Hi! I’m currently taking time off from regular posting after having a baby this summer, but want to check in with a little update.
Sweet readers, I’m having a tough time right now.
Whether you’re (1) evacuating your home or have family/friends on the west coast during these devastating wildfires, (2) trying to find normalcy in a very not normal world, and/or (3) adjusting to children learning at home or back in school during this pandemic, this season of life feels very different. It certainly feels different for me. We welcomed our beautiful baby girl this past summer and are absolutely in love with her. From her big curious eyes down to her tiny little toes, she is honestly the sweetest. She’s such an easy baby, but maybe that’s because we have the experience under our belts. Our older daughter just loves her and wants to be around her all the time. We’re so blessed to have our health, home, and happy daughters.
My heart is just so full.
However, at the very same time, a piece of my heart feels like it’s missing.
Our beloved dog, Jude, passed away last month. Jude was diagnosed with cancer in August 2019 and fought it for a year. As pet owners know, pets are a very big part of the family. And Jude? He was my shadow. My sidekick. A true companion in every sense of the word. An irreplaceable part of this family. Wherever I was, he was. If dogs have souls, Jude has one of the biggest. Not only because he was enormous at 120 lbs, he just had a very big heart. He was the kind of dog who could sense how you were feeling. Laid with you while you were sick, sat with you while you cried, smiled at you (seriously!) when you were happy. For 12 beautiful years, Jude was our constant through it all: new homes, new jobs, cookbooks, our wedding, birthdays, book tour, miscarriage, pregnancies, babies, and all the other moments in between.
For anyone who thrives on routine, the loss of such a prominent part of your life feels impossible. Additionally, the transition from 1 to 2 children certainly has its difficulties. Pair all of this with postpartum recovery, postpartum emotions, sleepless newborn nights, and the isolation felt during this world pandemic and your emotional and mental stress feel like a mountain weighing on top of you. My husband, always looking on the bright side, reminds me of the silver linings we have. We’re so thankful our daughter got to meet Jude and that we even have a few pictures of him sitting beside her bassinet. And having activities and gatherings cancelled this summer has encouraged us to slow down. Maybe it’s the same for you too? We’re enjoying more time outdoors and savoring the present. And one last silver lining: While Franklin, our other dog, misses his big buddy, he’s certainly loving all the extra attention. He deserves it.
I mentioned this on social media and want to repeat it here. I know it might seem unseemly to grieve the loss of a dog when so many are losing their lives in the chaos of our world right now. But loss is loss and I’m feeling this one really hard. I recently experienced one of my best days and one of my worst. It’s been an absolute roller coaster of emotions and I’m still trying to work through it all.
I miss him so much. Jude was the happiest dog until those final few days.
I planned to post more recipes during my postpartum time off, but haven’t had the chance to clear my head and publish them all. I promise I’m trying my best to bring you fresh new recipes that I prepped while I was pregnant. Thank you for your patience with me and understanding that I need this time to be with my family.
On a brighter note, it’s Noelle’s 3rd birthday next week! I can’t believe my little girl is turning 3. No big parties this year, but we’re going to make the day as special as we can. She loves the Trolls World Tour movie and I plan to make her a special Queen Poppy cake. I’m terrible with fondant, so I’m thinking vanilla cake, rainbow frosting decoration, and a Trolls cake topper. Have you ever made a Trolls themed birthday cake before? I’m open to ideas!
We took a little vacation to Deep Creek Lake last week. It was a quiet and relaxing family getaway in one of our favorite spots. We just needed a change of scenery. If I’m being honest, sitting on the back deck with coffee and a view was all the medicine we needed. It was after Labor Day, so the lake wasn’t crowded. We lucked out with weather.
