March Coffee Date - 2019 - Skillful Cook
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March Coffee Date - 2019

Coffee cake sliced in a bowl.

It is the March coffee date and I have something big to tell you:

I have officially switched over to iced coffees for the season! (Also, iced coffees with this coffee cake which I'll be sharing soon? YES TO THE YES.)

I mean, if you want to get really specific about it, I still make hot coffee at home until about June at which point I start making cold brew in these cute little glass bottles. But my coffee shop order nowadays is a decaf iced soy latte with a half shot of vanilla, and it is the perfect springy sipper.

Are you onto iced coffees yet? Still holding out for hot drinks?

Today we are talking about:

Settle in, grab a carrot cake energy bite, and let's talk this month out.

House Hunting!

An attic bedroom with a bed, crib and furniture.

Bjork and I are thinking about possibly moving! How's that for a wishy-washy, anti-climactic piece of news?

We aren't in a rush, but we are looking at houses. We love, love, love our house, and would also love to have a little more space now that we've got a little squish on board.

Do you know what's really hard?

Finding the very exact right place. Or maybe that's just me.

You want it to match all your things: location, size, budget, layout, schools, but then there's the most evasive one - the feel of it. Like, the heart. Know what I mean? I feel this so hardcore - like every place has its own vibe and energy, and I really want to end up in a place that has the right feel for us.

Okay, so talk to me about this.

How do you know when a place is right? Do you make the decision with your head? or heart?

Related / please share thoughts: we think we want to live on a lake. A LAKE. As a person who does exactly zero physical manual labor, what do I need to know about this? Tons of work? Reasons why it could be amazing? Teach me.


Okay, just a quick note to say that I recently got a massage because TREAT YOURSELF! and TAKE TIME TO RELAX! and all of that, and guess what?

I actually don't really like getting a massage.

Am I the only one?

This Random Cool Thing

A person holding up a white container in their right hand.

Know what this is? This is the FAT TRAPPER!

I've made several recipes this month with bacon (Breakfast Meal Prep Sandwiches and the Sunday Chili) and it has reminded me how much I love my little Fat Trapper!

Bjork got this for me (what in the world, honestly) a few years ago and we just always keep it in our fridge and it's great.

The idea is that you need a place to pour hot grease when you're done with it, so you pour it into this little heat-safe pouch that can handle hot oil, tuck it into your Fat Trapper, and then toss when it gets full, which, for me, has happened like 2x in the last five years.

Here's a link to the Fat Trapper on Amazon. (This is an affiliate link.)

Solvi Lu

A woman and a baby sitting together.

I was going to call this section Solvi's Nursery, but then I remembered that it's just forever half-done so there's not much to share, and then I was going to call this Solvi's Schedule, but then I remembered that it's changing every two days, and then I was going to call this Solvi's Sleep Update, but then I remembered that we are about to start a sleep training program because that whole sleep thing has kind of imploded. <- So, yeah. There's her update!

Parenting mishaps aside, our lil Solster is straight Joy with a capital J. We love her so much and we are just having so much fun watching her personality bloom.

Six months is my favorite age yet. She still has some little tough spots, for sure. Last night we saw each other a few too many times between the hours of 10pm and 5am, and today I eventually just resorted to nursing her to sleep for her naps because... well, struggles.

But overall, wow. WHAT FUN. Smiles, giggles, and “dh, dh, dh” baby-whispered from the backseat.

Long, sunny spring days feel synonymous with a fog lifting on this baby chapter of our lives. I am so excited to get this sweet, soft-spoken, alert baby girl outside and adventure with her. You know, the kind of adventures involving park benches, squeaky chew toys, and iced coffees.

New Work Space, Burnout, and Pressing Pause For a Minute

A dining area with a chalkboard on the wall.

Here, I'll give you options.

