surprises when you least expect them

I grew up in a northwest suburb of Chicago. I didn’t really have any idea what farm life was like until I met Nate. Literally, I went to a farm in kindergarten and remember liking the chicks. Little did I know one day I would call a farm home!

I didn’t really think about where my food came from either. Farmers markets weren’t as popular as they are now. I loved going to the grocery store with my mom, and we ate on the healthier side, but I just didn’t think about it.

As a teenager, when my parents would go to buy flowers and plants and bushes in the late spring, I would ask to pick out one flower plant and would try to keep it alive. I always failed, and deemed myself the opposite of a green thumb.

Fast forward to meeting Nate. I remember one of the first times I went to Walnut Grove Farm, I posed for a photo with a cow; I was just so in awe. The spring and summers would come and go, and we would eat fresh veggies and fruits from the garden, something that was really foreign to me in the best way possible. 


As the years passed (we’ve been together for almost 15!), I’ve grown to appreciate respect the farm, and love the production gardens. We were married there almost six years ago, featuring mostly local vendors and the majority of the flowers were from the farm.

Fast forward even more to last weekend, when I pulled up probably 30 radishes and some green onions, picked fresh greens, and planted watermelons and squash to enjoy later this year.


There is something so gratifying about harvesting from a garden. It’s difficult for me to describe. I find such peace in it. And excitement. It just feels right.

Radishes, in particular, are super fun (I realize what a nerd I sound like right now, and I’m completely okay with it) because it’s like a surprise with each radish. Is it mature enough? What color is it? Long and thin or short and plump? Will it be really sharp or mild in flavor? Not to mention they are beautiful.


Radishes now signify the beginning of the growing season (other than another new favorite–rhubarb!). It means a summer filled with fresh foods that my mother-in-law planted and hopefully I can harvest. Gardening is something I’m not sure I’ll be good at on my own, but I really hope one day Nate and I will have the land to have our own garden.


Teaching Eloise about the farm, the gardens, and about the foods she eats; getting her to eat a lot of fruits and veggies; and trying new foods are very important to us. 

Today, Ellie wanted blueberries instead of a bakery cookie. That to me was a small, simple parenting win. And I’ll take them however they come!

I’m so grateful she has the farm as her home away from home, and that’s all that she knows. It gives her balance from the hustle and bustle of the city, the ability to run and be free, and spend quality time with her family with home-cooked, home-grown meals. What could be better than that?

fast and easy breakfast options

I’m constantly looking for easy breakfast recipes–that are adult AND/or kid friendly–because I usually end up having yogurt with fruit or honey during the weekdays.

Right after I gave birth to Ellie, my sister-in-law shared this delicious Food Network recipe for overnight oats, and it’s become a treat for me. 

At the time, I’d never had cold oats before. It does seem a little strange at first, but this couldn’t be easier and tastier! I made some this weekend, and wanted to share.


It got me thinking about other easy breakfast options. I am not a morning person and never have enough time. 

I’ve become a big fan of quiche. With store-bought crust, of course. Quiches are great because the whole family can eat, and you can easily add veggies like spinach or peppers to it.

Ellie has a pretty solid rotation of eggs (she ate three plus fruit yesterday!), Greek yogurt with natural applesauce, and Earth’s Best Organic blueberry waffles or pancakes. Any and all with fruit–her favorite! She just started having Cheerios with milk, too, which she thinks is pretty fun because she loves using a spoon.

When I have ripe bananas (often), I’ll make two-ingredient banana pancakes with cinnamon or these flavorful pumpkin banana muffins

Always looking for new ideas. Please share if you have some you love!

It’s Never Too Late for Reflections & ResolutionsĀ 

2015. The highs were high, and the lows were pretty low, but it was a transformative year. The best part? We have a happy, healthy 6-month-old baby girl.

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses. We lost three grandparents this year and many loved ones, which is always hard, but this year was especially rough. Ellie is named in honor of one of her passed great grandmothers, so, in a way, a piece of her will always live on.

It was a great year at work–I’ve learned more this year than I have in awhile about management, team building, and how to learn from my mistakes. I traveled to Nice and Barcelona, too, which has been such a highlight of my career. I cannot tell you what that trip meant to me, and to share it with my colleagues and “Ellie” (at 14 weeks) is something I’ll never forget. 

I also learned a lot this year personally, too. A short list of things I want to keep building on in 2016 includes:

  • Make time for my spouse. Especially when I have a million things to do and our baby to care for, it’s easy to forget about the one you care about so much. And always appreciate your partner for helping. I don’t do that enough. (Thanks, boo!)
  • Make time for me. I get by with a little help from my friends…and family. It’s amazing what spending time with people you love can do for you mind and your heart. Or taking some time to be alone. Wandering the aisles of Target solo can be quite therapeutic, haha.
  • Don’t get stuck in a digital daze. I am on my phone way too much. My goal is to be present in lives of my family. That means putting down my phone a little more in 2016.
  • Be a healthy role model. It’s time to lose the baby weight. I wasn’t one of the lucky women whose baby weight melts away when they breastfeed. So it’s time to get my act together for myself and my family. I joined Weight Watchers again. This means I’ll be healthier and more creative with my food…with an indulgence here and there. šŸ˜‰ 
  • Sleep more. This is a no brainer, and probably goes with the bullet on being healthy, but I’m sleep deprived!
  • Achieve what I want. Instead of talking the talk, I need to walk the walk more. This is something I struggle with a lot. I’m the queen of excuses. Time to start doing and being more. Hopefully that means more posts on this blog, and more exciting developments to come!

Thanks to all who were a part of my 2015. Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and healthy new year!