‘Tis the season for quick bread. We brought a loaf of the September Sally’s Baking Challenge recipe to the lake with us: cinnamon swirl quick bread. (There have been hundreds of participants so far this month!) This time I mixed 1 cup of chopped and peeled apples into the cinnamon sugar swirl mixture before layering it in. Same bake time. It tasted unbelievable– sort of like last week’s apple cinnamon babka but without a yeasted dough. I highly recommend it.
I was going to wait until the official start of fall, but couldn’t resist. Here’s my first loaf of pumpkin bread this season. I actually prefer it plain without the chocolate chips. I used whole wheat flour in this loaf and topped it with coarse sugar before baking. Same bake time. Always so moist and flavorful.
I want to lead by example not only for my daughters, but for my readers and followers too. In my last coffee break post, I shared my commitment to help break the unjust cycle of racism in our world and country. I hope we each yearn for a more loving and inclusive world and sometimes it’s hard to understand that in order for that to happen, we have to be the change… right now. Over the past couple months, I’ve thought a lot about the privilege I have simply because of the color of my skin. I found this article on Allure.com and while the entire piece is a great resource, the section titled “Reflect on all the ways you benefit from privilege” has been enlightening. (It links to a few more pieces and essays too.) I shared this on my Instagram account, but I joined Rachel Cargle’s eye-opening Do The Work course. It’s a free email course that provides comprehensive and concrete ways for being anti-racist. The emails also include links to articles, other resources, and videos. There is also The Conscious Kid organization. By joining, you have access to many resources for how to teach children (of any age) about anti-racism.
I’m still learning and growing in my own advocacy, but I hope to keep the momentum going that was seen earlier this summer. Racism has deep roots and as we continue to see it in the news every single day, it will not go away without the work.
Have you joined the sourdough bandwagon?
I just picked up a copy of New World Sourdough by Bryan Ford. I’m excited to finally learn more about from-scratch sourdough. I’ve always been intimidated by the entire process because the wealth of information online is overwhelming. However his book and comprehensive guide to sourdough (with FAQs) breaks things down into understandable steps. Super helpful if you’re a beginner like I am.
I also got Whole Grain Sourdough at Home. I haven’t had the chance to dive into it yet, but this book covers how to tackle sourdough using whole wheat flour and ancient grains. Recipes seem very easy to follow too.
I think that’s about it for now. Let’s end this post on a positive note though. No matter what we’re facing in this moment: loss, heartache, exhaustion, injustice, natural disaster, anxiety, change, and anything in between, I know that food can be healing. Baking has always lifted my spirits whether that’s receiving something homemade from a loved one, baking to ease my mind, or baking for someone who needs cheering up. It’s so much more than something sweet, it’s comforting for the mind and soul. Need proof? Last year I wrote a post called What Baking Means to You. The comments are beautiful.
Thank you for being here. xo
Reader Comments & Reviews
Congratulations on your beautiful baby girl, Elise! The photo of the three of you is so precious!! Enjoy your time with your sweet family and don’t worry about your readers ~ you’ve posted enough recipes to keep us baking for a long while!! So sorry about the loss of Jude. Our pets certainly can leave our hearts hurting for awhile. Blessings & peace to you and your family.
Sally, congratulations on your new daughter and condolences on the loss of your fur guy. This year has had it’s share of highs and lows, no question. Please take the time you need to focus on you, your family, and whatever it takes to make you feel good.
Also, I really appreciate your standing up to address antiracism. I’m right there with you. Our country will not survive the course we’re on if it continues. If your courage and beliefs cause you to lose any followers, so be it. They don’t deserve you.
Be well. Hugs from Baltimore County.
Dear Sally, take your time to find your new ballance, many things have happened, a new baby and a toddler, your loss, the coronavirus… we are very thankful for having you, for all the help you bring us with your delicius recipes and helpful tips. Enjoy your beautiful kids and motherhood and let your soul heal from your loss, don’t feel bad for not posting enough, do not be so hard on yourself, you are a strong beautiful woman with a family that needs you in this moment, we will wait for you, and whenever you post we will thank you for it.
