September Coffee Date - 2020 - Skillful Cook
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September Coffee Date - 2020

A chair sitting on a beach.

Well, hi!

It's September, but really, it's EARLY September, so a picture of the last few ripe and wonderful days of summer is what's gonna be happening right now.

Okay, buckle up and grab a drink! Is it a cozy PSL keeping your warm on your couch? Is it a cold agua fresca to cool you down while you soak up the sun? Could be either! Depends on the day! Because it's that magical time of year known as September.

Firstly, I think it's worth acknowledging that I have fallen out of rhythm with these coffee date posts this summer. Let me explain the drought.

I did a series of posts in March, April, and May called the Quarantine Reports - basically a documentation of what time at home was looking like for us during the stay at home order. Oh my gosh. Remember the emotional train wreck that was quarantine? LOL.

And after the stay at home order ended, and people started emerging from their homes again, and life semi-returned to a tiny fraction of normal, I had planned to do a few coffee date posts but then, well, there was this one big thing that I was struggling with talking around:

Baby On Board

Lindsay taking selfie in an office.

There was, and is, a baby on board over here!

And that's one reason why it's been hard to talk like a normal person in both the quarantine reports and in the recently nonexistent coffee date posts. It was a really, really rough time during the first trimester, for so many reasons including the nausea that was overtaking my life, and that was the thing that I was trying to say without saying in a lot of those spring posts.

I had planned to make this baby girl public via coffee date post sometime in May/June, but wow. The cycle of bad, hard, horrifying, heartbreaking news has been kind of nonstop both here in Minneapolis and worldwide for the last few months, hasn't it? Not to mention social media and the internet in general being just kind of a hot mess of hurt, tension, and hostility. Other things in our world and in our online communities have been more pressing these last few months. There never was a right time to share or celebrate.

But now is the right time, I think, and it sort of has to be, because she's going be here in October!

I'm 30-ish weeks, I'm feeling tired and big, but otherwise great. Baby's room is mostly ready, all her hand-me-down clothes are washed, and Solvi talks about the baby nonstop. We are so excited to welcome another little girl to our family. ♡

Being Outside Is Everything

People sitting outside at an outdoor patio.

This summer has been the summer of life on the deck.

It's one of the few places we feel comfortable being with people, hanging out socially, and not needing to SUPER worry about Covid thanks to the top-notch filtration system of the great outdoors.

This summer we replaced our two-person patio table with a party-size table and chairs for the deck - perfect for holding mountains of tacos, chips, and jugs of agua fresca and seating our friends.

And this fall we added to the deck collection: a fire table! and a projector! for outdoor movies and s’mores! And they are getting a wonderful amount of use.

Listen, if we aren’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future, we are definitely putting all our eggs into the deck life basket.

Anyone else living it up in the outdoor spaces this summer / fall? Anyone else afraid for what their social life (or lack of social life) will look like come winter?


Stairs leading down to trees and a beach.

Okay, I just said we weren’t going anywhere but Bjork and I DID recently take a little drive down the Great River Road to Lake Pepin where we stayed in an adorable Airbnb for a few days right on the lake. River? Lake. It’s kind of both.

We had only been to Lake Pepin one other time (way back here) and this time, being right on the water, truly felt like we might just be in the Caribbean even though we were only about an hour from home.

I read three books in three days (toddler-free life is just so very… open) and we had lots of pie, cheese and crackers, olives, root beer, you know, the things of summer and pregnancy.

Anyone else been able to getaway this summer, even if it's only an hour away? And/or feeling restless and wanting hop a plane for some adventuring?

Home Sweet Home

Cabinets above a washing machine in a laundry room..

In what will either go down as a great idea or a terrible disaster, we’ve decided to do a few home projects in the last few weeks before baby.

The thinking here: because of Covid and Minnesota winter and having a newborn, we are going to be at home essentially for the next 6 months straight. There are no upcoming trips for us, there are no outings. This is a very home-centric time in our lives. So let’s make those updates we’ve been talking about so we can feel like this is a place that makes us really happy and cozy until we start to re-emerge, right?


We are hiring everything out because we know ourselves and we know that what we can do right now is Toddler Life and Food / Technology Life and nothing more. There is zero DIY skill in this house, so we’re leaving it to other people to help us make this happen.

And *mostly* what is happening is paint. Kitchen, living area, fireplace, laundry room, etc. - all getting a little paint perk-up. There will be a new backsplash. There will be an office makeover. There will be wallpaper in the bathroom. There will be a closet refresh to include some built-in storage which will magically make us super organized, right? There will be a few nice new things and a few key pieces of Craigslist furniture and none of this will be stressful. Thanks, bye.

Just Where Things Are At

A child playing in the pullout storage area under an oven.

