Date your hubby๐Ÿ˜˜

After children the spark sometimes doesn’t shine as bright. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there… it just needs a little more to get it ignited again. Dating, marriage, having children are all amazing steps in a relationship… they are the building blocks and foundation of a marriage. But there is a point when you get into the daily grind of normalcy that you forget to date, flirt, and fall in love daily with your spouse. Children are blessings. I count mine every single day. For my husband and I pregnancy was very difficult and we are truly thankful for our two healthy children, but being parents is a stressful job. You wake up and go to bed parents. There are no breaks, no vacation time, no clock you can punch out when you have had enough. This can put a large strain on a relationship. Don’t even think to count in the additional stress of a job, buying a house, financial stress, family, the list goes on. There are so many outside influences that can pull on a marriage. I know this because I am speaking from experience. When I say we have been through it all, we have. In our 5 years of marriage we have pretty much seen it all.. and we are more in love than ever. That doesn’t mean it is all butterflies and roses. That wouldn’t be real. We have good times and bad… I think every healthy relationship does. The one thing we have always done is make the time for date night. We haven’t always been able to afford a date night.. or had a baby sitter, but that doesn’t mean we have skipped a week. My husband and I try to have a date night once a week. If we are stuck home we buy our favorite meats and cheeses and throw together a charcuterie board with a bottle of wine! If we are fortunate enough to have a baby sitter we run like hell out the door dressed up.. I actually wear make up … and go out to eat. Sometimes it’s a nice restaurant… others if mortgage is due that week, we get a cheeseburger. It isn’t about what we are eating or where we are … it’s about being together. We hold hands and act like we are dating. It’s only and hour or two but it’s in those moments we remember who we were before kids… and why we fell in love. We talk mostly about our beautiful girls at dinner and can’t wait to get home, but that’s not the point. In those moments it’s about my husband and I. This is what keeps our relationship going… keeps us going. Keeps our spark alive. These are the building blocks to our marriage, to our family, to the life we are building together.

Daily calendar to keep your toddler on task ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜Š

In September my 3 year old started preschool for the first time. She was excited for the first day, but the excitement soon turned into tears… and then fear. She was never away from the house or me and thus was experiencing separation anxiety. She only had school two days a week (Tuesday and Thursday) and we call these the “T” days. She would wake up every single day and ask “do I have school today?” as she teared up assuming that she did. I knew I needed to do something not only to prepare her for school days but to also give her something to look forward to for other days during the week. I found this awesome calendar and created this system for Sophia. I worked on her special calendar for hours that night. I went online searching the perfect photos for school, dance class, church, gymnastics, crafts, cooking, the list goes on. I placed a velcro circle on the back of each printed picture icon and the coordinating sticky piece on the calendar for the days of the week. The calendar comes with the days of the week, the months, and a great chart for daily weather. Each morning Sophia wakes up and sings her song from school…” what is the weather?” and looks out our window before placing the weather for the day. She also now recognizes the days of the week and places that on the calendar. This helps her to know what today is and which picture icon is for today so she can be excited for her daily activity! She is now super excited about school and I think it totally helped to look at the calendar and see I have school on Tuesday but gymnastics after! The visual for my toddler worked wonders! It’s a great tool for moms! The calendar is super cheap! I found it on Amazon for around $15!!! Then moms you can get creative with your own picture icons. I promise this will be an asset to you and your kids! I don’t know what our days would be like without a daily calendar! I love that Sophia knows the days of the week and the months too! I hope you try out or method and make this calendar too! Send me pics of your creations!!!! ๐Ÿ˜Š

