catch-up part 1 of 4

2015 Babies

It’s been a while… 

Meredith turned two-years-old this month, and it’s only fitting as her new year begins, for me to play massive catch up. The last update was when Meredith was 6 months, so there has been a lot of growth happening around our household, including a sweet little boy. He keeps getting bigger and sweeter; you’ll see that, too. This means it’s been almost a year+ since I’ve updated you on their sweet transitions from baby to toddler. My heart aches a little because I feel like all my photos and all my memories aren’t solidified until they are published on this little blog. So, instead of starting now with the new renovations, recipes, and moments, and there are exciting ones (eek!), I’ll do a mini catch up, in four parts, to make my heart happy and hopefully yours, too.


Let’s do this…

We spent the fall 2015 enjoying Dallas again. As the summer temperatures slowly faded, we embraced the fall weather with open arms. Jack enjoyed entertaining Dad with his Mizzou gear. We really do love football season around here. MIZ and Go Packers are definitely words our babies know well.

Mizzou Jack
Plano had their annual balloon festival, where we arrived just in time for the lighting of the balloons and to worry Jack a little with the sounds of all the balloons being blown up.
Plano Balloon Festival
We visited pumpkin patches at the Dallas Arboretum to get our yearly fix of pumpkins! In Dallas, pumpkin patches are more like a glorified outdoor petting zoo for kids with pumpkins dispersed about. Jack and Meredith absolutely loved it!
Jack riding pony
PicMonkey Collage
Arb Pumpkin Patch
We celebrated Meredith’s baptism weekend with family. We’re always so grateful for our families making the trip down to Texas and only wish we could have them down more often. Or be closer to home. I guess I’ll just have to keep having babies so they keep making the trip! Ha.
Meredith had a wonderful time taking up the spotlight on her big day. What a beautiful day for our sweet baby girl. She did great in church, but enjoyed her Papa even more.
We picked my brother and sister-in-law as Meredith’s godparents and were so thankful they were able to make the trip down for the occasion. Meredith’s smiling ice-blue eyes are identical to my father’s and brother’s, so it’s only fitting we have Eric as her godfather.
J+E Baptism
And then it was back to our normal routine as a family of four. There were a lot of lazy mornings spent lounging, playing, and making brunch. This usually involved good breakfast food and long adventurous walks.
French Toast
Jack always has to stop for sticks or rocks on our walks. This kid can find them anywhere and Dad loves him bringing them back to our home and yard.
Walking Babies
Jack had his first injury that fall. He was laying on Boston and as Boston got up, Jack hit his ear on the coffee table. I finally reaped the benefits of my day job on this one, though, the doctor I worked with was kind enough to come in and help stitch up Jack’s ear. “You don’t want to sew up your own son, Sarah. I’ll be in to help.”  Jack was a trooper, and I think we missed dinner that night and went straight to ice cream to celebrate his first stitches, not having to go to the emergency room, and Jack taking it like all like a boss! Go Jack! I think sour gummy worms can heal all wounds.
Jack's Ear
When Halloween rolled around, we were prepared for the occasion with 1st Halloween jammies for Meredith. Mer was’t too sure about her first Halloween, but Jack was there to reassure her with hugs; this was going to be a great day!
Halloween Morning
We celebrated with our neighbors, Jack’s first actual trick-or-treating, lots of candy, and some beer for us adults. For Meredith’s first Halloween, she enjoyed being her older brother’s sidekick as a football. The cutest football I’ve ever seen, actually!
And Jack was a football player. Again, the cutest football player we’ve seen!! Side Note: Mom broke her sewing machine sewing in those cute shoulder pads for Jack! But it was totally worth it!!
J+MBabies on Halloween
Jack's 1st Trick or Treat
Meredith's 1st Halloween
Neighborhood Halloween II
Neighborhood HalloweenWe ended our night passing out candy to the big kids that could stay up after dark.  We also enjoyed the fruits of their labor, splitting a kit-lat with Jack.
That night Jack and Mer washed up and got into their matching jammies. The next morning and the month to follow, Jack would ask if he could trick-or-treat again. Please mom, just around the block, that was fun! Ha. (Sorry, this one was from my phone and a little blurry. But I loved it too much not to share!)
Halloween jammies
Meredith had her first plane ride in November. I flew alone with her up to Wisconsin. We were lucky enough to sit in first class and have this wonderful grandfather of two sitting next to us. He even held her by the bathroom door after I changed her, so I could go to the bathroom. PSA: I know it’s hard, but be kind to parents with children on the plane; they want their children to be quiet and calm as much as you do. I’ve been pretty lucky with our two travelers and more empathetic than ever before to others.
Mer's 1st plane rideWhile Mer was up in Wisconsin, because I was still nursing full-time, Jack spent Thanksgiving with Grammie and Papa at their farm. I don’t think he was too upset about that.

