Saturday, October 22, 2016

Chocolate *Pumpkin* Chip Cookies {+my all time fav chocolate chip cookie recipe!}

I am not and will never claim to be a food blogger. I am the lamest when it comes to creativity with meals and I generally just cook what I know the kids will eat. However, I definitely do have a soft spot for baking a good batch of cookies and ever since I found THE recipe I don't even have to look at it anymore when I make them, it's good and memorized.

I know everybody has their recipe that they love, but I have to say that this soft batch chocolate chip cookie recipe from Averie Cooks is literally a never fail recipe. I have never ever baked them and had them not come out chewy and delicious-- even when I've accidentally over baked them!!

So while the recipe I am sharing right now is adapted by me, it is based on Averie Cooks chocolate chip cookie recipe and I HIGHLY recommend you hop over and bake hers and then go ahead and memorize her recipe because you'll never need another. Also just plan on always have a pack of cream cheese in the fridge for baking.

Ok back to the recipe at hand ....

Also I know absolutely nothing about food photography, but I had a very rare quiet morning today and I just so happen to have a mini pumpkin and some brown fabric around so I went ahead and did a little photo shoot.

I had been seeing packages of pumpkin spice chips at the end of the baking aisles on my weekly grocery outings since I am the biggest sucker ever for all things pumpkin in the fall I finally gave in and threw them in  my cart this week. I typically go for a pumpkin chocolate chip cookies but these seemed like a nice inverse of that sentiment.

I used Averie's chocolate chip cookie recipe as a starting point and then tweaked some parts and come out with these.

Chocolate Pumpkin Chip Cookies
Preheat your oven to 350
Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray with non stick cooking spray
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed (I also made one batch using regular white sugar and they were great)
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4-1/3 cup cocoa powder (depending on how chocolaty you want them)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
1 cup pumpkin spice chips

Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350, cool and enjoy.

Happy Fall!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Finally Four

A few months after Lucy turned 3 she started protesting naps, hard core. At some point I began using the explanation "when you turn 4, you don't have to nap anymore!", which placated her for the tiniest bit of time before she started explaining to me that she "already turned 4!!" I am positive that there were a few months in this year where she was convinced she had turned 4 already. It didn't help that I gave in on the nap front somewhere toward the end of Fred's pregnancy because I just needed to nap and not be fighting the nap battle so blessed screen time took the place of slumber for Lucy well before her 4th birthday.

For the entire week leading up to her birthday she woke up every morning looking for birthday balloons and presents and asking most confusedly "is today I'm turning 4?" Those were her exact words. I have never experienced such a huge build up to a child's birthday like I did for this one, and then when the day actually came, about every 2 hours she would ask "is it STILL my birthday?!?" At one point she got so excited and said something like "this is the longest birthday ever!!" Time in the mind of a 3-year-old is something else.

Her big gift was a Betta fish, I had her open his food first and then we had to go look for him and she was super surprised and so excited. She named him Juan Diego and HE IS AWESOME.

We decided to make the trek to the National Zoo because back when we did the Chicago Zoo Lucy was in heaven and asked for months afterward if we could go back, so I thought that this would make her similarly happy.

It was actually a total disaster. The kids were awful (I'm looking at you, Joe), but really they were all terrible and the traffic was a bear and I felt really bad for spending so much of her birthday in the car.

You live and you learn and we learned that our kids don't deserve fun things.

Kidding. A little.

But the rest of the day was nice, the weather was beautiful and I put together this little birthday cake+cupcake cones display for Lucy and she was absolutely thrilled.

She requested frozen Jen nuggets and French fries (I might have planted the idea there because I am the picture of selflessness and good nutrition) and a viewing of Jack Frost (the claymation version, not the horror movie or that weird Michael Keaton one) because we like to keep our kids on their seasonal toes.

 All in all it was a really fun day and I would say it met all of her highly anticipated expectations.

Friday, October 14, 2016

hair station, first pets and unibrows {QTs!}

Time for some very speedy takes with Kelly this Friday, because I have approximately 13.5 minutes or less before all witching hour hell breaks loose.

1) Yesterday I attempted to take the kids on a nature hike in the woods behind our backyard.

I am not joking at all when I say that it lasted about 1 minute and 45 seconds from the time we walked into the woods-- which were incidentally extremely cluttered with our neighbors trash and mowed grass-- to the time we headed back to the yard. I was willing to venture past the trash and grass but then I stepped into some ridiculous bush that covered my legs with weird brown things and I am not at all into nature enough to be ok with that so we turned around and settled for a walk on the street to find rocks.