https://www.amazon.com/Trend-Enterprises-Calendar-Bulletin-T-8096/dp/B0007WXIVY

Making dinner time fun for your littles… ** recipe** ๐Ÿ˜‹

If your toddler is anything like mine they are the pickiest eaters in the world! My three year old could practically live off of mac and cheese, grilled cheese, and sweets if I let her. Once I allowed her in the kitchen with me and encouraged her to help me cook she started to show interest in trying more foods. I can’t say she likes more foods… but at least she’s trying them. As a mom I’ll take that as progress!! I have been reconstructing some of our family favorites to make them more kid friendly and exciting in hopes that Sophia would have interest in our dinner and not request mac and cheese… again. Tonight’s dinner was a huge success! I used my family recipe for meatloaf and made them into little “cupcakes”. The best part about this was they were done cooking in 30 minutes… how awesome is that?!? I made homemade mashed potatoes and piped them on top to look like frosting and threw them in the broiler for less than 5 minutes. Add a few green beans… and bam dinner is served and kid approved! This ended up being such a fun family dinner I had to share! Mommy had a meeting tonight so I rushed out and blogged a little later! Hopefully you will get around to trying this family recipe and loving it like we did! Let me know what you think!!! โ˜บ๏ธ

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

(Meatloaf cupcakes)

1 lb ground beef

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1 egg

Salt pepper

1/4 cup ketchup

12 count cupcake pan sprayed with cooking spray *

Mix ingredients and place evenly into cupcake pan. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes

*Mashed potatoes*

You can use your own favorite recipe, ones from the box, or check out my quick homemade version below.

Peel and chop 5-6 small potatoes into cubes. Place into pot with water and boil until fork tender. ( about 35 minutes ) Add 2 tablespoons of butter – 3 tablespoons of milk – salt and pepper- blend with hand mixer.

I piped the potatoes on top of the meatloaf cupcakes to look like frosting but you can just place with a spoon. Place under broiler in oven on low for 3-5 minutes watching top of potatoes for nice golden brown peaks.

Enjoy!!!!

The Breast, the Bottle, the Debate…. the struggle is real!

Three and a half years ago when I became a first time mom I thought I had it all figured out. I bought the books, read the articles, went to the classes, I was prepared to breastfeed my baby when she was born. The moment she was delivered and we did skin to skin she started to latch and I thought to myself this is a piece of cake… boy was I naive. I still remember that second night in the hospital and how she screamed… even as a new mom I just knew something was not right. I talked to the nurses and realized my milk was not coming in. This continued to be the issue for me for a while. We went through several check ups and weight loss visits to finally come to the conclusion I had to supplement with formula. I was heartbroken. This was not my plan. In time my milk came in but I never fully had “enough” no matter how hard I tried or what tricks I would do. It seemed the teas, cookies, pills, everything that worked for everyone else, just didn’t work for me. I continued supplementing for a few months until I realized my daughter was so unhappy I thought she was colicky. We brought her to the dr and the dr suggested instead of nursing to give a full formula bottle… and pump instead…she sucked the thing down in seconds. I had nothing to show for with my pumping … I cried but realized it was best for my child to be fed and happy. I decided it was time to let go of breastfeeding.

This time around my story is different. With my second child I had more milk then I knew what to do with. I had milk already at 37 weeks pregnant. My second daughter latched right away, started gaining weight, and was doing awesome with nursing. It was like a dream come true, especially after what I went through in the past. I developed an infection after delivery and needed to be put on antibiotics. The Dr. tried every “safe for nursing” option on the market for almost two months. I was not getting better, I was getting much worse. We had no choice but to go on a very strong antibiotic for a month, but I had to stop breastfeeding immediately. I never built up a supply in the freezer so I had to turn to formula right away. I was crushed. I had the option to pump and dump…. but after a week this just wasn’t working for me having a toddler. My daughter took really well to formula, which was a blessing, but that doesn’t change how much my heart broke. This time it was breaking because I had so much milk… but I couldn’t give it to my daughter because I was sick. I needed to talk to someone, to understand it was ok. I had a long conversation with the consultant at the pediatric office, she was amazing. She helped me to understand it wasn’t my fault and my daughter was healthy, happy, and eating. These are the most important things. That strung a cord in me. This great debate over breast is best… bottle is better… a mom needs to know she is feeding her baby and doing the best she can do. That is amazing! Bringing a child into the world is scary and you can honestly never predict what is going to happen next. You can have a plan, my gosh I always do, but as a mom you need to be able to adapt if that plan doesn’t work out. To the moms who are holding their babies close maybe nursing them as they read this post, enjoy every single moment… what you’re giving your child is golden and those moments are memories to cherish for a lifetime. To the moms out there going through a decision to stop breast feeding, or maybe to not breast feed at all… I send you love and encouragement. To all the mamas out there no matter how you feed your baby… remember in those moments hold them close, make memories that last a lifetime, and cherish every second, because they won’t be this little forever.

