After taking a break from all extracurricular activities during the previous holiday, I realized something. During the entire break we didn't take any pictures. On Thanksgiving, with all my friends and family here, we focused primarily on each other. Even though the table we set beautifully, the food was placed on the best platters I had and everyone was dressed in their Thanksgiving best, we sat around the table and enjoyed each others' company and the delicious food. We laughed and talked and had a wonderful time. We lived in the moment of being with family and friends and being thankful what we had in front of us.
In this day and age, we are consumed with taking pictures, videos or GIFs to entertain or show off what we have (or don't have). We forget to just...enjoy life. I find myself looking at food and thinking, "I need to take a picture of that to post on *blank*" I had to stop myself for exposing too much. Granted, having a blog does make you expose more of yourself than normal, but I write this out to give people a little perspective. You see, on Thanksgiving day I had every intention of taking pics for my blog post. Pictures of the food, the table settings and all the trimmings of my life. But as the day went on, I was so consumed with my family and friends I hardly had any time to stop to find my phone to take a couple "candid" pics.
Those memories will be ingrained in our minds for years to come. Not because we took the time to take pictures, but because we took the time to cherish each other and live in the moment.
Even though as a society we are well documented, we aren't very observant of the world around us. Have you walked down the street these days? What do you see? People buried in their screens. I saw a young woman nearly run over because she wasn't paying attention to where she was walking, but too involved in her phone (she was actually taking pictures of something).
This is not a sermon and I'm condemning those who are on their phones, it was just a wake up call for me, to just enjoy the moment and live in it. Who knows if or when the next moment will come. You don't want to miss it. Take pictures, but with your mind, record what happens, but with your memory. Love those around you, not through a text, but through actual interaction.
In James 4:14 it says "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" Tomorrow is not promised to us. So let's start enjoying each other today!
I have been behind on my blog/recipes posts for the past two months. I've tried my best to keep up with my test kitchen. Trying new recipes and new styles of cooking. But to be quite frank, I'm exhausted. Even as I type this, Puffin Rock is playing on the tablet next to the computer screen and a toddler is sitting on my lap whilst eagerly watching his favorite show.
As a type "A" personality, I want to be able to "do it all", but, it's nearly impossible these days. When I was single, napping was the furthest thing from my mind. But now, as a wife and mother of two, naps have become my best friend (when I can get them). Since my eldest (bonus daughter) has entered my life, sleep and I have started a long distance relationship. And since pregnancy, we rarely see each other. All night long I'm thinking of all the chores, and errands I need to do. All the while, I'm trying to hear out for both kids. "Is the baby crying?" "Did she just fall out of her bed?!" (yes, I've had those actual thoughts). And what makes it even harder, my husband works third shift and has a second job. So feeling like a single parent has become the platform of this life we call ours.
Why are you so tired? You may ask? Here's what a day in our life looks like:
5:30am I wake up, rather I get up, because I've already been awake since my husband left at midnight. The baby is soon to follow.
6:45am I wake the eldest up. Then head to the kitchen to make breakfast and lunch boxes
7:30am We all eat and talk to my mom on video chat.
8-8:25am Bible lesson study or catch up of homework from the night before.
8:30am Head to school to drop off the eldest.
9am The youngin and I get home and he finishes his nap (hopefully) or we head to the grocery store to stock up for the week.
10-10:30am I have school with the lil man and we have "outside time" or a reading circle.
12pm Nap time (hopefully) and I do church work or blog. (I am the communications director and music leader at our church, not to mention a deaconess)
1:30pm Play time
2:00pm Snack time
2:30pm Run errands and if by some miracle there are no errands to run I get a break. But let's note: A "break" with a toddler, is no break at all.
4pm Pick up the eldest from school and then if its that particular day of the week she has her horse riding lessons. Which means we will not get home until 7pm, but my husband is usually gracious enough to get takeaway for dinner.
5pm Make dinner and yell at the kids to stop messing with each other. Yes, even though they are 8 years apart, they still seem to get on each other's nerves.
6pm Eat dinner and make sure that the eldest has all of her information for homework and she will be completing it sometime that evening.
7pm Sit for a minute or two and help the eldest with homework before the youngest starts pawing at me to nurse screaming "night night" to go to bed.
7:30pm I may or may not fall asleep with the youngin.
8:45pm My alarm goes off to make sure I'm awake to make sure the eldest has finished her homework and she's on her route to head to bed. (she has a nightly checklist)
9pm I crawl into bed and attempt to fall asleep.
10:45pm My alarm goes off for my husband's sake to make sure he wakes up for his shift. And if by some miracle, I'm still asleep my husband wakes me up at midnight to say "goodbye"
12:01am I lie in bed and go over my life choices.
