new year, new me

Ahhh, new year, new you.

I’m so familiar with both my optimistic and sarcastic thoughts on this phrase.

While I love a fresh start, I’m a little weary of change these days. (See update on previous year.) A new baby, a new home, a promotion…while I’m grateful and excited for all that happened in 2018, I’m also looking forward to finding my groove with these great changes in 2019.

That said, I did think of something broad I’d like to work on: Improving my health and my family’s health.

Now, for me, I don’t mean run to the gym and work out religiously in January and then fall off the wagon. Yes, I want to make better food decisions. Move my body and way more often. But it’s not just for me anymore. I want to take care of my physical body so that I can live a long life with my family. If that doesn’t motivate me, I’m not quite sure what will. I mean, look at this guy.

My girl has (another) cold, so she wasn’t feeling celebratory last night, but I still love her so and want to see her grow. (Shout out to my sis for bringing over the NYE goodies!)

But health is about so much more than the physical. I’m talking mental, emotional, and spiritual health, too. I want to make time to slow down and read a book instead of being hypnotized by an Instagram video on icing a cake. I want to call my 97-year-old Grammy and go see her when I can because she’s funny and wise and I love her so much. I want to go on dates regularly with my husband instead of twice a year. I want to have a hobby again. I want to plan a vacation. I want to live in the present instead of being sad about the past or anxious about the future.

And I want to blog again.

Last year was about the big things…this year is about self improvement, challenging myself to be my best, while slowing down to enjoy life. Taking care of myself and my family is number one.

Happy New Year to all!

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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!