Stuff Stuff, Baby

little girl happy baby announcement

Blog posts – what are those?

I really have been neglectful, and I’m sure it bothers me more than it does you.

Here are my excuses: Belated 1oth anniversary celebration, birthday dinners, prepping for preschool, out-of-town family gathering, out-of-town training program, bunny-sitting, outdoor concerts, frozen yogurt and a giant surprise 30th birthday party for my baby sister. Oh, and doctor appointments… nausea… extra sleep… late night ice cream…

For those yet unaware, we are expecting our second child in early February, and he’s happily making himself known on a daily basis. All three of us are excited, along with our invaluable friends and relatives. Today marks 18 weeks… it’s gone so fast, yet the 22 week road ahead feels so long.

So, parenting two small humans is a breeze, right? Barely noticeable increase in demands, right?

Trying to fool myself is futile – I’ve been a nanny.

In the meantime, autumn holds all sorts of adventures for our family, though I’m not quite ready to give up on summer. Summer means the DQ up the street is still open.

To your Labor Day!

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Anniversary X

man woman weddingWell, there went July.

And there went 10 years… In the best of ways, of course.

Today marks 10 years since I married the boy, and I feel as though it was the right move. We’ve always had a lot of good going for us, even in the face of internal and external challenges, and have produced great things: Conversations, dinners and the child Iris, for example.

Looking back, it’s possible that we’ve aged since ages 26 and 24. The world has too.

To those of you who were there, thank you so much for being a part of our day. To those we’ve known before and since, thank you for helping us be who we are as individuals, a couple and parents. It all takes a village.


wedding program text

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Scrambled Eggs, Asparagus & Farro

farro egg asparagus

A while back, I talked about trying to work farro into the family diet. So far so good, and here’s another example.

I’m certainly not the first to pair eggs and asparagus. I don’t even do it that often. But, I had both on hand, as well as some prepared farro. Always a fan of one pot/pan meals, I decided to put them all together. Turns out, the combination is great for starting your day with protein, fiber and anti-oxidants. Better yet, it’s easy (especially if you have some farro or other grain already prepared).

Here ’tis:


  • Olive/grape seed oil
  • 4 stalks asparagus, ends trimmed and sliced into 1″ lengths
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup or so prepared farro ( I make mine with a little minced onion and cilantro – no salt)
  • 2 quality eggs
  • Hot sauce (optional)


  1. Heat half a tablespoon or so of the oil in a pan.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the asparagus and green onion. Saute to desired softness.
  3. Add in the farro, heat and mix with vegetables.
  4. Crack in the eggs, scrambling them with veggies and grain.
  5. When eggs are cooked to your preference, dish ‘em up! I like to add some Cholula on top, though I imagine any hot sauce would work.

At some point, I’d like to try this with quinoa, as I’m sure it would be delicious. Generally, if eggs are involved, I’m going to love it.


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Funny Muffins

strawberry banana muffin

I bought a ton of strawberries from a local orchard over the weekend, and figured I should try to make something healthier than pie (with some of them, at least).

Who doesn’t love a muffin? I found this recipe for whole wheat strawberry banana muffins, and Iris and I got to baking. As you can see, the results are a bit… funny shaped (deflated), but they taste good. The only sweeteners are raw honey and the fruit, but if the three year-old loves them, they can’t be that bad. Greek yogurt gives them a little boost in protein and calcium, not to mention a satisfying moistness.

This was a great baking project for a wee one, and much of her time was occupied with mashing the banana.

Happy Hump Day!

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Quinoa Fridays

eggs sprouted quinoa

So, perhaps you know about my odd oatmeal-with-egg-and-hotsauce breakfast.

I’m still doing it most days of the week (though the technique is a little different). Iris also eats it, but with less hot sauce. In typical three year-old fashion, she swings between loving and hating cooked oats.

A while back, my sister-in-law was talking about her fondness for farro as a breakfast dish. I decided to try it in place of oats, and was pleasantly surprised. It got me thinking… could any grain work? I’d been trying to up my quinoa consumption, and thought this might be an easy way to do so.

Turns out I’m a genius. Or, maybe eggs and grain are just pretty tasty in general. Either way, I’ve now got the quinoa-egg breakfast in rotation, and have declared the last morning of the work week “Quinoa Fridays.”

My husband is amused at how excited this makes me every week. Whatever. Food is my favorite.



  • 1/4 cup dry quinoa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • dash dried, minced onion
  • dash dried cilantro
  • one egg of quality
  • hot sauce


  1. Pour the quinoa, onion, cilantro and water into a small sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil, then turn to a low simmer, cover, and let cook according to directions on quinoa package (maybe for a minute or two less).
  3. When the quinoa is nearly finished, crack in the egg, recover, and cook on very low heat for 5 to 10 minutes (until egg is to desired consistency).
  4. After turning off the heat, let the pan sit covered for a few more minutes. The steam will loosen any quinoa stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Uncover, dash in a little hot sauce, and devour.

Happy Wednesday (Quinoa Friday Eve Eve)

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TV Show Like a Drug

vampire diaries promo

Whatever. Don’t judge me. I’m doing enough of that myself…

I have a confession to make.

I just finished watching the first six seasons of ‘The Vampire Diaries’. And I loved it.

Like, I loooooooved it.

Please know that it’s taken me months to share this with anyone outside of a small, sacred circle of trust. Out of respect for all of us, I kept this guilty pleasure pretty much to myself. Now that the show, and my relationship with it, is at a crossroads, I have to come clean.

