Ice Cream Evenings

22 May 2019

Here in the Philadelphia area, it feels like summer is right at our fingertips. We've gotten some 80-degree sunshine, our community pool opens Memorial Day Weekend, and the sun doesn't set until 8 PM!

Most of my time exploring local things is with kids (Tabora Farms, Maple Acres Farm, Elmwood Park Zoo), but sometimes I get out and do stuff just with friends! 😉 (Though I did go kayaking with Devin locally so it's not like I onlyyy explore things with kids haha.)

This week, a Philly friend introduced me to the Trolley Car Ice Cream Shoppe in Chestnut Hill, which made life feel even more summery. Christie and I met up after my kids went to bed, and we ordered our ice cream from a restored trolley car. Some parts of Philly still have trolleys, but they don't look like this anymore! They had an impressive list of flavors, water ice (I can't explain it to non-locals, you just have to come here to try it), sundaes, and soft-serve....which almost made it hard to choose what to get! (Sea salt caramel pretzel hand-dipped ice cream. No question.)

(Another) Simple Breakfast Casserole

17 May 2019

My sister-in-law and I had a relaxing morning play date this week, and this was the easy thing I whipped up before she and her little guy came over! I chopped everything ahead of time, so all I had to do was pop it in the oven just before she arrived. It was the most laid back, relaxing time together! Even though we had to correct our kids every 3.7 seconds ("Emma, you may NOT scream, can you say "help please?" and Aiden, please stop scraping the stucco off the side of the house because WE NEED SOMEONE TO BUY THIS PLACE), it was soooo nice to sip iced coffee and eat some brunch outside in the sunshine while the kids ran around. Brunch + spring + friends + sunshine is a WINNING combination.

See my other favorite breakfast casserole recipe here (who DOESN'T like a casserole topped with tater tots?!). 

I found a similar breakfast casserole online when I was searching for a dairy-free recipe to bring to brunch with a friend who's not eating dairy, and I've tweaked it a few times to come up with this pretty solid recipe that absolutely does include dairy. I wouldn't personally skip on cheese + milk except for the sake of a friend who can't have it, but if you need to leave out the dairy ingredients, I promise it'll still be good!

Of course, feel free to add and substitute whatever you want. 

It's that kind of recipe. A "recipe."  

What I used: 
  • 2 small-medium potatoes, peeled
  • 7 eggs
  • 2 cups chopped, fresh spinach (about 2 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves)
  • 1/2 a medium-sized white onion
  • 1/3 cup milk (HI DAIRY HOW YOU DOIN)
  • 1 tbsp oil (for sauteing)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cheese for topping
  • extra salt/pepper to taste, after baked
  • 13x9 glass pan
  • nonstick pan for precooking potatoes
What I did: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. 
  2. Chop the 2 handfuls of spinach, half an onion and 2 potatoes. The smaller the chopped pieces, the less of big chunks of things you'll get in the casserole. 
  3. Sautee the potatoes, onion, and spinach for about 5 minutes until starting to get soft. 
  4. Add the seasonings to the pan of potatoes/onion/spinach and stir. 
  5. Dump all those seasoned ingredients into the 13x9 pan. 
  6. Stir the 7 eggs + 1/3 cup milk until smooth. Pour over the potato/onion/spinach mix in the 13x9 baking dish!
  7. Top with any cheese you'd like!
  8.  Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until the egg is solid throughout the whole pan. 
**To make it dairy free, skip the milk + cheese. 

2 cups of chopped spinach sounds like a STUPID amount of spinach, but it really does cook down when you get it over the stove with the potatoes and onion. And as I was eating each bite, I couldn't even taste the spinach at all. Sneaky vegetables are my jam. It's like tricking myself into eating a little healthier!

Other veggies you could add:
  • green peppers
  • sweet potato
  • sausage
  • bacon
  • kale?
  • what other vegetables even exist? Because I named like all 3 that I know of........

What are some of your favorite breakfast recipes or "recipes"? 😉 

Our First House

14 May 2019

I've been writing for 7 years about "our house," but now we're selling it and looking for something in the same area with more space. So it's no longer "our house" but instead, "our first house."

When Devin and I moved in, all we each had a suitcase and free furniture from relatives who were downsizing. We had empty closets and sparse rooms. And 7 years later, we were listing random things on Facebook marketplace, donating old toys to the thrift store, taking boxes of winter coats + toys to storage, and trying to pare down four people's worth of stuff so that the real estate agent's pictures would look good.

This house was full of firsts. Our first years of marriage, when we came back from our honeymoon and ate our first dinner together and you could see all the pipes in the bathroom because there wasn't sheetrock on the walls yet. The first dog we got together (and please, Lord, hopefully the last. I'm not cut out to care for small children AND a dog). The time he pooped diarrhea all over our first Christmas tree because he still had parasites and was only partially housebroken. The first time we hosted both our families over. We had our first baby here. He took his first steps down the hallway, just outside the bathroom. This is the house we hosted our first married friends in, the place we had small group, the place we had a million bonfires.

This house is full of memories. Aiden and Emma running from room to room because one has a toy and the other thinks chasing is fun. Devin doing the tile backsplash for the first and second time. The tools piled everywhere, us dancing to the song Book of Love. Turning the office into a nursery. Painting and repainting everything all the time always. Redoing our kitchen cabinets in the dead of winter. Playing cornhole in the backyard when the kids go to bed.

THE LIVING ROOM: Part 1, Part 2 

These pictures don't have any of us in them, which feels a little weird because I can only picture our house with us in it, and it's never quiet or still like the pictures make it seem. Head over to my Instagram Stories to see all the "before" photos, the ones that were online when we first bought the house! How funny are all those in process photos I linked to above?! The bad photography and scary mid-renovation shots are hilarious to me! We've come SO far! haha. I only took like 3 of the photos in today's post (and I'm sure you can tell which ones.) Thanks to our amazing photographer from Diane's office!

Have you done any house projects or renovations? How has your decorating style changed over the years? 

Nashville Eats

10 May 2019

I took almost zero photos of my food because there was no way I was wasting even one second before digging in. Shamelessly.

I know, I know, I'm a self-proclaimed cheapskate. And yes, eating out is more expensive than making all your food at your Airbnb. But this was our only vacation for all of 2019! And we wanted to try all the local places!

I share lots of fun things in this post on visiting Nashville with kids, and most of the places we went to eat in Nashville were kid-friendly because Aiden & Emma came with us. At the end, I share tons more recommendations from my sister who went to school there for four years and spent her time finding all the best places to eat.