Short version:

  • We are about to begin the remodel on an office unit for our team!
  • We have a new (temporary) kitchen space for me to work from!
  • It's all a lot of work! And I'm still getting the hang of mom life!
  • I'm feeling a little stressed, so I'm going to press pause on new recipes for a week or two.

Long version:

The other day I came across these pictures of Bjork on vacation in California, and do you know what we were doing? We were attempting to record a Food Blogger Pro course. While on vacation. Like, we flew to California and went to the beach and we were like, here, mic me up, let's use this day to teach people about blogging. On a beach. What in the actual.

In the end, it didn't even work out (I'm not even kidding, birds started attacking me - it was a sign from the universe), and in hindsight, we should have just given ourselves some time and space to BE IN CALIFORNIA and not been so frantic to always get stuff done.

I'm getting older and wiser, maybe, so I'm now going to take that sentence and apply it to my current situation:

I should just give myself some time and space to MOVE INTO A NEW KITCHEN and not be so frantic to always get stuff done.

Here, you try:

I should just give myself some time and space to ____________________ and not be so frantic to always get stuff done.

That line we walk as ambitious workers and business owners and moms and dads and bloggers and humans - it is so thin. That push and pull of working harder than anyone you know, but also relaxing so you don't burn out, all while constantly trying to create amazing things? Like, good luck with that. It is HARD. It was hard before kids, and it's hard after kids.

As I've gotten older, I've gotten better at sensing burnout's slow creep before it is in full-blown life takeover mode. And right now, while I feel so energized by projects around the corner, I can also feel the slow creep coming on. And my preventative measure for keeping burnout at bay is just giving myself some time and space.

So I'm gonna take some time and space. A week or two. And I just wanted you guys to know. The irony is that I won't be resting, really. I'll be just catching my breath. Doing the stuff that needs to get done that I don't want to squeeze into the two hours post-baby-bedtime.

I can't wait to bring you my best, organized, non-frantic self, and all her good recipes! ♡

This is a throwback, but yes, you need it.

A brown dog wearing a headband with rabbit ears.

Sage would like to remind you:

Whatever happens, you are enough. You are a human being of unsurpassable worth. You are amazing.

And you know you gotta listen when the dog with the bunny ears talks to you.

Filed Under: Life

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    We sleep trained at six months and it was life saving. Six months was the time when I started saying “this is my favourite age” and I haven’t stopped saying it… and my daughter is eight now. Every new stage is somehow more magical than the last. You have so much good ahead of you!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Mine is only 9 months old but I already totally agree that each age is my favorite. Except for the whining, haha.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    I agree on the house thing. I bought my first house two years ago. My realtor and I looked at so many houses, but none of them “spoke” to me like this little house. It is perfect for me and my dogs. I’ve done 95% of the remodel work myself and I couldn’t be happier. You will know when you find the right place.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Ditto on finding the exact right home! When we did the first tour of our house, the first thing that popped out of my mouth was ‘This house is adorable. I love this house’, and I literally walked around the place whispering ‘I love this house!’ like a big weirdo. When we came back a few days later with my in-laws, my mantra suddenly switched to ‘I want this house’ and I could not stop saying it. Thankfully, my husband felt the same and we’ve been in our home for almost three years now. :o) It’s kind of like finding your spouse – there are other options that might check the boxes, but only one special place that’s home for your heart.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    What is this about throwing out bacon grease? That’s prime cooking fat!

