some thoughts on baby food.

I find it comical looking back three months ago that I thought Anderson should pick up eating right away.  New Mom fail.  Turns out he didn't really start eating until about 8 months old and even then he's just getting better and better each day now.

For the longest time he gagged after each bite.  And so, I stopped trying.  I was okay with it seeing as it was so much easier to just nurse him and I knew he didn't need the nutrients from the food just yet.  Since I did keep trying however, with hopes that food would equal more sleep- ha!- he finally caught on and now knows that he gets breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

{Sponsor Giveaway!} The Six O'Clock Scramble Subscription!

A few weeks ago I shared with you a giveaway from the The Six O'Clock Scramble.  Because they're pretty awesome I'm giving away another three month subscription to the lucky winner who can tell me why you need some help in the kitchen, with meal planning, or just simply want to check out this service!

How it works:  Each Wednesday you'll get an email with the recipes for the week and a link to print them all, print the grocery list, or just chose which recipes you'd like to print.  The grocery list will automatically update for you.

Want to see some more recipes?  By logging into your account you can search through hundreds and even find ones that can be made in under 30 minutes, vegetarian, gluten free, even the seasonal recipe suggestions.

I love what Aviva is doing here- trying to restore dinner time sanity as she says and getting more families to sit down to a family meal- something I feel quite passionate about myself too!

As readers of this here blog I'm giving away One Three Month Subscription to the lucky winner who responds about why you should be the lucky recipient!  The giveaway will be open through Sunday and the winner will be chosen at random and contacted next week!


To Enter Comment on this post saying why you should win!

If your email isn't linked on your post send me an email so I can contact you if you win!

our bedtime book routine

I've never wanted Anderson to be so dependent on a bedtime routine that he would cry if we didn't read a certain book or if he didn't get a bath.  Turns out, thankfully, that the bath and books help but they aren't necessary.  When we do bathe then read (most nights) we end up reading Pajama Time, Big Red Barn, then Goodnight Moon. In that order.

Benjamin usually reads to him as I fold laundry or clean up the kitchen.  It's a good night when I hear him turning the books into songs, especially Big Red Barn which often becomes a folk song.  Mamma T took the role when she was here and I was happy to capture this sweet shot.

Anderson loves his books.  It's how we wake up too, and what we do quite often during the day.

We're in search of some new books though...  What are your favorites?  I know there are some good ones out there so please share!

3 Summer Essentials for Moms

Summertime styling as a Mom is an interesting thing. I was in need of a few things this summer- a good suit, some fun nail polish, and a UV Shirt.  

As for the suit I needed something functional for the pool and yet I didn't want it to scream "Mom" even though I'm holding the best title around.  I was in search of a one piece this year that would still be young and fun but also work with a baby tugging at me.  I ended up going with Boden's Fiftie's Swimsuit.  I love the pattern, ruched sides, and overall fit of this suit.  A winner.

As for the nails I got all brave and got a blue and coral.  I prefer the blue on my toes and like the light coral on the nails.  No time to get manis and pedis this summer and even when I did have time I'm happy to do nails myself.  I don't think I'm brave enough to do the ring-finger trend though.  Have you done it?

Ah, the UV shirt.  You may have a suit that doesn't scream Mom, but then you throw a UV shirt on and your cards are all out there.  Oh, and you have a baby in tow.  I for one am quite over getting any more sun in my life so I quickly ran out to Athleta when the store opened around us and got this top.  UV 50 means if I can't get screen on my back or shoulders, no problem.

Have you purchased some new gear this summer?  Do tell.

9 summer essentials for the babe

With Summer in full swing now we've had to arm ourselves, and our diaper bag, with some summer essentials for the babe.  The kid is fair so I've always got a big hat on hand, sunscreen, and when we're headed to the pool we've got a long sleeve, and hooded, UV shirt, lots of sunscreen, and of course the cutest swim trunks around.

We couldn't resist the awesome swim floaty for the pool which Anderson loves potentially just as much as I do.  Holding him in the pool isn't as much fun for either of us and he loves to kick around.  I love that he's using those muscles and shaded by the sun as well.  

