i needed today

I needed today... the cool morning, the sunny breezy blue-skyed afternoon, the birds chirping outside my window. A perfect combination of relaxing and productive, both work-wise and personally.

I bought produce, I dropped off dry cleaning, I cooked... all before work. I formatted and edited two articles, sorted and replied to a dozen emails, and conferred with my boss... all before lunch. I put away clothes, wrote a just because card to a friend, refilled a prescription, ate, and read a book while pumping... all before my lunch hour was over. Now the afternoon is half gone, and I've done more emails, more editing/formatting, and worked on setting a date for a meeting; all while sitting in my comfy lounge-around-home clothes. I remembered to do no less then 3 things that I've been trying (and failing) to remember to do for the past week.

When work is done, I'll finish putting together the delicious salad we have for dinner, and wash the dishes... it will be relaxing since the "hard" part (roasting the potatoes) is over. I'll be ready with dinner when Trav and Gwen get home, instead of running around throwing things together.

Its days like today that refresh me. After a week of work busyness, coworker miscommunications (angry ones), rushed evenings, and not enough sleep (damn you molars, damn you)... I needed to be refreshed.

And now I am.

Balance is so important, and sometimes seems so hard to obtain. But its there, days like today remind me of that. It is within reach. 

I so needed today.


tasty tuesday, on a wednesday, that's from last thursday...

Working at work on Tuesday this week (switched my work from home day to Thursday because of a project that needed to be finished in office), so no big new recipe then. And Trav specifically requested that I make the Roasted Potato, Spinach, and shaved Parmesan salad again (yay! he really likes it!); so that's what I'll be doing on Thursday.

But wanted to share a recipe still, and this is a new recipe I made last week. It was quick enough to not need a work from home day to do. Its Penne Ricotta with Basil & Cherry Tomatoes (click name for recipe).

Sorry, slightly blurry iPhone shot!

I guesstimated the amounts, since its all in metric units, and left out the tomatoes (since we aren't fans). It was pretty simple and quick, and tasty as a side dish. I'm not going to make it all the time, but I'll definitely make it again.


::big exhale:: Woo!

Killer way to start the weekend? Stop in at home, take a moment to use the bathroom, end up surrounded by broken glass!

(Long story short... knocked into the above toilet organizer thing, jostling an electric candlestick thing off of the top shelf and shattering its bulb all over the floor at my feet. So I had to finish peeing, and manage to get my pants up while on tiptoes!)

Thankfully it was just me (hadn't picked Gwen up from daycare yet), and I got it all cleaned up, but it was not a promising start.  Also thankfully, things improved greatly after that. Gwen was pretty excited to have Mama pick her up from daycare, and after some confusion over Dada not being around, we had a fun night together.

(Pulled this out for Casey to use Tuesday... Gwen decided to climb in.
So crazy, I remember when she fit in here, so tiny in the crook of the chair.)
Even better, after a week or two of slightly rough nights (damn you molars), girl went down easily and slept until 5, at which point she came to bed with me and slept until 7ish. Thank goodness!

Saturday we had some breakfast, hopped in the shower, then went to the Please Touch Museum.
I figured it would be a fun way to get us out of the house, and let Gwen blow off some energy.

She loved it.

I did too!!

I figured she'd pass out on the ride home, since she was definitely worn out (and we'd eaten lunch there), but no such luck. Instead she got her second wind. ::sigh:: A trip to the grocery store, and finally she was ready for her nap at 4:15. The downtime was nice for me too. I needed a little break.

Saturday night, a repeat of Friday... yay!!!

Sunday we met up with Ro to do some walking. She has a great trail that runs right behind her townhouse.

We took turns pushing GG,
and Casey slept happily most of the way in her carrier.

I threw Gwen up on my back in the wrap and off we went. It was a nice day for walking, not too hot, and the trail got great breezes. Definitely a bit tired at the end of the 5 miles, but that was mostly thanks to the huge hill we had to do just a 1/2 mile before getting back home.

We hung out there for lunch, then headed home (Gwen taking a nice nap in the car). Trav didn't get home until after my bedtime that evening.

