Big Ol’ Catchup Post! (Part 1)

Good morning, friends!! This recap post is long overdue, but jam packed with much that’s been going on lately on our day to day. The end of June into July were a whirlwind! Mostly a good whirlwind, with a couple mini hiccups- but overall, I’m excited to take time to reflect on it all.

So we’re going back in time, when the storms were more sparse and an entire summer was still ahead of us- June 20th .

We had a big day of running errands, and Quinn was hamming it up at the grocery store. I adore seeing her personality come into full bloom- she has a goofy side that we adore (and fully encourage 🤪).

June 22nd I put together a breakfast platter for Quinn of yogurt with berries, a cheesy broccoli fritter and chia French toast.

We have been enjoying this Right Rice for meals lately. It’s made of 90% vegetables! Quinn doesn’t always eat it, but DJ and I love the stuff. We usually mix it with ghee, something else I’m obsessed with lately.

While getting ready for the move, I found this Polar Bear my Dad gifted to me one Easter. Quinn loves “Big Bear”, and it melts my heart watching her play with something from her Grandpa Gary 💕.

June 24th we had a local wedding for one of DJ’s coworkers! It was a beautiful wedding with good friends. So happy for them 😊. Quinn wasn’t able to sit through the whole ceremony, so I snuck out and met another mom and her daughter who had done the same. The nursery was open at the church, so we went in there and let them play. It worked out well and was sweet watching the girls play together! The reception after was on a golf course which was naturally so pretty!

This was the best pic I could get with my wiggle worm 😄.

“Let me play, Mom!”.

They had a donut cake, and let me tell you- those donuts were A+++! Perfectly fluffy and delishhhh.

June 25th we were able to start moving our stuff into our new home! We chipped away that week and the next as DJ made trips primarily in the evening.

We loaded up the kids, some boxes and set out to say hi to the new place! Moose and Quinn both take full advantage of the extra space both in and out of the house!

We have ponies that live behind us, and Quinn is obsessed! We have spent lots of time at the fence waving to them 🥰.

The owners before us left this adorable play house in the basement complete with an ice cream set. 🍦

In the afternoon, we went to Bow Wow Beach so Moose could run around and get some zoomies out.

For dinner, I made this yummy one pan balsamic chicken and asparagus.

Jumping into July! Our big Fourth of July recap can be found here.

July 6th we had a big day of packing! I know I’m biased, but I think I have a darn cute little helper 🥰.

We stopped by Krieger grocery store, and I grabbed this matcha latte bar. I really enjoyed it! Definitely has an “herby” flavor, but I found it tasty.

That afternoon, Quinn shared her afternoon snack with Grammy. I gave her some egg muffins, and funnily enough my mom was snacking on some hard boiled eggs too.

July 7th was our last evening in the townhouse. I expected to be much more emotional than I was, given how much had transpired since we moved in there; we got Moose, had Quinn, started new jobs and really just turned a new chapter in our lives. I think we were just so busy that day, that I never had time to reflect much. Although, I did have one moment standing in Quinn’s nearly empty nursery when I teared up. We will always reflect fondly on the sweet, sweet memories we made here.

July 8th was our moving day!! The move went generally smoothly, but our elliptical did break during it. It was an old elliptical that we bought used, so not a huge deal, but still a bummer!

Our first meal in our new home was none other than Piada! I got two meals because moving makes ya hungry. Plus I knew I’d be thrilled to have any leftovers. I had the avocado piada (amazing) and a create your own salad.

DJ was craving wings, and he got this massive delicious cookie from Its Just Wings!

July 9th we started the morning with a family walk. It is so much more convenient that we don’t have to drive somewhere to go on a walk and can just use the sidewalks in the neighborhood. We do short evening walks often too.

Unpacking fun! Found mom’s blue light blocking glasses 🤓.

July 9th we had a yummy dinner and spent some wonderful family time at The Farm 🥰.

One thing that did make this move a lot easier was using the frozen dishes that I’ve been stockpiling for a while. Every time I make food, I try to freeze a small portion of it so we can pull it out when groceries are limited. This saved on what would have been a lot of takeout that week!

July 10th we had the kale lasagna roll ups I made from the Feeding Littles cookbook. They froze and defrosted very well!

Run run run!

We put Quinn’s nugget in her little play area. Her play room is really meant more to be a dining room, but it works great to give her lots of space to be creative and spread out her toys.

That week since we had so much unpacking on top of work, I decided to drop off Quinn at daycare full time. She’s never done the full five days at daycare, but I thought maybe it would help her wean too with getting in a new routine. Well, that totally backfired!! She just wanted to comfort nurse more when she got home, which makes sense. I’ve found lots and lots of distractions, snacks and cuddles help somewhat, but this has been a challenge. It’s going more slowly than I anticipated, but she also probably needed the extra comfort given big changes like the move and advancing to the Senior Infant room. I know we’ll get there eventually! I’m very grateful for our journey to this point too, so it’s mixed emotions for me too.

That week, I found a stray fry in the backseat while deep cleaning the car. Does this *officially* make me a parent of a toddler? 🤪

Side note- if you have a dog and have a hard time getting the dog hair up from your car seats/mats or house furniture- this Uproot Cleaner is a must!!! It works like magic.

The evening of July 11th DJ had to work a little later than normal, but we had dinner via FaceTime with Grammy!

Ohh and random snack alert- these Lentil Turmeric Crackers are sooo good! DJ loves them too. They remind us of Fritos.

For dinner on July 12th, I made a chicken parmesan over red lentil pasta with a side of asparagus. Was a hit!

It was really tough for me to be away from Quinn that week, but the pics from daycare definitely helped 💕.

Quinn has been loving helping me with chores lately. She will grab a rag when I do and wipe off whatever is within her reach. It’s so stinking adorable. She loves using the broom and mop too, and will dump the dust pan into the trash. She also is eager to help me load the (safe) dishes into the dishwasher. This pic below was all her! I thought she did a darn good job!

July 14th we got the grass freshly mowed! There is so much we have to learn about maintaining a house and yard. I did deadhead the daisies though! Working in the yard is very therapeutic. I’d love to plant a little garden back there at some point.

July 15th Quinn colored while I cooked dinner. I just have to keep a very close eye that she doesn’t eat the crayons. She certainly has tried hah.

While unpacking, we found my baby blanket. I had to snag some pics of Quinn with it to send my mom!

July 16th we had my friend, Melissa’s, bridal shower! It was at J Bella in Strongsville- such a gorgeous restaurant! We enjoyed a delicious brunch with breakfast foods and fun games. It was my first time going to a full on organized even without DJ, but overall Quinn did so well!

How cute are these cookies!

That day was also our Moose’s 2 year old bday!! I can’t believe he’s two 😭. We gave him some ground beef to mix in with his kibble for dinner.

That afternoon, one of our neighbors stopped by with gorgeous (and delicious!) cupcakes that she made. It was so sweet of her and really nice to meet her! We’ve met both sides and feel lucky to have such great neighbors 😊.

And that brings us to when Sara visited!

July 21st, I made a salmon with sun-dried tomato and artichoke hearts with Right Rice.

That evening we went to Handel’s Ice Cream. This is my new favorite local ice cream shop! I tried the Graham Central Station per the recommendation of a reader here, Rebekah! Thank you so much because this is my new favorite ice cream flavor hands down 😍. Quinn was a BIG fan too.

