Monday, March 31, 2014

Sunday Food Prep


Almost every Sunday, I take an hour or two to prep our food for the week. With two littles in the house, I have to plan ahead at every opportunity. I finalized our April Meal plan last week so I have a clear idea of what we are going to eat each week.  


I start with a list of what I need to prep for the week. This can be sauces for dinners, bringing up meat from the basement freezer, making lunches for Molly and/or snacks, etc. I also like to make breakfasts in advance. I've been making a lot of Oatmeal Muffins


I also like to roast veggies and cut up fruit for the week. This way I can pull together salads and snacks easily. I usually make a dozen hard boiled eggs but I forgot to buy extra this week so no eggs. It's good to take a break from eggs sometimes too. Prepping fruits and veggies helps me eat less junk and more healthy stuff.


I usually make up snack packs for Molly. We tend to head out in the morning for some sort of activity and it is nice to be able to grab a snack pack already made up with delicious goodies. I didn't do any this week as we are going to be hanging out at home most of the week, meeting some milestones. 

What do you do to prepare for the week? What are your tips for smooth meal prep?
Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fourteen Weeks with Chicken Nugget


This week, Maggie has really gotten great control over her neck and is showing off her rolling skills as soon as we put her down for tummy time. Molly keeps trying to have crawl races with Maggie so maybe that will encourage her to crawl early (NO! I'm not ready!).


It was a good low-key week. We visited my college roommate on Thursday and her niece practically squealed over Maggie. I weaned off domperidone without any dip in my supply for which Maggie is happy. I started putting Maggie to bed in her co-sleeper (in our room) when we put Molly down for the night. Then Scott and I have a few hours sans kids before we head to bed. I think Maggie sleeps better when things are quiet.


On Monday, I put together the garden boxes for our veggie garden this summer as Maggie looked on from her car seat. She was so interested in all the activity. I showed her some weeds and let her touch the dirt. Molly 'helped' by flinging dirt around and poking Maggie. Luckily Maggie is pretty chill and wasn't too upset by her sister's unwanted attention.


Maggie likes to sit up but can't quite do it on her own. Whenever I lie her down in her Bobby Lounger, she starts doing baby crunches in an attempt to sit up on her own. She makes me laugh. I suspect that it won't be long until she is sitting up unassisted. Maggie is growing big and strong so rapidly! I feel like I blink and she's doing something new and amazing.

Sunday Favorites

I haven't done one of these in awhile which makes me sad because there are so many AWESOME photos on Flickr. So here are my current favorite photos. Enjoy!

1. ., 2. Mimosa, 3. The Marching of the Machines, 4. Golden Gardens Park Rocks - Seattle, 5. Day 3: Plans & Machinations, 6. Pralined Almonds, 7. Bathurst Hat, 8. Day 2608, 9. Turned the heel & just have the gusset decreases and foot left on my second March sock! #sasockclub #operationsockdrawer, 10. Looking out on the lake, 11. _E5A5640.jpg, 12. my Alberta, 13. IMG_02338ed, 14. Untitled, 15. pond, 16. Whit's Knits: Stitch Block Cowl, 17. Untitled, 18. Glasses in black, 19. wool-eater, 20. majorly blackified, 21. Abate, 22. Baby set for little Lulu, 23. 365.66 | honeycombs, 24. Thanks @fr1tz and @jeremy_omfgco for talking with #adprojects today! Huzzah! #psugd, 25. Whose city is this? #mycitymyhome
Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Wednesday Links from Around The Web 3.26.2014


How to Peel a Hard-Boiled Egg with a Spoon This is a cool trick and one I plan to use later today when I have my snack of a hard-boiled egg and a cheese stick. 

How to Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs I usually make mine in the oven (place entire egg in shell in a muffin tin, bake at 350F for 30 minutes, immediately submerge in ice cold water) but I'm trying this technique next time. 

Why Every Kid Should Learn to Garden Yep, this is one of many reasons I'm starting a vegetable garden with Molly this summer. We assembled the garden boxes earlier this week and just need to finalize their placement and fill them with dirt before we start planting. I can't wait to garden with her. 

When Mothers Move, Children Are More Active Too This knowledge gives me a little extra push to keep moving. I want to be a good example for Molly and Maggie and getting more exercise is always a good thing. 

A Day Late but Not a Dollar Short - Yesterday was International Waffle Day! These are some tasty looking waffle recipes.
Sunday, March 23, 2014

Thirteen Weeks with Chicken Nugget


We are really getting into our groove. This week, we walked Greenlake and played at the park, just like old times. Maggie watched from her seat in the stroller for most of the walk and then fell asleep as soon as we hit the fun part, the park! 


It was a beautiful week so there were lots of neighborhood walks and trips to the beach. We went to Golden Gardens on both Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, Maggie got to meet her cousins (along with her Uncle and Aunt) who came up from Portland for a quick visit. 


