i have a podcast problem.

my name is erin, and i’m a podcast addict.

i know, i know, i’m totally late to the party on this, but i have recently become addicted to listening to podcasts. i listen to them in the car on the way to and from work, while doing dishes during amelia’s naps, and even while nursing her on the weekends. I CAN’T STOP.

there is something about radio voices and interesting stories that just captivates me. mister man travels a lot, and i used to keep the tv on in the house, just to have noise around me and keep me company so to speak. but the problem with tv is that there is a visual aspect to it, so if i was trying to wash dishes or fold laundry or do some other task, i would inevitably get distracted by the images on the screen. not good when you’re trying to get stuff done when the baby is sleeping for lord knows how long.

so when i found podcasts, it was like this perfect solution. the sound of the voices keeps me company, but since i am only listening to them and not watching them, i can be a lot more effective when i’m doing the tasks i need to do.

if any of you have been thinking about getting into podcasts, here is a random post of a few of my favorites that might help you get started.

1) this american life. this is one of the most popular podcasts out there, put on by NPR. every week, they tell a different interesting story. it can be anything from how a used car sales shop on long island makes their sales quota to digging into the tension between the police and society going on today. i’ve learned a lot of really interesting and random things from this podcast, and ira glass is the cutest voice on the radio today.


2) invisibilia. another NPR production (you’ll see a trend here). this one is produced by two women who look into the invisible forces that govern our world, like fear, sensory experiences, etc. some of the things they talk about will blow your mind, because they dig into how our brains work, and i don’t know about you, but i think that stuff is crazy. 

3) serial. oh yes. i’m on this bandwagon big time. probably everyone has listened to serial at this point, unless you live under a rock. i am just waiting for the second season!


4) snap judgement. oh look. another NPR podcast. this one has great music and sound editing, which is what makes it fun. the concept is that there is a new theme each week, and three different stories that relate to that theme are told by different people. vignettes if you will. this one is just great storytelling and the stories are about the human experience.

5) TED radio hour. i know there are some TED talk fans who read this blog. this podcast chooses a different theme each week, and then chooses a few TED talk participants whose talks relate to the theme, and they kind of adapt their TED talk to radio. they talk to the host, and snippets of their TED talks are played, so it’s kind of a mashup show of sorts. SO ADDICTING.


6) mom enough. this is a podcast put on by a local minnesota mom and daughter team.  the episodes are usually only about 20 minutes long (perfect for moms with short nappers) and each show deals with issues that may interest parents, like sensory development, how to be an engaged parent, and so on. i love it.

do any of you have this addiction? if so, please share your favorites with me in the comments so i can expand my listening even more!


recipe: strawberry cream cheese pie.

if you ask me what my favorite dessert is, my answer is going to depend on the time of year. in summer, give me all the ice cream. in the fall, it’s my mom’s coffee cake. winter, creme brulee, preferably at a cozy restaurant with my husband. but springtime has me craving anything with fruit. the fresher the better. even if it’s not quite in season yet, i just want all the fruity, baked goodness.

my hands-down, all-time favorite fruity baked dessert is the strawberry cream cheese pie that my mom has made since before i have memories. something about the juicy strawberries, the sweet creamy spread on the bottom, and the homemade glace holding it all together gets me every time. it reminds me of eating dinner on the porch when the weather finally gets warm enough, and of family dinners on sunday nights.

did i mention that it’s also gorgeous?

strawberry cream cheese pie

make this and serve it to people you love. they’ll be able to taste the love when they take a bite.

strawberry cream cheese pie, makes one pie, serves 8 with big slices

  • pie crust
  • 1 1/2 qts. fresh strawberries
  • 4 oz. cream cheese at room temperature (use neufchatel cheese for a lower fat option)
  • 1/2 C. powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • splash of milk (to moisten cream cheese mixture)
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3/4-1 C. white sugar
  • 1/2 C. water

for the pie: make your pie crust (or use a pre-made one like i mostly do, pillsbury works great!) and lay it in a 9-inch pie pan. bake according to the directions, making sure to poke the bottom with a fork before baking so it doesn’t puff up. let the pie crust cool.

mix together cream cheese, powdered sugar, almond extract and the splash of milk until smooth. the consistency should be somewhat firm and not runny, as you will be spreading this in the bottom of the pie crust. add more powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency. spread in the bottom of the crust and refrigerate until set, around a half hour.

while crust and spread are setting up, quarter the strawberries, reserving 1 C. of them aside for the glace. fill the pie crust with the strawberries. the strawberries should be slightly rounded at the middle of the pie.

