v happy bellies

Picky eating. Not my favorite phrase but this is normal. Yes, normal and a temporary part of childhood development. Fussing over eating broccoli? Normal. Doesn’t want carrots but happily ate them yesterday? Normal. Only drinks from that one, dang green cup? Normal. I love [this] article by pediatric feeding specialist Melanie Potock, fellow SLP. She mentions red flags that may warrant a discussion and/or referral to a specialist (speech or occupational therapist). If any of these stand out to you, definitely consult with your ped.

  1. Consistent avoidance of particular foods
  2. Extreme pickiness when deciding what to eat
  3. Gagging when presented with certain foods
  4. Anxiety around trying new foods
  5. Difficulty chewing and/or swallowing
  6. Weight loss/slow growth
  7. Extremely limited range of “safe” foods

Back tracking to picky eating…I love that Melanie notes in her new book, Adventures in Veggieland, “Kids will most often live up to the labels we assign to them” (251). Like cool cat, little Einstein, picky eater, migraine-giver. Just kidding on the last one. Or am I? I get asked if Dane is a picky eater. My response: we are trying our best to become healthy, adventurous eaters with v happy bellies and the occasional side of pizza or mac ‘n’ cheese. Other advice I received from an Instagram follower…. look at what your kiddos ate for the week rather than meal by meal. Great! So snacks all day but doesn’t eat a legit meal is cool since it’s not an every day occurrence.

My personal interest in feeding peeked because I am trying to prevent “food jags”, where toddlers insist on eating the same foods, over and over (250). I also truly enjoy meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking/baking. Healthy (ish) is the goal for my tribe.

Let’s start with some stats. “According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, kids need two to three servings of veggies per day” (2). The visual Melanie gives is a large egg: toddlers get two to three eggs of vegetables per day. Note: please tell me, you’re like oh shoot, my toddler def isn’t getting that. Because Dane is not. Maybe like one egg. If I’m lucky. And it’s me. All me. I don’t cook enough veggies or incorporate veggies into what we are eating. But all that is about to change!

What I really love about Melanie’s new book are the recipes. They are super easy to modify to meet dietary needs or restrictions (DF, GF). We have some dairy sensitive tums (Travis) and our favorite recipe so far has been the kale pene pasta. One, because it’s crock pot. Hello, easy. Done. Two, because it’s suuuuper delicious. It does have some cheesy goodness (ricotta, asiago, parm, and mozzarella) so I cut the ricotta out and just did tiny handfuls of mozzarella and a parm/asiago blend I found at TJ. We wolfed it down! Other recipes, I’ve made from this book are the spinach cucumber sammie (winner), honey butter carrots (winner), beet dip (working on it), corn salsa (winner), and chocolate spinach pudding (winner). Next on my to make, taste test list: cauliflower caramel corn, chicken broccoli enchiladas, broccoli cheese squares, and corn chowder.

Ok, keeping it short. Was that short? 10/10 recommend [this] book. What’s included: the science behind expose, explore, and expand, parenting in the kitchen, the importance of family meals (we eat the early bird special at 5:30/5:45/6:00), household friendly (husbands approve) veggie recipes by season, addressing feeding and sensory challenges. Get aaaaaat. You’ll love it.

Feel free to peep some of the feeding things we use to encourage filling that scrumptious belly with all the yummies! We also love our ezpz mats. It’s a happy face! And research shows, if we present food with a smile, children are more likely to eat what they are serverd. Plus, my OCD, type-A-self loves how organized and pretty food can look.

I’m a medical affiliate with ezpz fun and like any other affiliate links, I receive a teeny, tiny, itsy, bitsy commission. However, with this link: http://wwwezpzfuncom.refr.cc/prouty

interested buyers receive 10% off their purchase!


Potock, M. (2018) Adventures in Veggieland. New York, NY: The Expierment.



This post contains affiliate links to products I use and, if purchased, a very small commission goes to help our family. These products are truly things we love, would purchase/DO purchase, and fit our style. 

called to be loved

Over the weekend, I found my little binder of all my church notes. Dated back to 2011! There are so many good messages to share but this one is gooooood. Like really good. I was totally mind blown by the simple truth that my first duty is not to do anything! Let God love YOU. His love isn’t based on what you do, it’s based on who HE is.

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Eph. 1: 4-5 (NLT)

  • the first purpose of my life is to be loved by God!
    • This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James. I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ. Jude 1:1 NLT
  • my first calling is to enjoy a relationship with God.
    • I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people. Romans 1:7 NLT
  • that relationship is to be his son or daughter.
    • See what an incredible quality of love the Father has shown to us, that we would be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! 1 John 3:1 AMP

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Eph. 3:17-19 (NLT)

God’s love for ME is:

  • wide enough to be everywhere.
  • long enough to last forever.
  • deep enough to handle anything.
  • high enough to overlook my mistakes, sins, and faults.


