It’s Polling Time!

Nope, not those polls! Let’s be honest, no one wants to talk about that day looming…at least, I sure don’t.

On a much lighter note, Josh & I have slowly been making over our bonus room this summer. Here’s where we started; although technically this was after we’d already updated our seating. I’ll see if I can find a picture pre-sectional – which is how this room existed for the first 3 years we lived here. 

Before Bonus Room |

You’ll notice I didn’t even bother to clean up before I took these pictures for you. That’ll just make the transformation that much better! Right?! 

Bonus Room Before |

We had done very little to this room, we simply placed our previous home’s furniture in it and went on our way. To be honest, we hardly ever used it either.

And then one day I FINALLY convinced Josh that our living room couch is just not comfortable for TV watching! Gorgeous leather? yes. Comfortable for more than an hour? no. Especially since its at an odd angle from our TV because of the layout of our room. So we started watching TV in our bonus room. Finally!

And then, coincidentally Josh’s boss moved and had to get rid of his sectional. We couldn’t pass up such a great deal on a full reclining sectional and decided to go for it. This sectional is about the complete opposite of our living room couch. The most comfortable couch you’ve ever sat on? yes. Gorgeous? definitely not. In fact it may be my least favorite color ever! Which really makes it hard to decide what direction to take this room. How do you complement ugly??

But we are determined. We will find a color that makes even this couch look good!!

So we decided to paint. And though we went back and forth on what color, we ultimately decided on 2015’s color of the year: Coral Reef.

Painting Process |

Luckily, we only did one wall. Because…well this. Not great :/

Helper Ember |

That cutie in the corner though? She’s great!! 🙂

Coral Reef |

What do you guys think? Could you live with this color on your walls? We actually had this pretty watercolor painting in our living room and brought it up after we painted to try and help. I love the painting and we’d kind of like to keep it up here. So maybe we should try green?

Watercolor |

We’ve (read: Josh) put together some pictures in photoshop with different greens and I’m really hoping you can help us make a decision!

Which one would you choose? All paint colors are by Sherwin-Williams.

ShamrockShamrock |

Country SquireCountry Squire |

SeaworthySeaworthy |

Kilkenny |

Hunt Club
Hunt Club |

Derbyshire |

Thanks for your help guys!

<3 Michelle

Dresser Makeover

Happy weekend, Everyone! Yes, I know it’s Sunday…Boo! 

This weekend I spent a bunch of time going through Bradley’s baby clothes, getting them ready and organized for Cooper’s room.  Here I am 37 weeks along and the only thing I have done in the nursery is the dresser and organized clothes. I remember feeling so much pressure to get Bradley’s nursery done before he arrived; It’s definitely a different story this time around. I still need a couple walls painted, a crib, and to complete some finishing touches for Cooper’s room. I know I still have a lot to do, but I am okay with that. Cooper will be sleeping in my room for a while anyway so I feel like I still have some time.

Lets get to the star of the show! Coopers dresser. I found this gem at a yard sale this summer for $30. Such a steal! 


I brought it home and when my brother Austin came to visit us for a few weeks in July, he kindly offered to help me paint it. OK lets be honest, I really just told him that he had to help me or I wasn’t going to feed him!!! My brother was such a big help. We had to wait until it got dark and cooled down. It was so hot in the garage! It took us two nights and we totally transformed this dresser! 

Almost done

Painting process 

Took all the drawers out and cabinet off. Sanded the surface we were painting with a fine sand paper. Just enough sanding to add texture so the paint would stick. Next we wiped the dresser down with a damp cloth to clean it. Then we painted one coat, and let it dry over night. Added the second coat the next night. I let the dresser dry for a couple days before I put the drawers and cabinet back on. I spray painted the knobs black separately. 

The color we used was called Luscious Green by Valspar. The finish was matte and found it at Lowe’s. 



Ta Da! It’s amazing what a coat of paint will do! Green, you say? Yes, green! I decided to do a black and white themed nursery and then I am throwing in a couple pops of green. If you know me at all, you know I love the vintage, farm style decor. For some reason I just felt like I needed to do something totally different for Cooper’s room. I am excited to bring everything together! My aunt Sheryl made me some awesome bedding with black and white patterns. That’s what you are seeing in this last picture. That is the changing pad with a custom made cover. I LOVE it! Over the next couple of weeks I will be transforming this room and I will keep you updated every step of the way. For now though, you just get to see my awesome dresser.

