weekend

Last three weeks have been pure magic. I am running on adrenaline, sugar highs, copious amounts of coffee and rosé. Both Kiki and I celebrated our birthdays and Mother’s Day over and over, and if it was up to us, we would both continue with celebrations. I guess an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

One of my biggest fears when I became a single mom is how does one celebrate occasions like Mother’s Day without feelings of loss, emptiness, awkwardness, sadness, and anger… I was worried not so much for me, but for Kiki and how she would feel with a surmounting pressure to do something special for her mom without anyone’s help. There is this expectation and facade that somehow every mother should be waited on hand and foot and taken to an amazing brunch, gifted lavish gifts and flower arrangements. Mother’s Day has a way of making single moms feel quite alone, kind of like Valentine’s Day can remind single people how single they are.

Happy Mother's Day

No one teaches you how to be a single mom and how to celebrate these holidays, but somehow I was given a set of fairy godmothers and a thoughtful ex who made sure I felt loved, cherished and celebrated. I am thankful that my daughter is growing up surrounded by positive role models of strong, fearless, kind, thoughtful, loving women and a father, who shows respect and thoughtfulness to her mom despite our divorce.

Single Mom Mother's Day

This Mother’s Day, Kiki and I were in NYC [Kiki’s only birthday wish] with two of my best friends whom I call my fairy godmothers and on Sunday morning I woke up to my favorite Starbucks breakfast in bed with a pink flower and a card.  All the while there was a beautifully decorated Mother’s Day cake waiting for me at home. Kiki’s dad arranged for Kiki to decorate a cake at school along with multitude of cards with  scribbles “I love you mama! You’re the best mama ever!”  The thoughtfulness of these gifts – the planning and the effort and the surprise – moved me to tears and somehow made for a difficult day to be truly a day of love and cherishment. The best part – how excited Kiki was to do all these things for me with a little help of her fairy godmothers! The glimmer of happiness in her eyes was the best gift a mother could receive on Mother’s Day!Mother's Day in Bed

 When they say “it takes a village”…it truly does, because I don’t know how I would navigate this crazy life of single motherhood without my village.

To all the single parents out there, know that you are always loved and cherished by the little people that made us parents and my only hope for each and everyone one of you is to have your village!

weekend

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a Friday links post and there’s lots of inspiration whirling around in my brain, so I figured it was a good time to share a few that caught my eye this week. After a flurry of the week and life’s events, I am happy to have a carefree weekend with Kiki and do our thing…movies, Disney on Ice, our weekend walks/runs, trying out a new coffee shop (to us), library and soaking in some vitamin C.

Friday Chat

A few interesting + noteworthy things for you to peruse this weekend:

The immaculate style of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, what an icon…

8 simple ways to reduce your daily stress. I’ve been working hard on these.

5 questions to ask when you’re buying wine (and know nothing about wine).

More wine topics…and we’re being told we’ve been drinking champagne all wrong.

Did someone say wine movies….

I love my foam roller  – it has been my daily practice and my back is very grateful – the best spent $11. Here’s one more reason to use it… it can actually make you leaner!

How to go to bed earlier. #4 is my favorite – bed curfew truly works!

Train yourself to be less busy. I actually need and want this!

~What are your weekend plans? I’d love to hear what you are up to!~

weekend

Hello February
I hope this week is finding you happy, healthy, nourished and caffeinated.

Me? A little over caffeinated but feeling pretty good about the week I’ve had and I attribute it to last weekend full of relaxation, good sleep, yummy foods, and an extraordinary Sunday prep. I promise, a blog post of Sunday prep is coming…it’s truly crucial in every aspect of my week [read: LIFE]. I took some time last Saturday to sit in my back yard, reading, napping and daydreaming. There’s something rejuvenating about the wind against my face and rays of sunshine warming my skin. And besides all the other to-dos of the weekend which is filled with kid birthday parties, visits with friends, and never ending errands, I am hoping to find five minutes to sit in the back yard and read. I am happy to report, I am onto the third book of the year….falling back into reading has been amazing. It fuels my creativity and brings me much needed relaxation.

Books
Somehow we have found ourselves in February, and the theme for this month is love. Cupid has me feeling a bit mushy, so this month is devoted to everything love. Love can be a slippery slope for some of us and can create powerful and confusing feelings. Love comes in so many forms: love of our family, our partner, our pets, our friends, food, books, music, art, travel and so many more wonderful ways. I couldn’t resist and not to share this cute image of expressions of love…

Food_Valentines

Love is all around us…

Whatcha making for Game Day? How about these nachos?

What Super Bowl is about… Kudos, Budweiser.

I am sleeping so much better!

I can’t wait to see this movie. Girl power.

