Big Announcement!

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in 52 Weeks of Experiences, Adventures, BABY, Best for Baby, Birthdays, BUMP UPDATES, BUSY MOM TIPS, Cooking, Daily, Disney, EVERYTHING ELSE, Fashion and Outfits, Florida, FOR MOMS, Friday Finds, Fun as a Toddler Mom, FUN TIMES, GET FIT, Green Products, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, Letters to Lexi, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, Monthly Updates, My Pregnancy, New Mom Experience, Nursery, Other Recommendations, Parenting, PHOTO, Photo Stories, Photography for Mommies Tutorials, Pre-CONCEPTION, PREGNANCY, PREGNANCY FASHION, Pregnancy Q of the week, Pregnant With Style, PRODUCTS, Real Life Photos, TODDLER, TRAVEL, Tried and True, VIDEO



Some of you, who follow me on social media, might have noticed that for the last 6 months I have been working on a few projects. I am ready to officially announce the first one.

Together with a friend of mine, I started a new business, Melody Lane, a clothing store that is focused on making sure that women in all stages of their lives have access to comfortable, affordable and most importantly versatile clothing. (see below on details of a $500 giveaway!)

Pregnancy, motherhood, nursing, party, fitness, vacation, career, school – it’s amazing how many stages we go through as women that require a completely different wardrobe. So our goal is to offer clothing with versatility and affordability in mind. Items you could wear for several occasions and during several stages of your life. Clothing that is comfortable, yet still looks good, because I have to admit that since becoming a mother, comfort trumps looks, however I still want to look good.

Lexi’s Favorite Snacks

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, BUSY MOM TIPS, Cooking, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Health and Fitness, Life as a Toddler, PRODUCTS, Tried and True


I haven’t written about what we eat in a long time. Tastes and routines evolve and so do our eating habits, so I want to update what our favorite on-the-go snacks of the moment are.

We still prefer fresh organic whole foods like fruit and vegetables to anything else. However there are times where packing a lunchbox full of perishables isn’t a good idea. Living in Florida doesn’t really help it. So during those days, we resort to nuts  and packaged snacks. I personally love going through the snack isle at Whole Foods trying to discover different types of snacks that would be better than what we are already eating.  This list below applies to both me and Lexi. In fact, our eating habits aren’t that different with the exception that I eat less healthy than she is (I am adult. I can. That’s my excuse)


So these are the things we enjoy together.


Seaweed snacks

This one blew my mind. One day we were sitting at the beach with our friends and my girlfriend Carla showed me roasted seaweed sheets that her 3 year old was obsessed with. She swore that Lexi would go crazy over them. I smelled the snack and ew! I am not a person who is normally grossed out by food. But I couldn’t believe Lexi would want to eat that. Two minutes later, she had devoured the whole package and moved onto the second one.

We have been buying these snacks since then and it is absolutely the most favorite thing of hers to eat on the go. A year later and I am now starting to dig them from time to time myself. Open mind, I’ll tell ya, keep an open mind. We can’t order them fast enough from Amazon. Just FYI, do not buy wasabi and teriyaki flavor is the best.

BUY HERE: Seaweed Roasted Snacks


goodnessknows snack squares


I consider this a treat which is one of the reasons why it is so awesome. Packed with nutty goodness, fruit/berries and DARK chocolate with specifically retained phytonutrients, it acts like a treat, but is natural and wholesome.

While technically these are a snack I use the word “treat” with Lexi, so she eats these instead of bad treats. It has chocolate, so she is happy. And it is loaded with wholesome nuts, oats and berries, so I am happy. Win win. Natural and tasty treat. 