This post sums up how I’ve felt about showing up in online spaces lately. It can be hard to get it just right. There will always be mistakes made, things misunderstood, or things disagreed upon because we are human. Brené Brown talks about not showing up to be right, but showing up to get it right. And I really feel that and appreciate that. And also, more and more, I feel like social media and the internet and my habits with both doesn’t always feel healthy. I'm starting to wonder if maybe it's time to pull back. To focus on what’s real and what’s right here.

I love Skillful Cook. I love doing this with you. I love making recipes, sharing them, and co-creating little moments of delicious joy with you in our very real, very precious lives.

I also feel tender and overwhelmed, by the internet and the news and the State Of Things.

I feel protective of my baby who is actually a big girl now. I feel a deep desire to be with her, working through our real life stuff, while we wait for cookies to come out of the oven. I feel anxious about how I will spread my time even thinner with another little human on the way.

I feel determined and purposeful in my work to bring you these little joys in the form of food. But I also feel soft. And slow. And content. Not ambitious and not striving.

I think I’ve come to the realization that I’m now playing a different game than I was in 2009 when I started Skillful Cook. The game I’m playing now isn’t about followers, traffic, growth, and reach - you know, doing all the things and doing them well. The game I'm playing now is just about real people and real life. My real life, your real life, our real families and friends, our real hearts, and how food can be a thread that ties all of that together.

Life and work is always in transition, and this season - the next few months - is no exception. I will be preparing for maternity leave, and preparing to scale back for a while. (WE HAVE SOME AMAZING FALL RECIPES COMING UP BTW.) You will be preparing for whatever is coming in your life and family, and the news and the internet will continue to do what it will do, and we’ll just take it all as it comes, right?

I don’t have a point I’m trying to make here other than to just say, hi, this is me, and this is where I am at these days.

And maybe you can find yourself in that as well. ♡

Thanks for being here with me. Thanks for shining your light into the internet and into your real life places.

September, we’re ready for ya.

Filed Under: Life

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!! So excited for you to be welcoming another little girl into your lives!
    I’m also due in October and can completely relate to a lot of the concerns that you had. Despite this being my first I’ve been reticent to tell people – not because we aren’t over the moon and really excited, but because the world has felt like such an odd (and sometimes hostile) place.
    Also first trimester = terrible. It felt like the longest 8 weeks of my life with the non-stop nausea. I’m impressed you managed to post anything, I couldn’t even think about food during that time!!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    As usual, your priorities are right where they should be! I know you must think about Afton all the time these days, and I’m glad Solvi is there to keep you busy finding small socks under the couch.

    As long as I have your recipes for spicy tofu peanut bowls and that great bowtie pasta salad with marinated chickpeas which I just made the other day, I can get along with you taking it as easy as you possibly can!

    A million congratulations and best wishes from Austin TX!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Congratulations!! This is so exciting! And my kiddos are 22 months apart and it’s the best. (Hard and wonderful at first!) But now 6 and 4 and wow is it fun! ❤️❤️🎉

    And boy do I get all that you are saying! Sometimes I just put my phone on airplane mode just to unplug from it all. I used to feel guilty…but now I realize it’s actually healthy!

    And yes, bring me allllll the outdoor dining and things. Such a beautiful view!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      All the feels recognizing as life changes, priorities change ♥️ We had a toddler-free weekend last month in Ely- waking up to a lake view, coffee and a book was pure bliss. Congrats on baby #2!!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Solvi’s curls, omg. I had a baby girl earlier this year and, though I don’t know any different as she’s my first, it feels like such a strange time to have a baby. Our world feels so unstable and it’s scary but I keep telling myself that she is the future – we have the power to make these little ones better people in the hope that they’ll make our world better as well. Heavy stuff but so hopeful, too! Congratulations to your family, enjoy all that extra time snuggling your girls this fall!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    A huge mazel tov from Isreal !! I’m following your blog a while now and I’m super happy for you !! I can’t believe you’r already week 30 !!Good luck !

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Congratulations! I was so excited when I saw your pregnancy post on IG. I’m pregnant, too, due in early December. So I can relate to the anxiety you feel during pregnancy, but you’ve got a major anxiety multiplier. I hope and pray all goes smoothly over the next several months. Our little boy is 2.5 so a little bit older than your daughter but it’s been fun to talk about him becoming a big brother. Half the time he thinks the baby is in HIS tummy. Ha. We are having a boy but he usually says he has a girl in his tummy. It’s pretty cute/funny.

