Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happy Mother's Day to Me (and you)

Mother's Day came and went before I had time to unpack and charge my camera. Bummer. Because it was a really really good day.

We started the day with breakfast ... made by me because I really like making breakfast.

Then Abdel indulged me by agreeing to a family trip to Tuesday Morning.  He described it as "One step up from 'that store in York'" which I'm pretty sure means Gabriel Bros, but this store is actually clean and organized and the merchandise isn't all ripped apart.  Anyway, there was a bookstore next to it, so we were all happy with the trip.

Afterwards, we were starving and happened upon our new favorite restaurant ever.

So good. If you visit us, we will take you there. It's worth the 20 minute drive.

Once we got home, Lucy took a nap (a great mother's day gift!).

She awoke. The Man and her went to the beach while I had some time alone to do whatever I wanted. (Waste my life on the Internet - the usual.)

They came back. We ate dinner and then walked to Whole Foods for cake.

Some points of interest:

They WALKED to the beach.
We WALKED to Whole Foods.

This is something that I'll have to expound on later, so for now, let's just appreciate the fact that this little family finally lives in a community where there are things to WALK to. This is amazing. And wonderful. And life-changing.

Also, I got a litterbox for Mother's Day.

This one and it is awesome.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Shakur Family Menu

One of the great things about moving is the motivation it forces on you. All of a sudden, every piece of paper has to earn its keep or else it's thrown into the garbage.

Well, for years, I wrote down weekly menus that listed the same handful of recipes in different combinations; I like meal planning and having a record of what we ate "back in the day," so I'm keeping a few of those menus. But now, with Pinterest, I don't write my menus anymore; I save them on the computer and delete then when I'm done.

But my yearning for nostalgia is too big, so I'm going to immortalize :) a few of my favorite kid-friendly, easy to make recipes that show up time and time again on the Shakur Family (Digital) menu...

Korean Beef
This is one of the easiest and tastiest dishes ever. I use 1/4 cup of brown sugar and add some sauteed veggies when I make it. Our little family devours it, so there usually aren't leftovers.

Mexican Haystacks
One thing I really love about this meal is that it seems healthy enough that I can drink my favorite milkshake afterwards and not feel too gluttonous. I think my family likes the fresh avocados and mango. Yum!

Avocado Pesto

Maybe it's no surprise that my California Babe likes all things avocado, so when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. Since then, we've enjoyed it at least once a month. I like that it's so easy to make and that I usually have all of the ingredients on hand. (I finally learned that I don't have to fret over the pine nuts because a little extra olive oil is just as good.) I serve this with fresh tomatoes for a really filling meal.

Baked French Fries

With a little one in the house, the requests for burgers and french fries are frequent. This is the simplest and most consistently good french fry recipe I've tried. The fact that they're "healthy" is almost irrelevant; they just taste really good!

Chicken Parm Meatballs

We're not all-carbs-all-the-time :) This chicken meatball recipe is really good and little Lucille gobbles these up. Granted, I do often serve it with noodles, so maybe I am on carb overload...

It's fun to see how our eating habits have changed over the years. There was a time when breakfasts were all on-the-go, or when we ate pancakes every weekend, or when we were all addicted to smoothies. There was a time when Abdel and I took turns cooking or when we both worked so many hours that no one cooked and Chipotle was our savior. I started writing the menus because it helps inform my grocery shopping, but it turns out that they provide a nice little history of our family. So it might seem silly to carry a notebook full of old menus to our new place, but I just love the idea of seeing our family change and documenting it with something as simple as what we ate for dinner.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Girls' Weekend

Lucille and I had a bit of a girls' weekend these past few days.  While Abdel was away at a teaching conference, we ....

Got up and played. There was no time for getting dressed or brushing hair; there were soap bubbles to play with!

We also had an art show to install. (Made from this Melissa & Doug set)

And sticker earrings to wear...

Overall, we stayed busy and got to do some things that we can only do when it's just the girls (i.e. eat hamburgers everyday, watch lots of Pingu, and hang out at Marshall's)! So, yeah, this weekend was a success.

But in the car today, Lucy did ask, "Daddy? Plane?" in a sad little way. Yeah, we've been doing fun things, but we're all ready for The Man to come home!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Happy Birthday - April 2013

We celebrated two very important birthdays this month. (Sorry about catching you in a blink, Birthday Man)

Our little Lucille turned TWO years old! She got to spend her day with her grandpa and parents at the Children's Museum.

A few weeks later, my wonderful husband turned THIRTY FIVE! (Please note the beginning of our mountain of boxes in the background...)

About that cake: I made some lemon curd to go between the layers of the cake, but despite sitting in the fridge for an entire day, it never settled! I don't understand what happened. If you know anything about making lemon curd, can you tell me why mine stayed runny?

Luckily, despite being runny, the cake was delicious and lemony just like my man requested. And here's Lucille anxiously sneaking her way towards a piece.

Happy birthday, beautiful Shakurs (and beloved Uncle Don)! You guys have made April one of my favoritest months!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Dry Erase

The best invention ever made was, quite possibly, the dry erase board.


Years ago, Abdel bought this to use in his first classroom. Over the years, it stopped its journey to high school and stayed in our house. 

Maybe you can't tell it from this picture, but the fact that this dry erase board is in our house makes Lucy so incredibly happy. 

