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We are always looking for new (and delicious!) organic brands to try, so I couldn’t reply fast enough when Victoria Fine Foods contacted me about testing out a few sauces.

Their sauces are slow-cooked with all-natural, non-GMO ingredients for a home-cooked taste. Originally based in Brooklyn, NY, the company just expanded to Florida. And it’s lucky for us because they are all so good. I especially love when I can look at the ingredients on the back of something and can actually pronounce everything on the super short list.


The first one we tried was the roasted garlic.

I’m a garlic-aholic so I usually add a big spoonful to almost anything I make and always doctor my sauce with extra salt/pepper/oregano/red pepper flakes if I’m using the jared stuff (which is all the time because who has time to simmer tomatoes all day? Not me!). But I decided not to do that this time. I wanted to really taste the flavors of the sauce on their own so I went with a simple baked ziti. DSC_0219 (1)

All I did was cook the pasta, add a few spoonfuls of ricotta and mozzarella cheese to the sauce and mix everything together before putting it in the pan and topping with more cheese. Cover with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350. Remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes, or until the cheese is evenly melted. Easy peasy.  DSC_0224 The sauce was so good you’d think you did magically find the time to whip it up from scratch. The garlic was pronounced but not overpowering (it probably would have actually been too much if I had added more) and the overall flavor was on the slightly sweeter side. I’m excited to try the fradiavolo next.

Corey and I (mostly me) polished off the entire pan in 2 days, so you know it was good.  DSC_0269 (1)

|Products were provided courtesy of Victoria Fine Foods, but all opinions are my own.


The day before our boys 2nd birthday we celebrated with a few presents in the morning and then hit the road towards Orlando. The drive up wasn’t bad because we went during nap time but I felt like I was turned around handing Coop things for the entire last 1.5 hours, so we were all excited to finally get out of the car.  IMG_1961 IMG_1976 IMG_1990

As soon as we got there we dropped our stuff off in the room and set off in search of the Toy Story section of the hotel.

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IMG_2493 IMG_2494 My parents were about an hour behind us so once we were all together  we headed towards downtown Disney for some much needed dinner. The fish tacos at the House of Blues were perfection and we were all so hungry we were in and out in less than 30 minutes. We don’t mess around.

We heard about a cool dinosaur restaurant in the area but couldn’t get a reservation. We ended up walking by and took the kids inside for a second. I didn’t get a picture of the outside because it was so packed but there is a huge T-Rex that comes to life and roars really loud. It was amazing but this is what Cooper did as soon as he saw it:

IMG_2056 (He also did it during the entire Haunted Mansion ride and I think it is the cutest thing ever)

The next morning we got up bright and early and headed for the happiest place on earth to celebrate our boy. IMG_2064 IMG_2084 IMG_2089 Cooper was a bit unsure about the ferry ride:  IMG_2091 Oh, bother.  IMG_2120 But once we got inside he was ready to party. He ran right up to Minnie like he’s known her all his life 😉 IMG_2103 IMG_2099 From there we hit haunted mansion, small world, the teacups, and saw buzz lightyear before it was nap time. My parents took Hailey on the Lilo and Stitch ride while we picked a spot to have a snack and do some prime people watching.  IMG_2141 IMG_2142 IMG_2169 IMG_2155 IMG_2492 IMG_2491 We were standing in line to meet Buzz and of course he had to go “on patrol” right before it was out turn. Cooper couldn’t take it and fell asleep on my shoulder but work right up when it was out turn. I didn’t get a chance to buy the pictures yet so I’m stealing this one for now. He even gave Buzz a high five and it was easily the highlight of my day.

Then Coop passed out hard.  IMG_2182 IMG_2190 He woke up right as we were walking in the pirates of the Caribbean and really enjoyed that one. He kept asking for Jake and Captain Hook but all he got was old Jack Sparrow.

