A couple of months back, Caleb, my usually amazing eater, decided he was going to get picky on me. He boycotted anything green, which started to give me a little anxiety. I took to Pinterest (you should go follow me!) and started looking up recipes for picky toddlers.
I tried a few and most were delicious, but I was unsuccessful in getting him to try them. I finally came upon a recipe for easy whole wheat banana muffins and I was able to sneak some spinach and carrots into them. They are so easy to make, and I make them mini, so his little hands can grab them. I'm including the basic recipe here, but know you can add chopped spinach, shredded carrots, shredded zucchini, and loads of other goodness in there to up the nutritional factor.
These travel well (store in an airtight container) and keep for about 5 days.
Whole Wheat Banana Muffins
Recipe yields about 24 mini muffins
A long time ago, Eddie and I made a promise to one another. After hearing about several friends' relationships ending, we talked about what some of the things were that drove a wedge between those couples. When relationships end, it's not usually one factor - there are typically many reasons that make a relationship reach its final stages.
One thing that we kept coming back to was the fact that many of these couples didn't go to bed together every night, despite living in the same house and not being away from one another for long periods. Not that the husband was out until all hours of the night, not that the wife stayed late at the office. They just didn't go to bed together most nights. Why? One stayed up late watching TV in the living room while the husband went to bed. Another worked on his computer until 3 am while his wife slept. Still another stayed up late doing Pinterest projects while her husband stayed in bed waiting for her.
So we decided that in our marriage, we were going to make every effort to go to bed together as many nights as possible. It's not always easy, but we have made it a habit. I had recently started my photography business, and was finding that nighttime was the best time for me to do my editing. But I quickly pulled in the reins on that and discovered other systems that worked for me and my editing. Some nights I would love to sit at the computer and edit my photos without having anyone interrupt me. Other nights I want to decompress and sit in a dark, quiet house and watch whatever TV show I feel like watching or read a book until 3 am. But as much as I want those things, my marriage takes priority over them.
So every evening, Caleb goes to sleep and we get to unwind. We'll usually watch a TV show or two and then decide to go to our bedroom. Sometimes we have to shower, other times we have to pick up the room, still other times one of us will shower while the other is doing something else in another part of the house. But 9 nights out of 10, we go to bed within 5-10 minutes of one another. There are exceptions, of course - I'm not saying I never stay up late by myself - but this is our norm.
And it's not about sex. It's about intimacy. It's about ending your day feeling the closeness of the one person with whom you have chosen to live this life. It's ending the day playing footsie, or enveloped in a hug, or having a tickle fight (because we're all adults here and this is obviously the most mature thing ever). It's about having a conversation about your day and connecting to one another when there isn't a little human between you.
This is also why, once Caleb was old enough and we both felt comfortable, we made a conscious choice to not let him sleep in our bed anymore. He was moved to his crib, and unless he wakes up crying and screaming, that's where he stays. In the mornings, we all cuddle together and spend some time in bed as a family, but our nighttime routine is ours.
Like I said earlier, I can't attribute whether or not a relationship is successful to this one factor, but it is a factor that we have found makes a difference in our marriage. And as long as we keep this promise to one another, there is the understanding that we will continue to work for and choose our marriage over everything else, every day.
Try it, you never know what it will do for you!
I've given you my packing lists (here and here) and my tips for travel. In honor of upcoming weekend trips and for the sake of planning ahead like I know many of us like to do, I'm sharing my top 5 travel essentials for ANY trip. These are things that aren't included in any of my packing lists, but they are essentials for me no matter where I am going. These work for weekend trips as well as longer trips!
I have never had good luck with dry shampoos. I have superfine, super limp hair, and adding product to it usually makes it more greasy and more limp. This is the best dry shampoo I have found and I can usually extend my hairstyle another half day or so (depending on a lot of factors). I'll take it! The one pictured here is full sized, but the link is to a travel-size bottle (which I have already ordered haha).
I kept seeing all these travel bloggers use packing cubes. And even though they swore by them, I was still a skeptic. So I decided to order these and give them a go. For shorter trips I usually put my stuff in two of them and Caleb's stuff in the other two (Eddie is a meticulously organized packer so I don't usually touch his stuff lol). These cubes help me maximize our space and keep things organized, which is always a plus! Also, at the end of the trip, I can pack all the dirty clothes into one or two of them, which makes sorting for laundry a cinch once I'm back home!
I don't know about you, but my phone ALWAYS seems to need charging. So these nifty little contraptions fit into any little space in your purse and you don't have to be connected to an outlet to charge your stuff!
