October Coffee Date - Skillful Cook
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October Coffee Date

The leaves of a tree in the sky.

Hello October! I love you, and your scents, and your mood, and your food. We welcome you with open arms!

In my drinks world, October means I'm drinking an oatmilk honey latte *almost* every day - sometimes from Starbucks, sometimes one that I made myself before sitting down at my desk. I have a super easy method / recipe coming for you soon that involves oatmilk, honey, salt, instant coffee, and just a regular old mason jar. Stay tuned. Fall is a beautiful thing.

In our personal life world, October means it's baby month! We have just a few weeks left before little one makes her arrival and we are buzzing with... mostly excitement, a small side of “oh my gosh what is happening that kinda snuck up fast.”

In my work world, October getting ready for maternity leave. The last few months have been incredibly delicious as I've been working in advance mode making recipes for the fall, the holidays, even for January! And our team has been working hard to get all the pieces in place to share all that stuff in the coming weeks and months. But for me and my work self right now, I'm in the home stretch. I feel like a senior who's about to graduate from high school and go immediately to college where the workload now involves caring for a toddler and a newborn at the same time, and that shouldn't be too hard, right? Gulp.

What is October for you? In your drinks life? In your work life? I'm so glad you're here - one last coffee date to check in before I'm taking off on my leave for a few months.

House / Kitchen Refresh

A child walking into the main part of a kitchen.
Before Pic
An island sitting in the middle of a kitchen area.
Halfway There Pic

Here's the before and not-quite-after of our kitchen refresh! We aren't quite done yet (still missing hardware, backsplash, and the center island countertop which will be matching to the perimeter) but we have made LOTS of progress on our little kitchen refresh!

We bought our 90's house almost a year ago now and while it's super cozy and nice, we knew we'd probably want do some small things to just make it feel more like us. I have mixed feelings about taking this all on right before we bring a new baby home.

The good:

  • We're not really going anywhere for the next 6-9 months (thanks Covid!) so it will be suuuper nice to have the space where we spend 95% of our time feeling fresh and beautiful when it's all said and done.
  • It's not going to be easier to get this done after baby arrives, so it's kind of actually more convenient to do this while we only have one little nugget running around.
  • The due date / delivery date gives us some leverage with having a hard deadline to work backwards from, and I have been VERY FIRM with myself and with contractors that we WILL NOT, CANNOT have any work being done in the house in the two weeks leading up to delivery. And I think if not for that, this might have taken a reeeally long time because I am not always good at keeping myself on track with projects.

The bad:

  • It's been really disruptive. We knew it would be, but I think with having Solvi and having to move her around, get her out of the house, plan meals to happen in the basement or outside, not to mention having a very anxious dog to manage as well... it's just been a bit of a ride.
  • Decision fatigue is settling in - I spent at least three hours yesterday thinking about grout colors for our tile backsplash and I'm just at the point where, like, what am I doing. Most every decision I make is one that then gets questioned, re-done, and re-questioned.

All-in-all, we've been super happy with the work that's been done (thank you to everyone who has done everything!) and grateful to be able to tackle one last little home-making project before we settle in for what could possibly be the longest - most snuggly, but still longest - winter of all time.

Outside Is Everything

A sideways photo of tall, skinny trees in a forest.

My heart just sings for the outdoors right now.

This week in Minnesota we have 60-ish degree weather with lots of sun, and it LOOKS like fall, and it SMELLS like fall, but it FEELS like just a sliver of summer still, and I love it.

Solvi has been “gooing hik-een” with us these last few weeks and it's been so fun to see her explore in the woods, pointing out leaves (she loves to pretend they are bananas?) and trees and birds and the water... I'm just so thankful for outside.

Minnesota has its major seasonal drawbacks, most of which start sometime in January, but right now it is just pure bliss.

Where do you live? Do you get a true, amazing, glorious fall? Also worth mentioning that we are thinking of all our friends and readers on the West coast right now who are dealing with the fires, and realize it's not a good outdoors situation in every place right now. ♡

Prepping For Baby: Freezer Meals

Bags of healthy foods set up as freezer meals.

So part of prepping for baby and The Long Winter (yes, I'm a pioneer woman now - okay if I just start calling it that?) is doing a mega-prep of freezer meals.

We have a HUGE and AMAZING post with all kinds of freezer meal resources - it was published in 2018 before Solvi was born, and has been updated a few times since to add new favorite freezer meals and resources and all that.