Here are 9 Summer Essentials for the Babe I love... (or Want)

1.  Boden Coverup.  Anderson doesn't have this but he probably needs it, right?  Too bad leaving the pool means he's happy to be walking home with just a diaper on.  So hot here, so hot.  Maybe this makes more sense for true California babies?  I still want it.  

2.  UV Shirt.  We've got two but mainly use our long sleeve and hooded shirt I snagged for $9 on sale at Gap Kids several months ago.  I'm not sure why more baby UV shirts aren't hooded.  They're the best.

3.  Plaid Swim Trunks.  These polo trunks are what Anderson has thanks to Auntie Laura.  She'll soon see Ander rock these in person and it will be glorious.

4.  A good Hat.  We've got this one from Target but love a Carter's wide brimmed hat too.  A must.  And yes, he keeps the hat on.  I think he knows without it he's squinting and can't see.

5.  Swimways Float.  The pool just wouldn't be the same without this.

6. Snack Trap.  We don't have this one although it's in our future.  I definitely have learned to have snacks on hand for the little guy after he's spent some time kick-kick-kicking.

7. A little washable bag for Suits.  We got this bag when Anderson was born and I've used it countless times.  I really love it now to throw wet suits in and know that I can easily wash the bag itself too.

8. Neutrogena Sunblock Bar.  This is super portable and makes for a quick application, especially when I need to get his face or legs when we're on walks.

9. California Baby Sunblock.  This was a gift and boy am I glad it was.  This isn't cheap but with no chemicals and organic ingredients I have no worries putting this all over Anderson.  

Did I miss anything?  What are you summer baby essentials?  Do you use water shoes?  I'm thinking about it after his feet got scuffed up from the baby pool.  Baby Crocs?  I just might.

dear nine months

Oh Buddy.  You're 9 months now and we still call you Buddy a lot.  You're a whole new baby this month, crawling all over and finally eating too. You've gotten yourself up on a step but thankfully you didn't go any further.  You've stood up on your own too but it's not something you do all the time...yet.

Today we went to the pediatrician and they gave me the usual.  Yup- you're doing great.  All the questions and concerns I had were barely answered so I'll continue on and use my Motherly instinct to decide what to do about your lack of sleeping through the night and if wearing chlorine free diapers is really a big deal or not.  I've learned that the doctor doesn't tell us that much, but I guess we should just be thankful they don't have much to say.

A few months ago I was wondering if would care if you didn't see me for a day or so.  Now I know that you would seeing as it's clear separation anxiety has begun.  I do love that you're such a fan of me and love me with your slobbery kisses.  No biting though, champ.

I can't believe in 3 months you'll be 1 year.  I know every parent says this but it's true.  Time flies, especially when things are busy and you're growing so fast.  Life sure isn't the same anymore and your daddy and I love you dearly.

4 great juicing recipes. red and yellow and pink and green.

Some friends of ours are away for two weeks so what did I do?  Ask to borrow their juicer.  I've always wanted one but can't yet justify the cost.  I wanted to see if I'd really use it and how easy it would be.  Turns out I'm in love and know what I want for Christmas!

Here are some of the recipes I've made so far, and love.  I made juice this morning and didn't even miss my usual cup of black coffee, until of course Benny made a pot and I decided to oblige in two cups.

Celery Crunch

4 sticks of celery
1 apple
5 sprigs of fresh mint
1 lime


1/2 head romaine lettuce
2 apples
1 lime
1 handful spinach

Sweet Peppers

3 carrots
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper

For Beet's Sake

3 beets, scrubbed
2 carrots
1 apple
1 1" piece of ginger
1/2 lemon

Aren't they gorgeous?  I think the beet concoction is my favorite.  The color is amazing.  It makes me realize that if you're ever doubting the presence of God you should just juice.  The colors these fruits and veg produce are incredible.

Do you have a juicer?  What kind?  Any favorite juicing recipes I should make next?  

His First Invite

Anderson got invited to his first Birthday party from a friend. This is a big deal, right? We celebrated sweet eleanor in style today with barbecue, beans, cole slaw, and of course cake.

Eleanor's grandma made her this sweet dress which matched the party theme. She smocked it too. She reminded me a lot of my mother in law and as we were leaving I thought of how mamma t would be thankful I've made another Southern friend. It helps me understand Benjamin's family better seeing as I'm a Yankee and all.

