Hellooooo from the other side of Labor Day! I hope you had a terrific long weekend!

Like a huge chunk of the country, there was a 30 degree temperature drop in the forecast for today so we focused on squeezing every last drop of fun out of the unofficial last weekend of summer. In fact, I could use a day of no labor to recover from our Labor Day weekend – we had a blast! Margaritas, friends, family, sushi, sunshine…I don’t even know what else. I’m tired.

Photo cred to our dearest Miss Elyse!

Anyway, it’s back to the grind today. Lincoln is back in virtual school which feels a lot less daunting today than it did a week ago, thankfully. I think the hardest part of this semester/year (depending on how long we’ll need to be virtual), will be social isolation. Our once shy-guy is a social butterfly and while we’ve got a neighborhood full of kids to play with in the afternoons, I worry about what things will look like in the season that shall not be named when we’re all shut inside our homes. Ugh. One day at a time, focus on the positives…like Facetime! We can do this. Right? RIGHT?!

In other news, I’ve got an enormous list of recipes I’m working on for you but it’s been slow going with guiding L through school while entertaining the little kids. So, that said, delicious eats are in the works but, in the meantime, thought we’d continue to catch up with another edition of Currently! (And cute kids. Oh, I miss summer already!)

 

Reading: American Dirt. The ladies on my block were so gracious to invite me to the neighborhood book club and so I’m thrilled to have an excuse to read. Can’t disappoint the club! This month we’re reading American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins about a woman and her young son migrating from Mexico to the United States to escape a powerful cartel. The writing is fantastic – descriptive enough to set a complete scene of what’s happening in my mind, but she wasn’t chained to her thesaurus while writing, which I love. Plus the story is very timely. I’m 1/3 of the way through and cannot wait to climb into bed tonight and keep turning pages. What are you reading right now?

 

Loving: Butcher Box Niman Ranch Pulled Pork and Sausages. Heads up – Butcher Box is offering their FREE GROUND BEEF FOR LIFE promotion so if you’ve been on the fence about joining Butcher Box, this is the time to do it. You get 2 pounds of ground beef in your monthly shipment for FREE, for the life of your subscription (which is month to month – you’re not on the hook for an extended subscription or anything like that.)

Whether you’re a new or current BB member, I have to give a shoutout to two featured products I’ve recently added to my monthly box and loved. Niman Ranch Pulled Pork and Niman Ranch Apple Gouda Sausages. They’re both fantastic! I’ve bought Costco’s pulled pork a couple of times and Niman Ranch’s version blows it out of the water. Super tender and the BBQ sauce they’ve mixed the pork with is mouthwatering. The Apple Gouda Sausages are not sweet whatsoever and have big chunks of drippy gouda cheese throughout the sausage. YUM! If offered, they’ll be under “member deals” and/or “add ons”. Niman Ranch isn’t an exclusive brand to Butcher Box, btw – Whole Foods sells their products too!

 

Ordering: Toddler Sneakers. The boys wear sneakers all year long but this summer Gwen rotated between a pair of Keen’s and the Gosh Darn Cutest Target sandals I picked up for like $5 last spring. Fast forward to today when we were thrust into some very chilly temperatures, I realized she doesn’t have any close toed shoes to wear! I ordered this cute pair from Amazon – off brand but the reviews seem good. What are your favorite little girl tennis shoes? I feel ok paying more for Lincoln’s shoes, knowing that Cam will wear them down the road, but the thought of paying $50 for a pair of sneakers G will wear for 6 months makes me sweat.

 

Reviewing: Marine Layer Pant. I feel like I promised you a review of the Insta-famous Marine Layer pants I broke down and rage bought in the thick of quarantine a few months ago, but can’t find the post where I mentioned them. Anyway, verdict is: save your money. I’m only 5’2 and the pants are very blousy in front and therefore uncomfortable. They might work better if you’re taller like the model, but they were a no-go for this shorty. They felt like tuxedo pants that weren’t fancy but also weren’t loungy enough to lounge in. Dang!

 

Indulging: Amy’s Cheese Enchiladas. Have I ever told you that one of my very favorite guilty pleasures is Amy’s Frozen Cheese Enchiladas? Yep, your friendly Iowa food blogger is obsessed with frozen cheese enchiladas. The sauce is what dreams are made of and they are bursting with gooey cheese. I used to avoid Amy’s gluten free foods but they have implemented strict allergen control measures in their production facilities in addition to testing their products for gluten. I no longer react, but want to give you that information so you can make your own mind!

 

Watching: Down to Earth. Have you seen Zac Efron’s new Netflix docuseries, Down to Earth? He’s paired up with Darin Olien – whom I just learned is the guy behind Shakeology – to explore healthy and sustainable ways to live around the world. For example, in London they learn about the city’s efforts to greatly reduce air pollution, in Sardinia they explore reasons why the area has a large population of the world’s centenarians, and in Costa Rica they visit a self-sustaining eco village. I LOVE the content. Love, love, love it, and Darin is a dream to listen to. Do I wish Zac Efron wasn’t such a bro? Possibly. But he’s easy on the eyes so I’m not horribly upset by this. 😉

 

Also Watching: I Am Bolt. Ben and I watched I am Bolt, which documents Usain Bolt’s athletic career, a few weeks ago and it was incredible. We’ve always been huge fans, and so to get a glimpse of what it takes to become one of the greatest athletes of all time was very eye-opening.

 

Eating: Wasabi Ranch Kettle Chips. File ranch and wasabi under two of my favorite flavors. Combine them into one chip? GIVE ME MORE. Bought a bag a couple weeks ago and it lasted less than 24 hours. Highly recommend.

 

Buying: Old Navy Kids Masks. I recently bought the kids a few packs of Old Navy animal face masks and they are so adorable! Luckily the kids haven’t had a tough time wearing masks but even so, they love the cuteness of these. They offer a bunch of different animal packs to choose from. I know some people experienced super lengthy shipping times from Old Navy a few months ago, but I ordered/received these within a few days.

 

Craving: Gluten Free Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. The kids and I went back to a local U-pick farm last week and couldn’t resist picking up a few mini pumpkins while we were there. #tisnearlytheseason They’re so dang cute!!! The pumpkins lining my kitchen window sill, coupled with the chilly temps, has thrust my Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting to the tippy top of my to-make list (with these as a close second.) These cupcakes are so, so, so, so, so, SO (shall I keep going?) yummy and the Cream Cheese Frosting is out of this world, if I do say so myself. Are you in the fall-baking mood yet?

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cupcake on a plate

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