Cake smash…. dressing up a store bought cake!

Priscilla is 11 months old today!!!! That means it’s time to start planing that very exciting first birthday! Now that we are settled into our home it is time to start planning! I have the theme all ready to go and found the most adorable dress at the local TJ Maxx for photos! We all know no one year old’s birthday is complete without a cake smash!!!!! A cake smash is a fun photo shoot where you have an adorable tiny cake and you dress your soon to be one year old up and let them go crazy eating the cake in hopes for some of the most amazing pictures ever!!!! I made Sophia’s cake from scratch and it took two days. It was beautiful and Minnie Mouse themed. You see it lasted seconds and that wasn’t the point of the photos.. it was all about the messy baby cuteness. I learned with baby number two how to do a few mommy hacks and get the same effect in much less time. What Mom doesn’t love a mommy hack?!?! I went to the local grocery store and purchased a small round cake that happened to have rainbow sprinkles on it!!!

Sprinkles…What a win! I bought a few sticks of butter, a bag of confectioners sugar, and some red food coloring! I was ready to doctor up this little cake and make it something photo worthy! After dance class today while I had a few minutes before dinner I whipped up the homemade frosting and decorated the cake. The entire process from start to clean up took me less than 25 minutes! I love making homemade buttercream frosting! I think it tastes so much better than the stuff in the can, and it holds up so much nicer on a cake! It takes just minutes in a mixer and it’s so much fun to make with your children. Sophia jumped up on her kitchen helper and helped me make the frosting… and of course taste it too! I created sweet little swirls to resemble the tiny flowers on Priscilla’s dress and the store bought cake was transformed into the perfect cake smash cake!!! So excited for tomorrow’s photo shoot! Can’t believe my baby girl will be 1 next month!

Frosting Recipe:

2 sticks of butter softened

3-4 cups of confectioners sugar ( depending on how sweet you like your frosting)

4 drops of red food coloring ( any coloring of your choice) I wanted pink frosting!

Vanilla extract ( 1 teaspoon)

Whip butter and vanilla add food coloring.

Add sugar 1 cup at a time mixing slowly while scraping sides of bowl.

Mix well till light and fluffy. Pipe on to cake!

Finding time to love myself…. and finding my love for Sanctuary Beauty too!

I always dreamed about what it would be like to be a mommy one day. I knew it would be one of the greatest moments of my life and I couldn’t wait to have children. I would watch moms and think gosh that looks like so much fun, I can’t wait for that day to come. Fast forward many years, I now have two beautiful little girls and a wonderful husband. I am a mommy and a wife. Is it everything I imagined it would be? Of course, and so much more! I smile as I say so much more… because my goodness this mommy thing is hard work. I would see it in the movies, or in a glimpse of life out in public through a stranger’s eyes, but I never knew exactly what my life would be like as a mother. It is wonderful, magical, more love than I could have ever imagined my heart could hold…. but it is tiring, stressful, crazy, and dramatic. Yes I said it, dramatic from every aspect of the word. My day begins early when my baby girl Priscilla wakes up for her bottle and runs crazy with my toddler Sophia….who by the way now sleeps in our bed with us till 10 pm at night. That’s for a different post. I don’t have much of a break throughout the day. I am downright “Mommy Tired”. I created this phrase because when my husband finishes work for the day and looks at me with a puzzled face when I am still in my pajamas and unwashed physique…. I only need to utter that one phrase.

 

You see I suffer from this crazy migraine condition called hemiplegic migraines. They completely wipe me out when an episode comes on. I try to control them as best I can with daily medication, but the doctor tells me I need a lot of rest and to reduce my stress. Come on!!!! I am a mom of a toddler and a baby girl…. sleep and reduce my stress?!? How can that be on my medical agenda? That is when I decided to start to look at options to take care of myself better from the inside out. I decided it was time to start finding “mommy moments” to heal my mind and de-stress my self the best way I knew how! Taking a bath always seemed like a crazy task that I just didn’t have the time for. Like if anyone in the house was getting a bath it was the children. But I quickly learned my mommy bath time was more for my mind than anyone being clean. I found that even escaping into the bathroom for thirty minutes, moving over the rubber ducky, and soaking in the tub was all I needed to hit the reset button. Ok…Ok…. I may have had a glass of a certain pink wine too… but that’s not a big deal .. it only helps with the relaxation. It’s all part of the process.

