Smoothie Love

I have always been a big fan of smoothies, or shakes, as my mom used to call them. As a special treat she would break out the blender and throw in our mushy bananas, ice, and milk. The result would be a delicious banana shake that we’d enjoy with vanilla wafers. Yum. In college my roomate got a smoothie machine and we made one everyday, mostly using those bagged mixes. For years, I used the blender to make healthier smoothies with greens, fruit, yogurt, and more, but my husband didn’t like the consistency of the final product. Enter the Nutribullet last year and now we’re in the daily delicious smoothie business. Our boys drink them and get some veggies in their bodies, sometimes the only ones of the day. I also sneak in chia and flax seeds, as well as antioxidant powder. They love to choose what goes in, including spinach and kale!


PICTURE (boys drinking smoothies?)


A few years ago, my friend Jaime at Pretty Prudent made a smoothie station (plus she has a ton of great smoothie making advice!). It was one of those, “why didn’t I do this years ago moments?” I immediately pulled all my stuff together on a tray I already owned, but it wasn’t very pretty to look at plastic tubs of protein powder and bags of seeds. Since I tend to hoard glass jars (mostly from pasta sauce and fruit), I thought I’d use those to store my protein and antioxidant powders and a few random baby food jars for the chia and flax seeds. Another little jar for my reusable straws and we were set. I painted the tops of the jars with leftover chalkboard paint, so I could label them easily. This has allowed us to make eating healthier an easy priority. Smoothies take minutes to create when all our add-ins are out and in view.


PICTURE (smoothie station on counter)

Chocolate Avocado Smoothie

This is one my boys ask for often and we’ll have as an after dinner treat on occasion.


For one adult or two child-sized servings


1 banana (a little brown is even better)

½ avocado

large handful of ice

1 c vanilla almond milk (or your milk of choice)

1 T cocoa powder

2 T oats

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)

1 t chia seeds (optional)


Blend together and enjoy!


PICTURE (ingredients and finished smoothie)

I’ve been trying tons of new combinations lately. If you have a favorite smoothie or juice, please leave a recipe or link in the comments. You can check out my smoothie Pinterest board here.

Indoor Plant Refresh

This winter has been brutal. Chicago has had so many days well below zero that I lost count. The windchill alone has been insane. So by the first weekend of March, I was over it. There is still several feet of snow on the ground and it was only 29 degrees this morning, but the birds are chirping, the sun is out, and some 40 plus degree weather is on the forecast.


I have a beautiful bay window above my kitchen sink perfect for plants. The only problem is that it looks out on the neighbors brick wall and only receives light for about an hour every morning. I  like to think that I have a green thumb and I love gardening both indoors and out, but my indoor plants were looking a little tired. This winter must’ve been hard on them too. I took a trip to my favorite family-owned neighborhood garden center, Adam & Sons. Armed with $20, I started browsing all the gorgeous plants. I ended up with a few small tropical plants from their terrarium section, a fern, and an air plant. I even grabbed a plant to gift my neighbor for her birthday and stayed under budget. Along with a few IKEA pots I had stacked in the basement and few cute new ones from Target, I was ready for the refresh.




My window was still sporting some of it’s winter decor. My boys and I had made coffee filter snowflakes (which means that Jack made about four, Eames ripped a bunch, and I spent hours on the couch at night cutting them out.) and they were adorning most every window of the house. It was time to kick the snow out. After cleaning the windows, my mini greenhouse, and the window sill, I was ready to pot my new plants. I divided my overgrown peace lily and potted my new plants and some of my old ones. A few plants were destined for the compost bin and a few were moved to other rooms to spread the spring green around.



For a total of about $40 (not including the half bag of dirt in my basement and few pots in storage) and two hours, I had a fresh looking window, happier plants, and a happier me. Now I just need to declutter the rest of the house!


I’ve been telling myself for years (!) that I should write a blog. I’m not sure why, maybe because I have many talented friends who do just that. Since having my two boys and becoming a stay at home mom in the process, I’ve felt like I’m lacking a creative outlet. I was a teacher for 10 years, mostly middle school science, and have a master’s in curriculum and reading. I was used to writing lesson plans, coming up with awesome science experiments, interacting with colleagues and students alike, and pursuing more personal career goals through my master’s program. Now I’m home. And I feel very lucky to be. My oldest son, Jack, just began kindergarten this year and my youngest son, Eames, is now in preschool three mornings a week. I’ve found myself with a few hours a week to myself! But, I have not been using them as wisely as I feel I should be. It’s always a game of catch-up. Laundry. every. single. day. The house will never actually be “clean” because I have a 5 and 3 year old! I decided it was high time I did something for myself. This blog will hopefully become an outlet for some of my creative energy. The ideas that get pushed to the back burner while I help with homework, make dinner, and hang with my boys. I began my college career as an interior design major and for many reasons, changed to education, but I still have a deep love of design. Now, I need to share some of that with the internet world. I also love planning fun activities and adventures for my boys, so I plan on sharing those here too.

I recently had an opportunity to showcase some of my designs in an upcoming book (Pretty Prudent Home) written by some dear friends of mine. When they asked if I wanted a website attached to my credits, I thought, yes, but what? So I brainstormed with my husband, who is a creative director and does this for a living, about blog names. We landed on midwest-ish. I wanted to share all kinds of things here, design, cooking, gardening, kids activities, trips, and more. We live in Chicago now, but both both grew up in Michigan and have lived on both the east and west sides. If you know any Michiganders, you know our love for the mitten state runs deep. We’ve often toyed with the idea of moving to New York or San Francisco, or some where else, but it just didn’t feel right to leave the midwest. As for the “ish,” I feel that since becoming a mom, nothing happens on the schedule you want it to, nothing turns out just right, and plans can become something completely different. I’m hoping a few people will find the things I write about helpful, or inspiring, or be able to connect with me in some way. So here it goes. Welcome to midwest-ish. I hope you enjoy it!

This is another sample post

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