This is our favorite time of year because it’s the start of our favorite holidays beginning with Halloween. We love dressing up all year round but this month it’s socially acceptable haha. It’s also our favorite time of year because we get to feast on holidays foods and treats. This year Joey is old enough to take in part of the Halloween festivities with us such as trick-or-treating, however we decided not to indulge her with candy this year because if she’s anything like me, she will get HOOKED on candies. Might as well prolong the inevitable! So we decided to think of some alternatives for treats for her this year. Since Joey LOVES fruit, I thought it would be fun to get an Edible Arrangements full of cute fruit cut out and arranged in a bouquet. She loved it! There were some chocolate covered fruit but that went straight to my mouth.
In case you don’t have an Edible Arrangements store near you, here are some great ideas that I’ve been finding on blogs for candy alternatives for Halloween. We’ll be trying some of these treats for Joey this year!
I know Joey will LOVE these because tangerines are one of her favorite fruits. For these all you need are tangerines and celery stalks & leaves. Just take a pairing knife or use your fingers to remove the white membranes on the outside, wash and slide the celery stalks to fit in the middle and there you go! Not sure if Joey will eat the celery but there’s no hurt in trying!
This one cracked me up when I saw it because it just looked so easy! Why didn’t I think of that?? If you’ve seen Joey’s Banana Talk video, you’ll know how much she loves bananas. This one’s perfect for her! This one has a bit of chocolate chips but it’s pretty much just bananas. No pun intended.
If anyone has any more candy alternative ideas, comment below! I’m all for tricking kids into eating healthy snacks!
Still pinching myself because I can’t believe Naptime with Joey is about to be released on October 3rd! Book stores are already taking pre-orders for the book so I decided to do a giveaway to kick off the countdown to the release! At first I wanted to do a giveaway of Joey’s magnet and temporary tattoos but I decided it would be even more fun to include some of my favorite items that we’ve used as a family with Joey. It’s also a thank you to all of you for supporting and loving our family especially this past year. THANK YOU!
OK, so what am I giving away??
You will be getting:
A Walker Family Goods States duffel bag. We have two of these and we love using them from everything from day trips to long weekend holidays. The bags were created by my wedding videographers whose family I absolutely adore! They are all about encouraging families to go on trips and make memories which I’m all for. This bag is on backorder right now!
Cuddle + Kind Pearl the Mermaid Doll. Joey loves Pearl and often times naps with her during the day. I love what Cuddle + Kind does which is they provide 10 meals for each doll that is purchased (Through the World Food Program USA).
Rags to Raches rag. I love that these rags (they call them rags not rompers) have no snap buttons and are super stretchy and comfortable for your babies. It’s breathable and easy to play and sleep in comfortably.
Two bows by Blondes in Bows Joey wore these all the time especially on bad hair days! They’re absolutely adorable and we have Joey wear them often.
Mochi Kids Cactus tee. I am in love with Mochi Kids graphics. The ramen and this cactus one is currently my favorite!
Four Glitter & Spice teethers. Joey loved their teethers, especially their french fries one.
Iddy Biddy Baby tank and matching bloomers. I love how durable and soft their fabric is and also their gender neutral graphics. Joey practically lived in this outfit this whole summer.
Gathre diaper changing cover. I love how light it is to take around and also how cute they are! They’re also waterproof and super durable. They also make larger sizes so check them out for more items.
Sushi costume by The Wishing Elephant. Carolyn makes the most creative costumes for kids! I loved dressing Joey up in the sushi costume especially because my favorite food in the world is sushi!
The Mini Mat by EZPZ: It sticks to the table so it doesn’t move and this one can be easily taken with you when you’re on the go.
Host and Toast Muse Floating Letter Board: Something fun for the home!
Mini Love Letter Gold necklace from Easter Ahn Design (letter and color of your choice!) Easter designed our wedding bands and engagement ring and we LOVE her work. She makes the BEST quality jewelry! I have the Love Letter bracelet of the letter j for Joey that I never take off and I’m planning on passing it down to Joey when she’s older.
It Really Takes a Village Tote by Eunie Park. If you get my book, you’ll recognize her handwriting on this tote bag. Her hand lettering was used for Naptime With Joey. I absolutely love this tote bag. I take it everywhere I go!
Joey magnet and temporary tattoos created by my good friend Sarah Soh who is an AMAZING illustrator. Go check out her work here.
