Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink

SHOP MY FAVES

SHOP MY FAVES
SHOP MY FAVES

STYLE

STYLE
STYLE

Cavatelli with Broccoli {Meatless Monday}

This is one of my all-time favorite pasta recipes. It's light. It's easy, and it's perfect for any season of the year but especially spring. I've included it in many menu plans, but for some reason, I've never posted the delicious recipe.

Until now...

CAVATELLI WITH BROCCOLI

Ingredients
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 cups broccoli florets
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, more if you prefer spicier
1-1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1-16 oz. package of frozen cavatelli, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preparation
1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot.

2. Add the garlic and cook until lightly browned. Stir constantly to avoid burning. Burned garlic is bitter.

3. Add the broccoli, salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and cook for about 3 minutes.

4. Add chicken broth and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

5. Cook the pasta according to package direction. When finished, drain pasta and add it to the broccoli mixture. Toss well to combine.

6. Serve with grated Parmigiano Reggiano sprinkled on top.

This dish pairs wonderfully with a glass of chardonnay.

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Menu Plan Monday :: 3.31.2014

It's hard to believe that it's the last day of March. I am so ready for spring and for grilling weather. I've been stockpiling grilling recipes all winter, and I can't wait to put them into the rotation.

But this week it's business as usual since it's still not quite warm enough for grilling.


Monday - Dinner out.

Tuesday - Cherry tomato spaghetti with a side salad.

Wednesday - Baked & breaded chicken cutlets (my own recipe) with roasted new potatoes.

Thursday - Beef and black bean chili (this recipe was taken from "Dishing It Up Disney Style, A Cookbook for Families with Type 1 Diabetes". We were given the cookbook while Harper was in the hospital last month.


Saturday - Dinner out. Kids choice, so it will most likely be hibachi!

Sunday - Hubs is on Sunday dinner duty.

Don't make meal planning a chore. Check out a variety of meal plans at I'm an Organizing Junkie's Meal Plan Monday. To see all of my meal planning posts, click here.
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Five Fab Finds

I've decided to rename "This Week's Obsessions" to "Five Fab Finds". It's a better name and more indicative of the items that I feature. I've got lots of good stuff to show you this week. Some of the items are new purchases, others are items I've owned and have recently rediscovered, and one is an item on my wish list.

1. The d'Orsay Flat

d'orsay flats are spring's sexy flat, and I am loving them! They are sleek and sophisticated and pair perfectly with jeans or a pretty spring dress.

The designer Jenni Kayne is known for her fabulous d'Orsay flats. But since I can't afford her hefty price tag, I instead picked up this copycat pair at the Nine West outlet. Truthfully, they look just like Jenni Kaynes.
{Nine West Piper d'Orsay flat, $49.99, available at Nine West outlet stores}

2. A large clutch

I love a good clutch, but honestly, most are too small to carry my necessities. After putting away my car keys, lipstick, compact mirror, iPhone, and debit card and money, I can barely close the clutch. That's why I love my camo/animal print clutch. It's roomy without being boxy or overwhelming.

I bought it last summer at Urban Oufitters. It's no longer available, but you can find a similar one here and here
.

3. Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Countertop Spray in Radish

I've been using Mrs. Meyer's products for years. When I first discovered the brand, the lavender scent was my favorite. A few weeks ago, I picked up a bottle of countertop spray in the scent "Radish", and I am hooked. Such a great springtime scent. I love how the scent lingers in my kitchen. You can purchase it at Target or here just in time for spring cleaning.

4. Banquette Butter Dish from Anthropologie

I love both the simplicity of this butter dish and how the bright yellow gives it a funky edge. It's perfect to display on your countertop. Definitely adding it to my must-have list since my current Tupperware butter dish is looking a little ragged. Buy it here for just $16.


5. Tea Towels from Studiopatro

I can get lost for hours on Etsy. I have a bad habit of clicking on the related products and browsing, forgetting time. That's exactly how I discovered Studiopatro, a collection of thoughtfully designed kitchen linens. The tea towels are made of sustainable and luxurious linen. When I first saw the "Devour" towel, I knew I had to have it.  It was everything I love.

