Author: Emily

Local Travel

“Pitt-stop” in Pittsburgh, PA


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A long weekend without our two little monkeys boys is a rare find. Don’t get me wrong, we love our little guys to pieces, but 3 whole days without a diaper bag, wondering if we have enough formula, snacks and spare undies, and being able to pack the car with just a couple overnight bags is a great little break from our daily routine.

We’ve always heard how similar Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are in terms of size, and scenery and couldn’t wait to see it for ourselves when we were invited to a friends wedding. About 5 hours and 2 stops for junk food later, we were circling the downtown area a few times to familiarize ourselves with the area (Okay, fine. we missed our turn. Twice. Anyway….) then made our way to our hotel to check in.

WHERE WE STAYED:

Omni William Penn Hotel – I wish I could tell you just how beautiful this hotel is. The gold, the chandeliers, the history – the Omni William Penn is grand and gorgeous and just breathtaking. Our stay here was fantastic. From the valet, to the front desk to the concierge and housekeeping, the staff was friendly, welcoming and incredibly helpful (providing information about the hotel, directions to restaurants and even tracking down a bandaid for my blistered feet after a day of wandering around in what I thought were comfortable sandals.) Our room was clean and inviting with not only standard bathroom amenities, but plenty of plugs and built in USB port chargers, and night stands with motion lights at the floor – one of our favorite features of the room (easily amused? Maybe. But we may have googled where to buy them on our way home.)

WHERE WE ATE:

Primanti Bros. (Market Square) – We’d originally had reservations at a wood fired pizza place, but after hearing from my brother in law that this was “the Skyline of Pittsburgh” we knew we had to give it a shot. We’d also filled ourselves with Doritos and Mike & Ike’s on the way so we thought a sandwich shop would be a little lighter. We were wrong. We were so so very wrong. These sandwiches are gigantic on their own, piled high with meat, cheese and their signature slaw, then to top it all off (literally) they stuff it with a side of fries. Amazing. We’ll definitely be back, but we’ll definitely be sharing.

Altius (Mt. Washington) – We knew we wanted to treat ourselves to a nice dinner while we were child-free. What we didn’t know was that a strong recommendation would lead us up a hillside to an incredible view and an even more incredible meal. I had a filet, Jimmy had a pork chop and we spent nearly two hours talking about how delicious everything was. My only disappointment was being too full to order dessert.

Speakeasy (Omni William Penn Hotel) – I could have stayed here for the duration of our stay. Easily the coolest place we went to and arguably one of the best “lounge” type bars I’ve ever seen. It was uncovered just 8 years ago and had been hidden since 1937. This place does everything right. Music from the 1920’s-1940’s playing in the background, low light and a very exclusive ambiance. The best part … crystal barware. Give me some champagne in a pretty little crystal coupe and I’ll give you all my money. We practically had the place to ourselves which we learned from the doorman is quite the rarity.

The Terrace Room (Omni William Penn Hotel) – We had a delightful breakfast in the Terrace Room with an array of hot tea, coffee and a buffet that offers anything you could ever want. I opted for the smoked salmon avocado toast and it was everything I’d hoped for. The room itself is less like a breakfast room and more like a ballroom – just as beautiful as the rest of the lobby area.

We’d never been to Pittsburgh, but we can’t wait to go back. A fun and unique city that will make you feel at home but with a personality all its own.

Blog, Shop Small

Prayerful Parenting: A Review of “Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday”


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*This post contains affiliate links. This means we may receive referral fees if you make a purchase using our link. This referral fee does not affect the cost of the product or service.*

Moms are in charge of a lot. We hold multiple jobs. We wear multiple hats. We juggle multiple balls, making sure to keep them all in the air at all times. So, it’s no surprise we try to control everything we can. We make plans, and back-up plans and then emergency plans for our back-up plans, because if we don’t then all those balls could come crashing down with such velocity and with such a domino effect that it could send someone spiraling straight into a full-blown meltdown. And that someone is usually us.

