Beautiful Boy | Our Titus

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Because we are so very proud of him, we want to tell you about our boy:

Titus William is bright and happy and beautiful. He loves Curious George, Thomas the Tank Engine and mac n’ cheese. He enjoys the playground and the ocean and tickles from his Dad and swinging with his Mom and ice cream. Titus is also on the autism spectrum. 

Some of you know, and some of you don’t, and with all of the adventures our family has been on lately, and in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day, we wanted to share a little about our story…

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Diagnosed at age two, our sweet boy is strong and plucky and complicated. Our story isn’t unique, but it still took us by surprise…

img_2603Once ahead of the developmental curve, we noticed around 20 months of age that Titus’s language development had stalled, repetitive behaviors started to appear, he seemed less social than normal, and a faraway look that was often in his eyes concerned us. After dismissal as simply being over-anxious, and then going with our guts and pursuing months of doctors visits – a couple of which said he was absolutely fine and there was nothing to be concerned about – we received his official diagnosis from the Yale Child Developmental Center in Connecticut, where we had moved barely a year before. Titus had ASD – autism spectrum disorder, with regression.

How do you process the news that your sweet, only, little one has challenges you never anticipated ahead? How do you allow dreams that you once held to reform, change, or disappear? What does your life look like, what does his life look like, what do you do next?…

…for the last two years we’ve been working on this. We’ve grieved and rallied and wept on the floor and raged and rejoiced. We have laid our hearts open to the Father and put one foot in front of the other…

IMG_5176And, we’ve moved across the country, renovated two homes, appeared on a national TV show, flown on airplanes, ridden trains, gone to Disneyland and Disney World and Castine, ME and Palm Springs, CA, and NYC and visited the beach, played with new friends, floated in the pool, swung in the hammock, watched movies and snuggled. And struggled. 

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Titus working with Jess, his first therapist

Nothing is the same, and everything is the same. Our Titus is still our Titus. But now, our days begin with a team of Behavioral, Occupational and Speech therapists each morning. And, puzzles and breakfast and sliding on slides. Our minds are occupied with vocabulary and behaviors and planning for an uncertain future. And, popsicles and date nights and buying new shorts because T is always growing.

 

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetWe are the same and totally different than other parents. And the pain of that ebbs and flows. Looking at old pictures and watching old videos of “before” can be difficult. Because of his regression, Titus had skills at 18months that he is still working to re-master now. Imagining the future brings anxiety. But. Even in the stretching, the fear and the wondering, we have faith.

Titus knows his numbers 1-12, all of his colors, some of his letters and loves to match, sort, do flash-cards, play on his swing set, splash in the waves, and do puzzles galore! He asks us for everything he wants, and points out all of the red lights when we’re driving – he just uses single words instead of sentences. He snuggles and gives hugs and high-fives, and requests popsicles 10 times a day. He makes lots of silly noises – because they feel good to make – and it takes him a long time to fall asleep, and looks at his hands with his fingers spread wide, and gets excited about the wind moving the leaves in the trees. He’s tall for his age, and often gets asked if he’s five or older, even though he’s not quite four yet, which can be hard sometimes, because he can’t always act like a big kid. He loves to run and jump, and it can be hard to sit still sometimes, but he is laid back, an excellent traveler, and isn’t rough with people or things. Every day can bring something new – both good and tough – that we learn how to tackle together. He works harder than we can imagine, every single day, with people and tasks that stretch and strengthen him.

IMG_6551He’s wondrous. And full of sweet, beautiful potential. 

And, he’s challenging. And life doesn’t look like how we thought it would. But, it is still good. And, because we don’t get to see all of you all the time, we wanted to share our beautiful boy with you. And, we wanted to thank you for being kind. For understanding when we can’t gather the energy for another outing or activity, for being flexible, for not being hurt if our little guy doesn’t look at you when you say hello or try to play, and for just smiling when T’s antics are a bit different than other children his age. And, being such sweet friends. And for walking along side us in this journey.  We aren’t done.

 

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetOur world is still big, and so are our dreams.

