Taken for Instagram, this photo comes from a morning of some Valentine's Day prep. Last year's robin's egg blue-and-red cards were so much fun to do, and while I may not have quite as much time as I did last year, we're determined to get some love into the mail.
We're playing around with pink and orange, which looks a lot like Mari and Jenna's room. Which reminds me - photos and details to come soon of their shared space that is my favorite room in our tiny beach house.
In the meantime, what are you cooking up for your valentine cards? What's inspiring you?
Our recent gloomy beach weather - and visions of the snowy East Coast - always makes me want to bake, and I finally got to introduce Mari to my all-time favorite oatmeal cookies this week. I've always loved anything oatmeal, even more than my favorite chocolate chip cookie, and these ranger cookies are the perfect balance of chewy, crunchy, salty and sweet.
There are lots of ranger cookie recipes out there, but what makes them so good, in my opinion, are two not-so-secret ingredients; flaked coconut and corn flakes. These cookies pass the hungry-teenage-boy test, for if it was 1995, you'd get the personal endorsement of my brother's high school basketball team, of which some of his former teammates still request this cookie today.
This is a chunky, big batter that makes for a fun baking experience with kids. With everything measured out, there's lots of dumping and mixing in which Mari participates. She also is known to steal tastes of the cookie dough right out of the mixing bowl, just like her dad. And mom, for that matter.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups Kellogg's Corn Flakes
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional, but so worth it!)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together (or sift) flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture in three batches, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl in between additions.
Add in vanilla, then oats, cereal, coconut and nuts. Mix until just blended together.
Drop dough with a rounded teaspoon or ice cream scoop onto cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are just barely golden brown.
These cookies don't last long around our house, but when you make four dozen, you can freeze as many as you like and enjoy them for weeks.
Twenty-fourteen, I'm so glad you're here. Last year was amazing, with the grand finale of Jenna and the most magical of holidays, but I've been waiting for you because you're the fresh start I know I need after what felt like a really long year (read: pregnancy).
Number two is just so different, and it started with the bump. I struggled throughout Jenna's pregnancy, mostly with mind games - everything from weight gain to guilt, usually over questions about love and would I have enough for another. I'm glad to say that the easy answer is an overwhelming "yes," and now that she's here, as is a new year, I have the clarity and energy (albeit, sleepless) to grow in light and love as a mother of two.
One of the blessings of the second is that along with it comes the confidence that you've done this once, and while most things just fall right back into lock-step, there are some things that are still so hard. This time around, though, I know that those challenges come in phases that come and go and before I know it, I'll be missing Jenna's little bassinet nestled next to our bed. I still miss Mari every single night, and she's just one room away.
With that confidence, however, comes some really great expectations. That life won't change all that much - after all, we're self-proclaimed experts and this kid thing - but oh, it does. And last month, while our world flipped upside down, I tried desperately to maintain life as we knew it, and that just made for some tough tears at 3 a.m., for all of us.
And that's why we're massively lowering the bar around here. We're taking time to find our rhythm. Getting back to basics, like a scheduled routine, dinner around the dinner table and endorphin pumping, in the form of long, energetic walks and yoga. I can't wait to get back in the studio and stretch, meditate and just be.
All this was not really my idea. It was my husband's, who is forever the voice inside my head who reminds me what is really important in life. Thank goodness for him.
So, no big intentions for me just yet (I might as well carry over those from 2013), but some expectation grounding is in order, as is more writing. I'm hoping, that with my new outlook, I'll find lots more time to read, write and photograph, and be in conversation with you, because I've so missed it over the last several months.