Wholesome toddler snacks

Each goodnessknows package contains 150 calories, no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. My favorite part is  that it’s divided  into 4 pieces so you’re not tempted to eat the whole bar and give it out as little squares

My favorite is Peach & Cherry with almond and dark chocolate flavor. Lexi loves the apple, almond&peanut, dark chocolate ones. goodness

BUY HERE: Amazon

FIND RETAILERS: goodnessknows


Edamame peas

Lexi lovingly calls them “mommy peas” ( aw which breaks my heart as I am writing this on the plane to Vegas away from my girl)

When we make them at home, we always buy organic, since they are soy beans and soy is ALL pretty much GMO, unless it’s organic or Non-GMO certified. Unfortunately at the restaurants we can’t really chose organic and non-GMO, so we eat whatever they serve.

You can buy bags of frozen organic edamame peas that are quickly prepared in boiling water and make for a great snack at home or for a lunch box.

BUY HERE: Organic Edamame Peas



Prunes and Dried  apricots

This is a total throwback to my childhood. My mom used to give them to us and only when I became an adult, did I appreciate their taste of prunes. I love them now and so does Lexi. If dehydrated properly, they are a nutritional powerhouse.

BUY HERE: Dried Apricots | Prunes


GoRaw bar

My Little Kitchen Helper

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, BUSY MOM TIPS, Cooking, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Health and Fitness, Life as a Toddler, Other Recommendations, PHOTO, Photo Stories, PRODUCTS, TODDLER


I know that I’ve slacked in the department of product reviews since getting busier, but I am hoping to fix that in the near future and trickle out reviews of some of my favorite things or at least compile them into the TRIED and TRUE posts.

This is going to be more of a story of how our life evolved with the product than an actual review, but in so writing about it, you will get a good idea whether you might enjoy this product as much as we did or not.

This particular item has sneakily made its way into our life in more ways than I anticipated. We had featured a Kitchen Helper on Daily Mom, right at the time when I was struggling to keep Lexi occupied while I cooked. I had also heard good things about it from MULTIPLE people. So I thought it was a worth product to try and see if it solves our little problem. Our first test was Easter Cooking out of all things. I took an egg nest recipe from Daily Mom (of course), Lexi and I put on our favorite Mommy and Me aprons and we started cooking.

My kitchen help

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Cooking, Health and Fitness, Other Recommendations, PRODUCTS

kitchen helpers

I wouldn’t be able to cook and get meals done the way I do if it wasn’t for these handy appliances.

Here is what I use virtually on daily basis.

kitchen helpers

Fagor Juicer

{holy crap, it’s on sale on amazon for 42% off!!!)

I’ve only recently started making my own juices but that was something on my to-do list for years. Little did I know what a difference it makes in the taste of the juice. If you haven’t tried squeezing your own apple juice or orange juice, come over to my house and I’ll do it for you, because it is SERIOUSLY night and day. It’s like the juices you drink at restaurants and buy at the grocery stores aren’t juices at all, even if they are organic and not from concentrate.

fagor 3

The biggest two complaints I’ve heard about juicers from friends and online reviews are that they are hard to clean and assemble/take apart or that they are too hard to use ( especially when it comes to manual juicers).

I have zero complaints about our Fagor Juicer. Once I figured out how to take it apart, it was a breeze – 5 different parts to clean that easily snap in and out of the juicer and rinse clean with simple water, as long as you don’t let the juice bits sit on it for hours. I am not kidding: you just run them under running water and voila (Depending on the fruit sometimes you have to help the stuck skin from under the disposal shute)


The juicing part is easy. You throw cut up fruit inside and it pours juice out of one end and waste out of the other. It rarely gets stuck or clogged. I honestly have zero issues with it and it makes perfect juice.
It’s considered a slow juicer which means it takes its time to get out every possible drop of juice from the fruit, preserving vitamins, minerals and all the nutrients. All the materials that come in contact with food are BPA free.


While for those of us who eat fruits and vegetables on daily basis, juicing  might not be such a big deal, aside from  the taste standpoint, for average eaters who rely more on meats or processed food, juicing is almost a must because you can cram so many more fruits and vegetables into a glass of juice than you can actually eat in one sitting. So if you or your baby isn’t a fan of the green stuff, juice it with something sweet and have them drink it – perfect solution! You can find a ton of tasty recipes online by googling “juicing recipes”.


