Swenson’s, Sandbox Fun & A Health Update!

Hey hey!! Time to get hustling on these summer posts considering we are already moving into Fall! Woohooo!

August 13th we visited my Grandma Violet at her new place. I always love hanging and chatting with her, and she just beams when Quinn is around. We ordered Swensons which never disappoints (although we did have to relocate where we were eating outside due to some bees finding Swensons irresistible as well).

Here’s Quinn trying a milkshake for the first time! She signed more … and then more.. and then more haha.

We sat out front while we all enjoyed each other’s company, and Quinn had fun looking at the different garden creatures planted around the area.

The rest of the day was chill and just the standard getting ready for the week .

August 14th Quinn started the day playing with a Minnie Mouse kit my mom brought along that was mine when I was little!

My mom and Pete picked up sand and we spent some time unloading the sand into the sandbox.

She is a BIG fan!! The sandbox has been a huge hit- she plays independently really well in it too.

My mom went to the Netherlands a few months ago and made Quinn a book from her pictures there. It reads just like a children’s book, and I told her she could have it published! Quinn loves it!

Sadly the fam all had to leave by that evening, but it was certainly a fun and wonderful weekend together.

The rest of the week was one of my favorites in a while. Our census was low at work, so I wasn’t scheduled that week. I wanted to take full advantage and soak up all my time with Quinn since I’d been sick for the couple of weeks prior to that.

August 15th I made Quinn some mini quesadilla bites with carrots and beans. She didn’t touch the quesadilla 🤷🏼‍♀️.

That day, Quinn was going through our card game drawer, and I thought she might enjoy the What Do You Meme pictures. I tried to make it educational and left out the more questionable photos 😅.

That afternoon we went to the library, said hi to the library turtle and had so much fun in their little playroom.

They rotate themes throughout the year, and it was currently a lemonade theme!

Although a little delayed, my gift for DJ for our anniversary finally came in! The theme for the eighth year is “bronze”, so I got a bronze soundwave art of our wedding song (Lady A’s Can’t Take My Eyes Off You). We think we know where we want to hang it in the house, but haven’t just yet. With everything going on we have made little progress on house stuff/decor, but we did finally order a couch yesterday!!

August 16th we woke up all smiles with our smoothie! I make this smoothie for Quinn about once a day either for breakfast or as a bedtime snack with yogurt, avocado, banana and spinach. It guarantees healthy fats, calcium and greens if she eats nothing else that day.

“Here Moose! You should try it!”.

Sandbox time!

For dinner that evening I made pizza crescent roll ups. They were a hit all around!! DJ and I dipped ours in extra pizza sauce 😋.

August 17th we started the day with a brisk walk around the neighborhood and a breakfast cookie. I am so thrilled she now tolerates the stroller so well!! It only took over a year lol. These morning walks really set the tone for the day.

Around 9 AM, we went to get a proper breakfast at Flury’s Cafe. I’d been wanting to try this place out for a long time!

I brought along a coloring book which was a hit.

We beat the rush & enjoyed the cozy establishment with the few other patrons sipping on their morning cups of Joe.

The coffee was superb!

We ordered an omelette, which was good, but the star of the show was this croissant French toast. This was light, airy and full of sweet, delicious flavor!

Quinn only wanted to eat the toast 🤷🏼‍♀️.

That afternoon, we went to Cafe O’Play after Quinn’s nap. She could have spent the whole day there! Oh, also I want to share this video that I think really captures Quinn’s goofy side. I just adore seeing her personality coming to life!

That evening I made a parmesan crusted cod for dinner with asparagus and right rice 😋.

August 18th we started the day with matching ponies to their corresponding color of felt. My mom brought these ponies with her, which were mine when I was little!

We stopped by the store and I found this sponge/paintbrush pack that I thought may be fun to play with. We took the pack on the porch and Quinn pretended to paint the railings hehe. I put a little bowl of water she could dip the brushes into.

I really try to limit our screen time, but the last couple weeks I’ve put on Ms. Rachel for a few mins while I get dinner together. Having family dinners has been so special and a highlight of my day. I say the 20/25ish mins (ok, sometimes a touch more or less depending on the meal 😝) of screen time in order to have a meal together is worth it! Also, Quinn has caught onto praying before meals and will attempt an ‘Amen’ as soon as we bow our heads 🥰.