  1. I feel accepted rather than ashamed which sets you free from addiction of approval.
  2. I’m bold in bringing my needs to God.
  3. I have peace in pain I don’t understand.
  4. I have the courage to take risks.
  5. I worship instead of worry.

Beloved, fill you heart and mind with the truth of his word. Watch [this] inspiring message from Saddleback Church and be encouraged as you learn what the Bible says about God’s purpose for your life.

strollin’ with my homies

Homies. Plural. TWO. I can’t.

Alright, first, the expectant mother parking is legit. Walking. is. a. choooooore. I. Am. Out. Of. Breath. Thinking. About. Walking.

This post is in partnership with buybuy BABY, a brand I love and trust. All opinions are my own.

Trav and I adventured down to our local buybuy BABY so we can expand our UppaBaby Vista to a double. DOUBLE. TWO. I still can’t. Mikayla and Brad, our expert store associates, were super helpful in explaining what we need to make that happen. They let us try different seating arrangements and attachments. We decided to go with the piggy back (weight limit 50 pounds), upper adapters, and the rumble seat (weight limit 35 pounds) which comes with the lower adapters. Note: original seats (on the top) go up to 50 pounds. So when the car seat or bassinet is not in use the oldest/heaviest child is recommended to sit in the top seat.

buybuy BABY is my fave baby store! Their employees suggest helpful product advice, not just for baby registry but for all product and gear. Check with your local buybuy BABY, but our buybuy BABY offers a serivce called Tot Squad on Saturdays, where they clean items (e.g. car seats, strollers, pack ‘n’ plays, high chairs, etc.) with natural products. Appointments are recommended! Since we had our uB Mesa with Dane, 100% we are taking it to be cleaned for the new babe. Baby things get nasty! Tot Squad will also demonstrate how to install your car seat ($50) and they preform car seat checks ($35). Super cool for first time parents!

We love our uB and are so grateful for buybuy BABY and their services! Dane loves the “skateboard” and I’m definitely seeing that we will need a second feeding trough AKA snack tray for the future babe. Side note: our tan leather handle bar covers are from Lux & Leather. And they’re gorgeous.

This post is in partnership with buybuy BABY, a brand I love and trust. All opinions are my own.

Falling apart

Everything’s falling apart on me, God; put me together again with your Word. Psalm 119:107

We live in a world where things fall apart. This world is not perfect. Thankfully, God is in the business of putting things together again. Not only relationships, but businesses, houses, lives.

Totally needed to hear the message from pastor Tom Holladay. How to put it together again. Once he said, “when you’re at a point where you are worn out”… I was in. Because me. Hi, that’s me. SO worn out. Beyond. Feel like my life is falling apart. It’s impossible to catch up on rest and keep going with all that’s going on for us right now. It’s a busy season and I know it’s only going to get busier. Hello, new baby.


  • mourning- expressing your hurt to God.
    • God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matt 5:4. Mourn what you’ve lost so you can move forward.
  • fasting- focusing your heart (and attention) on God.
    • Turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. Joel 2:12. Fasting is usually with food but most people (ME) need to fast from entertainment since that is what takes up most of our time and attention.
  • praying- asking for help from God.
    • Lord, my rock, I call out to you for help. Psalm 28:1
    • I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great his power is to help those who believe him. Ephesians 1:19.

2. HOW TO KEEP GOING (keep up the energy)

  • Take time to say thank you.
    • First, I want to say that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because people everywhere in the word are talking about your faith. Romans 1:8
  • Choose to celebrate.
    • The joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b. You want strength, you need joy.


  • For anything to last, it must be dedicated to God. Your marriage, heart, business, faith.
    • The priests and Levites first dedicated themselves, then the people, the gates, and the wall. Nehemiah 12:30.
    • Why rebuild at all? Yes, it’s easier to start over but the value of the relationship or marriage or business is priceless.
    • God has the answer, for all my fears.

As mentioned in previous posts, these are not my words. Simply my message notes that I hope someone who feels like they need to “put it together again” will hear the Lord speaking to them and listen to this weekend service.