Moms need a cheerleader. A guide. A leader. A chauffeur. A tutor. A mentor. Someone who can reciprocate all the roles a mom fills on a daily basis. We need someone in our corner. Someone who can pick us up and take over control when the going gets tough and we feel like we just might lose our ever-lovin’ minds. Our social media feeds can certainly “feed” the parenting pressure. The mom-anxiety. The Mom-guilt. The feeling that we can’t trust anyone but ourselves and our minivan. And although we may use hashtags like #jesustakethewheel or wear t-shirts that say “this mom runs on coffee and Jesus,” how often do we actually rely on Him as heavily as we rely on our “#dryshampoo?”

Enter, Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday by Valerie Woerner. “Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday” confronts the mom-stress head on. Looks it right in the eye and tells it to take a hike. Because, despite what we may see on social media, there’s so much more to motherhood than coffee and complaining about your crazy, misbehaved kids or your good-for-nothin’ husband. Valerie uses Romans 12:2 in the introduction to her latest book, and it’s this very line that had me hooked until I reached the last page. It reads, “Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” She goes on to to link this verse to the increasing number of memes, posts, tshirts, etc. etc. etc. that spin motherhood into this wild mess of misery. Sure it seems harmless, and we might get a little laugh out of them, but I can assure you this book is much more relatable than those images you see online.

She says we are mom’s, not martyrs, that we are not “victims of motherhood” and that “our children are not inconveniences.” My favorite line from this book reads, “The unpredictability of children is something we should be grateful for, because it reminds us how much we need the one who is really in control.” We, as moms, have so much to be thankful for. So many daily opportunities to find joy in the chaos of raising children. So many moments to find laughter instead of frustration. Sure, there are hard days. There are moments when I think I may not make it to nap time, let alone until 6pm when my husband gets home. There are days when I cry just as much as my toddler does. But those days are far outweighed by the good days. By trips to the library and the zoo and watching them laugh and learn and become these wonderful little people.

That is where God wants us to live, and that is how Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday made me realize that I can find joy everyday by choosing to see everyday moments as joyful ones. In the happy moments that remind us why having the opportunity to raise children is the biggest blessing on earth. In the mayhem that will someday become the peaceful memories of their childhood. In baby giggles and slimy kisses and sticky hands and messy faces. In barefoot dance parties, in laughing while saying “go get your shoes” for the 459th time in twenty minutes and, yes, even in the days when I think things may really come apart at the seams. Because being a little someone’s mama is simply the best job in the whole world and no meme or GIF or website can convince me otherwise. And yes, while this honest review “contains affiliate links,” I can assure you that my motivation for sharing this book with my fellow mamas is not monetary. It is to encourage you to read this book cover to cover, tell a friend about it, then talk about it and invite prayer into your parenting. It hasn’t made me perfect, I will always be a-work-in-progress mom, but it’s certainly made me better.

Blog, Home Decor

How Our Home (and Our Antique Radio) Tell Our Story.


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Music has always been a healer for me. There is something therapeutic in getting lost in a melody. In finding lyrics that just fit. Music lifts moods, relieves stress and heals heartbreak, it fixes bad days and enhances good ones. Music can’t be touched, but it certainly can be felt. It brings back old memories, and creates new ones. Music mends wounds, it empowers, it encourages. My love of music is what kept me huddled for hours around a brand new “boombox” when I was 10, and ultimately what led me to a career in (and love for) radio. There’s a thrill that comes with finding a new band, a new song, a new genre, even that I fall in love with immediately. 

Awhile back, I was gifted a 1930s Majestic radio that belonged to my Great-Grandparents. It sits in the middle of our great room and is much more than a conversation piece. It is a piece of my ancestry. A link to the past and the heart of our home. I’ve always loved to daydream about the legendary music and historical news stories that must have come through those speakers. Tommy Dorsey. Glenn Miller. Elvis. The beginning and end of World War II. Those trusty speakers have since gone silent, but a bluetooth speaker inside lets that beautiful music box live again. It’s the center of barefoot dancing in the kitchen with my babies. The soundtrack to Saturday morning pancakes, a glass of wine with Jimmy on a Thursday evening, or an afternoon Reds game.

It once again brings family together and fills every corner of our home with a hand-picked playlist that matches the rhythm of our day. It is one of my very favorite pieces in our home and a daily reminder of the importance of a second chance. 

Blog

What Mom’s Really Want for Valentine’s Day


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We’ve never been big on Valentine’s Day in our house. There’s something about obligatory gifting that has never appealed to us so each year we get a pizza (which, let’s be serious, is exactly what I do want) and call it a day. I can honestly say I’ve never wanted anything for Valentine’s Day. (Can you hear all the men out there saying “oh suuuuure?”) 

