chocolate overnight oats

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Breakfast has been a broken record of eggs, vegi sausage, toaster waffles and yogurt lately. In a desperate attempt to derail that boring cycle, I went searching Pinterest for some easy recipes and landed on overnight oats. I used this recipe as a starting point then improvised with what I had in my kitchen. We’ve been enjoying these cups all week and I feel like they are a total triumph over our boring breakfast standards.

What You Need || 

1 cup gluten free rolled oats

1 cup coconut milk

3 large strawberries, chopped

1 tbsp cocoa powder

sprinkle of chai seeds

sprinkle of flax seeds

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp maple syrup

blueberries

1 chopped banana

coconut shavings

What You Do ||

1. Combine oats, coconut milk, strawberries, blueberries, chai seeds, flax seeds, vanilla extract, maple syrup and blueberries in a large bowl. Stir until completely mixed.

2. Half fill a few pint sized mason jars with mixture (mine filled three jars)

3. Chill overnight

4. Stir and add banana and coconut as a toppings

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how we superbowled

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Waiting for the game to start was kind of like scheduling Christmas for exactly 3:30 and telling an entire city to wait. You could feel the nervous energy everywhere. In my house, at the mall, in the grocery store. It just felt like everyone was aimlessly squandering the hours away until game time. We were all overly prepped and ready to cheer on our team and all we could do was WAIT.

The game went as planned, the end…not so much. So, anyway, this picture was taken BEFORE the game….during the waiting when we didn’t know what else to do with ourselves but document the excitement and make food.

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Now it’s time to go drown our sorrows in coffee and pastries with our friends. Here’s to next year 12’s!

online lately

IMG_3672I bought this online….found these great internet services…..things I do on the computer….I don’t know. Whatever you want to call it, I’ve been turning to the internet lately for so many things that I previously would have ventured to a store for. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised (it’s the way of the world right?) but these services have totally blown me away so I thought I would share.

Let’s start with Serial. I think I’m a little late to the podcast party but O.M.G (I HATE omg but it’s just so appropriate here. Read it with a teenage squeal if you must) was I glued to this. I had to have my younger (and much cooler) cousin show me where to even find these ‘podcast things’ on my phone but once I was there, I was stuck. I finished the Serial series yesterday and am truly sad it’s over. I’m still milling over what I think of Adnon’s guilt or possible innocence. If you haven’t listed yet, it’s like listening to a real life law and order and the hosts voice somehow captures you. I listed on my phone, in my car, every nap time and basically as much as I could until I finished. Then, this morning, about 12 hours after finishing Serial, I started Invisibilia. Hooked again.

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Another online service I would have never dreamed I would love is Warby Parker. I’m not a glasses wearer but Kyle is and he hates picking out a pair on his own. So, rather than drag the whole fam to the store, we ordered five pairs to try for five days from Warby Parker. Kyle modeled them all for me and we eliminated three immediately. A few days later, while over for brunch, his family helped him narrow it down to one awesome pair. We sent in his prescription, mailed back the trial pairs and his new glasses arrived a few weeks later. SO EASY!

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I’ve made a lame attempt on keeping a baby book for M. I’ve written a few things here and there, mostly when she was first born and I hadn’t included any photos. I finally decided I better get on top of it before I totally lost the project to the years so I ordered some prints of my Instagram photos from Print Studio not really knowing what to expect. I was blown away when they arrived. The quality of the photos is amazing and the square shape just kills me. I think I’ll try to Prinstagram my photos every six months or so just to make sure M has some hard photos to look back on.

I know there are a million other online services waiting for me to find. If you have any you love, send em’ my way!

when spring comes to january

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When the headlines are full of blizzards, juno and the word feet mixed with the word snow, I almost hate to talk about the weather. But, the weather. We pay our dues in the Northwest with enough gloom to make us notorious for it so when the sun shines in January, you talk about it. It’s been 60 here the last few days. 60 in January is some sort of miracle. And we did what any good Pacific Northwest dwellers do when the big ball of light shines. We got outside.

I’ve “hiked” (you can hardly call what we did hiking. it was glorified mountain walking) Evans Creek Preserve a few times in the summer but it was almost better in the winter. Very Twighlight-esc with moss stretching across every surface and tiny traces of wildlife at your feet. It was really a January morning at it’s finest.

