Orzo Pasta with Lemon & Garlic Roasted Broccoli & Chickpeas

18 Apr

1/2 pound orzo pasta
15 ounce can garbanzo beans
1 head broccoli, cut into small pieces
Garlic powder
Olive Oil
*1/2 to 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Pre-heat oven to 375 with rack in the middle.
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
Cook orzo, toss with olive oil and set aside.
Wash chickpeas & dry with paper towel.
Toss broccoli and chickpeas with a little olive oil, lemon juice from 1/2 the lemon, garlic powder, salt, & pepper.
Roast about 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and soft.
Toss orzo with roasted broccoli & chickpeas.
Mix remainder of lemon juice and additional salt, pepper and garlic powder if needed.

*For the adults, I toasted pine nuts and mixed those in too. It was very tasty!

Toasted Pine Nuts
In a small skillet toast pine nuts over medium stirring often so they do not burn.

Interior Envy

17 Apr

Toddler Eats

9 Apr

oatmeal with cinnamon & banana

pork tenderloin, carrots & broccoli

peanut butter & marmalade sammich, chickpeas, pears, & cheese

fresh popcorn with grated parmesan

Guest Post: Autism ~ Are You Aware?

8 Apr

Enjoy this wonderful guest post by my blogger friend, Chantelle, from She’s Losing It.


With autism as prevalent as it is, I am always surprised when I meet someone who has no idea what it is. From Autism Speaks: “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. They include autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.”

1 in 88 children is affected by autism. Mine is one of them.


This is Taylor. She’s 9 years old. She’ s funny, smart, independent, sweet, quirky, silly and persistent She also has autism. Because of her autism, Taylor is non verbal. She also has social and academic delays. These aren’t easy things to deal with, but her tenacious spirit makes it so easy to overlook her challenges and love her for who she is.

That being said, the challenges that Taylor faces are very real and sometimes scary for me. I often wonder what her teenage and adult years will be like. There is so much uncharted territory waiting for us in the future and I have no idea where it will lead us.


How did you find out that your child was autistic?

I get this question a lot. There were signs…some we recognized some we did not. Our biggest sign that something was not quite right was that Taylor wasn’t hitting her milestones. She rolled over late, crawled late, sat up unattended late (and later walked late…not until she was 2 1/2). Our pediatrician thought she was a late bloomer. As time went on, we realized that this was not the case. A few months before Taylor turned 2 we began to have her evaluated by Early On, an agency in our area that deals with developmental delays in children from birth to age 3. After several months, it was determined that she had autism. I think in the back of my mind I knew that it was autism, nonetheless, I was devastated with the diagnosis.

We are lucky to have a phenomenal Special Education school here that Taylor could attend. She was enrolled at the tender age of 2 1/2. At 9, she still attends this school and loves it. She has made tremendous progress in the last 7 years. Early intervention had a lot to do with that. She has an education plan in place that is specifically tailored to her needs. She studies things that “typical” third graders study: math, science, reading…but they are presented to her in ways that she understands. She also gets help with life skills: brushing her hair and teeth, using the bathroom independently and using silverware. She gets gym time, pool time and music class, too. She’s a busy kid and she loves every second of it.


April is Autism Awareness month. Right now Facebook is flooded with puzzle pieces, awareness posts and lots of “Light it Up Blue”. It happens every April. May comes along, the Autism posts dwindle and posts about something else takes their place. For me, my family and thousands of families around the world, every day is autism awareness day. We make it our mission to educate others, so they understand and recognize the signs of autism.

Please help us spread awareness by educating yourself about autism. While it may not affect you directly, it may affect someone you know. There are many great resources out there where you can find out more information about autism or where you can donate to autism research if you are inclined. Autism Speaks and The Autism Society of America are great places to start.

Support. Educate. Advocate. Love.


Lentil & Split Pea Soup with a bit of Easter Ham

5 Apr

1 small onion, chopped
3/4 cup green lentils
3/4 cup split peas
1/2 cup basmati rice
8 cups broth (I use vegetable due to Thomas’ allergy, but beef or chicken will have more flavor)
4-6 cups of water – wait to add as needed
salt to taste (I’m not sure how much I used, I kept putting it in until the flavor was right)
1+ teaspoon pepper
*Can also add 1 1/2 cups ham or sausage

Saute onions with olive oil until lightly browned.
Rinse lentils, split peas, and rice under cold water & add to onions.
Add broth and bring to a boil (add water as needed).
Simmer for 40 minutes or until lentils and peas are done.
Add salt and pepper.
Serve with fresh parm, mmm.

Throw Us a Bone, Al.

4 Apr

When Thomas wakes up in a mood – a sick of being sick for days-on-end mood – it puts everyone in a funk. It’s hard to be happy with a crying, whining boy at your feet ALL day long. Please take the ALL seriously…when he puts his mind to something, he does not mess around… “Today, I only want mama!” We are sick & exhausted and ready for some nice weather so we can open up these windows and get outside! Lila thinks that Al Roker controls all weather and is pretty frustrated with him that we still have to wear winter coats. For the past two weeks when she wakes in the morning, she puts on summer clothes and comes downstairs with excitement. Then, she opens the patio door and with a sad look on that sweet face says, “When is Al going to make it warmer?”

this is what summer looks like – if you’ve forgotten

Our Easter Week in Michigan

2 Apr

As usual, Michigan was really busy but really fun. We are always non-stop when we’re there and exhausted when we get home – for days. Poor Thomas became sick with 103 temps due to pink eye and an ear infection…he’s never been so sick. He still loved seeing family & hunting plastic eggs (of course an egg-free easter for us). And Lila, sometimes I feel like she’d let us keep her there – never! My brother, his wife & their four kids live next door to my parents, so we don’t see her much. I find my self missing her. Once again, fun was had by all.