Ok this is getting plenty long, so I’ll get a part 2 catch-up post hopefully soon!!

Questions for you:

– Are you over summer or hanging onto every last second? (I’m personally so ready for fall!)

– Any new fun snacks you’re enjoying lately?



When the Bay comes to the Lake!

Hey all!! I have a big ol’ recap post in the works discussing the move, new home and other recent happenings through July! Before that I am bursting at the seams to share about when my friend Sara visited all the way from California. She had a wedding to attend in Chicago, and we both agreed it would have been a crime if she didn’t stop in while on this side of the country! I haven’t seen her since 2021 in Austin, and this was her first time meeting Quinn too.

Quinn was in an extra chipper mood the day she arrived – we had so much fun giggling and playing. We stopped by the grocery store to get fixings for dinner and toys for Moose.

Sara had never been to Ohio before, and I wanted so badly for her to think fondly of it! She admittedly had some negative ideas about Cleveland/Ohio, and I was determined to change her mind 😉. That evening I greeted her with a classic Midwest Ohioan meal of salad, pierogies and some chicken apple sausage. (And don’t worry, I had the fried onions and sour cream on the side for the pierogies!).

We ate dinner on the steps outside on the porch (still need to get patio furniture), and we watched Moose and Quinn play in the yard. We all got a great night sleep that night. Sara really needed it in particular after a crazy red-eye travel day with delays.

The next day, I decided to use a full daycare day while Sara and I went to explore Cleveland. I missed our Quinnie, but it was a great way for us to spend some good quality time together and do a lot in a short period.

First stop on a full girl’s day: brunch!

We drove to Cleveland and enjoyed Le Petite Triangle in the Ohio City area. YOU GUYS. Easily one of the best brunch spots I’ve been to here in NEO. Or maybe ever? So. Good.

We started out with a couple mimosas while sitting alfresco, as ya do.

Now onto the foooood! We had to share their French toast and opted for the lemon curd. We both agreed it’s some of the best French toast we’ve ever had.

Sara had their vegetarian quiche which she raved about. The waitress said this was her favorite dish too.

I had the croque monsieur with an added egg, and I didn’t leave a bite on my plate!

Time to do some explorin’!!! We went to Edgewater Lake and walked around the trails.

The day could not have been more beautiful (yes, of course, the weather is always like this 😜). There was a company outing that looked so fun, Sara even inquired if they were hiring!

We went to Edgewater beach too. I have got to come back here with Quinn!

We also found one of the Cleveland signs in town and grabbed some classic pics.

After, we drove to the downtown area and admired the architecture and art.

Sara loves history, and when she spotted the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ monument in Public Square, we had to check it out. One of the workers appreciated her enthusiasm over learning all about the monument, and he gave us a free tour of the tunnels beneath it!

He explained to us they offer an annual tour to the public down there, and the tickets usually go very fast. In the article I was reading, there’s even a two hour wait just to get inside. We were honored to get a private tour, and it was so cool! I was admittedly nervous at first – I mean not often do I find myself in the underbelly of Cleveland in a dark tunnel 😬, but thankfully it was all kosher.

We raced back home since Sara had a spray tan scheduled for the wedding she was attending that weekend. Plus I wanted to pick up my Quinnie 🥰. For dinner, we enjoyed Piada- we introduced her to the avocado piada (thanks again, Bex!), and she raved about it! All soooo good!

Dance party!!

Before her flight the next day on July 20th, we were able to fit in one more meal. We went to one of our favorite spots- Garretts Mill Diner.

They have the best fruit cups with a delicious variety of fresh fruit including mango and pineapple 😋.

I had to try their croissant breakfast sandwich, and it was incredibly delicious. I have never had a bad bite of food at Garrett’s Mill!

Sadly, Sara had her flight to Chicago at 2 and left for the airport around noon.

Quinnie and I took a long nap together and then just played around the house and in the yard!

Although it was all sunshine during the day, storms rolled in that evening. Mr. Moose was terrified. He was panting and shaking. Poor boy was sitting in my lap as much as he would fit. We discovered he does better in the basement during storms since it drowns out the noise. They are so stressful for him :(. I think we may need to try a thunder jacket or a doggy Xanax because he is panicked like nothing I’ve seen during them 😣.

And that wraps a wonderful few days with Sara! She texted me that she “loves Cleveland”, so I say mission accomplished 😄.

Questions for you:

– What’s something unique about where you live?

– is there a city you think is “underrated”?



It’s a Love Story! (Melissa’s Version).

Hey friends!! I’m jumping ahead my other recaps to share about a very fun bachelorette party I attended last weekend.

One of my best friends since diapers, Melissa, is getting married in just a couple weeks! I’m honored to be part of her wedding as a bridesmaid, and July 22nd we had her bachelorette party! It was actually a combined bachelor/bachelorette party. I’ve never been to a combined party before, but it was so great for the whole bridal party to get to know one another before the big day. We laughed a LOT.

Melissa is the biggest Taylor Swift fan I know, without question. So, when it came to the party it was no question it would be Taylor Swift themed (The Lover album to be specific!). She requested we all dress as a different Taylor Swift Era- I was Folklore (probably my personal favorite album), and I found a duped Grammy dress for that album.

Brooke, the maid of honor, knocked the party out of the park! I got there early to help set up and couldn’t get over all the cute touches she brought along.

She baked these cupcakes below and brought along homemade frosting we helped swirl on top. I adored the little butterflies she found for these too.

Everyone brought along different sides, and everything came together deliciously and beautifully!

Oh andddd we had Chick-Fil-A nuggets- yum!

It was all soo yummy. One of the bridesmaids made a Buffalo chicken dip I think I’ve craved every day since 😅.

Brooke also put together these sweet gift bags for each bridesmaid 🫶🏻.

And would a bachelorette party be complete without a photo backdrop?!

One of the fun ideas Brooke had was to have each of us bring a drink that represented our relationship with Melissa. I brought lemonade and Mike’s Hard Lemonade since we did lemonade stands together as kids 🥰.

Here are all the outfits together!

I think from left to right it’s Country Taylor, Fearless, Red, 1989, Reputation, Lover and Folklore.

We played fun games like “How well do you know the bride” and chatted lots. I just love this group of ladies!

In the gift bags, we all got shirts that said “Bridesmaid’s version” and Melissa’s said “It’s me, Hi, I’m the Bride It’s Me”.

Brooke also gave me an extra pair of the Lover sunglasses to bring home for Quinnie 🥰.

It was such a fun day and party! Can’t wait for the wedding in just a couple weeks!!

Questions for you:

– Are you a Taylor Swift fan?

– Who is your favorite music artist?



Chicago Part 2!

Hello hello! Wooooooo-eeee. This month has been non-stop. All good stuff, but let’s just say I’ve upped my caffeine intake a bit 😅. I can’t wait to catch you up on everything though!

Starting with…. Part 2 of Chicago!

We woke up Father’s Day morning and drove to Kasama as soon as they opened. I had a feeling there might be a line given this Michelin starred Filipino pastry shop’s popularity. I underestimated just how popular this spot was! The line when we arrived (before they even opened) was all the way down the sidewalk (I’m guessing at least an hour wait). It was a warm and sunny morning, and there was no way Quinn was about to chill in that line for that long. We didn’t want to give up on this restaurant we had so been looking forward to trying, so we put an order in online for pickup. It was still going to be about a 45 minute wait. We found a McDonald’s parking lot, sat in the AC in the car and entertained Quinn with toys, books and some home videos to get us through the whole 45 mins.

