Tuesday, August 26, 2014

You missed the point.

By now we've pretty much all participated in the ALS ice bucket challenge (yes including me!). And I'm sure you've also seen all the articles roaming around the interwebs criticizing said challenge. When I first read them, I was angry. But then slowly, it just turned to sadness.

Are those critics so starved for attention that THIS is what they choose to write about? We get it. You don't believe in stem cell research. You don't want to donate your money to an organization that could possibly benefit from stem cell research. But let me tell you something.


The point of the challenge wasn't to increase the amount of stem cell research. The point wasn't the unreal amounts of money that had been donated to this very worthy cause (although that's an added bonus). The point, was to raise awareness about a horrible disease. And bravo to whoever started it, and used social media as their platform. I'd much rather see people dumping buckets of ice water on their head then all the other horrible things that are sometimes highlighted.


Don't believe in stem cell research? GOOD FOR YOU! You know what you could've done? You could've donated to someone who is suffering from ALS to help them pay for their medical bills. Still not comfortable with that? Donate to a charity of your choice. I saw plenty of people that politely decided to switch gears and donate to a cause that hit a little closer to home. And you know what? People just kept taking it further. They had already donated to ALS, and then donated AGAIN in honor of their friend's loved one.

The amount of awareness that this has raised, is priceless. There are so many bad things happening in the world today with an infinite amount of critics. Let's not start criticizing those who are trying to do something positive, because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First Day of First Grade

You were a little nervous.

And so was I.

We took the obligatory first day of school photos outside, and as silly as it seems to you now, some day I hope you look back on them and appreciate the moments captured. Because there are so many that cannot be caught on film (iphones?)

As I walked you into school as a big first grader now, I couldn't help but relish the feeling of your tiny little hand in mine. You squeezed it tight as we walked into your classroom. New school year, new shoes, new teacher, and a few new faces. I gave you one last quick hug and whispered I love you before heading back out. You may be a little bit taller, and your hair may be a little bit longer, but you'll always be my baby.

I blinked and a year went by.

Here's to new adventures - never stop learning my sweet girl.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Day Trip to Weston

Weston is a little itty bitty town about 45 minutes NW of KC. We went last year to the Red Barn for pumpkins, and when I heard there would be apples this year I wasn’t about to miss out. We may have gotten a late start, with a threat of impending rain, but we made the most of our day trip.

The weather may have been cloudy, but it worked to our advantage. The breeze helped with the humidity, and the rain held off long enough for us to have our apple picking fun. It may have only lasted about 20 minutes, but that wasn’t the point. We spent the day outside together, and it was good. So good. It was full of tasting fresh apples, feeding horses, sipping slushies, and coming home with enough apples to bake for weeks.

We had our fair share of “it’s hot”, “I’m hungry”, and “stop bugging me’s” but I think overall it was a success. As stressful as it may have been for me as a control freak, it’s good to get out my comfort zone. 

We stopped for lunch at the local cafe in historic downtown Weston, and it was straight out of a movie - in the best way. Mis-matched tables and chairs, and every kind of homemade pie you can imagine. Because when you stop at the local cafe you have to have pie.

We had no schedule, no agenda, just wanted to explore the city (town really). We stopped at the Historical museum which was actually really interesting, however not very kid friendly. It told the history of Weston, and had a lot of great things to look at and read. But an antsy 4 and 6 year old don't quite appreciate history just yet, so we headed to the local park.

The whole downtown is only a few blocks, so we got to walk everywhere. It may have been the most exercise I've gotten in 9 months, but it was nice to slow down and take the scenic route. Our last stop, and my favorite stop, was the Weston Brewery. Not because of the beer, but because of the amazing history of the brewery. We actually ran into some friends there, and who doesn't bring 5 kids and 2 babies on a brewery tour? Totally normal.

The brewery was established in 1842 and utilized ice from the river during winter and lagering cellars dug deep into the ground to create ideal conditions to store the beer. This is pre-refrigeration time people! The brewery has been through a few different ownerships, and at one point the building was destroyed in a fire, but not the cellars. 5 stone cellars that were dug in the 1840's are still in existence today, and they turned 3 of them into an underground pub. It was seriously amazing. There was even a "secret" cellar beneath the stairs (pictured above - that's the girls inside it). I would definitely go back again just me and the Mr. to explore some more, and of course enjoy more local beer :)

On the tour we learned that Weston was once the second largest city in Missouri after Saint Louis, due to it's port on the MO river, but a flood in 1881 shifted the river 2 miles. SHIFTED THE RIVER! How crazy is that? Once the river shifted, KC and St. Joe became the places to be. They were once the second largest city in MO, and now they have a population of around 1600.

