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Five on Friday

1. I was out and back to Seattle in 19 hours.

My joys of the day included a run along the Puget Sound, Veggie Grill (tempura green beans!) and my favorite Republic.

2. My best friend has moved three hours closer (yay!) so they’re coming for dinner tomorrow night. I plan to celebrate with strawberry shortcake and this recipe for Lavender Lemon Whipped Cream.

3. It’s the time of year for breakfast goodbyes, so we did it up right at Bacon & Eggs.

4. We were talking about an upcoming trip and Miss Rae was very concerned about making it to the plane in time.

“How long will it take to get through surgery?”

It took us a minute, but we discovered that she meant “security” and all was well.

5. I wanted to end this post with a photo of J Man and I laying in the sun, but WordPress is telling me that I’m out of space for media uploads? What?

While I figure that one out, just imagine two pasty white figures, one making a toothless smile, one wearing a new black swimsuit #longliveTarget

Why not cookies?

Miss Rae is in this “why?” phase.

Specific, real-life example:

Scene – driving the kids to Staples.

Miss Rae: “Why are we going this way?”

Me: “Because this is the way to Staples.”

Miss Rae: “But why?”

Me: “Because it just is.”

Miss Rae: (irritated, because her mother is too ignorant to understand this question.) “But why is THIS the way?”

Me: (realizing she won’t settle for another generic answer.) “Because Staples is across town, close to Rooks park, so we have to go this way.”

Silence. Phew! Solved it!

Miss Rae: “But WHY?”


Even though she makes me crazy with her questions, I made her cookies.

The little peanut had her third and final preschool graduation last week and all the well-behaved moms brought treats to share.

I made these Chocolate chip cookies because they require one bowl and they’re vegan so you can eat dough without guilt.

And then I trashed them up. Why?

Because I needed my cookie contribution to be the first to go from the buffet.


Because I’m naturally very competitive.


Just because, ok???

And the riddler graduated and I hope she never stops asking questions.

Campfire Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Some things are just bad ideas and you know it from the start, yet somehow you convince yourself that with me it will be different.

Example 1: Giving up caffeine. I might be (absolutely am) back on the sauce. I have no other excuse beyond I like it.

Example 2: Believing that my children won’t notice when I do things like put coconut in their pancake batter or buy the bread with the seeds. They notice. And rather than buck up and eat it, they’ll just not eat. I sure showed them.

Example 3: Campfire Orange Cinnamon Rolls. Blast you, Pinterest.

So, we went camping which might seem like a bad idea but was actually a great idea. We went for two hikes (okay, walks, but we have short legs, what do you expect?), built a fire, slept in a tent, built a fort, and poked lots of bugs.

And I had seen this idea on Pinterest that was super intriguing.

Slice off the top of an orange (and save it- you need it later). Then hollow out the orange innards. That sounds gross. But that’s what they are, right?

Then you get one of those cans of refrigerator cinnamon rolls.

And you stuff a roll inside each orange. Wrap it in foil and throw into the fire for 12 minutes. And then, presto-chango, you have perfectly cooked orange scented cinnamon rolls.

Yeah, right. We cooked ours for 12 minutes and then checked one. Raw. Cooked for 5 more minutes. Almost there. Cooked for 5 more minutes. Scorched.

And it wasn’t that the roll itself was even overdone. It was actually still questionably soft.

But hanging out that long in the fire just does something to you and the charred flavor was prevalent.

I tried to mask the smoky flavor with frosting. Nope. 

Both kids took an obligatory bite and then turned up their noses in favor of marshmallows. Matty B wouldn’t even try one bite.

Pinterest fail.

If you really want to try this because you somehow believe that it will be different for me, here are my suggestions.

1. Get small cinnamon rolls. I bought big ones and that could have been the problem with the long baking time.

2. Double wrap your foil layer. That might prevent the scorching we experienced.

3. Or just don’t do it and bring stuff for smores instead. Winner.

So the oranges weren’t a success, but camping was. Sleeping too.

Love this sweet baby face.

Strawberry ‘n Cream Cake

From out of nowhere, this girl is super excited about her ABC’s.