When searching for the perfect “Mommy Bath” experience I came across an awesome company called Sanctuary Beauty and Bath. They make the most incredible bath bombs I have used in my entire life. I immediately loved them because she was a fellow mommy like me and I love to support moms in business, but I also loved what she stood for. She founded this business because she was going through her own personal experience with post partum depression and wanted to help other women who may be going through something similar in their life and needed an outlet of healing. Her philosophy is finding the time to take care of yourself and your well being which will in turn help you to take care of your family better. Just taking a simple hot bath with these incredible bath bombs is all you need to unlock your senses and feel amazing.ย The first one I chose to use was called Balance. It smells like lavender and within seconds of putting it into my bathtub the scents filled my entire bathroom. I felt as though I was in a spa. It smelled truly incredible. For the first time I actually felt relaxed. The combination of the hot bath and this amazing bath bomb was all I needed to put my crazy day into balance. I got out of the bathtub and my skin felt amazing. I slept the best I have slept in a long time after that single bath. I cannot wait to take another one.

“Sanctuary Beauty was born out of a strong desire to enable women to prioritize their health and well being by providing all natural bath, essential oil bath and beauty products that promote stress reduction and healing.”

https://sanctuarybeautyandbath.com/

When you have had a long day or you are feeling like an overwhelmed Mommy… I encourage you to take a few minutes to yourself. Go for a walk, read a book, or do your favorite thing and take a nice hot bath with an amazing smelling Bath Bomb!!!! Taking a few “Mommy Moments” to hit the reset button is key to being a good mom. You need it and trust me your family needs you to take these moments too! It makes you a healthy mom. You need to not only keep your body healthy, but your mind too. Check out my good friend and fellow mommy’s website above and trust me when I tell you these bath bombs are by far the best out there. It will change your entire bath experience.

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

What to do when you have too many overripe bananas?!?! Normally I make a banana bread, but today I decided why not try something different. I had a block of cream cheese in the fridge and some extra butter. I decided to whip up a cake for afternoon snack and it was delicious! It’s a nice sweet indulgent change to the traditional loaf cake/ bread we are all used to making! Hope you like it as much as we do!

Banana Cake

Preheat oven 350 degrees

1/2 cup butter 1 stick softened

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 mashed bananas

In a med/ large bowl mix softened butter and both sugars until mixed well and soft. ( I used a hand mixer today) Add both eggs and whip together. Mix in sour cream and vanilla. Next add baking soda and salt. Slowly add in flour. In a separate bowl mash bananas and add to larger bowl. Mix batter with spoon. Spread into a 9×13 greased cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes depending on your oven. Mine took 30 minutes.

Let cool completely before frosting cake ******

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 tablespoons butter softened

1 8 ounce block cream cheese softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Mix butter and cream cheese till softened and add vanilla. Mix well. Add sugar slowly mixing with hand mixer 1/2 cup at a time. Spread evenly on top of cake! Enjoy!!! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Night Terrors…. more Terrifying for them or you?

Sophia’s visit to the doctor was traumatizing for her. She didn’t like being held down for the flu or strep test, which resulted in her becoming projectile ill. This was a very upsetting event for her and I … but I don’t think I realized after leaving that day just how much it affected poor Sophia.

