Washington DC with kids

Hey y’all! Hope you’re having a wonderful Tuesday, it’s Mardi Gras here, and we stay as far away as possible… it’s just not our jam and we usually always try to get away.

So, on Thursday night, we flew out of New Orleans and ventured into DC with all THREE girls in tow.

Now, I know what you’re thinking… we’re crazy. Although that may be a little true (haha), I actually love bringing our kids along for travel. I want them to experience the world with us, even at their young ages, and show them all the different places outside of our little bubble down here in the south. I want them to have these memories of visiting different places and cultures and be adventurous.

Having said that, they’re still only 5, 3 and 7 months, so, were there moments when Sam and I let out deep sighs and questioned our choice of bringing them along?!

YES. Yes we did.

We’ve all been there right? 🤦🏽‍♀️😏

Anyway, I’m sure you’re here to see if it’s actually possible to travel there with children, and it is.

HOWEVER, in hindsight, I think planning the trip for summer time, if you’re not used to really cold temperatures, would be a better time to visit with small children. I literally had layers and layers of clothes on them and they were so annoyed and wanted to undress any chance they could.

That was thoroughly frustrating.

Other than that, DC has so much to offer in terms of things to do. All of the museums are free… yes, free! You have the monuments, which are a great experience. The White House (which you can tour if you schedule in advance). We didn’t tour it because the girls are too little and I’d rather them be older to appreciate a tour of it. The National Zoo (also free), and the Museum of the Bible, which you have to pay for, but honestly totally worth it! Everything about it was great, and there is even a little play area for the kids, with  games relating to Bible stories.

There’s so much more that we didn’t get to do because of the weather, it rained 2 of the 4 days we were there and it seriously was so cold, at least for us. We made the most of our trip, I think, despite the weather. The girls were along for the ride and they just love being with us.

In terms of food, I think the best meal we had was at Founding Farmers Everything is farm to table and was seriously delicious, definitely have a meal there.

My mom is from El Salvador, so one thing I grew up eating a lot of, are pupusas, if you’ve never eaten them, I’m sorry. You’re missing out. We ate in this very tiny, literal hole in the wall, called El Rinconcito and they had some pretty tasty pupusas there. I had read that DC was home to a large population of Salvadoran’s so, finding a restaurant that served them was essential for me to check out.

Lastly, another little place we’d heard about, &Pizza. Honestly, the pizza was great, but I think we’ve had better, though it’s worth a try. It was a tiny place as well, but pizza was made fast and hot and it was, pizza!

I like to think of this trip as a pregame to our trip to Europe in May!😬 ahh!!

We survived with a few hiccups, but if you are like me, and love having your kids experience different places with you, I say go for it! They are smart and are attentive to much more than we give them credit for. Our oldest for sure remembers a lot of our trips and things we do even at home, and talks about them for months after.

In summary, summer is better because no layers of clothes, Free, fun, history, Free. lol

 

DC with kids, Washington monument, Washington DC, travel with kids

DC with kids, Washington monument, Washington DC, travel with kids

DC with kids, Washington monument, Washington DC, travel with kids

DC with kids, Washington monument, Washington DC, travel with kids

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DC with kids, Washington monument, Washington DC, travel with kids

Planning for 2019

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My mind is blown! 

How is 2019 just a couple of weeks away?! 

Where did 2018 go?! I mean, are we really sure we’re going into TWENTY-NINETEEN!!!

We were JUST entering 2009 like yesterday 😭

Anyway, since getting married, my husband and I begin planning out our goals, vacations and events for the following year, between October and December. It gives us structure and expectation, and I wanted to share with you, exactly how we plan out our year.

We separate it into these categories:

Goals:

  • Spiritual: we want to read ONE book/month this year. We want to study the Bible deeper, than we ever have. Also, we want to write ONE song/month! 
  • Physical: we’re both into fitness, when we really get into fitness! I’ve got the rest of this baby weight to lose! And he’s got his own physique goals. 
  • Financial: how much we want to have in savings. How much we aim to spend on birthdays, vacations, holidays 
  • Personal: this includes fitness, but also, I have 2 specific projects that I’ve been working on that I really want to finish in 2019! Also, to be an even better wife and mother! I want to begin establishing more time where I focus on really cultivating my daughter’s talents/dreams and teaching my daughters to walk in truth, love, compassion and kindness. As well as diving deeper into the Word, having more devotional time and time for personal development. 