I have come to appreciate the power and simplicity of a well-styled t-shirt. Growing up, my dad always said his favorite look on a woman was jeans and a white shirt, so that has always stayed in my mind I guess! A white t-shirt can be worn with just about anything - style it up or down, but no matter how much or how little I have to pack, a white tee is always in my luggage. This one is from H&M and is only $9.99.
When I was pregnant, I discovered Ban Refresh wipes - they are amazing. And I always have a pack in my bag, whether I am traveling or not. They leave your skin feeling powdery fresh and almost as if you had a chance to shower. Lately though, for the sake of keeping fewer things in my bag, I have been using these Johnson & Johnson Hand & Face wipes. They are great as well and perfectly fine to use on Caleb.
I hope these make your travels a little better, just like they have made mine more enjoyable!
I've already expressed my love for fall. One of my favorite things about not so hot temperatures is being able to have soup without feeling like you are burning from the inside out. I love soup, especially homemade soup. And I really enjoy making soup myself. A few weeks ago, we had a bout of bad weather and it was raining all day every day. It was still hot as hell, but it was definitely soup weather to me. I had also started feeling like a cold was coming on. Last winter, my dad made a carrot ginger soup that I couldn't get enough of, so I decided I would make that, but then I realized I also had butternut squash, so I decided to add that into the mix as well.
The result was a savory, hearty soup with the nice kick of fresh ginger. It was so yummy. I was a little worried Caleb wouldn't like it because of the kick of the ginger, but he loved it as much as I did, and kept asking me for was (more).
I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we did!
This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches.
If you're anything like me, you are over summer and the heat and you are ready for the textures, scents, and flavors of fall. I'm an especially huge fan of everything fall. It's just too bad that in South Florida, it's pretty tough to get good use out of our fall wardrobes. So I try to incorporate fall accessories and textures in different ways, ones that won't necessarily make me sweat my makeup off. I turn to richer, deeper colors, dark nail polishes and lip colors.
When I saw these JORD Wood Watches, I knew that they would be a great addition to my fall accessory collection. I went with this watch, which is a dark sandalwood, because I love dark wood, and I figured it would be a nice contrast to the watches I already wear.
The watch is beautiful. It is a lovely addition to my accessories and fits into my wardrobe seamlessly. For this look, I complimented it with some beaded bracelets that my mom made a few years back and this cork bracelet from Mieroglyphs (use code ATAATK10 for 10% off yours!). One of my absolute favorite things about this watch, and what surprised me most about it, it how light it is. It weighs almost nothing. This makes it even easier for me to incorporate into my collection, because it isn't a cumbersome thing to wear on my wrist. While I added other accessories to this look, I often wear it on its own because it is just so lightweight.
If you like this watch, check out some of their other women's watches - they really have some gorgeous ones!
And guess what? If you like my watch, follow the link below and enter to win $75 towards your own wood watch! One person will win a $75 e-gift certificate. But just for entering, JORD will be sending you a $20 code to use in their shop!
The contest will close 9/18 at 11:59pm. Both the $75 and the $20 codes will expire on 1/31/2017.
p.s. I have to give photo credit to my awesome husband! He did an amazing job capturing me!
Before I say a word, I want to make something really clear. I know that I am incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom. I know how many women would love to be in my position. I do not take for granted the amazing gift I have been given, and I really try not to complain about this. That being said, being a stay-at-home mom is probably the most tiresome, nonstop, and lonely job I have ever held.
I worked for a few months after maternity leave while I was finishing the school year. It wasn't a long time, but I can say that I have experienced both sides of the coin, even if just for a little bit. I know what it feels like to have to leave your baby every day. I know what it feels like to know that someone else is snuggling with your little one and experiencing their milestones while you're out there hustling. I know.
I never planned on being a stay-at-home mom. I always dreamed of being a mom. But from the day Eddie and I were married, he always said he wanted for me to be able to stay home with our children. His mom worked from home for most of their lives, and he loved knowing that his mom was there for them and able to drop them off in the mornings and pick them up in the afternoons. I willingly agreed, dreaming of days at the park, snuggling in bed, being in the best shape of my life, and having a perfectly clean and organized home. When I finally started telling people I was leaving my full time job to raise my son, the moms who had been there would constantly tell me, "It's the best thing you can do. You're going to love it." I think that they really meant it, but I also think they were hiding something from me - something that you can only understand when you have been day in and day out with your children. So I kept dreaming of sunshine, daisies, lazy mornings, and cuddles.
Well. This turned out differently than I had planned.