Later in the day we celebrated a 34 year old. No owl theme there but sill quite fun. No cute pictures from that party either.

How's your weekend going? The rest of mine will involve more reading of Kisses from Katie and realistically sleep in about 30 minutes.

photo shoot baby


Turns out that the world is a really small place.  Sara and I went to youth group back in Ohio and she now lives about 5 minutes away from us.  Smaller world fact is that her brother is married to a girl who has become one of my closes friends in our neighborhood!  

With her recent move here from NJ Sara was looking to take some pictures and asked if she could take some of Anderson.  I of course obliged and was excited to get to see the results today!

Check her out on facebook and be sure to contact her if you're in the area and looking for a family photographer!  Thanks so much for snapping some shots Sara!

A Fathers Day to Remember

On Saturday night Benjamin said he wanted to sleep until 8 am. Wouldn't that be amazing. We figured our alarm clock of a baby would ring at 6 but instead he woke up just before 8! Happy fathers day indeed.

Good thing we slept in because the next 12 hours we were on the go spending most of our time in St Michaels with a short jaunt over to Eastport and Oxford for ice cream.

Here are some pics from the day. Love my family! A great way to celebrate Benjamin, my dad, and also my brother who made the trip down from Philly!

Balsamic Tilapia

Here's a quick dinner for you. This recipe is thanks to the scramble. One I was a bit skeptical of at first but it turned out great- I'll be making this again for sure.

I had frozen tilapia that I thawed but any white fish will do.

Here's the recipe thanks to the scramble!

In a shallow baking dish combine 2 tablespoons each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add 2 garlic cloves that have been minced and a pinch o salt and pepper. Whisk everything then throw the fish in to coat it. Marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes or until the fish flakes.

Serve over rice or risotto and spoon some extra sauce on top! Enjoy!

happy father's day!

Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there!  I for one am super thankful for Benjamin this year.  He's been such a wonderful dad and husband - not that it's been a big surprise to me.  I'm excited for next year when Anderson can have a better concept of this day and we can make something for him.  The hand-painted picture we attempted turned out less than perfect.  Oh well.

I'm proud of you Benjamin, and honored to be your wife.  xoxo.

like the card?  buy it here. 

{happy weekend}

What are you up to this weekend?  Benjamin is off mountain biking right now so my plan is to head to the new Athleta store when Anderson wakes up to look for an adult rashguard for some added UV protection.  I'm not really into getting sun anymore in life and I figure this will be helpful for many years to come.

We may head to a low country boil this afternoon at one of our favorite spots, a concert in our neighborhood around 6, and tomorrow we're off to St. Michael's for the antique boat show- Dad's request. We'll also be cracking some crab- it's a once a year type of ordeal.

34. 35. 36. 37. 38.

 Why did I think it was a good idea to take weekly pictures?  Probably because people like Annemarie do it, I think I can, but truth is I'm not that committed.  Clearly he isn't laying down on a different blanket each week and truth be told I had to look back to see pictures of him the past several weeks.

visions of summer time danced in my head

Have you been enjoying this season's bounty?  I've been looking back through recipes I used last year and ready for the tomatoes, cherries, and blueberries to really be in abundance.  I'll know it's officially summer when I have my first good peach and can make skillet peach cobbler again.  

What are your summer staples?  Do share...

good morning post 1,000

Good morning to my 1,000th post.  Can you believe it?  What started as a way to share recipes with friends has turned into so much more.  I'm sitting here with my coffee and a lot of sticky notes with high hopes for this here space in the interwebs.

Thanks for reading, learning, and growing with me as I share thoughts on on life, marriage, motherhood, and of course, good food.  Here's to 1,000 more posts.  Clink your coffee mugs with me. 

Mamma T is in town!

Look at us taking advantage of where we live! Anderson is enjoying the time and even showing off by crawling yesterday!

my summer reading list.

For the first time in almost (uh oh) 8 months I picked up a book and decided to read instead of clean and pick up and blog during nap time.  I'm going to be in a Book Club this summer- my first- and seeing as the first meeting is next week it was time to get started.  I hope to read four books this summer.  Other summer's it would be possible.  This summer I'll be happy if I read two.

