Spicy Turkey Meatballs

Sometimes I am amazed that I find the time to cook dinner almost every night.  I do most of my prep work in the afternoons while Ava is either napping or quietly playing on the floor.  And since I don’t have much time for anything that doesn’t involve the babers, I opt for quick and easy meals.  Yesterday, I put together this meatball dish and stored it in the fridge until I was ready to saute the meatballs and cook the pasta and put it on the table … just in time for Mike to walk through the door.


To Make the Spicy Turkey Meatballs … Chop up some onions [any kind will do] and place into bowl with ground turkey.  Add a dash of salt, fresh ground black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, hot adobo seasoning [i use Goya], and an italian seasoning blend.  Mix by hand and roll into balls.  These store really well in the fridge and it allows them to set so they keep their shape better when you cook them.

To Make the Sauce … Simmer chopped onions and tomatoes, olive oil, dried basil and oregano [or italian seasoning] until veggies are tender.  Meanwhile, saute fresh green beans.  Mix together with salt and pepper to taste.

When you’re ready, heat olive oil up in pan and brown meatballs on all sides until cooked through.  Cook pasta, strain, and add to pan with meatballs.  Add sauce and fresh basil.  Stir, serve, and enjoy!

baby / tots

Lullaby and Goodnight?

Getting Ava to sleep at night has always been a challenge, but since she learned to stand up in her crib it seems like ‘Mission Impossible’.  She is getting a little better every night, but still resists and still wakes up once or twice before morning.  Her bedtime routine begins around 6pm when we put away her toys and she gobbles down her dinner.  Then we read a story and it’s off to the bath.  By 7:30pm she is ready to nurse and fall asleep … but the minute she realizes she has been placed in her crib, her eyes pop open and the panic sets in.  Mike and I take turns laying her back down, soothing her back to sleep, and tiptoeing around the house until it sticks [usually around 9pm].  I wish that were the end of it, but around 12am and 3am the monitor starts to shriek and coo.  At this point, I am used to sleeping in three hour intervals and I find comfort in knowing that eventually she will sleep through the night [pretty please].


Yesterday I posted some sleepytime luxuries for mommies – today it’s all about the babers

Ava loves bathtime.  We give her a few squirty toys to play with and then we sing our baby massage song [“You get a baby massage … because you work so hard” – silly, but she likes it], while I squeeze and wash her tiny chubby body with Angel Baby Shampoo & Body Wash.  No phthalates, no sodium laureth sulfate, no toxins of any kind … just pure, gentle, and organic – just like baby.


Massage your baby by hand or with these organic terry washcloths [trimmed in pink, blue, green or yellow wool] from Lolababiez Organics.


I will admit that for some people reusable baby wipes may not be the most practical choice, but they really are simple and oh so soft and environmentally friendly … Soylicious Bummy Wipes from Smq Organics.


Now baby is ready for sleep [fingers crossed] and ready to be wrapped up in something soft and smelling like mommy [I sleep with Ava’s blankets for a night or two … she is spoiled rotton!].  Try this silky soft blanket from babysoy [comes in a variety of colors].

soyblanketNothing is too good for baby.  We try our best to keep everything in Ava’s life pure and simple … the way life should be.


Daydreaming of Sleep

On Saturday we drove to the grocery mecca, Stew Leonard’s, for what turned out to be one of the most stressful shopping experiences of our lives.  The store itself was awesome [They make their own cheeses, breads, chips, pastries, etc., are stocked with fresh from the farm produce, bottle their own milk, and even have an ice cream shop and barbecue!] and it was humongous, but still not big enough for the massive crowds of people trying to maneuver their carts through the labyrinth aisles.  There was no strolling or taking time to look around … always someone right behind you asking you to pull out of the way or hurry up.  We didn’t even make it into the pantry or garden sections – we had reached the point of “let’s just go home”.  Regardless, we now have a packed refrigerator and freezer that should keep us well fed for a few weeks.  After putting all of the groceries away, we headed over to Lodge for a Bloody Mary and to visit with a few friends before calling it a day.

