Let’s Talk About Breast, Baby…

… let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be; let’s talk about BREAST

milk, that is.

If you haven’t heard, I’ve had my sixth baby. She’s about to be six months old in a few weeks.

Well, I’m ashamed to say that with my sixth, I’ve finally learned the ins and outs of breastfeeding.

How can that be, you ask? Well, no one ever told me some of the things one would need to know in order to successfully feed from the breast.

That’s right! I took lamaze, and child care classes with my first; they didn’t tell me.

I had a lactation consultant in the hospital and they didn’t tell me.

Obstetricians, pediatricians, nurses, midwives… no one told me!!!!

They were all so concerned with the latch and supply at birth (two things I thankfully never had any issues with), not what happens 4-6 months down the road.

Finally with my sixth, I was determined to make breastfeeding past 6 months successful (it wasn’t with the others) and so when I registered for my insurance they asked,

“Are you expecting?”

“Yes!” I replied.

“Would you like a free breast-pump?”

I figured if feeding the baby myself wasn’t going to last, maybe pumping would at least keep her drinking my milk, so I accepted.

A few days after my baby was born, with an abundance of milk, I tried out the pump.

I read the manual cover to cover and learned something that probably would have kept my first five daughters on the breast a lot longer.

You have to prime the nipple!!!!!!

I never knew that the baby needed to suckle for up to two minutes before the milk would flow, all of my babies would reach the four-five month mark and fuss every time I tried to nurse them. Only a few seconds of getting them to the breast and they would wriggle and squirm and cry, cry, cry.

Apparently, I assumed the milk would flow like it did for the first few months…just pour out of me with or without the baby, but, girl was I wrong!

Your body and hormones change. The milk supply regulates according to the baby’s needs. If the baby doesn’t eat it, it won’t come. (the opposite of the field of dreams)

So, learning this vital tidbit of nursing information, I know to have patience with my little one right now. Instead of giving in to her fussiness and handing her a bottle like I did five times before, I soothe her and sing to her and stroke her bald head while she fusses for two minutes, the time it takes for the milk to flow, and then I hear it; the soft sound of swallowing; she’s got milk.


***This is a hot-button topic among moms nowadays getting into the #mommywars but just to be clear on my position:

FED IS BEST no matter bottle or breast!

It’s just my personal preference to nurse my babies.

Maybe in another post I’ll go into all the reasons behind my preference but today is not that day.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip {from scratch with love }

My biggest hit at family parties, this dip recipe has evolved over the years, because at times I would throw it together with whatever I had on hand. Well, I can say it always tasted the same somehow, and each time it was delectable!

If you have spinach and some fixin’s for a dip you can make this recipe and everyone will love it, or like me you can hoard a batch to eat after everyone’s asleep.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip {from scratch with love }


1 package or 2 bunches fresh (or 1 package frozen) spinach    **if using frozen spinach skip steps 2 & 3

8 oz. marinated artichoke hearts

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup cream cheese

1-3 cloves garlic (minced)

1 cup of your favorite shredded cheese (divided)

olive oil


salt & pepper to taste


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.*
  2. Heat a large skillet at medium temperature and drizzle olive oil.
  3. Add FRESH spinach and saute until wilted.
  4. Drain spinach and artichokes.
  5. Grease 9 x 13 baking dish with butter (alternative options: coconut oil, vegetable shortening or cooking spray)
  6. Finely chop spinach and artichokes, then add to the greased baking dish.
  7. Add the next 3 ingredients and/or salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Combine and fold in half of the shredded cheese (we favor cheddar).
  9. Top with remaining shredded cheese.
  10. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly.

This recipe is best served hot and pairs well with tortilla chips, bread and vegetable slices.


The BEST Ever Baked Chicken (from scratch)

After a recent Facebook poll of my four readers, I’m sharing my delicious recipe for the BEST ever baked chicken.

