All Articles by markitloved

46 Articles

Daddy’s Not Home

 

From the very beginning of becoming parents, both my husband and I decided that we need to invest the appropriate amount of time on our children. This would be the pinnacle of their childhood memories. We decided that money and things were not important and they were not essential for our family. But spending time together and showing our kids the value of that was going to be the foundation of our family. With time, we have seen this really transform as we have more responsibilities, and time seems to be fleeting.

My husband beginning his own company 2 years ago was a great blessing for our family. The downside to having your own business is investing much of your personal time to creating the business you want. It’s not your 9-5 that you check in and out of whenever you like. It has really been a 24/7 effort. As Mark’s business grows, we have seen our free time diminish. Although, we are thrilled to have the business, it seems like we allow the time to slip away and our kids grow like sprouts each day.
This morning my husband expressed some guilt about not spending enough time with the kids, especially Jonah. It’s such a double edged sword, on one hand, I have been blessed with the ability to stay home with the kids and from the other we have lost a little piece of our dad. I am sure that many families face this same issues, as they send off their daddy’s every morning to provide and care for our families.
First, as Wives and Mamas, we must be grateful for men that truly strive to provide for our families. Men who are not lazy. They do what they need to, sacrificially and are not self seeking. When I see my husband leaving at 5:30am and come home at 8pm, my heart is filled with so much gratefulness to God for giving Mark strength, wisdom and courage each day.

Second, throughout our day at home, I am reminding our children of dad, who they may not see very much, but is a quintessential part of our living. Whether it is the food that we eat, the gas and car we drive in, or the water filling our bath, I remind them that none of this would be possible without our dad. Each minute dad is away from us, he is providing all the necessities of life by Gods Abounding Grace. Dad has not abandoned us in anyway, that his love shows through his actions.

Third, we try to be intentional with our time. When  Mark does get home earlier, we have a no phone zone until the kids go to sleep.  It’s really easy for him to go directly to his computer and answer pressing work issues, it’s important to keep in mind that an hour will not do him any harm. Saturday and Sunday mornings,Mark takes Jonah on a bike ride or to the park or just for breakfast together. This is definitely the highlight of the weekend. As a wife, we must be reminding our husbands to  be intentional with their time.

Life is crazy, and never the way you expect it to be.  God has given us children for a limited amount of time to lead them and guide them. It is about the moments that we use to fulfill that purpose.  As parents, prioritizing family while balancing life. As a wife-mother, supporting your husband through all the hard decisions that we face. There is no Demanding, nagging or guilt, but giving thanks for the day which is provided for you. Doing everything that is possible to make your husbands life easier, so that he can come home and focus on these little blessings from God. Our husbands go out every day, showing an awesome example of sacrifice and selflessness, so we too should never be prideful and self seeking.

I’ll close this post with a scripture from my favorite Proverb.

Proverbs 31: 27-30

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Stay at Home Mom

If someone had told me five years ago that I would be a stay at home mom, I would have told them that they were crazy. I always loved to work, I loved what I did, and I couldn’t imagine life any other way.

In October 2013, when we got pregnant with Jonah I made the most money working for myself that I had ever made.  This was my moment to shine, show my true potential and have it all. I would be able to juggle it all: work, wife life and a new baby. With some effort, I had successfully attained this goal. Working came along with some new distractions but that did not deter me from being more focused and intentional with my time.  I learned how to manage my time and utlilize those nap times. Let’s be real, when you have a new baby they sleep for majority of the time . When they are up, you throw them in a bouncer or playmat and they are content.

My issues began to arise when Jonah learned how to walk. With increased mobility came an increased need of attention. I found myself constantly torn between the two things that I held dear- my work and my son.  The solution was to round in the troops, so I called for some help from my mother and mother-in-law.  That was great! I was so grateful for their help but I found myself complaining about all the things they were doing (wrong). It’s just not what I would do and the way I would do it. We were constantly at war. Finally, my husband told me, I had to either swallow all expectations and accept their help graciously or do it myself. He was right. That is just what I did. I spent the next few weeks wrapping up my work and decided this would be my full time job. I didn’t think twice, I didn’t look back. I put my full trust in God because logically and financially, this was a dumb move.

