Thursday, December 1, 2016

Musings on Motherhood: First Sick Day

Note: I wrote this back in June after the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub. I'm not sure why I never hit publish but am doing so now. As the Christmas season begins, I am purposefully surrounding myself with love and showering my family and friends with love. Love bigger. Love brighter. Merry Christmas, y'all.

It took only nine days of daycare for the germ warfare to take our little one down. He's been battling a tiny cold but last night it reared it's ugly head of snot and congestion. When he woke up with a fever this morning, I knew we were staying home.

And honestly, just like I didn't feel any guilt in sending him to school so I could go back to work, I don't feel any guilt missing work to stay home with him. Especially after the events of this weekend.

I woke up on Sunday and all I wanted to do was sit and hold my little one. Knowing there are 49 mamas out there that will never get to love on their children again breaks my heart. I cried reading the text messages one son sent his mom. I cried thinking of how happy and grateful I am that it wasn't us.

We live in a messed up world. Which I feel way more acutely now that I am a mom. I could go on and on and try to find the right words but this mama said it perfectly:

My home is filled with immense love. And yet, all the time, I scroll through my newsfeed and find heartache, pain and horror of this world that should never be. I’m left with the eternal question – what can I do? What can I do?

For a split second I feel hopeless, as though the situation is too large for me. Then I sit with the question, and I’m quiet with myself, the answer is always the same. Always, always, it comes back to love. Love bigger. Love brighter.

Show these tiny people, our children, that they are, in fact, correct and right and wise to love without hesitation. Children don’t look at others with judgment to decide who deserves their love and who doesn’t. No. Children see people, all people, for the light and the love that they are—they readily accept them. Children are taught, by something outside them, that some people are worthy of love, while others aren’t. They innately know how to love. We need to remember how to return to that place.

When I am so sad about the events in our world that I feel sick, I know its time to fight back with radiance, light, and joy. I will not allow hatred and fear seep into the walls of my family. I will not. 
Here is where the silly, the fun, the healing of any kind comes into play. For us, it is often the kitchen dance party—an important part of my family’s healing. These dances may or may not include a glass of wine, but most definitely include some sort of fun music, horrible dance moves that my children think are AWESOME, and lots of laughter and forgetting the weight of the world. 
Here’s the thing I’ve learned—as our kids grow, they are learning that the world is full of heaviness. More and more they will discover the serious, forgetting the innate joy they have claimed since birth. But I want them to know how to return to the only thing that truly matters: love. Pure and simple.

I want them to know how to heal their own hearts, and in doing so, I want them to know they are also healing their world. That their fun and laughter and joy and love matters.
I can’t change other people’s hate. But I can respond by pouring more love into my home. 
Our world out there is scary. Quite incredibly scary. If I could keep my babies safe from it forever, I would do whatever that thing would be. I would wrap them in any sort of bubble wrap that would do the trick. But I can’t. Bubble wrap won’t work. So my number one priority becomes teaching my children to never let go of that love in their hearts. To have the tools to open their hearts to boundless joy, to relentless love. It’s the best gift I can give them.
Dance in the kitchen and hold your people close. Love bigger. Love brighter.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Easy Entertaining // Fig & Pancetta Crostini

Holy moly. Maureen made the most incredible appetizer and I just have to share. Plus it's super simple and I'm all about that for easy entertaining!

Fig and Pancetta Crostini

Baguette (sliced)
Goat Cheese
Fig Jam
Balsamic Glaze

Chop the pancetta into small pieces and saute in a pan on the stove. You want it a little crispy but not too much. Turn on your oven broiler. Place the slices of baguette on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toast for a few minutes in the oven until golden. Spread goat cheese on each slice. Add a dollop of fig jam. Top with pancetta and arugula leaves. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Devour.

Definitely making this during the holiday season!


Tuesday, November 15, 2016


"You're doing your own thing. It's singular... All of us posses that ability, but you have to be willing to seek."

I just love talent. When someone has it, whatever it is, it's so moving. I'm not even jealous because I know in a million years I couldn't do that. It's simply pure appreciation. And getting to that point, where you can just simply appreciate talent without feeling jealous or less or inadequate is a good place to be.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Easy Entertaining // Artichoke & Jalapeno Stuffed Mushrooms

This past weekend we hosted our 5th Friendsgiving gathering. It's truly one of my favorite holidays. And now that I'm on my fifth turkey, it keeps getting easier. We cook the bird, everyone brings sides, desserts, and wine, and bing bang you've got yourself a friendsgiving!

