What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday // Plastic Bread Tabs

Before you go back and re-read that title, let me help you out. Yes, you read that right. The things I love enough to dedicate a whole blog post to them this week are those little plastic tabs that keep bread bags closed.

Plastic bread ties are my savior

You’ve seen them, they look like this.


Why on earth would I love those? Because they have made my days run so much smoother.

Let me explain.

My darling daughter loves her Little Mermaid flip flops and insists on wearing them everywhere all the time. Since she wears them so much, they have started splitting right where the plastic strap goes through the shoe (Why can’t they make them sturdier?).  And the little strap just pops right out!

The broken strap

Now, I have to put it back together approximately a million times a day, and I have to kiss about two hundred boo-boos after she trips on the shoe when the strap pops out while she’s walking.

I started prepping my daughter to get rid of her beloved sandals because had no idea how to fix them. As you can imagine, that did not go over well at all. Then, I got a tip from the nurse at my kids’ pediatrician’s office: use plastic bread tabs.

Plastic bread tabs? Really?


It sounded crazy to me at first, but I thought I’d try it. I mean, why not? I had nothing to lose. I am so glad I did!

All I had to do was put the little tab on the underside of her shoe and viola!

Put the bread tab on the strap like you do on a bread bag.

I can’t believe how easy this fix was!

flip flops with the tabs on them

The shoes stay on like they are brand new. She even tugged in the oh so gentle way only a 2 year old can (ha!) when she was trying to put them on, and the straps still did not pull through!

For any of you parents out there who have struggled with the flip flop problem, this is the answer to your prayers!

My sweet girl is happy because she gets to keep exploring the world in her seashell sandals. I am happy because we don’t have to stop every 3 steps to fix the shoes. Win-win 🙂

Baby girl's sandals

Sunshine and sandals…all is well with the world again 🙂


Have you done this before? What are some of YOUR favorite unconventional parenting hacks?

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday // Renpure Originals Argan Oil Shampoo & Conditioner

Hey, friends!

So I’ve decided to start a new weekly series called, “What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday” (or what I will affectionately call WILW.)

As you can probably guess from the title, every Wednesday I will feature something that I am totally crushing on at the moment. It can be anything from food to books to kids items to other blogs. Or even beauty products!

Which brings me to today’s first ever WILW…

Renpure Originals Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner

**Note I was NOT paid to write this post; all opinions are mine gathered from personal use. This post DOES contain an affiliate link.**

My new favorite hair products! Renpure Organics Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner


This stuff is AMAZING! Like seriously amazing.

I have course, dry, naturally curly hair so I am always in need of hair products that moisturize, but don’t weigh hair down. And boy does this deliver! My hair feels silky soft (which is rare for me) and still has bounce and curl when it dries.

I also suffer from scalp psoriasis and when it flares, it can be downright painful to wash my hair. The Renpure Originals Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner soothe my skin and provide the gentle clean that I need.

And oh my goodness….the scent of these hair products is intoxicating! It is light, clean, and lasts for a long time. Like anyone with the curse gift of dry, curly hair like mine knows, you can’t wash it every day. In fact even every other day is questionable. I’ve found the way to keep my hair looking/feeling its best is to wash it every third day. With most other shampoos and conditioners, my hair would smell awesome for a day, then nothing until I washed it again. Not this time! My hair STILL smelled freshly washed when I got into the shower to wash it again (SCORE!).

Another thing I love about it is that it is NOT tested on animals. Yay!

One more thing to note, the color of the bottles is so pretty! I know that should have nothing to do with whether or not I purchase hair care products, but I can’t help it. The turquoise color just makes me so happy when I see it sitting in the shower! And who couldn’t use a little something extra to make them happy 😉


Click here to get your hands on this week’s WILW!


Do you use these hair care products? Drop me a note and let me know what YOU love best about them!





Garden Fresh Italian Bread Salad

So although it is September, it is not *technically* Fall yet. As much as I am enjoying being able to have my paleo pumpkin spice and salted caramel coffee in the mornings (who am I kidding, I do that all year! #everyseasonispumpkinseason), I am just not ready to give up on Summer. And neither is my garden.

I mean just LOOK at these tomatoes … They are HUGE and perfectly sun-ripened.