The key to this recipe is the cooking process. I sear the meat at a higher oven temp. to lock in the juices then cover it for a steaming effect and the result? Juicy, tender, flavorful chicken!

From scratch with love, here is my recipe.


The BEST Ever Baked Chicken (from scratch)

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


1-1.5 lbs. boneless, skin-less, chicken breasts

4 Tablespoons butter (divided)

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

salt & pepper to taste


  1. Pre-heat oven to 425.*
  2. Filet chicken breasts into four congruent pieces.
  3. Mix flour and spices together.
  4. Toss chicken in flour mixture to coat.
  5. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a baking dish(in the preheated oven) for about 1 minute.
  6. Add coated chicken to the preheated pan.
  7. Top chicken with remaining butter (cubed).
  8. Bake at 425* for 30 minutes.
  9. Carefully turn chicken.
  10. Reduce heat to 350.*
  11. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil.
  12. Continue baking at 350*for an additional 20-30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165.*

Tips & Tricks

Put spices and flour into a zipper storage bag, add chicken and shake to coat.

If you prefer crispy chicken, do not reduce heat or cover, but still turn cutlets half way through cooking time.

Try out the recipe and let me know how it turns out!


Have you ever dreamed of being a writer?

I have!


It’s been nine months since I shared my new writing adventure, self-publishing a book.

Diligently researching, writing, rewriting and erasing, it has been fun. Today, I formatted my unfinished manuscript for Kindle and decided to print a copy for editing the old fashioned way.


I have to say, aside from my kids, signs, and cakes, I’ve never been more proud of something I’ve created. Holding these pages, it seems more real than typing away tirelessly and staring at a screen.


There is something more special to me about holding it in my hands. Although, it’s only about half done, I can almost taste the reward of accomplishing this dream of mine.


It actually looks like a real book! Ha!

I have my hands in a lot of pots right now and it seems the more I put myself out there in these creative outlets, the easier and less scary it becomes. Don’t get me wrong. I’m scared out of my mind, self-doubt filling my bones with every word I type.


“what if noone wants this?”

“what if they laugh?”

“what if my computer, memory card and external hard drive all simultaneously combust and all my hard work is lost?”


I can’t help but think about all the things I want to say but can’t.  All the things I think are important but not relevant to my (hopefully) future readers.

Needless to say, I will be editing tonight, the old-fashioned way.


Wish me luck!


Love & gratitude,



Why We Say “Grace”

Even if you’re not very religious or don’t believe in God, sitting down as a family to break bread can be very special.

For my family, it’s a time that we all get to be together and enjoy a meal.
Before eating, we hold hands and say something nice about our day then give thanks.

Sometimes it’s as simple as thanking the person who prepared the meal or worked hard to pay for it.

Our littlest ones usually initiate or remind us to make this ritual happen. We’ll sit down and some will have already taken a bite, but then they put out their little hands ask “amen?”

It is something that’s just nice to do. It connects us, makes us humble. It reminds us there are worse things than our worst things.
So, when we sit down and thank the Lord for our food, health and such, we are also creating a foundation for a family dynamic that no amount of money could bring us.
I love these people. Our two year old thanks God for the food and asks for everyone to be happy, healthy and play games; our five year old thanks Him for food and our blessings, then asks for our dreams to come true and to make our house clean and beautiful.
These precious little creatures are thoughtful gracious and innocently lovely.

So for grace:

Dear Lord, Thank you for my blessings. For every smile, every tear and everything in between. I can’t ask for anything because I have the whole world in my heart. A gift from you, Lord. Thank you. Amen.


***Do you say grace? Tell me in the comments what family traditions bind you and your loved ones.

A day in the life and what a day it’s been!

Oh, boy! (eh, girls)

It’s been one of those days. I wasn’t planning a post for today but I just need to get it out and here I sit with tears in my eyes at what could have happened.

