December Weekends

There are 3 months in the year that I feel always fly by and are jam packed with activities. May because of weddings, Baptism, Communions, Mother’s day,  my husband’s birthday and Memorial Day; October because of weddings, my wedding anniversary and of course Halloween and then December. This past week I finally surrendered to the cold I had been fighting since Thanksgiving. Despite all of my hippie remedies (vitamins, teas and herbs) my body just needed to rest, drink plenty of water and take about 678 theraflu packets. I am finally feeling better and have some of my energy back.

I love spending my weekends in December ice skating, baking, cooking, going to the see the Tree in Rockefeller Center and the windows at Saks Fifth Avenue. I also like to binge on Netflix because the weather is usually crappy but this year the weather has been amazing! I feel like I am living in Georgia. In fact today, the weather lady said it was colder in Texas than it was in the Tri-State area(NY/NY/CT). While I do NOT want to complain in the least, I do feel like a lost puppy. I want to wear all of my festive winter clothes but I can’t because I’ll pass out from the heat. I also want to hibernate inside my home but with temperatures in the 60’s I feel horrible doing so. I spent this weekend, going out to dinner with friends, ice skating on a melting rink in a long sleeve tee shirt and sunglasses-AMAZING! and playing with my daughter and dog in the backyard as if it was early May. We slept with the windows open all weekend and the heat shut off. This weather is great for our wallet! More money to spend on going out.

I am totally preparing myself for -20 degrees and 2 feet of snow next month!

 

Meatballs

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Ingredients for the Meatballs

1 pound of Ground Round

1/4 cup of Spanish onion chopped

1/4 cup of cubanelle pepper minced

1 large garlic clove minced

1tsp of Sea Salt

1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup of breadcrumbs

Mix all of the above ingredients until well mixed. Coat your hands in olive oil and start forming each meatball (should be the size of a golf ball). Line them on a tray and set as

Ingredients for the Tomato Sauce

1 large can of Crushed Tomatoes(I like Red Pack)

1 garlic clove

1/4 cup of Spanish onion chopped

1-2 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt to taste

Pour the olive oil into a dutch oven so that the whole bottom is covered. Add in the onions and garlic clove and cook on medium heat until the onion is translucent. Pour in the can of crushed tomatoes and stir, fill the can 2x with water and add it to the pot. Allow the sauce to boil (about 10 minutes) and then lower the heat and simmer the sauce with the lid on for another 20 minutes. Check it after 10 minutes and stir. If you like you can add basil and/or oregano at this time. At this point get the sauce to a boil again and add in the meatballs about 6 at a time, make sure not to add so many meatballs that they are now touching each other and crowding the pot. Cover the pot and check in about 2-3 minutes and turn the meatballs. Once they are cooked about 5-8 minutes, take them out and set aside (in another bowl) and cook the remaining meatballs.

Once all the meatballs are cooked you can put them back into the dutch oven and heat them up again if you are going to serve or leave them in the pot until dinner time. I like to serve these with a thick pasta that will really absorb the sauce or place it over rice.

**Mami’s if you need to get your child to eat their vegetables you can add carrots and/or cooked spinach into the meatballs. I like to occasionally add carrots to my tomato sauce, when I do I make sure to mince the carrot so you can barely see it. You can also boil some carrots, puree them and add it to the tomato sauce. I have frozen these meatballs in a deep freezer for up to 3 months and they are just as delicious!

I used to be an Ice Princess

ice skatesIt’s true, I used to be an ice princess. I rarely cried, had very tough skin-I told people I was like an armadillo and it took a lot for you to offend me. If you came at me, I would come at you 3x as hard. That was just the way I was. Life taught me to be that way and well my mom too. I was taught not to rely on anyone, I was Miss Independent and self sufficient, yes even after I got married.

Then I had a baby and became an emotional mess. My hard shelled exterior had crumbled! I would cry all the time. When I was happy or sad. I realized how much I needed people. I didn’t know how to take care of a newborn?! I needed to be supervised for God’s sake. But guess what? No one was there except me. My husband had to go back to work after 2 weeks and my mom worked full time. Whenever they could help they did but I was still alone most of the time.  I realized that saying ” its takes a village” is soo true! After a year and a half of dealing with depression I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I didn’t need drugs to see the light (happy dance!). Little by little I started to laugh again,  figured stuff out as we all do when we have kids and I got it together. As time passed I learned how to do things on my own but also realized that I needed help and that there was no shame in that. We are all different, some of us need more help than others.

