Sunday, September 28, 2014

Meal Prep During Nap Time

Meal Prep During Nap Time | Bubbles and Gold www.bubblesandgold.com

Nap time is my knight in shining armor. It's pretty much the only time I have to do, well, anything. I often like to challenge myself to see how much I'm able to do within a certain time period. I can't tell you why, it's just something I do. Clearly, I have no life. 

I take advantage during the weekends, and meal prep during nap time. Planning and execution are so crucial to keep our family on track with eating healthy. If I take one to two hours out of my Sunday to plan and prep out our meals for the week, everything else just seems to fall into place.  

First, I made a list on what I planned for us to eat during the week.

Weekly Meal Planning List | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

My game plan was to get dinner in the crock pot, prepare smoothie packs, make kale salad and bake muffins. I poured myself a small glass of wine and got busy. Wine always seems to make things more fun, doesn't it?

First, I peeled and cut all the sweet potatoes for this chili recipe and put them in the steamer. While those were cooking, I started browning the ground turkey with an onion. After the turkey was cooked, the sweet potatoes were finished as well, so I threw everything in the crock pot.

Next, I started assembling the smoothie packs. Our breakfast smoothies packs usually consist of a banana, quarter cup of old fashioned oats, spinach and maybe some berries. When we are ready to eat them, we add one cup of milk, a table spoon of almond or peanut butter with a four to six ounce container of yogurt. It's nutritious, satisfying and quick to make before we have to run out the door. It's pretty much the only breakfast my husband has time for in the morning. 

By one hour, I had dinner in the crock pot and smoothie packs done. I started to speed things up from this point, because I knew I only had about an hour left of nap time.

I started cooking a dozen eggs (scrambled with a splash of milk) for breakfast tacos. While the eggs were cooking, I laid out the tortillas and cut ten individual portions of saran wrap. After the eggs were finished cooking, I put them to the side to cool a little bit until I could handle them. 

While the eggs were cooling, I started on the kale salad. I made the dressing first with the juice of one large lemon, about one-eighth of a cup of extra virgin olive oil, one minced garlic clove, a pinch of salt and a few dashes of red pepper flakes. Afterwards, I threw in one bunch of kale, and mixed it around to get the dressing distributed. 

By this time. I was about an hour and seventeen minutes in and I had dinner cooking, smoothie packs made, the kale salad done and breakfast tacos halfway complete. 

I assembled our breakfast tacos by putting some scrambled eggs in each tortilla, added extra sweet potato chunks I made, along with some raw kale and shredded cheese on others. I wrapped the tacos individually in saran wrap and labeled each one with a sharpie with whatever was inside. I placed the tacos in a large ziploc bag and stuck them in the freezer. These are another super easy grab and go breakfast for the morning. You just pop them in the microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel for about two minutes, and boom! You have a delicious breakfast. These are really versatile, and you can add whatever you want to them. 

An hour and a half in, I had the the breakfast tacos in the freezer and I moved right onto the muffins. I made Skinny Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins aka the best muffins you will ever eat in your life. I have made these about a dozen times for teachers, co-workers, friends and family. Everyone loves them, and I mean every single person. You must make them today and everything else Gina makes, because she's a food genius. AND she has a cookbook coming out at the end of the month! You better bet that's on pre-order for this mommy. I'm so excited! Sorry, I got off track. Where was I? Oh, right, muffins. 

These muffins are quick and easy to make and also make for an awesome breakfast or snack. By an hour and forty-eight minutes in, I had the muffins in the oven. By two hours and two minutes into nap time, the kitchen was cleaned and the dishwasher was running. I sat on the couch while the muffins cooked for a few more minutes and watched a little television. 

The grand total time to make everything and have the kitchen clean was 2:12! I hope this was helpful for you all. I know I can use any extra time during the week, and this really helps our family with healthy, happy bellies.
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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Our First Library Trip

First Library Trip | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

We experienced our first library trip last Sunday, and it was awesome. I love the way libraries smell. Kind of like a sweet old man who holds a lot of secrets. 

There was this magical look in Anabelle's eyes as soon as we walked in. She viewed her surroundings and in true form, she got clingy within minutes. I pried her little hands off my legs and got down to her level. I told her we were at the library with tons of books to read and we had to be quiet, because, well, that's what you do at the library. Does anyone know who made that quiet rule at the library? I feel like some librarians tend to get a bit overzealous with the shh-ing. 

