Follow Up


You might recall a few months back I mentioned we had an ultrasound performed on Berlin that showed her right kidney was severely dilated. As I mentioned in this post, we discovered, while Berlin was in utero, that her kidney was dilated, but we were told it was a condition that often repaired itself within the first year of life.  However, after reviewing the ultrasound we were referred to a specialist to decide if even further testing was needed. Upon meeting with the specialist we were told that we did indeed need more testing and unfortunately we were to undergo the most invasive set of tests for this condition; a VCUG & Kidney Renal Scan. I won’t go into specifics of these tests in great detail, but let’s just say it involves an insertion of a catheter (you can only imagine my fears for Berlin).

The initial consultation with the specialist was rather disturbing and left me feeling even more frightened than previously. While the doctor was extremely comforting and confident the issue could be resolved, he felt strongly, the only solution was going to be major surgery.

Three weeks later we returned for the dreaded tests. Although there was little conversation between Ryan and I , it was clear we were both anxious for the results and nervous about how Berlin would hold up for the duration of the tests. When we arrived a young staff member armed with books & toys approached us and informed us both he would be joining in during the testing as both support to ourselves and Berlin. He was warm, upbeat and good-humored and immediately put Berlin at ease. It was the most amazing service I’ve ever seen a hospital offer. He answered all our questions, distracted Berlin during the testing and stayed with us the entire afternoon until the results came in. If there was a yelp review for this kind of service, I would have been all over it!

During the initial test, a catheter was inserted, and while Berlin was not particularly pleased with this, she handled it quite well. From there they took extensive x-rays and then we were shuttled to the next building (catheter and all) for the second round of testing. The next test began by placing an IV in Berlin’s foot, however after several attempts and a few bruises later they had to (with dismay) move the IV up to her arm instead. As a parent, watching my daughter endure this procedure, this part of the process was the most painful. Watching her strapped to the bed while they struggled to get a large needle inserted in her frail little arm was more than I could bear. It was utterly heartbreaking hearing my daughter cry “mama, mama” with tears streaming down her face.

Once the final round of tests were done we returned to the doctor’s office and waited for the results to come in (mind you this was over five hours later-it was a long, exhausting day). Moments after being taken into his office, the specialist entered the room with a huge grin on his face (much to our surprise). He was stunned and beyond pleased to announce that while Berlin’s kidneys were severely dilated they were functioning at a normal level. While the results baffled us all, we were overjoyed with the outcome. So after one painstakingly anxious month we waited to get the testing done and one grueling day of unpleasant testing, that was it. The outcome is she is a happy, healthy toddler.

While we will have to perform ultrasounds from time to time to ensure her kidneys remain healthy, we couldn’t be more happy with the results. I have a new found appreciation for any parent who has to endure extensive treatment for their child, it was the scariest experience to date of my time spent being as a parent and I can’t imagine the pain a parent goes through when their child is born with an illness. My heart goes out to anyone that has gone through such a circumstance.

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 “A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

Berlin: I always want to remember these eyelashes, she has the most stunning eyes imaginable.

Favorites from last week: Ok, I already featured this blog last week, but once again her photos are killing me. I love the image of her son Eliot / this photo of Hannah and her dog Mojo / and lastly the image of the flowers is so beautiful.

Linking up with Jodi.

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Weekend Love


I’m super stoked for this new documentary, Fed Up, to come out. If you were a fan of Food, Inc (which I loved), then you will enjoy this one as well.

I’ll just say it, I was never much a fan for kids-at least until I had one. So if you’re like me, you’ll get a good laugh out of this, “The Top 10 Reasons I Hate Your Kid”.

Do you ever scour Netflix wondering what to watch? Here’s a list of “12 Mind Blowing Documentaries on Netflix Right Now.”  We’ve watched four thus far and haven’t been disappointed, Dear Zachary is incredibly sad if you’re in the mood for that.

I’m currently reading We are Water by Wally Lamb. Its a great read.

I did a guest post on Simple Savvy a few weeks back highlighting five favorite things for Berlin.

Finally, for all you mothers out there, this is a must watch video.

Have a wonderful Easter weekend!


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Quick Vegan Cinnamon Rolls


This recipe is a bit out of the norm for me, as I typically don’t post sweet recipes, but for some reason I’ve had a hankering for cinnamon rolls lately, and with Easter coming up, I found an excuse to make some.

