minted zucchini orzo salad

I had the most amazing salad on the cruise we took in May, and I couldn’t wait to get home to try and replicate it. It tastes amazing ice cold, which is something great in this heatwave Seattle is having, and great as a mom in general since my food is always cold by the time I get to it.

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Pepperplate: A Meal Planning App Review

Would you believe that for the longest time, I was tediously writing down recipes by hand whenever I wanted to cook something new?  All my recipes are jotted down in a spiral-bound notebook.  My organization skills in the recipes department is nil.  I’m usually pretty quick to jump on the technology bandwagon, but with stuff like this, I’ve been slow to the game…

Imagine my surprise when I discovered Pepperplate, a meal planning and recipes app that singlehandedly converted me from a pen-to-paper girl to app fanatic.  The best part is, this app is FREE, and you can access it from both your computer and your phone (available on both Androids and iPhones).

This app is great for saving recipes, and makes it so easy to transform your recipe list into a grocery shopping list too.  It even has a calendar that lets you plan out your 3 meals a day every day of the week (I don’t use this feature though – I prefer a visual on my kitchen whiteboard).

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Accidental Baby-Led Weaning

When Little Oats was four months old, the doctor suggested starting her on rice cereal. She was a little peanut in the weight department, and he thought it might help her sleep through the night (haven’t we all heard a variation on this?). So, just before Christmas, we started spoon-feeding her a brown-rice cereal… and she loved it! Gobbled up bowl after bowl… until her stomach protested. She had gas pains, constipation, and really struggled to go to the bathroom. So we backed off until 6 months, when we attempted to introduce other foods.

(Little Oats devouring her rice cereal)

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Hot Air Balloon Birthday Party

Baby Summer turned one! The second time around, this first year FLEW by. Shockingly fast. We definitely wanted to throw Summer a first birthday party as we had for Gemma, but I knew that I’d like to keep it simple and sweet. I chose a hot air balloon theme to commemorate Summer. She is so carefree, easygoing, sweet and easily adored, even referred to as “Baby Happy” by many of Gemma’s friends. I just wanted something that reminded me of happy, smiles and sunshine, so I decided on a red, blue and yellow theme that always reminds me of summertime.

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It’s a Wrap

Carriers. It’s SO confusing. There are Metas. Full buckles. Half buckles. Wraps. Ring slings. Water slings. Hybrids. Mei Tais. Pods. If you’re new to the world of babywearing, your head is likely spinning right now with visions of Toyotas and fruity drinks. And you might have a headache. Sorry. And with some of the options costing, well, an arm and a leg, you may well be thinking that babywearing is only for people with big bank accounts. I wanted to write a post telling you that you are wrong. But I wanted to be sure. Sure that there were, in fact, comfortable, ergonomic, and reasonable options to fit almost any budget. And there are!

So finding the right carrier is pretty analogous to settling down into a romantic relationship. If my interest in trying new things and general restlessness in the wrap world means anything significant in the arena of my love life, Mr. T had better watch out. Just sayin’. Of course, a great deal of my “try all the things” -ness comes from a purely professional interest. So we’re good. Anywho, if a carrier treats you badly; if it digs, pinches, causes back pain, or is otherwise a sucky partner, leave it: you can do better. If things are going swimmingly but something gorgeous and new catches your eye, by all means– enjoy looking. But don’t feel the need to ditch what you’ve got in hot pursuit of the untried. The other carrier may be popular, but that doesn’t mean that it will have your back (literally) when you’re down. And you may very well lose the wrap of your dreams in a wrap-lust-frenzy that makes swingers look like June Cleaver on a Monday night.

The best carrier is one that you can afford, one that feels comfortable to you and your child, and one that you can live with. The end. You can hunt forever for that one thing made of solid gold (and, may I say, “ouch!”), but in my personal and tested experience you can’t improve too much on what works. I have had wraps that have been uncomfortable, yes– but if I was sworn under oath, I would have to make the confession that the most comfortable and expensive wrap I’ve ever tried wasn’t that much greater than a machine woven that I also loved (and that most anyone could afford). And that the most expensive wrap I’ve ever tried (not mine, thank goodness!) was also pretty uncomfortable to me. Mind blown?

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Etsy Print Shops

I think prints can make such a wonderful addition to children’s rooms, helping tie in themes and add a splash of detail or color to the room. I’m still in the midst of working on Drake and Juliet’s rooms, but I am already dreaming of planning another nursery room one day, so here is a roundup of some of my favorite prints and shops on Etsy.

1) Daisy and Bump Art  |   2) Trafalgar Square  |  3)  Leo Little Lion  |  4) Kelli Murray Art  |  5) Loxly Hollow  |  6) Whimsy Whimsical  |  7) Hello Hue Studio  |  8) The Wheatfield  |  9) The Inked Leaf

Do you have any favorite art print shops?

5 memoirs to read just for fun

In another life, pre-kids, I never appreciated all the free time I had to read whatever I wanted and whenever I wanted. Being an English major and former teacher, I was always a bookworm. Then the kiddos came along, and it seemed like I never had a free moment to myself to read anything other than parenting books about sleep training and weaning.

Thankfully, as my girls got a little older, I discovered that I could actually get through quite a few books in the time I had here and there between waiting to pick up my daughter, naps, and other rare moments of quiet. Having the Kindle app on my phone was key in being able to read on the go, as was discovering that I could borrow Kindle titles from my library.

In the past year, here are five of the best memoirs I’ve read. I love memoirs because they are generally immediately engaging and inspiring, drawing you in right away. I also appreciate seeing a new perspective into the lives of women who are so different from myself, and yet being able to relate to many of the things they struggle through.

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