Hello hello!! Checking in with another coffee break post today. I’ve let another 3 months pass without any life updates. I promise I’ll start to get better at this, but man, my schedule always feels like a handful. And I have a feeling life will continue on this whirlwind since someone is now WALKING in our household! ♥
Now 1 year old, our sweet Noelle is walking. 1 week after her 1st birthday, she began taking her first steps without holding onto anything for balance. It only took a few days to quit crawling completely. She walks from one end of the house to the other and laughs while doing so. She thinks it’s hilarious. Still needs to get used to walking in shoes. Any tips besides just… practicing? And do any parents have any suggestions for non-skid socks? Our house is mostly hardwood floors and as the temperatures cool, her bare feet get a little cold. All of the “non-skid” socks we have are still pretty slippery.
My favorite part about all this walking is when she walks up to my legs and hugs them. And though she balances herself pretty well, she loves to look up and reach out her hand for yours.
A few weeks ago, the 3 of us joined our good friends and their baby girl for a weekend of relaxing, beautiful scenery, wine tasting, and adventuring. We visited Seneca Lake in upstate New York. It was the BEST weekend for so many reasons. The views were breathtaking, the cool Fall weather was perfect, the wine was delicious, the girls were great, and sitting around the fire was the epitome of relaxing. Our girls are only 3 months apart and it’s always so fun seeing them play together!
I’m not sure if you saw my Instagram stories about this, but I realized something profound that weekend. Maintaining a social life has been difficult the past year. Not only because we had a baby, but because I own my own business. And it can be pretty all-consuming if I let it. I make a point to get out for play dates and mommy & me classes, but sometimes I catch myself making excuses in fear of breaking the routine. I’ve said no to activities because it interrupts nap time or gets Noelle in bed too late. Or I fear Noelle will have a meltdown in public and everyone will judge me as a mother. (Which is ridiculous, I know.) A little advice from my friend: life will simply pass you by if you keep making excuses. There’s a stigma that your fun social life ends when you have a baby and it certainly can… if you let it.
So throw up your arms!!! Live life, get out, take the children along, put in the effort, and just enjoy it as much as you can. Sure, experiences will be different than pre-kids but that doesn’t mean they won’t be worth it. And the more you get out with them, try new experiences, travel with them, etc… the easier it will get for parents AND children alike. (Obviously some situations aren’t child-friendly and obviously there’s also a need for date nights, girls nights, and me time but you get what I’m saying!) Such a simple concept, but it’s taken me awhile to embrace it.
By the way, our favorite winery on Seneca Lake was Ravines. Great wine selection, adorable barn area for tasting, and beautiful scenery. Have you ever been to the Finger Lakes?
My most recent travel, however, was to Malibu for a blogger retreat. My first time in Malibu and my first blogging retreat! What’s a blogger retreat, you ask? It’s a chance to spend quality time with other bloggers. Learn from each other, lift one another up, share advice, discuss struggles, what works for our businesses, what doesn’t, food photography, recipe creation, social media, videos, and so much more. It’s easy to sink into our own little food blogging worlds, so it’s important– no, it’s crucial– to get out and connect with people who do what you do. I consider it a blessing to spend quality time with fellow empowered women.
- Alyssa from The Recipe Critic
- Sabrina from Dinner, Then Dessert
- Kristen from Slender Kitchen
- Rachel from The Stay at Home Chef
- Holly from Spend with Pennies
- Amanda from I Am Baker
- Mandi from Vintage Revivals
- Trish from Mom on Timeout
- Chelsea from Chelsea’s Messy Apron
- Shannon from The Food Cafe
The weekend was as delicious as it was inspiring. One day, a chef from McCormick created 3 unbelievable meals and table scapes for us. The food, including grilled tuna and corn poke with lime crema, smoky avocado and mushroom soup, miso shrimp and shishito skewers, and turmeric roasted cauliflower, was OUT OF THIS WORLD. It was nice to throw up our feet all weekend and let others do the cooking!
The red & black table scape was my favorite. Romantic and moody, right?!
Back in the Kitchen!
After traveling nonstop for the past 2 months, it feels good to be back in the kitchen. One of my assistants, Hilari, visited last week and we baked from sun up to sun down. 5 straight days of recipe testing for Pie Week 3.0, plus we baked and photographed 7-8 old recipes. I like to reshoot old recipes because it breathes life back into them. Maybe you didn’t know they existed until the new pictures show up in your inbox or on social media. Reshooting old recipes also gives me the opportunity to add extra helpful tips or rewrite any confusing directions. Here are some old recipes we worked on. I still need to edit the new photos for a few of these, so definitely check back!
- Soft & Thick Snickerdoodles
- Apple Bundt Cake
- Gingerbread Muffins
- Homemade Apple Pie with Chai Spices
- Soft-Baked Monster Cookies
And so many more.
I also created a separate post for Homemade Whipped Cream. I’ve written the recipe for homemade whipped cream as a topping about 100 times, so I figured it deserved its own blog post. Would you be interested in a round-up of all my recipes that use homemade whipped cream? Sort of like 50 ways to eat salted caramel. Let me know!
Thank you so much for all the support with Sprinkled, my video mini series. 6 of 8 episodes have aired!
- Episode 1: Homemade Strawberry Cake (recipe is here)
- Episode 2: Chewy Fudgy Homemade Brownies (recipe is here)
- Episode 3: Homemade Strawberry Shortcake (recipe is here)
- Episode 4: Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies (recipe is here)
- Episode 5: Chewy Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe is here)
- Episode 6: Loaded Caramel Pretzels with Homemade Salted Caramel (recipe is here)
- Episode 7: Coming in a couple weeks! (recipe is here)
In these videos, I take recipes that are already on my blog and create them on camera in my own kitchen. Filled with extra baking tips and advice, these 10 minute episodes are an in-depth look into why these recipes work. Also in the episodes are interview style scenes, shots of me working, writing, editing, photographing, and recipe testing. And my dogs, of course. You can find all the episodes in the Sprinkled section of my website or on my video production team’s youtube channel.
October Baking Challenge
October Baking Challenge: Homemade Toffee
Thank you so much for the participation in Sally’s Baking Challenge every month! I truly love seeing you push outside your baking comfort zone. This month is all about homemade candy, which I know many of you have been nervous to tackle until now. Here is my video tutorial for the pumpkin spice toffee. Participation is strong this month and you are killing it!
Hope you had a wonderful weekend! What did you bake?