Play dates… more for them or for you?! ๐Ÿ˜Š

I remember when my first daughter was old enough to start interacting with other children. I started looking into activities at the town library. I was nervous and excited to meet other moms and secretly hoping to make some friends. I had a few girlfriends, but they hadn’t had children yet, so we had started to lose touch. The library was fun and I met a few nice moms with babies the same age as mine. We learned of a fun local mommy group in town and soon started to meet at the playground. These play dates were great and my daughter would absolutely get out her energy … what mom isn’t hoping for that?!?! We would get home just in time for lunch and nap! It was perfect!!! We live in the Northeast and well… it gets cold a large part of the year. Outside play dates with large groups are awesome, but not practical from October – April in CT! A few of the moms I had met and carried on conversations with… you know the ones you would secretly think to yourself “gosh…. they would be perfect mommy besties one day”… decided to have a playdate at their house. I was super excited I was invited but continued to play it cool! I was more excited to hang with these moms then I think my daughter was to play with the kids! I was so nervous showing up at the 2’s group play date! I remember walking to the door wondering what other moms would show up and if we would have things in common in such a small house setting. This play date was the start of it all… our kids had a lot of fun together and the best part is us moms hit it off too! We started to have regular play dates taking turns at each others houses and planning events at different places in or around town. We created a bond that is hard to explain. It’s been a year and a half now and the friends we have made became family. Our children have grown up together. Some of them have started preschool together, some have activities together, we do paint class together, we have even gotten our husbands together! Our most favorite times are when we leave our kids home and have our mommy night outs! This group has started to grow and become even more awesome with new mamas! Some of us have had new babies. We have had baby showers for each other and truly grown to care for one another. I’m not saying every group you find will be like this one. I can honestly say I am not sure there is another group out there like my group of mommy friends. I count my blessings every single day for them. If you’re a mommy out there looking to find your special group of friends I encourage you to go to your local library, join your local mommy social media groups, check out your town playgrounds and engage with other mamas! I’m so glad I did! You may be surprised with what you might find! Today’s playdate was awesome!!!! Check out the crafts we made! ๐Ÿ’•โค๏ธ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ

You got a Rotisserie Chicken… You have dinner! *RECIPE*

Ever need to make dinner quick but have no clue where to start? I have the perfect answer for you… Chicken Fajita Soup! Its healthy, simple, gluten free, and the best part is it’s made with a rotisserie chicken!!!!!!! I mean how much easier does it get?!?! Tuesday’s we have gymnastics so I need to not only make dinner before we leave the house, but it also needs to be something make-a-head, and ready to be eaten when we walk in the door. Tuesday is also my grocery day and I always order my trusty rotisserie chicken! I decided to experiment and make a soup today… and my goodness it was insanely good! I could not wait for the girls to fall asleep so I could jump on the computer, type up the recipe, and share it with you all. This recipe took me literally 10 minutes to throw together and I let it cook on the stove for about 25 minutes before I turned it off and ran out the house. That is it! I left it sitting there turned off with the lid on! We came home and it was delicious! Trust me when I say this is a quick meal you will not be disappointed in making! Try it and let me know what you think!! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Ingredients :

Rotisserie Chicken

1 Red bell pepper

1 Green bell pepper

1 small onion

1 15oz can black beans (drained)