I don’t remember the day that I was “better” but it did happen. And then something strange happened-I decided I wanted another baby! It was such a crazy thought because during the first year of our daughter’s life my husband and I told anyone that would listen that she was to be an only child. As soon as I found out I was pregnant again, I was worried that my depression would come back but guess what? It didn’t. I don’t know if it was because this time around I had help on a daily basis or if I just simply didn’t have the time to fall apart. Either way I snapped back to myself quite quickly and I felt great. I felt blessed, fulfilled and HAPPY.

Yes, I am still emotional and I am still a mess but I am happy! Yes, one can be happy in life and still cry when watching:

a St Jude Commercial

an ASPCA Commercial

a Folgers coffee commercial

The news

The list goes on…

I used to think that people who cried at these things were weak pussies. Yes,  I used to see things in black and white.

Today, I can say that it is not that simple. I laugh and cry and curse A LOT. I truly feel things and for others and I realize how short life is and how blessed we are, regardless of how shitty our day/month/year has been. Everyone out there is someone’s baby. As Mami’s let’s be compassionate, understanding and NOT judgmental.

Like I said, I used to be an ice princess..

 

Weekend Bites

muffinsI have a few friends coming to visit tomorrow morning so I decided to make some yummy and easy food for brunch. I make these muffins all the time, they don’t take much work which is why I do not mind making them at 7am on a Sunday. Mami’s you know how it goes..

Here is the recipe:

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/3 cup of vegetable oil

1 egg

1/3 cup of milk

1 cup of blueberries(or any other berry you like)

1 teaspoon of orange zest

1 Tablespoon of sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin cups or use liners.

Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl. In a separate bowl, place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup, add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this into the flour mixture until well combined, add orange zest and then fold in the blueberries. Before you place the muffins in the oven, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over the muffins, this recipe usually makes 6-8 muffins (depending on how big you like them).

Bake for 20-25 minutes (depending on your oven). Enjoy~

Sons vs. Daughters..oh boy is there a difference

When I was pregnant with my daughter I wanted it to be a surprise but with my son I wanted to find out. So when I told everyone I was having a boy I got a lot of “oh well get ready because Boys are way different than girls”. When I asked in what way I usually got radio silence. I wasn’t sure if that was because as most parents your memory starts to fade very quickly and you can never provide concrete examples as you can barely remember what you did 5 minutes ago or if it was because these parents just didn’t want to scare me.

Well my son is almost 9 months old and I now understand what they were trying to tell me. First of all, let’s make it clear that your 2nd child is always way different than your 1st because every child has their own personality and secondly you are more relaxed and in control and the baby can sense that. My son was a great infant he rarely cried unless he was hungry and pretty much let anyone hold him, feed him etc. You could feed him Chinese Food (not that I did that) and he would not get a single bit of gas. He slept thru the night starting at 4 months when he started solids and we haven’t looked back since.

Rewind to 2 months ago when he started to crawl backwards. I thought ok no biggie, he got caught under his crib and dresser a bunch of times but never got hurt and I could still get stuff done. Well that didn’t last long as he started crawling 1 month ago and my life changed forever. I cannot take my eyes off of him for a second! He gets into EVERYTHING, he has tried to bite the dogs tail, eat the cables behind the media console in the family room, rip the baby camera off the wall while I change him and the list goes on and on. What am I going to do?

Yesterday I tried to answer a text message as I was getting ready to pick up my daughter from school, so I put him down on the kitchen floor because if I carry him while on my phone he either grabs it and puts it in his mouth or slaps it out of my hand. Well in all but 2 seconds he managed to knock over the whole dog bowl filled with water ALL OVER HIM. This morning, he managed to get a twist and click sippy cup open just enough that the water spilled all over him. I realize that 99% of these things could be happening due to my lack of baby proofing or anticipating how destructive he is but I am just NOT prepared for this little boy. In retrospect my daughter was an ANGEL. I could answer an email or get up for a few seconds and not fear that she would seriously hurt herself or others. I had it soo good. Look I do not want to sound like I am ungrateful, I am happy that my son is thriving I am just not prepared for it. My daughter is mentally draining, my husband is rarely home and my ninja reflexes are failing me.

