When I tell people that I make my own buttercream, usually the reaction is the same: why would you go through all that trouble? A store-bought can of frosting may seem quicker and more convenient but in all reality buttercream made from scratch tastes better and is super easy to make! All you need is 5 simple baking ingredients plus about 10 minutes of your time. That's it!

Here's how easy it is:

Soften some butter. I like to leave it out on the counter overnight and forget about it until you need it. Don't try to cheat and pop it in the microwave-it just won't be the same as when the butter slowly comes to room temperature.

Now whip your softened butter in a big bowl for about 3 minutes. You'll notice that the butter will almost appear lighter in color and fluffier!

Now add in some sifted powered sugar. Yet again, don't cheat: sift that sugar! By sifting it, you're reducing the chance of ugly looking sugar lumps in your frosting.

Mix the butter and sugar together.

Now add your salt and vanilla. Also you're going to add some milk, ONE tablespoon at a time. How much milk you add will determine how thick or thin your frosting will be. Then, mix it all together.

That's it. Seriously. Now you have delicious and homemade sweet buttercream ready to go!

**Bonus tips**
-Add more sugar if you accidentally make your frosting a little too thin
-If your buttercream is a little too thick, add one tablespoon more of milk and mix it together. Repeat until you have the perfect consistency.
-Buttercream's main ingredient is butter (haha) So this means if it starts to get all warm and runny when you're frosting, pop it in the fridge for a little to let it firm up again. After it's had some time to chill out (pun totally intended), then you can continue on with your buttercream frosting creation.

Vanilla Buttercream

1 cup softened unsalted butter
3-4 cups of sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (or any other flavored extract)
A pinch of salt
Around 2-4 tablespoons of milk or heavy cream

1. Whip softened butter on medium for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add sifted powdered sugar to the butter. Mix together until smooth.
3. Now add vanilla extract, salt, and about 2 tablespoons of milk. Mix together well. Add more milk (one tablespoon at a time) as you see fit, to make the buttercream thicker.

It's been twelve days since I last posted. I wish I could give you a great reason why I haven't posted, but honestly, I don't have one. These last twelve days have just been jam-packed--between preschool graduation, a Memorial Day BBQ, birthday parties, and a couple of "farewells" to some new friends, I feel like this last week and a half had little room for anything else.

However, today (day 12) I'm ready to get back on track. Tonight's post: how to make homemade buttercream. Tomorrow's post: how to make adorable "Hamburger" cupcakes.

As for the rest of the week: who knows... but I know I'm ready to get back into the swing of things and I'm looking forward to blogging once again :)

How do you usually say thank you to someone? Or tell someone that you're thinking about them? What do you do when you're feeling stressed or over-joyed? What's your favorite hobby? Favorite thing to do with the kids? What do you catch yourself looking at the most on the internet? 

For me, all those questions can be answered with one word: Baking! Something about pulling out flour, sugar, and butter to make something delicious, brings me so much joy. I love testing out new recipes and buying new baking supplies. I love that the moment my kids see me pulling out my Kitchen Aid mixer that they come running to help measure and pour. Lastly, I love the look on someone's face when you just drop by with something special because you were thinking about them and wanted to bring them something that you hope will brighten up their day. 

Last night I decided to make my favorite blueberry streusel coffee cake as a thank you present for my husband's co-worker who brought me all those delicious clams a couple of weeks ago. This cake is a perfect mix of cinnamon, blueberry and just a touch of lemon. Oh yeah and the streusel topping is divine, if I do say so myself. You can make this recipe in a 9-inch round pan or spring form pan and it will make a cake that is the perfect size for a family. Sometimes I double the batch size to make a monster-sized coffee cake that is so pretty looking I almost feel bad slicing into it.**

So here's my recipe for the best Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake. Make it at home and tell me what you think! 


