Explore 2019 #221: color therapy

Woke up this morning with hurt feelings, a heavy heart for one of my babies, and a general feeling of overwhelm staring at my inbox and thinking about my to-do list. Did all the things that seemed reasonable to reverse things (yoga, tons of water, plowing through emails and to-do's) to mild effect. And then I cracked into a box in my office and discovered -- on this dreary gloomy day -- that this yellow rain jacket I ordered made me happier. Color therapy is real, you guys.

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Explore 2019 #219 + #220: Homemade churros + churro cake

I asked Laurel if she had a birthday cake preference and she said SURPRISE ME. I love trying new recipes and/or techniques so I decided to follow Laurel's love of churros and make a churro cake topped with homemade churros. OMG WHAT?!

The cinnamon cake + Mexican chocolate frosting + general design is from a recipe at thekitchykitchen.com; however, I skipped the praline crunch because of Violet's tree nut allergy. The churros are from Gemma Stafford's gorgeous new Bigger Bolder Baking cookbook. I was pretty psyched about Gemma's churro recipe because the churros are baked not fried and look how gorgeous and legit they came out! (I made them smaller than the recipe called for so the proportions would work with this small, tall cake.)

The biggest tragedy is that I'm legit scared to eat this cake. I'm on day 11 of totally clean eating (whole foods with a focus on anti-inflammatory food...no sugar, gluten, junk etc.) and OMG it has made a massive difference in resolving my allergies (this is a huge deal for me), irritability, etc. and I don't want to regress. I don't know....maybe I'll take a tiny bite....or maybe I'll just live vicariously through Jon and the girls! At any rate I'm thrilled with how it came out!

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Explore 2019 #218: 15 lessons from 15 years of parenthood

Oh man look at that little pumpkin nugget...Happy 15th birthday, Laurel! And here are 15 things I have learned in 15 years of parenthood, rapid fire style:

1️⃣ Parenthood is basically one massive exercise in surrendering.

2️⃣ Don't force kids to do stuff that you wish you had done as a kid.

3️⃣ Give kids the space to make their own choices.

4️⃣ Your job is to put good food options in front of kids, not force it down their throat.

5️⃣ Avoid crazy ass sports parents (related: don't be a crazy ass sports parent).

6️⃣ Finding families where the kids and adults all get along easily and beautifully is magical unicorn material...love and nurture those relationships.

7️⃣ Don't be afraid of your kid being the least scheduled of their friends if they are a kid that needs a lot of down time.

8️⃣ Prioritize sleep for teens the way you do for toddlers.

9️⃣ Prioritize your relationship with your partner (if you are coupled).

🔟 Prioritize your relationship with your self; your kids' needs should not obliterate your needs.

1️⃣1️⃣ Letting your kids experience discomfort and disappointment is a good, healthy, and necessary thing.

1️⃣2️⃣ Experiences are better than stuff.

1️⃣3️⃣ Kids need to do chores...not for money, just because they are part of the family.

1️⃣4️⃣ Sometimes kids just need to have a big ass meltdown to release the pressure valve.

1️⃣5️⃣ You may think that because teenagers are way more independent than toddlers that they don't need you anymore, but they actually need you more than ever.

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