Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dairy Free & Vegan Cookie Recipe Swap

As a special DairyFree Christmas event,Jessica @ DairyfreeBetty and I have decided to do a DairyFree and Vegan Blogger cookie recipe swap! But, we're going to do it a little differently.

We are going to trade recipes, instead of cookies. Each participant will pick their favorite dairyfree/vegan Christmas cookie recipe and mail it in a card to the person they are assigned. The recipient will make the cookies and post the recipe on their blog, linking back to the sender.

If you want to include the cookies with your recipe you can! Everyone likes to get goodies, but you don't have to send the cookies too if you don't want to.

This is to not only share recipes, but to connect us as a DairyFree community.

If you are interested, you can email your mailing address to me at, or to Jessica at

**If you have other food allergies, such as nuts or gluten, please include that in your email so we can pass that info along:-)**

Please send your address to us by Dec. 3rd so we can organize the addresses.
Please send your recipe to your assigned recipient by Dec. 15th.

Happy Baking!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thankful~A Thanksgiving Recap

How is it that it has already been a whole week since Thanksgiving Day? As I get older and my kids get older, the Holidays seem to go by so much faster than they used to! Maybe it is because there is so much more to do for them when you have kids. Even though we were insanely busy, we had a wonderful 4 day holiday this year. It was filled with visits from family and dear friends-both in person and on Skype. It is definitely one we will always remember.

This year, for the first time, we got to see ALL of our nephews and our niece for Thanksgiving. We have 4 nephews ranging in age from 2-13, and one niece who is graduating from high school this year. My girls absolutely ADORE their oldest cousins! We don't get to see them often because we live so far apart. But this year we have gotten to see them 3 times already, and that is definitely something my husband and I are so very thankful for. Our oldest nephew actually spent 4 days here at our house because his girlfriend happens to be my best friend's oldest daughter(long story). So she also spent most of the week with us, which we loved. She is an awesome kid.

Our other 3 nephews are from my side of the family, and they are so stinkin' cute! All of my girls get along so well with them, so when they were together this time, it was so much fun to watch them together. The two oldest are especially close and spent hours playing Hexbugs and cars and Legos. My daughter did learn how to belch like a boy last week, but I can live with that.;-)

For Thanksgiving Day, Cat wanted to do a food art project she had gotten the instructions for in her Cooking Club at school. It was a turkey made out of fruit and cheese (yeah I know... cheese. But I didn't even touch the cheese- I left that to my husband! And it was on the kids' table so nowhere near me!)
The kids seemed to have a good time putting "Gobble Gobble" together. He didn't look exactly like the picture, but that's ok:-) They had fun and that's all that matters!

I tried to find something other than cheese to use, and we thought about Cantaloupe but it's out of season, and with the recent recalls and health issues I am not about to buy precut grocery store melon to eat. (Ours comes from our CSA).

Friday we had the brilliant idea to go to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens. (If you've never been- Busch Gardens is an amusement park and their theme is Europe. It's broken down into countries: they have England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, and New France AKA Canada. For Christmas they decorate the entire park with lights, add special shows and Christmas food, and have special events. It really is a great time!
We thought that since most people would be tired from Black Friday shopping the park wouldn't be that busy. Boy were we wrong! It was a ZOO!! In fact, it was so busy that by 5pm that had to close the gates because they were at capacity. We were already in the park by that point. Mom wanted a picture of all 6 grand kids with Santa (and BG has the best Santa around!). We waited in line for 45 minutes, with SIX kids under age 8. By about halfway through I pulled out the Goldfish crackers and dispensed them one by one to each child. That kept them busy, entertained, and fed. For as cramped as we were, the kids did awesome! Santa was very patient, the kids all cooperated, and we managed to get a great picture of all them.

And then just mine:

Saturday the plan was to drive down to the Outer Banks to take our oldest nephew back to his parents, who were spending Thanksgiving at their beach house. We always love going down to the Outer Banks, even if it's just for the day. Since the weather was amazing that day we made sure we spent a little time down near the water.

My idea of Heaven on Earth.

Even though it was cold, we had to get our feet wet! It wasn't that cold actually.

I am so very Thankful for my family.

