Author

Deborah Cruz

tech to help you get healthy, working out, hydrow, Sweat app, peloton, phiaton, flexispot, tech to help you get healthy when you're over 40

Ever since I’ve been released back to regular activity last month, I’ve been trying to get myself in optimal health. I’ve started small because that’s what my doctor ordered. I’m pretty out of shape. I’ve been recovering from one surgery or another since 2015 and now, I am free! Free from restrictions. Free to get healthy. Free to figure out all the tech to get you healthy (and me too).

READ ALSO: Tips to Keep Your Kids Healthy

Last month, I started using the SWEAT app and I love it but, tbh, I get so sore that it’s hard for me to do it consistently. Also, besides being completely out of shape, I am overweight. In fact, I am more than overweight, I am morbidly obese according to my BMI. So I’ve been trying to find what works for me. I’ve started moving and stopped eating out like I was. I know for a fact that one of my biggest issues with food is eating fast food and not eating the right portions.

Top 5 pieces of tech to get you healthy

 SWEAT APP

SWEAT app recognizes that women want flexibility, variety and support when working towards health and fitness goals. They understand that our goals are personal and always evolving so they put the choice in our hands. Offering flexibility and variety through multiple styles of training, SWEAT connects you with the best female personal trainers in the world. Choose the trainer and training style that fits you and your lifestyle. Whether you want to start with yoga, post-pregnancy workouts, weight training, power-training or high-intensity workouts, SWEAT is right there to support you.

tech to help you get healthy, working out, hydrow, Sweat app, peloton, phiaton, flexispot, tech to help you get healthy when you're over 40

Phiaton CURVE BT 120 NC Headphones

Phiaton launched a brand new pair of wireless and active noise-canceling neckband-style headphones. Phiaton has always been a manufacturer of high-performance personal audio products. The Phiaton CURVE BT 120 NC features active noise cancellation, IPX4 rating, extended battery life and Phiaton’s Fast Charging technology. They are perfect for getting your workout on and getting into “the zone.”

 Disclosure: I was provided a pair of the Phiaton CURVE BT 120 NC headphones for review purposes but all opinions are my own.

tech to help you get healthy, working out, hydrow, Sweat app, peloton, phiaton, flexispot, tech to help you get healthy when you're over 40

Peloton

The Peloton bike brings you the most convenient and immersive indoor cycling experience, streaming daily live classes from their NYC studio directly into your home. You’ll have 24-hour access to studio cycling classes available to your entire household. You can get your workout on and not worry about strangers criticizing your body while you’re doing it.

tech to help you get healthy, working out, hydrow, Sweat app, peloton, phiaton, flexispot, tech to help you get healthy when you're over 40

Flexispot Bike

The Flexispot bike is height adjustable, stationary bike with a desktop built on it so you can stay sedentary even when you are doing sedentary activities, like checking your emails, working remotely or even watching television. It’s whisper quiet and has 8 adjustable levels. It’s great for the entire family. My girls love it as much as I do and it even won the 2018 CES Innovation Awards.

tech to help you get healthy, working out, hydrow, Sweat app, peloton, phiaton, flexispot, tech to help you get healthy when you're over 40

Hydrow

Unlike other indoor rowers, the Hydrow delivers a live on-river outdoor rowing experience at-home that engages 86% of the body’s muscles, compared to 44% for biking (the Peloton) & running, which results in up to 400 calories burned in a 20-minute workout.

Now more than ever, people’s over-scheduled, stressful lives leave little time for meaningful exercise and the soul-enriching opportunity to spend time outdoors. Gyms are also continuing to overcrowd (especially around the New Year) and with the in-home fitness trend on the rise, Hydrow offers hundreds of customizable workouts, so fitness-lovers of all levels, new moms or busy young professionals can reap the benefits from the comfort of their own home.

READ ALSO: Getting Healthy Just Got Easier

To keep users accountable, the workouts are live streamed or pre-recorded by elite athletes, including those training for the U.S. National Rowing team, and leaderboards are showcased to keep users competitive. Check out a video of it here.

What is your favorite tech to get you healthy this year?

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couples tattoos, wedding ring tattoos, Valentine's Day

I never expected it. In fact, I was dead set against it. In theory. For other people. It’s not really couple tattoos or wedding ring tattoos specifically but the whole putting someone’s name on your body. It seems so permanent in a world where almost nothing is guaranteed. I remember the day I saw my sister-in-law’s name tattooed on my brother’s arm and I thought to myself, “Well, that wasn’t smart.” I guess in the end I’m a cynic.

Two of my brothers are tattoo artists. They warn against putting significant other names on your body. Hey, it hurts to have wedding ring tattoos removed. I’ve joked a lot how the only names I would ever put on my body are my children’s. I’m not good with permanency. I’m really not good with hanging my happiness on others and I might have some trust issues if we’re being honest. Not that the Big Guy has ever done anything to warrant losing my trust. I was just raised waiting for the other foot to drop.

This morning, the Big Guy said he was going to swing by “the shop” (my brothers’ tattoo shop) and discuss the final details of a new tattoo, A Call of Duty Juggernaut. I don’t quite get it but if it has meaning to him, it’s his body. Before I left, I jokingly said, “Make sure you have my brother sneak in my name. It can be like a hidden Mickey. You don’t even have to use my first name. It’ll be our little secret.” He left. I continued Marie Kondo-ing my house that’s looked like a hurricane hit since I started organizing way back in January 2019. Yep, that year-long month.

