my dear friend hilary was one of my favorite idaho finds. we were neighbors and became very close during the years i lived there. lucky for me, her fam moved here when we moved home. such a happy crazy coincidence! we still get to see each other. in fact we are running a 5K together this weekend. if you feel so inclined, please donate a little for a good cause. we are running on a team in honor of her sweet angel baby michael. hilary is one of those friends that you know God put in your path for a reason. i have learned so much from her, i get teary every time i think about it. she is one of the most genuine, charitable people you'll ever meet. and she brings you cookie dough, just for no reason. and she shows up early when you're hosting parties, to help out. and she usually stays late to help clean up. she is that type of person. i'd never met any one else like her.
to make a long story short, i am a better person because of hilary. she is too humble to ever realize all she has done for me and my family. in this household we talk about her and her husband like they are legends. we really love them. enough gushing, onto the carmelitas! p.s. happy birthday, hil! admittedly, i have been on a carmelita kick for months now. they hit the spot, are quick to whip up and keep for days in the fridge. these bars are perfect for a picnic, a church activity or with a scoop of ice cream to accompany The Office finale. (didn't you love it?!)
i text hilary every time i make one of her recipes. she is an amazing cook. due to her gorgeous slim physique you'd never know she has a sweet tooth. but i love how she can put it away with the rest of us. just another reason we get along so well. i've been meaning to blog this recipe forever, so in honor of hilary's birthday, i give you her carmelitas!! careful, they are addictive.
HILARY'S BEST EVER CARAMELITAS
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/2 jar Mrs. Richardsons Butterscotch Caramel sauce (brand name is essential)
1 package (2 cups) milk chocolate chips (Hilary insists on using Guittard)
In large bowl combine first 6 ingredients to form a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle half of crumbly mixture into a foil-lined, greased 9x13-inch pan. (I smash mine down to ensure no holes for slippery carmel to get through.) Bake at 350 F for 10 to 15 minutes.
Sprinkle chocolate chips over the baked crust and top with melted caramel mixture. Sprinkle remaining crumbly mixture on top. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
note 01. / if you want extra dense carmelitas for a party, simply double the crumbly dough topping by melting 3 sticks butter and add 3 cups flour, 3 cups oats, 3 cups brown sugar and doubling the soda and salt. use 3/4 jar of caramel sauce and 2 cups or more chocolate chips. (you can't really mess these up.) bake the doubled recipe in the same 9x13 pan.
note 02. / here's my tutorial on prepping and cutting carmelita bars. (did i mention how they are the perfect sweet for sharing?) i make them so often, i pretty much have the process down to a science. line your 9x13 pan with foil and spray with pam. then continue with the recipe as directed. that way, you can easily lift them out of the pan and peel off the foil for cutting. make carmelitas a day prior to when you plan to serve them. or at the very least, early in the morning of your dinner party. let them refrigerate overnight so the caramel can set up properly. the next day, when you're ready to slice them, take them out and let them sit on the counter for 15 minutes or so (while you eat breakfast). carmelita edges make the perfect breakfast dessert. slice off edges and save for husband and kiddos. then continue to slice into bars. place bars in sealed container and refrigerate until you're ready to roll.
17 May 2013
15 May 2013
picking the books up from the print shop is rewarding. seeing all those stacks of collated paper, ready to roll, is pretty rad. however, picking them up from the local bindery is my favorite. watching fifty volumes of a book (that i designed!) slide into boxes for me to take home is a pretty amazing feeling. this was a super top secret mission, but i had to snap a text pic to dan of our new arrival. when you create a book, waiting on its completion is like waiting for a baby to come. "it's here!!"
dan's sweet grandmother, bernice cheshire, recently wrote her own life history by hand (click the last image below, her old school process of cutting and pasting handwritten paragraphs is the best). her daughter, my mother-in-law, shanna has been a key role in making her mother's book come to life and shanna solicited my knowledge in book design. it was a big project to take on. doing work for a family member adds tremendous pressure, especially for a beloved grandmother! of course i jumped at the chance to help. i love grandma bernice so much and have very much adopted her as my own.
bernice is ninety-five and has so much vitality, strength and stamina! bernice remember details of our lives, works in her garden and hosts parties and fixes salads for potluck suppers. she still laughs at dan's jokes and loves my littles when we come visit. she is always smiling and chooses to see the sunny side of life. bernice is a heroine of mine. it was truly an honor to assist in creating this book for her. she is a wonderful writer and has written a lovely history.
months ago we were sitting at my kitchen table and she was hesitant about creating a book and distributing it. she wondered who might like to own a copy of her book!! (we had to convince her that taking it to the copy shop and spiral binding it was not the best route for her incredible story!) luckily she grasped the vision of creating a beautiful bound book to enhance her writing and highlight it with the photos that illustrate her life. she has been graciously excited about putting this project into my hands ever since. here's a peek at the finished book...