Finally it was time!! *Said in the voice of Rafiki*. I picked up our order and couldn’t wait to dive in. It took everything in me not to peak in the box and nibble on them before we got back to the hotel. At least I had an iced matcha to tide me over.

Now for the GOODS! We started with their cardamom kouign amann. This is one of their most popular items. It was great, and I don’t even particularly enjoy the taste of cardamom, but DJ said this was his favorite of everything we had.

Next up- the black truffle croissant! Listen to this description: this croissant is “laminated with 82 percent European butter and filled with black truffle and Delice de Bourgogne cheese, topped
with honey and truffle oil and fresh shaved black truffle”. It was a true mouthful. I love anything truffle and my taste buds exploded with this. It is so rich in flavor, it was almost overwhelming! I wouldn’t say it’s the type of croissant you’d just want to sit and eat on its own- it’s a great thing to have a couple bites of though.

Alrighty. Time for the foils gras danish with blackberry-cherry jam, pistachio, almond, and foie gras ganache. Truly one of the most stunningly unique creations I have ever tried. It was delicious!!!

And we also grabbed a chocolate croissant for good measure.

To cut the sweetnesss, we also tried their breakfast sandwiches. I loved these. Perfection.

The one thing we didn’t try that we were hoping to was their staple Ube and Huckleberry pound cake since they ran out. I think we had our fill though 😄.

Overall thoughts: Incredible bakery. When it comes to individual items- still nothing tops the Koignn Amann from B. patisserie in San Francisco and nothing yet tops the croissant from Arsicault also in SF. I’d say the star for me was the foie gras danish or the sandwiches. DJ says for him it was the cardamom kouign amann.

After the spectacular taste testing (with no crumbs leftover), we headed out to explore the city more! We walked past Millenium Park again and then a few more blocks to Shedd Aquarium.

This was such a fun activity that DJ suggested!! Quinn enjoyed it very much. This aquarium was epic.

They even had a dolphin viewing area.

Here are Quinn and DJ looking at some Beluga whales. It took everything in me not to start singing Babyyyy Belugaaa.

We fed Quinn her lunch we brought along in one of the cafes they had. Then time for dessert! It was a scorcher of a day, so nothing sounded better than ice cream. Lucky for us, there was a Chicago favorite, Rainbow Cone, right outside the aquarium.

Rainbow cone is known for their Original 95-year-old classic Rainbow Cone stacked with five flavors (sliced not scooped): Orange Sherbet, Pistachio, Palmer House, Strawberry, and Chocolate.

While a fun concept, I played it a little safer (and less messy) with a half scoop of chocolate and half scoop of strawberry. Of course, Miss Ice Cream Queen helped herself to a few tastes. She had a death grip on the thing 😂.

We started the long haul back to the hotel, but the ice cream made it much more enjoyable! (Ghirardelli’s is better from a flavor and creaminess standpoint, but we had to try something so fun and local!). While we went to the food truck, they do have other shops around the city!

On our way back, we stopped to splash in the Face Fountains.

We all took a little afternoon siesta and then it was time for dinner! We had originally booked a hotel that had babysitting services offered, but they cancelled their contract before we had our trip. Originally, we were going to treat this dinner as a date night, but Quinnie joined us. When all was said and done, we were so glad the babysitting services fell through because we had such a ball with her (per usual) and she loved the food. What dish in particular? You may be shocked to find out- stay tuned!

The dinner spot, a Chicago favorite, was The Purple Pig. Side note- we had a hard time actually finding the restaurant, so if you do go, it’s inside a bigger building on Michigan Ave.

This restaurant has received Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand awards since 2011, so you know it must be good!

The menu is diverse and extensive, truly something for everyone. It was a tough decision! We started with a bold and delicious glass of Cabernet and the crispy pig’s ear with kale, pickled Cherry peppers and a fried egg. YUM!!!!!!! A must try!

Next up were the mushrooms three ways with pickled onions and a truffle and mushroom three ways. I loved this.

Then with the hopes that Quinn would nibble on this dish, I got the roasted baby squash with ricotta cheese, pesto, almonds and lemon. She didn’t care for it. It was definitely good, but the least impressive of everything we tried.

When she started fussing and all other toys/efforts failed, we set up Ms. Rachel very quietly so we could continue to enjoy our conversation. We joked that Ms. Rachel was our fill-in babysitter.

For his main dish, DJ had the pork belly with ginger glaze, carrot, espresso and frisee. This is the dish to get!!!! It was SPECTACULAR.

I had their squid ink pasta, because I have a hard time turning it down if I ever see it on a menu, but it was just ok. Definitely should have ordered the pork belly.

But you want to know who was all about the pasta (“it’s not about the pasta!”) (sorry can’t resist a VPR reference)- QUINN. This girl could not get enough. It was hilarious the way she shoveled that pasta down- I was quickly googling to make sure squid ink pasta was even safe for a toddler lol.

And of course we had to get a family pic to remember this Father’s Day, celebrating this absolutely amazing Dad. DJ is the most selfless man, he makes Quinn laugh more than anyone, brings the fun and goofiness to our home, has such a steady temper and never complains (I mean never, it’s kind of incredible). He sacrifices a lot of time and energy for us, which may not always be shown here, but I just have to take a minute to express my gratitude for the stellar Dad and partner he is in life and in this parenting journey! Quinn adores her Daddy! And she definitely said Dada before Mama 😆.

The next day we had to get up bright and early to hit the road. We quietly ate our room service breakfast near the door so we didn’t wake Quinn. I ordered salmon lox and DJ ordered some memorably tasty pancakes. Side note- it was tough to eat this quietly; there were a lot of dishes to accidentally “clink” lol.

When Quinn woke up, we shared some of the pancakes with her. She was all about em’!

Then it was time to hit the road! The ride back was much smoother than the ride over.

Questions for you:

– What are you watching/reading currently?

– Are you on any food kicks right now?



Chicago Part One!! 🏙️

Hey, everyone! Finally, I am getting out this long overdue Chicago post. It’s 445 AM, I have a hot cup of frothy Nespresso in hand and oatmeal on board, so let’s dive in! We decided to go to Chicago over Father’s Day weekend since it’s a relatively short trip, and we were itching to travel! The evening of June 16th we hit the road.

Quinnie was less amused by the construction getup photo-op at a rest stop than I was 😅.

It was a rough trip. Quinn’s a light sleeper and would wake up with every bump in the road 😣. We realized gone are the days of driving through the night. Day trips are going to be the way we roll for now!

We arrived in Chicago around 1130 pm central time. We took in the fantastic views of the city before eagerly catching some 💤s.

Quinn has started pointing at everything, and it was adorable how she eagerly pointed out the window when we woke up.

“Mom, look! It’s Chicagahhhhh!”

I was feeling the cobwebs in the morning and needed to get caffeine on board ASAP. Once we got ready, we headed out to breakfast around 830 AM.

We went to brunch at a restaurant called Terrace 16 that promised the best views in the city. It did not disappoint!

DJ and I started with mimosas, and I didn’t turn down the opportunity for another cup of coffee. We didn’t realize the only option for mimosas was bottomless, and the guy looked at us funny when we said we were good after one- when we got the bill we understood why 🫠.

Time for food! I ordered their vegetable frittata with asparagus, wild mushrooms, spinach and Gruyère. Every bite was spectacular!