Vacations:

Here, we kind of brainstorm when and where we want to go. Typically, we separate them into a family vacation which is just us and the girls, an extended family vacation, a girls trip, guys trip, weekend get away (usually for the 4th of July) and a trip for just the two of us.

Next year, our biggest trip and our family trip, will be to Europe! It’s been a dream of mine(my 30th birthday wish). 

We still aren’t sure about the other trips we’re taking, but we still write a budget for them, and really try to stick to it!

Events:

These are, birthdays, holidays, our anniversary, valentine’s day etc. 

We set budgets for how much we will spend for each of our daughter’s birthdays, our birthdays and all other events. For our anniversary, we decide if we’ll make that our trip together or if we’ll just go out for a nice dinner and exchange gifts. 

We also set a budget for how much we will give siblings, nieces, nephews, close friends and parents for their birthday(the amount is the same for all) . Same goes for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas presents etc. 

……………………………………….

If you are on the track to financial freedom, advisors will tell you to write out every. single. expense. Down to the penny.

We don’t track every penny, but we’re not that far from doing it. Thankfully the only debt we owe is our house and car. We like to plan and budget, so that we keep the discipline of being responsible and one day having our money go to work for us. 

I mean, who doesn’t want the freedom to travel on the whim without requesting for the time at work?! 🙋🏽‍♀️ Amiright?!

………………………………………

Budget talk in and of itself is a topic all on its own, so anyway…

Planning all of this out, really helps us to see exactly where our money is going and gives us more discipline to stay within the budgets, in order to save what we set out to save. 

It also gives us expectations on what our year will look like. Towards the end of this year, we were a bit more spontaneous than we would’ve liked to have been with our finances, and we fell short on achieving this years financial goal. 

Though we had anticipated that adding our 3rd daughter, would change up what our “normal” looked like, we went a little bit further outside the lines LOL. It’s ok though, because life happens and it’s important to still live your life joyfully!

Smart, but joyful 😊

Can you tell we are planners and detailed people?

It also helps with being disciplined in other areas. Structure is better than chaos and sitting there wondering where your time and money went.

It shows you if you’re growing, because at the end of the year, we check off what we actually accomplished. 

There’s something so satisfying in checking off on a list! 

However, if it didn’t get done, we attach it to the next year and we try again. It’s a sign of success and perseverance to actually DO and not just SAY YOU WILL.

talk the talk AND walk the walk.

I truly hope you found this helpful AND encouraging!

Heres to an even better 2019!

Xo,

 Lorena 🧡

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

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This morning as I was reading a devotional, I came across this quote I hadn’t heard before. Maybe you have, but it was the first time I’d read it and it really stuck with me.

“Yesterday is the past, tomorrow is the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” -Bil Keane

I’ve been feeling convicted this week, as a mother. My responses to the girls, have been short. I’ve been quick to get angry and quick to speak.

My frustration has been evident. Because I am frustrated, the girls become frustrated. They act out even more and begin to see how far they can go until I really “lose it.” I yell, they scream out back. They don’t seem to listen, but the funny thing is, I never listened to them when they weren’t misbehaving.

I only gave them my full attention when they were doing the wrong thing.

What if God only gave us His full attention when we only did the wrong thing? We wouldn’t want to listen to HIs instruction with joyful expressions and open ears, to listen. We’d grunt, huff and puff and try to interrupt Him ONE HUNDRED TIMES before He could get just ONE sentence out!

That’s what it’s been like for me this week. Instead of taking a step back and giving them my undivided attention; to see them and hear them; to watch what their hearts need in certain moments. In the one moment they do something they aren’t supposed to, that’s when I “listen;” and perhaps, that’s why they did it in the first place.

As I sit here, hearing them laugh and play pretend with their dolls, I am both happy and sad. Sad because, how many of these precious moments have I missed? How much time have I wasted in correcting them over silly things, only because I am frustrated at all the to-do’s that “must” get done before lunch? Frustrated because they didn’t want their pancake cut in half, they wanted it whole. Frustrated because they’re just being a FOUR year old and a TWO year old.

How many times have I acted in the same way toward God? Did he bicker and sneer at me? Fuss and send me to time out? No. He’s always been gentle with his correction, gentle with his words… gracious and merciful.

