Lately

BakerBeach

Life has been incredibly busy, yet wonderful and inspiring lately. In a blink of an eye, weeks have gone by and I haven’t made one single post to this space.

There are moments I intentionally step away from posting, mainly feeling like its such a time suck, taking away time spent with my family. But these past few weeks, all my time has been filled embarking on an exciting, new adventure; launching my own business.

All my time and effort has been put into studying for my Pre & Postnatal Fitness and Nutrition certificate. As most of you who read this blog know, health and fitness are a big part of who I am. It’s something I’m very passionate about, and I’m thrilled that my passion can be used to help other women feel healthier and more confident about themselves.

More information will be up on the blog soon, but for now I just wanted to let you all know what has been keeping me away lately. I’m beyond excited to share this information and get started on a new, healthful adventure!



Bookmark and Share
 

Sugar and Toddlers

Sugar

Admittedly, prior to having Berlin, I paid little, to no attention to the amount of sugar in my food. I would look at the fat or protein content rather than check out the possibly high amount of sugar lurking in my food. Honestly, I figured, since I didn’t eat candy bars or drink soda, my daily sugar intake must be at a healthy level. But once I began the journey of feeding solids to Berlin, I realized I was sorely mistaken and the amount of sugar I was ingesting as a relatively healthy individual was shocking.

It wasn’t until I began reading nutrition labels more closely and understanding the amount of sugar in my food,  that I discovered, by noon on any given day, I was easily downing nearly 35 grams (or 9 teaspoons) of sugar (and that only included eating one Clif Bar and drinking a homemade fruit smoothie). I sadly assumed that companies, like Clif Bar, that touted healthy living, with a belief in organic and sustainable living, were making products that were nutritious and low on simple sugars. But reality is, these bars are no healthier than a chocolate bar. In fact, the Carrot Cake bar I tricked myself into thinking was healthy, was giving me a whopping 25 grams of sugar in one serving. That is more than a Hershey’s chocolate bar by a surprising 6 grams. Shocking, right?!

Once I made this realization, I really started investigating the amount of sugar in the everyday food items I was buying for Berlin. I also began researching the scary truth about sugar’s effect on toddlers, and the actual amount of sugar that is healthy for a toddler to be ingesting per a daily basis. What I discovered was that although I am one of the more strict parents when it comes to Berlin’s diet, she too, was eating far too much sugar.

So what is a healthy amount of sugar for our toddlers to be ingesting? According to the American Heart Association, preschool age children eating a 1000 calorie diet, should be eating no more than 3 teaspoons, or 12 grams of sugar per day. The shocking reality is that toddlers are far surpassing that number, and according to the AHA are eating on average nearly 12 teaspoons (or 48 grams) of sugar daily. If you stop to think about it, that is really rather gross. Imagine taking 12 teaspoons and pouring it into your toddlers food each day, doubt you could do it with a good conscience.

So now that you know what the recommended intake is, lets look at the sugar content per serving in some of the foods toddlers are eating on a daily basis:

Stonyfield’s yoBaby organic yogurt: 13 grams
GoGo Applesauce Squeeze: 12 grams
Trader Joe’s Organic Probiotic Yogurt Smoothie: 23 grams
Happy Tot Organic fruit packets: 15-20 grams
Earth’s Best Instant Oatmeal: 8 grams
Sprout Organic Fruit Snacks: 13 grams
Nature’s Path Organic Koala Crip Cereal: 11 grams
Nature’s Path Organic Chocolate Crisp Bars: 8 grams
Plum Organics Jammy Sammy cereal bar: 11 grams

What is really sad, is that all of the above mentioned foods are organic and supposedly “healthy” brands. If you’re like me, you assume that organic products, made specifically for children, are nutritious options for your toddler. But most of these options supply your toddler with a full day’s amount of recommended sugar in just one serving.

Now lets discuss one of the biggest culprits of “through the roof” sugar levels, that are touted as a healthy option for our children, 100% juice boxes. I would say its safe to say that nearly half of children drink these on a daily basis, and I would assume that most parents think that its providing their children with the healthy nutrients that are needed each day. But in actuality, its like handing them a glass full of sugar with a bunch of unnecessary calories. To better understand this, let’s look at how juice is made. On average, it takes 3-4 medium apples to make one 8 ounce box of apple juice. Each apple has approximately 25 grams of sugar and 5 grams of healthy, much-needed fiber. The issue is, in the process of juicing, the cell walls are broken down and the fiber is eliminated, and fiber is what is needed to slow the metabolization of sugar and make you feel full. Therefore the body metabolizes the juice just the same as a sugar laden soda, wrecking havoc on your liver, and leaving you feeling hungry.