READ ALSO: When a Tattoo Heals Your Heart

An hour or so later he returned. I asked if my brother had stenciled his calf and if I could see this “juggernaut.” Sure, he bellowed. He’s a big guy, he sometimes bellows. He bounds up the stairs and I’m waiting for him to show me his calf.  But he’s just standing there and I was so confused.

“Let me see it.” I was anxious to see what they had come up with and if he had, in fact, had my middle name hidden in the stencil. But he just smiled with an outstretched left hand and there it was, “Deborah” “5/15/99” and “Always” on his ring finger, where his wedding ring sits. I was speechless. I’m never speechless. If you know me, you know that I am a talker and never without words. Yet, there I was with no words.

couples tattoos, wedding ring tattoos, Valentine's Day

As Bella says, I.Was. Shook! But I shouldn’t have been. This is just who he is. He jumps all in with his whole heart where I’ve always been cautiously optimistic. There was a time when I would have jumped blindly into matters of the heart. I loved love but then I got burned a couple times, more like set on fire by the frogs I kissed. By the time I met the Big Guy in college, I just expected things to be hard.

I was never one of those girls who felt like I needed to get married and have kids. I wanted all of that, eventually and I knew it would happen but it wasn’t anything I was losing sleep over. I had dated a few guys, been naively all in, written all the sappy letters and did all the silly things people do when they are teenagers/the early twenties and I was left with a lot of relationship “buyers remorse.”

READ ALSO: How Scrambled Eggs Made my Marriage Sexy

Then I met the Big Guy, 4 days after a break up with a guy I’d been dating for some time. We broke up for the last time on my birthday because he forgot my birthday… after almost 3 years of dating. Let’s be brutally honest, he didn’t forget so much as chose not to acknowledge it. Lucky me.

The really honest truth is that the Big Guy and I never should have met, logically speaking. I wasn’t supposed to be there.  I was supposed to be in Boston. I was supposed to have already graduated. And on the night we met, I was supposed to have a boyfriend and I was supposed to be home studying for an astronomy exam.

couples tattoos, wedding ring tattoos, Valentine's Day

But fate intervened or maybe destiny was in control the entire time because, under normal circumstances, he and I should have never met. Yet, here we are 22 Valentine’s Days later about to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this spring. And they thought we wouldn’t make it?

I met this guy, who ended up being everything I never knew, I always wanted. This giant, loud, humble, sweet, smart, cute man who knew from about week 4 that he loved me. The same guy who told me that very thing. He wasn’t a game player. The certainty with which he loved me scared me a little bit because I’d never had s relationship like that before. The man who after meeting me that September, told my mom and sisters at Thanksgiving he was going to ask me to marry him on Valentine’s Day. (No one told me.)

READ ALSO: The Proposal Do-Over

The gentle giant who jumped the gun from nerves and asked me to marry him in the middle of the dance floor at our favorite college bar with no ring and no speech. He caught me off guard and still takes my breath away on the regular. I guess it’s kind of his thing. He re-proposed to me on our 11th anniversary, on bended knee.

I guess I shouldn’t have been shocked when he showed up this past Saturday morning with my name tattooed on his finger. Nothing should ever surprise me about this incredible, generous and loving man. He can do anything. He’s more romantic today than he was on the day we got married. He lives through actions and not just words.

When he proposed he told me that I was his “soul mate.” I’m not even sure that I believed in the concept before him. He makes me want to be a better human being. His love changed me for the better. When you have someone as kind and thoughtful as the Big Guy loving you, you feel like you can do almost anything.

READ ALSO: I Love You Man

It’s not about what you have or don’t have. It’s about who you have. We fell in love through conversations under the stars. We fell in love in a bar on campus. We fell in love watching a Salma Hayek Rom Com. We fell in love sitting on the roof of his college house drinking beer and looking up at the moon. We fell in love staring into one another’s souls over the head of our newborn baby. We fell in love in the rain in New Orleans. We fell in love watching our oldest meet her sister for the first time. We even fell in love when we lost our third. We fell in love living in separate states. We fell in love poor. We fell in love rich. We’ve fallen in love a million times over the past 22 years and I fell in love all over again Saturday morning when I saw that tattoo.

I’m going to go and get one of my own because I realized that he’s already tattooed on my heart and he always will be. The imprint is already there. It probably has been since we met that night in 1997. I’m the only one who didn’t see it because I was afraid to let myself believe that I deserved to be loved like that. I’ve felt it every day since we met.

Have you ever considered getting wedding ring tattoos? If you were going to get couple tattoos what would you get?

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eye rolling, how to get your teen to respect you , how to get a toddler to respect you

Ever wonder how to get respect from your teen? I remember wondering how to get respect from a toddler. It’s simple really if you want respect from your toddler thru to your teens,  you have to respect them too. I know, crazy, right? I’ve been all for treating my kids as little people from the day they were born. I just adjusted as needed, Age appropriate and full honesty has always been my long term parenting style.

Do your children roll their eyes at you? Mine has on occasion. They’ve been doing it since they gained control of their eyeballs and realized that sometimes, as a mom, I’m winging it. Some days, I don’t even have a clue and feel like the poster child for “ParentingFails.”

I definitely don’t feel like I know how to get respect from a toddler.

I don’t get made though. They come by their champion eye-rolling skills naturally. I’ve been known to roll my own eyes quite frequently — an unfortunate habit leftover from my own teen years. But, being the recipient of a serious eye rolling while I’m talking to my children annoys the p*ss out of me. In my book, it’s as disrespectful as walking away when I’m talking to you. It’s the nonverbal expression of: “You’re so annoying. I’m not listening to you!”