I might be further along in this process if it wasn’t for my little Bradley boy! This boy keeps me on my toes. Today as I am sorting clothes he managed to stick a flash drive in a stick of butter…that’s right, flash drive into BUTTER!

He also decided to help himself to a snack. This picture just says it all! Oh man, I love this little boy! 


I am so thankful for moments like this. Moments that make me laugh and smile! I live for these moments. 

I hope you all have a blessed week! 

Thank you for reading

<3 Justina  

Maternity Leave

My 12 week maternity leave comes to an end tonight as I return to work in the morning.

My emotions are all over the place! I love my job, but I’m going to miss spending 24/7 with my sweet Chloe Sue.image

I am thankful to work for an organization that values family and believes in work/life balance! A 6 week paid paternal leave, plus some stored sick and vacation time and I enjoyed 12 weeks paid with my beautiful daughter! Definitely 12 weeks I will never forget! 

I’ve already cried three times today…tell me I’m not the only mama who is struggling with leaving their child?! 

Thankfully, Chloe gets to spend 4 days a week with her Gamma and Gampa and 1 day a week with a dear friend or I’d really be a mess! She is in the best hands with people who love her very much! 

Now, back to my 12 weeks off…

We enjoyed so many fun times together, I wanted to share some of them with you!


Monday- Friday we enjoyed Stroller Strides with Fit4Mom Meridian at Kleiner Park! Nothing like getting my workout on with my daughter, other mamas, their kiddos and all while singing nursery rhymes!  


Multiple coffee dates, walks, and visits with friends and family! 


Our first visit to Boise Zoo! After a delicious breakfast and coffee at our favorite breakfast spot, Big City Coffee! Fun with Auntie M, cousin Ember, Auntie J, cousin Bradley, Jodi & Carter!


Two weekend visits to Gamma and Gampa’s cabin in New Meadows! 

imageAnd a trip to Portland to visit Cody’s family and friends! Nana Karey and Auntie Brandi planned a Meet & Greet Chloe BBQ! 

And that’s just to name a few! So many fun times I could write all day! Again, 12 weeks I am so thankful for and was blessed with and will never forget! 

Girls Night Out!

All 3 Sisters went out on the town last night!! 🙂 The three of us and a few friends went to the Carrie Underwood concert in Boise! The Storyteller Tour: Stories in the Round. It was AMAZING! Seriously, if you have any interest in seeing Carrie live…do it. You won’t be disappointed!

Carrie Underwood |

We had to take full advantage of our night out so of course we started with dinner. No one appreciates dinner out more than moms of babies and toddlers! Dinner with girlfriends is like a mini-vacation 🙂 

Carrie Underwood |

Easton Corbin opened the night and was quite entertaining. Even serenaded us with some Justin Bieber…yeah, we’re not sure what that was about either!

Carrie Underwood |

Check out this stage! Stories in the Round…so cool! There really isn’t a bad seat in the place – everyone has a front row view throughout the concert. The things they do with stages these days, it is quite the production!

Carrie Underwood |

Here she is, coming right up out of the center round to start the night with Renegade Runaway.

Carrie Underwood |

Only a few minutes in and you realize exactly why she’s been nominated Entertainer of the Year! Hope she wins!!  

Carrie Underwood |

On top of the Jukebox for Cowboy Casanova!! 🙂 

Carrie Underwood |

Carrie Underwood |

Easton Corbin came back out to sing a song with her, and of course he was wearing a BSU jersey 😉 

Carrie Underwood |


Carrie Underwood |

One of my favorite stage effects was this one for Blown Away.

Carrie Underwood |

And here she is singing Smoke Break.

Carrie Underwood |

We all loved how many outfit changes she had! 🙂 

Carrie Underwood |

She finished off the show with Something in the Water. 

Carrie Underwood |

We had such a great time! Let’s plan more girls nights, okay guys? Anyone have any great traditions you do with your girl friends?

