Why I Took Two Steps Back With My Career

Why I Took Two Steps Back With My Career

Did you ever think you could literally go back towards your future? Sometimes taking two steps back helps you move forward. Let me explain.

Two years ago I took a leap of faith and accepted a job offer I couldn’t refuse. I was not planning to leave my current job that I absolutely loved. I had a flexible schedule, supportive co-workers, and I was valued there. What made me really appreciate my job was my family came first and upper management never questioned that. I was always provided a healthy balance of work and taking care of my son.

I was not looking for a new job at the time, but this new offer came to me so quick that I didn’t have that much time to think about it. This new job offered job security, a pension and opportunity to move up. I knew I needed to accept this opportunity because it would help my future significantly.

Working from home

HOWEVER, I DIDN’T REALIZE SOMETHING THAT COULD BENEFIT MY FUTURE MIGHT NOT BENEFIT ME RIGHT NOW. 

Leaving the job I adored was very hard for me, so I decided to not cut ties entirely and stay on per diem. I always knew I was welcomed back there if I ever needed to come back full time.

My new job was definitely an adjustment and I had a hard time getting into the groove of things. It took me close to a year to finally get a grasp on my position but as a result I spent less time with my son. Previously, if my son got sick at daycare I was only a 5 minute car ride away. With my new job I would have to take a bus home so I could get my car and then go pick him up. Sometimes it just wouldn’t be possible and my husband would get him instead. I was no longer able to drop him off or pick him up from daycare daily so my husband also took that on. As much as I appreciated this, I missed that quality time we had together talking about our day and what we plan to do when we get home. It was frowned upon when I needed to be home with my son whether he was sick or if it was a snow day so once again I would rely on my husband to do this. I felt guilty for not being able to take care of my son when I felt like he needed me the most.

A year later the pandemic hit and things became much more difficult for me as it did for every other parent across the world. I was working from home with a four year old who was used to going to preschool everyday. He needed my attention and it killed me not being able to give him 100% of me.

A few months into quarantine I got a call from two of my supervisors unexpectedly and it caught me off guard. They told me upper management was concerned with my productivity and they wanted to know why I was not meeting expectations. I started to laugh thinking it was a joke but quickly realized they were serious. I told them that my work environment was not ideal which caused some distractions, I never received proper IT support, I have a four year old who needs my undivided attention and WE ARE IN A GLOBAL STATE OF EMERGENCY.

None of my reasons were good enough and quite frankly they didn’t want to hear it. They proceeded to tell me my tasks are not hard and if they can get this work done so can I despite any barriers. I was then informed if I do not produce more work within next week further discipline would be taken. As they were telling me this my son was yelling from the bathroom for me to “wipe his butt”. I was able to keep myself composed despite the tears filling my eyes but as soon as I hung up the phone I lost it.

I have worked so hard despite my barriers and still was presented with threats and possible retaliation. I was never asked if I needed any support and they completely ignored the fact that I had a child I needed to take care of. After that phone call I worked in fear of losing my job. I spent less attention on Franco and became obsessed with my work. Despite all of this, I continued to be threatened of being disciplined and being transferred to an office 4 hours away if I couldn’t reach expectations.

I WAS COMPLETELY STRIPPED OF MY CONFIDENCE AS A WORKING PROFESSIONAL AND AS A MOTHER.

My self esteem declined all while being feared by the pandemic. Since March, I lost a family member, my psychiatrist dumped me and my husband lost his job. I was unable to cope because all of my focus was on my job. After 8 months of going back and forth I knew that I could no longer do this and decided to seek other employment.

I always stayed in touch with my previous supervisor since I still worked per diem and I opened up to her about how my job was affecting my mental health significantly. I always valued our relationship and her honesty with me. Ironically while all of this was happening my previous position had an opening. I was offered this position again but this time with more pay and benefits.

I wanted to yell ‘Heck yes!’ but I know it wasn’t a black and white decision. Although my salary would be significantly increased, was going backwards the right thing to do? Should I continue to go on interviews and completely start over on a clean slate? In all honesty, I wouldn’t be able to do that right now, not during this pandemic. I needed to go back to what always made me happy and value the mission of my work.

So that is what I did and it was an instant relief. I am able to take care of my son and efficiently get my work done because there is a healthy balance. Do I still struggle with guilt and feel like I am less of a person because I went back to my old position? I do, but in order to overcome this guilt I need to build my confidence and self esteem again.

If that means taking two steps back to help better my future then I will do just that.

