Amelia Lee- Made With Love


December is upon us and Christmas is quickly approaching! Many of you are shopping and crossing names off your lists, while some of us (me included) are procrastinating and haven’t really started yet.

I have been following a bunch of different baby brands on Instagram now for over a year and a few have really stood out to me.

I thought I would share a few with you all in case you are looking to shop small this year for Christmas. 

First up is Amelia Lee & Little Brother

This company is one of my very favorites. 

Every time Amelia Lee posts a picture of a new outfit I am instantly drawn to it. The attention to detail, the sweet vintage inspired designs, and the care and attention given to the flat lays really makes this brand stand out.
I highly suggest you check them out even if just to see the photos of their sweet collection. They make rompers, dresses, tops and more. Leaning more heavily toward the girl items there are a few options for boys as well. 

Please let me know if you decide to purchase from them as I would love to hear about your experience! 

Website

Instagram

Advertisements

Chorizo and Feta Frittata Fushion 


This morning Juliet woke up early full of giggles and her usual enigmatic personality. If you look out our window into our back yard you’ll see a sea of yellow from the fallen leaves off our maple and mulberry trees. In my case you’d see a yellow blur as that’s about all I see until I find my glasses. Luke was still fast asleep after a late night of uber driving so after my first cup of coffee my brain started working on a fun breakfast for us all for when he would wake up. 

We had Laura Cherry’s famous pancakes yesterday (I promise I will share this recipe at some point as well), and after days and day prior of scrambled eggs, I wanted to put a different twist on our typical morning meal. 

I started my bacon in the oven and Luke woke up just as Juliet and I headed out to give our previous day compost to our chickens in exchange for their eggs. Juliet thanked the chickens as I gathered eggs and Jameson got a good run in around the yard.
We headed back inside to find I misjudged my cooking time on the bacon. So Jameson got an extra crispy treat and I proceeded to dig out our only other defrosted meat in the fridge, chorizo.

Chorizo in New England is not quite like the Texas chorizo I am used to. We have tried out a few brands and this most recent one comes as close as any we have found so far. I scrubbed a potato and put it in some water to boil while I sautéed up the chorizo. Then I combined some eggs, yogurt, Feta and frozen corn in a bowl. I added everything to a round baking dish and threw it in the oven for 30ish mins on 350°.

The result was one of my favorite frittatas I’ve made so far! 

So good, in fact, I didn’t manage even one photo before the three of us finished up what ended up being more of a brunch than breakfast. So here is a non related picture of Juliet because she’s cute.


Here is the recipe! I hope you enjoy! Let me know if you try it out. Of course things can be added or subtracted to your liking, but this combo was super scrumptious for us!
Chorizo and Feta Frittata Fusion

Ingredients 

-1 medium potato
-1 link of chorizo sausage

-5-6 eggs

-1/2 plain yogurt or sour cream 

-1 cup crumbled feta

-1/2-1 cup organic frozen corn

Equipment 

  • Sauce pan
  • Sauté pan
  • Mixing bowl
  • Wisk or fork
  • Pie plate/casserole dish/baking dish of some sort

Directions

  1.  Fill a small sauce pan with enough water to cover your potato. 
  2. (If you prefer your potato peeled then peel it. I leave the peel on.) Bring potato and water to a boil and cook until potato is tender, or can easily be pierced with a fork. 
  3. Meanwhile sauté your chorizo until cooked through (if chorizo is precooked you can skip this step). 
  4. Heat oven to 350°
  5. Crack eggs into mixing bowl, and beat until everything is well mixed.
  6. Add yogurt and beat until incorporated (there may still be bits of yogurt that are not fully mixed in. This is fine.)
  7. Add feta and corn stir.
  8. Grease your baking dish or pie plate. (Anything that will allow the mixture to be about 1.5-2 in thick will work.)
  9. Cut potato into small 1/2 in pieces spread evenly in baking dish.
  10. Cut or crumble chorizo into 1 in pieces, spread evenly in baking dish. 
  11. Pour egg mixture over potatoes and chorizo.
  12. Place in preheated oven and cook for 25-30 minutes or until there is no “jiggle” if you give your dish a shake.
  13. Serve with a pie server and a side of your favorite hot sauce. Enjoy!

The Teacher

For the past few weeks my newsfeed on Facebook has filled with bright, mostly smiling, youthful faces. Dressed in their appropriately casual, clean and refreshed outfits. Adorning hopeful expressions with hungry brains shining through sparkling eyes.

It is that time of year again. If you have a child in school or if you yourself are a teacher, you have probably begun your school year. 

For me, it’s a time of reflection, but also, embarking on my second year of motherhood, the importance of my own responsibility now as a teacher of sorts settles heavily on my heart and mind.

