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Happy Holidays!

There is nothing more special than this time of the year, when kids can play in the snow (at least here in WI), families can get together and Santa comes to visit. It was with great anticipation that we met Santa last week at a brunch and listened as our kids told him of their present wishes.

While our oldest (7 years) had no fear of hopping up on Santa’s lap, our four year old was a little weary of the man in the big red suit and dangling beard. Nonetheless, he gathered his courage and crawled up on Santa’s lap and explained that he had been ‘good’ (to be debated) and which toys he was wishing for, specifically a tiger and bunny stuffed animals.

The Holidays are meant for families to come from near and far to get together.  It is a time to recount the year, the ups and downs and to look forward to all that awaits us in the coming year. It is also a time for families to share in the time honored traditions of cooking together and sharing a family meal. There are many great recipes on Sharecipe for you to choose from to inspire you to make something new and this year we decided to do a ‘Holiday Treats and Sweets’ exchange. Simply add your favorite cookie or treat recipe to Sharecipe so that your friends and family can see what you will be sampling this Holiday season. We can never have too many cookies to sample or treats to try!

Much like the Holidays, Sharecipe allows you to connect with the people that are special in your life. We take this opportunity to thank you for your using Sharecipe and hope that you have a safe and happy holiday season.

Katie

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I often find myself with a few minutes on my hands, either somewhere between meetings, carpool or other various trips around town.  I wish I could say I always plan out my days perfectly, writing down the days events and leaving no time unproductive.  But in my life as much as I try to prepare in advance,  inevitably I find myself off schedule and trying to adjust on the fly.

One feature on Sharecipe I use all the time is accessing recipes using my Blackberry (it works for iPhones too!).  I do this in one of two ways:

1.  Access the internet through my phone, go to www.sharecipe.com, use the search function to find the recipe I need.

2.  In the morning or night before when I am on Sharecipe, I use the “Share This” function, choose “email”, plug in my email address and voila.  Once I am in the grocery store I whip out my phone, open the email, click the link and in two seconds I have the recipe ingredient list.

Sharecipe Recipes on the go - Share This!

It has for been a game changer for me.  I can on the fly jump to the grocery store and pull up the recipe and ingredients for dinner.  Also, if I find that there is a sale on pork tenderloin, I can pull up my friends’ famous recipe right there in the store.

Of course some of the other items on my grocery list may be missed, but hey, we’ve got dinner!

I have an internal debate about Halloween.  On one side there are fond memories of being young and excited to find that perfect costume – like the year I was a can of Coke, complete with a tinfoil hat.  Also on the love side is when I first put Owen into a panda bear costume when he was  3 months old.  So adorable. And the pumpkin patch, fall decorations, spicy scented candles and watching It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown under a cozy blanket .  Love.

Halloween 2005, my two bears

Halloween 2005, my two bears

But then there is the other side….The 5 downsides of Halloween with kids

  1. Finding the perfect costume:  This means one that both you and your child are happy with.  Becomes more difficult as your kids get older and change their minds ten times.  And you want it to be perfect because they will only be 5 once…and it should show that you are a good, attentive mom but not overly crazy.
  2. Getting the children ready: In my 7 previous years of having children during Halloween, there hasn’t been ONE where there weren’t tears, tantrums, and complete craziness prior to leaving for trick or treating.  We actually have video of me trying to put our 2 year old in his fireman costume while he was screaming.  I did everything in the book to get him into it.  In the end I won but it almost ruined our night.  Lesson learned.
  3. The trick or treat dilemma: Who goes and who stays?  We live in an area where we could easily go through 10 enormous bowls of candy.  Very different from living in San Francisco atop a huge hill where we got three visits at most.   I am happy to do this and love to see all the costumes on the children…especially those that we know.  But let’s face it, it gets old after the 20th Darth Vader.  So which spouse goes with your own adorable kids to watch their reactions and who stays?
  4. Post Halloween meltdown:  Inevitably your kids will have too much sugar, stay up too late and be exhausted.  The next day always is a drain.

My Top 5 Suggestions to keep Halloween fun!