We went back to the hotel for an intermission and to let the kids run around. I was treated to a foot rub and Cooper got to play with his BFF.  IMG_2217 IMG_2219 IMG_2223

When we went back to the park an hour later it just finished raining so there was a cool breeze in the air and the place was relatively empty for the time being (it didn’t last long). But it was nice while it lasted. IMG_2235

IMG_2232 IMG_2239 From there it was on to dumbo and ariels adventure.  IMG_2248 We saw Donald and Goofy. Cooper was so excited he kept covering his face and laughing. IMG_2489 IMG_2490 Then the kids conked out for the night and you know what that means? Time to hurry up and go on all the rides while Granny sits with the strollers and eats a giant turkey leg.

SPACE MOUNTAIN! IMG_2488 Which was way scarier and faster than I remembered it being, but so much fun.

And SPLASH MOUNTAIN:  IMG_2487 When we got off the ride Cooper was awake and we were all ready to go back to the hotel. The walk to the car seemed to take forever and my feet were aching but all we kept talking about was how much fun we all had. I’m already looking forward to go back again next year.
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I wasn’t sure how Halloween would go this year since this is the reaction I got when I originally tried Coop’s costume on:
IMG_1177 Which was almost exactly the same as last year:

I had the costume hanging up in his room for almost a month and everyday he would grab my finger and take me to see it.

“Yeah! It’s so cool. Don’t you want to wear it?”
“No!” and off he’d run down the hall. I didn’t push him on it and figured I could just bribe him with a piece of candy, if necessary. (it was)

Instead, I got to work on mine and Corey’s costumes. I would have preferred to just order costumes and get it over with, but the only Woody and Jessie costumes out there are one-piece jumpsuits. So DIY it is!

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I was surprised how good the shirt turned out (I was doubtful about halfway through) but it was pretty easy and only cost about $30 for both of our costumes. I even ended up making a yarn wig for myself. I followed this tutorial and thought the idea of attaching the yarn to a headband was genius. It stayed on all night (meaning a whole 2 hours) without any problems.

I traced the cow print fabric against a pair of jeans and loosely hand sewed it with white thread. I cut out the stitches when we got home and you’d never know the difference. And all I did for Corey’s was dye the shirt yellow and I bought the accessories from the party store. That’s about as easy as it gets!

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I was stressed out about getting Cooper dressed and it went pretty much how I imagine it would. I had to hold him down and wrestle him the entire time. Corey was pacing in the living room ready to rip off his own costume and call it a night. “Just give him a minute!” I pleaded in my red wig on the living room floor.

We were all finally dressed and were out the door but he was still pissed and we had to wait for the rest of our group. I frantically called my mom and told them to hurry up because as soon as Cooper sees Hailey all is right in the world.

He finally gave in to the lollipop I tried to bribe him with and we managed a little smile.



And finally the other kids showed up in their costumes and Cooper realized this whole Halloween thing isn’t half bad. He even willingly took candy from a stranger’s bowl and I’m still not sure how I feel about that haha


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And what would Halloween be without photoshopped backgrounds? (Thanks, Doug!)



Halloween 2015, you were lovely. Now, where’s my Christmas tree?



IMG_1654 Florida in the fall is just delightful. I would be one happy woman if the weather was in the low 80’s and breezy all year long, but we only get a few short months before it’s back to perpetual summer. This morning was a particularly good one and so we packed a few essentials (i.e., snacks and Tow Mater) and walked to the park for a picnic.

We had the entire place to ourselves (just the way I like it) and were promptly greeted by Lenny (the lizard) who lives under the belly of that green plastic alligator. We’ve been going to the park pretty frequently in the mornings and this little guy is always in the same spot. IMG_1653 We tried to feed him a cheese puff the other day. He was not amused.   IMG_1659 I’m constantly trying to find new (healthy) things for Cooper to eat because he sure is finicky. One week he loves something and the next week he hates it. But he loves old fashioned donuts all the time. Lately we’ve been doing lots of whole wheat muffins, broccoli mac and cheese and cheese quesadillas with a side of black beans (he’s recently discovered the joy of dipping in the sour cream).

