This Week’s Miscellany: Vol. 90 (Gwen’s Birthday Edition!)

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OK, first things first. This little gingersnap was the sweetest little birthday gal. I can’t believe it’s been a year! I cannot BELIEVE it. She is such a joyful angel baby.

I love simple birthdays, but this one ended up more simple than I’d planned. I thought about doing a fleur de lis theme since our Gwen was born on St. Joan of Arc’s day. But, in typical form I procrastinated and when my sweet SIL offered to bring homemade garden fresh salsa and chips to the party, we decided to add some guac and a piñata and call it a day!

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And since the birthday girl was suffering from some horrific eczema, we cut dairy out of her diet. And since none of our kids can handle gluten, that would mean researching how to make a GF/DF cake. So, instead of all that nonsense, we just stuck a candle in a watermelon and sang, “Happy Birthday!” Easy. Peasy.

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It was just extended family and Gwen’s godparents and their family. Here’s a cute one of the birthday girl flanked by her adorable sister and cousin:

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And there you have it!

On the Homestead:

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Urban Farmer, Homemade Marinera Sauce Maker Extraordinaire! So many tomatoes, y’all. SO MANY TOMATOES.


7 Tips to Help You Read More: Anne Bogel for The Art of Simple

What Every Parent Must Know About Parenting a Six-Year-Old: SortaCrunchy

5 Signs Your Boyfriend Will Be a Great Dad: Nell O’Leary for Verily Magazine

The Mostly Coffee Smoothie: Time Flies When You’re Having Babies

In Which I Live Out Every Catholic Mommy Bloggers Fantasy: This Ain’t the Lyceum (the photos! haha!)

Freedom From Stuff (podcast): The Art of Simple (excuse me while I now go get rid of ALL THE THINGS!)

Why You Should Talk to Your Children About Cat Milking: Daniel Bearman

Stella Maris: I shared about Our Lady, Star of the Sea over at To the Heights


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I got new spectacles! I’ve been wanting to try ordering glasses online for a couple of years because they’re so much cheaper, but I was worried they wouldn’t look good because I couldn’t try them on or that the prescription would be wrong. But Firmoo offered to let me try a pair, so I took the plunge and I LOVE them. I just called my eye doctor’s office to get my prescription and then it took all of 3 minutes to type in the info and order. Ta da!


And congrats to Amy Good, winner of the Drawstrings giveaway! And sweet Wanda of Drawstrings has extended the 15% discount through tomorrow (Sunday, June 8th) for Carrots readers. Just use CARROTS2 to get 15% off any Drawstrings bag!

Tomorrow is also the last day to enter the giveaway for The Little Oratory and Father of the Family from Sophia Institute Press. (And you can also enter to win a Drawstrings bag that is just the right size for your copy of The Little Oratory over at Like Mother, Like Daughter.)

Sponsors and Friends:

Please give some love to…

Wishing all of you a lovely weekend! We’re decluttering the whole house and it feels so good!

Lots of love,


P.S. You can follow me…

…on Bloglovin’, Feedly, or subscribe via email, or subscribe to my newsletter with the buttons on the right sidebar. You can also follow me on  FacebookTwitter (@haleycarrots), Pinterest (haleyofcarrots), and Instagram (haleycarrots).

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  1. says

    Happy birthday Gwen!! She is such a little sweetheart!! Also, I just showed my four year old her picture & explained why I was commenting, and she thinks it is the coolest thing ever that your daughter’s name is the same as “Spiderman’s friend Gwen in the new movies!!” 🙂 (huge family of needs over here! :P)

  2. says

    You weekly wrap ups are one of my favorite weekend rituals! Thanks for letting me share my coffee with you and catch up today, friend. LOVED seeing that wonderful family of yours!

    • Haley says

      That is high praise, friend! Looking forward to the day we can enjoy a cup of coffee together in real life! <3

  3. says

    I just came across your blog and LOVE IT. I’m a somewhat new Catholic, suburban gardener in the Silicon Valley, and full-time mama.. I’m really inspired by what you’re sharing. Excited to follow your blog!

    • Haley says

      Thank you, Sarah! I’m glad you took a minute to introduce yourself! 🙂 So glad you’re here!

