Strawberry FROYO POPS

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These strawberry FROYO POPS are both kid & adult approved! They are so simple to make and you can use this as a base for dozens of froyo combinations! 1 Secret ingredient ties this summer staple together.  

I know I crave ice cream to beat the heat. My little one also loves this magical treat. But as I have grown more conscious of what goes into them in shops or stores it has become a rare occasion to go them. UNTIL NOW!

I came up with this homemade recipe to recreate the magical froyo experience with all the refreshing flavors you find at your local froyo shop for a fraction of the suspicious ingredients, sugar, cost & guilt! 

In fact only 5 ingredients are used to make these FROYO POPS. 

Ingredients:

2 cups strawberries

1 cup vanilla yogurt

1 tbls honey

3/4 almond milk

1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt

For the forms, I got mine from Ikea. They were about $2 for a mold of six. They are perfect for these and are reusable!

YES, the SECRET INGREDIENT is Pink Himalayan salt! Just a pinch or two to cut the sweetness and balance out the flavors. Trust me on this one. 

Instructions: (Makes 9 pops with the Ikea molds)

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Wash, dry & remove stems from strawberries.

*HACK FOR REMOVING STRAWBERRY STEMS!* Using a straw insert into bottom of strawberry and pierce through stem on opposite end. You then have a de-stemmed strawberry and you are not cutting off too much berry off the ends! TA DAH!

Place 1 1/2 cups of strawberries into food processor to create a strawberry puree. Yum! Add your 1 Tbls of honey and then pulse a few more times to incorporate.  It should look something like this.

In a bowl add the cup of yogurt (Greek yogurt is good too but then I would add some more honey and almond milk to cut through the thickness and tart). Then add the strawberry puree & the almond milk. Next add the SECRET INGREDIENT, the salt! Just a dash or two of ground salt. Stir again.

Next pour into the molds.

With the left over 1/2 cup of strawberries chop finely and sprinkle on top of the molds.

Place in freezer for about 2 hours or until frozen!

ENJOY!

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Reserve any remaining mixture for next day when you refill your pops! Hope you enjoy!

Best, Nicole

Thanks for reading my blog & joining me on my new adventure! 

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Me & my Apple Watch

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This isn’t an Apple Watch review, this is an apology letter to all those who have tried to reach me between the years 2011-2016 & a half. 

I’ve had a few people ask me about the Apple watch and I am happy to share what I think and the oddly BIG impact its had on my life. I’m pragmatic, organized, careful, strategic, slightly O.C.D. & as my husband so lovingly calls me a “beautiful contradiction”, because I’m also a creative, care-free, mellow type of person that can’t seem to get to places on time and respond to a simple text.

I got the apple watch as a gift not long after Chloe was born last year. I was really skeptical of its purpose for me. I am NOT tech-savvy. (I should say I have a bigger learning curve in that department than most millennials). I was planning to return it before even opening the box.

To my surprise, it has done wonders for my life & I just had to share it with everyone!

 

I was really bad a two things (well I am bad at a lot of things). But these 2 were on the top of the list.

  1. I would be late. Too often.
  2. I didn’t respond to calls & texts. Promptly.

Its simple to respond when someone is reaching out.  Its to simple to be on time. Just do it right?

I takes more than an afterthought to make a change. Obves.

I remember my husband coming home from work early to take me out on a “date day” out. Got a sitter in place and everything. Not realizing that I should check my phone or take it off silent when he was trying to coordinate with me (I have this weird quirk, I keep my phone on silent for no apparent reason, its probably PTSD from school to have it on silent.. I might disturb someone ok? What can I say I am and was a rule follower.) ANYWAYS…  I was  completely out of the loop & unaware that I have this amazing husband who wants to spend time with me, took time off for me and I am on the other side of the city. I would be home no time soon because of traffic to only miss the opportunity of spending that extra quality time together we so desperately needed as new parents.

This was one of many other cases that appeared on and off for years and luckily I have found a solution. Besides, all the mindfulness in the world & force of will sometimes fail; that is why I call this watch my hero!

