homemade brownies.

Morning naps had come and gone, stickers were covering my television and doors, and both babies were ready to roll.  No, literally.  They have begun to tumble, roll, pummel, and push each other.  Does anyone have any advice with this? Haha!

Maybe a trip to the park would have been just what the doctor ordered, but my orange clove candle was smelling way too good to blow out, and my makeup was not on (don’t judge).  I needed intervention.

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chocolate.

Upon investigation I realized I had cocoa powder in the cabinet, some flour, sugar, ya know, the basics.  I turned to the babies and exclaimed… “You wanna bake with mommy? How does a good batch of brownies sound to you?”

Excitement immediately filled their faces, especially Kinsley’s as she realized she could help mommy in the kitchen (one of her favorite things to do).  I tied an over-sized apron around her little frame, and put Elijah on my hip.  We got to work.

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Who knew homemade brownies were so easy to make?  They are now my “go to” for any baked good need!

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I melted 1/2 cup of butter over medium heat.  Once that was melted I added 1 cup of sugar and stirred until it was somewhat dissolved.  I took it off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.  I then added 1 tsp. of vanilla, 2 eggs, 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 cup of flour, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.  Kinsley then stirred, and stirred, and stirred some more until it was combined.  This process of stirring might have taken about 15 minutes (score!).  We then poured it into a greased 8-inch square pan and baked at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

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So next time you find yourself with stickers on your doors and no makeup on, consider making a batch of brownies!

these are a few of my favorite things.

My mother-in-law, Amanda, comes over every Tuesday to spend a couple hours with Kinsley and Elijah!  What a blessing this has been in my life, and theirs.

She brings in her “Mary Poppins” bag, affectionately dubbed her “YaYa bag” filled to the brim with sticker packs, coloring books, play dough, plastic bugs, etc.  To be quite honest, I don’t know what is in that bag, but she keeps pulling new things out of it every week… so it truly is a Mary Poppins bag!

When she rang the door bell this morning Kinsley exclaimed… “Yaya!!!”  “Down mommy… Down mommy!! Down!!”  She was in her highchair and couldn’t contain herself.  She nearly climbed down before I could get to her!  She ran to the foyer, peered through the windows flanking the door, and began jumping up and down.  These are the times she will remember for the rest of her life.

Within minutes I was out the door, and the babies were digging into the Yaya bag.

I often use these precious hours away to thrift, grocery shop in bulk, and get inspired.  Today began with a grande gingerbread latte, and ended with a Williams Sonoma purchase.  I am beyond thankful to live near family, and have a few minutes away to myself every week.  Can all the mommies out there say “AMEN!?!”

As I perused Williams Sonoma I was reminded of my true love of all things baked, pan seared, broiled, and poached!  I simply love to cook and create in the kitchen. Always have, always will.  It runs deep in my blood.  My mother’s mother’s mother was notorious for her sweet tea, biscuits, and butter beans.  My mother’s mother is notorious for her corn bread, dressing, and jibblet gravy.  And my mother is… well, lets just say I remember her boiling lobster for dinner when I was just a wee thing.  Duck was on the menu by the time I was three, and she is making my favorite for my birthday meal… shrimp scampi!  She is such a gourmet!

So as I passed the copper pots today in Williams Sonoma I paused, took in their beauty, and snapped a quick Instagram.  These are a few of my favorite things…

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Isn’t she beautiful?

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So, even though I walked out of the store with only a handful of hand towels, I was satisfied, inspired, and ready to cook!  If only I knew what to make for dinner tonight… hmmmm… white wine should help me decide!

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feeling like fall.

Adam walked in this morning and exclaimed… “you did it Jacks!”

“It feels like fall in here! I feel like I could walk outside this morning and it would be 45 degrees! ”

Well it’s already 80…

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Last night I stayed up until midnight hanging garland,  fitting my table with harvest linens,  positioning my cinnamon candles,  and pre-setting the coffee pot with pumpkin spice coffee!

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My candles are now lit,  coffee is in hand,  Pandora is playing,  and my heart is full.

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The season of thanksgiving and all things pumpkin related has commenced!