READ ALSO: Toddler Selective Hearing Syndrome

I get that it’s the sort of rebellious behavior one might expect from their tween or teen but now, even preschoolers are doing it. I know this is just one of those awesome hormonally fueled ways that my daughters are trying to exert their independence and test my boundaries but I hate it. As a parent, I need to figure out a way to get respect without hurling insults or being intentionally hurtful. We need to be the change we want to see in the world — so, if I don’t want to get eyes rolled at me, I need to first and foremost stop rolling my eyes. To get respect, you have to give respect. Yes, even to toddler and teens and all ages in between.

Maybe your toddler or teen is just unhappy or frustrated and eye rolling is his or her way of expressing that. Maybe it’s not personal at all. Either way, if it’s bothering you, it’s worth being discussed. Don’t get sidetracked by the rudeness and don’t engage in the same behavior. I know it’s difficult to ignore being ignored.

Try these tips to help guide you in how to get respect from a toddler and how to get your teen to stop rolling their eyes at you.

Expect respect

If you accept rudeness, you’ll get it. Parents who refuse to tolerate rude behavior tend to have kids who aren’t rude. Decide what’s most important to you. Let the house rules be known, and then hold your child accountable.

Choose your battles

You can’t punish your tween every time your child misbehaves. If you try, you will spend all of your time frustrated and yelling. Soon, you will drive yourself crazy — and your child will just start tuning you out. Instead, decide what you’re willing to tolerate and what you’re willing to overlook.

Out of bounds

Warn your kids when they are nearing intolerable behavior. For example, I count to three in Spanish, and my daughters know when I get to one, they have crossed a line. This will let you warn them without embarrassing them. It’s a private mom-and-child code that leaves them with some dignity.

Don’t get down on their level

When my girls roll their eyes at me, my instant reaction is to roll mine back — but how is that helpful? It solves nothing, demonstrates just how immature I am and sets a bad example. So, no matter how hard it is, try to take the high road when disciplining your child. Remember, you are an adult — behave like one.

READ ALSO: When Mom’s Stop Being Nice and Start Being Honest

How do you get your child to stop talking back or rolling their eyes? What is your way to get respect from your teen?

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Chocolate Chip Banana Nut bread recipe, banana nut bread, bread recipes, easy recipes, desserts, snacks, easy homemade recipes

There are some recipes that are so simple and so delicious that you practically want to punch yourself in the face for not making them more often. That’s how easy and obscenely delicious this chocolate chip banana nut bread is. It’s so basic that I can almost guarantee that you will have all the ingredients in your fridge.RIGHT.NOW.

We just survived the polar vortex in the longest month of the year here in the Midwest. I don’t know how the heck January can be eleventy billion days long but it was. I am sure of it. I was just whining to the Big Guy about how I was missing my mom. He looked at me and said, it’s been 4 weeks, not 4 years! What? Only 4 weeks? Maybe it’s been because of the holidays and the snow days but it really feels like January was so long this year. I’m just going to go ahead and call it; January is its own year.

READ ALSO: Easy, Delicious and Decadent Champurrado Recipe (Mexican Hot Chocolate)

But no fear. Snow days, winter breaks and polar vortex be damned, this chocolate chip banana nut bread paired with a cup of hot cocoa ( champurrado if you’re really feeling decadent) is just what we all need to warm up from the inside out. Nothing says happiness like a mouthful of warm deliciousness. Welp never thought I’d use that line on a bunch of moms in reference to chocolate chip banana nut bread but this is the one instance that statement might actually be true.

Now, back to this delicious and easy chocolate chip banana nut bread.

I know you’re thinking to yourself, banana nut bread is not that impressive. It’s just…BREAD! Only it’s not. It’s fresh bread that takes less than an hour to make from scratch and it is delicious. Bonus, the kids can help. Actually, it’s so easy, they could make it themselves.

I made it Wednesday when the entire of the Midwest was on polar vortex 2019 lockdown. We were all in the house and we needed a snack, so thanks to 4 very ripe bananas and a look-see around out pantry and voila, baked deliciousness. The entire loaf was gone by the end of the night.

READ ALSO: Day 14 of Winter Break, Kill Me NOW

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut bread recipe, banana nut bread, bread recipes, easy recipes, desserts, snacks, easy homemade recipes

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread Recipe

Easy and Delicious Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread Recipe
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Resting Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr
Keyword: banana nut bread
Servings: 8 slices
Author: Deborah Cruz

Ingredients

  • 4 Medium Ripe Bananas the riper the sweeter
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 EGG
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oile
  • 1 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tbsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Walnuts

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F 
  • Mash the bananas until smooth with a fork.
  • Whisk in the sugar, egg, vanilla, and vegetable oil.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Fold the dry mixture into the wet and mix just until batter forms. Don't overwork or it will become mushy.
  • Gently fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking loaf. Bake for 45-55 minutes. 
  • Bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool. Serve warm.

READ ALSO: Homemade Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats Recipe

I hope you love this easy and delicious chocolate chip banana walnut bread recipe as much as my family did.

What’s your favorite snow day recipe?

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Champurrado, Mexican hot chocolate, Chocolate atole, Easy delicious and decadent champurrado recipe, recipes

Have you ever had a taste or a smell that reminds you of home? For me, that would be Champurrado and Suavitel. The smell of Champurrado wafting from the kitchen and the fragrance of Suavitel coming off the freshly washed linens. All I know is one sip and I’m a little girl again, home with my parents and my brothers and sisters sitting around the breakfast table eating pan dulce.

