Posts Tagged ‘Whats Been Working’

1st June
written by Michelle


Hi! It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of the posts and I had so much fun putting this one together. Some good stuff for summer and traveling with little ones and some of my favorite links around the web. Plus, a few healthy recipes for the kitchen and some of my other favorite things:

On The Road: Traveling with a Toddler

We spent most of April traveling with a toddler. I mean we spent hours in the car and stayed in different people’s homes every few nights. We attempted eating at restaurants and waited in airports for flight delays. It was wonderful, and really exhausting.

Best kid-friendly iPad caseMy mom got us this traveling kid-friendly iPad case which velcros to the back of your seat for the perfect movie watching set-up. And older kiddos can hold on to easily because of the “grips” on the back for playing games or with apps. Obviously, you know, that we primarily used it to watch Frozen 17 times a day. Thank you, Disney for brainwashing my almost 2 year old.

Invisible coloring book + Marker: When Elena wasn’t watching Frozen, she was coloring. My sister, who is a preschool teacher, is always thinking of the most thoughtful gifts. The best thing about this is that 1) no markers stains on their hands, the rental car or you! and 2) little ones who are still learning how to hold a maker can actually do it because the “colors” just appear when you scribble. Win all around, Elena got the Frozen one but they have lots of other options, Nemo, Thomas the Train and Doc McStuffins. I wish we had more because this is seriously the easiest thing to pull out while waiting at restaurants.

Smallest, cheapest bath time entertainment: I had to google these because I don’t really know what they’re called. I remember playing with them has a kid though. I call them, “sponge animals” I think amazon calls them grow capsules. Either way best $5.50 you can spend for your next trip. They’re super tiny and so easy to pack, but kids find them mesmerizing. Perfect bathtub entertainment especially because we were in different people’s homes every night and i was not about to bring any bath toys. We plopped one of these little guys in the tub and Elena watched it “open.” We still bring some of the ones who made back with us into the bath every night.

No-Spill Bubbles: I’ve mentioned these before, but they are seriously the best bubbles we’ve found, because little hands can do it all. by. themselves. which we all know is so much more fun than us holding the precious bubble container or worse, them holding it and us saying “now be careful, be careful, don’t spill the bubbles” on repeat. Ahhh. NO more. Seriously, these are amazing. And you can refill it anytime.

In the Kitchen

My parents had the Coolest garlic peel remover and my mom sent me home with one! No more stinky garlicky fingers.

Green Soup: I posted this pic on instagram and got lots of questions about this green soup. My friend Laura posted the recipe for Broccoli-Cheese Spinach Soup, but in our house we just call it green soup. What I love is you can really add ANY vegetable in there, cause it all gets blended up. And you add as much or little cheese as you want - depending on your preferred level of cheesy-ness.

These zucchini muffins + mini chocolate chips. You guys know me I totally altered this a bit and used what we had on hand and threw in some shredded carrots, too. Do you see my cooking strategy…throw in extra veggies or chocolate chips when in doubt?! :)

I still make this Spinach-Basil Pesto almost weekly because its the only way Elena eats broccoli and Gerber and I love it too.

Have you heard of Chia seeds?! Here they’re called “chan” (rhymes with shaun”) and Elena likes to poor them her our smoothies. They get blended up and you can’t even see or taste them, especially if you make any kind of berry smoothie. They are loaded with omega-3s and protein and all those good minerals like magnesium and iron. I get ours at the local mercado, but if I could I would order these. I always feel good that when Elena only eats pasta and Cheerios the rest of the day, at least we’ve got some healthy stuff in her system from our morning smoothie!

On the web

This post from The Toast is one of the most beautiful and poignant pieces on bicultural identity. Of course it makes me think of my little girl and I try to imagine if she writes an essay in 20 years, what will she say?

Have you ever wondered how to explain privilege: These comics do an excellent job.

The is one of the best posts’ by my friend Anna, about debunking the motherhood myth that you can have it all.