But in the next week or two you can look for our LATEST update on the freezer meals post, because there are some new *extremely helpful* and *FREE* resources as well as a few new favorite freezer meal recipes that we've added to the collection.

The recipes I've prepped so far:

The ones I'd like to still add to the freezer before baby comes:

Listen, if you're looking at this list and you're like, wow, that's a lot! Please know, I did all of these over the course of about 2-3 hours, all during Solvi's naps. As a lifestyle policy, I don't do complicated freezer meals. These are EASY freezer meals. Here's the post for you to get a head start, but stay tuned - fresh recipes and resources coming soon!

Prepping For Baby: Everything Else

Lindsay takes a selfie in a bathroom mirror.

Gosh, there's really not a whole lot to do this time around. We have the bassinet, the crib, the stroller, the bottles and pumps, and the baby clothes...

I feel like the biggest things to do to get ready are a) prep myself mentally / emotionally / physically, and b) prep Solvi.

We've been reading A LOT of books with her about being a big sister and I even made a book (social story style, drawing on some educational experience) about the baby's arrival. This book in particular is one of her favorites.

Anyone have tips on prepping a toddler (or your own self) for the arrival of a new baby?

A Thing To Think About

A person holding an orange leaf that has fallen from the tree.

Thanks to all the projects going on at home, I've been thinking a lot lately about the idea that it's really nice to have something that looks good, but it's more important to have something that FEELS good.

And then I've been thinking about how that's not just about homes. I think that can apply to almost everything.

How do things feel... at work? for our health? in our relationships? How it looks isn't nearly as important as how it feels.

Just think: you're doing it. In the good and the bad and the very, very difficult, you're doing it. In case you need to hear it... this is a hard season, and you're doing it, and you're very loved.

Thanks for sharing this space with me! ♡

Filed Under: Life

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Just want to say that I love these posts and am so glad you do them. Hope it all goes well with the baby’s arrival and sending your family virtual hugs!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    I always look forward to your coffee date posts! I’m really excited for that honey latte recipe. One of the things I miss most these days is going out to a coffee shop. I know I can get take out, but I really miss sitting inside, settling in with a fun drink and a cookie, and hanging out.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Sending you warm wishes as you get ready to welcome your next baby girl. I am in the northeast and we have a great fall season. I am so with on the sights and smell of fall. I always brings me back me on back to school time when that smell is in the air. It is the best season. Solvi will be the best big sis, she has the best big bro looking out for her from above.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love the kitchen refresh! I’ve been thinking about painting my cabinets myself. I’m afraid it’ll turn into a bigger job than I want though.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I had a friend who actually updated her kitchen after her baby came cause everyone just brought her meals. I thought it was crazy but she said it worked great!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I had a friend who actually updated her kitchen after her baby came cause everyone just brought her meals. I thought it was crazy but she said it worked great! Who knows?

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    OMG I know the feeling. Baby #1 will be here in just 3 weeks and I am ready/not ready for it to be here (we are going to be surprised with the gender). I’m told nesting is a thing and we don’t have ANYTHING yet hardly, but our shower is this weekend so hopefully that will help. We live in Northern Vermont and we have had gorgeous fall colors so far, although they are starting to go by now, they were at peak for our maternity shoot <3

    I have pinned your link for the freezer meals and can't wait so see the new recipes!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    you look amazing! Thank you for sharing. I love your receipes and having a little inside of your life feels very connect”ing”. Not pregnant but def will be preping for the long winter ahead, it’s just so nice to pull out of the freezer ready-to-go healthy delicious meals!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    OMG! Congratulations!!! I don’t know how I missed it but I did – I am just now reading that you are pregnant again. Such a blessing! I know you, your husband and daughter will treasure all the memories that you make with your new little bundle of joy. Such a precious a precious blessing!!!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wishing you and your family the best with the arrival of the baby! It’s such a blessing and so exciting! I am enjoying your kitchen refresh. We have lived in our house 17 years and are doing something similar. The counters are being removed tomorrow and I can’t wait for the kitchen-family refresh to be completed!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    You look so great and so pregnant! How exciting!

    I had a second baby last summer. Adding a second child to the family was a lot harder than I anticipated. My advice would be to give yourself and everyone else, especially Solvi, lots of grace. Acknowledge that there will be a pretty significant adjustment period. You will do great.

    I also made several of your freezer meals before our baby was born last year. Such a great resource!