Thank you for your honesty. While there is SO much to be grateful for, there are somethings that just break us. The love and loss of a pet is something different. My love to you and your family.
Dear Sally, my heart aches for you. I lost my much-loved pet in April. He lived 18 1/2 years and it was so hard to see him die. He was my constant companion and I miss his furry little self. Indulge yourself in whatever makes you feel better. Time is the only healer. Hugs to you and your beautiful family.
Sally, I’m very happy for you and your family, Elise is a very beautiful little girl and Noëlle is a perfect older sister ! They are so cute with you on the first photo !
But, in the same time, I’m sad for the loss of your friend Jude. Our animals are members of our family and it’s very hard when they die. I’m thinking about you and your family.
2020 is a very difficult year, it’s true, but it’s also a year full of hope where we stand up against racism and injustices. And baking for me is, precisely, a wonderful way for share moments of happiness and friendships with others so… Thank you Sally for your marvellous blog and for the amazing Facebook group.
Take care of you and enjoy your family !
Sally, my condolences about your Jude. Congratulations on your beautiful baby girl! I also have two girls and two dogs. Before I started using your website for recipes I was constantly going through and comparing different recipes and combining them to find one I liked. Now I just use your entire recipe. I don’t need to change anything! Thank you for your contribution!
Congratulations on the arrival of your beautiful healthy baby girl. It looks like her big sister has taken ti her new role of Big Sister without any problem.
Sincere sympathies on the passing of your beloved Jude.
I know that pain and it’s unbearable.
My beautiful 15 year old Yorkshire Terrier Mille had heart attack in mid June. We had just moved back to our beach house in a beautiful town in West Cork Ireland and were looking forward to Summer. We had been walking on the beach and she collapsed on way back to house. I was able to get her to our Vet v quickly and following some injections and tablets she was well fairly quickly. Thankfully she’s recovering well for now, and is enjoying the extra pampering. She’s thoroughly spoiled and is even more so since her illness. It’s so difficult to get her medication into her. She can sniff it out at a distance. I joke she could have a future as “sniffer dog” at Port or Airport.
Enjoy your family time and I like all your followers look forward to new recipes and tips whenever you get back.
Anne Sands. Ireland
Sally my heart sunk reading about Jude. I am so very sorry. We too had to put our dog down this summer. Heartache is heartache, no matter the subject matter!
I am happy Elise is doing so good. And Kevin is correct, focus on what is good in your life. Embrace the bad stuff, but do not focus on it.
Pandemic, racism, division…. shouldn’t be what 2020 has become, but it is just that. There is also the good… babjes being born, weddings being had… the good stuff ways trumps the bad!
Take it easy, you have plenty kf recipes on here for us to enjoy. Maybe people can go back to recipe number 1. You take care of you and yours… we will be here when you are ready to come back. Do not rush into it on the readers account! Love to you!
Sally and family, so sorry for the loss of Jude. Take time to heal in our new world.
I know how much losing a fur baby hurts. At times we think we won’t get through. I lost my baby in July. She too had been having medical issues since April. The last visit I carried her and expected to bring her home, sadly that was not to be. She helped me through the death of two parents and like your Jude was lay with me when I was sick. I truly believe that they know when their time with us is at a close. She was always following me around but the last 9 months of her life she was stuck to me. I grieve with you and for you. Her nickname was “Diva” and we were her subjects. I hope I served her well.
Sally-congratulations on your new baby! But also so so sorry for your loss. Our dogs become our family and it is the hardest thing to say goodbye to them. I’m thinking about you and your little family.
So sorry to hear of the loss of your dog. Our pets are special companions and it is certainly understandable that this loss is hard for you. Thank you for sharing this with your readers. Jude was fortunate to have been in a loving home. Please take care of yourself.
A new visitor to you blog. Excellent recipes that are so well written and delicious.
