Wednesday, December 31, 2014

One Simple Word for 2015

March Madness - Visit Discovery Park

2014's word of the year was Acceptance and when I selected it, I did not know how appropriate it would turn out to be. I had to accept a lot this past year. I had to accept that my Father had Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer and would pass away much too quickly. I had to accept his death. I do not like it but I have accepted it. I had to accept that Maggie would never breast feed and I would have to accept that I'd be pumping for a long time. I had to accept that my life will be chaotic for years, wonderfully chaotic.

Something I Saw - Boaters on Greenlake #fmsphotoaday

Along the way, I learned how to accept help, how to accept things I could not change and accept that things eventually turn out, just not how you expect. I did a lot of accepting throughout 2014. I also learned that I have some of the most awesome friends and family around. My community is broad, hugely supportive and so important. My community stretches from my neighborhood, across Seattle and across the Internet. Some of my biggest supporters are people I have never actually met in person and yet provide me with immense support when I need it.


2014 wasn't just about accepting. It was also about living. We did a lot of living this year as a family. We took some awesome trips, had the best playdates, made adventures out of the everyday and created memories as a family. There was a lot of good in 2014.


This year, I'm embracing Simple. I'll be working toward simplifying, keeping things simple, simply living. I'll be enjoying the little things, the simple things. Simple. 2015.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Beginning of a Whole30 Journey

EggFrittatasbefore (1 of 1)

In a few short days, Scott and I start our Whole30 journey. I've spent the last few weeks planning out our entire month of food from snacks to breakfasts, lunches and dinners. If being prepared is the key to success, then we are going to be extremely successful (maybe).

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As I worked on this meal plan, I thought about how meal preparation has been a bit difficult for me lately. After some careful thought, I figured out it is because I often bite off more than I can chew so with that in mind, I tried to keep our meals simple. I honestly do not have more than 30 minutes to prepare a meal on an average night so a lot of our meals will be very simple or make enough for leftovers later in the week and at lunch. I also don't really have the time to prep for hours on the weekend for the coming week's meals. I will do some prep (because really one needs to do some food prep work to be successful on Whole30) but I'm not going to spend hours in the kitchen to get this done.

EggFrittatasingredients (1 of 1)

I've planned to make one big dish for breakfast and lunch per week. I'm fine with eating the same thing for a week. I'll also mix in leftovers for lunch. Dinners will be simple affairs with one or two more complicated dishes a week.

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I'm planning on heading to Costco at the end of the week to stock up on Salmon, Chicken Apple Sausages and tons of pre-cut veggies. These will be the base of many meals. I'm also hoping they have some Whole30 snacks available, like LaraBars, Nuts, etc. I don't plan on snacking much but I do think LaraBars will be extremely helpful for any 6 a.m. Barre3 workouts as I don't envision getting up at 4:30 a.m. to cook myself an eggy hash breakfast!  

EggFrittatas (1 of 1)

Molly is even getting into our Whole30 plan and helped me make breakfast for the week. She had lots of questions about what I was doing and what the ingredients were. Then she spent a fair amount of time "taste testing" the tomatoes. While our girls will not be following a strict Whole30 diet (they will be eating grains and dairy), I'm hoping to improve their nutrition by providing them with more opportunities to eat more vegetables.

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You can find my entire January Whole30 plan here. Do you have any advice for us as we begin our Whole30 journey? What was your biggest hurdle and how did you get over it?
Monday, December 29, 2014

Forty (40) or The Year I Get My Sh*t Together


I turned 40 a few weeks ago and while I honestly still feel like I'm 25 with all the confusion that goes with being 25, I also feel quite grown-up. I have two kids, own a home, take care of my Mother, usually show up to things early and try to take care of myself. This past year though I really stopped taking care of myself. I just had too many other people who needed my care more than me (or so I told myself). This coming year though, I plan to get my sh*t together again and start taking care of me, again.

Day 280 (280/366): Rededication!

I stopped exercising before Maggie was born (due to pelvic pain) and stopped eating healthy once she was born. I comforted myself in sweet treats and savory snacks. And that went just as well as one can guess. I started feeling lazy and icky, I gained weight and I lost the bounce in my step. I need to find the bounce again.