I also loved this post by my friend Ashlee because I am SUPER interested in trying a capsule wardrobe. Although we don’t really have seasons in Guatemala so I think I’d have to make some adjustments.

In this post, Do Kids See Color? Cara shares how she is “not passionate about racial equality because [she] married a black man [but she is] passionate about racial equality because [she is ] passionate about human beings.”

Along the same lines, this was a super interesting (and very long) piece from the nymag about racism, education, and asking if racism be stopped by third grade? 

The founder of The Root Collective, Bethany Tran, makes me want to be a more conscious consumer with her piece, Where It Was Made MattersYou know how much it cost you, but do you know how much it cost the person who made it?” 

Also, I loved this video about how cities are making us sick. For anyone who cares about city planning and development and health this is a must watch.

On The Kindle

First, did you now most library have an online check out site? My expat and international friends you will love this. I go to my local Santa Barbara library website and type in my library card # (you have to already have a library card) and then I can search the available titles, and “check them out” for 3 weeks electrically. Then book appears in my kindle, just like magic. The only bad thing it also disappears in 3 weeks like magic even if I’m not done with it.

For book club, All the Light That Was Not Lost

For me, Raising your Spirited Child

Making my way though, Jesus Feminist and Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes

I really miss reading real books, like holding it in my hand underlining with a pen, folding corners, etc. Reading is interactive for me…but I won’t complain, the ease and convenience of being able to download any book, anytime is not lost on me. I can’t imagine living overseas away from book stores and internet even 10 years ago.

On Netflix 

Parenthood: ok we’re only on season two and it’s just taken us a while to get into it. Does it get better? Gerber describes it as emotionally overwhelming. I just smile, and am like welcome, to white-upper-middle-class American life.

We watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and loved it. Just funny, cute and easy to watch.

We watched Wild. Didn’t love it…or hate it. But I bet the book is better.

We are making our way through movies that got nominated for Oscars. We’re like a year behind. But, still. We watched Imitation Game on the plane. Two thumbs up. Next up on our list is, Selma and American Sniper.

On My Wishlist

Do you ever keep a personal wish list? Since we try to keep a budget and only buy things that fall more into the  the needs list than wants, sometimes I make a virtual wish list. It’s kinda like fantasy football, but only fantasy shopping. I click and save and imagine how well all the players…I mean, pieces would look together :)

One of these Made by Mary gold bar necklaces. I think I would get the word amor. What about you?

Cup of Jo posted about this nail polish and I love that it seems simple, versatile and one coat is enough!

I’m in love with these SonnetJames dresses.  This one and this one are my favorite and I have heard wonderful reviews of these sandals. So cute and comfy for summer, right?

I’ve been in the market for some kind of brown leather purse/bag that is big enough to hold my laptop when I go to work, and can also just be a cute purse with a few toddler essentials thrown in. Any ideas? We’ve been done with the diaper bag for while now, but somehow I have ended-up just carrying around Elena’s monkey backpack all.the.time. Not anymore. Mama wants a real purse. Maybe I can gift myself one for her birthday? You know like my 2-year becoming a mother anniversary gift? Is that a thing??? I may just start it.

What have you been into recently? And favorites I should know about? Do share!

Linking up with the lovely Leigh Kramer.

*Affilante Link Disclosure: When you click on some of the links and buy something, it means I get a teensy tiny percentage that supports my coffee fund or maybe even a wishlist purchase.*


25th January
written by Michelle

chocolate chip cookie in a ramekin. the after. I forgot to take a picture of the before.

One of the reasons I love blogging (both reading and posting) is it immediately connects you with a whole new sphere of friends. It’s like walking into someone’s home and going, mmm, I never thought about doing that before. I like seeing and learning how other people do life, you know the different ways other people get things done, the shortcuts you take, he recipes you make over and over, and little things you keep in your car or purse.