How could we survive on one income? We figured it out. Maybe we stopped traveling as much and going out to amazing places to eat and we gave back our amazing fancy car, but I was home with Jonah. He was more important for us. The thing about children is that you really only get a finite period of time with them. Someone once told me, you only get 18 summers with your kids. (Which is crazy bc we only have about 15 more summers with Jonah). Children don’t need money, they need our love and attention. I often remind myself of that.

Parenthood comes with many challenges and most of all sacrificies. You have to do some things you really don’t want to do as well as many amazing things that fill my heart with so much joy. So here I am, a mommy of two. I spend my days running after two crazy boys, who sometimes make me want to scream, but most of the time I just want to smile and laugh. It’s not forever, only 18 summers that fly like the wind. That’s what life is about. Being glamorous is amazing. Wearing makeup and high heels is amazing. Being a stay at home mom and watching my boys grow up is the most amazing.

I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Nothing is fulfilling like the life of a mom.

 

 

Dairy Free Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

When your hosting holiday parties and gatherings with kids you want to have something for everyone. Many kids are dairy free for various reasons, which is why I love to find treats that everyone can enjoy.

Heres a recipe for Dairy Free Gingerbread cookies:

Recipe Credit: HUROM
Part I. Spiced Almond Milk

Ingredients:
1 cup raw almonds
4 medjool dates, pitted
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
½ tsp nutmeg, plus additional for garnishing if desired

Instructions:
1.In a large bowl, soak almonds overnight in 3 cups of water. This makes the nuts softer for optimal juicing.
2.Pour out the water and rinse the almonds. Pour 3 1/2 cups of fresh water into the bowl and add the dates.
3.Turn on your slow juicer and use a ladle to transfer almonds and water (equal parts) into the juicer. Reserve almond pulp for baking.
4.When finished, whisk in vanilla, salt, and spices.
5.Serve chilled or warm, sprinkled with additional nutmeg

Part II. Almond Gingerbread Cookies

You will need:
2 sheets parchment paper for rolling out dough
Cookie cutter

Ingredients:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 egg
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 cups almond pulp (from Part I)
½ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions:
1.In a small bowl, combine the butter, egg, and maple syrup, stirring vigorously until fully combined.
2.In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add the butter mixture and mix until dough forms.
3.Flatten the dough into a large disc and wrap in plastic wrap or a freezer bag. Freeze dough for about 30 minutes.
4.Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper to an even thickness, approximately ¼”
5.Remove top piece of parchment and flip to remove bottom piece of parchment. Cut out cookies and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
6.Freeze cut cookies for 30 minutes (this helps to maintain their shape while baking)
7.Bake cookies at 350o F for 10 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 170o F and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.
8.Cool fully before decorating with royal icing.

Christmas Family Photos

The Christmas season is Not only my most favorite time of year, but it is the busiest. Between closing up the books for my husbands business to deocrating the house and buying Christmas presents, there are not many moments to spare. Most days I am running a marathon.

This year, I met a fabulous  photographer, Brittany Ting, by chance and was able to get our Christmas card photos done before December even started. The actual cards I ordered on Cyber Monday from Shutterfly!

Although children are so adorable, snapping photos of them is no easy task. Brittany did a fabulous job. Each photo was better then the next.  I wanted to share this shoot with all of you!

Mama of Two or More

 

If you’re a mom, then you know what hard work it is. You are on call 24/7. At any given moment any number of things could go wrong and your juggling act will come crashing down.

Prior to having Levi, I had some anxieties about my new role as a mom of multiples and really wanted to get it all right. Now I realize that there is no “right” way exactly.  You do the best you can and give your kids all that you have.  Depending on what’s going on in your life, that may vary from day to day. I am a social mama so I hear it all, from post-pardum depression, deaths, illnesses, and work responsibilities, the load is not easy. So give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve made it to bedtime, the tots are in their beds and everyone has eaten at least once today.