The morning of August 19th Quinn soaked up the Moose cuddles!

We went to the park on that gorgeous day!!

And I’m almost only a month behind 😅.

I also wanted to share a little health update. I discovered talking about this openly with people close to me, and I guess writing it out on here makes it all feel less overwhelming for some reason.

First, I had my EGD and everything (including the biopsies) was fairly normal with some non specific inflammation present. If I did have an ulcer, it has healed very well and they actually said my esophagus did not look like someone who had long-standing reflux which is excellent news. They even said I could have had a horrible bug for those couple of weeks and not an ulcer, so who knows! Either way, I’ve been symptom free and back to having a little coffee each day with zero issues. I probably will drink cabbage juice at least annually for a couple weeks as a sort of stomach cleanup, because wow, do I feel like that stuff worked!

Second update on the fertility/weight gain/breastfeeding situation: I’m up about 5-7 lbs. and emotionally it’s been a little harder to gain the weight than expected? I still have about 10 lbs. to go. (My benchmark is the weight I was when I was able to ovulate). Some well-meaning friends have said, “oh I’m sure you’re just fine” since I *look* healthy ….but I know my body, and I do have to have more meat on my bones than some to have a cycle. With a history of an eating disorder, I really have to battle some old patterns/thoughts/ways of thinking from returning. This all took me by surprise since I feel like I’ve been “healed” for a while now, but it’s a good reminder that I have to be ready to combat all that. Getting my fertility back is WAY more important. Also, we are finally weaning successfully & down to only a couple times a day/bedtime! I think this has helped me gain a little weight back too. The overnight weaning was the hardest so far, but she’s sleeping better than ever, and it only took a few nights of saying “no” for her to get the picture. I know some women have to wean completely to ovulate again (which I think I may be in that camp), and I am really trying to make sure my body can function properly when that time comes. Even though my BMI/weight is in a healthy range, my body fat % is low (14-15% range). I have stopped all forms of working out except light walking and consume way more food than usual with a focus on upping my carbs. It is tough going through this a second time, but at least I know what I have to do! Overall, I’m trying hard to have a heart of gratitude – I am so blessed to have my Quinnie, and I just need to trust God & let go of control/expectations when it comes to wanting a second baby.

Anyway, thanks for letting me stream of conscious a bit, I know this is all over the place lol.

Questions for you:

– Have you guys heard of the Roman Empire Trend? Basically, people are asking the guys in their life how often they think about the Roman Empire, and most men think about it quite frequently. I asked DJ, and he said a few times a month!

– As summer comes to an end, what was the highlight of yours?

– Are you going to watch the Golden Bachelor? I cannot wait! This is the most excited I’ve been for a season in a LONG time!



A Beautiful Cleveland Wedding Weekend!

Good morning, friends! Hope you all are doing well. I am very eager to share this post. One of my lifelong best friends, Melissa, is married! And this post is all about that wonderful wedding weekend! I’m looking forward to reliving it all as I write and reminisce 😊.

On August 9th my sister Halston arrived in town! Even though she was bogged down with work during the weekdays, we enjoyed meals together in the evenings. The first night she arrived, we had burgers on the air fryer with a mix of regular and Japanese sweet potato fries. We also enjoyed a big salad with goat cheese, dried cherries, balsamic beet strips and a homemade citrus lemon dressing.

Since it’s tough for Quinn to really eat a salad, I gave her some mixed veggies with her burger and fries!

Play time!

My mom and Pete arrived in town August 10th right in time for my botched dinner lol. I was trying to make us pork tenderloin, but I accidentally got a loin because I didn’t know there was a difference. Ya live, ya learn. I cooked it all wrong, and it was dry as all-getout. Everyone was incredibly sweet and said it tasted great (but we allllll know the truth 😜). I served it with some potatoes from The Little Potato company which were actually amazing, and we had some old reliable bag salads (well, not old, you know what I mean 😝).

Just a girl and her sloth and her Grammy!

The morning of August 11th I made Quinn some egg waffles! These were easy peasy and tasty, I even had one myself.

I made a nail appt since I was in the wedding. The fam hung with Quinnie, and Grampy put her sandbox together while I was out of the house!

That evening was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. The ceremony was at the stunning Severance Hall in Cleveland where the Cleveland Orchestra plays.