I originally set out to make my own recipe, but things didn’t go as planned this week, so I did a little research and ended up discovering an easy, yummy vegan recipe online. I made some slight changes to the original recipe to reduce the overall sugar content, but I don’t think it affected the taste one bit, in fact I think they turned out pretty great! This recipe is really so simple, so if you’re looking for a last minute Easter brunch idea, I suggest you throw this one in the mix.

Quick Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

1 package vegan crescent rolls
1 tablespoon Vegan Butter (I use Earth Balance)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon organic coconut sugar

Vegan Icing

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon Almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or temperature advised on crescent roll package)

Roll out dough (there should be two separate rolls of dough) and pinch together the dough so its all one piece

Combine maple syrup and cinnamon in a small bowl, spread vegan butter then syrup mixture on each piece of dough, sprinkle sugar on top

Roll dough lengthwise and cut into 1/2″ slices (to make mini rolls) and place each slice in a greased mini muffin tin

While the rolls are baking, prepare the icing by combining the coconut oil, almond milk and vanilla and heating in microwave for 15 seconds to melt the oil. Then mix in the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.

Pour icing over rolls as desired and enjoy.


Wishing you all a Happy Easter!

Recipe adapted from Peta.

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 “A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

Berlin: She is officially a walking gal now, and with style might I add. She does the most adorable “disco walk,” as I like to call it, where she pumps one arm while she walks, as if she’s dancing.

Favorites from last week: I just discovered this blog and I’m glad I did, the photos are all beautiful, including this one of her kids / I’m in love with all Kate’s images, and this one is no exception / I love this second one of her daughter Bailey, such an honest moment.


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Easy Cashew Milk


I’m not sure that I’ve ever fully discussed my dairy free lifestyle on the blog before, but I’m pretty certain you’re all aware that I’m dairy free. Its been almost three years to the date since I cut dairy out of my diet, right after watching the startling documentary, Food, Inc. This documentary was so eye opening for me that I immediately began to abstain from all animal products.

While I was only a vegan for one year, I have since continued being dairy free and only meat on occasion (usually once or twice a week). I struggled with my decision on how to raise Berlin, while I considered raising her vegan in the beginning, I decided against it since we do still eat meat from time to time in our household. I then decided to raise her dairy free, and did so for the first fourteen months of her life, however with a strong suggestion from pediatrician to at least introduce dairy to her for allergy precautions, I eventually gave her yogurt and butter. She now drinks Kefir on occasion and cashew milk as her replacement for breast milk and I’m happy with my decision as it stands currently.

This recipe only takes a few minutes, the hardest part is soaking the cashews overnight, but as long as you remember to do so, you can have creamy, delicious milk when you rise in the morning. Its perfect with your coffee, on your cereal, in smoothies or just alone (or to dip your cookies in, if your my husband). Now let’s get down to it already!


Easy Cashew Milk

1 cup raw cashews
2 cups filtered water
1 tablespoon raw honey (if vegan, use pure maple syrup)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt

Soak raw cashews in 4 cups of water overnight. In the morning discard the water and rinse cashews until the water runs clear.

Place cashews and all other ingredients in a high power blender (Vitamix is best) and blend until smooth, approx 2-3 minutes.

I personally find no need to strain cashew milk, however if you don’t like the consistency you can strain through a cheese cloth or nut bag.


I prefer my milk to be thick and creamy so I use little water in my recipe, but if you like yours more the consistency of regular milk I would suggest adding a cup or two more of water when blending.

Wishing you all a Happy Friday. Enjoy!

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Twenty Months

Growing / Her weight has seemed to slow a bit, I understand this is typical around this age. However her feet are growing quickly, we are already moving up to a size 4.5 (and we just bought the size 4 a few months back!). From what I’ve been told, her feet are flattening from the walking, increasing her size. Her hair is growing rapidly as well, soon I’ll actually be able to give it some style!

Eating / She is pretty consistent in this category, still loves to eat. She eats non-stop, I carry food with us at all times, as hunger strikes every hour. She still loves all things carb; crackers, bagels, cereal, oatmeal…but she also loves broccoli and she loved, loved the vegan pot pie I made recently.

Speaking / As of yesterday, she started stringing multiple words together, as we sat in the park, she said “bye bus,” “bye people,” and “bye kids” to everyone & thing that passed by. She repeats every word we say like a parrot and continues to add new words to her vocabulary daily, making it tougher and tougher to understand what she is saying.

Learning /To walk! Finally at nineteen months she has taken her first steps and is now cruising all around. She is still quite wobbly at times and falls frequently, but she is gaining confidence and becoming more steady with each day. She is also learning to put on her own coat and sweater, she is so close to succeeding, but she keeps putting it on backwards. She will get it soon enough.