    Love the photos of Solvi and Sage.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi Lyndsey,
      First of all I love your blogs and have been following you for years. Second of all this the first time I have ever commented on social media. I’ve seen you evolve like you are my daughter! I’m 57, so old enough to be your mom! I want to comment on you deciding to move. I have moved 6 times since my divorce in 2012
      I would have been in the one house if I was still married.
      We had our house custom built. I truly loved my house. You seem to be a ” nester” I am one as well.
      The way I found one of my houses was driving by a home that was an open house and the minute I walked in, I knew that was the one. I think the best advice I can give is to relax and know that it will happen when you least expect it. I know that sounds cliche, but sometimes things happen that throw us off course like the divorce, then having to find that perfect match home again. I’m still looking! And it’s been 6 years! As my 87 year old mom says ” keep up the faith!” Home is where your heart is.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am never one to dole out unsolicited advice. Really. Ask anyone 😉
    But I am going to offer one piece of advice now. If you do not want it, that is totally fine (well of course it is…). Maybe someone can use it. If not, just always remember the mantra mothers should live by: Good for [blank], not for me.
    ANYWAY: I have noticed that many American mothers / parents I know stress about sleep schedules. And so I just wanted to let you know that this is not the case ir example in my country. So it does not have to be that way. This is not to say that if YOU personally are stressed out be sleep schedules (or the lack of one), you shouldn’t di everything you need to to de-stress about it. It is just to say that you do not have to stress about it if you are ok with an inconsistent sleeping pattern at the moment. The way it is seen here is that children are vastly different (what a revelation, I know…) and sleeping through the night comes more easily for some, and not for others.
    So if possible for you personally (meaning: if you are going insane, not possible for you personally…), give it time.
    They all sleep more than enough come puberty…
    So, off my soapbox now.
    I enjoyed reading your coffee date, as always. Take care.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I totally agree with this, including the “IF it works for you”. My daughter will be two in May, and I just focus on total sleep in a 24hour period. Since she was six months old I’ve logged her sleep hours on an app and as long as she’s getting enough total, I try not to stress about when it is. For months and months she averaged 14 hours and 14 minutes a day, it was so strange to see that week after week. Then as she got older it got less and less and now she’s about 12.5 hours a day.
      We had a couple rough seasons while she was teething or going through a growth spurt where it didn’t work well for my sanity, so we were a little more strict with schedules then. Overall she’s a great sleeper now and will gladly tell me “go night night” whenever she’s tired and will contentedly relax in her bed even if she can’t sleep.

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      I totally agree with this about not having to feel stressed out about baby’s sleep even though people might make you think you need to be stressed. Babies naturally wake up at night! It’s actually a normal phenomenon, and they sleep through the night when they are ready, just like they walk and talk when they are ready and we don’t “train” them to do those things 🙂 Good luck!! And thank you for sharing with us. Solvi seems totally delicious and adorable.

    3. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks for this Jane 🙂 As a mom to s one year who has never slept through the night (she actually wakes up a few times) I needed this.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Thank you! I have two girls. One is five now, slept through the night at about 8 months. Lucky us! They other is 2, a very tall and thin little girl, and she still sometimes wakes up at night just because she is hungry. And that is who she is and it’s ok.
        But it is easier for us here because we get a looooong paid maternity/paternity leave (me and my husband both took 7 months, so for the first 14 months, it was sort if easier still). But as I said before – babies be babies, there’s not much you can (or must!) do!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Moving is hard! We lived in a house similar to yours in St. Paul and I was obsessed with staying in St. Paul but moving to a different neighborhood. After going to about 30 open houses, I finally came to peace with the realization that we could not afford to live in St. Paul in the neighborhoods I wanted and ALSO get even a slightly bigger house (our first house was about 1000 sq ft, 1.5 story). I was EXTREME anti-suburbs, anti-split level houses.

    Guess where we ended up? In a split level house in the suburbs. Well, kind of – we’re in Falcon Heights, but yes it’s a suburb. Basically I just got sick of going to the same old houses in St. Paul that needed SO much work and were tiny, with no yard, and started browsing around online and found a few houses in FH that we checked out. One looked great online but wasn’t ideal in person, one looked AWFUL online, and really was super ugly in person too, but we could see that it had potential – a kitchen that could easily be renovated, floors that could be refinished, walls that could be painted, etc. I’m SO glad we ended up where we did – I wanted to be in a place that was convenient to everything we needed, which this is, but the biggest thing we didn’t recognize in our obsession with staying in St. Paul was that we both REALLY wanted a space where we could entertain people more comfortably. The 3 Ls is something I was told to focus on – unchangeable things about a house – Location, Layout, Lot. You can change a lot of the other things, but those 3 you really need to be happy with from the get go.

