Gimme Some Oven

Currently

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Teo in the baby pool

Happy August, friends!

Teo and I are comin’ to you live kiddie-poolside this morning from our back terrace, where we’ve been splish-splashing around (or as they say in Spanish, chapa chapa) multiple times a day lately to try and beat the heat.

Not gonna lie, our first summer with a toddler here in Barcelona’s beautiful-yet-severly-lacking-in-green-spaces city center has definitely had us missing the grassy backyards and modern playgrounds and easily-accessible swimming pools that we always used to take for granted back in Kansas City. But I feel like we’ve made some good headway in learning the tips and tricks of urban parenting here in Barcelona lately, especially using our new baby bike seat to adventure to more kid-friendly spaces around the city. And we’ve done what the locals do and escaped a few times to the Costa Brava with friends, which is always a welcome breath of fresh air and great chance for kiddos to run wild. There’s no doubt now that our little guy is being raised with very different kinds of summers here than we had in the Midwest growing up. But I have to say, this one overall has been incredibly sweet.

From watching Teo’s sheer delight biting into a fresh peach for the first time as the juice dribbled down his chin, to splashing through the adorable chaos that is baby swimming lessons, to putzing all around Barcelona together with his new patinete (scooter), to playing with countless new friends during our daily playground routes (in baby Spanish, extra cute), to teaching him to build his first tiny sandcastles by the sea…all of the summer toddler “firsts” this year have been even cuter than we had imagined. We’re also now card-carrying zoo members who frequent the Barcelona Zoo multiple times a week, partly because Teo is obsessed with the giraffes and Pedro the Rhinoceros, but mainly because the it’s one of the few shaded green spaces in the city center where kids can run around safely without traffic. And during this year’s record-breaking heat wave, lol, shade is everything.

Another surprise highlight of our summer has been getting to host two guests here in our home from Ukraine — a mother and her 14-year-old daughter — while they have been awaiting paperwork for their temporary protection visas here in Spain. We all knew very little about one another before they arrived. But it turns out that these two couldn’t be more wonderful, and getting to sit around the table together in the evenings and eat together and Google Translate galore and laugh and tell stories and learn more about one another’s lives has just been so special. I’ve especially loved the time we’ve spent together in the kitchen introducing each other to traditional Ukranian dishes (their buckwheat soup is a new fave) and American dishes (the 14-year-old wanted to learn how to make a layer cake, so we decorated one with alllll the sprinkles, which was the literal sweetest). Today we’re all going to have to say goodbye as they bravely take off for the next stage of their journey in Poland. But we are so grateful for this summer together and know for certain that these two will be part of our lives for many years to come.

Anyway, on the traveling note, we’re actually headed to Italy today for the month of August and couldn’t be more excited. But before we leave town, I wanted to pop in with a few updates and just say hello. ♡

Wherever in the world this may find you today, I hope that you’re doing well. And especially during these final days of summertime, I hope that you’re bringing home that extra watermelon, squeezing in a few final swims, lingering in the evening light a bit longer, and saying yes as often as possible to time together with those you love. Life just feels like it’s moving so quickly lately, and the world around us is getting so heavy, and cultivating moments of joy seems increasingly like one of the most helpful, human things we can do right now. So as Mary Oliver says, whenever that joy can be yours, “Don’t Hesitate. Give in to it.”

Wishing you all the end-of-summer joy and sunshine and peaches that you can find today. And without further ado, here’s the latest from our corner of Barcelona.