I've had my towel for about a year, and I love how after each wash, the linen becomes softer and more broken in. You don't want to miss this Etsy shop. You can purchase individual towels or sets, and I love to give these as hostess gifts. Tea towels start at $24 and towels gift sets start at $36. Buy them here.


What are you crushing on this week? Please share in the comments section. If I love it too, I'll feature it in an upcoming Five Fab Finds.
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The Normandy Sandwich {Recipe}

One of the things I remember most about my visits to Paris is the food, specifically the sandwiches. The baguettes were artfully assembled and were just as delicious as they were pretty.

I often have cravings for those sandwiches. Thankfully most of the ingredients are available stateside, so it's easy to reproduce these sandwiches at home.

My favorite French sandwich is the Normandy. It's a delightful combination of Brie, Dijon mustard, arugula, and of course, crusty French bread.


THE NORMANDY SANDWICH (makes 2 sandwiches)

Ingredients

  • One French baguette
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard (I like Maille Mustard Traditional Original Dijon)
  • 2 cups arugula (or any other lettuce you prefer)
  • 4 oz. Brie cheese
  • 1 Granny Smith apple thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional toppings: raisins, craisins, slivered almonds, or pine nuts.


Preparation

1. Using a serrated knife, cut two 7" pieces from the baguette. Place your hand firmly on top of each piece of baguette. While applying light pressure with one hand, use the other hand to cut the baguette horizontally down the center. {see image}

2. Spread a generous 1-1/2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard on the bottom half of each sliced baguette.

3. Place 1 cup of arugula loosely on top of the mustard.

4. Using the serrated knife, cut the Brie into thin slices and place on top of the arugula.

5. Place apples on top of the Brie and top with pepper.

6. Place the remaining halves of the baguettes on top of the apples.

Voila! You've got a Normandy sandwich.

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Winter's Last Breath #wordlesswednesday

Winter is struggling to hold on here in the northeast. Making a last ditch effort to keep hold of its grip, winter delivered another sprinkling of snow overnight. As much as I am ready to welcome spring in all its glory, I'd be lying if I said this latest snowfall wasn't breathtakingly beautiful.

The light snowfall clung to trees and bushes and spared the streets and sidewalks.

{A festive holly bush}

{No sign of spring in this tree}

{Snow on the garden gate}

{The sun fights the clouds for a spot in the sky}


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Menu Plan Monday :: 3.24.14

The weather has been so bi-polar that it's almost impossible to plan meals. Last week we had grilling weather, and this week it's going to snow. I'm tired of guessing what Mother Nature will bring our way. So, if it's 65 degrees and we are eating piping hot soup, well, so be it.


Monday - Cavatelli with broccoli. I wing it, but this is a great recipe to use if you don't have one.

Tuesday - School fundraiser at Jersey Mike's Subs.

WednesdaySlow cooker chicken noodle soup. I just pinned this recipe over the weekend. It's comfort food at its best.

Thursday - Escarole and bean soup. I'll be using a recipe that was my mother-in-law's. This is a great winter soup, but sadly, I haven't made it all winter. I think it's time.

Friday - Dinner out.

Saturday - Homemade pizza.

Sunday - The Hubs is on dinner duty.

Don't make menu planning a chore! For inspiration and to see what others are eating this week, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. To see all of my menu plans, click here.
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March 2014 Birchbox Deconstructed

I received my 3rd Birchbox in March, and I have to say, I was thrilled with it. It definitely made up for what February's lacked.

The theme of the March Birchbox was "Spring Forward". With a focus on losing an hour, the items in the box are intended to help us maximize our daily beauty routine.


Here's what was waiting for me.

1. Gilchrist & Soames London Collection body lotion (Received a sample size. Full size, $16).
This fast-absorbing hydrator will leave skin smooth and silky while leaving behind a light, earthy scent.
My thoughts: Loved the light scent and non-greasy feeling.