    I know nothing about living on a lake other than observing my parents and in-laws with their lake homes and the upkeep/stuff you need is $$$$$$$$$$$$$. Not for me, I know that, but some people love it!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I was fairly anti-suburb, and we’re about to move to WOODBURY of all places! But it’s close to work, so we don’t have to waste our lives away in the car. It’s in a sweet neighborhood that feels less like a subdivision than many we looked in. And it has the potential to truly become our home. I’m coming around to the idea that a neighborhood is what you make of it. Just because it doesn’t have historical charm doesn’t mean it can’t be charming!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    With a house on a lake or any body of water, you have to consider flood insurance – which may or may not be a deal breaker, but is an additional expense to be considered. Best of luck with the house hunt! (In the middle of it now in Boston and feeling some frustration – things are on the market an average of 4 days, which doesn’t give you much time to consider!)

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I should just give myself some time and space to organize and enjoy the new changes and not be so frantic to always get stuff done.

    Burnout is REAL. I am in the process of switching jobs, which should be joyous, but it’s very stressful. I cut back on many engagements for the next weeks because I was so exhausted and overwhelmed and cranky. Sometimes you just need some time and space!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I don’t usually comment on blogs…your post spoke to me though. Buying a house is a big deal. I’ve only bought 2 as an adult and have to say it really is a combination of a heart and head decision with your spouse. For us, the head part is the amount we could afford, the location and the list of things that were really necessary (# of bedrooms, sq footage, etc), and of course the wish list of things that we would love in our new house though aren’t a must or a need. The heart part of the decision is the feeling you get when you first see it from the street, when you first walk inside, walking around in it, etc. How does it feel to you? For my husband and I, our heart and our head really had to work together and be a guide for the other. What we found was that when we made the lists ahead of time, listened to each other and trusted that we’d find the right home, it happened and we loved it. Our 2 hearts and our 2 minds lead each other in the process. Have fun and enjoy the process even when it doesn’t feel like you’re finding what you want, cause you will!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love these posts!!! And i really wanted to thank you for talking about burn out. I realized last fall i was in the middle of full blown burn out and trying to understand that i need time to catch my breath before even resting! I hope to someday be like you and be able to recognize the slow creep – thank you for sharing and Solvi & Sage could not BE any cuter! Thank you for writing this so transparently – not only do i love that but it also inspires me to schedule coffee dates with my girls. 🙂

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    This post…..very timely for me.

    The best pre baby advice I received was to be kind to my partner and myself. I have an adorable 5 month old baby boy, a high-stress job as an attorney and am in escrow on a house. I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the need to be the best mother, wife, friend, daughter, employee etc. So, I take a breath, remember that advice and give myself a break. You’re doing just great.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    We lived in a house in a small town on Lake Michigan in Wisconsin for a year. We were across the street from a park that ran along the lake, so we didn’t have as much maintenance, but we had access to a small beach and a view of the water all day every day. It may be the closest I will ever come to living on the beach and we loved it. If you can do it, do it! The views, the sound of peace, the sense of calm, the connection to nature while sipping coffee! One warning: Prepare yourself for lots and lots of bugs 😉

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    I used to drink iced coffee from March through October… this year I pretty much drank it year round except for a few times!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    You are exactly where you need to be. That’s my post-baby mantra that I tell myself almost every day, especially on days I feel overwhelmed. The important things will get done, the other stuff might not, and somehow, the things that are meant to be work out.

    As for houses, I’m a big believer in feel. We’ve renovated every house we’ve lived in and for the most part, you can change almost everything about a house! For us, location, feel/charm, and bones are the most important. Everything else can be remodeled!