We hope to homeschool our daughter, be it all they way through her educational experience, or simply as an add on to her traditional learning. There is no doubt she will learn from my husband and me. I think of my own education and how it is a continual process to this day. I hope that if nothing else I can convey this concept to her. That she has the power to educate herself and to soak up life’s lessons in whichever way she chooses.

Of course there will be “else”, she has been learning from us since day one, and every day presents us with another obvious reflection of her careful observation.

Being a teacher comes in all shapes and forms, whether it be through gaining a degree in education with a heavy background in traditional learning or through the simple moments an uncle spends with his nephew, encouraging something slightly different than whatever he has learned from his parents. 

I often feel that as a society we do not take these moments and opportunities seriously enough, considering these little sponges are the future in every sense of the word.

I have always responded best to information directed towards me in a practical sense, but as soon as any form of pretension raises its “delightful” head all is lost. I feel there is an art to educating in such a way that the people involved on both sides feel the possibility of growth in each other and that there is no superiority involved. 

It seems that things start getting a little fuzzy when any sort of class system comes into play, while of course someone younger can learn from the experience of an elder in any form, it is often from observation as opposed to picking and choosing an obvious presentation. 

In my relatively short existence of 32 years on this earth I hope I still feel this way well into old age, and that I never lose sight of the fact that education comes in all sizes. 


I cannot help but think of my Aunt Kelly, my husband’s mother’s sister, who handles this concept with great finesse. Having built up a computer programming and gaming set of classes in one of, if not the, most underprivileged schools in the inner city of Boston. She has written grants and beefed up her allowance all on her own merit, and all the while making direct, important, and significant relationships with the children she comes in contact with. They are children after all, while some might not seem them as such when passing on the street. These kids were born into an existence I cannot even imagine. A level of poverty and fear I’ve never had to experience. They don’t join gangs, they are born into them based on what street they live on. They walk home from school in odd groups, not large ones as not to appear threatening, but with one person up ahead 100ft and maybe two together down the middle of the street. They aren’t being bold or brazen, they are surviving. Many will not graduate, some will start working full time to help support their family, if they have a family. My point of this post is not to get too deep into this discussion but to shine light on the teachers like Kelly, who put their time and energy into bringing something good into the lives of people whom otherwise might be seen as a lost cause. Doing so, all the while, without being condescending or pretentious. Those two things get us nowhere. If someone is more knowledgable about something than someone else, that doesn’t make them more valuable than the other, because chances are the other person knows more in another respect. These life experiences have proven to me to hold more value than anything I’ve learned in a class room. I can usually tell when someone feels superior to me in some way or another, and whether it be true or not, I simply do not understand pushing to convey this thought. 

I challenge myself to keep this in mind while taking on the great responsibility of helping my child find her place in this world. It will not be easy, but I know it is imperative for me to do so in order to strive to be the best Mommy, Teacher, and STUDENT which she deserves. I will not challenge you, but I hope you will at least reflect on my words and possibly choose to challenge yourself. 

If we can all be a little more truthful, open minded, loving and accepting of one another we might just find ourselves living in a happier and ultimately better existence.

Lake Shore (un)Limited


When I think of train travel, my mind always goes to some old movie, where passengers are all packed away in little rooms dressed in suits and fancy hats, talking with accents, full of nostalgia and looking fabulous. In reality, I imagine they were somewhat uncomfortable, but never mind that. Trains are all about the visual.


A month and a half ago Luke was hired by his friend, Tim, to go out to Chicago and help with The Great American Lobster Fest. Tim has been producing the festival for three years now. It is tons of fun and will have its own dedicated blog post soon. For now let’s focus on the train trip.


At this age, Juliet is a constant ball of directed energy. So flying would have been difficult considering “sitting still” is just not something she wants to do. There is too much to touch, see, do, and I totally get it. I wouldn’t want her to be any other way. It is such a wondrous world to be witnessing, the combination of her curiosity and personality peeling away like the layers of an onion, revealing her precious soul to us in the most miraculous ways.

Hoping to facilitate this growth in the most positive way possible, it was a no brainer when we knew we’d be traveling to Chicago, we would do so by Train.  

We boarded our silver bullet and settled in for our 21 (ended up being 24) hour journey from Boston to Chicago.

We found a perfect group of four seats, and with the car being at about 50% capacity it seemed like we had really lucked out.

Then we arrived in Albany where we had to “switch trains”, which was actually getting off of the train going upstairs for a few minutes while they swapped some cars around then going back down and reboarding.

This is where things got a little hairy. We were some of the last passengers to board out of confusion over the whole process and it quickly became apparent that this leg (8 hrs) would be a while different trip. We could not find any seats together, so Luke sat directly in front of us and we proceeded to pass Juliet back and forth while also making regular trips up to the cafe just to break things up. I sat next to a 22 year old pediatric student on the verge of entering the real world of medicine. Actively pounding away at her application letter, fine tuning and over analyzing every aspect.