  • For the Cake
  • * 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • * 3/4 cup sugar
  • * 2 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • * 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • * 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • * 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • * 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • * 3/4 cup milk or half & half
  • * 1 egg
  • * 2 cups fresh or frozen, unthawed blueberries
  • * 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • For the streusel topping
  • * 1/2 cup sugar
  • * 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • * 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • * 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • * 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. 2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg to make the streusel topping. Cut in softened butter with fingers and mix until topping is combined and crumbly. Don't over mix it though or else your topping will be more like a spread and a less like a delicious crumble topping. Place the streusel topping in the freezer until you're ready to put the cake in the oven. 
  3. 2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. 3. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the melted butter, milk (or half & half) and egg. 
  5. 4. Now add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients with an electric mixer until thoroughly combined, scraping sides of bowl if necessary.
  6. 5. Gently fold in blueberries and lemon zest by hand, transferring batter to a well-greased and floured 8 or 9 inch square baking dish, or 9 inch spring form pan.
  7. 4. Top the cake with the streusel topping and bake the cake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted near center comes out clean. **If you double this batch, your cooking time will be around 60-65 minutes. 

So time for me to confess: I have two conflicting personality traits. One: I definitely have a type A personality--I like thing done in a certain way, in a certain amount of time, and with a certain amount of attention to detail. My only problem is I'm lazy. Crazy thing to admit, but it's true. I have an insane drive to do all these things, but nine times out of ten I simply just give up for various reasons.

When we moved to Kuwait, I vowed that things were going to be different. I wanted to be organized and on top of things. However, after six months of living here I can tell you that I got lazy about not being lazy. Literally every drawer, closet, and open available space in my house has things CRAMMED into. 

This morning I was almost pulling out my hair out when I saw how bad our "junk" drawer had gotten. It was so cluttered! I think I was using it more as a trash-limbo-land rather than an organized drawer of pens and various knick-knacks that I need around the house. Me being me though, when I get annoyed  with something like that, I just focus all my energy and obsess about it until it's done. So today I decided to clean that sucker out and type A that mother. 

In the middle of it, I thought it would be helpful if I gave out some tips to you guys if you want to clean out your unorganized mess and not go crazy in the process. So here you go:

  • Pull everything out. Do yourself a favor and take EVERYTHING out of the drawer(s). It will seem crazy at first to have that big pile of junk sitting there staring at you, but there's two reasons you should do this. One: Once you've pulled all that junk out, it'll all have to go back in. It'll force you to put it away in a proper place. Two: Junk drawers are dirty. You'll be surprised what kind of stuff you'll find in there. No joke, I found cereal, a chuck e cheese coin, and every receipt ever given to me in there. Wipe the whole drawer out and start fresh. 
  • Don't go out and buy a fancy organizer. There's no need to buy a fancy drawer organizer unless you absolutely feel the need for one. I used a silverware holder (cost me $2 at the store), some old tupperware, and a pencil case to organize my stuff. Just use stuff around the house or buy something cheap at the dollar store, no need to be fancy. Serious organizers just want all their stuff to have a home, who cares about whether the organizer is black or pink. **Extra tip** All of my tupperware and organizers are 3M taped to the drawer. This way when I open and close the drawer everything doesn't roll around and get disorganized again. 
  • Group like things together. Sounds silly, but it works. You're ten times more likely to put something back where it belongs if you know exactly where it goes. Since most junk drawers are filled with odds and ends, it's easier to visually know where to put things if they're all grouped together. Example: all adapters and cords go together. Pens and pencils are together. 
  • Make a pile for trash, shred, keep, and an "I don't know" pile. I know you're saying "duh" right now, but just do it. At the end it'll be easier to sort through the random "I don't know" papers when they're the only ones you're dealing with. Most of the time, my "I don't know" papers are things like User Manuals and Warranty paperwork. Today I decided to just throw all that in a binder and store it on a shelf in my laundry room.

Excuse the ugly lighting on this picture. It's late and I'm too tired to fix the awful coloring in this photo. 
For the user manual binder, I decided to put each manual in its own page protector. Then I typed up a title page and BAM instant "User Manual" binder. Fancy, fancy. 

If you want to download this title page for your own User Manual binder, feel free to download it here. 

All in all, my organization rampage only took me 40 minutes. And now my type A side is pleased because my drawer is pretty now and the lazy side of me is happy because I did all of this while watching the new episode of Glee.  

I've always been somewhat insecure of my body. Surprise surprise, right?! Let's be honest, most women these days have some sort of body issue. Whether you think your arms jiggle, you have "thunder thighs", or you simply think you're fat... the reality is you and I aren't the first (or the last for that matter) to dislike something about our bodies.

One of my biggest insecurities is what I look like in a bathing suit. Okay, I know, most women feel the same, right?! Don't write off this post just yet. I'm  going somewhere with this.