Before dinner we went up to Jockey's Ridge to see some kites lit up with Christmas lights. Jockey's Ridge is a huge sand dune in the middle of the Outer Banks and is a great place for flying kites or to just get amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Sound.

We also had fun playing in the sand:-)

After our adventures we had a delicious meal made by our brother-in-law who is a professional chef. I love when he cooks for us, because he teaches me something new every time we get together. This time we had Duxelle Stuffed Pork Tenderloin and it was amazing. I can't wait to make it! And of course now I have some tips from a professional on how to make duxelle the correct way. We also discuss ways to make gourmet dishes dairy free. And any time I have questions I can call him and ask. Spending time with him is making me seriously consider going to culinary school once my girls are a bit older. Or at least taking some cooking classes. We'll see...

It was a busy whirlwind of a weekend that went by entirely too fast. But we have some great memories, and my girls will always remember this year.

This year, and every year, I have so much to be Thankful for.

Now on to Christmas...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Two Last Minute Holiday Meal Compliments

At this point most of us are scrambling to get our Thanksgiving menu set and most of our food prepared and ready for tomorrow. I myself have been extremely busy in the kitchen today, but I am taking a short break to share these two last minute ideas with you: Vegan Raspberry Butter and Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish. One is brand new, one is a family tradition.

Vegan Raspberry Butter:

I first saw this last week on Pinterest thanks to DairyFreeBetty. I thought that it was a great idea, and decided it would go very well with dinner tomorrow night. Lots of people buy specialty butters or dairy products to compliment their meals, but those of us with dairy allergies are usually left out. Not this time! This uses Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread so anyone can enjoy it!

1 tub Earth Balance Vegan Whipped Buttery Spread, at room temp.
3/4 cup fresh raspberries.

After bringing your buttery spread to room temperature, put it in the mixing bowl of your stand mixer. (I used my Kitchen Aid mixer, but you could use a hand mixer too).
Beat until it is softened.

Add your raspberries

Beat on LOW speed just until they are mixed in and slightly broken up. You don't want to mix them too much- the butter should still look pretty.

Lay a sheet of aluminum foil on your counter, and a sheet of plastic wrap on top of that. Spoon your butter mixture onto the plastic wrap. Work it back and forth until it forms a log shape. Wrap in the plastic wrap, and then again in the aluminum foil.

Freeze for at least 30 minutes before using.

It is SO good! Not too sweet, but just adds a little extra flavor. It is going to be great on my roll tomorrow night at dinner. I am keeping mine in the freezer until dinner tomorrow.

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish:
My mom has been making this relish for as long as I can remember. We have it at Thanksgiving and Christmas, since it is delicious with both ham and turkey. My husband likes to eat it on rolls too.

1 small orange- quartered but not peeled
1/2 package fresh cranberries
1/4 cup sugar

Put the cranberries and orange pieces with rinds on in your food processor. Chop them until they are finely ground. Add sugar to taste- if you like it sweet, add the full quarter cup, for a more tart flavor add less. Put in a covered bowl and let chill for a few hours before serving. This also freezes extremely well, so you can save some for Christmas too.

Of course you don't have to save these for a Holiday meal. Both of these are good anytime of year!


**The Vegan Raspberry Butter is found on Earth's Best's website.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tastes Like Christmas~Cranberry Orange Bread

Ever since I can remember my Mom always made Cranberry Orange Nut bread around the holidays. It has always been my very favorite bread because the tastes in it remind me of Christmas. The cranberry and orange together with just a touch of sweet- so so good!
When I became a wife and mom, I decided it was time to make my own. However, I don't like nuts in breads. Plus children under the age of 5 should not eat nuts since they are a choking hazard, so I always eliminate them from any bread recipe.

The original recipe can be found on the back of the Ocean Spray cranberry bag. That recipe uses shortening but I don't like to use that if I can help it, so I use my organic vegan butter instead.

1/4 cup Earth Balance butter, softened
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup orange juice
1 cup chopped fresh cranberries

Preheat your oven to 350F and spray a loaf pan lightly with cooking spray.

1.Chop your cranberries in a food processor.

2.In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. (It will be a little more crumbly than creamy). Beat in 1 egg and the grated orange peel.

3.In another bowl combine the dry ingredients.

4.Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, alternating with the orange juice. Gently fold in the cranberries.