Yesterday, Mike finally got to put his Father’s Day gift [a grill] to use.  We packed up steaks and corn and potato salad and drove to Meadow Lake at Corona Park in Queens for our first family barbecue.  It was so nice relaxing on the blankets … and Ava was the best – she was scared of the grass so she was content to sit and play and let mommy and daddy feast.  We got a bit turned around on the way home and what should have been a fifteen minute drive took over an hour, but we made it – stuffed and exhausted ….. which brings me to today’s topic – SLEEP.

Ah yes, SLEEP.  I can’t get enough of it – literally, so the zzz’s I do manage to squeeze in need to count.  These little sleepytime luxuries will help soothe you into a pampered slumber that will almost make you feel like you got eight hours of uninterrupted shut eye.  Oh how I miss those days…

Pop some soothing oils and calming scents into your bath with these fizzy Lavender Bath Bombs [handmade by Serendipity Soap Works in Colorado Springs], soak your overworked muscles [carrying a baby around can really do a number on your back!], and just sit back and soak it all away.


After your bath, take care of those tired eyes with a rejuvinating cream like Temptress Rosewater Facial Cream by Hush Hush Essentials.  Their natural formula is vegan, paraben free, and gentle enough for those with sensitive skin.


Now that you’re calm and well moisturized, slip your feet into a pair of soft, cushiony slippers like these Sporty Spa Thongs from Acorn.


When it’s time to curl up under the covers for that tranquil, peace-filled sleep you’ve been dreaming of, slide a sleep mask over those weary eyes to help lull yourself to sleep.  I love this rainbow pattern from Bib Bon


…and this polka dot mask from Handmade Classics with a color coordinated pouch is totally cute [and travel friendly!].


Now you have everything you need to catch some well deserved rest … except maybe the time.  Ah………..


In the Mood for Summer

It’s time for some fun fun fun in the bright summer sun!  I often find myself dressing to match my mood without even thinking about it.  Darker colors when I’m feeling down or it’s gloomy outside and brighter colors when I’m happy and the sun is shining.  Today’s playful fashion picks were chosen to put you in the mood for some summertime fun!

This top, made by clothing brand Crystal, puts me in the mood for watermelon and rainbow sherbert!


How can you not think about cotton candy and pink lemonade when you look at these luscious earrings by Wild Woman Jewelry?  So simple, and so pretty.


This fabulous pencil skirt by Alex & Ra was inspired by the movement of the waves and makes me feel like it’s the Fourth of July.  The color is so vivid – a definite head turner!


Feel as free as a butterfly when you wear this charm necklace I found at The Bonbi Forest.


I love this turquoise straw cloche [bell] hat – fashioned by the owner of New Orleans’ Funky Monkey Boutique.  The giant red poppy just screams ‘strolling in the park on a beautiful summer day’ to me.


One of my favorite summer colors is bright, crisp green.  When I look at it, I think of two things – freshly cut grass and lime flavored freeze pops.  Both of which are awesome in their own way.  This swimsuit by Emobi in Australia is also awesome in its own way … made using environmentally friendly water based dyes combined with breathable UPF 50+ fabric.  You can order Emobi online at BeachBliss.


The colors on this cuff bracelet by Strat Designs remind me of the smell of coconut scented tanning lotion and are the perfect scheme to accent a great [fake] tan.



I Love a Picnic

I have picnic fever this week.  I know the old adage is to “starve a fever, feed a cold”, but I think this fever needs to be fed.  In fact, later this afternoon Ava and I will be heading over to Grand Ferry Park with an Almond Crusted Chicken Sandwich w/ Avocado Mayo and some Bean and Potato Picnic Salad.


To make the sandwich … After coating chicken breasts with egg yolk, dip into a mixture of panko bread crumbs and crushed almonds.  Place into a hot skillet that has been drizzled with olive oil and cook on each side for about 7-10 minutes.  While it’s cooking, mash up half an avocado into 2 tbs of mayonnaise and a squirt of lemon juice.  Place chicken on croissant and add sliced red onion, fresh basil leaves, sliced avocado and the avocado mayo.  YUM.