For Quinn I ordered a parfait bowl with berries that she didn’t touch, but DJ and I happily enjoyed some.

Deej had their Croque Madame. I had a bite and woah, so good. A great savory option.

Whoopsies another portrait mode fail lol.

After brunch, we decided we better change since it was getting warmer out. We also applied a bunch of sunscreen and then headed out to explore the Windy City!

I made a mistake with the spray sunscreen- I tried to apply it to my hair part, but sprayed too heavily and it turned my hair white. Good times, haha.

I love being among the hustle and bustle of a big city. The energy of Chicago was electric on that Saturday morning. Many people were exercising in various forms- running, bicycling or doing yoga in the big green space of Millennium Park. I tried to catch the names of coffee shops displayed on paper cups of people we passed “just in case” I needed another ;). Tourists fought for a spot around The Bean and various street artists performed beautiful melodies, a soundtrack to accompany the gorgeous day.

We then ventured over to Maggie Daley park to explore the three acre play garden for kids. This place is epic. I can’t wait to bring Quinn back here when she’s a bit older. That day we just enjoyed the sights and the bucket swings :).

While walking back to the hotel, we saw a surprising amount of people sporting Orioles gear. DJ is a huge Orioles fan (I am a fan now too by proxy, except when they’re playing the Guardians 😜). We checked to see if they were in town, and sure enough they were! We didn’t have a strict agenda that day and decided it’d be fun to take Quinn to her first baseball game!! I just happened to have an Orioles hat on me and one of DJ’s old Orioles shirts I wear as a night shirt I lent back to him- so we were accidentally prepared 😄. I should have just played this off like I planned it as a Father’s Day gift haha!

Parking was a bear (pun intended), but we made it to the stadium with plenty of time to spare.

I was thrilled at the opportunity to go to Wrigley Field!

Is there anything better than a baseball game in the summer?!

Quinn fell asleep on the walk over to the game and grabbed some snoozes in my carrier while we waited for the game to start.

We haven’t been to a game in ages, and I was impressed with the QR core option to have food and drinks delivered to your seat!

Chillin’ on her Dad’s lap enjoying the game! DJ was in heaven I’m pretty sure.

Early into the first inning, DJ goes, “oh noooo”. I look at him frantically as a litany of scenarios run through my mind in a second- what’s wrong?! Is she choking?! No, ok phew. Did she lick the seat? Spit up on the people in front of us? Lose a shoe? Did DJ order food to the wrong seat?!!!! He pointed to Quinn’s hat and, I realized it had a little bear cub on it. It was worse than I thought. The betrayal by your own daughter… hard to put into words 😭. I thought we raised her better!

Anywho- back to the food! I don’t know if I’ve actually ever tried Cracker Jacks, but they’re pretty good.

I was also craving a cheeseburger and got a soft pretzel to share with Quinn after we walked around the stadium for a while. She enjoyed the cheeseburger most!

Family pic 🥰.

After the game, we navigated the traffic, parked our car and then headed on foot to Navy pier.

Navy pier is much more of a little amusement park than I expected! It’s adorable and has fantastic food options too.

She fell asleep as we walked around the pier.

We walked along the river and then decided ice cream sounded like a great appetizer before dinner.

We saw a Ghirardelli store and a rush of amazing memories flooded back from San Francisco ☺️.

We were even greeted by a Painted Ladies photo while waiting in line.

Seriously some of the best!!!

We put an order in at Lou Malnati’s, a famed deep dish pizza joint in Chicago. I have had Giordano’s in the past (the other famous deep dish), but I didn’t love it. That was over 10 years ago though. I’ve heard from others that don’t love Giordano’s that Lou’s is where it’s at. Do people call it Lou’s? Some local Chicagoan is probably rolling their eyes at this whole paragraph, hah!

The line for the restaurant seating was crazy long, so we just ordered food to go. We still had a 30/40 minute wait for pickup, so we killed time running around with Quinn in the area outside the restaurant. She was having a ball, pointing at the tall statue nearby, waving, making friends. It was golden hour, a violinist was playing nearby, and people seemed to have an extra pep in their step. At the end of the trip DJ asked me my favorite part, and for some reason this simple memory stood out 💕.

Food’s ready!!

We went back to the hotel to eat. I ordered Quinn chicken tenders and fries – she didn’t eat much of the chicken, but fries are this girl’s jam.

Pizza pizza pizza! 🍕 DJ ordered their deep dish Malnati classic with sausage, mozzarella, vine-ripened tomato sauce all on their trademarked buttecrust.

I had the Deep Dish The Lou with basil, garlic and onion seasoned spinach, mushrooms and Roma tomatoes on garlic buttercrust.

The verdict? Definitely better than I remember Giordano’s being! I liked DJ’s more though. Mine felt it was missing something, adding sausage would have made it perfect I think! Now on a whole, nothing has yet topped Via 313’s Detroit style pizza in Austin, TX.

Hopefully I’ll get to Part 2 soon!! Thanks for visiting the Windy City ‘with us’. If you know Chicago, I’m open to more recs too because we would love to go back when time allows! It’s a fairly easy weekend trip!

Oh oh oh ! And I forgot to mention we are officially moved into our new place! Been a whirlwind of a couple weeks but so worth it!

Questions for you:

– What style of pizza is your favorite?

– Any summer travel plans?



Fourth of July Recap!

Good morning, my friends! This morning is our official moving day (July 8th), but we’ve been chipping away at it for a couple weeks now. I was feeling pretty overwhelmed yesterday, but am feeling better this morning! We don’t have much left to do except the “big” stuff like beds and couches and then, of course, unpacking. Before I recap Chicago, I figured I’d share about our past weekend celebrating the 4th of July!

Sunday, July 2nd, after a day of packing we drove to Lakeside, OH to stay with family on the lake. Lakeside is truly one of our favorite places in earth. It feels like stepping back in time, and we feel total peace while at the charming community. We were the first to arrive and were hungry when we pulled it. It was pouring which limited our availability to walk to restaurants. Since parking is also limited, so we opted for carry out from Patio Restaurant.

I had been craving a chicken sandwich for a few days, and this one hit the spot 😍. Their fries are fantastic, and ya can’t go wrong with a side of coleslaw.

I ordered Quinn chicken breast and green beans, but she just kept wanting our fries. Can’t say I blame her.

After scarfing down our meals, we decided to walk along “Ohio’s most beautiful mile”.

Complete with a beautiful rainbow 😍.

We went back to Patio to grab some ice cream. While waiting in line, we snapped a pic of Quinn at their Ice Cream cone measuring sign. We plan to do this every summer 🥰 🍦.

Whose ice cream cone is it really? 😉

I had the salty caramel fudge cone- it was good, but I think I liked DJ’s cookie dough choice better. But I seem to always like whatever DJ gets more 😂.

We finished our cones as we walked the pier during golden hour breathing in the fresh lake air.

While on the pier, we checked the time and realized it was already 830 and past Quinn’s bedtime. We had totally lost all sense of time since arriving there and apparently threw our better parenting sense out the window 😂. Quinn wasn’t acting tired at all though and had enjoyed a late nap, so she was a happy camper with the late evening walk.

We eventually headed back, but the girl didn’t fall asleep until close to 10 pm 😵‍💫. I think she was wired after all the excitement- plus, she had a little bit of extra sugar on board.

This girl then woke up at 6 AM. Mom and Dad begged her to fall back asleep, but she was ready to get the day started!