  1. Set reasonable expectations! If Jake doesn’t want to get into his bear costume, try a few times and then just head out.  Put the costume in a backpack and try again later.  I have found the younger children are often scared of costumes at your house but once they see all the fun the other kids are having they will give it a try.
  2. Don’t worry too much about the costumes. In the end, it is just for an hour or two.  Also, they forget about their costumes the second they hit that first doorbell and see the bowl full of Milky Ways, Smarties and Double bubbles.
  3. Make a good home cooked meal early. Something that could be made ahead of time is ideal.  I like my children to go trick or treat after a good healthy meal, candy is less alluring if you are full!
  4. Take away the candy asap. I sneakily take the candy away from my kids after a few days.  Granted, my oldest is now 7 so I am anticipating this to be an issue at some point, but up to now it has worked like a charm.  Let them see their halloween buckets for a few days, then take out a big ziploc and store the rest for “treats” down the road.
  5. Relax, Enjoy and have a glass of wine!

Would love to hear any of your fool proof Halloween ideas.

Enjoy,

Katie

What a busy few weeks we have had as we acclimate to the new school routine with the boys.  Thankfully they are still at the age where they were as happy to begin as I was to have them start!  It helps that they both love their schools and enjoy learning.

We are finally set with our schedule, which includes carpooling with three families, after school activities (soccer and flag football), and work.  It is understated to say it is complex so even I, a reluctant planner, have resorted to documenting it all on calendar hanging in my kitchen.  Heaven forbid I forget to pick up one of my sons, but I would literally die of embarrassment if I had other children stranded as well.  Since I am determined to never have that happen, lists and calendars here we come.

Back to school also brings the need to pack lunches and snacks each day.  I am always looking for new ideas for healthy foods that my kids will enjoy.

On Sharecipe there are many recipes in the “kid-friendly” category that have been hits in our house.   Here is a great one that my kids enjoy from Chef Ann Cooper, the renegade lunch lady.

Check out Apple Date Bars on sharecipe.com

Hope everyone is off to a great school year!

Katie

Brady at Countryside Montessori Preschool

Brady at Countryside Montessori Preschool

Owen's first day of 2nd Grade!

Owen's first day of 2nd Grade!

I am off to San Francisco for a much needed reconnect with my wonderful friends and family and to enjoy a bit of rest and relaxation.  And did I mention I will be taking my seven year old son Owen with me?  And I will be having a few meetings?  Life as a mom entrepreneur means even the best intentioned girls trip evolves into more.  Not that I am complaining, just stating the facts of how things change and how you need to adapt your expectations and enjoy every moment.

I will be taking Owen by our old house in Noe Valley which will surely bring up some bittersweet emotions in me.  It was our first home which we bought together in 2001 and was OUR perfect home in every way.  It was the house we brought Owen and Brady home from the hospital to.  The home we spent so many nights dancing, happy, dreaming, laughing and in general so optimistic of the future.  The home we put our hearts and soul into painting, gardening, setting up nurseries (even one in the “bonus” room, i.e. hallway, outside of the master bedroom), and in general enjoying so far the best five years of our lives.

I am so happy, albeit a little anxious, to be able to go back and can’t wait to see everyone.  And I will surely be eating well, even though I won’t be cooking…I will have the fabulous chefs at A 16 to help with that!

Katie

Last month I had a great conversation about Sharecipe with Nancy O’Mallon from AboutHarvest, the production company behind the great site Stories About Food.  Nancy is an award-winning filmmaker and has a passion for food and telling stories about recipes and personal connections around food.  She contacted me to talk about Sharecipe and instantly understood our company mission and the value of our site.  Nancy is also a mother and while her daughter is older than our children, she explained that the connection around her dinner table has become even more important as the years have gone on.  The sharing of recipes and keeping up personal connections through communities, families, friends and neighbors is what it is all about.

Hope everyone enjoys the weekend!! It is a rainy Friday night here and we decided to have “breakfast for dinner” tonight which features pancakes and berries.  Kids loved it and now it is clean up time 🙂

Cheers,

Katie

Brady and his adorable cousin Charlie from NY

Brady and his adorable cousin Charlie from NY

We are starting the great tomato season here in Wisconsin.  Last week we received from our CSA farm (Luna Circle) a box with the first gorgeous tomatoes and this week there were even more!   I have decided to use the tomatoes and zucchini this week for a summer vegetable pasta salad (see link below).

Here is a picture of some my great veggies…

Tomatoes and Green Beans from "our" Farm!

Tomatoes and Green Beans from "our" Farm!

I will be making this wonderful Pasta salad (one of my favorites!) for Alex and the kids.  I hope you enjoy this salad as much as we do!

Check out Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad on sharecipe.com

Posted using ShareThis

Happy cooking!  And don’t forget to invite your friends to join Sharecipe to enter into our next summer drawing!

Katie

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