As I write this, I can’t believe my Baby is not such a baby anymore. We just celebrated Levi’s FIRST birthday! The time flies, serving as a reminder that I must be more intentional with the time I have. one day, I’m going to look back, saying I wish I enjoyed my kids more.

When you have multiple children, especially if they are all under the age of 5, you are dealing with many levels of mobility and needs. So the juggling is real.  Here are some of the lessons I learned from my experience:

Opinions:

Once you have kids, Everyone wants to share their personal opinions and advice, even if you haven’t asked for it. I have learned in the last 4 years to just listen, say “thank you so much”, and after you walk away from that conversation you can take what you want and forget the rest.

Crying is ok!

When you have Your first baby, crying is like an emergency situation, trying to figure out what could possibly be wrong. You try everything all at once: feeding, changing, rocking sleeping, jumping up and down, and the list goes on. When there are 2 you just say, ok, you can cry and sometimes I’ll get to you right away. Other times that’s not possible. It’s totally fine if the baby cries. Number 1 needs a lot more from you emotionally and physically.

Remember who your boss is!

If your a stay at home mom, your husband is your boss. What a privilege! And if your family is like ours, you have made many sacrifices to Stay at home with your kids. When I lack motivation and drive, I just think of my amazing, caring, loving boss. He’s the best support I have and that is what keeps me motivated, knowing that he leaves every morning to hustle and provide for our family. So, my response is that I hustle for my family at home! This segways into my next point…

Forget about nap time, Mama:

Ladies, my kids wake up every morning at 6:30am! Whether we are home, on vacation, it’s the weekend, they are UP! Many times I am exhausted and when I put my kids to nap in the middle of the day, all I would like to do is crawl into bed and lay down for 30mins.  That is a great fantasy, but I need to utilize my time wisely by preparing for the rest of my day (and night). I use this time to clean house, make dinner, make calls.

Train Your Older Children

Before Levi (my second) was born I spent some time training Jonah (my first). From the start I was expecting to have a repeat C-section, so Jonah needed to be as independent as possible. I really believe in talking through circumstances with my children. Every day we spoke about his new role as a big brother and the responsibilities that title came with. I taught Jonah to get in and out of the bath, car seat, take his clothes off, follow simple commands, take his plate to the kitchen, and many other things. On their own, each of these tasks are pretty insignificant but taking 1 small thing off your list makes all the difference when your cup overfloweth.

It’s not always going to be like this

And the best piece of advice that I have ever gotten since becoming a mama, was from my dear husband.  One day he came home to me in tears, listened to my rant, looks at me with so much love and says “babe, it’s not always going to be like this.” Whenever I’m having a rough day, that’s what I think to myself. It’s not always going to be me and 2  little monsters running around town. I’m not always going to be dealing with crying and whining. I won’t always be tired. And one day, I will want so much for someone to need me like my kids need me now. For now, no matter how rough the road is or how hard it is to get by, just be happy with where God has placed you and this glorious blessing of having  children.

There is so much more to being a mama of two or more. Every day our prayer is that God grants us more love, patience, kindness, and mercy. The rest will stream from that!

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Festival at Kids Space Museum

Tis the Season… for everything Pumpkin, including an awesome event for the whole family, the Pumpkin Festival at Kids Space Museum will be happening on October 14th and 15th from 9:30am-5:00 pm

This family-friendly event includes fun for all ages and will be hosted in Brookside Park, directly in front of Kidspace.
Kids will giggle with delight at the petting zoo, pony rides, exciting bouncers, carnival games, and seasonal crafts. Partake in a costume parade, enjoy face painting, and select pumpkins from our pumpkin patch. Parents will love the book and costume sale, and tasty picnic treats.

