the friday post – vol. 12

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Ahhhhh Friday! And ONE WEEK LEFT OF SCHOOL! I could not be more thrilled. I had my last classes in the library today (movie week!), and it feels good. Even if you work a “regular” job, I’m sure you’re celebrating this Friday especially because hello long weekend! We don’t have anything special planned which will make it feel even more relaxing.

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It’s been so rainy lately that we have these sweet little mushrooms popping up all over the garden! The rain has been fantastic for my herbs and the grass, but not great for our enjoyment of the great outdoors. It’s raining as I write this and I’m feeling like this weekend may be a cozy and peaceful one with pitter pattering on our rooftop.

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I made Ina’s chicken parmesan this week with a side of garlic bread from my loaf of no-knead bread. It was especially good. Mike emphatically stands that it’s not really chicken parmesan because it doesn’t have a red sauce. He thinks it’s really just a salad with breaded chicken which is totally fair. But still delicious. I had this recipe on the menu this week for my *new* recipe, but we didn’t get around to it because of a few extra after school events! It’s getting shifted to next week and I’m still excited about it.

It’s officially rosé wine season, and I have jumped right on the bandwagon with my whole heart. So refreshing! Such an easy summer bevvie! I want to try this recipe for rosé sangria which sounds amazing. I may just have to host a happy hour so I can try it. 🙂

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Everything is blooming around us right now! Trees, flowers, bushes! I don’t know why, but I feel like I’m noticing all of it especially much this year. We had our jasmine vine on the front porch in bloom a couple weeks ago, and now it’s the roses. What’s next, I don’t know!

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I’m so looking forward to a quiet weekend at home with my two boys (plus Wendy) , lots of snuggling, too many belly laughs, and happy hours every night. 🙂 What are you looking forward to this weekend? Something wonderful, I hope!

xx, em

the show i’ve been waiting a year for.

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I read about pbs’s new show in July of last year, and I’ve been ticking off days on my calendar! The Great American Read finally debuted Tuesday night on pbs, and it was everything I had hoping for and more. Okay, okay. I did fall asleep about halfway through. It was two hours long! It’s hard for a tired schoolgirl mama to stay up that long! The list of 100 will be talked about in episodes over the next months, and voting will determine the number one Great American Read. I think it’s so fun! I love book hype.

I printed the list off in checklist form the other day so I could track what I had and hadn’t read. I’m embarrassed to say that I’d read not even half of the books. Some of the books included surprised me! The Notebook!Gone Girl! FIFTY SHADES OF GREY!!? THE best?? I just don’t know. Harry Potter though – my number one as of right now. What do you think? You can vote for as many books as often as you want, and I’ve already gone in to vote for five or six. I haven’t even read them all, so it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around which one is going to be the best! I need to get reading this summer. 🙂 I may just have to do a few re-readings too! I’m trying to talk Mike into a couple’s book club with me, but I might have more luck convincing my mom of a mother-daughter club. Right, mom?

If you missed it – you can watch for free online here!

easiest cookie recipe in the world.

cf794850-3de6-438b-b8f3-762a45108a69I have six days left of school, and I am dragging myself through them by the skin of my teeth. The end of the year is my biggest time of the year other than the beginning of it. With 40+ teachers and 800+ students, there are thousands of materials that need to be returned before teachers or students can be “cleared” to leave school. Computers, textbooks, headphones, library books, etc are all in my school’s library system. And as you can imagine, teachers that were given these materials back in August have a hard time tracking them all down come May! And then you have the kids who checked books out a week ago – they have a hard time tracking those books down too. 🙂 I’ve been the nagging bad guy all this and will be next week too. But it’s okay! I can do it! Summer is almost here!