So now that you are throughly frightened, you should understand what to look for when purchasing foods for your little one. Here are the few names that sugar is hidden in:

  • High Fructose corn syrup
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Maple Syrup
  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Cane sugar
  • Rice syrup
  • Anything with an “so” ending; dextrose, fructose, glucose

So how do we keep the sugar content down when its lurking everywhere? My best suggestion is to be mindful of food labels, anything with less than 5 grams of sugar is a safe bet. Serve plain, whole fat yogurt instead of fruit flavored (you can always jazz it up with some granola or whole fruit), serve whole foods; fruits, veggies and whole grains. Eliminate all empty calorie food options; juice boxes, high sugar cereals, fruit bars…and offer only water, milk or a homemade smoothie as a beverage option. Lastly, never buy anything with sugar being the number one ingredient listed on the package.

Of course, we can’t be perfect all the time. So just remember moderation is key. If your chid enjoys a high sugar fruit bar that day, watch what they eat the rest of the day. Be completley mindful of your child’s diet, you are in control of their health and are setting up their eating habits for life.



Bookmark and Share
 

Relationship Resolution

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

Over a cocktail this past New Year’s Eve, Ryan and I discussed one of our goals of the year; spending more one on one time together as a couple. I feel like this topic comes up often, and seldomly do we do anything about it. In typical fashion, we brought up how we make little time for one another, instead, putting all our focus into either Berlin or work. We exchanged a few thoughts and ideas on how we might resolve it, but per usual, after the discussion was over, we forgot all about it and carried on with our relationship.

Then last week I saw the brilliant post by my friend Ashley that really got my wheels spinning. Rather than making some grandiose resolution, Ashley and her husband decided to do a small resolution per week, making each resolution much more manageable. They wrote each resolution down on a piece of paper, put them in a jar, and will choose a new one each week to tackle. Sound like a fantastic idea?! Well, I believe so, and and Ryan and I are putting the idea to test.

To begin, we separately came up with twenty-five resolutions each (fifty, because we started late in the game). Each resolution is one that we feel would be a fun and unique way to shake up our routine and help us spend more time together. We then combined our ideas (deleting the repetitive ones) and put them in a spreadsheet. We then came up with the super techy way of using a random picker via our spreadsheet to chose a new resolution weekly.

Here’s just a few examples of some of our weekly resolutions:

  • Taking a cooking class together
  • Going on a dinner cruise in the bay
  • Building a puzzle together
  • Having a picnic at the top of Twin Peaks
  • No work allowed at home
  • Turn off all screens in bed
  • Write a letter to one another

Thus far we have conquered week one of our resolutions; “enjoy dinner at a new, ‘hot’ restaurant.” We planned for a sitter on a Wednesday night (yes, we went out on a Wednesday!) and enjoyed a lovely, four course meal at one of the newest restaurants in the city (let me tell you, there are many!). It was wonderful to break up our usual routine and get out in the middle of the week. Plus we got to enjoy a full two hours of talking to one another-without the interruption of a spastic two year old.

We are now onto week two and tackling our second resolution; “put down all devices and listen to one another.” I’m looking forward to being more conscious about our screen time. It directly affects how we communicate with one another, so this week will be an interesting test of our ability to break our strong technological habits.

There are so many more on our list that I’m super psyched about, this resolution per week idea has really gotten me excited and creates something fun for us to look forward to.

What are some of your resolutions? Is spending more time with your loved one a priority for you as well?



Bookmark and Share
 

A Woodland Nursery

Woodland Nursery.001

Now that the kitchen remodel is behind us, its time to finally decorate the other six rooms in the house. I’ve slowly been chipping away at each room, but feeling as if one room is never fully complete.

For Berlin’s room I’m attempting to create a modern, rustic, cozy vibe. I’m obsessed with all creatures and anything furry, and my obsession is not contained to Berlin’s room. Before I know it, we are going to have a furry forest in our home!

Here is just a handful of things I’m coveting for her room at the moment,. And for those of you that are not familiar with Dot & Bo, I strongly suggest checking out their website. A mass amount of fun product, and incredibly well curated.

One- Porcelain Deer Wall Mount // Two- Multi Animal Coat Rack // Three- Fox Print Bedding // Four- Bunny Ear Alarm Clock // Five- Furry Fox Rug // Six- Faux Fur Beanbag // Seven- Bunny Mirror // Eight- Horse Storage Basket // Nine- Bear Throw Pillow // Ten- Fur Throw.




Bookmark and Share
 

Feeling Thankful

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Most days I feel as if I’m autopilot; taking care of Berlin, running errands, cooking and cleaning…taking little time to soak it all in and enjoy the little pleasures that are my life.

