I adore each and every post on SMP Living, but the it’s our travel features that truly tug at my heart strings the most. Blame it on my never ending case of wanderlust. And when I get to see a new place through the lens of someone like Molly Zaidman, consider my entire day (ok, maybe my entire week) made. See just what I mean here.
Think slow cookers are just for winter soups, stews and roasts? Contrary to what you’ve been told, summer is actually the perfect time to use your crock pot! Not only do these nifty appliances emit less heat than ovens, they do all the work so you’re not stuck inside. We’ve rounded up 18 of our favorite warm weather slow cooker recipes; just load up the goods, plug it in and enjoy the lovely weather!
It’s amazing how no matter how much storage we build into our homes, it quickly gets filled with knick-knacks and all of the sudden, it’s cluttered again. Thankfully, Country Living has some creative ways to make the most out of any space in your home. With these genius and simple tips, you can start to maximize every inch of home-sweet-home!
As a fellow twin mama I can attest to the fact that twins are miracles in and of themselves but add in a high-risk pregnancy and those little bundles of joy are a cause for celebration. So mom and event designer, Lauryl Lane, decked out the backyard for an enchanted forest birthday party to celebrate the cutest miracles around. Click here for the full gallery captured by Krista Mason Photography
From Lauryl Lane (Mom)… Diagnosed with usually-fatal Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome at 17 weeks gestation and undergoing in-utero laser ablation surgery at 18 weeks, identical twins Oakleigh and Brioney were strong fighters from the very beginning. They held on for 4 weeks after their mother went into premature labor at 27 weeks and was kept on hospital bedrest, but eventually an infection set in and the girls were delivered via emergency c-section with suspected sepsis at only 31 weeks gestation and weighing 3 pounds 4 ounces (Oakleigh) and 2 pounds 7 ounces (Brioney).
Brioney had only been given a 50% chance of surviving to birth since she’d not received her proper share of blood supply and nutrition prior to surgery and was significantly smaller than her sister, but she turned out to be the healthier of the two, requiring only 8 weeks in the NICU before going home on oxygen one week before her due date. Oakleigh was emergency transported to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles when she was 10 days old due to Pulmonary Interstitial Emphysema, and the doctors did not expect her to make it. She underwent an extremely risky procedure on her diseased lungs, and her long dependance on life support led to a four and a half month stay in the NICCU, surgery for a gastrostomy feeding tube, and discharge on oxygen, breathing treatments and 8 different medications. Despite every set-back, the girls continued fighting, and when their first birthday arrived, it was a major celebration of all they had overcome.
Nicknamed “The Magic Babies” by family and friends due to their magical abilities to defy the odds, a loosely-based “enchanted forest” theme was designed for their first birthday celebration, with elements such as ferns, pinecones and toadstools. The Valentine’s Day brunch brought together many people who had played significant roles in the girl’s lives up to that point, including one of Oakleigh’s primary nurses and her roommate from the NICCU, as well. Coffee and donuts were served along with a “make your own” bloody mary and bellini bar, egg soufflés and assorted salads and scones. The 80-degree “SoCal Winter” weather made for a truly beautiful gathering for two incredible miracle babies!
Photography: Krista Mason Photography | Event Planning: Saarah Granger-Twomey | Event Planning: Lauryl Lane | Floral Design: Lauryl Lane | Calligraphy & Custom Crest: Victoria Hoke Lane | Custom Cookie Favors: A Cookie Jar | Custom Doughnuts: California Donuts | Rentals: borrowed blu | Tent & Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | linens: La Tavola
Whether your indoor space needs a little extra bit of glam, or you’ve already decked it out in glittering gilt and simply want more (we don’t blame you!), golden accents are an amazing way to add that little bit of something extra to your interior decor. Click through the slideshow below for 15 of our absolute favorites, and get gleaming!
At any given point in our house, someone is usually trying to eat on the healthy side. That someone is usually not me. While I could devour a family-sized cake myself, I am too impatient to make one. I need cake and I need it now! If you’re the same way, then these simple yellow mug cakes are for you! Bonus – they can be made in the microwave, the stove, or over a fire so you can cake while camping! And they’re the cutest lil’ size! So grab your mug and get in the kitchen! xoxo Lexy of PROPER
- 2 1/2 Tbsp butter
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 5 1/2 Tbsp flour
- Spray mugs with cooking spray. This isn't necessary, I just like the cake to pull away from the sides so that the icing can get down nice and good in the cake before serving.
- Add the butter to one mug and melt in the microwave.
- Once melted, whisk in the egg, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Slowly add the flour and the salt. If using two smaller mugs, divide the batter among the two. Or just stick it all in the large camping mug!
- To microwave - cook on high for 60-90 seconds until the cake has doubled in size. Remove immediately!
- Stove-top or over a fire - Place mug in pot of boiling water and let cake cook for 20 minutes. (This is only if you're in the woods camping, sans microwave, or using a mug that has metal on it like the one in the photos.
- After your cake is done, top with a big dollop of nutella or chocolate icing and serve! And then immediately take a nap after all that hard work!