How I Relax - I exercise to relax and it feels so good! #fmsphotoaday

I'm taking charge of the road ahead of me by making goals for the year. I am a goal-oriented person so this is what will push and guide me through this process. I recently had my yearly physical and my doctor (the most awesome doctor ever) really spurred me on. She reminded me that I once had my sh*t together and that she knew I could do it again. And so I shall.

Getting My Sh*t Together Goals
  1. Complete the Barre3 Challenge from Jan. 5 to Feb. 1 - I purchased a one month unlimited membership to jumpstart my fitness. I plan to continue Barre3 after the challenge but have not yet determined exactly how I want to do this. I might do class packages or more unlimited memberships. I have already started taking classes to begin preparing for the challenge and I love going. More on this later!
  2. Complete Whole30 in January - I plan to post more about this shortly along with my menu plan for the month. 
  3. Build a Capsule Wardrobe for all 4 seasons - I will take this season by season but after two pregnancies and some weight gain, my wardrobe really needs a revamp. I love the idea of limiting my wardrobe to a few key and inspirational pieces.
  4. Start Purging the House with the Bowl Full of Lemons 14 Week Plan - This link is to her old plan but she is launching a new one in January. I did this in 2013 and it was really helpful. I look forward to clearing out some stuff and simplifying again this coming year. 
  5. Complete Four (4) Day in the Life Challenges
  6. Get back into running by doing Couch to 5K and running at least one race. (this is a repeat from last year) 
  7. Revive the blog by posting more regularly and thoughtfully. I've been thinking really hard about this goal and I don't have an specifics in mind just yet but I do have a whole lot of ideas. 
  8. Complete TKGA Master Knitting Level I - This is a goal that I've been working on for almost 10 years. I think it might be time to finally knock it out of the ballpark. This will be a challenging goal for me to accomplish given the amount of time I have and the amount of time I think this goal deserves. 
  9. Become more thoughtful about how I consume products and produce waste. I want to compost more, recycle more and produce less trash. 
  10. Grow a kick-ass Garden! I want to have a Spring, Summer and Fall Garden this year. I want to plan it better and eat more of our abundant produce. I can not wait to dive my hands into the rich earth and grow something. 
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These two little energetic girls are my inspiration and will spur me on through my loft goals. A happy and healthy mama means a happy and healthy family. Here's to getting my sh*t together! (Photo Credit: Sweet Peeks Photography)
Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Traditions - An Advent Round-Up

christmasprincess (1 of 1)

The Advent Season has come and gone. Christmas arrived with much fanfare and love. We celebrated with joy in our hearts and a bit of sadness as we missed Poppa so very much. 

Christmasgirls2014 (1 of 1)

The girls had a great time with all the advent activities leading up to the holidays. We may not have accomplished all on my ambitious list but we had fun doing them.

Christmas 2014

We are now ready to move onto 2015 with high hopes that it will be better than 2014.  
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Traditions - Advent Calendar Day 16-21


The Advent Holiday fun has kept us busy and I have been lax in updating here on our adventures. We've colored drawings of Santa Claus, listened to a reading of T'was the Night Before Christmas, Drank Hot Cocoa, took Christmas Tree Light photos and listened to a ton of Christmas Music. We still haven't checked out the WildLights at the Zoo but we did drive to see all the Christmas Lights and checked out Candy Cane Lane. We ran out of time to make a paper garland over the weekend but plan to double-up this week as our tree needs a new paper garland.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Twelve Months with Mag-Pie

Maggie 52 Weeks

Dear Maggie,

Today you are one-year-old and as I remember the night you surprised us with your entry, I get a bit misty. I remember the adrenaline racing through my body and the exhilaration I felt upon meeting you. I'm also reminded of my Father racing to our house to take care of Molly so we could leave for the hospital to meet you. I'm so grateful that he had the opportunity to meet you while also saddened that you will never get to know what a wonderful Grandfather he was.