    • Haley says

      Thanks, Adrie! Necessity is the mother of invention…at least when it comes to watermelon cakes 😉

  4. kelli says

    Happy Birthday Gwen! What a sweet pic of the littles at the end of your post. As for her horrible excema, I would love to hear more. I have a 6 year old that suffers horribly and has from day 1. We have good luck following a lot of the guidelines in Skintervention ( but I didn’t find out about this until well past breastfeeding. I would love to hear more about how you handle the elimination diet while breastfeeding…

    • Haley says

      Well since her eczema didn’t show up until solids were introduced, I’m assuming that whatever it is wasn’t enough to bother her coming from my breastmilk. But she is only nursing once or twice a day now. Anyhow, I know the big kids are allergic to gluten. And Gwen was a spit-up-er which is often connected to dairy allergy. It seems to be improving SLIGHTLY now that we’ve removed dairy from her diet. We’ll see :/ All my kids have had bad eczema. So sad!

  5. says

    Hi Haley!
    I really enjoy reading your blog (and now, your ebook). I’ve been gluten/dairy-free for almost 5 years and have had the same birthday cake issue. I really like sweets, so I spent a lot of time testing out cake recipes. In the end I altered my mother-in-law’s recipe to be gluten- and dairy-free. When I fed it to gluten-eaters they didn’t notice it wasn’t “normal” cake. Here it is:

    1/2 c. vegetable oil
    2 c. sugar (you can cut this down)
    2 eggs
    2 tsp. vanilla
    1 c. any kind of non-dairy milk (coconut, almond, and soy always work nicely)

    1/2 cup rice flour
    1/2 cup millet or amaranth flour
    1/2 cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
    1/4 cup coconut or buckwheat flour
    3/4 c. cocoa (or more if you really like chocolate)
    1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. salt

    1 cup boiling water *added after everything else is mixed* (this is what makes it so great)

    Mix wet. Mix dry. Mix wet and dry together. Add cup of boiling water. Bake at 350 degrees until knife comes out clean.

    Icing: melt dairy-free chocolate with enough coconut cream to get the consistency of icing (I buy cans of coconut milk and let them sit in my cupboard until the water separates from the cream) – smother the cake and enjoy!

    I’ve left this cake on the counter overnight and it still tasted good the next day (and doesn’t turn into sand).

    Happy birthday Gwen!

  6. says

    Lovely party pics and birthday girl.
    I love the idea of watermelon cake, we are a GF household.
    Awesome specs, Firmoo is the best!

  7. says

    Birthdays are so easy when they’re little. I never understand elaborate parties for kids too young to remember the clown, pony, bounce house, juggler, fire breather, etc. And the candle in the watermelon? GENIUS! I’m kicking myself that I didn’t think of that 11 years ago. That would have been a great tradition to start since all my kids love watermelon.
    And thank you for the linky love!

    • Haley says

      Confession: I hate watermelon. I know. I’m a crazy woman. And I try it every year to see if I can like it and…..I CAN’T. Someone is on their way to take away my southern card.

  8. says

    Have you ever talked about your lipstick? I love that you wear it all the time, and that it’s bright, and that even though you homestead, you wear lipstick. Super way cool.
    Lipstick admirer

    • Haley says

      Haha! Thank you! I did talk about it once on This Week’s Miscellany. It’s “British Red” by……Loreal? I think that’s right! It’s my fave!

  9. Cami says

    My little ones (and hubby) have eczema too. If you don’t mind… I would love a future post sharing how cutting out dairy did or did not help. I am so tempted to cut it out as well but we are already mostly GF due to tummy sensitivities. We also eat low animal products. But my family LOVES cheese and ice cream… And butter. Not sure I could get anyone on board to cut out dairy. Kids are too young to understand why and hubby is not that disciplined with food. So anything you share on the topic is greatly appreciated!

    • Haley says

      We’ll see how it goes, Cami! I feel like I am seeing a little bit of improvement. I also started giving her an evening bath for 30 minutes and then slathering the lotion/cream on then to keep the moisture in. And I started giving her a probiotic! I want it to be all cleared up before reintroducing the dairy so that it’s clear whether that was affecting her or not. Ugh. GF and DF is a huge drag!

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