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!



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?



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!