Food is rich in history and these 10 stories about women and food prove it.

I like my pizza cold, but this is the best trick in my book.

For all my fellow travel junkies…which airline has the healthiest food?

Thanks for hanging out with me…wishing you an amazing weekend, just as you are!

weekend

Someone once told me “say yes to opportunities and adventures!” so I said YES to a weekend away. Kiki’s one Christmas wish was her very own suitcase and she’s being “dying to go on a trip” so on Friday night when I told her to pack up her suitcase, her first question was “where are we flying to”…which led me to explaining to her that travel doesn’t always include an airplane and that concept was not quite clear to her until we got in the car and drove for 4 hours to Key West. let’s just say she prefers flying 🙂

We went to the Keys to support my friend J run her “Nth” marathon…this woman is a super human and a wonderful example to both me and Kiki. Her determination, strong will and hard work are absolutely superb and it was such an honor to be there at the finish line to cheer her on! Makes me want to get back to running races again and it was a great lesson for Kiki of determination and how important it is to finish whatever you start. I am not sure that Kiki got all of that, but she was quite interested in the medal and that left quite an impression on her that she wants to run one day to get the medal.

The weekend was everything I asked for and more; we enjoyed an abundance of food, laid-back charm, and beautiful scenery.  The four hour car ride with Kiki was quite smooth…we talked, we sang and decided that both of our favorite color is now ocean turquoise blue!

Key West with Kids 5

Key West with Kids 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The views on our way down were quite spectacular! I have to admit I was nervous how she will take the ride, and packed a lot of car appropriate entertainment [coloring book, her writing agenda where she practices her sight words, iPad, small toys and snacks], but she barely needed any of them. Once we got to the island we did tons of walking [close to 20 miles], ate delicious foods, indulged in ice cream, sunsets and sunrises!

Key West with Kids 4

Key West Sunset

The island is absolute magic of pastel-hued, conch-style homes, a complete feast to the eyes. It’s an easily walkable quaint city, not really kids friendly [read: open containers, bars galore and bustling night life] but it’s easy to get around it all, and still enjoy it with a kid. And to be honest, I am not the one to shield her from life, and she is still oblivious to so much of it and I kind of just went with the flow. We did all the touristy stuff…the Duval Street, The Hemingway House, the Southernmost point buoy, Mallory Square, KW Lighthouse and Cemetery, and my favorite; endless walks on side streets, chasing roosters, and playing treasure maps with Kiki. Walking the island was somewhat challenging to Kiki…she whined a lot, and when I say a lot, I really mean A LOT…so to get her mind off of walking, J got her a map of the island and she pretended to be our tour guide!  Needless to say on our way back, Kiki slept most of the ride and I took in all the breathtaking views of the sunset and reflected on loss and love.  We are both missing our sous-chef. We talk about Brinkley all the time, and it’s so hard not having her with us. So much emptiness…

Key West with Kids

Though it was a quick weekend gateway, we returned home refreshed and eager to lace up our sneakers and get running! The first run was a hard one, but to get my mind off of the actual running, I started planning our weekly menu and until I figured out each day, I wasn’t going to stop. Somehow I finished with 3 miles under my belt…[we shall not mention the time it took me to finish those 3 miles, but I finished it]. There is absolutely no theme to this weeks menu, but rather just trying to eat the foods we already have in the fridge and the pantry since I have not made it to the grocery store….Usually my best menus are created on my runs or in a shower…

weekly menu

Monday: Chicken soup for the soul

Tuesday: Mama’s night out

Wednesday: One Pan Healthy Chicken and Veggies

 Thursday: Sausage, Shaved Brussel Sprouts and Parmesan Pasta

Friday: Turkey Sloppy Joe Nachos

Saturday: Homemade pizza party

Hope your weekend was a glorious one too and you enjoyed the extra day off…what will you be eating this week? Please share with me, I need some ideas….

weekend

Friday Chat

Congratulations, we have made it through our second week of 2017! January is usually a very long month, but somehow it’s flying by. I am trying to savor Miami Winter as much as I can and not rush through the season, as I will be doing enough rushing once humid and rainy summer is here. This weekend I will be savoring South Florida winter and getting out of town with Kiki.Her one Christmas gift wish was her very own suitcase and Santa delivered! My five year old has a worse travel itch than I do, and she can’t wait to pack her suitcase for this mini trip. She has asked me to pack herself as she knows exactly what she wants to take.  I am really looking forward to this weekend and it presented itself in a perfect time! After so much of thinking and me time last weekend, I am looking forward to a little bit of a weekend adventure! What are your weekend plans?