Meanwhile, the hubs and I spent Thanksgiving at Lambeau Field with my brother and sister-in-law. Back in August, he surprised me with this awesome gift to see the Thanksgiving game at Lambeau, and to have my brother and sister-in-law there too, was a wonderful (and too quick) trip for all!

Green Bay welcomed us back with rain (we were wishing for snow) and cold temperatures. You can definitely figure out who lives in Fargo and who lives in Dallas from the picture below. We had amazing seats provided by my Dad and waved to Bart Starr and Brett Favre that night.  Brett got inducted into the football hall of fame and I became a Brett Favre fan again, a little, that day. Why the Vikings Brett, Why?!? Gosh, I hate purple and those stupid Vikings!

Packer Game
Lambo IIWe drove down to Missouri after our magical night with Meredith and picked up our sweet baby boy in Missouri. Their cousins were there to keep them entertained and not wanting to leave.
We headed home with heavy hearts always longing for more time and to be closer to our family. We stopped at our usual Steak n’ Shake to fuel up for the rest of the ride home. Jack enjoyed a cheeseburger, fries, and split an Oreo shake with Dad. All were happy campers to get out of the car for a while!
Steak and ShakeIn December, we continued to enjoy the Texas mild weather with park dates and long walks.
Park Date
My favorite season was upon us now! We scurry around decorating for the Christmas season and try to absorb all the magic of the season. I always wish Thanksgiving and Christmas weren’t so close and Christmas could last three whole months. The tree falling on the hubs started off the season with a literal bang! Luckily, no one got hurt and the tree looked beautiful as always when it finally was in the stand.
Xmas Tree 2015
Jack spent the majority of the season counting ornaments and being told not to touch them. It was a tough task all season. Mer on the other hand worked on her lego eating skills, started to crawl, and holding herself up. Oh, the magic of the season.
Xmas Tree
Jack w:ornaments.jpg
Jack and xmas tree
Jack and I also had a heated debate about the importance of not throwing anything at the tree. To this day, we are still missing two magnets from Jack’s magnadoodle he got that year, and no one seems to know where they went?
IMG_2335We went to the Dallas Arboretum for their display of Twelve Days of Christmas. My favorite was Seven Swans a Swimming, with two of my favorites gazing in awe.
7 swans - Arb
Dallas Xmas Arb
Our sweet community puts on a Santa’s Village throughout the Christmas season. Every night, Santa graces us with his presence, coming in a on fire truck and greeting all the children waiting in line. Jack talked up a storm in line waiting for the jolly guy, but when it was our turn it was nothing but tears. Oh, sweet Jack, maybe next year!!
Visiting Santa
We spent our “Christmas Eve” making cookies and assembling “minimal assembly required” toys until midnight! I enjoyed a couple sips of coffee before reading the directions for the hubs.
