Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dear Mason – A Reflection on 3 Months

Happy 3 Month Birthday Mason Modesto!

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Of all the weeks, these past 4 have seen the biggest changes yet.

Your favorite thing to do: TALK!

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You are by the chattiest baby I have ever known. Mommy and Daddy still aren’t sure what you’re saying, but we mimic the sounds and you love it!

You especially love to tell stories when we change your diaper or when we’re playing on the floor. You lift and kick your legs with such determination, curl your lips, and let out a big Ahhhh-WOOOO. Sometimes you follow it up with a hu-yuck laugh – it is the cutest!

Also cute, your bulldog face:

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This past month, you discovered that you actually control your hands and your tongue! You love to move your tongue around, blow bubbles, and give us the bulldog face. You’re pretty impressed by what you can do with your tongue, but you’re even more impressed by your hands.

At 2 months you were trying to suck on your hands – at 3 months you were trying to cram both of them in your mouth at the same time! Plus you’ve realized that you can now grab things with your hands. You don’t always snag the desired item on the first try, but you’re learning to try and try again.

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You’ve also started rubbing your face when you get tired. It’s hard because you rub your eyes so much that you can’t fall asleep – which is frustrating – but also very cute. Mommy calls this a very serious case of the Mondays.

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But it’s no surprise that you’re getting so tuckered out because buddy, you are busy!

Tummy time is no longer hated. In fact, you love it!

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You spend lots of time on your tummy these days,

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watching Rainbow Star play some cool tunes and do it’s light show.

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We’ve even started hanging out in your Bumbo Chair for small amounts of time, but your cloth diaper makes it a tight fit. Plus it’s extra hard work because you work on your neck and your core. So after a few minutes we switch to lap time -

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and you love hanging out from this vantage point. The days of playing happily flat on your back are definitely numbered.

Milk is still your most favorite thing ever – which continues to be a good thing for your growing body. You drink lots and lots of milk during the day, and then sleep for 8-10 hours at night. Mommy and Daddy LOVE all the nighttime sleep, but it does mean that naps have become more spotty.

You’re not exactly sure where you would like to nap:

In Mommy and Daddy’s big bed:

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or in your Rock and Play:

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in Daddy’s arms:

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or sometimes just on the floor:

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If your sound machine is playing, and you have a paci and a blanket, you’re pretty willing to try anywhere. But getting you to take a nap longer than 30 minutes is a challenge.

Although we don’t really worry about the short duration all that much because Mason, you are a happy baby!

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You met more new friends this past month:

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photo credit: Ben Bipes 4302015 017 4302015 013

but Mommy and Daddy are still your favorite.

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Photo Credit: Ben Bipes

You’re even starting to let us know that you recognize us by giving us direct eye contact and BIG smiles. When you look at us and smile, it’s the best feeling in the world.

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We love you so much Mason – and we can’t wait to see what the next 4 weeks will bring!

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12 weeks, 8weeks, 4 weeks – Mason Modesto Ravelli

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Gluten Free Asian Turkey Meatballs

Going to the grocery store with Baby Mason terrifies me.


Who me?


I’m not scary!

I’m not sure if I’m afraid that he’ll have a meltdown and cry inconsolably, or I’m worried about being able to maneuver all the grocery bags in to the house. Honestly, I have no idea what exactly makes it feel like an impossible task. I do fear him needing to nurse and then being stuck in the car in the grocery store parking lot for an hour. Yes, it takes my baby an hour to breastfeed – that’s a story for another day.

But even when he’s fully fed, going to the grocery store seems like a HUGE obstacle and most days I don’t feel ready for the task.

So as the fridge dwindled and our pantry became empty, I had to go in to the depths of the freezer and get creative for supper last week.

Man, I have never been so happy to use a pound of frozen ground turkey!


Asian Turkey Meatballs via Skinnytaste

I had filed this recipe away under sounds good but most likely tastes bland on Pinterest – boy was I wrong!


These meatballs are bursting with yummy flavor AND they were so darn easy to make!

They would be awesome served with brown rice and sautéed broccoli. I had neither of those things and served the meatballs on top of rice that you use to make homemade risotto – but who cares! These meatballs would be good served on top of oatmeal – that’s how good they are!


Plus it was a very easy recipe to convert to gluten free.

Simply use Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Panko Breadcrumbs and Gluten Free Tamari instead of soy sauce.

