Simplicity Parenting

I am by no means a parenting expert, but I may be an expert on parenting books simply based on the massive amount of reading I have done since Lincoln was born.  I have a nightstand overflowing with various books about early childhood education, respectful parenting and creative activities to do with children.

currently on my nightstand...

currently on my nightstand…

Anyway, one book that I just finished and thought was really great is called, “Simplicity Parenting” by Kim John Payne.  It had so much great, useable advice to “raise calmer, happier and more secure kids.”

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The book covers ways to simplify your child’s environment, create a predictable rhythm, maintain (somewhat) predictable schedules and filter out the adult world. I like that the author offers a lot of real stories of families he has helped and delivers the information in small, doable suggestions that you can actually implement in your life.

One piece of advice I have been focused on lately is simplifying the environment- in other words, reducing the amount of toys and “stuff” in our home.  Put simply, the author suggests, “the amount of toys your child sees, and has access to, should be dramatically reduced.”  I’m sure that every parent can attest to the way toys and things just seem to accumulate and multiply!  So, I have been sorting through Lincoln’s toys, donating quite a few and boxing up some others that we pull out only occasionally.

It is really amazing to see how Lincoln’s creativity comes alive with just a few toys available to him.  He literally plays with a big wooden train, a bunch of colorful wooden eggs and a handful of cars and trucks all day long.  (I mean, he does have a few more toys readily available, but Lincoln is truly content with the same few things day in and day out.)  I am also happy that our living area isn’t constantly overwhelmed with toys everywhere.

Anyway, if you are looking for a good parenting book, I highly recommend “Simplicity Parenting.”  There is a lot of good advice for mamas with toddlers, but even school age kiddos could definitely benefit from a lot of the tips.

Also, unrelated to parenting, and waaaaay late, I just read “Gone Girl” and it was amazing!!
Have you read any good books lately?

Happy Halloween!

Lincoln has requested to dress up as a buffalo for Halloween this year
(so random) and somehow I have pulled together a costume.
I promise to share some pictures of our creation next week.

Until then, here’s Lincoln checking out our jack o’lantern. He kept whispering to the pumpkin, “I wish you had a bed to sleep in, pumpkin.” My silly boy…

Lincoln's 1st carved pumpkin... created with some assistance by mama 😉

Lincoln’s 1st carved pumpkin… created with some assistance by mama 😉

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Happy Halloween!

 

Pumpkin Season

I’ve yet to indulge in a pumpkin spice latte this season (especially after reading that Food Babe article about some of the ingredients, yikes!), but we have been making some pumpkin treats at home.

One of my new favorite cookbooks is Against All Grain.  All recipes are dairy free and grain free, but absolutely delicious.
In the book, is a great recipe for some pumpkin spice muffins.  Here’s a batch I whipped up last week…

Yum!

Yum!

Today, I discovered another fab recipe for Pumpkin Spice Cookies on the Against All Grain blog that were equally delicious (and super easy to put together!).

Ingredients:
-2 1/2 cups almond flour
-2 TB coconut flour
-1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp ginger
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-1/4 tsp cardamom
-dash of sea salt
-1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup
-1/2 cup pumpkin puree
-1 egg
-1 tsp vanilla

All of these spices really give the cookies an amazing flavor...

All of these spices really give the cookies an amazing flavor…

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Mix together the dry ingredients in a small bowl
3. In a stand mixer or food processor (I used a food processor), combine the maple syrup, pumpkin puree, egg & vanilla
4. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet
5. Scoop golf-ball size balls of dough onto a lined cookie sheet. Press down lightly to flatten them a bit.
6. Bake for 18 minutes

The original recipe can be found here and includes instructions for a vanilla cinnamon icing.  I didn’t make it today, but will definitely give it a try soon.

Have you been baking any fall favorites?  My next goal is to attempt baking a pie from scratch… wish me luck!

Yes, we are still here!

