Road Trip to Michigan

July 28, 2014

We just back from our trip up north.  My family goes up to Leland every summer–it’s our favorite place on earth (we are obsessed). Here are some pics and notes. We had a great time!

(for the record, our kids never slept and there was a tantrum or two or 40…)

It's a big world out there George,

It’s a big world out there George!

CKT: Michigan Vacation

SUP yoga was incredible! Yoga surrounded by water? Yes please. Plus Leda from Fluid SUP is amazing.

CKT: Michigan Vacation

Thanks for hanging out with us, you guys are too cool for school.

CKT: Michigan Vacation

6.5 hours north and I don’t let the kids watch DVDs. There was a lot of staring out the window.

CKT: Michigan Vacation

Start them young. Who doesn’t like a little adventure?

CKT: Michigan Vacation

No Filter: the water in northern Michigan is a midwest gem.

CKT: Michigan Vacation

Don’t leave home without the Tylenol, someone will NEED it, guaranteed.

CKT: Michigan Vacation

The Leland Lodge is the first place we stayed in Leland–it holds special meaning for us. We are so excited about its new owners, the wine bar, and chef (Robbie and Nora roped him into a drive around town).

CKT: Michigan Vacation

My family–the only people I know who can’t go a week without fresh ground coffee. Yes, we brought our coffee grinder to the cottage.

CKT: Michigan Vacation

Leland Gal has the coolest nautical-inspired fabrics and wallpaper–we love her stuff!

CKT - Michigan Vacation

These faces! Might be my favorite pic ever.

Links: Fluid SUP // Leland Lodge // Leland Gal

Nora’s Birthday Party

July 9, 2014

CKT Frozen Birthday Party CKT Frozen Birthday Party CKT Frozen Birthday Party CKT Frozen Birthday Party CKT Frozen Birthday Party Nora turned 4 this past weekend! We had so much fun celebrating–some people maybe had too much fun and as a result didn’t want to leave the party.

We hosted the party at the Bensenville Movie Theater–an amazing find by my friend Abby.  Her son, Dylan, and Nora are a day apart and were both born at the same hospital, so naturally these little buddies had to have their party together. This spot was just the best (Chicago-area parents take note!). We paid $10 per kid, had the entire theater to ourselves–literally, could watch any movie we wanted (Frozen, duh), and the kids got a hot dog lunch and ice cream after the show.

One of my presents to Nora was her Frozen cake. I had so much fun making it! As long as you can easily frost a cake, this comes together nicely.

CKT Frozen Birthday Cake

Kid Decisions

July 2, 2014

CKT: kid decisions

Do you let your kids choose their outfits? I remember one of my parent’s friends would let her daughter wear whatever she wanted. As a result she always looked funky-cool.   I remember thinking as a high school student that mom was a cool mom (p.s.-remember this?). So the day has come where Nora can dress herself, make decisions on her own, and as it turns out…I actually want her to wear what I want her to wear. I’m not as cool as I thought I’d be. And so it goes, Nora has a very strong will. Usually I try and give her 3 options of outfits and she can pick one. As you guessed, she has none of this. She has a specific outfit she wants to wear. There are no mom-ideas on the table when getting ready for the day. She is really into clothes…something that was not on my radar at her age, or 10, or 15.

My new thing is, she can wear what she wants if it’s weather appropriate i.e. no puffy vests on 90 degree days. I’m even o.k. with her tiara or jockey goggles (yes, that’s right) for trips to the grocery store, church picnics, and the pool. For the record, she picks stuff out that is way cooler than I could manage, but still, at other times, well, it’s a little ridiculous (I mentioned the jockey goggles, yes?). But we pick our battles, right?

We went shopping for a new dress for her birthday this past weekend. I told her it was her first present and she could pick out whatever she wanted. I took her to the Gap (because we love the Gap). I saw THE CUTEST skirt and shirt combo and was holding it up and trying to sell it. She agreed to try it on, but I could tell the ensemble was going to be the runner-up. She was looking for a full-length dress (you know, like a princess, clearly). Unfortunately, Gap did not have any maxi dresses in 4t.

I mean how could you resist this outfit?!

But she opted for the longest dress there, also cute, but not mom’s pick. So you know…the thing I say most at our house, is “you’re not in charge, mom’s in charge.” But if I can give her a little creative freedom in the clothing department, so be it.

p.s. I do love the jockey goggles.

Necklace trick

June 30, 2014

CKT: necklace trick

Last summer I was in a pinch getting ready–my necklace was not the right length and I didn’t have another chain to help my cause. Rough, I know.

Luckily, I was at my mom’s and she suggested that I take a bracelet and add it to the necklace to make it longer. Great idea, Mom! Plus, I love that the bracelet she gave me was my great aunt’s, so now I get to wear one of my favorite necklaces with a little added memory to boot.

Have you tried this before?

The day my life changed forever

June 20, 2014

CKT: dishwasher

I realize this title may seem dramatic. But seriously, my life will be changed forever…yesterday, was one of the best days. We bought a dishwasher! Yes, that’s right, we have been in our house for nearly 2 years sans this 20th century convenience. We have hand-washed every gosh darn dish. We have had dinner parties, holiday parties, birthday parties, oh yeah, and 2 kids every day at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And you know…I love to cook.

Let’s discuss how this happened. Back when we looked at an ungodly amount of houses when we were trying to move, we started to think we could deal with anything. Things that actually crossed our minds as o.k. included:

  • A house with no closets in any bedroom.
  • A house that was so ugly, the siding had to be changed immediately.
  • A house where you had to duck your head to walk upstairs.

When we got to the house that literally had a wall falling down, our realtor kindly said, “I don’t think this is the one for you.”  I was thinking “no sh*t.” But I guess she had a point.