To make the salad … Cut 4-6 red potatoes into bite sized chunks and boil for about 10 minutes [until tender].  Strain potatoes and place into bowl of ice water [to stop the cooking and help potatoes hold their shape] for about 30 seconds.  Remove potatoes and place on paper towels to absorb excess water and then put them in your salad bowl.  While potatoes are boiling, snap off the ends of some fresh greens beans and boil for about four minutes, then place them into ice water and leave them sit for a few [this will keep the color and texture crisp] before drying and adding to salad bowl.  Rinse and strain can of white beans and add to bowl.  Now, chop up some red onion or scallions, fresh flat leaf parsley and/or cilantro and toss that in with 1 tbs of garlic paste [optional].  Stir in 2-3 tbs of mayo, a squirt of dijon mustard, some lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  OR just drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  This salad can be served warm or cold!

Whether you are planning a picnic or not, these recipes are perfect for a warm summer’s day…

Chicken, Brie, & Pear Sandwich w/ Balsamic Onions

Click on Image for Recipe from Greedy Gourmet


Spinach & Strawberry Salad w/ Walnuts & Goat Cheese

Click on Image for Recipe from The Cosmic Cowgirl


Maple Snickerdoodles

Click on Image for Recipe from Little Spoon Eats


baby / tots fashion

Fashionably Late

Some days it’s hard enough getting myself ready to head out the door.  Add Ava to the mix and all of the accessories and necessities that come with her, and I’m lucky if I’m only 15 minutes late to wherever we are going.  I consider myself a fairly organized person – it’s just all those last minute decisions that trip me up.  [Do I really want to wear these shoes?  Maybe I should toss an extra hoodie in the bag for the babers.  Did I pack enough diapers?]  As much as I try to plan ahead, I can’t seem to overcome my last minute second guessing and mind changing habits.  I will work on it, but until then, at least when we stroll in a few minutes behind schedule, we can do it in style.

This cotton batik diaper bag [available at Earth Lover] is handmade by women in Ghana as part of the Global Mamas initiative to help African women become more financially independent.


Just like the bag above, this reversible handmade diaper bag by Retrofied is cute enough to keep using long after the diaper phase ends.  Completely customizable [choose the fabric and strap lengths] and stylishly practical.  [Be sure to browse the entire shop – sooo many good-looking bags – I have my eye on the Weekender.]


Keep things organized with this brightly colored diaper purse by babybe.  Toss it in your diaper bag or into your everyday purse for quick trips.  It expands to hold a small wipes case and can be purchased with matching burb cloth and bib.


People will find a way to make even the dullest necessities look mod.  I just love this polka dot baby wipes case from Blowing Kisses Design. You can purchse a matching burb cloth and bib for this too!


cooking creativity decor life

I’m Going on a Picnic and I’m Going to Take…

It is officially summertime!  Unfortunately, it rained most of the day here, but we didn’t let that put a damper on Mike’s first Father’s Day.  We hopped into the Jeep, and took off on one of our exploration trips, this time cruising through Long Island  – Babylon, Bayshore, Massapequa, etc.  All cute little shore towns with beaches, parks, ponds, and lakes that made us wish the weather were more cooperative so we could pull over and dine alfresco – picnic style.

I L O V E picnics.  There is a certain charm to sitting down on a blanket, enjoying the food, the company, and the surroundings.  I keep a throw blanket in Ava’s stroller and a ‘picnic kit’ in the car for impromptu moments.  And don’t let the weather spoil your plans … an indoor picnic can be just as fun.  Toss a blanket on the living room floor and picnic with the kids or wait until they are asleep and set the mood with a few candles and a bottle of wine for a romantic dinner and movie night.   On Wednesday, I will be spotlighting some great picnic recipes, but first here are a few essentials for your own ‘picnic kit’.

This cute handmade bag from Banana Barrel, unzips to reveal a colorful padded quilt – just fold it up and go!


Add a touch of luxury to your next picnic with this gorgeous hand woven wool and mohair blanket by 40th Parallel … made with loving care on an eighty year old Draper Northrop Loom in Lancaster, PA.  [Click on image for their Etsy Store.]


Instead of the usual paper and plastic, try these disposable bamboo plates and utensils from bambu.  They also have a great selection of everyday wares.


