Fabulous cookbooks

July 25th, 2014

fabulous cookbooks

I thought I’d show you a few corners of our house in the airplane hangar. It’s been a while since we’ve looked around up here. This corner of the kitchen is popular with both Niklas and me. I like it because it’s home to all my favorite cookbooks. He likes it because – well – probably because he’s not supposed to be there! He’s torn a few pages out of my favorite cookbooks. I think he’s amassing a collection of recipes to surprise us with. “Look Mom and Dad! I made dinner!”

1. Joy of Cooking – Hands down, this is my go-to cookbook these days. If we get a new vegetable, I turn to this book. If we want some ideas for how to eat the chicken breast in the fridge, this cookbook knows.

2. Wine Bible – Like a couple of geeks, we love what we’ve learned from this book. It’s a fabulous reference for any bottle of wine or wine region of the world. If you’re interested in knowing a bit about wine, this book has done wonders for us.

3. The New York Times Cook Book – I snagged this cookbook at the library book sale for $1. Is it good? I think it will be. I honestly haven’t tried anything yet. Niklas thinks the book itself tastes pretty good, though.

4. Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone – I learned how to cook with this book, so it’ll always be dear to my heart. Awesome vegetable recipes. Brilliant bread ideas. The foods in this book often take a little longer to make, but they’ve always been well worth it.

5. Food to Live By – This cookbook taught me how to make my own macaroni and cheese. It focuses a lot on fresh, local food. It’s a go-to for us each summer, especially when we have fresh berries.

6. Primal Cravings – And this is where I learned how to make grape gelatin and awesome meatloaf. Isn’t it funny how cookbooks carry memories with them? If you’re trying to avoid wheat but don’t really know how to make it happen, this cookbook is a great tool. Again, that meatloaf!

7. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian – I lugged this cookbook to Germany and back. It’s by Mark Bitman. His kitchen is tiny. He’s awesome. You just know his cookbooks are going to be, too.

8. A Baker’s Odyssey – If you want to make amazing international desserts, croissants, and dinners that include a crust, this cookbook is for you. Fabulous instructions, cultural history about food, and a classic recipe from my hometown are all inside.

9. Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book – My mom gave me this cookbook for my first Christmas as a new wife. I still remember fondly how hers had bits of powdered sugar and tomato paste stains on various pages. What a classic.

10. The New Moosewood Cookbook – This vegetarian cookbook is excellent. The recipes are plentiful and realistic. The carrot cake is amazing. And this cookbook taught me that lentils can taste good… really good.

Guten appetit!

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A hot air balloon ride

July 23rd, 2014

flying a hot air balloon

I dreamed of flying in a hot air balloon long before I met a pilot, became a pilot, or moved to an airport. If you’re on Instagram with me, you saw that my dream came true! And it was awesome!

The pilot was scoping out the area, trying to decide where he’d like to offer commercial flights. You know I’m not the only one who’s had “fly in a hot air balloon” on my bucket list forever.

“I’ve got a seat open,” he said on our answering machine. “You guys want it?”

Ummm… yes!

hot air balloon ride

We took off at 6:00 AM and floated across the sky for 90 minutes. Was it amazing? Yes. Would I tell everyone to do it? Yes!

Niklas is just hoping they need to do a second test flight…!

first hot air balloon ride

Other incredible flights: my 200 mile solo flight (still gasping over that experience!), flying over the Grand Tetons, flying over Yellowstone National Park, flying a glider in Germany.

How I balance work and parenting an infant

July 18th, 2014

work life balance with an infant

No one ever said that balancing work and parenting would be easy. Just take a look at this NY Times article I read last evening. Whew! It’s a crazy time at our house on the airport. Summers are busy with flying and Martin working with various pilots in one form or another. We’re doing some major projects for Gadanke. And of course, our most important job now is being mom and dad to Baby Niklas.

We’re seven months into being work at home parents. Of course it’s just the beginning! But I thought I’d share what is working for us right now. This list is both for you and for me on the days when I think I’ll never be caught up.

Balancing work and parenting. What’s working:

1. Let go of some tasks when you need to.

Yes, for me that was this blog for a short time. I hated being away from you. I tried to jump back in, but the truth is that I don’t have time to do everything. My to-do list has to be around 1/3 of what it used to be if I want to be realistic. By blogging a little less, I was able to write a few articles for magazines. (I’ll share those when they’re in print!) I also started writing a monthly column about being an entrepreneur and mom over at Life Your Way. I certainly have enough crafty, lifestyle, and home project ideas to write daily again, though I haven’t quite decided how much I want to do that as really fabulous opportunities present themselves (all because I had been blogging for so long).

2. Keep a realistic to-do list.

I stopped keeping a daily to-do list. What a sanity saver that has been! Instead, I keep a running list of projects I’ve got going. I include the steps I need to do and highlight what’s urgent. When nap time comes, I’m not scratching my head, wondering what to work on any longer. I just pull open the Pages document and scan what’s highlighted.

3. Know the difference between awake work and nap work.

There are a thousand little things that I could easily fill those precious nap hours with. This is where that project list comes in handy. It’s full of things I do during nap time. (Like this blog post!) Then when Niklas is awake, I can steel away a few minutes here and there to post something on Facebook. (And isn’t the Gadanke Facebook page becoming fabulous?!) Or I pay bills, catch up on a few customer emails, or write a quick letter.

4. Realize some days will be great work days, and some won’t.

I quickly saw that there were some fabulous days where I could accomplish a lot. I’d naively think that the next day would be exactly the same. Surely Niklas would sleep in, take long naps, and not go through three pairs of pants again. Oh how every day is different. When I accept this reality and embrace its beauty, my days are better. I know that what really matters is that we’re all fed, rested, and smiling at the end of the day.

5. Ask for help.

I currently have two assistants at the journal shop, Gadanke. They’re really awesome ladies that help me fulfill orders and get them to the post office. They make funny faces at Niklas, and he makes them back. They help keep me prioritized, and I’m just so thankful for everything they do. None of this is possible without them. But I was lucky, too… I asked for help.

6. Do something FUN together.

Niklas and I rock out together at music class every week. We’re always dancing and playing patty cake at home. But being in a weekly class with other babies and their moms is an absolute highlight for us both. There are no distractions except that cute little baby girl that keeps flirting and reaching for Niklas’ hair!

Work-life-balance. I don’t think there’s such thing. But there is something about feeling fulfilled and happy, and that’s exactly where we are. Have a great weekend, folks!