Real Life | Week 2: Guilty Pleasures & White Chocolate Peanut Butter

This week’s prompt in my photography e-course was “Guilty Pleasures”. The challenge was to photograph the stuff the stuff I enjoy but am not necessarily proud of, with the idea that these so-called guilty pleasures are often fleeting phases and can change drastically over years or even months.

I would have to say my biggest guilty pleasures is catalog shopping. I enjoy the catalogs I get in the mail the way some people enjoy magazines. I’ve actually enjoyed catalogs for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is sitting on the couch with my mom, flipping through a catalog of fancy girls’ dresses. I would point to one I liked and ask, “How much is that one?” And my mom would read me the price, which meant absolutely nothing to me at the time, and then we’d move on to the next one that caught my eye and I’d repeat the question over and over until we had flipped through the entire thing.

Little Bird Nest | Guilty Pleasures 4

Even now, every time I check the mail, I’m secretly hoping to find a catalog, preferably one from Hanna Andersson or Lands’ End or The Company Store or Knit Picks— those are my favorites. I almost never buy stuff from catalogs. Occasionally I’ll see something I really like and order it online, but for the most part it’s strictly eye candy.

Originally I thought I would have difficulty documenting my catalog obsession this week due to a large purge that happened at my house a couple of weeks ago. But, like a true addict, I was able to find some squirreled away throughout the house, including the Spoonflower catalog– seriously, I think I may never throw that one away!

Little Bird Nest | Guilty Pleasures 2

Another one of my guilty pleasures is my love for classical choral music. Ola Gjeilo happens to be my current obsession. I never listen to this stuff with other adults around– not even my husband. It’s not that I’m that embarrassed about my slightly choir-nerdy music tastes– I just don’t want anyone to say anything negative about it and ruin it for me. Have a listen for yourself and see what you think.

Okay, enough about catalogs and choral music– let’s get to the good stuff. My current food obsession: white chocolate peanut butter. If you like peanut butter at all, you’re going to want to try this stuff. I literally eat it by the spoonful.

Little Bird Nest | Guilty Pleasures 1

My version is based on a recipe from Laura Fuentes’ cookbook The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet, and it seriously is the easiest thing to make. It’ll take you like less than 5 minutes. I make it with fresh ground unsalted peanut butter that I get from the bulk section of my favorite grocery. Using fresh ground or homemade peanut butter makes it a minimally processed food that’s actually not so bad for you when eaten in moderation. However, in moderation is generally not how I eat this stuff, which is why it landed a lead role in my “guilty pleasures” post.

Scroll down for the recipe!

Little Bird Nest | Guilty Pleasures 3

White Chocolate Peanut Butter

Makes about 1 pint

Ingredients

1 cup fresh ground or homemade natural peanut butter
1 cup white chocolate chips or vanilla melts
pinch of sea salt (optional)*

Directions

Combine the peanut butter and white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for about a minute or so, until the white chocolate begins to melt, being careful not to overheat it which could cause the sugars to caramelize. Stir until the white chocolate has completely melted and everything is evenly mixed. Add sea salt, to taste. (*If you use pre-salted peanut butter, you can skip this step.)

Spoon into a glass jar and allow to cool… or just eat half of it right away, like I would! 🙂

Note: When I make this, it’s really thick at room temp, though it will depend on the texture of the peanut butter and type of white chocolate you use. If it’s too hard to spread at room temp, microwave it for a few seconds before serving.

 

What are your current guilty pleasures?

 

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Craft Lake City DIY Festival Finds

If a whole bunch of the coolest shops on Etsy got together with some bands, some beer and wine, and some local food and formed a shanty town, it would be called Craft Lake City. And it would probably look a lot like Craft Lake City’s annual DIY Festival.

Craft Lake City is an organization in Salt Lake City that promotes creative culture throughout Utah through workshops, exhibits, their blog, and their annyal DIY Festival held in downtown SLC. I spent a good chunk of time at the festival this past weekend, and today I’m sharing with you the details of my little haul.

Craft Lake City DIY Fest Favorites

The Goodies:

1. Decorative arrows from Mineral and MatterI plan to mount these lovely hand-painted arrows on the wall in Will’s room. Mineral and Matter shared their booth at the DIY Festival with The Land of Salt which sells some absolutely beautiful jewelry. The two shops will be opening a co-op in downtown SLC on August 27!

2. Earrings from Most AdoringlyThis was the single purchase I made without kids or babies in mind. They’re just pretty, and they’re just for me.

3. Bibs from VinyliciousThese adorable bibs look like leather, but they’re actually made out of vinyl. They can easily be wiped clean after each use, and when they get really gross, they can be thrown in the top rack of the dishwasher for more of a deep clean! I’ve been using them with Will ever since I brought them home, and after half a dozen meals with one, I decided to put it in the dishwasher for a deep clean. I probably could have gone a little longer though. It’s so much easier than washing cloth bibs every single day! Vinylicious also makes journal covers, bags, and wallets, all of which can be cleaned in the same easy way– great news if you’re prone to messes… or messy kids!