5.Pour into a greased 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

I made this on Saturday, and it was gone by Sunday night. I am going to make more today, and freeze a few of them to have through December. Although I doubt they will last that long!
If there is ever only 1 of my recipes you try, I hope it is this one. This bread really is THAT good!

Happy Cooking!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Kale Pesto~ So Many Possibilities

What a busy and extremely productive weekend we had! We woke up Saturday morning with a list of projects we wanted to get accomplished, and decided to add repainting the office to that list. We had been talking about it for a while- it was a mustardy yellow color and it was not at all aesthetically pleasing. Lucky for us, there is a paint store within a mile of my house, so running up there was no problem. We were there and back within 20 minutes! And double lucky for us a friend offered to help us out and paint most of the room for us! She really is incredibly awesome-she even let the oldest two girls help her out. It takes a brave person to let a 5 year old paint! While she got to work on the office, my hubby got to work steam cleaning our living room carpet. It's the only carpet in the entire house, but it takes more spills than any other floor space! Ah the joys of having 3 kids:-) We borrowed a steamer from another friend (our friends are incredible) and now my carpet looks (almost) brand new!

With those two projects going on, I got to work in the kitchen. Since the big girls were helping to paint, and the littlest one was napping, I had a few hours to work on my own. I had 2 HUGE bags of Kale from my CSA that I needed to use up. I had made Kale chips this night before, but that barely made a dent in it. I looked up several recipes and settled on trying Kale Pesto. When I saw I could freeze it, I was totally sold on the idea!

I looked at several different recipes and methods, and made up one of my own. Here's what I came up with:

1 bunch fresh Kale

1/2 cup almonds

Juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
4-6 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup Olive Oil (or more)
Sea Salt to taste

1. Remove stems from Kale and blanch in boiling water for 5 minutes. Immediately cool under cold running water. Once cool, drain and squeeze additional water out of the Kale.

2. While Kale is cooking, chop your almonds in your food processor.

Once they were ground up into small piece add the garlic cloves and pulse those several times.

3.Add the kale, about a teaspoon of salt (or less). Drizzle in 1/2 cup olive oil while processing the kale. Add the lemon juice. Process to your desired consistency.

4. If you intend to freeze it, you can do so in muffin tins. 1 muffin cup is roughly 1/2 cup of pesto. Fill the cups, cover with plastic wrap, and put in your freezer for about 12 hours. You will need to use a butter knife to get each pesto "muffin" out. Put them in freezer bags to use whenever you want.

So many ways to eat this: on a crostini as an appetizer, served warm over pasta as a meal, as a sandwich spread, served as a dip with veggies or crackers...

We had some for lunch and it was so good:

Along with that I also made a batch of my homemade meatsauce to freeze, a cranberry orange bread that I will be sharing the recipe for in my next post, and meatloaf for dinner. All in all, it was a very productive Saturday.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Meal Planning~The Week Before Thanksgiving

Next week we will have the biggest food day of the year- Thanksgiving. I am sure most of us are in full on planning mode at this point- I know we are! But what do you eat the week BEFORE? We try to keep our grocery bill really low the week before a major holiday, because we know the meal is going to cost a lot. We have yet another busy week ahead too- our Middle Daughter is in a Thanksgiving production with her drama class, so we have a rehearsal one night a performance another, not to mention the oldest daughter's own drama class. On top of all of that, the hubs is not going to be joining us for dinner most nights, since he is on another crazy work schedule this week. So, I need to plan easy, healthy, fast meals for 3 kids and myself. Hmmm...

Here's what the girls and I decided on:

Monday: Chicken Tenders, fresh broccoli, and pasta
Tuesday: Brinner- apple cinnamon pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon- kids' choice.
Wednesday: American Chop Suey- Again, kid's choice and will share this one.
Thursday: Beef Stew- I will also share this recipe.
Friday: Stromboli

Pancakes, cereal, overnight oats

PB&J, grilled "cheese" sandwiches, Lentil soup, leftovers.

Oatmeal bars, chocolate chip cookies- all homemade.

Baking Projects:
Sweet Potato Bread, Pumpkin Bread, Apple Bread, Cranberry Orange Bread, Slowcooker Applesauce (My goal is to start filling up my freezer.) I will share all the recipes for these as well.