2. Keims Cleansing Energizing Shampoo (Received a sample. Full size, $9.50)
This invigorating cleanser helps to fortify and nourish strands for a smooth, silky finish.
My thoughts: I noticed a big difference in the condition of my dry ends. They were healthier after several washes. Great scent too.

3. POP Beauty Eye Shadow Palette (Received a sample. Full size, $24)
Three hues in a versatile palette the go on easily and stay on for a flattering look.
My thoughts: I LOVED the colors that were sent to me and found that this eye shadow remained on my eyelids longer than some drugstore brands without having to use an eyelid primer.

4. Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum (Received a sample. Full size, $20-$42)
This anti-aging serum creates a weightless UV shield and is suitable for year round wear.
My thoughts: Since it is a serum not a lotion, it is not as thick which I liked.

5. LA FRESH Cleanser and Waterproof Makeup Remover wipes (Received 2 wipes. $9.99 per pack)
These are biodegradable wipes that remove makeup, dirt and oil to clean pores and reveal glowing skin.
My thoughts: I loved the oil-free face cleanser wipe. It was a cleanser in wipe form, so it was perfect for those nights when you just don't have the energy to stand at the sink and lather up to wash your face. Hop into bed, pull out a wipe and go to town!

This chocolate offers a unique blend of dark chocolate, tangy cherry, and almond crunch.
My thoughts: YUM!!

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Spring Essentials {Fashion Friday} #fashionfriday

Spring is FINALLY here! After spending months draped in layers, I am ready to ditch my sweaters for something a little lighter and a whole lot less drab. Here are a few of the pieces that I am loving for spring 2014.

Spring Essentials

1. Get your French chic on in this H&M striped top.

2. Go big or go home in this spectacular statement necklace from Warehouse.

3. Easter egg hues usher in the arrival of spring. Why not try them out in a pair of skinny jeans from Juicy Couture?

4. Whether you are working out or working "it", keep your hair back in style with elastic hairbands.

5. Keep it in the bag with this shimmery clutch from Michael Kors.

6. Spring's sexy shoe is the ultra feminine d'Orsay flat.

7. Put your best fingers forward in Essie nail polish in Chinchilly and Bangle Jangle. I can never decide if I like the color or the name better!

8. If you invest in one beauty item this spring make it an orange lip color.

9. A must for any season is a great pair of sunnies. I'm a softie for a fab pair of Ray-Ban aviators.


Friday is the most fashionable day of the week! Be sure to check out other Fashion Friday participants including Jo-Lynne's crush on cobalt blue.
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Objects of My Obsession

It seems my head has been buried in books and Web sites about type 1 diabetes. So, last night I took a break to pore over some of my favorite fashion magazines and sites like InStyle and People Style Watch.

I made a list of a few of the items I am loving at the moment and a few things that are perfect for spring.

The Kea colorblock wedge from Sole Society

Love that these can be casual (wear with boyfriend jeans and a black v-neck tee) or dressy (wear with a LBD). Last spring and summer I lived in a pair of super comfy wedges from Banana Republic that I bought in 2001. Sadly, they tore. So, I'm about to hit the purchase button on these hot wedges for just $69.95.

Hand-stamped juvenile diabetes/type 1 diabetes necklace

OK, I know I said I took a break from T1D, but I found this necklace on Etsy at Christine's Impression for $25. Loved it and am planning to order it this week. She has another necklace in her shop (not related to T1D) that I want to order also. Be sure to check out her shop. Lots of pretty things.


ALMAY Intense I-Color Shimmer-I Kit

I loved this color palette the moment I saw it. Of course, I'll be heading straight to Walgreens tomorrow to buy it. It's pretty much perfect for my green eyes, and it's a steal at only $8.


Converse One Star Roberta Mesh Sweater

Love, love, love this sweater. I bought it a few weeks ago when there was a Target Cartwheel deal on Converse sweaters. It's $30, but I scooped it up for 25% off. It's still a bit too cold to wear it, but spring is just around the corner, and I'm hoping for warmer temps and a chance to break out this sweater.