2) I went for my free Hair Station cut today and I still have hair on my head so that's good! Seriously though, I was definitely the youngest person there by about 20 or 30 years and while the woman was cutting my hair she started sharing with me about how "she never went to beauty school" but rather she "trained under her aunt" (why she thought her aunt would instill any confidence in me I am still trying to figure out). I just needed a trim so I figured worst case scenario I would just do some clean up when I got home, and while there are a few giant chunks substantially shorter on my right side than the left, I am just leaving them and counting it as a lesson in humility.

Real Lesson: unless you need a shampoo and perm, maybe go somewhere other than Hair Station.
What's that you say? You want Hair Station after picks? Oh, ok.

I know, it's not that bad, but if you were in front of me you would see the disparity in length between the 2 sides.

3) Here's another closer picture of it with a Fred strapped on during a really lovely outing today to get all of Lucy's birthday things because she is finally turning 4 tomorrow!

I say finally because she has literally been saying that "she already turned 4" for at least 6 months now. I feel like a legit parent now because I actually bought our first Hahn family pet for Lucy for this birthday because she wanted a fish and of all the pets in the world that is probably the only one Mike and I are both semi-ok with. It's a betta and it's bright purple and I kind of already love it. We are venturing out to the National Zoo in D.C. in honor of her 4th year of life and I am more than a little excited because I love animals as long as they're contained in zoos.

4) I carved a pumpkin with the kids last weekend and accidentally gave it a pretty decent unibrow:

Mike was really proud of his name for it the "Joe-Flacco-Lantern", and I was pretty proud that my growth in NFL love made it so that I actually thought that was hilarious.

5) I am making these for Lucy tomorrow

Image source same as recipe source.
And I am also probably more excited than she is about it.

6) Can some other fellow homeschooling moms who also have 2-year-old boys underfoot PLEASE tell me what to do with Joe while I attempt school with the girls? I have turned to Little Einsteins in desperation and the number of hours he has logged since we've begun school is a little, nay A LOT, embarrassing and I hate just having him sit in front of the TV, but if he writes on one more surface with crayon I might just lose it. Help!

7) Joseph has discovered a new love of taking pictures with me on my ipad. I think he just likes to look at himself, little narcissist that he is.

Fred be like "somebody shoot me, please"

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Highs and Lows

It is Wednesday so I think that should be a high in itself because the week is half way over and I'm not dead! Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh!!

I am giving myself a great big electronic pat on the back right now because I successfully completed the clothing swap for the three girls yesterday and since I had already done Freddie's a couple weeks ago due to his weed-like growth that means I have ONE child left to do and that ain't no thang especially after the mammoth feat of doing the girls. Included in this is the site that I discovered while pregnant with Fred which is basically the best (read: cheapest) online consignment I have found and is still legit. I got Naomi's entire fall wardrobe yesterday for an even $60-- I'll keep you updated as to the quality of it all when it arrives, but when I ordered some maternity stuff a few months ago I was very pleased. This is not-at-all sponsored, just a friendly recommendation.

I was of course being dramatic per the usual about not being dead yet, but this week, or almost 2 weeks now, have been their own breed of difficult due to a fierce case of croup that has being going through our house. Bernadette got it first in time for her birthday and then gifted it to her siblings, she obviously doesn't understand the  birthday gift giving concept. So far it has spared Fred, which is the most important thing for sure, but poor Joe has it and has nearly no voice at all and almost throws up every time he coughs. So sad.

Over the last few months every time I make oatmeal for the kids and there are leftovers I attempt to use the leftovers to make muffins instead of throwing them away (she's a veritable Ma Ingalls, that Ana), and yesterday I found THE recipe.

These are for real the best muffins ever. I found the recipe HERE but I used butter in place of oil- always a really good bet- and I left out the raisins because my kids hate raisins in things. I have to just throw them at the kids in my attempt to not eat them all myself. Give them a try, you will not be let down!

I am currently in the throes of trying desperately to sleep train Fred the teeniest tiniest bit because he is my worst sleeper thus far, and after Joe I didn't think that was possible. I don't even feel like I need big chunks of sleep at night, I just need to have an ending point to my day. I think the last three nights have seen him not going to sleep for the night until well after 10:30 and most of that time is spent with me walking him, bobbing him and basically dying inside because I just want to be DONE! Prayers and advice accepted And appreciated!

