When life hands you pumpkins

I don’t know about you but there’s something about Fall that always seems to bring me back to life. To say it’s my favorite time of year would be an understatement; Halloween is my favorite holiday (yes even more than Christmas,) I got married in the Fall and last October our little dude entered the world. This year more than ever I feel like I am so caught up in the hecticness of daily life, from trying to manage an-almost toddler to still being a present wife, daughter and friend. It can be so overwhelming and one thing I’ve noticed amongst parents is this sense of competition;  “my kid walked by this age, my kid already eats those things, my kid doesn’t sleep like that” etc etc etc. Now don’t get me wrong I’ve been finding a great support system in the parenting community but this sense of competition amongst friends, strangers, social media and so on is crazy to me. Growing up I can remember my dad always telling me to not compare my grades to the other kids and to try to do well for myself, not to be like others who maybe did better than me. All I know after this year is that parenting is hard, and every child, every teenager, every adult is different. We all do things our own way and we should embrace the differences in our kids rather than criticize them. It’s so awesome to see parents come together and support one another by offering advice or to be a sounding board, which as we know is more than necessary to keep our sanity. As my little dudes 1st birthday approaches I hope to gain more confidence as a parent and realize we’re all doing good as long as our kids are happy. That being said, excuse me while I go get a hot coffee, throw on a sweater and geek out over finally having some cold weather.  

 

I’ll take an extra large coffee and a vacation thank you

Im not one to go to social media or my blog to complain or rant but I know I’m not the first parent to say this and I certainly won’t be the last: holy lord I am so TIRED! And yes of course you’re tired from the minute your baby enters the world but lately I have been feeling like my energy ranges from 1-3 on a scale of 10. The poor thing is teething like crazy lately which overall has led to lack of sleep and some stressful days. He’s crawling now which is so fun but as you know it means never sitting down for more than a few seconds..how are they so fast?! If people ask me what I want for Christmas this year I’m sticking with a lifetime supply of coffee or a tropical vacation, or both obviously. On the other hand our little dude will be ONE next month…how is that possible?! I always thought parents who went over the top for their kids first birthdays were nuts because the babies barely know what’s going on and don’t remember..but I totally get it now. I am going to go broke by the time I’m done making trips to Michaels Arts and Crafts, so far I’ve started a backdrop for the candy bar, have made some signs, put a food menu together, bought decor from Etsy and I’m still not done..my poor poor husband and wallet don’t stand a chance. Any advice or favorite parts of your child’s first birthday? We are doing a Superhero theme, which needless to say got my husband way too excited. It’s hard to believe we’re already getting things for his birthday together because I’m fairly certain I’m in major denial that he will actually be a toddler before we know it. 

Whole30 buffalo chicken sliders

Listen, do yourself a favor and make these..immediately. My husband and I started Whole 30 today; yes the same husband who is a cheeseburger and French fry addict. And guess what, he asked to do it with me, I didn’t even say a word! It’s a miracle. Now if you or your partner is like my husband (aka needs cheese on everything, loves bread, always said he hates sweet potatoes) then I’ll let you know what he said about this meal, aaaand I quote “wow..did you make these fries? These are sweet potatoes? They’re so good! This burger doesn’t even need condiments..the flavor is insane when can we have these again?” So like I said, try these and bask in the flavorful glory that is chicken sliders and fries. Please let me know if you like it or make any alternations, I’d love to hear about it

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

  • Sweet potato
  • Garlic powder
  • Olive oil 
  • Sea salt 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peep sweet potato and cut to likewise length. Rub on 3 caps full of olive oil, a few shakes of garlic powder and a couple pinches of sea salt. Place on foil lined baking tray for 30 minutes. Flip half way through.

Buffalo Chicken Sliders

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/2 c celery chopped
  • 1/2 c shredded carrot
  • 1/4 c franks hot sauce (whole30 approved)
  • 1 tsp clfibely chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Few pinches of sea salt

Combined all ingredients into a large bowl. I did this a few hours before cooking and placed in refrigerator to let the mixture marinate and I highly suggest this. When ready to cook form into patties and either grill on the bbq or cook with a little olive oil on the stove top.  

