Moving Home

We’ve been out at The Lodge now for about five months now. It’s looking like Ben’s school is going to be 100% in-person come September. That means we’re preparing to move back home to our primary residence in Seattle.

Our time out here has provided memories we know will last a lifetime for Alex and me. We can only hope at least Ben takes some of these memories with him forever. This time, hunkered down, has changed us all and will help shape our future. Alex and I have had so many conversations about what the short and long-term future we imagine might look like, and I’ll tell you, our thinking has changed quite a bit from what it was pre-pandemic.

School is what is pulling us back to Seattle, and frankly, we’re wondering {expecting?} if sometime in the fall or winter the kids’ schools will move virtual and we’ll be back at The Lodge. The coronavirus is raging in Seattle and it’s really hard to wrap our heads around sending the kids back to school, but Ben’s school is confident it has the resources to bring kids back safely.

Ben will be starting pre-kindergarten at a private school that has the capacity to social distance, spread kids out and cut class sizes. Hannah will be starting preschool virtually at a small co-op.

It’s going to be a massive change for us, having been here for so long. Hannah had just turned 19-months old when we arrived at The Lodge and she’s going back a potty-trained 2-year old. Our kids are different kiddos than they were when we left. They’ve grown up in the mountains.

Our house is not set up for a 2 and 4 year old. We still have Hannah’s high chair out, and we’re anticipating she’s going to move to a toddler bed any day now. We don’t need her changing table, and she’s jumping into 3T, so she won’t fit any of the 18-24-month clothes hanging in her closet. Her toys and books are for that of a baby, not a full-fledged toddler.

We’re certainly nervous for all of the unknown associated with COVID-19 and returning to school amidst a global pandemic. Life as we knew it doesn’t exist anymore – we know that much, at least. There will be big emotions, certainly from us all, as we adjust to our new normal.

I want to make sure we allow plenty of time for us to get settled and for us to have some Western Washington fun before school starts up. I really want to take Ben to the WA coast and try to find some safe, local adventures nearby to help ease us into the transition.

The kids are now overdue for a visit to the dentist, vaccines and a well-child check-up. We’re skipping a haircut for Ben to avoid another possible exposure opportunity. So, we have a lot to catch up on before they start school.

We are certainly nervous about our move back to Seattle. It’s been so easy to weather this storm on 3 acres in the middle of nowhere. When we arrive back in Seattle we’ll be able to high five our next door neighbor from our kitchen window. We’ll don our masks every time we walk out the front door. Life as we left it in Seattle does not exist anymore.

We have savored the family time, our precious time in the mountains and simply slowing down. It’s been so so so special.

Here’s to slowly starting to close the chapter on our spring and summer riding out the pandemic at The Lodge and beginning a new chapter on weathering the pandemic in a city where one of our children is attending school…….. wish us luck!

Lodge Life: Week 22

This last week we were feeling all the feels over here. It was a really tough week in our house. Alex had his last week at his job and is beginning his new position {same job different team} today, so he was busy making that transition last week. Later this week we’re expecting Alex’s parents to arrive from Illinois, so we’ve been preparing for their arrival and for the change ahead. More seriously, our week began with the heart wrenching news of the death of our friend’s 3-year old son, who died in a vehicle crash right outside his house.

We’ve known Finn since he was two weeks old. His family was in our parent support group {PEPS} that we attended with Ben. They live four blocks from us and Ben and Finn attended preschool together in the past. Our lives are interconnected with Finn’s family and we share quite a large number of friends and acquaintances. It has devastated our neighborhood and “mom” community.

Finn would have turned four this week. On his birthday Ben made four wildflower arrangements in honor of Finn and in celebration of his life. Ben has been asking all the questions this week about Finn and his death. It’s been really enlightening to hear him process this. It’s been a really big deal for Ben, as it has been for us, too.

I’ve been working with a group of folks to support our friends’ family through this time. I’m petitioning the city for more roundabouts and speed bumps and general speed zones/awareness in our neighborhood. Additionally, I’m working to help create a scholarship fund in Finn’s memory at the forest school his mom founded. It’s nice to have a few initiatives to funnel my energy and sadness into.