Gwen went down easily again that night, but was back to waking twice unfortunately. Looked in her mouth, bottom molars are starting to cut through. Ugh. Hopefully after those get in, we'll get a little break. 

All-in-all, it was a great, fun, though super tiring weekend. I have a whole new level of respect for those that do it on their own all the time!!

Now its on to a busy week. Yesterday and today are hectic at work, tomorrow we have an event... Thursday I should finally be able to slow down a little since I'll be working from home. But for now, I have to get back to it. In the meantime, two more pictures to share. (From father's day weekend.)

(Oh silly, wonderful family.)


friday ::gulp::

Travis and I both have half days at work today (a relief considering how crazy busy the past few days have been). Him, because he's heading to DC for a weekend conference, and me, because I have to pick up Gwen from daycare.

Aka: Him, because he's going away for the next 58 hours; and me, because I'm going to be alone with the babe for the next 58 hours.


I know that people do this all the time due to jobs or being single parents, etc, but this will be the first time that Gwen and I have been on our own for multiple days in a row, not just for the daytime, but for day and night. I'm sure we'll have fun, but I'm also sure that Mama will be tired by the time Sunday night rolls around!

The game plan right now is a trip to the Please Touch museum Saturday morning to wear the girl out, and Sunday we'll probably go grocery shopping, and maybe for a long walk. Fingers crossed that she sleeps well for me! 


baby shoes

Gwen is loving her new shoes! I do too... but I couldn't stand to get rid of the old ones without at least snapping a picture first.

My babies first kicks...   ::sigh::

She's growing so fast.


it was a damp, cool, and tasty tuesday

Things that warmed up my morning, on this damp, cool Tuesday:
And while I love having them awake to laugh and play with, no moment makes me feel as warm inside as that one. And that warm feeling carries me to my own bed, where I curl up with my husband and know that no matter how crazy and exhausting the past two weeks have been, we'll get up and do it again because we're lucky, and this is all a privilege, and life is good as long as I get to tuck them in tomorrow night too.
-- Lag Liv
Love that.

Breakfast for lunch with Ro and Casey.

3 weeks

My two Tasty Tuesday recipes:

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan (recipe HERE)

And Cheddar Cheese Soup (recipe HERE)

Both very good!


creativity on father's day

I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out what to get my dad for Father's Day. My mom had no suggestions, and frankly, I'm done asking him if he wants anything because I always get the "you don't have to get me anything" line (I know I don't have to... I want to!!). So I was just days away from visiting with my dad, and no gift in sight... when I stumbled on THIS blog post about doing an easy silhouette. Perfect! Its different, its meaningful, and its something no one else will get him.

I had been looking for something for Trav too, so I decided to do 3 (what, you didn't think I could resist doing one for myself at work too, right?). It really was pretty easy to make, and I'm super pleased with the results. I used this picture:

Cropped, of course. 

And here is the finished result:

I think it turned out great!
Both guys loved them, so I'm pleased.

What did you guys do for father's day? What did your dads get? 


Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day...

... to my dad and to Travis. Gwen and I are luck to have them both!


scenes from DC

In DC yesterday for work (again), which was fun. Our event went well, and I got to meet my Aunt and Uncle for lunch afterward. Snapped a few pics on my iPhone too...

Supreme Court Building

Pink lemonade cupcake, while waiting for the train.

Today is Gwen's daycare teacher's wedding day (actually former - her last day was last friday), so we sent her this:

Waiting for my brother and his girlfriend to arrive. Going to be a fun, full weekend.

Much work to do though, so I'm off!


review: Inspired By Finn

I'll let you in on a little secret... ever since I bought Gwen her Inspired By Finn necklace, I've wanted one for myself! But I'm trying not to spend too much money on things I don't need (though, believe me, I definitely could have argued for why I needed one!), so I've held off.

Gwen has loved her necklace though, right from the beginning. She loves wearing it, and almost from the first day (all the way back in November), we saw results! Seriously, we went from needing tyle.nol most nights just to sleep, and uncomfortable chewing on everything, to a much happier tylen.ol-free baby. It was great.

She still wears her necklace daily, and is pretty damn adorable doing it.