Then there are days when it hits me, I look around at all the beauty that life has to offer and I wonder how it is I don’t recognize this daily.

I live in one of the most coveted cities in the world, a place where people can only dream about visiting. There is tremendous beauty and breathtaking views around every corner. There is an abudant amount of culture to experience and a community of artists and creatives spreading their inspiration throughout the city. An environment full of entreprenurial spirits, making groundbreaking product that are affecting how the world operates today.

I married the man of my dreams; one that inspires me, encourages me and allows me this wonderful opportunity of staying home with our daughter. One that also has faith in my abilities and encourages me to pursue my dreams. One that also gave me our beautiful daughter.

Berlin brings laughter and magic to our world and forces us to look deeper and see the extraordinary in the daily mundane. She is the perfect combination of both my husband and myself and already exhibits the charming characteristics of Ryan that made me fall in love with him. She embodies all that is true and and real in our lives.

I don’t nearly bring bring up my family enough, but I’m blessed with a large extended family that is a big part of my life, one that has made me who I am today. I have the benefit of living in the same city as my two younger sisters and the privilege of having aunties in Berlin’s every day life. I have parents that have believed in me from day one and whom have never held me back from creating and experiencing my own path in life.

I apologize for the regurgitation of emotion this morning, but these moments of clarity are embarrassingly to far and few in-between and needed to be documented.



Bookmark and Share
 

Berlin Turns Two

QuinoaAlmondCake104

SecondBirthday103

SecondBirthday102

SecondBirthday107

SecondBirthday104

SecondBirthday106

Today you are two,
You’re two today
What can I tell you
What can I say

Can I tell you about the ocean
As blue as blue can be
It stretches for miles
As far as the eye can see

Can I tell you about the moon
With many different faces
It sneaks into your room
And hides in dark spaces

Can I tell you about stars
And wishes come true
They twinkle and they shine
Especially for you

Can I tell you about dreams
that flicker and ignite
they carry you through life
on a glorious flight

Can I tell you about music
Which makes you laugh and dance
It makes you wiggle your hips
Like there’s ants in your pants

Can I tell you about love
It’s a wonderful thing
It warms you at night
And makes your heart sing

Can I tell you about puppies
Hamsters and cats
Fish in a bowl
With names like Jack

So much to see
So much to do
Welcome to the big world
Now you are two

Poem by the talented Grandma (Jo-Anne) Bartz

 


Bookmark and Share
 

Kitchen Remodel: Part Two

After an intense 30 days, I’m thrilled to announce the kitchen remodel is complete! After months of researching, designing and planning I was terribly nervous the vision in my head wouldn’t become a reality. But in the end I’m more than pleased with the finished product and couldn’t have asked for a smoother, less hectic demolition. My contractor did an amazing job and was incredibly respectful of our space and an overall joy to work with. After hearing so many horror stories, I feel so incredibly fortunate for the seamless experience we had.

Kitchenremodel.6

Kitchenremodel.7

There were so many things I disliked about this kitchen (its hard to know where to start), but first thing I knew I wanted to change, from the moment we stepped foot in the house, was removing the wall between the kitchen and living spaces.

You can see the former owners made a go at it by making pocket windows on each side, but it wasn’t achieving the open living spaces I was craving. We had several contractors and an engineer come in and give us quotes and options for removing the wall. Most were outrageously expensive and we were afraid we weren’t able to achieve the look we wanted.

Kitchenremodel.2

In the end we were able to eliminate one of the posts and open up the walls completely, and the result is a dream come true. The open space between the dining/kitchen/living room is perfect for our family and an absolute entertainers dream (my first dinner party can’t come soon enough!).

Kitchenremodel.5

Kitchenremodel.1

Kitchenremodel.3

So there it is, my white kitchen come true. I won’t be leaving the kitchen anytime soon, so expect a lot of recipes coming your way.




Bookmark and Share
 

Kitchen Remodel

When we bought our new home back in November I knew the first thing I wanted to do was renovate the kitchen. Ryan however, wasn’t sold on the idea. Understandably, he couldn’t stomach the idea of pouring our life savings into buying a home, then turning around and putting more money into renovations. So I started introducing the idea to him slowly, suggesting we paint the cabinets and buy new appliances. Then slowly as the months passed, I kept discussing my renovation ideas with him, and he warmed up to the idea.

Here we are eight months later, and in the middle of a full on kitchen remodel. I feel I can speak for both Ryan and I, and say we are very pleased with our decision and couldn’t be happier with the results thus far.

KitchenRemodel (1)

Here is what the kitchen looked like pre-demolition; linoleum floors, tile countertops that were impossible to clean, and very dated cabinets.