Grandma Sue’s Apple Butter

It’s that time of year again. The air is crisp, the leaves start changing, and people turn into fall obsessed, pumpkin spice loving, boot wearing crazies! Don’t get me wrong, I love fall and everything about it. I just think its hilarious how much attention fall gets! You would get a weird look if you said something like, “I can’t wait to wear sunscreen and hide from the blistering sun this summer!”

I especially have a soft spot for fall this year because we are expecting our second son in October. I am 34 weeks along and I am so ready for summer to be over! I know there are tons of moms out there that can sympathize with me, so I am not going to go into details. All I want to say is it has been a HOT summer! So bring on fall and all the crazies!

Okay my rant about fall is over. What I’d like to share with you today is Grandma Sue’s Apple Butter recipe! Grandma gave me tons of apples, so what better thing to do then make her apple butter. The aroma of allspice and cloves turns me into one of those crazy fall people! And it will you, too! If you are looking for a sugar free recipe….I am sorry, this is not for you. But when you spread this spiced jam on a fresh baked biscuit, you will be thanking me for every calorie!

Apple Butter

10 C. Apples (peeled and cubed) 

8 C. Sugar 

1/2 C. Vinegar 

2 tsp. Cinnamon 

1 tsp. Allspice (ground) 

1 tsp. Cloves (ground)

Peel and cut apples, put them into a crock pot with all other ingredients and cook  on low for 10 to 12 hours. Apples will cook down. Apple butter makes a great gift! 

<3 Justina 



Chloe Sue St. John

Chloe Sue St. John, born June 21, 2016 at 12:13pm 6lb 8oz 19.25in

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On June 20th my water broke at work 4:38pm. I was admitted into the hospital at 5:00pm. Walked the halls, did squats, bounced on birth ball trying to initiate labor naturally. My parents had joined us and then left for home at 9:00pm to get some rest, since contractions had yet to start. Cody fell asleep on the hospital chair bed. So of course my contractions finally started at 10:00pm once I was all alone. I labored on my own until 1:00am when I woke up Cody to assist with some breathing techniques and labor positions to manage the contractions. By 4:00am contractions were 2 minutes apart but I was still only dilated 3cm. We discussed with the nurse if it was too early to get an epidural, but decided to go ahead and start a slow drip of pitocin to increase dilation with each contraction. I called Mom and Dad and asked them to come back. The epidural was the best thing I did! I was able to lay in bed and relax while my contractions continued without any pain. We played Scattergories to pass the time. By 8:00am I was 6cm; 9:00am, 8cm and 10:00am, 10cm. Right as I was getting ready to push the Nurse informed me that the Dr had an emergency and I would need to wait until his return. Thankfully, we were not the emergency, however, I felt very anxious after already laboring for 12 hours waiting for dilation. At 11:30am the Dr was back and it was finally go time!  The 35 minutes of pushing was definitely the worst part! I wish the epidural would have helped with that pain! After 14 hours of labor I finally got to meet my baby girl!

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And how sweet she is! 

The past 9 weeks have been the best 9 weeks of my life! After waiting 40 weeks to meet her, she sure is growing up way too fast! She is smiling, cooing, figuring out her hands, and working on holding up her head. I enjoy every waking moment with her! Her 2 month appointment was today and she is 10lbs 10oz and 21.5in long. She is thriving!

Only 3 weeks left until I return to work full-time. It is bittersweet, as I love my job, but it will be so difficult to leave her each day. Thankfully, we are blessed to have my parents as childcare 4 days a week and a friend the other day. I cannot imagine dropping her at daycare. We are working on introducing bottles and cloth diapers this week.

Thank you Chloe Sue for choosing me to be your MOM!

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Chloe Sue’s Baby Shower

Michelle and Justina only let me know the date and time. If you’re a control freak like me, you know the suspense of not knowing, just about kills you! Yet I was so excited and knew they’d come up with something way cuter than I would have ever thought of. That they did!

ABCs |

shower decorations |

Is this not the cutest baby shower theme you’ve ever seen?

