Boys do some odd things. With two sons of my own, I often ask myself (sometimes aloud), “Why would he do that?” The answer is often: “because… penis.”

#2 on left in 2014, #3 on right yesterday

#2 on left in 2014, #3 on right in 2016

I don’t know whether it’s the y-chromosome (aka: “Why?”-chromosome), the testosterone, or simply the male anatomy to blame. I’m just seeing a connection over here with my boring double-x chromosome.IMG_20140812_183418 (1)

Empty bucket? I would likely fill it with water or sand, not my head or hindquarters. I see my uncovered nether regions? I move on and/or clothe myself, I wouldn’t start shimmying about the room pelvis first, attempt feats of strength with my labia, or pull on my parts like Silly Putty. Boys though, they see these ordinary scenarios as opportunity for experimental enjoyment.


Why does he squirt himself in the face with the hose that has a nozzle set to “Jet”? Why does he lick the floor of the pediatrician’s office? Why is the word “poop” so utterly hilarious? Why is his own genitalia simultaneously humorous and fascinating?

Because penis.

3 Ingredient Dairy-free Cornbread

Want dairy-free cornbread but need something simple? Try this 3-ingredient lovechild of corn pudding and cornbread.

This is all you need to make it.

2016-08-09 17.37.35.jpg


3 Ingredient Dairy-free Cornbread

3 Ingredient Dairy-free Cornbread


1 can Cream style corn (yes, it is actually dairy-free!)

1 box Jiffy Cornbread Mix

1/2 cup Non-dairy milk


Empty can of cream style corn into a large mixing bowl.

Empty the Jiffy mix into the bowl.

Pour in the non-dairy milk.

Stir the mixture together.

Heat the oven to 400F.

Grease a bread pan or muffin tin.

Stir the mixture once immediately before pouring into the baking vessel.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Dairy-free Caprese Sandwich with Creamy Kale Soup

Looking for a no-cook, fast, fresh, and flavorful family-friendly dairy-free meal? I’ve got you!

This easy, perfectly summery meal was a hit with my herd. Even my dairy-loving husband gave his belly-patting star of approval.

Crunchy ciabatta bread encases this summery sandwich. Acidic-yet-sweet vine ripened tomatoes, aromatic fresh basil, and velvety Follow Your Heart Vegan Mozzarella sing in the company of the creamy-tangy zip of balsamic mayonnaise.

Pair this fresh and fast sandwich with the vegan, simply prepared, and perfectly delicious LAJ Foods Creamy Kale Soup for a easy, nutritious, family-pleasing dairy-free meal.


Dairy-free Caprese Sandwich with Creamy Kale Soup

Dairy-free Caprese Sandwich with Creamy Kale Soup


Dairy-free ciabatta bread (such as Wegmans’ bakery’s variety)

Extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbl mayonnaise

1 Tbl balsamic vinegar

Follow Your Heart Vegan Mozzarella 

Handful of fresh basil leaves

2 thick tomato slices


Fresh ground pepper

LAJ Foods’ Creamy Kale Soup


Cut the Ciabatta bread in half lengthwise to create a sandwich top and bottom.

Place the bread on a baking sheet so that the cut side of the bread faces up.

Drizzle olive oil in the cut side of the bread and broil until golden.

Remove bread from oven.

Mix the mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar in a bowl and spread on the cut side of one slice of bread.

Cut your desired amount of vegan cheese for your sandwich.

Place the tomato slices on top of the bare bread slice and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Top the tomato slices with the basil leaves and vegan cheese.

Place the balsamic mayonnaise smothered bread slice mayo side down on the vegan cheese.

Heat LAJ Inc.’s Creamy Kale Soup and serve alongside the sandwich.



Swimming After Undertow

At the beach, my 5-year-old daughter, 3-year-old son, and husband entered the sea for a swim. The ocean was tame, neither harsh nor placid. Still, swimming near the lifeguards, the children wearing flotation vests… the three were cautious.

My littlest and I played in the sand, nursed, and watched passing sign-towing airplanes as the rest of our little family reveled in the sea. Then my daughter came running towards me. Blood dripping from her mouth, tears from her eyes. Shocked, I ran towards her.

“I hit the bottom!” She sobbed. My husband and son lumbered up the beach in a daze. Their hair matted and splattered with sand. “A big wave broke farther out than usual. We all got taken down. We’re ok though.” My husband explained.

I put a towel to my daughter’s lip; nothing but a quick-healing scrape. My son was unharmed. “I’m sorry that happened,” I told her, “we all get undertowed at some point, but do you know what’s most important?” She shook her head, now calmed after her tumble. “The most important thing is that you get back in.” “Noooo!” She protested. I needed a different angle.