Gap Colorblock Leather Envelope Clutch (in Margate sand)

Lighten your load this spring and switch to a clutch for a GNO or lunch with your bestie. I love the combination of a dark neutral with a pale pastel in this clutch from Gap. This sweet clutch is just $40.

And throwing this one in for the little fashionistas. The Chasing Fireflies catalog came in the mail yesterday, and I died over this dress. OMG. One of my daughters needs to want this dress as badly as I want her to have it.

Wisteria Eyelet Dress

This dress? Perfect for a beach picture. Enough said.

What are you crushing on this week? Leave a comment to let me know!
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Ocean Medical Center Unveils State-of-the-Art, $82 Million Emergency Department {PHOTOS}

I've logged more hours in local emergency departments during the past 6 months than some people do in a lifetime. I've seen the good, the bad, and the the ugly.

On March 4th, I was invited to take a private tour as part of the Meridian Momtourage team of the brand new, 82 million dollar emergency department at Meridian Health's Ocean Medical Center. The tour was conducted by the hospital president Dean Lin, who couldn't have been more proud of this impressive facility.

Mr. Lin started the tour by showing us some of the incredible artwork displayed throughout the emergency department. He noted that great care was taken in choosing artwork that would have a calming affect on patients and visitors.

Mr. Lin pointed out that the artwork was carefully selected and many pieces follow a seaside theme and span generations.

This piece featuring lily pads is visually appealing and calming.


Mr. Lin showed us the blueprints for a planned serenity garden, a place where visiting family members can escape for some peace, relaxation, and quiet.


The main reception area resembles a 5-star hotel lobby with it's gorgeous wood and modern design.


What were formerly referred to as "waiting areas" are now called "family lounges" and are designed to be inviting and comfortable spaces.




There is a dedicated pediatric area, complete with private showers. This kind of personal touch goes a long way. Private showers are a must when you are required to remain with your child at all times.

I feel privileged to have this state-of-the-art facility just miles from my home. It feels more like a spa than a hospital. And the staff, according to Lin, is ready to make you feel as if you are at a hotel rather than a hospital. With a strong focus on customer care, the Ocean Medical Center Emergency Department is committed to each and every patient who walks through the door.

You can find both Meridian Health and Ocean Medical Center on Facebook.

I was not compensated to write this post. All opinions are my own.
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Get Poppin' with popchips {Giveaway}

Are potato chips one of your vices? You love the taste but don't love the guilt that comes with them?

I can totally relate.

I especially love eating potato chips with a sub or a sandwich, but once I start thinking about the bread, the mayo, and all the sandwich stuffings, the guilt of eating potato chips totally gets me.

That was until popchips hit the snacking scene and turned everything around.

popchips are naturally delicious and healthier than traditional potato chips. What sets Popchips apart from the rest? Well, several things, and they are all good.

popchips are never fried. Frying puts alot of unnecessary stuff in a chip that just doesn't belong.

popchips are never baked. Baking takes a lot of the good stuff out that totally belongs in a chip.

popchips are popped! Using heat and pressure, the potato is popped for a healthier and tastier alternative. A flavorful blend of seasonings is added to give popchips a unique taste that's perfect for the whole family.

The popchips pledge is simple. "No fake colors, no fake flavors, no preservatives, no fluorescent orange fingertips, and no wiping your greasy chip hand on your jeans."

Now that's a pledge I can get behind.

But can you have a healthy chip that tastes good too? You sure can! popchips don't taste like a piece of cardboard like many other "healthier" or baked chips. They have a great texture and are light and non-greasy. They also have the crunch of a potato chip which is hard to get in a baked chip.

popchips are available in potato and tortilla varieties. To see all selections, click here. My favorite flavors are original and salt & pepper, but my daughters love sea salt & vinegar.

And, popchips aren't just for snacking. You can use them for cooking, too! What???

Next time, you make chicken, keep the bread crumbs in the pantry and reach for almonds and popchips instead.


