Father’s Day Craft Ideas

Hey Mamas and Dadas! Happy almost Father’s Day to all those awesome Daddy’s out there! One of our favorite things to do is to create gifts for the holidays! This year for Father’s Day we are giving our Daddy and Papas a canvas made by the kiddos. Check out the supplies you need and easy steps to this process!

Supplies: Painter’s tape, canvases, paint, paper plate, and sponges.

How to do it:

  1. Prep the canvas with the masking tape. We did a simple “Dad” and “Papa.” A friend  of ours was very creative and made a space rocket! img_1280.jpeg
  2. Put a variety of paint colors in the paper plate.
  3. Show your child a sample online of a painting project made with painter’s tape. Model for them how to use the sponge to blot the paint on. Try to avoid smearing as this mixes colors, but also let your child have fun!IMG_1283.jpeg IMG_1284.jpeg
  4. Allow the canvas to dry some, but not completely.
  5. Carefully remove the painter’s tape from the canvas.IMG_1286.jpegimg_1287.jpeg
  6. After the canvas is completely dry, wrap it up!

What are your plans for Father’s Day this year, Mama? Do you and your kids ever make home made crafts as a gift?

Mother’s Day and Holy Moments

Happy belated Mother’s Day, Mama! I hope you and yours had a blessed one. I have lots of blog post ideas running through my head, but so little time to write! I am currently watching my daughter Lillian through a window as she is in Physical Therapy to fine tune her balance and walking.

Easter and Mother’s Day passed in a blur. We are in the process of creating new traditions with our children as our families expand. Sharing the holidays is a rhythm we are finding.

The past couple years we’ve done brunch with my in laws out at a restaurant. This year we hosted in our home, and can I get an amen that eating at home with kids is the way to go? The struggle of having little ones sit still for 1.5 hours out at a restaurant is real. We’ve enjoyed hosting as my MIL graciously cooks brunch and brings it to our home. The kids loving playing with their uncles and interacting with the family in their environment. Then later on in the day, after my youngest has napped, we head over to my moms to swim and eat. What a blessing to have a day off from cooking! I usually help bake an item for each family session, and am so thankful to indulge in some deliciousness I did not have to prepare.

Lets rewind (who remembers VHS?) back to Easter. Due to little ones and early bed time the past two years we have not attended the Good Friday service at our church. We’ve tried to be intentional about reading the story of Jesus’ beautiful sacrifice in our home along with creating sacred space of not running around like little chicks. We had multiple Easter egg hunts at Awanas, school, and family…trying to keep the focus on what Easter is about. What activities did you do for Easter?

It was tradition in the Urso home to get a new Easter dress every year, usually accompanied by big bows and gloves and frilly socks. Confession:this year I was too tired and didnt wash my hair or shave my legs. Shout out to maxi dresses to cover the hairy beasts! Years ago I was challenged when listening to a podcast that when I go to church, it’s  not about what I gain but about what I give. It was a privilege to serve in walker room at our church on Easter morning. My eyes often tear up in those precious moments with the little ones as we read the story or color.

The day before Easter, I went for a run and had a holy moment in the kitchen. I was sweaty, chowing down on carrots and guac and simply listening to a song on my iPhone with headphones. It was in that moment that I sensed the presence of God so strongly. Most of the times I encounter that presence it’s not in a corporate setting, but in the mundane of a car ride, run, or the normal day to day.

I love that Jesus is not put off by sweaty runny clothes. I don’t have to be in my best Easter dress to enter the presence of the Holy One, he accepts us all just as we are.

What did you do to celebrate Easter and Mother’s Day, Mama? Have you encountered any holy moments lately?

 

Transitioning to Solids

Hey Mamas! Today I want to share with you our journey from liquid to solid foods. I have a friend whose baby is about to transition into eating solids, so I thought why not share this with everyone?

There are options out there. Some people lean towards baby led weaning, and others start with purées. I’m sharing with you what worked best for my family based on our diet preference and what we felt comfortable with.

Let’s go with the who, what, when, where, why, how format.

Who: Who is ready to eat? A baby around 6 months of age. Some doctors and people encourage introducing solids as early as 4 months. Based on my research and my mama instinct, we waited until both our children were 6 months of age. I thought why not let that digestive system develop a bit longer? Your baby will show signs of readiness such as licking their lips, or watching you eat.

