Oct 20, 2014

Our last hike

Sunday marked our last hike of the season. We picked the best day to do it considering everything is now blanketed in snow. It was also my moms last day visiting so we wanted to show her the beauty of Alaska. It may not have been her ideal hiking conditions, you know with 30 degree temps and a slight wind chill. But she was a trooper and went with it. I think we single handily set in stone that my mother will retire in a warm climate. 
We decided to hike the South Fork Trail in Eagle River, which is not too far from our house. The views are stunning and it is a pretty easy hike for the kids (minus the tons of mud we had to plow through). Every hike starts out the same with the kids. The car ride up they are asking non stop "are we there yet?" "I am so excited to go hiking, are we there yet?" "This is taking for-ev-er are we there yet?". Then they are hard to control as we prepare them for the elements with layers of clothing. They run in every direction looking for the start of the trail, like dogs sniffing for a bone. Their voices are screeching with excitement. We find the trail and they take off, looking for sticks, wondering if we will see a bear or a moose. They keep the momentum for a hot minute until they bust out with the "I'm hungry, I need a snack". Then they slow down to a snails pace while protesting for food, even though we just had lunch. 
This will continue on for what feels like miles, but Chris and I have learned that if we can push the boys a little harder they will forget about a snack and start moving their feet. But this time as I was stopping and going, waiting for Pierce to catch up, I couldn't help but think about my mom. Even though she was right there with us, hiking the same trail. It was not too long ago that she was pushing me to keep going. It was her that was stopping and waiting while bribing me to move it along. It was her that was holding my hand as to make sure I wouldn't slip and fall. And now it is my turn. With all these little kids yelling "mommy mommy". Now she was here in Alaska of all places, freezing her ass off hiking with the couple who everyone in the family thought wouldn't make it past the first year. With three kids, and one more on the way. Sure this was just an average hike for us. I feel like we spent the whole summer hiking. But this time it was more having her there. 
We reached a good stopping point and fulfilled the promise of snacks to the kids. It felt about 10 degrees colder while we stopped and sat on cold rocks to let the kids rejuvenate. I could tell me mom was cold, but she hung in there. Chris said he wanted to go a little further before we started to lose the sun. So we did. 

Avalon's little nose was pink, Pierce started to say he was tired. So we turned around. You have never seen a person move faster than when we told my mom we were going to head back. She was ready, but still she stuck it out. Not complaining of being that cold. She was getting muddy while picking up the pace far in front of us. But I couldn't blame her. That was me when we used to hike when I was little, always the first one wanting to go back to the car. I had to laugh as I lied to Pierce over and over again telling him "just a few more steps". His legs were tired and wobbly. So I decided I would carry this 40 pound popsicle the rest of the way. When my mom looked back and saw me carrying him she stopped and said "hand him to me you shouldn't be doing that". She carried him to the end of the trail and he and Ace ran to the car. 
It was a good hike, filled with all the dramatics that we are used to. But it was the last hike of the season. It was the last hike with just three kids. Next summer when the snow melts away we will be hiking with four. It will be a new chapter filled with new chaos. I just hope we didn't scare grandma away! 


an ode to the weekend

Is it really Monday? It has to be since right now I am probably scrambling to get the kids to eat and get dressed and corral them into the car. But can we get another weekend? Because this one was good. 

It started off with Chris and Ace having a Dad and me art class. Which if you thought you saw everything cute in the world with your husband and children think again. Watching them get dressed up was the best, Ace was so excited to have his dad with him at something, since crusty old mom usually goes everywhere. They ended up decorating pumpkins and having so much fun. Guy time is totally a must when it comes to little boys. 

