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  1. Tuesday, May 7, 2013

    Introducing Kitchen Tunage

    I have something fun to share with you today and I’m super excited about it! First, let me set the stage.

    This blog was born because Nate brought home an old, free iMac to put in the kitchen. I’ll never forget saying, “What will I do with a computer in the kitchen?” Makes me laugh looking back. Anyway, in addition to creating a free Blogger blog to list out the things I cooked for my brother’s reference (yes, that is why I started the blog), I also set up iTunes so I could listen to music while I cooked. It was revelatory. Having music playing made my time in the kitchen so much more enjoyable and I loved it!

    I tried to write about the music I was listening to, but it was hard to keep up and, frankly, didn’t seem to fit on the blog, even though the music was a big part of my cooking life. Then I had a couple babies and kind of forgot new music even existed. Lately, though, I’ve gotten more into it again. Between the kitchen and the car, the kids and I are listening to a lot of music. New music, old music, all kinds of music. I’ve even started “Music Education” with the girls to make sure they don’t end up on American Idol one day saying something like, “I’ve never heard of the Beatles. Are they famous?”

    I’m constantly wanting to share this music with you but haven’t really found a good way to do so. Until now!

    Kitchen Tunage - Kitchen Playlist Tumblr

    Enter Kitchen Tunage.

    Because one blog apparently isn’t enough, I’ve started another! Kitchen Tunage is my Tumblr blog that shares my kitchen playlist. It’s nothing fancy. I’m not a music critic and I don’t claim to be. It’s just my playlist, what we are to listening to now. There’s a lot of good music out there and I can’t help but want to share it with you!

    The playlist will have old favorites, new discoveries, random stuff we’re listening to and the lists of bands that the girls are being educated on. I’ll update it almost daily. It’s gonna be fun! Head over, take a listen, and spread the word…my little Tumblr needs friends!

  2. Sunday, May 5, 2013

    Week 328 Menu

    THIS is what my house smells like right now.

    homemade bread morning web

    Now accepting bets on how fast our family of five can eat both loaves. Odds aren’t great as it’s pretty much guaranteed to be less than 24 hours. You probably could have made more money on the Kentucky Derby.

    Another week, another menu!

    – Omelettes with tomato, cheese, avocado and salsa
    – Fruit

    Waffles (Anna is freaking out this morning because I won’t make waffles, so I promised we’d have them for dinner this week)
    – Scrambled eggs and/or fruit

    – Leftover pulled pork sandwiches from last week (it’s Mom’s night at Anna’s school at 6:30, so I need simple dinner prep!)

    – Loaded baked potatoes (idea from Jess’s menu last week, good idea!)

    Homemade pizza (mushroom for the kids, honey goat cheese carmelized onion for us)

    – Take out!

    – Mother’s Day…gonna let Nate figure it out!

    Before I beg for your menus, let me just take a moment to thank you for your beautiful comments on Friday’s post, Be Enough. Such beautiful sentiments, kind words and deep thoughts, and not in a Jack Handey kind of way. I’m feeling all kinds of love floating around this here blog this weekend!

    Back to business. PLEASE share your menu for the week! Whether it’s fancy or not or if you’ve shared before or not, we want to see what you have planned!

  3. Friday, May 3, 2013

    Be Enough

    It’s been a rough week. There is a good reason I’m telling you this. I am not seeking sympathy and I am not trying to draw attention to myself. I just want to keep it real. And here’s why. Well, actually, before I get to the why, I need to give you a quick synopsis of some of the talks from Big Traveling Potluck last weekend. Stay with me through what will seem like a random string of thoughts. It will all come together in the end.


    Melissa Lanz (who is completely wonderful) spoke about having a personal mission statement. She shared the story of her life journey so far and it was sweet and inspiring. Watching her husband watch her speak might have been one of the more tender things I’ve witnessed in some time. Anyway, during her talk she mentioned a friend who has the personal mission statement “Be Better” and how that friend is constantly striving to, well, be better each and every day.


    Matt Armendariz (who is also completely wonderful) spoke about creativity and shared his story of how he got to where he is today and how he keeps the creative juices flowing. I loved getting insight into his thoughts and his day-to-day life. There was one comment he made that made me pause. Someone asked if he ever turns things away and he essentially said, “No, I’m a freelancer, I can’t afford to say no to projects.”


    One of my best blogging buddies Helen Jane spoke about overcoming creative blocks. One of her core messages was that you don’t have to do it all. It’s easy to feel like you have to do it all, but you don’t. It’s not realistic. Focus on what you’re good at and find success that way. And, by the way, success isn’t always about the millions of followers, millions of dollars, millions of any of that.


    Ree (a person I am so blessed to know) shared the top 10 things she’s learned about food blogging. Buried in all the funny, witty, thoughtful things she shared was a moment of vulnerablity. A moment where she told us that in 2011 it was all too much, that she was a shell of a person, that she was forced to change the way she was doing things and stop doing so much. Ree is the epitome of the mom who “does it all.” Hearing here admit that she actually can’t do it all was the most inspiring thing she could have said and it was one of the more powerful moments of the weekend.


