5 July 2017

ten thoughts on a wednesday

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a belated happy fourth of july!! i absolutely love independence day. it’s a little different celebrating it in england … it’s the only day of the year when i feel truly homesick for america. ian had to go to work of course, but we still made the day special – with our stars and stripes outfits, shake shack for dinner, and even some mini sparklers before bedtime! moses and i also enjoyed a picnic in the park with american friends and some classic american food (chocolate chip cookies, pigs in a blanket, oreos, pretzels, etc). we are really grateful for the freedom and security we experience as americans. traveling and living abroad has decreased my nationalism and increased my patriotism, which i think is good.

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speaking of the usa, we are headed there today! in just a few hours we leave to fly across the ocean and i am so pumped! our first stop is new york city. we are just sleeping over there and then hopping on a train tomorrow morning to go to baltimore, where ian’s brother lives. then we go on to grandma and grandpa’s house in texas and next monday we fly to utah. it’s going to be a crazy whirlwind trip full of family and jet lag and sun. i think the long-haul plane ride is going to be really different this time around than last time (in february to sri lanka) – moses now very much understands the joy of independent mobility and is as wiggly as they come. sooo…send us some good vibes for an okay long flight with a one year old!

ian and i have been talking about gratitude a lot lately – about how gratitude can transform anything. we’re trying to remember gratitude whenever we become critical or complain. there is always something to be grateful for.

speaking candidly, it has been difficult for me to cultivate friendships since we moved to london. i think there are several reasons for that that make sense, but it’s been kind of hard for me to adjust to this new pattern of relationship-making (in all my previous moves to new cities, awesome friendships have developed pretty easily). more recently, i’ve felt more secure in growing friendships, and that makes me really glad! last week i went to dinner with some girlfriends and we sat at the table chatting and laughing for over two hours, and it was good for the soul.

i’ve decided that it’s time for me to start investing more in taking care of my skin, and for me to learn how to use makeup. now that i’m thirty one – haha! i’ve just always winged it with drug store products, but ever since having a baby the skin on my face has been noticeably more worn down, and it just needs and deserves some tlc! the beauty product world is so foreign (and quite overwhelming!) to me, but i’m starting to delve in a bit…

moses is just the cutest. here’s some pictures of him having fun at the mirror. gosh we just love this kid. he makes life one million times better.

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last week moses and i took the tube to the end of the line to play with some friends out in kew. it’s always pretty nice to get out of central london and have a bit more space to breathe. we spotted some lovely charming sights around kew and snapped a couple of pictures. i really love england so much. IMG_7940 IMG_7944

moses is obsessed with his dad, and it makes me so happy! whenever ian is around, mo is constantly reaching for him, and as soon as he gets in his dad’s arms he pats him on the back and makes sounds of glee. if ian hands moses off to me, baby boy often starts furiously signing “more please, more please!” and leaning back towards dad. he often spontaneously snuggles into ian’s neck to give a legitimate hugs. he can barely contain his excitement when ian gets home from work in the evenings, or when he gets to get in the shower with dad. it’s just the sweetest thing to watch the loving relationship between those two boys of mine.

last friday, my dear friend brittany had a long layover in london. so, naturally, we went to a fancy afternoon tea together! if you’ve read this blog for even just a little while, you’ll know that brittany is my soulmate when it comes to appreciating lovely things. there’s no one i’d rather share afternoon tea (one of my favourite things on earth) with! i had been looking forward to this experience for months – i saved up some leftover monthly budget money and i even arranged for moses to stay at home with a friend so i could enjoy tea with both hands! we went to claridge’s and positively swooned over all the prettiness and deliciousness and wonderfulness. although we decided claridge’s is overpriced when compared to other afternoon tea experiences, we had a truly fabulous time.

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seriously, we have the sweetest little baby in the world.
i can’t wait to see mo’s excitement being with his cousins, celebrating his birthday at grandma and grandpa’s house, and experiencing the unparalleled wonders of bear lake for the first time!

this blog may be a bit quiet over the next couple of weeks while we are traveling around the usa. but you can follow along on our adventures via instagram if you want!

happy wednesday! life is beautiful!