The champurrado was ( and if we’re being honest, still is) always perfect. I have no idea how my mom gets it so perfectly smooth (it’s like her secret for having the worlds softest towels. How does she do it?) it’s just one of those “mom things.” The pan dulce is always warm and the laughter is always intoxicating. It’s home and everything that I want my daughters’ to think of when they think of home. That warm nostalgic feeling of belonging and being loved.

READ ALSO: The Most Important things to be said Don’t Always Require Words

So what is this magical drink of my childhood that some of you have never heard of? It’s called champurrado or chocolate but it’s not like Swiss Miss. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Swiss Miss with marshmallows too. This just isn’t it. This is something more substantial.

What is Champurrado?

Champurrado is Mexican hot chocolate or chocolate atole.

Atole or Spanish, from Nahuatl ātōlli, also known as atol and atol de elote, is a traditional hot corn- and masa-based beverage of Mesoamerican origin. Chocolate atole is known as champurrado or atole. It is typically accompanied with tamales, and very popular during the Christmas holiday season. Maybe? But in our house, it was just called breakfast.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Atole Champurrado is deliciously spiced drinking chocolate that is sometimes so thick and rich you’ll need a spoon! That’s the champurrado that you’ll drink on Christmas morning. It’s flavored with cinnamon, star anise, and Mexican chocolate, but gets its velvety pudding-like consistency from masa harina. That is delicious, but that is not what we had for breakfast every day or we really would have all been diabetic. We drank a slightly lighter version.

READ ALSO: Delicious Summer Rum Cocktail Recipe

If you ever do find yourself in Mexico or a really good Mexican restaurant and they offer Mexican Hot Chocolate Atole Champurrado, get yourself some. It is delicious.

If you want to try it for yourself at home, my mama’s easy delicious and decadent Champurrado Recipe is perfect.

Mama’s Every day Champurrado

Easy recipe for Mexican hot chocolate, Champurrado.
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Servings: 6 people
Author: Deborah Cruz

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 disk Mexican chocolate, chopped Abuelita or Ibarra
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 cup masa harina (corn flour)
  • 4 cups Vitamin-D Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup piloncillo/ or brown sugar Piloncillo is raw form of pure cane sugar that is commonly used in Mexican cooking. Unlike brown sugar, which is made by coating refined white sugar with molasses, piloncillo is pure sugar with no additives.)

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan boil water with the two cinnamon sticks.
  • Remove from the heat, cover and let the cinnamon sticks steep for 30-45 minutes (depending on how cinnamony you like your Champurrado.) 
  • Remove the cinnamon sticks from the water, return to a slow boil and add the chocolate. Bring to boil while constantly stirring the chocolate as it melts. 
  • Add the brown sugar or piloncillo. Whisk until well blended.
  • Slowly add the masa harina to the warm water, whisking until combined. 
  • Add milk and whisk until smooth and well blended.
  • Warm over medium heat just until boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until chocolate is completely melted and sugar is dissolved, whisking occasionally. 
  • Serve immediately.
  • If the champurrado is too hot, pour it back and forth between two cups to cool it off. That’s what my mama did. 
  • Optional: Top with whipped cream. This is my daughters' preferred way to drink it. 

This champurrado recipe is perfect for cold mornings before school and work, long Sunday afternoons by the fireplace or for sipping just because around the dining room table playing board games with your family; filling the house with laughter and your hearts with love.

That’s what this Easy Delicious and Decadent Champurrado Recipe is to me.

It’s family.

What is a favorite food or recipe that reminds you of home?

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Valentine's Day gifts for Mom, Valentine's Day,Gift Guide, Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything, gift guide for mom, Valentine's Day, Mother nesting birds necklace, nixplay frame, you are beautiful cursive wall hanging, Valentine's Day gift guide, uncommon goods, NIMA, Paris

Still wondering what to get mom for Valentine’s Day? Wondering what to get everyone you love for Valentine’s Day? It’s hard because once a woman gets to be a certain age (grown) we just kind of buy what we want when we want it, so it’s difficult to find the perfect gift. And after 40, forget about it. We’re tired of waiting. We know life’s too short to not eat the cake and buy the fancy dress.

READ ALSO: When No One’s Looking

My, real talk, advice to everybody who is having issues figuring out what mom really wants is to go deeper than just price tags and popularity. Pay attention to what she says and does. The perfect Valentine’s Day gift guide should include getting her the things she never has to ask for. They should be thoughtful and consider who she is. The best gifts are not the generic gift that everyone else is getting their moms because a commercial told them to. It’s knowing your mom’s heart and giving her something that will be meaningful to her.

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything

Tickets to a Broadway Show

I love giving experiences and I love getting them too. Things tarnish, tear and wear but experiences age into sweet memories that are priceless. That is what I want to give. I want my mom to hear a song, see a show, a photo of a far off place or a movie and smile while she remembers to herself, that one time at so and so. One experience I love to give to everyone I know is tickets to a Broadway Show. It is truly an experience that elevates you. Hamilton, anyone? I know for a fact, this mom would never forget seeing Hamilton with her family.

You are Beautiful Cursive wall hanging

Let mom enjoy an artful reminder that she is beautiful inside and out with this hand cut three-dimensional display. There is so much we feel that we never say and sometimes we just need to say them so the people we love can hear them. How many times have we thought how much we love someone or how beautiful they are to us and never say it? This simple, elegant wall hanging will serve as a constant reminder as to how beautiful they are to us. This You are Beautiful cursive wall hanging is also the perfect gift for your daughter.