Family snuggles in the park

Summer Faves

A few random things I’ve been loving this summer:

  • I’ll Show Myself OutI’m a big Jessi Klein fan, and her recent series of essays about “midlife and motherhood” hit home for me big-time. It was one of those books I simultaneously blazed through yet didn’t want to end…so I totally stalked all of her recent podcast episodes afterwards to keep her honest, hilarious and devastatingly poignant reflections going. Highly recommend especially to anyone else in this season of life parenting littles.
  • The BearLike just about everyone we know, Barclay and I watched and loved this series recently. So incredibly well-written and acted, and I’m thrilled that it was renewed for a second season. If you love food and haven’t watched it yet, highly recommend.
  • Skin Cycling: A friend turned me onto Dr. Whitney Bowe and her skin cycling concept recently, and I’ve learned so much from her podcasts and Instagram and have really noticed a difference in how this approach has helped my skin. I tend to feel overwhelmed by all of the (very loud, very contradictory, very expensive) voices in the skincare space nowadays, but her advice feels like it makes sense to me.
  • Refrigerator PicklesWe’ve been making this recipe nonstop this summer ever since we returned from our trip to the States in May, where we ate a million Grillo’s pickles and remembered how much we missed them. Refrigerator pickles are a breeze to prepare and this recipe is my absolute fave.
  • Trusted HousesittersEveryone always asks what we do for dog care when we’re traveling and our answer these past 2 years has been TrustedHousesitters.com. We’ve had amazing experiences every single time we’ve used this service, and can’t recommend it enough to people with pets who travel regularly or those who love pets and are looking for more affordable ways to travel.
  • AirTagsEver since we had a kid, we’ve had to abandon our proud carry-on-only habit and start checking bags. And ever since we’ve been checking bags, airlines have lost an astonishing number of our bags. (Like, our streak is getting a bit ridiculous.) A friend gave us the tip of stashing AirTags in checked luggage, though, and I have to say that they have been lifesavers. They’ve already saved the day many a time for us here at home when we lose our keys. But it turns out that they’re also great for tracking your bags in real time, which allows us to save time waiting on baggage claims or in lines at lost baggage counters. Highly recommend.

Books I've been reading to prep for our trip to Italy

Roman Holiday

This year, we’re finally doing what the locals here do and heading out of town for the entire month of August…to Italy!

We’re been wanting to spend some extended time in Rome ever since we visited and fell in love with the city in 2018. Then Stanley Tucci’s episode in Rome recently sealed the deal. So even though it’s going to be blazing hot in August (even more so with this crazy heat wave), we’re flying into Rome’s city center later today where we will be basing ourselves for the month. We have a handful of side trips planned. But we’re mostly interested in just living our usual life there — working, hanging with a toddler, cooking, adventuring around the city, going out on little dates — just doing it all as the Romans do!

I’ve been having so much fun reading up on the city and its food culture in preparation for our trip. And I have to say that my Google Map of places to eat has been carefully curated and it’s looking insanely delicious. We also have a handful of friends and family coming to visit while we’re there, which has turned into a fun bonus surprise. And I’ve signed up for a handful of cooking classes that I’m very much looking forward to. I’ll be sure to report back about our adventures when we return!

Barcelona sunset

Social Media

I stepped back from posting on my @gimmesomeoven and @gimmesomali Instagram channels this year. And after many of you have kindly messaged to check on me, I just wanted to say thank you and all is well. ♡

I don’t have any profound things to say other than that I realized around the start of the year that the noise and pressures of social media (specifically Instagram) had reached a point where they were having a net negative effect on my life. So rather than push through or hire things out, I decided to just take a total break from posting for awhile and…it’s honestly been so nice.

I don’t really have a plan for the future and still may dive back in again at some point. But at least for now, it has felt like a relief to be offline more and just enjoy this season of life and work without always having to figure out what to post about it. So just wanted to say thanks for your understanding, and anytime you’re looking for recipes or the occasional updates on life behind the blog-scenes, you can always find them here. :)

My sweet Henry

Our Henry

Finally, since so many of you have followed along with me and my little sidekick over the years, I wanted to share our sad news that we had to say goodbye to our dear Henry earlier this summer. He came to live with me 13.5 years ago, right around the time that I began this blog, and it still feels surreal to go about our days now without his constant snuggles and mischief. We miss him so much. ♡ But remembering and telling stories about him continues to be such a comfort. So while I know this is a little long, I just wanted to share a little tribute I wrote about our time together for anyone interested in reading. Te echo de menos, Henrito. xoxo

For the first half of Henry’s life, it was just the two of us. He came home with me when he was just a tiny little fluffball and quickly became my best buddy. And together, we went on a million walks around Loose Park, moved from Brookside to Prairie Village to the River Market, started a food blog (Henry found his calling as chief crumb catcher), navigated multiple career changes, and snuggled together after countless first dates and more than a few heartbreaks.

