I'm Lauren!
Wife. Mother. Blogger. Food eater. Thunder thigh haver. Baby maker. Carb lover. Travel goer. Exclamation point user.

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We’re Moving!

We’re Moving!

That’s right, you crazy kids! Come summer, the Brennan Family will be MOVING to….wait for it….Boise, Idaho!

We’ve had to explain our reasons behind this move to lots of people who don’t understand the whys so hopefully this will give you a little insight as to WHY we are heading to Idaho of all places.
Why are you moving?

We have quite a few reasons why we felt this was the right decision for our family. The main reason was actually because of this wee little blog that has blossomed and grown into our full time jobs! Paying for this blog in a state that is really unkind {tax-wise} to small businesses was our biggest reason. We’ve done everything we could to maximize our deductions personally and for a small business with the help of our accountant. Though that has helped, this last tax season really was the last straw to break the camel’s back. Comparing how much we pay in Oregon to the four other states we were thinking of moving to, it was literally painful to do a few quick calculations to see how much money we could have saved if we lived there instead of here. We’re talking thousands, people. Do you know how many outfits I could buy with that?

Another big reason to move was to get all the sweat equity out of our small 1400 square foot home that we’ve put into it over the last 3+ years of living here. With the housing market going CRAZY in Portland, we’d be foolish not to. Crunching a few numbers and selling our house meant that we could pay off ALL of our debts, get my husband a newer car {he was driving a janky, rusty old honda!} and have more money in the bank for retirement and stock up our emergency fund. Another pragmatic reason to leave.
I suppose another reason could be it just felt right. We love Oregon and it kills us to leave some of our wonderful friends that we’ve made here, but we felt it was time to move on, get a bigger home {one that we wouldn’t have to move out of for a long long time} and make the switch now, before Brooke got older, into those higher school grades.

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If you follow me on any of my social media channels, you’ll know that I was in Cincinnati last week hanging out at Kroger Headquarters. {Hi friends!!} If you are not aware, I am one of their ambassadors and happily shop at one of the many Fred Meyers in Boise. {Free babysitting! Fresh and local produce! Clicklist! It’s close to my house! I could go on…}

ANYWAYS, while I was in Cincinnati, I created an amazing recipe meant for the holidays that I’m going to share with you today.

I created this fun Pumpkin Pie Sheet Cake that feeds a CROWD. This one recipe serves 24 people. Me trying to hold this cake AND photograph it was…interesting? Hilarious? Impossible? Someone came up and asked if they could hold it for me because I was clearly struggling. Ha! It was heavy because those 4 layers of goodness certainly add up.

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Crockpot recipes are always so ugly.

There. I said it.

I guess this one turned out ok, but generally, as a rule of thumb, they aren’t the prettiest ones on the block.

Even though this is a true statement, crockpot recipes always seem to be the most delicious. Funny how that works. Brown food tastes good and crockpots create brown food.

So there you have it. My deep thoughts for this Friday morning.

In other news, my daughter has had the last two days off of school for parent-teacher conferences and both my husband and I are going crazy. We love our children dearly {most of the time} {just kidding Mom; we love them all the time} but are grateful for the teachers, bus drivers, friends and other people who take them off our hands for 8 hours a day.

Heaven help us get our work slash anything else accomplished this weekend.

PS- our babysitter is out of town, adding insult to injury. It is not the best. Margaret, if you’re reading this, send help.

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It’s finally feeling like Fall in Boise and it feels amazing! Fall is my favorite season, methinks. So I am pumpkin-ing all the things, wearing cute boots and sweaters and getting down to business making tons of fresh rolls and soups galore.

I have been working on this Baked Potato Soup recipe for quite some time now. I’ve made this probably 6 or 7 times in the last 4 months before I finally got it to where I like it. Too bland. Too thick. Too thin. Boiled too long. Not enough tang. etc. etc.

Some say I’m too picky {ahem…Gord} but I think it’s what makes my recipes trustworthy. If I post a gross recipe and you make it and agree that it is in fact, gross, then who’s to say you’ll try another one? Odds are you won’t. Heck, I have a hard enough time posting all the RIGHT recipes and still get hate mail.

So, I’m not picky. I’m meticulous. And that’s a good quality to have within the realms of recipe testing.

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I am a mom to three kids: Brooke-7, Blake-3 and Eddie-8 months.

After I had Eddie, I was convinced that the older he got, the more my life would get easier. {Please try to contain your laughter.}

I’m not sure if I was optimistically hopeful or blissfully unaware but, clearly I forgot that I’d have THREE children to care for, plus a house to keep tidy{ish}, meals to cook, dishes to clean, laundry to fold and oh ya! manage this wee ol’ blog of mine.

I was and probably still am the epitome of a busy working mother. My to do list is looooooong, ya’ll.

So, anywhere I can catch a break/save time/save sanity/not have to work harder then necessary, I do it.

It’s why I use parchment paper on every surface possible.

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Hello October! We are just zooming through these last few months of the year! Does anyone feel like we are moving at lightening speed?

Typically, my life turns into madness this time of year. As the holidays and parties in these last 3 months approach us, my schedule gets jammed. Last year, I started posting lots of last minute recipes that became staples at my house for October, November and December. I’m talking really fast dinners, desserts, and party foods. You never know when you’ll need to whip something up fast! {Hello Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthdays, Holidays, Halloween, New Years, and other miscellaneous parties and get togethers.} So that is what has been on my mind when I came up with these Hairy Spider Cookies.

By taking a few shortcuts, you can have these ready to go in about an hour. So much easier and faster than trying to find something as tasty from the store. Not to mention as cute 😉

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Do you know how long I’ve had mini M&M’s in my pantry? A LONG TIME.

I had plans to just use the fall colored candies in a dessert and took the 20 minutes to divide all the colors out, but then Gordon I wanted some seriously chocolatey cookies one Sunday afternoon and wanted them colorful. Soooooo, I threw all the colors back together and made these Double Chocolate M&M cookies. {See video here of this day here!}

Anyways, I used my double chocolate cookie recipe and tweaked it based on what I had in my pantry and threw these fun and chewy cookies together.

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