I’m breaking up with Target.

November 11, 2015

photo-1445883791079-421522d11f18Photo via Unsplash

I’ve been thinking a lot about my new small town life lately. Needless to say, moving from Minneapolis to small town Iowa has been a big change. Sure, I grew up in this small town, but living in a community as a child vs. an adult is a totally different ball game.

I’ve phoned my mom a dozen times asking where to get/do certain things. Where do you drop off dry cleaning? (Answer: Joe’s TV and Appliance, and it will take a week to get back to you.) Where do you buy envelopes? (Answer: You should just go to the neighboring town’s Walmart 20 minutes away.) The paint store closes and noon on Saturday and nothing is open on Sunday, so if you don’t plan in advance, you’re just out of luck unless you want to drive an hour. The list goes on and on.

But this new life we’re living? I love it. No seriously! It’s slow and simple and free of many of the distractions that come with busy city living. It’s also free of Target. Most people shuddered, myself included, when I said that we were about 45 minutes from our nearest Target. “How will you survive?” they asked. “I could never live that far away from Target!” they exclaimed. Trust me, I thought the same thing. We lived in the mecca of Targets, smack dab in the middle of Minneapolis near the 3rd highest grossing Target in the nation. It. was. wonderful.

Since we’ve moved three months ago I’ve walked through the doors of Target only twice. Yes, twice! I can hardly believe it myself. But you guys? It’s been so good for my wallet and my heart. This sounds a little gross to admit, but in the past when I was having a bad day it wasn’t uncommon for me to pack up Ainsley and head to Target, browsing the isles and tossing things I didn’t need in my cart. I didn’t have a spending problem, but my behavior certainly wasn’t healthy and it didn’t actually fix whatever was bothering me, either.

While living in Minneapolis, I had a friend who told me she purposely chooses not to shop at Target because it’s such a spending black hole. Come in for a birthday card and a gallon of milk, leave with a picture frame, two candles, a new outfit for Ainsley and new shoes you don’t need. You know the feeling. I know the feeling. I hate thinking about how much money I’ve wasted over the years purchasing things I don’t actually need.

These days when I need big-box type items, like toothpaste and paper products, I go to Walmart. And no offense to Walmart but I have no desire to mindlessly wander the aisles of Walmart just for the fun of it. It’s an in-and-out type exchange and very few impluse purchases are made. I’m amazed at how Target, something that used to seem like such a necessity in my life, hasn’t really been missed at all!

Okay, so am I taking an absolute stance on no Target? No. After all, I didn’t say I was boycotting the store. It’s fun to pop in around Christmas time or grab a coffee and walk the aisles mindlessly without a baby on your hip, but I’m much better off when Target isn’t a part of my daily, weekly or even monthly routine.


Food & Recipes

Quick and Easy No-Bake Pumpkin Cookies

November 10, 2015

Pumpkin No-Bake CookiesNo-bake cookies, the kind with cocoa and oats and sugar, are a favorite in our house. They’re easy, tasty and store well for quite a while, which is important when your home crew of cookie eaters is small. I remember my mom telling me stories of how her mom would make these cookies, and the idea of continuing on with that tradition makes me smile.

quick-and-easy-no-bake-pumpkin-cookies_01I don’t make no-bake cookies all that often, but when I do they’re always a hit. Now that it’s pumpkin-everything season, I thought it was high time someone made a pumpkin adaptation of this classic no-bake cookie! That someone, I guess, was me because I’m sharing the recipe over at And chances are you already have all the ingredients you need sitting in your pantry. Hop on over for the full recipe and step-by-step instructions: Quick and Easy Pumpkin No-Bake Cookies.




Ainsley Update: 8 Months

November 5, 2015

I have pretty much fallen off the monthly update bandwagon completely, but since I talk a lot about motherhood and Ainsley, I thought it was time to give a little update. Although I don’t think I’ll resume monthly updates, my plan is to check in from time to time with all things Ainsley.

Ainsley has been doing so many new things lately! She is now confidently crawling around the house (she started crawling about a month ago) and pulling up on everything in sight. She isn’t quite coordinated enough for me to leave her unsupervised and has an affinity for the corners of tables and hard surfaces, which makes her momma nervous.

She is also making a lot more noise. No words to speak of, but lots of “mama” and “dada” and “baba” without any real understanding of what she is saying. I’m trying to claim that she knows what “mama” means, but Joe strongly disagrees!

