11 July 2015

and speaking of weddings...

We celebrated our tenth anniversary just a few months ago. TEN YEARS. A decade. I mean, that's not bad. Whenever I go to a wedding, like I did last weekend, I always reminisce about our own wedding day and all the things that have happened since. I can honestly say that a decade later, I value Nick more than I did that day. The depth of love that I feel is way more than I'd imagined in all my giddiness before walking down the aisle that April morning so many years ago. We've been stretched and learned and been drawn closer together, and I am so grateful for this man.

Going to weddings also gets me to thinking about the way our wedding played out, the details in the programs and decorations and food. In some ways I am glad I didn't get married in the era of Pinterest - it would not have been good for my indecisive ways. But on the other hand, it would've been fun to get a little more creative and let our personalities shine through a bit more. One of those ways was with our invitations. We got a great deal from a family friend, which was a blessing, but I'd definitely say it didn't reflect our style too much. White card stock, green lettering. The end.

But now there are so many amazing choices! I could spend hours looking at stationery (am I a nerd?)... the fonts! the foil! the florals! One of my favorite spots for fun cards to mark special occasions is definitely Minted - they have endless choices, and choices within choices - different color schemes and silhouettes for each card.

find here
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Now I can live out all my invitation dreams with pretty cards for things like babies. We've had a few in the last ten years.

What did you love about your wedding? Is there anything you'd change?

10 July 2015

a wedding, a road trip, and middle america

Last week around this time, I was sitting on a plane on my way to Chicago. One of my dearest Young Life friends was getting married and had invited me out to do her hair for her big day and share in all the celebration. With another good friend by my side, we made our way from the PNW to the Midwest, ready to spend a weekend away with friends new and old.

We stepped out into the Chicago sun, made our way to our rental car, plugged the address into our phones, and started traveling west to Wisconsin's dairyland. Two hours later, we wove through country roads, surrounded by cornfields and old barns, and the most beautiful countryside I've seen. We stopped chattering here and there to marvel at all the surrounded us, and breathed deep as we rolled up the gravel drive to the farm where we were spending the weekend. 

We stayed in a gorgeous old farmhouse on a real working dairy farm, just across from the open field where the wedding took place, adjacent to the giant red barn filled with twinkly lights and hay bales where the reception was. We danced and laughed and fanned ourselves in the heat. We caught up with old Seattle friends who'd made the trek, and enjoyed the company of the midwesterners we met throughout the weekend. I stood in the quiet of the night and watched the fireflies dancing through the fields, and watched in awe as the groomsmen set off an amazing fireworks display. I watched my sweet friend - my Bachelor watching, coffee drinking, funny friend - marry an amazing man. And I am so excited for where their future is taking them.

On Sunday morning, we woke up lazily and dreamily (I slept more last weekend than I have in eight years, I think), packed up our things and headed back to the windy city. We pulled into the most expensive parking garage in the United States, I'm pretty sure (hashtag tourists) and wandered around Millennium Park. We bought french pastries and baguettes, we bought tiny cappuccinos at the hipsterist hipster coffee place I've ever seen, we wandered the gorgeous gardens right in the middle of the city, and found shade under a canopy of trees to chat and read as the afternoon turned to evening. And then the weekend came to a close as we boarded the plane back to Seattle.

It was lovely and quick and the perfect little getaway in the midst of the summer crazy. With good friends and dreamy surroundings. It recharged me for life back at home and it cozied my heart to watch someone dear to me start on a new adventure.

30 June 2015

seriously one of the best movies

It's no secret that I am slightly obsessed with eras gone by. Particularly my grandma's generation. One of my favorite movies of all time (really, it's in my top ten) is The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. I saw it when it came out and then just recently discovered it's streaming on Netflix and I nearly cried tears of joy. It's not fast paced or exciting, but it's a true story about a woman with ten children living in suburban Ohio in the 50s and 60s. It's based on the memoir written by one of her children, and it is one of the most real and heartwarming stories I've seen.

The lead is played by Julianne Moore, who I am also slightly obsessed with. We just watched Still Alice and oh my goodness. Definitely worth watching, but get ready to sob. I cried for a full 20 minutes afterward. It's not an easy watch.