Lucy's birthday is this Saturday and she is my nicest child with regards to loving when I make her clothing, it's really sweet and affirming for me. I made the girls matching skirts a while ago and she always gets so excited to wear hers because "mama made it for ME!". So a couple weeks ago my mom sent me some super cute Pottery Barn curtains that were too short for all of our windows and I had dreams of sewing her a birthday skirt with the fabric BUT there was the issue of Fred never sleeping + neeidng me to hold him 24/7, which makes using the sewing machine a tad hard. However, today he slept just long enough for me to stitch this little cutie and it was so lovely to sew just a little:

The verdict about my teeth came in last week and I have an extended dental date early next week for my very first crown. This is really a low and a high because I was so super thrilled at my appointment that they did not think I needed a root canal, which I was previously pretty sure I would need, so I will take the lone crown (+ 4 subsequent fillings, but that can be for another high-low day).

Ending on a High:
Right after we moved here a lady from the chamber of commerce came and gave us a bunch of coupons to local hot spots to welcome us to the town. When I say "hot spots" I mean some decent places, some total dives, but I don't really care when it comes to free stuff because Cheap is my middle name. One of the coupons is for a free haircut at a place called "Hair Station", which in itself made me a little skeptical plus this is the picture on the front:

I was thinking of holding off for a while but then I hit the hormonal point postpartum where ALL YOUR HAIRS FALL OUT ALL AT ONCE and my hair has gotten pretty long and it is all over our house so I am just going for it at Hair Station. It's highly likely that I'll come out looking like so:

But I don't even care if I do, I have an appointment this Friday and I am honestly so excited to have an hour to myself and have someone do something for me, I'll keep you all abreast of the outcome.

***Bonus High***
While I was writing this Fred woke up from a nap and put himself back to sleep!!!!!!!!!!
That's all for now!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

sunday (sc)ramble

Linking up with Kelly for some very late quick takes! Here we go!

1) I feel like most people have much more exciting weekends than me and approach them like "Oh yay! Now I can have lots of quality family time or catch up on some good reading!" Whereas I am generally like, "yay! I have so much more time to waste on the internets!" I did my duty and got our family out and about a little the last 2 weekends, but the kids were plagued with some croup virus all week that is still hanging around, so low key Magic School Bus and Internet surfing filled weekend it has been.

2) We have this pretty fabulous giant wrap around porch that I just need to sing the praises of for a quick second because it has been a life saver since moving. The previous owners had a dog and I'm pretty sure that's why they did this, but they have a little gate that hooks right into the railings and closes in the entire porch, creating a sort of outdoor oversized roofed play pen and it is the kids favorite.

We also have a beautiful huge yard but they prefer to be in their little dog house shouting loudly with their tiny riding toys any day of the week, much to the chagrin of our neighbors to be sure. Plus we have this nice little view that I can sit and stare at from the porch so I'm not complaining.

3)  Like everything else in the world of trendy and hip (flip phones forEVER!) I am working it like the 90-year-old grandma I am and coming in as late as I can to the 3 Fictional Characters To Describe Yourself game. It really was quite difficult to come up with these, but I finally did it:

Weezer from Steel Magnolias, (watch that video in the link and you'll understand) Annie Walker from Bridesmaids and Julia from The Wedding Singer.

4) The great thing about these choices is that-- completely by chance-- the significant others of the these fictional characters happen to fit Mike pretty perfectly:

Owen Jenkins, Robbie Hart, and Rhodes
He was not consulted in this selection.

5) I read Jenny's post on THM the other day and for a split second thought that I maybe, just maybe, I should revise my eating habits a tad. The method seems super legit and healthy and since I've pretty much been doing my typical half-assed weight watchers plan and seeing sloooow results, I'm thinking maybe. But here's the thing: do I have to add collagen to everything? Do I need to invest in the various add-ons (nutritional yeast?) and can I really not eat Reese's cup under *any* circumstances? It seems like maybe it's too much for me.

6) I think that I finished the 30 Day Shred, but I lost track of counting how many days I've done it and I am just going to keep on doing level 3 until I can do it like the advanced girl (cuz you know I've been doing those push ups with my knees firmly planted on the ground) and then I will switch it up. Start to finish it helped me knock of about 13 pounds, but there are still so many to go. Christy hit me up with this recommendation for HIIT workouts, which I get a lot of results from. Tell my what you do within the confines of your home! 

7) Freeeeeeeeeed!

I'll spare you any more, for now. ;)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

fortnight highlights

Methinks I'll be neglecting the old blog for 2 weeks more often just so I can use the word fortnight in the post title, what say you? Good, so here are some highlights from the last 2 weeks of life which have gone unblogged (the horror!) and will be no longer.

First and most importantly! I forced family pictures on everyone.

Did I say most importantly? I meant least. Onward.

Since moving here our family has been fairly holed up here at our new pad because 1- new house excitement and 2- new baby anchor and so I've been pestering Mike with my very best nagging wife skills for us to go explore the area and do something as a family, and I finally prevailed. Last weekend there was a farm tour in a local county and I convinced Mike to lead a family expedition to see some farmish things and see them we did.