3 July 2017

a first birthday party for moses!


last saturday we celebrated moses’s upcoming first birthday with a crowd of our awesome londoner friends!

we gathered in a park near our flat (the same place we had our gender reveal party last february!) and ate ice cream cones, cheered kids on as they whacked open a piƱata, chatted, laughed, and partied hard. it was a pretty epic afternoon full of friends and festivity.

we will be in texas (at grandma and grandpa’s house!) on moses’s actual birthday this coming sunday, so it was really great to gather with a big bunch of our london friends and celebrate together. ian and i (and moses!) are so grateful for all the wonderful people in our life here in this city (including those who couldn’t come to the party or didn’t make it into the photo above!). we are sure lucky to have a lot of amazing examples and growing friendships in work, church, and life.

and little mo is lucky to have loads of pals and admirers :) 

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^^ moses wasn’t entirely sure what was going on at the beginning of his party… ^^

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^^ but once he got his first taste of ice cream, he knew this was all about a verrrry happy occasion! ^^
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^^ ian really packed that pinata so it was incredibly hard to crack, and three sticks were broken in the process, haha! at last the biggest of the kids at the party bust it open and treats abounded! ^^
^^ i’m not sure what’s going on in this photo, but it’s so happy and colourful! ^^
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^^ we’ve been pretty strict about not giving moses any sweets so far, but at his birthday party we decided to let him have at it with the ice cream :) he was pretty into it. ^^
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^^ always wanting to stand up! i wonder if he’ll be walking by the time we get back to london from our trip to the usa?! ^^
^^ mo with sweet friends, a few of whom arrived after we snapped the group picture! aren’t these kiddos the cutest?! ^^
^^ after the party we opened presents at home. we told our guests they definitely didn’t need to bring gifts, but a few did anyway. little mo didn’t complain about that! ;) he mostly got new books, which we were all thrilled about! ^^

i can’t believe our little baby is almost a one year old. we love him soooooooo much and we all three had such a blast at his london birthday party! thanks for celebrating with us, friends!!

30 June 2017

crazy easy, beautiful and delicious homemade artisan bread

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a few weeks ago, i mentioned in a ten thoughts on a wednesday post that i had started making homemade artisan bread, and many of you asked for the recipe!

i am not exaggerating when i say that the first time i took a loaf of this bread out of the oven, my jaw dropped and i gasped. i honestly couldn’t believe that i had made something so beautiful from scratch so easily! all i did was mix together four ingredients, leave it overnight, and put it in the oven. what the?! i’m officially obsessed and have had to limit my bread making to two loaves per week :)

the one thing about this recipe is that it requires a dutch oven / heavy cast iron dish. we got a le creuset brand pot for our wedding and it is without a doubt my favourite kitchen item that we own. it can be used on the stove top and put in the oven and is incredibly useful – and really pretty! ;) if you don’t have a suitable dish for this recipe, i recommend getting one as a kitchen investment if you can swing it (there are definitely other brands that are cheaper than le creuset).

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so here’s the super simple, easy recipe for making gorgeous bread that would fool anyone into thinking you’re a total homemade bread pro!

in a large bowl, mix together 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 tps dry yeast, and 2 tsp kosher or sea salt. then, gradually add 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water while stirring. **do not overmix!** stir until everything is just combined – your dough should be kind of shaggy.

cover the bowl tightly (really try to make sure no air can get in) and let it sit at room temperature for 8 hours, over night, or up to 24 hours.

when you’re ready to bake your bread, heat up your oven to 450 f / 230 c. once the oven is fully heated, put your dish, uncovered, in the oven for thirty minutes. meanwhile, take the dough out of the bowl, shape it into a loose ball and cover it lightly.

after the thirty minutes are up, put the dough ball into the dish (i like to use parchment paper just to reduce mess). cover the dish and bake the bread for thirty minutes. remove the lid and let the bread bake for a few more minutes (it will depend on your oven and your preference – i usually let it bake uncovered for just 5-10 minutes, but you might want it a little more browned or have an oven that browns a bit slower). 

bam! crazy easy, beautiful and delicious homemade artisan bread!

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i’ve been experimenting with adding extra ingredients to this recipe. my favourite so far has been dried cranberries and slivered almonds. i’ve also done cheese, and pesto … the possibilities are endless! my first cheese loaf was a tiny bit weird, so it does take a little bit of adjusting on the recipe/baking time if you add things in. but after a couple loaves you kind of just figure out what works best with what ingredients. if you try any cool add-ins, will you leave me a comment and let me know?!

happy bread baking!

(ps i just realized this is my one thousandth post on this blog! and that this year marks ten years of blogging for me! wild. i really love having this little spot on the world wide web – thank you for reading!)
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