mommies when they grow up.   Zoey recognizes Rylie in photos and FaceTime and calls her “RyRy” while Rylie watches and giggles at Zoey and her silly antics.  Right now, they are too young to really play together but I think as they grow older, they will realize how special it is that they have each other.

I made them these matching shirts for Rylie’s visit!  I bought the blank long sleeve shirts at Baby Gap while they were on sale for $5/each and then ironed on the letters that I cut out using my Silhouette machine:


The back of the shirts say “Best” & “Friends”.  My sister and I had those trendy best/friend heart necklaces in 5th grade so I thought it’d be cute if our daughters had shirts like that.   I still have my half of the heart in my jewelry box at my parents’ house!bestfriends_shirts2

How cute are these cousins?!bestfriends_shirts3 bestfriends_shirts4 bestfriends_shirts5
Baby Rylie left last week and I miss her so much! She is the sweetest, cutest, happiest baby!


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Baked Crispy Edamame

by ilene on March 4, 2014 · 0 comments

in recipes


I’ve added baked edamame to my list of “Vegetables that Men will Eat” which is apparently synonymous to “Vegetables My Toddler Will Eat” because Zoey loved these, as evident by her tiny little hand sneaking into every shot I was trying to take of these baked green soybeans.  I’m always trying to get my husband Jeff to eat more veggies and I discovered the trick to this is by making them as snack-like as possible.  That’s why I bake kale so that they taste like chips and roast chickpeas so that they taste like corn nuts.  I will also sneak kale into smoothies and pasta (like this kale pesto recipe) and he can’t even tell.  He will happily eat away with no complaints.

We normally boil edamame and then sprinkle with some kosher salt but baking edamame with some parmesan cheese turned it into an easy yummy snack that was eaten by the handful by both my hubby and kid. This recipe is both husband and toddler approved!


  • 1 (12oz) bag of frozen edamame (I get mine from Trader Joes)
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • olive oil spray
  • salt & pepper (you can also add other spices like chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and cumin)



Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a colander, run warm water over edamame to defrost the soybeans. Pat dry with a paper towel, you want to get them as dry as you can

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spread edamame in a single layer across.

Lightly spray the edamame with olive oil.  Sprinkle cheese and spices across the top:


Bake for 18-20 minutes uncovered.  Stir once halfway through cooking. When cheese starts to turn golden and the beans start to brown, take out of the oven and let cool.

Enjoy!! Little Zoey loved these!!


Looking for other ways to get your hubbie/child to eat their veggies? Click on the photos below to make Kale Chips or Roasted Chickpeas!



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This is an easy, fast makeover of a picture frame that was gifted to us when Zoey was born.  There was nothing wrong with the original frame, in fact it was displayed in our living room for quite some time, but I thought it was time for an update.  I wanted to make it more versatile and jump on the chalkboard paint bandwagon!  So I took the old picture frame below and painted it with black chalkboard paint and turned it into this:


The frame then serves as a chalkboard surface to label the photograph that it displays.  This transformation works best when the original frame has a thick edge like the one that I had, which had a 3″ thick border.

All I need was chalkboard paint (bought from Amazon), a foam paint brush and chalk markers (or regular chalk):chalkboardframe2

It took about 4 coats of chalkboard paint to get it completely covered.   Here is what my frame looked like after one coat of paint:


My tip is to try to paint thin layers, don’t glob it on thick or the paint will lump and take a long time to dry.  Paint as many layers as it takes to cover the frame solidly.   Don’t worry about brush strokes either, because they will eventually blend and even out.  The instructions on the paint bottle said to let it cure 24 hours.

After the paint had dried and cured, I “seasoned” the surface by rubbing chalk all over the entire surface and then wiping it up off with a washcloth:



Seasoning is important for any new chalkboard surface, otherwise you wont be able to fully erase any image you draw on it and a faint “ghost” of the image will remain, no matter how hard you scrub.  I have learned this hard way.  I’ve ruined many new chalkboards by being overeager and skipping the seasoning step.

The frame was ready for me to use a chalkboard marker to draw on the surface:



Isn’t my  baby Zoey so cute at 4 months?  She was so small and angelic back then!!   Today, she is an active, slightly mischievous, passionate toddler!  I’m so glad I have these photos of her as a baby to remind of those days when she was so sweet and innocent. And not running around yelling “NONO!” and demanding “MORE!” all the time!

I plan to periodically rotate my favorite photos in and out of the frame and update the text to reflect the photos in it.  Hope you enjoyed this simple upcycle!




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{ 1 comment }

 Hi friends!zoeyvalentine_2014_2

Happy  Valentine’s day from little Zoey!!!  #xoxozozo

Our little sweetheart is now 15 months old now!   Look how much she has grown since the last valentine’s day!   And how cute are these heart tights from Target? Scored on clearance for $3.50!


Where ever you are, whatever you are doing, we both wish you a sweet, happy day!!  Happy Valentines Day, friends!

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I loved the red lanterns we strung across our living room for Chinese New Years so much, I wanted to keep them up awhile longer for Valentine’s Day.  They were just too pretty to take down already!   Plus, the red color was perfect for the romantic holiday.   I wanted to change it up a little bit so I added some pink grosgrain ribbon (saved from our Pottery Barn baby shower gifts) and the red heart garland I sewed a few years ago and draped them across the lower  part of the lanterns.  The ribbon and garland are held in place by just a few pieces of scotch tape and luckily, very light weight.

I doubled the original length of the heart garland to make it long enough to string diagonally across the room:


I first blogged about the felt red heart garland a couple years ago (see tutorial here) and its come in handy for a couple other occasions.  I even brought it to the hospital with me when I gave birth to Zoey to string up there!



This change was so simple but makes an instant big impact on the room!  You can see my heart wall decor on the living room wall in the background.



Speaking of red hearts, Jeff came home with these two cupcakes for me and Zoey:


How sweet are these? They totally match the room!!!

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