The fact that I can move it to whatever room I'm in makes me incredibly happy. This wonderful dry erase board means I can wash dishes, fold clothes or just pick up a marker and draw along with my little girl. It's a win-win for everyon!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Selling our house

Several months ago, we came to the realization that we had to sell our house. In some ways, this was an easy decision, ... in others, it really wasn't.

The new father welcoming home his daughter.

See, we love this house. This is Lucy's house. This is our family's house.

Sally's favorite spot in the house.

 And regardless of what's happening in our bank accounts or in our neighborhood, it's hard to leave behind our home.

Planting some vegetables in our backyard.

But, I suppose a part of adulthood is learning to make decisions that aren't just based on feelings and nostalgia. So, we're moving.

The Shakurs a day or two after we moved in.

For the past little bit, our little family has spent many days getting our place to look less like a home and more like a house, so that somebody could see past our stuff and want to buy it.

A baby in the laundry!

Luckily, that process went by pretty quickly. Within a week, we had two offers! Cool!

Lucille and her friends, looking like teenagers in the window.

For the next while, we spent all of our weekends finding a new place. An apartment this time; a chance to really get to know our new neighborhood before we commit to anything more permanent.

And, of course, we've been packing. There are boxes everywhere, y'all.

Lucille watching the neighbors.

I think we're all excited to move, but a little sad. This home has been great to us and we'll all surely miss it. Luckily, the opportunities that await us are exciting and plentiful.

The Man and His Cat.

I really really can't wait to live in a neighborhood that has something besides corner stores and convenience stores. I can't wait to ditch the car for days at a time as we walk everywhere we want to go. We're staying in the same general area, so it's crazy to think about how completely different life might be!

Sally is an expert at finding all of the cool surfaces in the house.

I'm going to try to get back to regularly blogging because these days are filled with details that I don't want to forget, but if I'm quiet for a while longer, just know that I'm busy packing and moving an entire house full of stuff. I'll be back eventually!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

oh, hello

Every evening, around 5:30pm, I get to retreat to the corner of the house...

It's just me and this computer until Lucy's bedtime.

That's kind of awesome and totally amazing because it means that Abdel is watching Lucy (and Sally) even though he just spent the entire day with a group of sully high schoolers.

I used to use that time to update this blog and decompress and whatever, but now I'm writing.

Like, I'm making actual money writing(!) and these few hours that I get to myself have to be spent at work.

And I really have to do it because Abdel (and Lucy and Sally) are counting on me.

So, the blog suffers but my family prospers.

The pictures were taken at a few of Lucy's recent soccer classes.  I should mention that Lucy seems to have absolutely zero interest in playing soccer, but she is so happy when we're at class. She smiles and laughs and runs and never ever kicks the ball. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pre-Christmas 2012

Can we just agree that for a while, when you visit this blog, you'll be transported back in time?  Ok, so let's talk about the holidays ...

Since we were traveling on Christmas Day, we opened presents on Saturday 12/22.  I'm not sure I ever really got into the holiday spirit, but it was still fun to spend the morning with my family.  Of course, most everything under the tree was for Lucy. Only one family member seemed disappointed by that ...

I swear we were going to get the cat a present, but ... well, we'll just owe her something extra special for her birthday. 

Anyway, our thought on gifts has always been moderation.  We buy Lucy one "big" gift and something small for each other.  The real fun is spending the day together, eating a big breakfast and a big lunch and a big dinner.  This year, I found this brand new kitchen on Craigslist for less than half price.  If it hadn't been for the price, I might not have been drawn to it, but it ended up being perfect.  It matches Lucy's playroom perfectly!  (I admit that after scoring this item, I am a little obsessed with checking Craigslist.  I haven't bought anything else, but it's just so fun to see what's available... Anyway...)

Like I said, we spent the actual Christmas Day in the air en route to California, so this pre-Christmas was a great way to start our holiday festivities.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

2012 in Review

Due to some technical difficulties, I'm living life about a month late.  So let's all pretend that January is just starting and we're all excited about the new year.

2012 is a wrap, y'all.  Overall, this was a good year for our little family.  Abdel got a handful of stories published, I finished grad school, and Lucy learned to walk.  Big accomplishments for everyone!

January 2012 - the weather was beautiful and we spent a lot of the month outside.

February 2012 - Abdel spent a lot of time with Lucy so I could FINISH my thesis.

March 2012 - a march for Trayvon Martin in downtown Chicago.

April 2012 - Lucy turned 1 year old!

May 2012 - I graduated.

June 2012 - A quick visit with Kyle and his family.

July 2012 - Lucy had fun spending a week with her cousin.

August 2012 - We picnicked on the sidewalk in Oak Park with Grandma and Uncle Julian.

September 2012 - I turned 31!  And we spent time at our favorite apple orchard.

October 2012 - A quick trip to Bloomington, IN to see our friend, Ross.

November 2012 - Grandpa spent Thanksgiving with us.

December 2012 - We spent a long time putting together a Christmas gift for Lucy.  The first of many years, probably.

So, yeah, 2012 was good to our family.  Here's hoping that 2013 is just as good!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Coloring with Lucy


Consider this post a reminder to myself.  That we don't always have to be on the go.  That good days can be spent in the house, sitting together with just a box of crayons and a giant sheet of paper.

I am a homebody to the max, so it's funny that I even need to remind myself about this.  

Candice (and you, if you like): stay home when you can.  Keep on your pajamas if you want to.  Enjoy just being with your family.