I actually remember the first time I thought I looked terrible in a bathing suit. I was fourteen years old and I was at the local community pool. My two friends and I had just arrived and we're quick to jump into the water. That day I had decided to wear my favorite hot pink bathing suit and I thought I looked cute. However, the moment I splashed into the pool, one of my well meaning friends said what I thought was one of the oddest things ever, She asked me why my bathing suit made it look like I had a fat pocket near my arm pit. I was so embarrassed that she even noticed. Somehow that moment spurred a long running series of insecurities. I would think things like my ribs stuck out in a weird way or I would obsess with the fact that my thighs touched. I was constantly comparing myself to the girls around me. I was ashamed that I wasn't stick thin and hated that I wasn't curve-less.

Sadly, I think this teenage sob story happens to a lot of girls. The worse part of it is: insecure girls grow into insecure women. Some of us grow out of it, but most of us will never forget that first boy who calls you fat or those girls at school who talk about the way you look behind your back. I'm in my late twenties and I still try to cover up as much as possible. I remember when I was in my early twenties, I hardly ever wore a bathing suit. It got so bad at one point that I wouldn't even go to the beach without a sweatshirt on because I thought I looked too fat. I mean for goodness sake, it wasn't until three years ago that I got over my fear of wearing shorts!

So where am I going with this? This blog, this journey, is meant to create a new mindset. Be more open and let go of things. My main thing is I'm trying to say "yes" more than I say "no" so this means when my daughter asked me a couple of days ago to go swimming (despite the fact that I didn't want to go), I gave in and said yes. That day I forced myself to put on my bathing suit and to get out of the house for the day.

Once we were at the pool, it didn't take long for my family to start begging me to get in the water. Usually I avoid, at all cost, other people seeing me in a bathing suit and on that day the pool was filled with people. I felt so shy getting into the water. I felt like everyone was looking at me, even though no one really was.

It wasn't until I was swimming around with my kids for a couple of minutes that I realized something. I don't care what other people think about me. Teaching my daughter to swim and watching my son playfully splash everyone in the "big pool" are memories I'm never going to want to forget. More importantly, I realized I wanted to be apart of the memories, not watch from the sidelines. It made me think about all those years that I said no to going to the pool or the beach. How many times have I said I can't or I don't want to because I felt fat or thought I didn't look great. Please tell me I'm not the only one who let fear hold me them back.

The moment I got home I began searching on the internet. In my mindset I kept thinking: Mama is going to buy a NEW bathing suit. No more sitting on the bench watching everyone else have fun. I don't care what my excuses were before. Every day I waste thinking like I used to is another day I don't fully enjoy my life.

So here's my message to all the women who may feel the same: Follow suit. There's no reason too big or too small to miss out on the best parts of life. Start off small. Buy yourself a new bathing suit. Jump into the pool. Have fun and forget the rest.

::sigh:: Saturday night. Oh Saturday night. Saturdays are our "Sundays" in Kuwait. Tomorrow marks the beginning of another busy school/work week. My family and I spent most of the weekend avoiding the sweltering heat outside by just hanging out at home. Since we didn't do much this weekend, I thought it would be fun to write a short post about the Hello Kitty Cafe we visited a couple of months ago.

This place is located in the Movenpick Plaza in Kuwait or what we like to call "fancy car plaza." Seriously, the cars that people drive here are... so... expensive! Your jaw can't help dropping a little bit when you pull into a plaza filled with cars that easily cost 15-20 times more than what you paid for your beat-up junker car. 

The Hello Kitty Cafe isn't hard to miss--the building literally has a giant outline of a pink Hello Kitty on the outside of the restaurant. 

Inside the cafe, every inch of the place is covered in Hello Kitty decor; everything from the napkins to the booths have the iconic cat outline on it. This place is a fully functioning restaurant, however, we only went for some coffee and dessert. 

The cakes in the dessert display case were so enticing that I couldn't help ordering 3 different flavors. We ended up getting one chocolate, one strawberry, and one vanilla cake. 

Sadly, our cakes cuteness was the only thing good about them...they tasted awful. They had this weird chemical taste to them and they didn't taste fresh at all. My kids didn't even like them that much. The only one that they seemed to semi-enjoy was the chocolate cake and I think it only because the chocolate somewhat masked the odd chemical flavor. 