When Barclay came into the picture, Henry earned his nickname “the chaperone” by firmly planting himself belly-up on the couch between us anytime we got a little too close (a habit he never gave up). But he quickly welcomed Barclay and sweet Fiona into the family, and loved running wind sprints around their backyard and coaxing Barc into a good wrestle each day after work.

The week of our wedding, Henry unexpectedly lost his vision within the span of about 24 hours, leaving all of us stunned as he sat there frozen on the couch afraid to move. But after a few days, he somersaulted down, decidedly done with playing it safe. And from then on, he fearlessly pinballed his way around the world, bonking his little nose a million times a day (refusing a doggie halo) in order to go anywhere he pleased.

In 2017, Henry and Fiona survived a truly horrible trip overseas to Barcelona (for which I still haven’t forgiven United). And during those early months when everything in Spain felt unfamiliar and new to us, it was *such* a comfort to come home to their sweet, familiar, wagging tails each day. Barclay and I always say that Henry and Fiona were the first ones who made Barcelona feel like home. And even though Henry waved the white flag right off the bat with the four flights of stairs in our building (can’t say that I blame him), he quickly adapted to European city life and loved walking all around El Born, picnicking at Ciutadella, visiting our neighbors Sandra y Martí, and tucking himself into bed each night at 10pm (quite the party trick, nosing his way under the covers and poking his head out on the pillow).

Our first Barcelona apartment with its famously rickety pantry door also kicked Henry’s life of crime into high gear. ANYtime that damn door came unlatched, you could count on Henry to break in and gorge himself with whatever food happened to be available for the stealing. (An entire jug of olive oil, a whole head of raw cauliflower, an entire package of corn tortillas, cartons of fishy paella stock, and full bags of chips were some of the most impressive crimes for his 14-lb frame.) He also cleverly figured out that the coffee table would go unattended anytime the doorbell rang and we had to get up to buzz someone in, so many an extra snack (once, an entire pizza) was enjoyed there too.

That said, we’ve always said that Henry was half mischief, half snuggles. And the older he got, he wanted nothing more than to be close by our side. He spent each workday curled up tightly in our laps as we typed away. (Our little 🥐.) And when my pregnant belly began to grow, he snuggled in close enough to get kicked by his little brother’s tiny feet day by day.

We weren’t really sure how Henry was going to respond to sharing his two humans with a tiny new one. But the afternoon we finally brought Teo home, Henry came over and gave him a brief sniff…then, eh, went right back to doing his own thing. Teo, by contrast, was absolutely smitten with Henry from the get-go. Nothing could make him smile and giggle more than this real live “peluche,” and he followed Henry around the room — first with his eyes, then later crawling — all day long. Thankfully, Henry was extremely patient with the squeals, pokes and grabs. And while he may have not exactly loved being stalked all day by a toddler, he was a MAJOR fan of the advent of baby-led weaning, and happily staked out his spot under the high chair each day to catch any food that rained down.

After surviving countless close calls over the years, his health sadly took a turn for the worse this year. And this past month, after 13.5 years together, we had to say our heartbreaking goodbyes. We miss him so very, very much.

But whew, what a gift to get to love and be loved by these furry friends.

I’ll forever be thankful for the many (so many) different seasons of life that we were able to share together, the infamous true canine crime stories we’ll have to recount, and the snuggles that made everything better. And I’m especially thankful that Teo got to fall in love with him too, even if their time together was brief. His memory will always live on as part of our little fam.

