Monday, June 30, 2014

grateful heart

Hey all.

I'm starting off this week linking up with Ember Grey's grateful heart Monday.

There is so much to be grateful for, but this week I am especially grateful for this past weekend! We were able to get away for a couple of days as a family and it was soooooo nice. It definitely wasn't the perfect vacation, but we were able to walk away from it with only a few tears shed (mostly mine... okay, some from Eve, too) so I'd say it was a success.

We went camping in southern MN. When we got there, the woman working in the state park office was super kind, and immediately upgraded us to a better site because there were a lot of cancellations. I was kind of wondering why people were leaving...? I thought it had to do with the flooding that has been causing a lot of problems in the area, but it turns out it was because of the awful mosquitoes! No joke, within, like, 20 minutes of getting out of the car, my kids' faces looked like they had the chicken pox. :( It was so bad. I am a camper, and have camped in pretty extreme conditions, but this was by far the most difficult situation I've ever been in on a camping trip. What can you do when your defenseless kids are being eaten alive!?

We stuck it out one night... then left early and went to a hotel. Ha! It all worked out though. The kids were troopers. And to be clear, I didn't cry because of the mosquitoes. We picked a campground that's near a lot of amazing hiking trails, but unfortunately a lot of the trails were super muddy or underwater entirely. I cried because I fell and slid down a ridiculously muddy hill WHILE HOLDING EVE because God forbid she step in the mud (she is a little princess), and it was just a totally awful, slightly embarrassing event. She was screaming at the top of her lungs, I was screaming, Andrew and Elliot were like a quarter of a mile away, totally fine, ... sigh. Camping adventures. Somehow, Eve only ended up with a tiny blob of mud on her foot. I was literally covered in mud, head to toe. Oh well.

It's good to be home, and we will try again next year.

Happy Monday!

Ember Grey

Thursday, June 19, 2014

taking stock

This play on currently-type blog posts has been circulating around the internet---however, it was Dani Hampton's blog that inspired me to take the plunge. I like the idea of filling one of these out every month or so, to look back on how everything was going/what I was feeling at the time!

 Lots of gluten free recipes. Eve has told me a couple of times lately that her tummy hurts. You never know with toddlers, but I thought we would give gluten free a shot, or at the very least, less gluten. There are several gluten allergies in my family, so it wouldn't be a surprise if she has one. We have been kickin' it with quinoa!
 Quinoa. Roasted vegetables. Veggie omelets for Andrew every Friday morning. 
 Water. However, as of this week I have officially weaned Elliot so BRING ON THE WHITE WINE!
 I am reading The Fault in Our Stars because my kid sister told me to. It's been good so far, but only making me want to read more books. I need summer book recommendations! 
 it to be next weekend already because I booked us a little family camping trip!
 at Elliot, chomping away on some green puffs. 
 peekaboo with him. He is in my closet. 
 nothing, really! We have been getting rid of things, as always, trying to simplify, but we have either given things to friends or to Goodwill. 
 nothing right now... nothing for, like, a year. Ha!
Wishing: for the right person or family to buy our house. 
 Summer weather!
 for the girls to wake up from their naps so I can keep packing up the storage room upstairs. 
 my long hair, but I feel like I should cut it? It has been growing ridiculously fast. 
 if we can really pull this move off. 
fresh herbs from the garden. I absolutely love going out back and snipping a bunch of whatever I need. It's the best. 
 that Andrew has a successful week at work. 
 at my beautiful kids, and how fast they are growing up. My hormones have been a little crazy with weaning, but I am such a sap. I could just stare at my babies and cry all day. 
 more than 5 hours of sleep... 
 lemon essential oil. mmm.
 plain t shirts and colorful shorts. Every day. 
 along with the world cup!
 the sunsets every night. God is such an amazing artist. 
 so emotional. It happens when your hormones are shifting, I guess. I'm looking forward to feeling like my old self again. 
 the mail... everyone gets pretty excited about the mail around here. 

Feeling: excited for the future!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

perfect chocolate chip cookies

My all time favorite dessert is chocolate chip cookies. I think perfectly made chocolate chip cookies are one of the best things on earth, actually. I probably make these more than I should, but we always have company at our house, neighbors to thank, friends who need a little treat, and there are always hungry kids around, so the cookies don't last long.

I think most bakers have a chocolate cookie recipe they refer to, and this is mine. There are definitely more complicated, overnight-chilled, more-ingredient recipes I use, but this is my standard. It's a go-to for me, and I think it's perfect.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies


2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks of butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
flaky sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix softened butter with brown sugar. Add white sugar, and mix these until fully combined. Add eggs one at a time, and incorporate until fully combined. Add vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add this mixture to the wet ingredients, folding it in until just combined. Don't over mix! Add the entire bag of chocolate chips because YOLO.

Bake by rounded tablespoon-ful at 375 degrees for exactly 10 minutes. (This is how long I leave them in my oven. You may need to adjust a little depending on how hot your oven gets. Trial and error!) The cookies might look a little underdone. Sprinkle with a bit of flaky sea salt.

Let them cool, and they will be perfectly soft, gooey, and chocolatey. This recipe should yield around 4 dozen cookies. I make them a little bit small, so I can eat more of them obviously!

Today I split the dough in half before adding the chocolate chips. One half I made the usual way, and to the other half of the dough I added 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and about 1 cup of white chocolate chips. YUM. The possibilities are endless with cookies. That must be why I love them so much.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

out in the garden

I took this photo before weeding the area today. Lots... of... clover...

My garden this year is a bit small. I don't have as many things growing as I normally do---I knew since we are moving, a lot of what I typically plant would be ready around the time we are planning to move, and therefore useless! But what is growing is thriving.

Today I snipped some cilantro to use with the leftover BBQ pork quesadillas I made for lunch. Yum! I love having a garden, and planning meals around what is the freshest out there.

And I have a super cute little garden helper.

all photos taken with my iphone. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

back again

What day is it today? Is it really only Monday?

Okay. I inadvertently took a three week long blogging absence. Totally wasn't planned, and I actually have, like, three posts that I started writing? I just couldn't make it happen. It has been a little crazy around here.

We officially have our house on the market. (!!!) This is bittersweet. I love this house, and I love Minneapolis, but it's time. We have already been in talks with the lovely owners of our farm house about when we will begin moving out there, etc, so it's time to get this ball rolling. It is so crazy! We would have never bought this place if we knew we would be turning around and selling it a year and a half later. It's a little bit nuts, honestly. But this house has been a dream, and, I mean, my baby was born in it! The memories here are all good ones, and it will be just as much fun to move into our next house & start creating new memories.

Speaking of moving, another move happened last week... My youngest sister moved in with us. My parents are moving back to Japan this fall, and Madeline decided to stay here in the states. When my parents initially told us that they were moving, I, of course, offered to take Madeline if need be. She is 18, and technically an adult, but doesn't really have any college aspirations, and hasn't really had much experience yet as far as working. I know it will be a little while before she is comfortable with getting a job, apartment, etc. So, yeah, naturally, we offered her a room here. I guess I didn't know she would accept? I mean, Japan! But she is here, and I'm looking forward to getting to know my baby sister a little bit this summer. We are 8 years apart and haven't lived under the same roof for about 10 years now, so a lot has changed. Also, HELLO BUILT IN BABYSITTER. Yes.

Anyway, the babies are asleep, and I am about to put my feet up with a book. I just wanted to squeeze out a little post here while I had a minute. It feels good to be back!