Home-grown Beefsteak tomatoes

In the spirit of full disclosure, I did not actually grow these ones. My father-in-law did. My tomatoes are small, and I needed the big boys for this recipe; so while they’re not fresh from my garden, they are still home-grown goodies 🙂

Anyways, every Summer for as long as I can remember, my mom always made a big batch of Italian Bread Salad–a dish that is not a traditional “salad” at all. It is filled with big hunks of fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes, slivers of sweet onion, and tons of fragrant basil leaves all swimming in a tangy olive oil and vinegar mixture. You serve it with chunks of crusty, hard Italian bread that just soak up all the juices.

Garden fresh Italian bread salad

Garden fresh Italian bread salad….just like my mom always made. Isn’t it beautiful!! 🙂

MmMm…just thinking about it makes my mouth water! As a kid I wouldn’t touch it, as a teenager I would only dip the bread in the juice, but as an adult? Oh man, I can eat this all day (in fact, I ate it for breakfast and lunch the other day!)

This dish is super easy to make and takes practically no time at all, which means it’s perfect to whip up for a picnic. Or whenever your having company. Or when you just don’t feel like making have much time to prepare dinner. 🙂

My mom's handwritten Italian Bread Salad recipe

Here’s my mom’s handwritten recipe. As you can see it’s gotten a lot of use over the years!

All you need are the following:

  • a nice big bowl (I like a glass one so you can see how pretty it is, but you can use whatever)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • White vinegar
  • Garlic (finely minced)
  • Onions (sliced)
  • Fresh tomatoes (cut into hunks)
  • Fresh basil leaves (chopped or torn into pieces)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Italian bread (cubed and hardened)

If you look closely at the picture of my mom’s recipe, she is specific on the weight of tomatoes and onions. If you want to weigh them out, go right ahead. Personally, I never do (and I don’t recall her ever doing it either). She might have at one time, but after making it so often, she could probably just “eyeball” it.

The first thing you want to do is cut your loaf of bread into sizable hunks and then set it aside. Do NOT cover it or put it in a plastic bag; the bread needs to sit out in the open so that it gets hard and crusty. The longer you can let the bread harden, the better it will be. Seriously. If it is too soft, it will just turn into mush when you dip it into the juice – and a big ol’ blob of mush is just not appealing to anyone.

Chunks of Italian bread hardening while I mix up the Bread Salad.

Once that is done, the next step is to measure out 1.5 cups of some good quality EVOO. The best kinds have a fruity undertone and aren’t bitter when you taste them.

Pouring the olive oil for step 1 of the Italian Bread Salad recipe.

Look at that beautiful EVOO! I could just drink it up!

Then you want to measure 1/2 cup of white vinegar and mix that in with the EVOO.

Mix in the vinegar to make the base for the Italian Bread Salad.

Pouring the vinegar to make the base for this awesome dish!

After you have your liquid ingredients mixed, it’s time to add your chopped garlic. You want to make sure you mince it as finely as possible; you don’t want anyone biting into a big chunk of raw garlic. Ick!

Also, I love my pre-chopped, jarred garlic just as much as the next time-strapped home cook, but not for this recipe! It is definitely better to buy garlic cloves and mince them yourself as it gives a much fresher, tastier flavor.

Trust me. Just peel it and chop it; your tastebuds will thank you. 🙂

Minced garlic all ready to be added to the oil and vinegar.

I actually minced this even finer after I snapped the picture, so if yours looks like this: KEEP CHOPPING!

Once you have chopped that garlic as fine as you can get it, just toss it into the oil and vinegar mixture. Then add in your sliced onions. How thick you slice those is total preference. If you like big, crunchy onions, slice ’em thick. If you like them a little thinner, slice ’em thinner. Either way you can’t go wrong. I like to do a little of both when I make the Italian Bread Salad.

Sliced onions added to the Italian Bread Salad.

Next up is your basil. You can tear it up into pieces (which I find wayyyy too time consuming), or you can rough chop it. I personally like to chop it into pretty little curly strips!

I always loved when I would go to a restaurant or order a margherita pizza, and I would see the little squiggles of basil. It made me happy 🙂 But I never knew how to get mine like that until one day my husband (who happens to be an Executive Chef) let me in on the not so secret technique.

And now I will share it with you!

Step one: stack basil leaves on top of each other

Make a semi-thick stack of the fresh basil leaves before you chop them.

Step two: roll the stack up like a little cannoli….as tight as you can get it

Roll the stack of basil up tightly before you chop it.