I can't wait to go back and stay at one of their bed and breakfasts, and visit all the wineries and the distillery (the oldest whiskey distillery west of the Mississippi River and the oldest continuously operated in the US!). For such a small town there is SO much to do!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Kale Salad

One of my favorite things about summertime is all the fresh fruits and veggies that are in season. This past spring we tried our hand at growing a few and the only thing that survived was our basil. (#maybenextyear) So until my thumb turns green, I love going to the farmer's market. We were thoroughly spoiled for weeks by friends with dinner practically every single night after Parker was born, so it was kind of a shock to be responsible for cooking and grocery shopping again :)

I love to make new meals, and guess whether or not they'll turn our like the recipes describe them. As just about everyone with access to the internet knows, kale is the new(ish) superfood. So when I saw it super cheap at the farmer's market I got some. I've tried kale chips before and they were pretty good, but I generally try to steer clear of the oven in the summer (except of course for the deliciousness that is zucchini bread. or cookies. or brownies. you know, the important things #priorities). We added some to our morning smoothies (we usually just use spinach) and it was a little too strong for my sweet tooth family's taste. So when I came across a recipe for melt in your mouth kale salad, I decided to give it a shot.

Surprisingly, it turned out delicious. This was seriously the perfect salad for summer. It was light and refreshing, and honestly I couldn't tell it was kale. A couple things to note though: I only used half a lemon, and it was still border line too lemony. I'd recommend adding the lemon last, and tasting as you go until you get it how you like it. Fresh parm is pricey. So i used the pre-grated. Definitely lost health points, but cest la vie. Lastly pine nuts are also pricey. However, they totally make the salad. Don't skip out on those, just try not to eat them all before you're done making the salad.

Bon Appetit!


Melt in Your Mouth Kale Salad (adapted from Food Babe)

You'll Need:

  • 1 bunch of kale rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/3 C currants or chopped raisins (I used raisins)
  • juice of one lemon (see note above)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t local honey
  • 1/2 C pine nuts toasted
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 T freshly grated parm cheese (see note above)
  1. In a food processor, chop up kale
  2. Make Dressing: stir honey, olive oil, s & p, and lemon juice in a bowl
  3. Add kale, currants/raisins, pine nuts, and parm to the bowl with dressing
  4. Toss and Serve

Friday, August 8, 2014

One month with Parker

Well technically it's past the one month mark, but better late than never right?

Bringing home baby number 3 was much easier than bringing home baby number 1 or 2. She adds minimal chaos compared to two older sisters that are like tornadoes running through the house. I'm trying to soak in as much summer as I can because once winter hits and there's no playing outside to burn off excess energy we might be in trouble.

So far my darling Parker has been just as sweet as she can be. Eats well, and sleeps well (for the most part). We're usually up only twice at night, and I'm thankful for that. If there's one thing you'll learn dear girl it's that your Mama can be a real grouch if she doesn't get enough sleep (just ask your Dad I'm sure he'd be more than happy to fill you in). Girlfriend loves to be held - usually by her Mama. And that's just fine with me. I'm relishing this stage as all Mama's know you blink and it's over.

This time around I've been a total hermit. I really don't like going anywhere. I'm perfectly content staying in my pajamas all day and watching an entire season of GG. Thank goodness for Netflix. (What you don't do that?) Once school starts here in a couple weeks and I'm at work before you know it it's going to be Christmas. So I'll take a lazy summer as long as I can stretch it out.

Miss P -
You have brought so much joy to our little family. You're a third little clone of me, and your dark locks are already turning blonde like your sisters. You hate tummy time, and usually end up falling asleep (if only that worked for adults too). You love to eat, and have transitioned to bottles with Dad while I work very well, and he's especially glad for that. Your older sisters adore you (piece of advice - milk that for all it's worth while you still can!). I'm pretty sure I've taken way too many photos of you snuggling, but it's the closest I can get to freezing time. I want to remember the way you hold my finger with your little fist, they way fit perfectly in my arms, and of course that sweet baby smell. You're incredibly stubborn (wonder where you get that from?) and I secretly love that little fact. I can't wait to watch your personality develop and watch you give your sisters a run for their money. The older I get, the quicker time passes. So I'm determined to make every day matter, even it seems rather ordinary.

Love always,
Your Mama

Sorry there hasn't been many pics in these posts - but if you want to see some picture overload look at FB or Instagram (@ejt625).