(Especially now it takes us an average of an hour for us to get out with the kiddos)

Hand to my heart, most of the time it was truly an innocent response (or lack there of.) And combination of these things: absent-mindedness, immaturity, and just selfishness. Over time the countless apologies, defensive explanations, and excuses all were wearing thin on those in my orbit.

I knew I had to change. To be more self aware and just be available! And that is were the Apple watch comes in.

Thanks to this amazing second screen on my wrist it solved both of my issues: the “what time is it? Oh no im late problem” & the “where is my phone?” problem.

Its so silly just even writing this out I am practically crying and laughing all at once because of how ridiculous all this sounds in my head, out loud & now written out.You know when you have an idea that you think is great, just brilliant and then you try to make it happen and its like really blah…anticlimactic maybe? Well, that maybe this post… lol… just hear me out!

It has done wonders to my response rate with messages, texts & availability overall. I can’t say I’m perfect now, but I’ve become more attentive , both with my time and response rate.

Basically what I am trying to say, is that you should get a smart watch! I LOVE my Apple watch since I use an iphone.

Here are more reasons (besides scoring brownie points with your closest people & crushing it at life ) why you should get the Apple Watch…

  • It syncs all my phone & apps with a single scan from my phone.
  • Fitness tracking & alerts.
  • Trendy fashion statement (cool interchangeable straps)
  • Vibrating silent alarm without waking your spouse or kids up.
  • The second generation watch is water proof up to a few meters.
  • It has excellent voice capture tech for texting and I can have conversations with the speaker just fine when I have two kids in both my arms.
  • Different watch faces everyday if you want. (I like Mickey Mouse as Naomi’s obsessed with Mickey telling me what time it is)
  • Apple pay with your wrist! You don’t even have to reach for your wallet when buying your smoothie!

I recommend this especially for fitness. It tracks your steps, customizes your goals, heart rate monitoring, breathing exercises & standing reminders if sitting too long etc. Dmitry and I have accountability to one another as we made it so both of us can see our goals and where we are at for the day or week. I believe I has helped me loose weight alongside my fitness journey and I’m only scratching the surface with these features.

 

I don’t have a perfect track record since getting it but its improved dramatically! Its not  JUST a glorified watch & I love it! Its novel and just a fun piece of technology for users like me and you!

Thank you for reading my blog! 

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Best,Nicole 

 

 

 

 

 

Motherhood: finding myself without losing myself

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Hi! I’m back! Lets just say life has been kicking my butt over the last few weeks  and ironically it was the same time I was working on this draft on motherhood (coincidence much?!)

*Consider reading this parent or not, we may just find something in common*

I stepped into the unknown as soon as we were expecting our first.  I had NO CLUE what I was getting myself into. As soon as Naomi was born she was just the apple of my eye and it was a blissful time in my life. It was so empowering to know I can take care of a real human being! I also found so much fulfillment in motherhood (especially in the first year) that other relationships and priorities were placed on the back burner.

Aside from mommin’ all day and night… I’ve often had to pause and ask myself this question, “Who is Nicole?” amidst diaper changes, sleepless nights and two little ones constantly in need of their mama. Meanwhile the other parts of me: wife, friend, employee, student, artsy, fun Nicole was less and less prevalent.

My husband and I often exhale, look at each other and say ‘Wow, where did the day go? What happened?’ 

Although we understand that this is just a season we are in for a time & we cherish it whole heartily but also understand we have to work in order to fulfill what used to be normal. When things would just come together with no grand plans when things were meant to be how you would imagine in a D.I.N.K. (double income no kids) household . A vibrant social life, time to workout, weekly date nights, travel, lots of spontaneity, fun & MOST importantly freedom. 

Isn’t it funny how we romanticize/covet other people and what stage their in? I do! If you are single its marriage, if its marriage it can be singleness or becoming a parent or if you are older to be younger or you are looking at retiring early and how to become wealthy or you just cant wait till the kids are out if the house…the list goes on and looks different for us all, but I think you get what I’m getting at. We want what we don’t have and we live in order to get somewhere that isn’t our reality today.

