House Hunters

Dear HGTV, Chip + Joanna, House Hunters, House Hunters International, House Hunters Family, House Hunters Island, House Hunters Vegetarian, and those two brothers that look like they sell vapes to stock brokers -

Thanks for nothing.

After over a decade of city dwelling and spending countless hours watching your programs I can confidently say you negative prepared me for the actual task of finding or buying a house. At least when I watch Ina Garten I come away feeling like a mediocre peasant but know how to roast a chicken! My olive oil is not “good quality” but damn if the chicken doesn’t taste amazing every time.

I recognize I was naive, but my goodness, I didn’t know what we were in for with buying a house. Turns out, house hunting is nothing like the glamorous world of walking into three perfectly acceptable options and then spending half an hour bantering about which room will be the showroom for the hand painted seashell necklaces you sell in your “shop” while your husband makes apple pies for a living but your budget is somehow $5 million dollars. Run on sentence but you get the idea.

Finding a house is like online dating. The photo you see is a dream. Sun lit open space with hardwood floors beaming. A breakfast nook that looks so cozy you can practically smell the scones baking in the adjacent kitchen. What you get? The hardwoods are scratched and there’s a giant spider making it’s away across just a square foot patch of sunlight before the straight out of the 1990’s carpet (not pictured) begins. The breakfast nook was painted sky blue and the linoleum has cracks. The kitchen? Well, the cabinets basically fall out if you even approach them. Don’t bother to pull the handles, they’re rusty. Just total disappointment. Then, you do that again like 20 more times. At least that’s what we did a few weekends ago when we toured - I kid you not - 20 homes. 20 homes. In two days. With a toddler. Kid deserves an actual medal for not tantrum raging all the way back to Brooklyn.

Turns out, just like with going on dates, when you find the right one you just know. We walked into the house of our dreams disheartened and worn down. I barely wanted to give it a chance but after a few minutes of exploring, the possibilities felt endless. So now, a month later, we’re in the final stages of buying and hopefully closing. We’re writing checks left and right for vendors and services I didn’t know existed. (Earnest money?? How can money not be earnest?!) Stress and due diligence aside, it does all feel like a means to a really wonderful end.

Finding the right house is akin to dating, for sure. You kiss a million frogs before you settle on your “it has hardwood trim but we can make it work!” prince. The actual process of buying a house, when your knowledge is rooted in hours of HGTV, is like learning about sex through porn. But, when all is said, signed, and you’ve found “the one” - damn does it feel good!

Now, does anyone know anything about shingles, tearing out carpet, HVAC coolant, getting a bat out of the attic, adding back-splash….. ?

Ed Note: this is not us in front of a house we toured or even bought. This is a photo of us from months ago at my sister in law’s rehearsal dinner when things were a bit more calm and we were the kind of family that color coordinated, i guess? who knows. it was in may, what feels like a lifetime ago.

Ed Note: this is not us in front of a house we toured or even bought. This is a photo of us from months ago at my sister in law’s rehearsal dinner when things were a bit more calm and we were the kind of family that color coordinated, i guess? who knows. it was in may, what feels like a lifetime ago.



Baked Oatmeal

Breakfast is the most agile meal in our home.

On weekends its a slow first cup of coffee and flipping through cookbooks for the best frittata recipe. It’s Dutch pancakes with different fillings and homemade whipped cream. Sometimes it’s a walk to one of the 15 new coffee shops in our neighborhood because gentrification somehow means there needs to be a latte available on every corner. You can roll your eyes at the above, it’s fine. I would too.

On weekdays, things are different. Monday through Friday mornings are a mad dash to get showered, dressed, coiffed, tinted moisturized, caffeinated, and somehow manage to both feed and take out the dogs while preparing Ben a semblance of a well balanced breakfast. Healthy carbs + fruit + protein + no sugar. I’m sure I’m missing something like organic flax seeds but honestly, aren’t we all just slowly coasting to our kids demanding Fruit Loops in three years? Let’s be real.

Anyway, all this to say that weekday mornings are kind of a shit show and I’ve given my child frozen waffles with a side of plastic container freed berries more than I’d like to admit. But, like any modern mom who’s writing a confessional blog for all 35 of you to read, I’m trying to get better. Plan things, balance between small luxuries of weekends and the hurricane of weekdays. That is, unless I’ve procrastinated on work emails from the night before in which case frozen waffles it is because gotta get that paycheck to buy the frozen waffles. It’s a vicious circle, really.

In comes baked oatmeal. It’s on the healthier side of the breakfast spectrum. Not like a pancake or a biscuit which sound like you’re feeding your kid straight to diabetes. Oatmeal can be fancy, healthy, delicious and it just sounds like you’re being a good parent. “I made my child oatmeal! Then we frolicked in a field while he engaged a full range of emotions by singing to the birds, touching dewy grass, and only wearing a sustainable linen romper.” You get the point.

This oatmeal can be adapted in a myriad of ways and here’s the best thing - its a dream for making ahead of time because it lasts in the fridge! Also, it’s not breakfast in a jar which is a trend I am 100% over at this point. (Chia seeds have had their moment, have they not? How much cold mush that’s been sitting in almond milk can we consume before we admit to ourselves its not actually that good.) Basically, you bake oatmeal in whatever milk and filling you choose then serve it like some fancy breakfast cake.

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Seriously, it’s easy and dirt cheap because oatmeal is like $3 for a container to feed a family through the apocalypse. I made ours with peaches from the market to keep my Brooklyn blogger cred but you can make it with frozen berries that everyone has sitting in their freezer from three months ago and it’s just as good.

Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats

  • 3 eggs

  • 1.5 cups milk

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Scoop of honey or sweetener of your choice, about 2 tbsp.

  • Berries, stone fruit, apples, chocolate chips, live your best filling life here. Or just use whatever you have in your pantry, who has the time or energy to really deliberate this one.

  • Almonds, walnuts, pecans… seriously go nuts.

  1. Preheat over to 350F.

  2. Butter a pie dish or 9 inch square baking dish if you have that on hand. Someday I’ll have a kitchen with all the things. Today is not that day. It was either a small pie dish or a lasagna pan and this recipe is good but it’s not lasagna size good. You know? Portion control.

  3. Mix all the dry ingredients.

  4. Mix all the wet ingredients.

  5. Mix them together.

  6. Pour into baking dish and stick in the oven.

  7. Come back about 35-40 min later when the fruit is bubbly and the top of your oatmeal is solid.

  8. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or yogurt and some strong coffee. Add fruit or nuts and drizzle some honey or maple syrup if you plan to shill it on social media.

  9. Store in the refrigerator, covered for up to 4 days. To reheat, put in a bowl and pour a bit of milk on top to moisten then microwave for a few.

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Grains of Salt: South Carolina July 4th!

For a variety of reasons July 4th this year felt like a deep sigh of relief. Lots of things are in motion for our family but we were able to toss it all to the side and spend time relaxing, picking peaches, and endlessly ringing the windchimes on the porch to Ben’s absolute delight. He also took two almost two-hour naps daily which, if you have a toddler, you know isn’t a thing that happens ever.

Back in the swing of normal life this week but moving slower than usual as we anticipate the rollercoaster ahead. I’ll share more soon - lots of changes in the upcoming weeks for us. For now though, some photos of our official start to Summer 2019.

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