On the List..

1. Kisses from Katie.  I just started this as it's our first Book Club book!  It's a story of a girl who moves to Uganda pulled there by a strong sense that it's where God was leading her.  In the process its confirmed she's meant to be there to love on all in her path.

2.  One Thousand Gifts.  You've probably read this, right?  I got this as a Mother's Day gift from my sister-in-law and after some great reviews I'm excited to get started. Maybe it will be a good thing to read on the plane en route to Santa Barbara?  Oh wait.  I'll have a baby with me.  No more reading on planes.

3.  Food Rules- Illustrated.  Have you seen this book?  It's beautiful and will make reading this modern-day foodie classic all that more enjoyable.

4.  Unbroken.  It's time I read this.  Perhaps I'll get to it in time for the beach in August.

What will you be reading this summer?  I'd love to hear so I can add them to my list!

6 Father's Day Gift Ideas. Because Benny Likes Presents.

You may remember when I shared with you about how I'm not a present liking person, but I married someone who very much is.  With that fact in mind and because I think I'm learning how to love him better these days, I've been thinking of gifts for my dear husband.  Perhaps some of these would work for your man as well?

Apart from the items listed here how about giving him an experience?  Living Social, Gilt, Groupon, and other deal sites all seem to be offering great ideas for the Dad in your life.  Think of golfing, shooting ranges, kayaking, canoeing, rock wall climbing, and beer tasting to name a few.  While some guys may like something tangible others would love the opportunity to go do something out of the ordinary.

As Dad's they might not readily admit it but I'd go ahead and guess that if you tell them they have the day to golf they won't be sitting back wishing they could help you around the house.  Can't blame them.

Here are 6 ideas of gifts for your men.  Benny may or may not be getting some of these.  It's basically going to be better than Christmas for him.  Maybe we won't do Christmas this year?  I doubt that idea will fly..

1.  Wayfarer Ray-Ban Sunglasses.  The sunglass that screams classic at the same time it shouts trendy.

2.  Seersucker Suit for the Little Guy.  Benjamin saw one of these for Anderson and commented later that night how cute it would be.  Benjamin has a suit like this for him, so why not get a matching one for Anderson?

3.  Tilley Hat.  Does the Dad in your life have one of these?  Made in Canada with a Lifetime warrenty.  No joke seeing as Benjamin just got a replacement hat sent to him since his got a tear in it.  That's customer service.

4.  The Ultimate Bar Book.  Benjamin has wanted this one for month's.  Friends of ours use it often and the recipes always come out making me think there's no reason to go buy a drink at a bar.

5.  Hand Printed Rocks Glasses- Made right in Colorado these glasses are the perfect size, hold up to many washes in the dishwasher, and will make him realize he really likes having an official glass for his bourbon.  Much better than the juice glass the kids use.

6.  Unbroken.  Admittedly a gift for both you, and him.  I realize this was a hit awhile ago but we haven't read it in our house and I hear Benjamin will enjoy the World War II history and I'll enjoy the story as well.  Win win.

I've got his present(s) purchased.  Now off to find the perfect card...

Sponsor Giveaway: The Scramble Subscription!

I'm honored to be sponsored by The Six O'Clock Scramble.  Have you heard of it?  If you haven't you're seriously missing out.  This gem of a company creates menus and a grocery lists to help you get through a busy week.  Each Wednesday you receive an email with a link to the recipes and from there you can pick and chose the ones you want to make, generating a grocery list tailored just for you.  All you have to do is click print and the recipes are printed for you and grocery list is made!

The real plus is that the recipes in my experience have all been delicious and assemble quickly, in about 30 minutes of less.  You can chose to go with the seasonal recipe suggestions or search through many others in the database as well.

I love what Aviva is doing here- trying to restore dinner time sanity as she says and getting more families to sit down to a family meal- something I feel quite passionate about myself too!

As readers of this here blog I'm giving away One Three Month Subscription to the lucky winner who responds about why you should be the lucky recipient!  The giveaway will be open through Saturday and the winner will be chosen at random and contact next week!


To Enter Comment on this post saying why you should win!