A new favorite has been these Organic Slammers. The people at Slammers Snacks were kind enough to send us two flavors to try (pomegranate grape crush and yumberry/banana/blueberry) and they’re both so good!  IMG_1657 I came home from the store with Cooper the other day and Corey was washing a bowl in the kitchen with this guilty look on his face. When I questioned it he said he had a confession to make: he ate one of those “baby food” packets in the refrigerator. I laughed because I ate one the day before. We’ve since been mixing them with our greek yogurt and topping with granola. Yumm.

With 7g of protein (in the Pomegranate Grape Crush one, the other has 1g), a whole serving of fruits and vegetables (one has purple carrot and the other has butternut squash), no added sugar, and are completely organic – it’s not baby food. It’s just food. And that’s something I can get behind.

Especially when it gives this boy all the energy he needs to power through a 2 hour trip to the park. IMG_1668 That face! My goodness.  IMG_1686 And what good is an early morning trip to the park if not for getting the perfect lighting on your selfie?

IMG_1697 His hair is so crazy right now, but I’ve been trying to hold off on a haircut until closer to his birthday and our trip to Disney next week (any tips for first timers?)
IMG_1704 We will definitely be packing a few of these for the trip!

|Product received c/o Slammers Snacks, but all opinions are my own :)



IMG_1447 Last Sunday we got ourselves up bright and early at the same time as always and headed down to the pumpkin patch at the Flamingo Roads Nursery. The weather was a delightful 81 degrees and we made it there before the crowd hit, which is absolutely essential in having a good time and in getting a few halfway decent pictures without some strangers kid in your shot.  IMG_1384 IMG_1386 Daddy, showing us how it’s done IMG_1391 He’s already perfecting his “ah, stop it mom” face IMG_1589 We learned our lesson from last year and hit the hay ride first thing this year (but not before getting a frozen apple cider!). We got right on and Cooper immediately flipped out over the feeling of the hay on his legs but once we started moving, he was so happy. He was pointing at everything and kept saying “fun! fun! fun!”  IMG_1399


IMG_1422 He would much rather look at the tractor than pose in front of it. Typical.  IMG_1402_CIRCLE Let me stop right here and take a second to say thank you to the girl who photobombed not one but ALL of my pictures from the hay ride. I’m just glad you were far enough away that I could successfully crop you out and also photoshop you: WITCH Who’s laughing now, witch? 😉 IMG_1465 IMG_1463 When I took this there was a Dad with his young son standing near me and the kid asked,
“Dad, who is that?”
“That’s the buddha”
“Who’s the buddha?
“Um…he’s…a really wise guy who thinks a lot” 

IMG_1461 IMG_1438 Lately Cooper is obsessed with Cars (the movie) and is constantly carrying around his Mater and McQueen toys, so we were so excited for this. And it was, hands-down, his favorite part of the day. I’m not sure who loved it more, Cooper or us seeing him enjoy it. We went out to lunch afterwards and all he wanted to do was look at this picture on my phone, hug it and say “oh, mater”. My boy is nothing short of a total lover.  IMG_1417 You know you had a successful day when you look back 5 minutes after pulling out of the parking lot to see THIS: IMG_1472 And then he woke up and we got to go play with a bunny! Can you say best day ever!
IMG_1475 And then said bunny landed a nice scratch on Coop’s neck while he was trying to give him a goodbye hug. But it’s all good (baby baby) because that bunny took a beating from Thomas the Train and was a CHAMP about it.

We’ve since carved our $12 pumpkin and only after 2 days on the porch we’re already seeing the first signs of mold. That’s Florida in the fall for ya. IMG_1590 Th Th Th That’s all folks!

Last year at the pumpkin patch: here