Titus’s name means, “Honorable Defender” and he had many amazing words of wisdom spoken over him when we dedicated him to the Lord as an infant. Even though our plans have had to change, we know that his purpose in the Kingdom remains intact and important. Our goal as his parents are to train and guide him to walk out that God-given purpose. Before he was born, we were given the picture of a rhino – a group of rhinos is called a “crash”. They can run at up to 30mph, but can only see 30 feet ahead. We don’t know what’s at 31 feet for Titus or our family, but we will run with faith to crash any obstacle.

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We covet your prayers over Titus, and the promise that his life holds. We love him so very much, and know that there is so much light and joy ahead of us. We look forward to sharing more about our #lifeonthespectrum. Feel free to send us a note with questions or encouragement. One of the most meaningly phrases we’ve learned is, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”  – Dr. Stephen Shore. Every single trait and ability – both positive and negative – is unique. Know what we are learning every day about ASD, and what works specifically for Titus and our family. We love you, and thank you.

  • Andrew, Rachael & Titus

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rahrighouse projects | open concept + dream kitchen

When I look at original photos of our house, I can’t help but wonder a few things: Why all the piiiinkkkk? Wallpaper on the ceiling??? And, what the HECK were we thinking?!?

Built in 1870, and loved by the same family for the 55 years before we moved in, this house took vision. We crossed the threshold with a one year old in-arms, 10 hours away from everything and everyone we knew. It took literal blood, sweat, tears,  and planning and working until all hours of the night, at times. But, we had fallen in love! In love with the history of this house, and this town, and I have to say that adoring my space every day has made it worth it. SO worth it.


So, it’s been long enough coming – here’s what we were working’ with:

The Kitchen

Wallpaper on the ceiling, laminate flooring, dark and small…

The Dining Room

Pink and closed-off and…pink

The Living Room

Pink. Just, pink.

Besides the kitchen, dining room and living room, we also remodeled a laundry room, mudroom, pantry and half bath. It wasn’t a small project – it took nine weeks of washing dishes in the bathtub upstairs and cooking paninis and easy mac in the master bedroom. But, bit by bit, magic happened…

HUGE shout-out to my amazing, hard-working mom, who probably worked harder on our home that we did… We couldn’t have done it without her!

We worked with an amazing contractor, who understood our goals and our budget, and who  – most importantly – creatively tackled the project with an understanding of what it takes to work with the quirks of an antique home. 

They completed the bulk of the work, but we took on painting, and rehabbing the cabinetry (thanks, mom!

We were very fortunate that we didn’t come across anything  unexpected – whew! It was slow, tedious work at times, but I think the results surprised everyone…

**Angels. Literally. Singing.**


The Kitchen & Dining Room

I knew I was picking elements that I liked – my pinterest boards had been out. of. control. for weeks throughout the project, of course – but, I was floored when things actually came together! And, the LIGHT! What a change!

Removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room allowed us to have the open concept that we wanted, and add a “peninsula” with extra cabinetry and bar seating!

The outdated decorative woodwork above the sink was replaced with more modern trim, and the bottom bank of cabinets were replaced. We were able to paint the cabinets above to match the new cabinetry, and reuse the vintage hardware. The pantry/laundry room was enclosed, and washer/dryer were stacked. A new counter-depth refrigerator now stands where the stove used to sit.

Our new stove, hood, open shelving and cabinetry replaced the small breakfast nook, and allows much more counter space for food preparation and storage. The addition of canned lighting replaced the single hanging light in the original kitchen, and did wonders!

Our “waterfall”-style butcher-block countertops came from Ikea – I ADORE THEM. We read lots of reviews before purchasing, and made sure we understood the care and upkeep required (it’s not much!), and after a year of use, I can say they look just a lovely as the day they were installed! I would recommend them to anyone, and you simply cannot beat the price.

Our farmhouse sink and fixtures, as well as our cabinet pulls, are from Ikea as well. At a fraction of the price of other options, again, I cannot say enough how much we love their look AND function!

We chose simple white subway tile with a light grout for our backsplash- stylish and cost-effective! And, we chose a dark grey 12″ x 24″ tile laid in a herringbone pattern for our new floor. It used a bit more tile, and took a bit more time to achieve the look I had fallen in love with, but I think it truly made the room look unique and customized.