“You’re going to kindergarten. When you tell your new friends about how you got bowled over by a wave and hit the bottom of the ocean, what would be a more rockstar ending: ‘I didn’t go back in because I was too scared’ or ‘I went right back in because I’m not afraid’?” She smiled. “I should go back in.” She said. Then her eyes widened and her eyebrows tilted, “What if I get pulled under again?” “You likely won’t,” I reassured her, “but if you do, Daddy will be right there with you. You’ll swim right in front of the lifeguards like you did last time. You’ll be safe.”

A few minutes later, into the sea she went. She exited victorious, smiling, and proud. That’s my girl!


Life is a Dangerous Surf

I strolled seaside yesterday morning, as I did the day before, nursing my littlest in baby carrier in the hopes of lulling him into a nap. It was a blustery day. A constant rush of wind and salt beneath the sun.

The surf was rough, waves rolled on top of one another crashing into the shore. Their force carved a sharp ridge in the sand separating beach-goers from the tide. The wet sand was worn to a steep incline making my walk a challenge.

Usually I aim for a more energetic pace but this day I knew slow and purposeful would be the wiser choice. Small waves crashed and I walked through easily. Larger waves pummeled the shore and required me to stop entirely, focusing on remaining firmly planted as the water swelled around me before returning to the sea.


I realized life is like a dangerous surf. Like the sea, never is our experience entirely placid, wholly calm without ripples. Just as our walk in the sand, we will never travel the same path twice. Our steps are washed away as soon as the next wave arrives. Our journey, like the sea, is ever-changing, and so are we.

Like the waves of a dangerous surf, life constantly presents us with hurdles — big and small — and we must choose how to respond. Do we stand still and wait out the swell before resuming our course? Do we force our way through and risk toppling? Or do we change our path entirely to avoid those hurdles only to gamble on what other obstacles will arise? It is not the tide that makes the decision for us. We are the ones who choose.



A Walk by the Sea

It was 9:05am and we’d just set up our morning camp on the beach. “Can we go in the ocean?” My eldest asks, tucking her sandals into the pocketed back of a beach chair. My husband looks left then right. “Not yet,” he says, “the lifeguards aren’t on duty yet.” She’s mildly disappointed but understands the rule. Caution.

My littlest begins to melt. He needs a nap. He needs me. I strap on my baby carrier, which I’d only removed moments earlier. I tuck my fussing 1-year-old into the pouch, tighten the straps, and signal to my husband that he’s in charge of the older two. Do I head towards town or walk towards the outskirts? The outskirts. Adventure.

I stroll along the shoreline, feeling the weight of my baby-turned-toddler grow heavier as sleep settles in. I breathe in the salty sea air and revel in the quiet. The morning sun sparkles on the rip tide waves. Sea birds dip and glide off shore, catching breakfast from the surf. It is beautiful. Awareness.

Children scuttle along the sand under the close watch of family. Couples smooth and spray sunscreen on one another’s skin. New parents adjust sunhats and erect tents, shielding their young from the sun. Protection.

I see three young adults in the water as two early lifeguards drag their chair across the sand and fling their day’s essentials onto their newly positioned perch. They stop. Whistles shriek. The two guards grab their orange floats and race into the water. I look to the swimmers; two are smacking at the waves as the other desperately flails toward them. A third guard shreds through the sand from down the beach. I leap out of his way. Tears well in my eyes. I hold my sleeping child close. Within seconds, each of the endangered swimmers is clinging to a lifeguard buoy. Safety.

I continue my walk, leaving the emotional scene behind me. The people here know nothing of the rescue just yards down the beach. Children play chase with the tide, dig trenches to capture the waves, and hobble with the support of parents to dip their toddler toes in the surf. It is as if that danger never occured. Peace.

I reach the end of my course and turnaround. The salty, cool breath of the ocean breeze envelopes me. The sun cloaks me in warmth. The waves bathe my tiring feet. The wet sand gives just enough without relenting. My child sighs in slumber. Mothers smile at me as I pass, glance at my sleeping baby, and tilt their heads as the corners of their mouth sink into a smiling frown. Nostalgia.

Next year will be different, I tell myself. Next year, he will be two. There will be no silent seaside sleeping strolls. This is my last year. This summer is the closing chapter of my continuous years-long brush with babyhood. I am simultaneously relieved and saddened. My eldest two children come running down the beach to me, arms open, smiles wide. Home.

It’s Genetic

Genes, they’re mysterious, powerful, and decisive. Eye color, hair texture, shoe size… they dictate so much about us. Apparently, the affinity for wearing a bucket on your face is also a genetic factor.

#2 on left in 2014, #3 on right yesterday

#2 on left in 2014, #3 on right yesterday