There was lots of tummy time and so much upset-ness over not being able to sit up on one's own. Maggie just wants to sit up and she is working her core so she can. Until then we accommodate her desires by helping her to sit. 


Maggie also had her very first playdate with a cutie named Mazzie. It reminded me of playdates when Molly was wee where the babies sit in their Mommy's laps while the Moms talk. The only difference this time was that Toddler Molly entertained by coloring on the walls and floor while throwing all her toys around. She may have scared Mazzie's Mom. 
Friday, March 21, 2014

Three Months with Mag-Pie



Three months! I swear time is flying by with you. You are the sweetest, calmest baby unless I take too long to feed you and then there is hell to be paid. I was looking back at your sister's 3 month letter and marveling at the similarities and differences. Like your sister, you are a pretty good sleeper and just like Molly, you are rolling from back to front. You also hate tummy time, just like your sister. But there are so many differences between the two of you. You observe so much more than she does. Molly likes to get into the action and create a ruckus. You like to watch the fun (and that might change). You don't mind sleeping in the co-sleeper whereas your sister much preferred sleeping in our bed (heck, she still does). 

Another difference is I am now exclusively pumping. You never quite got a hang of breastfeeding but are doing great with bottles. It can be a struggle when you are crying for milk and I am busy pumping that milk but most of the time, it works out just fine. Today we are halfway to my 6 month pumping goal and I'm feeling good about it. 


You are a giggly little girl. You think your sister is hilarious and love it when I kiss you on the neck. You have been a good little camper about going along on your sister and I's adventures. You usually just ride in the back on the stroller or hitch a ride on me in the carrier. 


This week and last week you participated in an Infant Hearing Study at the UW. They were testing to see how 3 month olds reacted to sounds by watching their eye darts. It was a fun little outing for all of us and you made $30! I'm putting that away for you to use later. 


You love sitting up and get so excited when we stand you up. It is going to be interesting to see how soon you can sit up on your own and when you'll start crawling. The gloves will be off when you get mobile and nothing will be safe. 

We love you so much Maggie. I was just looking at you today and got a little teary. Sometimes I just can't believe that we made you. I thought I always wanted a boy and a girl so I was surprised when they said you were a girl but now, now I just can't imagine having anyone but you in my life. It's an amazing thing having you in our lives, sweet Mag-Pie. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Re-Entry into Fitness (Post-Partum Style)

Day 280 (280/366): Rededication!

Maggie is almost 3 months old (where has the time gone?) and I'm starting to think about my post-partum fitness. I was feeling pretty darn fit when I got pregnant with Maggie and I vowed to stay fit throughout my pregnancy. Around 26-28 weeks, that vow went out the window when my pelvic pain got pretty intense. I got slothy.

Then I had Maggie and was sidelined with breastfeeding, pumping and diaper changes. We are slowly coming out of the newborn fog and I am ready to get fit again. This is where my FitBit comes into play. My FitBit helps keep me accountable and I also like the social challenge. I check to see where my friends are on their steps and a lot of the time, it spurs me to get out and get more steps in.

I Ran Like A Mother! And my fans cheered like family!

I've also decided to make mini goals to help me on the road to fitness.
  • March/April's goal is to get 10,000 steps a day! 
  • May's goal will be to complete the 30 Day Shred (+ 10,000 steps)
  • June/July's goal will be to complete the Couch to 5K program (+10,000 steps)
I'll be checking in to report on my progress and I'd love your tips on getting exercise while taking care of two wonderful kids and pumping like a maniac (more on that later). 
Saturday, March 15, 2014

Twelve Weeks with Chicken Nugget


Twelve weeks! I can't believe that Maggie is already 12 weeks old. We celebrated today by going to Maggie's second knitting festival (because we like to go to knitting festivals). Maggie is growing by leaps and bounds. She is becoming stronger everyday and is so busy right now trying to sit up. She's at that stage where she wants to be sitting up but doesn't have the core muscles to do it. She spends a lot of time sitting up in my lap. 


We're also at a goal point in our breastfeeding journey. I said I would keep trying to get Maggie to breastfeed until she was 12 weeks old. We've been trying and she's been sounding against breastfeeding. We've had some successes along the way but honestly Maggie prefers the bottle and is not a great breastfeeder. Looks like I'm an exclusive pumper and that is what it is. My new goal is to make it to 6 months of pumping (three more to go!) and then I'll re-evaluate from there. 


Maggie tried out her highchair this week but was pretty unimpressed. I was happy that she could sit in it instead of in my lap. I'll get a hot meal yet!


