Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A few of my favorite things.. Lbri Facial Masque

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to win L'Bri products from a blog giveaway. I did some research on the company after I received my package in the mail and was really excited to find out that they use natural ingredients in the products. Big bonus

One of the products I received was L'Brie Pure n' Natural Facial Masque. This product claims to be an instant non surgical face life, tones tightens and firms your skin, removes dead skin and smooths your skin among other things. All of those things sounded great to me!  The first time I used it I spread the gel like substance on while watching TV. I wasn't really paying attention. All of a sudden my skin started to feel like it was tightening. And it sorta hurt. After the ten minutes (ish) wasn't really paying attention to the time very well, I went to go rinse my face off. When I looked in the mirror I almost screamed out- except I couldn't because my face was covered in this hard plastic like substance. I wish I would have taken a picture- because I resembled a burn victim or something. Scary looking. It felt like I had undergone botox(not that I know what that feels like..yet) but I was unable to really move my face. I scrubbed the gunk off instantly- which hurt a big. Cursing myself for not reading more about this product. After I got it off my face was red for about 20 minutes. I vowed never to use this product again....

About 30 min. later I went to check to see if my face was still red. It wasn't. But honestly now my face felt, and looked cleaner, smoother and possibly even tighter. I only say possibly because at this point I had only used it once. But my face looked and felt great!

I tried this product a few days later, this time making sure to only leave it on for ten minutes, and it still felt a little tightening and it dried on my face, and didn't exactly feel great coming off either, but if it's doing what it promises (tightening and smoothing my skin while getting rid of dead skin cells) then a little discomfort is totally worth it! Beauty is pain ladies!!

Time will tell if this really does do all that it promises, but after a few uses I feel like I look younger and fresher, and my skin hasn't felt this great in a long time! This will definitely be a regular product of mine during the long, harsh Colorado winter!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Steppin Out Saturday

Our SOS outfits actually took place on Sunday. We spent the morning taking Jasper to his very first movie!! He is Obsessed with Harry Potter so we figured it would be a good choice for his first movie. And he was Pumped. I had already seen it last weekend so I figured when, not if, he got bored and starting being loud we could go walk around so Drew wouldn't miss any of it. Well it DIDN'T HAPPEN! This kid sat through 30 min. of preview and a 2.5 hr movie! If you knew him, and his inability to sit still for ten minutes you would realize just How huge this is! Sure three boxes of candy and a large popcorn helped, but seriously he did Amazing!!

On Mamma
Dress- purchased in Sweden (have exact same dress in purple as well)
Super comfy tights -F21
Shoes- F21

On Jasper
Sweatshirt- Bought on Disney European cruise by my dad
Jeans- Baby GAP
Shoes- they used to be my little brothers!! So that makes them 15 yrs, and in Amazing shape.

If you want to play along go to http://harpershappenings.com

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Reminiscing..Sweden part 2.

If you missed part 1 go here

Covered up to his ears in snow(same slide his mamma used to go down) and he Loved it! We kept taking turns bringing him up and letting in slide down. 

In the beginning of February (of 09') we took our first trip(of many) away from Karlstad. We took a 7 hour trip up North to Ljusdal, Sweden. The town I grew up in. This town holds so many memories for me, and it was so surreal to go back after 12 years.  Jasper did amazing on all of our train rides- we had his pram- and we would always find a spot to park the pram where he could stay buckled in the pram and we could sit and entertain him. It worked amazingly well. One of the things that would distract him the most was an ipod- Drew would put the headphones on him and he would be content for so long!! He was 18 months old at the time.

Up in Ljusdal my grandma met us at the train station. It was Amazing to see her after so long. Words can't describe how it felt to see her again after so long.

This post could get rediculously long so here are the hi-lights
1. Eva, my moms best friend when we lived there and our former babysitter who used to live next door picked us up and we stayed with her the first couple of nights, but went and visited my grandma, or Farmor, daily. Farmor lives in a small one bedroom apartment, where as Eva lives in a larger 2 bedroom town home so much more space
This is how we got around in all the snow for walks. People walk their children to daycare like this! True story. 

2. We took long walks in the snow around my old neighborhood, saw my old school and the house my uncle built- which we I grew up in.

My old house.
The forest behind my house, this is the shortcut I would take to school every day. In the spring and summer I was always late because I would find a blueberry bush and get distracted eating. 
3. The last half of the long weekend Sofie came and got us and we stayed in the cute little cabin that her and her fiance lived in. Sofie was a childhood best friend- has since come to visit us twice here in the US and was a bridesmaid!