I was raised on Anne Rice. Vampires are meant to be badass and kind of awful. I read the first Twilight book and saw the first movie only so I could talk smack appropriately and with supporting evidence. For the record, those vampires suck (or, at least, were not done the justice of decent context). True Blood? Better, but the whole human-girl-torn-between-supernatural-hotties just seemed a bit played out. Of course, I hadn’t met the Mikaelsons and Salvatores…

Following an October trip to New Orleans last fall, one of my traveling companions (who knows me better than just about anyone) mentioned a show called ‘The Originals’ that takes place in NOLA and features lots of great settings in the city. Centered on the Mikaelson siblings, it tells the story of the world’s first vampires. It was on Netflix, and I figured a little vampire-based guilty pleasure wouldn’t hurt. In fact, I needed the distraction. It was just about New Orleans, right? If only I’d have known…

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Get a Pet

orange cat face

11 year-old Ted is less than thrilled with the 3 year-old…

I’ve loved felines my entire life, but did not have one to call my own until the age of 23. While it’d be dishonest to say it was an easy adjustment in every way, the full truth is that the small amount of extra work is well, well worth it.

According to the Humane Society, these are the reasons to adopt (rather than shop for) a pet. In addition to these points about saving an animal’s life and not supporting puppy mills, adopting a pet can be good for your physical and mental health. Would you like a healthier heart and better mood? Walking a dog gets you exercise, fresh air, vitamin D, social interaction and all that comes with it.

For my part, I ended up with a partner who’s had cats his entire life, and can’t really imagine it any other way. As long as we’re able to care for one, we’ll have a kitty or two hanging around our furniture and heads at bedtime. We’ll also have cat hair here and there, and occasional vet bills. Small price to pay for those purring nuzzles and hilarious antics with the laser pointer.

When kids are involved, pets offer even greater value. For many kids, the death of a pet is their introduction to loss, and a chance to understand in a very real way what the absence of a physical, living being means. Caring for pets is a responsibility, and being around those that go outdoors can even minimize allergy risk for children.

No question about it – adopting a pet is good for you, animals, kids and the larger society. Finding one is easy, and caring for one is as natural to human nature as anything. This is one of the simplest ways to put some good out there in your world.

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Good Editors Harsh Your Buzz

Disclaimer: I do not promote or support non-consensual face editing, whether it be by Copy Editor Cat or anyone else.

At the moment, I work with an amazing editor. Not only does she have her own content brand and some notable clients, but she is incredibly knowledgeable, patient, clear and generous. In a world where one can end up working for pennies on unpredictable schedules with clients who think writing takes as little time as typing, this is something to celebrate.

Something else I appreciate – she doesn’t let me get lazy. It’s easy, after working with the same editor on recurring assignments, to get a little soft, and autopilot through the week’s piece. While I should treat each new article like the first for that end client, I realize I sometimes simplify sentences that could say more, and don’t give due attention to cited sources. Fortunately, my editor has a good eye.

Better yet, she has a cool head and patient hand. At this stage of the writing game, no editor feedback is more unsettling than some, and detailed, constructive feedback is a must for a sustainable, mutually beneficial relationship. Oh, and if that editor is paying you properly for your time, addressing that feedback is also a must.

When I left my full-time-with-benefits, nine-to-five, Monday-through-Friday gig to become a freelance writer, I was ready to be happy with any job from any client, despite having experience and a degree. For a while, that readiness served me and my nerves well. Still, I’m glad to be through that period. I’ve been fortunate to connect and work with some fabulous people, who are lovely not only as professionals but as humans. Lovely humans who know exactly when I need to sit up straight and pay attention and keep getting better. It’s well worth the buzz kill.

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Traditional Tacos and Basic Rice Noodles

I can’t get enough. I have a problem. Please send help (by which I mean gift cards to Tacos El Cuñado and Pho Anh Trang).

Somewhere in my late-Winter/early-Spring attempt to get back on the healthy wagon, I overcame my craving for boxed mac-n-cheese and rediscovered east Asian and authentic Mexican food. Now, I’m finding any excuse to stop at the market’s taco counter, and steadily increasing my home supply of rice noodles (only because the preferred Vietnamese restaurant is on the other side of town).

First, the tacos. Forget greasy cheese, limp lettuce and meat sauce. These traditional-street-food babies bring together warm corn tortillas, vegan options like tempeh, rice and beans and nopales (cactus), pescetarian favorites like shrimp, and fresh pico de gallo and avocado. Most of that food is local, I might add. If I get a taco trio (for less than $10), that leaves me enough to do a tasting at the distillery a few steps away. Ok, just kidding (so far. Talk to me after this weekend).

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Sweet Potato Brownie Report (for you, Shawna)

Last week, a friend posted a recipe to my Facebook wall. Due to some diet restrictions, she is unable to eat the creation herself, and so included this message:

Please make these, eat them, then report back to me how wonderful they taste so that I might live vicariously through you.

Your wish, dearest, is my command. With pleasure.

Incidentally, my husband is allergic to sweet potatoes (poor guy), so Iris and I will just have to eat these on our own (excepting the piece my mother’s reserved).

First, understand that these are not going to taste just like a traditional brownie. However, they are the yum. The texture is reminiscent of the gooiest of brownies, with tiny crunches from the almonds. I found that the sweetness was enough to satisfy that sugar craving, without making me feel like I’d had a week’s worth of treats in one bite. Served warm, it seems to kick the crap out of any marshmallow-creepy-Thanksgiving-sweet-potato dish (sorry – unroasted marshmallows spook me).

Note that I milled my own brown rice flour with our Baby Bullet, and similarly ground the almonds. I also pitted the dates, which was super simple and fast.

Outside of the tiniest amount of butter in the maple syrup substitute I made, these things are vegan. They are gluten free. The only refined sugar is in the syrup. For the most part, these babies won’t run counter to a healthy diet. Sweet (potato).

So, click the words for your sweet potato brownie recipe.

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