Christmas Eve.jpgOur Christmas at home was wonderfully simple. We woke up with coffee in hand and enjoyed the kids wide-eyes at all the treasures under the tree.
Mer's 1st Christmas
Mer 2015 Xmas.jpg
Jack 2015 Xmas.jpg
Then it was time for the Christmas shuffle as we hit the road to enjoy Christmas with our families afar. We spent Christmas in Missouri, but we decided to spend a few days at the farm before heading into the city to spend Christmas with the family. Jack absolutely loved it, and I was happy I packed his rain boots.
Jack at the Farm.jpg
Farm 2015.jpg
JPS Farm 2015
After our time at the farm, we headed to see the whole crew for Christmas. We spent more time outdoors. Jack and Mer loved playing with their big cousins, and the weather was wonderful for December.
MO Xmas Football.jpg
WashMO Xmas.jpg
Sweet Jack postponed his nap, so the big kids wouldn’t have to wait to open presents. He was in a daze the whole time, but endured the chaos of the moment and loved opening up his gifts.
Christmas WashMO.jpg
Xmas Jack 2015.jpg
Plus, he had a lot of help if he got sleepy.
Mer kept busy with all the cousins and aunts that wanted to hold her.
New Year’s was spent in Wisconsin and another airplane ride. Jack is becoming an old pro on flying by now. Plus, the stars aligned and there was an open seat next to us! So Mer was able to stretch her little legs, and I didn’t have to have her on my lap the whole time! Win-Win!
Xmas Flight 2015.jpg
My dad picked us up and we stopped off at Mullin’s Cheese to enjoy a Wisconsin delicacy: The Cheese Curd! Wisconsin genes are strong in Jack. He loved them, squeakiness and all! Mer took a little cat nap and will enjoy some cheese curds in her milk later!
Cheese.jpgThere was a lot of lounging and sleeping during our Christmas/New Years in Wisconsin. Jack slept with Grandpa Wayne at night. He was in a crib in my Dad’s room, woke up saying he was cold, so my Dad brought him into his bed and was the perfect heater. I walked in to get him in the morning and saw them both sound asleep. My heart skipped a beat that morning.
WI Xmas Sleeping.jpg
We opened presents New Year’s Eve and visited my sweet Mom in her assisted living facility. I did my usual prayer and cursing of God for the disease she has but thanked him for the amazing gifts I have in my life and my children. I always find comfort in my made up idea that she had a talk with God many years ago, giving up her own health to guarantee her grandchildren’s health, because these kids are pretty perfect. I know it’s silly, but it’s the only way I can make it through those sour moments at her assisted living seeing a shell of what she once was. She hasn’t known me for years now, but what hurts me the most is that she will never know her grandchildren.
That night I stayed up to see the New York ball drop at 11pm and was fast asleep around 11:10pm. It’s hard getting old.
WI Xmas.jpg
Mom 2015
We were off again to Texas. Another plane ride with my wonderful babies and another year upon us.
WI Xmas 2015.jpg