This morning was quiet and slow to get started. I was able to pick up the whirlwind of debris that gets left after grandma visits for a few days. I was able to sit and drink a cup of coffee in the quiet house. Then one by one my little cherubs slowly made the descent down the hall stairs and we began the breakfast to-do. Most mornings we all come down together and eat together, but this morning I decided to take the few minutes to straighten up while they slept.

No qualms; no issues; just a quiet morning. Then, 9:30 came around and it was time to get going. I made my second sale in my etsy shop (YAY!) and needed to get to the post office to ship my sign. I also had plans to meet up with my long time and dear friend “D” for lunch and pumpkin picking. We all dressed in our tights and sweaters, hair brushed and out the door. But something inside me was a-miss. I just couldn’t get it all done in the time I needed to. I felt flustered, a rare occasion, I’m usually laid back and have everything under control.

Well, we made it to the Post office and after a brief talk with my girls preparing them to stand still and stay as quiet as possible as not to disturb the other patrons, we made our way into an empty post office. The post office is never empty. Anyway, we shipped the sign and everyone remained relatively calm. Back in the car and on the way to the Farm, it was a nice ride, otherwise uneventful save for Oak and Dogwood falling asleep.

The farm was busy. So busy, there was almost an hour-long wait for our food, despite my calling in our order ahead of time. Our friends had already been there for an hour and had time to play and eat. We were late. We are never late. Or, we have never been late until now for some reason. THIS time. THIS pregnancy I can’t get my bearings. I don’t have it all together, I’m not calm. I’m a mess!

It’s taking a lot of swallowing my pride to admit all this. I don’t feel like a failure, but I don’t feel like myself. I’m out of control and it’s not a good feeling.

After we finally got our food and ate, it was time to roll over to the pumpkins.

Ash had asked several times by then if she could go and play. The farm has a nice shady play area with a big wooden train for the kids to climb on and a petting zoo-like area where they can feed chickens and goats. I told her time and time again, “not yet we have to do ___insert another activity___ first and then later we will play.” So we were looking at pumpkins and taking our annual photo with our babies before lally-gaggling and wrangling our crew to go and pay for the pumpkins because my dear friends had to be leaving.

As we are waiting to pay I’m talking and getting as much conversation in our visit as possible when I notice three of my five aren’t by my side. I look up and they are about 20′ away running into the play area. Dogwood, safe in the stroller, and Ash patiently awaiting my approval, are with me and I’m very familiar with this farm and knowing the play area is completely fenced in with only one way in and out, I’m comfortable not being that crazy mom who runs through a crowded market yelling after her kids to get back here…etc. I let them wander. (I’m no helicopter) But, after paying for the pumpkin and saying our goodbyes to our friends, Oak and Lemon come out of the play area HYSTERICAL and in tears. Some strange woman picks up my three-year old as I say, “I’m right here.”

Oh the drama and travesty! I’m not one of those people who make a scene or feed off of attention, actually I’m the opposite so to have all this going on had me upset to say the least. All these eyes on me and my screaming kids, a spotlight shining on our frazzled current state, ugh!

I hugged my crying kids, asked if they were hurt and we finished saying goodbye to our friends.

Later while Ash and Dogwood were playing and looking at the animals, I asked Lemon why she was so upset and this next part shattered me to pieces. “I thought you left me, mommy.”

I asked her what made her run away from mom in the first place and she said she was just so excited.

We talked, and cried. I told her that I would never leave her and assured her that I knew where she was the whole time. I also scolded her for breaking a big rule and leaving mom without permission.

SO, what could have happened? My three daughters could have been kidnapped or killed. How can I be so cool about it?

I’m not! I”m going crazy inside and I could scream and cry and ball up in the fetal position for the rest of the day, but I won’t, because I have five little faces watching me and my every move. They feed off my energy. They get to be who they are from a combination of me, their dad and their own devices, so I have to make sure what they get from me is sane, not unstable and easy to give up. I have to be strong for my girls.

