A Parent’s Valentine Wish List

I don’t know about you, but this past week my social media feeds have been increasingly populated by Valentine shopping guides and ads for flowers, chocolate, and jewelry. Don’t get me wrong those are all wonderful ideas if you or SO other are into that sorta stuff.

As a parent Valentine’s Day has changed a bit. It is no longer about making a reservation at a nice restaurant or planning on a special candlelight dinner at home with an evening curled up together on the couch. Now it is miniature candies, paper valentines, class lists, and maybe a heart shaped pizza before bath and bed. That is to say, it isn’t just about the love between two people, but the  four people that make up this amazing family that started with the love of those two people.

So let’s get real for a minute and create a Valentine gift list that a parent would want IRL.

Pillow Time

Pillow time

An extra hour or two of sleep would be amazing. And I’m not talking the we’ve been up since 3am and I’m sneaking back to bed while the kids take a nap. I mean an uninterrupted extension of whatever sleep was cobbled together over night. I know it is asking a lot, but why not shoot high!

A Weekend Escape

View of Bayfield from the ferry

Booking something specifically on Valentine’s Day might be a thing of the past, but gifting a weekend away for a future date would be like getting a diamond ring. A little time to get away and remember why we started this three ring circus to begin with.

Learn Something New

Most of the time the only new things you are learning as a parent is that the way you were taught to do something in elementary school is no longer relevant. Even with the novelty of the relationship long gone you can still keep learning together. Enroll in a class that takes both of you out of your comfort zone and puts you back in that nervous awkward space you started the relationship in. Take a cooking class to master a complicated or new dish. Get dressed up and bring your two left feet to a couples dance lesson. Learn to shake, stir, and garnish your way through a delicious cocktail class. The possibilities really are endless.


I’m not going to lie, a little GOOD chocolate goes a long way and is always appreciated. Skip the Hershey box and get something unique, local, and crafted with skill and love. A few MN favorites: Chocolate Celeste, Legacy Chocolates, and B.T. McElrath.

pink cake

But for now, a little time in the kitchen and a homemade cake to share will do the trick.

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January Coffee Chat: Food, Travel, and a Self-Challenge

Everyone I know has massive goals for 2018 and with January nearly at an end I hope they are all killing it. I, for one, am feeling awesome about this year so far . . . lots of time in the kitchen, several trips on the horizon, and setting up a challenge that will make me even more focused and energized to reach those goals.


It is probably a good thing my baking has leaned towards healthier sweets (check out our ten favs); because I’ve been on a bit of a pasta and bread kick in the dinner department. As much as I love recipes and cookbooks – ask my husband about my cookbook collection and my folder full of ripped out magazine pages, not to mention my pinterest boards. Anyway, it is nice sometimes to just go in blind with no real plan. Giant pasta shells that you can stuff are a great way to do this and if you want a pasta companion that is pure heaven you should try Saltie’s Focaccia by Marian Bull on Food52. We originally used it for shakshuka focaccia, but we’ve been making it in a sheet pan topped with garlic and rosemary recently.

Stuffed shells


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10 Healthier Sweets For Your Valentine

If you are like us you are probably still making your way through your Christmas candy. And that was after you threw away the leftover Halloween candy on Christmas Eve. We have a major sweet tooth at our house so I try not to keep processed sweets laying around, but it can be so hard with all the holidays.

Of course, the sweets just keep coming as we roll into February with Valentine’s Day falling right between my husband’s birthday and my own. Thankfully I’ve found several healthier sweets that we can enjoy on those special occasions so we can feel like we are treating ourselves without over doing it.

