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Goodbye Seattle; Aloha, Hawaii!

July 5, 2016

I’m a little behind with this post– we left Seattle on Saturday and flew out to Hawaii.  Our Seattle trip was so much fun– we visited a few beaches, caught up with old friends, and spent tons of time with family.  We also visited a few family-friendly sites that Ryan and I had never taken Lila to– the Everett Children’s Museum, and the Seattle Aquarium.  It was a packed week!

Then, we flew from chilly Seattle to…balmy Hawaii:

I was a little nervous about this flight– they couldn’t sit us all together, so Ryan and Lila sat together and I stayed with Charlie.  It was 5.5 hours…that’s a long time to entertain a baby on a flight! Luckily, he did great– slept a lot, ate a lot, and stayed generally happy.  Before I knew it, we were landing in Kauai, ready for vacation #2!

We are having a blast here– it is SO beautiful.  I’ve been to Hawaii once before, on a high school biology trip– but, that was a long time ago and we were on a different island.  Kauai is beautiful…and wonderfully laid back.  It seems like a great place to take kids– just beaches and beautiful hikes for days.

Hope you had a great fourth! Aloha!🙂

 

Summer Travels…

June 28, 2016

Hi friends! We are in full summer mode, which for us always means…travel!  We’re spending this week in Seattle, and from there will go to Hawaii for two weeks.  Our trips that we take during the summer are some of my best memories and one of the things I love most about having such a long break in the summer.  People always ask if we ever think about doing summer teaching, but the truth is, I love taking this time to relax and take some time to ourselves without the stress of teaching.

When it was just the two of us, we would take longer, more complicated trips– Croatia…Italy…France.  I loved those trips (and I miss those days, haha), but we’ve still been able to travel a lot, even now that our family has expanded to four.  Traveling with kids is, of course, different.  This is our first “real” trip with Charlie, so I was a little nervous about the long flights– getting to Seattle involved a 1.5 hour flight, followed by a 4 hour flight.  Luckily, both kids did AWESOME:

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…and before we knew it, we were pulling into SEATAC!

We’ve rented a house in the Green Lake area for this trip, and we are loving it.  We’re just a few blocks from the lake, so Lila has already enjoyed the little beach/swimming area.  The neighborhood is really cute and it’s fun to be close to everything Seattle has to offer.  Yesterday, we all woke up at 5 am (ugh…thanks, time change), which meant that we were out the door by 7, haha.  We decided to explore Discovery Park– we hiked for about 40 minutes down to the beach and then hung out there for a while before heading back.  The weather was so clear and beautiful– perfect for lots of pictures (warning: extreme photo dump ahead…)!

What a beautiful place!

After our hike, we headed out to Ryan’s parents’ house for lunch, and then invited his family back to our rental house for a pizza dinner.

Today, we’re off to the zoo with friends, and then meeting up with one of my best friends for dinner tonight.  Loving this cool weather– although everyone here is complaining about how hot it is, heh.

Happy summer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oodles of Zoodles

June 7, 2016

Once upon a time, I had a spiralizer

Then we moved like, three times in five years.  And somewhere along the way I decided that I didn’t use it enough to justify keeping it around, and I got rid of it.  So now I’m stuck buying spiralized veggies at Whole Foods:

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…that are, of course, way more expensive than a freakin’ zucchini.

My parents were in town this weekend to see Lila’s recital:

She and her friends tapped it out to “Mr. Big Stuff”—adorable.  We were *very* sad to see them go yesterday.  But we have a big family trip to look forward to in just a few weeks, so we’re trying to focus on that! 

After a weekend of eating out, it felt good to fix this simple dinner with the “zoodles”—I lightly sauteed them, then topped them with cherry tomatoes, feta, basil, olive oil and lemon juice:

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Enjoyed al fresco:

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Lila liked the zoodles…although I think she just thought it was funny how long they were:

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…and Charlie just thinks everything is funny:

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Have a great day! Smile

Summer Panzanella

May 30, 2016

Whenever we have panzanella (Italian bread salad), it always reminds me of the time we were in Florence when a waiter reeeeeeeally tried to talk us out of ordering it.  Dude, it’s bread salad—what’s not to like?

Uh, remember when we used to go to Europe in the summer?  Yeah, me too.  But hey, kids are great too—Lila keeps telling me that she’s going to move into a hotel because I’m a bad mommy, so I guess I have that to look forward to at least.

Bring on the summer rose.

