Thursday, August 29, 2013

Confessions of a Poofy Sweet-Toothed Coffee Lover...

Throughout the day, the hubby likes to send me some of the interesting articles he comes across between work assignments. Today I get an email from him... Subject line: "Damn!"

This is gonna be good.

He sent me a Yahoo Shine article titled, "10 Foods and Drinks That Make You Look Older Than You Are". The first three being:
1. Salt
2. Sugar
3. Coffee... I couldn't go on..

Well, damn. Guess I'm screwed! 

I'm a well known salt-aholic with a mean sweet-tooth and a new found fascination with the wonders of coffee. The only reason I'm able to write this is because I had my coffee. It's the boost my body needs to stand a fighting chance in keeping up with my brain. This magic elixir is the reason I'll find the energy tomorrow morning to put on a bra and get shit done. It's the reason I won't curse you out in the morning in response to your perky, and obviously fake "Good Morning Sunshine!" cause who could POSSIBLY be that happy in the morning?! I mean, unless they've had their coffee. In which case... don't talk to me. Anyway. I've found that my one medium coffee in the morning and drinking lots and lots of water throughout the day did wonders for me. (Which the article mentions is a good way to go.) Not only do I have the energy to get things done efficiently; not feeling crummy & sluggish makes it so much easier for me to choose water over anything else. The coffee STAYS!

 Salt is my other enemy. Or shall I say best friend?  Ok, more like frienemy. If I could dress up my salt shaker, legally name it after my grandma and take it everywhere with me... I would. I'm about 99.9% sure that about half of my body weight is due to retaining water. (Yeah hu! I swear!) Yet... I cannot stop. I've switched over to using sea salt but I'm sure that doesn't count if you're known to pour your salt instead of sprinkling it. Although, I stand by my argument that it only looks like a lot because the flecks are bigger than regular salt! It's true.

As far as candy goes... I'm the guest that the kiddie birthday party host hides the goodie bags from. As soon as their handed out to my kids they scatter as fast as they can into the darkest corner they could find to hide their stash. They resemble the little white marbles when you're playing that Hungry, Hungry Hippo game (and I'm the hungry hippo)... the kids bouncing and running around the room from one hiding spot to another hoping to get me off the scent of their only Butterfinger. The slowest one of the bunch, usually my son, will toss me a tiny box of Nerds hoping to buy more time. A small sacrifice to make if he can keep his cherry Now & Laters... and I usually talk him into giving those up too. (He's my favorite out of the six.) The rest get grounded and what's left of their candy gets confiscated when we get home cause candy rots their teeth. Nom, nom, nom. 

 (Note to self: Halloween is exactly 62 days, 22 hours, 42 minutes & 34 seconds from now.)

Now, as much as I wish to be blissfully unaware of the damage these eating habits can cause... I'm not. These are my weaknesses and I know it. As much as I struggle to do so during certain times, I've been able to cut down on these culprits dramatically... almost completely at one point. I know that for me to have any real success with my weight loss goals, as well as set an example for the kids... I might have to cut the temptations out completely. The good thing is, I've acquired a taste for organic green tea with lemon & honey. I've discovered the wonders of coconut oil and drinking lots of water. I'm more open to new flavors and really feeling the difference in my body when I do stick to the changes in my diet. The healthier I eat, the saltier & less tempting my old favorite snacks seem to be. That's a big freaking deal for me. The longer I stick to it the better I feel and the more motivated I am to make better choices. I learned that I am an emotional eater so I've made huge strides on working on those issues.
But once I fall off the wagon... it's so damn hard for me to climb back on again. If it wasn't for this ONE reason, I'd probably fit more than my calves into my post/pre-baby skinny jeans. I blame it on the Beast. (damn right it's capitalized and bold) You know? The one that lives inside every one of us ladies... waiting... salivating... counting down the days...  

23 days... 24 days... 25...

Try offering me a glass of water and a carrot on day 25...