Cuisinart Multi-cooker


I heard about multi-cookers from my sister who lives in Russia who swears it’s the solution of all world’s problems.
It really is pretty neat. I have a Cuisinart 3-in-1 multicooker (as you can see from the sticker that I didn’t bother removing for months. lol. Also it’s on sale on Amazon as well.) I am not sure if everyone is familiar with the concept, because I didn’t know what it was prior to her mentioning it. It’s basically like a slow cooker with several settings: slow, steam and sautee/brown. It really is as simple as it seems. You throw a bunch of food inside, close the lid and set the correct setting and the timer. On the saute function they recommend that you stir occasionally but otherwise it really can be left to its own devices.


It is especially helpful because I barely have any time to cook, but it’s something I HAVE TO DO, so I try to find ways to make it less of a time consuming process without sacrificing food quality.

This cooker works well with both veggies and meats on both slow and saute functions. It’s huge and the finish does not contain any cancer causing chemicals (PTFE/PFOA) that are commonly found in non-stick surfaces (I emailed the company and checked). Cooking beans is a breeze on the slow cooker option, vegetables do great on the sautee setting and I would imagine meats would do great in it too.


The pot itself is removable so you don’t have to move the whole appliance to clean it or serve food. Temperature can be set custom, there is a timer and my favorite “keep warm” feature.

Meals I usually make in it are any type of vegetable combinations, potatoes and mushrooms, beans and peas. It works out really great because I often make 2-4 meals at a time and this doesn’t have to crowd the stove surfaces.


MiTutto Hand Blender

Oh wow, what a tool!

I always despised using those big kitchen appliances that chopped things because they were a pain to clean. At the same time, blenders were not up to par either, because they would only puree/chop up the bottom of the food pile and leave the top untouched. You’d have to shake it in order to get the top food down to the blades.

MiTutto is like this kitchen “wand” that does pretty much everything. It has a bunch of adapters for aerating, whipping, mixing, chopping, crushing, pureeing food, so it replaces many appliances and can be used in any dish not just the provided one.


The two major uses of MiTutto for me are to make purees for popsicle and smoothies and to get vegetables chopped evenly. The even chopping part is pretty self-explanatory and it’s most likely due to the small and evenly sized bowl. But where it really shines, at least for me, is the pureeing part.  See, because it’s a handheld wand, when you puree fruits or vegetables, you can control the angle and pressure of it. That makes it easy because you can push down on the fruits/vegetables to force them to mush even if they are “resisting” like it often happens in traditional blenders.

Does that make sense? It takes seconds to get things pureed. It comes with a convenient measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring: seriously a great tool starting from baby pureed solids to any kind of daily cooking.


Homemade Popsicle recipe

I wanted to share this amazing popsicle recipe I came up with using the MiTutto wand. The ingredients are really interchangeable and I only came upon this because those were the only three ingredients we had in our house. I would not necessarily recommend any of these brands of ingredients specifically. Normally I would go for an organic peanut butter and soy milk creamer, because the coconut one turned out to have titanium dioxide in it (what?). So if you try this recipe, just replace the ingredient brands with the ones that you like to use. I’ve been asked for this recipe a few times on Instagram – it’s really delicious.



1 pear

1 spoonful of Peanut Butter (other butter)

1/3 of a cup sweetened creamer ( coconut, soy, dairy- whatever you use)

Add to the blender or MiTutto cup and blend. Pour into a popsicle mold, freeze.

Lexi ate the whole thing in one sitting. A huge hit.

Week in Food

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Cooking, Daily, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Health and Fitness, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, TODDLER

toddler food

I’ve been asked to do this post by multiple people, I’m just sorry it took me so long.

Warning: I am not a good food photographer. In fact, I kinda suck at it! I just don’t have the time or the patience (I’m super impatient!) to stage and snap pretty shots. So if you’re weirded out by food or whatever, skip it. If you wanted to know what Lexi eats on a weekly basis, read on.

