Destination: Miami, FL.

We got so much done during his weekend away in Miami with his cousins, but man, did we miss Johnny! He came home smelling of coconuts and lavender (as Cuban babies do.) He loves his cousins, and he loves Miami.

Miami is like a different world. The community, heavily saturated in Cuban and Latin culture, is vivid and flavorful. Here are some “must-do’s” for visitors:

The fresh, cool water of the coconut is a staple of Miami culture. In the heat of South Florida, hydrating is essential. What better way to stay cool and refreshed than Coco Frio from the best fruit place in town?!

A traditional Cuban eatery with the best cafecito in town (according to my husband.) the food is delicious, and I highly recommend the Churrasco (steak with chimichurri sauce) with garlic shrimp. *This dish is also Keto friendly!

If you have kids -or just love animals- I recommend visiting Zoo Miami. Exhibits are always changing, and the staff is always helpful and friendly.

This is a great place for kids and parents. With beautiful views and a marine-life play area, Bayfront Park makes a great stop in-between sight-seeing.

Well-known to Miami locals, “The Strong Arm” bakery brings sweet notes to the spicy Miami culture. They make Pastelitos de guayaba y queso (guava and cheese pasteries-my personal favorite) croqueticas de jamon (ham croquettes-Johnny’s favorite) and bocaditos de lasca (finger sandwiches) as well as personalized cakes for any occasion.

Fritas are Cuban and American culture intertwined in perfection. The Cuban burger patty is on a Cuban roll topped with delicious sautéed onions and crunchy shoestring fries. Try a creamy Mamey milkshake while you’re there, the kids will love it.

What is your favorite spot to visit in Miami? Leave a comment to let us know!

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Women and Guns: Learning the Basics.

With the current state of our world, the possibility of needing to defend yourself is growing. This week there was a road rage incident down the street from our house. Two people were shot. This morning, we learned of a massacre in Las Vegas.

Here’s an article from the Washington Times on eleven times a good guy with a gun stopped a bad guy with a gun.

Since most of my 7 followers (Hey, Guys!) are women, I thought I would highlight that women are statistically better marksmen than men, and maybe we shouldn’t shy away from firearms.

One way to start is to find a gun safety class in your area. Before you learn how to shoot, you must be an expert in handling and safety. This is the most important step in learning how to defend yourself.

The 12 Golden rules for Safe Gun Handling

  1. Always treat the gun as loaded.
  2. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  3. Always keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  4. Always keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it.
  5. Never point the gun at anything you don’t intend to destroy.
  6. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
  7. Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the gun you are using.
  8. Always use proper Ammunition.
  9. Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before loading and shooting.
  10. If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, hold your shooting position for several seconds; then with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, carefully unload the gun.
  11. Don’t rely on the gun’s safety to keep it from firing.
  12. Be aware of your surroundings when handling guns so you don’t trip or lose your balance and accidentally point and/or fire the gun at anyone or anything.

Do you own a firearm? Can you shoot? Tell me your experience, I’d love to hear from you!

Sometimes disciplining your kid hurts you…and your wallet.

My son is a great kid. He’s sweet and kind, and he is way too smart for his own good. Today he wasn’t so nice. He was throwing things, running away laughing maniacally, and ignoring everything we said. C had to take away some of his toys, and when he continued to act up, we told him we would have to throw them away.

Unfortunately he decided this was all a game, and started talking back to us. That was the cue. We had to toss the toys now, because if we didn’t, our word wouldn’t mean much to him.

Our little monster was devastated. I was upset. I had just spent good money on those lion guard figures, and now they’re just going straight into the trash? It was difficult to explain to a hysterical toddler why his toys weren’t coming back. We asked him to sit and talk about what happened, and once he calmed down C took him to the trash can and asked for help throwing the trash in the dumpster. Our little man took one string of the trash bag and helped daddy throw away his toys.

It is times like these that we are challenged as parents. We want our kids to have everything. We want them to be happy, and we would do almost anything to make that happen, but they won’t be kids forever. They need to learn how to behave well in this world, how to react with kindness, and to treat other people with respect. This was a tough lesson for him in respecting authority, and it won’t be the last one he’ll have to learn.

I’m glad we made a vow to keep our word with our son. We try to be as honest as we can with him, including during discipline. This seems to be one of the best decisions we’ve made as parents.

The next time we needed his attention, he stopped immediately, turned to C and asked, “Yes, Daddy?”