for the glace: in a small saucepan, mix together the cornstarch and white sugar. mash the 1 C. of reserved strawberries with the water. mash well so there are no large chunks. add to the sugar and cornstarch. heat over medium heat until it thickens, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. boil for one minute, then remove from heat and cool for about five minutes. pour the glace over the top of the strawberries, covering well. refrigerate for at least three hours before serving.


these days.

let’s bring these back in to the mix, shall we? do you guys remember when i was good at keeping to a schedule and did one of these every.single.week? i vaguely remember that. it seems like a lifetime ago. pretty sure i wasn’t pregnant back when that was happening. my, how life changes.

i’m sure there are a few (dozen) of you who are thinking to yourselves, “great this entire update is going to be about baby and pregnancy stuff. gross/boring/dumb/please stop.” i promise that it will be no more than half full of that stuff, but what can i say, this is my life right now. it kind of consumes me, and if i can prepare any of you for that journey by sharing in my experience, then i’m happy.

i can’t wait for the weekend to start either. i’m registering for baby things tomorrow with my mom (a latte at the target starbucks is on the docket for sure), and we might even be able to work in the garden if we get lucky. i’d even take rain so that i can cozy up and plan out how/what i’m going to plant in the backyard when the ground thaws. i’m in one of those moods where anything sounds good to me. i hope your weekends are just as wonderful as i’m imagining mine will be.


these days i’m…

eating strawberries like they’re going out of style. they went on sale at the grocery store here last week and i may have bought and eaten three packages in that time. i can’t help it, they speak to my soul.


trying to be calm about all the unknowns coming up in the next year. i personally think i’ve done a good job so far, but every so often, i start to think about all the things that we have left to do/don’t know about yet/can’t possibly begin to plan for and i get a little hyperventilate-y. DO YOU GUYS EVEN REALIZE WHAT LOOKING FOR DAYCARE IS LIKE?  it’s terrible, is what it is. not to mention trying to figure what my work life is going to look like. wait, what was i talking about? trying to be calm? yes, that is happening. you be the judge as to how that’s going.

reading absolutely nothing. well that’s not true. i’ve been reading back issues of magazines on the bus like it’s my job, but no actual book reading is happening as of late. mostly because i can’t figure out what to read next. i’ve read the divergent series, but i’m in the mood for some really good fiction to try out. any suggestions?

wearing all the most comfortable clothes i own. give me all the stretchy clothes i say! i can already tell that in a matter of weeks, i’m not going to ever want to put on pants, and i’m just leaning right into that instinct. i did make myself put on jeans with a belly band today, and immediately pouted when i got to work because i wasn’t wearing leggings. [shameless plug: now that i have an actual bump, and it’s pretty obviously due to a baby, i’m posting a lot more bump outfit photos on my instagram, so if you’re not already, you should go follow me on there.]

praying for a lot of people. Mister Man and i decided during lent to pray for one person or couple of people that we feel could use some extra love in addition to our regular nightly prayer. it’s been such a wonderful practice for us, and i would love to keep doing it after lent is over. it makes us think about our friends and our community of people around us a little harder than we might normally, and it really helps us be grateful for everyone who’s been put in our path.

drinking ALL THE WATER, all the time. this is a bad combination with my pregnant bladder, but i’m trying to stay hydrated and non-puffy (i can already sense that my rings might not like my fingers for all that much longer). and also i’m craving it? can one crave water?

loving green everything. now that the snow is gone, i am like a little kid on christmas waiting for all the green to appear outside. we don’t take our springs for granted here in the tundra i tell you! there isn’t much growing here right now, but i’m crossing my fingers that i’m going to see the tops of the bulbs i planted last fall start to make their way out of the ground. i have the opposite of a green thumb, so even though i’m pretty sure i did everything right, i have my doubts that they are actually going to grow.


also loving baking again! last week i got the itch to make cookies, and i did and it was so lovely. i hadn’t baked anything since i’d gotten pregnant, partly due to lack of energy, partly due to the fact that i can’t taste the batter with the raw eggs, and it’s not as fun to bake something when you haven’t been able to taste it first. mixing that batter and putting those cookies in the oven made me feel so “normal” again, just like myself.

working on planning the nursery for baby z. in fact, Mister Man and i have a hot date at the home depot tonight to look for closet doors, wall trim and paint colors. because getting the nursery ready means getting the basement bedroom/office finished up first so we can move the guest bed in there. our basement is a mess right now with changing table/carseat/crib box taking up space everywhere, but until we finish the office AND paint the nursery, we can’t move anything new into the baby’s room. so we are moving full steam ahead while i can still help with some of it. i’ll be doing most of the prep work since we can’t ventilate the room properly for me to be able to paint safely. darn.



the end of an era.

i have what may be the saddest news in the entire world.

costello’s in st. paul, our bar – our precious, darling, hole in the wall, dive bar – is closing forever in february. and now i don’t know what to do with my hands. or my beer-drinking parts.


