Merry Christmas.

Wishing you all peace, love and joy this holiday season!


Growing up.

The older I get, the faster time seems to fly. I can't believe it's half way into November and approaching the end of the year already...didn't we just have Halloween? And wasn't it just summer not too long ago?

It seems like yesterday, I was holding my precious newborn babies wondering what life would be like when they could walk, talk, play, and sing. Those days I have been dreaming about seems to be passing by just as fast as they have been approaching and a part of me is scared. a little anxious. a lot excited. Mommyhood has been a blessing and a trial...the hardest thing and the best thing that has ever happened to me.

My little ones, as you grow up, please remember, that mommy has and will always love you. Be there for you and with you every step of the way. Cry with you, laugh with you, learn and grow with you.

I love you...

to the moon and back.


Cream Cheese Cookies.


3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick (8Tbsp) butter, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp lemon juice

1. Using a handmixer, cream together butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and lemon juice, and mix well. Stir in the flour using a spoon or spatula, just until incorporated.

2. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Space them out 1 1/2 inches apart from each other, as they will spread just a little. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes until edges are crispy and golden brown. *tip: edges burn pretty easily depending on oven and baking sheet, so keep a close eye on your first batch and adjust accordingly...[For the Ghost cookies (Halloween post), I used about a tablespoon and a half and shaped/flattened the dough right on the baking sheet. I used dried blueberries for the eyes, but chocolate chips would work great too!]

These cookies are creamy, tangy, sweet, chewy, and yummy. I hope you'll give them a try!



I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Halloween, now my son's "favrite" holiday. This year we had a blast with our candy-loving sugar monsters -- being able to actually enjoy trick-or-treating without feeling like the greedy adults using their kids as an excuse to get lots of candy. If you can't guess what they were, N was a hobo by day, selling his little trick monkey brother to get lots of candy, and of course, Batman by night. My sweet mom overnighted this Batman costume for N after he told her what he really wanted to be this year for Halloween. I know, we're cheap horrible parents. But thank goodness for awesome grandparents :)

Lastly, make sure to check out how I made the Ghost cream cheese cookies in this post!

and with that....


New Hair.

A few weeks ago, after much thought and not so much planning, I cut almost 10 inches off of my hair. A ton of weight off my shoulders + less tangled messes in the morning meant less time spent drying in tropical weather and no more wet buns at night. I wanted to go a little more dramatic with the color, but I am happy with the overall result.
PS taking self-portraits is an art...one I have not mastered......and having the husband take it for you isn't much better ;)


A day to remember.

"Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life,
love gives us a fairy tale."
- Anonymous
My brother-in-law got married last month. The whole weekend was perfection, and I had the privilege of photographing it all. more HERE.


Guacamole: a favorite.

It's true. I love anything with avocado. Especially guacamole...well, I don't even know if that's even the correct term for this recipe because it's not mashed up avocado like a typical "guacamole"...it's more like a fresh salsa or pico de gallo with avocado -- It's light, fresh, vibrant, and TASTY.

(Adjust ingredients/seasoning to taste and to your liking)

2 ripe avocados, diced
1 roma tomato, seeded and diced
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
A handful of cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp lime (or lemon) juice
1/2 tsp garlic salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp cumin
A dash of black pepper
 *Corn and/or beans optional

Pour lime juice over diced avocado. Add remaining ingredients and mix.
Use it on your favorite taco, burrito or any Mexican dish -- my personal favorite is this guac atop some sweet pulled pork, cilantro rice and a tomatillo dressing, wrapped in a homemade tortilla. << a recipe to be shared later ;)  >> What dish would you put it on?



DIY // Penne Statement Necklace Tutorial

I am always on the look-out for cute and easy projects on Pinterest (>>follow me here<<). I came across this tutorial on how to make a statement necklace with penne pasta, I decided to give it a try...with my own little spin, of course. This project totally brought me back to the elementary school days, making macaroni necklaces to give to the mothers for mother's day -- this is the more sophisticated, totally wearable version!

I took the inspiration from pinterest and came up with the aqua statement piece. Using nail polish instead of paint, gives it a shinier finish, and less pasta makes a less bulky piece of jewelry. The pink ombre one is completely my own -- I liked the idea of using the penne vertical, giving it a completely different look. The problem with this design was that the chain couldn't go through the top pieces, but I think it worked out okay by stringing it through the end ones.
Which one is your favorite?? The pink one is a little more my style.

Materials you need are...
1. Penne (DRY pasta)  2. Nail polish - color of your choice  3. hot glue + gun  4. felt/scissors (optional)  5. Simple chain necklace

Choose 6 pc (for the ombre) and 14 pc (for the larger necklace) of penne. Choose carefully, because not all pastas are made equal. Once you have the pasta, paint each one with the nail polish of your choice. I used 2 coats of green on each pasta for the larger necklace. For the ombre, I used 2 coats of light pink on two pieces, 2 coats of dark pink on another two pieces, and 1 coat of each, light over the dark, on the last two penne. While the pasta dries, cut the felt into the hanger shapes for the backing (this is optional).
Once dry, lay the pasta pieces down in the shape and design you want. Apply glue to only the back side, carefully gluing each piece to the other. (Then glue the felt backing - or if not using felt, use generous amount of hot glue to coat the back side). String the simple chain necklace through the hanger pieces, and voila! your new statement piece.
Do you want to see more DIYs/tutorials? Be sure to follow the blog, and leave some comment love! 