I am obsessed with podcasts, and on Monday on my way to the office I was listening to a podcast about goal setting and this one tip “Focus on getting better, rather than being good!” really struck a cord with me. I am sure I am not the only one out there, but so often the process can be overwhelming.  Changes don’t happen overnight and we don’t immediately arrive at our ideal self. It’s the journey, patience and grit that are required to reach the better. If you’re interested, here is the full article on “Nine Things Successful People Do Differently.

I’ve done lots of productivity, kid, and food related reading in the last week, and here are the few articles that caught my attention and are a great share…even if you read one or two of them, I am sure you will get a lot out of them!

Productivity Hacks

I am really trying hard to change this about me, learn how to finally break your habit of always being late.

5 financial habits to adopt when you start budgeting in 2017.

16 little things you can do to make every day better

I love reading and I love a good glass of wine, what better way to relax after a hard day’s work than a good book and a glass of wine?

Just in time for the mini trip with Kiki – How Children Benefit from Travel

This avocado toast..welcome to my fave breakfast for 2017

There’s a new restaurant in Amsterdam that’s devoted entirely to the avocado. Good thing we have the avocado emoji now!

I found my ultimate breakfast…no surprise, it involves avocado!

Every food trend of 2017 all in one place.

What chefs buy at Trader Joe’s.

Happiness Jar — especially as a project for the kids to take on.

and if you are still looking for a perfect 2017 challenge, I highly recommend this one…as “Trolls” have taught us “happiness comes from within”!

To all my working moms, single moms, stay at home moms…add this recipe to your family’s school night menu. Its hearty vegetables and penne pasta are comforting winterish dish that can be on your table in 25 minutes, and you won’t even feel you were cooking! This is a true quick-and-easy recipe. You can prepare all the ingredients while the pasta is cooking! It also makes a delicious lunch next day! Never doubt Martha Stewartshe always delivers!

 [amd-zlrecipe-recipe:4]

weekend

The first week and weekend of the year flew by, didn’t they? Getting back into the swing of things was somewhat tough, but I’m feeling high on life after a super productive weekend that included an interesting wine and cheese tasting, lots of reading – finished the first book of my 2017 reading list, dancing with my gals [yeah, I know, I said I danced, but it was me saying YES to opportunities], lots of sleeping, walking almost 15 miles over the three days, cooking up healthy and vibrant recipes for my weekly menu [full menu is listed below], and enjoying some extra sunshine.

10,000 Steps

This was my first weekend alone home since the Labor Day – no travel, Kiki was with her dad, all my guests were gone, and unfortunately my little sous-chef is no longer with me…so truly a ME weekend, which was rejuvenating, recharging and energizing, so freeing. If you know me, you know I love to read, but do it FAR less often than I would like. Don’t get me wrong, I listen to audio books like they are going out of style, but just sitting down and reading… I almost never do it. I have all of these amazing books (that I keep buying and there are probably about 60 books in my house as of now waiting to be read..) but when I sit down to read, something inevitably comes up and I get distracted or just fall asleep. It took me four months to finish my last book. That is just crazy compared to what it used to be for me… one week or ten days was the most it would take me to read a book.

behind-closed-doors

Anyway, this weekend I decided that I was going to try something new…I read in the morning when I woke up for an hour and instead of picking up my phone to “just check the social media” I picked up the book instead throughout the day! Eureka! I finished this book, and went back and forth between these two books. It was one of the best things I did for myself this weekend.

  the-one-thing-extraordinary-results   Getting Things Done by David Allen

I also watched “Under the Tuscan Sun” movie. My mom loves loves loves the book, but is not a fan of the movie (and except the title they really don’t have much else in common), but there are some good lessons in the movie. Have you seen it? Diane Lane takes a trip to Italy to get over a nasty divorce and ends up buying a house in Tuscany. She heals her wounds by renovating the house and building beautiful friendships in her new town. It’s a feel good movie and it sent me right to my kitchen and I cooked up the storm and I wished for the whimsical garden, daydreaming of the rolling hills and sunflowers…and 5 years ago, I wanted to be Diane Lane and escape it all! I am glad I stuck around….

One of my favorite scenes is when Diane Lane’s character is complaining about the things she doesn’t have and what she’d hoped for: a baby and a wedding in the garden. Her friend points out to her that she has both: her friend and her
baby are staying with her and she just hosted the wedding in her garden.

Lesson: Sometimes what we wish for comes to us in a different package than we expect. 