Our appliances are Maytag  – the industrial look of the handles sold me! And, though we went back-and-forth a TON, we would’t trade our counter-depth refrigerator for anything! The low profile made such a difference in the design.

I also had fun with the little details. The vintage scale we found in the old pantry when we moved into the house (!), and the chandelier was a fun on-sale find at West Elm. The little hidden bar cabinet is original to the kitchen, and one of The Husband’s favorite parts of the house ;) Painted robin’s egg blue on the inside, it’s certainly a bright spot! Other favs: Bar stools from home goods, the seafoam green pitcher from my great-grandmother, our Nespresso machine, and those Kate Spade arrow salt and pepper shakers :)


The Pantry, Mud Room & Bathroom

This  back stairwell was blocked off at the ceiling long before we bought the house, and the previous homeowners used it as a makeshift pantry. But, with the addition of cabinetry and a GORGEOUS marble countertop (thanks, Amazing Space!), we now have a butler-style pantry that is perfect for entertaining, and a really fun feature!

In the same area, we have a half-bath. Originally, it was very small – a built-in in the dining room and a storage closet made it too tiny even for a standard-sized vanity! But, knocking out, a getting rid of the cray green tile let us open it up to match the flow of the rest of the house. I love the penny tile, and curtain I made from fabric from Ikea.


The Living Room

We were fortunate that the living room was already open to the dining room, and featured five BIG windows. In here, a little paint and curtains went a longgg way.

Ripping up the carpet and painting the stairs made a big difference to the entry as well. And, thanks to Amazing Space, the removal of the wall and addition of the glass railing and loft change the whole character of the house!

A big difference, huh? A little imagination and a lot of hard work made this house into our home, and we are so proud that we were able to add our own chapter to its long history…


Well, we’re glad it’s done, and we have thoroughly enjoyed living in this space, in this house, in this neighborhood, and in this state for the last two years. But, believe it or not, the Rahrigs are actually getting ready to embark on another adventure!

In the next few months, we are trading in our snow shovels for palm trees, and will be moving to Tampa, Florida! Yes, this move is coming a little quicker than anticipated, and I have already cried over leaving my pretty little kitchen more than I would like to admit. But, we feel that this is an amazing opportunity for our family, and we pray that the Connecticut “rahrighouse” will bless and bring joy to another little family just as it did to us!

We would LOVE your prayers as we embark on the search for another rahrighouse… Florida sunshine edition!


Style Notes & Sources:

Paint colors

  • Living room, Kitchen and Dining Room: Sherwin Williams, Repose Gray
  • Mudroom: SW, Dorian Gray
  • Bathroom: SW, Eider White
  • Inside of bar cabinet, laundry room, pantry: SW, Sea Salt
  • Cabinetry: SW, Eider White
  • Stairs: SW, Gauntlet Gray
  • Trim: SW, Extra White

Kitchen/Dining Room

Bathroom

  • Vanity: Home Depot
  • Mirror: Ikea
  • Towel bar and flower pot: Ikea
  • Lighting: Ikea
  • Tile: Lowes

Mudroom

  • Lighting: Ikea
  • Cabinetry: Lowes, unfinished

Living Room

See my other rahrighouse posts here!

Questions? Let me know! I am happy to answer them!

goodbye, sweet little kitchen!

 

rahrighouse projects | lights, camera, action!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetI’ve been quiet for a while, I know. But, I’ve had a realllllly good reason. A totally unexpected, never could have predicted, one-in-a-million reason:

Basically, we’ve lived THE dream. You know – the dream you have when you’re the type of person who binge-watches Property Brothers, have designed your “tiny house” in your head, and whisper “shiplap” as you drift off to sleep most nights…

That’s right, folks. The Rahrigs, and our sweet little Connecticut home, are going to be ON TV!


It alllll started when we received a knock on our door on a rainy day in February. The Husband was out of the house, I was upstairs with the little guy who was grouchily waking up from a nap, and the last thing I wanted to do was run down to see who was there (like, we had two friends so far in CT… maybe it was the mail lady?). I finished getting T settled, looked through the window on the off-chance someone was still there, and noticed a truck in the driveway. I cautiously walked down the stairs, and saw a man in a baseball cap jogging up to our doorway. With a big grin, and a ton of energy, this stranger started excitedly talking…

“My name is Eric, I’m with HGTV and we think YOUR HOUSE IS PERFECT...”