My little watermelon girl 💕 🍉.

I couldn’t be too bummed at the early wake-up call because when we walked outside we were greeted by this glorious morning.

First things first- Coffee and Cream. I love coffee from here and look forward to it whenever we visit Lakeside. They always froth the oat milk perfectly, and the coffee is so smooth. Mmmm I can taste it writing this.

This girl has a look of “too early for this, Mom”. And to that I reply “this was your choice, girlfriend!”.

Coffee and Cream has all kinds of delicious pastries and treats. I thought these little 4th of July cookie sandwiches were adorable.

We didn’t get anything there though because we had our sights on the famous, best-in-the-world Patio donuts!!! And that is not hyperbole. I wish I could share them with you right now so you could agree with me!!

Someone’s excited to try them for the first time!


She may not like cake, but she loves a cake donut! We also gave her a Once Upon a Farm pouch with avocado to get some actual nutrition on board.

After breakfast, we played in the upstairs loft. When our nephew, Ender, woke up he joined Quinn while the rest of us chatted about the Taylor Swift concert much of the fam went to the night before! My friend, Melissa, sent me so many incredible videos and pictures it felt like I was there – it seemed like a concert of a lifetime!

Trying to figure out when Quinn was due for a nap was challenging- she was tired but fighting it. She eventually fell asleep around 1030 in the carrier outside. I walked around Lakeside, admiring the cottages and listened to a podcast while she snoozed.

Once she woke up, we went to Ooh La La! for some quick eats.

Something about being in the quaint eatery with white lace tablecloths topped with daisies made me opt for their egg salad sandwich. This isn’t something I’d usually order, but it was so tasty!

We brought along a Little Spoon meal and also got a yogurt for Quinn, which she gobbled up.

We relaxed and chatted with family at our Mimi’s cottage in the afternoon 🥰. Quinn assigned herself the task of moving all the bread and buns from a chair to the stool in the living room, lol.

Time for water park fun with the cousins! One of the highlights of this weekend was seeing how doting and sweet all of the cousins were with Quinn. I can’t wait to see them all playing together when Quinn is able to join in on their games a bit more!

We stopped by to say hi to Gigi and Gordie in their cottage for a bit after getting changed 🥰. After working up quite an appetite, we went to Bluebird to stave off the hanger.

We grabbed some very average paninis but enjoyed them with some not so very average views 🤩.

Quinn fell asleep in my carrier while we were ordering the paninis. After we finished them, we thought it was perfect timing to get another cone since then we wouldn’t have to share, hehehe.

We stopped into Whistle Stop and quietly ordered our sweet treats without waking her.

Unfortunately she woke up fairly soon after. We bee-lined it back to the house so she could eat a real dinner.

On July 4th we drove home first thing in the morning after chatting with our cousins over a quick breakfast. We did grab one last Coffee & Cream coffee to go!

We unpacked….well, as much as made sense given a move a couple days later. I did have a mini meltdown over the chaotic state of the house given our move. But then I pulled it together, knowing it would all be ok, and we got ourselves ready for a family BBQ in the afternoon on my Dad’s side of the fam!

Quinn’s current thing is blowing kisses, and I’m obsessed 🥰.

We had so much fun with our fam that afternoon. My cousins Al and Pam host a big BBQ every year, and this year it was even complete with a cotton candy station for the kids. They had a splash pad for the little ones and a big pool for this big kids.

Quinn chillin’ with her cousin, Kollyns, sharing some freeze dried apples 🥰.

My cousin, Al, is one of the best cooks I know, and every year he and my cousin Pam host a massive BBQ with epic ribs, hot dogs, pulled pork, etc. with all the sides you could want and imagine. He orders the meat from Red State BBQ; he has made a hobby of trying different cuts from all over the country, and decided Red State boasts the best! Can’t say I disagree!! He does have yet to try Franklin’s BBQ in Austin- that’s on his list, as it is still on ours.

Quinn was a BIG fan of the ribs.

Someone tell me while I thought it was a good idea to wear a white shirt to a BBQ with a toddler 😅. Rookie mistake.

This weekend was so good for the soul. It was special family time. Just watching the kids having a ball and enjoying great conversations over good food with the people we love- doesn’t get better than that 🙂.

Questions for you:

– What is your favorite holiday?

– What’s your go-to ice cream flavor?



Summer Snapshots! 📸

Hello hello!!! We returned last week from Chicago, and I’m super eager to share about our time there. But before that, I have a quick little catch up post between the last post and our weekend Windy City trip!

June 1st I made these cheesy broccoli fritters for Quinn. The girl loved these and gobbled them up. I enjoyed them too!

For breakfast, I pulled together hard boiled egg, watermelon, tempeh and a broccoli fritter for Quinn.

Around this time I got another stomach bug. This was my third since January. I have a friend at work who has a little one in the same daycare, and we get hit with the exact same ailments at the same time. She got this bug too, and we both agreed it was a weird one!! It was more mild than the others but lasted about a week. I’m so glad it eventually resolved though, and thankfully DJ never seemed to get it. Quinn seemed ok too. Just an odd bug!

I took this digestion shot and loaded the probiotics up that week. I enjoy these digestion shots and Kevitas.

June 3rd, I made some lentil patties with minced greens for a nutrient packed option to have on hand.

We had been planning on going to the lake that weekend, but with not feeling 100% we stayed close to home. We still felt a little cabin fever, so we ventured over to Gigi and Gordie’s to play with the water table they got for Quinn. (We mostly stayed outside, and I just kept my distance to be safe).

Little footprints 🥰.

Fun in the sun!! Thanks, Gigi, for this pic 💕.

June 4th I started turning the corner. After church and Quinn’s nap we explored a new park with Quinn and Moose.

These two 🥰.

We went to a nearby dog park after. It was an AWESOME dog park!! Moose had a great time, and it was fun to chat with the other owners. Quinn was gleefully distracted watching all the pups run around.

For dinner that evening, I put the lentil patties on pretzel buns with cheese, green beans and corn on the cob. We played the corn song in the background, of course.

We all sat around the open window for dinner with a view as the warm breeze filled the kitchen.

I gave her a little of the corn and green beans as we waited for the rest to cool. She got such a kick out of doing “cheers” with our cobs.

June 5th I started the morning by making a big batch of eggy french toast. When I make this, I mix banana and chia seeds into the batter, and it’s a sure way to get Quinn to eat a hearty breakfast!

The evening of June 6th Quinn had a later nap, so it was time to head to the park to get a little extra energy out!

June 7th I had a rare, successful walk with both Quinn and Moose. Quinn doesn’t usually tolerate the stroller for long, but this day she did for about an hour while I played her the “Ms. Rachel – songs for littles” playlist on Spotify. This playlist has been a game changer in the car too. She definitely tolerates our rides a bit longer when we play it over the speakers.

That evening I made an avocado orzo from the Feeding Littles cookbook for dinner. This is easily one of Quinn’s favorite meals I’ve made so far. I added some ground beef crumbles for a boost of protein and iron too. DJ and I loved the recipe as well. This cookbook has been a real hit with our family. The recipes are great for toddlers, generally easy and delicious.

June 8th I made a huge batch of a cheesy broccoli risotto I couldn’t get Quinn to touch. It’s always a mystery what she’ll like and what she won’t. DJ and I enjoyed it though, and we froze some too.

Post walk smiles.

