Pickles vs. Puppies

Mr. Pickle Pot Pie will be turning one in a little over a month! I can't believe it at all, how could that tiny little baby turn into this walking, talking, terrorizing, little boy!  He just started walking this past Sunday, I didn't know whether to laugh, smile, or cry. He's almost a pro now, and has been walking the entire length of our living room with much gusto.

We are in the process of planning his 1st birthday party. While we originally didn't want to have one for him (do you remember your 1st birthday party), we figured you only get to be one once, so what the heck.  I went ahead and made a list last weekend, and boy I got put in my place. In the end, we had 80 people on it! How did that happen? Then I remember that Austine's close family is about 25 all by itself, not including the Great Grandmas, and Great Great Grandmas! You really have to love the Catholic family dynamic here haha.

So now, instead of having a party at our house, or Austine's parent's, we are going to be having it at a local park just so there will be more than standing room. This leads us to the title of this post: Pickles vs. Puppies. We originally wanted to have a "pickle" theme for his birthday, as that is his main nickname and we think it would be cute. However, there is so much more puppy themed stuff for a 1st birthday out there. It might make my life a little easier to do this, but Austine is determined that he wants to make everything for the party. Invitations, banner, everything. This is the man who at times, cannot make it through and entire movie after dinner without falling asleep. I somehow doubt he is going to have the energy to make all this stuff...

Here are some cute puppy party pictures, maybe this will sway him:
 Beautiful cake pops from Bakerella!

This cake is so cute, props go to Life on the Terrace, I don't know if we'd ever do a cake to this degree but it's is so adorable!
Invites from A Bushel and a Peck of FUN. I think Austine can do this really easily. It's a pretty cute idea.
If you want to see more, check out my Pinterest board for Ethan's first birthday!


Ramen- Nila Style!

So I originally was going to post about fall decoration ideas, or perhaps about being sick and making things still work at home. However, since I have been making copious amounts of homemade ramen, I decided this would be a more entertaining (and useful) subject.

Really Easy Delicious Ramen

You will need

A few cans of chicken broth
Stir-fry vegetables (frozen)
Green onions (chopped)
Ramen noodles (find the baked kind if you can)
Ground Ginger
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Chicken Buillion Cubes

Add ins-
Soy Sauce
Teriyaki Sauce
Beaten Egg

I don't have exact measurements because I really just make it to the size of the group I am serving (the pictures are for a group of 8, mostly men). Cook the noodles first according to the package directions (fried noodles take less time).

Then pour the chicken broth into a 4 quart pan. Add a few buillion cubes, about half a cube for a can of broth. Add a couple teaspoons of ginger, garlic powder, and onion powder. Bring to a boil. Add stir-fry vegetables (in any amount you wish), and chopped green onion.

Spoon broth and veggies into a bowl. Add noodles! You can now add sriracha, soy, teriyaki to your liking. My advice is to choose one and stick with it! If you want to add egg make sure the broth is really hot, so it cooks completely.

There you go, amazing ramen! You can add even more variety by adding shredded chicken, pork, beef, or frozen shrimp. The possibilities are endless! Enjoy!


Mail Slot

I shone it up! Sorry for being behind on posts, I have managed to get two colds back to back. It sucks. Here are the before and after pictures!

Looks easier than it was! Noxon workled really great though, I would use it again on any other project! I almost ruined my counter though, as I didn't realize the product was ammonia based, and I had already started to polish the mail slot on them. The smell quickly let me (and my husband) know that I needed to move the project outside, Noxon has quite the odor, but enough umphh to remove about 40 years of tarnish.

Word to the wise: If it ain't broke don't fix it! I wish I could have been there 40 years ago when my grandparents decided to paint over it. Anything can look beautiful again after putting a little elbow grease into it!



So we (I really should say Austine, as I did barely any work) managed to get most of the painting done this last weekend. Although the garage and some touch ups still remain to be done, we both feel really accomplished right now. Fortunately for us, we had help! Austine's brother and cousins are awesome, we definitely couldn't have done it without them.

The "man" hard at work.
I soaked the old mail slot in paint thinner.

The old paint bubbled off, and then I set to work with a scraper.
The mail slot paint-less. It looks red because I need to get some brass polish, it's tarnished!
Our mail hole, haha. Slotless for now.

You can see the trim color we picked out on the bottom lip of the sill. Needless to say we aren't going with that color anymore .

The side of the house.
Our bay windows.

Sunset at the Duggan's!

We still have a lot of work to do. Fortunately, all the windows need to be painted white, and a lot of the sills need to be repaired before we can paint the trim color (which we haven't decided on). The we have the grass to redo, the retaining wall to replace, borders to build, bark to place, backyards to fence, trees to remove, more grass to plant. It just doesn't end. Since we haven't been paying my parents rent we are paying for it through labor!