That night Sophia had what I now know to be her first night terror. She woke up about 45 minutes after falling asleep trembling, thrashing, screaming, and vomiting. She was visibly upset.. but still had a high fever and was still very sick. We were not aware at the time what was happening and thought this was just her fever and illness. This same situation has happened the past 4 nights in the exact same way. As parents we have become afraid. We couldn’t understand what was happening. Sophia was acting ok during the day and not stomach sick at all, but then she would fall asleep and within an hour awake abruptly and be violently ill. I have to be honest after so many nights my mind started to wander and I laid awake googling for any answers to what could be happening to my little girl. Some things I came across frightened me… then I stumbled upon night terrors and it made perfect sense. Last night Sophia woke for her night terror and this time it was the worst one yet. It lasted over 30 minutes and she was completely out of it. She went through the same motions of the doctor visit, getting violently ill, screaming for water and wanting to go home , but this time we couldn’t break her out of it. She just wasn’t coming out of her terror and we were so scared. Just when we got to the point of calling the doctors after hours line she finally settled and fell asleep. I was up for hours after this episode with my husband in tears feeling hopeless and worried for my little girl. From what I have read there isn’t much we can do but let this time in her life run its course. Apparently night terrors come from a deep rooted fear or a traumatic time in their life. The doctor visit must have really upset her to the point of being a traumatic event that triggered these night terrors. We decided to plan a special Sophia day today and bring Priscilla to Nana’s house. We went to the arcade and mini golfing. We finally had nice weather and blew up her bounce house, had a bubble bath, and even ended the night with ice cream. Our hope is that if we fill her mind with new fun memories it could bump out the traumatic ones. We also read in articles written by experts to wake your child 30 minutes after falling asleep before the terror normally starts to try to break the cycle. Our hope is by doing these events today we could break the cycle of night terrors for Sophia. As parents this is truly one of the most heartbreaking things to watch your child go through. The worst part of the entire thing is you can’t wake them up from it.. you have to wait and pray for it to end. We are praying last night was the last of the night terrors and tonight we will all get some much needed sleep. We are so thankful that Sophia has no memory of her night terrors and she had so much fun with mommy and daddy today.

First Day of Soccer!!!!

Today was an awesome day … today was Sophia’s first day of soccer! We pulled into the parking lot of the field and she said to us ” I’m so excited I’ve been waiting for this day my whole life!” She has been so excited to play soccer for months! She started showing interest in the sport months ago and Santa just so happened to bring a soccer goal and ball for Christmas this year. Needless to say the passion has grown the past few months. Since her soccer gear showed up the beginning of the week she has been wearing her cleats, shin guards , and new outfit around the house daily! She couldn’t wait for her first game! Today was the day… that moment finally came! She got to the field and for the first time had to find her coach and new teammates. She was no longer with mommy and daddy. This was a big milestone for almost 4 year old Sophia. She was nervous at first and asked us to stay close by … but within minutes she was running with her friends and smiling bigger than we have ever seen. They practiced for the first thirty minutes. It was awesome to see Sophia running drills with her team and actually learning to kick the ball running. She looked like a little natural on the field. The last thirty minutes of today was her first game… and it was adorable!!! Watching the kids run and kick the ball was priceless. Most of them were so adorable and honestly too sweet to know the real game of soccer to steal the ball from the other team. You see all of the kids mostly know each other from preschool or play dates. They didn’t want to steal the ball… that’s not nice. We will see how the rest of the season plays out… I’m sure by the last game this will change. It was so awesome to watch our little girl play a sport that she seems to love and she asked us to play. At her young age she is showing so much interest in things that she wants to try and learn. She is involved in dance, gymnastics, and now soccer. It is so important for kids to be involved in activities. It has taught Sophia independence, to follow directions, to be a team player, and to make new friends, even at the young age of 3. As a mom I encourage other moms to look at your towns recreation leagues to see what they have to offer. I was surprised Sophia was old enough to try soccer and she loved it! The town teams are affordable and gives your child a chance to explore all types of sports! At the very least it’s a great place to make new friends for your child and for the parents! I cannot say enough about the friends we have made and the family play dates we have! It’s a win win for everyone! The weather is finally nice and it’s the perfect time to explore what your hometown has to offer!!!!

Am I the only one…?

Y’all am I the only one that opts to do my beauty care at home?

I didn’t think much of my little monthly routine until this morning. I was in the shower washing away my hair dye… yes I dye my own hair. And Sophia was banging on the glass shower doors because her iPad died. Of course it did!!! The ten minutes I actually needed to be in the shower… the little iPad guy would not work! You see I have dark brown … well black hair and I am going gray! Not too much, but just in my part… and enough where you can notice it! I used to love to go to the salon… those few hours of alone time were glorious! I would spend days picking out the photos of celebs I wanted to look like, hairstyles I loved, and the perfect cut and color!!! The problem was I just never actually loved my hair when I left. No matter where I went, how much I spent, I just didn’t love it. I decided to just stick to the good old box dye. I’m sure the hair stylists are cringing now! So this morning I put Priscilla down for a nap and attacked my pesky grays! While looking in the mirror I noticed I could use a little “at home” wax sesh as well! Come on ladies… I know for sure I am not the only one here! I used to go to the nail salon for this, but I found doing it myself with the microwave wax was way less painful and I saved a ton of money too! I’m a European girl so you can see when I need to pay a little attention to my eyebrows and lip area… there I said it… ๐Ÿ˜‚… so I attacked that this morning too! I was having the perfect mommy-me-time twenty minutes and I just kept thinking to myself ” wow this is perfect”. Of course that all went down hill when the iPad died, Sophia threw a tantrum, Priscilla woke up, and I was left rushing to get the dye out of my hair. There went my blissful mommy shower I was dreaming of. So I sat and wondered why the heck do I do this to myself? Why do I decide to do these things at home? Why don’t I just give the salon another try? I know for certain my mommy mental state could use it! Is it the control aspect of knowing the outcome of my hair color every time? Or that when I pull that wax off… I control the pain?!?! So that brought me to my blog and my questions …. Moms… do you choose to go to a salon for these beauty services ?!?! Or do you do them at home like me ?!?!