This ends 2015! I’ll be back with the first third of 2016; including Meredith’s first birthday collage, Easter and many moments in between.

Welcome Back, Friends.

five months (and a midwest adventure)

5 month coverMeredith started her fifth month celebrating her older brother’s second birthday! We celebrated small with grammie and papa. But he enjoyed the best dairy-free cake we could find! Angel food! Always a fan favorite.Jack's 2nd BirthdayI had a little mom guilt not taking more pictures, or throwing a big party for our sweet boy, but maybe next year? We’ll see.

Right after Jack’s birthday we took the family on a midwest road trip. Much of our family is in the midwest, and we were lucky enough to have two weddings in a row to see much of them. We took the week in between to see even more friends and family to maximize the time spent in the northern states, while happily getting out of Texas during the miserable August heat!

Our first stop was Story City, Iowa! We hit up the local wooden carousel with our nieces. Jack was overjoyed to ride… and ride AND ride and ride again.DSC_0049

Story City CarouselWe headed down to Ames for our first wedding and some hotel fun. I remember the joys of visiting hotels as a kid. The two things always on the agenda; the pool, and the array of cereals they had available for breakfast. Jack enjoyed both with all the cousins.
swimming poolMeredith enjoyed chillaxin’ in the hotel room, too.hotel chillAfter relaxing, it was time to start the wedding festivities. There was a bride and groom at this wedding but these kiddos were so cute that I didn’t get a picture of them. Eeek.IMG_0471Ames WeddingOf course, there was a failed attempted to get a picture of my kiddos, and well… I can say, I tried. Jack looks super excited to be sitting doesn’t he!DSC_0150We ate cake, danced, and had a wonderful time seeing family and friends, including Jack and Meredith’s Great Grandma Johnson. DSC_0181IMG_3059We headed out the next morning to our next destination, another small town in Iowa with warm hearts and a fabulous meal waiting for us. We were greeted with open arms and Jack fit right in.Postville KiddosJack and Meredith met their Great Grandmother for the first time.GGKAnd Jack realized where that sweet Iowa corn really came from.Iowa CornWe said goodbye to our Iowa hosts and headed on yet another journey, this time to Wisconsin.Nancy + ToadOn our way to see friends, we realized we were just miles away from a famous brewery. New Glarus, home of our beloved Spotted Cow! We made a detour and happily walked our babies through a brewery tour. Ha.New Glarus BreweryAfter the tour, we made our way to Appleton, WI, where we met up with our dear friends and their new baby boy. We spent time reminiscing, laughing at our ourselves and our babies, but mostly soaking up as much time together with each other as we could. We spent our night by the campfire drinking Spotted Cow in jeans and sweatshirts and the day with our babies. It was fabulously simple and perfect… of course, we didn’t get any great pictures… Trust me, I’m kicking myself.IMG_0581 IMG_0604Travel hit us again, but Jack was an old pro by this point.Traveling w:TurkWe headed up to my hometown in North Wisconsin for the rest of our trip. We welcomed the super green grass, beautiful weather, and, of course, a ride on Grandpa’s “tractor”. The hubs and Mer looked on, a little less impressed with the lawn-mowing-tractor than Jack was.Mowing the lawnJack and Meredith’s cousins came into town, and they spent their days in the backyard (clothing optional) and on the grandpa’s boat.IMG_0638Boating wgrandpaIMG_0667IMG_0683There really isn’t anything better than Wisconsin in the summer. Oh, how I miss it. The lake, the green, and the family.Ellie + MerJack celebrated a belated second birthday with everyone and ate up every moment he could.IMG_0698Our last weekend was spent at wedding number two … again, just kiddo pictures and slim pickings at best.IMG_3082WI WeddingMeredith made sure she was on point during ceremony. Atta girl.IMG_0705Jack took over the dance floor for the first few hours. It was hilarious and sweet all at the same time. He clapped after each song and danced his little heart out. He made many friends, including the band who came up to me after, in admiration of his love for dancing and good music.Turk on the dance floorWe ended our midwest adventure by splitting ways. We said goodbye to the hubs and Jack, and I said a little prayer for us all. Jack was nervous and not excited to have to drive home. Sorry buddy.Pink Elephant Gas stationMeredith and I headed out in style on a first class flight back to Dallas. Meredith was so embarrassed for mom to ask the pilot for a picture, she closed her eyes. But she was super excited to have a piece of cheese on her head! Wisconsin genes run deep. First FlightWe all made it home safe and got back into our normal routine quickly. Bedtime stories with Dad is one of their favorites times of the day.Bedtime StoriesMeredith had her first taste of rice cereal served up by Mr. Jack. He was absolutely loving the process and Mer took her first meal like a champ!1st Rice CerealMonth five was a busy one, but we are loving every exhausting minute. The hubs and I have been awakened a couple times this month to Meredith just talking. We laugh as she cackles to herself, and I know there will be nights in our future we’ll tell her go to bed! But for now, we enjoy her spirited squawks. Here’s my little lady at five months!Five Month CollageHappy Weekend, Friends!


minimalist hospital stay


I thought I did the hospital stay right! Didn’t pack too much and used almost everything!

Here’s my list, plus some items I wish I would have packed.

Personal (think classic travel toiletries)

  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Face wash
  • Face lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Dry Shampoo
  • Make-up
  • Deoderant
  • Glasses/Contacts
  • Medium overnight absorbent pad. The hospital provides these, too.
  • Ponytail holder
  • Medula lanolin cream

Clothing – The delivery and first day, I just wore what the hospital provided. This was a gown and panties. Considering how much you sweat those first nights, it was nice just to use the hospital items. Each day they would change the sheets, too.  

