Making Changes: Snacks for Kids


Some of you might know that I have been teaching a Spanish enrichment class at Diego’s school this year. The first 15 minutes are spent in the cafeteria for an after school snack. At the end of a long school day, the kids are hungry! Unfortunately, it leaves me without an appetite. Despite the fantastic lunch his school provides (um, salad bar!), I am not impressed with the end of the day snacks these kids are served. I understand…the kitchen is closed and they get what they can get. Often times though, it is a packaged snack full of preservatives and junk I can’t even pronounce.

This made me realize that no matter how healthy anyone can try to be with their kids at home, eating out is hard. Even as adults we sometimes struggle while trying to choose healthy from a restaurant menu. I learned that we have to teach our kids how to balance their diet now–so they don’t get into trouble and sruggle with food later.

If you look at the images above, Jordi (almost 2) and Santi (3 1/2) will eat everything except the edamame–because they haven’t tried it, and the hummus– because I always forget to buy it. They love sprouted bread with natural peanut butter and beg for dark chocolate mixed with un-salted nuts. When I don’t buy treats from the bakery (not packaged), I like to make my own banana or oatmeal muffins and vow to bake some more.

Diego (7) on the other hand, will only eat fruit, carrots (not celery), the muffins and the chocolate. We only have Goldfish and Pirate’s Booty in the pantry for him, but he knows that those bags will only be an occassional treat from now on (or when he’s hungry at school, with friends, etc.). I still allow squeezy/tube yogurt but that will soon be gone too, because I have seen the little guys grow to love Greek yogurt mixed with our own fruit and granola.

As the years have passed, I have become more aware of feeding their little bodies right. I feel that Santi and Jordi are easier to feed because our way of eating is so much better than it was five years ago when Diego was Baby Jordi’s age. Along with tastebuds, even personalities must be considered when trying new things. I believe behavior and concentration are linked to food, and have witnessed major craziness after a special day full of M&M’s, fries and ice cream!

See? I’m not a mean mom! Hubby and I love to eat out on the weekends and I don’t put any restrictions on my kids’ diet. I just want to eliminate things in my home that have no nutrional value just for the sake of holding them over til the next meal.

It seems like my kids can snack all day long. They are growing boys who love to play sports and need proper food all day long. I’m dedicated to make these little snack changes right. But what else? I seem to struggle with adding more food choices. Do you have any other healthy snack ideas you think these little guys might enjoy? Please share!

Long Easter Weekend


How was your weekend? We had a nice three days off but I had to catch up! After spending Thursday evening in the city with Hubby, then again all day Saturday, and a long Easter Sunday here at home with my 4 guys, I passed out early on Sunday night! Hence, this post is a day late but I HAD to share the links below (especially because I wrote 2 of them!) Hee hee!

Lots of fun things happening here too. Quick update: My mom is coming from Chicago! Woot! We are all very excited. Diego is trying out for soccer travel teams (!) and practicing a lot for his piano recital. Jordi is having a birthday soon…the BIG two!! I’m sure he is currently teething and Diego is finally losing teeth. So funny. Santi is great! We are working on a lot of español with him. Mi chiquito!

Here are your links…

On Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

I’ll never forget where and when I read my favorite.

Mommy Maestra has 3 awesome picture books to giveaway!

Are you done making your kid’s childhood magical?

Easy summer dress.

10 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence

As always, thank you for your support here and all over social media. You guys are the best!! Have a great week!



Back in Black


I was ready to try something I normally would not pick out for myself and… I LOVED it! Jia Boutique knows I stick to classic and more consevative outfits, but they wanted me to just try on this amazing Weston Wear jumpsuit and I am so glad I did. First of all, it was super comfortable. I finally understood why my 3 boys love one piece pajamas because that is what this felt like! Haha! Not only that, but the jumpsuit also made me feel confident, dressy and trendy. I gotta say, I was channeling a little Jenny from the Block! I’m taking this baby home!






The piping detail on the suit is slenderizing! We coordinated the clutch and shoes just slightly and stuck with beaded jewelry. Everything came together perfectly! Have you tried a jumpsuit yet? Please share!