So “siesta” in peace, Henrito. I sincerely hope you’re getting into all sorts of delicious trouble in that big pantry in the sky.

Ali and Teo

Ciao!

Alright, we’re off to Rome! Sending big hugs from Barcelona and wishing you all a lovely, delicious, sunshine-filled week ahead. Thank you for being here. xoxo

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48 comments on “Currently”

  1. Enjoy every single moment with your beautiful baby! Our son is 2 years older than Teo and today is his first day of preschool. I’d give anything to turn the clock back two years and soak in all the snuggles and moments.

    I’m so sorry about Henry. Pets are part of us for short times, but they make such an impression.

    Enjoy Rome!!!

  2. I always love your updates. Have an amazing time in Rome and tell us all about the great food you find!

  3. Love your updates and all your creative stories. Cutest family ever! Sorry about Henry’s passing, but what a lovely tribute. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  4. Thank you for being for us with your fabulous recipes. Two is gorgeous. I’m sorry about Henry. It’s so hard when they leave us. I’ve had to say goodbye to two. Enjoy the time with Teo.

  5. Love your posts and especially this one with your beautiful Teo. How great it is that Teo will be bilingual. My children learned Spanish when they were very, very young, speaking it everyday with the neighborhood children and still speak Spanish in their 50’s. So sad about your Henry. Losing a pet is such a heartbreaking time. Enjoy Italy. You are indeed living a wonderful life experience.

  6. Teo is adorable! Very sorry to hear about Henry. Sounds like you guys are going to have a wonderful month. I wish I could travel to all the places Stanley Tucci shared, I’ll wait for your updates.

  7. I love your updates👏🏼🥰 Have a great time in Italy and heartfelt condolences for your furry little buddy. Hasta luego😊

  8. What a lovely post. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. I now have a huge smile gracing my face, thinking of your little one and his zoo friends, and commending you for showing such kindness to a family in need. Thank you for brightening my day.

  9. Teo is absolutely beautiful. Enjoyed your post immensely. I too have missed your emails. I do hope that you will return to writing in your blog. So sorry to hear about Henry. Animals are definitely part of the family. Enjoy your month in Italy. How wonderful. I’m so jealous. I’ve always enjoyed your travel pictures and stories. They would brighten my day. Of course I was dreaming that I was traveling with you. Enjoying the beautiful sites and food. The architecture and views of the ocean make for a spectacular trip. I do hope you will do a post trip blog. Safe travels.

  10. So sorry about Henry but there is a puppy heaven! I am a former KC resident-born and raised -and now living in Miami Beach, Florida and I love to cook for family and friends so I absolutely adore Gimme some Oven !!! I am a new grandmother with a second one arriving soon! My daughter and I just traveled with my 6 month old grandson to NYC (thanks for your recommendation-Joolz Stroller was GREAT! You should write a blog, post or BOOK on traveling with a child! We could use your savvy advice!

  11. What a lovely tribute to a sweet furry family member. Love seeing your beautiful family grow! Thank you for a update that is written to inspire life!

  12. What a wonderful write-up… and on the day you leave for vacation! Enjoy every moment with your husband and cute little Teo. I love his name by the way!
    All the best from Montreal, Canada where it’s also very hot (84 F).

    • You are such a wonderful human being, Ali! I truly enjoy reading your posts and trying your recipes. What a beautiful little family you’ve got!

  13. It’s always fun to read these posts and find out what you are up to. I’m sorry you had to say goodbye to Henry, but am glad for all the good years you had with him. When in Rome, I hope you’ll check out some of the pizza shops and try their pizzas. I remember seeing one that had potatoes and (I think) zucchini, that looked incredible – unfortunately we weren’t ready to be eating pizza when we saw it. Also, I just discovered that the restaurant I ate at in Rome in 1967 is still in business – Da Meo Patacca. I had a meal there that I still haven’t forgotten after all these years. Worth a try if you have the time. I’d love to know if it’s still that good.