09 May 2013
30 April 2013
who doesn't love a good roll of washi tape? i have a growing collection and love to tape everything up and mix and match 'em. even though it's trendy. i like the neon trend too. so sue me. i don't even mind the wannabe washi tape rolls showing up at target and other easy-access stores. has washi tape sold out? if so, i for one am in favor! bring on more washi / wannabe tape! we office-supply hoarders love it.
this is one of my favorite rolls by far. now available at your local officemax! it's geometric patterned, a bit wider than classic washi tape. it's mint! and it's made my scotch. (do you know how i love scotch brand double-sided tape?! this is the next best thing!) and i just happen to be wearing mint pants today. talk about trendy. and matchy matchy. well, there's your tuesday tip. xo.
p.s. washi on wiki.
filed under: favorite things
23 April 2013
boy it's hard to figure out what to blog about these days. admittedly, i am sucked into instagram because it is sooo easy. forget the written word and all the time it takes to jot a post and photoshop pics, here's my cute kids! here is a snapshot with a small caption, and voila, end of story, i can connect with rad people and instagram is an insta-success for a non-socialmedia-mama! but then, there is always a story within every single day. truthfully i wonder how not to blog about my boys. family life, motherhood, daily tasks and life with littles is the main thing i have going. i know i am likely saying the same things again and again, but that's what a lot of motherhood is about. it is hard to think up a subject without thinking of what these boys have taught me recently.
i have a few ongoing design projects, but most of them and are kept hidden until the client wants to debut them.. so anyway my main life is my daily world with my kids (on repeat). in house, outdoors, taking drives, creating outings, making memories and hopefully raising them into kind loving people. so grateful to have a hands-on husband to help me along this parenthood route. i try to remember what benji says and jot his hilarious statements down in my favorite little quote book of his. four is all about growing, learning new things, testing limits and being sweeter than pie. he prays often and has such a sincere relationship with God. it's no wonder he teaches me so much. i really feel that children are here to give us new eyes and gain new insights if not a completely new perspective. i've been known to say that two kids has flipped my world upside down. in the best way possible, of course.
today i stopped and looked at them with new eyes. this happens almost once a day. they teach me so much. seth is learning to crawl. more specifically he is perfecting the plank position. it's really amazing to watch. he gets on his hands and knees, in a classic crawl and then switches to plank and drops to scoot himself around on his belly in an army crawl. i marvel that he has to learn the hard way. he has to drag himself through the motions until he learns the easier way through. isn't that how life is?! isn't that the way we learn from our mistakes? we learn the hard way and with practice, we get better and better and suddenly we realize all that dragging through life's challenges was only strengthening us. and, although benji is trying hard to teach seth how to crawl properly, no one can do it for him. seth has to learn on his own. so very true with life. we must learn and grow and figure out problems and develop our talents by ourselves. we have to go through the process to better ourselves. this is the golden part of life. even though it's so tough to watch. aren't your most valuable moments in life after coming through a trial?! isn't coping with difficulties the method of sculpting stronger souls; molding us into who we are?! as a mother i want to hurry his progress and help him crawl because i know it will be a lot less frustrating for him; but i know better. i know this is one of many hurdles he has to conquer on his own. so we clap and praise and holler and hug. we do all we can to help him help himself. a lesson i will surely be learning again and again as a mama.
benji has taken on the roll of big brother with great courage. he is such a good helper and is so very patient with our latest addition. he always creates stories about two brothers whenever he is imagining up a new tale. he is confident and happy and quick to forgive. i am so grateful he loves to be obedient. always trying to do what's right. seth loves him so much, what a joy it is to have a brother. however i know it must be hard to be four and learn about the bigness of life; the rules of right and wrong and figuring out how to be brave and honest and good and thankful and polite and know when and where ninja moves are appropriate. controlling our tempers and eating our vegetables and becoming an understanding and empathetic individual takes practice. practice is easier to come by with a little brother scooting around getting into our things. although i've tried with all my heart not to place too much older brother pressure on him, i know he must feel it. his life has changed in such a big way. he shares his mom and dad now. thankfully children are so wholesome and good, he wouldn't ever think to keep us only for himself. the only way children know how to love, is completely and wholly. i praise him and hug him and thank him for all he does. i do what i can to say you're awesome to go through this huge transition with a smile.
tonight my favorite thing happened. benji, all on his own, sang his baby brother to sleep. i waited in the darkened hallway–nearing their door, about to come to the rescue–when i heard him kindly solving the problem with a song. i stood motionless, not daring to move or creak the floorboards beneath my feet. i melted into a puddle as benji's primary song, i like to look for rainbows, calmed seth down immediately. and then they both fell back asleep in their room. i wanted to burst in and hug them both and tell them thank you for being such good boys. but i knew i would ruin the moment (and wake them both up)! another moment for me as a mama to stay by the sidelines and cheer. i silently thanked God for my many blessings and all the lessons i'm learning day by day.
benji loves baking with mama | seth perfects his plank in our hotel room
become as little children | inspiration: here, here and here.