Thankfully we had something fun to look forward to last week. I packed the kids in the car and we drove through Blewitt Pass over to Suncadia Resort, about an hour and a half away from us. We went to enjoy the day with my friend Shannon and her two boys, both of whom are about 18 months older than each of my kids. I took almost zero pictures, surprisingly.

Suncadia is in a county with very few Covid-19 cases and they were able to open their pools at limited capacity. Shannon invited us to come swim with them. I knew this would be the only opportunity we’d have to swim in a pool, I expect for sure for the remainder of the calendar year.

Of course the kids had a blast. Hannah took a little while to warm up to the pool but once she had her Puddle Jumper on she was comfortable and confident. It was such a fun time!

Earlier in the week we had a morning beach trip, too. The kids just love playing in the sand.

And yes, I swear Hannah has a swimming suit. She hates when it gets wet and wants to take it off.

We all made a pilgrimage to the Leavenworth Farmers Market in 105 degree heat. Ben had been asking all week to go to the farmers market and he picked out three beautiful bouquets of flowers from a local flower farmer.

I picked out an entire box of peaches, which I’m going to be freezing and also making a peach crisp or pie.

My own vegetable garden was a massive flop. I’m not exactly sure what the culprit was – likely a combination of the birds {I think they ate the seeds} and Hannah and maybe under watering. Thankfully, though, my tomatoes are growing really well, despite having been dinner last week for the deer.

We made the best Rice Krispies treats on Friday afternoon. Naturally they were gone by Saturday afternoon.

In school related news we received some major updates on Friday afternoon. Hannah’s co-op preschool will be starting 100% virtual. We received an email from Ben’s school shortly after that confirming their plans to start 100% in-person.

I have been asked to serve as Hannah’s class representative at co-op and Ben’s grade level representative at his school. I’m really honored and excited to be stepping into those positions to play a more active role in their school experience. It will be quite challenging to fulfill these jobs amidst the pandemic when so much will be virtual, though. What a time it is.

We’re jumping headfirst into August, preparing for a month with tremendous change for our family. Here’s to the new week, new challenges and new changes ahead…

Lodge Life: Week 21

We had an extra special week celebrating Hannah’s 2nd birthday and enjoying a few bonus days with Alex, as he took off some time from work.

Our week started out with a busy Monday – I took the kids to the beach that morning, then we made a post-nap trip into town to a blueberry farm.

We beat the crowds to the beach and enjoyed some sunshine and a calm lake, then headed for home before too many people arrived.

It was an absolute scorcher that day – 97 degrees when we were at the farm. I figured the heat would keep the crowds at bay and I was right! We had the farm all to ourselves.

The kids and I had such a blast at the blueberry farm. Naturally, we picked blueberries.

The farm also boasted some beautiful rows of flowers and invited us to bring home a bouquet of freshly cut zinnias.

My flower-loving boy was so enamored by the rows and rows of brightly colored zinnias and helped make the selections.

Hannah’s second birthday came mid-week, along with the start of Alex’s time away from work.

For our beach loving birthday girl we made a trip to the beach. Our time there was rather quick, as it ended up being extremely windy.

The rest of the day was spent celebrating our sweet girl and playing with some of her new toys.

It’s been so sweet watching her take care of her new babies and push them in the stroller.

We enjoyed birthday cupcakes in honor of our adorable two-year old.

Late in the week we packed up the car and set out on a day trip to Winthrop, Washington, a quaint town in the Methow Valley, located 2.5 hours north east of The Lodge. It’s a town known for cross country skiing in the winter, wildflowers in the spring and its beautiful scenery in the summer. I can only imagine how striking the autumn backdrop is with all of the aspen trees changing colors in fall.

We were a little nervous about the drive, as our last day trip was only 1.5 hours away. It was 1.5 hours of misery for us all, thank you, Hannah. But this trip was different, thank you Kindles! Both kids did exceptionally well and there was virtually no napping, surprisingly.

We spent a little time walking the streets of Winthrop, taking in the charm of the old western town.

We were so impressed by the seriousness with which folks were taking the pandemic. I’d say at least 90% of people walking around {outside} were wearing masks. People would move off the sidewalk to also provide the recommended six feet of separation. It wasn’t very crowded at all, and we felt so comfortable being there.

Of course we got ice cream at Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe. It was absolutely delicious!

Ben led us on a bike ride/walk across the river where we could take in the views some more.