**Remind me to look back at this when I’m complaining about the spring that hasn’t yet arrived in April.

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at home acai bowls

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A few years ago on a trip to Hawaii we discovered Acai Bowls. Yogurt like bowls of fruit puree topped with everything from mango to almonds. We would stop at a little local hole in the wall juice bar, collect our bowl of frozen goodness and continue on to the beach. Since then, they’ve exploded all over the internet and are even served in some restaurants around Seattle. The major draw is probably the health benefits but for me, it’s more about the flavorful fruits that make a bowl.

A few days ago, a friend posted a photo of their delicious, overflowing Acai Bowl on Insta. (Just to tease me. I’m sure of it.)I could.not stop thinking about it and was determined to make one for myself. It took a little longer then I expected because I couldn’t find frozen Acai packets but we improvised by throwing a bottle of Acai juice into a Tupperware and freezing it overnight. It worked perfectly! If the packets also elude you, I found the juice at Safeway.

What You Need || 

acai: frozen packet or previously frozen juice

1 frozen banana

1 avocado

coconut milk

1 mango, chopped

strawberries, sliced

chai seeds

granola

What You Do ||

Blend the frozen Acai with the banana, avocado and 1/4 cup coconut milk. Keep adding milk and pureeing until you get a frozen yogurt type consistency.

Divide acai puree into bowls

Top with mango, strawberries, granola and chai seeds

The great thing about Acai Bowls is that there is no strict recipe. I’ve ordered them with scary sounding ingredients like peanut butter and pineapple and have never been disappointed. I don’t even think it would be too crazy to throw some leafy greens in with the puree. Play around with the ingredients and see what you like best. Enjoy!

moving without the movers

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By no means was I the most organized mover. I have moved out of many apartments, college housing and short term living situations but the amount of stuff we had accumulated over our five year stint in our last house was truly amazing. I thought I had boxed, labeled and organized a very tidy move weeks in advance. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. When it came to crunch time things were flying around, family was tossing in every grocery sack and reusable tote they had to help and my new garage was bulging with items I needed to sort though before finding it a new home. Needless to say, I learned a few things and plan to attack any future moves very differently.

1. Start early

Lesson learned. Packing takes about 10x longer then you plan for. Every single.tiny.thing in your house has to make it out somehow. Either that’s into a moving truck, trash bin or finding it a new home. No matter where it’s going, plan for somewhere around three solid days of packing per room in your house. I wish I had followed this rule. After getting the ‘big stuff’ squared away, I laid off the packing and when it came down to it, I was throwing small items in boxes and bags hours before closing.

2. Purge and declutter 

New space means you need new things. Sorry guys. I know the men in your life don’t want to hear this. You’ll need to measure and plan out your new space before deciding what to get rid of. It might be through a garage sale, Craigslist listings (we did A LOT of this), GoodWill donations or gifting to your neighbors. Either way, if it doesn’t work for your new home, just don’t bring it. Have a plan as far in advance as you can and rid yourself of the rest. Decision making, sorting and selling take time.

3. Hire a sitter 

Sorry kids!

4. Box it up

I totally underestimated the number of boxes we would need to pack up our home. Boxes can add up if you buy them new but you’ll be surprised how many you can find if you ask around. I have seen friends receive an entire move worth of boxes just by asking on Facebook. Again, this is a lesson I learned. I had boxed everything that I thought needed a box and at the last minute was staring down a mound of miscellaneous items. (see Start Early)  They ended up tossed in tote bags and paper sacks. Now, my garage is full of these bags. If I had purchased more boxes, I could have properly labeled these and sorted better. My garage would thank me.

5. Enlist a crew 

I felt bad asking for any help from friends or family as obviously there is a whole industry of folks dedicated to making moving easier. But before I knew it, our family had descended on us like moving angels. They helped Kyle carry the heavy items, worked the Tetris game of truck loading like pros and hauled car loads of our junk around. Without them, I am positive we would still be moving. I know the point of choosing a DIY move over movers is to save money but compensate any help as well as you can. It would be fun to host them all for a dinner in your new home once everything is put away or take them out to a ‘thank goodness it’s over’ drink.