Mothers of sons you have my respect. From now on, when I see a mother in the market with multiple boys I will say a little prayer for her, ladies you are my heroes.

Christmas is coming, let’s craft…or NOT

Today I tried to be Marta Sanchez, the Latina Martha Stewart and well I failed, miserably.

It started with me dropping off my daughter at school, putting the baby to sleep and trying to make croquetas de pavo. Well the turkey legs were soo charred that the meat resembled tree bark. There goes that idea! Next, I thought I would make some manicotti with spinach and kale, so I opened the Ricotta cheese and despite it saying it was good until January it was moldy. So I tried again and made Arepas, they were a success thank God!

In the afternoon when I felt like I needed to be picked up off the floor with a shovel, I started to craft! Maybe that is where I went wrong, never start crafting when you are feeling the afternoon yawns. Since my daughter has a child friendly Christmas decor going on in her room but my son has nada I decided it was only fair to make him a felt Christmas tree with these stuffed animal ornaments that my mother bought at Costco years ago because “si no lo compras ahora ya no hay”..(side note I didn’t even have a boyfriend)

So it started off innocently, green felt, black sharpie pen, double sided tape and some glitter sticker board. My daughter and I were excited, she loves Christmas and her brother (thank you God) but it went south pretty quickly, despite the fact that I traced the tree; it was crooked. I couldn’t trace the star so I pieced it together and then the ornaments were too damn heavy, they wouldn’t stick with a stapler or double sided tape. Finally I used a safety pin. I only had 4 safety pins…Here is the sad, sad tree..

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Maybe I could have saved it if I had used a large red bow as the tree topper.

But it is okay. I am going to be positive.

1st. at least I tried

2nd. I should probably never do this again and instead spend my time reading to my kids

3rd. I am not perfect. No one is.

I will stick to cooking and buying things already assembled. Ladies do not feel pressure to be perfect, we cannot all be crafters, gourmet chefs, home school teachers, moms with six packs, CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, fashionistas and everything else we should be doing in 24 hours. Life looks pretty and perfect on Instagram and Pinterest and every other lifestyle/social media site out there but we are all living REAL LIFE and that shit is messy, ugly and crooked at times.

Tomorrow’s chores: head to CVS in the morning for more safety pins and buy a big red bow, already made.

6:20am this morning..”Mami can you take care of 2 kids?”

ummmm..well that is the question I ask myself everyday! I guess my 3 1/2 daughter can read my mind. Daddy left today for a week long business trip and my daughter just wanted to make sure I could handle her and her brother. Well let’s see considering I do everything around the house (okay I do have a cleaning lady 1x a week but my husband always asks why since I clean every day), pay bills, make the tedious annoying phone calls that exist when you own a home, deal with the school, volunteer at the school, cook everyday for every meal and I don’t know do 1,257,888 things on a daily basis, YES I think I can handle 2 kids. Maybe not well but I can manage. I have no idea how those 16 year old girls have babies and raise them alone. Whenever I want to lock myself up in my room and loose my mind I think of them.

This past week during the Holidays was wonderful, joyful and challenging. I am getting old. I got woken up every day by my loving daughter before the sun rose, chased after my mobile baby and we went full speed into the holiday:

Thursday we hosted Thanksgiving

Friday we went into the woods/farm and cut down our own tree, visited Santa’s village, came home and decorated the whole house

Saturday I went to yoga (yea and I do not feel guilty), husband and daughter put up all the ornaments on the tree and I took the princess to her 1st musical. Side note-I got to shower and do my hair (with a hair dryer) so I looked like a nice suburban mom. Since I looked nice my husband and I took advantage, called my mom who cam over and went to Target and the movies. We saw CREED-go and see it, it was great!

Sunday my husband spent the whole day outside decorating and I watched the baby cheetah AKA my 8 1/2 month old son, made soup and cooked dinner oh and did 3 loads of laundry!

I am TIRED..

So how am I going to make it thru this week. I have no idea. I will need to meditate so I don’t scream like a banshee at my daughter who might as well work for the CIA. She wants to know everything, asks 5,643 questions a day and is the most persistent human being on earth, watch my favorite depressing show-The First 48 hours and oh yea, drink and eat lots of coffee and chocolate.

