LITTLE THINGS THIS WEEK.

a weekly exercise in gratitude for the little things in my very ordinary life.

1. this new plant friend…
img_0182from our first sunday supper guests.

2. these toddler height hooks, and adult height hooks above…
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for beautifying a very empty hallway in a very practical way.

3. this cute pipe cleaner ring…
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that my older students are making the next couple of weeks in the library for valentine’s day (make your own here!)

4. this travel mug…
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for getting me through nearly 100 school days so far.

5. this cozy, shapeless sweater…
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for keeping me warm this week while we had temperatures in the 40s!

in other news:

it was a long, short week, wasn’t it? around wednesday during school weeks, i start falling asleep on the couch around 7:30 barely able to keep my eyes open through one show, and even with monday off, this week was no exception. the weekend is due. mike’s getting home early today (pizza friday!), and after a week with him working late, it’s going to be so nice to have him home for dinner.

it was a week of sweaters, hats, and heat on in the car with temperatures down in the 40’s. charlie came over to me this morning with the blanket and asked to ‘get cozy’ which is maybe my favorite thing he’s ever said to me. we snuggled for the briefest of moments before it was time to head to school, and it’s made me so look forward to a weekend of ‘getting cozy’ at home with my boys.

my parents are coming down for the month of february and it’s getting SO CLOSE. next week!! i can’t even express how excited i am. i’ve done zero things to prepare, but as long as there is wine and good weather, then all parties will be happy! have a beautiful weekend getting cozy, friends!

 

MY NEW FAVORITE BROWNIE RECIPE.

img_9825If you couldn’t tell yet, I’m a huge fan of traditions. Weekly rituals that provide stability and comfort to my family, and they mostly revolve around food. I remember these kinds of traditions growing up myself and I want my kids to have the same feelings when the look back on their own childhoods. 

In that vein – we’re starting a new tradition this year: Sunday Supper. We’re making a big cozy, shareable family meal like we always do on Sundays – think Shepherd’s Pie, Spaghetti, a big pot of soup with crusty bread – but inviting someone or several someones to come join us for an early dinner. It just seems like a really nice thing to start doing. We had our first Sunday Supper this past weekend, inviting over some friends that haven’t seen our new house yet. Mike made a gigantic batch of spaghetti, we joined forces to make a green salad, garlic bread, and I made the most amazing brownies for dessert. Our friends raved over them, texting later that they were still dreaming about the brownies. 

I much prefer to bake from scratch than from a box, but even I have to admit that boxed brownies are amazing. It gives me a sense of satisfaction to bake things from the ground up. These brownies are worth every speck of extra effort expended. I googled “best brownies”, and after reading about 10 of the some 9000 (!) rave reviews on AllRecipes, it was settled. These were the brownies I would be making for Sunday Supper. I adjusted a few things, and have reflected the changes in my recipe – such as doubling the whole recipe, and a few changes in the frosting. But if you would like the pure unadulterated original, just click here for Angie’s original, much smaller batch recipe. 

I know I’ll be making these again for Sunday Supper in the not too distant future, and I know that these are the brownies that my boys are going to remember that their mom made when they were growing up.   

Best Brownies
Adapted from this recipe. 

For the Brownies:
What you need: 

– 1 cup butter
– 2 cups white sugar
– 4 eggs, beaten
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
– 1 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

For the Frosting
What you need:

– 3 tablespoons butter, softened
– 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
– 1 tablespoon maple syrup
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
– 2 tablespoons milk

What to do: 

+ Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

+ Grease and flour a 9-inch square pan.

+ In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat

+ Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla. 

+ Add cocoa, flour, salt, and baking powder until no dry bits are left. Mix with a wooden spoon so as to not overmix the batter. 

+ Spread batter into prepared pan.

+ Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

To Make Frosting:

+ Combine softened butter, cocoa, maple syrup, vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar and milk. Stir until silky smooth.

+ Frost brownies while they are still warm.

Enjoy for the brief moments that they last before they’re all gobbled up!

LITTLE THINGS THIS WEEK.

  1. this afternoon tea ritual…because decompression after school is a necessity, especially this week.
  2. this sourdough starter…because it’s been 9 days and i’m still at it, resolutions and all that.
  3. this book…because while i’ve already started another, i’m still living in that world.
  4. this chair & the five other just like it…a project completed and enjoyed every single day {details forthcoming}.
  5. this toy cell phone…for jingling suddenly at school and making me laugh and laugh.

