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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Local Love: Cafe Kahve Gives You Endless Reasons to Like it a Latte

My name is Katie and I am addicted to coffee shops. In college my secondary residence was Mill Mountain, where on a college budget I sometimes brought my own tea bag (thank you cafeteria) and only ordered a cup of hot water and they never even seemed to mind. My love affair with sitting at a table with a pen, a notebook and a cup of chai runs deep.

So when a cafe comes to town I leap at the chance to give it a taste. Kahve continues to surpass my every hope of what a coffee house should be. It is warm, specializes in handcrafted delicacies and invites you to come in and linger for awhile. You won't find any drink mixes here or food shipped in from faraway frozen lands. They make their bagels, breads, muffins and scones FROM SCRATCH. Every day. You can taste the time and effort as you savor every bite. How many coffee shops can say the same?

Happiness handmade daily.

I dare say it is the best kept secret in the Annapolis area. I love that about it. I want to spread the word about this cafe because not only do I want it to succeed, it deserves to thrive. Joe Valentino opened Kahve two years ago when the opportunity presented itself with the hope of creating a community meeting place. What he has created is so much more and it continues to outdue itself. A 2005 graduate of St. Mary's with a degree in Math, he combines his prior restaurant experience, a background in coffee shop management and prior teaching experience to make Kahve a local favorite. Special requests are welcome, vegetarian options are abound and the coffee is fair trade, organic, local and from one of the greenest roasters in the country. They can cater up to 40 people onsite and up to 100 offsite. Cakes by Rachael provides decadent cupcakes and cake pops (order these for parties and you will have an instant celebration). The weekdays bring a lot to the plate (aside from a melt in your mouth nutella banana sandwich): open mic nights, Bridgette and the band performances, spanish classes and more while the weekends bring homemade doughnuts, french toast and biscuits with gravy (is your mouth watering yet?).

Joe states that the best part of owning a cafe is the "pride in the product. That is the difference between you and someone else." They know exactly where their food comes from, most of it by hand in their kitchen. I recently asked a local Starbucks where their pastries and sandwiches were from. There were four people there working and not one of them knew. Not one.

So how does he do it all? With dedication (90 plus hours a week) and espresso- twelve shots a day. It is working. Kahve won the Capital's 2012 Coffee Madness tournament and was voted the Edgewater Patch's 2012 Reader's Choice Award for best local cup of coffee. When I told him that the only perk (pun intended) that I saw that the local Starbuck's had over them was the drive-thru, a joyous idea for mommas with kids in tow like myself, he said that he would do a curbside service. Breaking news friends: just call ahead with your order, pay with a credit card over the phone or pay by cash (and not need any change back) and they will absolutely deliver it to your car. Wishes can come true.

Kahve's website says it best "It's hard work making everything from scratch, by hand, made to order, but we think you're worth it." Let's raise our lattes to that...

You can find Kahve at 155 Mitchells Chance Road Edgewater, Maryland and at

Monday, April 22, 2013

Carry On, Warrior

To think of living life unarmed is compelling. The opening, the honesty, the celebration of the warrior inside that steps out of her armor. This past weekend, I heard the unarmed Glennon Doyle Melton, the creator of and author of Carry On, Warrior speak at the Mothers of Multiples Convention in nearby Annapolis. Imagine my shock when I had two realizations: 1. I am a mother of multiples so I could technically go and 2. I live near Annapolis. Sometimes the stars just align. I will give you this suggestion, if you ever have the opportunity to hear this woman speak, do not turn it down.

Carry On, Warrior is currently #3 on the New York Times Bestseller list and there is no mistaking why. Glennon is an endearing storyteller and joyously human. She doesn't sugarcoat the journey of being a "recovering everything" or a wife or a mother and her honesty is as refreshing as it is empowering. Life is messy. And that is okay.

Her words speak to my soul. I am not alone. On last check her blog has 76,395 likes, so if you are among the five people that haven't yet had a chance to like her, I urge you to do so. It would be impossible to not be enamored by this woman (and that will bring her up to a nice, even 77,000).

Signing the giveaway book.
Thank you Glennon.

Lucky for you my dear friends and fellow warriors, I picked up an extra copy of her book and she signed it with love. Literally. I had to hug her twice because I was so thankful for having met her. This is a Mother's Day book giveaway and all you have to do to enter is to answer the following question in the comment section below or on my facebook page and then share the giveaway. The winner will be announced next Monday, the 29th. Here goes:

If you could describe motherhood in three words or less, which would you choose?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dear Color, I Will Not Fear You

I love color. I am drawn to it on magazine covers, store displays and friend's bright beautiful homes. I adore fuschia on toes, a charming orange in a bracelet and my favorite shade of blue is the shade of my three year old's eyes. What I am afraid of is overdoing it. To be a walking faux pas of too many colors happening at once. An underlying fear of blinding someone's eyes with bold attempts of brightness. Or transforming something classic to the shade of the sun and have it turn out like something that should have never had a date with paint.