KitchenRemodel103

The first thing to be done was tear down the wall between the kitchen and dining/living area. This change done in the first few days solidified our decision to go for the remodel, it made all the difference in the openness and feel of our living space.

KitchenRemodel104

In the original design plans, we expected to keep both posts you see in the image above. But luckily for us, we found only one post was load bearing in the demo. This was the first bit of incredible news we were to receive during the process.

KitchenRemodel

Things have been progressing right along in the few short weeks we have been remodeling. The contractor also discovered vented piping hidden behind the upper microwave cabinet, great news number two. This bit of information saved us a fortune!

KitchenRemodel105

This is how it appears as of this morning. Its beginning to look like a real kitchen! I can’t wait to make the final reveal. Only a little over a week and we should be enjoying our new kitchen and amazing open layout!



Bookmark and Share
 

My Apologies

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

I’m terribly sorry for things being so quiet around here (on the blog that is). Life has been a bit hectic lately, between traveling and getting ready for our up and coming kitchen remodel, I’ve had little time for myself, and zero time to blog.

Last week I got a much needed break by visiting the in-laws in Orange County. However with all the endless driving between LA and OC to visit friends, I found myself without the time (or the energy) to concentrate on writing.

I did, however, get the opportunity to finally meet a friend I met through the blogging community; Ashley from The Stork and the Beanstalk (you might recall from her very recent guest post). We enjoyed a morning of the kiddos running around on the beach, and later that week an evening bonfire filled with s’mores and sand.

Very recently, I’ve been feeling a tad worn out with the whole blogging thing, and wondering what the point of all is. But the opportunity it has given me to connect to other mamas around the world is invaluable. Whenever I contemplate taking a break from it all, I just remember all the amazing connections I’ve made and the friendships that have formed because of it all. That is all that is needed to pick up and carry on.

I failed to take many photos of our trip last week, but please check out Ashley’s post for beautiful photos of our evening on the sand.



 

Bookmark and Share
 

Part Four: Technology and Tots

ParentTech

For my final post in the technology series,  I wanted to turn the focus towards us, the parents, and our relationship with technology. We all are aware of the implications technology has on our children, but what about the implications it has on us, the adults? In my opinion, we are the worst abusers of technology. How does our use of technology effect not only us personally, but our relationship with our children and our partners?

I believe its safe to say that parents (or all adults for that matter) are utterly obsessed with the abundance of technology. With the daily use of social media; Instagram, Twitter, Facebook…To the obsession with smart phones, and the hours spent hypnotized surfing on the web. There is not an hour that goes by that we are not sucked into these technological black holes. The minutes lost on these devices quickly turn into hours; hours that could have been spent enjoying our loved ones rather than wasted on such frivolous devices.

I am not immune to this technological dependence, in fact that is why I wanted to write this post. I realize my interest has turned into an obsession, not only for me, but for my husband as well. At times, ok let’s be honest, most times, Ryan and I are completely sucked into our computers, phones or iPads and go hours without talking to one another. If one of us were to strike up a conversation, the response would most likely be “huh” or even worse, complete silence. We both get so absorbed with our mindless surfing that all senses are turned off and we completely tune one another out, not even bothering to look up from the computer to provide a respectful response. Often times I find myself getting angry with Ryan, frustrated that after a long day at work he comes home and instantly turns to the computer, rather than engaging with me. But he could say the same thing about me, and he’s often expressed feelings of resentment towards my absorption in the computer as well. Its truly sad that the little time we have together is spent surfing on the internet, rather than discussing our day or being affectionate towards one another.

Then there is the relationship with our children that is being effected. How many times have you seen a parent completely mesmerized by their phone at the playground, paying more attention to their email when they should be playing with their child? I mean come on, we’ve all been there; the one handed swing, or the zombie response to our child, while we continue perusing our Instagram. I sadly even witnessed a child getting hurt at the playground, crying out for their mom’s attention, while the parent sat back oblivious, surfing on the web. Nothing like witnessing this event to question your own obsession.

Our children are craving our attention. These special moments spent playing with them are crucial, not only for our relationship, but their development as well. It is up to us to set boundaries, not only for the child, but for ourselves. How can we expect to to lead by example, when we are having trouble setting our own limitations?

Becoming aware of our addiction has been the first step in our family, just being conscious of how often we use our devices has help make us realize how much we truly need to disengage. We have been so diligent limiting Berlin’s technology use, but we have completely ignored our own obsessions.  For now we plan to put in place a few hours each night that are technology-free and designate parenting time as sacred, digital-free time. Berlin deserves my undivided attention {and so does my partner}.

My hope is that all parents will step back and reevaluate their technology use and enjoy the present reality that is in front of them.



Bookmark and Share