She happily lets you put it on, and leaves it alone 99.9% of the time. We've been thrilled with our I.B.F. so far! (In case you were wondering, Gwen wears the Butter Rounds necklace.)

Well, recently I found out about I.B.F's blog review program and jumped at the chance to get my own necklace. I also went with the Butter Rounds, since I loved the look so much on Gwen. I got 14 - 15", which is the perfect size necklace for me, not too tight and not too loose.

So far, I actually haven't worn it on my neck so much! It hasn't gone with most of the clothes I've been wearing lately, and I'm such a jewelry girl... so I've been wrapping it around my wrist instead. Which is actually great. I've had chronic tendonitis since I was a teenager and its been flaring up recently. Since amber isn't just for teething (which I don't need much help with anyway!), but helps with a wide range of ailments, I thought it would be nice to see how it helped my tendonitis pain. I already use ergonomic wrist guards on my mouse and my keyboard to try to minimize flareups, but its not enough, so I wanted to see what amber could do.

After just two days, I noticed that my wrist was greatly improved! In fact, this whole flare-up passed without me taking any ad.vil, and with a significant bit less pain then normal. Its been about a week now and I can tell you that from now on, at the first twinge, this is going on my wrist!! In fact, I'll probably just wear it on my wrist most days... unless its around my neck.

I definitely recommend IBF to any mamas, for their babies or for themselves. In fact, I know one person on my list who'll bet getting their own IBF stuff soon.

If you want to try them yourself, click on the banner below to see what they have in stock: 

And enter code: MeganH at checkout to get 25% off!!
(Let me know if you get something... if 15 pieces are bought using my code, then I'll get a free necklace, which I'll give away here!)

* Normal disclaimer: I was provided with a discount code by Inspired By Finn, but I purchased this necklace using my own money, and all thoughts expressed here are my own. I wouldn't say I liked them unless I really did! 



I just bought this:

and this:

to go on my new:

I got an iPhone!!!
I'm a little excited if you can't tell.  :-)  It's my early birthday present from Trav, and I'm having a lot of fun with it. I went in this morning, just to talk to someone about whether I could use Travis's upgrade on my line, and not only could I, but next thing I know I'm walking out with my new phone.

Now I just have to keep my over-exuberant 16-month old away from it!!

Ahem, now, back to our regularly scheduled program... Two recipes to share today.

First, Mini Pumpkin Loafs:
I did mine as a big loaf plus a dozen cupcake sized loafs...

3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
2/3 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla
12 Tbsp butter, at room temp
2 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 c. pumpkin puree

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Have all ingredients at room temp and prepare mini loaf pans.
-Whisk together flour, soda, powder, salt and spices thoroughly.
-In another bowl combine milk and vanilla.
-In large bowl of mixer beat butter until creamy (about 30 sec).
-Gradually add sugars and beat on high speed until lightened in texture (3-4 min).
-Beat in eggs one at a time.
-Add pumpkin puree on low speed until just blended.
-Add flour mixture in 3 parts alternating with the milk mixture in 2 parts beating on low or stirring with spatula until just combined.
-Scrape batter into pan and spread evenly.
-Bake about 45 minutes making sure to take out only when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool in loaf pans and enjoy!

This worked okay as a big loaf, but the bottom gets dark before the inside gets done... so mini loafs, or cupcakes, are better. 

They are amazing though!!

The second, Honey Mustard Chicken and Potatoes:

1 pound boneless breasts, cut into large pieces
1 minced shallot
1/4 cup dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp pepper, divided
1 pound red potatoes, cut up (obviously I used white... because that's what I had)

In 9x13 pan, sprinkle chicken with half of salt and pepper. In a bowl, mix together honey, mustard, shallots, and thyme; spread over chicken. Spray potatoes with olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 735 for 50 minutes.

So I liked this, but didn't love it. The sauces was tasty, but their just wasn't enough moisture. Next time I'll probably do a batch and a half of the sauce, and use regular olive oil instead of olive oil spray on the potatoes.


weekend busyness and Gwen performs

We had a busy weekend, so much so that working from home today feels like more of a break! Saturday I had a hair appointment, the first that Gwen hasn't gone to with me! She stayed home with Trav, since I had to get up there and back as quickly as possible, so that we could turn around and head to Delaware for the first birthday party of this cutie:

She had fun though... her and Trav walked down the street to a local church's community fair, saw some miniature horses and ate a picnic lunch.