For the full article, click here...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Natural Born Bullies

Mother Nature is a genius. It should come as no surprise since she is after all, a woman. In this case however... she fooled us. She fooled us ALL. David recently showed me a YouTube video by a dude named VSauce devoted to the science of "Cute". Did you know that a babies features are mother natures way of making us want to care for them? A babies cuteness is their way of ensuring their survival. And WE as humans are hardwired to respond to these cute, micro sized (part of their cuteness) strangers with big shiny eyes, rosy cheeks and teeny, weeny baby version of daddy's feet by: touching & changing their shit, wiping their drool, letting them vomit on our shoulder, giving up our sleep as well as our sanity, picking their boogers with our finger nails, toting their luggage everywhere we go, let em' crack our nipples til they bleed, spend hours on end making "connections" in their brain while losing the ability to remember our own birth date... we let em take over our house, our life, our thoughts, our finances and what should of been dads man cave... Granny panties.
 This is what cute does to us. That we would purposely sign up for this.
I can see David's point he says "Baby's should be illegal!" (mostly when they're crying) despite the fact that he's now raising SIX of them. (And a very cute but naughty dog.)

Now, Mother Nature really takes the cake with toddlers. Babyhood with all of it's cuteness, sacrifices and selfless devotion invested, only ensures the survival of the human toddler. Once you've invested all that you have into the baby and they're walking and communicating in somewhat understandable babble and gestures, the rest should be easy peasy. Toddler hood. Heh... I got this!

I was pregnant with my first baby when I was thrown into a room full of toddlers for the first time EVER. How do I describe the experience...hmmm...
It was almost as traumatizing as the day I saw my kids baby hamsters eat the new set of baby hamsters. It was like watching a war scene from the movie 300... only with a little less blood and their weapons of choice were little cardboard books, plastic food from the play kitchen and sensory balls. I watched one little boy bite the arm of an innocent bystander out of the frustration of having his ball snatched away. As I walked over to pick up and comfort the victim of this brutal attack, a teacher chimed in...
"Don't pick her up... She has to learn to comfort herself..."

So... She saw this too? And did NOTHING!?  

Soon I learned why...
I rubbed the little girls arm and turned away from her to witness a little boy trying to drag a little girl away from a pile of blocks by her hair. Another kid threw a ball straight into another little boys face who had been sitting minding his own business. The biting, hitting, scratching, kicking, crying, screaming, snatching, stealing, throwing, stomping and adult sized poops went on for what seemed a lifetime. (I was there 45 minutes total) I walked out of the toddler room feeling like I just survived walking through the crossfire between two rival gangs.
They're... bullies. They're ALL bullies!!! Walking, talking, miniature, savage, primal but oh so cute BULLIES!

I felt for the hardworking toddler teacher who was forced to put aside her urges (surely) to love on and comfort these beautiful creatures in order to keep the nursery from being demolished by them. I looked down at my growing belly and made a promise to the little human inside.

And that's the very first time I thought... "I want to be a stay at home mom."

I started off this blog session with an elbow leaning into my neck as my now toddler played with the Velcro on her shoes that eventually ended up stuck in my hair. She snatched my iPad for her Disney Junior app so I'm now finishing this off on the laptop. She takes our money. She digs her sharp elbows and knees into my thighs when I sit down. Our television is set to Nick Jr all day even if she's not watching it. We have to share our room while the older kids get their own rooms. She climbs, kicks and rolls all over me for her entertainment and she steals my food. Her poop stinks... Grannie panties.

But Mother Nature is a funny chick I tell ya. Cause when this beautiful little creature throws her pudgy little arms around my neck and squeezes my face into the heaven that is getting lost in the soft, flowy, curly tendrils of her hair... it's so worth it. Here. Take the money. Take my iPad... my time... here... take my watch. Sure, you can have my food even though you just ate.  When she calls for "Mummy" I get that warm, fuzzy feeling inside even when I know she's only wanting something from me... cause she does so much more for me. Along with the bullying comes her giggles and her laughs. Her cute little feet and the way she looks when she scrunches her nose. Her antics and her cleverness. It's a bonus that she's always been a good sleeper and we can take her out for dinner and genuinely enjoy her company. How she rocks her tutus and the way she puckers up her lips when she wants a kiss and actually says "Mmmuah!" as she does it. The perks to living with this bully are endless. For all the joy she brings... Nick Jr really isn't that bad. Have you seen these characters?!

They're so CUTE!

My little bully... eating MY tomato by the way...

