Strawberry & Blueberry Oat Bars

Baking with young children is so important to get their motor skills working and get them excited about trying new foods! My daughter and I love to bake treats together and I happen to have some berries in the fridge that looked like they needed to be used. I decided to make a healthy oatmeal treat that required no eggs and would be fun for Sophia to help me make. These kinds of treats are the most fun for Sophia because she loves to lick her fingers and the spoon and I don’t have to worry about contamination from the egg. I made the berry compote about 45 minutes before we started the oatmeal bars so it had time to cool before Sophia touched it. If you don’t have berries or you don’t have the time to make it from scratch, you can always use some preserves in a jar. This was a quick simple recipe that tasted delicious right out of the oven and even better once it was cooked completely! 😊

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup flour

1 stick melted butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch salt

* Berry Compote*

1 cup blueberries

1 cup halved strawberries

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup water

Bring to boil stirring constantly … cook on high heat for 10 minutes till thickened. Turn off and take off burner. Let cool.

Melt butter in microwave safe bowl for 45 seconds. Mix in brown sugar and vanilla. Add oats and mix well. Add flour and salt. Spray 8×8 pan and spread 2/3 of mixture in bottom of pan pressing firmly. Pour cooled berry mixture evenly across pan. Place remainder of oat and flour mixture over top evenly making like a crumble topping. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Spinach Tortellini White Bean Soup

Tonight’s dinner came to me in desperation. I needed to find a meal that I could not only stomach but that I could make quickly since it was gymnastics night. On Tuesday nights we get home around 5:30 and try to get bath time out of the way as soon as we walk through the door… I don’t know if you have small children… but that is a task all on its own. So when it comes to dinner… it has to be fast, and require very little clean up after. I have been researching vegetarian dinners that would be light on my still recovering tummy, but also satisfy my meat and potatoes hubby. That is where my Spinach Tortellini White Bean Soup was born! I started the base of this soup literally at 3pm today.. turned it off at 3:20, left it on the stove and ran out the door. We came home and I turned it back on and gave the girls a bath. I threw the tortellini in and we were eating within 5 minutes. It was literally that simple. I always ask my husband to rate my dinners that I create 1-10. I have only had one bad rating in our marriage … we wont talk about that meal… but tonight’s meatless dinner he gave a 9!!! So of course I rushed to the laptop to share it with all of you! I hope you can get to the store, grab these few simple ingredients, and give it a try this week! It’s an awesome simple meal and healthy too! If you get to try it out please let me know what you think!!! 🙂

Spinach Tortellini White Bean Soup

1 small yellow onion chopped fine

2 -3 stalks celery chopped fine

1 cup carrots chopped fine

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon parsley

1 15oz can chickpeas drained

1 5oz container fresh baby spinach

1 32 oz container vegetable stock

1 90z container fresh cheese tortellini

Salt and pepper to taste

*Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 cup of water

Fresh grated parmesan cheese for topping!!

Heat olive oil over med high heat and sauté onion, celery, and carrots with all spices. Add stock and bring to boil. Add chickpeas and spinach. Let soup boil for 20 minutes or longer depending on the time you have. ( I turned mine off and ran to gymnastics, left it on the stove and came back to add tortellini… turned out perfect!) Next add tortellini and cook for 5-7 minutes until soft. Soup is ready!!! Serve with fresh grated parmesan cheese on top! 🙂

Family favorite energy balls… toddler approved 👍🏻

I started eating these energy balls when I was nursing my first baby … and I haven’t stopped since! They are not only awesome as milk producers for lactating mamas, but they are delicious, and a healthy family friendly snack! I introduced them to my toddler when I had her baby sister and I was nervous she wouldn’t like them because they had flax seeds… but to my surprise she loved them!!!! I think anything that has chocolate chips can be yummy… and my three year old agrees! 👍🏻 I love that we can make them together and it’s even better they are a healthy “treat” that makes a great afternoon snack. I throw a batch together and leave them in the fridge. They have even become popular with my hubby… and that honestly was a shocker to me! He isn’t a huge health kick fan… but he loves these little energy balls. The biggest test was when I had family visiting to see my baby when she was born. These energy balls were in my fridge and my teenage nephews went crazy over them… so much so my sister went home and made them! 🙌🏼 Huge win for this “Organic Auntie” (as they all call me)…over here!!! After being sick and weak I decided I needed to have a boost of energy so Sophia and I whipped up a batch this morning! I hope you get to try these out in your kitchen … trust me your kids will love them too! 😉

Energy Balls

2 cups dry oatmeal

3/4 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup flaxseeds

1 cup natural smooth peanut butter

2/3 cup honey

Mix together and form balls place in fridge in ziplock bag. *If mixture isn’t sticking to form ball add more honey.