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But in the meantime, cookies, nightly happy hour, my happy baby, and copious venting to my husband are the only thing that are getting me there. Not just cookies, but the easiest cookies that I have ever made. Three ingredients! three! Have you ever heard of such a thing? I hadn’t! I was browsing Pinterest the other day for after school snacks, and stumbled upon this recipe that fit the bill for after, before and in-between school snacking. Follow the instructions for Peanut Butter Cookies all done in about 15 minutes!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg

Here’s What To Do:

Set oven to 350. Mix ingredients together until creamy (with an electric mixer is easiest). Roll into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Use a fork to put impressions on cookies both ways, and to smush them down. Bake for 10 minutes! Recipe makes about a dozen cookies.

Enjoy!

charlie crawls.

I posted a couple weeks ago that Charlie had started scooting around the house like a little zombie. This last week though, at 6 month plus a week or two, he’s up on his knees and crawling for real! He’s into everything now; pulling things off the shelves, hunting for cords, trying to eat Wendy’s bone. 2b3efb20-c8ab-47da-bbcb-ff291d412271

I looked away for two minutes this weekend, and he had crawled over to Wendy’s food and dumped her whole water bowl all over the living room and himself. Naughty boy! He’s started to pull up to stand on us and here and there around the house too. This boy is going to be walking before we know it!! Here’s a little video 🙂

 

 

first mother’s day.

My heart is so full after the sweetest weekend with my two boys. I’m feeling spoiled!

Mike sent me off to have my nails done on Saturday while he snuck to the store with Charlie to pick up groceries for the most delicious Mother’s Day dinner. I’m fairly no frills when it comes to self-care, but getting pedicures is my guilty little pleasure. I only go if Mike sets it up for me for a special occasion or if my mom is in town. 🙂 The last time I got a pedicure, I was 42 weeks pregnant (natural induction attempt 548), so it was such a thoughtful treat. Saturday night we went out for ice cream on the beach with the happiest baby on earth. I had blueberry, Mike, salted caramel. We shared little bites with Charlie and he would’ve eaten the whole cup if we had let him! Rain fell all through the day on Sunday so after Facetimes with both of our moms, we headed to the Norton Museum of Art, our favorite rainy day outing. Charlie’s first visit! He wore his Eric Carle “I Love Mom” hungry caterpillar shirt and everyone commented on what a handsome, sweet boy we have which warmed my mama heart. The Norton is undergoing some major renovations, so open now are only a couple wings of their permanent art collections. The perfect size for a six month old art newbie, and a nice no-fuss outing for our little family. It was my one Mother’s Day request since it clearly was not panning out to be a beach day. Our dinner was amazing. We had an appetizer of shrimp with St. Elmo’s cocktail sauce. Mike made the steak on the cast iron skillet (rain!) and it was so so tender that I think it may be our new favorite way to make steak rather than the grill. Asparagus, smashed red potatoes, and mushrooms cooked in butter topped it all off. My mouth is still watering. And the best part? I didn’t lift a finger. Mike did it all while I played on the floor with our little man and drank my wine. 🙂 Best Mother’s Day ever. The first of what I hope will be many homemade Mother’s Day gifts. 🙂 I hope each and every mom was spoiled rotten on Sunday. You deserve it!

the friday post – vol. 11

Oops. It’s a Saturday post again, isn’t it? Oh well! I was enjoying my post work cocktails too much to muster up the energy to post last night. I made a blueberry simple syrup from Charlie’s leftover baby food and mixed that with torn basil, a wedge of lemon, vodka and soda water. It gave me new life. Happy Mother’s Day weekend you guys! Godmothers, Mothers, Grandmothers, etc. you all rock! Mikey (sweetest man alive, have I mentioned that?) made me an appointment to have my toes done today. I feel like a new woman! It’s been such a good weekend already.

