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Festive fragrance (mulled spices)

December 3, 2015

Let’s talk about making your home smell delightful.  Since I can’t have ornaments on my tree or anything where a child can reach something, I can at least have my house smell nice.

mulled spices

I started doing this 2 years ago when we lived in Alabama.  Two years that feels like 5. The air in our townhouse always felt dry and I had twin newborns.  Insert visual of me unable to go anywhere with an increased paranoia of everyone getting sick so humidifiers all around.

Fast forward to today: another newborn, more humidifiers & we’re stuck inside.  Might as well have a nice fragrance.

It’s so easy; I should pretend it’s more complicated.

Who am I kidding – it must be easy to be included in my life.

Add orange peel, cinnamon sticks & whole cloves to a pot with several cups of water.  Bring to a boil, simmer for a couple hours.  Enjoy.

That’s it, really.  You can add allspice, peppercorns, cranberries or other citrus rinds.  The 3 ingredient spice combo works for me.

Now, back to the important things, like deciding how to get large boxes…because my kids don’t play with actual toys.


The important things like making cookies and watching Christmas movies.  And easing back into the end of maternity leave, the real world.

Wishing you all a happy holidays with many memories, large boxes and good smells.

mulled spices



Fall Favorites

November 20, 2015


Fabulous fall.  Clearly my favorite season.  If you live in Kansas City, I’m sure it’s yours, too.  (Or a close second.)

fall trees

There’s so much going on, so much to appreciate about fall.  With Thanksgiving in fall, it leads me to all those favorites & things I’m thankful for.  Let’s discuss…

We had the American Royal World Series of Barbecue in October.  It’s basically THE biggest BBQ contest; these people take their food seriously.  For all you BBQ lovers out there, it’s time to try out the American Royal BBQ Rubs.  Winning recipes, you can’t go wrong.

beef rub

I’ve talked about it before, but this popcorn by Popcorn Indiana.  Seasonal, which is a good thing because I will eat the whole bag once it’s opened.

A milk frother.  After nights with a newborn, I’m elevating my mornings by steaming my milk.  You should, too. It’s the little things.


I’m still eating Hard Boiled eggs every week.  It’s the right way to start the morning.  And making these overnight steel cut oats for the family.

steamed eggs

Trader Joe’s.  I love it because: 1) it’s a small store, nearby, so I can’t spend too much time in it, and 2) they have so many fun things, including short cuts.  I’m currently loving the chocolate chip scones (just add water!), snacks for kids (e.g. crackers, cookies, apple crisps), and the frozen pasta meals.


I’m also loving the home delivery option by Hy-Vee.  My husband really loves it because it means I can’t escape go to the grocery store for 2 hours.  I believe it will be critical to my sanity when I return to work.

Stitch-Fix.  I mean, who with 4 kids has time to shop for themselves?

My littlest love, Jonathan Roy.  Still perfect.

We summarize these on our 3rd annual Thankful Tree.

thankful 15

Lots of blessings:)


Jonathan Roy

November 9, 2015

Jonathan Roy.

JD green bow LR

It feels like I’m constantly introducing a new family member to you.  The fourth in 4 years, so I guess that’s somewhat true.  Four under 4!  Look at these little terrors blessings…


I keep telling myself I got this.  Repeat, until I believe it.

Or ask for help until they are out of the house…I have a great village of helpers.

JD basket LR

So, meet my newest love, Jonathan Roy.  He checked into this world at 5:54am on October 16th at a healthy 9 lb and 4 oz (!). While he was a wild man in my belly, so far he has been pretty chill.  (We will see if this holds true…I also said this about Evan at a few weeks old and that is NOT still the case!)

I did not know he was supposed to be here; now, I can’t imagine my life any other way.  Our little love was born with a hole in his heart: mom, dad and  the 3 big siblings are giving him enough love to fill it, so I’m confident (as are the docs) that he will grow to live a full, happy, healthy life.

JD lr pic

I mean, he’s obviously perfect.

Life is a little always chaotic.  The good chaotic, if that makes sense.  I’m learning to let go of the control (and lower my expectations) because this too shall pass.  “This” being the good & the hard.  We will sleep again, we will go out in public and that space by the laundry room will be used as something other than time-out eventually.


For now, I’m going to keep hugging this guy because we know babies don’t keep…

mom JD lr

Oh, and because I have to protect him from the 3 toddlers constantly swarming him;-)

Summer’s reflection.