Notice my weekend isn't listed- I have not planned that far ahead yet. Since I have yet to replace my lost food from Hurricane Irene's visit, this coming weekend I plan on doing just that. We are going to stock the freezer with soups, pizza sauces, meat sauce, Rochelle's Beef and Root Vegetable Soup, chili. These will all be meals on the menu and make future planning much easier. And the best part- I already have most of the ingredients on hand to make all these things! Bonus!

Now it's time for me to get baking!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup~ to Cure What Ails You

It's that time of year again. No, I am not talking about Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am talking about cold and flu season. It is upon us again. Blech. Anyone who has kids, especially more than one, knows that the sick season takes on a whole new meaning when you are a Mom. I read somewhere that the average child get between 5-6 colds per year! That's amazingly awful news. Luckily, my kids don't get that many, but we still get a couple a year. Since becoming a mom 8 years ago I have dealt with my fair share of sick kids: colds, ear infections, RSV (that was NOT a fun one), Strep, bronchial spasms, Pneumonia, the Flu, the dreaded stomach bug, Roseola, and various other mysterious undiagnosable illnesses that all kids get. Looking at that list it would seem my kids are sickly. They aren't! Spread those out between 3 kids and 8 years- it's not too bad of a track record.

My go-to food whenever I am sick has always been chicken noodle soup. It tastes so good when your throat is raw, your nose is stuffy, and your head is pounding. But the canned stuff isn't the real thing, and can be pretty gross (at least in my opinion). Yes, it's easy and ok in a pinch, but it can be oily, high in sodium, and lower in nutrition. I prefer to make my own and my kids ask for it whenever they are feeling under the weather- they call it Mommy's Magic Soup. This week we had our first cold of the season. The Middle One brought it home from preschool and shared it with the Little One, and then the Big One. Luckily it's been a fast mover and pretty mild. But the girls still wanted Mommy's Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup to help them get better faster.

This is a super simple recipe. It is not a gourmet soup, it's a comfort food. Oh, and there actually isn't any chicken in it:-) It's veggies, broth, noodles, and a few spices and that's it. But it does the trick. It is intended to be as easy as possible, and to be made quickly.

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Onion- half of a small one, diced
4 large carrots-sliced
4 celery stalks-sliced
2 32 oz boxes of Organic chicken broth, or if Vegan, vegetable broth
2 cups Water (or more if needed)
Ground gingers- start with a teaspoon and add more to your taste
Thyme- again, a teaspoon then add more as needed
salt and pepper to taste.
noodles of your choice

Or for vegetarian or vegan:

1. Heat the oil in a pot on medium high heat. Add your chopped veggies. Let cook until the onions are translucent, stirring often. Be careful not to burn the carrots.

2.Add 1 box of broth, 1 cup of water, ginger, Thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and let simmer until the carrots start to soften.

3. Add your noodles- last night I used the rest of a bag of Fusilli I had in the cabinet. Use roughly 1-2 cups of noodles. As they cook, you may find you need to adjust your liquids. You can either add more water for a blander soup, or more stock for more flavor. I usually add half of another box of broth and 1/2 cup of broth. Adjust your seasoning as you go, to your taste preferences. Every time I make this soup it's a little different. I don't measure my spices anymore, I just eyeball them and go by taste.

This, along with a glass of orange juice, helped my girls feel better last night.

The soup does not last well overnight because of the noodles, they tend to soak up all the liquid. It is best eaten fresh. What I will sometimes do is make the broth, and reheat portions and add noodles so we can keep it around for a day or two. Or, what I am going to do this week, is make up a few batches of the broth and freeze it. That way I will have it already made when I need it.

*This is also good to make if you are recovering from the dreaded stomach bug. I use rice instead of noodles ( to go along with the BRAT diet: Bread, Rice, Applesauce, Toast). Either cook the rice separate, or use 5 minute boil-in-a-bag rice, otherwise you will lose all your liquid. I don't use onion, since that can be hard to digest. I also cut the veggies up much smaller and let them cook down. Carrots and ginger are good for calming the stomach.*

What's your go-to sick food?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Green Bean Casserole~In Time For Thanksgiving

I included this recipe in another post last winter, but since Thanksgiving is coming up, I wanted to share it again as it's own post for those that are looking for a Dairy Free version of this holiday favorite.