That week, Quinn’s sleep was all over the place. At one point she fell asleep for a nap at 4 pm but then ended up sleeping through the night. She was teething pretty good & I think all the big developmental changes were wearing her out too.

June 9th I started the day with egg roll ups with a side of greek yogurt and beans. I’m pretty sure she only ate the beans. The girl loves beans more than anyone I know haha.

We spent the morning with Gigi and ordered First Watch for a little at home brunch! I had their power breakfast quinoa bowl- my goodness that was tasty.

That afternoon, I took Quinn to the library for the first time.

The kid area was adorable!!! This is definitely going to be a fun rainy day spot for us.

I didn’t get any pics of it, but they have a room for kids under 5. This room is pretty epic- it has a mini grocery store complete with a cart and plastic veggies/fruit/packaged goods and a cash register to play pretend. They have magnet boards, a dollhouse, tons of toys and an area of coloring. I grew up loving the library and spent countless hours there with my mom and Dad; I hope Quinn grows up with the same passion for reading too!!

Moose was worn out after a long day of being a Moose.

June 10th was a fun morning! Gigi watched Quinn while DJ and I had a date brunch out. Breakfast and lunch dates are much easier right now than dinner dates with Quinn being so dependent on us for bedtime.

We went to Mustard Seed Cafe. It was a perfect morning to sit out on their balcony.

I told DJ it was giving me California vibes with the perfect weather and eating outside. The green juice may have had something to do with that connection subconsciously too 😜.

The juice tasted exactly like you’d expect a purely vegetable green juice to taste (which I actually liked), but it came out luke warm, which I didn’t know how to feel about. I ended up getting a glass of ice and drinking it cold, which made it taste better in my opinion!

We both enjoyed their chicken and waffles! The chicken was great, waffles were pretty average, but can you actually have a bad waffle?

June 10th we grabbed Jimmy John’s and had another picnic in the park. It was a beautiful night!

JJs: freaky fast and freaky fresh!!! So good.

The evening of June 11th, we went to Country Maid for ice cream. We actually were starting the bedtime routine then realized she still had way too much energy, so we loaded the car with Moose and jetted off to get some local cones.

This place has a true old school feel and is a local favorite.

It started raining, and we had Moosey, so we sat in the car devouring our cones. This was Quinn’s first ice cream cone, and she loved it. We finally found a sweet indulgence this girl likes besides fruit.

I know the AAP recommends no added sugars under two, but this girl gets virtually no added sugar during the week & I think it’s important for us to model a healthy balance/relationship with food now. I felt including her in this fun family time was more important than the little bit of added sugar she got from this cone. I had a horrible relationship with food for a good portion of my life, and I want to do everything I can to make sure Quinn doesn’t have a moral attachment to food- (“good” or “bad”).

June 12th I made some peanut butter oat bars. They were tasty! I omitted the honey, but they didn’t need it with the banana. Quinn loved them thankfully! I put aside some to take to Chicago and also froze a few to have on a rushed morning.

Back to the library we go on this rainy day!

June 13th the weather was still quite dreary, so we went to Cafe O’Play for a little bit.

I love this video of her reaction when DJ walks in 🥰.

June 14th these two were attached at the hip.

We usually don’t let Quinn in Moose’s crate while he’s in there, but I turned around and the two were just happily chilling side by side. Their little friendship blossoming warms my heart so much!

June 14th to get out of the house, we went to Ledges park in the afternoon and ran around the open field with a beach ball.

Then between work it was time to get ready to pack for Chicago!

Thanks for stopping in ☺️.

Questions for you:

– What’s your favorite fast sandwich shop?

– What does the ideal rainy day look like for you?



Pierogis, Brunch & Some Beary Fun Family Time! 🐻

Hey hey hey!!! I almost said “I hope this post finds you well” 😂. Clearly I’ve been writing too many emails lately. I do genuinely hope it finds you well though 😄. I misunderstood the meaning of that greeting for the longest time- I used to think it basically meant “I hope this email doesn’t end up in your Spam folder”!

Let’s get into it shall we?! May 23rd we tried out a new grocery store, Marc’s. It’s in the same lot as the UPS store where we did a drop off. I liked this place! We picked up some fun new finds and then headed home. I’ve been doing more in person grocery trips now that Quinn is older and tolerates the cart well. It’s a great way to find new items and get out of the house (plus saves on the delivery fees).

That day was my sister’s (Halston’s) birthday. As soon as we got home we FaceTimed her. I thought it was so sweet how Quinn was playing games with her through the screen.

Some kitchen dancing after lunch!

For dinner that evening I made pierogies. Pierogies are reminiscent of childhood for me. I grew up in Parma, OH, one of the most populous Polish cities in the US, and pierogies are a national Polish dish. The crispy, buttery outside and fluffy potatoey inside is a little bite of heaven.

We tried the brand holy perogy! discovered at Marc’s, and they were excellent! I could have crisped them up more, definitely will next time.

These two are quickly becoming two peas in a pod.

Quinn will often throw a fit when Moose walks out of the room. One time he went upstairs, and when I shut the baby gate she acted like it was the end of the world. When I opened it back up she crawled up the stairs (with me right behind her) and had a giggle fit when she spotted Moose again. It’s also kind of fun because Quinn will chase Moose around now, and I can just let them wear each other out hah!

This girl is very busy and has very important tasks all day long!

For Quinn’s bday, we got her a mini car wagon. We don’t have much sidewalk space where we currently live, but it’s enough to take this little car out for a spin. “Beep beep!”

That day I made homemade chicken nuggets using this veggie caeser dressing. I really like this stuff, and the nuggets were a hit.

That evening it was beautiful outside, so we decided to do a little family picnic at a nearby park. We brought along Piada and found a nice grassy area. I used a Little Spoon meal to mix in some cavatelli for Quinn and gave her some of my salmon and veggies too. I opt for one shipment of Little Spoon every few weeks for when I’m in a pinch with getting daycare meals ready or am low on groceries. It’s nice because you can freeze their meals too.

Explorin’ the great outdoors! She was much more interested in running around than eating. Although I did have to make sure she didn’t eat grass. It’s all oddly similar the things I have to worry about with her and Moose 😅.

For breakfast, I made these incredibly easy spinach muffins.

They contain 1 banana, 2 eggs, 4 TBSP rolled oats and 1 handful of spinach. I blended it all with a hand blender and put in oven at 350 for about 15 mins. These were a hit! I got the recipe from jc_plates on Instagram. (I don’t actually have an Instagram I’m active on, but I have an account to find recipes and keep up with my trash reality TV off-screen happenings- priorities y’all, priorities!).

May 25th we hit up Giant Eagle, for groceries and for fun because that place is the best.

I grabbed some veggie chips to go along with a Kevita.

I also spotted these Utz Hot Honey chips that had our name all over them! Well, actually, I don’t like traditional potato chips (I know, who doesn’t like potato chips), but I LOVE hot honey.

We gave them a nibble, and they were pretty good! They were sweeter than hot I’d say, maybe won’t get again, but they were worth the try.

I was craving a salmon salad somethin’ fierce that day, so I ordered Piada for lunch. I am so stinkin’ excited I can get cheese in salads again!

Nursery fun!

That afternoon, we played with the edible veggie finger paints in the tub. Much easier cleanup this way and a blast!

After getting ready for bed that evening, we played in the nursery a bit more to get out the last burst of energy. She is soooo sweet with her animals. And she loves this flamingo from Gigi.