This bright waterproof handwoven basket actually helps fight poverty!  It is a Fair Trade product, produced by Traidcraft … available at Oxfam.


Or throw all of your picnic needs into this hand woven tote, made in Morocco by a Fair Trade artisan cooperative.  Available from World of Good.


There, now you have the basics to have a good time … wherever your blanket lands!


Family Time – Be Back Soon

Just an FYI that I will be posting again by the end of the week.  I thought that having family in town would mean I would get a little bit of a break and be able to write and relax, but that has not been the case.  The babers is rather dependent on her mommy and is letting everyone know it.  Have a great week!  XO



Have A Safe [and Fashionable] Flight!

My mom, gramma, Aunt Karen, and Cousin Val arrive today from Ohio.  I am picking them up in the airport in a little while … if in fact they make it on the plane.  You would have thought they were traveling to a Third World country.  It is my mom’s first flight and the rest have only flown one or two time before, but still.  All four of them apparently had something against checking any baggage and decided to try to cram five days worth of clothing and supplies [along with gifts for the baby] into carry ons.  Frantic phone calls and emails flooded the airwaves … “What about my hairspray?”, “Will my curling iron be okay going through the X-Ray machine?”, “Can I put my purse into a tote bag [with a bunch of other crap] and have that be my personal item to carry on the plane?”, “Will I have to remove my partial plate to go through security?”.  You gotta love family.

Here are a few fun, smart, and chic travel finds …

If you’re going to travel, you might as well do it in style!  There will be no mistaking your luggage with these colorful corduroy luggage tags by jack and bee.  Pick a style to match your own personality … and pick up a camera case and passport holder too!



Traveling with kids?  Keep them entertained [and organized] with a cute coloring wallet [what a great idea!] from Sew Fantastic.  [This would also make an awesome gift – comes in lots of different patterns.]


These super handy travel amenity kits are from Flight 001.  They also have lots of mini essentials, a good selection of toiletry bags, and tons more travel gear.


Have a safe flight!  XO

baby / tots life

Yum Yum Bananas

Yesterday was Ava’s sixth month check-up at the doctor.  17 pounds, 5 ounces, a little over 27 inches, and a normal sized head.  She is crawling, sitting up, and as of last weekend, standing up in her crib!  She also had to have two heart-wrenching shots.  I think they upset me more than they do her … she seems to be fine right now [squealing and climbing up my leg trying to get at my laptop while I sit on the floor and type].   The doctor also drew up a food plan for our little fatty patty.  Until about a month ago her diet solely consisted of breast milk and then we started introducing her to first foods like rice cereal, sweet potatoes, bananas, and peas once a day.  Now she gets to have two meals a day in addition to nursing and will soon move up to three meals and mixed foods.  Exciting stuff – you should see her wolf it down!  I had every intention of making all of my own baby food, but sometimes there just isn’t time so when we buy, we buy organic.  I have found a wonderful resource for when I do have the time to steam and mash that I will list later in this post.  And it’s not just about the food … now I get to buy cute bibs, spoons, bowls, sippy cups, etc.

This Spoon & Bowl set from Camden Rose comes in a neat little netted bag – perfect for gift giving!  They make some really great toys too and all of their products are certified non-toxic and made from natural materials.


I love Squirt – the “baby food dispensing spoon” from Boon.  It is the perfect size for on the go mommies.  I fill mine up and toss it into a diaper bag pocket next to a fresh ice pack and out the door we go.


If you do want to make your own baby food [and even if you don’t], you MUST visit WholesomeBabyFood.  This site is amazing and has more information than I could ever possibly absorb about making and storing baby food, allergies, nutrition, and so much more.

Dr. Susanna’s World Baby Foods are such a great idea!  Multicultrual [yes, you read that correctly] and organic baby food selections to start forming those little palates.  With flavors like “Tokyo Tum Tum”, “Sweetie Tahiti”, and “Lullaby Thai” your baby’s tastes buds will be going global.


I also really like Homemade Baby baby food.  You can find it at Whole Foods [and several other grocery retailers – there is a store locator on their site] or order it online.  They use a “Fresh Chill” preparation method so the food is never frozen or jarred, just fresh and delicious.


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