TD |

VU |

Aunties made all letters A-Z, each with their own design and pre-measured to be hung in Chloe’s playroom!

letters in cutout |

Decor |

Table Centerpiece |

table decor |

Along with their adorable alphabet theme, they created Chloe’s first alphabet book, asking each guest to fill in a letter page.

Alphabet Book |

“Chloe’s First Alphabet Book…By all the ladies who love her most”

Alphabet Book Table |

The letters were perfect decor arranged throughout the room.

Centerpiece |

S |

Chicken Salad |

Shower Food |

Fruit kabobs |

Karla, our Mom, came through once again and provided the delicious brunch items! Mini quiches, mini scones, chicken salad lettuce wraps, fruit kabobs, and of course coffee! She even had decaf for me! No one else is crazy enough to drink decaf at 10:30 am 😉

Quiches |

Q Food Display |

Y |

Z |

Thank you sisters for the most beautiful shower I ever could have imagined! Chloe is so loved and spoiled already! 

Chloe Sue |

Jacs Shower |



Smoothie Bowls

So, I don’t know about you, but I really struggle with eating a good breakfast. Yeah, I know, its the most important meal of the day, blah, blah, blah. But do you know what else is important? SLEEP!! And I ain’t getting outta bed one minute before I have to. Amen, thank you very much! 

So, here I am, every morning, running late for work and grabbing a granola bar on my way out the door. I told myself it was good for me, I mean it had 12g of protein & was full of healthy nuts. You know, peanuts & dark chocolate. That’s HEALTHY, you guys! Well…I was conveniently ignoring the sugar content or the actual ingredients listed in those things. If you have a box in your pantry (like me) I encourage you to never read the nutrition label. Just. Walk. Away. Ignore it, don’t think about it. Maybe it’ll just disappear if you never acknowledge it. Or, if you’re looking to spice up your breakfasts and start your day off feeling better, just toss that box of ‘sugar disguised as healthy nuts’ and keep reading!

I am going to share with you my new favorite breakfast. And it only takes 5 minutes! Or if you’re sleep deprived lazy like me, you can even make 2 or 3 servings at once and have it ready to go for the next few days. I was inspired by an acai bowl I had at a bowl of heaven this summer. Yeah, it only took me 8 months to get around to recreating it. I told you – lazy! But that’s how good it was, I’ve been thinking about it for 8 months!! I finally decided it was time to figure out how to make my own!

smoothie bowl |

Have you ever had an acai bowl anywhere? I remember the very first time I saw one, it was on a menu at a little cafe in Honolulu. When I was on my honeymoon…oh, to be back in Hawaii…but moving on, before I get sucked into daydreaming about vacations and beaches…At the time, I’d never heard of acai, I literally thought it was a Hawaiian thing…and I saw a bunch of people eating them, but I sure wasn’t brave enough to order my own. And I will regret that decision for the rest of my life.  I had no idea what I was missing.

smoothie bowls |

I have yet to find acai here locally, so until that day comes I’m just using whatever fruit sounds good. Trust me, its still just as good. Really all you need is some fruit & some granola. And you can make these bowls however you like. I prefer berries to tropical fruit – but if that’s your jam, go for it! I made my own granola, so that I could control what was in it, but if you have a favorite already just use that! Seriously, just try it. Whatever way works best for your life!

granola and berries |

For the base of your bowl, blend together a banana, I’ve used both fresh & frozen – either work, 1/2 an avocado (it makes it creamy, you can’t taste it, and its a great superfood to start your day), a splash of milk and a cup of fruit. I use frozen berries (without added sugar) because its easy and I know I’ll always have some ready to go when I get a hankering for a smoothie bowl 🙂

breakfast bowl |

I am trying to eat without added sugars so this is the version I’ve got on repeat. Use whatever toppings you like. This bowl has blueberries, pomegranate arils, unsweetened coconut flakes and granola. In my opinion, this granola is what really makes the dish. You know that buttery, crumbly, delicious graham cracker crust on the bottom of your favorite cream pie? Key lime, banana cream, ice cream…you know…the good stuff. Well this granola dust tastes just like it! You will think you were the lucky one left to lick the pie plate, its THAT good.  I made this batch last weekend and just store it in the fridge.