Toddler Vegetable Soup

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Cooking, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Health and Fitness, New Mom Experience, TODDLER


I cannot think of a healthier meal for a toddler ( or an adult for that matter) than a vegetable soup.

As adults, Andrew and I love a simple vegetable soup as a low calorie and tasty alternative to any meal. In fact, a big bowl of vegetable soup fills you up and only “costs” you 100-160 calories ( the way we prepare it).

For toddlers, though, a veggie soup packed with more hearty vegetables, offers hydration and those precious vitamins and minerals that  many babies reject.

Obviously, offering a picky eater a vegetable soup won’t make him suddenly eat vegetables. Alexis eats vegetables just fine and that’s why this type of soup is her absolute favorite. However, even at times when she rejects certain veggies, this soup is always welcomed by her.

Baby Solids: What we cook

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Cooking, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience

What our Toddler eats

If you missed previous BLW posts, you can visit them here:


I’ve been emailed and asked about what we cook for Alexis in terms of BLW and how our whole feeding process goes. So here is the breakdown.

First thing you have to remember is that we don’t really eat like a typical American family.  You almost never see green beans on our table, or green peas, or corn. No mashed potatoes (no reason for that, we just never get around to making them), no meats, no dairy. What you will see is mostly other types of vegetables, fruits, grains and fish. My husband was vegan for a couple of years, but I think we’re slowly starting to permanently introduce fish. I would always eat certain fish, because of its benefit when pregnant and now, but my husband used to stay away from ANY animal products (except for trace amounts in baked goods on occasion). But I think we have decided that the benefit outweighs the disadvantages. I do eat eggs once a month or so now, my husband doesn’t. We’ll occasionally “cheat” if we have to or want to. So at this point our family is a bit of a smorgasborg of vegan/pescetarians/vegetarians/whatever. However, our eating habits are constantly changing and I am not exactly sure which direction we are going with them.

Our goal is (and of course that doesn’t always pan out) to make sure that Alexis has a protein source at almost every meal (beans, fish), a few vegetable servings every time, whole grains (which can also be considered high in protein if you stick with quinoa) and fruit/berries for breakfast.

Introduction of Solids: Baby Led Weaning

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Cooking, FUN TIMES, Health and Fitness, LIFE, New Mom Experience, PHOTO


I am so excited to be writing this post.

Other food posts:

Toddler Mealtime | Vegetable Soup | Baby Solids: What we cook  | Baby Solids Gear

Baby Led Weaning ( BLW) has been one of the most fun, relatively stress-free experiences so far, if I can say so, being only over a month into it. But I feel like it’s only going to get better from now on.

What we eat and what we cook

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Cooking, Health and Fitness, My Pregnancy

I’ve been asked to post our usual meals multiple times. There are quite a few reasons why it took me this long to get around to it, and why this post is far from what I imagined to be.

  1. Up until recently I hate food with all my soul ( thank you 1st trimester) and the prospect of thinking about food, let alone writing about it would send me into gagging spells.
  2. I hate photographing food. First of all, it’s BORING! Secondly, when I’m in the midst of my craziness where I try to cook, cut, saute, bake and prep 3 different meals at the time (multitasker+perfectionist=crazy person), the last thing I want to do is bring down my DSLR and attempt to get good photos of every step. NOT. GOING.TO.HAPPEN.
  3. Since I can’t get around to photographing food, I resort to quickly snapping some pictures with my iphone. And those photos offend my sense of beauty. Yuck!
  4. Most of the time, our meals are simply things I come up with or throw together out of whatever available vegetables/whole grains we have. So there are  no real recipes for what we do. We just come up with it on the go. I can remember only 1 or 2 occasions where I actually managed to PLAN for a meal (i.e. buy ingredients and actually make it before said ingredients went bad in our Florida humidity)
  5. If I didn’t take a picture, I don’t see the point in posting a recipe- how on earth would you know what you’re cooking.

That being said, I have put together a tiny example of SOME meals we’ve made that I managed to take a picture of.