I can’t be the only one!!!!

Itโ€™s ok to feel this way

It’s ok to feel this way….

Have you ever had a moment where you just cried in public? That was me today. It’s been a crazy 48 hours. We had a wicked storm that left us with no power for several hours and a flooded basement with damage to our new home. In the midst of all of the chaos from sucking the water out of the basement Sophia started to not feel well. It came on sudden and so did the nasty fever. My husband and I who were already exhausted from the day’s events didn’t get much sleep watching her and checking her temperature every hour that night. Yesterday she seemed to get worse as I monitored her per the doctors orders. I was doing everything I could to keep her hydrated and keep the fever down. We continued to deal with our flooded basement and I just kept thinking “I feel overwhelmed but I don’t have time to react!” Last night Sophia became stomach sick which led to another sleepless night… and ultimately a doctor visit today. I carried my sick little toddler with her very high fever into the doctor… and the nurse looked at me and asked… is she ok? I lost it and started to cry…. ugly public cry. I didn’t know if she was ok… she seemed so sick. As a mom you just wish you could flip a switch and fix it right then and there. I can’t make her better. I’ve watched her just lay on the couch for days which isn’t her typical toddler self…. and now she is laying in my arms. So yes mamas I cried in public today. I don’t know if it was my fear, or exhaustion, or the fact that my house was flooded…. I’m not sure but I just cried. I sat there in the doctor’s tiny office with sickness all over me … because Sophia doesn’t tolerate tests well… crying. The doctor came in and looked at me. She said it’s ok to feel this way. I stopped. She said yes she’s sick, we are going to figure out what it is and give her medicine. You’re keeping her fever down… you’re a good mom. You’re doing everything right. I said I can’t believe I cried. She smiled and said we are all moms and we have all been where you are today… remember it’s ok to feel this way.

Healthy Taco & Brown Rice Bowls

I had a totally different dinner in mind when Hubby went to the grocery store with a list of items I needed. We had a crazy storm today resulting in lost power and a flooded basement so the poor guy had his mind on other things when he was shopping for me. He came home forgetting the corn tortillas for the dinner I was going to make which forced me to think outside of the box and come up with this delish taco and rice bowl! This is a new weeknight favorite in our household!

Taco & Brown Rice Bowls

1 lb lean ground beef

1 package Mc Cormick taco seasoning

1 jalapeรฑo

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow onion small

1 15 ounce can fire roast diced tomatoes

1 15 ounce can corn

1 15 ounce can black beans

1 15 ounce can red beans

1 15 ounce can tomato sauce

2 containers of brown minute rice (quick cook 60 second )

Chili powder

Olive oil

Salt & Pepper

Toppings

Shredded cheddar cheese

Scallions

Sour cream

Tomatoes

Avocado

Coat two medium to large skillets with olive oil on med / high heat. Dice onion and divide evenly into both pans. Chop peppers and add to one pan with onion. Add ground beef to skillet with onions and peppers. Cook till brown. In other skillet cook onion till slightly golden and add tomato sauce and beans, bring to a slight boil. Season with salt and pepper. Add in both containers of minute rice and cover. Leave rice alone. Add taco season and fire roasted diced tomatoes to meat skillet and stir till combined. In a small saucepan heat black beans with chili powder to taste.

Building your bowls ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ˜‹

I layered rice and red beans, meat mixture, black beans, corn, cheese, ( I repeated these steps again for the Hubby)!

I topped these with chopped avocado, diced tomato, shredded cheddar cheese, scallions, and sour cream! Enjoy!!