  • 2 Gap V-neck maternity tees – put this over a cami during the day.
  • Nursing camis – great, easy access sleepwear. I love these even now.
  • Nursing bra
  • 1 Comfortable pants/shorts – I bought Gap Body cropped pants which worked great.
  • 1 Comfortable outfit to go home. Think early maternity.
  • Flip-Flops – I wore these (one less item to pack) to the hospital and they were great to walk the halls with.
  • 3 pairs of underwear 2 sizes bigger than your usual.

Other – We paid an upgrade fee so our room was a little bigger and included a roll-away bed for the hubs, pillow/sheets for him, stocked refrigerator (water, juice, yogurt), snacks (granola bars, cereal, fruit), mini-shampoo/conditioner/soap, and hair dryer. Think hotel amenities. Check with your hospital to see what they provide to help minimize what you have to bring! Plus we had room services.

  • Photo ID & Insurance Card
  • Hospital Registration Papers
  • Camera + charger
  • Phone + charger – I wrote my notes on my phone and had a book on my phone.
  • Baby Book – The nursery nurse put Jack’s hands and footprints in the book! Too cute!
  • Snacks for you and your hubs
  • The hospital provided a big water jug for me that I had the nurses refill hourly! I was SO SO thirsty! 

Baby Items – Jack was swaddled and in hospital diapers the entire stay. They gave us a pack of diapers, wipes, a zipper swaddle blanket, thermometer, and enema bulb when we went home.

  • Swaddle blanket
  • A going home outfit
  • Infant Carrier (remember to put the base in the car prior to delivery!)
  • Socks

Items that are on most lists that I wouldn’t (don’t need to) bring…

  • Boppy – I used hospital pillows to prop Jack up. It worked great.
  • Robe – I was really warm (sweaty even) my entire stay, so a cami or t-shirt and cropped pants worked great.
  • Computer – (slept most of the time or chatted with the hubs/guest and just used my phone), plus Back to the Future Trilogy was on during my stay! Bonus! ;)
  • Nursing pads – Your milk doesn’t usually come in when you’re in the hospital. I didn’t need mine until I was home.
  • Curling iron – I just didn’t use it.
  • Emory Board – The nurses don’t cut your baby’s nails, and I didn’t either. It wasn’t until Jack’s first bath at home.

I wish all those mommies-to-be the best of luck!! Remember, you will always have friends, family, and nurses around to get you anything you need or forgot, so don’t worry too much about the packing!! Get all the rest you can and have tissues close, there will be lots of happy tears! 

first road trip

We took our first road trip with Jack this past weekend. It was an impromptu short trip for some unfortunate circumstances, but we tried to make the best of it with friends and family.

Road Trip

We set out Friday with our fingers crossed that Jack would be able to make a 10 hour+ drive without screaming the whole way. At first he wasn’t a fan; the pacifier was in and out, but about 20 minutes in he was a champ and was game for the road trip! The only crying we heard from him was at the three-hour mark – he was starving and he wanted us to know it!!

Saturday, the hubs went to a funeral, while I recovered from the rager Jack decided to have the night before. Apparently, I didn’t get the party invitation from 11-3 am. 

After recovering, we spent the afternoon with family and friends. The hubs played with the nieces and nephews, while Jack was passed from person to person.

croquetJack had a lot of fans. And the hubs and I realized we now have leverage for people to come see us! Ha.

Jack Love

There is just something great about having family around. Having someone to take your baby even when he’s fussy, being able to veg out in sweatpants and spit up on your shorts with no judgement, and people there to laugh about the amount of pork one family can consume. Oh, family, we maybe quirky, but it’s a fun group.

Snitkers 8:2013

But by Sunday it was time to head South… I think Jack was pooped from all the love.


We had a wonderful weekend and I was so pleased to get out of the house, though scary; it felt good to interact with humans.

*Thank you Arlyn for the photography. I brought my camera but was too lazy/tired to get it out.

fw wedding

Couple Dancing

I’ve had these pictures on my computer for quite some time, and I don’t know why I haven’t shared these with you. Maybe it’s come to my attention now because one my best-est cousins got engaged this weekend, making me think about wedding venues and wedding planning? Happy engagement to Amy & Jon; enjoy all the planning!!

