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Hey! Remember when I used to bake all the time? Yeah me neither, BUT! I’m back at it. A couple days ago, while Cormac was at school and Teddy was taking a decent nap for once, I had a midday baking session.

I bought Dorie’s Cookies as a “congrats on living through your kitchen remodel!” gift to myself a couple months ago, but somehow managed to go until now without baking from it. I wanted something fairly quick and with ingredients I had on hand, so after just a couple seconds of flipping I came across “Natasha’s Mum’s Fruit and Walnut Bread Bars.” I didn’t know what to expect but they looked appetizing and I had fruit and nuts.

Whipping the meringue was a little more frustrating than I expected. (True confession my egg whites weren’t room temp.) But once I got firm peaks it all came together really quickly.

Baking was easy. Cutting the bars was easy. And the kids gobbled them up. And the whole recipe only had a 1/2 cup of added sugar which is less than a lot of cookies so that’s a plus. I went lightish on the crystallized ginger since I knew the kids would be doing most of the eating, but for myself I would’ve preferred more ginger.

I’m looking forward to making more cookies soon. I think I want to try the espresso sables next.

While was making the bread bars, I had a loaf of bread coming together and rising. I’ve used this recipe for 9 or 10 years at this point and its fail proof. Its a perfect sandwich bread, and makes absolute exquisite peanut butter and jellies.

I love that it makes two loaves, so I always stick one in the freezer. The kids go through nearly a whole loaf in about two days. Bread is a major food group around here.

Besides sandwich bread, I almost always have a loaf of quick bread around for after school snacks and whatever. My go-to is the banana bread recipe¬†from Veganomicon. I don’t think I even own the book anymore, but I’ve had the recipe memorized for a couple years now. I usually throw a shredded zucchini in it too, just to force vegetables into my kids. I’m evil like that.

I also made some bagels a week or two ago, but can’t find a picture. I need to make more though because I haven’t found any bagels I like at all in Issaquah, and they’re easy enough to make at home. I tried out a cheddar jalapeno version this time and it was pretty good.

That’s all for now. Keep your fingers crossed Seattle gets some sun soon! Cormac and I are planning a garden this spring/summer and we’re sick of record-setting rain!

House Updates – Parlor Playroom

How is it mid-March already? I have been busy with so much. Cooking and baking and painting and meetings and planning. Oof. I need a clone. Also, it took me a startlingly long time to remember the word clone. You lose brain cells as you age, don’t you? Going crazy. Okay, wrapping up this stream of consciousness… right…. now. Okay.

So one of the things I’ve been busy doing is fixing up the room next to our dining room. I call this room the ¬†parlor. Because I’m fancy. The kids call it the playroom. Because it houses a million toys. Brent calls it the family room. Because that’s probably the most rational name for it.

Obviously I didn’t take “before” photos of the room because I’m not a design blogger, or really any kind of blogger anymore. But here’s what it looked like when we toured the house for the first time.

Please note the gross, off-white, just dingy looking paint color, and that lovely 80’s forest green wallpaper border. The wood trim I wouldn’t have had a problem with, but I want it all to match on the main floor, so it had to be painted white.

And! I managed to take an “after” photo from the same angle. Except I don’t have a wide-angle lens. But you get the idea.

So the major changes here were: remove the wallpaper border (this was the biggest hassle and took 2-3 weeks, working an hour or so each day during nap time), paint the trim white, paint the walls this beautiful teal color.

The light is casting a yellowish vibe over the picture that doesn’t appear in real life, but again, I’m not a professional and can barely work the camera, let alone edit a photo, so, oh well. Here’s a before and after of another angle.

Side note – how do you sit on these couches and watch that TV? Seems like a recipe for a neck ache. (I know it’s just staged that way, but why?) And here’s the same view after.

The wall color is Peacock Blue from Benjamin Moore and it is, to quote Tim Gunn, a whole lot of look. AND I LOVE IT. Seriously. I have been pinning teal rooms since before we closed on the house, and when Brent crushed my dreams of having teal cabinets, I agreed only under the condition I could paint this room teal.

So from the dining room, here’s what you see through the pocket doors.


The boys love that chalkboard, and for some reason writing on a vertical surface is much easier for Cormac, so he’s getting lots of fine motor writing practice with it!

The room is actually pretty minimally furnished. We’ve got a couch, rug, tv and cabinet that holds the TV junk.

Couch is IKEA and thank goodness. With the way the kids (and Brent) treat furniture, I would be super sad to spend more than $800 on a couch. This serves it’s purpose just fine. The rest of the room is used as a wrestling arena, race track, and jumping pit. As you can see, the walls are pretty blank. Such is the case with all the walls in our house. It took me like 3 years to put pictures and art up at our old house, so who knows when it’ll happen here.

Oh, and in case you didn’t believe me about the million toys, they’re housed in the closet in the corner.

It’s kind of weird to have a closet in a living/family room, but the fact it came stacked to the ceiling with shelves has been perfect!

So that’s a wrap on the parlor playroom! I’m 95% done with the entire main floor now (only the tiny laundry room is left), and I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. And pretty exhausted, honestly.