After getting the rehearsal down pat, we had dinner at Michaelangelo’s in Little Italy.

It was such a fun evening, and I loved getting to catch up with Melissa’s family and getting to know Michael’s (the groom’s) side of the family better!

I was basically coerced into giving an impromptu speech by one of Michael’s cousins, but I think it went pretty well! That was entirely out of character; I do not publicly speak on the fly in any circumstance, except, I guess, in this circumstance 😆.

The food was great, but I have to share specifically how yummy these cannolis were! I don’t even like cannolis usually, but these were top notch. And they also served various flavors of gelato- it was phenomenal.

I got back pretty late but still got a great sleep before heading back to Cleveland for the wedding day!!

All the bridesmaids, moms and Grandmas got ready together at the hotel beforehand.

Melissa gifted us these beautiful robes with personalized hangers!

And this breakfast 😍. Everything was really good. I particularly loved the passionfruit parfait and croissant with the jam compote.

After all of us got ready, Melissa put on her dress and did the “grand reveal” of her dress. She (and the dress) were GORGEOUS.

Melissa put so much thought into the details of her big day, and she spoiled us as bridesmaids with the sweetest hand written note, a fun tote and a beautiful silver bracelet! We ate lunch chatted, laughed- it was just a perfect start to the day.

After Melissa and Michael did their first look, we went around Cleveland getting pics all over the city! They chose some spectacular settings for the pics like North Coast Harbor and the Cleveland Library (not your average library 😍). I can’t wait to see the pics!

After the photo shoot. we went to Severance Hall. I pumped before going down the aisle. I actually pumped in an old telephone booth! I guess I can check that off the ol’ 2023 Bingo Card 🤪.

And a quick selfie, of course, with the glowing, beautiful bride!!!

The ceremony went off without a hitch, except, obviously, Michael and Melissa getting hitched! 😜.

After, I got to see the rest of my family! We grabbed a few pics outside.

The reception was at the Cleveland Museum of Art. You guys. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a magnificent indoor reception setting! the pictures don’t even fully capture how striking it was in person.

We enjoyed some delicious drinks and appetizers during cocktail hour. I particularly remember we couldn’t stop talking about how delicious the cheese was 😄.

Speaking of cheese- cheesin’ here with my Sis!

I didn’t think it was possible, but as the sun started setting the place just got even more jaw-droppingly gorgeous with the warm, romantic uplighting on the tall stone walls.

We all enjoyed the speeches and dances with misty eyes. I particularly loved Michael and Melissa’s choreographed first dance to Love Story.

The dinner served was tremendous. The steak was cooked to perfection.

And the dessert bar had all kinds of tasty treats. Naturally, I had to sample a little bit of everything!

There was even a ring-lit professional photo booth for pics! We had fun with it!

Melissa and I are friends because our moms met while walking strollers when we were about 6 months old. They are still good friends today, and obviously so are Melissa and I! I was so honored to be a part of her day.

This was the longest I had ever been away from Quinn for a period of time. It helped knowing she was in such great hands with Gigi watching her. When she sent a pic of Quinn sleeping for the night I was so relieved since Quinn had never gone to sleep without us for the nighttime.

It was such a fun, memorable evening, and I just adore Melissa and Michael as a couple. I am SO happy for them.

The next day, we had a lazy morning and ordered Blue Door Bakery for breakfast. This place is the besttt.

The highlights included the jalapeño chicken and waffle, the twice baked almond croissant and cinnamon roll! Oh, also the cranberry scone was the best scone I’ve ever had!!! It was actually moist-I’d never actually had a moist scone, and it was delicious!!

This seems like a good spot to wrap for now 😊.

Questions for you:

– Any memorable wedding stories to share?

– How was your Labor Day weekend?



Big Ol’ Catchup Post 2!

Hello all!

Continuing our catch-up! This post discusses a medical issue I’ve been dealing with, so if that’s not your thing, I’d maybe skip this one hah.

Anyway, July 21st for dinner we had a sun-dried tomato salmon with veggies and RightRice. We are definitely on a RightRice kick!

July 22nd I started the day by making Quinn some egg muffins. I always sneakily hand-blend greens into these muffins, which gives them the green color.

That day was Melissa’s bachelorette party!

In the evening, we went for a family walk on a gorgeous evening.

