This and That


1. It is my Mom’s Birthday today. Happy Birthday Mom!

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2. Boy was Caleb excited for Christmas. He loved opening his presents, actually he opened everyone’s presents. His favorites were his superhero figurines. He got Ironman, Captain America, and Spiderman. He loved them so much he wouldn’t take his nap for two days because all he wanted to do was play.

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2. Caleb also got new snow boots and snow pants. He’s ready to play in the snow!

3. Caleb and I started the new year off with donuts! The best way to kick off 2014!

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4. This week we laid to rest a precious soul, our nephew, Connor. He passed away on Monday the 23rd.  My father-in-law spoke at his funeral and quoted Jim Valvano from his 1993 ESPY award acceptance speech. Jim was suffering from terminal cancer and said: “When people say to me how do you get through life or each day, it’s the same thing. To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

Connor brought out the best in all of us, and taught us the importance of serving others. Anyone who met Connor recognized his sweet spirit. His compassion and love penetrated our hearts through his aqua blue eyes. My father-in-law also quoted my favorite quote from Les Miserables.  As Jean Valjean is passing away he says “to love another person is to see the face of God.” Connor helped us all learn what love is. Whatever God you believe in may you find love in others and laugh, think and cry on a daily basis.


1. The holidays are over. I guess that means I need to get off the couch and get back to work. I think I will wait until next week. I am just not ready yet.

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2. The holidays were a little hard for us. Our 6-year old nephew, Connor, passed away two days before Christmas. It was sad to say goodbye, but we know he is in a better place. My sister shared her feelings about his passing and his funeral on her blog. Her words are beautiful so I won’t even try to share my feelings today. Connor was our super hero and taught us all so much while he was on this Earth. We are praying for peace and comfort for my sister and our niece.

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3. On a brighter note, Caleb had a wonderful Christmas and made us all smile. He was excited the entire day and even the day after Christmas…until he realized that he didn’t get presents and a stocking every day. ๐Ÿ™‚

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4. I enjoyed The School of Essential Ingredients so I was excited to read the sequel, The Lost Art of Mixing. It was just as good! I’m looking for a new book to start. Any suggestions?

5. Did you set any resolutions for 2014? I want to work less and spend more time with my family. And I really want to go back to Hawaii…like right now.


6. Grapefruit. I can’t get enough.

7. Salad never looked so good.

8. 31 Healthy Recipes to Start the New Year Right. I promise they are tasty too!

9. Grey’s and Parenthood are finally back on tonight. I’ve had a hard time getting into my shows this season because they keep skipping weeks. I need my every Thursday fix!

10. Cauliflower Tots. I am going to make these for Caleb…and myself!

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. I’m so sorry about your nephew and hope you and your family are doing OK ๐Ÿ™

    Thank you for reminding me about Parenthood tonight. Finally! Also, I’ve been drinking tons of grapefruit smoothie/juices from my Vitamix.

  2. Thank you for sharing this story…and your lives…with us your readers. My prayers are with you and your family. Take care.

  3. Deepest sympathies to you, your sister, and your entire family on the loss of beautiful Connor. While I’m glad you had time to be with him before his passing, I can’t imagine the pain of watching his decline.

    May you all find peace in knowing Connor’s spirit lives on, and solace in the warmth of his memory.

  4. Maria and Josh – I have thought about you and your family throughout this entire holiday season. I’m sending my love and prayers continuously your way through this difficult time. Hugs to you both.

  5. Our hearts and prayers go with you and your family during this difficult time.
    Your sisters story of her journey touched me greatly and it uplifted me during a time when I needed to hear.

    You and your family are in our prayers. May peace be with you all.

  6. Life is so precious and being reminded is important. I’m so sorry for your loss and I am sure the time you had with hime was a blessing in itself.
    The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan was an amazing book, that I highly recommend. It’s long but epic!

  7. I’m so sorry about your nephew’s passing. The quote that was read at the funeral is wonderful. Thanks for sharing. I just finished Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes and loved it. I’m now about halfway through another one of her books, The Girl You Left Behind and I’m really enjoying that one too.

  8. First of all My Condolances to You and your family. I just love watching Caleb grow and the things you let us see as readers ,really thank-you, I just love kids their soo curious and cute and love to have that donut you made Mmm lol, I just love all your recipes to I hope you stay blogging for a long time and Happy New Year to you and yours :-).

  9. So sorry for your loss of your nephew. I’m glad Caleb enjoyed Christmas, he looks like he had a blast. I love grapefruit also.

  10. Maria my heart is aching for you and your sister and your entire family. It puts such incredible perspective into life and is another reminder to cherish every single second. I’m glad Caleb had a wonderful Christmas! Wish he could come for a play date with Asher. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Our prayers to you and your family. We lost our only child at the age of 25. She and Caleb share the same birhday…27 September. I send much love and understanding to you at this time. Remember the good times, hold those in your heart, and their presence will always be with you.

  12. I am so, so sorry for the loss of your beautiful nephew…

    Wishing the best for your sister and her family during such a horrifically diffecult time.

  13. So sad to read about your nephew. I cannot imagine the depths of your sister’s and her family’s grief. May memories of beautiful Connor bring you all joy and laughter.

  14. My heart goes out to your sister and niece and your whole family on the loss of Connor. I read your sister’s blog page and still have tears in my eyes. I am glad that you all have each other, and that Caleb helped brighten the day on Christmas.