*You can make this Vegan by using vegetable bouillon instead of chicken.

1-1/2 cups soy milk
1 cube chicken bouillon
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
1 carrot, diced
any of the following you want to add:
3 tablespoons cornstarch or flour
2 or 3 tablespoons cold water
2 cans French cut green beans
1 can fried onion ( I prefer the Trader Joes brand, but I have also found that a Garlic Pepper flavored kind works great too)

1. In a saucepan, heat the soy milk and veggie bouillon.
2. Stir until bouillon cube disintegrates.Be careful to not scald the milk.

3. In a separate skillet heat 1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil.
4. Add the onions, mushrooms, and carrots; saute until the onions are translucent.

5.Add the herbs and spices-basil, garlic, marjoram, oregano, pepper, sage, salt, and thyme.
6. Make a thickener by combining the flour and cold water, mixing well.
7.Pour into the milk-bouillon mixture. Stir well and often, because this will coagulate quickly once heated.
8. Combine the green beans, sauteed veggies, and half the fried onions. Then add the milk mixture, mixing well. Top with fried onions.
9. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the French fried onions begin to brown.

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

My husband has said this version is actually better than the traditional one using canned soup. I have to agree. I love that there are more veggies in it, not just green beans.
Happy Thanksgiving!

My Dairy Free Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving is only a couple short weeks away, and most us of are already planning either our menu or where we are going to spend the day. For those of us with food intolerances or allergies, this can turn into a rather difficult challenge. Most holiday food, especially for gatherings, has a lot of dairy in it that is both hidden and obvious. If you are playing hostess for the day, trying to decide what to serve non dairy-free people can be tough, especially if they are used to eating all things with cream, milk, butter, and cheese.

This year we are going to be spending the day with my parents. It's no secret that Thanksgiving is my Mom's holiday in our family. She hosts Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, I get Christmas Day. It works out very well. Ever since I was a kid she always made the dinner, and it was/is always absolutely delicious. My favorite smell (other than the smell of my babies) is walking into her house on Thanksgiving Day. It takes me back to my childhood every time.

~Thanksgiving a few years ago~

There have been a few years in my adulthood that we haven't spent Thanksgiving with my parents, but not many. Usually the years they go to visit my brother and his family we spend the day with my in-laws, and I host at our house. But even the few years we have been on our own, I have stuck with her traditional menu. Last year we hosted friends of ours from South Africa who had never celebrated Thanksgiving. They brought a few of their traditional foods to share, such as Bobotie and a Trifle. We watched the Macy's parade, made Shirley Temples for the girls, drank mimosas, and ate until we couldn't eat anymore. This year they have taken our holiday back to South Africa with them and are sharing the day with friends of theirs who also used to live in the States.

~Last year's Thanksgiving~

Mom and I have come up with our traditional Thanksgiving menu this week so we can get our shopping done early. My oldest has also picked out the centerpiece she wants to make.

What we have to look forward to:
*denotes what I am bringing

~Veggies and a dairy free sour cream dip*. (this dip is a tradition in our family- Mom has been making it for years, and luckily I have figured out a way to make it dairy free. I will share the super simple recipe in a later post)
~Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Dip*
~Mini Crab Cakes*

~Fresh- not frozen- Turkey: simply oven roasted, not stuffed (takes longer and dries out the breast meat)
~Mom's homemade Stuffing. So simple, yet SO GOOD.
~Mashed Potatoes
~Mashed Butternut Squash with Cinnamon and Nutmeg*
~Roasted Acorn Squash (Recipe will be posted after Thanksgiving)
~Green Bean Casserole*
~Candied Yams
~Sweet Potato Cornbread*
~Mom's Homemade Cranberry Orange Relish (recipe will be posted)
~Dinner Rolls
~Stuffed Celery Plate*
~Pickle and Olive Platter

~Apple Pie
~Sweet Potato Pie*
~Pumpkin Pie*
~Pumpkin cupcakes

Of course we will also have wine with dinner, coffee or tea with dessert.