The morning of July 23rd we hosted a brunch with DJ’s Dad side of the fam!! We ordered First Watch.

I have to share about this sweet house warming gift! This is a Nora Fleming tray that comes with “minis” that you can swap out depending on the occasion. If you look closely you will see a house on this one! How cute is that? I think these platters would make an amazing gift for holidays too. You can continue to buy new minis depending on the occasion. They gifted us so many fun ones! It makes me want to host as much as possible just to use them 😄.

They also brought some celebratory champagne and orange juice along 🥂. It was wonderful spending that time together.

July 24th, I had to work, but we spent a lot of time in the yard after. It’s so calming spending the evenings outdoors.

July 25th we started the day with the ponies!

Sometimes when I’m food prepping or need to get something done, my mom will FaceTime Quinnie and read her books, sing to her, etc. They both love it! …Although often Quinn decides to pick up the iPad and take my mom on a tour of the house while my mom fights motion sickness 😅.

I grabbed these vegan pretzels at the store and they are so tasty!!

July 26th was such a great day! My friend Clair came over with her kids. We ate some pizza, did the slip n’ slide outside with them, and just played lots with the kids. They seemed to have a ton of fun! I made me and Clair some fun NA spritzers with this Sound sparkling water and added some fruit.

The water had a very subtle flavor, but was still fun to sip!


They had a BALL playing in the playhouse downstairs.

Love this pic ❤️.

That evening some severe storms rolled in. We have had a summer of storms! We FaceTimed Grammy during one of them and Quinn showed off her backwards hat 😄.

July 29th Pete came by!! He helped us with tons around the house like getting new fire alarms installed (my daily burnt toast didn’t set them off, so we knew it was time for new ones) and getting our TV hung up on the wall (such a project, and I’m so glad they know how to do this stuff!).

I deadheaded the daisies while the guys were hard at work, and in the afternoon we were ready for some grub! We ordered from Doodle Drive In, which has a huge and delicious menu- they have truly everything from falafel to matzo ball soup! I had some chili and cornbread which really hit the spot. I also ordered a side salad with falafel (the falafel was very average, but the chili and cornbread…. *chef’s kiss*).

Oh oh oh! And we shared some delicious cheese curds. (Though, Culver’s do still reign supreme!).

Quinn has really been on a food strike lately. It seems like she hardly eats anything some days, but we find if we allow her to eat standing or on my lap sometimes she’ll be more receptive. Here she is enjoying her meal with Grampy.

Quinn admiring her Dad and Grampy’s work while holding Mingo, her Flamingo 🦩 😊.

That evening I started feeling unwell overnight. I started having some knots in my stomach, but when I woke up I was doing ok. I felt well enough to go to a brunch Quinn and I had planned with my friend Kylie. We went to Creekside, one of my favorite brunch spots with awesome views of the river nearby!

I ordered bland food (eggs and toast) since my stomach had been a bit off, but overall everything settled ok. It was so fun to catch up with Kylie and Quinn enjoyed being out and about.

The evening of July 30th I made an easy dinner of chicken thighs in the air fryer with RightRice, broccoli and a side of Traverse City Cherry salads! I was so excited when I saw these salads in the store, and they were so good!

We’ve really been trying to be intentional about having family dinners. I so look forward to this time together.

After dinner, I get cleaned up while DJ usually takes Quinn outside to see the ponies and play outside.

July 31st I made some carrot oat breakfast cookies. We’ve been in a great groove of going on walks in the morning, and I like to have a “breakfast to go” on hand for Quinn. She tends to tolerate the stroller for much longer periods this way.

That evening I made burgers with Dr. Praeger’s Drive Through Patties. We love these.

My stomach was still off, but I kept trying to just ignore it. I figured it was some type of bug that was just hanging on. On August 1st, I took Quinn to Walmart and we stocked up on different items for her sensory table. This time we chose some moss/fake flowers, oatmeal and noodles. I bought little wood creatures and hid them in the oatmeal for her to find. Mostly everything just ends up on the floor 🤪.

That evening I made a slow cooker enchilada recipe. They were delicious, but I could barely touch them. My stomach seemed to be getting worse, not better. And my energy was zapped.