Oh well.

Sometimes you just have to live out loud.

So here is my reinvention of some classic children's rocking chairs. They were a gift from my mother-in-law to my children so I asked for permission first (okay, truth be told I asked begged for permission after it was too late but she is so fantastic I figured she would say yes or I would be hauling it to the nearest Cracker Barrel to get three classic ones again). She said absolutely paint away. Guilt lifted. Paint resumed.

These pictures probably don't quite do the stains justice but they were marked beyond any type of cleaning could do. Believe me I tried it all (and had the chair sitters try too). Okay spray paint we will make a date.

I highly recommend painting something for children first. They are born non-judgemental, forgive flaws and will think anything is amazing if it comes in their favorite color.

Note to self: next time paint in a spot that it won't be so noticeable that the grass will be smurf colored.

Here is what I used and it did take about a can per chair. No, I did not have enough to do a second coat or to touch up the legs and missing spots. I highly recommend buying more than you need and picking up some clear gloss spray polyurethane to keep those chairs looking shiny and joyous.


I don't think I really even need to provide instructions, that really is all there is to it. The most time consuming part was the drive to the hardware store (or in my case two trips to get more paint). I didn't sand first and just rolled with the natural imperfections but it's really a matter of personal preference and what type of condition your "before" project is in. It met all my expectations in a home project: simple, inexpensive and happy on the eyes. I think I may just become a spray painting monster. Those graffiti artists are really onto something.

Let me know what you think when you have a moment my spring fever friends. Wishing you all things bright...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Local Love: Spotlight on a Perfectly Playful Education, the South County Preschool Co-op

Learning through play has proven to be the simple yet wonderfully successful motto of the South County Preschool Co-op in Davidsonville, Maryland. I have two children that are graduates of the preschool and my twins are current students. To say that this preschool has been a gift for them and for me is a gigantic understatement. It has surpassed my every expectation. I have had the privilege of meeting some of the most inspiring parents that I am honored to call dear friends. We are brought together by our children but more than that we support one another without judgement on this roller coaster ride of parenthood.  I know that I am a better parent because I have these fabulous beings in my corner.

Perhaps the greatest asset to the school are its teachers. Ms. Barbara and Ms. Ann, as they are affectionally referred to by both children and adults, hold over twenty years of experience in the classroom. They provide a rewarding and nurturing without smothering environment where children have room to express themselves and engage in imaginative play, completely unaware of how much learning they are absorbing. But I know. I can see the transformation in my children and their friends in this period of two years that go by just a bit too fast. It is a place where they learn to socialize in a world where that feels like a dying art. Being a child is not only encouraged but celebrated. There is no rush to grow up faster but to be present in the moment, play with homemade playdough, build castles with wooden blocks and paint with every color of the rainbow. No batteries, no computers, no fast forwarding, just being three and four year olds, laughing all the while.

A school of celebration of teacher, parent and child.

Please don't just take my word for it. Watch this incredible (and I personally can not watch without tearing up) video by my friend and co-op alumni, Maggie Peterson. Read the comments below provided by parents, students and alumni. There are openings for the 2013-2014 school year. Please visit for more details.

I like the opportunity to see and be a part of what he is learning and did not want Keon to go to a daycare type setting school . South county has a unique setting that gives my son and others the chance to grow and learn with the parents being apart of that in whatever capacity they choose. -Denise

I liked the books and the teachers the best. -Niko, age 6

I'm so glad my sister-in-law is going to get a taste of what I think is the best part... the moms. Talking with her reminds me how lucky I am to have stumbled onto the Co-Op... instant network of amazing people. -Carrie

I like the playground at my school. -Sophia, age 3
Me too. And the trucks. -Micah, age 3

I couldn't have asked for a better first school experience for my daughter than the fun and enriching one she received from the SCPC. The preschool years are so special and the SCPC allows me to really take an active and fun role in my daughter's first school experience. I'll always cherish the time I've spent with my daughter volunteering in the classroom and going on field trips with her. - Heather

