Freckles in April

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Weekend Reads | Relationships

via Society6

At one point this week I had all of these articles opened in browser tabs at the same time and realized they had a common theme. I think being in therapy and talking frequently about my relationships (especially my marriage) has made me read a lot more of this kind of stuff. It's on my brain, you know?

What Two Religions Tell Us About the Modern Dating Crisis

This got shared ALLLLL over my various social media feeds after I first read it so you've probably seen it too. BUT in case you haven't, it's a super interesting look at how lopsided gender ratios are causing a marriage crisis for some populations and thus changing dating behaviors and even some cultural mores.

My Ex Was Raised Like Josh Duggar- And They Turned Out The Same

I'll be honest, when Josh Duggar turned up in the Ashley Madison hack I could not stop laughing. Something about it was just so perfectly ridiculous that it felt scripted. Like maybe we were being punked? Alas, he really is just a massive creep with a wife and kids who are going to bear the public shame of his sins forever.

The above article makes some really good points about how Josh is a product of the environment in which he was raised. As parents we need to make sure we allow our kids to experience healthy sexual development, regardless of religious beliefs.

Love in the Age of Big Data

Long read (took me most of the day since I never seem to have more than 3 minutes at a time to sit at my computer) but so good. I just put one of John Gottman's books on hold at the library so I can check out more of his ideas but one thing they talk about in the article really struck me- relationships are partially built on how you respond to your loved ones' "bids for connection" (9 paragraphs down, if you want to see what I mean). I'm pretty good at doing that with Aaron but I realized I SUCK at doing this with my kids since so often their bids are nonsensical or really just don't require an answer. I spent the day looking at their interactions with me in a new way and it helped me to respond differently.

The Complexity of Loving Your Neighbor

My sister is going to be giving a talk on loving your neighbor in church and she mentioned that it's a mercifully simple and noncontroversial topic. I kind of disagreed- I believer we are all on the same page with the idea of loving your neighbor but what that actually looks like can vary widely. I think that loving your neighbor can (and maybe should?) be a little uncomfortable. This article explains that idea much better than I can.

Have a lovely weekend!


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Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Favorite | Bedtime Math

Our boys go to an amazing elementary school that has a heavy emphasis on reading great literature. The school routinely hosts authors and has reading nights and is generally fantastic at encouraging a love of reading and writing. The "homework" for kindergarten (as well as 1st and 2nd grade so far) is 15 minutes of reading every evening, either independently or as a family. Each night the boys get ready for bed then plop on the floor next to me and we read.

Bedtime Math is their current favorite book. I'm fairly certain we got it from the grandparents a couple years ago and it has been a huge hit. Each page has a short blurb about something kids will find interesting and then 3 word problems of increasing difficulty. I love that we're getting some reading time in while also making their brains work at some math. It's such a great multi-purpose type book and my boys love it!


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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Visiting Los Angeles with Kids

Over the next few weeks I'll be posting about some of our road trip destinations along with a few recommendations for things to do with kids if you ever find yourself in the area. 

We arrived in the early evening and headed off to the Santa Monica pier. If you have bigger kids then the rides at Pacific Park will appeal. For our little boys we let them each choose a midway game and a treat then spent the rest of our evening strolling along the pier enjoying the breeze and the sunset.

Parking costs vary but when we went (a weekend during the high season) it was $15 to park in the lot. There are other (cheaper!) parking options further out though. We spent $5/kid on midway games. You could also buy tickets for the rides or do unlimited wristbands (pricing info here).

On Saturday we threw around a few ideas for things to do (Venice Beach, the Kidspace Museum) but I decided I wanted to revisit one of my childhood favorites- the La Brea Tar Pits.

The tar pits are this crazy primordial spot right smack dab in the middle of LA. They've excavated thousands and thousands of Ice Age fossils from the pits and they're still working. There are active excavations going on and you can often see people at work in and around the pits. Watch your step- tar oozes up all over the place around the grounds!

We only had enough time to walk around and view the outdoor excavation areas but there's also a really fun museum. Stinky was sad to miss out on the museum (I was too, there's super cool stuff in there) but the grounds alone are pretty awesome with lots to see, including an active excavation pit.