Working mom
Spooky Fruity Milkshake

Spooky Fruity Milkshake

It is spooky season at the Robins Nest, my favorite time of year. As we prepare to eat all of the candy I wanted to make sure breakfast tasted like candy too.

This spooky fruity milkshake is such a delight! It is creamy, nutritious all with the exact taste of Froot Loops cereal.

You heard me right, Froot Loops flavored Carnation Breakfast Essentials exist and I am here for it!

Froot Loops Carnation Breakfast Essentials
Milkshake

Here is what you need to make this yummy milkshake.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle Froot Loops flavored Carnation Breakfast Essentials
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup ice
  • Strawberry syrup
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Mix Carnation Breakfast Essentials, frozen strawberries and ice in a blender until smooth.

Drizzle the inside of your glass with strawberry syrup and top it off with whipped cream.

Sprinkle your own creepy crawlers to give it an extra spooky look!

Spooky milkshake
Spooky milkshake
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7 Easy Ways to Make Your Child’s Lunch Fun

7 Easy Ways to Make Your Child’s Lunch Fun

This post contains affiliate links.

Making school lunches are new to me since Franco is starting Kindergarten this year. I love seeing all of the creative ideas parents out together to make kids smile at lunchtime.

As a full time working mom I know I am not going to have the time to make elaborate lunches. I will even most likely have him buy lunch at school, but the days I will make him lunch I will be sure to make them fun and delicious.

Favorite Lunch Box

I love this bento box! The quality is great, it’s easy to clean and perfect amount of compartments. I labeled it using my Cricut.

Favorite Drink Bottle

I got this for Franco over the summer and he loved decorating his own water bottle. There are many stickers to choose from to make it personalized.

Favorite Snack

Not only are these granola bars delicious, but they are free from common allergens and safe for schools.

Favorite Lunch Ideas

Stumped on ideas on what to make? Check these books out! There is a combination of 232 ideas.

Favorite Way to Make a Sandwhich

This thing is a lifesaver! Forget about buying Uncrustables in the freezer section at the market. These are so easy to make and store yourself.

When They Buy Lunch

Kids lunch wallet
Trifold kids wallet

Let’s face it, there will be times your kid will need to buy lunch- AND THAT IS OKAY! Make sure the money they bring to school is safe with their own wallet with a zipper coin purse.

A Little Something Extra

Lunchbox notes
Lunchbox notes
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Lunchbox notes were always my favorite. Little notes on fruit or little drawings were always my favorite, but I made these printable notes that have adorable puns. Click here for their printable.

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Fall Styles 2021

Fall Styles 2021

This post contains affiliate links.

My favorite season is finally here and I am so excited to see this years style. It is crazy to think that straight leg jeans are out and wide leg is back in. It was hard to get out of my comfort zone but happy to have some of my favorites like chunky cardigans and crossbody bags.

Neutral colors are still my choice and found some great pieces in all different shades of tan and brown. The best part is that everything is so affordable!

  1. Free Assembly Cropped Wide Leg Jeans
  2. Time and Tru Lug Wedge Commuter boot
  3. Shein Butterfly Sleeve Shirred Maxi Dress
  4. Time and Tru Drop Shoulder Bodysuit
  5. Time and Tru Boater Hat with Braid
  6. H&M Rib-knit Cardigan
  7. Free Assembly Women’s Teddy Fleece Cocoon Jacket
  8. Gold Rope Necklace
  9. Time and Tru Olivia Crossbody Bag
  10. V Neck Long Sleeve Henley Shirt

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DIY Citrus Lavender Milk Bath

DIY Citrus Lavender Milk Bath

This post contains affiliate links.

Just imagine, you spend all day at the beach having fun with your family. Laughs, snacks and memories are being made. This makes everyone happy. You can’t help but live in this moment and hold off on leaving for the day. It is time to go home and you all enter the house with the air conditioner blasting. The sun took all of the kids’ energy and put them to sleep for an afternoon nap. The house is finally calm and quiet. This is your chance to leave the mess so you can sneak up to the bathroom. You run yourself a bath to help relax and cool your sun kissed skin but still have enough energy to make dinner afterwards. This DIY citrus lavender milk bath is the perfect way to unwind after a family filled day.

Pin this diy milk bath

Sometimes a shower doesn’t cut it. This smooth and milky bath with a burst of citrus and lavender will leave you or your little ones with the softest skin.

It is so easy to make this DIY citrus lavender milk bath even your little ones with love it. Luckily, this recipe will make an abundance amount.

Diy citrus lavender milk bath

What You Need

In a bowl, mix together Epson salt, Himalayan salt and lavender buds from the sprigs. Add as much as you want depending on the strength of the scent you prefer. Drop in the essential oils and stir until everything is well blended. Add to the mix to glass jars and glue stick the printable label on tightly. Make sure to store in a cool place.

