Who else is loving the spring time action on the West Coast (sorry East Coasters!)? Anyways, a little flower power to brighten up your day…
NOTE: Don’t read this if your’e eating or about to eat or squeamish. Just a friendly PSA :)
So I have a totally irrational fear of throw up. Mine and anyone else’s. My husband can attest that he never witnessed me throwing up the entire decade we were together, and when I was pregnant with my first I fell into hysterics because I felt like I was about the yak. Spoiler alert: I didn’t. (The mind is stronger than the body, my friends.) So you can imagine that one of my greatest fears prior to even thinking of having kids was one day having to deal with that inevitable kid vomit. I guess I’ve been fortunate that in Little Miss’ short three years, I’ve never had to deal with it and off I lived in ignorant bliss.
This past weekend I had the brilliant idea to take Little Miss on a special Mommy-Daughter date to a nearby bakery where I was going to order a baby shower cake. After waiting for the crotchety old man who seemed to be running the show, we were finally seated in front of his ornate desk. Little Miss – with excitement shining in her eyes from all the cakes surrounding her – opens her mouth to say something… and a stream of vomit promptly flies out Exorcist-style. I guess it’s true what they say about your mom instincts kicking in, because despite my extreme hatred of this particular bodily fluid, I quickly flew to her side to comfort her when another stream came spewing out. Towards my face. I totally know what projectile vomit is now. Guys, it TOUCHED MY FACE. Seriously. Is there anything more disgusting?
The even more amazing part? I didn’t do a thing but continue to sit there and rub her back while she emptied the contents of her stomach (undigested grapes and all) in five short heaves all over her shoes, my shoes and the grumpy old man’s carpet. Yea, he was NOT happy. Basically threw me a roll of paper towels and a plastic bag and walked off in a huff. Not a single question of whether she was all right. But that’s ok, I get it, it’s gross.
Obviously, I didn’t order the cake there. Nor am I ever showing my face in there again.
Life is all about timing my friends. How this happens the one hour she was out of the house all day is beyond me, but maybe the Universe is trying to teach me a lesson in facing my fears. And you know what? It wasn’t so bad.
So it was National Coffee Day yesterday and I totally missed it! Although I guess I unknowingly “celebrated” by drinking three cups (aka survival fuel for an entire day with two kids by yourself.) So in belated honor of that drink we all need to get through a Monday – or any other day – revisit a collection of my most lusted-after coffee recipes from around the web. And to think I wrote that post when I only had one kid! Ha!
The awesome spoon pictured above can be purchased on Etsy.
So a few months ago we left our cramped apartment in the heart of the city and hightailed it on out to the ‘burbs and bought a house where each kid could have their own bedroom (score!) and there was ample free parking with NO street cleaning (I know – I thought that was impossible in LA, too.) While we’re thrilled with our super family-friendly street and the ample space, owning a house – especially once kids are already in the mix – is a ton of work. Decorating a new space once filled me with excitement and joy, now I just see the scant free hours we have slipping away while we surf endlessly online for the perfect rug, or try to haul two little ones to a furniture store (HINT: it never ends well.)
One area in our house I’ve been staring at and envisioning is this large swath of empty wall between two windows in the family room. I’ve always wanted to attempt a gallery wall, and this wall is just begging for a bunch of frames. But where to start? I quickly got lost in an internet spiral searching for prints, adding things to multiple shopping carts and never checking out. Then along came Minted. If you haven’t heard of them yet, it’s kind of a one-stop-shop for independent artists to be able to have their work showcased to the world, and for regular people like us to find them. What’s not to love?
I had long perused Minted for holiday cards every year, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that they also sold art prints. You can even get them pre-framed. One feature that I particularly love about Minted -besides feeling like you’re supporting independent artists – is the “art styling” tab where you can see gallery walls created by fabulously creative people to inspire and guide your choices. And when you click on a print, below it you’ll see curated gallery walls that incorporate that print so you can get even more ideas on how to style it – which is just so awesome.
Here are just a few of my faves – clearly you can see I’m all over the map:
And don’t even get me started on the loads of adorable prints for a nursery – that may be a whole post in itself! So I’m finally feeling ready to pull the trigger on my Minted shopping cart and can’t wait to share how it turns out!
Did you know TIllamook (yes, the cheese makers) also make oh-so-delicious ice cream? I didn’t either until they reached out to partner with them and Farm Box LA to celebrate the end of summer. (Hey, I live in SoCal, it’s still summer in these here parts, as the 90-degree weather can attest.) And who can say no to ice cream and berries? Not this girl, that’s who.
So when life gives you berries in the middle of a heat wave (fresh-picked and literally delivered to your door, thanks Farm Box LA!,) what does one do but crank up that oven and make a crunchy, gooey, sweet and tart berry crisp? Seriously – I am not a huge dessert person, but this was right up my alley. Note that I normally halve the sugar in recipes because I don’t like things that are overly sweet, so if you have a major sweet tooth, I’d suggest adding in a 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup more brown sugar.