10 things homemakers do that no one notices:

It’s a question we get from everyone. An unexpected family member right before the kids nap time, our friends on facetime who witness the destruction in the background, our spouses…

I thought I’d make a simple list of things we do that you can’t see.

  1. The dishes. We load and unload the washer every day, but the sink continues to fill up between breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack, drinks, bottles, etc. So if you think the dishes haven’t been done all day, look again. There’s probably a completely different mess in that sink than what was there that morning.
  2. Laundry. I’m going for the obvious ones first. the deal with the laundry? see above.
  3. Toys. If you have kids or pets, you understand this one all too well. Once you’ve put the last dog toys scattered around the house away, the kid starts a mess in the kitchen. (side note- why kids are magnetized to the kitchen with all the dangers it contains is beyond me.)
  4. Pillows and Cushions. When my husband mentions that it’s leg day, and to get ready for squats I groan. Not because I don’t like squats, but because I’ve already gotten a full day’s worth of them in picking up couch pillows and cushions that my son has decided make a great fortress, because let’s face it…they do.
  5. Windows. This is one of those things that’s only noticed if I don’t get to it that day. Our dog is the sweetest girl in the world. She’s extremely loyal, and if either of us goes out of the house, even for a moment, her adorable wet nose is firmly planted on the glass. The bottom of our front window has permanent puppy-nose marks.
  6. Floors. It’s not something everyone does daily unless you live with a giant cotton ball like we do. Huskies shed. A lot. If I don’t vacuum the entire house, the hallways start looking like a spaghetti western set, with dog hair tumbleweeds blowing away as you walk by.
  7. Bills. I am convinced that if I went away for a month, we would be in major debt. There are bills that C doesn’t even realize we still pay for, so thank goodness for Auto-pay on the major ones.
  8. Events. I have multiple calendars around the house. I also have two on my phone. They’re all filled with birthdays, parties, holidays, special events, due dates, and so on.
  9. Maintenance. Everything inside and outside of the house requires maintenance. The appliances, the electronics, the cars you own. It’s no surprise that homemakers deal with most of these issues.
  10. Relax. It’s not something you’ll see often. It doesn’t happen for long periods of time either, maybe a few minutes at a time, but we occasionally sit. I’ve had days where nothing looks done, though I’ve cleaned the house top-to-bottom twice, and I haven’t sat down unless it was in the bathroom or to clean something. Those days are tough, but it’s all worth it in my opinion.

Most of the time there’s not much feedback from family or friends or spouses about these things. They go unnoticed, and that’s okay. The rewards of being home with my family outweigh the drawbacks, and defending that cushion fort from invaders is much easier.

Honeymoon Destination: Asheville, NC

Asheville is one of the most popular cities to visit in North Carolina, and where C and I chose to spend our first weeks as a married couple. We wanted something different. We wanted our honeymoon to be about us and what we loved, versus where everyone else wanted us to go. (Plus, we were able to bring our pup with us!)

I fell in love with North Carolina during the first christmas I spent with C’s family. The bare trees looked like ice sculptures atop mountains in the most beautiful shades of blue. It was cold, and perfect for fireside cuddles and hot chocolate. I was hooked. When we decided to get married, one of the first suggestions for our honeymoon was North Carolina. We toyed around with cruise ideas, Alaska, Italy, and even Canada, but we kept coming back to good old NC.

We settled on Asheville specifically because the area seemed to have a fair amount of entertainment, adventure, and my sister-in-law lived nearby, so we were able to visit her and her family while we explored the area.

She took us to the Biltmore Estate to tour the house. It According to Biltmore.com, Construction on the house began in 1889, has 250 rooms, and took six years to build. It also safely housed artwork from the National Gallery of Art in D.C. during WWII.

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In 1971 the Biltmore Vineyard was established. The wine produced here is fabulous! If you decide to visit the Biltmore Estate, I highly suggest you participate in the wine tasting.

There’s plenty more to do at the Biltmore. You can visit the farmyard and cuddle the animals, there is an Outdoor Adventure Center, and two beautiful hotels on the property, with restaurants and shops to keep you busy between tours.

According to ExploreAsheville.com, there are plenty of hiking trails, camping grounds, and waterfalls to satisfy your need to get back to nature. I can tell you from experience, this area is gorgeous. We didn’t get to do too much hiking during our stay. Hopefully we can do some trails next time we visit. I’ll update this post when we do.

Asheville NC has plenty more to offer, and a few paragraphs really isn’t enough to highlight the beauty and entertainment of the area, but I hope this intrigues you to check out Asheville and all it has to offer.