If you know anything about me, you know I am all about ease. Whatever makes my life easier, I'm all about it. So why would I be any different when it comes to making meals for my family?
When it comes to cooking, the less I have to prep, the less I have to dirty, and the less I have to clean, the better! Which is why I absolutely love these Aidells All Natural Chicken Meatballs. They are tasty and I can read every single ingredient in the ingredients list. They come fully cooked, so all you need to do it heat and eat. Best of all, Caleb and Eddie love them too! I actually always have two packs on hand, for nights when I forget to pull something out or plan a meal or just in case we end up with last minute company, I can always throw these on the frying pan and have a delicious, easy, and healthy dinner.
This combination is one of my favorites because it's tasty, and the colors look gorgeous together, don't they? It's also a one-pan meal, so there's that, too.
I buy a packaged butternut squash at Publix, it already comes chopped (again, all about easy) and vacuum sealed so it will last longer in your fridge.
Friends, it doesn't get much easier than that! Enjoy!
So it's date night, the sitter just knocked on the door, and hubby is ready to go enjoy a night out with you. But you glance in the mirror on your way out the door and realize, holy cow, I can't do date night looking like this!
Girl, I've got you! Been there, done that. Luckily, I have a super fast makeup routine for everyday. You can read that routine here. So, I do that, and then I just take it up a notch. My friends over at Reina Rebelde sent me some samples of their products, and I absolutely loved their products to help elevate my look and take it from day to night.
I love Reina Rebelde because it was started by a Mexican-American woman, Regina Merson, and the line is all about embracing duality as a Latina woman who not only loves her Latin culture, but also embraces America and everything it has to offer. The name Reina Rebelde translates to "Rebel Queen," and the line itself is unabashedly Latina. The colors are versatile, which I adore. Some days I want to look just put together enough where I don't scare people on the street, and other days I want to really have that extra oomph in my look. This line lets me do that.
For my eyes, I used their 4 Play Wet Dry Eye Shadow in Azteca. I used the lightest shade (top left) in my brow bone and on the inner corners of my eyes. For my crease I used the shadow in the top right, and I then I wet my brush and used the darkest brown to line my lids on the top and on the bottom.
For my lips, I used their Bold Lip Color Stick in Brava. I am a sucker for bright lips, and red is my absolute favorite. It doesn't hurt that hubby loves it too! This red is classic, and the color is definitely long-lasting. I also love when I don't have to line my lips, which eliminates another step, and with this Bold Lip Color Stick, I didn't have to do that. The color didn't bleed or feather, and it didn't dry out my lips, either.
There you go! Date night makeup in under 15 minutes. I'm sure you can get on board with that!
This is not a sponsored post.
Before you start reading, this isn't going to be one of those funny breakdowns of my day where I tell you I had to reheat my coffee three times and I still drank it cold (I actually drink my coffee hot most mornings thanks in part to Disney Junior and a good breakfast for Caleb). But anyway, read on to see what I mean.
If you follow me on Instagram and check out my stories, you might have seen me post this list yesterday. I was cleaning out my nightstand, and tucked into an old notebook I found this list. What is this list, you might ask? Well, apparently, I had very lofty (and quite delusional) goals when we decided I would be a stay-at-home mom. I also clearly did not have a child at that point or realize how much of my day would be consumed by a tiny tyrant. I mean, look at that list. I had photo shoots on Mondays, but never once accounted for the hours I put into editing. I had a field trip one day a week. Get out of the house ONE day a week? That's it? I would have lost my damn mind.
When I showed this list to Eddie last night, we had a good laugh, and he said, "So how's that working out?" When I responded that I must have been delusional, he said, "It's okay - you're doing a damn good job of keeping this house together, regardless of whether or not you have stuck to a schedule." Hey, I'll take that!
So I'm going to break down for you how my typical chores get done. It's not super organized and it isn't fullproof, but it works for me and I typically get most of the stuff I need to get done, done - without being a slave to my home or chores.
Cleaning - I'm going to be totally honest, I have a cleaning lady who comes every other Friday and does the cleaning in my house. So I can't give you a deep cleaning schedule. But I do maintain the house in between her visits. That means that about two or three times a week I clean my floors (they are the most unforgiving floors aside from white floors so I always feel like they are dirty - and I can't vaccuum because Bella goes nuts). My kitchen gets wiped down on a daily basis, because I basically wipe down all the countertops and clean the sink every time I cook. Bathrooms get the wipe down when they look like they need it, or when people are coming over (we have a half bath for guests and we almost never use that, so it's always pretty clean). I use a wet dust rag once a week to wipe down the other furniture surfaces, and that's about it! Floors are the biggie for me.
