Family Brunchin’ & A Mini “Vacation”!

Good morning, everyone! I hope you all are having a nice week. I have a little time before my shift starts to chip away at this post.

January 28th we started the weekend with some cuddles with Moose ❤️.

That morning I switched out my usual bowl of oatmeal for a little egg burrito. Something about the weekends make me crave egg for breakfast.

That afternoon we went to my nephew, Jack’s, final basketball game of the season. They won and all received trophies at the end. It was so sweet! Here’s a a pic after a change and feed.

That evening I was able to soak up cuddles with Moose while Quinn climbed all over the baby-proofed living room. She is so much more steady now pulling herself up and cruising than she was even a couple weeks ago. I don’t feel like I have to hover right next to her every time she pulls herself up on something in fear of a fall forward or back.

While Quinn explored the daring living room landscape, DJ and I pulled up home designs on the TV as we dreamed about features we would love to have in a future home if/when we build on the land (we’re talking a long time from now). It’s fun to dream and look at different styles though! I know a lot can change between now and then. Right now I’m really into the “barndominum” look. Said every Midwest girl ever hahah.

January 29th we met with my Dad’s side of the family for a big family brunch at my cousin’s! It was really nice having my sister, Andi, in town from Colorado. We missed Kevin and Halston (who just bought a house in Charlotte, NC!) .

I love this little bib Quinn got from her Aunt Laura and Uncle Ricky!

Andi came by in the afternoon- it was great to catch up!

January 30th I started the day with some avocado toast on leftover dairy/soy free sourdough. Very yummy!

That day was so much fun. I love my full days with Quinn at home. We started out with some morning giggles in her new nugget fort. This nugget was a recommendation from a recent friend, and it’s been so much fun!!

That afternoon, I made a wrap with bacon, smoked Gouda cheese (dairy free), power greens, red onion and mustard on a mustard wrap. I’m actually not usually a big bacon fan even after eating meat again, but it’s weirdly sounded kinda good lately.

That afternoon we went to Target for some fill-in groceries, and I whipped out my cart cover for the first time. She had a ball strolling the aisles. This may be our new past time. Wow, writing this post I realize I am quickly turning into one giant cliché, if I wasn’t one already 😂. But if loving going to Target for fun is wrong, I certainly do not want to be right!

I picked up this vegan jerky just out of curiosity- but it wasn’t all that great. It was fine. Give me the real stuff 😜. Sometimes I find myself talking like this and I’m like, “who am I?!”.

That evening I made us some bowls of veggies, brown rice and grilled chicken strips with the primal kitchen garlic Alfredo mixed in.

January 31st, I took Quinn to our go-to coffee shop, Nervous Dog. I quietly read her a few books and played with some toys and puppets.

That afternoon our peaceful morning was unfortunately a bit disrupted. The alarms in the house went off unprompted for the THIRD time, so I called the fire department to make sure there wasn’t anything deleterious truly going on like a carbon monoxide leak.

We waited for the fire department in my car. I asked the NP about having Quinn’s hearing tested, but she advised we just watch and wait (see how language develops and how she responds to sounds, etc.). At this time, we have no reason to be concerned but will have a lower threshold for referrals if any concerns arise. I’m happy with that plan!

Anyway, back to the pain in the butt alarms – no carbon monoxide or anything else was detected thankfully. Just one of the detectors was bad and setting off the rest randomly. Sort of an anticlimactic story, but I am glad it is!

February 1st, we whipped out the walker for Quinn. She is obsessed with this thing. I think it gives her a sense of freedom and independence she’s longing for. I always joke she has this attitude of “this baby stuff is for the birds!”.

I had to work February 2nd, but Marie sent us some sweet photos of Moose from his daycare! In the first he’s hanging with his pal, Captain. Some of his best buds are the littlest dogs. Moose definitely does not know his size, hah!

February 3rd, I made Jennifer Aniston’s famous salad per the recommendation of my friend, Melissa. Oh my gosh, this is so good. I made mine with violife vegan feta, but you really couldn’t tell the difference!