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|I mean, it IS pretty cute…|


askdjfhalskdjfh. What? I thought, as I stood there with no makeup, in my socks, with the door cracked.  Was I hard-of-hearing?… He started again:

“We are doing this great new show, I’m the host, and we’re looking for a historic New England home, and a young family! Your realtor sent me over! The concept is that we are maximizing and getting creative with space that might be usually ignored…”

askldjfhajskdfh. Huuuuuuh? I was visibly scoffing at this point. Like, this sounded too good to be true, right? Or, I just finished a nine-week renovation and barely escaped with my sanity, so NO I do NOT want any more construction within 100 MILES OF MYSELF ever, ever, ever agin, right?

But, he seemed genuine enough. So, I let him finish talking. And I kindly took his name and number, thanked him, closed the door, and called the husband to tell him this hilarious story… Little did I know where this random happening would take us!

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Fast-forward a few months, and our home is now more lovely than I could have imagined. And, the husband has fulfilled his lifelong dream to be a tv star. And maybe Titus has a future on Law & Order. And, we had the adventure of a lifetime.

SO, tune in to the *DIY Network on Wednesday, August 3 at 8:00p.m. to watch Amazing Space and see the new and improved RahrigHouse in all of its glory! UPDATE: Watch on the HGTV Network on Saturday, August 27 at Noon!

Also, a VERY special shout-out to my mom, sister Bekah and sister-in-law Jessica for lots of couch sleeping, box and furniture moving and babysitting during the process!

You can see more of our home renovation adventures here, and expect updates here at FreshlyMinted soon!

AMAZING SPACE LOGO

*DIY is the HGTV sister network. The show will likely air on HGTV at a later date – we’ll keep you posted!

 

Big City Living | NYC tips & favorite things

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetSo, I used to post a lot of recipes. Currently, however, our master bedroom is serving as our kitchen  while most of our first floor is under construction. Though it is complete with mini fridge, microwave, toaster, panini press and espresso maker, even with all of these fabulous amenities, my cooking repertoire is limited, to say the least. So, the recipes will be coming…. but I’m gonna give it a few more weeks… (unless you want to know how to grill a sandwich without catching your bedroom curtains on fire. I’m pretty good at that. ).

In the meantime, as I eat cheese, crackers and apples for lunch again (totally under-rated, by the way. Like an adult lunchable, and who didn’t love those?!), I thought I’d share a few of our favorite things about our brief Big City life!


2015-02-08_1423417429We moved to Jersey City, NJ in freezing early February for a short-term assignment for the Husband’s job. In a small apartment in a tall building along Hudson river, there were a lot of adjustments to make.   Of course, having all of NYC literally at our feet for three months was pretty spectacular. But, there was a bit of a learning curve involved…

 

At first, I was frustrated. The sparkle of those famous lights was so near, but it was roughly -24 degrees, and I had a 9mo old and the trains were crazy, the Husband worked and had a long commute during the week, and I was sure I would only get to admire the sights from afar. Humph. But, after careful observation of the city-savvy parents that surrounded us (and watching every episode of Friends), we realized that the cold + baby + subway was not an impossibility. And, though the weeks were long, we filled every weekend to the brim. A challenge, yes, but a zillion people traversed the snow and crowds every day, little ones in tow, and we found that we could, too!

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Some of Our (more obscure) Favorite Spots

We visited Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Gardens, Grand Central Station, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, made lots of trips in and around Times Square, the Freedom Tower and 9/11 Memorial, MoMA, Museum of Natural History, The New York Public Library, Bloomingdales, Macy’s  and dozens of other shops  and attractions that you already
know are gorgeous. But, here are a few less common stops that should be on your list!


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Hoboken | On the Jersey side, this spot is hopping! Yes, you can visit Carlo’s Bakery, but there are a ton of fun restaurants in this up-and-coming community on the banks of the Husdon. We loved this stroller-friendly biergarten! Tip: Jersey is a super quick ferry or train ride away from the city, and it can be far less expensive to stay on this side of the river if you’re planning a visit. You also get one-of-a-kind views of the city, and easy access to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island! Quick Facts: Also Frank Sinatra’s birthplace, and the filming location for the classic movie, “On the Waterfront” starring Marlon Brando.