Watch [this] inspiring message from Saddleback Church and be encouraged as you learn what the Bible says about God’s purpose for your life including your work, relationships, health, and more.

skin care

I’m a research person. Like a sleuth. I like evidence. I like science. I like actual proof that something is effective. Is it too difficult to find empirical evidence that documents the effectiveness of eye cream? Like what does current evidence say about ice rolling and the benefits of taking care of your skin. Am I a nerd? Don’t answer that. Anyway, I did some research. Thanks, American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) for being a reliable, credible source. If you don’t want to read about it, your two take-aways are sunscreen and moisturizer.  The benefits of taking care of your skin are:
  • Retain skin’s youthful firmness longer
  • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
  • Keep complexion looking brighter and younger
  • Avoid leathery skin
  • Reduce skin cancer risk

I was really seeking out product that contains no synthetics, alcohol, astringent, parabens, fragrance, retinoids…my skin is uber sensitive! When I try anything new my skin gets all hot, red, and irritated.

Welp, this is what I found works for me. My clinical expertise in the area of skin care is minimal but hopefully the research I found helps make my routine a teeny, tiny bit more valid. Plus, results! My skin is changing from peeling flakes to glowing (-ish) goddess (-ish).

Skin care routine
  1. Ice ice baby. Ice roll. Ice rolling helps minimize redness and the appearance of pores. Cold temperatures have a lifting effect on the skin and reduces puffiness and the look of fatigue. Aka that mama life. Side note: Ice rollers are great for people who suffer from allergies. You can calm inflammation and reduce swelling caused by allergies. (1)
  2. Lather that cleanser up and rinse with not too hot of water. Make sure you use a good cleanser. Most face wash with synthetic gunk will strip your skin if it’s natural oils. Fun fact: Your skin is the largest organ of the body! (3)
  3. Spray Rosewater Toner. Rosewater is an anti-inflammatory and it naturally brings the pH of your skin down (and since all tap/sink water is too alkaline your skin wont get dry or oily if you adjust the pH with Rosewater). (3)
  4. Apply hydrating moisturizer. Because it’s the secret ingredient to anti-aging, duh! But for real that came straight from the AAD. (4) Moisturizer traps water in our skin, giving it a more youthful appearance.
  5. Apply sunscreen. Broad spectrum, SPF 30 or higher please! According to the AAD, sunscreen is also imperative to anti-aging as sun’s rays can accelerate signs of aging. (5)
  6. After all that, I put make up on 😉 But if were having an at home day, then I just wash my face and slather on a moisturizing sunscreen.
  1. Remove make-up. I use jojoba oil…it’s safe around the eye peepers.
  2. Lather that cleanser up, rinse, and pat pat dry.
  3. Exfoliate on a schedule with a gentle mask and be cautious of scratchy exfoliants. Don’t want to irritate the epidermis just say bye, bye to dead skin cells! How often you exfoliate depends on your skin type and exfoliation method (e.g. mechanical or chemical/scrub). Generally, the more aggressive the exfoliation, the less often it needs to be done. Be careful not to over-exfoliate, as this could lead to skin that is red and irritated. (6)
  4. Spray Rosewater Toner.
  5. Apply serum. Why you ask? Serums are meant to be applied before your moisturizer because they work on the lower layers of your skin, while moisturizer keeps the upper epidermis happy. Luminance’s serum includes a small amount of peptide and these are proteins that help our skin retain elasticity as we age. (3) Read more about peptides [here].
  6. Apply hydrating moisturizer.
  7. Lips. Moisturize those puckers too! Choose a lip balm that feels good on your lips. Some healing lip balms can irritate your lips. If your lips sting or tingle after you apply the lip balm, switch to one that does not cause this reaction. (7)
Leaving with some encouraging words and final tips: Give your routine some time to work and stick with it! One or two skin care product lines at a time. More expensive skin care is not necessarily more effective. Use a humidifier at night in order to add moisture to the air. Drink tons of water! Sunscreen and moisturizer.


PRODUCT– I did the research on EWG and ThinkDirty. And I am the guinea pig. Products are rated a 3 and below (low hazard). 
This post contains affiliate links to products I use and, if purchased, a very small commission goes to help our family. These products are truly things we love, would purchase/DO purchase, and fit our style. 

Don’t give up – LOOK UP!

I thought I would close out the year with another message from my church. Again, not my words but the words and message notes of my pastor. The Christmas message is one that always sets me toward the Lord. It’s such a great message to end the holiday season and begin a New Year.


The first people who celebrated the first Christmas were stressed and overwhelmed.

  • Mary was confused and worried
    • Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. Luke 1:29
  • Joseph was hurt and brokenhearted
    • Joseph, her fiance, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. Matthew 1:19
  • The shepherds were scared to death
    • That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified. Luke 2:8-9
  • The wise men were exhausted
    • Now after Jesus was born, some men traveled a long way from the east and finally arrived in Jerusalem. Matthew 2:1

In my life, I need and crave less stress and more peace. I need to replenish my exhausted soul by looking UP to God. When my focus changes, my feelings will change. 