Weston Wear Amelie jumpsuit
Knot Just Pearls 15 strand crystal bead choker
Midori two-toned handpiece
Stella Valle Lightning Bug ring
Bali Queen Zuni beaded cuff bracelet
Sondra Roberts Vachetta patent leather clutch
Sam Edelman Okala pump

Images: mikifoto by mallika malhotra

Follow Jia Boutique on Facebook for giveaways, new arrivals and more! You can also inquire HERE for any of the pieces you see in this post. Or visit the store! Location: 359 Millburn Avenue Millburn, NJ 

A Safe and Peaceful Ride

DSC_0121This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Evenflo and Latina Bloggers Connect. However, all opinions and statements are my own.

We have now had Evenflo’s Platinum Symphony DLX All-in-One Car Seat for a couple of weeks and I just had to tell you that Jordi, Hubby and I are so happy! My two year-old is very independent, he knows what he likes and is not afraid to let us know! If you have been following along the last couple of weeks, Jordi is well in his Terrible Two phase. But when we hit the road, he is cocooned in his car seat and sometimes for the first time all day, I’m at ease.

Safety and comfort are priorities for us. I can’t be distracted by Jordi’s shrieks if he feels cramped. His car seat should be agreeable and Evenflo is taking safety and comfort to the next level. They have introduced a Platinum Protection Series of car seats, which feature NASA-developed Outlast® technology, a temperature regulating fabric that keeps babies and toddlers comfortable during hot and cold weather. The fabric helps to ensure a safer, more peaceful ride for both mom and child and help prevent an accident from ever happening.

Because Jordi wants to climb in to his seat on his own, Hubby and I loved that Evenflo’s Platinum Symphony DLX features Buckle Pockets that tuck the buckle tongues away. It makes it easier and safer to get a child in and out of the seats and ultimately protecting kids from hot buckle burns.

Evenflo continues to go above and beyond government standards to provide car seats that are 2X the Federal Crash Test Standard. In addition to this, this seat includes e3 Side Impact™ Protection, which is designed and tested to reduce side impact forces up to 50%.

Just look at that sweet face! Jordi, give me more of those cheeky smiles! I know this phase will soon pass and longer road trips await. We are thankful to Evenflo for providing us with a safe and comfortable ride everyday. Gracias!

Disclaimer: It is very important for all users to read the installation manual. Jordi’s chest strap was loosened for the sake of this photo shoot.  His chest strap needs to be aligned with his underarms when we drive away. 



Easter Basket Ideas


Who needs to finish the Easter baskets? Me!! I started by stopping at Target and picking up a few things, BUT I’m not done. We are blessed to put together a nice little gift to celebrate this very special day. Assembling our own basket makes so much sense. In my opinion, there is no need for so much candy that store bought baskets always seem to have. I fill a few plastic eggs with stickers and small foiled chocolates, I always include a chocolate Easter bunny, and pretty much just look for small (useful!) things for my boys.

Here’s a list of ideas to add to any child’s Easter basket:

Spring PJ sets
Simple tees
Water bottles
Small Lego sets
Hats or headbands
Art supplies
Card games
Toy (or real!) watch
Belts for boys/jewelry for girls
Small puzzle

What will you be adding to yours? Any other ideas? Please share! Are you on Instagram? I’ll be posting my finished baskets on there soon!

Here are my 2012 baskets
…and here are my 2013 baskets!

P.s. Image created by me…all available at Target


La Familia de Hoy: Part Two

DSC_0231This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson and Latina Bloggers Connect. However, all opinions and statements are my own.

When my boys are together, they can’t get enough of each other’s competitiveness and are constantly on the go. My main objective is to always keep them healthy and comfortable because my little guys do not like to be left out when not feeling their best.


Back in November, I posted about what it means to be La Familia de Hoy. Then, in December, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies revealed the Jiménez family as LA FAMILIA DE HOY™. Juan, Biviana and their three children: Elisa, Diego and Benicio are a modern, active, multicultural family – representative of all the values that Latinos relate to and care about.