I could and will pray more consistently for God to make me more like a James 1:19 woman. Even in my marriage, many times I am quick to get angry and not quick to listen or quick to forgive… or apologize for that matter. It just makes everyone frustrated. It’s not about being wrong or right. It’s about working things out peacefully and enjoying the fact that I… YOU are here.

Enjoying the fact God blessed me with motherhood. That He’s blessed me with an amazing husband. That He’s blessed me with our beautiful home…

Waking up every morning with a grateful heart, regardless of our circumstance. 

Enjoying motherhood despite the fact that dishes need to get done, laundry needs folding, toys are covering the living room…

Simply listening to the sounds of laughter coming from those two little humans that God so delicately, lovingly and joyfully created inside of my body. Seriously, what a gift that I take for granted far more than I’d like to admit!

I’m reminded that TODAY IS A GIFT FROM HIM and I must be diligent in my role here on Earth.

To give more grace.

To be more gentle with my words.

To not allow negative circumstances to dictate my day.

To CHOOSE JOY and PUT ON LOVE the way GOD LOVES US, even when we do have our tantrums with Him.

DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF…dishes don’t have eternal weight, but how I go about raising my children does and how I go about being a good steward of what the Lord has entrusted me with, does too. 

XO,

LO

Maternity Session

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For Mother’s Day, my sweet and awesome husband surprised me with a Maternity photo session. I’m so glad he did, because I probably wouldn’t have scheduled a session myself and would have probably dragged us all somewhere with a tripod and self-timer haha!

They came out lovely and glad we got to capture these beautiful pictures. Here are a few from our session.

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Homemade Pizza

One of my resolutions for this year, was to cook more at home and to involve the girls in making dinner… ideally, more homemade, from scratch type foods. Well, if you follow along with me, you know that I’m pregnant and the first few months of this pregnancy were very difficult!

My morning  all day sickness, was awful and well, I didn’t get the chance to cook much, until more recently. Though I’ve been making dinner a few nights a week again, I hadn’t done much to involve the girls.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m in the “nesting” phase now, but lately, I’ve been in the mood to bake/make things from scratch.

The other day, I made crepes and flour tortilla’s from scratch and I just wanna say, THANK YOU PINTEREST!

I’ve probably pinned hundreds of recipes, but they’ve just been sitting there in my “FOOD” board and haven’t gotten love from me till now.

ANYWAY… that was just a preface to why you’re really here… the part I mentioned about PIZZA! My girls are somewhat picky eaters, so part of my wanting to involve them in cooking with me, is to get them excited about eating the food they helped make!

I figured that starting with pizza, was a no brainer. So, the only truly from “scratch” part is the dough. I found this truly AWESOME recipe on Pinterest, here. If you don’t feel like clicking the link, I’ll post the recipe at the bottom of the page!

The girls were so excited to be helping out… from watching the yeast proof, to helping pour in the ingredients to form the dough.

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No Fancy pants productions over here and not in any way sponsored by Gold Medal flour HAHA Just us… as raw as it gets!
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The girls just being their normal selves… silly billy goats! They did “help” me roll out the dough after posing for the camera.

I wish the pictures I took of them putting the pizza toppings on, came out well. They were all blurry 😒 So, just pretend that it’s here.

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I don’t have a pizza pan, so I put it in a regular baking pan. I do suggest you cut the excess dough off a little more than I did, because it was a lot of crust. Although, we LOVE crust, so it didn’t bother us.

For the toppings, I used Whole Foods 365 brand Marinara sauce, 365 Mozzarella, 365 Italian mix and their pepperoni sliced from the deli.

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Yes, as amazing as it looks, is as amazing as it tasted! Let me just say, that deli pepperoni was life!

After following the baking time instructions, in order to get that slight burn, I broiled it for about 5 minutes… it depends on how your oven’s broiler works, so make sure you keep an eye on it so it doesn’t char and burn down your kitchen!!

The dough yields a lot! This was only half of the dough, so there’s plenty to go around if you’re a bigger family, especially if you make a smaller crust!

Overall, the girls and I really enjoyed making this deliciousness! They always want to help me out in the kitchen and were excited when they were finally able to actually get their hands on this! I can’t wait to keep finding more recipes where I can include them and create beautiful memories with my girls in the kitchen!

