Anna Maria Locke

chill in the air

We enjoyed what I'm assuming was our last weekend of balmy 60* temperatures in Chicago, and now the weather has plunged back into the 30's in true Midwestern style. At least it hasn't snowed yet!
November was always one of my least favorite months because of the general ugliness brought on by bare trees and drizzly yucky weather, but I think times are changing! I'm married to a November birthday boy, for starters, and we celebrated his 27th year earlier this month with a delicious ice cream cake covered in brownie chunks.
You're super old now, Ben :)
I'm also excited about this month because it signals the approaching holiday season, which is by far my favorite time of the year. I'm obsessed with all seasonal foods and can't wait for Thanksgiving! If you're looking for something yummy to bake to get into the holiday spirit I highly recommend  this healthy cranberry sweet potato bread.

 Recipe notes: I used 2 full eggs instead of 3 egg whites, and added an extra 1/3 cup or so of orange juice because my batter was extremely dry. I was kind of skeptical because the recipe was so dry and had zero oil, but it turned out incredibly chewy and delicious!
The slice above is pictured slathered in this equally amazing (and easy) crockpot apple butter. I halved the recipe and it still made an enormous jar...good thing because I want to pour it over everything.
I've been loving my extra free time lately since school programs are done for the winter at the Arboretum. I'm trying to pick up more babysitting jobs to keep me distracted and in cash, and in the meantime I've been organizing and nesting like crazy in our apartment. It's been a very slow process to settle in and make this place feel like home but I think it's coming together!

Boots, scarves, and leaves are taking over the entryway, and the Dutch art calendar pictures are getting darker and drearier each month. We're definitely in the fall/winter transition!
I've been feeling grateful this weekend for our veterans who have given so much to our country, and I'm also grateful that Ben gets today off from school--so instead of grading and lesson planning all day on Sunday, he's catching up on work today, and we got to spend a rare two days together hanging out, pilgrimaging to IKEA, and catching the new James Bond movie! Which has put me in a very happy mood because during the busy week it seems like we never get a chance to spend time together.
Life is crazy, but right now it is good.