Food - Okay so I suck at meal planning. I have tried it. I typically have an idea of what I will make in the week, and I don't usually do anything super complicated. I may write a rough outline in my planner of what meals I'll make for the night, but its usually meals with few ingredients that are easy to put together - typically a protein and a veggie, sometimes a starch of some kind will be thrown in there. If it's too complicated, I won't do it, so KISS (keep it simple, stupid) is my motto. I try to get to the grocery store early in the morning, early in the week. If later in the week I realize I have run out of something, I use Shipt and have it delivered (follow that link and get $10 in free groceries and two weeks free). It gets rid of the temptation of stuff I don't need and I don't spend extra money.
Laundry - This is my biggest hurdle. I don't mind sorting, washing, or even folding. I hate hate hate putting laundry away. Sometimes it will sit on the couch in our room for over a week before it gets put away (whoops). But it's clean, right?! I usually spread laundry out over the course of the week. Caleb's clothes on Monday and one load of ours (usually darks since this is what we wear the most). Tuesday I'll do the rest of our clothes. Wednesday is towels and bath rugs. Thursdays is bed linens. I'm also guilty of having to wash clothes a second time because it never got transferred to the dryer. Hey, just putting it all out there.
Ironing - I don't do this anymore unless I have Caleb out of the house for an extended period of time. It's just too dangerous. Anything that needs to be ironed just goes to the drycleaner.
Picking up - I try to pick up as much as possible in the evenings. Once Caleb has gone to sleep is the easiest time to get it done. When I do this it also makes for a smoother morning because I don't feel like I'm walking through a war zone first thing in the morning.
Bills/E-Mail/Editing/Blogging - These usually get done first thing in the morning, while I'm having coffee and Caleb is having breakfast. Whatever I don't get to gets done during naptime and during any downtime we may have throughout the day.
A great tool I have found to help me keep track of chores is Any.Do. It's an app that syncs up with my calendar, lets me know what tasks I have to complete, and since I love to check things off, it's a really helpful visual tool for me. Sometimes the weeks blur together and I don't remember if I have washed the towels, but this app helps me keep track of what I have and haven't done. I can put tasks on a weekly reminder so I don't have to enter them all the time. It's really convenient, and can be installed across several devices!
So there you have it. My fantasies versus my reality. I wouldn't have it any other way, but it is certainly not what I pictured! I hope this helps you if you are still struggling with being a "perfect" stay-at-home mom (newsflash: there's no such thing! You're amazing!).
Have any more tips on how to get your household duties done? Leave them in the comments below!
This is the busiest time of the year, right? So I'm crazy for telling you to stop, breathe, and enjoy the moment. But I'm not. As a matter of fact, even though I have things to do, I felt compelled to sit down and tap this out for you. Because if I don't tell you, will anyone?
Last week, I was like you... make lists and checking them twice. Finishing Christmas shopping, wrapping gifts, editing photo sessions, preparing for a vacation with two legs on opposite sides of the country. Forgetting. Forgetting what Christmas is all about. I was being swallowed up by Christmas. I was bickering and I was not spending enough time with my son and my husband.
And then God, in his infinite wisdom, sent me a sign that said, "SLOW DOWN." What might that sign be, you ask? Caleb and I both got sick. The most convenient way of slowing down? Definitely not. But it gave me a chance to pause. It gave me a chance to think about what I was giving importance to this season. And I wasn't giving importance to the right things.
But getting sick made me stop. It made me spend time with Caleb. Real, quality time that I had been neglecting. As much as it pains me to say it, I had been letting him run amok and then freaking out because I had to pick up after him a thousand times a day and correct his behavior BECAUSE I WASN'T PAYING ATTENTION TO HIM.
So I napped with him. We sat on the couch and colored together (relax, they were Ultra Washable markers). I watched Frozen with him and we made commentary on the movie together (yes, Frozen fever is currently happening in my house). I sat and ate lunch with him and talked to him through the meal.
And while he still had a few moments of toddler rambunctiousness (if that's even a word), overall, his behavior was so much better, even though he was sick. And I realized, I've been a terrible mom lately. I've been so busy and I allowed the busyness of the season to catch up with me.
