February 23, 2015


Some weekly meal inspiration for you!

mushroom pizza and citrus salad with pistachios & feta (my kids actually like mushrooms, but they don’t like salad, so I will give them orange slices, cheese slices, and carrots)

tandoori chicken with mangoes & rice

italian wedding soup with crusty dinner bread

^^Chicago friends: have you been to Ada Street yet? We love this place! Especially in the summer for ping pong.^^


February 16, 2015


Menu planning over here, how about you?

homemade tomato bisque and grilled cheese sandwiches

pasta carbonara with charred brussels sprouts

turkey burgers + fixins and kale/tortilla chips

^^dreaming of summer^^

mini what?

February 12, 2015

CKT: Mini What? We are buying a new ride and it will probably be a minivan. Gasp, I know.

I think it is best to start this story 15 years ago when I was graduating from high school. I was voted most likely to be a kool-aid mom. I guess this was today’s version of a soccer mom. I remember a few of my guy friends joking with me about my future minivan and typical mom-lifestyle. I remember responding with a little laughter and something to the effect of, look, of course I want to be a mom, but I have dreams…goals…and c’mon, I WILL NOT DRIVE A MINIVAN. I’m not going to be a regular mom, I’ll be a cool mom (thoughts of a teenager).*

There are two camps when it comes to minivans–the ones who love them and the ones who hate them. You fall into one or the other…you know who you are.

Brian and I have been discussing the big purchase for about 5 months now, and it’s crunch time. We need a third row before the baby gets here. We started with the cool cars–the Acadias, the Enclaves. I was so excited–3 rows, captains seats, no mini, no van. The cool mom quest continued. Then we brought our double stroller to the dealer and it turns out that these SUVs (trucks?) have no trunk space–like none. They are great–don’t get me wrong, but I have a lot to haul around.

I have always been a function over fashion type-of-girl. If we’re being honest, I can barely walk in high heels. But the minivan, the ease, it still wasn’t appealing to me.

It was not until I was at my parents house for dinner that things started to shift. They had the come-to-Jesus-talk with me. You know…you are going to have three kids…you just need to own it. I sat there and listened. The next day at pre-school pickup I saw moms and dads loading up kids in their minivans. It looked so easy; these doors open automatically, people! I’m bordering on struggling with two, so I will take anything that makes life one step easier at this point. It was like a dream.

Nothing has been purchased yet, but it looks like my destiny of minivan ownership will be true after all. I kinda can’t wait.

*paraphrased Mean Girls quote, one of my faves!


February 10, 2015


Here’s what we are eating this week!

Some people have asked, why 3 meals? Here’s my thinking…I always start out the week by grocery shopping for 3 solid meals. I find that if I shop for any more, plans change one night, or we have too many leftovers, or we are left with food waste. So our routine goes a little something like this: eat at home 5ish nights, get carry-out or go out one night (as a family), and a wild card for the last night–dinner at one our parents, date night, dinner with friends, leftovers, or use up what is in our fridge, seem to be the usual suspects. If I start the week with a solid 3-meal game plan, then we roll with the punches for the remainder of the week with an extra grocery trip here or there.

flank steak taco bar (with avocados, sour cream, shredded mozzarella cheese, salsa, and hot sauce) and cilantro lime rice

butternut squash soup and crusty dinner bread and butter

roasted chicken with roasted potatoes & chimichurri sauce, and sautéed spinach

shared bedroom

February 6, 2015

CKT: shared bedroom About a month ago, we moved the kids into the same room. With the baby’s arrival this April, I wanted to get them bunking together sooner rather than later in hopes that we could have it all figured out  (meaning little people sleeping soundly in their beds all night, every night) by the time baby girl got here. While I know that sounds ridiculous, I guess I wanted to know what we were in for pre-April.

CKT: shared bedroom We decided it was best to give Nora and George the master bedroom. I mean, what did we use the space for? Nothing, is the correct answer.

We had a loose idea that an adventure theme would be a fun way to incorporate both of their seemingly gender-specific things. I had plans of buying matching dressers, new bedding, a new rug etc. But in the end we just moved them into the room and–turns out, the room worked with what we had (give or take a few new prints). I have found over the years, that you really need to get into the space before you can make any assessments of what you need.

CKT: shared bedroom Good thing Santa was good to us this year and brought the teepee! I like the way it really ties together the entire room.

