Food Blogs, Glorious Food Blogs.

I love having access to awesome, healthy, tasty recipes right at my fingertips. Trying to cook healthy all of the time is sometimes not that easy. Especially when you have little and big bellies to fill. That's why I have to give a shout out to three cooking blogs I have fallen in love with.

Happy Kitchen. Rocks
I heart this blog. No really. I do. The recipes are approachable and can fit many types of diets. It's easy to navigate and there are many recipes to choose from that are different but yet you won't feel like your on a scavenger hunt at the supermarket. The pictures are beautiful and really inspire me. Elena Szeliga likes to make food "look pretty" she says in her about section. I agree, food should be pretty before it goes down. When you're  a mom whose on the go-go-go all of the time and dinner has to be on the table to feed little people who have not mastered patience yet, this is a great site to check out. The Vegan Mexican Chopped Salad with Avocado Dressing was a knock out. I actually did tackle the Ratatouille, which is a dish that takes a little bit more time when I was able to which was a hit at my dinner table.

Yes, More Please!
This blog is as cute as can be. Again, in any cooking blog I follow, I am looking for healthy, ease,and of course delicious. I crave different also because sometimes things get a little boring in the kitchen and my audience of tasters will not judge harshly, to my face that is, but I still aim to please the taste buds of my crew. One person doesn't love sweet potatoes. Another doesn't care for kale. And I believe I heard someone say, "Quinoa what!" But when you put it all together for Sweet Potato Kale and Quinoa Fritters, you've got a whole different story.  I also love this blog because it is run by a husband and wife team. Ian and Mariana McEnroe. How cute! She cooks he photographs. Lovin in the oven. That's awesome!

Living Sweet Moments
This blog is more than just a food blog. While there are great recipes to try, there's also a little bit of everything else. Tiffany is the author and cook of this food blog and also holds a degree in Psychology. She talks about everything under the sun, parenting, household, money, entertainment and travel. The dish that I really liked was the Cauliflower Fried Rice. First of all, I love cauliflower, second, has anyone else noticed the cauliflower craze recently? This dish is a must try and this blog is a must read.

I love skimming through Pinterest for all of the fantastic pictures of yummy foods out there. I follow multiple groups from gluten free, to clean eating, to my fave the avocado. In my opinion, a picture is worth a thousand taste buds when it comes to food. I hope you enjoy these food blogs as much as I have.


Teaching My Kids, It's OK to Be You

Drawing by Ian Kelewae

I want my kids to know that it's OK to be themselves, who ever that may be. In fact, it's not just OK, it's great. It's necessary, especially in current times. We need our kids to be in touch with their inner voice and to know when and how to use it. We need our kids to be individuals and not just follow the masses blindly.

When we first moved out to our quaint little town, I was too busy working to really understand the social situation here. It wasn't until I lost my job and went back to school. I was home more often with Ian taking care of him and continuing with my studies. It wasn't until then I realized, this city girl lives in the rural suburbs and that's when the panic started to set in.

Nothing this chick can't handle, just that it's different here. I was worried that me and my artist husband were not going to fit in which really made me worry about our son Ian who was starting school. We did things different and I didn't want Ian to feel different because of our choices. I wanted him to feel like he was just like every other kid. I never said this or made a big deal out of it but kids are really smart and thinking back to it, I know he probably could feel it.

I tried my best to be what I thought was "normal". But even then I felt a little like a pariah, but I never let on. The thing that concerned me was that I could see my nervousness in Ian. I know he so badly wanted to be a part of, what ever it was to be a part of. He wanted to live in the same development his friends lived in. Play the same sports. I was trying to "normalize" our family so that we didn't stick out too much like a sore thumb.

I went back to work and I was out of the loop again, somewhat. We had made some friends and the normalcy was there, somewhat. I felt stabilized, like we had made a home here and we belonged. But at what cost? I have to admit, I wasn't totally being myself. My quirky, odd, cool ( I wish, my hubby's the cool one), smart self. Instead, all this time I had been trying to fit in so that my son could fit in.

And then it happened. My husband did this awesome mural at one of the entrances in our town. It was all over our county's newspapers because it was so controversial. There were people who loved it and people who hated it. I was too busy to get involved until things had slowed down at my firm, I finally had a chance to take notice of some things. First of all, this cute little town that I was trying so hard to conform to was filled with not so cute folks.

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Some people were so nasty and out to say horrible things about my husbands work because he used spray paint and it was not historical. While many loved it, those who had other opinions managed to get their voices heard in newspapers. So, I too had to share my opinion, my real opinion that is and get heard in the newspapers as well. It was very interesting and it brought out my feistiness, which had been missing due to my unfortunate conformity for the past few years. It felt good to be me.

But then something else happened. I had started this new job right when Ian was starting 5th grade which was a new school. His whole world had changed and I had missed it. I was so busy with work, I didn't notice that his circle of friends were changing. The boys he once called friends were now on the road to becoming jocks and that just wasn't Ian. One friend that was a really good friend was going down that same road and my little guy was just trying to go down the road of being himself. He thought like we did, you can be who ever you want to be but your friendships stay the same. A friend is a friend is a friend, right? NO!