First Library Trip | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

First Library Trip | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

First Library Trip | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

Anabelle thought it was a free for all, and started pulling all the books off the shelve. In true mommy form, I started putting them all back, desperately trying to remember the Dewey Decimal System. She would grab a couple of books, and head back over to the tables and grab a seat. We read about two and half books before she lost interest and started following this small group of elementary-aged girls. While she snagged a few lessons in prepubescent drama, I walked along the aisle trying to find a few books to check out. Did you know Jamie Lee Curtis write children's books? They are absolutely adorable, and we ended up checking out My Brave Year of Firsts and a few other books. So far, this one is my fav. 

The librarian said we can check out 75 books at a time. That sounds like a challenge to me. 

First Library Trip | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

There's also a section where you can sit down and color and work out a few puzzles. We did both. Let me take that back, I colored and took pictures with my phone, while Anabelle attempted to hoard all the crayons from the girl across from of us. You would think she would have been a little more polite after the little girl whispered to her mom, "she's so cute!" Anabelle isn't very fond of sharing right now, which is totally fine. She's an only child. And as you can see, there was no shortage of community crayons. 

Activities at library | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

She wanted to take a picture when we left the library, but ended up getting sidetracked because she spotted a crow in the street. I'm starting to think she attracts crows, because everywhere we go, there ends up being a few she wants to try to pet as I run behind her screaming, "nooooo!" 

Toddler outside library | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

After the library, we stopped by the park, since it was nearing the witching hour and dinner was simmering in the crock pot. We ran in the grass and played "ring around the rosie" since wasn't feeling the interior of the playground, just the exterior. 

Toddler at playground | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

Mostly, we just sat on the bench because a few other kids showed up to play and she didn't want to share the jungle gym. More sharing problems. She kept shouting at them, "no!" while swatting her hands in their direction. I didn't mind sitting next to her. The bench was relaxing and it's nice to sit still every once in a while. You know what I mean? Yes, you do.

Toddler on park bench | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

I can't remember what she was looking at here. Probably more creepy crows. 

Toddler on park bench | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Our Life Is Not A Rehearsal

Our life is not a rehearsal | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

As woman, a mother and a member of society, I am constantly bombarded by images of what I should want, what I should feel. I feel as though I'm in a continuous whirlwind of trying to keep up
I can easily get lost down the rabbit hole of beautiful blogger mommies that seem to have it all together. Their houses perfect, enormous. Their hair and make up, flawless. Their children, poised and beautifully dressed. Their clothes, trendy. Their crafts and DIY projects, genius. Their husbands, involved, successful. 

Then the comparison begins. Which leads me to needing wanting more things. I don't want to instill a false sense of value in my child to lead her to believe that this new dress will make her prettier. This expensive toy will improve her life tenfold. Turning at this angle will make for a better picture. In reality, that's simply not true.

My life is anything but perfect. My modest house is in a constant state of disarray, with clean laundry waiting ever so patiently to be put away, dishes that need to be washed, left over nibbles of cat food in the corner, unmade beds, toys in every crevice, projects to finish, pictures to be hung, crafts to start. 

I've created this space to document our journey together as a family. I don't want to document staged photos, or conveniently placed props. I want Anabelle to look back and see what her life was really like; scroll through authentic memories. Memories that weren't forced. Memories that weren't set up, because it would make for a great photographic moment. 

My drive as a mother does not involve object or things we have. It involves the experiences we share together, who we are as a family, who we are as individuals, who we are as children of God. He loves us in our magnificent, imperfect form. He leads our family in truth, light, love and positivity. That is what our life is about. 

Our life is chaotic, humbling, awe-inspiring and real in it's most raw form. Every moment captured of this life that we share as a family is a beautiful one. These are the memories that we intend to share with all of you, because our life is not a rehearsal. 

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Life With A Toddler: No Filter

I love to sing. Mostly in the privacy of my car and shower, but occasionally, I'll let out my full-blown opera voice and belt out some tunes. Christian, nursery rhymes, old Tupac jams, you name it. Not everyone enjoys my singing. And by everyone, I mean my sweet little baby girl who hasn't developed a filter yet between her thoughts and mouth.

Let me set the scene for you. We've just taken a nice, relaxing bath full. Anabelle was practicing sticking half of her head underwater, while rolling onto her tummy. Scenes like this:

Bubbles and Gold | www.bubblesandgold.com

Bubbles and Gold | www.bubblesandgold.com

Bubbles and Gold | www.bubblesandgold.com

After we got her pjs on, she's standing on her step stool brushing her tiny white square-shaped teeth that are just so adorable and I encourage to her to brush correctly by singing the song from Grease that for some reason, I can't get out of my head. Whenever it's time to brush her teeth, I flashback to this scene.