Oh, hello there!  So, the blog was unintentionally on a 3 month hiatus.  Nothing big and crazy has been happening here… I guess I just fell out of the habit of posting.

I’ve continued to share pictures and snippets of our life on Instagram.  It’s just so easy to snap a quick photo, write a few sentences and post.  But, I’ve been wanting to get back to writing here, maybe sharing some recipes and goodies I’ve been cooking up in the kitchen and more on our adventures around Los Angeles.

Over the weekend we went to the pumpkin patch.  It was fun being back again.  The pumpkin patch was one of our first excursions when we arrived here last fall.

I didn’t take nearly as many pictures as I did last time, but here are a few.
(side note: I mentioned last year that there was a paparazzi pen at this pumpkin patch- apparently it’s where all the celebs go.  Today, I stumbled upon this article- Only in L.A. Sadly, we did not spot J.Lo, Jessica Alba or any other noteworthy celebrities during our visit- although to be honest, I was too busy chasing around a 2 year old to do much people watching ;) )

This was Lincoln's face after waiting for about 30 minutes for a pony ride...

This was Lincoln’s face after waiting for about 30 minutes for a pony ride…

At last!  A ride on Tucker the pony!

At last! A ride on Tucker the pony.

Lincoln & Dad

Lincoln & Dad

And after the pumpkin patch, Lincoln ran around in a nearby park

And after the pumpkin patch, Lincoln ran around in a nearby park

a San Diego weekend

A few weeks ago husband and I celebrated our six year wedding anniversary.
We were able to get away for a very quick weekend to San Diego, with Lincoln in tow.  Here are a few pictures from our trip…

silly boy, ready for our mini-road trip

silly boy, ready for our mini-road trip

Lincoln's favorite part of the trip... a model train museum!

Lincoln’s favorite part of the trip… a model train museum!

of course, we had to stop and check out the train table...

of course, we had to stop and check out the train table…

shoulder rides with Dad in Balboa Park

shoulder rides with Dad in Balboa Park

Lincoln & Mama

Lincoln & Mama

Blog 7

obviously, he had to wade in this giant fountain

Lincoln got his first taste of lemonade... I'm pretty sure he liked it...

Lincoln got his first taste of lemonade and I’m pretty sure he liked it…

Ocean!

Ocean!

so much fun getting wet and messy on the beach...

so much fun getting wet and messy on the beach…

sound asleep on the drive home... I think he had a good time :)

sound asleep on the drive home… I think he had a good time :)

 

food

Remember once upon a time when I talked about weekly dinners and my plans to share recipe details and photos of all the amazing dishes I was whipping up at home?  Right.  Well, between cooking with a toddler semi-attached to my hip and trying to get dinner ready at a reasonable time before we have to start our bedtime routine, I have not been able to document many of my recent kitchen creations.
But, I promise that I have been cooking- a lot!

I’ve been on a bit of a food journey lately, trying to make sure I am eating good, whole, real foods– and that I am feeding those same things to Lincoln!  I had heard a lot about the Paleo diet, but didn’t give it too much thought.  Then, I stumbled upon the Whole30 plan and felt really compelled to give it a try.

The Whole30 (in case you haven’t heard about it) is a 30 day program during which you eliminate several types of food from your diet.  During the 30 days, you do not eat any dairy, sugar, alcohol, legumes (peas, lentils, peanuts, etc.) or grains of any kind.
So, basically, you exclusively eat  fruits, vegetables, and proteins – plus some healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, etc. for one month (which in reality, is what we should probably be eating all the time anyway, right?)

I followed the Whole30 plan for the entire month of May, and about another 15 days into June.  It has really been a great change.  I am eating more vegetables than I have, maybe ever in my life and I am making almost every meal at home, from scratch.  I have more energy, I lost a few pounds and my skin looks really good.

