Monthly Archives: July 2015

Growing up,feeding men, and other stuff

This week’s posts may get a little photo happy because my little baby girl is turning a year old on Friday! I know it’s very cliched, but it does really seem just like yesterday when she was my itty bitty newborn. These last (almost) 12 months have been one heck of a roller coaster that I can only imagine what the future will hold. But more on ‘looking back’ in a later post. But first, some newborn cuteness…


around 24 hrs old. can she be any sweeter??


With her bday coming up my mind has been swirling on memories, Bday ideas, and making a smash cake. I’m not a baker. My sister, Natalie, is our resident baker, along with my niece, Maya, so I’m a little nervous about this whole thing. But I figure it’s sugar, sweet, creamy, and messy so Gabi won’t be too critical of how it looks or tastes. So more on that to come, too!

How tiny!

With my mind occupied I haven’t been as faithful blogging. Going-dad gave me some great advice in that I shouldn’t try to push it; to just let it flow otherwise it’ll become ‘work’. Over the weekend I felt like I was just trying to pull something out of the air to write about that I actually got frustrated. So I decided to step back and really evaluate what I’m capable of doing. While everyday would be amazing, I just don’t think that’s me. So look for me a few times a week! 


I am also slowly but surely going through my kitchen. Baby steps, right!?? I’ve decide, in an effort to maybe downsize my cookbook collection is pick a cookbook to cook for the week. If I find good things I’ll keep it. If I dont, then I’ll let it go. So I’m starting with Lucinda Scala Quinn’s Feeding men & boys. I figured I have two men to feed so this should be quite appropriate. So look forward to some recipes from here. But not tonight. 


THE cookbooks

Tonight…we’re trying out a portable grill. My dad, Gabi, and I go to the beach weekly and instead of buying food we figured we’d start grilling our own. The husband and I used to primitive camp in Dothan so we have a little propane grill that we’re going to try to utilize while beaching. So tonight is our trial run of some chicken pinchos (because no one wants to look like a fool trying to grill or set up a tent in 30 mph winds in the middle of the beach. People: practice at home!). So I recently received this link of Grilled chicken recipes and thought I’d try one a week. So tonight’s is a mix between a lemon and oregano marinade with the squash. 

Ps. Soak your skewers so they don’t catch on fire. 

Pss. One more. 


Garden musings

I once taught a freshman ‘exploratory’ course at ASU. Basically it was for incoming freshman who were undecided on their major. Sort of like an intro course to college, some introspective work, and some trips to career services and online ‘tests’ to see what they may be geared for. 

Being an instructor I also took those tests so I knew what the students were in for. One of them was a 500 question ‘personality’ test that was supposed to tell you what your top career choices might be. Here were mine (and this is almost 7 years ago and I remember it clear as day): 1. Farmer 2. Lawyer 3. English professor. Interesting right? What’s funnier? I was a Lit major as an undergrad (studying 16/17th lit in grad school); I LOVE Law & Order (read: fanatical); and I love to garden. Farm, a bit far fetched. But yea, that’s what it said about me! Coincidentally, a large percentage of lawyers actually have a background in Literature. How cool, right!

So I’ve always had my hands in dirt. I think I got it from my mother. Flowers are beautiful things and watching something grow that you’ve cultivated is quite fulfilling. Yes, I stole a bit of Voltaire there…cultivate your own garden. 

It wasn’t until I lived in Dothan that I took the route of ‘farmer’. My patient husband built free standing veggie boxes so that I could plant tomatoes, herbs, okra, squash,cucumbers, and peppers- all from seed. And I loved every minute of caring and upkeep. I used to freak out a bit when we would take a weekend camping trip because I was afraid our sprinkler system would fail and they’d die of thirst. I know, roll your eyes. 

said garden boxes with the sprinklers

And then we moved to Puerto Rico with lots o lots of room! So I needed a garden. Instead of the hubby taking on the duty my father, who came over with us, was charged with the task. He dug out 8 ( to begin with which expanded to 12) squares for some square foot gardening. Good sport!


gabi’s garden!

We’ve come across some great times, and also some hard times with the garden. I’ve also learned a lot about trellising and going vertical, especially with the tomatoes. We’ve got 20-30 mph wind gusts here so making sure everything is staked and secured is a must. 


newest addition: sturdy tomato ‘cages’

I’ve recently encountered little critters that love to eat up my squash and zucchini buds. I’m on a third planting now and this time around I’ll be deploying eggshells to deter the snails and slugs, who I think are the culprits. 