Step three: chop and gently shake loose

Pretty basil curls!

That’s it, people. After he showed me, I felt enlightened!! (And, quite frankly, a little silly that I didn’t figure that out myself lol)

Anyways, go ahead and throw that beautiful basil into the bowl.

Now, if you are like me and you don’t prep all of your ingredients first, it’s time to cut up those garden fresh tomatoes. If you are more efficient, like my husband, just add in the tomatoes that you already had cut up and waiting. He likes to do his mise en place (aka cut up and measure everything out) beforehand, while I am a little more scattered and haphazard. His way may be more efficient (ok it’s totally more efficient), but old habits die hard.

All that’s left to do now is sprinkle in some salt and pepper, and toss it all together! Boom. You’re done. Easy, right?

Now comes the hard part….letting it sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before you dig in 😉

Italian Bread Salad made with garden fresh ingredients


What was your favorite part of the dish–the juicy garden tomatoes? The fresh basil? The crunchy onion? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Print Recipe
Garden Fresh Italian Bread Salad
This garden fresh Italian Bread Salad is the perfect end of Summer side dish---hunks of juicy, just-picked tomatoes, slices of crisp, sweet onion, and curls of fragrant basil all swimming in a tangy mix of olive oil, vinegar, and garlic.The only thing better than the flavor is the super quick and easy prep time!
Italian Bread Salad made with garden fresh ingredients
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Italian Bread Salad made with garden fresh ingredients
Recipe Notes

First, cut the loaf of bread into large chunks and set aside. The bread needs to be left out in the open air so that it gets a little hard and crusty. If the bread is too soft, it will turn to mush when dipped into the salad; it should be hard enough to suck up some juice and still be able to pick up chunks of tomato and onion.

Then, measure the liquid ingredients (EVOO and vinegar) and pour them into a large bowl.

Next, mince the cloves of garlic as finely as possible and add them to the EVOO/vinegar mix.

Peel and slice the onion into strips and add it to the bowl as well. *The thickness of the onion slices will depend on personal preference.*

Roughly chop or tear the fresh basil leaves before adding them and the cut up tomatoes to the Bread Salad mixture.

Sprinkle in salt and pepper.

Toss the whole salad together and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

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4 Reasons I’m Envious of my Pre-Baby Self (& 1 Reason I’m Not)

They say that comparison is the thief of joy. And I believe that. If you spend all of your time counting other peoples’ blessings and looking up, green-eyed, at their successes, then you end up overlooking your own blessings, and you miss what is right in front of you.

I try really hard to live in the moment–to be happy with what I have now — to not want what others have (except all of those people on Fixer Upper, I am TOTALLY envious of them…CHIP AND JOANNA, PLEASE COME TO WV!!) But there is one person that I just keep comparing myself to, even though I know it won’t do me any good: ME.

When I think about my pre-baby self, I get instantly envious of all things she was able to do…and all of the responsibilities she didn’t have. After some careful consideration, I’ve narrowed down my list to share with you, so here they are (in no particular order):

The 4 Biggest Reasons I’m Envious of My Pre-Baby Self

1. One word- Showers


Before I had kids, I never thought much about showers. Most days, showering was just something I had to do. Every once and a while I would make a shower luxurious by using aromatherapy oils, or I would make it fun and blast music so I could sing and dance while I was in there. My showers could be as long or as short as I wanted them to be. I could shave my legs every time I showered.

Now, showering has to be strategically planned.

Do I take my chances are hope that they all nap at the same time, so I can grab a mid-day shower? If so, can my errands wait until late in the day so that the whole town isn’t subject to my unwashed hair that may or may not have baby spit-up in it? What about just dry-shampooing it, running the errands without showering, and hoping I make it through bedtime without falling asleep. Then I can shower in peace (and let my hair dry overnight…bonus!) As of late, the best option has looked like this: shower in the morning with the door wide open so the baby can be in the jump-jump in the doorway. Give the toddler my tablet so she can do puzzles and give my oldest my phone so he can watch those weird surprise egg videos on YouTube.

Ideal? No. But, hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

2. Alone time with my husband


It’s no secret that once kids come along, it gets harder for parents to have quality alone time with each other. Add in a job that keeps my husband at work approximately 15-17 hours a day, 5-6 days a week, and it gets even harder! With a 4 year old, an almost 3 year old, a 10 month old, someone is always wanting attention, and when Daddy is home, it’s his attention they want.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing my husband play with or read to the kids. I love watching them together. But sometimes I want alone time with him, too….and I’m not just talking about “in the bedroom.”