Maggie continues to be an awesome sleeper and a pretty chill lady. She is becoming more interactive though. I put some toys on the handle of her carseat today. While at a stoplight, I glanced back at her in the car. She was busy kicking her feet and laughing at her owl toys. It was frankly adorable! 
Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tales from the Playroom

WHAT? We have a cat? WE HAVE TWO CATS?

Scott and I were talking the other day about when Molly discovered that we had cats. She was beside herself with JOY! I think her entire body shook with excitement. Molly's love for our cats continues to grow and we are now waiting for the day that Maggie discovers our cats. If she follows the same timeline as her sister, that should happen in about a month or so.


When she was younger, Molly's adoration for our cats didn't stop with them, it also found its way to their food. When she first began to crawl, she quickly found their food bowls and had to have a taste (ewwwww!). Luckily as she's grown, her taste for cat food has diminished which is good as I found her love of the kitty kibble to be quite gross. Her current fascination is to sort the cat food into various play kitchen bowls. So that's better, right? 

7:35 a.m. Molly feeds the cats #adayinthelifephotochallenge

One of my favorite things to watch is when Molly (rarely) traps Kato in her room (he's not allowed in there due to his poor behavior choices when left in the room). I've watched them over the monitor as she tries to dress him up and get him to perform according to her demands. It reminds me of when I used to dress up my cats and dog as a kid. My Mom said she would hear animal noises coming from my room and my little voice saying, "No! Be a good kitty/doggie" before the door would open and animals in various states of dress would come bursting out. I could be found running after them, yelling "COME BACK!" I secretly hope that Molly follows my lead and dresses up the cats one day. And if Molly doesn't, maybe her little sister, Maggie will. 

This trip down memory lane is inspired by Dropcam, the cloud-based Wi-Fi video monitoring service. 
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Wednesday Links from Around The Web 3.12.2014


English Muffin Bread This looks delicious!

40 Bags in 40 Days Have you heard of this? This sounds like something I really need to participate in!

Dads bare all for breastfeeding What a great campaign!

Mommy, Someone needs you! I'm trying hard to remember that they won't always need me and to give my little ones all the attention they need right now without getting annoyed.

50 photos to take with your kids This looks like a fun list!
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Chickpea Curry Vegetable Stew


I was first introduced to this stew shortly after having Maggie. One of my friends called and told me that she wanted to bring me some food. She said she was bringing over a veggie stew that was not only delicious but also great for post-partum mothers (due to the fenugreek). I have to admit that I was apprehensive. I'm a die-hard meat eater and am unfairly suspicious of vegetarian fare. I am however not one to turn down a well intentioned act and so I took the soup. 


I had it for lunch that day as I was hungry and it was there. I took one bite and was won over. This is one stew that does not need meat at all. In fact, meat might just ruin the deliciousness of this dish.  Served over quinoa, this is a hearty, winter meal that I might just keep eating through the spring. 


I ended up eating two huge bowls of this stew that day. I had the rest of the stew for lunch over the next few days and never shared a single bite with Scott. 


When my turn came to bring a dish to a new mother from co-op, I quickly decided to make this stew. She raved about the stew and so I knew I needed to share it here. I made a few tweaks to my friend's recipe but only because I can't leave well enough alone. 
Chickpea Curry Vegetable Stew

by Rebecca Mongrain
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Ingredients (6 cups)
  • 2 cans chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (substitute vegetable broth to make this vegetarian)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 4 cups chopped kale (approx 1 bunch)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel seed
  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek seed
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
In a medium saucepan, heat the chickpeas, bay leaf and broth on medium heat.
Heat the olive oil on medium in a large dutch oven and sauté the garlic, ginger and mustard seeds for approximately 5 minutes.
To the dutch oven, add the sweet potatoes, carrots and celery. Sauté for 5 more minutes.
Add the spices and cook for a minute to heat through.
Add the kale and cook until it wilts.
Remove the bay leaf from the beans. Add the beans, broth and coconut milk to the dutch oven. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the veggies are tender.
Serve over Quinoa.
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Sunday, March 09, 2014

Eleven Weeks with Chicken Nugget

Maggie - 11 weeks

Last week was our first week without Scott at home during the day and let me tell you, it was ROUGH! There was more yelling, crying and upset-ness in the house than the previous weeks. The good news is that we made it though and as the week went on, things definitely improved.


Maggie was her usual calm self as I dealt with Molly and some behavioral issues. Molly also decided not to nap last week so Maggie and I missed out on our afternoon snuggles. Friday night we fell asleep on the couch together and I think we needed it. Scott said we were both out and looked so happy curled up together. I know I woke up feeling super refreshed. Maggie has continued her great sleeping habits for which I am super thankful.


Maggie is getting stronger and I sense the days of the bobble head will soon be behind us. She's taking so much in and getting more forceful about her desires. She's been drooling a lot more and has started grasping at her Wubbanub. Maggie also had her first dentist visit as my crown fell off and had to be replaced. I had a friend watch Molly but took Maggie to the dentist with me. Everyone came over to coo at her. It was adorable and she was well behaved as I had my tooth fixed.