Monday, August 26, 2013

On my Favorite Things: Disco Dust

This past weekend we celebrated the 14th birthday of a close family friend. I was given the honor of making her birthday cupcakes. I was asked to make something with peace signs and I decided to incorporate daisies into the mix. It was also the perfect opportunity to try out my new Disco Dust! I don't know what's more awesome... the fact that it's called "Disco Dust", or the fact that I finally get to eat the glitter that falls off my art project. (Every little girl's dream... well... mine at least.)
I learned about disco dust online last year while seeking some inspiration for Valentine cupcakes. I came across this image of the word "Love" made of fondant and coated in glitter sitting on top of four adorable cupcakes. Precious! At first I thought it was plastic. Besides, the last I heard, glitter can shred your insides so this looked a little unsafe. I'm the mother you'll find in the middle of the isle beating on my little girls clothes while I'm shopping. I'm testing that the glitter on my kids clothing won't come loose after I buy it. And then I'm the one who FREAKS OUT when the girls get glittery clothes as a gift cause God forbid some of that glitter lands in their mouth. But I never admitted it until now cause I didn't want to look crazy. *eye twitch*  But no! This was legit EDIBLE!
 Unlike pearl dust which gives a pretty, sheer sparkle and shine to your fondant and sugar paste decorations... disco dust is made of larger flecks and reflects more light for that super sparkly effect. Sorta like a disco ball, I suppose. Hence the name disco dust. (I'm just guessing.)
I dug a little deeper and found the product but didn't order it until recently. Lately with feeling uninspired to create, I figured nothing makes a project more fun then adding some SPARKLE to it!

Envisioning myself throwing a couple hands full of sparkly, magical glitter in the air as I say 'SPARKLE'...

eh-hem... moving on...

I ordered mine from in Hot Pink and Sour Apple Green. I absolutely LOVE it! It definitely took my little sugar paste letters to a whole other level CUTE!
The birthday girl loved it and so did the rest of the guests who originally thought the decorations were made of plastic.

 I took it as a compliment.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Project: Girl's Room

We recently finished our first big project together as a couple. The first home project we tore down and created back up again from beginning to end together. Well, there wasn't much to tear down... the girls did that all on their own. The sounds that came out of behind that door would suggest we had a theme park in our home... I was always afraid to look. Either way, in the 2 years since I've been here, they've all grown from playing with dollhouses, Barbies and using their mattress as a make shift trampoline/fort/slide into playing with makeup and Facebook. (Supervised of course!) So when the last screw fell off their old bunk beds, we figured it was a good time for a change. My daughter would be away for the summer so we made this our project.

I used a cool "fashionista-ish" painting I found at Homegoods on clearance for $8 as the inspiration piece. Somehow this room had to reflect all three of the girls ages 12, 10 and 6 AND this painting. Considering all three girls come from different planets... it was a little challenging at first. But once I found the perfect comforter set (perfect meaning they were on SALE for $28! Cha-Ching!) it was easy peasy from there. Fun, clean, modern and vibrant was the goal. (And CHEAP.) Oh yeah... And sturdy.
The first thing we did was get rid of the bright pink walls and settled for a neutral color. We went with Behr primer and paint in Harvest Brown with an off white for the trimming. The paint was a little pricey at a little less than $40 a gallon (not including the necessary supplies) but the coverage this brand achieves is well worth it. Especially when you're painting over bubblegum pink. A LOT of bubble gum pink. And for a touch of awesome we hung a lamp we bought from IKEA for $25 not including the little pieces parts to hang it and the light bulb. Considering it's a pretty architectural and pleasing piece to look at, it was $25+ well spent. 

 As for the beds we went with IKEA Mydal bunk beds for $159. Considering these beds can take a whole lot of abuse and weight (including my own)... it doesn't get much better than that. The boys share the same bunk beds except theirs have been around for over 5 years and they're still standing strong. I've done my share of shopping around and comparing prices and I could never justify spending over $1,000 on children's furniture when there's an IKEA. It's damn near a crime if you ask me. Yes, a lot of their furniture can be a little "simple" and "plain" or a little on the "modern" side. But that's exactly why I like it. No dings and whistles. And I love the look and feel the wood on these bunk beds give the room. Plus, I get to bring it home the same day. After a few hours of decoding assembly instructions, struggling with the miniature tools provided and testing the relationship and communication skills between yourself and the person helping you build this thing... you've got yourself a nice, sturdy, to-the-point piece of furniture. Best of all, at a fraction of the price you normally would pay anywhere else. For those who know me, they know IKEA is my piece of heaven on earth. Need cups? IKEA. Need some design inspiration? IKEA. Moved out of your mommas? IKEA! Swedish meatballs? IKEA. Cure for the common cold? IKEA! 