granola |

Granola Dust
Yields 16
The perfect granola
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
153 calories
13 g
0 g
11 g
3 g
2 g
31 g
16 g
7 g
0 g
9 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 153
Calories from Fat 91
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 16mg
Total Carbohydrates 13g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 7g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 cup almonds
  2. 1 cup pecans
  3. 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  4. 1 cup unsweetend coconut (shredded, grated or flakes all work)
  5. 4 unsweetened prunes
  6. 4 unsweetened dates
  7. 1 Tablespoon orange zest
  8. 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the nuts, seeds and coconut to a baking sheet.
  2. Bake the nuts for 5 minutes, stir, and add another 5 minutes. Turn off the oven, stir them again and leave them inside the oven with the door open for another 5-10 minutes. You don't want it to burn, but you want it to get nice and toasty.
  3. Cool the mixture completely.
  4. Add everything into a food processor or blender. I cut the prunes & dates into quarters before placing them in the blender. Process until the mixture starts to clump, about 45 seconds.
  5. Store in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge or 1 month in the freezer.
  1. Feel free to use any nuts, seeds or dried fruit you prefer. This is just a guideline!
Adapted from
Adapted from

<3 Michelle

Gluten Free Recipes

I’m back, as promised! To share a few of the recipes we’ve enjoyed over the last month as we ate gluten free.

On the weekends we typically take the time to make breakfast & eat together as a family. That used to mean waffles or pancakes with our bacon & eggs. Well now I’ve discovered veggies with my eggs! And I’m actually digging it! This is a random Saturday morning, but I just added in the veggies I had in the fridge & then cracked my egg into the middle of the skillet. This particular morning I had kale, shredded sweet potatoes, red onion & green pepper. And of course topped with a little cheddar & some avocado. We pretty much put avocados on everything. Cause they’re the best.  

Skillet Eggs |

Here are a few of the recipes I’ve found around the web…please pin from the original source:

Overnight oats. Have you guys tried any overnight oat recipes, yet? I know they are kind of a sensation on social media right now…I, per usual, was a little late to the ballgame, but I am now a believer! These have become our go to breakfast! The great part is they take us about 10 minutes Sunday, and then we have breakfast ready to grab and go for the whole week!! And you can totally customize them to your taste! Use fruit, nuts, peanut butter, chocolate, coconut, flavored yogurts, whatever your heart desires! (or diet allows ;)) This peanut butter & chocolate recipe is what we’ve been eating! Warm them up for about 45 seconds & you can almost believe you’re eating a Reese’s for breakfast…think on that for a minute…

Overnight Oats

I found Danielle Walker & her blog Against All Grain, and let me tell you, I want to try every one of her recipes! They all sound (and look!!) delicious! The first one of her recipes I made was this Blackened Salmon with Mango Salsa. It was so simple and yet felt so fancy. Give it a try!!

Mexican food is really easy to adapt to be gluten free…which is a good thing, since I could eat tacos & guacamole every day of the week! Seriously. I think Josh is probably sick of tacos…but I can’t stop. I won’t stop.  But for a little variation I found this taco bowl. I made this twice in the first week of January. Ha! It was so good.

And those sweet potatoes…totally make the dish! I have since made them as a side for a few other meals. They are so good. And this coming from a girl who would’ve told you two months ago that I didn’t even like sweet potatoes! So even if you don’t like tacos, which by the way, who are you?? I’m not sure we can be friends. At least not ones that eat together. But even if…you’ve gotta try the sweet potatoes!

We also like to eat quite a few Asian inspired recipes in our house. I found two new ones that are total winners! This beef & snow pea recipe was delicious! We eat a lot of chicken when it comes to rice/stir fry type recipes so it’s always nice to find a good beef recipe. 

And then there’s this Kung Pao Chicken. You guys. I didn’t even serve it with rice. That’s how good it is. You don’t even miss the rice. Well maybe you would, but I don’t think so. And I bought a spiralizer to try making some veggies into noodles, etc. and this was the first recipe I made with it. Super fun! I want to spiralize all the things!! But you can just slice the onions however you’d like if you don’t have a spiralizer. It won’t change how it tastes, I promise!