When ready to use, pour two cups of oat milk in a warm running bath. Scoop one cup of the bath salt mixture and add lemon slices, orange slices and lavender sprigs. This will make the bath look beautiful.

This DIY citrus lavender milk bath is the perfect wake up in the morning or to get your little ones relaxed and ready for bed at night. Either way it is a win for you!

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My Favorite TikTok Recipes of 2021

My Favorite TikTok Recipes of 2021

Who would have thought I would be on TikTok, but it has this grasp that I do not think anyone can control. We get sucked into watching videos of viral dances, challenges and teachable lessons in just seconds. What I really enjoy are the easy recipe trends because it makes me feel like I know how to cook. I now have easy recipes on rotation thanks to me favorite TikTok recipes of 2021.

My Favorite TikTok Recipes of 2021

1. Favorite TikTok Recipe of 2021- Pasta Chips

This viral TikTok recipe of 2021 is just too good not to try! It is so easy I keep asking myself why haven’t I tried this?

TikTok pasta chips
  1. Cook a box of pasta of your choice until al dente.
  2. Drain pasta and add to a mixing bowl.
  3. Drizzle some olive oil, Parmesan cheese Italian spices and garlic powder.
  4. Mix together until pasta is evenly coated.
  5. Air fry at 450 degrees F until crispy, check and shake in 15 minute increments.
  6. Remove and fully cool so you can serve with some red sauce.

2. Another Favorite TikTok Recipe of 2021- Baked Oats

Since working remote I had to get creative with my meals at home. I was blown away that I could actually bake oats! Here is a previous blog post on three different types to make your baked oats. My favorite recipe is the banana bread .

3. Fun TikTok Recipe of 2021- Oreo Cookie Mug Cake

This is the coolest hack ever because I never would have thought of it! I love mug cakes to begin with but this takes it to a whole other level.

Tiktok cookie mug cake
  1. 4 vanilla Oreo Cookies or flavor of you choice
  2. 1/4 cup of unsweetened vanilla milk
  3. 1 tbs whole wheat flour
  4. 1/8 tsp baking powder

Place cookies in mug and pour oat milk over them. Crush and mix until it turns into a batter. Add flour and baking powder and mix all together so it is nice and smooth. Microwave for 90 seconds or until fully cooked through.

Top with vanilla yogurt of your choice with marshmallows for some added sweetness. 

4. Best TikTok Breakfast Recipe of 2021-Pancake Cereal

This has to be the most unique breakfast trend I have ever seen! Check out my previous blog post to see why you need to make this.

Favorite TikTok Recipe-Mini Pancakes Cereal

5. Best TikTok Dinner Recipe- Baked Feta Pasta

I have been wanting to try this recipe but unable to find a brick of feta. I tried it with crumbled feta and it tasted delicious! It has been said using the brick will make it creamier than crumbled but this was a hit in our home just the way it was.

Baked feta pasta
  1. 1 lb pasta
  2. ½ cup olive oil
  3. 2 boxes cherry tomatoes
  4. 1 block feta or 12 oz. of crumbled feta
  5. 4 cloves garlic minced
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. A pinch red pepper flakes

In bowl, mix tomatoes, olive oil, red pepper, garlic, salt and pepper and then pour into a baking dish.

Put all feta in the middle of the baking dish making to tomatoes surround it. Drizzle olive oil and bake for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees F.

While baking, cook pasta according to instructions on the box and thneDrain and put aside

Once feta and tomatoes are cooked remove from oven and add pasta. Mix vigorously until all is blended evenly and serve immediately.

Let me know! What is your favorite TikTok recipes of 2021?

Here are some posts on more viral TikTok recipes!

The Most Viral Foods On TikTok

15 TikTok Food Trends We’re Craving Right Now

21 Easy Recipes On TikTok You Can Make Right At Home

13 TikTok recipes that will get you excited about cooking again

Cool Boys Bedroom Makeover

Cool Boys Bedroom Makeover

I was gifted Coloray Wallpaper in exchange for an honest review. There are also some affiliate links that I may earn a small commission from.

Franco’s room is one of my favorite rooms to makeover. He is always down for the adventure and he makes the biggest deal when it is finished. He is my number one fan. That is why I couldn’t pass up doing a cool boys bedroom makeover just in time for kindergarten.