*Here’s the dough recipe:

PREP TIME 
COOK TIME 18 MINS
TOTAL TIME 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 5 cups flour, divided
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil (2 Tablespoons per pan)
Instructions
  1. Mix warm water and yeast and let sit 5 minutes until yeast proofs.
  2. Add 2 ½ cups flour with proofed yeast and mix well in Kitchen Aid or with a dough hook.
  3. Add additional 2 ½ cups flour and salt, knead until smooth. Cover bowl with saran wrap. Let dough rest in a ball for 10 to 20 minutes.
  4. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil onto baking sheet or pizza pan and evenly coat bottom of baking sheet or pizza pan.
  5. Remove dough from bowl and add more flour as needed (a little at a time) to alleviate the stickiness of the dough if needed. I add a few Tablespoons usually.
  6. Split dough in half and roll each ball of dough very thin and place on greased pan.
  7. Preheat oven to 400 F
  8. Now comes the fun part! Top your pizza dough however you would like. If you have a favorite pizza recipe or breadstick recipe, have at it! Be sure and leave a ¾-inch space on the edge for crust.
  9. Bake each pizza separately at 400 degrees F for 18-20 minutes for pizza and 15 minutes for bread sticks or cinnamon sticks.

 

*Again, this is not my own recipe, I linked it at the top from it’s original source.

ENJOY!

XO,

LO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a…

Just wanted to share with you all, what baby 3 will be! A little gender reveal, with just the four of us! It was fun to do it this way.  Feel free to watch us find out below!

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xoxo,

Lo

EASTER

Easter is already right around the corner! Today I want to share some things I like to put in the girls’ baskets, little traditions and activities and how we celebrate.

If you’re new to my blog, welcome! ☺️

We love Easter and the meaning of it all… JESUS and His love for us that couldn’t be overcome by death!🙌🏽

An awesome reason to celebrate amirite?!

The bunny, baskets and egg hunts are just extra… just to have fun in life.

My oldest, who’s 4 has become more aware of egg hunts and the bunny tradition through school, and while I entertain her questions and fantasies about how the easter bunny leaves eggs, I always make it a point to point it back to Jesus and the fact that He is the real reason behind Easter.

“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Romans 4:25

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance…” 1 Peter 1:3-4

TRADITIONS

On Easter morning, since little baby still sleeps with us (yes we’re co-sleepers), and Ava makes her way into our room every morning, I like to wake up and start the day with prayer. After we pray, we read the kid’s version of the story of Easter from “the Bible App for kids” it’s super cute and interactive with questions to ask at the end, to make sure they understood.

Then comes the goodies! The girls walk out to their easter baskets.

I love to put different, fun things and things to inspire their creativity in their baskets. Nothing over the top, just simple things I know they’ll enjoy. and I only put a couple of eggs filled with treats.

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I haven’t finished filling their baskets, but these are a few of the things I’ve picked up so far. Lately, they’ve both been into painting, so I got them some paint brushes and still need to pick up some new paint and paper for them to paint on.

I found these cute baskets at Homegoods for only $7 each! All the goodies, I find either at Target, Michaeal’s or Hobby Lobby.

If you have kids close in age, like mine, then you know that you’ve got to buy 2 of

E V E R Y T H I N G… or else it’s a battle you don’t want to have 😒

Oh kids!

Anyway…

We go to church, which actually depends on what Easter service our church has asked us to lead (we’re worship leaders). And afterwards, we meet up and have yummy food with family.

Since Ava was about 1, we’ve always read and done the cute little resurrection eggs. It basically goes through the story of the final hours before the death of Jesus and his resurrection. They always enjoy opening the eggs to see the symbols from the story. Easter, traditions, Easter Traditions, Family, Family traditions, faith, holidays, Easter ideasI also picked these up at Hobby Lobby!

After all of the above, it comes time for the highlight of their childhood Easter memories. THE EGG HUNT!

The last two years, we’ve hosted easter with my side of the family. We like to set up the backyard with bubble machines blowing bubbles to add to the “magic” and experience of it all. This year I’ve picked up some cute little signage from the dollar section at Target, just to add a little more pizazz! 😁

We lead them outside and countdown, before they run off. It’s nothing spectacular or unique, other than it’s for our kids to enjoy it and watch them light up finding the eggs. Watching them shake them close to their ears and throw them in their baskets… it’s our joy to bring them joy!

What are some of your family’s Easter traditions?

xoxo,

Lo