To enter the giveaway, please email us your receipt of your pre-order for Naptime With Joey. If you purchase more than 1, please send us your receipt indicating so and we will count additional entries for each book you purchase. You can email the receipt at hello/at/lauraiz.com or direct message us on Instagram. Winner will be chosen on September 7th, Allen’s birthday! Can’t wait to get these goodies out to the winner!
If you’ve been watching our Instagram Stories, you might’ve caught me feeding Joey some Miyeok Guk for lunch or dinner. It’s her absolutely favorite food. It’s so easy to make and is something she eats pretty often.
Miyeok Guk is a Korean seaweed soup which mothers eat postpartum for at least the first few weeks after giving birth because of its amazing health benefits. It helps with lactation/breastmilk supply and is known to be the best thing for mothers in recovery, at least in Korea. I ate this soup with rice for about 2 weeks straight along with a very simple no-salt/no fried diet (for a month) and I have to say it did make me feel like I was recovering quicker than I expected, I didn’t feel lethargic or tired like I thought I would be and I had a pretty good breastmilk supply by the end of the first week. It was tough being on a strict no-salt diet and eating this soup 3-4x a day for two weeks but I have friends who have done it for a month! The fish sauce has sodium in it so it was the only amount of sodium I had. Everything else I ate, for example, salmon, I had to only season with lemon. I will admit though that I feel strongly that it did help me with postpartum recovery, especially in the area of breast milk production. The Koreans started this postpartum tradition after they noticed centuries ago that whales would eat massive amounts of seaweed after giving birth to nurse their calves. I don’t know how much of that is true but that’s how the tradition started! Miyeok Guk is also known as Korean Birthday Soup and is commonly eaten during birthdays because of this tradition.
Miyeok/seaweed is actually a super food as it contains a great source of calcium, iodine, fibre, omega acids, vitamin B1 & B3, while low in calorie. It helps with metabolism, blood circulation and purification, constipation relief, detoxification, anti-carcinogen, anti-aging etc. No wonder the Koreans love this stuff!
There are many different variations of Miyeok Guk but since so many of you asked for my specific recipe that I use for Joey, here it is.
Ingredients: Yields 2-3 “Joey-servings”
Dried seaweed (You can find them at most Asian grocery stores) *Please note that this is not the same as the dried seaweed snacks. Those are already cooked, salted and ready to eat. The dried seaweed you want to get for this recipe is the one that is dried in its original state and it usually comes in a long packet like the one pictured below.
2.5 ounces of thinly sliced beef brisket or ground beef
4 cups of cold water for the soup / Extra water to soak dried seaweed in
1/2 tsp of minced garlic
1 tbsp of fish sauce
I like to use my Korean Stone Pot instead of my other cooking pots because it doesn’t leave a stain where the top of the soup is and it retains the heat longer than my stainless steel pots. In general I like to cook simple things like pasta and boiling water in my stainless steel pots as soups tend to leave odors behind. You can find a Korean Stone Pot here. You can cook Bibimbap in there as well, which is a fav Korean dish of mine.
Use your scissors to cut a handful of seaweed. FYI, a little bit dried seaweed goes a long way.
Soak the dried seaweed in cold water for at least 30 minutes. An hour is ideal. After 30 minutes, you’ll see the seaweed take its original shape.
When it’s ready, rinse the seaweed twice and drain. Squeeze to remove excess salt that was used in the drying process. Cut into bite sized pieces for your little one. You can always cut again after the soup is made.
Sauté the meat in your pot with a tiny bit of sesame oil. Again, a little bit of sesame oil goes a long way so use a very small amount. You can always a tiny bit more later if needed. Add the seaweed, minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce. Sauté for 5 minutes. If it starts to stick to the bottom, you can add a bit more oil.
Add the water, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a medium low and let simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Skim off any foam or oil that floats on top and serve with rice.
For Joey, I like to use this Seven Grain organic rice which includes brown rice, barley, millet, flax seed, wheat, red quinoa, and wild rice. I got these at Costco.
Sometimes I make a larger batch and keep several portions in the freezer so I can whip them out if I’m pressed for time for a meal prep. The regular version of this recipe is a little different as most people use soy sauce but I prefer the flavor of the fish sauce far more better. You can also substitute the beef with chicken, shiitake mushrooms, abalone or mussels. You can add tofu if you’d like as well! It’s a super healthy dish and hopefully your little ones will love it as much as Joey does!
