First blog post

This is my first ever blog post! I started this website to write about my journey through parenting, my cooking, and crafting. This will also be a place where I post parenting resources to help others through this journey. Come join me!

The photo below is the sunset over Puget Sound from a dinner cruise in 2013. (You might have guessed we live in the suburbs of Seattle.)

2013-5-4 Sunset over Puget Sound

Cooking, Uncategorized

Healthy Corn Chowder (So delicious!)

corn chowder
This corn chowder was delicious. I don’t have an Instant Pot so I made it in a pot instead.

If you make it without an Instant Pot modify it as follows:

  • Sauté the bacon, pull it out, sauté the veggies; put all ingredients except the cream/flour back into the pot and simmer on low.
  • Cook for 30-40 minutes. Then add flour and half and half and bring to a boil until thickened.

Healthy Corn Chowder: Instant Pot

by Sally Baer


I LOVE a good, hearty soup in the winter months. It warms the soul and heart. Many classic “cream” soups tend to be heavy, but this chowder is fairly light without missing the comfort and heartiness factor that you sometimes need on a cold, rainy night. I tweaked this recipe from Damn Delicious to make a lighter soup that’s a bit healthier than traditional chowders. I hope you enjoy! Xoxo


4 slices bacon, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 ribs of celery, diced
1 jalapeño, diced
4 small red potatoes, chopped
1 (16-ounce) package frozen corn kernels
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup half and half
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

First, Set 6-qt Instant Pot to the high saute setting. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

  • Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in bacon, potatoes, corn, vegetable stock, thyme and cayenne pepper; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Select manual setting; adjust pressure to high, and set time for 10 minutes. When finished cooking, quick-release pressure according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together heavy cream and flour; set aside.
  • Select high sauté setting. Bring to a boil; stir in heavy cream mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more vegetable stock as needed until desired consistency is reached.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with chives, if desired.

*FIT4MOM is the nation’s leading prenatal and postnatal fitness program, providing fitness classes and a network of moms to support every stage of motherhood. From pregnancy, through postpartum and beyond, our fitness and wellness programs help make moms strong in body, mind, and spirit.


My Miscarriage Story

Several weeks ago I read a story about miscarriage in an old issue of Parents magazine and I realized that I’d never written down the story of my miscarriage and maybe I should.

In 2012 found out I was pregnant with our first child. We were trying to start a family so we were excited and immediately told our moms, but told them to wait to tell anyone else. I went to my doctor to confirm. She confirmed it and determined from my last period that I was about 5 weeks along.

The next morning, I started bleeding and called my doctor’s office and was told to come in. A different doctor confirmed that my pregnancy hormones were not where they should be for how far along I was and that I probably had a miscarriage. She had no idea why I miscarried. I cried my eyes out right there in the office because I had already started to imagine having a baby in time for Christmas that year. The doctor referred me to an OB for follow-up.

The OB did some testing and determined that I had not fully miscarried, but the fetus was probably not viable and would not result in a full-term baby. For the next few months I had two blood tests two days apart probably once a week because that is the only way to accurately test pregnancy hormones. I hate needles now because of this experience.

My husband and I hadn’t lived in our current town for very long so we didn’t have many friends and all our family lives far away. I felt so alone and the blood tests kept reminding me that I probably wasn’t going to have a baby at the end of this. My husband tried to understand why this was so sad for me and what I going through, but he couldn’t truly understand. The only couple we knew at the time were also trying to start a family and she became pregnant around the same time I did, but her pregnancy went to term and mine didn’t. I tried to and wanted to be happy for her, but her growing belly was a constant, painful reminder.

I celebrated my 30th birthday shortly after the blood tests started and it was probably the saddest birthday I’ve ever had. I asked my OB if I could have a glass of wine with dinner. She said that she still wanted me to conduct myself as if I was pregnant since I was technically pregnant, but that one glass of wine would be ok. My husband and I enjoyed a nice dinner, but I was really sad.

Toward the end of summer (after months of blood tests) my OB scheduled a dilation & curettage (D&C)* to remove what was left. A day or two before the procedure I started bleeding and cancelled the surgery in case that the bleeding had flushed my body; It hadn’t. Another D&C was scheduled and again, a couple days before it I started bleeding. This time my body had flushed everything out and I was officially no longer pregnant.

I was told to wait two normal cycles before we could start trying. When I’d had two normal cycles around the middle of fall we started trying again, but with no luck. I wasn’t tracking my ovulation because I was afraid I would fixate on it and I was afraid that I might have another miscarriage. But finally my husband said he thought we should start tracking my ovulation so we would have a better chance. We did and got pregnant pretty quickly after that. I found out I was pregnant again in the middle of February. I was still really worried I would miscarry so we waited a little longer to tell people. At my 7-week ultrasound when I heard the heartbeat for the first time, I was so relieved that I started crying.