The sweetest and the hardest thing about being a mom is seeing the little ones grow up. Every stage and milestones my babies hit, I was sure was my favorite stage. Right now, Kai's 12-15 month mark has been my absolute "favorite" -- so easy to please, forgiving, so smiley, and gives you kisses on demand...yep, it is THE perfect stage. When someone invents a stop-time-in-its-place machine, I will most likely invest in one. But until then I will take in every bit of slobbery kisses, sweet sleepy cuddles and scrunchy-face smiles as I possibly can.


Green Smoothie | a very green solution

I have a "preschooler"... let me re-word that... I am the mother of a school-going-age child......I am still in shock. They started school already too... Although the relaxing and extra time to myself and the little one is nice, I still hold back the tears as I drop my oh-so-grown-up baby off at school every morning. It's exciting, overwhelming and heart-breaking all at the same time.

As he gets older, his personality, his abilities and his will-power are developing very rapidly, it's hard to keep up. This goes for his eating habits too. He's becoming quite the "picky" eater, in every sense of the word. He likes cucumber, tomato, cooked celery/carrots/peppers. And he eats his grains, fruits and meat. I should be grateful that he at least eats some veggies some of the time.

My solution to a picky, slow eater? Hide it. Dicing it small may fool a toddler into eating some veggies, but do one better and puree it-- then no one will know! I like to puree cooked veggies into sauces and soups for some added flavor and nutrition! sneaky sneaky, I know. It is so effective, so healthy, and oh so yummy. Smoothies are another way I use this method. I love smoothies, so it only makes sense that my kids also LOVE smoothies -- naturally. The criteria to get the most out of a smoothie: keep the sugar/sweetener low to none, use only low fat liquids and choose nutrient-packed fruits and veggies. This is my recipe for the perfect green smoothie.

1/2 ripe mango, peeled and sliced
1/2 apple, cored and sliced
1 kiwi, peeled - optional
3/4 cup or so of canned/fresh pineapple
1-2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
1 cup vanilla almond milk
Ice cubes (probably around 10, adjust to your liking)

First, in your blender, pulse together the fruit until really smooth. If you need to add liquid, add a little splash of almond milk. Then, add the spinach and blend until there is little to no specks of green. Lastly, add the ice and almond milk, blend until no ice chunks are left. If you feel that it needs more sweetness (which I rarely do) add a little Organic Blue Agave sweetener, really carefully, because a little goes a long way.
This is my favorite blend, but play around and experiment with different combinations of fruits and veggies. I've tried adding acai, grapes, bananas, and/or berries, which were all delicious too. Here is a list of ingredients I have yet to try: greek yogurt, avocado, cucumber, kale, broccoli......I'll save some of those for when I feel super adventurous. But for now, I will call this one a success!
Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for picky eaters, or toddlers in general?


Dessert, Breakfast, or Meal?

Obviously, this ^^ is a dessert crêpe. Some countries eat crêpes for breakfast or even supper. They are very versatile and super delicious, definitely my kind of food. I've had it all 3 ways - super sweet, not too sweet, and savory - I can't quite make up my mind which is the best way to enjoy a crêpe. You'll just have to try it and decide for yourself. Here is the recipe::

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1 1/2 ~ 2 cups milk [added little at a time, adjust to perfect batter consistency]
2 tablespoons melted butter
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla (omit when making savory crêpes)

Pour the flour and salt in a bowl and break the eggs in the middle. Mix into a thick batter. Add the melted butter, and while whisking, pour the milk gradually, little at a time. Mix until you get the perfect texture: neither too thick nor too liquid. It must be thinner than pancake batter with no lumps. [helpful hint: the consistency of the batter should be thin enough to easily spread smooth across the pan, but thick enough that it doesn't break when you flip it over.] Leave the batter to sit in the fridge for an hour or so if you can, but if not, start making the crêpes.

To make the crêpes, heat a little butter on a medium size, flat, NON-STICK pan on LOW heat and pour on a thin layer of the batter. The trick here is to lift the pan off of the heat, ladle the batter onto the pan and swirl it around until it forms a thin, even layer, then put it back on the heat. When the one side is lightly browned, flip it to the other side. Repeat until all the batter is gone.

Top it with your favorite combination of toppings -- for sweet crêpes, add berries/fruit + whipped cream, nutella + banana, or lemon juice + powdered sugar -- for savory crêpes, add shredded chicken, sauteed spinach, mushrooms and onion in a white cream sauce, sprinkled with cheese. Enjoy!


A little taste of London on North Shore Hawaii.

This morning, Chad finished the last of this 4-race series that takes place every year on the North Shore of Oahu. This race was the longest of the four -- 2.2 miles from Pipeline beach park to Waimea Bay. He finished 3rd in his age group for this race and for the whole entire series. I am one proud wifey, and the boys were beyond ecstatic << can you tell? >> We had a tiny taste of competition here, half a world away from the excitement of the Olympics. He's no Michael Phelps, but he's our champion. Well done, Chad!


Remember when...

I spent 4 days in Japan...and promised pictures from the trip?
well, here they are. the best of our amazing visit to Japan that I never wanted to end.
// Day 1. Ashikaga: sleeper train, shiba-sakura park with great-grandma and -grandpa  // Day 2. Akari yakiniku barbeque restaurant with family, soba restaurant, Ashikaga Flower Park, fuji flower ice cream  // Day 3. Tokyo: visiting aunt and friends, katsu restaurant, rainy day Tokyo Disneyland with friends  // Day 4. Osaka: buffet restaurant and shopping with friends, ferris wheel in the city, tako yaki and okonomiyak....and more....

Phew. With all the rushing and running around we had to do, I am so surprised that we were able to do so much. It was pretty much the BEST vacation ever! Seriously, I dream about this trip still. I would go back in a heartbeat! Sending our love and gratitude to all our family and friends that were so welcoming and accommodating to our family. Wishing so badly we could go back.