I’m so happy for the Jiménez family! Like us, they share a special bond. They are constantly looking out for each other, just like Hubby and I lovingly insist our boys to do. It seems like the Jiménez family is alway busy with soccer games too! We also share a commitment in life to pass on our traditional values and Latino roots to this wonderful younger generation. We want these little ones to stay active and healthy, but we all know, obstacles may occur…



Johnson & Johnson Family Consumer Companies and Healthy Essentials help us look out for our families by providing us with the best products for them. We keep Neosporin Original Ointment handy at all times (especially when out playing fútbol!). It helps heal wounds four days faster than by just using a bandage alone.  With its patented technology, we see faster results than by using other store brands. Neosporin provides 24 hour infection protection and minimizes the appearance of scars.

Like the Jiménez family, we just want the best for our children as well. Bonding moments,  healthy activities and a love for our Mexican culture are just a few examples of what makes us a Familia de Hoy every single day.


Can you relate to the Jiménez family as well? Please share!

Full Bloom


I love, love, love tunics!! They are flowy and comfy and cover areas that you sometimes want covered! They are also so light and perfect for spring days.

You can find this specific Tolani silk tunic at Jia Boutique and it can be worn in many ways. While visiting the store last week, we were all talking about the different places to wear this piece. If at the beach, it is perfect to cover up a bathing suit. It would also be fabulous on a boardwalk…paired up with cute flat sandals.

I love this look for a Sunday brunch around town. Whenever wearing a fitted pair of white skinnies, a long tunic is just so right.






Do you love tunics as much as I do? The more colorful the better! It’s spring and everything and anything goes! Remember…it’s what you like that will help you feel confident and well put together!

Tolani Madison silk tunic
Skinnytees seamless slip (one size!)
Dittos Selena white skinny jeans
Sondra Roberts yellow studded shoulder/clutch bag
Stia Couture bangles
Neutrogena lips in Bright Berry
Ann Taylor sandals (old) and loving these!

images: mikifoto by mallika malhotra

Follow Jia Boutique on Facebook for giveaways, new arrivals and more! You can also inquire HERE for any of the pieces you see in this post. Or visit the store! Location: 359 Millburn Avenue Millburn, NJ 

End of a Roller Coaster Ride Weekend


I had THAT week! It has been a long time since I experienced a bad day followed by a fantastic day, followed by an awful day…I couldn’t wait for the weekend to arrive. On Saturday, I did a lot of reading in bed and we all met up with great friends for pizza. The five of us went in to the city yesterday to meet my cousin and his lovely girlfriend. They are in for the week and we just had to go to Landmarc for a scrumptious brunch. It’s the little things, right? Rest, friends, family, great food and crisp champagne are all needed to recuperate from the week.

A big part of my emotional roller coaster is that Baby Jordi is well into the Terrible Twos. Honestly, he is draining everything out of me. Dividing my time between three little guys is hard enough. When one dominates all of my effort and energy (not in a good way)…I just can’t.  I feel guilty,  I lose my patience, raise my voice and end up laying in bed at night thinking of all the things I did wrong during the day. I might be an experinced mom but I’m definitely not a perfect mom. I don’t think any of us strive to be perfect–good moms, yes–but not perfect.

Dear Jordi, I want you to know that Terrible Twos or not, I love you with all my heart. You are so stinkin’ cute, determined and smart! You are a joy to us and your brothers adore you. We know it’s hard to be the youngest. Everyone is talking and moving around so quickly and dragging you to where we all have to be. Believe me that everything must stop when you need to eat and take that great little nap! You are important too and we are watching…and yes, listening to you as well. My heart bursts when you smile. I love you, Mami

It’s a new week! Here are your links. Enjoy!

Because sometimes I need to check with the experts.

Monday morning cuteness.

A must read: Blogger friend writes about what she learned about life from raising an autistic child. 

American Blogger trailer. Can’t wait to see it!

Be humble and kind. It will make your life easier.

6 Secrets for a Faster Metabolism

The Power of the Earliest Memories

Easter egg decorating ideas!

World Cup anthem is out! Have you heard it?

Tomorrow is Tax Day!

When was the last time you checked your horoscope?

Have you experieced the Terrible Twos with your child? I’ll take your advice! Have a great week!

Image shot at Jia Boutique by mikifoto by mallika malhotra

L4LL’s Día Blog Hop with Illustrator Christina Rodriguez

I am so honored to be part of this year’s Latina’s 4 Latino Lit’s Día Blog Hop. Last year, L4LL launched the first Día Blog Hop in honor of Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros which is celebrated annually on April 30th. We thank poet and author, Pat Mora for establishing Día in the United States in order to celebrate books and children.