I served it with slightly over air-fried salmon (whoops). But even DJ enjoyed the salad, and I wouldn’t say feta is usually his cup of tea/block of cheese.

The morning of February 4th I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Or as DJ and I jokingly say “the wrong side of the bread”. I was in a bad mood for no good reason. And usually when that’s the case, the reason is hormones. I felt the need to just be entirely alone for a bit. I also felt so guilty wanting that but after talking to Clair and my mom that day, they assured me that is very normal. Quinn had a bottle she didn’t drink at daycare that I didn’t want to have to dump, so I asked DJ if he could feed her while I pumped and ran a few errands. He happily agreed. I ran to the UPS store and then stopped in CVS. While at CVS, I had a craving for something salty and carbonated (corroborating my hormone theory all the more). I grabbed some beef jerky (the REAL stuff) & a chemically-laden diet Dr. Pepper. I then whipped into a nearby empty parking lot to pump while listening to a podcast, taking myself on a little mini vacation at a driving range complete with palm trees 😄.

After pumping, I headed back home and was in much better spirits. Nothing a deserted tropical oasis, a DDP and a self-prescribed time out can’t fix 😄.

That afternoon we went on a beautiful family walk outside.

For dinner I made us Praeger All American Impossible Burgers with smoked Gouda vegan cheese in lettuce wraps. DJ actually loves this brand Impossible burger, as do I.

February 5th, we had such a fun morning as a family! And this time I woke up in a much better mood. I had been wanting to take DJ to the Burntwood Tavern in Cuyahoga Falls ever since I went with Rachel. It’s so cozily situated on the water and not far from us.

We attached the fast chair for Quinn and played puppets with her while waiting for our food. She was a happy camper being out and about!

Quinn is wearing her overalls from her Great Grandpa 🥰.

During their brunch, they have a Bloody Mary bar. I couldn’t remember the last time I had one, but it looked delicious, so I made one- extra extra spicy 🌶️ .

DJ opted for one of their mimosas.

I got the same thing I always get – an omelette, but the potatoes are where it’s at 😛. DJ got their Nashville hot chicken sandwich- yum!!!

We came back that afternoon and played with Quinn, crawling alll over the place, before her next nap. ❤️

Quinn still snoozes a lot in my carrier for naps, so lately I’ve been watching Married At First Sight while strolling on the treadmill. This is a good season so far! I love this show so much. I think it’s one of the best kept secrets in reality TV land. I also listen to the Love at First Sight podcast after every episode – Aysha and Jason are so much fun to listen to and are hilarious. Sometimes I look forward more to listening to the podcast than watching the actual episode.

The rest of the day, I chipped away at a recipe from the Half Baked Harvest cookbook- these basil beef bowls. Oh my, were they delicious!!!

February 6th was Quinn’s 9 month appt! Can you believe how quickly the time has gone? I surely cannot. All around a great report for this one ☺️.

I didn’t take a pic, but for dinner that night I made her pasta with a homemade tomato, power greens and oregano sauce. This girl gobbled it down!!

The next day I made her avocado, sardine and quinoa balls. She loves sardines, I just have to give them to her on bath days 😆.

After work on February 7th we went on our usual outdoor walk.

February 8th, we spent a fun day with Gigi. We went on a gorgeously crisp walk outside with Quinn taking in all the sites. I’m excited to be able to start jogging with her in this jogging stroller as the weather turns!

That afternoon we ordered Aladdin’s. I was craving their lamb salad and ordered a side of the baba ghanoush with pita. I added my own vegan feta for the full experience. Never disappoints! If you ever find yourself here, you must order a side of their hot sauce 😋.

That evening we went to Senior Night at my little sister-in-law’s basketball game ❤️. It was so special and emotional! 🥹. Really stinking proud of her! She’s going to where DJ and I went to college to play basketball, so we’re all really looking forward to that!

After work on February 9th, we went on our usual walk greeted by more blue skies! It certainly has been a mild winter.