Me: "Brusha, Brusha, Brusha! Get the new Ipana!"
Anabelle: (turns around and points at me) "Stop!"
Me: What? But I love that song!

Don't worry, I didn't stop singing. She just yelled at me over and over while I kept on keeping on.

New scene: we are sitting on the playroom floor singing more songs, and she runs her hands up and down my legs.

Anabelle: "Ow!"
Me: "What happened?"
Anabelle: (rubs my knee) "Ow!"
Me: "Okay, I get it. I need to shave."

You win, Anabelle. You win.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Currently [Vol. IV]

Toddler in Play Tent | Bubbles and Gold www.bubblesandgold.com

Thinking about // Pumpkin patches. Turning leaves. S'mores. Chunky sweaters. Mocassins. Hay bale rides. Now that October is right around the corner, I can let myself think about the next season. I haven't even decided what we're going to be for Halloween. My self-imposed deadline is October 1. Any suggestions? 

Reading // The Goldfinch. Oh my gosh, you guys. This book is so engrossing, I haven't been able to put it down. It's rather depressing, and I can only hope the end is somewhat bearable.
 
Enjoying // Faux camp outs in Anabelle's play tent before bedtime. Daddy gave her the lantern and I bought a rug and pillows to cover the carpet debacle. The first time she walked in with the lantern, she said, "ooooh!" I can't wait until Halloween so we can all shove ourselves in there and tell toddler-friendly ghost stories. Every time I look at this picture I think of a s'mores camp out. We may just have to bring the ten outside to make that happen. 

Thankful for // Stumbling across this link up. You guys inspire me so much. The encouragement and inspiration I see throughout this community is heart felt and real. Thank you for being a community of women that support each other. Seriously. Thank you.

Loving // This post from Caroline. Those pieces are beautiful. She shows you how to minimize your wardrobe with essential + fun pieces for each season. We are so bombarded with advertising, marketing and pushy tactics to get us to buy the latest and greatest. If we don't, then somehow we fall short and are lacking. Why do we need 14 pairs of jeans and 3 pairs of brown ankle boots? It's silly if you really think about it. I've decided to really try to get a capsule wardrobe for Fall, which will likely roll over to Winter. I'm really excited to try it. My husband just dropped off eight garbage bags of clothes to goodwill. His portion was about half a bag. Has anyone else tried a capsule wardrobe or are you thinking about it?
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A Mama Collective

Friday, September 19, 2014

Rain, rain come again

Yesterday, I stayed at home with Anabelle, since it was pouring down and traffic was a mess. It's a good thing I can work from home. And by work from home, I mean sit on the couch with Bellies beside me while she turns off my computer because the button is too inciting not to touch. Work fail. 

So instead, we played in the rain. She kept trying to get me to take my sandals off and once I did, she wanted to take her shoes off too. So we splashed in the water on the sidewalk in our bare feet. This took some guts on my part to let her play barefoot. All I kept thinking was, "is there bacteria in this water?" "She's going to get sick, we should go inside." And then told my worry wart mom self to shut the fuck up and enjoy the moment. I remember playing in the rain when I was a child (and subsequently getting in trouble for the above reasons) but I survived. And it was a blast!

Toddler playing in rain | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

Toddler playing in rain | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

Toddler playing in rain | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

Toddler playing in rain | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

Toddler playing in rain | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

Toddler playing in rain | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

Toddler playing in rain | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

We also worked on a putting stickers on a recycled mint tin for a project I'm working on. Yay for stickers and saving the environment! See? I'm a good person.

Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

Since it continued to rain all day, we made some muffins via Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Cookbook. This is one of the best presents my husband has ever given me. I highly suggest you buy it. Easy recipes that are good for your insides and they taste incredible. 

Tosca Reno muffins | Bubbles and Gold (www.bubblesandgold.com)

Do you have any cookbook recommendations? I'm kind of a cookbook hoarder...

Daddy came home and took over since I wasn't feeling so good. After her bath, she ran to the top of the stairs and called out to me:

A: Ma!
Me: Yes? Are you done?
A: Yeah!
Me: You ready for night-night time?
A: Neh... Yeah!