Charlie is seriously on the move now. His scoot has turned into this little crawl with kind of a bum leg that kind of scoots along with him. He’s all over the house! We really have to keep our eye on him – especially because he has an endless fascination with electrical cords and all things Wendy (her food, her toys, her tail). Three weeks left of school! Next week is book fair so it’s going to be a little crazy in the library. The kids love book fair so so much though so it’ll be fun. I put up little string ball lights on the front porch this morning and am just tickled by them. They’re so festive. I tried to capture a picture but it just doesn’t do it justice. I’ll have to try again at dusk. Have an amazing Mother’s Day weekend all! I only wish I could be with my own mom this weekend for Mother’s Day. Then it would be complete. But a FaceTime will have to make do this year.

make time to go outside.

ac983487-c73f-497a-aa50-89acf3e740e3It’s been a hectic couple of weeks at our house. Last weekend was full of friends and extra happenings which carried over to this week. There are just phases like that, you know? Weekday grocery runs, broken glasses, morning work events, lizards in the kitchen, diaper issues. I won’t go into details, but phew it’s been a week!

We’ve always been lovers of walks. They’re so good for the soul. But the last couple weeks we’ve fallen out of our nightly walk habit. And because of it, I feel like we haven’t had time to really catch up with each other. I mentioned it to Mike earlier this week, and the last two nights we’ve made time to go outside. Just a little walk around the block to the water with Charlie in his stroller. There’s something about walking next to each other outside that takes conversation to the next level. We’re so much more likely to dig deep and talk things through for real rather than if we were sitting at home. It just gives me a little sigh of relief at the end of an extra busy day.

There are tons of studies that show spending time outdoors reduces stress, increases creativity, and causes a shift toward more positive moods. I know I feel so much more connected and relaxed after a daily constitutional around the block. So this is just a little reminder to make time for yourselves to go outside and run, bike, walk or just sit. You’ll feel better afterward! And guess what? If you have a baby – they’ll feel better too! Going outside can actually help them sleep longer and better at night.

thrift store toys and cleaning them for your baby.

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I like to take a browse through our local thrift stores once a month or so. I always have a little list of things I’m idly on the hunt for – a new chair for the dining room table, a small table to go next to our couch, some summer shorts for Charlie, a browse through the baskets and baby toys. Nothing urgent, but things that I’d like to find eventually, and would prefer not paying full price for.

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We have a giant thrift store right down the road from our house that is my absolute favorite. It’s the biggest thrift store I’ve been in, and their things are alway high quality. It’s not like you’re buying junk. You’re buying really nice things at a discounted price. And when I’m buying something that isn’t a necessity, then I love a good deal. I usually end up with a few things that weren’t on my list too and when you’re only paying a couple dollars, that’s okay.

1b56513f-e11a-419f-9d7e-ae57adef280dI was a little bit worried when I found these blocks though. For $1, the price was right, but I was a little bit concerned about buying a used toy for my baby. Were they germ-y, dusty, coated in who-knows-what? (Honestly, Charlie’s in daycare, so I think he gets germs and then some from there, but still) I did a little research, and I found that used toys are really easy to clean, even wood toys.

You just have to give them a good douse in hot, soapy water, dry them out, and ta-da – they’re ready to go directly in your baby’s mouth. It was a hot and sunny day when I washed his new blocks, so I stuck them outside in the sun for an hour to naturally de-sanitize. Another option is to add a little vinegar to your water instead of soap. This will kill the bacteria on your used toys. I bought a basket to put the blocks in, and I went ahead and rinsed that out in the soapy water and set it outside to dry too. Clean as a whistle! For a day at least. 🙂

728050b7-f2e8-41c0-8008-6a50bdbf3098A little elbow grease was worth it for a new-to-us $1 toy and the $2 basket to go with it. I may have to go back next week for the set of little Schleich dinosaurs I spotted for $2.

Are you a thrift store lover? I find some people are adamantly against them, and others love it! I just think it’s fun to browse around and give something old a new life for a few dollars. 🙂 I did also find a pair of striped and a pair of chambray shorts for Charlie from baby Gap and Boden. All for $1 each! What’s not to like?

 

an adaptable recipe for muesli.