Before pregnancy, I was a vegetarian who on occasion had smoked salmon (my weakness), almost no diary and eggs. So basically, I was almost a vegan. With pregnancy that had to change to make sure I get an adequate amount of protein, so I went back to drinking milk, eating cheese and eggs, and making an exception for 1 fish for its nutritional value and almost complete lack of dioxins and mercury (sardines). My husband is a vegan and has been that way since October 2010. So basically whenever we cook for both of us, it’s always vegan, and then I add whatever I need to for myself ( cheese, sardines,etc).

Just for the sake of full disclosure, I really think cheese is “evil” and I will be happy to drop it again once I don’t need as much protein, but for now, I need its evilness for the calories and protein punch.

THE ONLY 1 RULE I have while cooking is IT HAS TO BE HEALTHY AND MAKE SENSE NUTRITIONALLY. If I am cooking something relatively “empty” in nutrition, I always add extra vegetables or greens.

Let’s start with SPICY KALE STEW

I found the recipe on Epicurious a long time ago and we would make this stew ALL THE FREAKING TIME. It’s not bland at all and it goes great with rice or stand alone.

This was before I was pregnant, and since then we switched to cooking on stainless steel only. We bought this stainless steel cookware set to compliment what we already have. I really recommend it if you’re looking to switch from Teflon ( which can become very dangerous as it gets old) to stainless steel. It was on a huge sale on MYHABIT, so we managed to grab it for $275.

NEXT: Vegetarian/Vegan Lasagna

I couldn’t find  whole grain lasagna squares, but I wanted to try making a vegetarian lasagna, so I settled with traditional white lasagna. Also, I’d suggest getting pre-cooked ones, instead.
It’s really pretty easy- you can layer the lasagna with whatever your heart desires. I chose spinach and pesto for one stripe of lasagna; spinach, pesto and black beans for another  and finally choped and sauteed garlic and mushrooms for the third. You can read the recipe for a lasagna here and adjust it any way you’d like.


This recipe isn’t for everyone. If you’re squirmy about fish and smells, you might not enjoy cooking it. I find sardines are a tastier and much healthier version of tuna fish. So if you think of it that way, this will be a staple.
The recipe is here
This ROCKS as leftovers the next day! I always use any type of whole grain pasta I have at the house and this ends up being one of my go-to meals if I am lacking calories or nutrition for the day.
Sauce/Vegetable side.

This is one of these meals where I just throw a bunch of things together and hope they stick. This one stuck!
Almost all our meals start with garlic, sauteed until it’s fragrant. Aside from the fact that garlic is good for you, it flavors vegetarian meals to a point where even an omnivore won’t miss meat.  It takes vegetables and pasta from bland to super tasty.

So we saute garlic in hot oil for about 2 minutes, then add chopped tomatoes and cook on low heat, preferably covered to contain the moisture in. I usually add whatever nutritious greens I can find in the fridge, like spinach, kale , collard greens. In this case it’s chopped spinach, since cooked spinach (and tomatoes for that matter) beats its uncooked counterpart in nutrition (read here).

After a bit of sauteing on low heat covered, until the mixture gets thickened, you add it to whatever it is you were making it for: whole grain pasta, brown rice, beans, etc.

Vegetable shrimp burrito
When I am really low on protein for the day and don’t want any more cheese or milk or eggs, I go to shrimp. I saute it really well in part oil, part water (you only need to get it to opaque, but since I am pregnant, I usually cook the shit out of it). So for this meal, I needed something fast. I had left overs from the mix of vegetables I made the other day (eggplant,mushrooms, tomatoes, olives), so I added them to the shrimp in a whole wheat tortilla, cut some scallions for taste. And done.
Some other miscellaneous stuff:
Vegetable kabobs
Roasted potatoes with dill and olive oil {when i am too lazy to think of anything, this is the easier meal ever and super tasty}
A mix of everything on the planet {this would probably represents all the nutrition a person needs}: Whole grain couscous, black and kidney beans sauteed with tomatoes, roasted potatoes, pickles, sauteed zucchini, spinach and mushrooms, whole grain tortilla chips and green olives. A great example of throwing things together.
And a ton of salads of course