Anyway, the hubs and I were invited to share in a wonderful couple’s wedding in Fort Worth! We decided to make a day of it in Fort Worth, and I got to see the husbands fancy new office and enjoy some of the surrounding area.

We decided to have lunch before the wedding at Yucatan Taco Stand, this fabulous Tex-Mex in Fort Worth’s up-and-coming neighborhood near Baylor. It’s a wonderful street to stroll along to eat, people watch, and shop.

FW Taco Stand

After the lunch, it was time to get all dressed up for the wedding. It was held in Fort Worth’s historic Ashton train depot and was just as aesthetically beautiful as the couple.

FW Venue

They accesorized the space with flowers hanging from the outside fences and trees. It was so tasteful and beautiful.


The wedding was outside the depot and the reception inside. Equipped with a Superman cupcake-cake (for the groom), wedding cake, and an amazing candy bar for us to take home. I think there was real food, too. Ha. Otherwise, just wanted to share with you another wonderful couple’s journey and wedding. My best to Natalie and Seth and all the wonderful couples getting married this year!




macaroon cookies cover

Don’t these macarons look fabulous? I made them!!! Yes, in keeping with exploring Dallas, my friend and I decided to do a macaron cookie class at Sur la Table. Honestly, macarons are intense, and I don’t think I’ll ever set aside a whole Saturday to make a set of these bad boys, but I will purchase them for what seems like too much money, knowing full-well, it was all worth it not to spend my whole Saturday slaving away. That being said, if my friends called up and said they wanted to make them together, with a bottle of wine perhaps, I could open up a Saturday.

Kam & I

Here’s one of the recipes we made in class and my favorite macaron filling.

Hazelnut Macarons


  • 7 ounces powdered sugar, divided
  • 2 1/2 ounces almond flour or meal
  • 1 1/2 ounces hazelnut flour or meal
  • 4 large (4 ounces) egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar
  • Wilton brown food clothing


Preheat over to 325°, if baking using double-baking sheet cooking method, or pre-heat oven to 325 degrees, if using single baking sheet cooking method.

Prepare the baking sheet with the parchment paper macaron templates – line baking sheets with Silpat silicone mats and top with parchment paper template.

Pulse one third of the powdered sugar and all the almond flour and hazelnut flour in a food processor to form a fine powder. Using a fine-sieve, sift the mixture 2 times onto a medium piece of parchment paper. Using a fine-sieve, sift remaining powdered sugar 2 times. Set aside.

To make the meringue: In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add granulated sugar. Once all sugar is incorporated, and the mixture is thick, add the cream of tartar, scrape down sides of bowl, add food coloring and increase speed to high, whisking until stiff, firm, glossy peaks form.

To complete the macaronnage step: sift almond flour mixture one-third at a time over the egg white and fold using a large spatula until mixture is smooth and shiny. Once all the almond flour mixture is incorporated, check for the correct consistency, as the batter should be nicely firm, have a glossy shine and drip slowly (like lava) from the spatula.

Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip (#12) and pip 1-1/3-inch rounds on parchment-lined baking sheets. Gently tap the bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes. Check for a slight crust to form on the macaron. The macarons should not stick to your fingers when lightly touched.

If using the double baking sheet cooking method, place an empty baking sheet underneath the baking tray with piped macarons.

Bake one sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10-15 minutes. If the macarons are still soft inside, lower oven to 300 degrees, cover with aluminum foil and bake for a few more minutes. If the top of the macarons look crinkled, your oven temperature may be too hot.

Allow macarons to cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filing with caramel buttercream!

Macaroon Class

Caramel Buttercream


  • 2 ounces water
  • 13 ounces sugar
  • 3.5 ounces water (second use, you need both waters at different stages)
  • 2.5 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • 4 ounces egg yolks
  • 1-2 teaspoons sea salt or to taste (optional)
  • 13.5 ounces butter, softened, not cold, not melted


In a large saucepan, cook the FIRST WATER and sugar on medium heat, washing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush and water (to help prevent crystallization) until boiling. Cook to caramel stage, about 320 degrees or honey-colored. Remove saucespan to a large bowl containing cool water and shock bottom of pot in water to stop cooking process. Allow caramel to cool to about 250 degress, then add SECOOND WATER and heavy cream, stirring with a rubber spatula.