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happy birthday to you // dad turns 60

My dad turns 60 this Sunday!  

Dad is the son of a beauty and a brain… No, seriously!  My grandmother was a stunner, Marie Lorainne Gothier (French), and my grandpa… well, just get him talking politics, philosophy, religion, you name it!  His years practicing law in the courtroom have served him well, nothing gets past him!   

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Dad was born on September 14, 1954 in Detroit, Michigan.  He is the oldest of seven, and one heck of a dad, husband, and grandfather!  

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Adam and I always joke that my dad reminds us of Tom Cruise in “Top Gun,” I think it’s the glasses:)

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My dad is a patriot in the truest sense of the word.  He is a man of honor, faith, and integrity!

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I am grateful for my dad’s love and encouragement throughout my life.  He truly is my biggest fan… giving freely of his time to coach my soccer teams, take me to various daddy/daughter dances, and teach me about the unmerited grace of God.  He taught me to take long runs, drink good coffee, and be very very careful not to believe everything you’re taught!  We still meet for coffee and talk… I could listen to him talk for hours, he always knows so much more than me!

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So, Happy Birthday dad! I love you!

five years // a dream come true.

Adam and I celebrate our anniversary this month, September 26th!  This year marks five years married to the man of my dreams.  I am more in love with him now than I could have ever imagined!  

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He is my better half, my rock, my best friend!  Five years ago I gave my “forever” promise to him, and we embarked on an amazing journey together!  

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We always say that… “one day we really should write a book about our story…” Every detail of our relationship has been written and sealed by the miraculous and sovereign hand of God.  But until then I am storing up my memories, and cherishing every kiss, note, laugh, and act of self sacrificing service!

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On the morning of my wedding I asked God to give me “dove’s eyes” for Adam…  That I wouldn’t be side-tracked by the craziness of the day, the details, or anything that would steal the joy of our celebration.  He was faithful!

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 “My beloved responded and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along. For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have already appeared in the land; the time has arrived for pruning the vines, and the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.…”

Song of Solomon 2:10-11

 

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We celebrated my baby girl’s 2’nd year of life this weekend! Kinsley was all giggles and delight… My heart was brimming over with thankfulness to God our Father for my blue-eyed, dimpled angel.

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I pray for her, for her heart to be guarded, for her to know the depths of the Father’s love for her… for her to be surrounded by people that draw her eyes heavenward, for her to be cloaked in garments of praise and joy all the days of her life!

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Kinsley loves flowers, so we decided to throw her a garden themed party… complete with butterflies, potted herbs, and worms n’ dirt!

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Women of Whimsey helped facilitate the event!  They are absolutely wonderful to work with! 

gazpacho.

One of my favorite things about summer is the vine ripened perfection of tomatoes.  Just this week my neighbor across the street brought over a bag full of homegrown goodness for our family to enjoy.  The tomato is undoubtedly one of God’s greatest gifts to men.  So, in ode to my favorite summertime “fruit” I decided to make one of my favorite soups… gazpacho!

There are many varieties of this rustic Andalusian dish.  Growing up my mom and I would often frequent the cafe “Shulers” down the street from our house in Michigan and order gazpacho blancho.  I was hooked from the first bite!  That particular gazpacho was cream based… delish!

This week I decided to make a tomato based gazpacho, although the basic composition is the same… chilled, acidic, rich.  

This dish cost less than $9.00 to make, and yielded approximately 8 cups of soup.  I’d say that is pretty good!  I used a basic recipe from allrecipes.com.

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I simply combined into my food processor:

4 cups organic tomato juice

1 onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 cucumber, chopped

2 cups diced tomato

2 green onions, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tsp. dried tarragon

1 tsp. dried basil

1/4 chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp. sugar (I omitted this)

salt and pepper to taste

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I pulsed the mixture until the components were roughly chopped into little beads of vegetable goodness (choose your chunkiness).

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There is just something about this soup that cools you to your core…

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I poured my gazpacho creation into a big, lidded Portuguese painted pot and chilled it for about an hour before serving.  Days later the pot is still in my refrigerator, and the soup is tastier than the day I made it!

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