Category Archives: Family

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.

 

 

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!

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.

The Cool Moms’ ToteSavvy

Once you get pregnant the search is on for all of the cool baby accessories that will not only make your life more comfortable but retain a bit of your own style. Nowadays, baby swag is unlimited and each thing is cooler then the next!  Unfortunately, when it comes to diaper bags, the options are limited if you are looking to stay within a reasonable budget. Even within the known designer names, the options are skim, with cheap finishes like vinyl replacing leather and the actual design of the bag being subpar. No thank you, at a price tag of over $400!

Why are you going to carry around a bag that just doesn’t feel like you? In the same instance, your old totes are just not going to cut it. You need to be fully armed while doing adventure diaper changes and dealing with public outburst. 

I recently ran into a concept that I LOVED! ToteSavvy will save you from settling with a diaper bag you feel partial to, at best! Why not just turn your favorite tote into your ideal diaper bag? ToteSavvy sells an insert in a variety of colors and sizes you can put into any one of your bags. The insert features tons of pockets that can be used to store all of your baby essentials. The concept is genius, and I think we will be getting a few for the next baby!


Must Haves for Babymoon

There are many pregnant ladies out there, and I know this is when you start thinking about your last mini getaway or vacation before your huge bundle of joy arrives. Unfortunately, with the risk of Zika Virus in majority of the Carribean, South and Central America, and even some parts of the US, our options for our babymoon were limited. Even if the risk seemed to be so low, we weren’t willing to take any chances.  We decided on Palm Springs since its relatively close to home and we wanted to maximize our time together to reconnect as a couple while having fun with Jonah, who was lucky enough to join us for the trip.

Many people were really surprised to see us in the pool with a toddler and a pregnant belly, enjoying time together, while seemingly having very little stress. A few people mentioned that they really admired our efforts to still do the things we wanted to do regardless of the potential hurdles that children may bring.  There’s nothing more fulfilling then to watch your kids absorbing a world outside of their world, to see new places and people. 

After having Jonah, the spontaneity of our vacationing life has dwindled, but with good planning we have still been able to see a few cool places even with a baby in tow. If your a mama like me, you can pack everyone’s bags blindfolded and your hands tied behind your back. Unfortunately, This baby growing inside of my belly is making things increasingly more difficult. Here are a few essentials I think will be helpful for every mama to throw in her bag or prepare before taking off: 
1. The Panama hat is great for a mama on the go. If your taking a few days off, you don’t want to be stressing about doing hair and makeup. The wide brim gives great sun coverage and helps solidify a look without taking hours of getting ready.

2. Chances are, with all the blood, water and hormones flowing through your body, your Bikini tops will no longer fit you. Avoid the discomfort by heading to the store for something new. When pregnant, I stay away from anything Victoria Secret, which I feel doesn’t give me appropriate coverage with the excessive push-up in all their swim tops. I really liked anything that was triangle and had great support, like the Kupala top from Pantagonia.

3. If you are going to be in the sun for any amount of time Rosehip Oil is essential! Rosehip Oil helps to repair the skin cells that have been damaged by sun exposure. Also, it has naturally occurring Vitamin A! Trilogy has an amazing Rosehip Oil that is organic.

4. Get a fabulous Salon look while your on your getaway with The Luster Lock treatment from Joico. After a few days in chlorine and sun your hair may resemble a frizzy lioness. Tame the beast with this easy 5 minute treatment you can do anywhere you go.

5. The Travalo is one of those things you never knew your life was missing, but after discovering it’s the perfect use, you don’t only throw it in your travel bag but have one for every day use. I always forget to spritz a little scent on myself before running out of the house. I used to have a bottle of perfume in my car for this reason but felt like the constant LA heat was ruining my best scents. Travalo allows you to fill up your favorite scents in a fun handheld case that is TSA approved so you can also take it on the plane with you. Let’s get real here, we have enough things in our bag!

STK LA Introduces Chicken 

From LA to NYC, who doesn’t love STK. It’s a classic you know will be the perfect fit for any occasion. STK has just introduced a delicious new Chicken dish to their menu called Mary’s Free Range Chicken with Organic Farro, Baby Summer Squash and Grilled Lemon Jus. 

Just in case your not in the mood for going out, we were able to snag the recipe for this fresh summer dish. I love trying new recipes and this is a combination of everything my family needs on a daily basis.


Mary’s Free Range ChickenOrganic Farro/ Baby Summer Squash/ Grilled Lemon Jus

 

For the chicken:

1 ea whole organic free range chicken

1 ea garlic clove

1 ea thyme sprig

3 tsp kosher salt

1 ea lemon (sliced)

 

For the farro:

1 c farro

1 ea shallot

1 sprig thyme

1 bay leaf

1 ea clove garlic

 

Baby patty pan squash:

2 c of mix baby squash

1/2 ways shallot (diced)

1 ea garlic clove (chopped)

2 tsp Olive Oil

1/2 ea lemon

¼ c mint leaves

 

For the grilled lemon jus:

2 ea lemon (grilled)

2 c chicken stock

1 ea bay leaf

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp peppercorn

1 ea garlic clove

2 tsp unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F

Chicken:

Place Chicken in a roasting pan, with a food processor pulse/mix salt and garlic and herbs. Season chicken generously inside and out. Stuff the cavity with sliced lemons and more thyme. Tie the legs together with kitchen string.

Roast uncovered for 1hr and 15min in the preheated oven. Minimum internal temperature 175F. let rest for 15 min before cutting.

Jus:

In a sauce pot sauté garlic and spices with butter add stock and reduce to ½, add grilled or roasted lemons and reduce for 10 more min, set aside.

Farro:

In a sauce pot cook farro (rinsed) to brand specifications with the added aromatics.

Veggies:

While roasting, quarter summer baby squash, toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set Aside.

 

To serve, sauté summer squash to desire tenderness, add farro, season to taste and fold in mint to finish. Slice the chicken onto a plate on top of summer squash and farro, finish with jus and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Baby Spitsin: Number 2

Mark, Jonah and I are over the moon to be announcing the coming of our second blessing from above! It is such a priveledge to be able to carry this child inside my body for 40 weeks. Feeling the growth and change in my personal life as I understand another being is also rapidly growing inside me. Something that is hard to understand until your belly begins to expand!

Today will mark my 26 weeks of pregnancy and the day I am ready to make this public announcement. 

The news of this pregnancy came right before my mother was diagnosed with cancer and at the time I felt that it was so inappropriate to be sharing joy when I was experiencing an overwhelming wave of grief. Mark and I were waiting and ready for another child to come and feel regretful to say that in our human understanding we thought it was a “bad” time.  

Over the last 6 months I have been learning to deal with joy and grief simultaneously. We have no control over many circumstances but with humility and gratitude we can accept everything that comes our way. 

I have included some photos from our recent shoot with Olesja Shevchuk, an amazing friend  from Australia who was able to capture our family so well. Taking photos with toddlers is way harder then it looks! Jonah is actually really happy about the coming addition, expressing it with extreme attachment to me.