    It is hard to know where to draw the line on social media usage. In my case, social media is only for fun as I have a traditional job that doesn’t require any social media use. So I can take breaks and it doesn’t impact my livelihood and is typically nothing but GOOD for my mental health. I’m trying to be careful about when I am on my phone because these little people are watching us. So I lock myself out of social media from 4:30-6:30 (I use screen time to restrict my access to FB/IG during those times) and I have a 1.5 hour limit on social media use, which includes whatsapp and messsages, so I can use up that 1.5 hours quickly if I’m texting a lot with friends. But those boundaries have really helped. I do read on my phone but when I’m reading on my phone, I tell our son that mommy is reading and show him the phone. I just don’t want him to grow up obsessed with phones/technology, but that’s tough in our culture!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I KNEW IT!!! I have a 6th sense when it comes to this. I knew when you posted FRIED PIZZA you were pregnant with Solvi. congrats!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Congratulations!! I know how you feel! I’ve just gotten through 31 weeks with my first due November 5th….it’s such an uncertain time and hard to talk about and I’ve been an emotional wreck at times too but we’ll get through this and everything will be okay eventually…. sending hugs and good vibes. Stay happy and healthy <3

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    If you don’t mind, please share a link to your dining chairs on the deck! We just got a new table but are in need of chairs…

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    An update from you feels like a hug. Wishing you + the pea continued health all the way through and thanks for sharing your words with us, as always <3

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    So excited for you! Isn’t it funny how much you think about your baby #1 when baby #2 is on the way? Like, “how will she feel, ” “how can we do it” etc. When baby #1 was on the way, your whole focus is on them! It’s so different with each precious child God gives us, no matter when and for how long. I LOVE that my girls have sisters – there is nothing like it. Best of luck – YOU CAN DO THIS!!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Skillful Cook is the absolute best. Sending a note of appreciation for everything you do and publish!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    I Agree 100%! I myself also do not fit in the “always on social media” box. Truth be told I am struggling with SM and I would gladly leave it out. However it’s not etirely possible blogwise. Most of the time I think it’s just not worth of my time. Thank you for sharing how you feel. I loved the IG post you shared. At the end of the day I believe we should always listen to what our heart or gut tells us.
    Wishing you the most peaceful, slow, unplugged, family days prior to new baby arrival. You just do YOU girl ;-P

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Congrats, congrats, congrats! This news made me so happy! Wishing you and your growing family all the best! 🙂

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    After a long and stressful week of work, I just want you to know this post brought me a great sense of comfort and peace. Hearing the desire to scale back and be slow and soft was just what I needed to hear from someone else and feel affirmed. Thanks for that. I so enjoy reading these coffee dates. Excited for you and your family in this new chapter ahead. 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      That means so much Kristin, thanks for the comment. Sometimes the internet feels like just too much of a mess, and sometimes it gives us moments of connection, like this. 🙂 Take care!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo


    Congrats to all, especially the well loved puppy who will enjoy all the extra cuddles and food scraps 🙂

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Congrats on baby girl #2! I’ve been following your blog for about a year and have enjoyed several recipes, esp ones from sugar free January, and the honey mustard dressing. 🙌 I love how September can be a time for new beginnings and also a time to pull back and focus on best, essential things. I used to call it the “September slow down” from all the busyness of trips, park dates, late bedtimes, etc. This summer has been very different and my kids started school this week, so we’ve shifted our focus again! My five range in age from 11 years – 12 mos, and it’s been a bit crazy as we navigate a new private school (remotely) for the oldest two while homeschooling/baby wrangling the other three. All that to say, we moms know our limits, and choosing to cocoon and protect our families and give our best to our people at home is a decision for this season in life. God bless you in your last weeks of pregnancy, and may you have much joy this fall! Thanks for all the yumminess. 😁

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    Beautifully written and so well-said, Lindsay! Thanks so much for sharing, and congratulations on the new addition to your family 🙂

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    Congrats!! And thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about slowing down, feeling content, and balancing this with all the things happening in the world and on the Internet. I love the quote from Brené Brown about showing up to get it right.

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have missed your coffee date posts! And the other day, I really thought I haven’t read a coffee date post from you in awhile, so I was so happy when I saw this one! So excited about you and your new baby and that she is coming so soon! Good job focusing on the essentials. You have got this!

  21. Skillful Cook Logo

    Where did you find your fire table?! We’re redoing our backyard this fall and adding a patio space and a fire table is top on my list, but hard to find!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Fire table is from Room and Board! It was… a splurge. We debated getting a cheaper one on Amazon but decided to get the more expensive one because of being able to fit the propane tank underneath (lots require a separate space for the tank) and also being made in Minnesota / Wisconsin.

  22. Skillful Cook Logo

    So happy for you and excited for you and grateful that you can articulate where you’re at with work and ambition. It seems that just being able to see where you’re at is half the battle. Wishing you many cozy days at home! Wishing we all have many WARM fires to sit by with friends outside this winter.

  23. Skillful Cook Logo

    Congratulations! Sending prayers for your new baby’s safe arrival..May she fill your home with more love!