For dinner for Quinn, I made sweet potato wedges, brussels sprouts, and quinoa mixed with a little bit of hummus.

I also prepped some nuts to introduce in her oatmeal to help introduce more allergens. She’s done well so far!

Also some really exciting news!! Quinn and I are able to have soy again! We trialed her for about two weeks where I had a little soy daily and then ultimately fed her tofu for a couple days – and no issues!!!! This is huge! Next step is dairy – but I’ll take what I can get for now 🙂 I’m also relieved to know she won’t go through her life having to avoid soy and that she truly did grow out of it.

Alrighty enough of my rambles!!

Questions for you:

– What would be the hardest food for you to give up?

– Any podcasts you’re enjoying?



19 thoughts on “Family Brunchin’ & A Mini “Vacation”!

  1. So happy to see you all in this space! How quickly Quinn & Moose have grown up! Time is really marching on!

    May I please just say never to hesitate to take alone time for yourself? You are constantly pouring love & care into your family, your patients … take it as time to recuperate & recreate!

    P/S I have tried vegan jerky (a different brand) – it tasted mostly like salt & seasoning. It wasn’t my favourite at all.

    1. Hi Ju-Lyn!!! So good to hear from you too, friend ☺️. I cannot believe how fast time is going!!

      Aw thank you so much. That really does help to hear from another mom!

      I agree! That’s how I felt about this one too.

      Hope you are doing so well!! ☺️

      1. We are all good! making our way back into life in the new normal.

        Time does fly and continues to move stridently on. We just do the best we can and enjoy each day as it comes!

  2. Your posts are the best! Quinnie is so adorable and my goodness she is growing up fast! Glad she can eat soy!
    I saw that Impossible Beef vegan jerky in a gas station and sent my guys a photo to see if they had ever tried it. No response.
    Yogurt would be tough for me to give up- you can do so many tasty things with it.
    And you know what podcast I enjoy!
    Love you!

    1. Your comments always make me smile so much! Thank you tons. She is growing soo fast- I’ve been extra emotional about it lately, I think because we’re getting closer to her one years birthday.

      Haha ! The lack of response speaks volumes I think 😄

      I so agree!!! I eat yogurt (even if it’s dairy free) almost daily!

      Oh you know I enjoy that podcast very much too! I get really excited whenever I see a new episode out 😊.

      Love you too!!

  3. Hardest food to give up–chocolate. Hands down. Though I could do without Cadbury chocolate…

    My husband and I have an ongoing ‘date night’ every Wednesday where we listen to the Armchair Expert subseries podcasts Armchair Anonymous and Flightless Bird. It gives us something to look forward to and makes us intentionally spend time together not sat in front of a television. 🙂

    1. I’m with ya. I cannot imagine a life without chocolate!!

      Ok that is such a cute and great idea!!! I’ve been loving the Armchair Anonymous series too- its really the only series I listen to of ACE, but they are so fun!!

  4. Oh this post has me smiling so big! I’m just going to sound like I’m rambling, but I feel I have so much to say. Quinn always looks so stylish and adorable!! I love her beanies and precious smile. Kudos to you for going out to brunch and meals with her! Remember when it felt nervewracking to leave the house? You are stellar!!! Giving me so much motivation to take Ansley out again soon. Brunch is so fun, and I think our girls will learn to love it and Target. 😉

    You look lovely in all of the photos too! Such a beautiful mama.

    Moose cracks me up! He is so handsome, and he does not realize how big he is. A giant cuddly baby.

    Ok so you told me you haven’t been creative with Quinnie’s food, but you truly are knocking it out of the park! I want to make these quinoa, sardine, and avocado bites. Ans loves sardines and avocado big time, so I think these would be a hit. YAY FOR NO MORE SOY ALLERGY! Next up, dairy!