There is a paid parking lot but it was full when we arrived and we ended up finding cheaper metered parking one street over. Walking around the grounds is free and there's plenty of stuff to look at but the museum is fairly affordable. A basic ticket is $12 for adults and $9 for kids (more pricing info here).

Right next door to the La Brea Tar Pits is the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA). We didn't go inside but there are several outdoor installations that kids will thing are pretty neat, like this...spaghetti forest? And a giant boulder they can walk under. Having modern art next to tar pits full of ancient bones is a pretty interesting juxtaposition. That's LA for you!


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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

20 Minute Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pasta

Our two boys are very different people. Baby 2 is a leader. He knows who he is and what he likes and, for better or worse, he is loud about it. He drives us nuts sometimes but we know he will never want for friends and that his voice will never be lost in the crowd. He's a born cool kid.

Stinky is our introvert. He's a quiet autodidact but he's also not totally comfortable in his own skin. We worry that he will be a follower, always swept up in the tides of what other people are doing and saying and liking.

Fortunately, Stinky has not caught on to the stigma of joining the chess club and that's exactly what he did this week. Aaron taught him a few weeks ago and he decided it was the coolest game ever. When the flyer for chess club came home he hovered 2 feet away from me until I had filled out the registration and put it in the mailbox.

And so that is one more thing I have added to our weekly schedule. Chess club, swimming lessons, and jiu jitsu on top of homework, chores and hopefully a little bit of family time. I have a kindergartner and a 2nd grader and I'm a total taxi mom. I was totally opposed to this life! How did this happen?!?

Anyway, the point is that dinner is freaking hard when you're living in your car most afternoons after school. Sometimes I'm super on top of things and get all prepped early but, more often than not, I'm scrambling at 6pm trying to get dinner on the table before my kids need to get ready for bed. This roasted red pepper pesto comes together in the time it takes to cook the pasta and everyone in my family loves it (including the baby, who dyed her high chair orange last night with her pasta mess).

I usually buy a rotisserie chicken at some point during the week, shred it up and keep it in the fridge in a container to make dinners a little easier. I'll use about 1/3 of the container when I make this recipe. If I don't have any rotisserie chicken on hand I'll just cook and shred one chicken breast. You could easily do more chicken if you'd like or leave it out entirely for a meatless meal.

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pasta

Very slightly adapted from here

1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 c pine nuts
3 oz parmesan cut into chunks
1 12oz jar of roasted red bell peppers, drained
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 c heavy cream (optional. I've done it with and without and both are good)
Shredded rotisserie chicken
16 oz pasta

Extra pine nuts, grated parmesan and chopped basil for garnish

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta to desired doneness.

While the pasta cooks, add olive oil and garlic cloves to a small pan and heat over medium low heat for a few minutes, until the garlic starts to cook a bit. Add the pine nuts and let simmer for a minute or two.

Add the contents of the pan to a food processor and give it a good whirl. Add the parmesan cheese chunks and process until the mixture forms a paste. Add the drained roasted peppers and basil leaves and let process until thoroughly combined. With the processor running, add the cream in a thin stream.

Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Stir in the sauce and the chicken and leave on the burner for just a couple minutes until it's all heated through.

Serve with pine nuts, parmesan and basil for garnish.


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Monday, August 24, 2015


This weekend our kitchen went to pot. When I woke up this morning there were a ton of nasty dishes in the sink, crumbs on the counter and sticky drops of popsicle on the floor. After I put the boys on the bus and the baby in the high chair with her breakfast I rolled up my sleeves and went to work.

Things were going swimmingly until I went to hang a frying pan on our pot rack above the island in the middle of our kitchen and I totally smashed myself in the chin with the pan. It was clearly my fault but my immediate reaction was a lot similar to Brene Brown's in this hilarious and thought-provoking video. As soon as the words "Damn you Aaron!" were out of my mouth I started cracking up and went to find it to remind myself that "fault" isn't important- empathy is.

Hi, my name is Kayla, and I'm a blamer.

(but I'm working on it!)


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