Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day to Mark

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all of the wonderful fathers out there! 

Today was a fun day but started off a bit hectic. 
Mark went to get Ava out of her crib so that she could run into our room and be there when he opened up his Father's Day gifts. 

Mark forgot that he had just put down his cup off coffee on his nightstand table... 
You guessed it!
 Ava went straight for the mug and before I could even react, she dumped it all over our brand new Tempur-Pedic bed. All I can say is THANK GOODNESS Mark bought the extra $70 "special" mattress cover!!! Not a drop of coffee went through to our foam mattress!!! Yay. 
I was very impressed. 

Anyways, the day got better after that! :) 
Mark opened his gifts, Ava had her breakfast, and we got ready for church. 

Ava didn't last long in church this morning so she and I ended up in the toddler nursery playing with all of the toys. She loves it in there. 

After church, we headed over to Mark's mom and step dad's house for Father's Day lunch. 
We had such a great time as usual. Ava has a blast with all of her toys there and we got to catch up with his parents and brothers over a delicious meal. 

Ava especially loves her "car" that is kept at nana's house for her. 
(Makes it extra special since she doesn't have it all the time!) 
 So she got to go for a spin or two on the street. 

I had to get a quick photo of the three of us while we were out there. Every time I drive down this street, I can't help but think back to our childhood when I first met Mark on this exact street. We have so many memories playing with our friends out there and now his two younger brothers and their friends are the ones playing out there. 

At 13 years old, Mark told his mom that I was the one that he would marry one day. 

Thank goodness he has always been a man of his word because now he is the most amazing father to our beautiful daughter. 
I couldn't be more thankful for such an amazing husband. Watching Mark play with Ava is my favorite part of the day. 
Ava is such a daddy's girl and Mark absolutely loves it (and do I.) 

He is so proud of Ava and it shows in all the little ways he cares for her. 
He always wants to be the one carrying Ava when we are out...
He always wants to be the one holding Ava when we are taking a picture...
He wants to be the one pushing her in the shopping cart...
He wants to be the one pushing her stroller... 
He wants to be the one to go get her after she wakes up... 

(Most of the photos of us in the hospital when Ava was born were of Mark holding her. I'll never forget when my good friend, MaryAnn, commented on one of the photos: 
"When does mommy get to hold Ava?!

haha... It is still that way today. 

Their bond is incredible after only 19months and is only getting stronger. 

Where it all started in Coral Ridge - Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Happy Father's Day, Mark. 

You are Ava's hero and my rock. I couldn't imagine being on this parenting journey with anyone else. 

I love you, 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Healthy Habits: Seeds!

Have you ever heard of someone you knew eating or drinking something that contains chia seeds, hemp seeds, or flax seeds, for example, and wondered why???

Many of these seeds, like Chia, were used in ancient times to sustain those going through long periods of travel without food or to keep them energized while they were outside doing work. 

I use chia and hemp seeds regularly. I will sometimes add chia seeds into my daily bottle of water or sprinkle them into Ava's yogurt. I also LOVE to add them into the overnight oats that I make for Mark, myself, and Ava. They get soft and open up into gel-like little beads. Since they are pretty tasteless, you can add them into anything and reap the benefits for your body's health. 

As you can see, I try and find a way to add them to whatever I am making...

Photos taken from my Instagram account  

Chia added:

To my bottle of water 

Lettuce wraps

Mango avocado salad:

Added to toast:

As for hemp seeds, I find that they are soft and have a light sunflower seed-like taste.  I like to sprinkle them onto salads, into a sauce, into my smoothies, onto my toast with almond butter... Or basically, anything. 

Hemp added:
Sprinkles of hemp seeds on my veggie patty salad. 

Hemp added: (center with the spoon) 

The serving size of chia seeds is about
1 tbsp. 

The serving size of hemp seeds are 
3 tbsp. 

Just thought I'd share this little 
info-graphic for you to look at incase you want to start learning and adding some additional nutrition to your diet. 
Chia contains five times more calcium than milk

It contains three times more iron than spinach

Chia contains seven times more vitamin C than oranges

It contains twice the potassium content of banana

Chia seeds also make a great source of protein but don't have any cholesterol like animal protein. The protein is a complete protein with all 8 essential amino acids

It contains 20% Omega 3 ALA, making it a super food for the brain and heart. Chia has eight times more Omega 3 than salmon!

It is super high in dietary fiber, making it great for digestion and healing digestion issues.