4. While with Sofie and Henrik we went snowmobiling, went to a little ski/sledding resort (practically during a blizzard) went out to the bars where I ran into former classmates!!!!, stayed up till 3 am talking every night and just had a wonderful time. They are truly amazing people Sofie and Henrik.
Add the sledding resort, little half cabins for warming up and grilling! Best invention ever. See that pram in the background? There were Dozens of sleeping babies there. Told ya Swedes are awesome.

Sofie and and I snowmobiling! 

The school I went to from 1st grade through 4th
Sofie, me and Jessica

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hope everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving

It was hard not being able to go back to see our family for thanksgiving and we were just going to do a little meal here at home, but a week ago a friend found out we were going to be staying here and Insisted we join her and her family. At first we declined, as we didn't want to intrude on their family dinner, but after she called me several times asking me, and telling me her mom was going to call me if we didn't agree to come we agreed. And I'm glad we did. We had amazing food (I make a cheese cake and au gratin potatoes) good wine and a great time. They are such nice people, and my friend has a three year old that just happens to be jasper bff, so while the guys(and some of the girls) got a poker game going we took the boys down to the basement and watched Finding Nemo and part of Shrek and ate lots of dessert (why yes I did have a slice of pumpkin pie, apple pie And cheese cake)

We stayed there pretty late- almost 11, Jasper was Such a trooper since his normal bedtime is 7:30- and then I got up early to go black friday shopping with the same friend. We just went to the mall and it was pretty packed! I only hit up GAP (50% of everything!!!!) F21, Hanna Andersson and Victorias Secret- where I received a free sweet tote with some products inside after spending over $60. SCORE! That's the only thing I bought (and i didn't even buy it was free!!) for myself.

Anyone get any Sweet Black Friday deals??

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wedding Wednesday

I've seen this on a few blogs and decided to join in so I don't upload the 1500 pics that I just received last week from my photographer.
Some of my favorite moments from our wedding day (one month and a day ago!!) were dancing with Jasper. I can't imagine having had the wedding before Jasper was born, and waiting till he could play a big part in it is one of the best decisions we ever made I think. He's the biggest part in my life, how could he not have been there for one of the biggest days in our lives? 

This kid is a dancing machine and was dancing till after 1 AM. Some of my favorites. 

His daddy swingin him around

My favorite healthy snack

Okay I'm lying. It's not healthy at all. If you are looking for a healthy recipe run the other way. While we have been trying to eat healthier and mainly organic, sometimes nothing sounds better than some deep fat fried french fries. Agh my mouth waters thinking about it.

The other day I had a Huge craving for them and Drew was happy to oblige my craving and made a quick run to Safeway. I was all out of ranch and how in the world can you eat french fries with out ranch? I decided not to make Drew run back to the store and instead got creative with what was in my fridge.
Up first: Organic parmesan cheese. It was good. Not amazing, but i enjoy parmesan cheese, so it was quite good on top of the fries.
Secondly: Organic Feta Cheese. Oh. My. God. THIS WAS AMAZING. I can't say enough great things about feta and french fries. If you love feta and fries- you HAVE to try this.
Up last: organic garlic Cesar dressing. It was actually very delicious. Love garlic, love cesar, love fries so the combo of it all was Really good. Maybe better than ranch? Maybe. But probably not Quite. But a close competitor.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Whenever I do something with Jasper that's not a typical kids activity people will ask me why bother. For example outings such as the science museum or the Denver art's museum. Yes they are not geared toward three year olds- but that doesn't mean he isn't going to enjoy it or get something out of it. And it makes us work on not running around being wild and rowdy, because come on, he's a 3 year old boy. He wants to run and be crazy- but when we go to an activity that isn't filled with screaming toddlers he totally tries to act like a little adult. And it's the cutest thing ever. Plus mamma needs a little stimulation besides story time and parks once in a while!

This past week a couple of friends and I took our three year olds to the science museum. Unfortunately we chose a day where 4 school buses full of middle schoolers were also there, but it's a big place, so it ended up not being too crowded. But seriously- do middle schoolers not wear deodorant? Whenever a group of them would walk by I had to hold back my gag because seriously? They Smell. And this is from a mom who has spent the past three years changing dirty diapers multiple times a day (first two years jasper, as soon as he was potty trained I started watching Riley) so ya know it was bad if I'm saying That made me gag. Poopy diapers? NBD, sweaty prepubescent boys and girls? Barf.