BOLT 700 Wireless headphones

Sure, at first, these sound like just another awesome tech gift for the mom who dreams of walking the CES floor but it’s so much more than that. BOLT BT 700 are true wireless earphones with a charging speaker case. Mom can get some peace and quiet from the chaos in her world by simply putting these on and shutting it out. They’re the first earphones to have balanced armature drivers which means more detailed sound with less power used. Your sound goes everywhere. The earphones’ case is a portable speaker, too.

Mother Nesting Birds necklace

Help mom keep her flock close with this recycled sterling silver handcrafted mother nesting birds necklace. This beautiful necklace showcases mama and her baby birds. I have this particular piece and it is one of my favorite pieces that I’ve ever owned. You know my story. You’ve seen my logo. This necklace makes my heart feel whole again. Every mom would appreciate this meaningful gift.

Nima Peanut Sensor

So this may sound like a weird Valentine’s Day gift but for the mom who has a child with peanut allergies, this connected food sensor detects traces of peanut in food for those with peanut allergies in under 5 minutes. The Nima Peanut Sensor is a quick and portable handheld sensor, easy to use and incredibly accurate and that all adds up to peace of mind for mom. That is absolutely priceless. I’m not one who normally advocates for sensible gifts for mom but this one is absolutely perfect for some moms.

READ ALSO: The Greatest Mother’s Day Gift Ever

Valentine's Day gifts for Mom, Valentine's Day,Gift Guide, Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything, gift guide for mom, Valentine's Day, Mother nesting birds necklace, nixplay frame, you are beautiful cursive wall hanging, Valentine's Day gift guide, uncommon goods, NIMA, ParisBring Back the Romance Date Night Package

This is for the mom who has everything but just wants a little grown-up time romance with her favorite person. Like I said, thoughtful. There’s nothing like a night in with a Jameson and Ginger in one hand while snacking on bourbon pecan pie and playing a rousing game of Kinky Truth or Dare with the person of your dreams. Seriously, how much fun could this be? Bonus: Pretty sure that the guy in your life would love this as Valentine’s Day too.

A set of 2  Whiskey wedge glasses it creates an ice slope that chills spirits but minimizes dilution with this rocks glass’ fitted silicone mold.

Sounds crazy but if you have a Valentine with a sweet tooth and a taste for the finer things in life, this decadent Bourbon Pecan Pie Filling will be perfection. Did I mention unique? Mix the contents of this jar with butter and eggs for a bourbon-soaked piece of pie heaven or warm and pour over ice cream for an adult sundae that your special someone will not soon forget.

Last but not least, spice up date night with this adult version of the classic game truth or dare Kinky Truth or Dare. The best part is that this is great for a brand new couple just starting out and even better for those of us who have been together for years. Even at 21 years together, this game could make us blush in the best way possible.

 Valentine's Day gifts for Mom, Valentine's Day,Gift Guide, Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything, gift guide for mom, Valentine's Day, Mother nesting birds necklace, nixplay frame, you are beautiful cursive wall hanging, Valentine's Day gift guide, uncommon goods, NIMA

Wi-Fi Cloud Picture Frame

The digital frame by Nixplay is a personal favorite. Perfect for children (of all ages) to get for their moms this Valentine’s Day or for that cute InstaCouple who have all those great pics to share. I have taken thousands of photos of my children but they are almost all digital and I never have the time to print them out so I love the idea of this digital frame. Using Wi-Fi, you can instantly display and share your most precious photos/videos sent from anywhere in the world with your friends and loved ones. I think this is something that my mom would love. You can share photos/videos with ease amongst family and friends over Wi-Fi directly to the frame from your phone or tablet and it works with Amazon Alexa. No need for memory sticks or cards.

READ ALSO: How Scrambled Eggs Made My Marriage Sexy

Something Sweet

How about a Macaron Kit? Yes, I know, maybe it sounds a little bit like work but I love Macarons and if my guy ( or my girls) got me a gift and made me these French patisserie-style delicacies at home with this DIY macaron kit, I’d be impressed and happy. They are decadent and dainty and I love them but we all know everything tastes better when someone else makes them. Also, it is really difficult to find macaron’s where I live so having the option of making them whenever I want is pretty sweet to me. While I think this definitely belongs on my gift guide for mom, I actually got this for my macaron loving teenager and I know she’s going to flip.

Surprise Trip to Paris

Speaking of French Patisserie-style delicacies, if you really want to get the mom of your children something amazing for Valentine’s Day, why not whisk her away to Paris (or London , Santorini, Rome or the Grand Cayman islands) for a weekend filled with nothing but her being the center of the world taking all the magical Instagram photos her heart desires or maybe just holed up in a small Parisian hotel room facing the Eiffel Tower. Comme c’est romantique!

Every mom deserves a thoughtful gift on Valentine’s Day. She showers her family with love every single day. If you’re at a loss because she has everything, I’ve got you covered with this list.

Disclosure: Some of the items on this list have been provided to me for review purposes but all, in my opinion, are things that I would want or have gotten as a gift recently and love.

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything

What are you getting the most important lady in your life for Valentine’s Day this year? If you are a woman, what would you love more than anything this Valentine’s Day?

 

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daybed with trundle, Ghislain Daybed, wayfair, home office make over, Marie Kondo, organization

As many of you know, we’ve been in the midst of a full-on Marie Kondo-ing of our entire house and this is when I realized how a daybed with trundle could transform our home office. I was hoping we’d be done by the end of January but, alas, it’s going to take more time. Even though January was an entire year long, so many things came up.