Anywho. A $4 can of white spray paint and a table given to us by a friend along with a pink chair I found for $17 at (take a wild guess) serves as a desk for homework and art projects. And since I can't stand pieces of paper, stickers or posters taped to the wall, we hung magnetic boards & magnets for the girls to display their art work & boy band clippings "freely". A $6 on sale bird and peony wall art piece, a few other accessories and finishing touches and TA-DAAA!!!! FINITO!!! The girls are happy with their new space... Dad's just happy it's over... and I get to chillax a little before Halloween/Birthday/Thanksgiving/Christmas season in our household. 

Now that's a WHOLE other challenge... 

As for our project... Here is our finished product...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Go, Baby, Go Baby Shower...

Back in June my family and I celebrated the impending arrival of my youngest sisters 2nd little boy. My mom being a super busy and involved grandma and career woman... I had the pleasure of planning and putting together this baby shower. I say "pleasure" because for the first time EVER I had to freedom to plan an event with no clear budget if it meant she had to do as little as possible (did I blow up my moms spot?) THAT and everyone was totally ok with giving me full and total creative control (no one fought me too much for the role). Cause I likes what I like. 

On the negative side, since I'm in CT and the baby shower was in FL, I had to consider that whatever decorations and crafts I put together, at some point would need to be transported. And since I'm cheap even with other people's money, that meant it needed to be shoved in a suitcase so it could pass as one of my free traveling luggages which also meant it needed to be under 50 pounds. (I didn't actually "shove" ANYTHING. It was more like "meticulously placed.")

Once the task of deciding on the perfect theme was done... It was all a go from there. We decided on the Go, Baby, Go printable party theme from Hostess with the Mostess. It was absolutely perfect. My sister wanted to do a car theme in her boys room (baby and big brother would be sharing) and I figured we can kill two birds with one stone. I wanted her to be able to use some of the shower decorations to finish decorating the boys room. She wanted something simple, yet fun. Modern with vibrant colors. That's exactly what we got with this theme. I wanted to steer clear from using the usual pastels but still come across as baby shower-y and not baby's 1st birthday-y. 

Between my O.C.D and craftiness... My mommas super powers and checkbook... And my little big sister the chef and her hook ups... We pulled it together. 

The beautiful mommy-to-be loved it and I'm honored to know my new nephew likes his handmade paper plane mobile a whole lot too!

Party at a glance. Printable party available here
Table centerpieces.
Dessert table.
Ready to get this party started.
Time to Fuel Up.
Baby has his bag packed and ready for his arrival.
Let's eat cake!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dignity? Pssh! Ain't nobody got time for that!

Before kids I recall being one of the "prissiest" people there was. Til this day I'm known to be the perfectionist. The girly one. The Puerto Rican Betty Crocker and a kinder, tanner, Latina version of Martha Stewart. Although I may be girly and a little bit (a lot) O.C.D...

Who are they kidding???

Can you imagine Martha Stewart spread out on her belly at IKEA trying with no success to reach the sippy cup that rolled deep under a display rack? That's the exact position I found myself in a couple days ago. My fellow shoppers walking around and stepping over my limbs. A few of them flashing me the stank eye as my little one ran in a circle around me chiming "Uh-Oh!"
I was tossing and turning the night before at 4am to get up early and try to do something productive. I started my day off at IKEA... black circles and bags under my eyes.. Hair flying into my mouth... toddler by the hand hoping she wouldn't take advantage of the freedom she had outside of the cart. I was just much too tired to give a damn what I looked like much less give a shit if people stare. (Which they did.)

A few days prior to that, I was making a grocery run at Target. I was shopping for over an hour before it was brought to my attention...