Anyway the kids did awesome for the first two hours of exploring. We saw mummies, dinosaurs, and wildlife(oh my) and then they started to get crabby. Which I can't really blame them- so we only got through the top floor. But after a snack break we discovered a little kid zone area where they had music, instruments, a human brain in a jar(didn't need to see That right before lunch time) a digging area and lots more. So for the next hour the kids had a blast in there. It was a win win- learning And play time. I'll def. be taking J back there, and this time we will start on the 2nd floor so I can see more of the museum.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Steppin Out Saturday

I had a lot of fun participating in last weeks Steppin out  Saturday so of course had to do it again.

Our SOS outfits actually happened on Saturday this time. At a Swedish Christmas market in Denver. I'll post more about that when I can figure out how to get videos off of our new video camera. Me + Technology= Fail. Every time.

On Mamma
Dress-small store in Stockholm, can't remember the name.
Black shirt- GAP
Tights- Target
Shoes- Madden Girl- from last year but I think either TJ Max or Ross

On Jasper
Sweater- Ridiculously expensive sweater we bought in Norway (damn exchange rates trick you!!)
Jeans- Baby Gap

Can't wait to check out everyone else's outfits!

If you want to play along head over to http://www.harpershappenings.com/

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Reminiscing..Sweden part 1.

From January through July of 2009, Drew, Jasper and I studied abroad in Sweden. I started a blog then- but I was HORRIBLE at keeping up with it. The one thing i was good about doing was taking a LOT of pictures. I never want to forget our amazing time there, so once a week or so I'm going to pick a memory of Sweden and right it down so I wont ever forget.

I'll start off with the first blog post I wrote, after we had arrived in Sweden.
Greetings from Karlstad, Sverige
Well after possibly the worst 24 hours of my life we finally made it here. I'm not going to write too much about the trip because honestly I dont even really want to think about how horrible it was! To sum it up- I started throwing up at about 11 am Iowa time and didnt stop for about 25 hrs. Im a horribly flyer and always seem to get sick- and throwin up every 15-20 minutes and not eatiing or drinking anything tends to make me a litle weak. So on top of getting so sick, as soon as we landed in Stockholm I fainted- and had to be wheeled around the airport.

Anyway enough about me being so sick- jasper did really well! He only slept about 3 hours out of 25 hrs of traveling so was a bit crabby but other than that did amazing. Drew did good also, he was a little fed up with my getting so sick and being of no help- and going on NO sleep in about 48 hrs tends to make a person a bit crabby but all in all it went really well for the boys.

When we arrived in Karlstad we had two people from the University meet us and take us to our apartment- which is only about 2 blocks away, but w/ ten pieces of luggage that would have been an impossible trip.

We Love our apartment- its bigger than we thought, and is going to be a great fit for us.

Well im going to sign off now because the battery on the lap top is dying and we have yet to get a converter to plug in it! By the way the way im using the laptop outside on our 4th story porch of our apartment- its the only place we could get recetion!

Love and miss you all
Darlene, Drew and Jasper (or Jesper) as these swedes like to call him.

Taken The first week we were in Karlstad, from our balcony
This was our apartment building. We were on the top floor (4th) on the far left (not pictured)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fashion Friday and Monkey Biz

I decided to copy  participate with  Molly in Fashion Friday today. I needed an outfit that I could be comfortable in and wouldn't upset me if paint was splashed one me(which totally happened. twice.) because we were meeting up with some friends at Monkey Biz.

Excuse the horrible pictures - I forgot to have someone take a picture of me, and by the time hubby is home to take a pic I'm sure I'll be lounging in yoga pants for our exciting Friday night.

 And yes- that is a black cardigan and darn brown boots- I should mention that I don't really follow fashion rules like no black and brown together.
This is another summer dress that I'm trying to convert into a fall/winter dress. With long socks, boots and a cardigan I think it works.

Boots:Some store in Stockholm. I LOVE them, but they aren't very comfortable so only can be worn when not much walking is required!

Monkey Bizness is one of Jasper's FAVORITE things to do. If you haven't been- you should see if they have one in your area. It's basically a huge indoor play area with a coffee bar/internet/tables for the mammas. Pretty much the best idea ever.

We met two of our friends w/ three year olds- and the kids all had a blast and played well together for 3.5 hours! Has to be some sort of record. It's located in an outdoor mall area and they also have a train that you can ride around which we did afterwards.