    Also, while I feel the same as you if I need some alone time, don’t ever apologize for it! We sometimes need to recharge to be our best selves. I chose to accept a speaking opportunity in Tyler, TX in March even though it will mean missing Ans for a day. I will leave extremely early that morning and will arrive home around midnight. I’ll pump all day, but I want to challenge myself. Seeing you all travel too seriously gave me the courage to accept the offer.

    Have an awesome day!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post!! 🙂 and I loved reading your comment too! Yesss haha no kidding, we have come such a long way since being nervous to leave the house! Every time we do something it makes me want to plan something else – what I love is it really is creating memories ❤️. It’s so funny you say I’m motivating you because you’re the one that motivates me to get out there! Lol!

      Aw thank you, Kori 🥰

      You are spot on about Moose! A giant cuddle baby for sure!

      Oh I bet she’d like them!!! I found hand blending them very lightly helped them stick together better too if the quinoa is too crumbly.

      Thank you SO much for sharing this. And how exciting, Kori! I’m really proud of and excited for you with saying yes to that opportunity! The NP we go to said how important it is for our kids to see us taking care of ourselves- and doing speaking engagements and saying yes to opportunities like that are def in that category I’d say! Ansley gets to see you do something a little out of your comfort zone, such a great way to role model that courage for her! You’ll have to let me know how it all goes 😊.

  5. Oh I can’t believe you had to endure a 3rd alarm! But good you got it all checked out. I must and will try making that Jennifer Aniston salad, yum. And as usual every Quinn photo is just precious, love. Your mini parking lot vacation is the best, good for you. Love you all. Gigi

  6. As always, your food looks delicious and Quinn looks perfect! I’m impressed you made and ate the Jennifer Aniston salad during the winter–I always feel like during cold weather, I can only eat warm salads or, at most, a small cold side salad with a soup or warm sandwich.

    I was thrilled to see DDP make an appearance; I am and always will be a huge fan of that soda and, just like you, I feel like I’m drinking what is essentially poison (my grandpa calls it gasoline) but I still really love it. There’s nothing quite as good as a Diet Dr Pepper on ice in the car while listening to a good podcast! I haven’t listened to the Love at First Sight one, but I do listen to way too many. I think podcasts are replacing TV as my guilty pleasure; it’s nice to be able to listen to something while still getting chores done.

    1. Thanks so much, Taylor!!! That means a lot you think so 😊. I totally hear ya on that- I think maybe because we’re having a way more mild winter I’ve been up for it, or maybe just because I’m sweating all the time chasing/carrying my sweet girl around hehe!

      YESS. I love that you’re a DDP fan too. Oh gosh now I’m craving one again hahah! Cracking up at your grandpa calling it gasoline 😂. Sometimes you just need a little gasoline!!

      I so agree about podcasts!!

      Hope you have a great rest of the week 😊

  7. I know I say this all the time, but I love your blog style! It literally feels like we are just having a good ol girls chat.

    Quinn looks so cute in all of the pics! She’s growing so much! I love that you still get outside even during the cold months, I was listening to a couple podcasts on the importance of getting outdoors in all seasons (with the appropriate attire of course)

    Also, it is so crazy how much we have in common! I’m also from NE Ohio, vegetarian, OBSESSED with married at first sight to name a few lol sooo basically In my mind we are sisters lol

    Hope you are having a great week!

    1. Oh my gosh your comment just made my morning!! Thanks, Diam ☺️.

      Yessss getting outside has made ALL the difference. Whenever I start getting in a mood, I know a little fresh air will make all the difference!

      Ah I love the similarities! Full disclosure, I actually am eating meat again after >10 years not eating meat- I started craving it fiercely in pregnancy and still am breastfeeding 😮. It’ll be interesting to see if I want it when I’m done BF! I am so excited you watch MAFS too!!!! If you haven’t listened to the love at first sight podcast, it’s soooo good. I laugh out loud at the recaps. The hosts have excellent takes and banter. Highly recommend! I enjoy the podcast more than the episodes sometimes 😆.

      Here’s the link to the podcast if you’re interested! :

      Thank you for stopping in, hope you’re having a wonderful week too 🙂

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