While we wait for the feast to be ready, I like to put out a few appetizers to hold people over. I have two requirements for my appetizers. Easy and delicious. These stuffed mushrooms check both boxes!

Two ingredients and you can find both at Costco aka my favorite place to prepare for hosting. They have everything and it's really sooooo easy. Pick up a package of white mushrooms in the chilled produce area. Swing by the dip/salsa/guac aisle and grab a tub of the Artichoke Jalapeno Dip. And you are ready to go!

Artichoke and Jalapeno Stuffed Mushrooms
1 package of white button mushrooms
1 tub of Artichoke Jalapeno Dip

Heat the oven to 350F. Wash the mushrooms and let them dry. Remove the stems. Fill each mushroom with a spoonful of dip. Make sure to push the dip in there. Line a baking sheet with foil, spread the stuffed mushrooms on the pan, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes or until the dip is golden and the mushrooms are fork tender. They will be hot so be careful to not burn yourself if you can't resist them right out of the oven!

The dip has the perfect amount of kick to it. These stuffed mushrooms are so easy to make, and did I mention they were gluten free?!

And to up the easy entertaining factor, you can make them ahead of time! Just stuff the mushrooms and store in a tupperware in the fridge until ready to bake.

Don't forget to enter my current giveaway by Wednesday night!


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Retail Therapy and a Giveaway!

The giveaway is now closed.

This post is sponsored by Hy-Vee.

Lately, it seems my work/life balance, integration, sanity, or whatever you want to call it, was off. I had a couple events at work, big things coming up with the CGL, and wanting to be super present as a mom and wife at home. So, I was really needing a little pampering. But I usually devote any pampering time to working out an hour or two each weekend.

Recently though, I've been trying to take a few extra minutes while grocery shopping at our local Hy-Vee to stroll the aisles and look at all the pretty packages and pick out something new to cook. A little retail therapy. Looking at pretty things is so relaxing, right? Well, I was really excited when Hy-Vee reached out and asked me to take a look at their new F&F line of clothes.

Wait, Hy-Vee has clothes?! That's exactly right. And they are pretty darn cute! F&F is a British-inspired international fashion label that offers a broad range of affordable fashion for women, men and children. They are expanding to the US with stores located right inside Hy-Vee. 

So my mom, the little man, and I headed out to Hy-Vee to do a little shopping and explore F&F. We grabbed coffee and began our retail therapy!

The F&F line has something for everyone - women, men, and kiddos. Well, I found a great white blouse with black polka dots that is work friendly. I'm still sticking to a capsule wardrobe of mostly black, grey, navy, and garnet. This piece is another great option for winter!

I started our shopping thinking I'd pick up a few pieces I could use for work, but I completely overestimated my willpower against adorable children's clothes. 

Declan has been growing like a weed lately and is in desperate need of new clothes. Luckily, Hy-Vee has super cute clothes for kiddos.

The pocket square!

I fell in love with this dinosaur hoodie. What is it about dinosaurs for little ones?! I just can't get enough. Declan loves the hoodie and matching pants, too.

Too much. Also, I'm pretty sure every photo I try to take of this moving monster will be blurry from here on out.

I also snagged a few pairs of sweatpants, a pair of khaki pants with - wait for it - SUSPENDERS, and the cutest sweater that I'm hoping he won't grow out of before his birthday in March. 

The line F&F line definitely has a little bit of a European flair which makes sense since that's where the line originated. The styles are fresh and on trend.

You guys really have to check it out. And to entice you a little more, we're doing a GIVEAWAYSimply comment below with something you are looking forward to this week to enter to win a $100 gift card to Hy-Vee. Winner* will be announced Thursday morning.

Have a great week!


*Winner must live close to a HyVee and redeem gift card at HyVee locations.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

On My Bookshelf

If you've stumbled upon my blog before, chances are you know I'm a voracious reader. As a new mom, I am attempting to be diligent in carving out time for me. I try to read a few pages every night before bed...something that doesn't rhyme or involve animal noises. Every now and then, my bookshelf overflows with so much good stuff, I have to share. Here's what's on my bookshelf right now:


What are you currently reading?

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