About Me


Southern New Jersey

I am a Mom to 2 amazing and fun daughters and wife to a great guy and a wonderful father!

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Kayla, my oldest. She is 4 1/2 and is a sweet, loving and silly little girl. She took us 2 ½ years and 3 IVF’s to conceive. Kayla is allergic to dairy. We manage her allergy and work to balance her safety with giving her a normal childhood. Kayla loves to read books and play games - she amazes me every day.

Alysa, my youngest. She is 3 years old and is a silly little spitfire. She’s our monkey and loves to climb on everything. She was a “natural” baby, but it was only b/c of my wonderful doctors that we were able to stop an impending miscarriage. Alysa suffers from Acid Reflux Disease and sleep apnea. She may be little, but she has a big personality. She adores her big sister and is so much fun to be around. She keeps me laughing every day.

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Mothers Day 2009

Saturday, August 01, 2009
Kayla's Party
July is over and my Sister is back home. We had a fun, jam-packed month with them and I am so sad to see them go. I have a ton of pictures from the month to share which I hope to get to over the course of this week, I’ll start off with Kayla’s birthday party. She turns 5 next week, but we moved her party to July in order to include my Sister and her family. And since my Sister (and kids), my Grandmother and my Aunt and family were all going to be here, we turned Kayla’s party into a mini family reunion inviting extended family who we don’t get to see often.

We did this year what we did last year – had the kid part at Pump It Up and then came back to the house for food and fun with family and some close friends. The added attendies obviously meant more food so it was extra nice to have my Sister there to help out with the prep work.

Just like last year, Pump It Up was amazing with regard to Kayla’s allergy. They used all brand new, sealed packages of juice, water, paper products, etc. They volunteered to do all the extra cleaning for us (benches, tables, birthday child chair, etc) so we could remain in the room with Kayla. We had a total of 25 kids there (next year we will begin scaling down how many she’s allowed to have) and they all had a blast! Kayla was just beside herself on her day and I barely saw her the entire time. All I kept seeing was blurs of yellow running around the room and on the equipment. Once we left and headed home it was no different – she was so busy playing and swimming that it wasn’t until right before bed she told me she never got to eat dinner. Ha! She never listens to me about eating during the parties. She was happy with a yogurt and then went to bed. The kids also seemed to enjoy the dessert and the fruit in the party room. The dessert – now this leads me to the cake fiasco.

The cake – where do I begin? A year or so ago I found a cake book on clearance. It’s a book on how to make all different shaped cakes. Since I make all of theirs myself I bought it. In there, Kayla found a 3-dimensional castle cake that she just fell in love with.

She found this cake about 6 months ago and has never waivered from it. I had decided to make this cake for the kid party and instead of making a second cake or even cupcakes for the house, I decided to make a Cookie Pizza that I saw from Allergy Moms. Unfortunately when I went to start assembling the cake, it was so hot in my house from the oven being on all day it melted and took the cake with it. The more I tried to add to it or salvage it, the more it fell apart and the closer I got to the edge. I even tried refrigerating it and the icing. No luck – it fell apart more in the fridge. Cooking for 50+ people was so stressful for me this year (more so than prior years) and I was on the verge of cracking by the time J got home. I had this cake that wasn’t working all I wanted to do was salvage it for Kayla – it’s what she’s talked about nonstop for months with regard to her party. When J got home, he tried to move it to the freezer and it just completely fell apart. I was crushed and so was Kayla. She even told me it wasn’t OK to not have her castle cake.

In the end she took it well and I moved the cookie pizza to Pump It Up and had cupcakes at the house. I had extra cake batter and had made cupcakes with it earlier and still had some in the freezer (I always have them on hand) so thankfully I didn’t have to bake anymore. I put some candy flowers on them that I had left over from other cakes I have made. The candy flowers made Kayla happy. I have to say the cookie pizza came out really well though – so I was glad something did.

So at Pump It Up I stuck with the cookie pizza and a fruit platter.

And here are the cupcakes I made last minute.

Also at her party was a child with a strawberry allergy (easy, I just left strawberries off the fruit platter) and two kids with peanut/tree nut allergies. One is my girlfriend’s daughter and the other is a child from her class. He is who broke my heart. I had talked to his Mom earlier and e-mailed her the information on the dessert. After talking to me she was fine with him eating what I was serving, but she warned me he may not want to. And he did not. He even refused to eat the fruit. I just felt awful for him. I may know that what I served is safe, but I totally understand him not trusting that. I would never and could never feel offended even if it was his Mom who didn’t want him to eat it. Heaven knows I can’t say I would in their shoes. But he has gone into anaphylactic shock and remembers it so it’s sad that he has that fear. It is the kind of things we struggle to balance – a healthy fear with being as normal as possible. I also never want a child to feel left out at our parties. Whenever I can I want to accommodate as much as possible, especially for the kids. But on the other hand, I applaud him for taking responsibility and advocating for himself and staying true to his comfort zone.

Here is my menu (with recipes) for the party at our house:

Ruffles Potato Chips

Onion Dip
Tofutti Better than Sour Cream
Lipton Onion Soup Mix

Tostidos Scoop Chips

Watermelon Salsa
2 ½ cups chopped watermelon
1 can black beans (drained)
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped ( be sure to use gloves
3 Tbl chopped fresh cilantro
Salt & pepper to taste
Mix together and refrigerate


Buffalo Wings
Five pound bag of frozen wings (can use fresh, if preferred)
2 bottles Red Hot
2 sticks of butter

Broil or grill wings until cooked. Put in large roasting pan, add hot sauce (found in the isle with Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce), for each bottle of red hot use one stick of butter. Simply slice butter in pats and throw in. Bake for 1-1 ½ hours, until sauce cooks down a little. The wings are actually better if made the day before, or even several days before and frozen. Just bake to heat. The more you bake them the better they are.