She was a lovely self proclaimed “Arab American” girl, who was quick to make friends with Juliet and also quick to tell me some hilariously terrifying stories from her own childhood.

She also spoke of her current relationship and how they are at the beginning stages of talking about marriage with their families.

He is Pakistani-Canadian, and his family is concerned about her coming from a background of divorce and being “damaged” in some way, while both sides are terribly concerned about the clash in their cultures. 

As she departed in Syracuse I wished her luck, and couldn’t help but see the reflections of my own existence in someone who was so incredibly different. I found myself feeling grateful to have the opportunity to expose Juliet to different ways of life and to hopefully help obliterate the fears that stand between basic humanity, which we all share, and culture, which can be incredibly different, but ultimately much more the same.

We were able to all sit together for this leg, and more people left at the next stop, opening up two full rows. This allowed us to stretch out a bit more and get some much needed sleep as the sun had sunk into the scenery and most of what we could see out our windows now was either ominous blackness or the ocassional flicker of lights from the passing towns.

We awoke somewhat refreshed, but very much ready for Chicago, and all that was in store, to present itself to us. Despite being quite weary we managed to enjoy this last bit before arriving 3 hours late to Union Station.

After an intense week of nonstop festival work (we lived and breathed it, all key employees/friends/family, 10 people, stayed together in one two bedroom apartment) 

For our return trip we splurged and booked a roomette last minute. While it was quite pricey it proved to be well worth it. 


Juliet enjoyed the exclusive Metropolitan lounge at the station while we waited for our cart to arrive and drive us to our train car, skipping out on having to wait in line or lug our luggage around.

We were escorted to our room by a friendly gentleman and all let out a big sigh of relief as we sank into our accommodations. Luke and I both proclaiming multiple times through our daze of exhaustion, “this is so worth it”.

Soon the man returned to turn our seats into bunk beds and we all three drifted off to sleep, headed home in style.

​When I awoke, I pulled back the curtains, revealing a bright sunny collection of trees and old abandoned buildings, zipping past us, cheering us onward. 


We headed to the dining car to take advantage of our free breakfast that came with our room.


Having slept comfortably through a majority of the trip, we are now just hours from home. 

Longing for our own bed and the sites and smells of our little country house in the woods. It is so nice to have the ability to jump into the intensity of city life for a week only to return to our chickens, garden, and puppy.

Baby Bamboo Bliss (or The Quest for the perfect Pajamas)

A little over a year ago (April 2015) things started to get real serious. I was into the third trimester of my first pregnancy and nesting took its own personalized hold on me. 


From the beginning I researched, and researched, and researched (I know everyone does this, but I seriously went a little overboard). From car seats to strollers, swaddles to bottles, cloth diapers to baby carriers, and everything in between. I knew what was on the market, I knew what people thought of these products, I knew what was trendy, what was spendy, what seemed to be important, what seemed to be gimmicky and fear mongering. I knew what direction we were headed and I honestly felt pretty confident in the choices we were making. 

But, then I found myself rounding out the last bit of pregnancy and I started to panic thinking of all the baby items we still lacked. This started with sleepwear. 

What was the best? 

What was the most comfortable? 

What was cute and not covered in appliqués (totally cool if this is your style, just not one I am that into)? 

What would make sense in the middle of June in South Texas in a house with no insulation and an overworked central heating system? 

Would my baby freeze? 

Would he or she overheat? 

Were those sacks the easiest for diaper changes? (Oh and the ones that knot! They are so cute, but how practical) 

Did I really need kimono style stuff to begin with to avoid irritating the umbilical cord? (The answer ended up being no) 

And how big was this baby going to be anyway? I was measuring small, did I need preemie sizes? 

I thought back to the amazing bamboo clothes and sheets I had in the past. They were comfortable, cozy, but also much more breathable than cotton, I knew I wanted to try out bamboo. It ended up being for a combination of reasons, but ultimately I decided to order a few pj sets from Diapers.com

Now there are a lot of options here. Lots of brands, lots of price ranges, but a few companies really stood out; Sweet Bamboo, Baby Soy, Burt’s Bees Baby and Kickee Pants.

The Baby Soy and Burt’s Bees were great, 100% cotton, soft, adorable, I actually even kept one of each, but the Kickee Pants were unbelievable, so soft, the deep eggplant sack I ordered because it had been on sale was perfect. 
I quickly ordered a blue pair of the footies, taking advantage of stacked discount codes (will address this more at a later date), and selected the sack to be our baby’s first outfit. It would work perfectly, be it a boy or a girl.
Three months later and our precious baby girl arrived. 

My mother quickly ran to the local baby boutique and bought a selection of the most girly Kickee Pants sleepers she could find. I washed everything in dreft and hung it in Juliet’s closet with care. 