Blueberry & Raspberry Crisp
- 2 cups blueberries
- 2 raspberries (I used gold raspberries, but traditional red would work too)
- 4 tbsp white sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups butter, sliced into cubes
- 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional – I just happen to add chia seeds to most things)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Put berries in a large bowl and carefully toss with the white sugar, place in pre-greased baking dish of choice (I used a 9×13).
- In a separate bowl (or food processor,) combine flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon and chia seeds (if using).
- Add in the cubes of butter and combine with either your hands or food processor until the mixture is crumbly.
- Sprinkle the crumbly mixture over the top of the berries, making sure it’s distributed evenly across.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes until the top looks golden brown.
- Place a healthy scoop of ice cream on top and enjoy!
While for this particular pairing, I used the Oregon Blueberry ice cream, we also received tubs of Oregon Strawberry and Oregon Black Cherry as well – all of which were extra creamy, flavorful and filled with chunks of real fruit, aka delicious.
This is a super quick and easy recipe that’s a perfect way to use up the last of those summer berries just hanging around before they go bad. And the ice cream on top? Forget about it, it’s THAT good.
Can you tell I’m a sucker for well-designed children’s products? If you’re looking to furnish your nursery or kid’s room with unique pieces that stand the test of time, Hooplaroom is a beautifully curated online store filled with enough modern and whimsical pieces to make your fingers itch to grab your wallet. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Hoopla Room’s founder and CEO, Adeline Bron – another French mother living in the US. (Seriously, the French are just so stylish!)
Some of my favorite pieces from the shop are these charming polka-dot animal book ends, the ever-so-useful Three Sprouts toy bin, and musician wall decals. I also love how you can find certain pieces there like these super fun kids bean bag chairs that you can’t find anywhere else in the US (I mean, seriously, Little Miss would just DIE if she saw that.)
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again – 2014 is kicking my ass. In the span of 8 gone-in-the-blink-of-an-eye months, I feel like I’ve experienced most of the major life events at once. I had a baby, lost a job, bought our first house, found a new job a few weeks later, moved with an infant and toddler (yes, we’re insane), lost my lovely and wonderful mom and celebrated Little Miss turning 3 a week later. Just writing that out makes me feel exhausted all over again.
But you know what, life goes on.
And through all this I have been floored by the kindness of friend and strangers and the resilience of the human body who, even on just a handful of broken hours of sleep a night, just keeps on moving, one foot in front of the other. Because sometimes you just don’t have a choice.
I finally feel like I’m coming through on the other side, and feel the winds of “normal” (or whatever that means) seeping back into life again, and it feels good. Great, even. Sure, there will always be moments that catch me by surprise and the grief comes back again, but, for the most part, I’m still standing and thriving… and ready to start writing again.
Now if only the Littlest Miss could stop waking up at 5:30am. Baby steps, right?
* A lovely friend sent me a sweet package with one of those box signs printed with the above quote on it, which I love. Thank you again!
Sometimes when life gets hard, there’s nothing left to do but this:
Simple but effective.
If you’re a mama or mama-to-be who’s getting ready to go back to work soon, your pump is about to become your new best friend… or maybe more like a frenemy. Pumping at work is hard work and, honestly, sucks a lot of the time (no pun intended), but knowing you’re doing it for that sweet little baby of yours can make all the difference. Having been down this road twice now, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way and have come up with 5 of the most useful items any pumping working mom should have.
A good-quality pump – This is not one area to go cheap on. Getting a full-featured pump like the oh-so-popular Medela Pump in Style or a hospital-grade one like the Hygeia Enjoye is a total must if you’re working and pumping. I’ve owned both and they’re both great. Nowadays, many health insurance companies will pay for your pump too – the only caveat being that you may not be able to choose which pump you get, which is kind of a big deal.
A hands-free pumping bra – Yes, these look totally ridiculous in the Amazon pictures, but after the pump itself, this is a must for me. I’ve used the Simple Wishes one and am now on my second, and it is hands-down worth the money Trust me on this ladies. You don’t want to be pumping with no hands free. Now you can be free to browse your iPhone, flip channels or even read a book if you really want. Or, if you’re a real trooper, keep on working while you pump.
Extra parts – Order an extra set of everything – tubing, valves, flanges, the works. You don’t want to be stuck at work when one of those parts tears or goes defective. ALWAYS have a back-up set.
Extra bottles – Unless you love washing millions of bottles and parts every night, I’d suggest getting an extra set of bottles to pump into so that if you are feeling lazy one night, it’s not the end of the world to not wash the day’s used bottles right away.
Cleaning cloths – These awesome Medela cleaning cloths are a lifesaver when you’re not near a sink or don’t want to wash your parts in the bathroom or in front of male (or female) coworkers. There’s no water required – and they get the job done.
Gallon-sized ziploc bags – The first time I went back to work and started pumping, a friend gave me this genius tip. Always bring a large plastic bag with you so that you can store all the parts inside of it between pumps WITHOUT having to wash them all every time. Since you’re sticking it in the fridge with your milk, there’s no cleaning required until after your last pump of the day. This is a HUGE time saver!
Working mamas, anything I missed that you consider an essential?
Charming print by Emily Ley