Inspired by the simple and flavorful cooking, I set out to make a weekly meal plan filled with hearty wintery comfort foods.

weekly menu

Monday: Faux Mexican Rice and Avocado

Tuesday: One Pot Chicken and Rice with Carrots

Wednesday: Dinner with a Friend

Thursday: Work Thing

Friday: Farmer’s Bean and Pasta

How was your first week and weekend of the 2017?

weekend

This weekend was just all over the map…neither Kiki nor I nor the Sous-Chef felt our 100%, so Sunday was spent nursing a fever, lost voice, lots of coughing and an exhaustion. Hopefully we are all on our way to a better health with only a week away from Christmas, as our holiday to-do list is still a mile long.

I am also slightly panicking over gift shopping, anyone else feeling the same? I’m still missing a few essentials, two birthday gifts, and some stocking stuffers, mailing Christmas cards, and then the wrapping…always down to the wire! No wonder everything always feels so hurried and holidays pass in a blur. I promised myself this year I would slow down and savor the moment…I think there is still time, especially because I will be on staycation starting this Friday!!! Now that is something to truly look forward to! and my best friend from Portland arrives on Christmas Eve!!! I am ready!

Kiki did not have much of an appetite [can’t say the same for myself] this weekend, but she did ask me to make her “Mama’s Banana Bread with Little Healthy Things” – the little healthy things are chia and flax seeds! Luckily there are always one or two bananas in our fridge that are just perfect for banana bread muffins, so I whipped up a batch and with the assistance of the Elf on the Shelf Elsa, we decorated the muffins to surprise Lexi on Monday morning! I must say, Elf on the Shelf morning surprises are by far her favorite…our Elf has been quite creative in her endeavors this years!!!

Mama’s Banana Bread with Little Healthy Things

 

Elf on the Shelf Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon of chia seeds and flax seeds

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray loaf pan with cooking spray
  • Combine whole wheat flour through salt in a bowl and set aside
  • Mix remaining ingredients together until batter is relatively smooth with a few lumps from the mashed bananas
  • Slowly mix flour mixture into banana mixture
  • Once batter is fully mixed, pour into the muffin tin and bake for approximately 35 minutes

 

We did manage to make a weekly menu even though I am not quite sure what this week will look like yet, but I am sharing our menu as a guide we have for this week. Hope your week is full of joy, good eats and laughter!

weekly menu

Sunday: Crescent Breakfast Ring for Dinner

Monday: Sausages, Brussel Sprouts and Pasta

Tuesday: Best Detox Grilled Chopped Salad

Wednesday: Holiday dinner with friends

Thursday: Farmer’s Beans and Pasta

Friday: Momma’s night out!!!!

 

weekend

Happy Monday! New week, fresh start – I took advantage this weekend to somewhat hybernate. It was all about R&R and gluttony. And it was wonderful.

Don’t laugh now, but winter has arrived to Florida! Or at least temperatures below 70F. On Saturday morning I woke up to temperatures in the high 60s, immediately opened every single window in my house, made a cup of coffee, and tried to make that big decision – which sweater I wanted to wear first! As I was getting dressed up I contemplated wearing my faux fur vest, but I started to laugh at myself, and put it right back on the hanger.  I did ended up with a sweater and booties and I was in heaven!

starbucks holiday cup

As a faithful fan of Mojo donuts, it was hard for me to believe there is anything better…but after a year of hearing only glowing reviews about the Salty Donuts, I finally found myself in Wynwood on Saturday morning and  indulged not in one, but three of their donuts, thankfully I shopped for the rest of the afternoon. The Salty Donut is an artisanal donut shop, focused on chef-made, small-batch craft donuts using some incredible ingredients and making them taste totally homemade. These were the fluffiest, lightest, freshest, tastiest donuts I’ve ever had. The Nutella donut as you could expect was my favorite… The group favorite was the maple bacon, made with maple glaze, Miami smokers bacon ‘cracklings,’ and JWakefield Porter redux.  If you decide to go, I would suggest go there early in the AM, they might run out of your favorite! Oh, and I am totally in love with their logo! So on brand!

salty donut

The rest of the weekend  was all about the R&R…I caught up on my DVR shows, I am completely obsessed with “This Is Us” and Barefoot Contessa, a lot of sleep, and and a lot of closet cleaning and organizing…Kiki was at her dad’s this weekend which gave me an opportunity to get organized and get ready for a bit of a frenzy of the week that’s coming…Most importantly I prepared our weekly menu, and with that alone, I felt ready! and you know how I feel about the meal prep….So here is what we are having this week:

weekly menu

Sunday: Shaved brussel sprouts salad

Monday: Beets, pistachio and goat cheese salas

Tuesday: Work Dinner

Wednesday: Slow cooker cheesy tortellini

Thursday: Work Holiday Dinner

Friday: Kids’ dinner @ Noemi’s

How was your weekend?

@lifewithflavors

LET'S BE INSTA-FRIENDS