The thing I miss the most about the Co-op is the teachers. -Lucy, age 8

When Cori was younger, everyone asked if my husband and I were going to put her into preschool, but I shied away from the idea.  We only have the one child, and the idea of sending her away from us at such an early age was unappealing.
I was an elementary school teacher for 15 years, so I made sure our daughter got academic training appropriate for her age, and I provided lots of extra-curricular activities like gymnastics and martial arts which allowed her to socialize with other children her age.  However, to be truly well-rounded and thrive, I knew our child would have to play with other children and develop her social skills more frequently and in a more structured environment.
I was depressed at the thought of my daughter being away from home even though I knew she would be much better off for the experience.  I was torn and reluctant to even look at preschools.
Once I did start shopping around, I was either disappointed with the traditional programs I saw or completely dumbfounded by the tuition or both.  I had just about given up the search when an acquaintance mentioned the South County Pre-Kindergarten Co-op.
It was like finding an oasis in the middle of a desert!  Here was a program that combined the two things our daughter required most – socialization in a structured environment and plenty of hands-on time with other children – with the one thing I, myself, needed most – parental involvement.
To know that I would be a vital and welcome part of my child’s preschool program was a huge relief.  The school was founded by mothers just like me who wanted to give their children a strong head start without losing the precious gift of time spent playing and learning together.
Barbara Freeman and Ann Collins certainly do make it seem like play!  There is plenty of academic grooming taking place, but it is cleverly concealed as fun and play.  And they are not only teaching my daughter, they are also teaching me.  I have learned how to be more patient and more creative.  I didn’t know I’d be learning so much right along beside my daughter!
As I write this, I am amazed at how quickly our two years at SCPC have passed.  I’ve had the opportunity to watch my child learn and wade the social waters of childhood, and I have been witness to her personal development.  What a priceless experience!
This August my daughter will attend kindergarten at a public school, and most of her SCPC friends will be attending that same school.  In fact, she and I have both built strong relationships which will last well beyond our last day at SCPC.  You can’t work side by side toward a common goal with other people without bonding.
I am so glad I chose SCPC.  I know it’s not for everyone, but you get out of an experience what you put into it.  I know now that I am ready to let go and watch my child walk into kindergarten without me.  I know now that she can handle herself socially and will be among friends.  I know now I’ll be standing there with another SCPC mother’s shoulder to cry on as we watch our children go…and then we’ll go have a coffee to celebrate! -Donna

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Embracing Spring

Happy new season to you friends. My goal for April is to take spring in. Savor the sun. Grow plants from seeds. Play in the grass. Recreate and renew what needs to be freshened indoors and out and to let go of what is broken or weighing us down. I'm making a policy for our home that if is not beautiful or functional that it no longer takes up valuable real estate in our lives (yes, that goes for you too playroom).

I plan on embracing a whole lot more of this...
Spring is my most favorite time of the year and I am one yard sale away from letting the sun shine in. If you are local and want to help a great cause, our sweet non-profit preschool, The South County Preschool Co-op ( is holding a multi-family yard sale (and pancake breakfast- yum) on April 20th from 9-12 a.m. at South River High School (201 Central Ave. E. Edgewater, Maryland). Tables are $10 so please be a gem and contact me if you are interested through the comments below or by e-mail,

And so much more of this... I can't wait to hold you again sweet peas.

And by living these words stated so beautifully by Marilyn Monroe, to be more lively, ridiculous and anything but boring.

Tell me how you plan to embrace the season you inspiring beings you by commenting below (I've changed the settings so it should be easier now to post). Thank you so...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

"A Greek and an Italian Met in a Jar" Salad Dressing

I know that no great story ever starts with "I ate the best salad last night." But salads are an inevitable part of life, and of course, dinner. Sooner or later someone may even ask you to bring one to their house or you may host an event that salad would make for lovely feasting for both herbivores and carnivores alike. Why reach for an everyday bottle of salad dressing when you can impress with a simply delicious Greek Italian homemade blend instead? My husband is Greek Italian and if it works so beautifully on him I figured why not to try to marry the two together in a jar? And if you want to really keep the night going in a deliriously good time instagram-worthy direction, be sure to serve it with another dinner favorite... wine.
Don't they look good together?

"A Greek and an Italian Met in a Jar" Dressing

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. basil
  • 1.5 tsp. pepper
  • 1.5 tsp. salt
  • 1.5 tsp. onion powder
  • 1.5 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1.5 tsp. greek seasoning
Combine ingredients in a glass jar and shake until well blended. Toss with your favorite vegetables and greens. Enough to make one large group of Greek Italians very happy. Or refrigerate the remaining amount for up to two weeks. Opa!

Salute to jazzing your farmers market finds...