Cook mixture over low heat until the mixture is smooth, stir in salt, set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a whip attachment, whip egg yolks until light and in “ribbon stage” about 2-3 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, carefully pour in the hot caramel down the side of the bowl. Continue whipping until mixture has cooled to about 85 degrees. This could take 10 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment. Begin adding chunks of butter, incorporating each into the mixture before adding more butter. If the mixture looks too soft, chill in the refrigerator before using.

FIX THIS: If the buttercream looks “broken” like a sauce, try whipping it on high speed for a few minutes. If it doesn’t come together, set a pan of water on the stove and heat to simmering. Place the mixer bowl over the simmering water and whisk until mixture comes back together, making sure to only do it as long as the mixture isn’t melting.

Store in refrigerator until ready to use. To soften before using, whip it by hand with a whisk, or gently rewarm over a pan of simmering water, whisking as you go.

macaroon cookies cover II

I told you they were intense, right? But they’re amazing to eat! Enjoy. Happy week, friends!

cheese 101

Scardello entrance


Since I moved to Dallas, I’ve made it a goal of mine to explore different classes, entertainment, and events that the city has to offer. Luckily, I have a couple of friends that feel the same way, and we try to convene monthly, trying new restaurants, classes (cooking, athletic, etc).



There’s a huge benefit to living in a big city; we have a lot to explore and this cheese class was one of them! Cheese 101 at Scardello addressed much of the different cheese processes and their varieties. They even gave a shout out to my motherland, Wisconsin, as to where cheese curds were made in the total process of cheese production! Most people in the audience didn’t know what squeaky cheese was, but I was proud!

cheese with menu

They simplify these cheeses into categories for the average joe:

  • Fresh – No aging required. The opposite of fresh isn’t spoiled. The opposite of fresh is aged.
  • Semi-Soft – Bends instead of breaking. Aged 2-6 months.
  • Soft Ripened – Bloomy rind. Softens from the outside in.
  • Surface Ripened – Wrinkled “brain-like” exterior. Can be firm or gooey.
  • Semi-Hard – Firm texture. Aged a couple of moths to a couple of years.
  • Hard – Hard crumbly texture. Cheese that has lost almost all water content.
  • Washed-Rind – Orange rind, pungent smell. Can be gooey or semi-soft.
  • Blue – Blue mold inside the paste or on the exterior.

I highly recommend this cheese class or just starting your own “class” and sampling cheeses in your local market! You can’t go wrong! At any given time, we have about 2-4 blocks of cheese in our crisper, and I love them all!! Happy Cheesing!

stl baby shower

stl invite

This past weekend was spent with extended family in St. Louis. My mother-in-law and sisters-in-law put on a wonderful baby shower for me and our baby boy!

The Fam

They had everything displayed so nicely, but silly me only got a few pictures of the party. I was obsessed with this tablescape of a big “B” (for baby or boy) and the rhino my sister-in-law found at Target!

Baby B & Rhino

They served a delicious meal of chicken sandwich, pasta, and salad with gender specific cupcakes and cake balls for dessert! Aren’t they cute?!

cake balls

It was an intimate event with lots of laughs and conversation. I was lucky enough to catch up with family and old friends during my visit! It made me miss my time in St. Louis with them, and as always, wish for more time to visit!

BB plates

Julie's Friends

Paul's Grandma:Aunt


I was overjoyed with all the wonderful items baby boy got during the process! He is so blessed and loved already! I just hope everyone there truly knew just how happy and amazed I was at all the thoughtful people in the room. I seriously almost teared up a couple times just thinking about the generosity of these ladies’ time and effort. It was so much fun to have everyone involved. Even my sweet nieces helped out by passing out the gifts. They were such great helpers.

Kaylee & I

There were a couple gifts that were already trying to influence our baby boy’s future sports teams! I love them! I can’t wait to take them to Lambeau Field and Busch Stadium someday!