567296ba-4125-465d-a075-19fdfdadb081I’m one of those people who wakes up in the morning and immediately needs something to eat. I’m the person to whom ‘brunch’ really means ‘second breakfast’ because I couldn’t possibly wait until 10am to eat for the first time. I’m married to a non-breakfast lover (other than hearty breakfast potatoes topped with an egg and the occasional french toast on weekend mornings), so I’m left to my own devices during the week. Cereal and oatmeal are all fine and good, but they’re a little uninspiring, right? And while oatmeal fills me up for the morning, it takes a little bit of time to make it when I’m in a rush in the morning. If I have cereal, on the other hand, I find myself snacking by 9am.0e77466b-90f4-48fc-9ce5-df53ec7ff3f4 Muesli is hearty, healthy, filling-me-up-for-the-long-haul goodness. If you haven’t had it before, muesli is very similar to granola, sans sweetener, oil and oven. Essentially, you just throw a bunch of oats, nuts, and dried fruits into a jar, mix it up and leave it on the counter to last for weeks. Did you hear me say that there’s no oven required? With the heat of summer coming our way, you just may find yourself reaching for this recipe as well. I mixed up a giant 12 cup batch in one of my gallon sized jars the other day that will probably last until the end of the school year. All ingredients are dried pantry goods, so there’s nothing that will go bad before then as long as I keep the lid screwed tight to keep staleness at bay. When you’re ready for your bowl of morning muesli, just scoop some out into a bowl, pour over your desired amount of milk, add a dollop of yogurt if you feel like it, and add any sweetener. I like a sprinkle of brown sugar best, but maple syrup or honey are yummy options too.

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Like I said in the title, this is easily adaptable. Don’t like nuts? Add more oats or seeds. Put whichever dried fruits you like best in. I’ll give my recipe for a gallon, but you can easily adjust up or (more likely) down.

Here’s What You’ll Need: 

  • 8 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups mixed nuts and seeds roughly chopped (I used pistachios, pecans, almonds and pepitas)
  • 2 cups dried fruits (I used cherries, cranberries, and blueberries)

Or the formula to remember is: 4 parts grain + one part nuts + one part dried fruits

Here’s What To Do: 

Are you ready? This is ridiculous…Mix it together, put it in a jar. That’s it! And when you’re ready to eat it, just scoop however much you’d like into a bowl, pour over a little milk, a scoop of yogurt and sprinkle some sweetener over. Mix and enjoy!

radiant after birth?

7390d87f-da9c-41b0-9c87-0bea8bf375efThis article made me chuckle last week. If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ll have heard about Kate Middleton stepping out just 7 hours after giving birth looking fit for the red carpet. It’s been quite the hit in the news lately, and moms are making hilarious comparisons of their own looks after births. I don’t know about you, but 7 hours after birth I think I was hobbling down the hallway, gingerly trying to sit down, figure out how to diaper and feed the baby all while consuming vast quantities of food myself.

All things considered, I felt great after birth. I bounced back fairly easily, didn’t need or want any painkillers that they offered me in the hospital. I was on such a baby high! But makeup was the last thing on my mind and I’m sure I looked like a nightmare. I really didn’t care, and we only have maybe two pictures of me in the hospital to prove it. We were  Thinking about Kate Middleton having to wear heels and makeup just a few hours after pushing an 8 and a half pound infant into the world. Gosh! The whole thing just makes me think about how different each of our forays into birth and motherhood are.

While I was pregnant, women loved telling me all about their birth experiences and I actually love to hear everyone’s stories. I would cluck in compassion about their emergency c-section, gasp at the appropriate moments when they told me about the moment they needed an epidural, and express surprise about the fact that they were induced and never even felt a contraction. Everyone has a different and beautiful story for bringing their baby into the world. For the most part, every story ended the same. “Having a new baby is just the best.” That’s how my story ends anyway. What about you? It’s hard, but so worth it, right?