Our final stop in the Methow was Pearrygin State Park. This was the highlight of the trip for the kids. They absolutely LOVED swimming at the beach.

It was a quiet beach with sand and relatively few people, 100% of whom kept to themselves. Hannah was extra excited to have both Alex and me in the water. It was the most comfortable and adventurous I’ve ever seen her in a lake before. She had several tumbles from the waves and got knocked down and pushed under water but quickly relaxed and went back to having fun.

Our excursion was extra fun because none of us had ever been to the Methow before. I had signed up for a half marathon taking place there in May 2020, which of course was canceled. I was most disappointed with the cancellation because I had been looking forward to exploring the area.

We hope to return to the area as soon as we possibly can. We have so much more to see and do.

In other musings, Alex decided to buzz his hair. I’m not sure what he’ll torture us with next but I’m guessing we’ll find out in August.

Have you tried ButcherBox? We’re partway through our first box and so far I’m impressed. If you haven’t heard of it, ButcherBox is a meat delivery subscription service.

Hannie and I perused the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale preview over the weekend. I look forward to this sale all year long. It’s where I stock up on my kiddos winter outerwear, I usually find shoes and boots for them {and myself!} and get great deals on next season’s clothing. I’m still shopping the preview and my wishlist is filling up!

The kids are living in the sprinklers and splash pad. It feels like I’m making a new batch of ice pops every other day. We’re savoring all the al fresco dining. Summer is in full swing and we are loving it!

Our weekend was full. Alex got a mountain bike ride in both days and I got a run in Saturday and Sunday, as well.

To finish off the long weekend together we piled in the car and headed for a 95 degree jaunt at Ski Hill. Alex did a mountain bike ride, Ben did a “mountain bike” ride and Hannah and I tagged behind.

We picked up a pizza from one of our favorite spots in town, Tumwater Bakery, and picniced in the parking lot.

We’re gearing up for our last week out at The Lodge as a family of four. We have some major changes on the horizon – Alex’s parents are expected to arrive early next week and stay through mid-September. Also happening next week is Alex’s first day of his new job {same company, different team}. We’re preparing to move back to Seattle in just a few weeks in anticipation of Ben’s school beginning in September. Lots going on out here!

Hannah is 2!

I keep having to remind myself that Hannah hasn’t already been two for a while. She’s been acting like such a two-year old for a few months now that it’s funny we’re just now celebrating her birthday. But, lo and behold, our girl is TWO!

Hannah’s 24-Month Stats:

  • Weight: 26 pounds, 6 oz {88th percentile – as of 1/22}
  • Length: 32 inches {60th percentile – as of 1/22}
  • Clothing size: 2T – anything I buy now is 3T
  • Shoe size: toddler size 6
  • Number of teeth: 16
  • Favorite foods: smoothies, pasta, cheese, watermelon, strawberries, crackers, cookies
  • Least favorite foods: beef, chicken
  • Favorite things/activities: reading books, playing anything with Ben, digging in the sand, climbing, swinging, watering, seeing animals, pouring water, and taking baths.
  • Least favorite things/activities: waiting, not getting what she wants

As a two-year old, Hannah is nurturing, so loving, extremely strong-willed, chatty, sassy, opinionated, conscientious, athletic, observant, independent, loud, animated, bright, cuddly, so so happy and absolutely delightful. She has her own style and goodness sakes, she knows what she wants. Our little Hannie has quite the personality and I just can’t get enough of her.

Communication continues to be a major theme for Hannah. It’s hard to estimate her vocabulary because I’m positive she has more words than we realize. I’m thinking she’s approaching or exceeded 400 words.

The complexity of Hannah’s sentences blows Alex and me away. The other day she said, with tremendous animation, “There is an ant in the grass! They bite my feet!” She is putting together proper pronouns, subjects, prepositions, and building off of her basic vocabulary with all of those fun filler words. She can even identify a few different types of birds.

I’ve been mentioning for months that it’s very difficult to understand Hannah, especially out of context. I was concerned she would need speech therapy so we got a referral and ended up having a full developmental evaluation for Hannah yesterday. The gist of it is, in all areas, aside from fine motor skills, she’s developmentally aligned with a 35-38-month old. We always knew she was ahead of her age and it was so cool going through the assessment, realizing a lot of the things she can do are pretty advanced skills.