L4LL has asked 24 Latina bloggers and 24 Latino authors and illustrators to pair up and share our passion for Latino children’s literacy. Today, illustrator Christina Rodriguez is MFBS’s guest! As a former middle school Language Arts and Reading teacher in a Latino community, I never get tired of advocating for books that tell our stories. Please read below…

christina-rodriguez (1)

Being of Mexican and Korean descent, I am ethnically diverse, but I come from another kind of culture as well: the U.S. military. Both parents served in the Air Force and I lived on various military bases as a child. Memories of life as a military “brat,” plus the learned necessity to “bloom where you’re planted,” influenced my mindset growing up and my present career as a children’s book illustrator.

The Armed Forces boasts strong racial diversity united by a military lifestyle. As a young child I was surrounded by other kids who knew what it was like to change schools, have a parent deployed, and experience the world and other cultures. I had friends from all racial and religious backgrounds, too. Living off-base in other countries gave deeper insights to other cultures and ways of living than the average tourist might experience.

I was a teenager when my dad retired from the Air Force, and we went from a culture where everyone we knew was military to civilian lives where nobody served or knew anyone who did. During my teen and college years I had to dispel many surprising assumptions from my classmates about my childhood and my parents. To this day, that lack of “military cultural diversity” in the civilian population is jarring to me.

Fortunately, I have unique opportunities to enlighten people through my art and career as a children’s book illustrator. I’ve been blessed to work on projects that reflect not just my racial diversity, but also my military upbringing. The Wishing Tree, My Dad’s Deployment, and My Mom’s Deployment are for children coping with military deployment or living the military family experience. I’m grateful to have worked on these projects with my publisher, Elva Resa Publishing. The topics and themes these books explore are universal to all children of military families, regardless of their racial backgrounds. While illustrating these books, I was able to reflect on my childhood in the military culture and illustrate for the child I used to be.


Thank you, Christina Rodriguez! MFBS readers, click here for the complete Dia Blog Hop schedule. On April 30th, make sure to go back to L4LL’s website for a special announcement!

images via Christina Rodriguez

Classic and Chic with Jia Boutique


I love shoppping in my town. There’s something about the personal attention you get from business owners who are most often than not, in the store.

Just under two years ago, after my third baby boy was born, I walked into Jia Boutique in Millburn in desperate need for help. After what felt like I had been living in maternity clothes for over two years, I was clueless on what a mother of three little boys should be wearing. I thought I had to change who I was. I didn’t know how to transition from maternity clothes to regular, stylish clothes that would help me feel like my old self.

When I approached Lindsay and Kim about featuring Jia Boutique on MFBS, I had to tell them how they have helped me (and the blog!) become the confident mother and blogger I am today. Lindsay took the time to help me, encouraged me to wear what felt right (no set uniform for moms!) and didn’t overwhelm me. Kim has two kids of her own and they both understand that moms want to feel and look amazing.

Jia carries all the essentials, and for the next few “mami fashion” posts, we will show you what Jia has to offer: day-to-night wardrobe essentials with flair! At Jia, you are provided with a personalized shopping experience for a statement ensemble that is uniquely yours. The ultimate goal is for you to feel beautiful and confident whatever the occasion. Honestly, I haven’t stopped feeling confident since that first time I stepped through their doors…









Jackets and jeans are my favorite things to wear. I love that we paired up the flats with this classic look. An outfit like this takes me all around town comfortably. For night, switch the shoes for something with a little height and you’re all set! What’s your go-to classic look? 

Articles of Society Cindy girlfriend jeans
Weston Wear Janelle tuxedo jacket
Skinnytees black seamless tank (they come in one size!)
Midori Agate necklace
Sondra Roberts Lucite clutch
Arbonne Lipstick in Coral Reef
BCBG flats sold out but loving these in nude!

Follow Jia Boutique on Facebook for giveaways, new arrivals and more! You can also inquire HERE for any of the pieces you see in this post. Or visit the store! Location: 359 Millburn Avenue Millburn, NJ 

 images: mikifoto by mallika malhotra