It has a positive impact balancing blood glucose levels (making it awesome for diabetics)

Chia makes a great egg replacement. Just combine with water to form a gel, and add it to recipes that call for egg

Chia is gluten free

It is food for healthy skin, hair and nails

Once you buy a bag of any of these seeds they will go a long way since you use very little each day. I can't remember right now, but I think a bag of chia is usually about $8- $10? And about the same for hemp seeds. 
-Whole foods has all kinds of seeds 
-I've seen and bought chia seeds at Publix in the organic section 
-Costco has a great deal on both hemp and chia seeds!  (big bags for the same cost as other retailers) 

And remember, if you can: always buy organic seeds! 

That's all I have for now! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Our Meatless Monday + My New Spiral Veggie Slicer

Our easy, Meatless Monday dinner last night...

If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen this already so I am sorry for the repeat post for some. 

Veggie patty in a portabella mushroom cap over zucchini and squash noodles. Topped with blended:mango/pineapple/coconut+ fresh mint/fresh cilantro. 

I usually use frozen organic fruit (if I don't have fresh) that I have on hand (which I also use in my smoothies)
I can use them to blend up and top off wild caught fish, organic chicken, or salad glazes/dressings. 

This veggie patty package was purchased at Costco.  Have I mentioned that we purchased a Costco membership recently because ours has a ton of organic food! Saving money, eating well, and shopping less is heaven! I spent the usual amount and have double if not triple the food stock. 

I like these veggie patties because they are soft and sweet potato-like with a lot of flavor. It has the consistency of a soft crab cake. 
(If you are open to trying these, don't go into it thinking "veggie burger". 
I don't like when meat eaters try and substitute something for meat that is plant based and then complain that it doesn't taste like meat. Uhhh... Why would plants taste like meat ? It's not meat, and that's the beauty of it. Don't try and make it something that it's not! Haha Enjoy it for what it is...

I had tried "veggie burgers" in the past and it didn't work out for me. They were a hard consistency and a lot of them have questionable ingredients. I'd much rather have a quality, grass fed beef burger than a hard veggie burger with 100 weird ingredients.  
So I am happy I found a veggie patty that I like now. 
Here they are if you want to try them out.  

Ava (and Mark) enjoyed them too!! Toddler approved!!! #momWIN  

Simple ingredients 

My veggie spiral slicer

Steaming some zoodles! 

Then today for lunch I was still craving them... 
I added some veggie patties to a small salad.  (Same glaze as above) 
I just added hemp hearts. (Also bought at Costco. 
Took 4 min to cook in a pan.  That's what I call a quick and simple meal.

Do you have any super quick, healthy meals you want to share? 


Monday, June 9, 2014

Motherhood: toddler stage

I've been meaning to post a little "Ava Update" now that she is a year and a half. (Well, technically she is is 19months)
So much had changed in 7 short months since she turned 1! 
These photos are from this morning: coloring at her table. She gets VERY EXCITED when she gets to you can tell by the SQUEALS (screams) of excitement captured below. 

Ava's vocabulary consists of: 

1. "Tank tu" (thank you)  ---This one is my favorite. Ava uses "Thank you" where it should be a "Please."   She will hand you something that she wants opened or a tuned on, for example, and say, "Tank tu!"  As Mark says, "She is anticipating to close the deal before it happens..." Such a salesman thing to say. ha.

2. No
3. "Yo-guh!!!!!!!" (Yogurt) 
4. Mommy
5. "Da-deee" (daddy)
6. Nana 
7. "Nuh-na" (Nona: grandma in Italian))
8. "Gook" (Luke:her uncle) 
9. "App-oh" (Apple)
10. Boo (her stuffed animal, Boo the Pomeranian) 
11. Wooow!
12. Lolo (my grandpa) 
13. Hola 
14. "Buh-bo!" (Bubbles)
15. Hi 
16. "Ice" (points to her eyes)
17. "Minnie mou!" (Minnie mouse) 
18. Eh-mo!" (Elmo) 
19. "Ight" (light) 
20. Off 
21. "Aw done" (all done)
22. "Ack" (Snack) ---Unless there is duck around in our neighborhood...then she is quacking at the duck. (Her quack is more  like ack ack!) 
23. "Baw!" (ball)

23. "Heh-woah" (hello) 
24. Bye! 
25. Aaa-choo!     (When she teases me for sneezing) 
26. "Go! Go!"    (When she wants to watch Dr. Suess at 6:30pm...he has a song where they sing "When we go! go! go! go!...on an adventure..." 
27. "Muahh!" (When she wants a kiss) 

Sign language: (My mom was born to deaf parents and so my mom teaches her ASL) 

1. Mommy 
2. Daddy 
3. Thank you 
4. Please 
5. Milk 
6. More 
7. Book 
8. Doggy 
9. Water (working on it) 
10. Wop (a not so nice slang word for Italians.  You can thank my Italian mom for that...) 