The party was nice too. Always fun to see college friends.

Sunday was more relaxing, though still busy. A walk in the morning, in the afternoon Trav taught tennis, I did some chores around the house while Gwen napped, and then we all headed out together to fit Gwen for real shoes. She's been getting by with soft soled infant shoes this whole time... but since she is constantly on the move now, she needs hard soled shoes.

She got these for the summer:
They are so flippin cute, aren't they? They should last her through the warm months, and then we can get her a pair of sneakers once she's outgrowing these and its getting cooler.

Anyway, after that weekend, working from home today almost seems like a bigger break! Especially since Ro is coming over with the baby for lunch.

The weather has cooled down so nicely these past few days. I'm really enjoying a high of 71* today!! Every window in our house is thrown open to tempt in all of the gorgeous, cool air. I'll have a Tasty Tuesday for you tomorrow, with two great recipes that take advantage of cooler temps.

In the meantime, two short vids of Gwen.
Waving Hi (from this weekend... she is on my back in the wrap).

Gwen "blowing" her nose (last night).
This cracks me up. 

Enjoy the beautiful day!!


101 in 1001, the redux

So, June is officially the end of my first "101" in 1001... and while I didn't finish it all, I'm pretty pleased with how I did. You can check it out HERE. End tally:  54 done, 7 still in progress, 10 to be completed soon, and 8 that just aren't going to happen right now.

But, I'm going to go for it again!! So here is my new 101 in 1001 list, with a completion date of March 2014!!
(Right now I'm 7 short... any suggestions? Also, I'll need your help for #88.)

Things in green are the items that are in progress.
Things in blue are completed items.
Things in purple are going to be completed, but after the March 2014 time frame.
Things in orange are just not going to happen anytime soon!!

  1. go camping
  2. see the Grand Canyon
  3. visit a new state
  4. attend the Celtic Classic
  5. attend a pro football or baseball game
  6. see a Broadway show
  7. visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
  8. go to Lancaster county (Amish area)
  9. go to Eastern State Penitentiary around Halloween
  10. get Gwen a passport

  11. decide for sure on being a surrogate
  12. find a church to attend as family
  13. start/continue at least one family tradition
  14. make an Easter trip to DC MD! They moved!
  15. visit with Babs at least once a year
  16. monthly playdates with Ro
  17. go on 4 (no child) date nights with Trav
  18. dance in the rain with Gwen (so wonderful... I'll definitely do this again...)
  19. stay at a B&B with Trav during foliage season

  20. get my new tattoo 
  21. sort out clothes and donate ones I don't wear
  22. make necklace organizer 
  23. sort jewelry 
  24. cut purse stash in half
  25. buy one new "timeless" piece
  26. once I'm done nursing, pack away nursing tanks and bras!
  27. get 1 pedicure every season

  28. pay off Trav's new car
  29. build up savings by at least half 
  30. do another "no credit card" month
  31. star.bucks no more then 2x a week
  32. eat out no more then 2 times every three weeks

  33. keep in weight comfort zone 
  34. do weekly baking soda facials switched to oil cleanse method instead!
  35. walk at least 2-3 times a week 
  36. buy a bicycle
  37. eat at least one veggie a day
  38. complete a 5k, try to run it (5m MS Walk in April '12, 5k Color Run in September '12)
  39. do mommy and me swim lessons (video!)
  40. go to the dentist at least 3 times
  41. have more sex! (at least 2x every 3 weeks, for 3 months in a row)

  42. grill peaches 
  43. try a new cuisine 
  44. go to a fruit festival in the fall
  45. learn to make preserves/jam
  46. find a great bread/loaf recipe
  47. make at least one loaf of bread every fall
  48. make at least one meal from scratch a week
  49. add 4 new recipes to our regular rotation
  50. no fast food for a month (fall 2011, and keeping this going!)
  51. teach someone a recipe