If your email isn't linked on your post send me an email so I can contact you if you win!

brined and grilled pork loin

Our grill is in jeopardy of being taken away.  Apparently it's too tall and the neighborhood has decided to rain on our summer grilling parade just as summer is kicking off.  I'm a bit annoyed.  Next week Benjamin gets to go to a meeting to appeal it and tell them we should be able to keep the grill.  It's really silly.

In case the grill is taken away, which I hope it's not seeing as neighbors all around us have the same kind!, we're getting in some grilling while we can.  I came across this recipe in my Mom's Living and quickly tore it out, telling my Mom I was much more quick to make recipes than she was anyways.

Pork is cooked often in our house.  It's affordable and underused in general in my opinion.  When was the last time you made pork chops?  You should.  Pork tenderloin?  Another winner.

This recipe is nice because you prepare it in the morning and then come dinner time just take it out of the brine, dry it off, season, then grill for about half an hour.  The results?  Delicious.  Brining the pork helps it stay nice and juicy- no dry pork loin for us!

{Recipe thanks to and loosely modified from Martha Stewart}

{Ingredients You'll Need}

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup coarse salt
  • 4 cups ice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 teaspoons dried thyme or 1 bunch fresh
  • zest from 1 orange
  • a few good cracks of pepper
  • 1 boneless pork loin, about 2 pounds
  • coarse grain mustard for serving
  1. Bring the water, sugar, and salt to a simmer and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve.  Remove from the heat and stir in the ice, bay leaves, thyme, orange zest, and pepper.  Let cool then pour over the pork in a dish that will allow the pork to be covered.
  2. Refridgerate 6 hours or up to 8 hours
  3. Remove from the brine and let stand up to 30 minutes to bring it to room temperature before grilling.  Pat it dry and season with a little more salt and pepper.
  4. Heat the grill to medium then grill the pork, covered with the vent open, turning every 6 minutes for about 32 minutes total or until internal temp is 125.  
  5. Allow the pork to rest 15 minutes then slice, serve, and devour with some mustard if you'd like.

Thank God for Hometowns

Last weekend we made the six hour drive to Ohio for the famous Blossom celebration and my ten year high school reunion.  When I found out I was pregnant it wasn't long before I calculated how old Anderson would be for his first Blossom.  I was eager to show him where I grew up and of course show him off to family and friends.  It's the proud Mamma in me.

The high school reunion went as well as it possibly could have.  It was really wonderful seeing old friends and catching up with everyone.  I' admit I had a bit of nerves going into the night but once we got there they seemed to go away quickly.  My classmates are scattered across the country, working jobs they either love or could live without, and finding themselves in relationships that have the potential to last a lifetime.  There were some babes there and I'm sure by the next reunion there will be even more.

While we stood around catching up with friends Benjamin leaned over and said, "You don't know how good you had it.."  Thing is, I do.  I know Chagrin is an idyllic quaint town and that I had a great friends, a great school, and overall a very loving community that helped raise me.  Sure I'm looking back with some rose colored glasses blocking out the times I dreaded going to high school, feeling alone and quite ready for college, but that's just all a part of growing up it seems, no matter where you are.

As I watch Anderson grow I wonder what kind of hometown experience he'll have.  I wonder where we'll end up and what he'll consider to be the good and bad things of his hometown.  No matter where it is, I can only hope he has the community to help raise him that I'm so thankful for today.

let's play photo catch up

I have a much more mobile baby these days, and one who has finally gotten the hang of eating (when he wants to) so life has gotten increasingly busier.  I've had to remind myself that I'm at home for him, not for me, so when I don't get done what I want to in a day it's ok.  What we are getting done is swimming and playing and eating and reading.  The important stuff.

Anderson is also working on two more teeth which are bringing him a lot of pain as of this weekend and resulting in less sleep for his mamma.   He's sitting up on his own, loves standing at his toys, and has frequented the pool a lot so far this summer.  It's a great way to spend the afternoons and tire him out before bedtime.  I'm enjoying this California-like weather too before the read humidity sets in.

Speaking of bedtime, time for mine over here.  Anderson was gifted his first pair of big boy jammies this week.  Makes him look like such a little boy now! Time is sure flying.