Super healthy and filling Mexican dinner! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

Buying a family home

So much went into our decision to buy our new home. We have looked at homes for years it seems and just never found “the one”. We never knew exactly what we were looking for but always knew when it was right we would just know. A few months ago on our way home from church we decided to go to an open house, simply because we didn’t have anything else to do that afternoon. It was for a house we were not that interested in, but we thought why not. Trying to find a home that our toddler liked has been hard. She hasn’t seemed to feel settled since we moved from our condo that we sold last year and that was our number one priority. We included her in this entire process because in our family that is what is most important. If she truly didn’t like a house, or didn’t feel comfortable inside… we simply wouldn’t move forward. There was something special about this house though… Sophia walked right in as if she knew. It was a sprawling ranch, not a colonial like we had looked at in the past. She loved how everything was on one floor and there were no “monster” noises coming from upstairs, because there were no more stairs. After looking at all of the rooms inside she couldn’t wait to run through the big yard.. at that moment we knew.. this was the house. We left talking about how much fun we would have playing outside once we brought her toys there.. and all of the wonderful family memories we would make. Today was the first day we were able to make that dream a reality. We finally had nice weather in New England and it’s the first full weekend we are in our new home! We did our normal weekend errands and our traditional Stew Leonardโ€™s trip and then came home to play outside. The girls had so much fun playing in the yard and we even grilled burgers for dinner! It’s only day one and we have started to create amazing family memories in our new home. It’s funny when we started this process we had so many ideas of what we thought we wanted. It turned out everything we ever needed was in this house on the hill. Seeing how happy our girls were today made my husband and I feel something I can’t put into words. If you’re searching for a new home like we were and having a hard time finding the perfect one, maybe putting what your family truly needs into perspective like we did will help…..or just go into a random open house and let your toddler lead the way! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so glad we found this house. I love our new home.

Toddler Tantrums.. whatโ€™s really going on?!?

These past few days have been interesting. I think that’s the best word I can find to describe my three year old at this moment…. interesting. Her mood changes with the wind. She goes from happy to sad, angry to sweet in a matter of seconds. I can honestly say it’s exhausting to watch. She has adopted the name “Betty” as in “Bipolar Betty ” and I honestly at times wonder could she be bipolar? What is going on in this little human body to make her change emotions so quickly… and become so completely irrational!?!?! We were driving home to our new house yesterday and we happened to go past our old street… let me just say that caused an epic tantrum … one for the books. I think the people in the car next to me were in shock looking into the car window. My toddler was so upset and went through every single emotion. “Why did we move to a new house?” “Why did you take my toys to a new house?” “Why is daddy on a business trip?” Oh it went on and on.. with crying , kicking, screaming. After we got home and I calmed her down she actually had a long talk with me. Yes my three and a half year old decided it was time to have a conversation with me. She is so wise beyond her years. I sat in amazement and listened. She explained to me that yelling at her makes her sad, and makes her yell at me. When she kicks me it’s because she is angry and she is sorry. When I put her in her room on time out she is scared. She went on with this very adult like conversation for almost 10 minutes. That night I started to think about the source of her tantrums this week, and there have been many. I wonder if the change of moving into a new house, daddy going on a business trip, maybe my parenting ways of discipline just weren’t working for her. It’s not a one size fits all. Maybe she is sensitive. Maybe this move hit her more than an average toddler. Today I took a step back, and when she got upset and started to tantrum I didn’t engage. I stayed calm. I listened and hugged her. I realized right now she doesn’t need to know right from wrong or yes or no, she needs to know everything is ok in our new home and will be normal again. I think these tantrums were her acting out because everything was changing. I was the one that needed to stop and realize that. Hoping once things start to feel normal again for her , she will calm down and those tantrums will subside. She took comfort in fixing things. She wanted to play doctor and make sure all of her animals felt better. I guess I was on to something … she needed to make sure all of her toys were ok…..just like I need to make sure she was doing ok. I think as parents we assume our toddlers are too young to understand what is going on, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. My little girl was reaching out for attention in hopes that mommy would make it all better. Maybe the way she acted was wrong and yes I need to correct that, but right now she needs extra love and cuddles. Hope my story will help another mom, who may be wondering what is going on with their toddler’s tantrums, to look at the bigger picture like I did. ๐Ÿ˜˜