Its hard for me (us) to turn off auto pilot mode. Meaning, just go with the motions of the day as needed without actually engaging with the situation. With each minute only anticipating the next thing my kids will need: meals, cleaning up, change of activity, cleaning up, the glorious thing a nap does for EVERYONE. When all are tucked into bed for the night (cross my finders) and I start catching up on social media, I find myself looking through photos of my kids & reflect. I think to myself ‘wow this is so amazing what a great day it really was!’ How all that was wrong or didn’t go according to plan fades away in an instant. But then sadness hits me. For some reason I was not fully present.

What I try to do is stop and consciously tell myself “be here with them, no be HERE.“I may feel like their butler & order taker all day long but there is so much more meaning in my time spent with them I can’t contain myself when I’m actually present in the moment.

Whether I got caught up on getting through the day, my to-do list, or making sure my Instagram photos were edited to perfection, it cost me much more than I bargained for. 

Now, you maybe reading this and think, well I’m not a parent I can’t relate to you or what you are experiencing. This can be  reality for your life as a student, business owner, employee, spouse and any other stage you may fall under today. I say this because its been true to my life before I became a mom. Yes my circumstances have changed, yes my life stage is different but tendency to fall into old habits is a constant battle.

I have a hunch that I am not the only one that has “the struggle is real” written all over them through various parts of the week.

When my pragmatism turns off and I become more present I feel most myself and full of joy.  

Yes, I LOVE being a mama, it was always a dream come true to become a mom (x2) I believe with all my heart that I have been and being formed and molded into a better, loving, caring and nurturing person because of my girls. I am more confident in who I am, where we find ourselves in life and feel validated with all the choices made as a family along the way.

But no matter how planted I may feel anywhere we live and with anything that gets thrown at us, in the good times and the difficult,  I have wondered back to this place over and over again, “Who is Nicole?”

Something that I was taught in church was to be intentional. To be intentional with life: your time, finances, and relationships. I would get a little uncomfortable by this idea. To me it didn’t seem authentic. Like you are manufacturing a reality and are forcing friendships. I was perfectly content letting life go on as is and not place “intentionalality” as the driving force. I always just thought that if two things were meant to come together, it will JUST HAPPEN. If its meant to be its meant to be, right? This worked for me before but why not now? Why not as a parent? Why not today?

Although this was insightful for me to recently recognize & add to my list of quirks, this non-intentional method in my mind I grew very COMFORTABLE with ultimately failed me. Over and over again.

It failed me in my relationships, in my marriage, in wasted time & in missed opportunities. It also failed my day to day life, primarily as a mom. And the once blissful fulfillment I once  felt as a mom my identity I hold dear has come and gone.  I felt depleted, tired, unsatisfied & empty with myself.

I realized if I want to have a full and complete life I must be intentional and I need to ask for help in order to achieve this reality! (Something I have too much pride to do but know I should)

SO, how do you strike a balance between the things you do and who you are?

Well what if they don’t have to be separate? In western thinking we tend to separate who we are. I’m a wife, I’m a mom, I’m Christian, I’m a __________.  When in reality that is WHO I am, It should be a holistic way of defining ones self.

John Calvin once said, “Without knowledge of self there is no knowledge of God.” What does that mean?

Well, we are made in Gods likeness and in His own image, therefore we know God by knowing ones self. We worship to God amidst our day our life and are most ourselves in his presence. And just as its not helpful to separate God, He is three in one, is isn’t helpful to separate our- “selfs”.

Something that comes with the territory of motherhood is there would be sacrifices made: loneliness (believe it or not, even with a little one with you 24/7) changed relationships, marital strain, identity questions, and lots of tears. Tears of joy & tears from hardship. There is hope and joy I’ve realized in who I am. I’m certainly a work in progress but I carry it all wholeheartedly and found that I CAN have a fulfilled life in any stage if I am INTENTIONALLY living life.

Being intentional can be authentic and be REAL if you are present.

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Thank you for reading my pen & paper blog post. These are the harder ones to write being more personal and raw. I hope you get a chance to explore my other posts & recipes. I have a few more posts coming together in the near future.

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Best,

Nicole