September 6, 2015


cherry tomatoes

The calendar and back to school posts indicate it’s ending.  But, the weather and my taste buds say otherwise.  Approaching 8 months pregnant, I am at a crossroads of wanting summer to end.  Purgatory, I call it: not quite ready for a newborn (who is?) nor wanting to be pregnant (ever again).  Sort of ready for pumpkins and soups but not ready to say goodbye to tomatoes.

Parenthood: the days are long but the years go fast.  Amen.


Lots of salsa & caprese salad in my household.

roasted tomatoes

Two years ago I couldn’t stand the idea of cucumbers and now I can’t get enough.


Maybe that means there’s hope for me and mayonnaise.  Ha, that’s funny.


This summer has been fairly light on the cooking side, but it has felt full.  Lots of trips to the Lake and water play on any day the weather permits.  My dearest friend got married and my boys are booming with personality (hugs and thank-you’s for days with a little hitting and broken TVs to note).  Daily reminders to appreciate each day.  Grilling a couple times a week.

You know, the joys of summer.

BBQ chicken

I suppose there’s no formal goodbye, summer will merely fade into fall with blurred lines.  I will be holding my little newborn and forget ever being pregnant or not ready.

You know, the joys of life.





Summer Salad

July 20, 2015


summer salad with walnuts

A couple of trips to the Lake, water tables, flip-flops, fresh fruit, summer salads….yes, it feels like summer.  Excluding all the rain we’ve had here.  And, the fact that I’m having a beverage-free summer (que tiny violin).  Every time I see the word rose, I automatically think rosé, so we know where my head is at, regardless.

toasted walnuts

The summer fruit, though, we can focus on that.  Summer never lets me down when it comes to the fresh stuff.  Today I’m sharing my frequent lunch staple.  Strawberries and/or blueberries paired with feta (cannot get enough of this cheese) and walnuts (daily requirement).

salad with berries

Let’s talk about lunch.  My current self, the working mom, feels quite guilty that I can sit down for lunch.  Alone.  No child needing something, no mess to clean, nothing.  The other day, I went to Home Depot over my lunch.  I’m checking out, with no kids I will note, feeling quite relaxed & successful in my productivity.  As many others have similarly stated, the clerk was impressed that I work a full-time job while having 3 young kids with 1 on the way.

july collage

It is more impressive to be a working mom, apparently….my previous SAHM is fuming and I’m just laughing at the irony every time someone alludes to this.  Guys, please, please, give props to the mom who goes to Home Depot with her kids (believe me, my husband and I did this together a few weeks ago and we vowed to never do it again.  Which, we will.).  I deal with adults during the day, human beings you can reason with in a controlled environment.  It’s outside the 8-5 where I learn patience, the art of negotiation, meaningful schedule coordination and true leadership skills.

I feel like I’m a better mom because of this balance.

Summer salad with dinner

On that note of balance, this salad feels like a great way to accomplish that for lunch.  Healthy greens, crunchy nuts, sweet fruit and the tangy salty feta.  Top it with a light vinaigrette and you’re all set.  Amounts are to taste, grilled chicken would be delicious on top, too.



Spinach or mixed green lettuce
Blueberries and/or sliced strawberries
Walnuts (toasted, if you have time!)
Crumbled Feta cheese
Red wine vinaigrette, balsamic vinaigrette or other light dressing


  • Toss ingredients together and enjoy summer!

summer salad with walnuts

{Steamed} Hard Boiled Eggs

June 10, 2015

hard boiled eggs

It’s time for me to get around to my May post and updates!  But we’re nearing the middle of June.  And, technically, this was supposed to be an April post (around Easter), so there you go.

I’ve had many signs that my life is not something I’m allowed to plan.


Said Baby Daggett #4, arriving this fall.  Baby BOY Daggett, that is.  3 boys within 2 years of age, people, tell me what my life will be like.

Probably like this:

House = dirty & loud

Pantry = mostly empty

Laundry room = smelly & busy

But, my heart will be full…these boys sure are big lovers.  Hugs and kisses everywhere.


We finally got some haircuts last weekend, and suddenly my little toddlers look like little boys.  Then, they ate chalk & dirt and threw the bowl of oatmeal on their heads and I was instantly reminded that they are still toddlers.