Almond-Crusted Chicken Breasts
Crusted with cheddar potato popchips for added flavor

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted almonds, toasted
1/2 cup of cheddar potato popchips
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon salt
4-to-5 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

2. In the work bowl of a food processor, place the almonds, popchips, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, garlic, and salt.  Process until coarsely chopped; the mixture will be a thick paste.

3. Arrange the chicken breast halves in a baking dish. Divide the almond paste and spread on the breasts; pat down to cover each breast completely.


4. Roast in the oven until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer reads 165 deg F to 170 deg F, about 10 minutes. Loosely tent with foil and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

WIN IT!

One lucky Pieces of a Mom reader will win a 3 MONTH SUPPLY of popchips. Hello! Three months of popchips. Bring it! Keep some in the car for snacks on-the-go. Pop them into school lunches or save them for after-school snacks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note:
All entrants must reside within the contiguous United States (residents of Hawaii and Alaska are not eligible to win). All entrants must be 18 years of age or older. Popchips cannot send prize to P.O. Boxes.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary supply of popchips to facilitate this review and giveaway. All opinions are my own.
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Let's Chat {Random Ramblings}

Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee, tea, whatever you fancy, and let's catch up.

It's been a trying few weeks here, but I feel as if the fog is lifting.

Most of you know, but in case you haven't stopped by in a while, my youngest daughter Harper who is 8 was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes almost 3 weeks ago. You can read about how we found out and what we learned from her diagnosis.

We are slowly easing into new routines and all that comes with a life with diabetes. In fact, just the other day, Emma said she forgets life pre-diabetes and that it seems as if we have always been giving Harper her insulin injections. Of course, easy for her to say. She's not the one meticulously counting carbs and administering the shots.

But, it's true. Sometimes when you are forced into a new life, you quickly forget about the old one. You have no choice but to abandon the old one and make room for the new one.

Now that the dust has started to settle, I am going to reach out to other type 1 parents who friends have recommended. I'm excited to make some connections and talk to others in the trenches.

I'm also hoping to get back to a normal blogging schedule. I miss blogging on a daily basis. I've been taking some time off from blogging so that I can research type 1 diabetes. There is so much to learn and to know, and most days it seems as if I'll never have a handle on all this knowledge. But each day, I block out some time to either do some online research or to read one of the books we were given in the hospital.

Today she has a stomach virus. Diabetes is even more difficult to manage when you are ill. So, we are challenged with closely monitoring her blood glucose numbers and her insulin intake since she's hardly eating. We had plans to go to north Jersey for a St. Patrick's Day parade and join some best friends for dinner afterwards, but we had to cancel.

So, our friends offered to bring the corned beef and cabbage to us today. How sweet is that? Totally grateful for good friends.

And then there's everyday life. This year's big event is Harper's first Holy Communion, which is coming up on May 3rd. She's excited to take "snack time" at mass. Not gonna lie...that's what she calls it. Hopefully, through her religious education over the next few weeks, she'll understand that Communion symbolizes so much more than that.

Let's chat about Lent. Did you give up anything? I gave up Starbucks, and honestly, the first 2 days were the worst. Now, I don't even think about it. Will power is a very powerful thing. Now, if I could just pull myself away from the Girl Scout cookies. I think I'll give those up for the remainder of Lent. Those things are delicious but evil on your hips.

And...the big news this week is that I started oil pulling. Do you do this? I've read so much about oil pulling that I just had to try it. I never thought I'd be able to swish coconut oil in my mouth for a full 20 minutes, but some things surprise you. I am anxious to see if there are long term dental health benefits. I always have plaque build-up at my 6-month visits. I'm hoping oil pulling will change that, if nothing else.

Has anyone read any good books lately? Seen any good movies? I haven't been able to get into any of the books I've started reading, and I'm in the mood for a really good one. Let me know if you have a recommendation.

I think that's about it for now. Leave a comment and let me know what you've been up to!
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Have Your Pie and Eat It Too on National Pie Day!

It's National Pie Day! While mathematical buffs will be celebrating with calculators in hand, I'll be celebrating with a fork in my hand!