20 April 2013
julia child quote / source unknown / via pinterest
thank you for all the shout outs on that last little experiment. i hear you. thanks! made me feel happy! i love it when i know you're out there reading. it feels like a little party! we've been off on a mini getaway in the mountains. eating, catching up on cable tv and swimming in hot tubs while the last of the spring snow fell. seth took his first dip in his nautical suit and benji showed off some back stroke skills. life is good. i feel so blessed. today it is raining and we are cleaning and laundering and catching up on cartoons. benji loves our official pajama days wherein we don't have to leave the house! getting home from vacation is the perfect time to spring clean the whole place. (i am using vinegar & warm water as my go-to cleaning solution these days.) i have a goal this year to get rid of all the crap lurking in the corners. i am a part-time professional hoarder and hope i can keep up the motivation to clean sweep. do you have any tips for me?! i have about seven huge empty boxes waiting for a day i may need them. wha?! is this necessary in life? and magazines?! why can't i part with them? and what about kiddie artwork!? i want to figure out a solution before he starts kindergarten! wishing you a happy spring saturday.
11 April 2013
am a fan of instagram. i didn't get it before. now i do. #callmeasocialmediaslowpoke. i plan on making an Artifact Uprising photo album. instagram is the perfect lazy-person scrapbook.
am a fan of string cheese. with apples. or alone and in my purse all day, a little smushed.
am a fan of spring rain. it's so refreshing and is making our lawn soo green.
am a fan of OPI gargantuan green grape. the perfect mint hue for nails.
am a fan of old navy v-neck tees. i live in them.
am a fan of fabulous envelopes. i love a grid design.
am a fan of these pretty necklaces. i hope to meet kersey this week at bijou market!!
am a fan of these maypole colorful felt balls and the darling girl behind them. yay, aubry. (i met her and some other very talented ladies at an intimate crafter mama meet n' greet the other night. thanks to michelle of twig for the invite! lets do it again soon!)
am a fan of the gallery wall. dan has given me the go-ahead to let me have-at-it in my kitchen. am hoping for something lovely like this little pinspiration.
am a fan of all the darling illustrations found in the little low studio shop. this adventurers print would be perfect for my family of little adventuresome men.
am a fan of hunkering down to fold laundry. am thinking i'll be ordering something from amazon prime to make it a night. any good movie suggestions?!!
am a fan of creative collaboration projects. i am so grateful for you awesome incredible people (mostly all women!!) that i get to work alongside with. seriously, i pinch myself. i love brainstorming big things together.
am a fan of this tea boy's plaid button down. if i could justify hanging another one in their closet, it would be mine.
am a fan of family bike rides.
p.s. my brother and i had a little discussion about blogs the other day. i wonder.. is blogging dead? are we on the way out, especially due to google reader going away for good!?! are you still out there? if so, say a little hello in the comments. perhaps it's just the device you read it on is too cumbersome to comment?! anyway, just a bitty experiment!
05 April 2013
+ planning on busting out the traditional trail mix for general conference this weekend. (it's going to be streaming live on saturday and sunday. are you excited?!)
+ this Elder Uchtdorf talk from the general young women meeting was so uplifting and riveting from the get-go. i love hearing him speak.
+ i've recently discovered sally hansen's insta-dry anti chip top coat. it's ammmmazing. it dries quick and looks glossy for a very long time. my sista thought my nails were shellac.
+ raining today. benji reminds me, april showers bring may flowers. will be making a fort later for a readathon. he has discovered richard scarry books. this makes me entirely happy.
+ am joining the masses on instagram! after a friendly dose of peer pressure i am loving the quick snapshot and connection with friends. find me @martawrites. a whole new addictive substance.
01 April 2013
easter sunday dinner and egg hunt at amy's home. the teenagers taught benji about trading; their candy for his money. (benji gave up his money willingly without any trade. it was pretty cute.) good thing i have nieces to teach me everything i am missing on instagram, snapchat and youtube. p.s. i laughed my head off at this you forgot the blueberries clip. #thankssophie.
darling easter table. the food was so good, i was too busy eating to photograph.
the golden egg in the exhaust pipe trick.
oma and opa hosted an event to remember: an egg hunt (ears provided), the bunny hop, talent show, an egg roll race (i am dying to photoshop that grass green!) and easter sweets galore. it was warm and sunny and a perfect park day. i love watching benji (and seth!) play with their cousins.
dan provided the glazed maple bacon donuts. they actually tasted pretty good. not sure i ever need one again. admittedly, looking at this photo now makes my stomach a bit squirmish. (the kids thought it was an april fools trick. yuck! bacon!?!)
best easter loot: cool band-aids. genius thinking, mom!
my easter boys in their sunday best. in my opinion, little boys belong in plaid. (i'm gonna have to roll these babes to sears or something to get a decent photo of them together!) bummer i didn't snap a picture of myself yesterday; i was actually dressed properly. ha!
hope you had a happy easter with you and yours. xo.
