my baby…she’s 2!

i heard these phrases so many times…
“they grow up so fast!”
“cherish this time because before you know it, they’re all grown up!”
“it goes by too fast!”

wasn’t she just this little a few months ago?


has it really been 2 years?!


and here i am all melancholy about my little baby turning two years old on saturday.


she did grow up so fast. yet she’s still such a little peanut. it’s hard for me to believe she’s two.


happy birthday, sweet stella grace!

crazy, silly, funny faces


it’s that time again for another photo submission to iheartfaces. this weeks theme is “crazy, silly , funny face!”

this is from a series of photos i took on mother’s day. i love this one. my kids weren’t exactly cooperating, but sometimes that gives you the best result. at this point, anya was mugging for me and not much else. you just have to go with it, no matter what because in the end, you could end up with some great shots.


tonight’s dinner brought to you by the letter ‘p’

panko, parmesan, & parsley pork chops


this is a super easy, light and refreshing way to cook boneless pork chops. the panko bread crumbs combined with parmesan and parsley give these chops an incredible crunch. top it off with a squeeze of lemon, and you’ve got yourself a refreshing way to finish this dish. i hope you enjoy!


  • 8 thin cut boneless pork loin chops
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • extra virgin olive oil


  • place boneless pork chops in a large zip lock bag or between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound to tenderize. remove from plastic and salt & pepper both sides of the meat.  set aside.
  • finely chop fresh parsley – you should have about 2 tbsp.
  • next you want to prepare your dredging/breading assembly line. use 3 shallow dishes (i like to use pie plates). the first should be your flour. plate 2 should have your 2 eggs, beaten. plate 3 should have your panko bread crumbs, parmesan, & parsley – use a fork to mix them together to evenly distribute the parsley.
  • preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom.
  • start your dredging process. first coat the pork chop in flour on both sides. then dip in the egg. then finally in the panko mixture. make sure you fully coat both sides. set on a platter and continue dredging 3 more chops. (i like to do 4 at a time and get them in the pan. then you can dredge the other 4 while the first batch is cooking.)
  • place the first 4 pork chops in the pan (you should get a good sizzle.) they will only need to cook about 3-4 minutes per side. you want to turn them over when they are nice and golden brown.
  • remove the first batch and place on a plate with a paper towel to catch any excess oil.
  • you can add more oil to the pan for the second batch as needed.
  • repeat steps for the last 4 chops.
  • take the lemon and slice into wedges.
  • squeeze lemon over pork chops and dig in!

splashes & laughs


here’s this weeks post for iheartfaces. the theme is “my story in photos – summer edition.” be sure to click on the button above to check out all the other great entries!

for relief from the heat, i try to take my kids to the sprayground at least a few times during the really hot summer days. it’s a favorite for us, and the best part is that it’s completely free! how can you beat that?!


we pack lots of snacks and drinks and splash for hours. warning: if you bring your sandwich into the sprayers, it gets a bit soggy.


we bring water toys and buckets to fill.


it makes for a great day. and very tired kids when all is said and done.

my idea of a perfect activity for a hot summer day.


she says it all

for those of you that know my little talker, this story will come as no surprise to you.

for those of you that have not had the priviledge of meeting my little stella, well…you’ll just have to take my word for it. she talks. she talks a lot. she speaks in full sentences. did i mention she’s not 2 years old yet? yea. it’s pretty insane. and to top it all off, she’s small for her age. it’s like talking to a 4 year old in an 18 month old body.


yesterday she came into the kitchen and said this:

“mommy! i so mad!” (she was also crying a little bit.)
“oh no…why are you mad, stella?”
” mommy, i have boogs in my nose!” (pointing to her gross snotty nose.)
“what should we do about that?”
“i don’t wike it, mommy! i want to hode you!” (i love that kids say “hold you” – it’s the cutest thing ever.)


we had an entire conversation about her nose and why she was mad.

i sometimes have to step back and remind myself that i’m not talking to my 4 year old. i’m talking like this with my nearly 2 year old.

i love that i can just ask her what is wrong and she will tell me – in a full sentence. i can ask her what she wants and she will tell me – in a full sentence.


on the flip side, i have a feeling i might be in trouble in a few years.

but let’s just focus on the now.

turkey & two bean chili

i’ve experimented with my own chili recipe for years. this is the first time i’ve actually taken the time to fine tune and write every ingredient down. i think this combination makes for a really great, hearty dish.



  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Onion, Chopped
  • ½ whole Jalapeno, Finely Diced (seeds & Ribs Removed)
  • 2 whole Cloves Of Garlic, Minced
  • 1-¼ pound Ground Turkey (one Package)
  • 1 tablespoon Granulated Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoons Paparika
  • ¼ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper (Optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes (approx. 15 Oz)
  • 1 can Tomato Sauce (approx. 15 Oz.)
  • 1 can Red Kidney Beans (drained & Rinsed)
  • 1 can Black Beans (drained & Rinsed)
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • Salt & Pepper (to Taste)
  • Shredded Cheese (optional)
  • Chopped Scallions (optional)


in a large stock pot, heat olive oil at medium-high heat. add the chopped onion and salt & pepper and saute for 2-3 minutes (until translucent). add diced jalapeño (hey, don’t forget to read Pioneer Woman’s PSA on jalapeno prep!), and garlic and stir together.

add ground turkey and another dash of salt & pepper. brown turkey until cooked through. in the mean time, mix all spices in a small bowl (not required, but i like having everything combined before it hits the pan for more even distribution.) if you don’t like spicy, you can omit the cayenne pepper – but i think it adds just a small dash of heat…which is nice! once spices are combined, add them to the turkey and onion mixture. stir to coat the turkey.

now add the tomato paste and stir into the turkey mixture. next you will want to add the diced tomatoes and the tomato sauce. stir to combine. add the cans of drained and rinsed beans and stir to combine. finally, add the chicken broth and worcestershire sauce (you can add more or less to your taste.)

lastly, taste your chili to see if you need more salt & pepper and add as needed.

bring everything in the pot to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. let cook uncovered for 30 minutes.

serve in individual bowls and top with your favorite cheese and/or onions. i like to serve mine with shredded sharp white cheddar and some chopped scallions on top. enjoy!