Cashier: ::Clears throat:: Umm.. ma'am... you've got something on your... ::Points at my butt::

I look over at my butt as I bent into my cart reaching for groceries... and there it is... A huge, highlighter green sticker flailing around wildly off the side of my ass with the words "Boogie Bucks" on it. Well, now it wasn't my milkshake bringing the boys to the yard. I rip it off...

Hey. It's a Boogie Buck. I can probably use this. I tuck the Boogie Buck in my baby bag.

Cashier: A Boogie what?! As he fights his laughter.

A Boogie Buck. From my kids boogar wipes. I continue to go about my business.

Oh man! That's the most hilarious thing ever! Your baby gave you a sticker! The cashier laughing hysterically.

Happens everyday.

Sometime before this I went to the gym for the first time EVER. I felt legit ya know. A grown up out and away from anything and everything kiddy to do a grown up thing. I pull my ice cold water bottle out of my bag only to find myself scraping crushed cookie crumbs, Cheerios and a Stop and Shop receipt off of my sweating water bottle in the womens locker room. Three hardcore gym monkey chicks standing nearby watching.

I'm going to blame this newfound shamelessness on the birth of my first daughter. Something about having your vagina on display for a video camera, your momma, your new husband, your cousin, HER momma, the doc, rotating nurses, my mother-in-law and ALL those who developed the pictures taken on that lovely day at my local Walmart where I showed my face every other day certainly has a way of stripping you of your dignity. Being asked by nurses and doctors at any given moment in front of my visitors and my then husband (who in ten years didn't know girls farted or pooped) about the color of my poop, my cracked nipples and whether or not and how often I'm passing gas makes is mighty difficult to get embarrassed at much of anything.

This is the newfound mentality that allowed me to DARE and take my first Zumba class. I looked a lost, uncoordinated MESS. Arms and legs flying in the opposite direction of the instructors... My shimmy looked a little more like a seizure. But I had fun and I accomplished something that day.
I walked outta of the gym that day with my shameless dignity.

It's the same shamelessness that allowed me to buy and wear shorts very recently for the first time in years.

It's the reason I'm able to wear a bathing suit in public and still feel good about myself.

Ya know? I gotta make sure to thank my daughter some day.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Spring Theme Cupcakes

I was recently flipping through old pics when I came across my spring themed cupcakes. The feeling I got looking at them is exactly the feeling I hoped to achieve when I made them. 
So warm and fuzzy inside...
I've fallen into a funk when it comes to my cupcake decorating dream. My lack of inspiration and A.D.D. are taking a hardcore toll on my creative abilities. That... and the toddler I have staring at me and whining from the other side of the baby gate.
I can't do NUTTIN!
But looking at these cupcakes I remember the day I made them. Another day standing with my face pressed to the window waiting for the slightest sliver of sun to peek over a roof top in the never ending sea of grey winter sky. The winter blues are no joke y'all. I had just cried to my mom about how depressed I was and how tempted I was to jump out my window but it was much too cold for all that drama... ( I live on the first floor... RELAX!) She made the suggestion of cutting out bright flowers out of paper with bright green leaves and grass and sticking them to my walls to create the feeling of spring in my home. But that would suggest that I leave the house. I wasn't gonna go through the hassle of buckling the baby in after bundling her up as well as myself in 13 layers of clothes in search of construction paper.
Anywho... Beautiful, colorful, cheerful looking cupcakes were the last thing on my mind. Yet, somehow the thought of them snuck in somewhere between my mental rant on how shitty a state CT is with it's winter, high taxes and boredom.
I'm makin' me some cupcakes! Not just any cupcakes... SPRING CUPCAKES!
So I got to creating. I didn't care if the house fell apart that day. I believe the hubby came home and cooked dinner after seeing me wrapped up in my project and even the little one felt inspired to keep herself busy too. I was determined. The sight of a cupcake alone is enough to spread a smile across anyone's face. I could only imagine what a spring themed cupcake would do for my spirits. In the end what made me happiest was that I made the choice that day to use my feeling of emptiness to inspire creating something that will fill me with a little joy. (And sugar.) You know what they say about artists... they're always a little bit tortured inside. Although my happy caterpillar and adorable bumble bee would suggest otherwise!
My happy little cuddle bunny and her cupcake...