The coffees that my husband and I got were delicious though. I loved the fact that even our coffees kept up with the Hello Kitty theme. Talk about cuteness overload with that Hello Kitty stenciling!! In fact, I was so excited about my charming coffee that I actually spilled my whole first cup all over myself. Come on?! You can't tell me you wouldn't squeal with joy over this darling design. 

That's what happened to me at least... I squealed... coffee spilled... my squeal quickly turned into a scream... long story short, I left with coffee all over my pants and I had to order another cup just so I could confirm that it tasted even better than it looked.  

Overall, this is an adorable cafe. Despite the fact that they sell terrible cakes (in my opinion, a baking sin), I would go back again. Just maybe for breakfast or dinner instead. No cake.

First off, let me just say that I hate the term "military spouse." Mostly because the term is riddled with stereotypes about the type of person I "supposedly" am. I've heard anything and everything about spouses of our U.S. military service members. We're lazy; we're low class; we're lonely; we're all gossips and haters; we're all fat housewives... this list could literally go on for days. The reality of it all is: military spouses come from all walks of life. So yeah the rumors are true that there are some crazies in the bunch and a few extremist, but for the most part we're just regular wives or husbands.

So why have a day devoted to thanking the spouses? There's no such things as "ITT Tech. Spouse Appreciation Day" or a day giving thanks to every spouse married to a real estate agent. There has to be a gimmick... a reason why others feel compelled to give thanks to every spouse associated to a U.S. Marine, Army Solider, Air Force Airman, or Navy Seaman.

Honestly, this is something I struggle with often. My husband is in the Marine Corps and I used to firmly believe his job doesn't make me who I am. So this definitely means there's no need to thank me because I don't want to be grouped in with the few who deem themselves "military spouses." It wasn't until recently that my opinion started to change.

Recently, as I'm sure most of you can tell from reading even one of my previous post, my family moved to Kuwait. This is the first move that we've made that I've felt "dragged" to somewhere new by the military. I mean seriously whose ever said, "My dream is to move to Kuwait"??? It wasn't until this move that I started contemplating, why? Why do I do this? Why do I make my kids do this? Why not just throw in the towel and say I'm going home?

The reality is I love my husband more than I care about where I live. That small shift... that small mind change put everything in perspective: I'm willing to give up everything just to be with him.

This means I'm willing to be by his side no matter where we live.

I'm willing...
...to move away from my family.
...to move away from a place I call home.
...to put a pause on my career.
...to put up with crappy skype phone calls and short e-mails
...to explain to my kids time and time again why "daddy will just be gone for a little while."
...to wait for him no matter how many days, weeks, or even months that he may be gone.

All simply because I love him. Not because he's a Marine. I love him for being him.

However, there is something epic about someone who is willing to change their whole life for someone they love. And this is hard for me to say this and it literally has taken almost nine years of marriage to admit this... but begrudgingly, I'm admitting, whether I like it or not, his job is a HUGE part of my life. Does this mean tomorrow I'm going to go and tattoo the globe and anchor on my arm because "I'm proud of my man"? Probably not. (Actually, it's more like a firm 'not ever.') Am I a fat, lazy, obnoxious housewife like most people think military spouses are? Uhh, that a big NO.

In all reality I'm just a bad-ass wife willing to put up with a lot of bull-sh*t because my husband loves his job. So no need to appreciate me, I do this happily and willingly. No strings attached.

Moving from Japan to Kuwait was a hard move for my family. Even though we felt ready to move on to a new duty station I think we weren't mentally prepared for the new round of culture shock that hits you when you move to somewhere new. I could easily go on for days about the things that I find strange or different here. Long story short though, life is very different in the middle east.

One of the hardest adjustment has been the food. I'm a Japanese food eating machine and so are my children; My oldest, Emma, especially loves Japanese food. I think she asks almost weekly for Japanese noodles and curry rice. I try to do my best to make her favorites at home, but nothing compares to the food we used to eat in Japan. One of the more random things my daughter misses is store bought bagels. She's an extremely picky eater (Japanese food being the only exception to the picky eater rule). and most nights I spend a great deal of effort just begging her to eat a couple bites of her meal.  So when my picky eater asked for bagels one morning, I decided to go on a mission to find some. I quickly found out that most stores here don't have any in stock and the few stores that do have any available only carry ones that have been flash frozen and they usually cost around $8 for 5 bagels. 