    Go Green
  52. switch 2 personal hygiene items to greener options (shampoo, face wash/scrub, face lotion)
  53. attend an Earth Day event
  54. replace water heater with tankless, Energy Star version waiting on this one
  55. replace bulbs (as they burnout) with CFL bulbs 
  56. join (, and plant our 10 new trees around our house and neighborhood (when we're in new house)
  57. cut out bottled water (not perfect with this, but getting better!)
  58. influence someone to make a greener choice
  59. 10 meat-free days

  60. redo vanity and medicine cabinet in bathroom
  61. work on moving to our "forever home"
  62. completely child-proof Gwen's room, so she can have 100% free reign in it 
  63. clear front porch and make useable (places to sit, no junk)

  64. create scrapbook/photobook with high school pictures
  65. create scrapbook/photobook with college picture
  66. organize all other print pictures
  67. do something with wedding dress
  68. sort through all of Gwen's baby clothes, keep favorites, donate rest (cut amount in half)
  69. pare down beauty/hygiene items (use up or dispose of old ones I won't use)

    Personal Growth
  70. take a class
  71. read 5 "classic" books from my to read list
  72. get an DSLR and really learn how to use it 
  73. finally paint that canvas that's been sitting in my closet for two years (linky)
  74. have a "me" day... without Gwen or Trav
  75. revisit an old passion (martial arts, china stuff, etc.) 
  76. volunteer for an environmental cause  (signed up to clean up trails with the Sierra Club!)
  77. have 8 no TV days

  78. keep office space clean (dust once a week, remove clutter daily)
  79. attend and really listen to at least two lectures a year (through work or not)
  80. redo resume

  81. blog at least three times a week
  82. hold a really b!tchin blog giveaway (go green event)
  83. vote
  84. get an iPhone
  85. watch the sunrise
  86. send a postcard to post secret (did two through the iPhone app; still want to do a real postcard one though)
  87. donate blood (can't until no new tattoos for a year)
  88. make a snow angel
  89. complete 2 random actions that friends think I should do (::gulp::)
  90. start and keep up with stamp book (of visited places) for Gwen

  91. host a holiday dinner
  92. host a dinner party for two couples (I'm considering our house party close enough!)
  93. write more letters/notes (real letters, not emails)... at least one a month 
  94. complete a random act of kindness
  95. be on time with all birthday/holiday cards for a year

Wish me luck, here I go!


The winds rose suddenly last night, just after I got done putting Gwen down. The day had been so hot and muggy, but I knew a storm was coming to lighten things up a bit. And boy did that storm ever come!!

Hail on our front porch.

The wind was tossing the branches on our neighbors tree back and forth. And the hail came down so hard that it sounded like someone was popping popcorn against the side of our house.

Front lawn COVERED in hail.

After the hail stopped, and the rain slowed down to a nice patter instead of a torrential downpour, we were finally able to open the windows and take advantage of the cool air. The temp actually dropped over 10* in less then 20 minutes!

Trav taking advantage of the rain to wipe the cars down!

The street, now pond, behind our house.

My favorite part though, was watching the amazing show of lightning. It was gorgeous!


Storm cloudy skies.

Such great lightning with this storm!

I actually just stood and watched it for almost a half hour. I love, love, love a good summer thunderstorm.

Amazingly Gwen slept through it! It was so loud that the storm sounds were maxing out the bars on her monitor, but she just snoozed on through.

Now its Friday, and a much cooler day, which should make it easier to get through. But get TO it, I must! Enjoy your day, and enjoy your weekend!



So, you've probably gathered that I'm trying to be greener in all aspects of my life. I've been trying to replace my shampoos/cleaners/etc with more gentle, environmentally-friendly options, use less, recycle and reuse more, etc. But the one place its always been a little harder for me is with clothes. Frankly, if they are more earth friendly, then are more expensive, or they aren't work appropriate.

Enter Ecolissa.
I'll be honest, Ecolissa still isn't cheap, but they have great fashion forward eco-conscious clothes. And their sale section makes those clothes no more expensive then anything else I buy.