I will definitely be making this dish again…..

just as soon as I make it to the grocery store!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

When All You Have Is A Sandwich

Man, what a month April has been!

I knew it would be crazy, what with celebrating my birthday at the beginning of the month and going back to work at the end of the month, but I didn’t anticipate the middle of the month feeling so harried. That’s life with a newborn I guess!

My hands are always full, in the best possible way.

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If you follow me on Instagram (glutenhatesme) then you already know that I went back to work this past Monday. The transition from Maternity Leave back to work wasn’t an easy one for me, but luckily I have the best of support on all fronts. It really does take a village to raise a child.

One of the benefits of going to back work has been feeling like my old self again – but in a new way. Being Mason’s Mom is definitely a new life for me, and I feel like a completely different person. But at the same time, I still care about things from my old life. My passions are still there, they’re just a bit muted now that I have this GREAT LOVE in my life.

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So I’m still trying to figure out balance. How can I take care of myself, my loved ones, and the world around me when my entire being is consumed by this grinning (and often drooling) baby boy?!

This past Sunday I wrote out a meal plan for the week AND made a grocery list. It felt so good to plan, BUT I never made it to the grocery store!! Baby steps in the right direction I guess. Hopefully this weekend I’ll actually make it to the store.

Since the groceries have been lacking, I’ve been living off of sandwiches. Quickly prepared and quickly eaten, often with just one hand.

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I’ve also had my fair share of spoons in the peanut butter jar. For the first time in a long time we have completely cleaned out our vegetable crisper and our cheese drawer. And I’ve never seen our freezer supplies so low! Seriously, I really need to make it to the store this weekend!

Until then, I’ll be eating sandwiches. Luckily I still have some of my Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free bread from my last Target run.

That rye bread is to die for!

I have some ice cream from that last Target trip too because…


But I need some fresh food in my life!

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House bound family needs help – send vegetables!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Celebration of 32 Years

And just like that, another birthday has passed!

The best part about birthdays is that you get to be showered with love by all the wonderful people in your life. I definitely woke up this morning feeling beyond blessed…..and pleasantly FULL from a day of yummy food!

I started the day with Pumpkin Pancakes and then headed to local treasure Primal Food and Spirits for lunch.


 Primal is a completely gluten free restaurant located in South Durham. I’ve blogged about it many, many times – it is SO good! Now open for lunch, I couldn’t wait to go try out their new menu!

Parrish and I started with the Grilled Romaine Salad to share. I’ve had this once at dinner and knew it was tasty.


Yep, it’s still delicious! And of course Parrish loved it – I think he wished we had each ordered one instead of sharing. The dressing is so creamy and it pairs perfectly with the smoky and sweet flavors from the bacon. PLUS gluten free croutons y’all! YUM. 


For my meal I ordered the  Beef Patty Melt. Grilled pasture raised beef topped with gooey cheddar cheese, whole grain mustard, and caramelized onions on top of gluten free bread.


I couldn’t put it down! I love a good burger, and this one really hit the spot!

After lunch my boys headed home and I rushed to make it to a hair appointment. I hadn’t had a haircut in nearly a year – I was LOOOOONG overdue. I ended up getting 8 inches chopped off and I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out. It was a literal weight off my shoulders!

To end the day, Parrish and I had our first night out without baby, and I’m happy to say we both survived!

date night

Me, Parrish, and MOH enjoyed a delicious dinner at The Little Dipper in Durham – my go-to restaurant for celebrating. Local friends, you MUST go!

We started with a Havarti Dill Cheese fondue, then salads, followed by our meat course: filet, chicken, sashimi grade tuna. We ended the meal with my favorite chocolate fondue: Half Peanut Butter/Half Dark Chocolate and a glass of bubbly!


It was such a special night, thanks in big part to the best baby sitter ever: Grandma Emily!

Mason had a great time playing with Grandma, and we enjoyed a couple of hours to indulge in delicious food….and try to talk about something other than our miracle angel baby!

Thank you all for the sweet birthday wishes yesterday! You guys sure know how to make a girl feel special!

Mason has his BIG 2 month appointment later today, so I’m spending the morning mentally preparing MYSELF for the shots!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Let the Festivities Begin

Happy Wednesday friends AND Happy Birthday to me!

Today, my brother and I are celebrating our 32nd birthday and it hardly seems real. You know you’re getting older when you start saying things like “I don’t feel 32” or you have to ask your husband to remind you how old you’re actually turning!

