Today’s “a day in the life” is the insanely sweet and talented Nikki of Seeded at the Table. I’ve had the absolute pleasure of meeting Nikki twice in real life (once at Taste of MI and then a second time when she was in MI again with her family.) She just radiates joy and happiness and it is completely infectious. Such a fun person to be around.
PS: This is the first “day in the life” feature of 2014! I’ve decided to cut these back to one per month rather than one each week. I love them and I love showcasing my friends and colleagues but I really want to focus on a) my family and b) the recipes.
Tell me about yourself and how you started food blogging.
In the year 2007, my husband (Ben) and I were living in Wheaton, IL and I was working a full time corporate job while Ben was finishing his doctorate studies at Wheaton College. Since we were living on my income only, we needed to be frugal with our meals. This meant avoiding eating out so much and taking the plunge to finally learn to cook! I started making recipes from cookbooks and recipe websites like AllRecipes.com. Friends and family started asking for the recipes I tried and liked, so I decided to put it all on a website instead of emailing each and every one of them. This is how my original blog, Pennies on a Platter, was born. I kept this hobby and theme for six years, but as our family life changed my passion moved away from frugal recipes and towards joy and community through sharing a meal. So, in February of 2013, I re-branded from Pennies on a Platter to Seeded at the Table.
6:30 AM – Both of my kids wake me up. Simon, who is 6 months old wakes up squealing through the baby montior, and Judah, my almost 4 year old, wakes me up by yelling “MOM! Is it time to get up!?” I really want to try and wake up around 5 or 5:30 AM just so I can have quiet time before the kids are awake. But, I haven’t been able to get myself up yet. Any tips?? ;)
We then spend the morning fixing and eating breakfast, anywhere from instant oatmeal to frozen waffles to green smoothies. If I know we’re going to have a long morning, then I try to incorporate a fun breakfast that we can make together, like blueberry muffins, or some sort of homemade waffles or pancakes. But, usually, I go for whatever is most convenient.
MWF Mornings – I try to organize some sort of playdate at least one of these days per week, just to give us something to do. Or, we will head to the Children’s Museum where we have a membership, the park to play, or stay in playing various games that Judah makes up. I try to avoid my computer these mornings until quiet/nap time at 2:00PM.
T/Th – Judah and Simon attend a Moms Day Out at a nearby church from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM. It’s more like a preschool for Judah’s age, and daycare for Simon. This is when I get my blog work done.
Every weekday – Ben gets home from work around 4:00 PM. We usually hang out at the house wrapping things up from the day and getting ready for dinner, or we’ll play outside with the kids or run errands with the family.
5:30 PM – Dinner time! We always sit together at the table and eat. Sometimes we eat out at a favorite place like Chick-fil-a, Georgia Blue, or Chili’s. But, usually, we eat at home.
6:30 (ish) or before it gets dark – We try to take a family walk around the neighborhood to get some fresh air and meet neighbors around us.
7:00 PM – Simon’s bed time.
8:00 PM – Judah’s bed time.
8:00 PM – 9:00 PM (ish) – Clean up around the house.
9:00 PM – 10:30PM (ish) – By this time we are whooped, so Ben and I sit in bed and catch up on our favorite TV shows together.
Saturdays – We started a church plant last January that meets right now on Saturday nights. So, around 5:00 PM we head to church where we eat a potluck meal together after the service.
Sundays – Since church is on Saturdays instead of Sunday mornings, I head to Starbucks early in the morning to get some blog writing done while Ben stays home with the kids. I’m usually at Starbucks from 7:00 AM until around 11:00 AM, then I run some errands (usually shopping errands) before heading home. :)
What is your one must-have kitchen tool or gadget?
Everyone probably says this, but I can not do without my KitchenAid Stand Mixer. I probably have lost cookie dough stirring muscle throughout the years, because I cannot even imagine using just a wooden spoon or spatula to mix up that stuff anymore. But, of course, I make much more than just cookie dough with it. It’s how I make my pretzel bread dough and other types of dough, along with cake mixes and whipped cream and frostings!
What is your favorite part of your day? Why?
Our family walks. This is when I usually have my first moment of enjoying the weather and sunshine without being in charge of the kids alone. Our neighborhood is beautiful so it’s fun to just look at the houses or gaze at the lake and sunset. People are always out and about, so it’s a good time to meet more families in our community, too.
What is your LEAST favorite part of the day? Why?
Night time. I am so exhausted and wish I had energy to work on personal craft projects, photo books, decorating ideas, or even read Scripture or a devotional or just browse Pinterest! But, my mind is like mush and I never do these things. Hopefully when Simon is a little older and both kids are a bit more self-sufficient, I’ll feel like my mind is my own again.
If you could choose one room in your house to remodel (on an unlimited budget!) which room would it be and why?
Our bedroom. We just moved into our home last January, so we are still decorating pretty much all of the rooms yet. Our office is really the only room that is 100% done. Our bedroom is the only room that we haven’t done anything to yet, so I would absolutely choose it as my remodel on an unlimited budget. I mean, it’s the first AND last room I spend time in every day, so why not?
What is your favorite day of the week? Why?
Tuesdays and Thursdays, because I’ll be honest, having the kids at Moms Day Out which gives me alone time to work on my job is refreshing. I love my kids, and I love being with them, but momma needs a break!
If you had to choose one place to travel to every year, where would it be? Why? Have you been there before?
Michigan (and we do travel there every year!) We spend a week in Michigan every fall during Ben’s fall break. My family is there and I love a Pure Michigan fall, so we head up there to take the kids to the pumpkin patches, apple orchards and donut houses.
What is your favorite quote or verse?
I really would love to place a favorite Scripture verse here, but instead, I’m going to leave you with this popular phrase that’s been on my mind almost all year: “The early bird gets the worm.” HA! I truly believe this and aspire to start my days much earlier. Like I mentioned above, I would love to wake up before my kids do so I can have some quiet time first thing in the morning. If you noticed, my every day schedule does not include a quiet devotional time and that is not something of which I am proud. I’ll take advice and tips here, too!
What recipe on your blog are you most proud of?
My homemade Spaghettio’s. When I made this recipe up, I wasn’t sure how my readers would accept it. My family loves it, but Spaghettio’s can have such a bad rep. Well… it’s one of my most popular and most-loved recipes. I haven’t had one bad review of it but instead many positive ones.
What recipe on your blog do your readers seem to love most?
My White Cheese Dip (Queso Blanco). It’s a restaurant style white cheese dip and was named as one of the top ten most pinned recipes on Pinterest.
What is your guilty food pleasure that you’re embarrassed to fess up to? Kraft Mac & Cheese? Spagetti-o’s? Canned cheese? We promise not to judge!
Velveeta Shells Mac and Cheese!
What have you found to be the most challenging part of blogging?
Finding the time to do it. I wish I had more time, but I do what I can. Recently, I decided to not spend any time on it in the evenings, because it just takes away from my time with the kids. So, the only time I have to work on blogging is Tuesdays and Thursdays when the kids are at MDO and Sunday mornings. I do not regret my decision to avoid the computer in the evenings and find that my nights are much more enjoyable.
Is there anything else you would like to tell the world about yourself?
I once did Michael Jackson’s moonwalk on national television. You can email me if you want to know how or why. ;)
Umm…Nikki? I’m going to need to see a video of that moonwalk.