Thank you. Your heartfelt blog was so very touching. This life we live, full of joy,
loss, reflection and gratitude is what it is and to share it with readers is a most beautiful gift. Take care of yourself and all will move forward as you process everything you are going through.
Sorry for the loss of Jude. We had a Delilah for 14 years (black lab) who was really human! She was our everything.
Our kids are grown and have families so we turn to them for solace and life. we are in our 70’s bot fighting stage 4 metastatic cancers but live each day to the utmost.
I am THRILLED that you went to Deep Creek to restore your soul! We have a home here now for 37 years and it is our “happy place”. Our daughter got married on the top of Wisp last year where she skied her growing up years!
Time is such a healer and June is up in heave looking after Elise and Nicole and your family!
I am so sorry for the loss of your little (really big!) buddy. They mean the world to us. We had two jack russells before the birth of our daughter and she grew up with them. We called them”her furry sisters.” So babies and dogs are hard but, looking back on it now that my daughter is 18, I would not change a thing. Having that loud crazy household with multiple dogs and kids is really the best time of your life – messiness included. Enjoy it all!
Oh my. What a beautiful post–full of everything wonderful and not-so-wonderful about life. First of all, congratulations on the new addition to the family!! What a sweet photo of Mommy, Noelle, and Elise–just so sweet. Hope she’s good baby, and that everyone is adjusting.
Four days ago, I lost my companion of 13 years. Georgia was a 4 year old rescue when she came to live with us, and as the saying goes: Who rescued who? I can so identify with everything you said about Jude. Georgia was my sweet girl, who frequently stood between me and the stove or counter so as not to miss a morsel should one fall her way. She knew when I needed cheering up, and I certainly tried to return the favor her last few days.
Don’t apologize for grieving your dog–he’s not “just a dog”. I wish you some peace about him, and joy and love with your family. You are a very lucky lady!!
Take all the time you need. We will be here when you get back.
I’m sorry for the loss of your beloved dog—
I am a huge dog lover and I feel the same about my dogs. They are 13 years old and have been there for me through the good times and bad. I am so sorry for your loss. Dogs are family, they love so effortlessly. I had my first baby in March, it has been a tough time with this pandemic. I want so badly to show him off and have people visit, but I just can’t. Postpartum emotions are so real, I feel like us women don’t talk about them enough. The first 3 months with a newborn were some of the hardest/most rewarding months of my life. It’s easy to lose sight of yourself and taking care of YOU. I’m glad you got to get away and relax. I love your recipes and looking forward to baking now that cooler weather is approaching. Take plenty of time for yourself. Take care, Sally!!!
Congrats for your beautiful newborn baby and for all the great things you are living. I am really sorry for your dog’s passing but I can tell he was really loved. Lots of love.
Sally, I am so sorry about the death of your dear Jude. Our sweet companions leave a hole in our hearts when they leave.
So happy for you and your family on the birth of your beautiful daughter!
Enjoy your special moments together.
Congratulations to you & your husband on your 2nd baby girl! How much joy, love and peace a newborn brings with them into the world!
I’m also so very sorry for the loss of Jude. It is never easy losing our “fur babies”. I truly believe at my age 53 and all the dogs, horses & cats that have been a part of my life, that have brought me such happiness, unconditional love, then sadly pass away. Some I did not even get more than 7 years with (Golden Retriever Molly) . My point is that it is never easy to say goodbye to such special animal babies. Grieve for him but always fill your heart with the loving memories he gave you…
Thank you for giving my daughter(16 yrs old) and myself so many delicious recipes to try:)
Sending you a big HUG!