I think of us, pre-kids, and while he still worked a lot then, his off time was ours. We could go out to a leisurely dinner, maybe grab a drink or two. We could snuggle on the couch and actually be able to stay up long enough to finish a movie. We used to enjoy cooking together while listening to music and just talking about nothing. I miss that. Sure we can get a babysitter for an evening, but it’s not the same. My mind (and his, too, probably) is still on the kids.

Which brings me to my next point…

3. Hakuna Matata Attitude


Come on. You know the song.

“…It means no worries, for the rest of your days. It’s a problem free philosophy. Hakuna Matata!”

Boy would that be nice!

I think about pre-baby me and I wonder sometimes, “What on Earth did you think about all day?” My thoughts now are consumed with the kids. Their health. Appetites. Social skills. Discipline. Bathroom habits. Futures. Literally there is not one minute of my day that my kids are not on my mind in some way.

It is wonderful that I was given these 3 beautiful little humans to care for.

It is also exhausting (and kinda makes me feel like a crazy person.)

Before kids, I only had to answer to myself. I could do what I wanted when I wanted to do it. I didn’t have to think SO DARN MUCH about everything. Once my my kids are grown, I know I will have more freedom to do things, but will they be on my mind any less? I know I will never stop wondering and worrying about them.

But just for a day, I would love to be able to lay outside by a pool (in a tiny bikini that only pre-baby me could pull off!), listen to the breeze, and think of nothing but the warm sun on my face.

4. Wardrobe Malfunctions


Or lack thereof, I should say.

Ever since November 2011, when I got pregnant with my first baby, I have been steadily pregnant, nursing, or both. That is almost 5 YEARS STRAIGHT of sharing my body with little ones, with all of the growing and stretching and shrinking and leaking that comes with it. While I LOVE being pregnant (I know I’m a minority here) and nursing my sweet babies, I would also love to be able to pick out clothes without having to make sure they pass rigorous testing.

You know what I mean, Mamas. One of the first things to be considered: can I easily pull this down to nurse in public? No good boob access?…might as well forget about it, no matter how cute it is! Another big factor is material. Can it be washed at home? If it’s dry clean or spot clean only it will never pass the test. My kids consider me a human napkin/tissue/garbage can so I am always getting some sort of yuck on me. If I have to spend extra time (beyond the already 926501365 hours I spend doing laundry) washing that pretty shirt, realistically, it will never get washed.

Some other important qualities clothes must have are stretchiness (because no matter how sexy those tight pants are, they won’t be hot when I split them down the middle after the bending to pick up kids all day), straps (buh-bye beloved tube tops!), and long enough length to cover my belly/back AFTER it has ridden up from the friction caused by baby wearing.

This is why I have approximately 4 go-to outfits for when I leave my house with the kids.

And despite all of this, the One Reason I’m Not Envious of My Pre-Baby Self

My life is infinitely better than hers.

Where she had calm, I have chaos. Where she wore big earrings and heels, I wear the arms of my sleeping babies around my neck. She got to travel the world and see amazing sights, I just open my eyes in the morning and I have a view that rivals the great masterpieces.

Before I had kids, I was selfish. Sure I thought about other people and I tried to do right by everyone, but I lived for myself and my own desires. I was also totally unaware of who I was. I never knew the depth of my own heart, the song of my soul. I had no idea how strong (in mind and body) I really was, or that I could be both brave and terrified simultaneously.

While I may sometimes crave the solitude and ease of my pre-baby life, I’m glad I can never go back. I’ll choose the mom-life…complete with unwashed hair and stretchy pants… over everything else.





What are some things YOU are envious of from your pre-baby life?? Comment below and let me know. I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Oven-Roasted Rosemary Baby Back Ribs

When I first met my husband (back in 2005) we were just teenagers. One of the things I loved most about our early years was going to his grandparents house to visit. His dad’s parents (Nonni and PapPap as we called them) were hard-working Italian immigrants who loved good food and family….especially when the two were combined! While there are many, many dishes they made that have become “famous” within the family, there is one that stands out above the rest: Nonni’s Rosemary Ribs.

Here’s a picture of Nonni and Papap on their wedding day.