This year, with two little boys in the house, I sat down to think about what I really would like for Valentine’s Day.

Sleep

This was top of my list. We were blessed with two big babies who love to sleep. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t wish they had a snooze button.

HOT coffee

I don’t mean the cup I’ve reheated (and forgotten in the microwave) so many times that the taste is starting to fade.  I want a piping hot cup of coffee someone else makes and hands to me while I lounge in my PJs and catch up on the book that’s been sitting on my nightstand for 4 months. Which reminds me that book is probably long overdue to the library.

TV time

I’d like to watch The Bachelor without hitting pause to feed someone. Unless that someone is myself of course and we’re talking about Oreos. Or wine. I’ll hit pause for that.

An extra hour

An extra hour to gather my thoughts and feed myself before the kiddies wake up in the morning? Yes, please. (If you’re asking yourself, “well then why doesn’t she just wake up earlier” … please see #1)

Food

Hot when it’s supposed to be hot. Cereal that hasn’t gone soggy. Food on my plate and not on my clothes and in my hair.

A fairy godmother

Oh to come home from a trip to the zoo to find my house has been magically transformed into a pristine palace. Folded clean laundry, a glistening bathroom, neatly organized toys and books and dinner on the stove. Ahh someone pinch me. Think she could tackle the horror that undoubtedly lies beneath my little one’s car seat? How about walking (or being walked by, rather) my crazy dog? Add that to the list please.

“One more”

One more newborn nap on my chest. One more bottle they still need me to hold. One more day to enjoy that goofy gummy grin before they get their first tooth. One more feeding in the middle of the night when the house is silent and it’s just the two of us. One more minute holding them while they sleep before I put them in their own bed. One more day in those sweet baby-blue jammies that I brought them both home in. That’s what I really want when it all comes down to it. One more opportunity to enjoy just how little they are even though they seems to be getting so big so fast. Isn’t that what we all really want?

Recipes

3 Sweet Treats That Won’t Sabotage Your Health Goals


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If you’ve been following along with us, you know I just had another little boy about 4 months ago. You, likely, also know that Jess and I both have an insatiable sweet tooth. I’ve been doing my best to ditch the last of about 45 pregnancy pounds, but of course am having a hard time declining desserts. So I enlisted the help of fellow blogger, and holistic health coach Amanda Guld from Babies and Barbells to track down a few recipes for sweet treats that won’t wreck my new year resolution. She came back with Chocolate Chip Cookies, Peanutty Bars and Paleo Banana Nut Muffins. Um. Yes please!

Amanda is a special education teacher turned work-at-home mom with two little ones and a third on the way. She has turned her passion for health and fitness into a career as a virtual accountability and holistic health coach.  Upon graduating from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Amanda holds space for both individuals and group coaching.  

To learn more and to connect with Amanda
e. amandarguld@gmail.com 
w. http://www.amandaguld.com
instagram: @babiesnbarbells
community for women: https://www.facebook.com/groups/babiesandbarbells/

Check out her recipe suggestions below:

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Do snowy days just make you want to bake?

I don’t know if it’s the smell of chocolate chip cookies or brownies that bring me back to my childhood or wanting an escape from feeling cooped up inside all day, but the urge is real!So, how do you stay committed to your health and wellness goals, while also enjoying some of your favorite past indulgences?

Simple, with a few easy substitutions! These 3 quick, low sugar recipes are sure to be a hit with young and old alike!

Chocolate Chip Cookies


(Recipe from the Fixate Cookbook – link to purchase:  https://www.teambeachbody.com/shop/d/fixate-cookbook-FixateCookbook?referringRepID=518144  )

Serves: 26 (1 cookie each) Prep Time: 20 minutesCooking Time: 16 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or raw honey)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites (1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet (or dark) chocolate chips

How To:

  1. Preheat oven to 375* F
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Combine almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; mix well. Set aside.
  4. Beat oil and maple syrup in a large mixer bowl until creamy, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add egg, egg whites, and extract; beat for an additional 2 minutes.
  6. Add almond flour mixture to egg mixture; mix until blended.
  7. Add chocolate chips; mix until just blended.
  8. Drop by rounded Tbsp onto prepared baking sheet.  Flatten cookies with a spatula if traditional cookie appearance is desired.  Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Store in an airtight container.

Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories: 126, Total Fat: 10 g, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 5 g, Protein: 3 g

Peanutty Peanut Butter Squares 

(Recipe from the Fixate Cookbook – link to purchase:  https://www.teambeachbody.com/shop/d/fixate-cookbook-FixateCookbook?referringRepID=518144  ) 
Serves: 16 (1 square each) Prep Time: 20 minutesCooking Time: 23 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1.5 cups all-natural smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup raw honey (or pure maple syrup)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, gluten-free

How To:

  1. Preheat oven to 350* F.
  2. Lightly coat 8×8-inch baking pan with spray. Set aside.
  3. Combine peanut butter, honey, extract, eggs, and baking soda in a large bow; mix well.
  4. Evenly spread batter into prepared pan.  Smooth top with a spatula.
  5. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes.  Squares may be a little sodt when coming out of the oven, but they will continue to cook.
  6. Cool. Cut into squares.

Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories: 182, Total Fat: 13 g, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Fiber 1 g, Sugars: 10 g, Protein: 7 g 

Paleo Banana Nut Muffins


( Recipe from https://paleogrubs.com/ )

Serves: 12 (1 muffin) 
Ingredients:

  • 4 bananas, mashed with a fork (the more ripe, the better)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

How To:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with cups. In a large bowl, add bananas, eggs, almond butter, coconut oil, and vanilla. Using a hand blender, blend to combine.
  2. Add in the coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend into the wet mixture, scraping down the sides with a spatula. Distribute the batter evenly into the lined muffin tins, filling each about two-thirds of the way full.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm or store in the refrigerator in a resealable bag.

Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories: 161, Total Fat: 10.3 g, Carbohydrates: 14.1 g, Fiber 4 g, Sugars: 5.6 g, Protein: 5.2 g 
Enjoy!

Blog

Are We All Really That Busy?


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My husband and I had Christmas parties and gatherings on our calendar this past holiday season. Lots of them. We drank, we ate, we dressed up, we ate. We ate. We ate. We also had the opportunity to catch up with lots of friends we hadn’t seen in a while. We talked about jobs, kids, family, our holiday travel plans, but the words we heard the most …. “So busy.” No matter the party, no matter the conversation. “Busy.”

I’m guilty of it myself. Someone asks how our weekend was, “busy…but fun.” How as our Christmas? “Busy. But good busy, we saw lots of friends and family.” How was our vacation? How’s being parents of two? How was our Tuesday afternoon? You guessed it. Busy. It’s become the default answer for our generation, it seems, but when did filling our calendar become more important than filling our time with the people we love? Are we really that much busier than generations before us, or is it simply that keeping up with someone’s Instagram account has become enough interaction to sustain a relationship? Being busy used to be temporary, but now it seems busy has become synonymous with success, happiness, liveliness, and adventure. We somehow value being in a constant state of frenetic activity.

I have a friend, Meghan, who I’ll call out by name because I’m about to sing her praises. She is likely the busiest person I know in the true sense of the word. She doesn’t seem to miss a birthday party, a baby shower, a music festival or a Cincinnati Reds game. I have no doubt that her calendar has very little white space. She fills her life with the people she loves and takes hundreds of fantastic pictures in the process. But here’s something else she’s good at … picking up the phone. If I text her, I typically get an immediate phone call and we cram about 4 hours of catching up into her 40 minute commute to work. Our conversations dart from high school memories, to her students, to my children and her peaks and valleys of being 8 months pregnant and then back to a favorite episode of Downton Abbey. Though, no matter the topic, a long phone call with a friend who has known you for the better part of your life always feels good doesn’t it?

While I’m confessing my bad-friend sins here … I’ll be the first one to tell you that I am horrible at talking on the phone. (I’m trying to get better this year, I promise friends!) I’ll see a missed call, vowing to call them back but choosing to finish a list of other tasks first. What I’m realizing, though, is that it’s just that. A choice. I’m choosing to let other things take priority or to just text my friends when I’m thinking of them rather than dialing their number. Why? Because I’m busy of course, and that way I can hold conversations with several friends all at once. I can check in, check the box, and keep checking off my to do list. An exchange of quality for quantity, but it’s just not the same as hearing someone’s voice.

