what do you eat when you’re sick?

We’re in the midst of flu season, and Mike and I were apparently not immune this year. We were down for the count all through Sunday night and through Monday – Charlie’s first time sleeping through the night! I told Mike I think it’s because he knew we couldn’t care for him as he hasn’t done it since. It seems to have been a 24 hour thing although I feel like I’m still in that stage of weak recovery where you’re back to your normal daily duties, but only at half speed.

Mike and I can officially say that we’ve been together for over a decade (eek!), so we’ve seen each other through a fair number of illnesses (and one broken bone!) through the years. Nothing serious, thank goodness. Just colds, flus, and the bad cough here and there. On those occasions though, when we’re to that point of not wanting real food yet, but needing some kind of nourishment we have what seems to have become a sickness tradition – a McDonald’s milkshake. Why? I don’t know! If I can stomach them, there are usually fries on the side, and Mike will throw in a burger too. Isn’t that weird? No chicken soup over here! Just fast food burgers, fries and milkshakes.

What do you eat when you’re sick? Are you a starve the sickness out kind of person? Saltines? Plain rice? Bone broth? Hot tea? I always do love a good toast with butter and cinnamon sugar when sick too, a carry-over from childhood.

Happy hump day, readers! We’re already over halfway to the weekend. I wish you all a healthy and hydrated rest of the week. xx

the friday post – volume 1

I’m thinking that I’d to do a “Friday Post” each week with a few random pictures and highlights from the week that don’t quite fit anywhere, but that I’d like to share. I’m just making up my own rules here after all, aren’t I? Welcome to Volume 1!

Every week, like magic, a glorious Friday rolls around just like it did 7 days before and without fail I say how long the week felt. This week – no exception. Maybe it was staying home on Wednesday with Charlie? Maybe it was having nothing in particular going on this week? Maybe it was going to a training that gave me a glorious extra hour of sleep but also made my Friday work day an hour later than normal? Who knows. We have nothing in particular planned this weekend. Just a few drinks with our names written all over them, some cleaning around the house, and a big grocery run with as many fruits and veggies as we can find.


I committed myself to working out at least four days this week, and I think I’ll actually make it to five days if I convince Mike to take a family run tomorrow. We have the BOB stroller (Thank you, Fairy Godmother!) which has been amazing for our sidewalk-less, residential neighborhood. I’m trying not to burn out or kill my body, so I’ve been doing a combination of Tone It Up workouts, Yoga with Adriene videos, and runs with the Couch to 5k app (I’m on week 3). I’m planning to sign up for a 5k in March to keep me motivated and have something to work toward. My workout reward to myself is always a drink with dinner. All about the little victories here you guys.


Mike and I are already two weeks behind on The Bachelor – mainly because we’ve been watching The Killing on Netflix (we’re also not loving Arie so far). My sister sent me this article about Bach the other day and it made me laugh. “Sensual elf and awkward labrador.” Hilarious. But even our watching of The Killing has been abbreviated the last couple of days with a string of rough bedtimes with Charlie. We just started season two and I have the sinking feeling that it’s going to go a step too far into confusing and complicated for us. I’m already asking Mike, “Wait, what happened just now? Did I miss something?”


I’ve been slowly slugging my way through The Power on my lunch breaks. It’s SO good if you’re into dystopian books like Station Eleven. This one has a little bit of a sci-fi slant. I broke it to my mom that it’s probably not her kind of book, so maybe skip it doesn’t sound like your thing either. I’m finding it hard to find the time to read these days though. My main downtime right now is while nursing or pumping, and it turns out that scrolling through my phone is so much easier to do with my one free hand than holding a book. I wept while reading this article the other day on one of my nursing and browsing stints. Read it now if you’re a mother or ever want to be one. She just really hit the nail on the head. “Hold your baby—feel the way that tiny body strains to contain this giant soul—complete, and full of potential all at the same time.” That phrase will make me tear up every time.

What are you up to this weekend? Whatever your plans, I hope you kick up your feet, relax, and enjoy it! xx, em

a recipe: pasta e fagioli

It’s soup season, people, even in Florida. The proof is that I’m home with a cold-ridden baby today. Charlie slept terribly last night. He usually wakes up once at night, nurses, and goes right back down. But last night he woke up repeatedly and wouldn’t go back to sleep until I finally pulled him out of his bassinet and held him for half the night. He has a snuffly little nose and cough (daycare baby!) which breaks my heart. So we took a rain check on school and daycare to make sure he could take lots of long, snuggly mama naps. It just seemed like the kind of gloomy January day for a big vat of soup to bubble on the stove until dinner. It’s been raining off and on, baby has a cold and the only time I’m leaving the house is if I get ambitious enough for a jog around the neighborhood after Mike gets home (unlikely). Soup weather.

