these are the good old days

June 27, 2016


There are no words to describe the joy it brings me being Ainsley’s mom. This child of mine? Well, like any other mom on the planet, I think she’s the most amazing, special and delightful kid I’ve ever met. After we got over the craziness of the newborn days, which weren’t my favorite, I found motherhood to be a fairly natural transition. It was hard to give up the freedom and independence I was accustomed to, but it was nothing compared to what I gained as I took on the role of mom.

All of that said, I try not to over-glamorize motherhood on this blog. It’s wonderful, fulfilling and full of so much good, but it’s also hard work. More often than not, I feel like I’m doing many things but I’m not doing anything really well. Do you know the feeling?

Running your own businesses, juggling childcare schedules that rarely go as planned, managing freelance deadlines that are unpredictable and trying to keep our house in some sort of suitable state while also investing in my faith, fitness, quiet time and marriage while juggling the needs of a toddler? Well, it’s crazy and there’s no way around it.

Sometimes I wonder how we will ever, God willing, manage to add another kid to the mix. I already feel like Joe and I are living in a state of craziness with one kid. What will two or three look like? I’ve never really considered us the type of people who thrive in chaos or a constant barrage of “loud” but I can’t see our house getting quieter any time soon.

But you know what? These days that we’re living in are the best days of our life. I have so many times each week where I feel an almost physical pain longing to stop time, to freeze Ainsley at this age and stage forever. If I could bring time to a screeching halt I probably would have long ago.

Ainsley was boycotting bed time last night, running around the house playing in her kiddie kitchen and dancing in circles around the house and laughing like an over-tired maniac. I couldn’t help but look at her and soak in every bit of her toddler-ness. Life may be crazy (without a doubt!) and I may be running on fumes (almost always!) but I wouldn’t trade sleep, showers, a clean house or a more manageable schedule for anything that we’ve got right now.

Like everyone says: The days are long but the years are short. Enjoy them while you can, momma!


Get the Look :: Summer Makeup + Hair

June 23, 2016

As you know, I’ve been growing out my hair for quite some time, but the postpartum transition has been hard on my hair. The hair loss and awkward re-growth left my ends super dry and unhealthy, so my stylist finally convinced me yesterday that cutting two inches off and going a little dark on the roots/lighter on the ends was necessary. Although I’ll admit that my hair feels short now, I am seriously loving the spunky feel and healthy ends, which actually serves to make my hair feel fuller.


Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer :: My summer go-to. Lightweight coverage that leaves your skin feeling moisturized and protects with SPF 20.

Touchup Skin Concealer Pen :: The best concealer pen around. Great for under-eye circles and covering up breakouts and sun spots.

Color Pinch Cream Blush in Hibiscus :: Perfect for giving your cheeks that dewy sun-kissed glow.

Lengthening Mascara :: Sweat-proof mascara that lengthens and moisturizes your lashes throughout the day? Yes and yes.

Mattify Skin Finishing Powder :: A translucent powder that helps absorb shine and works great for mid-day touchups.

Lip Sheer in Twig :: I have never loved lip color until I discovered Lip Sheers. They’re not ultra-pigmented, which I find more flattering and easy to wear.

Food & Recipes

Healthy Peanut Butter-Chocolate Pudding

June 21, 2016


Once upon a time, Espresso and Cream was a food-only blog. Do you remember those days? If you’ve been reading for the 6+ years I’ve been blogging (where did the time go?!) then you probably do remember that I used to consistently post recipes and very little about anything else.

Sometimes I look back at the days of leisurely cooking meals for two with a lot of nostalgia. These days it’s more of a dinnertime rush to get a meal on the table and everyone fed than a cooking or dining experience, but we’re figuring it out as we go.

Although eating actual dessert is a rare occurrence at our house, healthy desserts are  must on the daily. I’m constantly tinkering around with figuring out a nice balance of what tastes like a treat and is actually packed with nutrition and low in sugar. This chocolate pudding has served both as a dessert for me and an indulgent snack or breakfast for Ainsley. Both of us give it a stamp of approval!


Healthy Chocolate-Chia Pudding
Serves: 2 servings
  • 1 cup 2% Fage Greek yogurt (plain)
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup powdered peanut butter (such as PB2)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon stevia
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon honey (to taste/desired sweetness)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Raspberries for garnish
  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the raspberries together in a food processor or high-powdered blender. Blend or process 30 second to 1 minute or until all ingredients are well combined and mixture is nearly smooth. Spoon into glasses to serve and top with raspberries before serving.
  2. *Note: Mixture will thicken as it sits. Allow to refrigerate up to 1 hour for a thicker pudding.



What I want to teach my daughter about her body

June 16, 2016

Photo on 6-15-16 at 3.09 PM

My daughter is only 15 months old, and already I’m thinking about what I want to teach her about her body. As a toddler Ainsley is blissfully unaware of how she looks, other than when she sees herself in the mirror and giggles in delight at her own reflection, which I love.