Last night, I threw together this panzanella as an easy side dish for some chicken.  It was really just me throwing the last of some of our veggies together, but it actually turned out really great—probably because anything that involves bread is great.  I would recommend using bread (I used a baguette) that is a day or so old—just a little stale.  It will soak up the oil, etc. better that way.

Summer Panzanella

kernels from 2 ears of corn, lightly boiled (don’t overcook—it’s better if they’re still a bit crunchy)

1.5 cup halved cherry tomatoes

1 avocado, diced

1/2 cucumber, diced

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

2 cups bread (I used baguette), cubed

drizzle of olive oil

salt and pepper

1-2 tbsp. lemon juice

Directions:

Mix first ingredients.  Drizzle olive oil over them—I probably used about 1/4 cup.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add lemon juice.  Toss well and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes so that the bread will soak up the liquid and soften.

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This really was the perfect summer dish.  Hope you’re enjoying the long weekend!

Parsley Pesto Pasta

May 22, 2016

Say that three times fast.

We transplanted our (very small) parsley plant from our old house to our new one when we moved last fall, and, much to our surprise (we kill plastic plants, y’all), the parsley has really flourished:

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So much so that I’m not really sure what to do with it.  I mean, we’re garnishing the shit out of everything we eat, but beyond that, I’m kind of at a loss for what to do with so much parsley.

In an attempt to use some up, I made this easy pesto the other night.  I wasn’t sure if the parsley flavor would be too overwhelming if that was ALL I used, so I mixed it up and put a bit of basil and spinach in there too.  But, the majority of the “green” was parsley—and we all really liked it!  Along with the herbs, I added a garlic clove, toasted walnuts, parmesan, olive oil, and salt—so easy. 

It would have been delicious just served alone on pasta, but we topped the pasta with tomatoes, sauteed spinach, and shrimp—a tasty addition!

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Lila was mostly just excited about the bread. Winking smile 

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Pretty sure Charlie was pooping here.  #reallife

Happy Sunday!

Strawberries for Lila

May 5, 2016

Get it?  Like blueberries for Sal?

Yeah, you get it.

A few days ago, Lila and I joined some friends for strawberry picking at a nearby local farm.  It’s a bit of a tradition—look how little she was here, the first time we went!

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Tear.

Obviously we made popsicles with that year’s haul.  This year, after spending about an hour picking the berries:

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…we decided on muffins.  Mostly because we had all of the stuff on hand and I didn’t want a strawberry pie in the house, haha. 

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Muffins:

Dry Ingredients:

1.5 cups white all-purpose flour

.5 cup spelt flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

Wet Ingredients:

6 tbsp. butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup milk (add more if needed—I added about another 2 tbsp.)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Fruit:

2 cups chopped strawberries

ps—chocolate chips would be a delicious addition too; alas, we had none

Directions:

In separate bowls, mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients.  Add wet ingredients to dry, folding with a spatula until combined.  Gently fold in strawberries and other mix-ins.

Spoon batter into regular-sized muffin cups and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350.  Remove from oven and cool for at least 15 minutes.

It was a family effort:

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Yum! Happy almost-Friday!

On the Brink of Summer

May 3, 2016

One of my favorite times of year is April/May—late spring, but not quite summer here in Alabama.  There are always storms, but lots of sun too, and the weather is usually perfect for outside stuff—we’re not to the horrible heat of summer (yet), and the days are longer and wonderful.

Lila and I have taken on a few crafts/projects recently.  We made fairy houses out of some tree stumps that out neighbor left out for the trash:

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It was a very good thing that we *each* had a stump, as we had very different visions for our fairy houses. 

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One day I’ll let her play with mine.  Winking smile

We’ve been getting eggs in cardboard cartons from a family at church, and I’ve been saving them in the hopes that we’d get a craft out of them.  Lila picked this from Pinterest:

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…and it did turn out cute, although it was kind of a pain in the ass to paint all of the individual egg cups. 

I did a yoga class at the Y yesterday and came home to make this fruity kale salad:

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Dinosaur kale, blueberries, blackberries, hardboiled egg, bleu cheese, and trail mix (sunflower seeds, pepitas, cashews and dried cranberries), plus a drizzle of balsamic.  Yum!

And, dinner:

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…for which Lila declared a deep, deep hatred.  Much wine was consumed.

We’ve been taking evening walks, with Lila on the trike or scooter and Charlie in the tula wrap:

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I’m still loving it.  I wore it to a couple of parties this weekend, and while it’s a pain to get into, once he’s in it, he is almost always totally happy or sleeping.  We like those two modes.

Hope your week is off to a great start!

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