Regarding her speech, it turns out it’s on-par with her age, so that was great news! All of the areas we were concerned about are age appropriate. She has so much to say and is so bright I want everyone to be able to understand everything she says, so we’ll certainly keep monitoring and making sure she’s on-track.

A few fun/new things she’s said this last month:

  • “I did it myself!”
  • “Nope!” {favorite word, normally followed with a sly look and an eye roll.}
  • “Mamaaaa! Where are youuuuu? I found you!”
  • “I love you!” {she’s started saying this unprompted}
  • “Excuse me!” she said after she sneezed and she says when someone’s in her way
  • “I go to school!”
  • “Mama, hold me like a baby?”

Lately Hannah’s relationship with her blanket and her babies has been developing in the sweetest way. She has such a natural maternal instinct and I’ll often catch her brushing her baby’s teeth, sharing a bite of food with her baby or taking her baby potty. She loves to cover up her baby with her special blanket and she often wants her blanket with her. For months and months she’s wanted her blanket to be laid out on the floor for her to sit on.

Hannah and Ben’s relationship has also transformed quite a lot in the last month or so. It’s certainly been evolving for a while, but these two are turning into the best pals. On occasion they’ll hold hands and walk through the field or forest together. Ben is usually the leader and Hannah is so pleased to be included in his creative play.

Riding her bike or scooter continues to be one of Hannah’s favorite activities. She just loves it and my goodness she is really getting the hang of it. It is so fun going out to the street to take a little spin with the kids.

Our girl is a natural dancer. She definitely got that from Alex. She waltzes around on her tippy toes like a ballerina, perfectly and so naturally does Alex’s “spaghetti arms” move and just generally moves to the beat of the music so fluidly. This girl has got moves. I so wish I could put her in a dance class right now – she would absolutely love it. I’m going to try to find something on YouTube in the interim.

Hannah is always there to lend a helping hand. From a very early age she has been terrific at sharing with Ben – that has only gotten even sweeter. She is quick to share her food with others, “dada, want a taste?” as she holds up a bite of her food. The other day Ben was asking for more of something and she started scooping up her food and putting it on her plate to share with him. She loves to clear her plate and even put things into the dishwasher. Cleaning up toys is usually an enjoyable task for her and she always sings the “clean up” song.

This girl keeps us on our toes, usually in the best way possible. She is just an absolute delight and I cannot get enough of her. We are absolutely smitten with our Hannie and are so, so very excited to continue to watch her grow and thrive as a two-year old! And now that she’s two, I’ll switch to quarterly update posts like I do with Ben.

Ben is 2

Lodge Life: Week 20

Summer’s heat has arrived at The Lodge and we’ve been doing all the things. All the things at home, that is! The coronavirus is raging in Washington state and we’re extra hunkered down. Hunkered down and happy. The kids are having a blast just being kids, running around at home and riding their bikes and scooters.

Despite being hunkered down, we did venture out to the beach on Monday morning. Make no mistake, we were there by 8 a.m. and left by 10:30 and saw very few other people. It’s a huge beach and we largely had it to ourselves. The perfect way to start the week!

Alex took Monday morning off and we eased into the workweek. It was such a treat.

The weather was perfect and we ate the best blueberry muffins and played in the sand together.

It’s been HOT this week. Our yard is largely full-sun, though the kids are getting good at finding the shady spots. Our sprinklers and splash pad are on heavy rotation these days. Also noteworthy is Hannah’s newfound love of sparkling water. I feel you, girl.

Ice pops are eaten on the daily. The one’s we’ve been making most recently are just strawberries, yogurt, vanilla and a sprinkling of sugar, so my kiddos can eat them ’til their heart’s content! Here is the base recipe I use, though I cut the sugar down substantially and I used frozen strawberries. I have a couple new recipes to try this week. And here’s a link to our ice pop mold.

We’re in full-blown summer food mode here, too. The kids helped Alex make burgers one night. It was the sweetest. Neither of them are too into burgers, sadly.

One afternoon I had them help me shuck corn, which really took me back to my childhood.

In other food-related news, I made a winning snack board for lunch one day. The kids gave it their stamp of approval.