For not having planned a post I spit out nearly 1,000 words in an emotional whirlwind of honesty and parental shame like I’ve never done before. I’m exposed. My secrets out. I don’t have it all together.

Have your kids ever run away before?

And that’s okay.

So, You’re a Stay at Home Mom. What do you want, a medal?

I did.

I wanted a big bright shiny medal!

I wholeheartedly with every ounce of my soul despised my life and was about ready to up and escape it all; just a few months ago, no less. Being a wife, a mother and everything in between, I was at my wit’s end! (pregnancy hormones are raging and out of control, by the way)

Let’s be honest though, because when I started this web log I told you “if you know me, you’ll now KNOW me and if you don’t know me, you’ll love me.” In that little blurb of the “about me” section of my page I was writing of my truth. I made a promise to myself and you, the reader, to be truthful; and this post is just that. Get ready. Saddle up!

I’m lazy.

There. I said it. I am. I am utterly, hopelessly lazy. Ask anyone who REALLY knows me. My mom, my sister, my husband…they’ll all tell you, it’s true.

How can that be? Well, I hate doing anything I don’t FEEL like doing; so, I just don’t do it. To be brutally and embarrassingly honest, dishes have sat in my sink for more than just a few days; I’ve restarted the same load of laundry in the washer more than just a few times; my bed has gone unmade for over a month, which means, yep, the sheets weren’t changed in that time. GROSS! I know.

My laziness never mattered to anyone much before I had kids so I never grew up. I never got my act together and now at almost 33 years old, I’m struggling with how to really act like an adult in my everyday life.

I little history about me. I’m the youngest of five. Growing up in my house, I didn’t have to do a thing. Ask them; they’ll tell you. “Lisa never had to do anything.” “She’s spoiled because she’s the baby.” “Lisa got away with everything!” you can sense the resentment in their tone. But, it’s all true.

Surprisingly, despite my laziness, I am and always have been incredibly ambitious, self-motivated and hard driven – when I want to be. When it was for something important to me, I could move mountains and not let the earth settle until I succeeded.


Some days, things get accomplished and I feel like a million bucks; most days, though, I think, “Those dust bunnies will be there tomorrow.” So, instead of stressing out over my to-do list, I look into my babies’ eyes and hug ’em tight because tomorrow is another day but they’ll be another day older, another inch taller and that much closer to growing up and out of the phase where mom’s hug CAN fix anything.

Everyday I pray and thank God for this life, the time I get to spend with my kids making memories, and for this man sitting next to me making sacrifices to make it all possible.

So what about that medal?

Truly I don’t deserve one. I’m a stay at home mom. I realize and appreciate that I am blessed beyond the vast universe to have a roof over my head, food on the table for my kids and the health of myself and family.

Did I birth 6 human beings? yes.

Do I maintain a household for 8 people and 4 pets despite my laziness? yes.

Do I juggle being a mom, wife, writer, artist, choiffer, chef, gardener, maid, boogie-getter and storybook narrator? yes.

But I don’t get a medal for living a life of my choosing.

This is why I have a hard time answering the blizzard of questions and comments like, “How do you do it?” or “You’re super-mom!”

It’s not easy and I certainly don’t claim it to be, but what about that medal?

It’s looking into those eyes I mentioned earlier.

It’s hearing my 6 year-old say “mmm, mom! this is really good!” with a mouth full of a dinner I just spent over an hour preparing.

It’s seeing my husband across a crowded room with his freshly cut hair (saving money by doing it myself) playing with our kids, making them giggle and laugh.

It’s even this cat on my lap purring as I type this.

All these little things add up to a big bright shiny medal.

So I leave you with this:


Live each day as if it were the only day you have left. Tomorrow might be a new day, but you’ll never get to do this day again (unless you’re Bill Murray).



I do change the sheets (almost) every week.

We’ve been keeping up on the dishes (for the most part).

Since Dogwood loves to vacuum, the dust bunnies don’t hang around(for too long).