In sickness and in health …

When taking your wedding vows you have the best expectations, you’re at the highest point in your relationship, you’re at your best. You are looking down the path of your future together thinking you can conquer the world together no matter what obstacle is thrown your way. The term in sickness and in health is used in almost every wedding and is meant for any type of ailment. Over the past few days… my husband has seen me at my all time worst, and trust me that is saying a lot. I have a medical condition called Hemiplegic Migraine that flares up from time to time, but this my friends this was worse…. this was SEVERE food poisoning! I got sick fast and I was out for several days even needing to be in the hospital for a few hours for hydration…. ya it was ugly. My mother came to the rescue for a day, as well as my mother in law for a few hours, thank God for Grandmas!!!! With the exception of a little help from the grandparents, hubby was flying solo… or a single parent as he kept reminding me. He held me all night long that first night and never slept and still woke up with the kids that next morning. He did his best to feed the girls, keep the house somewhat clean, care for the dog, and me. He looked exhausted after day 1. Each and every day that went by he would say “are you better yet, I really need you back here”. He kept the house from burning down and the two kids, dog and fish alive so I would say he did a great job. (Although he forgot to feed the fish so it survived on its own.) After day two his patience seemed to be dwindling, the house looked like a tornado had blown through and they were all eating frozen dinners…. he was still caring for me… but I can see the desperation on his face for me to get better. He finally looked at me and said ” how do you do it”?! See I don’t think husbands understand just how hard a wife and mother work for their family… especially a stay at home mom. We work so hard all day to feed the children, take care of the pets, keep the house clean, laundry folded, maybe grocery shop, do crafts, get dinner on the table… all before our husbands even finish work for the day. For our marriage I think it was nice for my husband to see me in sickness, not just in health… recognize the things that I do for our family and appreciate them. I also completely feel I got to see my husband for the caring compassionate person he is as well… nurturing and jumping into action for our family when times are bad and I need him the most. It’s funny how a sickness or a change of pace can put things into perspective. Our marriage has always been great and we have always loved and respected one another but taking time to appreciate the things you do for each other is so important… in sickness and in health. ❤️

Threenager … is she for real right now?!?!

Do you ever find yourself arguing with your toddler and stop to remember they are only three?!?! That has been happening to me a lot lately. My daughter will be three and a half this month and my goodness I have no clue what is going on with her! Everything is “I can do it myself”… or I have to repeat myself at least three or four times when telling her to do something. Don’t even get me started on the talking back… or sassy talk as we call it in our house… and that God forsaken “No” word. She is strong willed and stubborn, but brilliant at the same time. I love how independent she has grown to be. She loves to dress herself which has turned into a production when getting ready in the morning, but that’s ok… most of the time she looks adorable. She has become so independent that she doesn’t want help for anything, which at times like when we are getting in the car, is challenging. It seems like everything lately is an argument or a struggle … I can’t tell you how many chances she goes through a day with time out. She always tells me “I have 1 finger left mommy”… we count the 5 fingers for 5 chances. I want to allow her to find her way, but I also want to teach her right from wrong. I don’t want to punish her all of the time, but I don’t want to allow her to get away with too much. Her talking back… my gosh now I understand the term threenager! She literally acts like a teenager without the actual vocabulary… thank goodness.. because I am not ready for that yet!

I also find she is walking a fine line with story telling,… I wouldn’t call it lying but story telling. How can someone so small come up with so much! I can’t help but laugh at times… she is literally hysterical with the things she does or says. It’s funny to see a little human be so strong willed and act this way. The other day I asked her “who do you think you are?” Her response… ” I’m a woman” I said honey you are three years old… she said no mommy i’m 13! Well there you have it! Point proven!! I can tell she is absorbing and learning so much at such a fast rate but not able to communicate it all as best as she can. I think there is a level of frustration that goes along with this phase in their little lives. This is also the moment in time where the biting, pinching, spitting, and grunting all come into play as well. I know and I’m speaking from experience because we have seen it all throughout the course of tantrums. We’ve dealt with them all although most have subsided, with the exception of grunting which has stuck around and comes out with the foot stomping. There must be a brain connection somewhere, somehow with development and finding independence at 3 years old … I just pray this threenager “moment in time” goes out as swiftly as it came in… and my Sweet baby girl comes back soon! I’ve been doing my research and it all seems normal for the development of a three year old… but my goodness how long does this phase last… and how do the moms get through it?!?! I mean other than wine of course?!

Working out at home with your kids….it can be done!