CKT: shared bedroom

CKT: shared bedroom As for the room sharing, the kids are great at going to bed, sleeping soundly throughout the night, but the mornings have been rough. I’m talking 4:45am, 5:15am, wake up times…but I digress. I love the idea of room sharing, I just hope it can involve more sleep. Fingers crossed, people, fingers crossed. April is right around the corner.


February 2, 2015


Weekly meal planning in full effect over here. Thank goodness we already hit up the grocery store this weekend, because today is a snow day! What are you cooking this week?

parmesan chicken with spinach salad and baguette bread(cutting the kids chicken into ‘nuggets’ and cucumber slices and pear slices instead of salad)

tortilla soup with avocados and feta cheese and corn bread

farro salad (with carrot, red pepper and goat cheese) & seared pork tenderloin

Super Bowl Appetizer

January 30, 2015

CKT: Superbowl Appetizer

What are you doing for the Super Bowl? I will be sitting on the couch watching or not watching the big game, but definitely eating this dip. Have you made it before?  I once ate an unrespectable portion of this dip at Nora’s friend’s birthday party. After the party, I quickly emailed the mom for the recipe. It’s salty, creamy, spicy, and perfect for this Sunday–trust me on this one (the pregnant lady knows).

Buffalo Chicken Dip (sorry for no picture, it does not photograph well)
(A recipe from Sara)

2, 12.5oz cans of canned chicken – drained
1 cup ranch dressing (such as Hidden Valley)
3/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
8 ounces cream cheese – room temp
2 cups shredded cheddar or enough to cover the entire dip

Preheat oven to 350. Combine the first four ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add to a casserole dish and top with the shredded cheddar. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with a sturdy tortilla chip.

The Land of Nod / Jennifer Kaye Valentine’s Photo Booth

January 29, 2015

CKT: Land of Nod Photo Booth

A few weekends back the kids and I went to The Land of Nod Valentine’s Day Photo Booth event. We went with a few friends and let the kids explore the store before their little photo shoot. Each store partnered with a different photographer in the community, so we were excited that Oak Brook teamed up with Jennifer Kaye, who we’ve worked with in the past.  I loved the new heart rug they used as the backdrop. How am I to choose which prints to get? And who knew George was such a ham?

**Also…CKT is partnering with The Land of Nod for an event this March! Details soon!**

CKT: Land of Nod Photo Booth CKT: Land of Nod Photo Booth CKT: Land of Nod Photo Booth CKT: Land of Nod Photo Booth


January 25, 2015


Here’s what’s up for the week:

korean beef & broccoli stir-fry

chili-rubbed salmon and avocado toast

seared flank steak, mashed potatoes, and green beans with lemon butter

^^My friend, Emily, snapped some family photos this past weekend!^^


January 19, 2015

CKT - California We went to California a few months back, but I never posted any pics, because  I was newly pregnant (!!!) and couldn’t write about the trip until the cat was out of the bag. So, with out further adieu…I give you our west coast first trimester “babymoon.”

CKT - California CKT - California **Baby #3 is due this April and are thrilled to become a family of 5! We found out (for the first time) that it’s a *girl* and can hardly wait to meet this little lady.**

IMG_5198 destination: carmel, ca // accommodations: tickle pink hotel
points of interest: hiking, eating, and sleeping in

CKT - California We had never been to this part of California so it was so fun to drive the coastline and soak in the jagged ocean views. Everything at the coast is truly untouched…I felt like we were driving in the 60′s or 70′s. Most drivers had the same agenda: drive, pull over, gawk, repeat (cue up Lord Huron and roll the windows down).

I thought I was always the type of person who could stay anywhere–just give me a clean bed and I’ll be content. Turns out, this is not quite true. Once you’ve stayed at a place that provides plush robes, and perfectly fitting slippers, you think, … to hell if I’m going back to the Comfort Inn.  However, I do know that Brian and I can’t keep this up for long. We have kids and will be taking trips that last longer than three nights. But I have my fingers crossed; and I really like the slippers.

CKT - California CKT - California We woke up every morning to a cloud–I don’t know if it was fog or clouds, or really the difference, but it was strange and a little erie.  But, but, but…our last day we woke up to a horizon line off the coast and bright sunshine. We saw whales from our room–their tails flashing and even a jump in the very far distance.

The hiking was some of my favorite trails to date (Point Lobos!), the food was great, and we certainly enjoyed sleeping in until we wanted. Have you been to Carmel?

CKT - California do not miss: Big Sur hiking, Point Lobos hiking–do the full loop, Nepenthe for lunch, Mission Ranch for drinks, or the cute restaurants in Carmel (we really liked: La Bicyclette)