    Nursing babies to sleep is one of my favorite things and something that I am missing so much right now. Sleep is hard, especially the first year, and I know it’s annoying and cliche to say enjoy those little moments, but they are gone so quickly.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Where can I find the recipe for the round cake at the beginning of the story? All I saw was the link to the carrot bites. Thanks!!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Six months is a WONDERFUL age! They’re so snuggly and interactive!

    And if you do wind up living on a lake, get baby Solvi swimming lessons ASAP! Water safety first 😊

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yes rest Lindsay. See you are getting smarter with every year 🙂 When my kids were little I went flat out with work and chores and everything else. Like what was I thinking. We’ll always be here when you get back. <3

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    I grew up sometimes eating delicious Coffee cake. Brings back memories of good days in Brooklyn when mom would bring home snacks after coming home from work and always giving me money for the Good Humor ice cream truck.

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    So far I’m the only one commenting on your massage topic.

    I too don’t love them. I love my husband or a friend massaging my shoulders (or during a manicure), but anything other than that is just too much.

    I don’t like the process and as a result I don’t feel relaxed at all.

    It might be just the two of us that don’t love them, but at least we’re not alone. 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      After my confession, several people on our team have come forward saying that they don’t like massages, either. We’re not alone!

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love reading your coffee dates! I have been into iced coffee all winter actually even in sub-zero weather which the barista commented on one day and it’s really just because I finally got a gym membership ran on the indoor track in the mornings and really just wanted to pound a cold coffee after… usual is iced coffee with splooch of half & half and maple syrup. So. Good.

    And ditto on the house hunting….we bought our first house back in September 2018 and it was kind of a funny situation. We originally looked at a lot of houses and then MY PARENT’S NEXT DOOR NEIGHBORS put their house on the market….like, the house that I had grown up staring at thinking “Wouldn’t that be a great house to live in someday!” No joke. We ended up having to make 3 offers but in the end they accepted (and I think they wanted us to have it because they seemed sad to turn down the first 2) and here we are! 😀 Hopefully you’ll find your perfect house too!

  21. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yes to the house “feel”! When we were looking for our next home, which we hoped was our forever home, I could instantly walk into a house and give it a “nope”. After we walked through, I could point out the reasons why…but even before that I just knew. Weird.

    Also – massages are so lame. I’m with you. I keep trying them, because I’m not a quitter…but they are pretty much a no for me. On the other hand, I do love a good foot or head massage and FACIALS are where its at. There are other (better) ways to Treat Yo Self.

    Sending love and hellos from just the other side of the cities!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Yes, okay, maybe I need to try a facial. Because all I really want is a good scalp massage, like the 5-minute one they give you before your haircut? I just want that. Maybe that’s a thing. Need to investigate.

  22. Skillful Cook Logo

    I think you and I are the only two people on the planet that don’t like massages! Ha! We are looking for a new house too. We think we want to live on a farm! We have one foot out the door of our home (at the beach) of 22 years but can’t quite get the other foot to follow. It is hard, leaving your home full of memories.

  23. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love reading your posts! Solve is just so adorably squeezable, and her facial expressions always make me smile. She looks wide-eyed (surprised?) and has such a cute and cheesy smile. Adorbs! Enjoy every minute!

  24. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’ve moved into iced lattes, mostly because although we have an espresso machine at home, complete with a steamer, I also have a 3 yo and 9 mo and iced lattes are just *that* much easier to make. It’s hard to steam milk with one hand and a baby in the other (also probably not safe).

    Speaking of baby – we have been half heartedly trying to at least partially night wean for the past 2 months. I am determined to get us down to 1-2 feeds ASAP. Last night was night 1, with a slight decrease in time spent nursing at the most inconvenient feed (1 am). Little one was not pleased with his abbreviated snack. Good luck. I just keep in mind the idea of more than 4 hrs consecutive sleep. How heavenly! Eye on the prize.