 

a 2nd birthday celebration

DSC_2172A few weeks ago, we celebrated M’s 2nd birthday with some of her buddies who also turned two within a few weeks of her. Three families all loaded up our cars with presents, cupcakes, bagels for breakfast and our swimwear for a night at Great Wolf Lodge. For M’s first birthday, we threw a huge party at our house. Although it was so special, I wasn’t up for a repeat of the house cleaning, cooking and hosting this year. So, a getaway to the indoor Disneyland of Washington was the solution. It ended up being a blast for the children and hassle free for the parents. Besides the car packing, all we did was follow our pack of twos around Great Wolf’s indoor water park and feed them a celebratory  pizza dinner. It was quite the second birthday bash!

photo 3 photo 2 DSC_2180These three have been taking trips to the zoo together this summer so we thought an animal theme was fitting.The cupcakes could not have been more perfect. My friend Kristen made these for us and they were a huge hit with the kiddos. M chose a bear, Gemma was a lion and Connor wanted the monkey. Oh’ and because I’m sure you are wondering, I also chose the bear. He was too cute to pass up.

photo 4 DSC_2174 DSC_2186I think this is the last birthday that I’ll get away with choosing the theme and having any say in the activities so I feel like we did it right. What a weekend!

Happy Friday & Enjoy!

Melissa

 

comfort trending

1.jpgThere is no style I can get behind more then the comfort trend that seems to be taking over. A strong applause from me to whoever started this. The problem is, I’m just not sure how far I can go before I’ve taken it too far. Like Birkenstocks for example. I want them so badly and have tried them on at least three times but  just can’t quite get myself pull the trigger. As a compromise, I picked up these MTNG ‘earthy’ sandals and have been living in them lately.  I’ve also added a few other comfort items to my wardrobe and always seem to grab for them before anything else. I don’t know, what do you guys think….can you have too many comfortable pieces or is it all about what you do with them?

 

Enjoy! Melissa

 

MTNG Originals ‘Taylor’ Sandal (here) || Brooks ‘Vanguard’ Sneaker (here) || Twill Pant (here) || Messy Top Knot (on my head)

a northwest garden

DSC_2102Truth: I have a black thumb. There isn’t a hint of green sprouting from that thing. Most plants hate my guts and yet, every year around this time, we make trips to suburban heavens like Home Depot or Costco and pick up some plants for me to kill. Last weekend, I got my hands on a few hanging greens, some potted goods and we picked out vegetables for our little raised bed.

Those, I am not allowed to touch. The fear that I will kill them before they even have a chance to produce an ounce of anything edible is too much for Ky so he’s brought in a new gardening assistant. She comes with a load of Hello Kitty gear and stays focused for about two whole seconds but somehow, they got the job done.

Together, they managed to plant tomatoes, edamame, sweet peppers and a little flower that M insisted belonged next to the vegetables. Every year we each take our gardening roles. My job is to nag Ky several times a day making sure he’s watered the plants or checked to make sure rabbits and slugs didn’t devour the garden overnight and Ky’s job is to, well…water and check for pests. M’s role in the whole thing is to taste test. It’s what she is best at.

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Here’s to hoping I can update you with a bowl of harvested goodness in a few months.

Enjoy! Melissa

 

vitamin d

DSC_1751I just don’t think there is anything that makes my heart skip a beat more then watching M play in the sunshine. I may live in the NorthWest but I am a true blue sun- seeker. I’m guessing that stems from planting my roots here. A place where sunshine is special. Yes, it’s true, there is a cloud-cover that looms over our area for a good 6 plus months a year so when the sun does come out, we follow it.

The temperature has skyrocketed over 80 the past two days and except for naps, M and I have hardly set a toe inside. The dishes are piling up, laundry needs to be done and I’m sure the vacuum would like to see the light of day but I don’t really care. By the end of the day yesterday, we were both sunblock covered sweaty messes.

It’s the best kind of mess to be.

I’ve been watching her water the plants, play in bare feet and run headstrong into the chilly lake and I’m positive this summer with a two year old is going to be one of my favorites.

Vitamin D has been good for my skin and my soul.

Enjoy! Melissa