This busy life of mine has several tiny hungry mouths to feed.  Like most moms, I’m trying to find healthy, satisfying meals for these mouths.  As eggs are my own go-to morning menu item, it also is for the boys.  It looks like that will remain the case for many years to come, and so I finally-finally found my hard-boiled egg recipe. Finally!  After many, many different methods…from cold start to hot start, boil vs simmer, turn off the heat to timers to bringing to room temperature.  I’ve finally found the one that just works consistently…steaming the eggs.


Yes, you heard me correctly, let’s steam our eggs.

Steaming eggs to a hard boil is great because it’s fast: just bring an inch of water to a boil and place eggs (direct from fridge) into the steamer basket.  Cover & set the timer for 14-15 min & then rinse immediately in an ice bath until the eggs cool completely.  Done.  Easy for us non-planners.

steamed eggs

It’s true, older eggs are better for hard boiling.  Medium & same-size eggs produce the best results (think even cooking).  Shocking the eggs in the cold water makes for easier peeling.  Slicing the eggs in half & serving with a sprinkle of Kosher salt hits the spot.  Just a few notes from the experienced hard-boiled egg cook and eater.

Read more about the science of the processes here.

And, enjoy!


6 eggs, or however many your pot will hold
Kosher salt


  • Fill pot with steamer basket and an inch of water. Bring to a boil.  Add eggs, cover and set timer 14-15 min.  It may take a time or 2 to get the timing right.
  • Rinse eggs with cold water & place in ice bath for about 10 min or until completely cooled.
  • Peel egg, slice in half and sprinkle with Kosher salt.

hard boiled eggs


Sonoma, California

April 26, 2015

The Colors of the Wine Country.

wine country rose

That’s actually the name of a kids book I bought from a local winery, but it could easily describe the little weekend getaway I just had in Sonoma.  You could also call it the Perfect Weather & Gorgeous Scenery of Vineyards as Far as the Eye Can See.

sonoma vineyards

Based on my vacations last year to France you can see that I’m a sucker for the wine scene.

My parents generously gave the family a trip to Cali for a 4 day mini vacation & my in-laws graciously watched the kids.  Winning.


Well, sort of, I was basically the designated driver, but that didn’t stop me from soaking up the scenery and delicious food.  We stayed in a house near Glen Ellen, spending most of our time visiting Sonoma wineries.  At least we’ve settled the debate on where I’m retiring.

wine bench

Sonoma is definitely more “laid back” – less appointments required, a little more casual and down-to-earth.  It’s truly wonderful…you can drive around and literally see vineyard after vineyard, popping in where you like and taste fabulous wines.

And we ate a lot, of course.  Mustard’s Grill, Fremont Diner, the girl & the fig.  By far, my favorite meal was at Olive & Vine in Glen Ellen.  I will be forever trying to recreate their roasted chicken.  Apparently, I’m going to start brining my chicken before I roast it.  Yum, yum.

We hopped over to Napa for an afternoon, though, and had the most lovely day with more gorgeous views and a delicious spontaneous lunch.

alpha omega winery lr

We had a few discussions, you can call them, about the use of selfie sticks and the proper way to plan the days’ activities…for instance, some (i.e. me) were a little more excited about the morning spent in Jack London Park vs others who wore dresses, heels and wine clothes.  4 kids – we can’t all be alike, right?

redwoods jack london

No question, this vacation will most definitely go down in the books as a good great one.  Sonoma, I’ll be back!

fam wine pic

Soup time of year

February 22, 2015

Brrr.  It’s cold.

And, that’s fine, it IS still February. But, once it’s March, well, then my expectations head in a different, warmer direction.

March means I’ll have my own house again. And unpacking til next march.

Since it’s pretty chilly out there, and I keep making soup, I thought I’d share a few of my keep-the-belly-warm soup ideas. Because sometimes we all need a little inspiration, right?

This chili.

chilli with beans tomatoes meat

Endless opportunities to customize chilli. I love making it!

Fire-roasted tomato vegetable & beef soup.

Beef vegetable soup !

My go-to base in soup making.  Great for dinner or and lunch.

Homemade tomato soup. It is the Lenten season…

Homemade tomato soup

Chicken noodle soup.

Chicken Noodle Soup Bowl

A classic that never fails.

I have a bunch of others, here. Of course, I’m always experimenting with new soups, too.  Most soups taste better the next day so I try to make enough for leftovers.

And, I have a little helper to really make it fun & interesting.

little chef


Stay warm!


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