2 lbs frozen meatballs (I bought chop meat and made meatballs with bread crumbs)
1 jar or can of sauerkraut
1 can (15 oz) whole cranberry sauce
1/2 c. brown sugar.

Mix sauerkraut, cranberries, and brown sugar in crockpot. Put meatballs in and stir. Cook on high for 4 hours and then low for an hour or two.

Main Dishes:

Honey Grilled Pork Tenderloin
2 (3/4 pound) pork tenderloins
¼ cup light soy sauce
5 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp honey
2 tsp dark sesame oil

Make a lengthwise cut down center of each tenderloin to within a quarter of an inch of the opposite side; press to open. Combine soy sauce, garlic and ginger in a shallow dish; add tenderloins. Cover or seal and chill 3 hours….turning occasionally. Stir together brown sugar, honey and oil. Grill tenderloins, covered with grill lid, over medium high heat (350-400 degrees) for 20 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 160 degrees, turning occasionally and basting with the honey mixture.

Yields 6 servings.

Spare Ribs
[Tony Roma’s pre-cooked ribs – ssshhh don’t tell]

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup lite soy sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple tidbits, drained with juice reserved
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook chicken thighs just until evenly browned on all sides. Place thighs in a slow cooker.
In a bowl, mix honey, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, ginger, and reserved pineapple juice. Pour into the slow cooker.
Cover, and cook 4 hours on High. Stir in pineapple tidbits just before serving.
Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Remove thighs from slow cooker. Blend the cornstarch mixture into remaining sauce in the slow cooker to thicken. Serve sauce over the chicken.

Hot Dogs/Hamburgers

Potato Salad
5 lbs. potatoes – wash and boil potatoes with skins on. When done, let cool. Take off skin – cut into cubes. Two stalks of celery – chopped, ½ medium onion (optional) – chopped…add to potatoes. Mix potatoes with salt, pepper, & Hellmann’s Mayonnaise. Boil 6 eggs – let cool in cold water. Peel, dice and add to potatoes. Can sprinkle with paprika, if desired.

Pasta Salad
2 boxes spiral pasta
2 cucumbers (peeled and sliced)
2 pkgs grape tomatoes
2 jars olives
12oz jar Dijon mustard
1½ C balsamic vinegar

Mix cooked pasta, cucumbers, tomatoes and olives together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, wisk together Dijon mustard and vinegar. Add a tad of olive oil to get desired consistency.

Cupcakes (Cherrybrook Kitchen cake mix)

Rice Pudding
¾ C Uncooked Rice
1 qt. Soy or Rice Milk (plain) – [do NOT recommend rice milk]
¾ C Sugar OR ½ C Maple Syrup
1 tsp. Vanilla (optional)
Dash Cinnamon (optional)
½ C Raisins (optional)

Fill a large pot with water and add rice. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Drain. Put rice back in the pot. Add soy or rice milk and sweetener. Return to medium-high heat and stir occasionally. Allow to boil slowly, continue to stir occasionally for aprox 30-40 minutes until the pudding darkens and thickens. Add raisins if desired and stir another 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and/or cinnamon, if desired.

Cheese-less Danish
2 pkgs. Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
2 - 8 oz. pkgs. Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 egg yolk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pan. Lay out 1 pkg of the crescent rolls without separating them. Mix together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Spread cream cheese mixture on the crescent rolls. Lay 2nd pkg. of rolls on top, pressing edges and ridges until closed. Spread top with egg yolk. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes til brown. Watch carefully.

1 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla
milk to desired consistency (adding by tablespoon)

Mix ingredients together. Drizzle on top of pastry. Chill before cutting.

You’ll note Rice Pudding is crossed off. My cousin (18 years old) is allergic to soy (I found this out in June) so I tried to make as many dishes soy free as possible (very difficult to do with a dairy allergy). In doing so I attempted to make rice pudding with rice milk (the recipe I have actually calls for soy or rice milk). This failed miserable because the rice milk is so thin and watery that it never thickened, so that was my first dessert disaster of the day.

I’ll also mention that my daughter is probably the only kid on the planet that did NOT open any of her gifts the day of her party. She was so busy she didn’t remember to do so until just before bed. Now normally I wouldn’t worry about bedtimes the day of her party, but since we were getting up at 3:30am Sunday to go crabbing I needed to get them in bed and it was already past her bedtime. Luckily she was OK with opening them after crabbing. We all know it goes beyond ripping wrapping paper off – there are boxes to open, new toys to try out, etc. And it worked out because Maddy was upset she wasn’t going to be there while Kayla opened them.

And for the best part - here are some pictures from the day

So now I must get back on track and catch up with all of you. I apologize for my absence. August, although still a busy month, will be much less so than July. I also have a bunch more pictures from July to get up. We had a lot of fun and made some great memories with their cousins!

posted at 9:43 AM  

At 11:05 AM, Blogger Typette said...

damn girl! Props to you for doing all that cooking, and thanks for the recipes you shared!

Sorry about the cake, but you had a really good backup plan, WOO HOO!!!

At 9:53 PM, Blogger Christine said...

It was awesome being there for her party and the whole trip was busy, but incredibly worth it. Love you guys!!

At 9:45 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

wow that was quite the spread! It sounds like a wonderful party - despite the cake fiasco. That would have put me over the edge! I'm sorry it didn't work out for the castle cake, but thank goodness you had a Plan B!


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