All in Food
Valentine's Day with a little one is a game changer. Typically, it falls during the week which makes getting a babysitter a challenge. Going to fancy restaurants with an active toddler is not as appealing as it once was with a sweet little infant who slept through the entire meal. Early bedtimes often make for quiet evenings spent at home. So instead I have made it a goal to go on a date with my Valentine some time in the coming month.
One of my new year's resolutions was to spend more time photographing the everyday moments. I typically reminder to bring along my camera when we go on an adventure, but I want to do a better job at capturing some of our quiet moments at home. These are the days I will fondly reflect on when I am old and I want to have a photographic record of some of these times spent tougher.
With a young child it is easy to get caught up in the cycle of meals, laundry, errands, cleaning repeat. This year, I wanted to make it a point to break the daily grind and really celebrate those moments where we don't just spend time together, but really connect. Baking has been one of those moments for us and it has been so rewarding to see Jasper's growth and confidence in the kitchen. He is always ready to get right in there, get his hands dirty and act like he 100% knows what he is doing. I am in such awe of his confidence and self love. Being around him makes me feel like I can conquer the unfamiliar and unknown one day at time.
Well it happened, we finally got a real bonafide, school was canceled, more than three inches of snow fell snow storm. Whenever we see snow in the forecast we first get excited and then usually become skeptical because the white stuff never seems to show up. This time it wasn't really talked about or expected and then bam, Monday morning we woke up to a Winter Wonderland.
On a rainy afternoon, I made my way over to Cafe Trophy to participate in the first ever Trophy Workshop presented by Marabou Design. It was a delightful afternoon filled with sweet treats from Cafe Trophy, the opportunity to learn a new skill and a chance to meet a few creative ladies who live in the area. I have always wanted to learn how to do modern calligraphy, so I jumped at the chance when I saw Brandy would be teaching a class in such a fun and intimate setting.
If one thing is for certain I have a little guy who loves to bake. Now every day while I am fixing his breakfast or lunch he goes to our bookshelf, finds my Martha Stewart Baking Handbook, gently takes off the jacket and brings it to me in the kitchen. He looks up at me with his large doe eyes and says "ginger ba ba" which means "gingerbread" which translates to " Can we please make some cookies?" Most days, I can resist his pleas to bake by distracting him with the mail truck outside or asking him if he would like to help me with the laundry instead. However, on this particular day I was feeling in the mood to bake myself and so Valentine sugar cookies it was.
When we go on a city vacations the food is always what gets us the most excited to get out of bed in the morning. The best part of traveling to a world class city like San Francisco is there are always more places we want to eat than meals in a day. Especially now that we have a perpetually hungry toddler, our city vacations go a little something like this: walk, eat, sleep, repeat.
This year we hosted our first annual Cookie Decorating party. I have wanted to host one of these for awhile, but Jasper's recent enthusiasm for baking encouraged me to finally do so this year. We kept the guest list short and made stacks of delicious gingerbread ahead of time. We had a fun filled morning with friends and I was reminded how lucky we are to have such wonderful friends. The amount of joy seen on these children's faces while they were chasing each other around or decorating cookies made all my efforts feel so worthwhile. Children are the best and watching your friend's children grow to love your own children is truly the best!
There is no denying this time of year is a busy one. This year, in an effort to savor the season rather than run ourselves ragged we have tried to limit our evening commitments and instead save our energy for the things which really matter. Instead of focusing our time, efforts and money on searching for the perfect gifts to give we are trying to focus on being together, making memories and remembering the Savior. Jasper has reached the age where he is equally interested in learning about Santa as he is Jesus so this year seemed like a good time to start learning about why we really celebrate Christmas. Over the past few weeks, our home has perpetually been filled with scents of warm gingerbread and pine and I keep thinking to myself, surely Christmas is here. Nope, with Thanksgiving a little early this year we just got a head start.
I know today is the first day of December, but much like the rest of world I have been enjoying all things pumpkins for the past month or two or three. On Thanksgiving, I knew I wanted to bring something to the table so I turned to my Better Homes and Garden magazine and stumbled upon this recipe. It was easy to make, I already had all of the ingredients in my pantry and it tasted even better the next day. In my opinion, pumpkin recipes do not have to be reserved solely for Fall. With the addition of a pile of toasted pecans on top this recipe can easily march its way into Winter. And anything you can bring to your hostess which does not have to be fussed with or sliced is always a win in my book.
As a mother, it is easier, cleaner and quicker to do everything yourself, but having the patience to work side by side with your children can be one of life's sweetest memories. Teaching your children how to bake, craft etc. although endlessly messy can be some of the punctuation marks in your career as a mother. As a parent, I am constantly trying to provide diverse and enriching experiences for my child and a hands on approach to learning is the best teaching method I know. When I decided to make Jasper's birthday cake while he napped I quickly rethought that idea as I decided it would be more memorable and more fun if he could assist me instead.
When we visit Orcas Island eating dinner at New Leaf Cafe is always at the top of our list. The food never disappoints, the presentation is always beautiful and the flavors are memorable. Whether it be a salad, an entree or a dessert, each item holds its own and leaves a lasting impression in your mind and on your taste buds. As most of you already know, my family and I are big fans of traveling during the off season. Easy to come by dinner reservations are just one of our favorite things about a slower season.
Two weekends ago, we hopped on a ferry bound for Pebble Cove Farm on Orcas Island. It had been a long time since we last visited Orcas Island and we were excited to visit some familiar places, but more importantly participate in the Orcas Island Farm Tour, stay at Pebble Cove Farm and eat dinner at New Leaf Cafe. The Orcas Island Farm Tour is just one of the many events occurring during the Savor the San Juans which runs thru November 12th. Savor the San Juans is a nine year tradition which has grown to encompass three film festivals, art exhibits, a new sustainable seafood Salish Sea Festival, a farm parade, two vineyard harvest festivals, harvest dinners, farm tours and much more. I love the San Juan Islands and with the stunning ferry ride this is one instance where getting there is really half the fun.
For the past several years we have made it a point to stop by the South Lake Union Block Party for burgers, sunshine and an all around good time. This year we had an eager toddler in tow who was ready to get in on the action himself. Most notably during the block party, he played a little chess, chased bubbles, grabbed more than a few bananas from the free Banana stand, chowed down on burgers and picked up his first library card accompanied by a temporary tattoo of the downtown Seattle library. After the Block Party we made our way down to South Lake Union Park for a little splashing around in the water to cap off our night.