Friday, August 29, 2014

Eight Twenty Nine Fourteen

It's been a busy week around here. Lots of last minute play dates, sleepovers, errands, school supply shopping, etc. We are really ready for school to start. We're ready to have the schedule and routine back in our lives. 

Lately I've been doing a few hair cuts here and there, for friends and of course Brookelyn. I love having the chance to pick up my scissors again. Every now and then I miss working and doing hair, so it's nice when a friend asks for a cut. It reminds me of how much I used to enjoy it.
In less than a week this girl turns 11. Eleven. How? Wasn't she just a bald little baby? The two of us went out to a local park that a friend had suggested for Brookelyn's photo shoot birthday party and we fell in love! It will be the perfect backdrop. 
She might be moody and sassy, but she's also creative! (among other great qualities too) We found this on her door and while I'm not a fan of the kids hanging crap on their doors, I kind of like this one and haven't made her take it down. I mean, it's convenient for us all really.  
Apparently this week on my phone was all about Brookelyn, and that's ok because she's so much less likely to let me take photos of her lately. I was a nice mom and straightened her hair the other night for no reason, other than to cheer her up and put a smile on her beautiful face. I love this girl and am so proud of her, she's gorgeous inside and out. I just hope that she always remembers that. 
That's it.. busy week and not a whole lot of photos. We're excited for a long weekend, Brookelyn's birthday and the beginning of school! This weekend will be full of fun, friends, family, etc. Can't wait!

What are your weekend plans? 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cousins & Cupcakes: A Special Bond

Aren't these cupcakes SO fun?! In California we stayed a weekend with my aunt & uncle, and my cousins Jonathan, Krysten and Brian. Krysten is only 17 and an amazing baker. I've talked all about her on the blog before and how she bakes cupcakes as a way to raise money for amazing causes. She's s pretty awesome kid and a fabulous role model for our daughter Brookelyn. And that is what I'm going to talk about today. You just get to look at the delicious cupcakes, because there's no recipe here. Krysten tells me it's a secret one!
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What I can tell you, is that 11 years ago when I was pregnant with Brookelyn and Krysten was just a little 6 year old I never imagined that Krysten would end up being one of the most influential people in Brookelyn's life at this age. It's scary, as moms to think about all of the older kids who might one day be a role model to our young babes. And there's something really amazing about watching your child find that person. The one who's just enough older that they really, truly look up to them, admire them, and strive to be like them. 

For us, this happened last October or so. In September we'd given Brookelyn the ultimate freedom (to us anyway, at that time in her life)- an iPod and an Instagram account. There were (still are) strict rules, a contract and etiquette all of which had to be signed and still hang inside one of our cupboards for easy reference. It was a big deal for us and for her. And then, I discovered that my cousin Krysten was on Instagram. One quick scroll through her profile and I knew that it was totally safe for Brookelyn to follow her, and so she did. 

Brookelyn and Krysten have always had a great relationship. We just never saw them as much as I wish we had. There was only 1.5 hrs of driving between us (when we lived in CA), but there were so many school activities, soccer games, extra curricular activities, etc that spending time with them just didn't happen as often as we all would have liked. So upon discovering that even though we now live across the country, the two of them could easily keep in touch, I was thrilled. And from there began an amazing bond between the two of them, a bond that had always been there but it changed and grew. 
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I just adore Krysten, and have since the day she was born. I've got at least 10+ years on my cousins and I was always really close to them when they were young. I've got great memories of staying at their house and taking them shopping, on walks, etc. So to see Brookelyn now have this great friendship with Krysten, just makes my heart happy. Krysten is kind and patient with Brookelyn, she's willing to still be goofy and have fun with her. She's not just a baker though, she dances, she's a girl scout, a great student, friend, daughter, sister and cousin. We're so thankful to have her in our lives and so excited to see what the future holds for her. My hope is that Brookelyn will always look up to her and aspire to be the kind of person that she is. 
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Something so simple as making these cupcakes with Krysten was such a big deal to Brookelyn. But, she was sharing her time and her talent and my little girl and that means the world to me. There's nothing quite so sweet as watching the two of them together! 

Do you have a child who has a special bond with an older family member? Or, just someone who they really look up to? 

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Hometown. My kids.

My kids have both been to my hometown more times than I can count. When we lived in California it was only 45 or so minutes away from our house and only 25 minutes from my dads house, so we'd make the drive often. Summer is one of our favorite times to go because while it's miserably hot in the desert, you can always count on the weather being mildly warm in the mountains.

During our time in California we went to Wrightwood twice. The kids love it, they love making a stop at some campground or one of the ski resort parking lots (empty) on the way to play and soak in the fresh mountain air. I miss living in Wrightwood. Growing up there was like a dream and my childhood memories are full of my time spent playing outside, riding bikes, skiing & sledding in the winter, walking to town, spending long summer days at the country club swimming, playing raquetball & tennis. 
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The kids' awesome Milwaukee home shirts, courtesy of MkeHome
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If we had stayed in California, it's very likely that we would have lived in Wrightwood. There are 4 seasons, decent schools and a tight knit community just like we wanted. But, there's also a nasty commute for anyone who can't work in town (and it's a small town, so your chances of that are slim). 
We love where we live and it's always so much fun to visit the place where I grew up. I want the kids to always be familiar with Wrightwood and to continue making memories there for them when we're in California. 
And of the course the kids just had to wear their MilwaukeeHome shirts while we were there for the day. They're both so in love with our city too, it's fun to see the excitement in their faces when people ask them about our big move and Milwaukee! Being back in California was great too, for the kids to see family and familiar places. I don't want them to ever forget where they originally came from. Although, Cohen was so young when we moved that he'd already forgotten a lot. Making memories and hanging on to old ones is what summer is all about though, isn't it? 

Do you have specific summer memories of your hometown? Have you taken your children and shown them around?

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Un - Fried Zucchini

Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables. I use it in everything from pasta, to eggs, zucchini bread and so much more. This summer we've had so much zucchini, it's been cheap & abundant around here. The other day in our town the kids and I came upon a box full of yellow squash & zucchini with a "free" sign on it even! I've been craving fried zucchini, but not giving into the temptation because I'm trying hard to eat healthy and as clean as I can. 

I decided to attempt to make fried zucchini, without frying it. And, I'm happy to say that it worked and it tasted amazing. So delicious, crunchy on the outside just like it would be had it been fried. So, if you're anything like me and love some fried zucchini, but want to keep things healthy, read on for the delicious recipe or pin for later!
Un- Fried Zucchini. #zucchini #zucchinirecipes #friedzucchini #healthyrecipes

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What you'll need:

1 large zucchini
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (fresh)
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
1 egg

Coat a baking sheet with coconut or grapeseed oil and preheat the oven to 415. Slice the zucchini into thin slices, about 1/4 inch. In a shallow bowl beat the egg & set aside. In a shallow dish or pie tin combine the cheese, crumbs, salt, pepper and garlic. 

Using tongs or a fork, dip the slices of zucchini in the egg. Be sure that the slice is fully coated and then dip the slice in the bread/cheese mixture. Flip it to be sure the entire slice of zucchini is coated. Place each slice directly onto your baking sheet. Bake at 415 for 15 minutes, turn each slice over and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. 
Serve immediately.
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Un- Fried Zucchini. #zucchini #zucchinirecipes #friedzucchini #healthyrecipes
I love discovery ways of making my favorite "comfort" type foods healthy. What are some of your favorite foods that you'd love a healthier version of? Do you ever attempt to re-create them with healthier, fresh, clean ingredients?