Ava's favorite foods:

Avocado, meatballs, yogurt with chia seeds mixed in, applesauce, bananas, oatmeal, raisins, pancakes, peas, beans, toast with almond butter, strawberries 

Ava's favorite toys: 

-Anything with buttons (play phones, computers, etc) 
-Mini size animals (She has a toy barn with tons of animals that she plays with a lot. 
-a mini piano 
-play drum sticks 
-her play kitchen 
-Cooper's (our dog's) toys....
-rubber blocks 
-Minnie mouse 

Ava's sleeping patterns:
Ava had been sleeping through the night since she was about 7 weeks old.
Now, at 19mo. she naps at 12:30 until about 2:30/3:00ish. and is back in bed around 7:30/8PM. 
She gets up around 7:30/8AM.  

Ava's personality:

As a toddler, Ava has become goofier and very silly. She loves making funny faces and imitating others around her. As a mother of a toddler, I can definitely have my "moments" of exhaustion. She isn't always a bundle of fun and it shows her her crankiness. She pouts and kicks when she doesn't get her way. All I can do is take a deep breath and remain calm in those situations. (Those fussy moments normally happen because she is tired and needs a nap...or she is just being a typical toddler!) 
I know that we have a lot more "fun" in the future as the two's and three's are supposed to be another level of crazy toddler tantrums... Lord help me. 

Overall, Ava a a good girl that loves to give us kisses. She loves cuddling up and being held when Mark gets home. ...Each morning, Ava asks for "da-dee" when I get her out of her crib and runs to our room to find an empty bed.  On the weekend, she squeals in excitement when she sees that he is home. It's a cute sight to see :) 
Ava also gets excited after lunch when she knows that it is her "Nuh-na" (Nona)'s time to come visit her....She gets very excited to put on her shoes when she knows we are going to see her Nana, Papa, and her uncles "Gook"(Luke) and Tommy.  
...She smiles the whole time as she hears her "Lala and Lolo" (her Cuban great grandparents) speaking to her in Spanish over speaker phone and gets even more excited when we head out to Miami to visit them weekly...
Ava loves turning on and off the Himalayan salt lamp's switch on my nightstand table and shouts, "ight!" (Light) 
...She loves moving/rolling her shoulders when she is dancing to music (or bopping up and down like she's "droppin' it like it's hot" hahaha 
....Ava LOVES ducks! She starts quacking at them ("Ack!!! Ack!!! Ack!!!") when we are out walking in our neighborhood. 

I could go on forever...

((I'll wrap it up here as she is now napping and I take this lovely time to shower and catch up on my holistic health classes online.))

We love you, goof nugget. You make me and daddy so proud each and every day. You are so smart and so beautiful. Every day has it's ups and downs but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Mommy is so grateful to be home with you and watch you grow into a fun and silly little girl. 


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday Funday

I am sorry for the almost 1 month of not blogging.... I don't know what it is but I have just not been feeling in the mood for it lately. I do have a tendency of using my blogger app to upload photos onto a post and then hitting save to never return to it again. The hard part for me is the writing. I can be long winded and I just don't have much time for that  lately haha. Between my daughter at 19months now and listening to my holistic health classes, I enjoy my down time with my husband or taking a NAP! ha

Anyways, I wanted to share these photos because I love them and I want Ava to see them when she gets older (as I use this blog for her "scrapbook".) 

This was last Sunday, June 1st 2014 . 

Every 1st Sunday of the month, there is a jazz brunch down by the water in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. Families go out and set up picnics and enjoy the live jazz bands that are set up throughout the park areas. I love these Sundays. Mark's mom, step dad, and step brothers met us down there after we all left church. We had the typical picnic food: fruit, croissants, mimosas, sandwiches, etc. 

Ava had a blast being chased around by her nana and two uncles who are 13 & 11 yrs old. 

Pooped out. 

Ava personifies what it means to be a daddy's girl... And my husband eats it right up. 
After brunch, my mama in law took Ava for the rest of that day/night. Mark and I were invited to go to the Zac Brown Band concert with two of our good friends later that night. 

We had the greatest seats and had the greatest time with Matt & Lauren! Thank you both for being so amazing to us. We always have a blast with them.  (Side note for those of you who know me on a personal level: Matt & Lauren are the owners of Charter One of them is the Floridian Princess. It is the yacht that Mark and I got married on. Mark worked as a First Mate and later as a Captain when he was in high school and college. He still will Captain when the time permits and he is needed. We have been friends with Matt & Lauren for about 13 years now and hang out with them every chance we can.

It was a very fun day with our family and friends. I picked up Ava first thing in the morning around 8AM. 

(I'll try to step up my blogging as I don't want Ava to miss her toddler adventures one day because I did a poor job of recording it....) 

I cannot believe it is June and that she is already 19months. Closer to 2 years old then 1 years old....MIND BLOWING for us. 

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend.