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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Why summer with a toddler is awesome


Last week I read an article about how terrible summer is with a toddler.

I love Scary Mommy and I can totally relate to many of their articles...I get the humor, I'm a mom and I'm right there seeing the ridiculousness of it all with the best of them. But, this article really got under my skin. Yes, having a toddler - or child of any age - is tough. It's more work than one can imagine, there's no off or pause button. It's exhausting and yes, sometimes I do wonder why I bother leaving the house with my daughter when it would have been easier to just stay home.


Having a toddler - or a child of any age - is also pretty awesome. I couldn't wait for summer to arrive so that I could do all sorts of fun activities with Penelope and see her experience wonderful things in life for the first time.

Let me just tell you that the joy I felt watching her eat an Italian ice on a warm summer night for the first time was not a normal amount of joy for one grown person to experience. That simple act of enjoying one of the most delicious parts of summer...well seeing Penelope have that felt like one of the best nights ever.

And so today instead of complaining about how life has changed now that we have a toddler (believe me, I miss summer happy hours too), I'm going to talk about why this summer is going to be effing awesome with my two year old.

Swimming. I was wasn't sure how P would be around water this summer. Last year, she was still so small. Would she be too afraid or too comfortable? Well it looks like we have an abundance of comfort over here. This kid is already swimming with her float on and pointing to the diving board. Swimming with P is my new favorite summer activity, hands down.


Bike riding. This kid loves her bike and my heart just about bursts every time she climbs on, helmet and all, ready to put that pedal to the metal.

Bubbles. Another summer activity that she is obsessed with. I wish I felt joy for anything as much as she feels for bubbles. Oh wait...I think it's in the form of watching her with bubbles. We love this bubble hurricane that spins out bubbles on the double; win for Penelope with thousands of bubbles and win for Mom & Dad that we don't have to lift a finger.


Impromptu summer treats. As a kid, I remember that there was nothing that felt more special than when we went for ice cream. My mom and I brought her to Rita's last weekend for some Italian ice and let's just say her 'orange' (aka mango) ice with vanilla custard was the hit of the century.

Smell of sunscreen and sweat with tired, red eyes. A day in the sun equals sunscreen all over, causing oily skin and greasy hair and the most divine summer smell. Combined with those sleepy, sunny red eyes, there is nothing more precious.

The boardwalk. We haven't done this yet but it's definitely on the list for this summer...we are from Jersey, after all. Boardwalk funnel cake, bright lights and little kiddo rides. I can't think of anything more fun.

Vacations. True, vacations are now a lot of work with a child, there's no doubt about it. And as my boss and mentor told me...when traveling with children, it's not a vacation, it's a trip. I couldn't agree more, but it makes me happy that we are able to go on a few getaways throughout the year so that P is used to traveling. I can't wait for our annual family campout this coming weekend (we can't wait for her to try s'mores!), our July trip to Aruba, and our Delaware beach getaway.


Outdoor evening time. It's not easy to forget how great summer happy hours can be, but I've found just as much joy in just enjoying snacks (and a glass of rose) on our terrace in the early evening hours with some 90s rock on the jambox and a full water table for P. For me, that's a pretty awesome night.

I could probably go on and on. I have grand plans to get to the zoo, splash parks, Field Station Dinosaurs, the NJ Balloon Festival and so many more. I know that while each of these activities will be a little work for Mom & Dad, I can't wait to see my daughter experience all of them!

What are your plans with your kiddos this summer?


Chocolate Banana Bread

So last week I had a post planned for every day of the week. Unfortunately, my trip to Vegas was just as exhausting, time consuming and awesome as ever, and so I got around to writing and posting all of zero of said posts. But this week I'm back in action and ready to rock! I'll have some catch up posts coming up, but today is Secret Recipe Club reveal day!

I was assigned Our Eating Habits this month, and there were so many recipes that I wanted to try. I wanted something simple and utilized ingredients I had on hand, since there has been little to no food shopping in this house as of late. I did have 2 very, very ripened bananas that needed to be used and luckily Jamie has lots of banana recipes. I chose this chocolate banana bread, which was a perfectly simple recipe that was also great for Penelope to help with. She peeled the bananas, measured out baking soda and salt, poured in flour and other dry ingredients, and of course did her favorite part, the mixing.

Though this is a bread recipe, I made it into 2 small round cakes. I love cake and loved the idea of this one recipe stretching farther than just 1 loaf. I used an 8 inch cake pan and a 4.5 inch cake pan. We enjoyed the small cake this weekend and I froze the larger size for our annual campout next weekend. I think it would be fantastic with a little cream cheese frosting, and a perfect dessert to share. Thanks Jamie for this fun twist on classic banana bread!

Chocolate Banana Bread

Adapted from Our Eating Habits

1 C sugar

2 eggs

1/3 C vegetable oil

1 1/4 C mashed bananas

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 C all-purpose flour

1/2 C unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease your pan(s).

In a large mixing bowl, mix together with a fork or wooden spoon the wet ingredients: sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, mashed bananas and vanilla extract.

Pour in the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

Mix with a wooden spoon until just combined. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes (for 2 smaller cake pans). For a standard loaf pan, bake for 60-65 minutes.

Top with frosting or powdered sugar, if desired!

I sprinkled on a bit of confectioners sugar ran through a sieve.




Happy Friday!

{I've been passing this most amazing red rose bush on my walk to the train each morning}


What are your weekend plans?

We have quite a full weekend ahead. Tomorrow we'll be celebrating my sister Kimberly's birthday with swimming and barbecuing (and I hope a lot of cake). Sunday we are heading to Long Island to celebrate the baptism of my best friend's baby girl Elodie (and Penelope's birthday twin). Then I've got some last minute shopping and packing for my trip to Las Vegas on Monday. It's going to be a busy one but I'm psyched for some good weather (fingers crossed). Also on the list...planning to finally start watching this season of Game of Thrones!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Here are some links to get you through this Friday...

there's a new naked palette in town

I can't wait to try making these carrot fries

50 Shades of Grey from Christian's perspective is a go

some secrets to limiting mental fatigue

14 easy family dinners

if you are into Outlander, here's a Q+A with Black Jack Randall on THOSE scene

these lemon bars with olive oil & sea salt look amazing

advice from joe biden on compassion & family

what do you think about open-plan workspaces? and another...

love ashley's post on not feeling pretty enough to shop at ulta (i've been there!)

and finally, my bff Lindsey (mentioned above) has a new blog!