This week was long and I felt like I couldn’t see the end of it while we were in it. But now we’re here and I’m having a glass of wine and it’s glorious and I’m happy as I ever was. Have a wonderful weekend friends!

20 FOR 2020 {and my word of the year}.

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Resolutions, goals, aspirations, whatever you call them, I’m into them. Every year, come January, I sit down with my journal for some soul searching. I reflect on the past year and try to envision who I want to be in the next. The vision is often the same or similar from year to year – eat better! Exercise! Write more! Read more! Be more organized! Be kinder! Be positive! And I love it. No matter my follow-through, I find it inspiring to take the blank slate of the year, and envision with it what I will. So much can happen in a single year and it all just makes my heart swell with potential.

My resolutions are often vague ideas of the idea of person I’d like to be and things I might like to do. And when you look at goal setting and habit change, that’s what’s a key failure in most people’s resolutions. The lack of concrete action steps. So this year, I’m taking a page out of Gretchen Rubin’s book (one of my favorite self-help authors and podcasters), and I’m doing a 20 for 2020 list. This is a list of 20 things I’d like to accomplish in 2020. Some are easy, one-off things that I can cross off of my list, and others are extended projects that will continue all year.

Here they are!

  1. Make sourdough bread {because i love it and want to be someone who bakes her own bread. follow along with this journey on instagram}
  2. Write our will. {so important now that we have two little guys counting on us}
  3. Remodel our kitchen. {along with this goes saving up for it for the next months to come}
  4. Run a 5k. {my running goals this year are to become a more consistent runner – tuesdays, thursdays, and a family run on saturdays}
  5. Quit shampoo. {my sister just found out a few months ago that she’s allergic to sulfates – the stuff that makes cleaning products foam, so i’ve become very aware of how bad sulfates really are}  
  6. Grow a pumpkin for Halloween. {a whimsy little goal that the boys will love} 
  7. Read 52 books. {a book a week!}
  8. Knit a hat. {i’ve got the yarn, i’ve got the pattern, i’ve got the needles. just gotta do it}
  9. Go strawberry picking. {i’ve wanted to do this for years and this is my year}
  10. Print photos for our album at the end of each month. {my photos need to live on the outside of my phone or my boys won’t have any when they get older}
  11. Consistently blog 5 days a week. {because i love it when i do it!}
  12. Remember and celebrate special dates. {april fools day! birthdays! left handed day!}
  13. Reach a 100 day streak in Spanish on Duolingo. {i got to 53 last year, and broke my phone, losing all of my progress. gonna get past that again!}
  14. Do a 30 day yoga challenge. {i’ve had plans to do this, but no follow through}
  15. See a dermatologist. {my dad had skin cancer years ago, and as a fair skinned lady living in florida, i just need to get myself there this year. 
  16. Meditate every night. {for the soul and to keep my sanity}
  17. Grow a salad. {how fun would it be to just go outside and snip my family a salad from the garden. i’m told that arugula grows like a week here!}
  18. Give up plastic bags. {because the environment needs me to.}
  19. Have a hand in managing our money. {because i am a modern woman}
  20. Start writing a book. {this one scares me a bit. when? how? what about? but mike’s been motivating me over the past decade, and i think i need to just do it. just start it.}

I’ll be honest. I have about 5 or 6 more that I really want to do too, but 20 seems like enough right? Have to save enough for 2021! 🙂

My word of the year is {drumroll}: Follow-through. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and one of my worst habits is saying that I’m going to do something (and I mean it when I say it! I really do!) but then I just don’t get it done. So this year, when I say that I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it. It’s going to happen.

What about you? Do you have any things you’d like to accomplish this year? Any resolutions you’ve made? Do you have a word of the year? I’d love to hear it if you do.  

WELCOME TO 2020.

img_7578I’m trying hard to wrap my mind around the new year, and I have a still evolving idea of what I want my goals to be this year. Details are forthcoming, but in the meantime, before I’m fully back with both feet firmly planted on earth, I’m basking in the glow left by the sweetest holiday at home with my boys. A few photos from our annual trip to the beach down the road on New Year’s Day.

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