  14. Ali, I love reading your blog and the many wonderful recipes, tips, and sweet family stories/pics you share. Teo is totally adorbs! Have a fabulous time in Italy with your beautiful family. Excited to read the wonderful recipes and tips from trip! Also sending hugs for having to say goodbye to sweet Henry.

    PS I don’t blame you for going off social media for a time or forever. I inactivated my FB acct years ago and don’t do IG. Never looked back – I feel happier and saner without it all.

  15. I’m so sorry about Henry. I always loved reading about his epic tales. 😉

    That’s incredible too to hear about your time hosting your guests from Ukraine. I wish I could have been at the table to hear more of their stories. Sending them all the good vibes for whatever is ahead.

  16. Omg, Teo just gets cuter and CUTER. I’ve really enjoyed following your motherhood posts because me and my baby girl are just two months behind you two. I just ordered the Jessi Klein book and can’t wait to dive in, and I need to learn all of your tricks for flying with kids this age-it makes me so anxious!

  17. Wow a whole month in Roma !!! I’m not gonna lie, I’m jealous !! Enjoy all of the wonderful food and wine and culture that makes Rome the finest city in the world !
    And cooking classes …hope you do a post on that !
    Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy !

  18. How good of you to host the Ukrainian visitors. Thanks for sharing about their visit. I wonder if you can post the receipe for Ukrainian buckwheat soup?

  19. I miss your posts, but absolutely your little family is of first importance, & you have to take good care of yourself to be the best for them.
    I’m so sorry to hear about Henry. It’s sad that our furry friends’ lives are so short, but they make up for it with the immense amount of love they give. We had to say goodbye to a beloved 6-year-old cat Nov. 2020, and we still miss him. Give Fiona some extra scratches!

  20. we have a mutual friend in KC. Hope to be in Barcelona for a few days November 2023. It would be so amazing if we can meet and take the little guy around town.

  21. Thank you for all your amazing recipes!! I have made so many of yours and always fabulous!!
    Also, so endearing to see pictures of “Teo” and the story of “Henry.” As another dog lover, it tore at my heart.
    You both deserve this precious gift in your life. Thank you for sharing your lives and great recipes that I often serve my husband and friends.

  22. Teo está hermoso! Se nota que usted está disfrutando cada minuto con él. Felicidades a los tres. Lamento que hayan perdido a Henry, yo sé lo que duele despedir a un fiel compañero. Que disfruten mucho en Roma. Espero que nos comparta recetas y trucos de la deliciosa cocina italiana. Muchas gracias por sus recetas y especialmente por permitirnos conocerla, saber de su vida privada, hasta me parece que somos amigas jajaja
    Dios los cuide ida y vuelta!!!

  23. I’m so sorry to hear about Henry. It was always so sweet to hear about him and your time together.

  24. Ali, I very rarely post anything on the social atmosphere, but here I am. I’m a 70 year old grandma, and have so much respect for your posts. Your decision to step back from the social media platform, says so much about who you are and what’s important to you. I totally respect your decision, especially as a young mother of a toddler.
    I really love your recipe postings and now will view them thru new “eyes”.

  25. Always love reading these posts! You truly love life to the fullest! It is always inspiring to read what you are up to ❤️

  26. So wonderful to hear from you and hear about your daily life and upcoming trip to Rome. Very much admire your life style and adventurous spirit. Enjoy every minute with little Teo.
    Such a nice tribute to Henry…thank you for sharing…
    Safe travels,
    Wishing you all many happy times together…

  27. Enjoy Rome! I only wish you had gone in June or July, as we will be in Rome at the end of August and would love some of your suggestions. So sorry to hear about the loss of your fur baby.