  • Everything changes for Mary when she focused on God’s promises
    • Luke 1:37-38; 48; 58
  • Everything changed for Joseph when he focused on God’s plan
    • Matthew 1:20
  • Everything changed for the shepherds when they looked up
    • Luke 2:9-17, 20
  • Everything changed for the wise men when they met Jesus
    • Matthew 2:9-11


Then Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light. Matthew 11:28-30

Watch this inspiring message from Saddleback Church and be encouraged as you learn what the Bible says about God’s purpose for your life.

Christmas morning tradition

The best part of waking up on Christmas morning is for sure the cinnamon rolls. And homemade. With a side of hot cocoa. My mom uses this recipe from country home mag. 1995! She’s used this recipe for years and it’s by far my favorite! I mean, you brush them with half and half before you bake them. They’re good. And doughy. And I’m so wishing we had more.

If you’re looking for a bomb cinnamon roll recipe.. give this one a whirl.

hot chocolate

Hot cocoa is a contender for fave of Christmas morning. Homemade is obvi the best and supes easy to make. I’ve tried (and seen) several recipes with condensed milk, chocolate chips, crock-pot but my mom’s version tops it all. I hope you try it! …in your coffee…or with whip cream.

1/4 cup good cocoa powder (we use Droste in the red box)

1/4 cup granulated white sugar

1/2 cup water

1 half gallon carton of whole milk (you can sub almond milk or your fave dairy-free milk, it’s just not as creamy)

Pour the first three ingredients into a pot and whisk over medium heat until smooth. You’re essentially making a chocolate sauce. Then pour in your milk and stir until warm. Try the whole milk if you’re not dairy sensitive. Dieting can start after the holidays 😜 Ta da! Finish with your favorite toppings and a classic Christmas movie.


twenty week bumpdate

We are half way! I cannot believe it. We have nothing done and I sometimes forget I’m pregnant. But I’ve been feeling tiny baby kicks and punches and I am feeling much more like myself. Praise!

Weird pregnant things: with both pregnancies, I’ve had this strange dry, rough, snake-like patch on my cheeks. It’s horrible! I’ve tried leaving it alone, no makeup, facial oil, lotion. I’ve finally found a little bit of relief with badger balm. But not really. I’ll be happy when it’s gone because I’m honestly self conscious about it, since it looks like I’m some kind of freakish animal peeling its exoskeleton.

Just this past weekend, I was having braxton hicks. Already! These hurt. I’m thinking it’s because I was dehydrated. I have a hard time keeping up with my water intake when I’m home. Tips and suggestions are welcomed!

I’m starting to gain weight which is always super hard for me. I don’t really change my diet and I try to watch what I eat. Emphasis on try. But Trader Joe’s holiday food. And fudge Oreo’s. Ugh. Jingle jangle ice cream. A forest made of cheeeeese. And with all the winter layers I just feel like I look like a beached whale.

We had our anatomy scan and the doctor said everything looks great! But we’re making everyone wait until this babe makes its appearance. Gender to come April 2018! 😉

national family pajama night

Christmas is a time of tradition. And traditions are my favorite! Fave, fave, fave! In my family, we have countless Christmas traditions. Side note: how many times is acceptable for me to mention tradition? Every year on Christmas Eve we are allowed to open one present. This has been and perpetually will be our Christmas Eve tradition. And that one present is always Christmas jams. You bet I’ll be continuing this with Dane and we are excited to start our own holiday memories. (Secretly, my favorite will always be pjs.) On Christmas morning, we stay in our pajamas all day. It’s really the best. So comfortable. Much tranquil. Very relax. It’s the one day of the year where we look forward to taking it slow, with no place to rush off to.

This year we went with coordinating jams from The Company Store.  We got some in green plaid and some in red plaid. The company store is partnering with the Ronald McDonald House NYC, hosting the 7th annual National Family Pajama Night. The children who are ill and staying at the house can enjoy a fun-filled, festive night with their families in their matching PJs! Yeah! I just love that! For every pair of family jams sold, the company store donates $1 to the Ronald McDonald House in NYC. The donations will help create, fund, and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. Click [here] for more information on National Family Pajama Night and I hope you join in on this super, jubilant tradition.

Do good, get yo’ jams. You wont regret being ultra comfy on Christmas morning.

Photos courtesy of Emily Saenz

Post in partnership with the company store. All opinions are my own. These products are truly things we love, would buy, and fit our style.