That's a lot of food and we are definitely going to have leftovers! Luckily it will be cooked between 2 kitchens. Seems like a lot of work, but between Mom, Dad, David, and myself we get it all done very efficiently. This year my oldest is also very excited to get to help make dinner. Last year she got to help make dessert.

So there you have it- our Dairy Free Thanksgiving. Just because you are Dairy Free does not mean you have to miss out on a good meal. And it does not mean you need to spend hours slaving over a meal of fancy or strange dishes that dairy loving people may not like. You can have a simple, elegant, comforting, delicious meal and no one will ever even know you cook without dairy. Sometimes simple is better.

What is on your Dairy Free Thanksgiving table this year?

Happy Cooking this Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

When I Said I Do... 9 Years Ago

It's hard to believe that it's been 9 years since I walked down the aisle and said "I do" to my best friend.

~Our Wedding: A Look Back~
David and I got engaged on June 16th, 2001, after a year and a half of dating. His proposal was not fancy or elaborate, but it was very "us". It was private, spontaneous, and simple. Perfect.

After a whirlwind year of college graduations, moving, starting new jobs, and wedding planning, we finally made it to the weekend of our wedding. We (well actually my Mom and myself since David and I did not live in the area. And since she knew what I wanted and how to get it) had planned not only the wedding and reception, but a few other events for that weekend as well. Since we had a rather large wedding party and everyone was from out of town (including us), we wanted to be sure to thank them all for taking the time to come and be a part of our day. We included a Bridesmaids Luncheon at a Tavern in Williamsburg, and David took his Groomsmen golfing that Friday morning before the wedding. We also had a brunch the morning after the wedding, as a way to say goodbyes to our guests before they all went back home.

We also included a few personal touches. My grandfather passed away just 3 months before my wedding, and he was my last living grandparent. I wanted to do something to remember them, and lost loved ones on David's side. We had two bouquets of red roses on the alter that David and I gave to our Mother's after the ceremony.

We had a Bagpiper lead the recessional after the ceremony. My husband's heritage is Scottish so this was very fitting.

We had a String Quartet play at the ceremony- I wanted this because my Mother had once played the violin and I always think of her when I hear strings playing.

My most favorite personal touch was my bouquet. Instead of a traditional bouquet, I carried my mother's Catholic Missal, the same one she carried at her wedding to my father in 1967. We had the cover made to match my dress from scraps leftover from my alterations. The florist did a very simple cascading flower arrangement for it.

The day of the wedding was the most beautiful Fall day anyone could ask for! We had the bluest sky, the temperature was perfect, and the leaves were at their peak for color. Most of the day went by in a blur, but there are a few moments that stick out in my memory whenever I look back on that day.

Walking down the aisle with my Dad is a moment I will never forget. I am not one to cry in front of other people- I just can't do it. But the moment before we walked down the aisle I really had a hard time. I actually had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep the tears from starting to roll down my cheeks.
For the rest of my life, I will always cherish the memory of my Dad giving me away.

David told me that the moment he remembers the most was our minister leaning over to him as I was coming down the aisle and telling him to remember the way I looked at that moment because it is the one moment in the entire day he will always remember.

The rest of the night flew by in a blur, as weddings do. We had a wonderful time dancing at our reception and spending the night with good friends and family. It was the perfect beginning to our married life.

~Fast Forward: Our Married Life~The rest, as they say, is history. Over these past nine years we have been blessed with 3 beautiful daughters and we have learned so much about each other, about ourselves, and about life.

We have learned how to depend on each other in hard times,

Our middle daughter in the NICU with PPHN

My husband holding our daughter a few days before she came home after her month stay in the NICU

And how to get through those times stronger and better for it.

Daddy and the middle on enjoying catching up on some snuggle time after her NICU stay.

We have learned that marriage is not always 50/50. Sometimes it is 90/10 or 60/40. We have learned how to get angry at each other, and then say we are sorry and move past it without holding a grudge.

We have learned that we always have more fun when we are together so we work hard to make time for US.

Dave kept his promise to take me to Fenway Park to see my beloved Red Sox play.

In Philadelphia

A night out with friends- a police office took this picture. VERY funny story!

We've learned that we make a great team as parents.

We still have a long way to go of course, and I am looking forward to the next 50 years or so.

Happy 9th Anniversary to the Love of my life.