So many of you have been asking about this custom workbench that I asked my good friend Paul to make for Jo. I’ve always wanted to make her a busy board but wanted something a little different to put in our kitchen/living area without it getting in the way of things. The workbench design was perfect for us to put right under our kitchen countertop that way I can keep an eye on her while in the kitchen! She loves playing with the magnets and also putting them back in the cubby hole. I’m planning on adding some more features including a rotary telephone (if I can find one!) and other things that might peak her interest like buckles and zippers. I didn’t want to add them all at once because her interests change every day. Excited to keep working on this!
Rainbow Wooden Magnets can be found here. I do have you warn you that they are not the strongest magnets so they have a tendency of sliding down on this particular magnet board.
So I have great news! I asked if Paul would take some orders for you guys and he said he would! I know many of you wanted to get one so just read below to see how you can order one from Paul. You would get this same bench but can choose what type of features you’d like. All three designs do not come with the door lock or the light switches in these photographs. The three design options are below.
Just the workbench in the grey stain. (No magnetic board or cubby) – $120 (+$20 Delivery Fee)
Workbench with the magnetic board (No cubby) in the grey stain. – $145 (+$20 Delivery Fee)
Workbench with the magnetic board and cubby and white knob in the grey stain – $165 (+$20 Delivery Fee)
To place an order, please email Paul at CPKDesigns2017@gmail.com. The turnaround will be 1-2 weeks after payment is received. There will be a delivery charge of $20. After the Venmo payment is received, Paul will coordinate a delivery time that will work with you!
Please provide the following when placing an order:
Location (City) *Must be in Los Angeles or Orange County California
Must be able to pay through Venmo. Bench will be made after payment is received.
Please provide which Workbench design you’d like (#1, #2. #3)
We now have a YouTube Channel! Now you see follow more of our family’s journey through weekly vlogs. If there’s anything you’d like to see us vlog about, let us know in the comments below! We’re kicking it off with Joey’s First Birthday Cake Smash and Doljabi. If you haven’t already and wanted to check it out, Joey’s First Birthday party blog post is up! Traditionally in Korean culture, the first birthday is a big celebration because before access to medical care was readily available in Korea many many years ago, it was a big deal for a baby to live past his or her first birthday. Hence the big celebration. Since Joey is mostly Korean, we decided to keep this part of her heritage included in her birthday party. We set up a doljabi which is a Korean tradition where the birthday child is placed in front of various objects that represents a certain future with respect to career or lifestyle. Typically the items represent things like Doctor, Lawyer, Scholar, Entrepreneur, Judge, Athlete or Performing Artist. We decided to pick unique occupations that were sort of inside jokes to me and Allen. Obviously this game is just a tradition and isn’t what Joey will end up becoming but we decided to keep the tradition but change it up a bit just to make it fun. We had a planet toy to represent Astronaut, an In-N-Out hat to represent the In-N-Out District Manager, grapes to represent Sommelier, dining utensils to represent Michelin Star Food Critic and an American flag to represent POTUS. She ended up picking the grapes first and then continued to pick up every one of the other items so I guess she’ll tackle all of those jobs?? 😉 Her cake smash wasn’t so much of a smash as it was a gentle massage of the dessert. She was so tired and out of it by that point of the party but she was such a trooper and stuck her hands in there and soaked in the moment. So fun to see her first bite of sugar! Thank you Uncle Paul for this video footage!
Allen and I have flown on Alaska Airlines quite a bit in the past because we live on the west coat and travel quite often up north and since we’ve only had good experiences on their flights, we decided book our flights with them when we took Joey on her first airplane ride when she was around 6 months old to Portland. We were really nervous about how she would do on the plane as any first time parent would. We had heard that it was best to take babies on plane trips from age 4 months to 6 months because they would most likely just sleep through the plane ride but the only time Allen got off work was when she was 6 months old so we decided to try it out. Turns out she’s born to fly! Alaska was so great about accommodating us with getting us on the plane first to unload and get ready. I nursed Joey during take off so that her ears wouldn’t pop with the altitude change and then she slept pretty much the whole way to Portland from Los Angeles. We were so happy! The plane ride back home was exactly the same way. We’ll never forget how sweet everyone was on Alaska Airlines and how quickly they offered to help us with our carry on luggage and didn’t make us feel like we had to rush.