Then, reality set in. It was the end of June, it was hot! (We opted to bed share, so we were all really HOT!)

She wore that first outfit for about 3 hours before I stripped her down and except for photo opportunities, she wore nothing but a diaper for the next two and a half months. 

Back when I was researching cloth diapers, I discovered this whole online community of parents buying/selling/trading, sharing ideas, philosophies, opinions and just general parental knowledge. I didn’t understand, though, just how widespread this community was until I applied this knowledge to Kickee Pants

Juliet quickly grew out of her pajamas so I joined a facebook group called Kickee (kicky) pants b/s/t, and Kickee pants b/s/t and auction, hoping to recoup some of the small fortune spent on these hardly worn, relatively expensive (totally worth it though, but seriously wait for sales if you are on a budget because they happen often) baby clothes.

To my surprise, kickee pants stuff had a much higher resale value than other brands. These “Mammas” were very serious about their pajamas. 

I dove into a world of acronyms, feeling a bit overwhelmed and inexperienced.

There were coveted HTF (hard to find) items and prints.

 People were ISO (in search of) or even more seriouse DISO (desperately in search of) these HTF pieces. 

There were quality control acronyms, which everyone seemed to just agreed and understand on:

  • NIP (new in package), 
  • EUC (excellent used condition), 
  • GUC (good used condition), etc. 
  • PLAY (this much wear deserved no acronym at all, it simply means these item would be stained, full of holes, full of pills, or so much wash wear that they wouldn’t be appropriate for the usual baby business meeting/formal outing. Reserved simply for play, because babies do so much else?)

People were paying over retail values for these HTF items. 

What in the world was all this? 

Was I even qualified to sell our clothes here? 

Then there were the feedback sister pages. How could I start selling if I had no feedback!!!

And then there were the purges, which really deserve a full post to themselves, but in short it’s about purging your “stash” of baby clothes all at once in a quick fire almost game like progression. Where eager mommas line up hoping to be the first to respond and win the precious items for their LO (little one), DD(dear daughter), DS (dear son) with the hope that their DH (dear husband) won’t panic over the exorbitant prices or sheer numbers reflected in their PayPal and subsequently their bank account.

The ladies talk about hoping the packages are not delivered while DH is home and how they have secret stashes of clothes and swaddles just waiting to be unpackaged. Basically just like any good collectible, except these are baby clothes and blankets. 

At first I was pretty discouraged, had no luck selling our newborn stuff as a newbie. I spoke out about this on the page and a few gals swooped in and quickly helped me out. One traded my first listing for something she had been “hoarding” and actually threw in a PIF (pay it forward) item as well.

Full of optimism with the sweet smell of baby powder laundry detergent lingering, and the precious face of my newborn taking on every new moment with pure unadulterated curiosity, I knew she NEEDED these pjs, and I was going to figure out how to get them for her. For cheap. And I did (Also the hours of being nap/nursing trapped allowed for a tad too much Facebook time).

We have now managed to size up twice using the money recouped from my mother’s initial investment plus a tiny bit more where I took advantage of sale pricing. 

Then, our Aunt Lynn gave us one of those DISO prints. 

The kind I had seen but never dared to consider. 

The kind that went for upwards of $100, used and in PLAY condition. 

I had in my hands the highly coveted and adored MERMAIDS…


But that’s a topic for another day. 

Hello Blog

This is not the first time I have started a blog.

The first was in 2004 when I first moved out to Los Angeles. In the midst of desperately trying to find work as an extra on TV shows somehow I thought my life and adventures in Hollywood might be an interesting read for someone out there, but it was not interesting enough for me to continue posting except for my first entry. I must’ve discovered MySpace because that is where I blogged more than anywhere else. Of course myspace ended up slowly fading away, replaced by Facebook, and my blog entries disappeared. 

At first I was irate at this thought,  but I quickly came to terms with it and decided it was probably best that some of the things I had written died an untimely internet death.

 Then I tried starting one as a substitute for a personal website, showcasing my acting endeavors. 

Then I started one showcasing photography. 

Then I randomly started blogging about stuff happening in my life like what I was cooking that day, but I have never been very good at being consistent or disciplined at it, so I am attempting now to start again and hopefully find something interesting to say to the world.

Enough talk of that though.

Fast forward to 2016 where I find myself living in Massachusetts with my husband and  14-month-old daughter, Juliet. 

 I intend to use this blog as a platform to share the things that I am actively researching on a daily basis anyway including but not limited to; recipes, small businesses that make baby products, the products they carry, homemade baby food, homemade baby clothes, lessons I learn in motherhood, and who knows what else. 

 Anyway I will keep this short because, no doubt, talking about what I will post about is not nearly as interesting as me going ahead and posting.

 

Hopefully you will find it interesting.

Hopefully I will be consistent.

Hopefully Juliet will approve.