I found some burrata and paired it with some tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic, salt and basil and served it with some toasted baguette. It was practically a meal on its own.

Alex and I had two adult-only dinners this week. Friday we enjoyed ribs together, post-bedtime. Saturday I made my favorite Tortilla Espanola. We love our adult dinners and at-home date nights to catch up and try to do them at least once a week.

We’re taking great joy in the little things. Bike and/or scooter rides are daily occurrences now. The days have slowed down drastically, and, for us, in the best way possible.

These little experiences together are extra special these days.

Knowing it’ll be quite a while before Ben steps into a hair salon, I gave him his first “quarantine haircut.” It was getting a liiiittle scraggly. Here’s the before:

I think it turned out pretty well. Far from perfect, but it’s definitely cleaned up.

My cousin, Chris, and his wife and two kids spent the weekend out near us and stopped over for an outdoor play date. Ben had the BEST time playing with Henry and Claire.

It was so sweet seeing him engaging with other kids. There were times where they did okay with physical distancing and times where it was non-existent. This age is so hard for them to give others’ space.

Saturday morning I went for a nice long and hot run, then we took a family bike ride into the farmers market. We set up a little picnic, grabbed some sausages from Frank’s Franks {a weekend sausage stand at the hardware store} and enjoyed our time together. We devoured our berries and tried a few new varieties, including saskatoons and yellow Anne’s.

Alex took his mountain bike into town Sunday morning and did a ride on Freund Canyon. He reported that the ride up was great, as was the view at the top, but the way down was rather nerve wracking after seeing not one, but two, rattlesnakes on the trail!! Yikes.

We’re gearing up for the hottest week of the summer, thus far, along with a birthday celebration for our Hannah on Wednesday! Cheers to the week ahead.

Half Marathon #3!

Last weekend I ran my third half marathon. It was honestly on a bit of a whim – I asked my friend Joanna if she wanted to run 13.1 miles with me, we picked a date a week in advance and there you have it.

Gearing up for a big run amidst a pandemic is a bit different!

Joanna picked our route, which ended up being around 1/3 to 1/2 on trails, the rest on the road. She nailed it – the route was almost a perfect 13.1 miles – we got to our “end” and needed .2 miles, so we jogged up the block and back to hit the mileage mark.

It was not an easy route with 1,000 feet of elevation gain. I loved checking out some new trails, though. Joanna is quite an explorer and it’s been really fun for me to follow her around the mountains.

Alex pulled the kids in the bike trailer to come cheer us on. One wonderful element of an organized run is the crowd and constant emotional support, so it was really sweet to see them mid-way and hear their cheers. While they were biking over to see us they saw a bear! It crossed the road a bit in front of them. Yikes!

Given the fact we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, both of us masked up for quite a lot of the run. We were able to stay 6 feet apart when we were on the road; however, on the trails one of us had to go ahead of the other, so, out of respect for each other we both wore masks to reduce any possibility of transmission.

It is not easy to run in a mask, but we did it for each other, and we had a wonderful time. We’re planning a 14-mile run potentially in August. Stay tuned!

Lodge Life: Week 19

We’ve been having the most mild summer out here in the Pacific Northwest. My kids’ fleeces are still out and regularly being put to use. And dang, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale got pushed back a month so Ben will be in a too-small fleece and rain coat until September.

Speaking of September, it’s weighing heavily on our minds out here. I’ll likely do a separate post about this, but as things stand right now, we’re planning on moving back home to Seattle mid to late-August for the kids to start school, in person.

Anywho, we’ve had just an absolutely lovely last few weeks out in the mountains. The weather has been mild, and occasionally downright chilly at times. We found ourselves at the beach one morning last week and it was 58 degrees and windy. We were frigid!

Thank goodness it was sunny.

Alex has been torturing us with new facial hair designs. Most recently, the mustache.

He always knows how to make us all laugh.

Early mornings are sacred adult time over here. Alex and I start our mornings with coffee in bed after I get ready for the day. It makes our days go so much smoother to be able to wake up, have some coffee and a conversation before being thrown into parenthood. Loving this little tray, which is perfect for our morning coffee and my biscotti.

Like most families with kids we have art supplies galore. It was a fun evening project to put together a little art cart for the kids to help contain the chaos.