When we found our dream house, the one that met so many non-negotiables on our list–we could have cared less that there was no dishwasher. You have to load and empty a dishwasher anyways…how hard can it be??

We were watching the movie Philomena (amazing movie, by the way) this past weekend and there is a scene where the young women at the convent are washing clothes with a basin and a washboard (a term not just for abs) and I thought: wow, that looks terrible. And then I realized that was essentially us…hand washing every last dish.

So we bit the bullet, purchased one, and life is GRAND!

Now, all we have to do is get a new garage with one of those fancy doors that opens by itself.

Great Expectations

June 12, 2014

Brian and I were talking about stress the other day. Particularly…my stress. And he said something that really stuck with me, “if you can only be happy or at peace when your expectations are met, than you’ll rarely feel that way. ”

How true.

So if, let’s say, you are expecting to reach a certain level of success, or to look a certain way, or have your kids to act a certain way, or want to have it all figured out–then, if that doesn’t happen, stress and disappointment are going to be logical feelings.

But if, let’s say, you strive for acceptance…then no matter the situation you can be at peace and content. Easier said than done, I guess.

This is more a pep talk to myself than it is a soapbox moment. And just a little reminder to think a little more like Nora’s favorite cat, Pete…because it’s all good.

CKT Beauty Tips!

June 5, 2014

CKT: Beauty Tips

I thought it would be fun to do a beauty post and poll the lovely ladies in my family on their routines. They are all confident and creative–truly amazing women.

  • Ashley is a new mom, lives in the city, and is an unbelievable photographer and movie-maker.
  • Janis is my mom (!),  a literacy specialist, and has the best eye (from furniture to clothing and everything in-between).
  • Katie is coming up on her one-year wedding anniversary, teaches middle school, and is a very talented modern crafter–there’s nothing this girl can’t do.
  • Pat is Brian’s mom, loves cabin-life in Wisconsin, and is an incredible artist.

I hope you enjoying reading our tips–it looks like I’m headed to the store to buy some tinted moisturizer, apparently it’s a must-have.

CKT Beauty Tips

Links: Paul Mitchell Gel // Bobbi Brown // Cover Girl Clump Crusher // L’Oreal Power Volume // Maybelline Volum’ Express // Maybelline Lash Discovery // Aveda Lip Treatment

Energy Breakfast (part 3 of 3)

May 27, 2014

CKT PB Breakfast Shake The final post on protein breakfasts is all about the peanut butter shake. I use the term shake over smoothie, because it’s rich and dense. And, well, it’s so tasty (*note: the whipped cream was used solely for photo purposes).

Nora loves having shakes for breakfast. And I love that when I serve them she eats well before school. On most days it’s always hit or miss whether she has a good breakfast. I always worry about her getting overly hungry…1. because I’m an over-worrier and 2. this used to happen to me all. the. time.

But these shakes…she slurps them right down.  Give her a piece of toast and a handful of blueberries to accompany it and it’s a high-five start to the day.

CKT Peanut Butter Breakfast Shake

serves 2-3

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1 banana

1 cup ice chips

1/2 cup water

1/2 milk or almond milk

honey (optional)

Place in blender and blend until desired consistency.

Energy Breakfast (part 2)

May 20, 2014

CKT: Energy Breakfast When I was marathon training, this was my go-to.

You read correctly, I used to run…a lot. It was kind of my thing.
No, I have not run recently.
Yes, I signed up for a 5-miler in less than a month (I’m frightened since I have not gotten back into the swing of things since George was born).
I’m not fast–never have been, never will.

But, back to the energy breakfast. I was always looking for something that was easy on my stomach, filling, and packed the protein. I landed on toast, topped with peanut butter, then fruit, then honey. This is also a great on-the-go breakfast. Just make sure to remember the napkin (I’m looking at you sticky fingers).

Lately, I have been using almond butter (paleo dieters rejoice!), but regular old peanut butter works just as well. I was all about bananas to start, then I moved onto raspberries, and now it’s blueberries–sometimes all three.

CKT Morning Toast

whole grain bread (preferably from a local bakery, or bread shop)

almond or peanut butter

fruit (banana slices, blueberries, raspberries, or strawberry slices)

drizzle of pure honey

Toast the bread. Then top with the butter. Stud the fruit on the butter, then drizzle honey.

Energy Breakfast (part 1)

May 14, 2014

CKT: Energy Breakfast

How do you like to start your day? Ideally, I like to wake up by my own accord. But with the recent change of season, it seems like the kiddos have been waking up with the sun, which is around 5:45. Sheesh. So, I wake up to the “MOMMY!!!” alarm.

I chug a glass of warmish water before anything to get myself moving and hydrated. Then I get the coffee going and decide what breakfast is going to look like. Since I am back on dairy, I have been loving yogurt parfaits. Greek yogurt has so much protein and is the perfect way to get a boost of energy in the morning. But let’s face it, unless you are pregnant and needing to eat whatever’s in sight, you can’t eat that stuff plain (guilty).

I top the yogurt with fresh organic strawberries (or blueberries, or both), coconut chips (have you bought these at Trader Joe’s yet? They’re amazing!), chia seeds, pure honey, and ground flaxseed. I’m telling you the crunch from the coconut chips really takes the parfait to a new level.

So, what about you?

CKT Yogurt Parfait

greek Yogurt (I use Fage, 2%)

fresh organic strawberries or blueberries — chopped

coconut chips (Trader Joe’s)

chia seeds (Trader Joe’s)

pure honey

ground flaxseed (Trader Joe’s)

Place a large scoop of yogurt in a cereal bowl and top with the other ingredients to taste.