Since I made this promise to myself to get my body back… I decided it was time to get on some sort of schedule. This morning after I fed Priscilla breakfast and put her down for a nap, Sophia and I put on our workout clothes and grabbed our weights. I bought Sophia her very own set of weights off Amazon a few months ago so she can workout with mommy. This was a smart decision because it keeps my toddler occupied so I can get my work out in… who ever came up with this idea… genius! We have tried many workouts together from pilates , fix workouts, dance cardio, kickboxing, and zumba to name a few. Today I was super excited to try a new workout I came across this past weekend called BarreAlley. I absolutely love barre workouts. It combines everything I love in pilates , yoga, and ballet into a fun yet challenging workout that strengthens, lengthens, tightens and tones your muscles while slimming you out! Who doesn’t want to get slimmer?!?! I know I do!!! I have a curvy body to begin with so my goal is to slim down my booty and thighs not bulk up! I loved this concept of barre workouts already and have taken the classes at my local gym and owned a few DVDs, but I can’t always get to the gym as a mom of two… and I’ve grown tired of the same DVD workouts over the years. BarreAlley is essentially an online fitness class just for you! You can jump on the computer at your convenience and get a fun and very effective workout in. There are different timed workouts and variations to chose from. Today I did a 45 minute total body one and let me tell you… my thighs were burning when I walked up the stairs to get my baby from her nap…. and that’s after just one day! Imagine what can happen after a week, a month?!?! I have migraines so I have to be careful with the types of workouts I can do. Too much jumping or straining is not good for my brain. In this workout there was none of that. It was precise movements targeting muscle groups with fluid motion… no jumping or hurting this girls brain! By the time I was done with the workout I was sweating! I cannot wait to try another workout tomorrow! I am not being paid to say this, I am honestly just a mom who found a great workout option from home that wants to share the love! Going to the gym just doesn’t work for me with two kids and I need to find ways to make it work for me at home. I encourage you to take 45 minutes and do the trial class! You will love it just as much as I do! Get your sweat on and start crushing some goals ladies… right from the comfort of your living room, even if your kids are doing it right beside you! 😉

Mama gotta get in those jeans!!!

Ladies… I’m sure I’m not the only one with that pair of jeans you keep holding on to in hopes you will one day zip them up and rock them out in public.. right!!??! I had my second… and most likely last baby girl the end of May 2017 and I am still carrying the baby weight. During my first pregnancy I gained 65lbs and lost pretty much all of it with the exception of about 10 lbs which I never really cared about because I knew I wanted to get pregnant again. Trying for baby number two was a little more complicated for us and took a year. With each month that went by not getting pregnant, the depression would set in and so would the not so great eating habits. Once I became pregnant … I was again high risk and decided with the exception of walking I would not workout. This pregnancy I gained 55lbs. The weight has come off and I am right back where I was after my first baby. Yes my pre- first baby clothes are fitting again… but what about those honeymoon clothes?!!! I am happy with myself because I know how far I have come and I am so blessed to have my two beautiful little girls, but this is about me. Before I became a mom, before I got married, I was very healthy and physically fit. I want that back. That tiny glimpse back to who I was. It may only be 15 lbs from where I am today but it’s a goal I am willing to work hard to achieve. I think it is so important to not lose sight of who you are as a person once you become a wife and a mother. I think knowing who you are, being comfortable in your skin, and loving yourself makes you an even better mother and wife. These jeans, they symbolize so much more than the size… to me it’s getting back to myself. I bought these jeans in the fall, as my goal jeans. When they came in the mail I couldn’t get them past my thighs. This is real talk right here! Today I tried them on…. they are right at my booty… progress yes but not on! My goal is to get them on … zipped… and to wear them to my daughter’s first birthday! There are so many great diets and exercise programs out there… how can you chose?!?!? My plan is to follow my body and give some of them a try and let you all know what I find! I have heard amazing things about a barre class you can do from home?!?! I cannot wait to try it and I’ll let y’all know what I think! 🙌🏼 I’m just a mama on a mission to get in these jeans… who’s with me?!?

Encouraging creativity in your toddler… no matter how messy it may be!