We also played a couple games; it couldn’t be called a shower without it! My friend Sarah is also pregnant and she’s waiting to find out the gender at birth! We were trying to figure it out earlier than that with a string test! The pencil will circle for girls and maneuver in a straight line for a boy. I was convinced it was a boy, but after seeing the test… I can’t be quite sure! Ha ha!

Sarah H

All-in-all it was a pleasant trip to St. Louis. The only trouble was finding enough room in our vehicle for all the baby boy’s new stuff! We had to leave the radio flyer in the grandparents’ garage but will pick it up on our next trip up! Thank you to all near and far that participated in this special day!

Me & Presents

**A special thanks to my sisters-in-law and mother-in-law for such a special event! I know they worked hard to make it perfect and it was!


I have to back up a couple of months and tell you about our fabulous vacation to Colorado. I needed to wait a little bit to post because I couldn’t explain why I didn’t actually get to go snowboarding until after our trip. I was 12 weeks pregnant on the trip and my OB strongly discouraged me from snowboarding. As I said in the past, we honestly didn’t think we would get pregnant for awhile, so why worry about booking a trip in January?!? Well it happened.

Even as I was talking to my sister-in-law about the inability to snowboard, she said, “It’s totally worth it!”

I replied “Is it really? I’m going all the way to Colorado and can’t snowboard!?!”

I wasn’t happy about my first trip out west to snowboard, and not actually snowboarding. It was really hard. There might have been tears. Instead, I made the best of it by scheduling all my OB appointments, catching up on reading, scheduling massages, manicures, and pedicures, and shopping in town. Plus, the hubs stayed in two days, so I wouldn’t lose my mind. It helped a lot. The weather wasn’t the greatest that weekend (-8 degrees during the day and -12 at night), so I was okay with staying in.Downtown BreckLuckily, the hubs found a fabulous cabin for me to nest in while everyone was skiing and snowboarding. It was SO cute and cozy, and we had great nights and mornings sitting by the fire.
Breck HouseWe did have a couple adventures with our Texas drivers in snow! It was pretty funny to watch and interesting to try to coach them through the icy hills, until Paul and I had to take the wheel and show them how it was done. One night (without the hubs and I), they resorted to leaving the vehicle and making the trek up the mountain to our cabin by foot. They were not excited about the climb when they came in and apparently neither were the people who owned the house where they left the car. When Paul and I went to get the car that next morning, we were greeted with this. Ha ha.
Bad SpotBreckenridge was a wonderful location for both skiers and snowboarders… and pregnant snowboarders. Our favorite places to eat that week were Fatty’s and Ollie’s. Ollie’s has their own bloody mary mix which was wonderful, which I got with extra pickles; this prego was in heaven.
Breck Eats & PeepsEven though I didn’t go snowboarding, I’m still counting it on my 33 before I’m 33 list. I hope next time I go, I’ll actually be able to snowboard, and I can’t wait for the day we have our little bambino in a snowsuit racing down the mountain!

Happy Travels to all!

christmas 2012


Holy Cow 2013, hold on! I still have a couple things (two more posts, to be exact) to talk about in 2012! :) 

If someone would have said going into the medical field you might not be able to take off during the holidays, I might have reconsidered. Seriously. It’s the sacrifices I have to make and I’m glad my family and spouse understand. This year we only made it to St. Louis instead of our usual Christmas festivities in both Missouri and Wisconsin. In lieu of work, we were able to squeeze a couple of days in St. Louis with our family. We spent the weekend enjoying each other’s company, ate way too much, and laughed often. On Saturday morning, everyone got up to start the Christmas excitement of opening presents and climbing on presents.

Climbing on present

Climbing on presents

The excitement of all the kiddos was so much fun to watch. It really never gets old!


Even our dogs got some love and presents!

Anna & Boston


After all the festivities, everyone went their separate ways. We drove back earlier than expected because of the weather forecast and spent Christmas day in Texas with our boys. I captured a couple more pictures of our festive house. We even got a little snow on Christmas day! White Christmas!! Yay!

Christmas Lights

Entryway Xmas

Christmas Tree 2012


I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday season with your friends and family! Happy 2013, friends.