So when Alaska Airlines contacted me to see if I would help them share about their new Elite Leave program for new parents and also dress Joey up as an Alaska Airlines pilot, I was more than happy to! Their Elite Leave lets new parents keep their elite status Mileage Plan™ benefits earned for another year. If you’re a new parent who’s a frequent flyer with Alaska Airlines, you can extend your status through the end of 2018 while you’re on parental leave! The idea first took hold when a frequent flyer reached out to Alaska because she’d just had a baby and was upset about potentially losing her MVP status. When the request made its way to Alaska’s leaders, they decided to implement this parental leave program. How awesome is that?
We are so overwhelmed at how amazing Joey’s first birthday party turned out. It wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for these amazing friends & vendors who generously contributed to this party out of just love for Joey. Wow, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts (and our bellies!).
A SPECIAL shoutout to Rekindle Creative Co. and Julia who runs the incredible team. They were were responsible for putting together every single detail including florals, decor, planning & coordinating. You ladies ROCK! Check out more of their work at rekindlecreative.com.
Another BIG UPSto Wayfare for hosting this party at their beautiful coworking space. This venue was just perfect! Thank you guys!
In Korean culture, the first birthday of a child is celebrated in a big way because long ago before medicine wasreadily accessible, many babies didn’t make it past their first year due to diseases. So when a baby turned one, it was a joyous occasion. The tradition stuck and so the first birthday (aka Doljanchi) is celebrated in this big way. There’s no way I can do this every year haha!
Doljabi is a Korean tradition where the birthday child is placed in front of various objects that represents a certain future with respect to career or lifestyle. Typically the items represent things like Doctor, Lawyer, Scholar, Entrepreneur, Judge, Athlete or Performing Artist. We decided to pick unique occupations that were sort of inside jokes to me and Allen. Obviously this game is just a tradition and isn’t what Joey will end up becoming but we decided to keep the tradition but change it up a bit to make it fun. We had a planet toy to represent Astronaut, an In-N-Out hat to represent the In-N-Out District Manager, grapes to represent Sommelier, dining utensils to represent Michelin Star Food Critic and an American flag to represent POTUS.
Any guesses on what she picked?
Guests were given raffle tickets to place into the bucket of their choice. Joey picked the winning ticket and the winner received my favorite tote bag made by my friend Eunie. You can buy it here. Scroll down to see which item Joey picked!
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I walked in and saw this. The backdrop was designed by Rekindle Creative Co. and built by Outsource It. Outsource It can design, built and install incredible woodwork. Check out their Instagram for more of their work here.
The venue came with tables which we used so we just rented white folding chairs from Create-A-Party Rentals. We decided to buy the table linens because they ended up being cheaper than renting them. I love throwing parties so I figured why not just buy them? Here’s the link to where I bought them.
We had a kid station with a color-in-playhouse which we also had at our wedding. Julia included some Minted artwork on the wall and a baby ball pit by Scandiborn. She also created a photo booth wall with a beautiful cactus wallpaper by Anewall. Click here to see more gorgeous wallpaper.
Balloon installation was done by Wild Child Party. How awesome is that?? If it were me, I would be popping them every minute putting it together and then I would give up. Luckily there’s talented people like Wild Child Party who can do it so perfectly. Check out more of their balloon installations here.
Okay so can we talk about this incredible front table for a minute?
Desserts were made by Merely Sweets who also made my wedding cake. These cakes were the same as the one at my wedding which is the Merry Berry Cake, my FAVORITE at Merely Sweets. They make everything from cakes to french macarons to cupcakes and even cake pops. If you’re in the Brea area, check their brick & mortar out here. You have to try their banana pudding! Here’s some more delicious eye candy for you.
In lieu of gifts, we asked for gift donations to the children of Olive Crest, a foster care and adoption agency based in the West Coast area. They are dedicated to preventing child abuse, treating and educating at-risk children and preserving the family. They are able to continue their work through donations and so this was the least we could do to show our support. California has the highest number of children in the foster care system in this country. Everyone can help and support even if you can’t foster or adopt a child. To learn more about how you can help, visit OliveCrest.org.
Rekindle Design had these beautiful custom logo signs made for our vendors.
