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Olivia Collection for Gymboree

22 Nov


olivia for gymboree.png
Longtime followers of this blog know what a sucker I am for anything with black and white stripes or bows. So I was beyond ecstatic when I learned that Olivia, of the popular children’s book series, was partnering with Gymboree for a clothing collection. Let me tell you, it is a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e!

I picked up everything below except for the bow headband, tights, and cardigan and can’t wait for Emilia to wear them. The swimsuit and Peter Pan collar dress are two of my personal favorites. Check out the entire collection here.


Traveling with a baby

12 Nov

We’ll be out the door and headed for the airport shortly and after polling friends and family for their travel tips with kids, I feel prepared. So far, I’m packing light, baby-wearing at the airport, and trying to nurse during takeoff and landing.

Another mom friend also advised me to break out all my tricks during the flight — a new toy, an old favorite, every fun food Emilia loves, the iPad loaded with kids shows…everything I can think of to appease her. “It’s not time to be mother of the year” she said. I died laughing.

And of course to just keep cool about it all ourselves because kids pick up on our vibe.

A co-worker advised to hold off naps and nursing/bottles until on the plane and wait until the last possible second to board. If two parents are traveling, better to send one to get everything stashed and situated during the “family” pre-boarding time, then join with the little one at the end. Genius.

We’re planning to gate check our umbrella stroller and car seat since we’re going to rent a car for part of our trip while we’re staying in La Jolla. This is good and bad because it means we’ll have the stroller to use if we need while we wait to board, but one of us will also be burdened with heaving the heavy car seat and base all over the airport.

That little inconvenience aside, I’ve found that I prepared for this experience in a way that so clearly screams “I AM A MOM NOW.” I mean, I actually looked up the airline’s policy about traveling with kids.

I used to be the type of traveler who’d just hope all her beauty supplies were the correct ounce allotment as her bag was scrutinized by airport security and my reason for arriving to the airport early had nothing to do with checking in and everything to do with giving myself enough time to hit the magazine stands to browse for my in-flight reads.

Things have definitely changed. I’ve always loved flying because it forces me to concentrate on one or two things at once instead of multitasking. I’m limited by the confines of the plane so I could watch back to back movies or plow through a pile or magazines or a good book. I once edited an entire batch of vacation photos on a flight.

My expectations for this flight are a little different now. I’m hoping, at best, to take a nice long snooze with my girl snuggled onto my chest or else, experience a little karmic retribution for any annoyed looks my former self might have thrown that parent with the screaming child who dared to attempt to travel.

Either way, I’m prepared with an arsenal of tips from others and am weirdly excited by the challenge that lies ahead.

Wish us luck!

What we’re cooking lately

21 Oct

Pottery Barn Chianti Kitchen Island-resized-600

Preparing dinner together used to be one of our favorite things to do in our pre-baby days. We’d pour some wine, light some candles, and spend a leisurely Friday night cooking. Since I’ve been putting Emilia to bed recently, Brian normally gets dinner going, but a few weeks ago we decided to try something new. We started dinner a little earlier so she could hang out with us in her high chair and it worked out beautifully. Not only that, we discovered a new favorite pasta dish that’s creamy, without being too heavy, spicy, and packed with veggies.


Veggies & Pasta

16 oz. of Penne or Ziti cooked al dente in salt water
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut in 1″ cubes
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
½ c. Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Bell Pepper
1 c. Broccoli florets
1 c. Asparagus, chopped in 1″ pieces
2 c. Mushrooms, sliced and patted dry
2 14-oz cans (drained) diced tomatoes with mild chilies

1. Cook your pasta and let it drain. Sprinkle the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook chicken until done and golden on all sides. Remove and let rest in a large bowl.

2. In the same pan that you cooked the chicken in, melt a tablespoon of butter, then brown the mushrooms. Do this is two batches if you have to. They won’t brown if you crowd the pan. Remove the mushroom and add to the same bowl with the chicken. Leave the pan juices.

3. Add the remaining olive oil and begin sauteing the onions for 2 min. Add in the garlic and bell pepper and saute another 2 mins. Then toss in any other woody veggies  (broccoli, asparagus) saving the tomatoes and chilies until the very end.

4. At this point, I like to keep everything separate, while I start the sauce.

Spicy Cream Sauce

2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
2 c. skim milk (or half and half)
1 c. Parmesan (or try feta)
optional: red pepper flakes

In the same pan that you cooked the chicken and mushrooms in, melt the butter over medium heat. Toss in the flour and whisk, cooking 1-2 minutes.  (We are making a roux)

Slowly whisk in the milk while stirring to prevent any clumps from forming.  (If using, sprinkle in the red pepper flakes now.) Allow to simmer until you see boiling action.  Stir periodically.

When your sauce begins to thicken and bubble, turn off the heat and add in your cheese. (I actually omitted the cheese for Brian’s, then came back and added for myself after I’d assembled his using some of the roux from above.

To assemble everything, I like to add the pasta first so it gets nice and coated with sauce and then pour the rest of the goodies in. This makes a TON so you’ll have more than enough for lunches for a few days. My favorite kind of meal.


Here are a few other recipes we’ve tried lately:
1. Crockpot Brown Sugar Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin
I struggled to get a caramelized “crust” on this but the flavor was still great.

2. Pulled Pork in a Crock Pot
We ran out of BBQ sauce as we made our way through this (it made a TON) so I made a quick one myself with Dijon mustard, brown sugar and a little Worcestershire. Just throw it all in a pan on the stove and heat through for 3-4 minutes. It was amazing. I may never buy store-bought again.

3. Oktoberfest Pork Chops with Hops-Braised Cabbage & German Potato Salad
I never know what to put on pork chops, so I usually just default to my go-to beer and garlic marinade. This rub couldn’t be easier. The only special ingredient I didn’t have on hand was ground bay leaves.  

4. Crispy Cod with Warm Cauliflower & Mustard Green Salad
LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. Who knew fish could taste so good? And I now crave this tart, brine-y cauliflower salad on a weekly basis.


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