Then we thought we would ride the adventurous wave as a family and ventured out yet again this weekend for a local festival which included super tasty beer-- and I could stop there because that is all anyone really needs-- but there were free kids games and really good food and the girls even sprung for some face painting.

Which Lucy waited ever-so-patiently for behind a line full of much more outgoing and boisterous kids who were cutting in front of her left and right, but she cared not and waited contentedly until one of the face painters finally noticed that she had been sitting there- it was one of her cutest moments ever.

Our previously little Bernadette is no longer so and turned a geriatric SIX yesterday, which might not seem old to you, but she is six going on sixteen and just seems so old to me now.

She has turned a serious corner with school and is reading and doing her lessons daily like the 1st grade champ she is.

Even though she got a birthday case of the croup she was the sweetest thing and generously shared her new toys and some pairs of her stick-on earrings (her favorite gift by far- highly recommended) with her siblings. We started the day with her favorite cereal and gifts, hit up Mass on campus and did some light strolling:

Then we wrapped things up with an inaugural watching of Frozen (never again) and the most extreme chocolate cake I've ever made.

I was a jerk-mom and scheduled a dental appointment for myself and Naomi on Bernadette's birthday of all days so I was absent for a several hours in the middle, but again she was unfazed and had the sweetest attitude the entire day.

I can't even believe she is so big, all the feels, all the cliches. All done.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

seven on saturday

Linking up with Kelly the Quick Takes Queen!

Thanks to everyone for your advice and encouragement for my very imaginative, school-hating 1st grader, it's so helpful to know I'm not alone in this boat. I've actually implemented none of it, and done nothing at all differently, except that one day when she went on a little meltdown-school-strike I just got all mean-mom on her and really cracked down and it seems like I've nipped it for now. She gets scads of time for play because our structured school time is minimal, so I just felt that she could handle it, and lo and behold, she totally can.

3 is such a hard age, but also the funniest age of them all. Last week Lucy started talking about a man named "Papa Jokes", who she claimed "brought us a meal when she was just born" and "had many children who all died tragic deaths as a result of their teeth being pulled out" and who then "died a tragic death himself". Papa Jokes, ya'll, I'll get to writing his biography asap. 

When we first moved here we paid for a haircut for Joe because when we try to cut it ourselves a) he screams bloody murder like we are trying to cut his head off and 2) I'm the worst ever at hair cuts and it always looks a little bit like I let the 7-year-old try her hand at it. But his hair grows SO fast and is so so thick and he was starting to look like Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber...

I really didn't want to pay for another cut, so I just went for it. 

All of it.

Now he looks like Buzz from Home Alone.

Fred is 3 months old and I am completely baffled that he is so big already. 

He is absolutely my most smiley baby yet, but I cannot get him to smile for the camera ever. He is also my earliest laugher and he completely won over everyone at his well visit the other day because if you talk to him he just starts belly laughing. And I did manage to capture that for you.
IMG_2675 from Ana Hahn on Vimeo.

I shared via the Grams a few weeks ago that I had done my first Jillian workout since having Fred, and I am not joking at all when I say that it was my first workout in the past year. I am the least fit pregnant woman ever and my workouts consist of spoon-to-mouth-and-back-to-the-ice-cream-carton level, it's rough, but I manage. Anyways, I realized about a month ago that I should start trying to get back into shape and my go-to since I had Bernadette is to jump start with Jillian's 30 day shred. Say what you will about her-- there is so much to say-- but she always manages to help me out. I did 10 days of level 1 and I am 5 days in to level 2 and solid 8 pounds down! More importantly I feel like I can hold Fred all the live long day as he prefers without hurting myself! I'm sure I'll keep you annoyingly updated once I get to the end of the 30 days. You're so welcome.

Please don't think that I think I'm all that and a bag of fat-free chips or anything, I still have like 20 more pounds to lose, and I am looking to Dwija for all the inspiration on that front, because she is amazing! Carolyn opened her new Etsy shop recently and I am a little obsessed with it-- I'm thinking this Earth print for our school room, yes? My new next door neighbor Annie is an artist with some serious calligraphy talent, click over to her website and stand in awe. Praying for Grace and Simon as they grieve the loss of their sweet little one.

-Fall Fever-
I know everybody is so very excited that fall is on the horizon, but none are as excited as my children, who busted out their puffy vests for the freezing 60 degree temps yesterday. They have been asking me for the rake so that they could start raking the few leaves that have fallen in our yard and since I didn't know where it was I just said "no". Naturally they tapped into their resourceful sides with our sand toys:

It's not child labor if they're volunteering. 

Happy weekend!