I do feel sad though, because I feel like I've really poured a lot of emotion and labor into this house, and it will never be "ours". I hope someday we will have a house that we can make our own even more than this house, but I don't really think it will be in California. Both Austine and I are facing the realization that if we stay here, we will never own our own house. It's a sad truth. For the moment, however, I refuse to let that weigh me down. Instead I'm celebrating this house looking the best it's looked in 30 years!


1st World Problems

Well it seems this term is really trending on twitter! I was first introduced to it when complaining on my facebook; yes I am one of those people! I even admit it, if I were my friend on Facebook I'd probably hide myself! Well, apparently being mad that the app you bought to write blogs doesn't work is a first world problem, who knew? I mean, blogging is a bit more important than clean water, or food on the table right?

In all seriousness, my son's first world problem stems from our vaccuum. He absolutely hates it. I keep telling him he'd better be grateful for that vacuum, we could be sweeping a dirt floor instead! He chooses not to listen and screams bloody murder in lieu of being grateful for our socioeconomic status. Nevermind the millions of babies out there who would be glad to have a vacuum. He simply won't listen.

I've considered moving to Ethiopia but I'm pretty sure he'd be scared of lions, dirty water, lack of hygiene, you know - the unimportant stuff.

Babies, can't teach them reasoning.


Home Sweet Home

So, we are finally in the beginning stages of painting the outside of our house! For those of you who haven't been with me since the beginning, our house has been quite the trial. First off, I love it. It's my paternal grandparent's house, so not only did my Father grow up here, but I practically did until I was about 12. So I have many many fond memories of this place.

However, my uncle did not leave it in the greatest of shape after his death. The walls were coated in tar and tobacco, along with 50 year old wallpaper. The kitchen and bathroom were a complete and utter disaster. My parents (how I love them) remodeled much of the house, while Austine and I painted to our hearts content. When we were first married we didn't even get to move in right away as it wasn't done! Life in a RV will make you appreciate a house SO MUCH MORE.

So we moved in with the intention to pay rent, paint the outside, and fix up the backyard. God had other plans. Austine had trouble finding work, and my parents were gracious enough to let rent go while Austine looked for work (all while my Mother thought she might be laid off from her teaching position). Needless to say for a while painting and fixing the yard were not priorities anymore.

Now is the time! We are finally prepping for paint and I am so excited! It's going to look great, and I will no longer have to deal with the dirty looks from the neighbors (hey, your house ain't that much to look at either, buddy). Here are a few pre-paint photos for you to enjoy!

The front of our house. Notice the neglected lawn, sod is next!


We had a really hard time choosing paint colors. We ended up going with the bottom right (Behr Clay Pebble) as base and the top left (Behr Carriage House) as trim. I'm still worried the base may be a bit too khaki looking though. Any thoughts?
Tools of the trade!

Little things like this porch post are what make me love our house. They just don't make em like they used to! Our house was built in 1939!
             A better closeup of the base vs. trim color.
Future herb garden and (sadly neglected) lemon tree.

We are painting (hopefully) this Saturday, so hopefully I will be able to update next week with new pictures!                                        

Pictures of the Natural History Museum

To make up for the fact that I didn't post at all yesterday, I'll be sharing a few photos from the NHM that didn't make it into my last post- enjoy!


Charmed Life from Bath and Body Works

My life is far from being charmed, but with this new lotion from Bath & Body Works I may be a step closer.

I actually received the above pictured lotion as a free gift, for purchasing my husband's shower gel (Citron by the way, smells amazing!). I love all their products, mostly due to the fact that they last so dang long! I'm pretty sure I have had my last bottle of shower gel for four or five months. Not to mention they smell amazing.

Anyhow, I really really love this fragrance. The bottle says it is a blend of pear, guava, and vanilla. I also detect a hint of musk, my favorite. It has a really clean and light fragrance, but manages to stick around for hours after you've applied it. I'm pretty sure it was fate that I got this sample, as I'm going to run out of gel soon. Charmed Life is next on my to buy list at BBB!


What do dinosaurs, geodes, and butterflies have in common?

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles! Austine and I ended up going today with his family and some cousins. Parking was ten dollars, and admission for adults was 12 per person, with extra for the butterfly pavillion. Despite the cost (expensive for a couple trying to get out of debt) we really enjoyed it. I would definitely go back in a heartbeat. Ethan seemed to really get a kick out of the displays, he would coo and sing at them!

The dinosaur exhibit was very neat. It really is amazing that these creatures existed in our world so long ago. The size really overwhelms you when you are standing next to a giant dinosaur skeleton.

I just love the way the whole museum looks, its totally classic. We're talking stained glass, worked iron, bronze statues, chandeliers.

There is a ton to see and I didn't feel like I got to take everything in, it is just so much to absorb! We did tour the entire museum before we went outside to the butterfly pavillion. It was really neat, but since Ethan was asleep in the stroller he didn't get to see it (which may have been for the best, I can see in my minds eye the havoc he could have wreaked).