Health Concerns
I’ve talked a little about how Ainsley was born with a medical issue that required her to have surgery when she was 8 weeks old. Her diagnosis (which we’ve chosen not to disclose for Ainsley’s privacy) required us to do a series of follow-up tests and exams over the first year of her life. Thankfully, everything has gone as well as we could have hoped, and it appears that aside from the surgery she had to correct her lip gap and ear tags, we don’t anticipate Ainsley having any other issues! It’s an extreme answer to prayers, as we went from doctor to doctor having her checked out. They said if she had not had the small gap in her lip, she would probably have never been diagnosed because she shows no other symptoms. What a blessing it is to have such a skilled and competent medical team at Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minneapolis.

Ainsley is doing really well. She goes to bed around 7:30 and sleeps anywhere between 10 and 12 hours with no wakings. If she wakes up after 10 hours, I’ll feed her a bottle and she goes back to sleep for 2 more. Everyone in the house is feeling well-rested these days.

Ainsley is eating 4 bottles a day, usually 6 to 8 oz each. We’ve also started to make a more consistent effort to feed her around mealtimes, so she is eating food 3 times a day, in addition to plenty of Cheerios, which seem to be her new favorite. Bonus? They’re way cheaper than the puffs we had been buying! She has decided lately that she isn’t all that into baby food and would prefer to eat whatever is on our plates.

Pippa continues to be Ainsley’s favorite play toy. She pulls on Pippa’s tail and covers her in drool, and we’re always trying to keep Pippa from licking Ainsley’s face. It’s so cute to see them together and Pippa couldn’t be more patient! Nutmeg, on the other hand, steers clear from Ainsley. She isn’t hostile to Ainsley in any way, but since she is older you can tell she has less interest in being around a loud, grabby baby. Ainsley actually LOVES Nutmeg and gets super excited every time Nutmeg is around, which is a testament to playing “hard to get” I guess!

Mom + Dad
We are having SO much fun with this little girl. Every day seems to get better and better, and we keep talking about trying to find a way to stop time. Anyone figured that out yet? Joe and I have both had some travel on our schedules this fall. I took a girls grip to Indy two months ago, and a work trip to New York as well. Joe has traveled all over for work, so we’re both getting used to spending a little time away from Ainsley. Hoping to take our first trip as a couple without baby early next year!



New Mom Style :: Comfy Casual {+ a giveaway!}

November 1, 2015




StellaAndDot_6Jeans from Madewell :: Sweater from Anthropologie :: Shoes from Tieks :: Legend Pendant Necklace c/o Kim Jensen :: Aurora Ring Set c/o Kim Jensen :: Deja Vu Pearl Studs c/o Kim Jensen

Curating a practical mom-drobe has changed the way I shop. Because I’m toting a messy, drooly baby around town half of the day, my clothes rarely make it through the day without a few spots and stains, meaning dry clean only items are a thing of the past. Some might say off-white isn’t practical with kiddos, but I love wearing white. As long as I can wash it at the end of the day, I’m good!

This sweater is incredibly comfortable, cozy and flattering. I paired it with my favorite skinny jeans, flats and some beautiful baubles from Stella & Dot. This is the second outfit that Kim styled for me, and I’m loving the edgy + lady like look these three pieces create. The pearl studs are actually reversible, so it’s like owning two pairs of earrings in one, which is perfect for a jewelry minimalist like myself.

Kim has been so kind to host a giveaway for Espresso and Cream readers! She will be giving away a $25 gift card to her Stella & Dot shop to one lucky reader. Thanks, Kim, for hosting the giveaway and keeping my mom-drobe looking fresh and stylist. Even if you don’t win, I would highly suggest hopping over to Kim’s page and doing a little holiday shopping – I know I already did!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Food & Recipes

From the Archives: Fritos Scotcheroos

October 30, 2015

Today, just in time for Saturday football games and Halloween, I’m dusting off a recipe from the archives. Joe had a work potluck today and specifically requested that I make these Fritos Scotcheroos. And who am I to deny Joe and his co-workers these amazing bars?

Before we get too far, let’s be clear: These are not healthy in any way. In fact, I think I remarked yesterday while making them that they might be the least healthy recipe on the site. But there is a time and place for over-the-top decadence, and when you’re looking to indulge, I think these bars are a pretty good option. They are the prefect mix of sweet and salty! Just be sure to cut them small to avoid going over-the-top.

You can find the recipe HERE



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