Yeah! Happy Friday. Have a great weekend :)
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

18 Month Update

18 Month Updates | www.bubblesandgold.com

On Monday, we had Anabelle's 18 month check up. It was pretty much reminiscent of her 12 month check up. You know, crying in extreme terror as we walk up to the reception desk all the way through weighing, measurements and shots. Super fun stuff. Thankfully, she only had to tough it out through one shot. While she was crying post needle, I said, "Great job! High five, baby!" She gave me a weak high five (I didn't hold it against her) and the nurse said, "Can I get a high five too?" She gave him the meanest look, I swear daggers were going to fly across the room. I commended him for trying. Poor fella.

Stats:
Height: 32 inches, Weight: 22 pounds, 7.5 ounces. She grew almost three inches and gained a couple of pounds from her twelve month check up. If I was a good mommy, I could give you exact numbers, but since I'm so disorganized, I can't find her last check up papers. 

Eating:
Lately, her appetite has been all over the place. One day, she will have 2-3 servings, and ask for "mo, mo." Other days, she'll refuse lunch and decide to eat goldfish and cereal instead. Oh wait, that was Monday. Her obsession just a few months ago was raspberries, but now she's replaced that with eggs. And she loves nuts! We eat a lot of Kind Bars around here, and every time I open one, she thinks it's hers. And if it's a snack for dear old moms instead, there will be hell to pay. And by hell, I mean yelling and screaming. We are learning about sharing, so this is good practice. 

Sleeping:
Still a rock solid sleeper. She has her mandibular canines (does that make me sound smart?) coming in, which have been waking her up in the middle of the night. I'll go into her room, comfort her and she'll fall right back to sleep. She has a strange affinity with tags. Tags on blankets, toys, stuffed animals, anything. She puts the tags up to her mouth, and sucks on her lower lip. She's never put the tag in her mouth, so I'm not sure what security/comfort that gives her, but she's been doing since she was about six months old. It's her thing, don't judge.

Learning:
Further to her 16 month update, she also says:
  • Neh (meaning no, her favorite)
  • Bubbles
  • Wa-wa for water
  • Hap for help
  • Eye
  • Mo for more
  • Tay-tay for thank you
  • Bah for bad. She is always scolding the cats and telling them they are being "bah!" She's right 99% of the time. 
She says a lot of gibberish. We can have entire conversations together where she'll just ramble on and on, while I try to get a word in. She also tries to mimic me when I talk to her. It's hilarious.  

The only other sign she can do is "help." I've been really slacking on sign language, mostly because I want her to talk to me. We've been working on signing, "share" but since she doesn't care to share she's totally uninterested in learning it.

She can also make the animal sounds for sheep, birds and cows. She tries sounds for all other sorts of animals, but they all end up sounding like a baby bird.
 
Fun:
She's still a total book lover. We went to the store the other day, and instead of waiting in the ridiculously long line, we sat in front of the book section and read books for a good 15-20 minutes. It was awesome. Why haven't I taken her to the library yet? I think subconsciously, I'm afraid she won't handle the quiet in the library very well. Does anyone take their toddlers to library yet? Please share your experiences with me. 

Since she had a fever after her shots, like she does every.single.time, we laid down on the floor and watched The Little Mermaid. She sat down and watched nearly the entire movie while munching on pistachios with me. This is the first movie that's she's actually sat still to watch. I even remembered all the words to the songs, and she didn't tell me to stop singing! That's a win in my book. 

While we were laying on the floor, she decided to climb on the couch sporting her best gear from our church and dive onto the pile of pillows on laid out on the floor. Repeat times 27. Over and over. I sat there with one eye on The Little Mermaid and the other on her. I even managed to snap some pictures of her dare devil act. Feel free to nominate me for mom of the year.

Bubbles and Gold | www.bubblesandgold.com

Bubbles and Gold | www.bubblesandgold.com

Bubbles and Gold | www.bubblesandgold.com

Bubbles and Gold | www.bubblesandgold.com

Bubbles and Gold | www.bubblesandgold.com

Bubbles and Gold | www.bubblesandgold.com

Other fun activities she enjoys regularly are eating dirt, eating soap, painting, chasing the cats, trying on my clothes, taking pictures by our infamous red brick wall and singing.

Obstacles:
We're full force in the hitting phase right now. When she doesn't get her way or she's doesn't like something, she'll try to hit one of us, or whatever object that's in her way. When this happens, I get down on her level and tell her that hitting is not acceptable and it hurts. I'll also ask her what is wrong, and try to get her to explain (the best she can) on whatever is bothering her.

I though girls were more supposed to be more reserved and less likely to engage in dangerous activities like jump of the couch, bed or eat dirt? No? Is that just some silly rule I made up in my head? Either way, she's perfect in my mind :)

Tell me, what are your kiddos loving these days?
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