Hi, I'm Rachel.

A few years ago I could barely boil water. True story.

Determined to be a kick ass wife, I developed a love for football and learned to cook in my tiny Jersey City kitchen. I spend my days working in Manhattan, my nights and weekends chasing after a rambunctious toddler, and the hours in between cooking with my husband and feeding my TV habit...oh, and I blog about it all! 

Welcome to my world!

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Penelope Jane: 12 - 18 Months

I know...what the what?!

I haven't decided if I'm more disturbed by the fact that Penelope is turning 18 months (tomorrow!), or that I haven't done a real update on her since she was 11 months old. Oops.

My sweet little love...where do I begin?


On the move:

Over the last bunch of months, Penelope has really done so much growing. On her first birthday, she was crawling (though this was more of a three-legged move, with one leg dragging behind her) and standing, but that was about it. She took her first steps just a few weeks later and by now, well she is straight up running. If she isn't running down the hallways in our apartment building, she is strutting her stuff like she owns the joint. Don't even think about putting her in the stroller because the girl on a mission.


This girl has a serious case of FoMo (Fear of Missing Out...capitalized!). She is a little party girl, and just as she hated to nap as an infant, she also doesn't care for it as a toddler. It's often a fight to get her to nap, but at the same time, she really, really needs them. She wants to be the center of attention and doesn't miss a thing. She is rambunctious, smiley and just an all around happy girl.


Penelope has more toys than I care to count. She loves her chunky puzzles (though she can't quite fit the pieces into their respective homes, she knows where they go), her Sesame Street play kitchen, ride-on toys, and lately, her coloring book and crayons. I love these mess-free marker and coloring book sets...perfect for an 18 month old! Mom loves coloring with these too. She also loves her 'Dolly' and sleeps with her every night. 




In the food department, Penelope continues to be a really great eater. This summer, she really loves blueberries and tomatoes. Eggs, hummus, bell peppers, and pasta continue to be staples. She still loves her yogurt melts and in the snack department, also enjoys Annie's bunny grahams, YumOrganics fruit snacks. She is also learning to eat from pouches, which makes things a little easier for me and she seems to enjoy it. P is also using her spoon and fork (sometimes insisting on a real, metal fork, not her plastic baby fork) and drinking from a sippy cup! Lil' Miss Independent, for sure.



In the speaking department, Penelope said her first word on her birthday. She pointed to me and said "Momom." Bless her heart. Since then, she says Da (dad), wawa (water), Uh (uh oh), Wow!, Oooooh!, down, more and some others when prompted (like Nom! when I said 'Yum!'). She also shakes her head yes and no (mostly no...a lot).


Other stuff:

Penelope continues to love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She also loves movies including Despicable Me, Brave, Cars, Frozen, Tangled and Monsters, Inc. At bath time, she has started pouring water from cup to cup. She refuses to actually sit in the bathtub, which always makes me nervous, but it is what it is. She can climb long staircases and is learning how to go down the stairs. Not quite there just yet, but she at least seems to know that stairs are dangerous and she stops at the top of them to try and figure out how to get down. She is so curious as to how things work...always wanting to figure out how a box of raisins opens and closes, or how the cap screws on and off of her Gerber fruit pouch.


We are having such a fun summer. We flew on an airplane, spent a week in Aruba, played with a new water table (her fave) and have spent a few Saturdays at the splash park!

Time continues to fly by but I'm loving every moment. P will head back to daycare on Monday. Mom will cry. And we'll have a whole new routine to get used to. And in the meantime, happy half birthday to my sweet, happy, snuggly little babe!

Have a great weekend! What are your plans?


Summer Lovin'


Somehow we are on the edge of August and while the summer is flying by, I feel as though I've done so much and enjoyed so many things already. Here are a few things that I'm totally digging this summer!


Cards Against Humanity: A fun and wildly inappropriate party game that is impossible not to laugh at, even for the game-haters.


Wilfred: It's the final season. We were late to join watching this show, but we really love when new episodes fill our DVR in an otherwise unfulfilling summer TV schedule. Man sees his neighbor's dog as a human dressed in a dog costume. They become fast friends and hilarity ensues. It really pushes the envelope and has us in hysterics, yet it does include some dark undertones around death, mental illness and family relationships.


