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Juggling

Life’s been running a little fast for me these days.

This morning I was with the kids at an indoor playground that featured a “ball room” absolutely stuffed with little, soft plastic balls meant to be shot from miniature air cannons.

Naturally, the kids were enamored and we spent a long time playing. And when I say “playing”, I mean that grandma and the kids shot the cannons, and I scurried around providing the ammunition.

I would start at one end of the room and clear out a whole corner. I liked getting all the red ones, then all the green ones, and so forth.

And I was having a really good time. And that’s weird, because I was just picking up balls and giving them to the kids.

But as I analyzed what was going on, I realized why I was enjoying myself so much.

I was accomplishing something. And I was being successful. And I could see progress.

I realize that I might need professional help.

Life is still running a little too fast for me these days, but I’m trying to fit things in like…

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Running

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And eating lots of food items on sticks

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And of course, these two…

Here’s to keeping all the balls in the air. (But at least I’m good at picking them up when they’re dropped…)

She & Him, 29/52

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A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014

Both: Throwing coins into a fountain after eating pastries at Petite Patisserie in Happy Valley, OR.

J Man had a cinnamon roll (boy after my own heart) and Miss Rae had a “chocolate hamburger”, aka chocolate macaron.

Top 5 tips for road tripping with kids

I found myself facing the prospect of a solo road trip with two energetic youngsters. “Solo” meaning no other adults. No Matty B. No Grandma.

Just me.

And them.

I was a little nervous. 4+ hours in the car with Thing 1 and Thing 2? Seemed a little fishy.

But they were angels. Cherubs. Jewels. So because of this one successful incident, I feel completely qualified to provide a “how-to” guide for traveling solo with kiddos.

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1. Have a plan. This didn’t necessarily help the kids, but it helped me. For instance, I created a sample schedule in my head.

1-2 pm: books, magazines (they love Ladybug and Babybug) and CD’s of kid songs.

2-2:30 pm: Rest time. Neither slept (thus Miss Rae’s grumpy look in the photo above.) but we turned off music and had quiet time.

2:30-3:30 pm: iPad (aka a traveling mommy’s best friend.)

3:30-4:00 pm: snack time

4-5 pm: Sesame Street DVD

Having a schedule in my mind helped me not get rid of all my tricks within the first 30 minutes.

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2. Bring all the things. Snacks, books, iPads, matchbox cars, whatever. Also, save the best things for that last hour when they’re done.

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3. Find the cleanest bathroom you can and make everyone “try.” For us, Starbucks was the ticket. Also helps with #4…

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4. Treats. For everyone. I LOVE Starbuck’s Blackberry Mojito Iced Tea!

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5. As soon as possible (for everyone involved), get those little legs moving! If it’s 1000 degrees outside, find a giant tree to climb on.

Baby girl’s head hit the pillow tonight and she was out.

Mommy isn’t too far behind…

Lavender Scones and copycats

Some copycats are good:

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Cornbread Hot Dog Buns? 1000 times yes!

Some copycats are bad:

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Growing up, I was a big fan of strawberry crush soda. This is a sad sad imposter. I really don’t like the aftertaste that stevia leaves. Blech.

Some copy cats are…hilarious!

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The girl who refuses to wear her own (pink!) sunglasses, but will happily wear mine…

So, about copycats. Remember all the lavender from last week?

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I was itching to use some beyond my lavender lemonade and I decided that some lavender scones would be just the ticket.

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So, I googled “lavender scone recipe” and of course, the number one recipe was from the Bon Appetit website. Certainly a winner, but I always like to see what the typical home cook comes up with, so I looked at the next few hits.

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That’s weird. The Bon Appetit recipe calls for 1 cup + 2 TBS buttermilk and so does this other recipe! Hey! Look at this! They also both call for 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest and the same amount of vanilla and kosher salt and…

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And as I continued reading recipe after recipe, I found at least 5-6 that were identical to the Bon Appetit recipe, made no mention of Bon Appetit, and better yet, claimed the recipe as their own.

I just don’t think that’s cool.

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And, hey, I get it. How many different ways are there to make a lavender scone? Maybe seven really good ways. And today, I bring you one of the seven. I made this recipe up myself. It’s not Bon Appetit’s recipe – it’s mine.

And if, by chance, this is exactly identical to your lavender scone recipe, let me know. I’ll give you all the credit, and also, we’ll be best friends because obviously we share the same brain and maybe you’d like to come over for some cornbread hot dog buns?

Lavender Scones

Ingredients
3/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 level TBS lavender
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup earth balance vegan butter
1 tsp vanilla

Instructions
Combine almond milk with vinegar and set aside.

Make lavender sugar by whizzing the granulated sugar and lavender in your food processor until lavender is just tiny flecks.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pulse until combined. Add chunks of vegan butter and pulse until sandy in texture. Add almond milk/vinegar mixture and vanilla. Pulse just until combined, no more.

Pat dough into a circle on a floured board and cut into 8 wedges. Bake on a cookie sheet at 400 for 14-16 minutes, or until golden brown.

She & Him, 28/52

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A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014

She: Water party, hobby horse.

Him: George Washington wannabe.

Oh hey, Friday!

1. It was 9 pm and cinnamon rolls were due in 12 hours. I had no butter. I had no brown sugar. I did NOT want to go to the store.

It was 9:30 pm and cinnamon rolls were due in 11.5 hours. My mom had butter (there are multiple perks to living walking distance from grandma and papa) but no brown sugar.

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Joy the Baker once told me that you can make your own brown sugar. She’s brilliant.

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My white sugar went from this to this…

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Cinnamon rolls were, in fact, delivered at 9 am. They were, in fact, amazing.

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2. I’ve been walking most mornings (Tuesdays and Thursdays I’ve conned my mom into doing yoga with me.) and am still greatly amused by the “country” around me.

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I typically see cows, horses, chickens, geese and sometimes sheep. And we don’t live on a farm. It’s…random.

3. 29 amazing vegan ice cream recipes.

Avocado Coconut Ice Cream? Not so sure.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Ice Cream? Yes, please!

4. My Grandma Honey (yes, this is what we call her:) found a dress that she used to wear and suggested we try it on Miss Rae.

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Love this.

5. The Churro Ice Cream Sandwich is a real thing.

And my life is officially complete.

Now, how do you make vegan churros?

The Spot

I’m in this unfortunate spot in the kitchen.

It’s the “I’m-eating-well-but-not-creating-anything-new” spot.

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It’s the “fresh-produce-is-awesome-but-I-don’t-have-to-tell-you-how-to-make-kebabs-do-I?” spot.

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It’s the “maybe-if-I-keep-providing-beverage-recipes-no-one-will-know-I’m-being-lazy” spot.

Like my lavender lemonade.

Or my basil lemonade.

Or even this blackberry mint soda.

There’s a cure for this “spot”, you know. It’s called “why-would-you-create-your-own-recipes-when-someone-else’s-are-just-as-good?”

So I’ve been in the kitchen:

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Joy the Baker’s vegan chocolate peanut butter cookies with cinnamon. These were like a brownie cookie. Or a cookie brownie. Either way: delicious!

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Chunk Bars from Quiche a Week. I doubled the caramel, naturally.

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Finally, these World’s Easiest Sticky Buns from Minimalist Baker. So good that I’m actually making another double batch as we speak.

And it seems that my new unfortunate spot will be the “can’t-button-my-jeans-cause-I’m-eating-all-the-things” spot. Still, though, those sticky buns? Love.

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