Of course the 'coupon loving and deal searcher me' decided that it was much more affordable to make my own bagels. The original recipe I used comes from The Sophisticated Gourmet. The only thing I did differently was I decided to double the batch size because this recipe does take time and I wanted to have plenty of extras to freeze for later. 

This recipe is for plain bagels, but you could easily modify it to make sesame, poppy seed, or even blueberry bagels. Every single time I make these bagels, they come out fluffy and buttery tasting. No joke, I usually don't even wait until they're cooled to eat one right away. You won't be disappointed if you make these bagels! I promise. 

Homemade Plain Bagels


2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1/2 cup warm water for yeast
3/4 additional cups of warm water for dough
3 1/2 cups of bread flour or high gluten flour (I've also used all-purpose flour before and they still come out great)
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

1. Pour sugar and yeast into 1/2 cup of warm water. Make sure the water isn't too hot, otherwise your yeast won't activate. Do not stir this mixture. Let it sit for approximately 5 minutes. Once the mixture has sat for a while, you can stir it until most of the sugar and yeast mixes into the water. 
2. In a large bowl mix together flour and salt. In the middle of the flour mixture make a well to pour in the yeast/ sugar mixture. (I put my mixture into my kitchen aid mixer and used the paddle attachment to mix everything together)
3. Pour in the remaining water a little bit at a time. Mix it all up. Add additional warm water until you have a firm and moist dough. 
4. On a floured surface, knead the dough for about 10 minutes. (I cheated a little and used my Kitchen Aid's dough hook and left it to knead for about 8 minutes on low. )
5. Oil a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and leave it to rise in a warm place for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in side. 
6. Punch down the dough once and then let it rise for another 10 minutes. 
7. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. I like to roll the whole thing out on a floured board first, then score it with a knife to break it up into 8 pieces. Take each piece (it should be more or less a hand full of dough) and roll it into a ball. Then take your thumb and press a hole directly into the center of the ball. Repeat with other remaining 7 pieces of dough. 
8. After forming each bagel let them rest for 10 minutes. Also, start preheating your oven now to 425 degrees. 
9. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the water is now at a low simmer. Using a slotted spoon place one bagel at a time into the hot water. Boil each bagel for 1-2 minutes on each side.
10. This is the point where you can top your plain bagels with something special like poppy seeds or sesame seeds.  Just make a quick egg wash (one egg with a splash of water mixed together), brush the egg wash onto the bagels, and then top each bagel with your favorite topping. If you're leaving the bagels plain, there's no need for an egg wash. 
11. Place all the bagels onto a lined baking sheet. 
12. Bake the bagels for 20 minutes. I like to broil them for a quick 2 minutes at the end so that they have a nice toasty brown color to them. 
13. Cool the bagels on a wire rack. 

These bagels are going to come out so buttery and delicious tasting. I dare you to try and wait until they cool to bite down into one of these oh-so-yummy bagels. 

Confession time. I've been working on today's post for the last 7 hours. A little sad isn't it? I was so excited this morning when I woke up and decided I was going to write about my favorite homemade bagel recipe. I've already cooked them, photographed them, and even started the post, but sadly that last little bit just can't seem to get written. Maybe it's because of the fact that it's 4 am and that two year old cutie baby boy of mine is still awake or maybe it's because oddly enough he only seems to attack me when I start working on that post. Whatever the case may be... it's not done and I'm just going to have to throw in the virtual towel on this one.

Tomorrow's post: homemade, fluffy, super yummy, beyond awesome bagels
Today's post... is this sad thing. I'm just going to call it a day and go drink my coffee and wait for the sun to rise.

Good night world. Or better yet... good morning from Kuwait.

We're on day 6 of me posting once a day and I'm just going to have to say that today I wasn't feeling it. Not because I'm out of ideas already of things to talk about or because I'm being lazy about it. I really didn't want to post because well... I'm exhausted. I know, what you're thinking. Saying I'm exhausted is complaining and since I'm actively trying to not complain and to focus on the positive things in my life, I'm actually going against the main point of this project. However, it doesn't change the fact that I'm extremely tired and burnt out.