Last night, after nearly coughing up my lung, I decided to take a steamy bath, and while I was sitting in there, I realized that getting sick had been my biggest blessing in disguise this Christmas season. So I prayed, and I gave thanks, and this morning I woke up with a renewed sense of thankfulness and joy. Joy to last me through Christmas and far beyond. Because really, while we pile all these unnecessary things on ourselves, we are forgetting the meaning of Christmas. And whether that meaning for you is the birth of a Savior, or the closeness of family and loved ones, I'm pretty sure it's not about being busy. And let's be real - I still have a to-do list. But I'm a lot less stressed about getting it done. Because at the end of the day, it always gets done - because you're pretty amazing.
So in the next few days, mama, take a break. Enjoy your kids. Make a mess with them. Take a bubble bath. Snuggle up on the couch with your significant other. Watch your favorite Christmas movie - together, without thinking of the 75,000 things on your to-do list. There will be time to check things off your list tomorrow. And if the gifts don't get wrapped? Tell them Santa ran out of wrapping paper. ;)
From very early on, my husband and I decided that we would not put our lives on hold because we had children. We enjoy eating out, we enjoy going on vacation, and we can't be expected to live life in the bubble of our home just because we have a kid. And one of the best pieces of advice I received before Caleb was born was, "Don't mold your life to your kids, fit your kids into your life."
And becoming a stay-at-home mom cemented this for me. I don't have the time to wait around to find someone who can stay with him while I got to the grocery store. Some weeks, I'm really lucky and my mother-in-law comes over and spends a few hours with him, or my parents have a day off and they come over and hang out with him, and I can go get things done really efficiently. But most of the time, I do everything with him. And I don't see why the weekends have to be any different.
He has been to doctors appointments with me, he goes shopping with me (frequently, I might add), he goes to restaurants, and he certainly goes to mass with us on Sundays. Why do I subject myself to these stressful levels of toddlerhood? Well, because if I don't expose him to these situations now, when is he going to learn what is appropriate behavior in certain settings and what isn't?
We are far from having perfect behavior in these public places, but for the most part, he does pretty well. He knows that when we are at the grocery store or at Target, he is going to be in the cart. He knows that when we are shopping, he sits in his stroller (and he usually deals with this atrocity by taking a nap).
I feel like there are two big things that annoy others when it comes to kids (there are probably a million more but these are the big ones). I try to abide by some general rules to keep myself, baby, and the rest of those around us happy (let's face it, as much as we would like to think it does, the world doesn't revolve around us and our kids).
We also make every effort to go to restaurants that are child-friendly. I wouldn't take my toddler to an upscale restaurant with a quiet ambiance. We choose places where we know some of his noise will be drowned out by the noise of the restaurant. Places where we know he will be welcomed and it won't be frowned upon that we have a toddler with us.
And truthfully, I have found that more places than not are very accepting and friendly towards small children. I have found this in every city, in every country we have been to with Caleb - From Toronto, to Paris, to New York, to the Dominican Republic. The rules of common courtesy apply everywhere!
So don't lock yourself in your house with your kids. Take them out, expose them to the sights and sounds and smells that this world has to offer. Teach them socially acceptable behaviors and norms for all the different situations they can encounter. It will make them more adaptable and ready to handle all kinds of situations!
Good luck and I can't wait to hear all about your adventures!
Making the switch from working a full time job to being a stay-at-home mom was a little more challenging than I thought it would be. I was used to getting up every morning, doing my hair, putting on a face of makeup, and dressing professionally. For the first month or so, not having to do those things felt like an incredible vacation from the everyday - I always felt like those things ate up so much of my time.
But after a month, I started to feel like I always looked disheveled. You see, being "made up" was ingrained in me. I grew up with a mom who rarely left her bedroom without her makeup done. My mother is fabulous. Clearly, she wanted me to be the same, and before middle school, I was already learning the tricks of the trade. I vividly remember being in seventh grade, at a strict Catholic school, and applying some powder and clear mascara (yes, I totally did that). By the time high school rolled around, I was a pro at the "no makeup-makeup" look. Aside from growing up with a very pro-makeup mother, I developed cystic acne towards the end of high school. This made it even more imperative for me to apply my makeup every day. (Before you say my skin is fine, I did a round of Accutane at 20 and to this day I have to go get my face injected when a huge cyst pops up - better than some, but not good by any means.)
I don't necessarily feel like I need to rock my makeup 24/7/365, but I do like to have a little bit of something on when I will encounter humans aside from my toddler. Days when I wake up and my skin is really clear, some tinted moisturizer and mascara will usually do the trick, but for the majority of days when I am leaving the house, this is my routine. If you are all about a fresh, clean , face, then by all means, rock it! I wish my skin was pristine enough that I could do that.