Kids Space Museum:

480 North Arroyo Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91103

Fall Recipes You’ll Love So Matcha

Everyone is obsessed with Matcha now a days. Heres a cool recipe for the fall that you can incorporate your favorite ingredient in an unconventional way. Perfect for a family treat, birthday party or play day! Thanks Terra’s Kitchen!

 

Terra’s Kitchen

YouTube Video: Link

Servings: Makes 12 donuts

Ingredients:

12 store bought plain cake donuts
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Matcha powder
Edible petals/flowers (violas, lilac, blueberry, carnation, nasturtium, marigold, bachelor button, chive)*
White sugar pearls
Sprinkles
Chocolate dipped pretzels
Edible Gold (if you want to be super fancy)

Instructions:

Make the glaze:

Add the powdered sugar to a medium mixing bowl.
Whisk in the milk and extract until smooth.
Divide the glaze between 3 bowls. Leave 1/3 of the glaze white.
Mix in just enough Matcha powder to the second bowl to make a pale green glaze.
Mix in enough Matcha powder to the third bowl to make a darker green glaze.
Cover the pale green and dark green glazes with plastic wrap (pushing against the glaze to keep from crusting over).

Dip and decorate the donuts:

Working with one color of glaze at a time (white first) dip 4 of the donuts into the glaze and rest on a drying rack.
Working while the glaze is still wet, decorate each donut with the flowers*, sprinkles, chocolate dipped pretzels and edible gold.
Repeat the process with the remaining two colors of glaze

Summer Recipe: Cantaloupe Ginger Recipe

What defines Summer better then the plethora of fruit available, specifically melons are hard to walk past in the grocery store without grabbing one on your way out. I love to use melons for everything from salads to smoothies and I recently ran across a recipe for popsicles on Terra’s Kitchen that will bring your  melon experience to the next level.  I made some adjustments that better suit our families lifestyle.

Made at home Popsicles are a great summer snack for children where You have total control over the ingredients.  No matter how healthy and “organic” that store bought ice cream is, nothing beats home made. At home, easy recipes are a life saver that everyone will enjoy.  And don’t fret mama bear, you can indulge along with your little tots without sacrificing your figure!

What you need:

3 slices of fresh ginger
3 tablespoons of Agave (per preference)
1 ripe cantaloupe
Sliced strawberries (optional)
Popsicle forms and popsicle sticks

What to do:

In a small sauce pan, bring the agave and 1/2 cup water over medium heat to a boil. Remove from heat and drop in ginger. Set aside until cooled. (Remove ginger when ready to use!)
Slice cantaloupe in half and scoop out seeds. Spoon cantaloupe flesh into a blender. Blend until smooth.
Add just enough of the cooled ginger syrup to sweeten as desired. Save the remaining syrup for another use.
Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight. For a variation, push a few sliced strawberries down into the popsicle molds before freezing

 

 

Summer Fun in the LA Area

Summer is flying by, the days are full and filled with lots of fun. If you have kids going back to school soon, there’s still time to enjoy. One of the best parts of city- living are the plethora of events the whole family can enjoy.  I’m sure as many of you will be taking some time off, your days will be jam packed with tons of BBQs, Pool Parties, Family Outings and Fiestas.  While it’s great to do what you know, my family loves to try new things.

In a city of endless options, that is always a possibility, no matter what your budget. Here’s a list of Free (or super cheap) family activities for the family:

1. Jazz nights at LACMA

Every Friday and Saturday Night, LACMA hosts a free jazz concert in the courtyard behind this famous lampposts.  Grab a blanket, some snacks, and don’t forget your kids’ scooter! While adults lounge on the grass catching up with friends, the kids roam wild and free. Thsi is actually a multi purpose trip- kids are distracted by other kids while parents can have the evening off listening to great music. The result: a child who comes home so exhausted, he barely twitches while transferring from car to bed.

2. Go To The Beach

When your from LA, you forget that You actually live in a paradise of sorts. Perfect weather (except for the Winter of 2016) and a city surrounded by amazing Beaches. While your average Angeleno escapes south of the border. the rest of the country (and world) enjoys their R&R here.

