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A new face and a new direction. (Also: where have I been the last 2 years?)

Seeing the date of my last post–2 years and 6 days ago–reminds me just how much has gone on to keep me from blogging.

I ran a half marathon.

I learned how to eat clean, and how great it made me feel.

I got pregnant, and the resulting months of debilitating morningsickness and exhaustion kind of put preparing unprocessed foods on the backburner.

This cutie was born in October last year.0b

3 weeks later, we learned she had MSPI: milk/soy-protein intolerance. Literally overnight, I had to cut all dairy and soy out of my diet in order to keep her from writhing and crying in pain after every feeding.

Adjusting to life with a newborn, a kindergartener, and a 2-year-old, combined with having to completely turn all of my meal planning and shopping on its head, reading labels on everything, and not being able to eat at most restaurants, brought on postpartum depression and anxiety. I had panic attacks ordering in restaurants and just driving down the road. I felt very fortunate to have a good friend whose baby, 9 months older, was also MSPI, so she was able to get me started in what to buy and how to order food, so it could have been a lot worse. But I still had a hard time functioning.

In January, when she was 3 months old, we found out we would have to move to Switzerland for 6 months for my husband’s job–with 4 weeks’ notice.


Our time there was both awesome and at times quite difficult. I homeschooled our kindergartener, planned our family trips, and figured out where to buy the things we needed in another language. I learned what breads, chocolates, and pasta dishes were dairy-free, and thankfully soybeans are not nearly as widespread in Europe as in the U.S., so I was able to find plentiful eating options. We had the opportunity to travel all over Europe as a family, and thankfully when my baby turned 6 months her stomach became strong enough that I could enjoy dairy again. Hooray for croissants, gelato, and Swiss milk chocolate!IMG_4799

In July we returned to Florida, and after a rocky repatriation period, I’m back to spinning plates: PTA, extracurriculars, church and community responsibilities, nap time, race training, and the list goes on. I’ve recommitted to eating clean because it’s the only way I can have the energy I need to keep all those plates spinning.

And just a couple of weeks ago, this little one turned one!

Because she spent almost as much time outside the U.S. as in it, I chose a world traveler theme for her party.party1

I cut up a map to make the pennant banner and the mini banner on the cake, as well as the tiny toothpick flag on her dairy-free cupcake. On another map I connected photos of each month of her life with where in the world she was. We ate foods from the countries she visited or lived in, and enjoyed our friends’ company.party2

So now that you know where I’ve been these last two years, here’s the aforementioned “new direction.” Since my little one’s diagnosis, I feel like friends and acquaintances with MSPI babies keep coming out of the woodwork. Since committing to eating clean, friends have asked “isn’t it hard?” So my plan going forward is to continue (resume?) posting great family-tested recipes, just now with an emphasis on whole foods and possible dairy-free substitutions. Even if (when?) my cutie outgrows her MSPI, I’ll continue posting with dairy-free options.

If you’re a new mom desperate for MSPI-friendly meal and snack options, start at my “eat while nursing” Pinterest board here, and I’ll try to start getting new recipes and shopping lists into your hand(held device) in the coming weeks!

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Guavaloo headband GIVEAWAY!

I’m so excited about today’s post! I would like to introduce you to my friend Bianca, the talented lady behind the Etsy shop Guavaloo.

She makes beautiful headbands & tutus, & she lets my girls model for her!

Ella Tutu Dress

Estelle dress

Aren’t they beautiful? (The tutus look pretty cute too! ;-)) Seriously though, Bianca does amazing work. She just made the girls’ gorgeous flower girl accessories for their uncle’s wedding!


How would you like one of Bianca’s creations to take home with you? One reader will win a headband of their choice for themselves or their little one. Which one do you think you’ll choose? The Elle my 1-year-old is wearing above? Estelle, modeled by my 4-year-old, or the Dr. Seuss one below?

Dr Seuss Headband Stamped

You can enter up to 4 times today!

  1. Visit Guavaloo & comment below telling me which headband you’d love & in which colors.
  2. Like Guavaloo on Facebook.
  3. Follow Make Myself at Home on RSS!
  4. Share this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter.

Make sure you leave a separate comment for each telling me you did it! Good luck! You have until 8pm Eastern on Wednesday the 28th.

(Linked up at &


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Slimkicker winner!

The winner was Ursula, who posted a challenge of replacing an unhealthy habit with a healthy one. That’s one I’m sure we could all work on! Congratulations Ursula!

I’ve been a little under the weather, but I’ll hopefully have another recipe post up soon.

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Welcome, Mini-Munchkin.

Our Mini-Munchkin was born April 17, & we’re loving every minute with her!

When my house doesn’t look like a disaster area anymore & I can actually start cooking again, I’ll be back to blogging again. Until then…


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What’s cooking? …Um, not much.

If you’ve been around here lately — & if you have, thank you for your faithfulness! — you’ve probably been wondering what’s been going on.

Well, the truth is that I haven’t been cooking because I’ve got a bun in the oven! Hooray!

