Thursday, October 25, 2012

Weekly Coos: Me Time

"Me Time", a phrase that rarely exists in the daily vocabulary of parents.  But I got some this week.  I took a whole day of "me time" and don't regret a single second of it.  Should I have blown a full day of my vacation time right before I go on maternity leave for something as selfish as this? I struggled with this in my head, but the answer always came back to: Absolutely!  We can deal with one less day of pay down the line somewhere, in exchange for my family receiving a much more sane and centered Momma this week.  Oh, I needed a day like that.

I pampered myself silly on my Me Day, starting the day at a local coffee shop then heading over to a spa to get a massage.  I spent one luxurious hour wrapped in oils, relaxing spa music, my thoughts and on my stomach. Oh yes!  Oh my.  Coooo.  I spent the rest of the day baking cookies and muffins and simmering a huge batch of chili.  I read, napped, prayed, showered (for 30 steamy minutes).  I did anything I wanted to do, and nothing anyone else wanted me to do.  I picked Anna up from the sitter and got to spend a couple hours with her and then headed off to book club for some girl time.  At the end of the day I felt refreshed, renewed and ready to tackle these last three weeks of pregnancy.


In the spirit of Halloween, we hit up another pumpkin patch this weekend with our friends Jenny and Chloe.  We did the same thing last Halloween.  Look how our pumpkins have grown...Anna wasn't even walking yet last year!

Anna got to hitch a ride on the big pumpkin...oh the novelties of childhood!


Mace is the breakfast chef in our house, and without fail makes pancakes or waffles almost every weekend morning.  Mace was out of town this weekend.  Anna was insistent about pancakes for breakfast.  I took a shot at it and did okay, but Mace's breakfast chef status is safe.  Our weekends are way more awesome when he's home with us, so I'm going to boycott making any more pancakes in hopes that will tether him to our house.


We dug through a tub of Halloween paraphernalia at Danesa's house and Anna honed in on this Karate uniform. Loves it, and wants to wear it every day.  Especially with her sun hat and trick or treat bucket.  I freaking love this kid.

I am so excited to take Anna Trick or Treating.  This is the first year that she'll really "get" it. She's already talking about it and talking about eating all of Luca's candy.  Where does she come up with this stuff?

Hope you have a great weekend and a Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Angry Bird Cupcakes

I can't believe this kid is five years old already.  In the same way that I gushed in my ode to Anna's second year, the measure of time is so different when applied to the life of a child.  I remember so clearly picking up Danesa's older kids from school and telling them their mom was in labor. They were ecstatic, and waiting for "the call" seemed to take forever.  We made dinner, went to Dairy Queen, played games, waited.  Then around 8 pm, we got the news.  A 10-pound healthy baby boy.  Oh boy!  We ran to the hospital to meet the little guy, and now five years later...what a kid!

So, in what's becoming tradition with my best girlfriend's kiddo, I stretched a creative neck out there and produced some pretty sweet cupcakes for the Angry Birds themed party!

I did quite a bit of research on the best way to create these trendy little birds and pigs and in the end was very pleased with the results.  Even though nobody believes me when I say it, these were surprisingly easy to make.  Even you can do it!  I promise.

What You Need

White icing
Sugar Sprinkles the color of the bird/pig you want to make
Regular sized marshmallows, cut in half crosswise
Black licorice strings, cut into 1-inch pieces
Candy Corn
Black icing
Shredded coconut (if you are making the nests)
Cadbury mini-eggs (if you are making the nests)

To Make Angry Birds

Ice the tops of the cupcakes with a layer of frosting.  Put the sugar sprinkles in a shallow bowl and dip the tops of the cupcakes into the sprinkles, making sure to coat completely and no white icing is showing through.

Place two mini-marshmallows on the cupcake, near the top at eye-level, using a small dab of icing to adhere if they have trouble sticking to the cupcake.

Add two pieces of candy corn below the eyes and pinch the tips together to make a beak.

Add half a regular sized marshmallow below the beak to make the chest.

Add two black licorice pieces between the eyes to make the eyebrows.

Add two dots of black icing to the mini-marshmallows for the eyeballs.


To Make Pigs

Ice the tops of the cupcakes with a layer of frosting.  Put the sugar sprinkles in a shallow bowl and dip the tops of the cupcakes into the sprinkles, making sure to coat completely and no white icing is showing through.

Coat a regular sized marshmallow and two mini-marshmallows with icing and then roll in the sugar to coat completely.  Add a small dab of frosting in the center of the cupcake, where the nose will be, and then press the regular sized marshmallow on top.  