Mastering / Climbing; she has gained so much confidence in the past few weeks, she has suddenly began to climb all over everything. She climbs into the fridge, onto the coffee table, on the dishwasher, every chair and couch in the house…but of course with all this climbing there have been a few more tumbles than usual.

Loving / This probably comes to no surprise, but she is still obsessed with her stuffed animals, there are six in rotation as of now. She is also in love with watching Baby Einstein videos, its literally the only thing she likes to watch and she requests it daily. She still loves to read, we go through so many books a day that we now go to the library once a week and get a handful of new books to keep things fresh.

Loathing /As of recently, she does not enjoy taking baths, I believe she is now hip to the fact that bedtime comes after bath time, so she resists the entire routine in hopes of staying up later.

Laughing / She is such a little charmer and is always making herself and others laugh. Just about anything makes her giggle; dancing, singing, spinning around, playing pretend with her animals…

Playing / She is completely and totally obsessed with stickers. She has a box full of stickers at this point (Dora & Mickey Mouse being her favorite) that she carries around with her everywhere. There are stickers in the bath, in her bed, stuck all over her clothes…there is no escaping stickers in this house!

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 “A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

Berlin: She has such an amazing, playful spirit. One look into her sweet eyes and I can’t help but be in a good mood.

This week I wanted to begin adding my favorite images from last week’s posts. I have discovered so many great blogs through this wonderful linkup and wanted to pass along all the beauty.

I’m loving this image from Little Wolff, such a gorgeous shot and beautiful blog/this dark and intense image will pierce your soul/I can just see Berlin doing this soon, such a cute capture

As always, linking up with Jodi.

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Family Meal: Cheesy Vegan Pot Pie


Let me start out by saying, these pot pies are delicious! So much in fact, I think I may be making them again this weekend! And I was not the only fan, Berlin ate half a pot pie (that is more than she ever eats!) and Ryan scarfed his down as well. I’m sure we can all agree, that pot pies in general, are usually pretty darn good, but I think the cashew cheese filling made this recipe an extra hit. I contemplated using a traditional flour sauce for the filling, but I wanted it dairy free, and protein filled (to make up for the lack of meat). So I thought why not try cashew cheese, I’ve used it for many other dishes and it never disappoints, and I assure you it didn’t disappoint this time either. The creamy goodness was a perfect compliment to the veggies and worked great with the crust as well. I’m just drooling thinking about it now! So let’s get to it already so you can get started cooking!

Cheesy Vegan Pot Pie

Veggie Filling
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large organic sweet potato chopped
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup frozen corn
1/3 cup chopped broccoli
1/3 cup chopped carrots
1 can organic white beans rinsed
Herbamare to taste

Cashew Cheese Filling
2 cups soaked raw cashews  (min 2 hours)
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Store bought vegan pie crust, both Mrs. Smiths and Pillsbury are dairy free


Begin by chopping all your veggies and placing the carrots and sweet potatoes in a pot of water. Boil until soft.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the cashew cheese by placing the pre-soaked cashews and all the other ingredients into a high power blender, and blend until smooth (should only take a minute or so max). Add more seasonings as you like.

Next, drain the sweet potatoes, and in the same pot, add the olive oil and saute the remainder of the veggies and beans until warm, approx 5 minutes. I like to season my veggies with Herbamare, but salt and pepper will work as well.

Now preheat the oven to 350 degrees

While the oven is heating roll out the store bought dough to fit the top of your pie dish, I used three 5″ mini pie dishes for this recipe and one pre-made pie crust was sufficient for all three.

Fill each dish with veggies filling, top with cashew cheese and place the dough on top, pressing into the sides of the dish. Then poke a few fork holes in the top of the crust, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for approx 35-40 minutes.


This recipe may be my secret weapon for getting Berlin to eat more veggies, she didn’t even notice the corn, which typically she would spit out. Next time (dare I say this weekend!) I’m thinking of trying kale and chickpeas and perhaps some cauliflower-hoping Berlin won’t take notice.

As a side note, I used store bought crust for this recipe to shorten the prep, but there is an easy vegan pie crust recipe here if you prefer to make yourself.

Wishing you a pot pie filled weekend!

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Indian Springs





In honor of Ryan’s birthday, this past weekend, we headed up north to the hot springs and enjoyed a three day weekend together. It was rare and so very necessary.

We danced, drank tequila, swam, ate good food, relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company. It was a perfect birthday celebration and a wonderful rejuvenation of our spirit.

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