1 12oz can corn (drained)

1 15oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes

1 32 ozย  box chicken stock

1 packet McCormick fajita seasoning

2 tbsp. olive oil

* toppingsย  cheese, sour cream, corn chips, avocado, jalapeรฑo, scallions

 

Put olive oil in pot over medium high heat. Dice onion and peppers and sautรฉ in oil till slightly transparent. While onions and peppers are cooking take meat off chicken. (I used both light and dark meat.) Add chicken to onion and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Add diced tomatoes, fill tomato can with water, and add to pot. Add chicken stock, beans, corn, and stir in seasoning packet. Let simmer on stove for 25-45 minutes depending on how much time you have. Soup is cooked and ready to eat after 25 minutes! *** If you like things a little spicy add a jalapeรฑo to the onion and peppers … Yummy!!! Top with cheese, sour cream, chips, scallions, … anything you want ! Enjoy

 

 

Groceries ordered online and brought to your car … can I get a ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ

As you all know I’m a big fan of shopping online! There is no exception when it comes to grocery shopping. I was hesitant in the beginning when I heard of buying your groceries online and having other people shop for you. I just was not sure if they were going to care about my meat selection the way I would, or take extra time to make sure the blueberries weren’t moldy. After I had my second baby I gave this Shoprite from home thing a try… and let me tell you I never looked back! I still remember that first order. It took me almost two hours to figure out what I was doing. Flash forward to today and I can complete my order in under an hour from my bed, while watching tv after the girls are asleep. That to me is golden! Each week I order my groceries at night to be picked up the next morning. Let me just take a moment to say something about the customer service … it’s incredible! If they have out of stock items they call and try their best to accommodate you with a replacement item. Today I called them once I was parked to say I had a sleeping baby in the car and asked if they would bring my groceries out to me. In under 5 minutes my groceries were loaded into my SUV for me without my asking… and they even brought my daughter stickers! See I’m a weekly shopper and they have gotten to know me and my girls… so they take the extra time and care. That means something to a busy mom and her kids. I am letting all the moms out there who maybe haven’t gotten in on this Shoprite from home secret yet… or have been hesitant to try it out. It is incredible! You will not be disappointed! Give it a try! ๐Ÿ˜Š

And then there’s Regression…Thank goodness for wine!

Being a stay at home mom is wonderful. I am honestly blessed with the ability to be home with my girls watching them grow and learn, not missing out on those special moments. Those are the times you feel so lucky to have this job title… but then you have days like today. Like I said I am keeping it real. Today I opened my eyes and knew it was just going to be that kind of day. I kissed my sweet toddler and said good morning honey… and she grunted and kicked me. Yup… it was going to be that kind of day. All of that wonderful potty training we have been doing this past week flushed down the drain…..pun intended….. and ended up in her pants thanks to that thing called regression. Our playdate for the morning never happened thanks to tantrums, running and almost falling down the stairs….and when I didn’t think it could get much worse, I get locked out of my toddlers bedroom… by my toddler! Oh yes… this was all before lunch time! You might be thinking where was the baby during all of this? That sweet 8 month old was crying through it all not sure what was going on. I was yelling, Sophia was yelling… Oh and did I mention my husband works from home? LOL yup that’s right! The poor guy is an executive that has a home office here when is he not traveling… I could only imagine what the candidates on the other end of his calls were thinking about our circus here this morning. I had to realize what was going on and look at the bigger picture. I was stressed and not thinking clearly and obviously something was upsetting Sophia. I decided to take a step back from potty training for the day. I had to do what was best for Sophia for today and honestly get our house back on track. After several hours of a downward spiral I knew it was just not going to get any better. I took a deep breath, wiped the tears out of my eyes, and poured myself a glass of wine. It wasn’t a big one, but it was enough to calm my nerves and reset my mind. No judgement here… I didn’t fail…. I just hit the reset button.. even moms get those, Right?! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Heart Shaped Shortbread Cookies…. Kids can do themselves!