The beach may seem like a world away when you sit in an hour plus of traffic. The Spitsin fam packs in the car by 8am, stops for an almond cap en route and we are ready to enjoy a quite morning on the beach. It’s the best time because there’s almost no traffic both ways and it’s easy to find street parking.

PS, your kids can’t tell the difference between the Caribbean and Santa Monica.

3. Shakespeare in The Park

Its so important to expose your kids to some culture that is not behind a screen. It’s also great when you can do that in a forum where they feel comfortable. Shakespeare in the Park at Griffith Park is hosted by Independent Shakespeare Co (http://www.iscla.org/griffith-park-festival) . They put on a great show and our kids love it. Don’t worry if your tot can’t sit still, there are a lot of kids, so pick a spot in the back where you can have some extra room. Don’t forget a blanket and some snacks.

4. Make a Picnic

The variety of landscapes in Los Angeles blows my mind. The city is spread out, separated by mountains and valleys, while oceans and deserts surround it. How glorious! Why not go out and enjoy Gods wonderful creation? Grab a lunch, pack the kids (and husband), invite some friends and ride off into the sunset.  When there’s nothing to do, create your own possibilities.

We prefer going to parks that don’t have an existing play yard. Although they’re easy, your left chasing your kids around instead of engaging them. Play some kick ball, or  in an open field. Those are the kind of moments your kids will remember.

5. Twilight Concerts at Santa Monica Pier

Till Thursday August 17 2017

A concert on the beach, no need to say anymore. See the lineup here: http://santamonicapier.org/twilightconcerts/

6. Whole Foods Freebies:

Although this isn’t an event, as a mom, it feels like I’m at the supermarket every other day. We usually go to Whole Foods once a week to Buy our grass fed Meats and organic poultry.  With 2 kids, it’s just not the easiest task, but you can lighten up the event.

Every time you bring your kids with you to the store, stop at Customer Service and pickup a Kids’ Club Coupon good for a complimentary organic apple, 100% Organic fruit leather, or natural animal crackers.  Also, ask about what events they have going on specific to your location.

7. Kids Club at The Grove on Thursday’s  10a-12p

Every Thursday from 10am to Noon, the Grove hosts a free Kids Club where they have a variety of activities for the Kiddos, from Magicians, face painting, to Music, and Dancing…. FUN!  If you are feeling a bit anti social at home all day every day, get out there and mingle with some other moms (and Nannies). It’s great for kids to meet one another and (learn how to) play together, but Momma needs some stimulation.

Diy Face Painting Recipe

With different Harvest celebrations approaching, we know how popular face painting is for all of the kiddos.  Unfortunately, there are many dangerous toxicants found in conventional paints, including lead, nickel, cobalt, and chromium. If your a mama like me, you’d rather avoid the risk while still having the fun. Sophia Ruan Gushee, author of A-to-Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide To Reducing Our Toxic Exposures, has created the ultimate recipe for nontoxic DIY face paint that the whole family can have fun making together!

 This recipe is quick, easy, and a great alternative to the common varieties out there:

Ingredients:

· 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch

· ¼ tbsp all purpose flour

· 2 tbsp honey

· ½ tbsp water

· Natural food color (seek nontoxic products on Amazon, or use household food items that can act as natural dyes)

 

Directions:

1. Mix the cornstarch and flour in a bowl. Add the honey and water to your mixture. It should create a thick, gluey substance that resembles a paste. If the paint is too thin, add more cornstarch and flour. If too thick, add extra water.

2. Divide the mixture into separate bowls, and add your coloring. For example, you can use turmeric for yellow, and paprika for red.


3. The paint comes out a bit more thick and gooey than conventional face paints, but the colors come out beautifully and stay on for hours.
4. While the paint dries well, the honey component makes the paint slightly sticky to the touch. Avoid touching the paint after it is applied.