I love my ceasar salads. I make my own dressing ( Parmesan, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, mustard, organic mayo, garlic and anchovies )
This salad saved my buck when I was sick. It’s nothing more than cucumbers and tomatoes in canola oil with salt. But it’s so fresh that it was the only thing I could eat without gagging.
Romaine, cherry tomatoes, green olives, dill and garlic dressing.
Another smorgasbord of things: cucumbers, avocado, olives, tomatoes, canola oil.
We always have a salad for lunch, so I just throw together whatever is in the refrigerator and is healthy.
Again, sorry for such horrible pictures and see you on Thursday or Friday for the 21st week update.


Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Cooking, EVERYTHING ELSE, GET FIT, HEALTH, PHOTO


1. If you haven’t yet, join the challenge here: GET FIT and GET HEALTHY
2. Every Saturday come back to The Art of Making a Baby and ShutterMama to read the tips on how to be fitter, healthier and more confident.
3. Weekly write a post about your progress, following the questionnaire below, take a self-portrait (optional) and link up with us.
4. Don’t forget to grab the GET FIT challenge button on the sidebar and display it proudly on your blog or GET FIT post.
5. Link your post with
Selfie Saturdays if you took your week’s self-portrait.


I’d like to share something I recently found out about nutrients of certain vegetables. I was always under the impression that if you cook vegetables, you basically effectively eliminating all the good nutrients and vitamins from them, so it’s best to eat msot vegetables raw or lightly sauteed. However, it turns out it’s not true for all the vegetables, actually quite the opposite for some of them.

Check out the nutrition breakdown:

Broccoli and spinach , if eaten raw your body will absorb less than 5% of the nutrition for which you are eating them . With the exception of lettuce all the green leafy veggies must be heated. This is the only way to release the vitamin E and the Iron for your body to get at it . If eaten raw your body will get neither of those and only a small portion of the flavonoids . The calcium can be retrieved without heating .
Tomatoes if eaten raw your body can only acquire the vitamin C . The main nutrition you eat a tomato for is the lycopene! This is the enzyme in the tomato that gives it the red color.”

So green leafy vegetables? HEAT! Kale, spinach, collard greens. have an amazing spicy kale stew recipe that I really need to share with you guys.

 My entry for week 15

1. Height: 5’11″, weight: 136 lb

2. Your fitness challenge(s) for this week: Special exercises designed for pregnancy to increase flexibility (daily) + Kegels (twice daily). An hour of walking/running + 20 situps every hour of the day 

3. Your health challenge(s) for this week: Continue eating whole grains, veggies and fruits only with a few servings of kefir and sardines daily (sardines are low in dioxins and mercury)

4. How well did it go:

  • Fitness: Did really good. I am feeling good and motivated, taking my time to do exercises rather than rush through them
  • Water: Drinking 64 oz a day
  • Food: I have this strange sweets aversion this week. I didn’t have ANYTHING sweet AT ALL. Eating really well otherwise: lots of beans, salads and vegetables with fruits.

5. Failures and slip-ups: Nothing really. I am very happy with this week6. Weekly challenge wisdom: Sometimes we get caught up and want to do things other than working out, but I found if you let yourself know that this hour is for exercising and that’s how it’s going to be, you take your time and actually enjoy it, rather than rush through it to be done for the day.

7. Advice to fellow GET FIT members
: Is your partner helping you and supporting you in your quest to be healthier and fitter? If not, you need to get him to be on the same page with you. it’s so much more fun to eat well and exercise when you don’t have to accomodate someone else in their eating or couch habits.

8. Self Portrait: This week Selfie challenge was  Collaborations. We were to hook up with one of our bloggy friends and do a photo together, even though we might be 3000 miles away from each other. Here’s what Teagan and I came up with. I think the tagline is really fitting :)