Have anything fun planned for the weekend?We have a semi busy weekend ahead, Swedish Christmas market tomorrow, then the Boulder lighted parade (I think that's what it is?) followed by a girls night of Harry Potter and drinks (and yes, I'm totally one of those HP lovers) and then Sunday is Swedish class and dinner with my cousin. Hope everyone has a Fabulous weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I have this weird thing..

Where I can NOT touch raw chicken. Will Not do it. If it weren't for Drew cutting the fat off of my chicken we would never ever eat chicken in this household. So my amazing husband will always buy me a HUGE bag of chicken, cut off all the gross fatty pieces, and then freeze it in individual baggies so when I'm ready to make something involving chicken all I have to do is defrost a baggie or two and dump it in the pan, or oven dish (where I am able to touch it using a spatula)

A couple of days ago I wanted to use our crock pot which I think has been used once in two years and has been sitting there collecting dust. I'm not huge on following recipes, so I just threw in some chicken breasts, cut up potatoes, italian salad dressing some spices and cheese because really, cheese makes everything better, and 7 hrs later had an amazing chicken and potato meal. Seriously delish.

But the dilemma  came when I realized that the chicken Drew had cut up for me the night before wasn't in small enough pieces. Solution: Dump the chicken in the crock pot (being careful that NO chicken touches fingers) clean some scissors, use said scissors to cut chicken without having to actually lay a finger on the chicken. And then wash those scissors again. Brilliant right?

1. What are your 'weird things' because everyone has them right? and 2. Anyone have any crockpot recipes to share? I loved doing this and need more ideas!!

*All the ingredients used mines the spices were organic.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Yepp. I did it.

I put up Christmas decorations in November, and I'm not even ashamed to admit it. The last few weeks Jasper has gotten SO excited for Christmas. Whenever he sees Christmas lights on Trees he get's all giddy and shrieks "look mamma Tismas, Tismas" so I figured why not.

Saturday morning Santa arrived at our mall and they had Breakfast w/ Santa. Cutest idea Ever! Jasper was first in line went Santa walked by and he reached down and gave J a huge hug and said nice to see you again. Of course I was snapping away taking a dozen pictures. The way jasper's face lit up when Santa talked to him was priceless. Then I realize my memory card wasn't in my camera. And I wanted to cry. And throw up. I feel sick even thinking about it. Mommy fail.

I found my extra memory card in the camera bag- but still, the moment was gone.

We went on to enjoy our morning, had our breakfast with santa and then came home to put up our little tree. It might be time to buy a bigger tree- but since we are never even in the state of CO for Christmas it seems silly to do. And he does get to see/decorate big trees at both his grandparents houses in December. This year (after buying our yearly one ornament that we all pick out) we had enough to fill our tree that we didn't even need to put up the ugly red and gold balls that we have! Yaaay.

Every morning Jasper runs out to check on his tree- he could Not be more excited about it. And everyone who comes to our home is shown his tree, while he points out all the ornaments that are HIS. I'm so excited we started this tradition when he was just 4 months old. Priceless.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This Dress deserves it's own post.

It was February, 2008. I was walking down the street to our Karlstad, Sweden apartment. From the window display of one of my favorite stores KappAhl, I could tell they had gotten new stuff in. I went in, ya know just to take a peek. And then I saw it. A beautiful dress/tunic. Colors I don't normally wear. Calling out for me. I tried it on, ya know just to see how it would fit? Hoping it would look horrible on. It didn't it fit like a dream. The price tag? 800 kr. Or about 120. Neither of us had jobs, and we were on a budged. So sadly I put her back and walked out the door.

A few weeks later I check in, just to see if she was still there. She was. And she was down to 600 kr! Still couldn't justify it. 

Two weeks later I'm in Stockholm visiting some friends. I happen to go into the KappAhl there and what to you know, MY dress is there, and she is even more on sale! AND last on in my size. I snatch her up and rush to go pay. My 800 kroner dress is now down to 400! Half price!! As the lady is ringing me up she asks if I have a coupon(they send out monthly coupons for 25 to 30% off one item to those who have credit cards with the store. I said I didn't have one. She reached into a drawer and scanned a card bringing my dress down to 250kr!! (about $30!!!) When telling my friends about it they were shocked- that type of thing is unheard of! That the sales lady would give me a discount with out my coupon just does Not happen in Sweden. But it did! It's fate. This dress was meant to be mine.