What: What foods should you start with? We started with homemade veggies puréed or mashed. Avocados, peas, steamed broccoli, carrots, and mashed sweet potatoes. We avoided fruit for awhile because we wanted to teach their palates not to expect something sweet.

When: When should you feed your child their first meal? Avoid feeding them when they are tangry, hangry, or thangry. I gave my child half the amount of breastmilk they would normally drink (one side), and had their food prepped and ready to go.

Where: Where should you feed them? A sturdy high chair or bumbo seat is a must. We introduced food to our children at our family meal time.

Why: Why should you give them the same food? A good rule of thumb is to introduce only one new food at a time, for 3-4 days in a row, to watch for possible allergies.

How: How much should you feed them? At first it’s just a taste, like a teaspoon once a day. You don’t want to overload their digestive system as they will have their first solid poop. As their bellies and appetites grow, so will the amount of food they eat. 7 months I increased to two meals a day, 8 months 3 meals a day, and weaned them off the purées.

There are different schools of thought on how soon to introduce nuts, eggs, and meat. I waited until about 9/10 months for nut butters and offered them very minuscule amounts.

I offered mahi fish to my daughter around 10/11 months and she was smacking her lips! Eventually I just had her eating off my plate! The sooner we had her eating our stuff the better. I found both my children preferred food with flavor! Sometimes I would even chew up a little of what we were eating and then offer it to them, like a mama bird.

Tools that I used: Small jars/containers for storing home made food, the baby bullet, baby spoons, a high chair, and bibs. My daughter used to rip her bib off, so we would just strip her down to her diaper for feedings and still do to this day.

What was your baby’s first food, Mama? Do you have any feeding tips to share?

 

Family Size OJ Smoothie: Part 2 Breakfast, Brunch, and Brinner

My breakfast of choice lately has been a massive smoothie. Mornings tend to be full of exciting moments at our house. My son runs upstairs and needs to poop to discover that the toilet paper was put up high the night before to prevent my 21 month old daughter from eating and unrolling the entire thing. Then Mommy needs to use the bathroom only to have the same 21 month old crying desperately for me outside my door, as if I’m going on a long journey for months on end.

Needless to say, a grab and go smoothie for this Mama on a run is efficient and (mostly) effortless.

We like to refer to my hubby, aka Daddy, as the “Smoothie Master.” He always comes up with yummy concoctions that satisfy adults and kiddos alike. This recipe happens to be our favorite. It is jam packed with nutrition found in kale, açai, hemp seeds, flax seed meal, and fruit! Check out this family sized recipe. Feel free to cut it in half or quarter it to meet your needs.

Servings: 2 Adults and 2 kids

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Blend Time: Until smooth

Ingredients:

  • 5 Cups of Kennessaw OJ with pulp
  • 3 stalks of kale
  • 2 açai packets (3.5/4 oz package)
  • 1.5 cups of frozen mango
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 2 scoops of Organic Vega Berry flavor protein powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons of flax meal (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of hemp seeds (optional)

Add all ingredients into your blender and put on high until smooth, using the tamper if needed.

What’s your favorite go-to smoothie, Mama?

*Note, we use a Vitamix 64 oz and it is packed to the brim with all these ingredients.

 

 

Preparing for The Season of Lent

Can you believe it’s the first week of March, Mama? The year of 2019 seems to be flying by and I am trying to keep up with its fast past. Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 6, Lent begins.

I grew up with grandparents who loved Jesus and were devout Catholics. I have a very vivid memory of going to an Ash Wednesday service with them and having an ash put on my forehead around age 4. I have other memories as well. The smell of incense. The image of my Grandfather holding his Rosary beads. The sound of the recording of Hail Mary prayers on our car rides.

I attended a wide variety of denominations growing up…pentecostal, baptist, non-denominational, and presbyterian. It was my Grandparents’ influence, however that had me ponder the season of Lent when I grew older.

In years past, I’ve fasted from sweets, restaurants, dairy, and meat.

This year I stumbled upon a treasure. There’s this beautiful devotional called “40 Days of Decrease” by Alicia Britt Chloe.

Alicia challenges us to look past the superficial and seek to fast from deeper issues of the heart that we allow ourselves to engage in such as: comparison, accumulation, and gossip. She calls readers to “study Jesus’ uncommon and uncomfortable call to abandon the world’s allusions, embrace His kingdom’s reality, and journey cross-ward and beyond.”

The study guides the reader through John 12 to 21 over the course of 40 days, preparing our hearts and pointing to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.

What I love is that it is available for free on the Hoopla app. All you need is your library card and you can access it!

