Gift Ideas for First Responders

If someone you love is a first responder, you know all too well the mix of overwhelming pride and fear concerning their job. Firefighters, police officers, military personnel and paramedic/EMTs are the ones running in while others are running out. My husband, a firefighter and parmedic (and Army veteran!) half-jokingly says that to me, but it’s so true. These everyday-heroes are not compensated for their daily sacrifices. I started writing this post on a day we lost a local police officer to a hit-and-run driver. My heart breaks for the family and friends of that officer, as well as the members of his department. I know that technically all of us are all putting our lives into danger by just getting up and going to work everyday – no matter our profession – but no one can argue that these men and women are quite literally risking it all for the sake of the lives of complete strangers.

So – before I say anything else – THANK YOU to all first responders and their families. Your sacrifices are not overlooked. ❤ Continue reading

Currently….{February 21, 2017}

We’re about a month out from the official start of spring, but it’s been in the 50s and 60s around Northeast Ohio lately – so it feels like spring is here already! We are loving the warmer weather, and so are the boys. We spent almost FOUR HOURS at the park last Saturday. Needless to say we were all totally wiped out after that. I think we all slept like rocks that night!

We’ve been busy around the homestead lately. Earlier this month, Ryan was out of town for two weeks at training for work (yay to getting promoted this year!!), so I had my first experience of just me and the kiddos at home for a long period of time. I’m so, so, so blessed to have a wonderful babysitter and an even more wonderful mama who made those two weeks not only doable, but not that bad. And it helps that my boys were eerily well-behaved. But in any case, I was SO happy when Ryan finally came back home. Our home just isn’t the same when he’s not around, and I swear Gunner (our younger dog) was in a state of depression for those two weeks. The dog loves his dad. Continue reading


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

For all my fellow readers and lovers of blogs, have you tried Bloglovin yet? If not, here’s the scoop:

When you sign up for Bloglovin and follow all your favorite blogs, the site delivers a summary of posts from these blogs everyday – right to your email. It’s all the blogs you love in one place! I’ve been on Bloglovin for about a year, and it’s been such a time saver for me. Plus – the site suggests other blogs based on your preferences, so I’ve found some great new blogs to follow.


I feel like I’ve said “blog” way too much in this post – so I’ll stop here. Ok, one more: blog! I couldn’t help myself 🙂


With a heavy heart…

This past Sunday, two Toledo, Ohio firefighters were killed in an apartment fire. I cannot express the sadness I feel for their families – and the respect that I have for these two mean and for ALL of the firefighters, police officers and military personnel who put their lives on the line everyday to protect us.

My best friend and the love of my life is a firefighter, so I’d be lying if I said this didn’t scare every part of me. These men are true heroes, and I pray for them and their families. 


September Foodie Penpal Reveal

My foodie penpal for September was Elizabeth from Happy Hollandaise. She sent me a GREAT box with some tasty goodies:


I had to laugh when I opened the box: Elizabeth had sent me packets of Justin’s almond butter in the some of the same flavors I sent my foodie penpal this month! Ryan grabbed the chocolate one right away for some toast (I got a bite though!), and I used the other two for breakfasts last week, maple on an English muffin and honey with a sliced apple. These little packets are delicious and so filling.

I did a little dance when I pulled the medjool dates out of the box. I have been DYING to try a recipe I found for healthy chocolate chip cookie using these dates. Now that I have everything I need, I’ll be making these very soon!

Elizabeth also got me a package of Seasnax, wafer-like snacks made from seaweed. I was a little leery about trying them, but WOW, they are good! The whole package has only 16 calories, which is good because I ate them so fast, I wanted another! I can’t wait to get more of these.

Last but certainly not least – a Chocopologie candy bar. My absolute favorite treats combine sweet and salty: Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Chili Powder Truffles, Jalapeno wine…and now, Chocopologie chocolate. The dark chocolate and caramel was so rich, and the sea salt added the salty-goodness that I love. That poor candy bar didn’t stand a chance of surviving longer than 24 hours.

Elizabeth, did you read my mind? The foodie goodies you sent were EXACTLY what I love. Thank you so much!!

High Five Friday 9-28

What is “High Five Friday”? It’s a weekly posting I do to remind myself of all the good things that have happened to me during the week, no matter how small they are. Bad things happen in this world. That’s one thing we unfortunately cannot get away from. But these posts keep me focused on all I have to be thankful for in my life, instead of all the chaos and tragedy going on. Reminding myself of the joy and happiness in my life really does have a positive impact on my outlook on life. So I challenge you to try it. Take five minutes and write down five positive things that have happened to you this week. They don’t have to be huge, life-changing events; as you can see from my list below, nothing out of the ordinary really happened to me this week. But once I focus on that small, ordinary event, it becomes extraordinary. I know it’s cliché, but the power of positive thinking is truly amazing!

What a great week for catching up with friends and family!

1. I had a fun happy hour with two of my favorite co-workers. We went to Bricco in downtown Akron; I hadn’t been there in a long time, and that happy hour made me realize how much I miss it! Their dirty martinis are second only to Wasabi’s. Yum!

2. I found out another friend is moving back to the Fairlawn area! Can’t wait!

3. I spent a beautiful fall Sunday with girlfriends from college and their families. The day was perfect: great food, relaxed and fun conversations and the chance to just be around some of my best friends. And while I loved catching up with my friends, it was these little cuties who stole the show:


Aren’t they adorable! That’s Bridget, Maxim and Lily.

4. It’s a tradition in our family to enjoy a pumpkin Blizzard from Dairy Queen each fall. On Saturday, my mom, dad and I did just that. My only regret was that I got a small! If you haven’t tried one, you must! They are delicious. Or, if you’re in the mood to make you’re own, try out my pumpkin ice cream recipe.

5. Akron has been a-buzz with excitement all week as the city prepares for the Akron Marathon tomorrow morning. I can’t wait to get downtown bright and early tomorrow morning to participate in this amazing event. Good luck to all my loved ones who are running!