4. Natural body products from Root and Rise BotanicalsThis stuff is AMAZING! Shop owner Amy Menzel creates natural products for mamas, babies, and anyone else that wants to pamper themselves with some lovely botanicals. I purchased 3 products from her shop:

  • ALL HEAL BALM healing ointmentIt can be used on anything from diaper rash to bug bites to chapped lips, and it smells wonderful! It will be living in my purse, as I plan to take it with me everywhere I go!
  • RECOVER new mama sprayThis spray is for *ahem* down there…after you have a baby. It’s made from a combination of healing and soothing botanicals infused in witch hazel. ‘Nuf said!
  • BREATHE decongestant balmI suffer from horrible pregnancy congestion, so I have been rubbing this under my nose every night since I brought it home. It works a lot like Vicks or Mentholatum, but a lot milder (and still super effective) and can even be used on stuffy little babies. My favorite part is the clove oil. This unexpected ingredient not only does wonders for one’s nasal passages, but the sweet and soothing smell of cloves makes me feel so cozy and pampered– just the thing a stuffy, pregnant, tired mama needs!!

5. Brighham City peaches and fresh apple cider from The Press Sweet CideryLocal produce is the best!

6. Double Layer Linen Ring Sling from WildbirdI did some babywearing with Will in our Infantino flip carrier, but mostly just for shopping and outings because it wasn’t super comfortable to wear him in the carrier long-term around the house. When the new baby comes, though, I want to be able to wear her around the house more– especially since I’ll be a stay-at-home mom with a toddler this time! The hardest thing about babywearing, though, is that every body is different, and the carrier that works for one mama may not work for another. So when I stopped by Wildbird’s shop at the DIY fest and actually got to try the thing on and test it with my own son, I felt like I had struck babywearing gold! The ring sling felt so much more secure than I ever imagined. Where back/frontpack style carriers put the pressure on the meaty soft part of your shoulders, the ring sling squeezes your shoulder cap for support, and distributes the weight more broadly across your whole shoulder, so it doesn’t pull down so much. I’ve been practicing the hip carry with Will, but he hasn’t been in a carrier for quite a while, so he doesn’t put up with it for long. I can’t wait to do some serious babywearing with the next little one!

p.s. Tayler, owner of Wildbird, has the most gorgeous Instagram account. You should check it out!

7. Souvenir tote bag screen printed by Spilt Ink and featuring the artwork of Laura FriskThis was a festival freebie, and I love it! A knitter can never have too many knitting bags! Laura also sells adorable hand woodblock printed pillows in her shop. And according to a recent post on Instagram, she has a whole bunch of pillows leftover from the festival and will be having a flash sale on Instagram and posting the rest on her shop with steep discounts. Woot!

 

Later I’ll be sharing some more of my favorite shops from the Craft Lake City DIY Festival– shops where I didn’t make any purchases, but that have excellent products nonetheless, and deserve to be mentioned!

Happy Pioneer Day!

If you’re in Utah, today is a state holiday. If you’re not in Utah, you’re totally missing out! Today commemorates the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. Since these pioneers were the first to settle the area which later became the state of Utah, it’s celebrated as a secular state holiday throughout Utah (and known to some as “Pie and Beer Day”), though naturally it holds plenty of religious significance as well. So in that way, it’s kind of like Christmas, right?! Maybe not quite, but still a good excuse to get off of work, watch a parade or two, and have some pioneer-themed fun!

Wagon
Photo by Jon Toney (CC0)

All my life, I have loved all things pioneer-related– pioneer stories, the Oregon Trail computer game, the actual Oregon trail, camping in a covered wagon at summer camp, etc. So to get the best pioneer experience, I have decided to celebrate the holiday with Will at This is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City. I’ll be sure to post some pictures next week!

For now, and in honor of Pioneer Day, here are some old-timey, westward-ho thoughts for your enjoyment:

  • Did you know that you can play the original DOS version of The Oregon Trail computer game online for free? Watch out for dysentery!
  • Watch the film 17 Miracles (available to stream on Netflix). It’s a little cheesy, but keep the tissues handy. It’s based on true events and sure to bring a tear or two to your eyes.
  • How cool would it be to stay here?!
  • Maybe this is old news, but studies show no evidence that the Donner Party actually ate each other. (whew! Because cannibalism is just gross.)
  • Last, but not least, have you ever considered yourself to be a pioneer? If not, this video may change your mind.

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&isUI=1

Happy Pioneer Day, everyone! Have a safe and blessed weekend!