My First Decorating Gig

27 Mar


I just got my first gig decorating a nursery. The job entails that I come up with both a boy’s and a girl’s room – and I couldn’t be more excited. Nursery decorating is my favorite and the options for cute decor are better than ever.

From Left to Right:
Crib & Bedding, Move Mountains Art, Finn Chair, Ribbon Rug, Buddy System Canvas, Fawn Art, Dollhouse Bookcase, Hemnes Dresser, Knit Pouf

Toddler Eats

26 Mar

Pesto pasta with corn and peas

Sherpherd’s Pie

Berry Delicious

We’ve been very lucky in the food department with Lila – she’ll eat anything and is allergic to nada. With Thomas, we had a bit of a rough start…food seemed to really upset his belly and he was so, so picky. After his allergies were figured out, he was a new boy and far less choosy – which made this foodie mama most excited. There are a couple things he certainly doesn’t like – meats (with the exception of carnitas, salmon and shepherd’s pie) & milk. We do eat mostly vegetarian which works to his benefit and is the main reason we do so.

Egg-Free Banana Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

21 Mar


So excited to be having a sweet treat!

So excited to be having a sweet treat!

Egg-Free Banana Cake
2 cups flour
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons baking powder
5 ripe, mashed bananas
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoons lemon peel
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup orange juice

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray two 8 inch pans with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, both sugars, baking soda, & baking powder. Then, stir in the rest of the ingredients. If batter is too thick (hard to stir), add a small amount of juice.
Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons milk

Cream butter for 2-3 minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed.
Turn off the mixer & sift powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl.
Turn the mixer on the lowest speed until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter.
Increase mixer speed to medium, add vanilla extract, salt, and milk & beat for 3 minutes.
*If your frosting needs a thicker consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.
Put frosting on the cooled cakes and enjoy…be careful because it’s very addicting!

Egg-Free and Proud to Be

20 Mar

When Lila and I were recently in Arizona I received a phone call, “Thomas is throwing-up all over!” The poor boy has developed yet another allergy. Just before turning 11 months old, we found out Thomas was allergic to eggs, poultry, two rx’s, figs and now nitrates. At first, we thought he had a soy allergy…it was the only connection I saw when he would get sick. Never in a million years did I think it would be poultry. I didn’t even know one could be allergic to meat! Side note: When I was pregnant with Thomas, I didn’t eat chicken because the thought made me nauseous. Crazy, right?

The allergies haven’t been too disrupting yet – I know exactly what he eats at all times, we don’t have eggs or chicken in the house, and we also eat mostly whole foods (no boxed, besides a few snacks or frozen foods) so there’s no hidden ingredients to look for. Surprisingly, egg is in a ton of things, cleverly disguised under “hidden” names. You really have to know your stuff when reading the labels. His allergies start to become a real bummer when holidays and birthdays come around. No sweet treats for him, because most are made with eggs. With his allergies there can be no trace in what he eats (and the list goes on and on). I’ve been on the search to find good egg-free desserts that don’t taste like egg-free. It’s been a bit tricky and taken a lot of tweaking, but thankfully I’ve found a few – tomorrow I’ll be posting my recipe for a delicious egg-free banana cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. We have high hopes that he’ll outgrow his allergies, but until then we’re egg-free and proud to be.


Life According to my iPhone

18 Mar

Throwback Thursday

14 Mar

Nice weather is a comin’, right?! These pictures are from a day at the park, last summer – which seems like moons ago. Warm days & sunshine, please hurry and get here, we miss you so.

Welcome to Worryhood

13 Mar

A few weeks ago, Lila had croup, for the second time. This time around it was different with no “barking” cough, so at 2am off to the ER we went. Many crazy thoughts of what she had were going through my mind in this 2am fog. I was certain it was that incurable disease I saw on the news or maybe she has developed an awful case of asthma – she’ll never be able to play sports, I’m sure of it.

Once becoming a mom (pregnant actually) this fun-loving gal was sent into worry mode, big-time. It can get to the best of us and certainly got to me. There was a time when I was laid-back…go with the flow…chill, if you will. I was the kind of girl who was up for anything, anytime. As sad as this is to admit – at times, those days seem many moons away. Now with every cough, every fever, every runny nose something is majorly wrong and must be tended to immediately. I used to think, “When Lila get’s a little older, when she can tell me what hurts, I won’t be so worried.” Damn it, I was wrong! And I know it will always be something – it only begins here. Someday they’ll actually want to leave the house without me, then what will I do?

Spring is in the Air

12 Mar

Left to right
For the Girls: Livie & Luca Merrybell Livie & Luca Petal See Kai Run Irina
For the Boys: Chuck Taylor All Star Tiny Classic Toms Morgan & Milo Charlie

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