I only have things on here that I’m okay with the kids helping themselves to. No glue. No scissors. No paint. Dear goodness none of that. For like 9 years for my two.

Case in point – thank you so much, Hannah, for dumping the bird seed on the ground. Such a helper.

We had a fun evening in town last week when we went in for the farmers market.

Summer produce is starting to arrive and our hauls are becoming much more exciting!

This one included fresh flowers, as chosen by Mr. Ben, our resident gardener.

We got all of the berries, so many peaches and more cherries.

We had a delightful picnic, complete with Ben’s flower arrangements, in a quiet park across the street from downtown Leavenworth.

Hannah is charting her own course in potty training these days. She was fully potty-trained, then we took away her chocolate chip rewards and now she’s taking matters into her own hands and taking care of business just however and wherever she pleases. Girl knows what she wants!

Our weekend was a bit funny. Saturday I had the day to myself. I ran a half marathon with my friend Joanna {more to come in another post}, then went into town solo.

I had been lamenting about not making time to read, one of my favorite pastimes, and was able to finish my book. It’s been the only book I’ve read while we’ve been up here, which is so different than I expected in the beginning. When Hannah was a newborn I was reading at least one book a week and I’d at least like to get back to reading a book a month at a minimum.

In any case, it was very nice to have a day to myself! It’s been more than four months since I’ve had the better part of a day “off.” I certainly don’t need much – a quick break here and there makes such a big difference.

Sunday, Alex ventured out on his solo day and went on a big mountain biking journey with some friends in Cle Elum – closer to Snoqualmie Pass, roughly 90 minutes from our mountain house. He reported that the ride was a greuling one, but it was nice to see some friends and explore a new area.

Our weekend was not filled with much family time, which is always disappointing, but it’s important for us to be adults every once in a while, too. We did; however, have a date night at home on Saturday. I whipped up some spaghetti carbonara and a caprese salad for our adult dinner.

All in all, it was a really nice week. We’re looking forward to maybe seeing some summer weather this week??

Lodge Life: Week 18

It was a beautiful, extremely windy week here at The Lodge. We spent most of the week at home given the wind and the crowds coming in for the holiday weekend. We’ve been busy checking things off of our summer activity list and our summer baking list {post coming!}.

The kids kicked off the week with some ice experiments. They had so much fun with these cute little fish-shaped ice cubes. We put some in the water table and experimented with how quickly or slowly they melted in the sun, shade and inside. More than anything, it was just something different to do that happened to be slightly educational.

I run with the kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays and it’s become quite a habit for us to run over to the hardware store. The kids had the pleasure of trying an Italian soda for the first time on one of our runs. I was lucky they shared with me!

It’s a nice distance of a run for me – somewhere between 4.5-5 miles {my GPS keeps losing me somewhere on the run!} and it’s fun for them to have something to look forward to in the middle of the run.

Sweet Hannie was crushed when she found out she wasn’t coming with me on my solo run over the weekend. This girl has come along on almost every one of my runs since she was 8 months old. Alex brought the kids out on the street to do their own run, then I ran with Hannah for a little bit on my way back. Next weekend I’m planning on running a half marathon {unorganized} with a friend. Hopefully I can count on the kiddos to pop up somewhere and cheer me on!

Our only outing for the week was to Ski Hill for a hike. We’re very comfortable there and there’s so much space it seems very, very safe. Most people, especially mid-week, are there to mountain bike anyway, so they’re on different trails.

Ben fell asleep in the car on the way to the hike and wanted to ride in the hiking backpack so I had the pleasure of carrying both kids for the entire hike. Oofta.

My sweetest Ben has been so into wildflowers this spring/summer. We’re so fortunate that we have an abundance of them on our property. I’ll find him out wandering from one place to the next, selecting the perfect flower for his little bouquet.

He has quite the knack for arranging flowers. I purchased a set of 6 little glass milk jars for him to fill with his bouquets. The first day after he placed his bouquets in the vases he walked around the house finding the perfect spots for his beautiful flowers. It’s so endearing coming across these little bouquets from our sweet four-year old.

I am hard at work learning how to arrange flowers, myself. I ordered some roses for myself this week, though sadly, they were a bit disappointing. They never perked up upon arrival. Thankfully the company is replacing them next week. Hopefully they turn out quite a bit better.