Jason BatemanTriBeCa | Short for the “Triangle below Canal street” we visited this area for the first time during the Tribeca Film Festival, and I fell in love! Perfect for celebrity sightings (like Jason Bateman –>) and ahhhhmazing brunch, strolling these streets make you just FEEL like you belong here and could totally make this city home, and have a “squad”, and walk to the gym in heels and stuff like that. Or, you could just go to Starbucks and people watch.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetUnder the PlazaThe Plaza itself is the kind of place that childhood dreams are made of… perched at the edge of central park, it’s everything that our Eloise books and Home Alone 2 told us it was. The Husband and I enjoyed drinks at the Palm Court on a date night, but the real hidden gem of the place is what’s under it! Perfect with kids, get a casual plaza experience with the dining options, and even pack a picnic to take to the park (like we did for T’s first birthday  – complete with cupcakes!).

2015-04-13_1428889454Momofoku Milk Bar | I had a LONG list of places we HAD to visit when in the city, and Milk Bar was near the top. And it deserved it. The cereal milk ice cream with cornflake topping is as good as they say, and the cookies and bars are even better. You just HAVE to go!Uniqlo | This shop is spreading like crazy, and is well-established on the East Coast and here in CT where we live now. But, for us midwesterners, it was awesome! Like a funky-industrial mix of the good parts of Gap, JCrew and H&M, their clothes are fun, functional, and perfectly priced. They have things for littles, too!

IMG_1186The Gansevoort Market | It’s a good idea to cruise instragram for fun locations to visit when you’re in a new spot. That’s how I discovered this gem! Etheral, historic and packed with good things to eat, this was a fun destination for casual lunch in a beautiful atmosphere!

 

 

 

2015-05-02_1430577185Bemelmans Bar | If you want to feel like you walked onto the set of Mad Men, this spot is a date night MUST. Nestled on the Upper East Side, and named for the artist that created it’s fabulous murals (the illustrator of the beloved Madeline books!), it’s just to die for. Tip: The King Cole Bar is another NYC classic with vintage vibes, and a secret hidden in its mural.

 

Honorable mentionsCheeky Sandwiches – Chicken and biscuits and ginger ale, thanks to the New York Gebert kids for introducing us :) | Eileen’s Special Cheesecake – The Husband doesn’t like cheesecake, so I bought him one and ate both. duh. | The Boathouse restaurant – A very popular spot in Central Park, but they have a less-busy causal outdoor area perfect for sitting with a glass of wine and a toddler!

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Tips & Tricks for Parents

Especially if you visit during the colder months, here are a few ideas for parents planning to visit NYC or any big city with a little one!

IMG_0396Rain cover + Bundle Me | Your stroller rain cover isn’t just for rain, and you have to buy one of these. No blankets falling off every five seconds, no howling wind, and all of the sudden our brunch date with friends when it was 12 degrees was on the table again… Titus and hundreds of other kids we saw each day were cozy for all-day city outings for months with this combo! This has been great for our new adventure here in CT, too. No need to stop enjoying long walks because of the weather!

IMG_0220Stairs + Strollers DO Mix | You’ve just gotta be ok with hauling your stroller up and down stairs for the subway. We were pretty appalled at the lack of accessible subway stations, and figured out quickly that to be efficient, you’ve just got to use the stairs. Though, you could call a cab and hold your child on your lap, and stow your stroller, it’s a lot of effort! We didn’t use a cab once when out with the baby, and never had any real issues. Baby wearing also helps, particularly if you’re trying to train solo!