There are some things that I’ve realized that I want to do since beginning this organization journey 1) Stop acquiring “stuff” 2) Minimize what I do have 3) Minimalize our home. I want to focus on experiences and making memories not having stuff.

I’m finding that all this “stuff” not only clutters my home, it clutters my mind and my life. Let’s be honest, as a mom, I don’t have room in any of the three for clutter. Clutter overwhelms me and keeps me from being present. The stuff keeps me from entertaining because the stuff is literally in the way and taking up too much room.

READ ALSO: Is the Marie Kindo Method for You?

In my quest to embrace minimalism, I decided to not only get rid of stuff but replace things with more efficient things. For example, my home office is in desperate need of being streamlined. It’s a small space with a lot of stuff. Stuff that belongs there and stuff that’s found its way there while trying to escape another room. My girls have a tendency to believe that “cleaning” their room means moving all the extra stuff that doesn’t have a place to my office.

My office is supposed to be a bedroom. But I need an office since I work from home. My family comes to visit from out of town a lot and I need a place for them to sleep. One of the things I’m doing in my pursuit of streamlined minimalism is replacing the uncomfortable futon in my office with a stylish daybed with a trundle. This will give me adequate seating space in my office, a great place to shoot video in good light and bonus, a sleep space for 2 people. At the very least, I can put my girls in there and give their beds to adults who stay over.

READ ALSO: Home is Wherever the People You Love Are

daybed with trundle, Ghislain Daybed, wayfair, home office make over, Marie Kondo, organization

We decided on the Ghislain Daybed with Trundle in gray. It is very modern and aesthetically pleasing daybed but also very functional and purposeful. You can’t believe how a simple piece of furniture can transform not only the space but the functionality of that space. It also helped to streamline the space in a way that makes it more usable.

Have you ever owned a piece of furniture that not only changed the space but changed the way you used the space?

 

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recipe, Mexican food, easy recipes, chicken tacos with avocado cream sauce, elote casserole, Hass avocados, type 2 diabetes

This recipe for chicken tacos with avocado cream sauce is part of a sponsored campaign with DiMe Media and Hass Avocado Board. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Did you know that in the United States, Latinos are twice as likely as non-Latino people to develop type 2 diabetes? That’s a scary statistic that I’ve been acutely aware of for a very long time. I lost someone very important to me, my favorite Great Uncle, to type 2 diabetes when I was 15-years-old and it was horrible. The worst part is that it could have been prevented with a few simple changes in his diet and a little education about eating healthy.

Cardiometabolic abnormalities, a cluster of risk factors for both cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes such as abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides and high blood glucose levels are higher in the Latino population overall than among non-Hispanic whites.

We can help prevent ourselves from developing type 2 diabetes. One of the most important and effective things we can do to lower our risk for type 2 diabetes is to eat well to maintain a healthy weight. This can be done in many ways and one of the easier ways is to take some of our favorite Latino recipes and reconfigure them to be healthier.

One of our favorite recipes in my house is beef tacos. We love tacos. We can eat them every day of the week. Literally. We could eat anything in a tortilla but tortillas are not the best things for us to eat, especially since our favorite is flour tortillas filled with sour cream, cheese and ground beef. But with a few simple tweaks we can make tacos less hazardous to our health.

Here is my recipe for Chicken Tacos with Avocado Cream Sauce:

Ingredients

Tortillas (or you can go the healthier route and eat as a bowl on a bed of lettuce)

Olive Oil

Taco Meat

3 Chicken Breasts

1 Garlic Clove, diced

3 lemons juiced

1 onion, diced

Salt/ Pepper to taste

 Directions:

 

  1. Boil the 3 chicken breasts for 45 minutes to an hour.
  2. Shred chicken.
  3. Heat a frying pan on medium heat until water sizzles when splashed on pan.
  4. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  5. Add onion and garlic to hot oil, sauté until golden brown.
  6. Add shredded chicken, stirring thoroughly until slightly golden.
  7. Add lemon from three lemons.
  8. Salt and pepper to taste.
  9. When thoroughly heated, turn heat down and start working on Avocado cream sauce.

Avocado Cream Sauce

recipe, Mexican food, easy recipes, chicken tacos with avocado cream sauce, elote casserole, Hass avocados, type 2 diabetes

Ingredients

2 Hass avocados
1 lemon, juiced
1 large clove garlic, pasted or grated
A small handful fresh cilantro leaves, optional
About 1/3 cup light sour cream

Directions
Place the Hass avocados in a food processor. Add the lemon juice, garlic, cilantro, if desired, and sour cream and process until very smooth and mayo-like in consistency.

recipe, Mexican food, easy recipes, chicken tacos with avocado cream sauce, elote casserole, Hass avocados, type 2 diabetes

Avocados are virtually the only fruit that contains monounsaturated fat, and they are sodium, cholesterol and trans-fat free. How can something that tastes so good be so good for you?

Toppings

Salsa

Shredded Quesadilla Cheese

Refried beans with Sazon seasoning

Tomato, diced

Shredded Lettuce

Next, heat your tortillas up on a comal (ten seconds, flip, five seconds, flip, five more seconds and then remove) or in the microwave, 35 seconds for a pack of ten. I’ll be honest they taste better heated up on the comal (griddle) and if you want to go healthier eat on a bed of lettuce.

Then spread your warm refried beans with Sazon seasoning (about 1 tablespoon), next add your quesadilla cheese (about ½ a teaspoon), top with sautéed chicken breasts.