In food news – I felt like I had another week that lacked much creativity or inspiration. I did have a few major food wins, though. We made focaccia bread again and it was just as good as I remembered.

I’m normally not much of a La Croix fan {Waterloo is my sparkling water of choice} but dang these Limoncello La Croix waters really hit the spot last week. We found them in a variety pack at Costco and I’m pretty sure I drank 11 of the 12 in a day or two. Whoops.

Saturday mornings are usually reserved for pancakes in my house. This week was no different; however, after seeing a post from Alex’s cousin’s wife, I tried Joanna Gaines’ pancake recipe from her cookbook and it’s a life-changing pancake recipe. I thought I had already found the best pancake recipe. I now stand corrected. If you have the Magnolia Table Cookbook {first volume} please do yourself a favor and make her pancakes, and if you don’t have the cookbook, I found a link to the recipe here.

Finally, for the Fourth I decided to bake an angel food cake. I have many memories of eating angel food cake with whipped cream and strawberries around the Fourth up at my dad’s family cabin in northern Minnesota. It’s one of my favorite summer desserts – perfectly light and airy. I was a little intimidated by the recipe and the fact that I was making it while with my kiddos {they didn’t want to help, surprisingly} but it turned out absolutely perfect. When I took it out of the oven it smelled and looked like a perfectly toasted marshmallow. It was definitely a success!

Our Fourth of July was lovely. We took a family bike ride to the hardware store for the Saturday farmers market. Just after we arrived we got to enjoy an unexpected fire truck parade.

Hannah wanted to join us all in wearing our masks to the farmers market. This was her first time wearing a mask, as she’s not quite 2 yet. Since she asked and she’s almost 2 I figured it was a great opportunity for her to practice. Also featured in this picture is how badly I need a haircut!! Haha.

Sunday was leisurely and we closed out the weekend with a very impromptu jaunt into Leavenworth to do some kiddo mountain biking and a picnic at Ski Hill, which has quickly become one of our favorite little spots.

Alex took Ben up on one of the mountain bike trails so he could “do mountain biking” just like Alex. Ben was SO excited and so into it and totally nailed it.

This kid absolutely loves riding his bike. And yeah, he’s getting a little big for his tiny bike!

We picked up take-out from one of our favorite spots, Tumwater Bakery, and had a tailgate picnic in the parking lot while the kids rode their bikes. It was the perfect way to end the long weekend!

Summer Baking/Cooking List

I’ve been a lot more inspired to bake lately and am really looking forward to doing some seasonal baking projects this summer.

  1. Angel food cake {done!}
  2. Peach crisp/cobbler
  3. Jam
  4. Strawberry pie
  5. Berry crisp/cobbler {done!}
  6. Lemon bars
  7. Ice cream
  8. Coffee cake {berry or peach}
  9. Strawberry shortcake
  10. Apple crisp

I’ll be honest, summer is not my favorite time of year to cook. Come mid-July {hello!} I’m ready for fall foods. I so prefer cooking hearty meals. That being said, you really can’t beat the fresh produce available in the summer. A few of my favorite savory summer meals that I’m so looking forward to include:

  1. Panzanella!!!!! I just can’t wait. My favorite way to enjoy my favorites – tomatoes, basil, bread, mozzarella, olive oil and balsamic
  2. All the buratta – basically a caprese salad with buratta and maybe a baguette
  3. Pioneer Woman’s Smoked Gouda Pasta Salad – already on major repeat over here
  4. Grilled pizza
  5. Watermelon, feta & mint salad
  6. Bring on the BLTs {actually, I make BATs}
  7. All of the nectarines
  8. And all of the tomatoes

2020 Summer Fun List

Summer is here, and so is our summer fun list! It certainly looks a little different than it would if we weren’t in the midst of a global pandemic, but here goes:

  1. Breakfast picnic at the beach {done!}
  2. Make s’mores
  3. Go on a new hike
  4. Allen family bike camp
  5. Go golfing/mini golfing
  6. Pick fruit at an orchard/farm
  7. Go to the Leavenworth Farmers Market {done!}
  8. Make ice pops {done!}
  9. Get Italian soda at the hardware store
  10. …..pool??? probably not 🙁

What’s on your summer fun list!?