    Your kitchen looks amazing!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay, my sister is being induced as we speak and your post really hit home for me as she looks forward to her second child . . . and how much I love our cozy home and how beautiful our fall has been. Thanks for sharing and many many prayers for a safe and easy delivery. We are so blessed.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    We just had our second (girl, so two girls) in April (hello, unexpected pandemic baby — but very planned since we did IVF!). My tip is sometimes tell the baby he/she has to wait while you attend to the toddler, so the toddler doesn’t feel like they are always the one doing the waiting and they feel special/important.

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    The kitchen looks great!

    New baby arrival is so wonderful and can feel overwhelming with a toddler in the mix. When our #2 arrived, we found it helped to call her “our baby” (as in, “looks like our baby is tired”) so that the toddler felt a part of things. The toddler also loved having little jobs to help the baby, like choosing her clothes, or picking out a book to read with her. Amazingly, asking him to sing to her (twinkle twinkle was the fave) was legitimately helpful and it could actually calm her down – it was the most beautiful thing to witness. It is so so hard, and so so amazing. As they say, it’s twice the work and triple the joy. You’ve got this.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Oh Lindsay, I am so happy for everything that is around the corner for you. A new baby and a new kitchen! Both are true wonders! This past year has been full of SO MUCH SUCKAGE and it’s great to have such glorious things to look forward to. Wishing you and the newest addition all the love.

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay, the biggest thing I wish I’d had to prepare for baby 2 is Dr. Laura Markham’s books. I’d start with Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings. Changed my life!

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Congratulations on your new little one. I have two daughters who are very close in age. They were built in playmates for each other, shared toys and stories, had the same bedtime. All will be well.
    And if, down the road you become pregnant again as I did, despite the larger age gap having a baby was wonderful and even extra special.

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    You are very brave to take on this kitchen project (I still have PTSD from all the decisions and we remodeled 10 years ago), but I think you will be so glad you did. As i was scrolling through the pics my first thought was, this looks so much more like them and then you said it yourself. I shed some tears in early lockdown about how grateful I was to have a space that is safe and comfortable and that I really love now that we are spending ALL our time at home. Good luck with these last few weeks and remember that you are strong and amazing and you’ll do great. Oh, and PS – I made your cinnamon sugar apple cake last weekend and my husband declared it his favorite apple dessert EVER (and he grew up on an apple orchard, so that’s really saying something!). The recommendation to serve warm with a pat of butter is genius.

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay! First off, love the name! Lindsay is also the name of my eldest! Although my kids are 27,24, and 20 now, I remember trying to prepare 2 year old Lindsay for the arrival of her sibling. Lots of books and baby dolls and learning to take care of the baby dolls. Fortunately she loved babies and wanted to push her doll stroller everywhere! After Jessica was born she “helped” with sister’s needs-sang lullaby to her, brought her toys, other things. I also tried to spend time with her while Jessica slept-easier as a newborn but Jessica had colic so I also had to teach Lindsay to plug her ears to the crying! They are now such good friends and doting sisters to their little brother. It’s such a blessing that my kids not only love each other, they also like each other. We taught them from an early age that your sibling is a very important relation and not to take it for granted. Many blessings to you and your family!

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love these posts. It feels like a warm hug. I live in Connecticut, where we have a beautiful fall season. This weekend my boyfriend and I are going to a winery, where there will be a Cousins Maine Lobster food truck! Eating that outside on a picnic blanket while looking at the foliage feels about as New England-y as we can get!

  21. Skillful Cook Logo

    I so look forward to your posts and you look gorgeous! Can’t wait for new recipes, love them all. Congratulations on your new baby, did you and hubby pick a name yet? Kitchen looks great, love the colors. Sending you happy thoughts and hugs!

  22. Skillful Cook Logo

    Your kitchen is beautiful! We’re planning a kitchen re-do and I’d love to know what kind of oven/range you have? How about countertops?
    Thank you for your kind and encouraging blog!

  23. Skillful Cook Logo

    When my daughter had her second child 7 months ago I gave a truck I had a purchased for my grandson to my son-in-law to be given to my grandson from his new sister on the day she was born. That truck was a big help in my grandson’s acceptance of his sister. A few weeks age he told his mom that he and Siobhan would be best friends when they grew up.

  24. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am always looking forward to reading your coffee date post for the month. Fall is my fave season (something we don’t experience in the Philippines) and fall here in Western NC is gorgeous! Can’t wait for the leaves to change colors. Anyway, I wish you a safe delivery and bouncing baby.