May 26th we went to Heartwood Coffee Roasters to get out of the house. I tried an oat milk au lait and sampled a breakfast cookie.

Quinnie was getting a bit restless, so I decided getting outside and enjoying the beautiful morning may be a good idea. I loaded her in the stroller, and we took off to stroll the nearby neighborhoods. She tolerated the stroller for a long time! I listened to a podcast and soaked up the adorably decorated lawns and homes.

That afternoon, we stopped into Krieger for just a couple fill-in groceries. They also have plant nursery we stopped in before heading into the store.

Mesmerized by all the flowers!!

For lunch, I made some acorn squash with a parmesan seasoning blend, lentils and asparagus.

That evening, we tried Motor City Pizza. We finished cooking it in the air fryer, which was a great decision. It was decent, but Jet’s is 1000% better!

May 27th we started the morning with a little stroll out in Quinn’s car around the neighborhood.

For breakfast, I served her some lentils, a hard boiled egg and a fruit and veggie pouch. Some days she’ll gobble everything, and some days she’ll barely touch it. I’m trying not to stress the low appetite days and just keep offering a variety of foods.

That afternoon, we met up with my brother, SIL, niece and nephews at the zoo!

Can you spot the giraffe in the background? How many parents do you think have made the comparison- “Look! It’s a giraffe, like Sophie?!”. Also random thought- but giraffe is very much one of those words that the more you think about it, the more unusual it becomes.

First time on the carousel!! I just adore the look on her face here. She was more uncertain once it got moving.

Her favorite animal was definitely the bear!

After the zoo, I was craving a McDonald’s ice cream cone like nobody’s business. DJ watched the kids (one with more fur) while I zoomed to the nearby Golden Arches and ate my cone in the car for a moment of bliss.

Also side note, but I’m actively trying to gain some weight since it dipped after a couple stomach bugs, and I haven’t been able to get it back up. I know I talked about how I had to gain quite a bit the first time around to get pregnant, so I’m trying to get it back up now so it won’t be an issue for baby #2 (God willing). I know I may “look healthy”, but my body just doesn’t operate optimally at this weight. I still haven’t got a cycle back, which I know breastfeeding can interfere with, but I’m doing all I can to make sure my body is functioning properly. I’ve decreased my cardio a lot, which is the most difficult but very necessary part in recovering a cycle. Running is so therapeutic for me, but it’s just not going to be a priority right now. Hope this isn’t TMI, but I just want to be transparent with all this because I wasn’t the first time around. I kind of wish I had been because I think this is a fairly common issue with runners.

Anyway! May 28th I met up with Clair at Burntwood Tavern for brunch. The couple weeks prior I had been in a real funk, just not feeling my usual self. DJ suggested I plan a girl’s brunch out as he knows it does good for my soul & usually turns things around for me.

And he was so right, this is exactly what I needed! I was so excited Clair was free. Both our husband’s held down the fort while we took our good ol’ time sipping mimosas and diving into our delicious food over uninterrupted conversation.

We talk nearly daily, but usually one of us have a kid interrupting us every few seconds, so getting through a long, real convo was both unusual and really nice!

I had the Nashville hot chicken sandwich- so so good. Clair got their waffles- I had a bite, and they were some of the best I’ve ever tried!

I also got the house salad with blue cheese. Oh I’ve missed blue cheese!

That evening we popped into Sissy and Poppy’s. Quinn sported her Orioles gear 🧡🖤. I definitely need to get her some Guardians gear too- this girl will be cheering on both teams!

May 29th, Memorial Day, I made some blueberry oat muffins from Feeding Littles for breakfast. Quinn gobbled these up.

I do want to take a moment to thank all who have served our country.

We went out on a walk on the Towpath to change things up.

It was a stunning and peaceful morning. When we came home, we got ready for the day, and I made a red, white and blue cheeseboard to take over to The Farm that afternoon ❤️🤍💙.

We spent the afternoon there- so fun and relaxing! I brought along a non-alcoholic Athletic beer to have with our eats because it sounded good on the holiday. Who am I anymore? I eat meat every day and tend to prefer beer over wine – I guess my Midwest roots are coming through 😂.

Mmmm mmmm mmmmm! Cannot beat Gordie’s steak and Gigi’s delicious sides.

Quinn loves running around in the backyard – there’s so much free space to roam.

“Moose, wait for me!”

Quinn really enjoyed playing with the wind chimes on the porch too.

Until she pulled one chime off 🥴.

May 30th I made these Kale and Acorn Squash roll ups from Little Spoon. (The recipe actually calls for pumpkin, but I couldn’t find it in the store). These were SO good! DJ and I may have enjoyed them more than Quinn, hah.

I also did some easy zucchini bites dipped in egg and flour for Quinn. She recently doesn’t like plain roasted zucchini, which used to be a favorite, so I tried to change up how I served them, which worked!

We did a swimming lesson that evening 🐠 .

May 31st, we went to an event where DJ golf’s. Although I don’t golf, it was fun to ride around in the carts and see the gorgeous course!

Also the food was so good- tons of different stations of pretty everything you can imagine! My favorite was the lobster roll 😋. We enjoyed our food with Renee and Chris who were also there ☺️.

Almost to current day!

Questions for you:

– Have you had pierogies?

– Do you like potato chips?

Best regards,


Mother’s Day, Chat GPT and Other Random Bits and Bites!

Good morning, all! How are you doing? I am determined to catch these posts up to real time here soon. Jumping right in! I’ve been trying to get creative with Quinn’s breakfasts since she’s not a big fan of oatmeal lately which used to be our go-to. I tried out some egg muffins- easy to make and easy to sneak some spinach in.

Her appetite was off that week- I don’t think she was feeling 100% and definitely teething :(. Given all this, it was hard to tell if she actually liked them.

We went on a walk that afternoon and touched the tree bark and leaves. She solely wanted to be held that day, so the outward facing carrier came to the rescue! She also got a big smile every time I did a little “zoooooom” burst with her.

^ Don’t mind the toothpaste on the strap 😆.

When we returned home we finished opening gifts. Here’s her sipping her own play mini Keurig set. How cute is this?

I’ve found lately she gets so much joy just exercising independence and mirroring the simple things I do around the house. She tries to use the broom and dust pan, mop, loads (and unloads) dishes and likes to stir the long wooden spoon with me when I cook. I try to involve her as much as possible in these seemingly mundane tasks, but she oozes pride as she she gets to try them.

A dairy update! We used the cornbread leftover from the party as the first step of the milk introduction as “baked” in dairy. I think we may be in the clear as I write this as she has been tolerating everything very well! Just a few more weeks of her trial, and then we’ll know if we’re really good to go after some testing.

I think I’m actually not tolerating the trial as well as Quinn. It’s funny, I have wanted to eat dairy again for so long and have taken full advantage the last few weeks, but my stomach is definitely off. I think I may continue to eat mostly dairy free in the day to day, but indulge in pizza, real ice cream and real cheese in smaller doses. Cause lemme tell ya, to state the obvious, real pizza is SO worth it!!!

May 9th we received the sweetest edible arrangement from Grammy and Grampy. They sent this to Quinn since she didn’t seem to love her cake, but the girl loves fruit! ❤️❤️❤️

^ Just a very special side note- the order number was majority of digits of my dad’s phone number in order. I know it could just be coincidence, but it felt like a little happy birthday nod from him to his granddaughter too ❤️. I know he would have been obsessed with his grandkids and an incredible Grandpa!