Add the mini-marshmallow coated in sprinkles to the top of the cupcake near the center, using a small dab of icing to adhere if they have trouble sticking to the cupcake.

Add a mini-marshmallow to each side and near the top of the nose, to make the eyes, using a small dab of icing to adhere if they have trouble sticking to the cupcake.

Add three mini-marshmallow directly below the nose, to make the teeth, using a small dab of icing to adhere if they have trouble sticking to the cupcake.

Add a small dot of black icing to each eye and two small dots on the nose.  


To Make Nests

Ice the top of the cupcakes with a layer of frosting.  Put the coconut in a shallow bowl and dip the tops of the cupcakes into the coconut, making sure to coat completely.  Top each cupcake with three mini-eggs


See I knew you could do it!  Now, go...


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Weekly Coo: Pregnancy Blues Sedated

What's the Weekly Coo all about?  Find out here.

I love that I am creating a child inside my body.  That she is being nourished and grown by what seems could only be a miracle.  I mean, really? There is a human growing inside me?  How awesome is that?  Pregnancy is amazing and wonderful and a time to be cherished...and I wish I was better at cherishing it.  Because right now I am moody, and angry, and my whole body aches. These last weeks of pregnancy are awful.  I think its like that on purpose to make us actually want to give birth.  And I am there.  I really really want to give birth.  Another week and a half and I will be 37 weeks, which is considered full-term and they won't stop labor after this point, and I will be raring to get this show on the road.

Thank goodness this past week was full of distractions to pull me out of my pregnancy pity party. Really victorious, loving, exciting distractions.  Lots of cooing going on around here.

As I mentioned last week in my very first Weekly Coo, writing this blog has been an entirely new creative outlet for me.  I've discovered that I love writing, that its changed me in so many ways, that maybe I am even okay at I took a brave step and submitted a piece to a local mama magazine, MAMALODE.  I didn't get my hopes up because there are some phenomenal writers featured on this site.  So, I submitted it and forgot about it. And then last Thursday I got an email that they had accepted my essay and wanted to run it this week!  I actually started crying (thank you pregnancy hormones).

Please head over to MAMALODE and check  it out...and while you're there, check out the other essays that are featured under "Stories", there is some really good stuff going on over there.  


I got an out-of-the-blue-I-Love-You present from my sister Kellie this weekend.  There is nothing that makes me feel more giddy or special than knowing someone was thinking of me when I wasn't around.  I love being loved.  I love being kneaded (how dang cute is that anyway?!).


I am (expectantly) huge right now.  And let me tell you, I freaking love how forgiving maternity clothes sizes are.  I noticed this week that two pairs of my maternity pants are a size 6.  My real-life size 6's I'd hardly be able to fit one swollen ankle into right now.  Thank you maternity clothes makers for making me feel a little less huge today.  I'm a dainty little size 6.


I attended a ladies night at my friend Jen's house on Friday.  A last hurrah, a last long night out before I have a baby permanently attached to my breast for the next six months (not that I am complaining, I loved every second of nursing Anna).  We grilled pizzas and I made apple hand pies and cinnamon ice cream for dessert.

We gabbed until 11 o'clock pm when we all piled into our cars and drove sleepily and happily home. Party animals.


Anna's favorite new hangout is the Carousel.  I am too large to ride comfortably on it right now and it gives Mace motion sickness (it is the fastest Carousel west of the Mississippi, or so they claim), so I have been bribing people to take her on it instead.  Auntie Tessa last week, Jen this week.  Any volunteers for next weekend?

We headed to Pattee Canyon for a hike afterwards and I was surprised by Anna's enthusiasm in hitting the trail.  Girlfriend loves to be outside.  Perhaps an avid hiker in our midst?

This kid makes me coo every time I look at her.

To top off our busy Saturday, Danesa texted and said "bring Anna over so you and Mace can have a date night."  I love having a best friend like her around.  She and Anna are best buds and I love watching them together.  Danesa was there when Anna came into this world, and this has sealed a mighty tight bond between the two of them.  She'll be there again when #2 graces us with her presence.  Stamped and sealed, she's part of our world forever.

My pregnancy mood swings have been sedated for the time being and life is good.  Coo.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Weekly Coos

When I started this blog I wanted to tie together my love of food and family and put all this love in one place.  The title "Kitchie Coo" encapsulates these two loves...Kitchie for my obvious love of all things happening in my kitchen; and Coo for the soft coos that escape my lips from that deep place of love and contentment inside of me and the sweet baby coos that have emanated our house since Anna came into our lives.  I feel like thus far, I've done okay at intertwining the two, and that Kitchie Coo has a good flow that doesn't feel disjointed or off topic.