I love my adorable 2 year old baby boy, but that little guy has the worst sleeping patterns. He always has and I have a feeling he always will. Usually my husband and I are able to control his sleeping patterns enough that we get a solid 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Lately though, his sleeping schedule has gone from him going to bed extremely late to him still being up when the sun rises in the morning. Most days I have huge bags under my eyes and I rely heavily on coffee. Today was morning number 3 of what we'll call the "sunrise showdown" and my body just couldn't take it anymore. I went from feeling tired to feeling awful. My head hurt, my body ached, and my stomach felt like it was doing a backflip.

I'm so thankful that my husband is always willing to come to my rescue. This morning he got up extremely early to stay up with my son. He was the one who got my daughter dressed and ready for school. He also took the kids to play outside after work and he even stayed up tonight to put them to bed so I could rest without having to worry about doing a thing.

My husband and I may bump heads often (more often now that we're on a special duty assignment for the Marine Corps), but I'm so lucky to have him in my life. I seriously don't thank him enough, praise him enough, and tell him much I love him often enough. So tonight's post is simple: love your husband more. That dude may not pick up his dirty socks, he may forget to do the dishes even after you've "kindly" asked him to do it 3 times, and he may forget something when he runs out to the store, but the fact of the matter is YOU LOVE HIM. Otherwise, why stay married?

So here's my promise. Over the next 359 days (how many days left on my journey)....
I will tell my husband I love him more often.
I will kiss him good morning and good night every. single. day.
I will listen to his silly sports stories more and try to be a better active listener in the stories he tells me.
I will thank him more often for being the most loving, kindest person I know.
I will try to hold his hand more, even if it seems impossible with two kids running inbetween us.
I will try harder to go on more date nights and dinners out alone because he's just as important as my kids. 
I will tell every person I know, as often as I'd like, how wonderful he is and how lucky I am to have found him.
Lastly, I will just love him more. My husband deserves every ounce of my love because I know he gives me every bit of his. We've been married for almost nine years now and I know our love will only get stronger as the years go on.

Feel free to comment and tell me one thing you love about your significant other. <3

Before I had kids I had all these "ideas" of what being a parent would be like. I envisioned weekend picnics at the park, giggle sessions in a play tent, dress-up fashion shows in the living room, and quiet evenings reading books together while snuggled under a warm blanket on the couch. While all these moment really do happen in my life, they are far more rare than I ever dreamed. I never imagined I would spend most of my time wiping butts, breaking up fights, and cleaning up the same mess over and over again. Most of my days are too chaotic to even get the simplest task done. I'm extremely proud on those unusual days where I get all the laundry cleaned, the dished washed, and ALL of the toys picked up. Don't get me wrong, my kids are the most important things in the world to me and spending time with them definitely trumps chores (hence why they don't get done), but man oh man, on days like today I can't help dreaming about the good ol' days when I wasn't chased down every time I attempted to go to the bathroom.

Just for fun though I decided to make a quick list of my ten most favorite "playful" signs that your kids have taken over your life. This list is really meant for a quick chuckle and to give all you "kid-less" folks a glimpse into your future. Feel free to comment and tell me some of your favorite signs that your kids have taken over at your house.

Ten Playful Signs That Your Kids Have Taken Over Your Life
1.  When the most played song on your iTunes is a Disney Princess sing-a-long song.
Like this isn't a joke. We've really listened to it that many times. 
2. When you catch yourself watching the end of "Dora", even though the kids have already left the room. 
3. When you realize in the last 3 years the only movies you've seen in theaters were the Lorax and Monster University. 
4. When you go on vacation your suitcase situation has gone from one small suitcase to having so many bags that you looks like you're a roadie for a rock band. 
5. When you give in and let your daughter name the new cat "Rusapea" because that's what the mice from Cinderella call that mean cat who chases them all the time.
6. When you and your husband have taken to hiding in the kitchen to eat dessert so that no little kids snake it before you even get a bite. 
7. When your iPad no longer has apps on it that you enjoy, but rather it's filled with coloring games and Nickelodeon shows. 
8. When all of your Netflix's suggestions are based off of how often you watch "My Little Pony" and "Chuck the Truck." 
9. When you and your husband compete at whose better at drawing. (I am, btw! Okay... we both stink, but I'm the less stinky ones. haha)

10. When the best moments of your day are filled with kid kisses, chalk drawings, Barbie dream houses, and late morning snuggles in the bed squished between two kids and two annoying cats.