The unthinkable happened Saturday night, and Chris and I were granted another meal together without having to race to see who could finish their food faster, and then stop a food fight from our children. This will go down in history since it was two date nights in one week. My mom is a saint for agreeing to watch the kids around bedtime (also known as the witching hour). But we all knew that by the time she gets back up to Alaska I will be in no mood for date nights, and more than likely concentrating on timing contractions. So this was the golden opportunity. Which also breaks Chris and I's streak of having just about one date night a year since having children! I know I know there is a thing called babysitters, but I have yet to reach that comfort level in my parenting saga. Judge hard. We ate at one of my favorite places, Orso, and it was amazing. We are just conditioned to scarf down our food as fast as possible, and the habit was hard to break. Our waiter made note of it since every time he would put a plate down it was gone by the time he walked by again. Oh parenting how you have changed us so....

Another weird thing happened in this house over the weekend, football mysteriously appeared on my tv. Chris is not a huge football person (thank god, sorry to all you football lovers) so it is rarely on in the house. Hockey and baseball are a different story. But my mom made a solid attempt at changing that. So she enjoyed a game or two to the sounds of Ace and Pierce reenacting what they saw on the screen. Hilarious for all involved!

Finally, I was able to steal my own mom away from my children for a little mommy daughter time. It wasn't easy. The kids really could have cared less about me leaving the house, but were more concerned about where grandma was going. Thanks my little minions, not like I don't slave over you every other day when grandma isn't here. But it was great. I took my mom to my favorite bakery in downtown Anchorage. And it was so nice to just sit and talk without three little voices asking for a million things at once. We also went on a beautiful hike yesterday but I have yet to get all the pictures off my camera. 

How was your weekend? More importantly how is your Monday going so far? 


Oct 18, 2014

homemade chicken and dumplings

Ask and you shall receive my friends! The other day I posted this picture to instagram of our comfort food dinner of chicken and dumplings. It just happens to be one of my favorite soups, so now I pass it on to you to enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 thin cut chicken breasts (or butterfly two large ones)
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 celery stalks, chopped
3-4 large carrots, chopped (about 2 cups if using baby carrots)
1/4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 lb green beans cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper


For the Dumplings:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons dried parsley
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
( if you don't have heavy cream on hand just use 1/2 cup of milk, the dumplings will still be amazing)

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium high heat, cook chicken until almost done, and browned on both sides. Remove to plate and cover with tin foil. 

2. Add 3 tablespoons butter to pot, once melted add onion, celery, and carrots. Season with salt and peeper. Let cook about 5 minutes. Then add 1/4 cup of flour, and stir until flour is absorbed. Let cook another 1-2 minutes. Add in chicken broth and bring to a boil, season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then reduce heat back down to a simmer. Cube or shred chicken and add to the pot. Stir in green beans. 

3. Make your dumplings. Stir together flour, baking powder, dried parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cut in butter. Stir in heavy cream and milk. Drop spoonfuls of batter right on top of the chicken and green beans. Cover pot and continue to simmer over medium heat until dumplings are cooked. About 12-15 minutes. 

You won't be able to wait a second to eat it, so have bowls ready to fill!


Oct 16, 2014

recent purchases

The last couple weeks I have bought some pretty random things. I will blame some stuff on my pregnancy brain, and the rest on my compulsive shopping habit. But to my surprise I have ended up loving a lot of the randomness. I thought I would share some of the things, some are totally new to me, and some would make great presents or even stocking stuffers (too soon for a christmas reference? sorry).
Barr Co. Lotion- I have mentioned this on the blog before, but the last month I have been using this more and more. You know, belly getting bigger, skin stretching, getting itchy. This lotion is so moisturizing, and has a very light scent. I use it three times a day for optimum moisture capabilities. 

Lipstick Holder- This thing is a beauty. My bathroom is so tiny, with little to no counter space. The bulk of my makeup is stored in organizers in the hall closet. But I was looking for something to keep my go-to lipsticks handy. This is so great. It fits right on my counter and just looks pretty too. Only downside is, it does not fit some of my lipstick tubes. It won't fit really square ones (duh Kelsey circular holder, square lipstick) like Tom Ford, Estee Lauder, or Nars. But if they have slightly rounded corners it will work. Highly recommend this thing to my lipstick lovin ladies!