Top your chicken tacos with avocado cream sauce, salsa and diced tomatoes. For extra crunch, shredded lettuce will do the job.

If you really want an authentic meal, make elote casserole or Mexican rice (recipe coming soon) to accompany the meal.

recipe, Mexican food, easy recipes, chicken tacos with avocado cream sauce, elote casserole, Hass avocados, type 2 diabetes

Enjoy this easy recipe for chicken tacos and avocado cream sauce with your family knowing you are serving them a meal that you made with love and is good for them.

recipe, Mexican food, easy recipes, chicken tacos with avocado cream sauce, elote casserole, Hass avocados, type 2 diabetes

For more information about type 2 diabetes visit saboreaunohoy.com/aguacatesydiabetes. Share your favorite avocado recipe and follow the #SaboreaUnoHoy 10-day photo challenge for a chance to win prizes.

My favorite recipe for Hass Avocados is Chicken tacos with avocado cream sauce, what’s yours?

 

 

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Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight, DVD Release, bluray review

Thank you to Disney and ABC for inviting me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, in exchange for coverage of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the #ABCTVEVENT event. I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent  but all opinions are my own.

From the big screen to the comfort of your own home, the new holiday classic of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms is hitting Blu-Ray today! Wow! Time flies. It feels like just yesterday when I was in L.A. for the premiere. You don’t want to miss this release! Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms available for Viewers to watch instantly in Digital UHD, HD and SD, and bring home a physical copy of the film as the Ultimate Collector’s Edition(4K UHD, Blu-ray and Digital Code), Multi-Screen Edition (Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Code) or a single.

Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms DVD is coming January 29th!

Disney’s dazzling adventure “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale and the beloved ballet “The Nutcracker” carried audiences along with 14-year-old Clara (Mackenzie Foy) to a magical, mysterious world with breathtaking performances by Misty Copeland plus sweets, snowflakes, soldiers, scurrying mice and no shortage of surprises. Destined to become an annual viewing tradition for adventurers of all ages,

Check out all of the extra goodies on this Blu-Ray combo pack, including a video for “Fall on Me” Performed by Andrea Bocelli Featuring Matteo Bocelli- Experience superstar tenor Andrea Bocelli and his son Matteo Bocelli performing their first duet together in this uplifting song!

Bonus features include*:

BLU-RAY:

Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

    • Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

     

 

  • On Pointe: A Conversation with Misty Copeland – Copeland shares the thrill of portraying one of her favorite characters in a whole new way.
  • Unwrapping “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” – Dive into the production design, sets, costumes and more that helped transform a beloved ballet into an adventurous movie.
  • Deleted Scenes
    • The Stahlbaums ArriveAs the Stahlbaums enter the Christmas Eve ball, the butler attempts to announce them to the assembled guests.
    • Follow Your Ribbon- Drosselmeyer encourages a reluctant Clara to go find her gift.
    • Deleted Scene: Clara Asks About Her MotherSugar Plum gives Clara a tour of her mother’s bedroom.
    • Left, Left, Left, Left, LeftWandering lost in the forest, palace guards Cavalier and Harlequin quarrel about which way to go.
    • Out with the OldSugar Plum makes sweeping changes to the palace decor.
  • Music Videos
    • Fall on Me” Performed by Andrea Bocelli Featuring Matteo Bocelli– Experience superstar tenor Andrea Bocelli and his son Matteo Bocelli performing their first duet together in this uplifting song.
    • “The Nutcracker Suite” Performed by Lang Lang– Get swept up in a series of images from the movie, set to Tchaikovsky’s music and featuring world-renowned pianist Lang Lang.

 

ON DIGITAL:

  • Unwrapped: The Visual Effects of “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”View a reel that explores the layers of effects in sequences of the film.

Did you miss my #DisneyNutcrackerEvent journey? It was my first red carpet premiere experience, complete with exclusive interviews and all the insider tea I got! I’m ready to spill over here. Check out all of my Nutcracker goodness and you won’t believe who “accidentally” photobombed me. Hint: it rhymes with Schmorgan Breeman!

Follow #DisneysNutcracker on Social Media!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneysNutcracker

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DisneyStudios

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/disneysnutcracker/

Be sure to save the date for January 29, 2019, to get your very own Copy of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms!

We’ve got our copy and watched it as a family this weekend! It was even better the second time! Now, I’m giving away 2 copies!!! All you need to do is enter below by leaving a comment and using the rafflecopter submission form.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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New Mom Monday, Pregnancy, unexpected pregnancy, the truth about an unexpected pregnancy at 39

A few years ago, I wrote a post called, Unexpected Pregnancy at 40, What Would You Do? and it was about my friend who was pregnant. What I didn’t disclose in the post was that I too was pregnant. I had my own unexpected pregnancy at 39 and had no idea what I would do and I couldn’t talk about it on the blog. I was waiting until the following month to tell my family and friends at my daughters’ 5th birthday party. Unfortunately, I lost the baby before I got the chance.

Over the years, many people have contacted me asking for advice or wondering what I would have done. What I did. This is the first time I am writing about this part of our third pregnancy and having an unexpected pregnancy at 39. I think mostly because I felt so guilty.

I realized I was pregnant at my oldest daughter’s 7th birthday party, March 10, 2012. It was the strangest thing, I was holding my newborn nephew and something in me knew. I just knew I was pregnant. I was sure of it.

READ ALSO:  Unexpected Pregnancy at 40, What would you do?