I threw this together this morning while Charlie was napping which tells you how easy it is. Cozy, hearty soups like this one are just better if you let the flavors meld together as long as you can before digging in. It would be a great Sunday soup with a big loaf of crusty bread on the side. We started making this soup a couple years ago after taking a cooking class that Mike’s parents got us for Christmas. It’s sooo good and the leftovers are amazing for lunches.

Our favorite thing that we learned in that class was the power of Mirepoix. Have you ever tried it? We make ours by blending rough chopped onions, celery and carrots in a food processor. We make a big batch and freeze it in ice cube trays to pop out and throw into soups, gravy, and sauces. You can use it as a thickener and just to add another layer of flavor to your dish. Some people just chop it up really fine, but I think the food processor is more effective. Another option is to cook it down in olive oil before freezing, but we freeze it raw and cook it into whatever we’re making.

Another thing about this soup though before we dive in. I left the pasta out because we’ve gone low carb for January (worst decision ever). More on that later. This is one recipe that I actually think is just as good without the pasta, but it’s chef’s choice here.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup mirepoix (recipe here)
  • 3 15oz cans cannellini beans – don’t drain!
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomato
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • Small Pasta – Ditalini or orzo are good options (optional)

Here’s what to do

Sauté garlic in butter and olive oil until golden. Add beans (including their sauce), tomato, stock, mirepoix and all remaining ingredients except for pasta. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and let simmer for as long as you can, but at the very least for 35 minutes. Place the cooked al dente pasta (if using) in serving bowls and ladle hot soup on top. Garnish with flakes of parmesan cheese if you have it laying around.

Let me know if you try it! It’s a favorite at the Metroka house!

three months with charlie.


I know everyone says it, but when you have a child DON’T BLINK! I swear, just yesterday we brought Charlie home from the hospital, and today he’s doing big boy things like holding his head up on his own and moving up to size 2 diapers! Does he even need me anymore? Charlie is just the sweetest baby you guys. He has the happiest little personality. A couple weeks ago, he started laughing these great big belly laughs and he has a crooked, squinty-eye smile just like his mama. I feel like it’s my mission in life to get a laugh out of him every day now. I’ve found his tickle spot in his little armpits, and Mike has this chomping move that gets him every time.

He seems like such an aware, wise little person lately. I keep pulling out our box of baby toys to see if he’s interested yet, and I swear he looks at me like, “Why are you trying to make me play with these baby toys? So beneath me. Read me a book instead, Mom.” He’s just really soaking everything in like a sponge right now. Our next project is rolling over, and *fingers and toes crossed* sleeping through the night.

It’s not all sunshine and roses, of course. I’ve become a working mom this month, and it’s so tough you guys. I’m back at school full time doing my Elementary School Librarian thing though my heart isn’t quite in it. I have total mommy guilt at leaving Charlie at daycare every day. I just know that he would be getting the absolute best care if I were home with him, but like so many people, both of us working is the best option for us right now. Mike has to talk me down every night while we’re getting dinner ready. Classic first-time mom here – worrying about everything!

It’s not that the daycare is bad. Charlie’s getting what he needs – food, sleep, diapers. We get to check in on him on video from work (I watch while I’m pumping, hehe), and Charlie is a happy little dude when I pick him up after school. They tell me what a good baby he is every day. But I think as a parent you just want your baby to be loved on as much as you would love on him, and of course that just doesn’t happen and you can’t really expect it at daycare. With a bunch of other kids running around, he’s not getting a ton of extras – especially because he’s not much of a crier and not moving around yet like the other kids.

Just the nature of being separated from your tiny baby who you love more than anything for 8 hours every day is so tough. It just means that we make sure to love on him that much more when we get home from work every day. We just keep telling each other that it’s going to be so much better once he’s more mobile. The socialization, routine and activity of daycare will be a really good thing for him then. And those days are going to be here before we know it! This parenting thing though – so not straightforward, and I admit, no one said it would be easy. But! Spring break is coming! And Summer! Ah, the life of a teacher. Always having a break to look forward to is such a luxury!

He’s just the best little guy though. Happy 3 months, Charlie!  You are so loved!




Hi there! I’m so happy that you’re paying a visit to this little corner of the web. I hope you’ll come back soon for more fun posts featuring snapshots of our life in South Florida. Posts on food, books, travel, home, baby, and stories from our day to day are coming your way soon. You can check out my about page to read a little bit more about my family if you’re interested. Also, feel free to follow along on Instagram!