At-Home Date Night

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It’s such a treat to get date nights out, even if we’re keeping things low-key with the actual date itself. Jordan and I both love the dynamic of our family now, but it’s an adjustment on your marriage and the time you spend together is SO important. We try to get a night together at least every other week, and it’s usually sporadic so some weeks are easier than others. We’re also big fans of traveling together (just the two of us) and I know that’ll be a priority for us both as we grow our family, but that doesn’t mean that quality time isn’t needed between those special dates.

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At-home date nights can be as elaborate or simple as you want. I think the best dates happen when you relax, connect, and enjoy the evening whether you’re in a beautiful restaurant by the water or in a sticky booth inhaling queso and chips. This is the same concept - some nights may be a little fancy, and others may be super casual. For us, the perfect night-in includes wine, a darn good show on Netflix, and perfectly-cooked steaks. But because I wanted this to be an after-B-goes-to-sleep activity, I kicked it up a notch with a charcuterie board from a fantastic new business that’s local to us - Boards in Wichita. It’s so similar to food we would’ve had in Sonoma where we got married, and we paired it with a really amazing red wine. Such a treat!

This board had some amazing local foods like honey from Murphy Family Ranch in Augusta, KS, and micro-greens and organic Marigolds (that are totally edible by the way!) from Kan-Grow Hydro Farm in Wichita, KS. The board itself is even locally made by JW Craftsman! They also come in Vegan and Vegetarian options - you can check out their full website with more info here. I LOVED how this board was put together. Everything on the board worked so well, and even the fruit was perfectly ripe and had amazing flavor. Aside from the fact that it looked gorgeous, it tasted even better than I expected!

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 We saved that Cute tiny apple for B ;)

We saved that Cute tiny apple for B ;)

Some important keys to a successful night-in are:

  1. Try a new location: We like hanging out on the deck when the weather’s nice (complete with string lights - so romantic and cozy!) If it’s too hot or cold to be outside, try making a picnic on the floor in your living room for something a little different.

  2. Bring home a treat: This charcuterie board is something we would’ve had in Sonoma, and I love that special detail. Another fun idea is trying takeout from somewhere new and taking it out of the styrofoam to eat on nice plates. Or pick-up a fancy dessert for you to share after the kids are asleep.

  3. No phones or distractions: Just like a regular date, this is about connecting and hanging out just the two of you. If you’re truly making an attempt at a date night at home, it’s important to set your phone aside no matter what you’re doing (and yes, that includes not browsing social media during a movie.)

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A little more info on Boards below:
Location: Will be open Final Fridays for walk-in orders to dine-in at the Revolutsia commons area
Instagram & Facebook
Full website

Drew's Mac & Cheese

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Here's a little insight into my family: I have two younger brothers - Christian (4 years younger than me) who's in medical school and just got married to the sweetest gal Julia, and Drew (8 years younger than me) who's a junior in college. Because Drew and I are so far apart, our lives actually overlapped in Wichita at the same time. I moved back to Wichita around the time he was starting his senior year of high school. And lucky me, I was back in time to reap the benefits of his (at the time) newfound love of cooking. This guy made everything from homemade pasta to chicken wings to mac and cheese. He absolutely kills it with the mac and cheese. (His wings are also STELLAR.) So it's no wonder that 3ish years later when I'm thinking "I'd really like to attempt mac and cheese as a side dish for tonight's dinner, but really hate sifting through Pinterest recipes at 4PM." that I called him up and end up chatting for an hour about said mac and cheese and other life things.

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I'm giving you my version of this because it was a mix of "Yeah you want to add a 'crap ton' of butter." and actual measurements. I took notes along the way, along with some helpful tips from Drew because he's the mac and cheese master after all. Full disclosure, he learned the original recipe from this awesome little cookbook, and I changed a few things as he retold it by memory over the phone. 

Ingredients
1/2 stick of salted butter
1/2 cup of flour
2-3 cups of milk
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 oz shredded cheese*
1 lb pasta of choice (I used Rigatoni because it's what I had. As long as your noodles are tube shaped - Penne and Macaroni are also ideal - they'll work well.)
Optional: Bacon (but is it really optional??)

*Note: I used Smoked Cheddar Cheese and grated it from a block. If you're taking the time to make this, I fully recommend going the extra mile and grating it yourself instead of getting a package of pre-shredded cheese. It'll melt like a dream, and if you go the smoked cheese route, the end result's flavor will knock your socks off.

Another pro-tip from Drew: If you want to go the extra mile, start the cooking process in a dutch oven, and when your mac and cheese is done, add breadcrumbs, a few cubes of butter, and extra shredded cheese, and bake at 350* until top is golden brown.

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta al dente according to package instructions, and while it's cooking, set a timer and start the steps below.
  2. Melt the butter on medium heat.
  3. Add flour in slowly while whisking. Let that cook for about 5-8 minutes while continually whisking.
  4. Slowly pour milk in and whisk continually. I poured it in about 1/2 - 1 cup at a time because Drew was adamant that the cheese sauce be on the thicker side. Nobody wants runny mac and cheese, ya feel? You can always add more milk in later!
  5. Cook on medium low until sauce is thick like the consistency of frosting.
  6. Around this time, my pasta was done. I drained my noodles, and added them to the sauce.
  7. Add in your shredded cheese and mix well. Add in any extras at this time too. Salt and pepper to taste.
  8. If consistency gets too thick, add a splash of milk and stir on low. 