But this movie. It is such a beautiful picture of motherhood, of sacrifice, of joy in the midst of real life, which isn't easy. It's a testament to how much her children loved her, and it really does inspire me in my own role as a mother and what matters in a family. Not to mention, the clothes and set stir up this nostalgia of an era I didn't even live in, but I have such a draw to.

It's like Mad Men, but wholesome and inspirational, if that makes any sense. Anyway, if you need something to watch that makes you feel better about life in general, this one is for you. My next goal is to actually read the memoir. My goal of 2015 was a book a month, but I am only on my second one, so I am not counting on it. But a girl has to have a dream, right?

18 June 2015

skillet sausage and scalloped potatoes

I was skimming through pinterest for some father's day recipes when I happened across this recipe that was published in Sunset back in 2004. Since I've gotten my appetite back, this sounded like the perfect dish to get back into the swing of cooking real meals. It really is more fall than summer, but I can't resist some potatoey goodness when I see it.

I decided to lighten it up and make a milder version to reduce some of the guilt of eating scalloped potatoes in June, and because my kids aren't into the spice. It's not a light dish per se, but it isn't as rich and decadent as the original. It is addicting though. I've been dreaming about the leftovers all day. And my boys, who generally detest anything with potatoes that isn't a french fry (because they're weird) kept saying, "Wow, Mom, these are actually really good!" which I will take as a compliment and a minor miracle.

Part of the success of this recipe is using fresh sausage - not precooked - so that you don't end up with something rubbery and chewy in the end. That would be sad.

Skillet Sausage and Scalloped Potatoes 
serves 4-6
4-6 fresh italian chicken sausages (one for each person you're serving)
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
3 lbs yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced (about 1/4" thick)
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh italian flat leaf parsley 

Melt butter in the skillet and sear sausages on all sides. Remove sausages from the pan and set aside. 

Reduce heat to medium, add in olive oil, onions and garlic and stir occasionally, until onions are tender, about 5-8 minutes. 

Add half and half, sour cream and broth to the skillet and whisk or stir until smooth. Add in potatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer gently for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, and gently so as to not break the potatoes. 

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degree F. When done simmering, place sausages on top of the potatoes in the skillet and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through and everything is golden brown on top. Remove and let cool for about ten minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

Perfect with a big green salad and good company. Enjoy!

I'm going to go eat some leftovers.

17 June 2015

school's out and life lately

The boys got out of school last week and I was a bag of mixed emotions. I am so relieved to be free of schedules, packing lunches, remembering homework, washing uniforms, and rushing to and from all of our scheduled activities. I love lazy days and the freedom to stay in our pajamas, or eat lunch on the grass, or hop in the van and head to the zoo. But I also secretly dread the lack of routine when the boys run out of ideas to keep themselves busy and the girls are napping and they're in my space when I am supposed to be recharging (and maybe watching last night's Bachelorette). But so far, we've found our sweet spot this summer and everyone is happy in each other's company. I have no expectation that this well be long lasting, but girl can dream.

We have already had a stomach bug run through the kids, landing one of them in the ER a few nights ago. But it seemed to pass quickly and everyone is mostly back to normal. We spend our days reading, eating popsicles, playing in the pool, riding bikes, and playing kickball. Trips to the park, a morning at the zoo... I'm trying to dream up ideas and put together a list of things to do when these things lose their luster in the weeks to come.

And glory be, the second trimester started this week and I am finally back to feeling like a functional human being. I want to cook actual meals, I don't need to nap throughout the day, the laundry pile is starting to dwindle, and I dare say I'm adjusting to the minimal caffeine intake. I got to see the baby on an ultrasound last week and turned into a blubbering mess when I saw its little profile and its quickly beating heart. I had been all wrapped up in heartburn and nausea and exhaustion, that I wasn't really thinking about all that adding up to a sweet, tiny human. I really do love babies.

Nick and I got away for a weekend to belatedly celebrate our anniversary and I got to be a part of the Be Crafty Workshop (if you can go to one, GO.) with some really awesome women from all over the country. 

All in all, the last few weeks have been really great, and I am looking forward to many more to come.