Already, I see how she mirrors me, copies what I do and tries to be just like mommy. Frequently I have Ainsley in the bathroom when I get ready for the day. I don’t spend a lot of time applying makeup, but she’s watching just the same. She grabs my brushes and “puts on makeup” alongside me. I remember the first time she did that I was shocked at the fact that she had been watching and observing all along.

I tell her she is beautiful every day. I see her chubby little tummy and her stunning eyes and honestly? I’ve never seen anything so beautiful in my entire life. I want her to know her worth, to love her body and to be comfortable in her own skin throughout her life.

When I think about my own journey with my body I have a lot of regrets. I think about the times I’ve been wrapped up in the number on the scale or the size of my jeans. There have been times when I’ve felt absolutely horrible about my body and times when I’ve felt near absolute peace, more so now that I’m a mom than ever before. My health journey and my relationship with food and fitness hasn’t always been what it should be, in fact at times it’s been downright tormented, but now that I’ve got a little one who looks up to me, it seems more important than ever before.

You see, I think being healthy is important, there’s no need to diminish that. Not in the pursuit of vanity, six-pack abs or looking hot in a bikini, because those things just don’t matter. The line between health and vanity is a very fine one to walk. But because I never want how I feel about my body to inhibit my parenting.

I want to throw on a swimsuit and head to the pool with no reservations, to run around the park without being winded, to take Ainsley on long walks and point out all the beauty that is in nature and explain to her that God created all that is around her. Our bodies are beautiful gifts worth caring for but not worshiping.

In this season of life I’m working on focusing on how I feel rather than how I think I look or what size jeans I wear. As I sit here writing this blog post, I feel healthy. My body feels fit, balanced, full of energy, strong. My ideal size, weight or pant size may be very different than yours, than Ainsley’s when she grows up, than another mommy at the park. My hope is that I’ll teach Ainsley to celebrate those differences by how I model that in my own life.



Picky Toddlers + Healthy Foods

June 10, 2016


I am no expert in feeding toddlers, but every time I post a photo of Ainsley’s lunches using the #EasyBabyEats hashtag on Instagram, I get a lot of questions on how the heck I get her to eat everything that I make.

The short answer? I don’t!

I never want to deceive you into thinking that Ainsley is the world’s best eater, because for a few months we’ve had some challenges with pickiness/feeding the dogs her food/only wanting to eat carbs. But I’ve been learning a few things along the way that I think other moms might find helpful.

1. Keep Introducing New Foods
Your toddler needs to see foods multiple times before they get familiar with them. Ainsley frequently rejects foods the first 5 to 7 times I feed them to her, but I just keep trying! It can be frustrating to make really nice meals for your toddler only to see them feed the dog with their food, but just keep at it. Eventually they will come around!

2. Feed Carbs Last
If your kiddos are anything like mine, the carbs are the first thing they reach for at dinnertime. I strategically feed Ainsley carbs last. I start by feeding her the meat/protein option + veggies. Then, when she is starting to get bored or done with those items, I’ll introduce fruit and carbs. If I start with bread or crackers or rice she will fill up and not want any of the healthier options.

3. Sauces and Finger Food Help
When we were really struggling to get Ainsley to eat her meat (she was a little low in iron at her 1-year) we decided to try adding ketchup or barbecue sauce to her meat and it helped quite a bit! I make sloppy joe meat frequently, which is always a hit, and also find that drizzling her chopped chicken with a little ketchup makes it more appealing to her.

When possible, I try to make her food finger-friendly so she can feed herself. Most toddlers are extremely independent and want to do it all themselves, so let them! It’s a lot messier, but if she has a full tummy then I’m fine with it!

4. Sneak In Protein
I’m not a huge fan of sneaking veggies into foods, but I’m all for finding more ways to add protein to meal-time. Healthy whole wheat French toast, slathered with peanut butter, is one of our family favorites for breakfast. I also make fried rice a lot with plenty of egg mixed in with brown rice and veggies. Smoothies packed with Greek yogurt are a great option, too! I find that when Ainsley eats plenty of protein, her sleep is better and the need for snacks decreases.

5. Don’t Be Perfect
I feel like I need to put this one in there, because I see a lot of snobbery on the internet when it comes to feeding kids. I was one of those parents when Ainsley was very little, but I quickly realized that sometimes it’s better for your kid to eat something than nothing. Things like teething and sickness can really zap your kiddo’s appetite, so during those weeks Ainsley eats a lot of yogurt + pouches + crackers. It’s life! I want Ainsley to grow up eating healthy food, but I don’t ever want to deprive her of some of my childhood favorites, like Goldfish crackers or ice cream.

I make Ainsley’s colorful, fun lunches because I like to cook and it’s always been a way to show people I care about them. It’s my passion and gift, so it doesn’t feel like a chore, but don’t be daunted by seeing what others do. Use the ideas as inspiration and make it work for your family and kids!


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