Enjoy!

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Toddler Capsule Wardrobe (Part 2: Boy Version)

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I'm not going to lie... this was equal parts intimidating and exciting for me to do since I've only ever dressed a girl! When Jordan and I were first pregnant, we both pictured our baby being a boy. It took us both a few months to process the girl news, to say the least! I wouldn't change it for the world, but having a little boy someday would be a huge blessing in my mind, so I really enjoyed getting to do this.

If you've been following along for awhile, you know B has a pretty defined style already. I err on the side of comfort, and any brands that combine comfort with style are always winners for us. I tried to follow the same rules when putting this together because little boys need room to play, run, and climb without constraints. One challenge I kept running into was finding dressy and casual pieces that could be interchangeable. In B's wardrobe, we have a lot of rompers and dresses that can go either way by adding different shoes, layers, etc. They're also very comfortable pieces, so that made putting her wardrobe together MUCH easier in comparison. Boys, however, are a little trickier since their dress shirt and casual shirts are totally different in both style and comfort levels. My goal was to create a capsule wardrobe that I would dress my own son in, and so there was a lot of overlap with our current favorite brands. I used some inspiration from my husband's closet as well because who wouldn't want to dress a mini of their husband? Is this creepy yet? Let's move along.

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Linking everything for you below! Sorry in advance but quite a few of the rompers and hoodies are sold out in most sizes, but fear not - Childhoods Clothing should be doing another drop later this Fall (or you can check out the Buy/Sell/Trade group on Facebook here). Rags to Raches is the other romper brand, and I linked their general site below because they do drops every week with new styles! 

Tops: 1. Trees Crewneck Sweatshirt | 2. Pocket Tee | 3. Striped Henley Tee | 4. Army Green Button-down | 5. Gray Button-down | 6. Denim Button-down

Rompers: 1. Navy Henley Romper | 2. Rags to Raches Romper (shop similar here) | 3. Camo Henley Romper

Bottoms: 1. Denim Biker Jeans | 2. Black Skinny Jeans | 3. Khaki Skinny Jeans | 4. Moto Green Sweatpants | 5. Childhoods Clothing Skinny Sweatpants

Jackets & Cardigans: 1. Chambray Hoodie | 2. Chunky Knit Cardigan | 3. Charcoal Henley Hoodie

Hats: 1. Mustard Beanie | 2. Gray Herringbone Hat | 3. Best Kid Ever Snapback

Shoes: 1. Hunter Boots | 2. Navy Strappy Sneakers | 3. Contrasting Sneakers | 4. Laced Boots

Outerwear: 1. Black Puffer Jacket | 2. Patagonia Bunting (P.S. This is the same onesie we've had for B for 2 winters in a row - different sizes of course - and it's a game-changer. So warm and so easy to throw on for playing outside. FYI - It runs big!) | 3. Patagonia Puffer Vest 

I have a way bigger, more information heavy post on Capsule Wardrobes for Toddlers that would work for either gender linked here. For boy-only info, scroll on down!

This is quite a bit different from B's wardrobe, and partly because it couldn't include dresses. I'm usually a big ran of rompers as well, but boy rompers are a little harder to layer so I stuck to tops and bottoms mainly. Let's just say this was a really eye-opening exercise for me! A few things I learned when putting a boy's (imaginary) wardrobe together were:

  1. Hats are awesome accessories - This could be like the bow to a girl thing where they keep them on 10% of the time, but ya know. I have a few boy mom friends who rock the tiny hats on their boys, and it's such a fun way to bring an outfit up a level or two.
  2. There really are less options out there - Holy cow, boy moms need more love. It took me quite a bit longer to find what I did, and I ended up choosing pieces from a very limited sphere. Overall, Zara was my favorite for edgier boy items in an affordable price-range. Their little biker jeans were killin' me with cuteness.
  3. Comfortable dress outfits are harder to find - Obviously, I can just throw B in a dress (and we've found some great brands in my girl post that are super comfy) and call it dressy enough. I think kids are happier when they're comfy, so I like having stretchier, softer options for those random dressy occasions. But also, there are pretty rare occasions when you have to be pretty dressy, and for us that's usually Sunday morning or an evening out to dinner. I felt like most of these outfits were nice enough to work in a typical dressed up situation, and for bigger deal holidays like a nice Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas Eve, I would possibly buy something special anyways. 
  4. Neutrals are your friend - If you're looking to do a true capsule wardrobe, having a good mix of neutrals and some key pieces in black or dark gray will be very helpful for creating outfits. I have a few pops of army green and chambray for color, and then a really fun mustard beanie that works well with everything in the wardrobe. It's WAY less colorful than B's wardrobe, but I love how edgy it is - it reminds me of a tiny version of my husband's wardrobe and I caaaaannn't.

I hope this was helpful for all you boy mamas out there! I have a few outfits below showing how everything goes together. If you take away anything from this, get your little man a snazzy hat. This little Etsy shop had me swooning, and they make matching daddy and me hats. CAN'T.

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