I figure I can loose weight in the new year and break out the faja (aka waistrainer for all of you in gringolandia) then..

p.s. my daughter has a cold AWESOME

Yoga Tuesdays

My first yoga class was in college and after 10 minutes I was OVER it. I tried again when I found out I was pregnant and I fell in love. Not only did I feel amazing physically but my mind was just clear and I slept like a baby that night. I did yoga throughout both my pregnancies and its practices kept me sane and focused during both my labors which were 24hours+. Today, both of my kids are enrolled in yoga classes and I would not have it any other way. Tuesdays=yoga. I take my son to a mommy and me in the morning and my daughter to a drop off class in the afternoon. I think it is so important for kids to learn early on that they need to take care of themselves, to take a minute and just be with their spirit, mind and to learn to meditate. Hold a pose and focus. Yes, perhaps I am a closet hippie.

We live in a society where we are bombarded with information 24/7, kids today are almost all impatient, they want instant gratification. Phones are ringing or pinging or vibrating every 2 minutes. We have so many activities planned for our kids- do they really ever live in the moment? Or are they thinking about what’s next?

My husband works in New York City and to say he has a stressful job would be an understatement. He has trouble sleeping, has lots of back pain and overall it just takes him a long time to wind down at night. I had suggested he try yoga since it helped me tremendously and he told me….

yoga fart
source:www.quickmeme.com

I chuckled and thought yea, it is probably best for those poor people in class that he not go.

He is going to his first yoga class after the holiday. Namaste.

 

Vicks Vaporub cura todo! It cures everything!

Vicks vaporubYo lo uso para todo. Esta en cada cuarto de mi casa!

I am like the old father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, remember he thought windex was the cure for everything? Well I am the same way, except I think it is Vaporub. The fall and spring are the most common times for kids to get sick. My daughter just fell asleep, she has been coughing every night since Saturday.This is what I use because I have found that the following things cure all:

  1. Vaporub
  2. Sopa de pollo
  3. Humidifier
  4. Steam bath
  5. Vicks plug in strips

As a first time parent I was so scared to use vaporub on my daughter because the doctor would always say, do not put it directly on her skin, apply it to a tee shirt. But that doesn’t work. What works is putting it on their chest, back, behind their knees and under their feet. All of our parents probably had this stuff rubbed all over their body when they were babies and they survived. I always try to keep things in perspective.

One other thing that I always keep in my house are vitamins and homeopathic remedies. My daughter takes an elderberry and echinacea supplement every day, along with her pediasure (my pediatrician suggested I do this) and when she gets ill I give her some homeopathic drops that help congestion and the basic cold symptoms. My daughter is almost 4 years old and has only ever had to take antibiotics once when she had an ear infection. Everyone has to do what they think is best but this works for me.

Starting the Holidays off right

This weekend we had friends come and visit with their kids and enjoyed some good food, wine and playing outside with our dog. I try to work my kids out whenever I can so they go to sleep at night without a fight. I also tell them that they need to go outside before the snow comes and they are locked inside. I think I may have overdone it because I passed out at 9:30pm on Saturday. I started my Sunday by catching 20 minutes of The Pioneer Woman and am so glad I did. I am going to make her mash potatoes with shallot recipe this Thanksgiving. I love making things beforehand so that I am less stressed and crazy the day of Thanksgiving. Which is why after watching the Food Network I got my daughter to sit with me in the kitchen and work on our place cards. I usually try to incorporate something from our yard into our Holiday decor. In past years, I used acorns and spray painted them Gold and Silver and my favorite is using leaves from the yard as place cards. It was great for her because she has to practice her handwriting. Killed 2 birds with 1 stone.

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We had a great time at the Thanksgiving Day parade in our town, its short and sweet, just the way I like it. We saw 30,584 Sesame Street character balloons and then Santa! I then took the afternoon off and went to the Spa with my friend. I haven’t done that in oh never and it was soo much fun. I felt like my old self again. We even went on a girl date afterwards and had a delicious dinner and I had a little glass of white wine. It is amazing what the little things in life can do for your mood. A manicure/pedicure, massage and a nice dinner-kid free and poof I felt like I had gone on a mini vacation. I feel completely ready for the holidays.

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Now off to the supermarket to buy everything we need to cook this week. This is the 1 time a year that I actually look forward to going to the market. I am going to eat myself into a food coma and then squeeze my bloated butt into a faja.