Sophie No Sugar Added Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt: Upside: A favorite and staple of late on the Dukan diet! It has no added sugar and no fat, so it's a great and delicious snack while doing the Dukan. Downside: it's expensive and hard to find, though Fresh Direct is now carrying it.


Tunnel Vision New York/New Jersey Mug: LOVE this mug that I got at a local shop in Jersey City. Perfect for us Jerseyans who still hold a special place our hearts for New York! One side is Jerz, the other is NY.


Birkenstocks: I really adore having these this summer! So easy and comfy to wear and I think they look great with just about every outfit I've worn them with...from shorts to cropped work pants. The white upper gives them a little edge and femininity and I'm so happy I took the plunge with these.


Warby Parker Ainsworth Eyewear in Elderberry: I got new glasses! These and these. I'm obsessed. They are so cute and make me actually want to wear glasses! I love the purple and green because they are a little funky without being too over the top. I feel very fashionable in them ;)


This is Where I Leave You: Just blew right through this book. So dark and depressing yet dotted with hilarity, it's really a perfect mix for me. With a movie coming out in September, I just can't get Timothy Olyphant (also of Justified-obsession) or Jason Bateman out of my head.


What are you loving lately?




{carnitas amazingness @ 6th Borough Market}

I know it's Wednesday and I already have my sight set on the weekend ahead, but we had a lot of fun this past weekend and so I'm going to write about it now.

On Saturday, we kicked off the day with a big omelet to share:

I cooked a few slices of ham in a skillet, then poured on an egg mixture that I made using 3 eggs, skim milk, parsley, salt & pepper. I let the bottom set, then flipped it and added some fat free cheese on top. I folded it over for just long enough to melt the cheese and voila! A simple, Dukan-friendly omelet for two!

After a bit of work around the house, we packed up and headed out to my aunt's house in western Jersey for a barbecue and picnic. I love going there. It feels like I'm transported into another place entirely since they live on a huge plot of land with a horse farm to boot. It always feels secluded and peaceful and it makes me think for about 30 seconds what my life would be like if I didn't live in a city, didn't commute into Manhattan for work, didn't work long hours. Dare to dream. 


Penelope couldn't get enough of the animals. She chased around the dogs and made BFF with Jake, my aunt's French bulldog. She also had no fear around the horses, just wanted to pet them. I see riding lessons from her cousin Alyson in her future.

She also loves the beanbag/cornhole game. Now if I can only keep her from climbing onto the board...

There are 5 birthdays in the month of July on that side of the family and so my aunt kindly got this amazing cake, with a nod to the hilarious misspelling of my dad's name (Hirb instead of Herb) which mimics the birthday cake we got for him in Aruba.

Since I don't even know who I am anymore and don't bake for parties in my current life (which really makes me sad. Future post on that to come...), Shaun and I brought this amazing Ube Overload cake to the party. We found this gorgeously purple cake from a local Philippine bakery near us in Jersey City called Red Ribbon. The cake is made from ube, purple yams, which give the cake its amazing color and moistness. Covered with their signature whipped cream frosting...well let's just say that I thought I'd share a slice with Penelope, but she devoured almost the entire thing on her own. 

On Sunday, we hit the splash park with Penelope. I think it brings me just as much, if not more, joy than it does her. She had a blast running back and forth between the splash zone, the swings, the slide and the little ride-on springy horse.

After P was truly worn out, we stopped by the 6th Borough Market. It was a small market made up of local vendors and we loved it. I taste tested earl grey lavender syrup, purchased a few goodies and we hit The Taco Truck for some A-mazing carnitas. So so good. And as luck would have it, Milk Sugar Love was also there with an ice cream cart!

We had the blueberry sour cream, and while that is not a flavor I would typically choose, it was unreal. The blueberries were so sweet and balanced out the tang of the sour cream flavor beautifully. I can't wait to get to the actual shop in Jersey City!

We ended the night with some relaxing on the terrace. Penelope played with her water table and after she went to sleep (early!), Shaun and I enjoyed a cool breeze, some barbecue, some veg and a glass of wine al fresco. Nothing better, really.

How was your weekend?