Every party needs a little caffeine don’t you think? Especially if you’re a parent! We had En Route Coffee Co. come with their beautiful mobile coffee cart to serve us gourmet coffee all day. To book them for your event, visit their website at enroutecoffeeco.com or their Instagram. Thank you Eric & Hanna!
PopdUp+ served their delicious and unique seasonal iced drinks: Strawberry Shiso, Hibiscus Agave, Thyme Orange and Gooseberry Marigold. It was such a hot day so it was such a treat to have PopdUp+ there. We first found out about them at the LA Smorgasburg and fell in love with their drinks. You can find them there every Sunday at 10:30 AM – 6:00 PM. Go check them out!
Amazing right?? Amaze Bowls came and served us their beautiful and delicious acai bowls as an alternative healthy dessert option. I couldn’t stop staring at how beautiful the coconut bowls were. If you’re looking for them to cater your event, visit their page here. You can also find them at the LA Smorgasburg every Sunday.
Of course, we had to have In-N-Out. We only eat it like every other week.
We had the most amazing balloon artist and face painter for the kids attending. I’ve never seen anyone make balloon art as well as David makes them! If you want to book them, contact David Laura at eliteentco123[at]gmail.com.
We want to say thank you so much to all of our friends and family who have loved on our family, especially this past year, during Joey’s first year. It’s been such a rollercoaster of a year and we’re so thankful that we have such a supportive community. It really does take a village! Thank you also to our amazing vendors who generously donated your services to make this party happen. We don’t know how to thank you enough.
What a year it’s been. We blinked and then Joey turned 1. Allen and I are so humbled and truly grateful to be first-time parents and we thank God for every moment we have with each other, especially with Joey. Our words can’t even express just how much we love Joey and we pray that with all the love that she’s received, Joey will grow to extend that love forward and be even more generous, kind and gracious than those who have been for her and our family.
If you’ve seen the videos of Joey on Instagram and Facebook, you’ll know that Joey is such a curious gal these days, getting her hands on anything she can grab! And while she loves to play with her traditional toys, I thought it would be fun to get creative with some materials we had around the house. She already loves to go in the kitchen and pull down my hanging kitchen towels so I decided to go with fabric for this sensory activity.
I brought out a bunch of leftover fabric I had from her costumes for her to touch and feel. There were different textures from rough denim to soft cotton and scratchy sequin. Watching her notice the different colors, materials, and patterns on each piece of fabric was really entertaining. It was great to see her grab at the fabric, practicing her fine motor skills and strengthening her itty bitty hands. It seemed Jo loved the shiny sequin the most. 🙂
I loved how simple this sensory activity was. I forget how exciting it can be for babies to feel different textures because it’s all so new to them! This will definitely be an exercise to keep continuing with Jo!
It’s been 10 months of diaper changing, nursing, dressing you, cleaning after you, and carrying you everywhere. Yes, you may depend on me for literally everything right now but it’s me that can’t imagine one day without you. I’m the one that can’t get through the day without first dancing with you in my arms and kissing you a thousand times over. I can’t imagine a day when you’re not grabbing my face, pulling my hair or letting me tickle you with my nose until you shriek with laughter. I HAVE to hold you tight, bury my face in your neck and smell you in. I absolutely NEED to hear your babbling and cooing because it’s the music that gets me going. I just CAN’T comfortably eat until I know you’ve finished your meal and watch you clap happily when you’re “all done”. I CRAVE my playtime with you because not only is it my only form of exercise these days but watching you discover new shapes, colors and textures is better than any other kind of entertainment there is. I go to bed every night missing you and reliving all of our new memories we’ve made together that day and I get wake up in the morning excited knowing we get to do it all over again. I’m not sure when I’ll start getting used to you and when all these tiny moments will start to fade but something tells me you will ALWAYS fascinate me, inspire me and challenge me in new ways. I know not everyone gets the chance to experience this and all I can do is remain humble and grateful to live each day with you. To soak in every second that I can get with you and to live every day with you like it’s my last. Thank you my juicy dumpling for the best 10 months of my life and for loving me back. | Joey’s ballpit by Scandiborn, photo by Sunny Kim.
About Laura Iz
Hi, I'm Laura Izumikawa. I'm a stay-at-home-working-mama to Joey and wife to the funniest guy I know. My photos of my napping daughter dressed up as pop culture icons became viral one day and now I blog about our lives because it turns out, people want to know more about us which is totally crazy to me! Thanks for visiting!
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