You might be familiar with Canadian-born actress Sarah Chalke thanks to her starring role in Scrubs and other hits like How I Met Your Mother and Grey's Anatomy, but her life at home is about as normal, and loving, as it gets. The doting mother to son, Charlie, and daughter, Frankie, clearly has no problem prioritizing parenting (she loves snuggling before bed and bathtime most) over stardom, and she likes to unwind with red wine and a warm bath (we like her style).
To get personal, Chalke let us in on what her life is really like when the cameras stop rolling. Think of it as a theoretical tour of her home, from a walk through her bedroom (where she shares a few fun natural beauty tips) to the nursery (we picked up some advice for balancing a successful career with motherhood inside) to the kitchen (where we jotted down one of her favorite delicious recipes). Ready for a tour? Come on in…
You feel the most at home with: "My kids!"
The first thing you do when you get home is: "Let the dogs out, put on sweatpants, and make some tea."
My favorite place in the world is: "My sister's kitchen. At any given moment, there’s something ridiculously yummy baking in the oven. I put the kettle on for tea when I walk in. There's kid art all over the walls—usually a minimum of eight people are there and therefore a good story, debate, or conversation."
If I could live anywhere in the world it would be: "France. I grew up speaking French—I was in French immersion. I love the culture, love the food, love the language, love the chocolate croissants."
The best meal you've ever had was: "My dad brought me a steak after I had Frankie. I had just delivered Frankie and my dad asked me what he could bring to the hospital. I asked for steak. He went and bought some steak, barbecued it, and brought it to the hospital wrapped in tinfoil."
The recipe you know by heart is: "Martha Stewart's Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. Usually, I put it in a mini muffin tin, and sometimes I put it in a donut maker and make chocolate chip donuts. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cream 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup sugar in the mixer (I usually use 1/2 cup maple syrup instead). Add two eggs. In a separate bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups flour (I use spelt), 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add to the butter mixture. Add 1 cup mashed bananas, 1/2 cup sour cream or full-fat yogurt, 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Then, add a bunch of chocolate chips (I love the Ghirardelli dark 60% chocolate chips), and then walnuts (optional). Bake until they are golden brown on top. Eat immediately!"
The one spice/ingredient you can't live without/you put in everything is: "Turmeric. My favorite thing is to put chopped cauliflower on a pan, douse it in olive oil, season it with bunch of turmeric, and bake it."
You feel the most in your domain when you're: "Making tea, coffee, lattes for people. … If I hadn't become an actor, I would have been a barista."
The secret thing you do when no one is watching is: "Eating a spoonful of peanut butter out of the jar and sprinkling a couple of chocolate chips on it."
The most treasured item you own is: "My grandmother's necklace. It's the Star of David on a long gold chain that she wore every day. She left it to my sister and me when she died. We share it— usually, we trade it back and forth every couple months, but whenever I'm doing something I need some luck for or that I'm worried about, I'm wearing it."
Your guiltiest pleasure is: "A late-night Netflix binge. Or ice cream. Or watching TV while eating ice cream (but I don't consider ice cream a guilty pleasure when pregnant. Just another food group.)"
Your favorite conversation starter that always breaks the ice is: "Asking the other person about themself and their latest adventure."
The one thing that can make you cry instantly: "Certain songs. The guys on Scrubs would tease me because I had a playlist on my iPod that I would have on standby for when I needed to do crying scenes. Or also, when anyone else is crying—I'm in."
The one thing that can make you laugh instantly: "My son has this face he makes that he knows will make me laugh right away. He'll always be like, 'Hey mom look at this over here,' and I'll look and he's making the face. Just thinking about it now, I'm already laughing. He's such a nut."
The morning and nighttime routines you swear by are: "[In the morning], I get up and make breakfast immediately. It's my favorite meal of the day. I think about it/plan it as I fall asleep at night: A toad in the hole with smashed avocado on top, a little salt, and pepper. And of course tea. In the morning, it is matcha green tea (I love the ritual with the bamboo whisk) and foamed almond milk on top. Then brush my teeth and wash my face. I try to use all-natural products. Right now, I love Tammy Fender."
"[At night], I put the kids to bed (and for the first few months when they were teensy—that was the beginning and end of the routine because I fall asleep with them), so I have to brush my teeth and wash my face before I put them to bed just in case. Some nights, I'll put coconut oil in my hair overnight."
The first thing you do when you wake up is: "Make food!"
Your favorite way to relax is either: "A hot bath and a glass of red wine or going for a hike. (My very favorite is a massage but those are few and far between with a baby!)"
The routine you follow to help your daughter fall and stay asleep is: "I give Frankie a bath—she loves the bath, just like her mama. I love bath books, so we have a bunch of those (the Sandra Boynton ones are awesome). Then she nurses or has a bottle. I use the Philips Avent Natural bottle—it's the best. It has an anti-colic valve and the natural nipple is shaped like mom, so the transition from nursing to a bottle is seamless. Then, I read to her—Neil Gaiman’s Blueberry Girl, sing to her (I usually go with "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star")—and I feel like I have a couple more years before she realizes I'm tone deaf—and turn on the white noise machine.
Then I snuggle her in the glider with her little blanky until she falls asleep."
The best thing you bought for your nursery is: "Animal art from The Animal Printshop."
Your favorite way to spend time with your kids is: "Snuggling in and reading to them."
The one piece of advice you wish someone told you before having a baby: "Do it young."