IMG_1262Pack Small | I didn’t understand the concept of an “urban jungle” until we had this
experience. Dressing for the weather and the tired feet, plus packing the snacks and toys and diapers necessary for 6 hour day in the elements makes you look more prepared for an arctic expedition than a chic day in the city. BUT, everything in the city is tight – small restaurants, small sidewalks, crowded subway cars. We brought our big jogger stroller with us and didn’t touch it! We also opted for a backpack style
diaper bag, and a back carrier for museums. Anything that can be efficient and compact is a game changer (another reason the bundle me was so great)! It can be hard to do with littles, but economize any way you can.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetBabies are babies, even in NYC | It’s ok to feed, change and tend to your baby virtually anywhere. We nursed and changed in museums, at sporting events, in restaurants, on busy streets and subway stations. There are WAY weirder things going on in the city. Trust me. Just go and see what you wanted, go and eat great food, and bring the baby along to (almost) everywhere with you.

At the end of our time in the city, we were ready for some of the more familiar comforts of home – a yard for the baby, peace and quiet, no crowds… but, we’ll always treasure our New York adventures! And fortunately, our new home is just about an hour away! So, if you’re making a trip to NYC, give us a call. We’d love to have a reason to visit some of these amazing spots again, or try something new :)

freshlyminted… again

I thought I had outgrown this name.

No longer a newlywed, not a new homeowner, settled into my career and comfortable in the kitchen, things were pleasantly busy and routine. I wasn’t really a “freshly minted” anything…

And then this happened:

Baby T

And we moved here for a bit:

NYC views

And now we’re living here, and bought a really old house:

Milford, CT - Lower Duck Pond

And nothing is the same, so it’s time to write again.

___

We welcomed Titus in April of 2014, I left a job I loved in January of 2015, and we moved to Jersey City, NJ for four months early this year and soaked up NYC. Then, we lived like nomads between states for about six months, and had some family adventures along the way. Now, we are the new owners of a not-so-new 145-year-old house in costal Connecticut that totally captured my history-loving self the moment we walked in the door. But it needed a little TLC…

So, yep. Not a lot is the same…

The Husband works really hard. And Titus and mama hang out together. A lot. And we’re learning how to renovate a sweet but tired house, live 10 hours from grandmas, explore New England, cook again, make new friends, and how to be a family in the midst of change.

Not my forte. But it’s starting to be.

So, if you’d like, stay tuned. I’m gonna write about my (re) freshlyminted life.

{California} Citrus Salad

Alex BrosSo, let me tell you a story. It’s about how I’m bad at Twitter. But it’s more interesting than it sounds, I swear.

(<—Alex and his bros. This is important to the rest of the story….)

It happened one day when I was watching late-night Cooking Channel TV, and this new show, Rebel Eats, came on. The host reminded me of someone, and I couldn’t pin it down… and then it hit me. HE WAS OUR FRIEND ALEX. But not really, of course. He just talked like him and acted like him and even sort of looked like Alex and his brother.

Justin shots(This is Justin… some similarities, right?)

So, what did I do? I sent this tweet to Alex:

JustinTweet1And then, I went calmly to bed. Until, that is, when I woke up at 5:30a.m. for my morning exercise class and saw a little twitter notification… it was this:

Justintext2And, I almost died. I forgot the cardinal rule of twitter….. anyone can find anything. And, the gig was up. I had insulted a Food Network star. Actually THE Food Network Star. Publicly. I frantically texted Alex to commiserate, but he wasn’t much help:

Text salad 1And then this. This was my pitiful too-early-in-the-morning attempt to salvage the situation:

justintext3Yep. Facial hair. That’s all I got. But, in my defense, you can see that the Green’s have the corner on the market. But, Justin and I can never be friends. So, now you know how truly communication-inept I can be, and how NOT to make friends with a celebrity. The end…

Oh, and the salad connection? Alex is actually an awesome experimental chef when he’s not too busy being a Law/MBA student in San Diego, CA. And, he’s a great friend of the family (remember when we visited his family’s home in Canada?). Well, this is his creation… And it’s a darn good one. Enjoy!

Citrus Salad

California Citrus Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Spring Mix (1 lb.)
  • Lemons (2)
  • Strawberries (10-15)
  • Dates, Frozen for easy chopping (10)
  • Avocados (3)
  • Trader Joe’s Champagne Pear Salad Dressing – Feel free to substitute another favorite if you don’t happen to have a TJ’s nearby… like me. *Sob* (3/4 cup)

Directions:

  • 1) Cut lemons into thin, 1/8 inch slices; remove seeds; quarter the slices (The juice mixes with other ingredients as you cut, adding bright flavor!)
  • 2) Cut strawberries into quarters after removing tops
  • 3) Cut dates in half; remove pit; quarter them, then rough chop into small, quarter-inch pieces
  • 4) Cut avocados in half; remove pit; cut the fruit of each half by rough chopping into pieces that are about an inch long and half an inch wide
  • 5) Place spring mix into a large salad bowl
  • 6) Add additional ingredients
  • 7) Pour salad dressing over top
  • 8) Toss salad and serve
  • Enjoy!

