it’s fall, finally. and a new post, finally.

Oh hey, fall. Are you for real this time?

It’s November 6th and I feel like the seasons may actually (finally) be changing. Don’t tease me though. I’ve been waiting for what seems like months.

We fell back last night. And it felt so good.  I may be the only person I know who’s ok with it getting darker earlier. I don’t care. I love it.

Cooler temps. The crackle of leaves under my booties. Fires in our fireplace. Sweaters. Flannel sheets. Earlier bedtimes. Pumpkin-cinnamon-spice-everything. Bring it alllllll, fall.

I love unscrewing the hoses from the house and replacing the old furnace filter. And there’s nothing better than that burnt dust smell that fills the air when you turn your heat on for the first time since last year. Yum.

Speaking of replacing the old furnace filter–our marriage survived the replacement of this old school accordion furnace filter today.


This was a task that ranked right up there next to putting IKEA crap together on the old Marker-Divorce-Meter. Threat level midnight, people. But we did it. Phew.

And I know I haven’t written for a long while. Thanks for not bringing it up. I love you for that.

I’m working more now. Both boys are in school full-time. And we’re still settling into our new digs. But I’m finally feeling like a have a slight grip on this beautiful life–and some free time to write a bit more. And this blog is still important to me.

So check in with me now and then again, ok? Let’s be like those good, old friends who haven’t talked to each other for a few months but can pick up right where they left off–because those are the best kinds of friends.

And make this stew. Because it’s fall and it’s so delish.

. . .

I wrote this at 4pm. By 5:30pm everyone was losing it over here–and I was rethinking how much I love falling back. Here’s hoping I’m not the only mom with kids who are totally coming unglued right now.


These tears were because they are exhausted from the time change. And they finally realized I’d eaten all their Halloween Kit Kats and Twix. They take threat level midnight to a whole new level.

Calm down, sweet babies. I left you all the sour fruity candy–your favorite.

Tomorrow will be better though. Right? Right. So cheers to that. And cheers to fall. See you back here soon…

this is 35.

A little over a month ago I packed up my old, chipped coffee mug and my lucky green Sharpie marker–and left the only job I’d ever had.

For 13 years I’d loved that place. That job. Those co-workers. But over the past year I’ve learned to listen to the Universe when she whispers–even if what she’s saying scares me. And lately–she’d been raising her voice.

So I listened. I packed it all up. And gave that place and that job–and those co-workers–all my love and all the peace signs.

It was time.

. . .

I turned 35 last month. My baby turned 4–his golden birthday. My mom turned 60. And my big boy is headed to kindergarten in three short weeks. All of that–and an upcoming change in latitude for our family–had me feeling like this was the summer to be present.

This was the summer to unplug–to soak it all in. Because time–it’s fleeting. It’s precious and it’s fleeting. And for whatever reason– I could really feel it flying by. I wanted to live it–really live it–before summer cooled to fall.

I turned off all the notifications on my iPhone–and unplugged my computer. I turned off all the bad news on TV and hid the iPad. We got out there. I was present with my self–and my people. And we lived it up.

The adventures were good–and the memories were made (more on that later this month). And for all the active yin packed into our summer days, we packed an equal amount of lazy yang into our summer nights.

It was an awesome summer–and I’m grateful.

. . .

It’s August now–and if I inhale deep enough I can smell fall. My heart and soul feel happy–and re-energized. So does my brain–unplugging for a bit will do that for you.

It’s time to figure out what’s next for me–for all my Markers (even the green Sharpie). Remembering to slow down as much as we speed up. Staying present–really present. More writing. A new place–a new job. A new school for Johnny. Some more unplugging, for sure–because it felt so good. So many adventures await–for all of us.

This is 35. And it’s a good place to be.

us. on the morning of my 35th. photo credit: Pops.

the best paleo ranch.

Remember this spring when I told you I couldn’t wait to slip on my garden clogs and start digging in the dirt? I had plans for a big backyard garden this year–and plans for a big blog post about it too.

But the good (busy, cringe!) life happened. It does that sometimes, doesn’t it.

We bought a new house and sold our old house–and spent the summer renovating an investment property. And we had that big, old summer bucket list to conquer too. So that big backyard garden? It never happened. Eh, whatevs. Maybe I’ll get around to it next spring at the new house. We’ll see.

Lucky for us, I have a brother-in-law who has the most amazing green thumb–and loves to share his impressive veggie garden crop with us! Would you look at these beauties?