Here are ten of our favorites:

healthy peanut butter chocolate chip blondies

Healthy Peanut Butter Blondies – Joy Food Sunshine

Paleo Magic Cookie Bars – Food Faith Fitness

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The annual road trip MN to IL: Bucket list edition

Do you have a route that you travel so often you get from point A to point B without even realizing it? The road trip from St. Paul, Minnesota to Central Illinois is that route for us. We have lived in Minnesota for close to 11 years now and with my family living in Illinois where I grew up we do the long eight hour drive several times a year.
Each time we pass by the same little towns, the same site markers, and the same wooded areas. Perhaps the first few trips I looked out the windows with wonder and took note of possible stops, but after realize how the day is going to be, stopping for anything other than gas or a potty break seems out of the question.
Things are changing though and the blinders are coming off and the eyes of wonder will open once more. On this last trip between my two homes I took note of things I’ve been ignoring for years and finally started that list of stops:
Miniature clowns at Circus World in Baraboo Wisconsin
Although I certainly don’t agree with how circus animals were treated in the past I do remember going to several as a kid. Long before our time the circus had its hay day. For some towns the traveling circus was the only form of entertainment for several months and an event that was not to be missed.

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4 Mindset Shifts to Live a More Fulfilling 2018

4 mindsets for a more fulfilling 2018

2017 was a good year, not a great year, but that is on me. I mean it should have been a GREAT year – we took Baz on his first flight, spent a week at Disney (the happiest place on Earth!!!), celebrated little man’s first birthday, saw our first born graduate pre-school and start kindergarten, enjoyed lots of cabin time, and ended the year with a week with family in Illinois celebrating the holidays and the joy of two pregnancies.

Yet, it seemed less than it should have overall. I ended the year feeling emotionally exhausted, creatively starved, and professionally unfulfilled. Things that should have been within my power escaped my grasp and I allowed myself to lose sight of what I want my life to be about. 2018 is a fresh start to my old story and I’m using these four mindsets to activate what will be a fulfilling and happy year.

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November Coffee Chat

Okay, so technically it is December, but as much as I love the holidays I’m not ready to admit that we are in the last month of 2017.

November was a crazy busy month and it went by way to quickly for me to fully enjoy it. Even with that it was one hell of a month.

Exploring without kids

As a family we have been blessed to travel a lot. When we were a family of three we went to Mexico, Disney, Florida, South Dakota, and many other places. Since adding Baz to the mix 18 months ago we still haven’t slowed down. Continue reading

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City Girl Coffee Co Breakfast Blend

The Makers: City Girl Coffee Co.

Seattle may be America’s coffeehouse, but the Twin Cities is definitely holding its own. Home to two national brands – Caribou and Dunn Bros – as well as several smaller roasters, dozens of top-notch coffee shops, and a pretty passionate coffee culture.

Somewhere along my caffeinated journey I came across City Girl Coffee Co. The packaging caught my attention with its bright colors and female logo (two rarities) and when I found out it was based out of Duluth and the Twin Cities I was hooked. Besides having great beans this small company also has a great story and a group of passionate people behind it.  Continue reading

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The Makers: An Introduction

Often times we find ourselves just going through the motions of life. Not really enjoying things or feeling connected to what we are doing. But people who are passionate about what they are pursuing inspire me and remind me that it is possible to blend creative pursuits, work, and a zeal for life into one amazing journey. So I’m talking to The Makers – those doing something special in food and travel, following their passion, and bringing something unique to the world around them. So here we go . . .


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wagon ride through apple orchard

Apple Bread and an apple orchard

Apples are kind of a big deal around here. The University of Minnesota makes news each time it announces a new variety. Apple orchards aren’t hard to come by. In fact, there are so many it can be hard to pick just one. We’ve tried out several over the years and they each offer their own little twist on the experience.

Apples available for pick your own

This year we tried another new one  and we might have just found our annual orchard! Continue reading

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September Coffee Chat (and some BIG NEWS)

There is something about Fall that makes coffee chats seem cozy and appropriate. All curled up with a cup of coffee, a good friend to talk to, and maybe a book to browse. September was a doozy of a month so this coffee chat might be a little deep and require a few cups of java.

Coffee chat with latte and heart

A few month’s ago I reminded everyone (especially myself) why I started Nomad Momma – to continue to challenge myself to try new things, face some fears, learn, and explore. September definitely stepped if up a notch in the face fears and explore arenas. Continue reading

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