Mister Man and i have been regulars at costello’s since i first moved to the neighborhood in 2010. we were so excited to discover a small place within walking distance that served food and drinks and always had either the baseball or the hockey game on for us to watch since we never had cable.

we made ourselves at home there immediately, and let me tell you, when i say we were regulars, i mean they knew our names there. you know the cheers theme song? “sometimes you want to go/where everybody knows your name”? costello’s was our cheers. and even though that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, it was a dream of MM’s and mine to have a place we could go and they would set down our “usual” and we could chat the night away with our bartender and waitress friends. our hearts swelled whenever we walked through the door and brian or nancy would yell “hey guys! there’s a seat over there for you!”


the people who worked at costello’s are some of the nicest i’ve ever met in st. paul. the night we got engaged, after meeting our parents at the fancy w.a. frost’s, we went to costello’s to tell them the news (and they bought us champagne to celebrate). we went to nancy’s going away party when she retired. we hugged brian goodbye when he moved to west virginia (and then hugged him when he eventually came back “home”). we introduced our friends kari and sam there. we even joked about buying a plaque to install on the bar so we’d always have our spots when we came in.

we weren’t there every day, but it was a rare weekend that we didn’t stop in to say hi and have a pint. oddly enough, some of our most serious conversations about our future together (marriage/how many kids we want to have/you name it) were had in the second booth on the right. the only reason we were sad to move into our house was that we were no longer walking distance to costello’s and were losing our regular place. but we always had the reassurance that it was just across town.


a new bar and restaurant will be opening in its place in april. and you know what, it doesn’t sound like a half bad place. and it’s going to be GREAT for the developing neighborhood. but i still feel like it’s the end of an era. costello’s will always bring me memories of when Mister Man and i were just starting to get serious, making decisions about life together, and our first year as husband and wife. and who really needs a plaque for that?

anyone else get nostalgic about physical places like i do? is it odd that i have such a strong attachment to a dive bar? don’t answer that. or do, but just be kind.



these days.

hmmm, maybe these are just going to start being a saturday thing. i kind of love a saturday morning spent sitting with a candle lit, and a blanket on my lap, blogging while the husband putzes around the house. it’s my happy place.

there is a lot going on around here, in life that is, so writing has taken a bit of a backseat. and that’s okay. life is meant to be lived, and the more i live it, the more inspiration i have to write down the line.

i hope that your weekends are wonderful. love on your family and friends, and have a cocktail for me. hugs and kisses to all of you reading this.


these days i’m…

eating lots and lots of popcorn. Mister Man has a pretty terrible travel schedule this month, so there have been a lot of single lady dinners to be had around these parts. the silver lining is that i’m all caught up on my tv shows since there is no one to snuggle with in the evenings….

trying to wash my hair less. so far i’ve been going at least 2-3 days without shampooing, andmy hair is so healthy right now! normally on day three i just throw it up into the ol’ blogger topknot (does anyone want a tutorial on that one?) but i wore it down in tribute to amber’s lion hair habit. big hair is happy hair!

third day lion hair

watching the harry potter movies. or rather, re-watching them. because obviously i’ve seen them before, who do you think i am? i don’t think ashten and i could be friends if i didn’t like hp. MM and i are starting from the beginning, because this weather means mandatory viewings of those wonderful movies.   

wearing my winter coat. while crying tears of sadness for the cold being here so dang early.

praying for family that recently went through a terrible loss, the kind that no one should ever have to endure. praying for their healing, for peace in their hearts, and strength.

drinking coffee again. don’t judge me, i know i said i was off it, and i’m still off it most days, but let’s be honest, a girl needs her latte on a friday afternoon from time to time!

loving that i get to see my sister and her new apartment tonight! she’s a teacher in a town about an hour and a half northwest of us, so i don’t get to see her very often, and it’s going to be an epic girls night with dinner, cocktails, and hocus pocus. whoop!

also loving this special mail delivery from my girl alicia (or etley, as she’s also called). seriously, this girl is so wonderful, and has been an amazing far away friend to me since we found each other in the blogosphere. she is funny, gorgeous, and the sweetest person. love you lady!


working on getting our gosh darn lawn ready for winter. i have been cutting back plants, raking and pulling weeds for what seems like the last three weeks straight. i thought living in the city with a tiny yard meant i’d have LESS yardwork, not the crap-ton i’ve been doing.


(p.s. in honor of the cold weather arriving, for the rest of october i’m offering my monster squawker ad spots for 50% off with the code “sweaterweather”. with this spot you get social media love, an intro in one of my daily posts, and even a guest post opportunity if you’d like! go here to get your spot, they fill up fast! doesn’t nikki from rural rookie look so good over there on my sidebar?)