So, have you ever met or insulted a celebrity? Do tell… it would make me feel better. Plus, Justin is probably somehow reading this now and disliking me even more ;)

What we’ve been up to…

Wow. Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter came and went.

And the 4th of July.

I missed this, but we’ve had a fabulous rest….

Though time is speeding by, we’ve filled it with everything from home projects to vacations, dinner parties to volunteering. It would take way to long to totally catch you up so we can get back to some fun stuff, so instead, here are a few pictures:

Volunteering with Service League for the Mazza Museum – a really magical place.

VolunteerMazza

Super Bowl Paleo fun with homemade cauliflower pizza crust (you know you’ve Pinned it, too…), and coconut-coated baked chicken nuggets. Verdict? We ate it allllllll. 

CauliflowerPizza

Our spare room (aka, the really-nice-storage-space-with-a-desk) actually turned into a real room. With a bed. That my mom and I refinished. And a mattress. Come visit?

Bedroom

The Husband’s parents got visit and sleep on a real bed. Made the whole redecoration totally worth it. That, and always being able to walk into a room with a bed that’s made. That’s pretty great, also.

TheParentsVisit

And there was the local chili cook-off. It’s a big deal. And mostly delicious.

ChiliCookoff

We dressed up like Superman and Lois Lane for a charity gala… and didn’t enjoy it at all (obviously… ;) JK – best thing we’ve done this year! And doesn’t the Husband make a dashing Clark Kent? Oh, that curl...

Lois&Clark

I got the chance to visit my Great-Grandmother. And, THIS is her wallpaper. A recent visit to Anthropologie made me realize how much I love it, and totally wish I could copy it or frame it or something… grandmaswallpaperI flew from cold, cold Ohio to bright blue California for a little family get-away. What a difference a few hours makes!

flighttocali

…I saw these mountains.

calimountains

…and walked along streets like this.

Cali

..and stuck my toes in an icy desert oasis.

California13

Celebrity encounter #1: Saw the Author of “The Language of Flowers”, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, talk about her New York Times Best Seller. She signed my book, “To Rachael, with Tulips…”

LanguageOfFlowersI got glasses. For the first time. Luckily, I just have to wear then when trying to see a ppt presentation or driving at night… or when I want to feel nerdy-chic.

glassesWe went home for Easter, and both wore fabulous footware.

Easter

…and mom made pies.

Easter Pie

We joined the County Club, and I’m learning to love golf. Or, attempting to. At least this place is totally lovely and we get to hang out outside and say, “let’s go to the club for dinner….” I’ve sort of always have wanted to say that…

Country Club

We’re super active in our local Young Professionals organization. It’s lots of fun, and has a ton of neat activities that we have the opportunity to lead. From around here? Check it out!

FYP

We saw BOB DYLAN. Just look at that silhouette… the hair.

Dylan

We went to Traverse City, Michigan and Camped. And ate.

Traverse City food

And my little sibs came to visit while my parents went on a 30th Anniversary trip. And we canoed, tie-dyed, watched a drive-in movie, swam… And ate.

Donuts with kids

Then we went to Cincinnati. And watched baseball. And ate.

FindlayMkt.

So, lots of fun. Lots of adventures. Lots of food…. and I’ve missed sharing it all! So, though we’ve got a full calendar, and plenty of relaxation penciled into our summer schedule, I’m going to do my best to keep up… And, the Husband wants to write a post about his theories on the best way to get a deal when garage sale-shopping. I’m serious.

So, I had to catch you up, first ;)

P.S. I also ate lots of this – my new favorite concoction: Oatless oatmeal. Packed with protein, perfect for smothering with fruit and nut butters. Recipe to come!Oatless oats