This time last year, I told Parrish that 31 would be my last birthday without a baby. I hoped and prayed that by my 32nd birthday I would be a Mom. Prayer answered and this is by far my best birthday yet!

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Plus with Easter over the weekend, I feel like we’ve been celebrating all week!

We started the festivities on Friday night when Mason finally had the pleasure of meeting his paternal Great Grandmother, Great Grandma Gruelle:

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It was no surprise that he instantly loved her. Warm and caring, she has a fantastic smile and loves to sing, which happen to be Mason’s top two favorite things ever.

After introductions, we settled in for a fabulous night with take out from our current obsession:

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Patrick Janes Gourmet Pizza Bar in Cary

My MIL chose a few different pies for us to share AND two cheesecakes! Mason’s Grandpa Jeff had the right idea with the cheesecake:

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a bite of both the Salted Caramel and the Chocolate Peanut Butter. Both were gluten free and both were AMAZING. If I had to choose, I guess I would say the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake was the best but I’d rather not choose and just have both!

Saturday was another fun-filled day as we headed over to Mason’s Uncle Morgan’s house for an Easter celebration, complete with a French Fry bar!

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From now on, if I’m throwing a party, I’m having a French Fry bar with toppings. It was so much fun and so so yummy. I was sad to cut the party short, but Mason and I had plans to cheer Dad on in his first soccer game of the season!

It was a beautiful day for soccer, but admittedly maybe a bit too windy. I kept Mason wrapped on me the entire time and he happily snoozed away while Dad scored a goal.

Sunday we made the trip to my parent’s house for more Easter celebrations and Mason got to meet more cousins and his Aunt Susan.

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There was a lot of head petting and baby talk, all of which Mason loved. He’s such a lucky guy to have so many people excited to meet him.

My Mom made a tasty Easter lunch complete with asparagus bundles wrapped in bacon. YUM so good.

After three days of non-stop partying, Mason and I were both happy to stay home on Monday and relax. It’s crazy the amount of preparation and planning it takes just to leave the house with a baby, so I was happy for a break.

And Mason was happy to get to play without a onesie on!

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And now here we are on Wednesday, the week is half way over and flying by!

Parrish started my morning with Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes (always delicious) and presents from him and Mason.

We’re hanging around the house today – I have a LONG AWAITED haircut this afternoon at 2:30 and then we’re going to The Little Dipper for birthday fondue!

Have a great day friends! 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

New Gluten Free Items Delivered to Your Door: Taste Guru Review

Trying new gluten free products is one of my absolute favorite things to do.

When I first went gluten free 8 years ago, there weren’t nearly as many gluten free options at the store, but lately I feel like I see a new product every week! Plus I’m pretty lucky in Durham, there are tons of great stores (Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Fresh Market, and Harris Teeter) within driving distance.

However, you always run the risk of shelling out the cash and ending up with a dud. I know I personally have bought a few items that cost nearly $10 a piece that ended up being inedible.

So when Taste Guru contacted me to review one of their Gluten Free boxes on the blog, I happily agreed. I love trying new products!


Taste Guru delivers delicious new gluten free products along with chef inspired recipes right to your door. In each box you receive 7 - 10 great gluten-free items, plus little bonus items. You can sign up to receive just one single box, or you can choose a subscription and get new products delivered each month for 3 months, 6 months, or even a whole year!

The price for one single box is $24, which includes shipping. At such a great price, I love the idea of sending a box as a gift!

Inside my box:


Tons of gluten free items that I had never heard of! Also included:


a product cheat sheet that tells you more about each item and purchasing information in case you fall in love and need more.

My box arrived at the perfect time because Parrish and I both have really come to rely on having quick grab and go items in our pantry.

My favorite item in the box: Sour Beans! They’re sweet and sour just like Sour Patch Kids. Parrish’s favorite: Egg White Chips


We enjoyed both on a recent sunny afternoon outside.

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Mason is learning more and more about Spring, and I think it’s safe to say he likes it! There was a warm breeze blowing through his little baby hairs, and he was just babbling away.

I enjoyed digging in to my Taste Guru box, but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t buy a subscription for myself, since my grocery stores have so many gluten free options. But I do think it would make a neat gift for a Gluten Free friend or family member.

To learn more about Taste Guru you can visit their website or like them on Facebook.

I received a free Taste Guru Gluten Free box in exchange for a review post on Gluten Hates Me. All opinions expressed are my own.