The Fall weather has finally shown it’s face here in California. It was overcast and cloudy with a bit of sprinkles here and there over the weekend. Perfect pumpkin pancake and Martha Stewart Living weather. Perfect deep thinking weather. Which I have been doing a lot of lately. It’s been ripe with change here in our household. My husband took a new job, quit a job he’s been at for the past seven years, I found us a new place to live, in a city I have never lived in before (although its very close to my hometown), we put in our notice to leave this apartment, we are headed cross country for the first time with baby girl for Jeff’s sister’s wedding and then we move the weekend we come back. A lot of change happening in a very short amount of time. This change is a good thing though. We will be closer to my parents, we will have so much more space in this new place (A house! We’re renting a whole house!), Jeff gets to work from home with this new job and the dogs will finally have a yard. This past weekend was bittersweet though knowing it was our last real weekend here in Orange County. Neither of us has really felt like Orange County was home. We had very mixed feelings about the neighborhood we lived in and the surrounding areas in general, but now that we’re leaving, I have been thinking about all the things I will miss about living here. We went to our favorite places this weekend, said goodbye to our Farmers Market and the vendors we have come to know so well. We went to our favorite vietnamese sandwich place and  took Ellie to her first pumpkin patch at a local farm we would occasionally visit. (She slept through the whole thing).






I’m excited and anxious for the next chapter in our lives. A new area to get to know. A new farmers market to find. A bigger house to enjoy and make our own. Grandparents who are just up the road instead of hours away. A husband who will be home all day. A lot of change but most of it, very good. So long Orange County. I may not love you but I do love the memories I made here. My husband proposed to me in Newport Beach. We adopted both of our doggies here. We both worked here for over five years making many work friends. We had some fantastic neighbors. And, the best thing about Orange County- my baby girl was born here. These things I will remember fondly about our time here, but I am ready to move on…



The Crockpot Has Saved Dinner!

So having a ten week old makes getting dinner ready very tricky. Since I am home now, I’m trying to get into the habit of making more dinners for the family. Usually Jeff cooks but after work he’s tired and getting dogs walked and getting baby down for the night has pushed dinner further and further into the night, so I have stepped up and the crock pot has literally saved dinner. Baby E loves her Mama and wants to be held by Mama A LOT, so cooking over a hot stove is kind of out. But, throwing a whole bunch of ingredients into a pot and turning it on, filling the house slowly with yummy, warm smells… I could get used to cooking every night! My latest crock pot dinner was such a success I had to share it with you.  It was pretty much just thrown together by the cravings I was having at the time, but  boy did it work!

Dijion Mustard Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes

about four to six boneless chicken breasts

a pound of fingerling potatoes

1/2 cup organic dijion mustard

1 cup organic chicken broth

juice of two lemons

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons dried oregano

Cut up the potatoes into bite size pieces. Mix the mustard, lemon juice, chicken broth and spices together in a bowl, pour over the chicken and potatoes in the crock pot. Turn the crock pot on low for 8 hours. You’ll have a yummy chicken dish to stick into pitas or on top of pasta for days!

{this moment}

“A single photo- no words- capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.”

This moment is a ritual adopted from SouleMama. If you would like to share your own, please link in the comment section below!
Happy Friday!

October Garden Update

I’ve finally made it back out to the balcony garden. It was looking so sad and brown out there every time I walked by the sliding glass door. My wonderful mother came by for a few hours this weekend and knowing baby E was in very good hands with her Gramma, I took advantage and got out there to garden and spruce the patio up again.


I planted a late summer squash plant I thought might still grow in this California autumn heat and I picked up some 45 day container cabbage. I have no experience whatsoever with cabbage but it sounded cool and anything that’s supposedly  “good in containers” gets a try out in my garden. I also planted some swiss chard which I have had some experience with and I’m hoping they do well this winter because Jeff loves chard and it would save us some money at the farmers market not to have to buy it.




I planted some new basil in a different area to see if the difference in sunlight makes a difference in growth. And some new oregano and rosemary in the planters too. I added some pretty purple flowers to give the garden some color. I couldn’t help myself.


The only thing that made it from the summer garden was the spicy basil which flowered but looks really nice with its purple color. We have a little hummingbird who comes to visit the basil every day, so I’m letting it flower to encourage his presence.


Jeff’s hops have browned up and are cut back for the winter but I saved some of the browned cones. I think they are lovely little things and have them displayed in the house in a mason jar. I also cut off the last of the mini yellow peppers. The last of the sad summer crop we had. Hoping next summer we will have a bigger place with plenty of room to grow more produce of our own. As for now, we will have to do with our little balcony gardens.


Eloise’s Monthly Photo

One of my favorite bloggers, Laura at Lolalina, started these adorable monthly photos with her own baby boy. I loved them so much I had to start doing it with my own baby girl. The first month was a little busy so the monthly photo was taken but never put up. This month I got it done and I’m even getting it up on the day (even if it’s technically the night). I will be taking Eloise’s picture every month, with her bunny, against her special t-shirt quilt (Handmade by Gramma) until her first birthday.

Here is last month’s picture too…

Three Years

Yesterday was my three year anniversary. Jeff and I got married surrounded by all of my family and friends in my hometown and I just can’t believe it has already been three years. Part of me feels like we’ve been married forever and part of me feels like it was just yesterday I was picking out my wedding dress.

It has been quite a wonderful, busy three years. We had an incredible honeymoon in Europe, moved, completed a masters degree, added a french bulldog to the family, travelled to Boston a handful of times to see Jeff’s family, added a rescue dog to the family and our most exciting endeavour, adding our baby Ellie to the family this year. I have enjoyed every minute of these three years with Jeff and I really can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him. So, with this third year, came a different way of celebrating. Usually we would have gone to a fancy dinner or out to a show but this year with baby in tow and nursing still under construction, we decided to relax and enjoy what we had right in front of us.

While Dad was at work, baby E and I decided to make an anniversary cake. This was a bit tricky because of my new dairy free life style (a post for another time about finding whats bugging baby E in my diet). After searching the internet and my cookbooks for a suitable dairy free recipe that would entice my husband to enjoy the cake as well, I ended up using one in the Betty Crocker (Bridal Edition- how fitting 🙂 ) cookbook. Just a simple yellow cake recipe but I thought if I replaced butter with coconut oil and milk with rice milk, this might just work. Here is the recipe. It turned out tasting more like a glazed donut after I threw together a dairy free frosting that melted right off the cake. But it was yummy none-the-less. So I thought I would post the recipe here for anyone else going through some allergy/lactation issues.

Dairy Free Anniversary Cake (originally Betty Crocker’s Starlight Yellow Cake)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter softened (I substituted 1/2 coconut oil)

1 1/4 cups milk (I substituted rice milk)

3 1/2 T baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of two 9 inch round pans. In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients and mix together with an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely and then frost to your heart’s content.

For the frosting which did not turn out the way I wanted but then ended up giving the whole cake more of a glazed donut feel :

1 cup coconut oil

4 cups confectioners sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 T rice milk

mix together until fluffy. Let sit in the refrigerator for about an hour and frost lightly.

We may not remember the cake but I think we will certainly remember the first anniversary with our sweet baby. She definitely made it a great one.