It’s been quite an interesting nine years.

Happy Anniversary to my handsome, sweet, loving husband of nine years, Michael.

I am so glad that we are married and that you are my partner. You have taught me so much about life, health, love, friendship, trust, respect, faith… the list goes on. You are an amazing person and I am so blessed to have you in my life. Thank you for all of your patience and love during this past year, it has been the toughest year of our entire lives but I am so glad that you are here with me, so we can help each other get through each day. Our entire world has changed forever, but one thing remains the same, my love for you. You are and forever shall be, my best friend.

I’m looking forward to the next nine years, plus. I don’t know what’s in our future together, but if we can get through this tough time together and come out stronger, then we can get through anything. At least God was listening when I asked him many, many years ago, for someone to love me unconditionally, to respect me and be my truest, closest, honest friend because he sent me you!

Mother’s Day Surprise

Thank you to Michael, Lilliana and Lucas for a peaceful, loving and beautiful Mother’s Day. The day started with extra sleeping time (which I need every day), followed by a delicious French Toast breakfast. We spent some time together at the park, ate a picnic lunch and enjoyed some time visiting Julian.

Mother's Day Breakfast

French Toast with Organic Fresh Strawberries

The kids made these gorgeous Tulip Planters, the day before at Home Depot. They were very excited about all the “hard work” it took to make them and are looking forward to making something special for Father’s Day too!

Handmade Tulip Planters

The day ended with a delicious Linguine Carbonara (great job Mike!) and some Mini-Cheesecake Brownies. The day was just what I needed, a calm, quiet, relaxing day with just the four of us.

Oh, and I can’t forget…. the sweet card from a dear friend, that I found waiting for me when we got home. What a nice surprise! Thank you to Lisa, for being such an awesome friend, always there for me in this most difficult time. She took the time to write a beautiful card and hand deliver it to me, even though she had family over her house and four children. She’s amazing and I’m very thankful for having her in my life.

Thank you.

Happy Birthday Julian.

Today, May 8th, would have been Julian’s six month birthday. If he were here with us, he would be sitting up, eating baby cereal. He would be smiling and laughing at us. He would be making baby sounds and watching his big brother and sister playing. We wish you were here with us.

Julian's first moments here on earth.

Happy Birthday Julian. Love always, Mommy, Daddy, Lilliana and Lucas

It was right there, I couldn’t believe it.

As I stood in the frozen food aisle at Whole Foods this evening, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I just stopped, dead in my tracks, and stared at the packages in front of me. Is this for real? So, I opened the door and pulled one of the boxes out. As I stood there, reading the back of the box, the tears just poured down my face, in the middle of Whole Foods. Even though the store was crowded, I felt like the only person there. I was all alone, all alone, just standing there reading all about Julian.

“My son, Julian, has joyously inherited this love of cooking and he has become my muse and greatest critic. It is said that by honoring¬† our past we shape the future. And that’s how Julian’s Recipe was born.”

It may seem trivial to many of you but I just couldn’t believe my eyes. It is a new product, never been there before, never ever seen a product with his name on it and now, here it is, right in front of me.

I don’t know how I’m going to handle Mother’s Day without him. I miss him too much. I am his mother. He should be with me tomorrow. I was the one who felt his first movements inside of my body. I am the one who saw his beautiful face for the very first time when he was born. I was the one who said his name for the first time and held his little tiny hand. I am the one he whimpered for when he heard my voice for the very first time in the NICU. I was the one who laid by his side as he struggled through all of those difficult times at home and at the hospital. I was the one who stroked his face and wiped his tears the night he went into cardiac arrest at the hospital. I was the one who held him for the very last time when his little heart stopped beating. I was the one who changed his very last diaper. I am his mother. I am his only mother and I yearn for my baby Julian every second of every day. It isn’t a happy mothers day. It’s a sad mothers day because I don’t have all of my children with me. There will always be a part of me that is lost forever and no one, not any one, will every understand how that makes me feel.

I just can’t stop!

Well, this has been quite a week…. maybe it’s getting back from a weekend getaway and facing the reality of life here again, but I just can’t seem to get out of the kitchen, it’s very therapeutic.

I’ve created two new Jams and one new Sauce. The first and my favorite, is my ORGANIC APPLE PIE JAM! It is amazing, so very yummy and a perfect spread for toast or crackers, a topping for vanilla ice cream or as a filling for my ORGANIC APPLE PIE MUFFINS. That’s right, after I made the jam, I decided to throw some into a muffin batter and viola, my new ORGANIC APPLE PIE MUFFIN. The flavor is amazing, tastes just like apple pie but in an Organic, All-Natural, Good for you Muffin!

Food Jules Organic Apple Pie Jam

Food Jules Organic Apple Pie Muffins

Food Jules Organic Apple Pie Jam and Muffins

This morning, I spread some laughing cow cheese (or you can use cream cheese) on whole wheat bread with some of my Organic Apple Pie Jam for Lilliana’s lunch. A new alternative to the American Peanut Butter and Jelly classic.

The other Jam that I created yesterday is my ORGANIC STRAWBERRY-BLACKBERRY JAM. This jam is absolutely delish! It’s the perfect blend of sweetness and tartness. My husband enjoyed it spread on a piece of toast last night and my friend ate it right out of the jar this morning. SO YUM!

Food Jules Organic Strawberry-Blackberry Jam

And finally, I made an ORGANIC STRAWBERRY SAUCE. This sauce is absolutely perfect drizzled on ice cream. It has some small chunks of fresh Organic Strawberries in it and tasted delicious as a topping to our Ben and Jerry’s Pistachio Ice Cream. You can even drizzle some of this ORGANIC STRAWBERRY SAUCE in combination with my ORGANIC HOT FUDGE SAUCE on your plain ice cream and you will never eat ice cream the plain way again! That’s right, I make ORGANIC HOT FUDGE SAUCE too…. made with organic, all natural ingredients (photo to come).

Food Jules Organic Strawberry Sauce

Food Jules Organic Strawberry Sauce drizzled over Ben & Jerry's Pistachio Ice Cream

Today, I’m going to make my famous and all time favorite, ORGANIC MIXED BERRY JAM. During the holidays, I call it my ORGANIC HOLIDAY JAM because it has fresh organic cranberries in it, as well as many other delicious fruit. It is a perfect gift for family, friends and teachers!

All of these items, as well as many others, will be available for sale at the Monroe Farmers Market starting on June 24th. Hope to see you there!

I passed!

As I opened the envelope from the American Food Safety Institute, I have to admit, I was a little nervous. I wasn’t sure if I had passed the 2 hour exam, but I did, with flying colors.

So, now I am officially a Certified Food Safety Professional. CHECK!