That reminds me…we tried spaghetti squash for the first time last week! Josh cut it in half, sprayed some olive oil on each half, sprinkled a little seasoning and then put them cut side down on a baking sheet for 45 minutes at 400 degrees. Once they’ve cooled for a couple minutes you just use a fork to shred the insides & it literally looks like spaghetti noodles. I just used my usual meat & spaghetti sauce and topped the squash with it. Really good! Like I could eat spaghetti like that all the time. Now to go look up all the benefits of spaghetti squash… 😉

One of the things you really miss when you’re avoiding gluten is chocolate chip cookies. Haha. How can you go a whole month without one? You must be stronger than me & Josh! We used this gluten free flour & tried a new recipe…a “healthy” recipe 😉 And we were pleasantly surprised! Jaclyn even said she’d never know they didn’t have butter in them if I hadn’t told her. You’ll need to use gluten free flour if you want them to be gluten free. But if you don’t care about that these are a great “healthier” chocolate chip cookie option as is!

coconut chocolate chip cookies

So there you go, just a few of the things we’ve been munching on recently. I would love to hear if you have any great recipes your family loves! Gluten free or not. 

<3 Michelle

Going Gluten Free

So with January almost over how many of you are still sticking with your New Year’s Resolutions? Do you even make them? I’ll admit…I kinda hate failing…so…I tend to not even make any. Because, you know, I feel better about myself if I don’t give up on something I never start 😉

Well this year Josh & I decided to try some things to improve our health. Not really a New Year’s Resolution, but maybe it qualifies since we started on that glorious first day of January. 

I met with a functional medicine doctor last fall and he suggested that I try going gluten free (and dairy & soy free, but one thing at a time, people!) to see if that would help my headaches. And according to him, it would at least help me feel a lot better even if it didn’t change the frequency of my headaches. Well I kinda dug my heels in for awhile…hello, give up pizza? Are you crazy?! I mean, no one in their right mind volunteers to do that!

But as the holidays rolled around and I decided I needed something to kick-start some weight loss this year I thought, why not? I’ve tried (what feels like) EVERYTHING else to help my headaches, with no success, why not this? So, here we are…28 days into January and still avoiding gluten. We, because, well, Josh is good at being supportive 🙂

And you know what? It isn’t that hard. I know, no pizza?! But…that’s the crazy thing. I’ve had pizza twice in those 28 days!! Sure, I paid $3.99 more than everyone else around me to have a pizza about half the thickness…but still, it was pizza, and it was good! 

Because of the culture we live in and the way the health fads are these days, there are gluten-free options everywhere. It is easy to find restaurants that will accommodate you. Sure, they might charge you a pretty penny to do so, but most of them are willing. Some even have a full menu just for you 😉

And you can even buy gluten-free flour. Lots of different kinds actually. So that Slonaker tradition of waffles? Yup, we’ve had those. And they’re good! You guys, this is what’s surprised me the most…the substitutes actually taste good!! Most of the time when you try substitutes I feel like they suck. You know, the textures off or you can really taste those beans even when they swore you wouldn’t! I have been pleasantly surprised with the substitutes we’ve tried so far.

That’s not to say it isn’t painful to pay $13.99 for a bag of pancake mix the size of my hand…there may have been tears…so you know, its not all great. But I’m just saying, at least if you’re going to pay that for it, it does taste good!

The most exciting part for me is that I’ve found a ton of new recipes, thank you Pinterest. I have actually really enjoyed finding, planning & cooking meals this month. Which I must admit is kind of a change for me. It’s usually such a chore or even something I completely ignore until 5:30pm rolls around and then I’m scrambling to try and putting something edible together!! But something about wanting to find healthier options for my family, that also taste delicious, has brought a fun new challenge to the every-tiring task of feeding my people.

I will gather some of my new favorite recipes together and do a post soon! And I promise, you’ll like them even if you’re not eating gluten free. And many of them can even be adapted to include lots of extra gluten…if that’s what you prefer 😉   

Any of you eat gluten free? We have a couple friends that do & honestly I’ve learned a lot about it just from sharing meals with them over the years. If you have any great recipes or ideas I’d love to hear them!!

<3 Michelle