My friend Becca, from While You Were Napping, recently wrote a “What’s Working” post on her blog last week and I LOVED it. So, I am adding my own:

Here’s What’s Been Working for Us Lately:

In the kitchen:

1) Baking Cookies in Ramekins- It’s been a long week. Solo-parenting…started sleep training…you get the picture. I love homemade chocolate chip cookies, but don’t often get around to making them. I’ve become a big fan of prepping once, eating multiple times! So next time you make your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, roll up half the dough in saran wrap, place it in the fridge and then when ever you want a warm, homemade cookie, scoop a little bit out into a ramekin, bake for 8-10 min and enjoy! I may or may not have done this every night this week (remember husband done, still sleep training, etc). It has become my new favorite way to eat a cookie.

2) Baked Garlic -Parmesan Chicken- this is one of those no brainer, easy, but good dinners. I make it at least once a week because we always have these things on hand. Just dip in olive oil & garlic, rub on breadcrumbs and cheese and some herbs and bake. It makes great leftovers and I bet you could even cut the chicken into little strips for toddler size hands.

Around the home:

3) Water Bottles, Water Bottles, Water Bottles- I am notorious for carrying around my water bottle and then leaving it somewhere and then having to run out to the car at 10:30pm looking for it. I know, I know first world problems. I have started leaving one upstairs in the bedroom, one downstairs by the kitchen and one in the car. I fill them all up at night and have water for the next day. Nursing moms, gotta stay hydrated, right? This brand and water bottle is my all time favorite- leak proof, easy to clean, and for some reasons babies like playing with it?!

4) Pretty Flannel Sheets- Have I told you how I love the Treshold line from Target? Well, I do. Whenever I’m in the US I linger in the aisles, imaging my house decorated with cute, affordable, Treshold things. And then I snap back to reality and remember my two suitcases. Now I know many of you are in this thing called the polar vortex and I won’t even begin to say I know anything about cold outside temperatures. Buuuuuut, even though I’m in the land of eternal spring, it does get down to the 50s sometimes 40s at night here, and with no indoor eating and cement walls, let me tell you, it gets cold inside! When’s the last time you slept in 50 degree weather, huh? So, last month we ordered these pretty, orange flannel sheets. Not too girly, husband approved.

5) Propolis- prop-a-what? You haven’t heard of Propolis? (pronounced “pro-puh-lee”) I hadn’t either until I was visiting my family in December. I started to come down with a cold…sore throat, running nose, blah. My sister, who lived in Italy, said families there use it when someone starts to get sick. You can read more here or here, but basically it comes from bees and it’s strong, healing stuff. I put 20 drops in a spoonful of honey and seriously sore throat, running nose wee gone the next. It will now be a regular in our medicine cabinet. Usually sold at a Whole Foods or your local health food store.

For the Baby:

6) THIS Carseat Activity Bar - my mom bought this for Elena after our first trip to the US when she cried for 90 min straight as we sat in LA traffic. not fun! Needless to say my child doesn’t like her carseat. Granted we are not consistent about putting her in there when we’re here {shocking, I know. don’t judge. Most people in 3rd world countries don’t ever use carseats. I know, I know..gasp!} Regardless, this has helped cut down on crying and fussiness in the car when she’s in her carseat.



7) EASY way to convert pdf-> jpg - I don’t know much about graphic design or coding, but I do lots of editing, writing and emailing for work and always get stuck when I have a pdf file that I want to save as a jpg. Voilà! All you do is click on this website, upload your pdf and then it emails you a link to download your jpg. love, love it!

8) The Notes app on the iphone- Now, I know there are fancier note taking programs like Evernote, but I actually love the simplicity of the electronic yellow notepad. Did you know you can link it right to your gmail account, too? I have like 120 different notes, but they come in so handy. And I can search and access them from my gmail. I have ones with Elena’s medical info, one ongoing one with things we need at the grocery store, blog ideas, things to do for work, the wifi passwords from different cafes and restaurants, etc, etc.

ok, there you have it. That’s what been working for us.

Do share. What has been working for you?