I heard about their blogger review program a few weeks ago. It was perfect timing... I had just added a few of my shirts to the donate pile, since they no longer fit me well, and I really needed a few new shirts that were good for work, but not stuffy. So I picked out three items. 

Yay! I love getting boxes in the mail!
They arrived quickly, which was nice.

The first was the Mata Trader's Low Neck Top in Purple. It's made of 100% fair trade cotton.

Pretend I have a head...

I really liked this top. It fit comfortably; not to loose to be work appropriate, but not to tight for comfort sake (or appropriateness!). I material was great too, light and soft.

I wore it in DC and it stood up well to the nasty heat and humidity. It works fine on its own, and pairs well with a cardi for too cold A/C or cooler weather.

The second was the Ecoskin "Sora" Tee in Bluestone. Its made of 92% hemp and 8% spandex. Its sooo lovely and soft.

Unfortunately all they had left was a S, and it turns out, I needed an XS for this particular shirt, so I had to return in.  :-(  I was bummed, it was a beautiful color and a fun style. I loved the deep V (not too deep), and the pocket.

Once I returned the shirt (I always track my packages, just in case!), I was able to pop over to their website and hit the button for the live customer service chat. I found out that my return had already been processed, and a return sent to my credit card (package delivered on Saturday, refund issued by Monday). Great customer service!

The third item I picked is the Trinity Long Sleeve Dress/Tunic in Khaki. Its made of organic cotton.

(I think it makes my boobs look nice...)

It's comfortable and a nice weight, not too heavy or light. The material is soft and the fit is flattering. The first time I wore it, I got at least three compliments. I can't wait to try it out in the fall too, paired with my brown boots.

Overall, I was really pleased with my purchases from Ecolissa. The clothes were all really nice, and with my dealings with them in general left me with a good feeling about the company. Definitely check them out if you are looking to "greenify" your closet a little!

* Normal Disclaimer: Ecolissa provided me with a discount code to use in my purchase of these goods. However, all items were bought with my own hard earned cash, and the thoughts and opinions in this post are my own. I really do like their stuff!!  :-) 


tasty tuesday, on a tuesday!

Last night Trav and I went to bed at 9, we both needed the sleep. We haven't done that in a while, but I'm glad we did... little girl did not sleep well. Sickness always throws her sleep off for a few days, and though her fever is gone and she's happy for the most part, she still seems uncomfortable sometimes. Poor babe. Hopefully she'll be back to sleeping well by the end of the week. 

In any case, going to sleep early was nice. It feel deserved, since I've actually felt really productive lately. Some of its been boring things, like work stuff, washing more dishes, putting away all the clothes, lots of quick clean ups. But some of its been different: planting flowers in my front flowerbed, getting stuff ready for Gwen's official start in the toddler room (start of summer session, two weeks!). Whether boring or different though, its all making me feel good. I like being productive.

I also like working from home, which I'm doing today for the first time in two weeks! There were vacation days, work events, and holidays in there that kept me from my normal routine. But today I'm home, and cooking! Its going to be hot today, and tomorrow, and Thursday. Almost 100* tomorrow and Thursday, in fact. Yuck. So, light foods, salads, things that don't give off heat are the name of the game.

Today I'm making a different type of salad. We're going to be eating salads of some sort for the next few days (so as to not turn on our oven or stove AT ALL), and I wanted something that wasn't boring, that had some substance to it! It does involve some cooking at first, but since its still nice and cool, I did the little bit of roasting this morning, and now the oven is off and the rest (to do tonight) is just putting it together.

Roasted Potato, Spinach and Parmesan Salad

1. Heat oven to 450*. On a large baking sheet, toss 2 lb potatoes, cut into 3/4-in pieces with 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, and 3/4 tsp each crumbled dried rosemary and kosher salt until evenly coated. Roast 40 minutes, tossing once, until potatoes are golden. Cool on baking sheet.

2. In a large salad bowl, whisk 1/2 c light mayo, 1 tsp grated lemon zest, 1 1/2 Tbsp each lemon juice and water, and 1 clove garlic, crushed. Add potatoes, 6 cups baby spinach, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese; toss until dressed. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste.



It was very good! Trav and I loved it, savory and filling. I'll definitely be making this again.