Living in a world where her brother organizes football stats into complicated charts for fun, it’s no surprise that she has erred on the side of princess/Barbie/Elsa for her entertainment.

But somewhere we turned a corner. Without any nudging from us, she is super excited about practicing her letters.

I love her “g”.

And we’re taking baby steps, but I’m confident that when she enters kindergarten in a few months (a few months?!?!) she’ll be ready.

I’ve been taking some baby steps as well.

Baby steps back into the world of cooking. (Note the hippo photo bomb.)

And you might actually judge my choice of words when I call this “cooking,” but baby steps, remember?

One angel food cake, cut into three rounds. Four cups of sliced strawberries. One can of sweetened condensed milk. I looooove sweetened condensed milk.

And layer.

Layer it up real good.

I added a little cream cheese frosting on top, just to make it pretty.

Another, cuter photo bomb.

Who took a break from his excel spreadsheet to try and sneak a taste.

Baby steps…

A day I felt like myself 

Today was a day I felt like myself.

What does that even mean?

It means that for the past 10+ days I’ve been sicker than I’ve been in who knows how long. Although I did learn that having laryngitis means that everyone will just whisper back to you.

It means that I’m changing jobs (my choice) and finishing out one job and starting another at the same time is hard. And stressful. 

It means that I seriously, seriously, haven’t been cooking.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

It means that, because of above mentioned illness, I missed out on a family trip, Unk C’s birthday celebration, and Miss Rae’s first race.

Needless to say, I haven’t been feeling like myself.

Today I had a glimpse of my former self, and I miss her.

We took the kids to Dixie Acre Farms for some good old fashioned strawberry picking.

I told the kids the story of strawberry picking when Miss Rae was a newborn and two year old J Man plunked himself down in a patch of muddy berries and started eating hand over fist. Stems? No problem. Mud? Delicious. Bruised or bad berries? Great!

They found this story hard to believe, yet in washing our final haul, it appears they aren’t much more discerning when it comes to their berry selections these days.

We absolutely taste-tested.

And we ended up with a pretty good haul. I see some strawberry shortcake in our Memorial Day future.

But the strawberries weren’t actually the best part. The best part was being outside in the sunshine with my favorite people and taking a breath. Something I haven’t done in awhile.

There she is. There’s that girl I’ve been missing.

Date night

One week ago tonight, Matty B ran into the restroom at Brasserie 4 and threw up. 

Oops. Needless to say, “date night” took a rain check and we headed home, determined to try again this weekend.

Thanks to grandma and papa watching the munchkins, we had “take 2” tonight.

Bread with strawberry butter- interesting and somewhat addictive.

Brasserie 4 is known for their fries. They let us down a little tonight. Too crispy, too oily, too overdone.

I had the “verte” salad with avocado, mandarins, chèvre, radishes, and walnuts. Remember how I don’t like radishes?  I like these radishes. The mandarin + chèvre + avocado was awesome.

Thank goodness Matty B likes pizza. Otherwise, what’s a picky vegetarian to do at a French restaurant? He proclaimed the crust slightly burnt, and I might’ve typically called that blackened but it truly did taste a little burnt, so I have to give his palate credit for that one.

Afterward, we walked around the corner to one of my favorite WW haunts, the Colville St. Patisserie. I had the lemon tart. He had the chocolate caramel.

And it was a great night.

We made napkin drawings (just like the old days.)

We stopped at a bookstore and avoided the children’s section entirely. (Not sure the last time that happened.)

We made eye contact.
A great night indeed:)

Five on Friday

1. J Man and Miss Rae’s dreams came true today.

Remember how obsessed they are with Beanie Boos?

Aunt Glenda took pity on them and sent a care package today with the biggest Beanie Boos ever! They were ecstatic.

I didn’t even know they came this big. My house is slowly but surely being taken over.

2. I haven’t been doing much cooking, but I have been eating, and luckily, much of it has looked like this:

I think vegetables are so beautiful:) but I don’t, as it turns out, like radishes. Too spicy.

3. Matty B had his last softball game a few nights ago (he plays on a league)…

…and just like that, Spring is springing away! Also, this is his “I’m intimidating” look.

J Man tried to emulate.