Today we have two healthy kids born in 2013 and 2016; I didn’t have any more miscarriages.

I hope sharing my story has shown you that you are not alone in this and I hope it encourages you to open up about your experience. Since this happened I’ve talked to lots of women who have had miscarriages. I had no idea so many women went through this until I started talking about it.

To those who have not been through this, when someone tells you they had a miscarriage don’t say “Oh, you can try again”. That’s not helpful. Just say “I’m sorry”. Because we are grieving a loss and just need you to acknowledge our loss and let us tell you about it.


* Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a brief surgical procedure in which the cervix is dilated and a special instrument is used to scrape the uterine lining. A D&C is used to remove tissue in the uterus during or after a miscarriage or abortion or to remove small pieces of placenta after childbirth. This helps prevent infection or heavy bleeding.


“D and C (Dilation and Curettage).” WebMD, 17 Oct. 2016, //www.webmd.com/women/guide/d-and-c-dilation-and-curettage#1. Accessed 9 Oct. 2018.


YOU have power. Use it.

You have power. Yes, you do.

Even if you think you don’t, you do. Use it. Stand up for yourself.

Even if it makes the other person uncomfortable. Making them comfortable is not your responsibility.

Even if the other person is taller than you or louder than you or in a position of power, it doesn’t mean they have your best interest in mind. Fight for you. Fight for what YOU want.

Just because someone is talking loudly or sounds confident doesn’t mean they are right. Question them if you need to.

Too often, we give up our power to make someone else feel comfortable or because we think they know better. Don’t buy in to that. Chances are they don’t know better, they certainly don’t know what you want better than you, and you don’t need to make them comfortable.

I used to do this all the time. I gave up my power to others because I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, because I thought they had the answer, knew the right way to do it, because I thought I was being nice. But I’ve realized that doesn’t serve anyone and it leaves me feeling sad and small because I didn’t get what I really wanted out of the situation.

But I am turning this around. It still feels uncomfortable sometimes and sometimes I’m not sure if I misread the situation and said something when I didn’t need to. But I’m still proud of myself every time I make sure my voice is heard.

Make sure your voice is heard too.


Blackened Chicken and Quinoa Salad

Blackened Chicken and Quinoa Salad

This Blackened Chicken and Quinoa Salad was sooo good! Fair warning, there is a decent amount of prep, grilling the chicken and the corn and cutting up the toppings. My mouth is still watering thinking about this dinner though so I’d say it was worth it.


Blackened Chicken and Quinoa Salad
For the chicken:
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
For the quinoa:
  • 2 cups quinoa cook according to package instructions
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup cilantro roughly chopped
For the salad:
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • 1 mango diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 grilled corn on the cob corn kernels removed
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
To grill the chicken
  1. Heat your grill to medium-high.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together paprika, cumin, thyme, oregano, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Rub onto all sides of chicken.
  3. Grill until the chicken is blackened and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before slicing.
To prepare the quinoa:
  1. Whisk olive oil, lime juice, garlic, and salt and pepper in a small bowl until combined. Whisk in cilantro. Pour over quinoa, a little at a time until it reaches your desired amount, and stir to combine.
To assemble:
  1. Spoon the quinoa onto your serving plate. Arrange the sliced chicken, sliced avocado, diced mango, diced bell pepper, corn kernels, blueberries, feta cheese, and cilantro over the quinoa.




Sweet Potato Avocado Toasts with Egg and Arugula

2018-5-29 Sweet Potato Avocado Toasts with Egg and Arugula

This recipe for Sweet Potato Avocado Toasts with Egg and Arugula was amazing! So delicious, filling, and pretty easy to make (even with interruptions from my kids). And mine turned out pretty close to the photo in the recipe. (There were two on my plate, but I forgot to take a photo until I had already eaten one.) My youngest also enjoyed this, but my oldest didn’t even want to try it.

I used arugula and I found roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) in the bulk section of my grocery store.

From Tablespoon.com:

Sweet Potato Avocado Toasts with Egg and Arugula

Prep: 15 MIN  Total: 30 MIN  Servings: 2

Roasted sweet potato slices take the place of bread in this easy, but impressively fresh and filling dish. Bonus: It works just as well for dinner as it does for breakfast.