    My dear friend Jeannine (she works for ONE and she is the BEST) and I were talking one night about one of the big problems with blogs, and Pinterest for that matter. When you read blogs, you see all the good in the blogger’s life but rarely (if ever) the bad. You don’t see the grumpy days, you don’t see the ‘Happy Birthday’ bunting that did NOT come out perfectly, you don’t see the cake that failed to rise. You see all the beautiful parts of people’s lives. Which isn’t to say that the beauty isn’t real. It is. But the beauty is all the more beautiful because we also have the ugly in our lives. When you look at blogs (or Pinterest or Facebook status updates or whatever!) that only show the happy-go-lucky side of life, there is danger of feeling bad about yourself and thinking you are not enough.


    I also had a heart-to-heart with Deb from Smith Bites (another choice human being). We talked about how wonderful the conference had been, how great all the talks were. And then Deb brought up Melissa’s friend’s mission statement. She essentially said, “I’m not feeling it. ‘Be Better’ assumes you are not good enough. But you are. I think the mission statement that resonates more is ‘Be Enough.’ ” We talked about how we completely understand why Matt says yes to all the projects that come his way, but that it really is okay to say NO. And we talked about how you don’t have to to be good at everything. And that is OKAY. And you know that beautiful lifestyle blog that you read every week where the mom is always stylish and the kids look like J. Crew models while they are planting organic basil in the backyard that is later perfectly chopped for the salad that the kids actually eat for dinner? Yeah, even that blogger’s life does not look like that everyday. And that’s OKAY!

    disneyland with girls

    So, you would think after all this inspiration I would have had a great week, right? Monday morning we got some crummy news. We were supposed to move to a house on a horse ranch in June. We were just going to be renting it, but it was close to work, in the same amazing school district we’re already in, there were horses all around, lots of light and lots of space, and 360 views from the top of a mesa. I was going to rename my blog “Pioneer Woman Junior” and it was going to be AWESOME. There was a lot of work to do on the house, but we were excited and ready for the adventure. And then it was unexpectedly pulled out from under us. And that just about did me in. The stress and uncertainty were just too much. By Tuesday I was feeling better, more optimistic. Then I went to Disneyland on Wednesday with my beautiful daughters and forgot all my troubles. Then…Thursday. The reality hit harder than it had all week. Even The Vampire Diaries couldn’t bring me out of my funk. (Yes, I just admitted I watch The Vampire Diaries. We’re keeping it real today, folks.)

    Last night I realized that my public persona this week was all roses and Mickey Mouse ears. The sadness and the frustration and the downright crappy feelings were nowhere to be seen. Not on Facebook, not on Instagram, not on my blog. Which isn’t to say that the happiness wasn’t real. It WAS. And the happiness and moments of fun and gratitude for my amazing life and the people in it kept me going. But, you know, I also had a day this week where I felt like I was in a thick fog and could barely get anything done. I don’t want to be one of the bloggers who only portrays the pretty things. I want to us to connect, to realize we’re all in the same boat, a beautiful boat that sometimes gets rocked.

    This is why I’m telling you it’s been a rough week. Because I want to keep it real. This week my “enough” changed from day to day. One day I was Supermom with more energy than Richard Simmons. The next day I felt nearly useless as a mom, certainly neither fun nor patient. But that day I at least made dinner. And that was enough, enough to get me through.

    Be Enough. It’s okay. Sometimes enough is amazing. Sometimes enough is just enough. But it’s always enough.

    owen sleeping


  4. Thursday, May 2, 2013

    My Budding Food Bloggers

    Yesterday my girls and I went to Disneyland (thanks to the Babble team for a fabulous day!). The day was perfect. Today I am basking in the glow that is the light of my daughters, so I figured it was a good day to share two quick stories about them.

    anna recipe share web

    A couple of weeks ago I was playing with Owen in his room when Anna came walking in with a recipe card. She had found a Halloween food and craft book somewhere, had spent some time combing through the recipes and settled on one to share with me. She handed me the card and said, “Mom, this recipe is perfect for your blog. It’s easy to make but really cute!” Anna hasn’t even read my blog but she seems to have my messaging down pat! I still can’t get over the fact she was looking for content for my blog. So ridiculously cute. I will in fact give this recipe a try at some point and let you know what we think!

    Last Friday when I went to Big Traveling Potluck, Nate had to make dinner for the kids. Cate suggested they make english muffin pizzas, which was perfect for the occasion. She was excited all week about dinner that night and couldn’t wait to teach everyone how to make the pizzas. She even wrote up directions.

    cate recipe 1 web


    cate recipe 2 web2 quick notes. First, I love the after thought “Oh, get plates” at the top of the page. Second, why is she having us split the english muffins with a fork? She’s been hanging out with her dad too much.

    I love these girls.

    Also, it appears that I am raising future food bloggers. Look out, world!

  5. Green Lunchbox Giveaway Winners!

    Time to announce the green lunchbox giveaway winners! (Sorry I didn’t post them yesterday, I was too busy riding the teacups at Disneyland!)

    Lisa D, who said: Would love to try these green products! 🙂

    welcome to our wonderland, who said: Love your blog 🙂

    Maybe it was the use of smiley emoticons that got them the good luck!