Pin this image- Cool Boys Bedroom Makeover

Theme

The theme was embracing where we live in New York. I was born and raised on Long Island and Franco will be a born and raised ‘upstater’. I wanted to combine the two by adding some locally made decor with some vintage pieces of my home from when I was a kid.

cool boys bedroom makeover

Color Scheme

Black, white and gray was part of the vision board. There are a few colors that pop out from the vintage pieces I chose but it all came together at the end.

The color theme is black and white with vintage touches

The Artwork

I went to one of my favorite local shops in downtown Albany, Fort Orange General Store and picked up some great wall decor made by local artists and shops. One of the posters is from MW Neighborhoods and the postcards that I framed are from Little Yellow Desk. One of the pennants is from Compaslife made by Oxford pennants. The rest of the pennants are from Etsy. Another great site to use to support local artists is Society6. That is where I found this New York City wall tapestry.

locally made posters and vintage decor
digital copies to make posters for this cool boys bedroom
Digital print from Delirious Digital
vintage pennants are needed for this cool boys bedroom

The Wallpaper

In order to make this a cool boys bedrooms makeover, I had to find the best wallpaper. Thanks to Coloray, I was able to easily find the wallpaper I was looking for on their website. Geometric Shapes Removable Wallpaper in the size of 8’ x 11’ was the design I chose and is very happy with it! The peel and stick option was best for me because I am not the best with all peel and stick wallpapers. The fact that I can just peel and apply without having to spray with water to activate the adhesive was so much easier. The best part is it is removable so when I am ready for the next cool boys bedroom makeover, it will be easy to remove.

peel and stick wallpaper that was so easy to apply.
Down comforter is from Kohl’s

Vintage Touches

This year my parents sold my childhood home after 40 years and moved down south. As much as I was excited for them, I was so sad to say goodbye. Luckily I grabbed things from the house such as this street sign, Super Nintendo and wicker stool that brought back memories being in my house. Little touches of my home are in here and I just love having the feeling surround us.

Vintage pieces from childhood home
Vintage pieces from my childhood home

Other Additions

supported small and local shops for this cool boys bedroom

Imani Collective has the best banners so I finally the opportunity to hang some. This pillow is from a local shop Bluebird Home Decor. This kids mat from H&M is perfect for imaginative play. Then my favorite purchase has to be this stuffed animal beanbag storage. This is the best way to keep all of his animals but without the mess.

Little storage for books, drink and remotes
This little wall caddy was found in Target’s Bullseye section and is perfect for bedtime books, remotes and drinks before bed.
Bean bag storage for stuffed animals in this cool boys bedroom
dogs are allowed in this cool boys bedroom
Even Dutchess approves.
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3 Easy and Delicious Ice Cream Sandwiches That Will Make You Happy

3 Easy and Delicious Ice Cream Sandwiches That Will Make You Happy

It is National Ice Cream Day and what a fun day to celebrate! I don’t know about you, but ice cream makes me so happy. I don’t think I ever met anyone who didn’t like ice cream. There are so many ways to eat ice cream, but my favorite is an ice cream sandwich. I am sharing 3 easy and delicious ice cream sandwiches that will make you happy. The vibrant colors with a sweet and crunchy taste will be a hit with children and adults.

1. Easy and Delicious Chocolate Samoas Ice Cream Sandwich

These cookies are one of my absolute favorites. I loaded them withe chocolate ice cream and let the sandwiches settle for a few minutes in the freezer. This will help make the sandwiches less messy, but that really doesn’t matter!

2. Easy and Delicious Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich

My favorite chocolate chip cookies are Chips Ahoy, so that is what I used. Any type of vanilla ice cream will do. Assemble your sandwiches and have them settle in the freezer for a few minutes, this will give them the perfect texture. This easy and delicious ice cream sandwich is Dan’s go to, he is always asking me to make them.

3. Easy and Delicious Oreo Strawberry Sorbet Sandwich

Remove the cream from the Oreo and replace with strawberry sorbet or flavor of your choice. Roll in some fancy sprinkles and settle for a few minutes in the freezer, this will make the sprinkles extra crunchy. This ice cream sandwich was Franco’s favorite choice and was sure to put a smile on his face.

Like I said, these 3 easy and delicious ice cream sandwiches will make you happy but there are so many ways and varieties to make your ideal ice cream sandwich! Since it is National Ice Cream day, I found so many ideas and curated my vision to my family’s liking. Ice cream sandwiches are the best because you can choose any cookie and any ice cream flavor of your choice, so the possibilities are endless!

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Delicious Nutella Cheesecake Hand Pies

Delicious Nutella Cheesecake Hand Pies

I’ve been on a serious Nutella kick lately. I can’t be without a jar in the house and no drop goes to waste.