Pumpkin Souffle Candle- Throw all your other pumpkin candles away people, nothing will come close to this one I promise you! When I worked for Anthropologie I couldn't wait for these candles to roll out every year. The first shipment would almost always be bought entirely by employees. Now I have to settle for ordering them online, but man, I still stock up. They have a smaller version as well in case you aren't sure about it, but I can guarantee you will go back and order the big one. I also bought a couple Sweet Vanilla Cinnamon ones for Christmas time. 
Loreal Boost it- I am all about this root lifting spray right now! My hair is very straight, and very heavy. So it is hard to get a good voluminous lift to it, but this stuff is like pageant hair I tell ya. You just spray a little at the root, tease it, and shake it out. Big glorious hair for days! 

Clairol Hair Food- So unlike the masses of pregnant women who gain pounds of hair from day one of the positive pregnancy test, I am different. I lose so much hair in the first trimester, I have with all my pregnancies. Many hair thickening treatments are not safe during pregnancy, but this one happens to be. I have been using it for about three weeks now and I really like it. It gives a little tingling feeling at the scalp once applied, but nothing crazy. I plan on using this for awhile, and keep using it through the dreaded hair loss post baby. 

Eco Tools Face Sponge- Once again pregnancy does crazy things to me. Mainly it makes my skin very dry and sensitive. I am incredibly loyal to my Clairsonic brush, but even the low setting was too harsh on my face in the first trimester. I saw these facial sponges at Target and thought why not? Now I love them. They are so gentle, and soften with water. You can reuse them and they don't lose their sponginess (??) even Chris stole one from me. Totally worth the $4. 

Rimmel Mascara- Okay, this was an accidental buy. I didn't even know I bought it. Pierce grabbed it and threw it in the cart one day, and to my surprise when we got home it was in the bag. I checked my receipt and sure enough I paid real money for it. I thought well, I own it now, might as well try it. I did, and I like it as a base to my normal mascara. The wand is thick and contoured which is great for lengthening and separating. It has since been added to the beauty routine! 

Josie Maran Milk Moisturizer- As mentioned above, my skin turns into a crocodile when pregnant. I had heard amazing things about this moisturizer since it came out. And since I already use the Josie Maran Argan Oil, I thought I would try this too. Blew me away! No joke! This stuff makes my skin feel like silk. I use 3-5 drops morning and night, and it took about a week to see some glowing results. Best part, no smell. I will for sure be repurchasing this forever! 

Loreal Privee Collection Lipstick- Another random find in the beauty isle. These lipsticks are a limited time thing I guess. They are pigmented shades of nude, which I love. There are about six to choose from, but I went with the darkest for Fall. They are very pretty, and I think I may need one more. 
Banana Republic Blazer- This is definitely an investment piece, which I would say most of my blazers are. You want them to fit just right, and this one is so perfect. It tapers in right at the waist, and the shoulders are pinned to fit. Plus those elbow patches just get me. Not to mention I have been on the hunt for a grey blazer, and when I saw this one in store I knew I had to have it. It also comes in a beautiful camel color which I had a hard time walking away from. Add to the wish list!

Old Navy Striped Dress- Can a person have too many striped pieces in their closet? I think not. This sweater dress is so cute. I have so many outfit ideas for it, with and without the bump action I got going on. It fits true to size and has a good amount of stretch. Perfect for Fall, and winter with tights and boots. 

Old Navy Plaid Shirt- When I saw this shirt on Refinery 29 I knew I had to hunt it down. It is so different from all the other plaids I have seen this season. I went to my local Old Navy since it is right next to my beloved Target, but they didn't have it. Online shopping to the rescue, and it is now nestled happily with it's plaid friends in my closet. Oh the possibilities, I just can't wait to wear it over and over again. 

That is the round up for this shopping rodeo. Have you bought anything really great lately? Do share!