I’ll admit, there is no way I can live the rest of my life without another bite of coconut milk ice cream or some dark chocolate, but this 30 day challenge has really changed the way that I approach food.  Now, if I can just convince my husband to adopt some of these healthy eating habits…

Here are a few photos of some recent meals (if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen them)…

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Oh!  And I have to share this recipe for “Paleo Pancakes” that I came across.  They could technically work on the Whole30 plan, but it is not really recommended to eat a lot of paleo-ized baked goods while you are on the plan…  The point is to break your sugar cravings and simply replacing a regular muffin with a “Paleo” muffin isn’t really helping… (Check out the book, “It Starts With Food” for all of the plan details)

Anyway, I can’t recall where I found this recipe, but I jotted it down and made it for breakfast yesterday.  Easy, fast and super delicious!
(I don’t have any photos of the finished product, because Lincoln & I ate them all so quickly!)

3 bananas
3 eggs
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Blend all ingredients together.
Grease skillet with coconut oil.
Cook over medium heat.

Yum, yum!

birthday celebration, round two

We spent the long weekend in Bend celebrating Lincoln’s birthday- and husband’s birthday!

Here is a boatload of pictures…

He loves Nani... and that lawn mower!

He loves Nani… and that lawn mower!

Blog 2

starting his hockey training early

starting his hockey training early

Lincoln was delighted to open more presents!

Lincoln was delighted to open more presents!

a new puzzle

a new puzzle

attempting to spray Popi with the water hose

attempting to spray Popi with the water hose

we spent an afternoon at the local pool...

we spent an afternoon at the local pool…

then, more cupcake and singing, "Happy Birthday!"

then, more cupcakes and singing, “Happy Birthday!”

husband got a cupcake too...

husband got a cupcake too…

a beautiful hike by the river

a beautiful hike by the river

piggy-back rides with his cousins...

piggy-back rides with his cousins…

Lincoln & Connor

Lincoln & Connor

Lincoln and Connor and Andrew... so sweet seeing these boys together

Lincoln and Connor and Andrew… so sweet seeing these boys together

two years old!

Well, my sweet baby boy is officially two years old.

We had a low key celebration at home on his birthday Monday, with a few presents, cupcakes and balloons.

Tomorrow we are heading to Oregon to celebrate with the rest of our family.  Here are just a few pictures from his special day.

the birthday boy!

the birthday boy!

Blog 3

Someone could not wait for his cupcakes...

Someone could not wait for his cupcakes…

Presents!

Presents!

a pants-less reenactment of blowing out the candles

a pants-less reenactment of blowing out the candles

Happy Birthday Lincoln!

my chatty toddler

I know I have been seriously neglecting this blog.  I truly do not know how all of those mommy bloggers out there have time to write daily posts… or how they maintain lives that are interesting enough to write about that often :)  Lincoln and I are always on the go, but it’s typically to Whole Foods, the post office or the dry cleaner.  I don’t think those day-to-day errands warrant any blog entries.

So, while I don’t have any fabulous recent adventures to tell you about, I can share some funny things Lincoln has said recently.  He is very verbal these days, and I love hearing all of his thoughts…

- On the airplane back from a recent trip to Bend, OR, the flight attendant asked Lincoln if he would like anything to drink.
He asked for a La Croix. (Apparently, my obsession has rubbed off.)

- Instead of wishing me a happy Mother’s Day on Sunday, Lincoln said, “Happy Easter Day!”

-One day while Lincoln was napping, I was sitting in the room with him, snacking on a bag of cashews.  Upon waking up, Lincoln saw the bag and very quietly, but very eagerly whispered, “Nuts… Cashews… Yes!”

-Reciting the words to “Looby Loo” (very similar to the “Hokey Pokey”)… Instead of saying, “I give my hand a shake, shake, shake,” quickly, Lincoln very slowly says, “I give my hand a shake, a shake, a shake…”

-We’ve been doing some counting recently, and Lincoln’s 1-10 usually goes like this, “One, two, three, four, nine, ten!”

-Every time we talk about walking outside or are about to go out, he always reminds me, “Do not step on any bees!”

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My silly (almost 2 year old!!) boy