Also, don't be fooled - Caleb took an extra long nap this day so I got to do my makeup in my kitchen (where the light is the greatest in my house), sitting down, and taking photos of the process for you all. But most days? I do this at stoplights and once I'm parked at my destination - a little trick I learned once I realized that he is 100% contained and safe in his car seat, instead of digging through my drawers and driving me bonkers while I try not to poke my eye out with my mascara wand.
So how do I go from bare to barely noticeable?
Easy! Nine tools and less than five minutes. In the mornings I almost always put on this tinted moisturizer, so that gives me a good base to start with. But if I don't apply it, it doesn't matter (I didn't here). I recently switched to Laura Mercier products for skin care, because I was diagnosed with mild rosacea post-baby and the aesthetician at the dermatologist recommended it.
1. Concealer! The most important part! I use two products from Laura Mercier. Their underage concealer and this palette which is great because it lets me go darker or lighter depending on how much sun I've gotten or what part of my face I'm using it on. I apply with my fingers to cut down on tools and time.
2. Eyebrows - I have found that once I have filled in my eyebrows with this Anastasia brow powder, the rest of my face instantly looks better. If you prefer a pencil, this is a great alternative.
3. Powder - Loose, pressed, whatever you prefer. It sets my concealer and evens out my skin a little more.
4. Blush - the one I'm using is an old one from MAC that was limited edition but another great option (and is universally flattering) is NARS Blush in Orgasm.
5. Mascara - if you're going to do just ONE thing, put on mascara. It will instantly open your eyes and make you look more awake (regardless of how many times your little one woke you up last night).
6. If I'm going somewhere where I want to look a little more presentable, I'll put on a pretty lip gloss. Otherwise, I slap on some Chapstick and call it a day.
There you go! Less than five minutes (or 4 stoplights, if you're anything like me).
Go get 'em, gorgeous!
Do you ever feel like you're living life for the next big thing? I never realized it more than when I had a child. I remember now, looking back, at always having a countdown for something: 52 days until summer vacation, 75 days until my birthday, 365 days until my wedding... You get the point. But I feel like, after having a baby, that was magnified by a thousand. I was constantly checking every app I owned, and saying, "I can't wait until he starts talking," or "It will be so nice when he can feed himself."
I don't even know how or when this realization hit me, but somewhere along the line, I felt like I was rushing things with this precious little human and that I wasn't living in the moment - I was living for the next moment. And that wasn't fair to me or to Caleb. Why should I be rushing him along?
I remember analyzing every bullet point in the "This Month Your Baby Should Be Doing..." sections of every app. Some things were silly, some were big and important. And every app had a notation that read something like: "The skills noted in this section are listed at the earliest age that they should be occurring. All children are different and most will not complete all of the items within this age range."
Being a former Type A personality (more on that some other time), I was determined that MY kid would meet all of those skills. When he crawled at 6 months, I was ecstatic! He's going to be an early walker, this is amazing, he's going to be so advanced. Caleb then proceeded to laugh at his mother's enthusiasm and say, I'm gonna take this real slow. He cruised pretty quickly, somewhere around 8 months, and then decided he was quite comfortable with hanging on to something at all times. For nearly four months, he refused to let go and take steps on his own. And you know what? That's perfectly fine, and completely NORMAL.
But I was not having it. I was freaking out. Why isn't he walking more quickly? Is he delayed? Did his development stall? Not fair. Not fair to me. Not fair to him. His pediatrician never had any concerns and assured me he was a "typically" developing child.
It must have been somewhere around this time when it hit me. He's not going to be little forever. Every single person I know who has children that are grown has told me that. "They won't be little forever." And you know what? I'm realizing it. It's not just something they say. Time really is whizzing by. That super cliche saying - "They days are long but the years are short" - never rang truer than a couple weeks ago, when I realized it had been two years since I had found out I was pregnant.
It truly jolted me. Some days I feel like nighttime will never come. Like he will never fall asleep and I will not have time for a hot shower that day. But it always comes. Night always falls and today becomes tomorrow faster than we can enjoy every second.
So I'm slowing down. I'm savoring everything. From the trips to the grocery store, to the diaper changes, even to the moments when I don't think I can take the whimpering and the tantrums anymore. Because it will be tomorrow before I know it. And I can't live today again.
I read an article recently on Stephen and Ayesha Curry (he's an NBA basketball player whose daughter gained some fame for prancing around and grabbing his attention during a press conference after a basketball game). They have matching tattoos of two arrows pointing to one another. One arrow represents the past, the other represents the future. And the space in the middle is now - it's a reminder to them to always live for the present.
Live for today mommas, enjoy the moment. Now I'm going to go snuggle on my baby boy, who won't be a baby for much longer.
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.