1am I check my facebook (ever notice my updates are at the bewitching hour?)
2-3am The youngin wakes up from a dream and needs to- no, DEMANDS to be cuddled.
3-4am Silence, and I sleep for a wee bit.
5:30am My day starts all over again.
So as you can see. As a stay-at-home-mom, I do not sit around eating bon-bons all day. I'm exhausted, but I wouldn't want it any other way. I may be tired and I may not get to see my husband for days at a time (passing ships) But I wouldn't change it for the world. I love being here seeing all the growth my lil' man has done that day. Or being able to make breakfast, lunch and dinner for my family. Or being able to pick my girl up from school so she doesn't have to ride the bus. So next time a woman tells you she's a stay-at-home-mom, THINK before you say "Oh you're so lucky, you get to sleep in" (I've actually had someone say this to me before) No my friend. I have worked harder being at home than I EVER did in the corporate world. And I am tired. Very, very tired. Maybe when you see a mom looking overwhelmed, haggard and just plain tired go to her and say "You are doing awesome." She may need to hear it that day.
Have you asked the question: "Okay, I'm going to do this, but if I'm not eating meat, where do I get my protein?"
Well, I'm glad you asked! Here is some awesome info on some plant-based proteins!
1cup Cooked Quinoa = 8g Protein
Quinoa is an awesome, and delicious plant based protein that has a little secret: its not a grain, its a seed that acts like a grain! This complete protein is so versatile. You can replace rice, pasta, or even your morning granola with this hearty helper!
1cup Cooked Lentils = 9g Protein
Part of the Legume family, these little guys pack a big punch! They are jam-packed with folate, magnesium, high in fiber and full of iron. Which makes them a part of a heart healthy diet!
1cup Cooked Chickpeas = 15g Protein
Chickpeas are my personal favorite go-to protein pods! They are hearty and delicious. They are also a part of a heart healthy diet and full of folate which can help the body fight cancer cells. Not to mention, this is where we get our aquafaba and where would be we without that, amirite?!
4. Pumpkin Seeds
1cup Pumpkin Seeds = 12g Protein
Tis' the season for these little babies! They are best when roasted and easy to eat! They are a great source of zinc and the very best way to benefit from a specific nutrient is to get it in as many forms as possible, and according to The World’s Healthiest Foods, recent research shows that pumpkin seeds contain “alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol, alpha-tocomonoenol, and gamma-tocomonoenol. These last two forms have only recently been discovered in pumpkin seeds, and their health benefits—including antioxidant benefits—are a topic of current interest in vitamin E research, since their bioavailability might be greater than some of the other vitamin E forms.”
So eat up and enjoy!
5. Black Beans
1cup Black Beans = 13g Protein
These are a GREAT source of protein, and not to mention very delish! The contain a huge amount of fiber (15 g of your daily intake) and are an excellent source of ALA Omega-3 fatty acids, copper, Vitamin B-1, manganese, iron, phosphorous and magnesium.
1cup Almonds = 30g Protein
Our last, but certainly not least, plant-based protein we will discuss are Almonds. Delicious and nutritious and very versatile. Of all of the tree nuts, almonds are the highest in protein, fiber, Vitamin E, calcium, niacin and riboflavin.
I hoped this has help you try to sort out what will work best for you and your family. Remember, there are dozens of ways to get your protein with a plant-based diet, you just have to research for yourself. And always remember to color your plate!
You ever have anyone say to you, "Wow! You can do it All! You are a Superwoman!"? I hear that way too often. Don't get me wrong, this is not a post to boast about myself, quite the contrary. I may look like I've got it together, but to tell you the truth, I'm exhausted. I'm tired of always being so organized, but if I'm not organized my head will explode because things are out of order. I'm tired of making food from scratch everyday, but if I don't my family will die because of the terrible chemicals that reek havoc on our bodies from the scary preservatives in boxed foods. I'm absolutely over being on the church board and music leader and communications director of the church, but I'm afraid if I'm not, who will take those positions?
Do you see? I'm not perfect, I'm bloody overwhelmed. Even now as I'm typing this out, my toddler is screaming his head off because he wants to constantly be on my boob and I told him "no". And frankly, I don't feel like picking him up to make him feel better, but I will.
Some days I don't feel like a good mom, other days I feel like I can take on the world. Today I felt like I accomplished nothing. I dropped the first born off at school, the second one decided today was the day he wasn't going to nap after the school drop off. I literally looked up at the clock and it was already 3pm almost time to sit in the all-dreaded carpool line. What did I get done today? As I reflected on that question I was surprised at my own answer: I spent time with my son. We played games, we danced around the house, we learned about the letter "b" and number "2". We learned about "on and off" with the light switch. I got to stock up on the potential hurricane Irma with my husband. I got to FaceTime with my mom and sister. And I had a homemade sit-down dinner with my awesome kids.
So even though I didn't do EVERYTHING I wanted to do, I got to spend time with the people I hold most dear. The people who make my world go 'round.
Sometimes feeling the need to be perfect can really wear down a mom. We tend to be our harshest critics, not to mention all the mom-shamers out there. I'm here to tell you, it's ok to be a little messy, it's alright to give your kid a French fry, the transfat from it won't kill him instantly. As long as we are with our families and making memories, teaching our children life lessons, giving them the wisdom we have acquired over the years. That's what makes you a superwoman. Loving your family unconditionally, even though you may not like them at moments...(believe me, it happens). Keeping your kids safe and happy and making them know that they are loved are some of the most important things we can do as mothers.
So stop comparing yourself to the mom who seems to have it all together and you look like you haven't gotten to your laundry in over two weeks. You'll get there, just get through today and worry about tomorrow another day. You got this mama! You are amazing! And I mean that with every fiber of my being. You are loved and appreciated.
When my husband and I decided to go full on plant-based with our diets, it was completely unexpected, out-of-the-blue and surprisingly easy for us because we were doing it together! It hit us both at the same time because we wanted to be healthier and better for our kids. It may have been easy for us, but not everyone finds it to be so simple. Here are a few tips to help you get on the right track with starting your new life-style change.
1. Get Organized
This one can be a bit overwhelming, but hear me out. Go on your favorite websites/apps like Pinterest and the like and research. Get some ideas on meal plans, menus and recipes that would appeal to you and your family. Create a board, chart, or folder that has all of your research compiled into one place so it's easy to find.
2. Survey Your Family
Ask your family what they want to eat, what they would like to see on their plates. If you are taking this on with your whole family, they should have say in what they all eat. There's nothing worse than preparing a feast and no one wants to eat it. Have a family meeting and discuss this. It will really make your kids feel involved and excited about the process and will make them more prone to eat their food if they know they had a hand in making it happen.
3. Plan Your Menus In Advance
Planning family meals are hard enough, then you throw in food you've never really made before, it can be brutal! Try planning your menus out a week in advance, then try a month and so on. I use an app call "What's on the Menu". It helps you organze your menus and you can even convert them into PDFs for easy printing. Just start small and put items on the menu you know your family will eat.
4. Make Shopping Lists
If you know me at all, you know that I am HUGE on shopping lists! I even make my lists according to the way the store is laid out (you DO NOT need to do that lol) By doing this, it makes your life so much easier and also helps you stay on budget.
5. Check Out the Plant-Based Scene in Your Area
There are a lot more places that are becoming hip with the plant-based diet. Panera Bread has a current campaign for their new Plant-Based Menu. We have several vegan and vegetarian restaurants in our area and more are coming. So before you go out to eat and get frustrated and only order a salad, check out what's out there. Try something new!
I hope this helps your in your endeavor to better and healthy eating. No matter what diet you choose, always stay focused and make sure you have support!
I didn't have a great day yesterday. In fact, I had a bad day. At least I thought I did at first. Let me explain: The day began as any other, 6am, my toddler wakes up with his daily "hi's". What are those? Well, immediately after waking up, my son says "hi" to everyone he knows. "Hi TaTa(mama), Hi Dada, Hi guy (no idea who that is) Hi babe (again, no idea)" and so on. He then stands up in his crib and smiles in my direction. It's a great way to wake up, don't get me wrong. But as the morning progressed, my sweet little angel seemed to take a trip to opposite land.
He screamed and cried throughout the morning for one reason or another. He was ready to eat, he cried. He bumped his head ever so slightly, he cried. I walked two inches from him, he cried. I think you get the picture. It got to the point where I wanted to cry along with him. My feelings of anxiety were screaming out of my skin. I felt like I was going to have a panic attack. I took a deep breath and calmed myself down and looked at the time. It was 8:30am, time for his morning nap. He fell asleep no problem. I felt a sense of calm enter the house. As I sat down to read an email, he woke up only 35 mintues into his normally 1.5hour nap!
He sat up and began to cry, huge tears rolled down his chubby cheeks. I held him close, but could feel my anxiety creeping upon me again. I tried to regulate my breathing to calm myself so not to lose it. He finally calmed down and wanted to play with his books, so I sat him down and I sat back down on the couch and watched him play. After what only felt like a moment I realized it was time to get ready for a lunch date I had with a friend of mine and her 1 year old son. I sat up and grabbed and outfit for the half naked chubster. Brought him over to the changing table and fought with an unusually strong 1 year old which was normally an easy task. He rolled, twisted, cried, turned, jumped up, crawled away, but finally I was victorious and got him clothed! I dashed into the bathroom and did what I could with my hair and make up (which is brush hair, eye liner...done) all the while, yelling "No!" six or seven times as he got into various things in the closet. Finally we are ready and as I send a text to let her know we are on the way, he rips off his shoes and shirt and runs down the hallway screaming with delight. I chase after him frantically grabbing the articles of clothing as I stumble down the hallway after him.
The day seemed to slow pace after that, until we started driving down the road. It seemed as though everyone on the road got the memo that I wasn't having the best day and were all there to make sure it continued. I was cut off four times in a span of 2 miles. I got honked at, for no apparent reason and was flipped off as well. I finally made it to our destination when all the overflow parking was closed off due to a firefighter and police exercise, during lunch hour, in a random restaurant parking lot. No problem, we ended up going to another restaurant down the road which was equally nice, but I turned down the wrong road and passed the restaurant completely. I had to turn around in another parking lot to get back to the road I needed, but was cut off by a van would was trying to turn around in the middle of the road.
Finally, we made it! My anxiety was maxed out at this point in my day. But THANKFULLY, nothing eventful happened during lunch. Just fellowship and catching up. The boys had a great time and so did we, the moms who needed a lunch out on a seemingly nice day. We said our goodbyes and my little man fell asleep five minutes down the road.
As I watched him sleep, his bottom lip poked out and his cheeks flushed from excitement, I realized something, I was so very blessed this day. This time last year, I was admitted to the hospital for dangerously high blood pressure. So high in fact, that I was in danger of having a stroke. I had monitors and gadgets taped and wired to me and my lil guy. I had been induced and the contractions were coming on so strong that I couldn't see straight. My water had broken, but no progress had been made and he decided to float back up. They finally asked me if I wanted to continue or have him taken out, because after 48hours of labor, I had only progressed to 4cm!! This was not my birth plan, this was not how things were supposed to go. I was supposed to be at the birth center, in a luxury hotel like room with my family all around me as we sang songs and they encouraged me whilst I laid back in the spa tub to give birth to our little baby boy. Doing it all natural, no drugs at all. And here I was, in a hospital, induced, demanding drugs and epidural, now faced with not having him the "natural way"?
They took him via C-section at 4:37am August 16th, 2016. When I first heard his cry, all of the "bad day" I was complaining about earlier was so worth it. I will go through a million of these so called "bad days" just to be able to remember, the first time I was able to hold my little guy. Seeing his face for the first time and hearing the nurse scream out because he peed on her (haha, classic). How could I possibly complain about my "bad day" when I hear his laugh, see him smile and being on the receiving end of his wonderful hugs and kisses. "I prayed for this child, and the Lord has given me what I asked of him" 1 Samuel 1:27. I thank God everyday for this child. He chose me to be his mother and I am blessed for it.
I know we all have bad days, and its ok. But let's try to remember what makes everyday a good day. We woke up, our families, friends, jobs, careers, food(just me? m'kay) We have so much to be thankful for if only we take the time to see.
a mom. And I am so incredibly happy about that. I get to stay home and do what I love for the people I love! I cook. I cook everyday, for every meal. All my meals are from scratch and get this, they are all plant-based. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not some "crunchy mom" who has to have everything organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, etc.. (not that there's anything wrong with that) I'm just a mom that doesn't want to eat meat products. So there.
So, yeah most of (if not all) of my posts will be about vegan or plant-based meals. And yes, I know how to cook meat, and yes, I know what it tastes like. I used to eat meat, but I just don't anymore. One sec, Excuse me whilst I get the pillow stuffing that my kid just pulled out everywhere... And I'm back! Luckily he didn't eat any...at least I didn't find any in his mouth this time.
Back to the blog! I loved being a chef. I really did. I enjoyed to hustle of the kitchen. I craved the screaming over everyone. My favorite was when I got to run the kitchen and I gave out an order and heard "Yes Chef" in unison, still gives me goose bumps. But when I became a mom, all of the thrill was gone. I craved something else, something new. I wanted to stay home with my kids. So here I am now, a stay-at-home mom with a blog! How original, right? I believe I'm like one in a million of mommy blogs that flood your social media timelines. What makes me different? Frankly, I don't know. I'm just me and I don't pretend to be anyone else. Love me or hate me, I will be consistent and that's all I ask from anyone else. I'm no expert. I'm not a master chef, I don't have a masters in child rearing or education. I'm just a simple gal who wants to help out her fellow moms-in-need. So, if you liked what you read, sign up for my weekly blog posts and recipes. Most of my recipes will be my own original concoctions. Enjoy the ride, as we will be taking it together!