The next day, when I dropped the girls off at school, I went directly to the Walgreens and took the test in the bathroom there. In fact, I took 3. We were living with my in-laws who had teased us at their relief that our family wasn’t growing. I was really nervous to find out that I was pregnant during such a time of upheaval in our lives. Even though we had previously planned on a third child. We hadn’t planned it now. Not like this.

When I found out that I was pregnant, I was shocked. I stared at the pregnancy test in disbelief and I may have vomited if we’re being honest. I didn’t even know how to react. If the circumstances had been different, we would have been ecstatic. But living in a room at your in-laws with two small children, trying to sell a house in another city, with no privacy and nothing of your own, made the thought of all of it daunting. We didn’t know what we were going to do.

A million questions and scenarios went through my mind.  What if something was wrong? I was 39 years old. How would my in-laws react? Financially, we were strapped. Could we afford this baby? If something was wrong, how could we pay for it? Could we burden our children with that? Did we want to start over? Could we? Would our in-laws ask us to leave?

READ ALSO: Unsolicited Co-parenting

Would I have to go back to living in our house in South Bend without my husband (back to commuter marriage life)? Could we afford a third child? Were we too old to do this? Maybe this was too much. But could I even consider the other option? I pondered all the options from the time I found out I was pregnant until I saw the doctor. I was.so.stressed.out.

The doctor wouldn’t see me until I was 8 weeks pregnant. We saw the baby’s heartbeat. We left the doctor’s office, overwhelmed and scared shitless about what the future would bring. We knew there would be obstacles and opposition but we were excited. It was the third baby we had always wanted, just not at the time we had planned. We drove home smiling and discussing names for boys and girls. Declan or Luchedio for a little boy and Graziella for a baby girl. We were hopeful and we were in this together. So no matter what the world threw at us, we had each other; the 5 of us. But for now, it was just for the Big Guy and me.

Those first 11 weeks were like an out of body experience. I was hiding the biggest secret of my life from everyone I knew and loved, including you, my readers. On top of being overwhelmed and scared, I felt like a complete fraud talking about every inane thing under the sun except for the only thing I wanted to write about…my pregnancy!

READ ALSO: Things No One Tells You about Pregnancy

The Big Guy and I fully passed the consideration of what to do and were full-on in the embrace, the fact that we are going to be parents to 3 while living in our in-laws’ house, decided to surprise everyone at Gabi’s 5th birthday party that May. I would have been 15 weeks and 3 days at her birthday party.

We planned on giving her a t-shirt that said “Big Sister.” We were so excited to do this for her. Gabs had been begging to be a big sister since she was 3-years-old. Due to the commuter situation (the Big Guy working and living in another state), since she was 2, the opportunity had just not been there before. We had wanted it but neither of us wanted me to be pregnant while we weren’t living under the same roof full time. We have always been 100% parenting partners. Surprising her with the news on her birthday was going to be perfect.

We imagined how excited our family and friends would be. We’d have support, even if it was a little cramped at my in-laws. We were excited. Like I said, in the beginning, we were terrified and it took a lot of soul searching (and hearing a heartbeat) to get us on board with a solid yes. I was so excited to get to be the mommy to 3 children. But then…

On Monday, April 31st, after a weekend of slight spotting when I wiped, after dropping Gabs off at preschool, I stopped in the parking lot of the Dunkin doughnuts near her school and I called my OB/Gyn. I kept telling myself that I wasn’t worried. This happened with every one of my pregnancies. It was going to be nothing. I was being silly. But, like my mother always says, better to be safe than sorry. So, I called and they had me come right in for an ultrasound. I wasn’t worried.at.all.

There was no heartbeat. There on the screen, my perfect baby. No.heartbeat. I never wanted this baby more. A room filled with deafening silence as I tried to understand what I was seeing. I was alone. The tech wouldn’t tell me anything, only that she needed to take me to see my doctor. I didn’t bring my husband because I didn’t think there was anything to worry about.

READ ALSO: Some Things Change You Forever

She took me down the back stairs to avoid the main lobby. My world was collapsing. I felt like a mad, hysterically silent hostage in my own body. I couldn’t make a sound for fear that I would start crying and never stop. I couldn’t blink for fear that all my pain and loss would escape from my eyes and drown all those perfectly round bellies surrounding me. I couldn’t make eye contact for fear I might die. All I could do was sit in silence to contain the floodgates.

Then, all I could do was cry.

So what’s it like being pregnant at 39? It’s terrifying and it’s beautiful and it’s scary and amazing. But only you can decide what to do about this pregnancy. There is no wrong answer. You must do what is best for you and your family. Not what society or your friends or family expects you to do. A baby is forever. Being a parent is forever. I still consider myself the mom of 3 children and I think about that baby every single day but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong if you decide that you can’t or don’t want to have a baby at 39 or 40 or ever.

READ ALSO: How to Survive the Loss of a Pregnancy

You know YOU better than anyone. Do what will make you happy. Do what you can handle. And don’t let anyone else stress you out or bully you into a decision because that will be a disservice to you and your baby. If you’re not all in, that’s ok. No one is judging you. You are the one who has to live with whatever you decide; baby or no baby, it’s a lifetime commitment.

I didn’t get what I wanted in the end but I felt guilty for many years for the fact that I even considered there was a decision to be made. I felt like God was punishing me for stopping, however briefly, to consider there was an option other than having the baby. I’ve since realized that I wasn’t punished for having free thought. I don’t know why it happened. I never will. I know there was nothing wrong with my baby. I know that I wanted that baby as much as I’d ever wanted the other two. Mostly, I know that the choice to have that baby was the right thing for us even if the universe had other plans.

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