My fears were coming true. In the long run, it didn't matter how much we tried to conform, if you are not true to yourself, it's you who loses out. All this time, I just wanted him to have a normal experience growing up here, but at the same time we were teaching him how there's a world out there filled with variety. I needed to be comfortable being me, no matter who stuck around and who left and so did he. I later learned that it was tough on him. I also learned that Ian is amazing and so strong. He stuck it out and stayed true to himself even though so called friends wouldn't even let him sit at the same lunch table with him. And because of that, he made real friends. He told me, it's just a matter of finding your people, they're everywhere, you just have to be patient. He found his people.

He's in 8th grade now, still with the same "crew". They're a bunch of good guys. I'm so inspired by them. When I drive by downtown, seeing them hang out, I see a group of teenage boys who are all equals. No one is the leader. No one is the follower. Just teenage boys hanging out, being themselves. The way it's supposed to be.

It's OK to be you. In fact, it's important. We all need to have a voice. This world needs more creators, inventors and innovative thinkers.


I think I'm breastfeeding forever.

When I nurse my little guy I feel like it's the most special thing in the entire world. It really is an amazing feeling to be able to share these moments with him. The only thing is, he’s getting bigger, and when I say bigger, I mean, he's asking for "milk", "mamas milk", that is. I was just wondering how much longer I was going to be doing this because at this rate, it feels like forever.

We were down to a night feeding and a morning feeding and soon we were going to cut out the morning feeding.  But no! Something happened. My little man has an agenda of his own and now he demands it when ever he comes near my breast. If he sense they are around,smells them, or sees them, he immediately grabs for them. In fact, he’s the boss when it comes to his "mamas milk" and whenever he wants it, he must have it right then and there. 

My husband says it looks as though he’s trying to, “boob rape” me. That doesn't sound like a  nice way to put it but little Caleb is not gentle about getting it.  He takes his arm and thrusts it down my shirt and into my bra. Next he tries to dig my breast out as though he’s taking a cantaloupe out of a grocery bag and then clumsily places my nipple in his mouth and sucks as though he’s been walking through a desert and desperately needs what could be his last drink of water. If there are any on lookers around us, he quickly glances over at them and gives them a look that clearly says, “don’t judge me”.

Ha! We all usually have a good laugh at his process. I end up feeling like I tried to put up the good fight and lost. When ever he asks for it and I convince him that I will give it to him, he waits patiently and claps his hands and says, “Milk! Milk! Milk! Yeah..” And when it’s quiet and just the two of us, we look at each other endearingly, and there is a moment of pure joy and love we share. He looks at me like, “I just love you so much Mama!” And I look at him and think, “I love you so much baby!” And then all is good.

However, he is almost 18 months and I was just wondering how much longer I would be doing this. I'm not complaining, I love having these loving moments with him but we can create other loving moments. I breastfed Ian, my first for 11 months. I simply said to him, "I think we're done", and he said, "OK, cool", and that was it.

 I know it’s becoming the thing to breastfeed your kids until they are six years old and while that may be fine for some people, that wasn’t in our plans. I can’t see picking him up from school and him asking me for a snack, and the snack being me. It looks like we may be going until two years old. But what if he wants more. What if he wants it past two? When he is capable of having a conversation, I will just have to sit him down and let him know Mamas breast are retiring. I just don't want to break his little heart.

But in the meant time, it is nice to know that there are benefits to breastfeeding your toddler. The American Academy of Pediatrics  and La Leche League suggest that mothers nurse their toddlers for up to two years. Apparently it’s a win win situation for everyone. It’s great for their bodies, fighting off colds, ear infections, staying hydrated. And it’s not too bad for the mamas as well. It helps to stave off breast and cervical cancers. So as long as it's a good thing for everyone, I will continue to do it. 


Cursing In Front Of Your Kids: What's The Big Deal!

This morning, while making breakfast I realized I had burnt the toast and immediately said, with no thought, "Shiiiiit". I looked over to my left and saw my 5 month old sitting in his bouncer, grinning at me and I said, "Oh no! Please ignore Mommy's potty mouth."  As I continued making our breakfast, I thought about the article I just read last night, "5 Reasons I Don't Give An Eff About Swearing In Front Of My Kids".

After reading this article  by Kate Levkoff, on Scary Mommy, I originally thought, "Yassssss!! Hell to the yeah!" It was funny, it made me giggle and it made me feel like my most imperfect moments are shared by other Mommy's out there. It had a comedic undertone to it and isn't the purpose of comedy to take uncomfortable situations that most people can relate to and make us laugh at it? Right away, I thought, I have to write about this on my blog and share it with everyone. As I started to write a comment on her article, congratulating her on hitting it on the nail, I was shocked at all of the other comments I saw posted.


Battling Addiction: The Age of Multiple Devices

In this new age of the smart phone, tablets, laptops, desktops, smart TVs  and many other devices, we are all guilty of spending perhaps way too much time on them. I know I use my devices for everything under the sun, from planing dinner, organizing the family calendar, checking emails, shopping, and keeping up with my social media families. But when I watch my twelve year old son on his devices, I get concerned that he's wasting his life away and may be developing an unhealthy addiction.