There's something all-American about pie. Whether it's a spicy apple pie or a mile-high lemon meringue pie, a good slice of pie is good for the soul.

What's the key to a good pie? The crust, of course. Don't be daunted by making your own crust. Following a few simple rules will guarantee you a crust that's fool-proof.


Once you've perfected your crust, it's time for the pie filling. What's your fancy? Pumpkin? Apple? Cherry? Pecan? Or are you more of a cream pie person? Boston Creme, perhaps?

I'm sharing a delicious recipe today compliments of A Bullseye View and Target Inner Circle.


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Menu Plan Monday :: 3.10.14

Last week I veered off the menu plan once and actually mustered up some courage to venture out to dinner with Harper. I'm not gonna lie. I was a bit nervous about going out to dinner with her and timing her insulin injection and counting her carbs correctly. But we can't stay away from restaurants forever.

So, as I see it, the sooner we get out there, the better we will adjust to and learn from going out to dinner. Both of our experiences eating out last week couldn't have gone smoother.


Here's what we will be eating this week.

Monday - Leftovers from the weekend

Tuesday - Black beans and rice

Wednesday - White bean and bacon soup

Thursday - Meatball tortellini soup

Friday - Dinner out

Saturday - Roasted chicken with roasted potatoes and carrots

Sunday - Hubs is in charge

Don't make menu planning a chore! For inspiration and to see what others are eating this week, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. To see all of my menu plans, click here.

Note: This is a diabetic-friendly meal plan.
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Gold is the New Black :: Fashion Friday #fashionfriday

Metallics are big this spring, but a little of this bold fashion trend can make a big statement. When wearing metallics, think small for a big impact.

I've put together a few looks that are subtly stylish and won't have you looking like you've been dipped in gold.

With denim

Pairing Gold with Denim

Shine Bright Sweater / Tory Burch Flats / 7 For All Mankind The Dark Skinny Jeans - Rinsed indigo / ETRO Ruched BlouseDorothy Perkins Black colored hoopsBlack slinky chain trim barely there sandals


On your face and nails


Gold Makeup

How will you wear your gold this spring?



In addition to the gold trend, you can find more spring fashion trends, including 8 dresses that are perfect for spring and Easter Sunday, at Fashion Friday.

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I Gave Up Starbucks for Lent!!!

No, that wasn't a typo. I am totally doing this.

I'm sure I will regret this decision. In fact, it was a rather impulsive one, but quite honestly, I couldn't think of anything else meaningful to give up. Last year, I gave up Diet Coke last year and never went back. One thing is for sure. I'll be going back to Starbucks.

I have Starbucks on a daily basis. Sometimes, I even have it more than once a day. Giving up Starbucks is the ultimate sacrifice for me.

Starbucks was on my mind all day today. I couldn't stop thinking about my trente unsweetened iced green tea and how good it would taste at that very moment.

Instagram photos

I can make the Tazo green tea here at home, but it isn't the same. Plus, I love the cup with the green straw. Love holding it in my hands. Love the way it looks perched on my desk as I work. Just love it.

I wake up in the morning and plan my day around my trip to Starbucks. Not even kidding. Now what will I do?

Despite all the negative that I am focused on, there are some upsides to giving up Starbucks for Lent.

  • I'll save TONS of money. I already have a few items earmarked to purchase with my savings.
  • My kids will be happier. I'm always dragging them to Starbucks with me, often against their will.
  • I'll sleep better at night without all that caffeine coursing through my veins.

So, there are some positives. However, it's hard to keep those in sight.

I can tell you this. When the Lenten season is over, I am heading straight to Starbucks. And I'm plopping down in a big comfy chair and spending the whole day there drinking drink after drink after drink. I'll probably be awake for days.

Do you give anything up for Lent? What did you give up this season?
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Menu Plan Monday :: 3/3/14

This week we are making a shift in our diets after this happened last week. I think we can all benefit from a healthier diet and more structured meal times.

I know next few weeks will be experimental until we find what works for us, but I'm up for anything!