The first few months were like a vacation. Sleep in late, go for walks, have lunch with friends, schedule playdates. Those first few months were the stuff my dreams of being a stay-at-home mom were made of. But Caleb was barely mobile then. The older he gets, the harder it is to keep him entertained.
We go to the park, but we also live in South Florida, which makes it a little unbearable to be outdoors for extended amounts of time for a few months of the year. Playdates have become more sparse as more friends start daycare or mommies return to work. Snuggling in bed usually means I'm getting beat up or jumped on. Those dreams of being in amazing shape? My gym didn't include childcare, so it was an additional expense I didn't want to incur. At-home workouts do not work for me, and I feel bad dumping Caleb on Eddie when he walks through the door after having been at a stressful job all day. And that perfectly clean and organized home? Well, let's just laugh about that together, shall we?
It's also much more lonely than I had imagined. I never realized how crucial those lunches with my coworkers were. Or even the conversations I would have with my middle schoolers about current events, sports, travel, or food (for middle school students I had some pretty big foodies in my classes). Sometimes I start chatting with a neighbor or with someone I bump into while I am out, and I talk their ear off. Afterwards I feel like the awkward kid in class who said way too much. But sometimes, that's the only adult interaction I have had all day. So I'm sorry for talking your ear off, neighbor, but I'm losing my shit over here.
Being a stay-at-home mom is a lot like running the longest marathon ever, one in which there is no end in sight. Once he started sleeping through the night it was a little more bearable, but this kid still wakes up around 6 each morning. He's nonstop until about 11, when he naps, and then he's up at 1 and is nonstop again until about 8. I never thought I'd miss my commute to and from work, but truth be told, those 20 minutes to myself twice a day would probably be my favorite time of the day right now. I also had time to read the news when I got to work, sit and drink my coffee or tea, and enjoy my break. But now, I never stop. These posts? I usually write them during naptime, in between switching loads of laundry or loading the dishwasher, or between trips to pull my toddler down from whatever dangerous precipice he has decided to dangle from. Even going to the bathroom is an exercise in being more slick than your one and a half year old. The point is, I don't ever stop.
As a matter of fact, Eddie was home a little earlier than usual yesterday, and Caleb was in his prime hour of being cranky and clingy. After playing with him and trying to distract him for a little bit, Eddie turned to me and asked me, "Is he really like this all day? Are you sure you don't want to send him to school?" We laughed it off, but no joke - I thought about it!
And before you judge me for being whiny, I'm not even complaining - I swear, I am not. All I'm saying is that this isn't exactly the dream life I had imagined in my head. I'm keeping it real out there for anyone who thinks being a stay-at-home mom is easy, and that all I do all day is sit on the couch and watch TV (hello, dream day).
I wouldn't change this life for anything in the world. Because in between the loneliness and the tantrums and the 576,257 hours spent in the kitchen, sometimes (just sometimes) I do get hugs and I do get cuddles and I do get to experience all the great moments I always wanted to experience. And there is nothing that can replace that.
And you, mama - if you're a stay-at-home mom and you're feeling the weight of never having time for yourself - know that I'm right there with you. So go find a neighbor whose ear you can talk off, and have zero apologies for it.
Yesterday morning, I got a text message from my dad. He explained that my mom wouldn't be home until late and if we wanted a last minute date night, that he was available to watch Caleb for us. Naturally, we jumped at the chance, because duh, free babysitting. We decided on a movie (Jason Bourne, so good!) and dinner. Since we were doing something a little more low key, I figured I would keep it casual.
Since it's Labor Day weekend, I figured I'd break out a true summer outfit one last time. I know we're all gearing up for fall colors and flavors (seriously can't wait for all things pumpkin), but it's still officially summer so I'm going to enjoy my white jeans and my espadrilles. I'm also a huge fan of statement necklaces, because I tend to dress on the more simple side and I feel like statement necklaces really help me express my style and personality. I also don't change my earrings, so necklaces are my favorite way to change things up.
Eddie actually gave me this shirt for my birthday and I knew it would look perfect with white jeans. However, that was a problem, since I didn't own white jeans. So I gave in and bought this pair of boyfriend jeans. When I put the outfit on, I felt like it could use a pop of color, and this neon necklace was exactly what it needed. I had bought it at the beginning of summer and had only used it a couple of times, but I was happy with this look! It was perfect for our low key date night and the hubs loved it!
I I also put him to work and made him take these pics of me. ;) I think he did a pretty good job, right?
Anyway, I hope you all enjoy your last official weekend of summer... Cheers to sunshine and happy days!
necklace: New York & Company
jeans: New York & Company
bag: Louis Vuitton
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.