What are you giving up for Lent this season, Mama?

Switching up My Quiet Time

Once I entered motherhood, I wasn’t sure where my quiet time disappeared to. I always enjoyed waking up early in the quiet of the morning and spending time with Jesus. Beth Moore was my early time bestie.

But then sleep came in two hour increments, and I was struggled to keep up with the day to day chores. Finding an hour to sit and read where I wasn’t dozing off was rare.

I was at a loss. I thrive on structure and learn best visually through reading and QA formats. I remained focused when praying through journaling to prevent my mind from wondering in a million different directions. I found it challenging to hold my journal and pen steady while breastfeeding.

I needed to switch it up, and pronto. I was using the above as excuses to not spend time with Jesus. When I haven’t spent time with Him, it’s not pretty. My flesh becomes super fleshy. My weaknesses become weaker. I try to do this motherhood and life thing on my own strength. Like I said, not pretty.

I was resistant to any further transition because the new developments in my life were dramatic enough. I didn’t know if I could handle anymore.

However, I was tired of making excuses. And craved that sweet Jesus time.

Here are a few tips that helped me in this season:

  1. Switch your Bible version. I had been reading NIV, NLT, and even NKJ for years, grew up in Sunday school, and was becoming bored with the Bible. I know that’s not a very Christian thing to admit, but it’s the truth. My mom bought me “The Message” bible for my first Mother’s Day, and I found it was so refreshing. It was like God Himself breathed into His Word and made it alive again for me.
  2. If you prefer someone to guide you in your time, switch up the guide. I discovered Jen Hatmaker’s “Out of the Spin Cycle” my son’s first year of life and it was perfect. It’s quick, humorous, Jesus-centered, and relatable to Mommyworld. My current favorite is Paul David Tripp. I love his study, “New Morning Mercies,” where he presents the beauty of the gospel on a daily basis.
  3. Switch up your time, make time, and be flexible. Like I said previously, I used to have my quiet time at the same early morning time every day. When a newborn entered my world, I found it effective to read something on my phone, or a devo that didn’t require a ton of writing. I also found it helpful to do it whenever I felt most awake. Sometimes I listen to podcasts while I run. Other days I put on worship music. Your quiet time is unique and there are opportunities to be creative in how you use that time.
  4. Switch up your expectations. Like I stated previously, I have found journaling to be very effective for me. However, it was somewhat unrealistic for me to journal every day. I recently made a goal to journal once a week. This is attainable for me in this season, and helps keep me grounded in my prayer and reflective time.

What ways do you connect with the Lord, Mama? Do you have any favorite guides or authors you are reading?

Breakfast, Brunch, and Brinner: Part 1

Happy New Year, Mamas! It’s been a looooong while since I’ve written a post. Between the 18 month sleep regression + teething + Christmas pageant + children waking at 5 am…my family is beginning to see the light at the end of an intense tunnel. Every now and then we go through an patch where everyone and everything seems so…extraordinary. Thankfully my Babes had off for seven days for the Christmas holiday and we’ve enjoyed some much needed down time at home. I hope you had a Merry Christmas and feel as refreshed as I do!

Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day. So much, that I’ll eat it anytime, not just first thing in the morning. I have fond memories of calling my Grandma Julie and inviting I and my sisters over for her famous breakfasts, along with my dad making me omelettes late at night in high school.

This will be the first in a series titled, “Breakfast, Brunch, and Brinner.” I’ll be sharing you some of my current treasures!

Over light Eggs and Sautéed Veggies With Goat Cheese

Servings: 2        Prep Time: 5 minutes        Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup of mushrooms
  • 1/2 a large yellow or purple onion
  • 4-6 eggs depending on how many each person wants
  • Garlic salt
  • Goat cheese

Directions:

  1. Put a pan on medium heat and lightly oil the pan.
  2. Dice veggies and place in pan. Sauté them until they are cooked to your preference. I personally like them a bit charred. Add a dash of garlic salt.                IMG_5817.jpeg
  3. In a separate pan, heat it up and cook your eggs until over light. IMG_5820.jpeg
  4. Serve onto a plate the eggs, goat cheese, and veggies on top. Putting the goat cheese in between the layers allows it to melt a bit.IMG_5821.jpeg
  5. Eat and enjoy!         IMG_5825.jpeg

This recipe is easy and the combination of the simple ingredients have made it a repeat in our home. What do you like to eat for breakfast, Mama?