Kitchie Coo has been a place for me to express my fervent love for food and family.  It has been a place for me to explore and get a feel for writing in my own words.  It has been a creative outlet and extricated a creative side of me that I didn't even know existed.  I have learned to write creatively, write from my heart, write humorously and write seriously.  I have learned bits and pieces of photography and I am thirsty to learn more in regards to food styling and getting that perfect shot of the ever-moving child.  I have learned to search deep into my heart for feelings and turn them into words.  I have learned to search deep for new ways to challenge myself in the kitchen and have turned out some mighty fine creations I am very proud of.

I love everything that I have learned through this experience, writing to anyone who wants to listen, without expectation.  Sure, I get excited when a recipe I posted gets featured on a major website, but I am learning what's most important is just getting thoughts, recipes, ideas, photos, love, friendship out there and hoping somewhere along the line I inspire someone to try a new recipe, or touch someone with the love of family and friendship.

But, all of this said...the way Kitchie Coo has changed me from the inside out...I haven't been writing here as regularly as I would like.    The word "coo" brings a vision to my mind of peacefulness, contentedness, well-being, love, joy and goodness.  And I definitely find a place for that in my life each day, whether its a moment, an hour or a whole day, I need some good cooing on a regular basis to keep my anxiety at bay and my heart full.  So, I am going to try to commit myself to some weekly cooing.  A post of coos, about our life, our girls, our kitchen, our life in general.  A post to encapsulate and summarize what's happening in our tiny little cooing corner of the world.  A post to keep my mind and my writing fresh.  These posts may be wandering and full of pictures and few words, or they may be hitting on a subject weighing on my mind that week, but they'll all come back to the ever important "coo".  To finding the peace, contentment and good that drives those guttural coos from my lips and reminds me just how good this life can be.

And with that, I present to you my first Weekly Coo:

And what a perfect week to start my cooing...My sister Tessa graced us with a visit this weekend, and I got to spend a whole lot of time gushing over the sweetness of life as I witnessed things like this:

If there is one thing that Anna already knows deep in her heart, its knowing who her family is. There were no moments of her being shy or needing to warm up to Tessa.  It was this kind of love immediately.  So much love.

One of the things I didn't anticipate about motherhood, and it gets my heart every time, is how awesome it is to watch the people I love loving on my girl.

We all walked into this weekend without any expectation but just being together.  There is something about just going with the flow and not making too many plans, that makes the days melt away into an easy peacefulness.

We rode the Carousel...

We strolled around the Market (sampling goodies whenever possible)...

We, three apron clad ladies, baked what are probably the world's best cookies (there's a small lie in there, because Anna was actually sleeping while we baked, but she still wanted to be part of our apron gang, and you know I couldn't resist that request)...

We made the Cornflake Crunch cookies out of the Momofuku Milk Bar book.  If you haven't checked this book out yet, do it!  Christina Tosi is my girl baker crush, she is amazing.  You can tell how amazing these are by the crazed joy on Tessa's face...

We ventured to the perfect fall event, on a perfect fall day...the Missoula Maze.  Petting zoo, pumpkin patch, and a very genuine hay/corn maze...that took an hour to get through.  An hour. It was fun, but a tad too long...we were hungry and thirsty and almost starved to death because we didn't have any provisions.  We weren't sure we were ever going to make it out.  We emerged parched, dazed and confused (um, again, maybe embellishing just a tad), but we did it.  We solved the maze! And, okay, we had a little fun in the process.

Wandering blindly and unsuspecting into the Maze.

We got the best family photo action shot ever: Anna cheerfully throwing a pumpkin at my face and Mace trying (unsuccessfully) to stop it.

Anna thought it was important to make direct eye contact with this sheep, but the sheep refused.

I can't believe this kid already knows how to humor her mother.  I mean, she is clearly bored out of her mind and only stuck her hands and head in here for my amusement.  This picture makes me nearly hysterical with laughter every time I look at it.  

Every night Anna chose Auntie Tessa to read her bedtime stories, after which, Tessa would descend downstairs and we'd spend the rest of our evening hours snuggling and gabbing on the couch.  Hours of consolidated gabbing time that had me bursting and craving more and more. Craving being near to my sister, craving these heart-to-hearts that happen too sporadically. Distance is so hard on the heart. But, I always feel like we make the best of our time on our visits and milk them for every single minute they give us.

I can't help but imagine our own girls, Anna and this wild one in my tummy, five, ten, twenty years from now relishing in each other and their sisterhood.  And, eventually, relishing in each other's offspring.  Such a cool relationship to witness.

Lots of deep, guttural cooing going on in our house this past weekend.  Oh yes.