Is there anything better than cucumbers and tomatoes right from the garden? Well yes. Yes, there is. Cucumbers and tomatoes right from the garden–covered and smothered in my homemade ranch. Boom.

I made this ranch dressing a few years ago when I tried my first Whole30 and it’s been a staple in our fridge ever since. Up until then, I was always a Hidden Valley girl, but this ranch–woooooeeeee. It takes the cake.

Here’s the recipe, straight from the Whole30 website.

Basic Ranch

  • 2/3 cup light olive oil
  • 1 room temperature egg
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs (dill is the only way to go here, trust me)
  • 2 tbsp full fat canned coconut milk

Place the egg, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, spices and herbs (everything but the oil and coconut milk) in your food processor.

Pulse a few times.

Slowly pour in your oil through the top hole of the food processor (running on low speed). It will take a few minutes to get it all in.

Once the oil has been added, add the coconut milk. It looks like this.

And pulse a few more times. Then refrigerate. Or dig in.

an oldie, but a goodie (probably two years ago). the boys shoveling in fresh garden veggies from deb with this paleo ranch.

Don’t like raw eggs? Here’s an egg-free recipe from my dear, old girlfriend. It’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser too.

Enjoy.

on loving yourself. even in a swimsuit.

So this week I got in the pool. 

. . . 

Yesterday morning when I was running around frantically packing the pool bag before swim lessons Johnny grabbed my hand and stopped me in my tracks.

Why don’t you ever swim with us in the big pool, mom? 

Good question, sweet child of mine. Good question. 

In my head I have a million reasons. 

Because I need to shave my legs. Because my boobs are a 36L, as in long. Because I can’t find a good one-piece swimsuit made for a tall person so I wear a two-piece–and I really shouldn’t wear a two-piece. Because everyone will see I have stretch marks and a mom pooch and my butt is bigger than it used to be. 

Oh Angie, stop. Please stop.

I didn’t say any of that. I told him I didn’t know he wanted me to swim with them in the big pool. 

And I put my swimsuit on. 

. . .

I don’t love myself as much as I should. And I worry way too much about what other people think or say–or rather what I *think* they are thinking or saying. 

It’s just who I am and how my brain works. And you don’t have to beat me up about it. I already beat myself up about it all the time–and then I beat myself up for beating myself up. Ugh.

But I don’t think I’m alone. Actually I know I’m not.

I’ve nodded my head along to all those articles about how moms should just put on their swimsuits and get in the pool or the game or the picture or whatever–we all have. Because it’s easy to nod your head and shout YES while you’re reading those articles. But it’s a whole other kind of hard to put your money where your mouth is–or your swimsuit over your long boobs–and dive in.

I’m not going to tell you to put on your bikini and get in the water with me. I’m not going to tell you what you’re missing by sitting on the sidelines or staying out of the picture. You’ve already read enough articles like that–and you know. 

I am going to tell you I get it. I feel you. I do. Sometimes diving in is just too hard.

I think we could all be a little easier on ourselves–a little kinder to ourselves. We could try a little harder to love ourselves like we love our people. We could all try a little harder to replace some of our negative self-talk with some positive. 

And we can stop beating ourselves up for beating ourselves up. One round of that shit is tough enough. Right? Right.

I think I can handle that. And you probably could too.

. . .

So this week I got in the pool. Damn it.

My kids were happy–and I was happy. And nobody thought or said anything about anything. Not a thing.

How about that. 

Oh and that negative self-talk? It was still there–I’m not going to tell you it stopped with one quick dip. Ha. But I heard less and less of it with every splash.

Happy Summer, friends. I’m working on loving myself as much as I love these guys–and all of you. XOXO.

This pic is an oldie. From two years ago, actually. I know, I know–I’m working on being the mom who stays in the picture too.

A Father’s Day Gift Idea. With J Hilburn.

Father’s Day is two weeks from today. Need a gift idea? We have you covered.

Our pops has always been a sharp dresser. But last year he came home with some new shirts that took his sharp dressing game to a whole new level.

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He’d met with J Hilburn personal wardrobe stylist extraordinaire Sara Seed a few weeks prior–and she hooked him up. Look how handsome he looks in his J Hilburn shirt!

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Sara Seed just happens to be one of my favorite high school teachers–if you’re a townie I’m sure she was one of your favorites too. And now she’s a personal wardrobe stylist with J Hilburn. She meets her clients at their convenience (at no charge and with no obligation) to set up a unique measurement profile and help create clothing that is fit and styled exclusively for them.