Unfortunately, with the joyful announcement comes major morning sickness & serious food aversions, to the point where I can’t smell food cooking, or even look at pictures of food, right now. So that’s why there hasn’t been much going on around here, & why I haven’t been commenting on your lovely blogs either.

But I’m getting close to the end of the first trimester, & today I bought some pizza dough & was able to make & bake a pizza without throwing up! So hopefully I’ll be up & cooking again soon!


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Finding balance in transitions.

photo courtesy of Microsoft Office Online

My Husband The Lawyer (yay! We can finally say that!) has been officially employed for 2 weeks. He gets home after 7 every night. Because of this, we’ve had to move dinner & bedtime back, just so he can get an hour of face time with The Munchkin. Days are long (for him & for me). Patience is short (that’s just me). The Munchkin is also starting to reject naps, choosing instead to lie in her bed & talk to herself for over an hour before finally dropping off for less than that… & then getting cranky at like 6:30. That makes patience shorter.

After the mad “Daddy’s home, eat dinner, clean up, bath, PJs, teeth, hair, binky, story, prayer, kisses, lullabye, bed” rush, My Husband The Love Of My Life & I have less than 2 hours to do the stuff we didn’t get to during the day (blog posts, emails, dishes, etc.), get ready for bed… oh, & that thing called “interacting.” (Apparently sitting next to each other on the couch with the TV on while mutely staring at our own laptops doesn’t count.)

Then Saturday comes. We try to cram in all the family time we didn’t get during the week, & are completely exhausted for church on Sunday. We may or may not get a post-church nap. We chat with family, eat dinner, go to bed…

& do the whole thing over again the next week.

So if the quality of the photos, or depth of writing, or amount of inspiration here at Make Myself at Home has been lacking over these past couple weeks, that would be why. I’m trying to find a good time to write & brainstorm, but it’s a work in progress. Thanks so much for your patience with me & for your friendly comments! It definitely helps on those days when I’m thinking I have nothing to write about. Thanks for holding me accountable; hopefully things will get back to — & even exceed — the level you’ve come to expect.

Stay tuned!


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We’re moving!

After 4 years of law & professional school & lots & lots of waiting, My Husband The Lawyer can finally be called a lawyer! He just got his dream job, so we’re moving! See if you can guess where.

They have lots of these:

& these:

& we’ll be an hour & a half west of this guy:

We’re very excited about this new opportunity, but I’ll be sad to leave NYC & all the amazing stuff here.

Anyone from the area who can give me some tips?


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Blog Lovin’ Award!

This weekend I got a great surprise in my email inbox!

Thanks, Mariajose of A Bit of Everything! I feel very grateful & humbled.

I’m still quite new to the world of blogging, so I didn’t even know what the Blog Lovin’ Award was, but thankfully she posted the directions right on her post!

Here’s what I get to do:

1. Thank & link to the person who nominated you.

Thanks again, Mariajose!

2. Share 7 random facts about yourself.

  1. The food on my plate can’t touch. I have a difficult time at buffets.
  2. I got so burned out as a music major in college that for awhile afterwards I didn’t listen to ANY music at all.
  3. I broke my back 4 years ago. Ouch.
  4. I’m pretty terrified of horses. (See #3)
  5. I’m allergic to olives. But not olive oil. Random, right?
  6. I have like the most sensitive gag reflex ever. (That was SUPER helpful during morningsickness…)
  7. I used to hate the word “blog” because I thought it was an ugly word.

3. Pass the award along to 10 deserving blog buddies.

  1. Smitten with my Kitchen – my friend Tanya’s cooking exploits, including great recipes for food storage items
  2. What Mandy Cooks – Mandy & I grew up together, & many of my recipes are from her!
  3. kalanicut – I knew Kalani when I was a teenager; now she has great ideas for living well, healthily, & happily
  4. A Christian Man’s Hope – Christian inspiration from my cousin-in-law
  5. Circus Tales – my friend Karen’s blog about her incredible experiences as an American-born Chinese mom living in as an expat in China
  6. Recipes to Run On – running inspiration, delicious recipes (many with WW points!), & how she’s making healthy choices in her & her family’s life
  7. Star Hughes Living – yummy recipes, fun crafts, great photos, & hilarious “MBA thoughts”
  8. Leah’s Thoughts – life as a working mom in Southern CA
  9. Chef in Training – delicious recipes!
  10. The Frugal Flambe – ditto!

Click over to some of these other blogs too! I’m sure you’ll find something interesting! Thanks again to Mariajose!


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My lemon-blueberry pound cake got featured at TidyMom’s “I’m Lovin’ It” Wrap Up today! TidyMom is a fantastic blog, & I aspire to be more like blogger Cheryl, so I’m super excited.

Plus, I’m bringing in reinforcements! Starting as early as next week, you’ll get to read contributor posts from some of my very talented friends.

How exciting! I’m practically jumping for joy.

Now, if only spring would show up in NJ… Then The Munchkin would be jumping for joy too… in her new yellow rain boots. That she won’t take off.

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Hello world!

There will be much more to come. Stay tuned!

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