August 2nd, things took a turn for the worse. I was ok during the morning and nap time, but by that afternoon I was crying in the fetal position. I was in so much pain. I called DJ, he came home from work as soon as he could and took me to the ER. I suspected an ulcer based on my symptoms, but I knew other serious diagnoses needed ruled out.

7 hours later with entirely unremarkable labs and CT scan, the team agreed likely an ulcer. The next week or so was one of the worst of my life. I had little pockets that I felt ok, but it was difficult to get out of bed most days due to the pain. I had to call off all my work shifts and dropped off Quinn at daycare while I just battled the pain most of the day.

I struggled so much with guilt when I dropped off Quinn, but I literally could not function. Just getting her dressed and to daycare took all I had in me. I have never experienced anything like that. On days that I felt even a little bit ok, I picked her up and would do my best to play with her as much as I could. I missed her horribly.

One day I mustered the energy to make aquafaba and put some balls as a sensory activity to do outside. Quinn had zero interest. 🤪

I had enough energy over the weekend to make some turkey kale meatballs with some cauliflower rice cooked in ghee. I love the nutty flavor of ghee so much!

I felt like we needed to get Quinn out of the house on Sunday August 6th. I basically was bent over holding my stomach on the bench while there, but DJ made sure she had a great time. DJ took over pretty much everything for those couple of weeks, and I am so so grateful to him. A silver lining in it all is he and Quinn got tons of quality time together.

One of the oddest symptoms was the excruciating pain along with chills in the middle of the night when my stomach was empty (an empty stomach brought on the pain pretty intensely). I was getting up at 2 or 3 AM every night and eating a peanut butter sandwich and put on a heating pad just to keep the pain at bay. Desperate for relief one evening, I did what every good patient does and searched the Internet for further answers (this is said totally facetiously). I read cabbage juice can help with ulcers, so I overnighted a juicer and made it in bulk. It is gross, but not as gross as expected. I do about 8 oz a day. I also had my meds changed the next day by my PCP. Whether it was the med change, or cabbage juice, or both, I finally started turning the corner that next week. (Please do not use this as a medical endorsement of cabbage juice, I am only sharing my experience).

Gigi and Gordie stopped by that Sunday too. Gigi helped me make the cabbage juice and then they played with Quinn and hung out with DJ while I rested. Thankful they are so close!

I also have greatly reduced my intake of caffeine (which wasn’t that much to begin with) and coffee. It was SO tough to give up coffee initially, but I replaced it with a homemade matcha latte every morning. Now I actually look forward to my matcha. I will have a half cup of coffee when I get home from work sometimes just to get me through to bedtime (a 4 AM wake-up call pretty much leaves me no choice!). I also have reduced my chocolate intake greatly and am not eating spicy foods. Yeah, so basically cutting back on everything I love 😅.

August 7th I made some Quinoa Patties that Quinn loved! I need to make these again ASAP because the food strike is real over here lol.

During our Walmart trip the previous week, I had found this big bottle. We did a fun little activity of putting straws in and out of it. This actually occupied her for a while!

I also made some popsicles with berries, green yogurt, banana and avocado. She liked the first one I gave her but then has declined them ever since 🤷🏼‍♀️ .

August 8th I finally started to turn the corner!! I woke up with more energy than usual, found myself doing some chores around the house and actually went outside and jogged around a little! I was so relieved I actually teared up during my jog.

I was so worried at times that I was going to be dealing with that debilitating pain and exhaustion for an indefinite period of time. I rushed to get Quinn after getting the house back in order and prayed I really was turning the corner and this wasn’t a “fake out” like other times before.

I returned home to some gorgeous flowers from DJ for our anniversary ❤️. It was our golden anniversary! 8 years on the 8th!

I hope I didn’t sound like I was complaining through this, I just wanted to share this experience. It was one of the most humbling things I’ve ever been through and makes me grateful for any pain free, healthy day. In my career and in life, I have encountered individuals with debilitating stomach illnesses (and other chronic illnesses). I got a very small snippet into what that life is like, and I know it has increased my understanding and empathy greatly.

I’m feeling extremely grateful my symptoms have been under control since. I have an EGD (scope into the stomach) coming up in September. I have a personal and strong family history of acid reflux/ulcers, so they want to get a biopsy and “look around”.

Next up I’ll be recapping a truly unbelievably epic wedding weekend in Cleveland!!

Questions for you:

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

– Any Labor Day weekend plans?



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 😜.