  28. Real life is better than social media. Life is to be lived!

  29. So sorry about Henry! Your stories of Henry over the years so closely resembled mine with my dog.

  30. I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog many years ago. I was wondering where you have been! Thank you so much for this update. A few years ago I visited Madrid and Barcelona with my daughters, so hearing all your stories is like reliving it again!! Italy too!!
    Your little family is so lovely. Also, how kind of you to take in the mom and daughter from Ukraine. It warms my heart.
    Have a great rest of the summer, and please never stop with these updates. I enjoy them so, and all your recipes. Especially those killer margarita’s that my daughters and I indulge in every so often!! Good for you for taking a break to just enjoy every day pleasures wherever you are. ♥️

  31. Wow, so sorry to hear about Henry. And so happy to hear the other happy life updates! You have such a gift for writing, it is my favorite thing about your blog. And I completely resonate with stepping back from social media! Enjoy Bella Roma!

  32. There are so many things I want to comment on with this update, but I mainly just wanted to say how beautiful it is that you guys opened your home to refugees. I feel like it’s not surprising with what I know of you and Barclay, but it’s still so inspiring. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to support them. :)

  33. Love your updates and 100% support your stepping back from social media. Well done! I’m so sorry to hear of Henrito… what a lovely tribute.. I was laughing and crying at the little mischief maker, and yes, it’s so hard to heal from this particular heart break. Our time together is so short…

    I lived in Madrid years ago for awhile so I love hearing about the day to day… you send me back there, y gracias.

    Can’t wait to learn with you on your Rome cooking classes!!!!! Ciao!!!!

  34. So nice to hear from you! Have an awesome time in Italy! Sincere condolences for little Henry. Savor every moment with your sweet family as time flies by so quickly💖

  35. Having lived in Europe 43 years, raising 2 daughters there, & traveling w/2 small dogs. . . well, you have weaseled your way into my heart! I have an almost 3 yr. old grandson so LOVE your Teo from afar. He is a darling!
    I went to your wedding (the most beautiful one ever) & flew w/you to Barcelona! I love Barclay’s work & how you inspire others to live life completely! Thank you for sharing so well how to live.
    Enjoy Italy—it is lovely & you will come home w/new recipes which I will cook. PS: your Henry tribute hit home for me. Our 2 both have health issues now so we are trying to get ready & it is not working.
    ❤️

  36. Summertime with a toddler is indeed a special kind of sweetness. Our sons are 3 and 4 right now and it just gets crazier and cuter. :) I always love your updates!

  37. EVERY post makes me smile more and more!! Thanks for your updates. Been following your site for soooo long…your growth as a team…as a family…now in your “new” community”…just brings joyful smiles!! All the best to you! Enjoy!!

  38. I have to say that I really miss your gimmesomeali account on Instagram! :) At the same time, I totally hear you on social media feeling really complicated lately. I can’t believe how much Teo has grown and I’m so sorry to hear about Henry’s passing. He always seemed like such a little character. Have the best time in Italy!!

  39. Have a wonderful August. Good to hear from you. Two is a beautiful boy!

  40. I was certain I typed “Teo” earlier so excuse the ” Two”!

  41. I am sorry about Henry but so grateful for the years you had – and that Teo got to play with him! What a memorable dog. Thanks for sharing….

  42. Man, I miss you guys, xoxo. Love this update!

  43. Ali, the quote about joy from Mary Oliver is so poignant and ever true. So easy to let those moments pass but so important to lean in to those tiny and ephemeral moments joy, however big or small in life. Thank you for sharing it and for sharing your update! Sending a hug for the passing of your pup.

  44. Wow, your tribute to Henry was so touching and I can tell he lived an amazing life. He was so lucky to have you!

  45. I’m so sorry about Henry. He was such a little legend. Have the best time in Italy! I follow Elizabeth Minchilli and her life looks so dreamy.

  46. Ali! I’ve followed your blog for years and so many of your recipes are in my repertoire. We just moved to Barcelona with our four little girls from Austin, Texas and I would love to meet you! (If that’s something you’d be up for) We just got passes for the zoo too. Maybe we could meet there one of these days when it’s not too hot!

  47. I just love your life updates. Thank you for sharing. Sending you good vibes as you enjoy Italy and hugs as you remember Henry. Be well!