My hope this year is that you’ll join me in making people a priority. It may not feel like you have the time for a quick phone call, but I can promise you it’s there if you want to find it badly enough.

Make the time, then make the call. I promise you won’t regret it.

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How to Live Your Best Life … As Told by My Dog


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This is my Rosey girl. She’s a 4 year old yellow Lab and is simultaneously the apple of my eye and the thorn in my side. She is a boisterous balance of laziness and a frenzy of flying white fur. She has a precious face and a head full of rocks. She’s as sweet as she is sour, as smart as she is flighty, she is a money pit, an absolute nut, and also the best dog on the planet.

A few days ago I was watching her loaf around the house, from her favorite spot on the carpet to her bed and then to a sunny spot in the center of the floor where she let our robot vacuum (that we had to buy solely because of the amount of hair she loses) make its way around her. I thought, “You sure do have it made, Rosebud. Life is good isn’t it?” What a valuable lesson I was being taught. Life is good. Especially if you live life like your dog in these simple ways:

  1. Be a Great Friend. Be so full of love and loyalty that it makes your whole body wiggle with excitement. Live for the affection of the people you love. Give it right back.
  2. Let your energy fill the room. Show off your fun-loving spirit to the point that it borders on obnoxious. Give your friends a gentle nudge when they’re feeling low, stare them down until they get off the couch if need be.
  3. Forgive. Maybe they broke a promise, lied to you or disappointed you. Maybe they yelled at you because you ate the baseboards. Forgive them anyway.
  4. Love yourself. Bark at your own reflection when you catch a glimpse. You’re just that adorable.
  5. Be Persistent. Let no one tell you no when it comes to something you want badly enough. Like dinner at 3:00pm, two breakfasts, or that plate full of brownies on the counter, for example.
  6. Greet everyone with a friendly face.
  7. Eat whatever you want every once in a while. Hot fudge sundaes. Cookies. Fried chicken. The cat’s litter box. Whatever your culinary soft spot may be, indulge every so often.
  8. Ignore boundaries that keep you from chasing your dreams … or a herd of whitetail deer. Even if that boundary happens to be a fence. Run at top speed into the woods then trot back home with tail and tongue wagging.
  9. Find immense joy in life’s simple pleasures. Naps. Several in the same day if you need it. Belly scratches. Fresh air in your face while riding in the car. Every day is full of tiny treasures you just have to find them.
  10. Live every day like it is the best day of your entire life. Make a fuss over nothing. Let your hair down…and leave it in every corner of the house. Bark at the garbage truck. Roll around in the snow until you’re soaking wet. Crave adventure and sniff it out until you find it and love life with every fiber of your being.


Blog

Grace. Love. And a Brand New Year


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Every new year starts with resolutions. Promises to eat better, critiques of our relationships, judgments of our lack of motivation to make it to the gym. We take advantage of an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. A flaw into a quality. To make ourselves just a little bit better.

But what if we focused on making our strengths stronger instead? Sure, there is always room for self improvement, but wouldn’t it be refreshing to start each year with positivity and an optimistic perspective? Maybe last year didn’t go quite the way you thought it would. Maybe you didn’t get the promotion you thought you deserved. Maybe a your relationship with a friend or family member began to fracture. Or maybe the stars just didn’t align when you wanted them to. Rather than looking back at 2018 with disdain and disappointment look for the opportunities to make things better in 2019. A chance to work harder. A chance to forgive. A chance to trust God and his plan. A chance to start the new year with grace and love.

Consider how a slight shift in your perspective could spread to other people. Use your resolutions this year to make your little corner of the world a little bit brighter. Could you resolve to make the life of a stranger better this year, even for just a moment? Promise to keep the promises you make to your children. Make your spouse a higher priority. Show kindness, slow down, offer forgiveness (or ask for it), work hard and use your God-given talent to do some real and recognizable good this year.

Sincerely,

Doris Jane

Recipes

Baked Apples: Sweet Tooth Fix with a Lighter Twist


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I’ll be the first to admit it. I have a sweet tooth. A big one. It’s an insatiable, uncontrollable little voice in the back of my head saying, “one cookie is not enough.” Whatever people are born with that makes them capable of passing up a table full of desserts … I certainly don’t have it. My only hope is to try to lighten my favorite treats in hopes of shaving off a few calories where I can because, if I’m being honest, I wasn’t blessed with a ton of discipline when it comes to portion control either.