It was absolutely beautiful! It felt as if there were little flying flowers fluttering about the tent. I didn't have a great camera, just my iPhone cam, but I did catch a few good shots as you guys can probably see. I may go back, as I found out the first Friday of every month is free (and probably jam packed). I encourage everyone who hasn't been and is in the area to check it out!


I really would have written yesterday,

If I hadn't been drowning in my own fluids. I feel horrible. At least Austine is a awesome hubby and had totally taken over for me, even of it means we didn't get the stucco patch done :( At least it's a three day weekend for us as Monday's a holy day! Yay, we will see of I am well enough for church on Sunday AND Monday… I promise to have more interesting posts by Monday.


Ethan Antics

So my kid is a jokester. No really, he thinks everything is hilarious, makes the funniest/weirdest faces all the time. I was fortunate enough to catch this on camera, so I am adding it here for your viewing pleasure. You're welcome in advance. For the LOLS that is.



You must be wondering why there is a picture of an iron on your screen. It's an easy answer really. This instrument of torture, death and demise is haunting me.

You see, I really freaking hate ironing. I know, I know, buy a steamer, take it to the dry cleaner (that's really effing tempting), yes these are all viable options for your everyday run of the mill housewife. I however insist on ironing my husbands 1.75644566 million shirts every week to -get this- save money.

I always tell myself, oh it's not that bad, it's cheaper than buying a steamer or dry-cleaning it. Then I find myself writing a blog to avoid it. The pile of to-be ironed clothes stalks my every move through my house, want some lunch? Oh there's the god-forsaken pile on the table. Want to go to bed? Of course it's on your spot! The only way I can get out of it is to ignore it for a week and let my husband do it.

Let's just say the results aren't exactly appealing. I guess I have some ironing to do.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Art in the streets @ MOCA

Ethan and I at the depot
We ended up going to this AMAZING exhibit in Little Tokyo yesterday. First off, we took the train which is always an experience. Don't get me wrong, I love taking the train. If I could take it everywhere I would, there are so many plus sides; no parking to worry about, you get exercise, and you actually get to see the people who live around you. No cars, no road rage - just relaxation and scenery seeing! If you don't look at the scenery, you can look at the guy getting arrested at the depot (no joke), the person talking to themselves on the train, it goes on and on!
But! It's not a bad thing. Los Angeles is a very urban place, and it certainly reminds you that you don't live in the country.
The "Uncles"
Ethan was absolutely amazing! He just loved hanging out with his "Uncles". I have to say, they love him too. They spend most of their time hanging out with him, trying to make him laugh. I think it really comes from having such large (read Catholic) families. They have all been introduced to small children and the thought of holding one is not scary in the slightest. They really do save my butt from time to time (frustration wise).

So we took the Metro Gold Line, which I highly recommend taking if you want to go to Olvera Street, Chinatown, Pasadena, Mission St in South Pasadena. There are so many stops, if you buy an all day pass (I think it's 5 dollars right now) you could spend a whole day seeing the sights, and still have some left at the sun sets!
The sign from the line

So the train ride took about 30 minutes, which was absolute bliss. We finally got off at the Little Tokyo/Arts stop, and found the Geffen Center. Man, the line was long! We had read a bunch of stuff online which said admittance was free. LIES! Admittance was only free on Thursdays or Mondays (and the Mondays are for a limited time). So, we ended up paying 10 bucks a person, which turned into 30 for us since Mikey didn't have any cash (what else is new haha). However, I think anyone will agree with me when I say if you wait in line for something for an hour to 1.5 hours, you'll pay amounts you never would have if the line were only 10 minutes long. I have to say it was worth it. I'm really glad that I got to see the entire exhibit. Pictures cannot do some of this art justice! Words can't either, as it turns out. Here are some of the pictures we took!
My favorite exhibit, I didn't catch the artist's name though!

Love this little dude!

See any similarities? I'm kidding.
Oh no not YOGI!
This piece looks much different farther away than closer. Did that make sense?!
Austine made his own art with this blurry picture!
Banksy. Love. Him.
In the city...
Crazy neon room

Dark alley...is this the real LA?

City of...graffiti?
Our family on the way back! Pickle is a bit tired.
We loved the exhibit to say the least. While a lot of things just weren't my style, there were several things that really grabbed my imagination and ran away with it. After the exhibit, we headed to Orochon Ramen nearby, which was delish. I really wish I had taken a picture of the place because it was really amazing! You get your choice of three soup bases, plus the level of spiciness, plus any addons you want (think egg, extra meat ect). It was so delicious, I am hell bent on finding something in our area (which shouldn't be too hard). I wish I could recreate it in my kitchen... Hope you guys enjoyed the post, I know I enjoyed writing about our amazing time!