The rest of the week between work was just giving my girl lots of TLC since she wasn’t feeling great. I worked on Thank You notes as time allowed.

May 13th, we went to Bow Wow Beach to let Moose run around with the other pups. Quinn seemed absolutely gleeful watching the dogs play. There weren’t many pups there that day since it was a little more mild outside, but we can’t wait to go back on a weekend when the temps are high! Then this place will be poppin’.

Another weekend, another family walk 🙂.

May 14th was my second Mother’s Day. I couldn’t believe we were already rounding on second holidays. We started the day with a dance party in the kitchen (I’ll spare you my dance moves ;)) and then had breakfast. I treasure those moments.

We met up with Gigi, Gordie, Renee, Chris and our nephew, Ender, at Burntwood Tavern for their yummy Mother’s Day Lunch buffet!

^Anyone else’s buffet plates look like this? The plate is never big enough haha. I know some people can’t stand their food overlapping like this.

Quinnie really enjoyed the food too!

We are so blessed with the best moms- they are our role models, particularly for me as I navigate motherhood. Not sure what I’d do without them. Being able to celebrate Gigi in person this year was so fun. I LOVE that we live near them.

We also FaceTimed my mom that afternoon too ❤️.

I was craving an au lait that day, so we went through the Nervous Dog drive through after brunch.

Sweet gift from daycare 🥹.

And guesssssss what DJ surprised me with for Mother’s Day?!? A NESPRESSO! This was way above and beyond- but I’m certainly grateful! I’m tempted to make a comment about how this mom runs on caffeine, but that sounds way too much like something you’d find on a cheugy hand towel. I may be the poster child of basic and cheugy, but at least I know it?! 😄. That towel would be cute though….

Her walking really took off that week! It’s wild that as I write this only a month later, she’s pretty much running 😯.

We went on a walk in the afternoon then stopped by Sissy and Poppy’s in the afternoon ❤️.

With the weather getting nicer, I’ll pull Quinn up to an open window in our kitchen for some meals. She seems to enjoy the view! I ideally would like to eat all our meals together, but her eating time is often when I can start food prep for her next meal and cleanup the kitchen a bit. I’m trying to aim for at least one meal together a day for now!

May 15th I made these lentil cakes . I used regular mushrooms instead of crimini though.

I hung up her adorable dresses to dry from her birthday and had an emotional moment seeing how big they are compared to her little newborn clothes!

My little helper 🙂.

After unloading the dishes on May 16th, we went to downtown Cuyahoga Falls to enjoy the glorious morning.

I stopped by Asterik coffee again for an oat milk au lait 😋.

The art installation below features Kayaks. How unique is that?!

We changed into some cooler clothes as the weather warmed and then headed to Krieger to grab some groceries in the afternoon. Love this store!!

May 17th we started the day at Nervous Dog.

Then we came back and played in the nursery. All those new toys and she just wanted to play with these pens- hah!

She’s really into putting things in containers and taking them out right now. It’s fascinating to watch as she creates little “tasks” for herself.

While DJ was watching her while I got ready for bed, he took this video- one of my favorites!

He was just putting things on his head and shaking them off, and she thought it was the funniest thing in the world 😄.

For weeks, I had been craving sesame flavor for some reason. Such a random, specific craving! While at Krieger, I grabbed this Scallion and Ginger cooking sauce and have been using it in our dishes- it’s great, and definitely satisfied that craving! That evening I made a shrimp and rice dish and used this as the marinade.

May 19th Quinn woke up early with me before work. I always pray she’ll stay asleep while I get ready since she has such a long day at daycare, but if she does wake up I get her ready for the day. This day was yellow day at daycare, so I put her in one of her new yellow dresses 🥰 💛.

After work, I put together a small graduation basket for my sister-in-law. I can’t believe she’s going to college 🥺.

She and my other younger sister-in-law were so little when DJ and I started dating, so see them growing so fast puts things in perspective big time. Anyway, I wanted to share this just because it was fun and easy to put together- I was able to find everything at CVS too! I included some snacks, command strips, a hydration pack, lotion, face mask, pens, a journal, nail polish & poo-pourri (a last minute grab at the check out 😆).

For lunch on May 20th, I made Quinnie a lunch of sardines, beef crumbles, kiwi and green beans.

While she ate lunch, I made some zucchini fritters to have on hand. Making anything in fritter/patty form tends to be a hit lately.

That evening we went to The Farm (Gigi and Grandpa’s place) where Quinn ran around in the green grass I think for the first time? The weather was finally starting to turn! She beamed ear to ear as she frolicked around.

It’s so true that one of the greatest joys of parenting is experiencing the world through your kid’s eyes. Quinn definitely has made me appreciate the beauty in our every day.

That evening Amy was in town which is always a blast! While the whole fam was around the dinner table we experimented with ChatGPT. It was mind blowing… 🤯. (If you don’t know, ChatGPT is a type of AI that can write for you/create stories/etc.). I think it’s simultaneously amazing and TERRIFYING.

Anyway, we enjoyed some delicious eats followed by a homemade angel cake by our Aunt Jean! Yum!! 😋

On the way home, we played the song Bingo, and Quinn caught on to the clapping with the letters! So fun!

May 21st I started the day with an easy, go-to breakfast of Quinn’s. Beans are one of her favorite foods and usually a sure thing she’ll eat. That morning, I made her a plate of hard boiled egg with beans and raspberries.

And I started my day with a delicious Nespresso after finally getting it set up! 😋

I use the Odacio pod. Once the foamy deliciousness is brewed, I add a little bit of oat creamer with honey drizzled on top. Mmmm!

That afternoon, we had my sister-in-law’s graduation party. For the party, she had a Swenson’s food truck rented, which is a BIG deal around here! Us Ohioans LOVE our Swenson’s!!

It was such a fun time. Quinn had a blast running around the park. Here’s a sweet pic of her and her Uncle Chris!

When we got home I panicked because Quinn’s cheeks were so red, and I thought she had a bad sunburn. We weren’t outside super long, so I didn’t put sunscreen on her, but I was feeling terrible seeing her beet red face. I lathered her in aloe and breast milk (a cure all in my mind haha) hoping to mitigate the burn. Well, we gave her some time indoors and the redness totally went away. Turns out she was just a bit toasty, not burned, and I spiraled over nothing 😄😬.

Welll this is plenty long I’d say!! Slowly but surely we’re catching back up!

Questions for you:

– Thoughts on ChatGPT/artificial intelligence?

– How do you take your coffee?



Nomz, Mustard Seed & Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop!

Good morning! Man oh man how did I get so far behind again? I have oh so much to share and record from the last few months!

April 23rd after getting back from vacation we went to brunch at Nomz at Northside District in Akron. We’ve been to this vegan friendly joint once before and loved it!

They have an expansive menu for everyone with tons of dairy-free options and alternatives. I was craving an indulgent cheesy, breakfast sandwich, and they had my fix! This toasted bagel included f’acon (fake bacon), vegan Just egg, a homemade vegan green onion cream cheese (I need the recipe!) and a vegan cheddar cheese. Gosh this was so good.

I was particularly hungry that morning since we went later in the day after church, so I also got a Masala salad with romaine, spinach, cumin carrots, cucumber salata, mint, lentils and naan croutons with masala dressing.

While waiting on our food, we walked around the interior shops where local vendors display their creative goods.