Last year for Thanksgiving I wanted to provide myself my guests with more dessert options so I decided to make Paula Deen’s Apple Pie which came out even more delicious than I had expected. However, this year the though of hosting Thanksgiving, and making apple pies from scratch, all while trying to keep a two year old out of the Christmas tree and a 1 month old baby in one arm sounded more like a recipe for disaster. And so I took to Pinterest for some easier dessert ideas.

I came across this Baked Apple recipe from skinnytaste.com and decided to just make a few changes to make it my own. With the help of our cousin (okay, a lot of help from our cousin. She actually made these for me since I had my hands full.) these came out PERFECT and the best part is they absolutely hit the spot when you need something sweet, but without a helping of caloric guilt that seems to nag at all of us around this time of year. We skipped the vanilla ice cream (although we’re sure that would make these even better) and opted for a generous dollop of whipped cream and a little caramel drizzle instead. We also added some chopped walnuts to the filling and used anything left over as a crunchy topping. 

     These little delights come in at just over 150 calories (if you forego the whipped cream/ice cream and caramel) in comparison to the average slice of apple pie which nearly doubles that number. Check out the recipe below! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples cut in half, cored and stems removed
  • 2 TBSP butter, melted
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP all purpose flour
  • 2 TBSP quick oats
  • 3 TBSP chopped walnuts
  • 1 TSP cinnamon
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
  • Caramel sauce

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Combine butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon and walnuts in a small bowl
  • Top the apple halves with the mixture and place apples on a lined cookie sheet
  • Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes
  • Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, chopped walnuts and a drizzle of caramel sauce and serve warm
Blog

The Laundry Can Wait


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     Eating lunch with my two year old is the highlight of my days at home with him. We discuss our post-nap plans, talk about dinosaurs and our trips to the park and hold after-lunch-dessert negotiations. Last week as I sat across from him listening to the day’s campaign strategy about why he needs a handful of M&Ms and watching as he fed his dinosaurs imaginary dino food from his plate, it hit me.

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     I stared at his sweet little peanut butter and jelly stained face, his tiny dimpled chin just barely grazing the top of the kitchen table, and I suddenly had the humbling realization that some day I’m going to blink and he’s going to be taller than me. He’s going to scarf down two or three sandwiches instead of hardly finishing half like he does now. He’s going to eat and run out the door to meet his friends, snatching his car keys off the counter on his way out.

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     It made me remember a line from the letter my mom wrote me on my wedding day. “The laundry can wait.” Right then, I made a promise to myself. I vowed to stop trying to do everything all at once and be present for these precious moments with my babies while they’re still babies. The dishes will still be there in an hour … or tomorrow. The dust and dog hair on my floor are going to seemingly regenerate immediately no matter how many times I sweep. I told myself I’d try harder to get up before they do to get a jump on some household chores because the half hour of missed sleep means I get to sit down and discuss our favorite dinosaurs over a plate of chicken tenders and sliced grapes. I get to slow down for a little bit and just be with my little ones and if there is one thing having a toddler – and now a newborn – has taught me, it’s that being present is much more than enough.

     So at risk of becoming just another voice in the constant buzz in a new mom’s ear, I’d like to pass-on what I’ve learned from my toddler, because sometimes the tiniest voices are the loudest (As a “#boymom,” I mean that both literally and figuratively.) He doesn’t care if our windows are clouded with handprints or the smudges from him making silly, smoosh faces on the glass. He doesn’t care if we do Pinterest-worthy activities or if every meal we have is home cooked and healthy.

     What he wants is for me to sit down, device and distraction free, and talk about how many horns the rhino at the zoo has (it’s “one, two, four horns” in case you’re wondering.) He wants to help me make brownies and change his baby brother’s diaper. Because for a child, being present is enough. Sharing a meal is enough. Holding him and reading “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site” for the 357th time is enough. Let your time, your attention and yourself be enough my fellow mamas. Wrap your arms around them and hold on tight while they’re still tiny. Tickle them, tell them stories, kiss the cheeks off their little faces and, for Heaven’s sake …. The laundry can wait.