If you’ve seen my post on Instagram, I showed you how to make Nutella chocolate milk with a fun printable label to put on the jar.

There are so many Nutella recipes to choose from I decided to search for some and get inspired to make my own. With ingredients that I already had in my kitchen I decided to make these delicious Nutella cheesecake hand pies.

This Nutella recipe is a fun snack that is filled with creamy whipped Nutella filling wrapped with a golden flaky crust. The hazelnut drizzle adds the perfect amount of sweetness.

Jump to Recipe

Here is what you need:

  • 1 package refrigerated pie crust (comes with 2 crusts)
  • 4 oz package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp water

Directions

  1. In a stand mixer, mix 1/2 cup Nutella and cream cheese until combined.2.Place both pie crusts on top of each other.
  2. Using a glass cup or circle cookie cutter, cut out circles through each crust. Delicately take about the two circles.
  3. Take a full dollop of the Nutella cream cheese mixture into the center of half of the pie circles. Take the other half of the pie circles and place on top of the filling.
  4. Press all around the pie with your finger until sealed. Use a fork to complete the sealing by pressing all around the finger presses.
  5. Poke a few holes in each pie.
  6. Mix egg with water to create an egg wash. Spread it over each hand pie.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  8. Heat the rest of the Nutella up in the microwave for about 45-60 seconds.
  9. Pour warm Nutella into a zip-lock bag and cut off a small piece of one of the bottom corners to make it into a piping bag.
  10. Drizzle Nutella all over the hand pies and enjoy!
Nutella Cheesecake Hand Pies

Nutella Cheesecake Hand Pies

These Nutella Cheesecake Hand Pies are a fun snack that is filled with creamy whipped Nutella filling wrapped with a golden flaky crust. The hazelnut drizzle adds the perfect amount of sweetness.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 1 package refrigerated pie crust (comes with 2 crusts)r
  • 4 oz package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp water

Instructions
 

  • In a stand mixer, mix 1/2 cup Nutella and cream cheese until combined.
  • Place both pie crusts on top of each other. Using a glass cup or circle cookie cutter, cut out circles through each crust. Delicately take apart the two circles.
  • Take a full dollop of the Nutella cream cheese mixture into the center of half of the pie circles. Take the other half of the pie circles and place on top of the filling.
  • Press all around the pie with your finger until sealed. Use a fork to complete the sealing by pressing all around the finger presses.
  • Poke a few holes in each pie.
  • Mix egg with water to create an egg wash. Spread it over each hand pie.
  • Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  • Heat the rest of the Nutella up in the microwave for about 45-60 seconds.
  • Pour warm Nutella into a zip-lock bag and cut off a small piece of one of the bottom corners to make it into a piping bag. Drizzle Nutella all over the hand pies and enjoy!

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Our Favorite Children’s Podcasts – Kid Approved

Our Favorite Children’s Podcasts – Kid Approved

School is out, so that means road trips, summer learning and later bed times.

Franco and I compiled our favorite children’s podcasts and they are all Franco approved. They are great for any time of the day and keep kids away from the screen. Podcasts help improve kids attention and memory, and keeps their imagination running; not to mention the improvement of listening skills. I have also found that when Franco listens to bed time stories at night, he has a better nights sleep with no nightmares or night terrors.

Some of the podcasts only have a few episodes but they are so good! We added a bunch of different shows to give variety so you can go back on the other ones when ready.

Kid Approved Podcasts

This podcasts provides original stories that has a sense of humor kids love. It is the perfect length for kids to listen to during a car ride or getting ready for bed.
This podcasts provides diverse stories that have originated in Africa passed down from generations. They are fun to listen to and always teach a lesson in each story.
Every week a kid asks a What If question and this podcast will spin it into a fun story.
An interactive podcast that keeps kids imagination going.
Another interactive podcast for kids ages 3-9 and for the whole family. Each episode is about 10 minutes long.
This podcast is action packed with adventures and songs while learning the alphabet
Have your kids listen to some familiar voices when it is time to rest.
Listen to some short stories about your kids favorite Disney characters.
This podcast is great for the curious kid!
This serialized science fiction story for kids is told in 15-20 minutes episodes. This is a fun adventure for sure
Your favorite childhood books come to life with this adorable podcast. Which one was your favorite as a kid??
This podcasts read classic fairy tales that are short, warm and cozy.
Original children’s stories and meditations for anytime your kid needs to relax.
This is one of our favorite podcast and we wish there were more episodes!
These relaxing stories are told by kids that provide light hearted tales and relaxation techniques.

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