Arts & Imagination

The Kids cooking program at Stepney Elementary will begin today, October 11th as part of the Arts & Imagination program.

Our six week session will be based on “Nutritious and Delicious” menu items, from starters to meals to sweet treats! Everything made with whole grain, nutritious ingredients that taste great too! We will use as much seasonal, local and organic produce as available. The kids will learn some basic cooking skills, measurements, health benefits of eating everything that grows in our local gardens, composting and most of all, how to be adventurous in their eating habits.

At the end of the session, all the kids will receive a mini-cookbook with all of the recipes cooked during our program so they can enjoy these recipes at home with their family.


We saved a life!

Well, it may sound trivial to many of you, but last night we saved a little baby chipmunk’s life. A little baby girl.

Our cat, Jay Jay, brought her home to us in his mouth. We grabbed him away from the chipmunk right away and as the kids and I were looking at the tiny chipmunk breathing up and down, just laying there, trying her best to keep her life, we knew we had to do something. So, we did. Mike’s cousin, Joey, saves and cares for wild animals. He’s amazing. People call him when they find an injured animal. He’s had squirrels, owls, raccoons, opossum etc. He gives them medicine, cares for them as their injuries heal and then he releases them. The kids love going there to see the animals and watch him care and play with them. It truly is amazing how much he cares for these animals.

Anyway, we called him right away. Lilliana helped Joey clean his wounds and care for him and we think he’s going to make it. We did it. The kids were so excited and happy and what a great lesson for them.

I can’t express to you enough, how much love we had for that little chipmunk at the moment we met him. Yes, it reminded us of Julian. Lucas even said to me “Mommy, the chipmunk reminds me of Julian. It makes me sad.” I was there with him. We all were. So, we helped save his life and we feel so happy to have taken that initiative. We all wish we could have saved Julian’s life but we couldn’t heal him so we’re trying to heal others along the way, in the best way that we can.

So, if you ever see a wild animal on the side of the road and he’s injured but still living, maybe you’ll stop and make that phone call to help him and you too can help save a life!


Today is a very, very sad day. Plain and simple, I can’t stop thinking about my little baby Julian. As I’m driving Lucas to school, I feel the loneliness coming on… I feel the crisp weather outside and am reminded of this time last year and how I would be at the hospital right now getting my weekly ultrasound. I was anticipating his sweet arrival.

The house was different then. We were different. The mini-van is empty now. There isn’t a baby car seat in there anymore. Even Lucas’ car seat is not a toddler one anymore, he’s transitioned into a booster seat and now Lilliana is without a seat. Everything is so different and I don’t like it, not one bit!

I want to put that infant seat back in my car again. I want to look back and see him there smiling at me. Sometimes, this pain and loneliness is just unbearable. I”m being honest here, this isn’t the least bit easy, especially right now. In a few weeks, it will be his birthday. That was such a happy day for us. Our faces were gleaming with excitement. The kids couldn’t wait to meet their baby brother and visit me at the hospital.

The other day, I was organizing Lilliana’s paperwork from second grade and I read all of her journal entries from October-December and they were all about Julian, about looking forward to meeting him, about going to the hospital on Nov 8th to see him, about him coming home with us. Then, sadly I read the Christmas entry and she wrote her wishes and one of them was “to make Julian’s muscles get stronger because they are so weak.”She wanted him to get better and come home, we all did. We all wanted to live our life together, the five of us, as a family.

I am so tired of being so strong. All I want to do today is cry and cry and cry. Sometimes, I think that on November 8th, I will wake up, go to the hospital and see him again and everything will be ok. He will be ok and I will accept him with open arms. I would give anything for that to be true.

Julian's Birthday 11/8/10


The goal of the Food Jules Cookbook Challenge is to compile an AMAZING group of recipes that are guaranteed to be delicious and nutritious so I need 100% participation. Therefore, I’ve decided to give away a PRIZE to everyone that completes this challenge with me. Here are the rules:

1. You have to test the recipe EXACTLY as it is written and provide your feedback along with your own recommendations and grade – needs more moisture, needs more sweetness, it’s perfect etc. This will allow all us to ensure the recipe is accurate.

Feedback from your children is an added PLUS.

2. The recipe should be tested within one week of the post. It would be great if a bunch of us tested the recipe at the same time and were able to perfect it together. That is what I call TEAM WORK!

That’s it, just two simple rules. I know you can do it! I will post a challenge once or twice a week, so not to overwhelm all of us with recipes.

At the end of the challenge, we will have created a NEW, DELICIOUS and NUTRITIOUS cookbook for all of us and we will have done it TOGETHER. So, let’s make this happen! Maybe, one day it will get published in some format and all of your names will appear in the list of credits. If not, then at least we all have a new Cookbook Bible on our bookshelf and we won’t get bored of the same old recipes.

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you about the prize… I’ll keep that a secret for a little while. Who’s in it with me?

Challenge #2: Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

Well, I was going to post recipes once a week for our Food Jules Cookbook Challenge, but OMG…. this Broccoli and Cheddar Soup is so DELICIOUS that I had to post it for everyone today!!!! I have to give the credit to my daughter, Lilliana. She saw the recipe on the cover of the Food Network magazine and asked me to make it for dinner. Well, it is so very creamy and so very yummy. You don’t even need to add the cheese at the end, that’s how creamy it is (but we added it for extra nutrition and extra deliciousness). The kids already devoured it and it’s not even dinner time!

Here’s my suggestion. Run out to the grocery store right now and make it tonight for dinner. Trust me you will be thanking me tomorrow!

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup (photo to come later)


  • 2 tblsp unsalted organic butter
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 organic celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 organic carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 medium organic potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large broccoli crowns
  • 1 (32oz) organic chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup organic half and half
  • 1 cup organic cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt & pepper


  1.  Heat olive oil and butter in large pot. Add onion, celery and carrots and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes and 1 broccoli crown, chopped, and cook for another 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Using a hand blender, puree until smooth. Add half and half and other broccoli crown, finely chopped (you just want to see small pieces of broccoli in the soup) and cook for 10 minutes until broccoli is soft.
  4. If soup is too thick, add more half and half. Add cheddar cheese and mix well.

Grade: A

Join us in our Cookbook Challenge and send us your grade!


Well, it’s October now… the time is getting closer. We are definitely in the Fall season. I used to love this season. It was so much fun going pumpkin picking, on hay rides, picking apples, Fall decorations, trick or treating with the kids, Thanksgiving…. all leading up to the joy of the Christmas Holiday and being home for two weeks with the entire family. This was my happiest time, full of love and joy and all I am feeling right now is fear and sadness.

Julian’s first birthday is quickly approaching and I am at a loss of what to do to honor him. Fortunately, it’s election day so the kids are off from school on that day (November 8th) so maybe we’ll just spend the day together, enjoying each other, going to visit him at the cemetary and having family celebrate him with us. I want to put together a scrapbook of our memories with him and we can watch his home video. We may all be crying together instead of smiling but maybe that’s exactly what we all need.

I miss him so much! We are ALL feeling the emptiness in our lives and hearts without him.

Julian loved his co-sleeper but not as much as he loved sleeping with his mommy and daddy