Wednesday, March 05, 2014

The Wednesday Links from Around The Web 3.5.2014


What I Do All Day When I Am Home With the Baby Oh the truth in this article! So much truth!

Food That Magically Regrows Itself from Kitchen Scraps This is awesome information and I'm going to test some of these foods out.

Take Better Photos with your iPhone! I don't always have my big camera with me so I take a lot of pictures on my iPhone. I can always improve those photos.

Now this is an enterprising child!

The 7-day Digital Diet I really need to do this but it will have to wait until after Maggie is weaned. Right now I need distractions from all the pumping.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Costco Trippin'

Once a month, I do a HUGE Costco trip with my family. I make Scott come along to wrangle the children and push the cart while I run around the store throwing all the food into the cart. The cart gets heavy FAST! I started doing a monthly Costco trip shortly after I started monthly meal planning. I was looking for ways to cut our food bill while eating healthy and being more efficient about my grocery runs. Now that I have two kids, I just don't have time to run to the grocery store on a daily basis so I like to plan ahead.


I've been asked by lots of friends about my monthly Costco trip and how I manage it so I thought I'd share the process here. The first thing I do is create my monthly meal plan which has my Costco shopping list along with my weekly shopping lists. Costco doesn't carry everything and some things just need to be purchased that week in order to remain fresh.


Once my list is finalized and I've doubled checked that we are really out of certain items (laundry detergent, soap, etc) then we head to Costco. We tend to go the first Saturday of the month and we get there right when it opens. This is crucial. The store gets busy on the weekends and we want to get in and out as fast as possible. I wear Maggie while Scott gets Molly into the cart.


I organize my list by store sections so that I can quickly spot what we need. We usually start in the fruit and veggie area and load up the cart quickly! I get HUGE bags of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc. These are veggies that tend to last longer. I also buy a bunch of apples which are either eaten or turned into applesauce by the middle of the month. I used to buy bananas at Costco but we don't go through the large bundle of them fast enough and I have way too many frozen bananas in my freezer now.


Next we visit the meat area. This is where having a chest freezer has really helped me. For instance, this month I bought ground beef. I only need one pound but with my chest freezer, I can freeze the rest and use it next month. I also buy a rotisserie chicken or two. I like to put them in the fridge when we get home and then pull the meat off later, once they have cooled. I use the shredded chicken in various meals throughout the week. Then we cruise through the prepared speciality food area. I usually grab some single serving hummus and avocado packets. Molly loves these and they make for a quick snack or lunch item. We buy our milk and coffee creamer at Costco too. This is where our large fridge comes in handy. We usually buy 4 gallons of milk (depending on expiration date) and 2 or 3 creamers. These take up space but we have the room for them and it means I don't have to buy them later.


Next we head over to the durable goods and stock up on toilet paper, laundry detergent, cat litter, etc. At this point the cart is getting full and Molly is usually getting wiggly so I start to move faster. We dash through the freezer area and snag a few things like frozen peas, frozen blueberries and sausage before hitting the egg and cheese area. I usually buy two cartons of eggs, a huge block of cheese and cheese sticks. The last area we visit is the dry goods area. I try to keep my eyes open for gems in this area but my energy is usually low so I miss some things. This time I was able to buy some fruit pouches for Molly. She loves these and they make a great snack when we are out and about. I also load up on huge bags of rice, quinoa, etc in this area along with a box of chicken broth and my go-to pasta sauce jars. I have a great area in my basement where I store extra food. It means that the giant bag of rice has been a savings for us. I bought it earlier this year and portioned out the rice. Now when we run low, I head down to my storage area and grab one of the portions. When things start to run low, I add them to my Costco list.

Arrr Matey! Pirate Booty was on sale this month and we have a Pirate Booty obsession in this house! 

Once we get home with our Costco goods, I still have more work to do. I check my menu plan and pull out the meat that I'll need for the week. I keep a bowl in the fridge that I put our meat in. It keeps any spills contained and allows me to see what I'm working with. I also use the bowl to defrost meat as needed.


Then I portion out any dry good items and put the appropriate items into freezer bags. For instance, Scott really likes bagels and you have to buy two sleeves of them at Costco. This works out just fine for us as I freeze one sleeve and leave the other out for him. I freeze a lot of bread items!


We've been saving a lot of money and food by shopping this way. I used to throw out a lot of food that had gone bad because I didn't plan appropriately and then I spent way more money than I needed to at regular grocery stores. I'm also one of those people that feel more comfortable when we have a house adequately stocked with food. It makes me feel less anxious.

That my friends is how I Costco shop! Careful planning, a focused eye and a wonderful sherpa make it all work out.
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