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J Hilburn delivers quality custom clothing and personal styling services at a price that won’t break the bank. They offer exclusive Italian shirting and trouser fabrics, luxury performance knits and a top-shelf accessories line that marries the best in handmade designs and European quality. Each of their garments is crafted from fabrics that have been carefully selected from some of the finest mills in the world (more often than not, the mill is Italian).

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Their custom shirts are my favorite–they are beautiful and unique–and a perfect Father’s Day gift for our pops and yours. This shirt of Danny’s was cut on the bias with a split yoke on the back–so sharp, right? You can even have the shirts embroidered with anything you’d like–dad’s initials, kids’ initials or even I Love Dad.

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And would you look at all their fabric choices?! Something for everyone. Boom.

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I invited Sara over last weekend to show you how quick and easy it is to set up a unique measurement profile. Even with my two little “helpers” running around she was in and out of our house in less than 30 minutes. Check it.

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Why, yes–of course they are tying each other up with Sara’s measuring tapes.

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Along with her measuring tapes (she measures 16 different points)–Sara brings her big book of choices–all the fun stuff to customize your look.

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One more thing–Sara and J Hilburn can make a dress shirt (or any other garment or accessory for that matter) for dad AND mom–or anyone who loves beautiful, unique clothing that fits perfectly. Because–guy or gal–who doesn’t love a crisp dress shirt? So fly.

Here’s Sara’s website www.saraseed.jhilburn.com. Check her out. You can give her a call today–217-898-5495. Or shoot her an e-mail at sara.seed@jhilburnpartner.com. Tell her I sent you. And if you think her job sounds like fun–it does, right?–let her know that too. She’s always looking for new stylists to join her J Hilburn styling team.

Thanks for coming to play, Sara. Danny loves his new special shirts. And Happy (early) Father’s Day to all the papas (and the mamas who serve as both the mamas and papas) out there. XOXO.

paleo soft and chewy double chocolate cookies. and the cutest apron.

We’ve been celebrating World Baking Day all week over here. Strawberry Banana Coconut Muffins, a rhubarb pie (from scratch, never again) and these PaleOMG’s Soft & Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies.

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The cookies took the cake. They were good. So good.

And how cute is this little apron?

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The kid on my hip is pretty cute too.

I have a thing for aprons. I’ve amassed quite a collection–a whole drawer full of them actually. This apron–a coffee shop design (allllll the caffeine. she knows me too well)–came from my girlfriend Alexandra at Altruist Aprons. Alex is a crafting and sewing queen and an animal lover. She really, truly has the biggest heart–she gets it from her mama who is one of my favorites too.

Alexandra sews all her aprons (and pillows!) by hand, made to order. Check her out. And treat yourself to one of her sweet little creations (this blue floral vintage apron has your name all over it, don’t you think?). Oh and you can spice up your kitchen look and help fight animal cruelty at the same time. Alexandra donates $2 from each of her handmade apron sales to Animal Equality International, a non-profit organization that aims to defend all animals through public education, campaigns and investigations. So win, win.

. . .

Here’s the recipe for those PaleOMG’s Soft and Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies. Enjoy.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup thick almond butter (Make sure it’s not too oily or the cookies won’t come together. A few of our cookies kinda fell apart, this is why. They were still delish.)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips
Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, mix almond butter and coconut sugar. Johnny was begging to use the “mixing gun”. image.jpegDon’t do it. It made a huge mess. Just use a spatula. Then add the egg and stir again until well combined.

3. Add ¼ cup of cocoa powder at a time. I used my hands to knead the cocoa powder into the dough. Add all the cocoa powder and knead completely.

4. Add baking soda, vanilla, salt and chocolate chips and knead until everything is well mixed. It’s messy, but eh. (Your dough should be a very thick. If it’s not, you need a thicker almond butter).

5. Scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough at a time and form into round balls. Place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. I had enough dough for about 14 cookies.

6. Once you’ve placed all your cookie balls onto your baking sheet, use a fork to press the cookies down just slightly.image.jpeg Don’t flatten them, just get them to look more like cookies than balls. If you press them down too much, they’ll come apart when they bake so be careful–this happened to some of mine. Again, eh.

7. Bake for 10 minutes.

8. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing cookies from baking sheet to place on cooling rack. If you try to remove these from the baking sheet too soon, they’ll fall apart. You were warned.

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Ours went straight from our baking sheet to our mouths. And I didn’t Maggie Hockenberry them either. I ate four, maybe five. And then I answered the door and had a long conversation with the Fed Ex man with teeth covered in double-chocolate cookies. Nice work, Hat.

TGIF…