 

27 going on 22

So apparently I turned 27 today..which is super strange since I still feel like I’m in my early twenties. I think most of you can relate, but this year I didn’t even realize my birthday was coming up and for the first time I really didn’t even care. Before our little human came along I would get so excited to celebrate my birthday, but I would also dread it a little bit because birthdays mean getting older. This year I felt relaxed, and ready to welcome this new chapter in life, because for once I actually understand the saying “another year older is better than the alternative.” Part of me is envious of Sean because he literally is just starting his life, but how lucky are we that we get to spend the rest of our own lives watching them grow and become amazing human beings. To celebrate today my husband took me across the bay to Sam’s Anchor Cafe, one of the most beautiful locations with delicious sea food, if you live in or visit the Bay Area I highly recommend checking it out. The little guy loved watching the birds and seeing sail boats come in and out of the harbor, he had never seen that before. The weather was perfect and it felt so nice to get out of stay-at-home mom mode for a few hours. We are officially at the stage where Sean is trying to talk and had a few loud outbursts during lunch, which was followed by several stares from other customers..needless to say I officially felt like a parent.  It’s hard to believe I am 27 and Sean is 8 months, I’m not sure how time is flying so fast but I know that now more than ever I want to take advantage of every day I have.

 

Balancing life at the moment

Is something I’m having a hard time doing. Between the baby teething, having a working husband, trying to stay on a healthy diet and just being a 26 year old woman trying to maintain balance in her love life, her mom life, family life and friend life, can be more difficult at times than others. I’ve been realizing as each month goes by how important it is to let people help more than I have been: in my head I take care of my little human better than anyone else. When my husband gets a day off here and there I always take advantage of it and go shopping, do lunch or even go out for happy hour with friends..but those days are so far and few between that I’m starting to realize we as parents not only deserve some more quality time to ourselves, but we NEED it. Summer means more family events and they have already started, which is great but can be so hectic with a baby and so many family members it’s hard to please everyone. I’m learning to say no to people when I need to as hard as it is for me, because a stressed environment or a stressed parent solves nothing. This isn’t an easy job but there are some awesome kids out in the world so we must be doing alright. How do you guys maintain balance in so many aspects of your life?    

    

What I’ve learned in the past 6 months 

Hint: I’ve learned that I have A LOT more to learn. I’ve learned that raising a human is a lot harder than most people care to tell you; it’s stressful, it’s exhausting, you never feel like you’re doing the right thing, and yet, it’s even more rewarding than you could even imagine because this little human is yours and you’re his. I think I was surprised at how I’ve adapted to being a mom. I grew up an only child, was somewhat of a party girl and for lack of a better word have been fairly selfish in terms of liking to do what I want when I want to do it. As we all know, that just doesn’t happen anymore! It’s true what they say that when you have a baby something inside of you changes (hopefully for everyone) and you can’t imagine not putting everything you’ve wanted aside for this new lil guy or girl. Now all the mushy stuff aside, I have definitely struggled a lot and sometimes yearn for the days of sleeping in, going out every weekend or even just getting to shower whenever I feel like it. One thing I’ve learned for sure is that I appreciate and respect my parents more than I ever have; something about going through it yourself makes you look at your own parents in a whole new light, and wow, do they deserve a medal. What have you guys learned so far or what’s the best advice you’ve gotten?

Can’t Fail Crockpot Chicken Parm

Now I come from an Italian family so we take our chicken and eggplant Parmeseans very seriously, however lets be real, sometimes they can be a pain in the ass to make. I’ve been using this crockpot recipe for a while now and it’s so dang easy but most importantly, delicious. I shop at Trader Joes so my ingredients are catered to that store but of course you can modify very easily to the ingredients your frequent at your own grocery store. I hope you enjoy and please let me know if you try it or make any interesting modifications!

Ingredients

  1. Organic chicken breast tenders (the amount is up to you depending on family size)
  2. Three cheese marinara sauce 
  3. Quattro formaggio shredded cheese blend (or shredder Parmesean and provolone)
  4. Organic bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Place a layer of sauce on the bottom of crockpot
  2. Combine 1/4 C cheese with approximately 1.5 C breadcrumbs
  3. Dip each chicken tender in mixture and ensure it is thoroughly coated 
  4. Place several strips in crockpot then add another sauce layer to cover, followed by a final layer of chicken 
  5. Finish off with a generous final layer of sauce
  6. Set crockpot on LOW for 5-6 hours
  7. When 1 hour is left, open crockpot lid and add a few handfuls of cheese, allow to mix in with the sauce. Replace lid.
  8. Serve over pasta or with a side such as rice, Caesar or my favorite roasted peppers