I recently watched this video on addiction and it helped me to look at it from a different perspective. I've always believed when we are addicted to bad habits, the way to stop is to replace it with a good habit. Stopping anything cold turkey doesn't work for most of us. That's why when people quit smoking for example, most times they go back to it because they never replaced it with something else. Their mind is always thinking about that cigarette they can't have and so they eventually trick themselves to believe that it is an addiction they can control and if they have only one once in a while they'll be fine. But sooner or later they end back to smoking regularly. I know this because I used to be a smoker.

I really enjoyed smoking too. I would plan my cigarettes out; whether I was at work, in my car, drinking coffee or a glass of wine. How did I quit? With out even realizing it at the time, I had replaced smoking with working out. Exercising has become my focus and it just didn't fit my lifestyle anymore. My days of sitting in smoky coffee houses in the city were no longer the norm. Spending time with my son, like taking him to the park or on play dates were the regular and I most definitely did not want him to expose him to smoking.

This video made by Kurzgesagt, ( German for, in a nut shell) shows a creative depiction of why we form addictions and possible ways to end them. In the video, they discuss that we need to have human connection and to not place ourselves in isolated cages. Especially dealing with hi tech devices, it's easy to form an invisible border around ourselves.


My Husband the Elephant Dad

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Drawing Credit: Ian Kelewae

This Tiger Mom in Training is married to a big, giant, soft, Elephant Dad. A tiger and an elephant together just sounds bizarre. First, what is an elephant parent?  Priyanka Sharma-Sindhar sums it up best in her article "Being an Elephant Mom in the Time of the Tiger Mother". Basically she says, "[elephant] parents who believe that they need to nurture, protect, and encourage their children, especially when they're still impressionable and very, very young".

I actually agree with this method of parenting, however, when do you draw the line and start to offer a little tough love? Sometimes my husband and I have very different ways of laying down the law. There are times our disagreements in parenting makes me look like I'm trying to rule with an iron fist. Trust me, my rules are not that overbearing. A true tiger mother might say I'm a lightweight. In fact, they might even say I'm an Elephant Parent, which, honestly, I think I am as well.


Hypnobirthing- The Art of Giving Birth

Hypno- what? That's exactly what I said when I first heard of it. I google searched hypnobirthing and I was amazed at the information I found. Having a baby with no pain? Yes please, sign me up.

Of course I looked for videos because I am a visual person and it was not enough for me to just read it, I needed to see it with my own eyes. Yes, I needed to see an actual woman giving birth to a baby using this technique. I needed to see the baby coming out and I needed to see her reaction to this. I had already taken Lamaze classes for my first child, which I ended up not even using, so the thought of paying for another useless class scared me. Yes, I said useless, to each his own, everyone has their own opinion and Lamaze was useless for me. I watched video after video of women "breathing"  their babies out. Their partners silently watched and cheered them on as these courageous women barely pushed the little ones out. Quite amazing. After hours of watching and reading, I was convinced, I made my husband watch the videos as well and we were both sold.

I'm going to describe what hypnobirthing is the best way I can.

Imagine yourself lying on the beach. The sand is warm and smooth to the touch. You hear the sounds of the waves hitting the shore and receding back into the great vastness of the ocean. The sun lightly kisses you all over your body as you lie their perfectly content with your surroundings.

Now think of the color blue, red, green, yellow. The rainbow. Isn't it awesome?

Breath... breathe.... breathe some more.

...and pop! Out comes your tiny, little bundle of joy.

Whew! You almost broke a sweat.

OK- I know, some of you are reading this and saying, oh really? If it was that simple, why aren't we all doing it this way? Why are we "pushing" our babies out, instead of "breathing" them out? The truth is, we're doing this whole baby birthing thing all wrong.

After reading Hypnobirthing: The Morgan Method, it all made sense. Giving birth became painful because someone told women it was painful. Maybe I embellish a little bit as to how easy it is. Let's put it this way, there is some discomfort, but it is a whole lot different from pain. Fear makes it painful. If you are a healthy woman and there are no other concerns, this is a great alternative to using drugs. I entered my second birth with loads of fear. This helped me to calm down and trust my baby and my body.

I was able to stay at home in a relaxed environment until my midwife suggested I come in. I walked into the hospital, walked to my room and four hours later delivered a healthy baby boy. How? I used the technique hypnobirthing. I was not hypnotized, but with practice during my pregnancy, I was able to quickly guide myself to a place of comfort while I let the baby do all the work. Yes, there was some discomfort at times, but I was able to stay calm and strong and remind myself that this is not pain. I felt like a rock star afterwards.

You ever foresee something happening that could be painful and before it even happens, you think, "ouch"? Or react as though it really did hurt but then you realize it didn't? It's similar to that. The more you scream the tighter your body gets and the more intense the feeling of discomfort becomes.

This is not for everyone and I know there are many other methods out there, but if you plan on having a baby, I highly suggest looking into it if you don't want to have to use drugs. Also, all moms are rock stars, no matter how you deliver.