Kuwait is hot. Enough said. Today it was a little over a 100 degrees and it's only going to get hotter the closer we get to summer.

Since Kuwait runs on a Sunday-Thursday work week, it means today (Saturday) is our "quiet day" to hang out at home before the busy work week starts again. My family and I spent the afternoon doing yard work and then cooling off at the community pool.

Today's hot weather inspired me to make a batch of Homemade Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles. These popsicles are tangy, sweet, creamy and oh so yummy. Plus I love that the recipe is easy and quick to make. The original version of this recipe comes from Annie's Eats. I ended up tweaking it a little bit. Mostly I changed it by adding frozen strawberries, doubling the batch, and adding a little bit of sugar to combat the tartness of the strawberries. Since I doubled the batch, I did end up with some extra popsicle mixture, but I decided to pour it into a ziploc container to eat later like ice cream. ;)

Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles 

4 cups frozen strawberries
1/2 low-fat greek yogurt
2 lemons, zest and juice
4 tablespoons of sugar

Combine the strawberries, yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar in a food processor or blender. Blend until this mixture is all smooth and delicious looking. It will look and taste just like strawberry sorbet. Pour this mixture into a popsicle mold, freeze it and then enjoy!

Oh and in case you're wondering... My happy moment today was watching my little girl swim in the "big pool" all by herself!

We've lived in Kuwait for almost 6 months now and sadly, I think I can list the things we've done here on one hand (as long as we're not counting shopping malls and restaurants).  Most weekends we just spend it hanging out around the house or playing outside. However, since I'm trying to be more opened minded I decided today we should go to the Kuwait Scientific Center. My daughter had already been with school, but she was so excited about the place I thought it would be a fun family day out.

The first thing I noticed when we pulled into the parking lot was how close we were to the water. Being a California girl, anywhere that's near the water is probably going to get my vote already as a fun place to go to.

Once we were inside the main building, my husband and I decided that we wanted to see the Aquarium and take the kids to the Discovery Place. Okay so I'm going to be honest, we've gone to a LOT of different Aquariums throughout the world. My favorite by far is the one in Osaka, Japan. Mostly because I'll never forget how adorable their penguin parade was. I was a little worried I was going to be bored out of my mind when we decided to go see another aquarium today, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. The kids enjoyed all the different types of fish, sharks, and animals that were on display. My favorite display was the cuttlefish because it was so neat to watch it change colors as it was swimming through the water.

The Discovery Place wasn't huge, but the kids loved it none-the-less. They had tons of hands on activity centers for them to play with and a huge sand pit just in case the kids wanted to get dirty. It took us a couple of hours to go through the whole Scientific Center and we even spent a little bit of time wandering around outside. It was a fun day and it was something new for us to do. :)

As for my happy moment today: mine was definitely ordering Indian take-out food once we got home. haha I love that Kuwait has such a great take-out delivery system. Anything and everything can be delivered (can't complain about that).

Yesterday my husband surprised me with a HUGE container of clams. Someone at his work was sweet enough to bring him some freshly dug up clams from one of the beaches here in Kuwait. The first thing I noticed was how beautiful all the shells were. Good thing my daughter didn't see the shells before I cooked them otherwise she would have begged me to let her keep a few of them as some sort of weird pet.

Right after my husband brought these bad boys home, I started googling for the best "clam" recipe I could find. I decided to go with a simple one from foodtv.com. This was my first time cooking clams and cooking with any sort of alcohol. I've always been so nervous about cooking with wine, or any sort of alcohol for that matter, because I'm not really a drinker and didn't like the idea of an "alcohol after-taste" in my food. However, this recipe proved me wrong and made be quickly realize I might have been missing out on years of eating delicious yummies that use alcohol to enhance the flavor of the food.