4. Unk C’s birthday is coming up and we’re getting ready.

Miss Rae wrote these letters all by herself! Kindergarten here we come! And to clarify, this is a drawing of Unk C’s stocking cap…

5. She’s such a beauty…


Five on Friday

1. 2 kids=2 Mother’s Day parties at school=twice the plants=twice the treats=twice the love😍

2. Lunch out with a friend- we always do Thai.

The pad Thai was just ok, but those little baby spring rolls knocked my socks off.

3. So, I have no idea how he did this, but somehow J Man changed my email name to “I Need Me Double”.

What?!?! And how do I change it back???

4. I heard a song on the radio that I looooved, so I asked Siri for help and this is what I got…

Beyoncé? Who knew! I might just need some lemonade…

5. Yes, I confess.

I ate lucky charms for dinner last night. It was everything I thought it could be.

Maple Shortbread Bars with Chocolate and Pecans

Beanie Boos are it. 

That is, Beanie Boos are the latest fad, the obsession, the thing.

What are Beanie Boos? Remember the Beanie Babies of our childhood? Beanie Boos are their wide-eyed, slightly more glamorous, cousin.

We looooove them.

We have too many of them.

We take pictures of them. And then we take pictures of taking pictures of them.

The kids would disagree with me on the “we have too many of them” statement. They want more. But the Bryant mom and dad have meanly put their collective foot down and have refused to purchase even one more.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

J Man and Miss Rae begged and pleaded for jobs to make some extra money. And who am I to pass up the opportunity to educate my offspring in the art of cleaning?

They swept (and argued over who’s pile of dirt was who’s).

They dusted.

They sorted and folded laundry.

They scrubbed the sink (someone get this girl a haircut).

They cleaned the downstairs (lie: they played downstairs, supposed to be cleaning, but they were quiet and not fighting for 45 minutes so I didn’t split hairs).

They cleaned their bathroom sinks.

And they washed windows.

And for that exuberant effort, they each got a new Beanie Boo.

But what about me? ME?

For every sink “cleaned”, there was a puddle on the floor that I mopped up. 

For every window “washed”, there was a section that little arms couldn’t quite reach.

For every square inch of floor “swept”, there was someone else’s pile of dirt tracked all over the place.

I deserved a treat too!

I pulled out a favorite recipe from a Barnes and Noble cookbook I got long ago.

You make a very simple shortbread crust/cookie thing and while it’s hot out of the oven, sprinkle on some chocolate chips.

Let them melt, and then spread for a delicious chocolate glaze.

Here’s the recipe. I used maple extract instead of vanilla. Can you read it? If I were a nicer person I would retype it for you, but I’m pretty exhausted from cleaning up after the cleaners.


But where’s the pecans, you ask? The title of this blog said with chocolate and pecans.

No one else in this house likes pecans in their baked goods. So I made just a couple of the “pecaned” version for myself. They’d just pick the nuts off anyway. And they might accidentally drop the unwanted pecans on the floor. And then we’d need to sweep again and then…


Five on Friday

“Are you writing a blog tonight?” Matty B asked.


I haven’t been running.

I haven’t been cooking. (Cheese sandwiches and frozen veggie burgers don’t count.)

I definitely haven’t been trying new recipes.

I’ve been working. That’s boring.

I’ve been cleaning. That’s boring.

I’ve been “mommy-ing”.

That’s good. So, here’s my five on Friday in honor of the mommy-ing.

1. J is reading chapter books now.

I’m happy and sad all at the same time. Also, my cheese sandwiches aren’t being met with applause.

2. Papa taught the kids how to climb trees and now it’s a daily thing.

How is it that my children are reading chapter books and climbing trees? Stop it already.

3. I had a blow-your-mind moment on Wednesday when I realized that the teacher for J Man’s kidnastics class is a student who was in kindergarten at the school where I got my first teaching job.

I’m old.

4. Today, while Matty B and Miss Rae headed out to the trampoline, J Man stayed inside and…

…sharpened pencils? Yes, yes he did. And it entertained him for a good 30 minutes. I tell ya, it’s nothing but excitement around these parts!

5. Practicing for summer

Swimming lessons here we come!