Sophia has been absolutely crazy this morning… that is for another post and it includes wine! But this one is about cookies mamas! ๐Ÿ™‚ I decided I needed to redirect her and myself this morning and do something we both love before we both lost our minds completely. Sophia and I love to bake together. The problem was I have yet to do my weekly shopping, so I looked in my pantry to see what I had and what I could whip up quickly while Priscilla was happily sitting in her highchair. I had the basics flour, powdered sugar, and some extracts left over from Christmas baking. I looked in the fridge and I had just enough butter to do the job! I ran to the microwave and put the two sticks of butter in to do a quick soften… I was not wasting any time on this “Happy Train”! We were making Cookies! These cookies are my all time favorite go to! They are simple, require very few ingredients, and they have no eggs in them, which is perfect for the toddler snacking fingers. We decided to use our heart shaped cookie cutter since Valentines Day is just a few days away and we are in the spirit in this house making Valentines! In just 12 short minutes the cookies were a perfect golden brown… we were singing the sweet sounds of Motown on Pandora… and our day just got a little bit Sweeter! If you are thinking about baking with your children and don’t know where to start these cookies would be perfect. They are safe because they don’t have eggs and you would not need to be cautious about hand washing throughout the entire process. You can enjoy the experience a little bit more! These are a low stress and extremely tasty cookie! I hope you try them out and let me know what you think!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ We can’t wait to hear what you think of our recipe !

 

http://normalmommy.com/recipes/

Cherish the small victories.. and eat the cake :)

I woke up today just not feeling it! You know what I mean right? I felt bloated, uncomfortable, well lets just say it unhappy with myself! I am a mom and my baby is now 8 months old which means my body is still trying to navigate it’s way back to where it should be. Let’s be honest for a moment though… How many moms out there are feeling this way right now? You may be pregnant, post partum a few months, or even a few years. See before I had my girls I lived a different lifestyle. I competed in beauty pageants and I was a fitness instructor. I was always working out and eating incredibly healthy. I am not saying these things are not still important to me, I still want to eat right and live a healthy lifestyle, but this is NOT my top priority! I love being a Mom and a Wife! I am all about finding balance in life. I try to eat healthy 85-90% of the time, but I also love to bake with my daughter and splurge on cheat meals with my hubby! Don’t even get me started on how much I love my glass of wine or my beer every now and then too! I love working out, but there are some days I am so tired I cannot even get myself to shower or comb my hair let alone put in a workout DVD or get to the gym! There is always something that you are striving for or wanting to achieve with your body. I don’t care who you are or how perfect you are… there is something! For myself I would love to still lose a little more weight, a few more inches but I am taking my time. See this morning when I was feeling so down I knew the scale would not be my friend for the next few days. That is just how the timing of this month works, instead I decided to get a better frame of mind. I was not going to let my crabby rainy day mood ruin my Sunday for my self or my family! I looked in my closet and said what can I throw on today. I did it… I grabbed a button up shirt that my goodness I have not been able to wearย  in almost two years if you count pregnancy and postpartum. To my surprise it not only fit … it buttoned up!!! This small non-scale victory changed the entire outlook on my day, it changed my mood. I went from being depressed to feeling good about myself. I have spent so much time focusing on what I was eating, if I was working out, what the scale was saying, that I never took the time to see what my clothes had to say. Moms we are strong beautiful warriors of life. Our bodies do some incredible things. We have created tiny little humans and it is not easy on our bodies. We are far too hard on ourselves. My scale may never read what it once did, and I am at peace with that. I have decided to spend more time being proud of all I have accomplished and take more time to relish in the small victories like buttoning up a shirt! You get what I am saying right? Stop being your hardest critic! You’re a great Mom. You are amazingly Normal in your own body! Own it! Now for me… I’m heading to celebrate my Mamas birthday and eat Cake!!!!!! And P.S….. I had a cheeseburger for lunch too….here’s to you PMS!!!