These ribs are unlike anything I had ever tasted before. They’re not your typical sticky, saucy, tangy, BBQ style ribs. They are more rustic. More refined. More DELICIOUS! With crispy skin bursting with rosemary and garlic flavor (one of my favorite flavor combos!) and moist, tender meat inside, these ribs will make you seem like a gourmet cook. Oh, and did I mention that they are INSANELY easy to make?

Another added bonus: they make your house smell heavenly as they bake. Seriously. When I was making them the other night, I went outside with the kids, and I actually had a neighbor walk over into our yard to ask me what I was cooking because she could smell the scent wafting in the air. She said it smelled so good she didn’t want the dinner she was cooking anymore! True story. How’s that for #dinnerenvy! 😉

The list of ingredients is even shorter than the prep time.

  • Baby back pork ribs (I usually make 2 racks/packages. One is just never enough!)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Dried rosemary (You can use fresh if you have it, I would just coarse chop it first. Biting into the long rosemary needles isn’t very appetizing.)
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt & Pepper


As you can see from my (admittedly awful) ingredients photo, I didn’t use expensive olive oil or fancy spices. Just whatever brand happened to be on my shelf at the moment. Also, I managed to score the ribs on sale! I rarely buy meat if it isn’t on sale. I scour the circulars prior to shopping and plan my meals according to whatever meat is the cheapest that week. IMO, no need to pay full price this week for something that is bound to be on sale soon!

Anyways, the initial prep for this dish is simple. Preheat your oven to 350 then cut your rib racks into 2-3 bone chunks.


Once they’re cut, pour on some olive oil to coat them. Not so much that they are swimming in it, but enough that they’re all covered and the spices will “stick” to them.


After the are nice and oily, it’s time to season them! Sprinkle one side of the ribs liberally with salt (I use coarse Kosher salt) and black pepper. Then dust them with the garlic powder and onion powder. Finally, cover them completely in rosemary. Then pat/rub it around a little bit (to make sure it all sticks) and flip them over to do the same thing to the other side.

I don’t have exact measurements for the spices; just use your judgement. If you want them a little more “garlic-y,” then add more garlic powder. If you like the heat of black pepper, then be generous with it. I will just caution, don’t go too skimpy with the salt, it really brings the flavor out of the meat! Other than that, you honestly can’t go wrong no matter how you season them.






Now that these bad boys are all seasoned, your work is pretty much done! Just place them on a foil-lined baking sheet, and pop them into your preheated oven. You want to let them cook anywhere from 1.5-2 hours making sure you turn them every 20-30 minutes. Turning them ensures that they get nice and carmelized on both sides. As you reach the 1.5 hour mark, pay attention to the color of the ribs. You want them to be a nice and browned. It is OK if the bone tips are black (that is to be expected), but be careful not to let the ribs skin itself get black. Depending on your oven, you should reach the desired color/crispiness anywhere between 1.5-2 hours…you just have to keep an eye on them.

When they are all done, they should look something like this.



Don’t they look heavenly?!












And that’s it, folks! These are hands down the BEST ribs I have ever eaten…and the EASIEST ribs I’ve ever made. Just look how juicy they are when you tear into them!



All that’s left to do now is ENJOY! 😉

If you make them, let me know in the comments how they turned out!

Print Recipe
Roasted Rosemary Baby Back Ribs
These rosemary and garlic dusted baby back ribs are sure to be a hit. Baked in the oven, these ribs get crispy on the outside, but stay mouth-wateringly juicy on the inside.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1.5-2 hours
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1.5-2 hours
Recipe Notes

Preheat your oven to 350.

Cut your rib racks into 2-3 bone chunks. Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil on them, and use your hand to make sure they are all coated evenly.

Season the ribs liberally with salt (I like coarse Kosher the best) and black pepper. Then dust them with garlic powder and onion powder. Lastly, cover them in rosemary.

Give the ribs a little rub to ensure that the spices stick. Then flip them over and do the same thing to the other side.

Place the seasoned ribs on a foil-lined baking sheet (you will need 2 if you use 2 racks of ribs) and place them in the oven.

Let the ribs cook for 1.5-2 hours, turning them every 20-30 minutes. Once they turn a nice dark golden brown color, they are done! It is OK if the bone tips turn black, just be sure that the skin of the ribs doesn't get too black.

Take them out of the oven and enjoy!

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