I don’t know if you will read this comment, you have so very many, so beloved you are. I am a practicing veterinarian for over 23 years in S. California. The special relationship we have with our pets, truly is second to none. You were so blessed to have such a large beastie for that many years, but is never long enough. You have had a tremendous loss, you and your family with his leaving you, going on to his next journey. Because of my patients and those amazing relationships I have had with them, I now know that there is something else. Animals already know this and are so much more able to leave this life and move on to their next adventure. I have witnessed and felt some pretty incredible changes. The ONLY reason they stay so long, is to be with us. Have faith and find solace in the fact that the last memories he had, he took with him to his next “adventure”. Your smell, your voice comforting him, your touch and your love. What a way to begin his next journey, to take all that with him. The only true death – is to be forgotten…
Lisa, that was so beautiful. I have tears in my eyes while I write this. I’ve lost two cats before their time should been up (9 years old and 6 years old). I still miss them, and I will never forget them. Any time I was sick enough to be stuck in bed, they wouldn’t leave my side. My first cat (who died at 9) sat in my lap the entire day of my being glued to the TV on 9/11 – and he was not a lap cat at all. Dogs and cats just seem to KNOW what we need. Thank you for what you wrote.
Those of us who have animals know the attachment, especially with those special ones who were our soul mates. That is a very special relationship, and I feel your heartbreak and pain as I have been through it often and with some extraordinary animals.
Sally, your beautiful post brought tears to my eyes. Any person who can grieve so for the loss of their beloved pet is a person that I hold in the highest of esteem. Love is love and you certainly know that. Your advocacy for those who has felt the sting of injustice in our country is admirable as well. All of these things (of course including Covid, my California and the west burning and now the loss of RBG) feel like they are suffocating as you articulated it all perfectly. Be well and please always feel free to focus less about baking on your blog and more about LIFE. I for one appreciate it. Be well.
Heart is hurting for Jude and for you. Time heals they say and the memories will last forever. Congratulations on your new baby.
I miss all the dogs I’ve had through the years, so I know what it feels like ,I have a little graveyard across the bridge and when i go over there i talk to them and tell them i miss them. But i am very happy for you’re addition, Bless you and you’re family, and of course Franklin
Take all the time you need. Enjoy your little family. So sorry about Jude. I have a side kick and they are the best. I also have a little buddy to keep me company (my 7 month old grandson) and he makes thinks ok. Take each day at a time and don’t put extra pressure on yourself. Hope thing get a little easier for you. Take care
Sorry for the typos. Lol
Thank you for the beautiful email. The pictures are great and your family is beautiful. If it’s any comfort to you, I found that the difference between having the second and third child is very little if any—not at all like the difference between the first and the second. I Had five children Dash one was adopted Dash 19 grandchildren, and now have 2 1/2 great grandchildren. The best news is: I survived albeit with a few bruises along the way.
Sorry to hear about Jude, your sidekick and family member. All of us that can’t live without a canine as part of their pack can certainly relate. I had to let go of Vin late last year. For a month or so I found that I was talking to myself, my best friend was not there to agree with me anymore. So I found an older greyhound to fill that void. You, on the other hand, have a loving family to attend to and cherish. These days with young ones are busy and rewarding. Before you know it they will have grown up and that will bring on a new set of challenges. Oh, the wonder of it all…Please know that we are with you in spirit and you inspire one and all with your glorious concoctions. You make every day a brighter day!
I am so sorry that you are struggling with the loss of your sweet Jude. We had to say goodbye to our big guy almost two years ago and I still feel his absence everyday. Dogs are so much more than just our pets. They are integrated into nearly ever part of our lives. They are there for us in innumerable ways, some of which we don’t even realize until they are gone. Your grief and heartache are beyond valid. In the pictures and stories you’ve shared about Jude it is obvious he was a bright light in the world and his light will continue to shine to through your family’s memories. I’m so happy to know you have a few precious photos of him with your little Elise.
My sister gave birth to her first child just two months ago and my advice to her was to be kind to herself. I offer you the same advice. Be kind to yourself as you adjust to your new normal in this very not normal world. Thank you for continuing to share with your baking community, I know for so many of us it is our therapy, but we all understand you taking time for yourself and your family.
Whew… That was longer than intended.