Monday - Kid-friendly chicken fingers and an arugula salad with shaved parmesan cheese.

Tuesday - Pasta with marinara sauce and a mixed greens salad.

Wednesday - Chicken stir-fry served over brown rice.

Thursday - Chicken Piccata with roasted red potatoes.

Friday - Dinner out

Saturday - Spinach and tortellini soup and a side salad.

Sunday - Hubs is in charge.

Don't make menu planning a chore! For inspiration and to see what others are eating this week, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. To see all of my menu plans, click here.

Note: This is a diabetic-friendly meal plan.
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When Life Throws You a Curve Ball

I love Mondays. Clean slate. Fresh start. I look at the previous week from my rearview mirror and bid it adieu.

A fresh to-do list and renewed motivation. All of my Mondays start like this, and I look forward to them.

But this past Monday started off a little differently. I had my to-do list in hand. But I was apprehensive when tackling it.

The first item on the list was to call the pediatrician to make an emergency appointment for Harper. She had been exhibiting some unusual symptoms over the course of the week, and they were bothersome to me. Unexplained weight loss, bedwetting, sluggishness among others.

When I called the office, I was told that they were booked solid with sick visits as they no longer have Saturday hours. Could I come in on Tuesday morning at 10?, they asked. I agreed and hung up. But as the minutes ticked by and I thought about waiting 24 hours, I didn't have a good feeling. I called back and asked to come in that day. They were accommodating and gave me an 11:00 appointment.

I pick up Harper at school and we make our way to the doctor's office. We are shown to an exam room and the nurse takes Harper's vitals. Soon the doctor comes in to examine Harper. As she sits intently listening to me describe the symptoms, she gets a perplexing look on her face. She tells me that the weight loss, bedwetting, and excessive thirst concern her. She orders an in-office urine test.

Harper guzzles a big cup of water, and 5 minutes later she fills a cup.

And 10 minutes after that the pediatrician is back. She gingerly places the folder in front of me and points to a glucose number. It looked like any other number to me, but it was off the charts.

She tells me that the number confirms her suspicions...all signs point to type 1 diabetes.

My jaw drops. My heart sinks. But before I can really let this sink in, the pediatrician tells me that we need to get to the emergency room ASAP. Like now.

The next 20 minutes are a blur to me. I remember calling the Hubs to tell him we were on the way to the ER. He was on his way to Newark Airport to catch a flight to Portland, Oregon. He turned around. I remember calling my sisters too.

We arrive at the hospital. They are expecting us and we are rushed in. Blood is drawn. Tests are done. Suspicions are confirmed.

The attending physician in the pediatric ER came in to deliver the news. It hit me like a sucker punch. Our daughter has type 1 diabetes.

My head started to spin. My heart rate increased. This was really happening.

My daughter lay in a hospital bed fatigued and apparently very sick. Her blood sugar level was high and her urine was filled with ketones. Ketones are substances that are made when the body breaks down fat for energy. Normally, your body gets the energy it needs from carbohydrates in your diet. But stored fat is broken down and ketones are made if your diet does not contain enough carbohydrate to supply the body with sugar (glucose) for energy or if your body can't use blood sugar (glucose) properly.*

This combination could have put her into a diabetic coma. She was admitted and transferred to the Pediatric ICU until her blood sugar was stabilized.

We spent the next 48 hours in the hospital where I experienced a roller coaster of emotions. I was frightened. I was confused. I was scared. I was overwhelmed. I was relieved. I was worried. I was sad. 

Over the course of 2 days in the hospital, we received diabetes education...and tons of it. We had so much information presented to us that I thought I'd never be comfortable enough to do any of it on my own much less be discharged. But it's funny how quickly you learn and adapt when you are forced in to a new role.

We are home now. And while things are anything but easy, they are getting easier. We are adjusting to our new daily routine. 

We are taking charge of our daughter's health and there is nothing better than knowing that with each insulin injection we give her, we are insuring that she leads a healthy life.


*Source: WebMD
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