THE pepper EXPRESS: January 2016

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

48 hours in South Lake Tahoe

Another Lake Tahoe post. Sorry that I'm not sorry for posting so much about Lake Tahoe. If we could we would move there. However it's too far from family. So we just use as much vacation time as we can driving up the icing roads to visit this beautiful frozen lake. This specific trip was designated for family only. In lieu of buying christmas gifts for the in laws we decided to rent a cabin thirteen people. Since I had taken the day off from work we gave the option to the kids if they wanted to play hookie from school and leave early on Friday for the family vacation. Dean was all for it. But Carlie who is the over achiever in the family; did not want to miss a day of school to ruin her perfect attendance. More power to her! We dropped Carlie off at school and drove the 3 hours it takes to get to South Lake Tahoe and enjoyed some fun on the frozen beach before we could check into our cabin.
And of course we brought our sleds. There is a bought ramp that is located near the El Dorado Recreation Area that allows you to walk down to the lake. We chose to sled down the incline. Our first attempt was to walk down the stairs, that resulted in my husband slipping and busting his elbow open. Lesson learned! We had more fun using the sleds anyways:
Solin enjoyed a free ride down the slope. She held on tight while I pulled her down the boat ramp:
Can you believe this view? It felt like we were walking through an Arctic Tundra. The beach was completely frozen over. There was no sand to be found. 
Lake Tahoe is very sentimental for us. We can't help but get romantic when we visit this gorgeous tundra:
It was nice to spend one on one time with Dean. When we go on vacation we usually have all three kids with us or just Solin. Having Dean's undivided attention was nice for a change. Carlie ended up driving up with her Auntie Heather later that night. So she was able to enjoy the festivities.
So proud of Solin and the way she takes initiative to be just like her older siblings. She does it in her own way and I love it. Here she is throwing snowballs as if she was Babe Ruth and pulling our sleds as if she was in the movie Iron Will.
Dean has grown into such a distinguished young man. He is a big help with little Solin and we love the comedy that he brings to our family.  
We had such a great time wandering around the beach that the boys started creating silly games with the lake buoy:
I was told not to wear my Hunter Boots because my feet would freeze. I think wearing them was the best decision ever. Solin has a miniature pair of Hunter Boots and I am glad she wore her's too! We doubled up on our wools socks, this allowed our feet to be warm and toasty.
Solin's overalls were thrifted from when we were in Montana. Which was one of the best finds. We bought the overalls a size bigger so she can wear them next year too! My father gave Solin the beanie and gloves for Christmas. And the scarf around her neck was hand made by one of my mom's friends. She was bundled up to the max and the weather was actually a little to warm for us. The warm sun was shining on top of the snow at a level to give us sunburns!
Solin thinks it's hilarious every time Dean jumps over her. He gets a running start and she ducks while he gallops over her like a ground pole. 
It took us a while to get this photo... but here it is:
Both of my Randalls:
Once we reached the actual water we found a few icebergs along the beach. This is when I was very happy to have worn my Hunter Boots!
There was a point when the iceberg started to float away and I had to jump back on the the frozen beach:
The trip wouldn't be complete without a snowball fight. Hosted by Randall Dean the Third himself:

Friday, January 22, 2016

Minimalist Wardrobe

Major wardrobe purge is going on in my closet. And these are the things I want to keep and feel timeless to me. I have read the book: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and it changed my life! Other books on my radar are Simple Matters by Erin Boyle and The Kinfolk Home. My husband has always had a simple wardrobe. He can wash his entire wardrobe within two loads. I never cared to much about that until after I read these books. It would literally take me a weekend to get my clothes folded, ironed and hung up just to destroy and ruin them throughout the next week. I am on a path to a much simpler wardrobe which includes a few of my favorite staples: You want good quality jeans. And when I say good quality you will feel it in the fabric. I bought these Madewell jeans during the holidays and I am in love. I chose to keep my ankle booties too! Ankle booties are versatile because you can wear them with your straight jeans or even with an organic skirt or tunic. A comfortable flannel and simple grey t shirt can get you through all of the seasons. I couldn't get rid of my white button up, because that can go with anything. When going outside or lounging around the house I use my long sleeve cardigan or a cargo jacket like the one below. The best for last is always trying to figure out what bag to keep. I swear by the Madewell Tote. I got this tote for christmas and I will never let it go. The #ToteWell from Madewell can be used everyday and is the perfect part of my minimalist closet:
Minimalist Wardrobe

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

DIY Nautical Diaper Cake

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HuggiesNewYear #CollectiveBias
My sister is having a boy! Within the next couple of months I will be an auntie and I will have an adorable little nephew to spoil. Since my sister Raquel lives in Montana, she will be flying to California to have a baby shower here with all our California relatives. And I will be hosting! We decided on a Nautical theme for the baby shower. Now, I have thrown baby showers before and if you don't keep a budget, things can get out of hand. When I knew I was going to make a diaper cake for the center piece, I was afraid of the cost of the diapers. I checked out our neighborhood Family Dollar Store and found Huggies Diapers on sale! I grabbed size two diapers because being a new momma I understand how fast those newborns grow out of size one and two! 
While I was at the Family Dollar Store I grabbed some other necessities that I needed to make the Diaper Cake. 
Here are some of the required products you need to make a Diaper Cake:
50 Diapers rolled up with rubber bands
Large and Small Rubber bands
Circular base (I used an actual pan)
2 1/2 in ribbon at 5 ft
3-4 wooden decals (I chose sailboats and anchors)
Crinkle paper
4 chopsticks
Glue gun with 2 sticks of glue
Step one: Roll all of your diapers with the small rubber bands and set them aside.
Step two: Take four rolled diapers and gather them together and secure them with a large rubber band. Then glue them to the bottom of your circular base. Add two more layers surrounding your four diapers and fasten another large rubber band around them:
Step three: Repeat step two for each tier, eliminating a layer of diapers. This will allow you to have a three tiered cake.
Step four: Measure your ribbon for each tier. Cut the ribbon for each tier and using the glue gun secure the ribbon the back. Add a few chopsticks or dowels in the middle of your cake to give it a good structure. Then I used the crinkle paper as a garnish:
Step five: Glue each decal on the tier of your choice:
This cake is not completely finished because we are waiting for the name of my little nephew. I would like to print out a sign and glue it to the top of the tier right under the sail boat:
What will you buy at the Family Dollar Store?
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