I made these guys in a big cast iron pot with a good helping of white wine and butter. I could have easily eaten the whole pot with a crispy baguette on the side to sop up all of the scrumptious pan drippings but instead I decided to pour the whole mixture over some spaghetti. I'll definitely be making this again! And maybe next time I'll be the one to have dug up the clams myself! Overall, day 2 ended with a big bowl of clam happiness. <3

Clams with a White Wine Sauce

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced or 1/2 a red onion finely chopped
5 to 7 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 1/2 pounds of clams
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced into small cubs
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, zested for garnish
Pasta (optional)


1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil for the pasta. Cook pasta accordingly to directions on the packaging. (OPTIONAL)
2. While the pasta is cooking away, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. When almost smoking, add shallots (or red onion) and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add clams and wine. Cover and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until most clams have opened. 
3. Add in half the amount of parsley to the clams. Whisk in butter to thicken sauce slightly. If you didn't want to make pasta with this dish, then you're finished. Just add some lemon zest as a garnish and you're good to go. However, if you deicded to make pasta feel free to read the next two steps. 
4. Drain pasta. Do not rinse pasta and place it into the clam saute pan. 
5.  Pour pasta into large serving dish. Top with some lemon zest and parsley for garnish. 

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So I'm not sure why, but I was hoping today I would wake up a changed person. I envisioned I would wake up not stressed out, not sick and not exhausted. Wait... actually before I really get going let me stop right there. I'm changing my perspective. NO COMPLAINING, right?! Let's move on to day one of being positive.

Todays bright and shining moment was getting to enjoy cupcakes with my babies after a nice dinner out. I'll have to admit, I'm from California and I've had Sprinkles Cupcakes before, but I was never a fan before I moved to Kuwait. I always thought the ones from California were hard and not very fresh tasting. However, the cupcakes here are little pillows of wonderful sweet goodness. Whenever we're near one, I happily skip along with the kids to the store front to drool over their delicious selection.

The babies got 2 mini milk chocolate cupcakes a piece. The hubby and I split of box of two pumpkin cupcakes, one triple cinnamon, and one oh so wonderful red velvet cupcake. If that sounds like a lot of cupcakes, well it is. Haha We always want to get one to enjoy then and one to enjoy later. Who cares about calories. I'm on a new journey to personal euphoria and today is worth celebrating. So here's to day one of 365 days of happiness.

I always beg my daughter to look and smile at the camera, but when I took a step back today I realized her silly faces might be better than a boring traditional smile. 

I'm going to start this off simple.

My name is Lisa.
I have two wonderful kids, a husband, and four wild and crazy pets.
My husband is in the U.S. military and I've lived overseas for the last 4 years.
I like cooking, photography, and reading.

Long story short though, I'm boring. My life is seriously lack luster. I know you might be rolling your eyes a little bit when I say I live overseas AND my life is lack luster, but it's the truth. Not living in the U.S. is what you make of it and right now I'm making sure I hate the experience as much as possible. I wake up everyday with more negative things to say than positive.

I don't get enough sleep.
I have too much schoolwork to do. 
I hate doing the dishes. 
I feel fat this morning. 
I hate when the dogs poop on the rug. 
I don't remember the last time I showered for more than 3 minutes.
I never leave my house. 
I'm lonely. 
Living overseas is overwhelming. 
I feel lost most of the time. 
I wish I could go to the grocery store and not pay $9 for a box a cereal. 
My kids are cute, but never slow down enough for me to catch my breath. 
There's not enough coffee in this house. 

The more and more I complain, the more I feel like I'm being sucked into this black hole. Every morning I sink into my usual dismal demeanor before I even get out of bed and every night I try to reset my mind to think of new ways to claw my way out of my ebbing depression. However no matter how much I try to change, I still come to the same conclusion: I'm lost. I'm in my late twenties. I don't have my degree. I haven't had a job in five years. I stay at home most of the time. Since my family moves so often I don't have many friends. I don't have family nearby. I'm burnt out from living overseas and I'm overwhelmed with the thought that we still have years until we get to move back home again. So what would you do?

Going home isn't an option. I've tried to make new friends, but honestly I've developed an odd sort of social anxiety over making new friends because the environment I'm in is so different from what I'm used to. I've tried to focus on getting a college degree instead, but since most nights I get less than 5 hours of sleep it seems pretty impossible to take on-line classes right now. So I ask the question again, what would you do to change your life?

I've always said: if you don't like your life, change it. So here I am. Attempting to change for the better. My goal is for the next 365 days (1 year) I'm going to find a reason every day to NOT complain. I want to embrace my life. Some days I'm sure my list will be short of positive things to say, but I'm hoping my perspective changes slowly. One day my list of loves will be longer than my hates. One day I'll smile because I'm happy with my life, not because I feel like I have to. One day I won't be so lost and maybe one day I'll feel like I'm finally "found." One day... one day soon.

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