4 (1/4-inch thick) orange-fleshed sweet potato slices, cut lengthwise
2tablespoons olive oil
1 avocado, pitted and peeled
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 cups arugula
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons Annie’s™ balsamic vinaigrette
1/4 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1  Heat oven to 425°F. Brush both sides of sweet potato slices with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil; place on ungreased large cookie sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. Transfer to cooling rack.
2  Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mash avocado with lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Set aside.
3  Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Break egg into custard cup; carefully slide into skillet from custard cup. Repeat with other egg. Immediately reduce heat to low. Season eggs with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 4 to 5 minutes, spooning oil over eggs, until yolks are set.
4  In medium bowl, toss arugula and cherry tomatoes with vinaigrette.
Divide sweet potato slices among two serving plates; top each with avocado mixture, pepitas, arugula mixture and egg.
Expert Tips
Yams and sweet potatoes are two different tubers, and you don’t want to mix them up in this recipe or any other, as you may get different results. A sweet potato has tapered ends and thin, smooth skin and flesh that can range from light beige to orange. Whereas a yam is cylindrical and typically white-fleshed and has rough, dark skin.
We use arugula for this recipe, but baby spinach leaves would work well, too.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories from Fat
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C

1/2 Starch; 0 Fruit; 0 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 2 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 7 1/2 Fat;

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

© 2018 ®/TM General Mills All Rights Reserved


However you feed your baby is great

A few days ago I read an article about a mom who decided to stop feeling guilty about feeding formula to her child. I’m thrilled to read more articles about this because what matters is that your child is fed, not how they are fed. Moms should not feel shame or guilt for feeding their child no matter how they do it or why that decision was made. And others in our society – other moms, strangers – do not have a say in how we feed our child – or parent our child, for that matter.

What is it about a woman being pregnant or having a baby that makes strangers feel they have the right to question our parenting decisions? Though other moms are guilty of this too and to you I say, what you decide to do for your family is your decision and the right one for your family, but that does not make it the right way for everyone or the only way. Each person makes the decision for their family (or the decision is made for you if you are unable to breastfeed for one reason or another) and thankfully, we have healthy drinking water and quality formula we can feed our children instead (or in addition to breastfeeding).

I am really excited about the work the Fed is Best Foundation is doing as they advocate for mothers and train hospital personnel to recognize the signs that a baby is not getting enough to eat through breastfeeding and needs formula.

Personally, I breastfed both my children for a few to several months and substituted formula at points so I could get a break and I was so glad for that. My oldest was having mostly formula and then bit me and so I decided that was enough and my youngest lost interest as my supply decreased. So we left that stage behind, but that gave me more freedom and flexibility, though I did feel a little sad that stage was over.

Parenting, Uncategorized

My Baby is Growing Up

Now that my youngest is 18 months and growing up, I get a longing every time I see a little baby, knowing that each milestone my daughter (my youngest) reaches will be the last time I experience it. A friend of mine told me that I would feel this way when my youngest turned a year and she was right. I am sure I only want two kids, but there is a newborn on our flight that is crying at points and I just want to hold the baby. Both to help the parents and because I want to hold a newborn. Though I think that will upset my son who is trying to nap on me.

Sometimes I feel like biology is unfair – that it makes us long for another baby even after we’re sure our family is complete. Though I guess that biology and the smell of your children’s heads also makes you love them more than anything you’ve ever loved in your life so it’s not all bad.

Sadly, I write this on my flight home from my grandma’s funeral. My son and I flew to Chicago for four days to attend the funeral and spend time with family. (My son stayed with his other grandma during the funeral though he understood that my grandma was gone.) My daughter stayed in Seattle with my husband so I didn’t have to bring her, which I was grateful for, and they got to have some daddy-daughter time.

I was told that seeing her grandchildren grow up through photos and videos I emailed and posted on Facebook was the highlight of the last few years of my grandma’s life and that made me so tearful and happy. My grandma had also gotten to see them both last year when she celebrated her 90th birthday.

I’m glad to know that she is with grandpa and is at peace.


Tomorrow is a New Day

My kids made a huge mess all over the kitchen and living room (the big kid definitely made it much worse) – toilet paper everywhere, kid silverware and cups, plates, bowls, and Glad containers everywhere. Then the big kid started a restaurant using all the kid cups and straws he could find. They weren’t really dirty when he was done, but he threw all of them in to the sink and I no longer knew which were actually dirty. My husband worked well into the night in his home office coming up only briefly at a few points and for dinner. It took so long to make dinner with all the interruptions as I was trying to get the little one changed for bed and put down; play restaurant with the big kid; and tripping over all the plastic containers in our house. Dinner was ready later than I would have liked. The big kid didn’t want to go to bed and stalled and came out of his room over and over again. After he finally went to bed I still had to cleanup from dinner. Then I opened a bottle of wine and watched Gilmore Girls. Through my frustration I just tried to think “Tomorrow is a new day, tomorrow is a new day. Please don’t come out of your room again”.

Of course between the little one waking up in the night and me not sleeping well, I didn’t get a good night’s rest, sadly, but the next day was a little better. Probably helped that the little one and I had some friends over and the big kid was at preschool.

If this sounds like your day, hang in there mama (and maybe have some wine tonight).