We’re Back!

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I’ve taken quite some time off from blogging in order to have my baby and focus on parenting related activities (such as breastfeeding and copious amounts of Candy Crush Saga). Penelope was born on July 21st, and the past couple months have been a crazy ride for us. We’ve recently moved back to Southern California and are living with my parents in Chino. It’s cramped, but we love being around family. I haven’t been doing much of anything, but now that we’re settling down I really want to start blogging and crafting again. I have tons of new ideas which will be great going into the Christmas season. I have tons of projects I want to work on, including making my own photo frames, making cute custom clothes for Penny, and making our closet doors look like Japanese paper doors. It’s exciting! I can’t wait to share all these projects with you.

– Amber

Happy Birthday A Beautiful Mess

One of my favorite blogs, and one of my biggest inspirations, is A Beautiful Mess blog. I didn’t start reading their blog until February of this year, but it became a huge inspiration in my life. This year has already been a roller coaster for me: dealing with college, work, and pregnancy, it was probably the most stressed out I had ever been. I wasn’t being creative at all, just going through the motions. But finding A Beautiful Mess truly helped rekindle my creative spirit.

I’m 39 weeks and 1 day… which means my little Penelope will be here any time now. I’m so incredibly excited. Since I’ve been on maternity leave, I’ve been decorating her space like crazy with paper garlands, collage paintings, and more, which I’ll post pictures of soon. Mostly I’ve been taking lots of naps, reading lots of blogs, and waiting. The waiting is the hardest part!

Reading A Beautiful Mess’s birthday story on their blog today really helped me remember why I wanted to blog in the first place. I love to share my art and creativity with the world, and this is such an easy way to do it. I can’t wait to share these things with my daughter. I want to encourage her to be creative, and I want to show her all the beautiful and inspiring things in the world.

So happy birthday, ABM! You inspire me!

– amber

Themes I Love on Etsy: Coffee

It’s no secret: I love coffee. When I found out I was pregnant I tried to eliminate coffee from my diet all together, but it just didn’t happen. I settled for split-shot espresso drinks and mixing in some decaf whenever I got a cup of brewed coffee from the library. But overall, I just can’t live without it.

RJ loves coffee, too. He used to work at a coffee shop for several years, and he absolutely loved it. In fact, because he worked at that coffee shop and we spent so much time there, he’s the reason I’m so addicted to coffee now. Thanks a lot!

Anyway, I’m a super coffee lover, so I thought I’d put together this list of coffee-themed items I found on Etsy. They’re all totally cute!

With Enough Coffee I Could Rule the World Funny Kitchen Art Poster Print

With Enough Coffee I Could Rule the World Funny Kitchen Art Poster Print from HairBrainedSchemes.

Coffee Butter Sugar Scrub, 4oz Emulsified Organic Sugar

Coffee Butter Sugar Scrub from SweetSallySoaps.

I Love You Blogs and Coffee Print (ESPRESSO) (8X10)

I Love You, Blogs and Coffee Print from JenniferRamos.

Cappuccino with Whip and Roasted Coffee Bean Food Necklace Miniature Food Jewelry - Food Jewelry

Cappuccino with Whip and Roasted Coffee Bean Food Necklace from bookmarksnrings.

Thanks a Latte Thank You Cards Set of 3

Thanks a Latte Thank You Cards from apaperaffaire.

I love cute handmade things on Etsy! Don’t you?

– Amber

Snapshots from Father’s Day

On Sunday, RJ and I celebrated our very first Father’s Day. Even though our daughter, Penelope, has about four more weeks (!!!) before she comes into the world, we still consider ourselves parents. Or at least, parents-to-be. Well, parents enough to make a nice dinner!

While RJ was at work, I made him something a little special that he’d been asking for for a while now: shrimp cocktails. They turned out well enough for him to devour them (he ate mine, too, since I wasn’t a big fan) but I have to say I never, ever want to make them again. I hadn’t cooked shrimp from raw before, so it was a learning experience, but a messy and kind of smelly one. I definitely prefer my shrimp hot and in a pasta, or breaded. But he loved it, so that’s all that matters.

Sorry for the less-than-high quality photos; it was getting dark by the time I finished cooking!

In addition to the shrimp cocktails, I also made pasta and vegetables with garlic butter sauce. I used penne, and called my creation “Vegetable Penny.” Hehe. I suspect Penny will like the dinner named after her once she’s old enough to understand it!

What sort of special things did you do for Father’s Day? Let me know in the comments!

– Amber

Nutella-filled Muffins

Note: This was posted on my old, now defunct, blog that I tried to start back in 2012 called Amber in the Forest. This was the only post I made, and then I gave up. Ha! I figured I loved these muffins so much, that I should repost them here to share with my current readers. Enjoy!

They look like regular muffins, but…

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Surprise!

Recipe for Nutella-filled muffins:

Use your favorite plain, sweet muffin recipe. You can make them from scratch, or just make them from a baking mix like Bisquick. Sometimes you need to take shortcuts in life, you know?

Once you have your plan muffin batter, whisk in a tablespoon of Nutella.

Grease your muffin pan, and fill each cup only 3/4 of where you normally fill them to, and reserving some batter.

Bake your muffins for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the oven. Use a teaspoon and a finger to put a dollop of Nutella in the center of each muffin. Then drizzle enough of the remaining batter on each muffin to cover the Nutella. Bake for the remaining usual bake time of your muffin recipe.

And voila! They’ll probably be gone by the end of the day; I ate about half a dozen just myself. Enjoy!

– Amber

Inspiration Monday [6/17/2013]

This is a new regular feature I am starting to help get motivated for the week. Mondays can be brutal. Even though school is out, there’s a certain negative feeling I get when the weekend is over. Hopefully, collecting inspirational ideas from around the web will help kickstart a productive week!

Baking

Image from sweetopia.net.

First on the list are these super cute KitchenAid cookies from Sweetopia. I really, really want to get a KitchenAid, but for now I’ll have to settle looking at cookies of them. Aren’t they cute?

DIY

Image from stylemepretty.com

The DIY inspiration this week are these super simple yet super gorgeous stenciled tea towels from Style Me Pretty. I love the idea of stenciling, stamping, and painting patterns on to functional fabrics.

Decor

Image from apartmentthearpy.com

This week, I’m totally loving the house tour Chris and Julie gave on Apartment Therapy. I adore the combination of classic wood-grain furniture and modern colors that pop.

What inspires you this week? Share it in the comments.

Happy Monday!

– Amber

Bagels Bagels Bagels!

The past few days I have made massive amount of bagels. They’re probably one of my favorite, and most successful, breads I’ve ever baked. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t like bagels.

The great thing about homemade bagels is that there’s very few ingredients, and making them yourself means you know exactly what’s in them, if you’re the kind of person worried about ingredients and preservatives.

I got my bagel recipe here from Emma at A Beautiful Mess. I adapted the recipe slightly for the cinnamon raisin bagels, and added 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup raisins, and 3 tablespoons cinnamon before adding the yeast mixture.

My favorite are by far the cheese bagels, but the cinnamon raisin bagels are a close second! I added a bit of salt to the sesame bagels, but they ended up tasting more like pretzels than a bagel. Still, super delicious.

In case you’re wondering, I didn’t make all of these bagels for myself. We’re sending some to friends and family tomorrow (that is, if they last through the night).

The most satisfying part of the bagel process.

Happy Father’s Day everyone!

– Amber