27 March 2013
lookie lookie! a special spring issue of domino just landed. each page features pretty possibilities (and tons of sources!) for your small spaces. not only does it have fantastic ideas for your home, but the magazine is brilliantly designed and will inspire your inner graphic artiste. i will be dog-earring this edition and coming back to it often. it's my recent favorite thing to peruse before a little catnap on the couch. these days both boys are afternoon-napping at once. knock on wood! i count myself blessed! magazine reading and a catnap!? two guilty pleasures in one afternoon.
p.s. i'm loving your responses to my last post! yay. comments aren't dead afterall!
filed under: book reviews
26 March 2013
lately i've been noticing the clever way designers are copying (so closely!) the trends selling in big brand name shops. (yes, i realize this is not a new phenom).
therefore, i give you: AWESOME OR AN OUTRAGE?!
i have recently been introduced (and therefore a bit converted) to the awesomeness of Lululemon attire. however i had mixed feelings when i saw almost exact designs at Target for way less than offered at Lulu. what do you think? i do love finding a bargain but do you think Target is missing on quality in construction? (i did note that there a few minor differences in design.) is Lulu just out to get us!? are you stoked that Target is up on what's hip?! do you feel in some way unethical buying the cheaper version!? or do you love that you scored a knock-off design!? (no judgements here. in nyc, i've been known to go crazy for $5 pashminas and faux kate spade bags!) for the record, these pants are completely comfortable and cozy. do you know which one's which?! will you be getting a pair?
click to see the sources of the capri on the left and the capri on the right.
21 March 2013
opening mail has never been so fun.
+ warm enough to don the onesie without pants. (on seth–indoors–that is.)
+ we took a spontaneous (and successful!) family photo the other morning right before church. we were all wearing a touch of green. we grabbed a neighbor, click and bam: a decent family portrait. yay.
+ daffodils are (nearly) blooming like crazy. this makes me so happy since all our flowers died so miserably at the end there last year.
+ made vats of italian tomato, artichoke and sausage soup for a church function. the house smelled divine. i figured i would have tons leftover.. not even one bowl.
+ working on three design projects concurrently. it's good to get my feet wet again.
+ one of them has me squealing; a little marta calligraphy (can i call it that?!) letterpressed! i've only seen late night cell phone pics of them so far, but i'm dying over it. can't wait to reveal our collaborative efforts.
+ a very happy thing; texting other freelance mamas in the wee hours to discuss ideas, give pats on backs and virtual high fives.
+ planning an epic weekend in vegas with this little lady. (have you seen her new site?!) planning a trip (and where to eat!) is half the fun.
+ my taxes are (almost) done!
+ my favorite flipflops are back in business. (they are an investment; but they last and last and last.)
+ meanwhile benji is still wearing his boots to go biking. i had to remind him about crocs! oh the love of kiddie crocs in the summertime.
+ o.p.i. elephantastic pink fingernails.
+ a new belgium waffle & frittes place just opened up next door to my gym. talk about living dangerously.
+ last saturday we spring cleaned the garage. seriously, we were so proud of ourselves.
+ easter is right around the corner. planning egg hunts galore.
+ discovered a new fabulous font: Belluccia. gorgeous.
+ i finally fit into old pre-baby tops. hello peter pan collars. nothing like shopping the closet.
+ i braved up and went to zumba. felt like a fool. but a happy dancin' fool.
+ ate two homemade eclairs with the kitchen staff at said church function. i love the behind-the-scenes chit chat. p.s. anyone else tempted to run to target for the new JT album?
+ this body scrub smells amazing. admittedly that store can be annoying. just focus. run in, run out. you won't regret it.
+ glad the bachelor's over. oh man, that show. now i can have my mondays back.
+ met old friends jer and mallory for some authentic thai. more coconut curry, yes please.
+ finally cashed in a gift certificate from my birthday for a facial. happy belated to me.
+ counting the days to the field trip to the aquarium. benji is beside himself with glee.
+ the other morning i went with dan's grandma and mother to our favorite local bindery, Schaffer's. it's a true mom / pop shop, the best bindery in town. bernice, age 95, chose the hue of cloth for her book cover and picked between gold and silver foiling for the title and spine. (we're printing 50 life histories!) this kind of thing made me remember how awesome it is to create something from scratch. especially for people you love a lot. seth was a rockstar and slept in his carseat the whole time. three cheers for learning to juggle priorities.