There has been a lot of trial and error. Good harvests and others not so good. But I keep coming back for more. And as Aubrey Hepburn says, ‘to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. ‘


sunflowers for my sweet sunflower, Gabi


multiple blooms!


starting over. again.



Yea, I’m not so much a scheduler. Which is funny because I taught college courses for about three years while I was a grad student and I also was a tenth grade teacher of English and History. I have quite the storied life. And while these professions would, you’d think, lend themselves to being structured and scheduled, I must admit my best work was by my seat of my pants. 

That went pretty much for my academic career (and professional as I also was a food reviewer for a local magazine where I lived before moving to PR). If I wasn’t right up to deadline I really wasn’t invested in the product I was putting out. I’d say this had good and bad qualities with it. I mean even to this day, it’s 9.05 pm and I’m just now getting around to blogging. Granted I’m dealing with sleep training that is failing and a baby that refused to nap today until 2 in the afternoon, but it’s still last minute. 

Which brings me to scheduling and that beautiful baby who won’t sleep. 

From the beginning I read books. Lots of books. Swaddling vs non swaddling. Paci vs no paci. Feeding on demand vs scheduled feedings. Attachment parenting vs ?? Can’t think of it. Co sleeping vs independent sleeping. And my head just exploded. 

This is my first so of course I was scared s$&@less but thankfully being older (and I’d like to think wiser- ha!) I decided to just go with the flow. And it worked out great. Gabriela was (IS) a happy, engaged, pleasant, easy going baby. We could drive all around town (or Puerto Rico) and she’d just enjoy the ride. Living in Puerto Rico everyone wants to say hello and chat a bit and having a baby in tow added to that desire to converse and Gabi complied with coos and smiles, which just enchanted the locals. We loved/love it. 

And her daytime naps? Awesome! If she was being held. Yes. We were those people. And we still are. And this week I have started ‘sleep training’ her – the gentle, no cry version- and it’s driving me bonkers. Plus I’m sure it’s not helping that her first molar is STILL creeping in. Devil teeth. 

In doing this ‘training’ I’ve realized that we don’t really have a schedule. I could get very detailed about what ours days look like but that’ll be boring. Needless to say, everyday consisted of baby girl being held for her naps (which, just for the record, I absolutely LOVE it!). But productivity was low. Schedules and boundaries were needed. Hence the training started this week. 

But things still don’t go according to plan. Like today. Sunshine was up at 6.30 and didn’t take her (held) nap until 2.00pm today. (I must note, however, that she did snooze a bit BY HERSELF. In her crib!) Which then led to a late dip in her pool, then a bath, and a feeding, which made everything way behind schedule. 


still trying to figure out the whole napping thing. At least she’s asleep!

Everything worked out how it should. I just have it in my head that certain things have to happen at certain times. And while that is true, I’m slowly beginning to realize that that’s not how I now live my life. So Gabi’s nap was late; her feeding was late; her bedtime was late. But she got to swim, and see moo cows, and I got to spend one on one time splashing around with my girl. 
There’s a time and place for schedules. And there’s a time and place for letting  life unfold as it should. I’m looking to find that happy medium. 

The downside today though: no real dinner. Instead, a Bagel with cream cheese. But still yum! 

schedule revolves around me!

July WHAT??

So did July sneak up on anyone else besides me? I can’t believe we’re already 7 months into 2015. And it’s been amazing watching Gabriela grow and development right before our very eyes. It truly is an amazing experience. 

sitting pretty

I was thinking about the last 7 months and how I wanted to simplify things: our routine, belongings. Mental hang ups, etc. and I realized I haven’t really done much of anything. I really do think of reorganizing our master bedroom because I’ve read over and over again to make that your sanctuary, your place to relax, free of clutter. But then I think I’m too tired/flustered/unmotivated to start. 

But not anymore! And what better way to start off the month of July!  So I’m going to tackle one area/room/project a week – did I also mention I have a list of projects that I’ve wanted to do??  I’m hoping that this will spur me on to maybe do two a week. An ongoing project is our garden that is in a bit disarray due to this drought and NOTHING wanting to grow (other than my herbs and peppers). So that’s my ongoing project. 


fresh oregano and basil from the garden

fresh tomato sauce with herbs

Along with that is my kitchen. I need to try to streamline it better; my herbs are all scattered around in different places; and I’m sure I can make it more efficient. Or at least try. 

Happy organizing!

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