Fast forward a year. We visit Iowa. Come back. Move to a new place. All of a sudden I can't find THE DRESS. I'm heart broken- for months I ask Drew if he has Any idea what happened to the dress. He doesnt.

A few weeks ago while in Iowa my mom brings me a bag of stuff had left behind during our many trips to iowa over the last year- pajamas, jaspers books, some toys, a bra..and...THE DRESS! It had been in IA all along, and my mother not knowing the story didn't even THINK to tell me HERE IT IS HERE IT IS! I almost cried happy tears. Almost.

Here it is, me wearing it this past weekend while decorating our Christmas tree. My beautiful, perfect fitting dress that I waited for almost two months for, lost, and was reunited with again. 
Maybe you don't get the big deal over this dress, but the cut, colors, style, softness, all of those things make this such an amazing dress to Me.

This time I wore it with cream colored leggings from F21 and boots from Charlotte Rouse. 
Here I'm wearing them with black leggings and boots last year. Love how versatile it is.

And there you have it. My love affair with a dress.

Monday, November 15, 2010

not sure why the crazy face

So this is my first time joining in on Steppin Out Saturday. My Steppin out outfit is actually from Sunday, where our day consisted of grocery shopping, some other errand running and cleaning. Not a very exciting day! But Necessary.

I have about a billion dresses that I wear in the summer and spring and decided that I would find a way to make those fall and winter dressing instead of buying a whole bunch more(see how responsible I'm being?)  So here's my first shot at it.

I paired a Forever 21 Dress with a Cardigan I got in Sweden, shoes  from Forever 21, and knee high socks that my aunt got me in Germany a few weeks ago. It was a bit chilly out with my long German socks and shoes and cardigan this dress totally worked!!

When Jasper saw me get dressed he said "Hey look, Mamma is a Pippi" (Referring to his favorite, Pippi Longstocking..and she does sort of has shoes that look exactly like those..and crazy knee high socks too...)

On Jasper
T-shirt Old Navy
Sweater I Think Khols
Jeans TJ Max
Shoes GAP

Here we are showing off our shoes

And Now we are roaring at the camera- because if you want to take a picture of this kid you have to be doing crazy stuff or he will run and hide because he is just Not a fan of the camera.

My Skin Care routine: Part One: Face Smoothing Polish

Friends are frequently asking me what I Do with my skin to make it ' so perfect' those are seriously their words- frequently. Having great skin is honestly not something I ever thought about growing up. I remember in Jr. High actually being jealous because all my friends were always complaining about zits and pimples and I had Nothing to ad. I felt left out of those conversations--laaame I know. In college when I moved out to CO my skin became SO dry- there was a huge spot on my face that was seriously so dry that I would sleep with a huge gob of vasaline on my face. Everyone told me I would end up with bad acne by doing that- but having never had a pimple I said I didn't care. Well the vasaline never did give me a pimple.

And then I got pregnant. And all of a sudden I would randomly get zits- and they HURT! Now I get what people have been complaining about. When I was pregnant I got about a zit a month- which may not seem like anything to some of you, but when you go 20 yrs w/o one and all of a sudden you have them? I thought it was the end of the world.

Obviously I'm not pregnant anymore and my skin went back to be 'perfect' except a random dry spot, but  I've started taking better care of my skin. I used to go to bed with make up- never ever wash my face..seriously, and never do anything except the random slab of moisturizer. Now I'm almost obsessed with my skin care. So I thought I would share some of the products I've tried.

My first product I want to share- Organic Face Smoothing Polish from Target. I think it was like $8 and as soon as this is up I'll be heading back for more.

I use it about twice a week in the shower- and it never leaves my face feeling dry AT ALL- and this is Colorado people.

It's a gentle exfoliater (is that even a word??) and removes dead skin and crap. It leaves my face super smooth and even toned. That's the one problem I'll randomly have, I feel like my skin isn't always the exact same tone through out my face and THIS seriously solves that problem.

Bonus? It feels really awesome on your skin as you are rubbing it in. It's like Christmas morning every time I use it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Baking Day

When we were back in Iowa Jasper was baking a bunch of stuff with my mom and loved it SO much I figured we needed to start a weekly baking day. We started off this week with Swedish Cinnamon Buns- or Bullar as they are called in Swedish. I detest American cinnamon buns, all gooey and doughy, makes me gag even thinking about. These are nothing like that, but oh man are they delicious! We made about 50 of them and put a bunch in the freezer in bags of 4 so every day we go get a bag out and enjoy them..So delish.