  • My three year old…almost three and a half as she likes to say… loves to bake. She has been baking with me for a long time, almost two years, and her favorite show to watch these days is the Kids Baking Championship on Food Network. I am pretty sure we have seen every episode at least 3 times. Our normal baking strategy has been to follow a recipe and know exactly what we are making. That was not the case today. Sophia had a plan in her mind… she wanted to make grape and apple pie. I laughed and said “honey what exactly is that”? She proceeded to tell me that it would have 3 apples, a handful of grapes, salt and pepper, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. She knew exactly what she wanted in this pie. I tried to persuade her to not add the salt and pepper… and definitely stay away from the grapes. I was not looking forward to peeling the grapes one by one…. but I did exactly what she asked. I was her cooking assistant today, the roles were reversed. She was so excited to make her pie! She did every single step herself. Placed the pie crust in the dish, cut her own apples, added her spices and grapes. Every step of the way she reminded me it was her recipe and she was doing this herself. She put the top on the pie and I showed her how to pinch a small part of the crust on top. She watched closely and finished the pie herself. She poked the holes in the top and watched me put it in the oven. She waited and watched for the hour it baked so excited to see what her creation would be. After dinner we cut into her pie. She squealed with excitement and took a bite…. it was delicious. I would have never thought to add grapes to an apple pie. But you know what… I think I will from now on. Sophia was so proud of her pie and I am so proud of her creation. I think from now on I will encourage Sophia to make up more recipes when we cook or bake together. You never know I may have the next kids baking championship star right here in my kitchen. 😊 Encourage creativity in your children… you may be surprised in how it turns out.

When Nana comes to stay… Giving your first child a little special time.

Being a family of 4 is awesome… but there are times when the older child needs a little one on one time. Sophia was always a good girl. We never went through the terrible twos… but let me tell you three has been tough. I think part of it is her strong willed temperament, but the other part is the awareness of having to share mommy and daddy with her baby sister. Since we have two girls, we have shared pretty much everything between the sisters. We have passed down toys, swings, clothes, and Sophia’s crib just to name a few. She is happy to share her things most of the time, but there are those days and moments when she doesn’t want her baby sister to have her things. We try our best to give Sophia her own special attention and do things just for her. I take her with me to go grocery shopping, or we go and get our nails done just the two of us. She loves our time we spend baking together and even loves to exercise with mommy. We try to get these things done while her baby sister is napping or in her jumper. However, there aren’t very many moments that Sophia gets to spend time with just mommy and daddy alone, and she still needs those moments too. See right now her baby sister is 8 months old and doing new things. She’s starting to crawl and say quite a few words. Of course these are all moments everyone is excited about and making lots of commotion over. We decided Sophia needed a little extra attention too! When Nana offered to come stay for the weekend we were so excited! We knew we were getting some snow and this would give us an opportunity to spend a little one on one time with Sophia while Nana took care of Priscilla. This morning we woke up to 8 inches of snow. This is possibly the best snow storm ever too! It came and went overnight and the sun was shining when we woke up! When we took Sophia outside, the temperature was perfect to play! Sophia had a blast making snow angels and a snowman with mommy and daddy… and we had so much fun making memories with our little girl. I’m not saying this will drastically change her attitude overnight, but I think it’s a great step in the right direction for Sophia. Every child needs special mommy and daddy time. I think it’s great for the parents too! Beyond thankful Nana came this weekend! Happy Snow Day!

Make pizza at home with your kids! You won’t miss the take out I promise !😉

Ordering from your local pizzeria is great on those nights when you’re in a rush or just simply don’t have it in you to cook, but if you have the extra few minutes to spare… make it at home! I started making homemade pizza many years ago, but it was never as much fun as it is now doing it with my daughter. I’ve always liked making my own take out. There is just something about knowing exactly what is going into my food. I take pride in picking out my own ingredients and making my own creations. Now don’t get me wrong, there are still nights we phone in to a local take out joint and eat out of plastic containers… but most nights I chose to make my own! Sophia absolutely loves cooking with mommy so when I asked her tonight what she wanted to make she screamed pizza with so much excitement! We went to the grocery store to pick out the ingredients…. after a quick Starbucks stop of course! 🙂 You can find pizza dough at any grocery store or you can call your favorite pizza shop and buy it right from them. The best part about making pizza is there is no rhyme or reason .. no right or wrong way to do it. You can pick any toppings you like and make it your own. Sophia loves to roll out the dough … it’s her favorite part. I think most kids would love this because it is like playing with play dough. I let Sophia have free reign when making her own pizza. She adds her own sauce, seasonings, cheese, and veggies. This is a great way to get her to try new things. Tonight she decided she wanted to add olives and mushrooms to her pizza… I was hesitant.. but said ok it’s your pizza. You know what … she ate it! There is something about children making their own food … it’s pride I think, it gets them to eat what they made. Since she is such a picky eater I take that as a huge mommy win! This was a great family fun night activity. We love pizza night in our house! Our grown up pizza tasted amazing too! In just about the same time it would have taken to order and pick up a pizzeria pizza we had a homemade pizza with great memories too!