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We had a little party to celebrate you and you had such a great time! You chased your sister's friends around and played with your cousin, Abby. You had cake (a homemade version of a Funfetti cake with a fun little bunting), opened so many presents and giggled along the way.

present (1 of 1)

You've grown from a wee 8 lb 12 oz newborn to a 24 lb + toddler in just a year. It's amazing how fast you've grown and all the amazing things you've learned to do. You now open heavy drawers in the kitchen to quickly throw things all over, you run fast, you love holding forbidden objects in both your hands and trying to hid them from my and you babble with the best of them. I am most impressed with your communication skills. For someone with no words, you can quickly and efficiently express your wants and desires. It's absolutely amazing!


This year has been a roller coaster going from amazing highs to devastating lows but having you has really made it such a wonderful year. We struggled a bit as a pair in the beginning when you wouldn't (couldn't) breast feed and I ended up pumping for over 8 months. That was one area that I really wanted us to succeed in and while it may not have looked like traditional success, I am still really proud of making it work for us. You've thrived and are a great eater. 

Platy meets Chicken Nugget!

While I may have been joking around when the above photo was taken, I kinda wasn't and that has been my face so many times over the past year. You and your sister are quite the pair. We call the two of you, Wild Bill and Calamity Jane and we often do not know who is the leader and who is the side kick. 


I am looking forward to many more adventures with you this next year. Molly will be going to a drop-off preschool next year which means we'll have four mornings a week together. I'm looking forward to having that one-on-one time with you. You are a character and I am so looking forward to getting to know you even more. I have a strong feeling that you are going to have me in stitches more often than your sister does. 


This past month has been filled with holiday activity and celebration. Your birthday season will always be crowded by the holidays. I'll show you how to be protective of your day, just as I am protective of my day; while also celebrating the season. Soon your second Christmas will be here and I know Santa has forgiven you for crying on his lap and will be bringing you the best presents. 


Maggie, your smiling, happy face keeps brings smiles to all of our faces. You have completed our little family and made it perfect. We love you so much and so enjoy every moment we have with you. We love you, little Mag-Pie! 
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Traditions - Christmas Sugar Cookies


As a child, my Mom made these delicious and buttery sugar cookies every year at Christmas. She'd take out her red Christmas book and flip through the pages to this one recipe. She'd use her hands to mix the dough and when I was old enough, recruited me to mix the dough with my hands. I'd feel the texture between my little fingers and smell the sugar, that is how I identified Christmas.


I loved her Christmas book. The dust cover is long gone and the spine reads, Take Joy! I used to sit and stare at the illustrations in the book. I dreamed of doing all the Christmas things that they were doing. This book is long out of print but remains a favorite in my heart. This year I liberated the book from her bookshelf so I could make sugar cookies with my girls.


I gathered all the ingredients and laid them out so Molly could easily combine them. The great thing about about this recipe is that you literally dump all the ingredients in a bowl and start mixing them with your hands. I thought I was smarter than the recipe and tried using my KitchenAid Stand Mixer to mix the dough. That was a mistake! My poor mixer could not handle it and I ended up finishing the job by hand mixing the dough.


I'm pretty sure the girls and I are going to adopt the tradition of making Christmas Sugar Cookies. As they grow, they too can have the dreaded task of mixing the dough by hand which I hope they eventually learn to love and eventually pass onto their little ones.  

Christmas Sugar Cookies
by Rebecca Mongrain
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
Ingredients (5 dozen cookies)
  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 3 Tablespoons milk
  • Nutmeg for dusting cookies
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with hands until smooth. The great thing about this dough is that you can mix, mix, mix without repercussions.
3. Form into a ball, dust with flour and chill throughly. Break into smaller pieces and roll as thin as possible. Dust with granulated sugar and nutmeg. Using cookie cutters or round glasses, cut into shapes.
4. Bake until the top of the cookies are light brown on top, about 10-12 minutes. Place on cookie racks to cool.
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Traditions - Advent Calendar Day 14 & 15


This past weekend, I headed down to San Diego to celebrate my upcoming 40th birthday with my best friend who is due to have her first baby any time now (she says she needs three more weeks but ANY TIME NOW!). It was my first weekend away from Maggie and Scott's first weekend alone with the girls. I have to say that everyone did awesome while I was away. I might need to make this a regular thing.


We stayed at The Westin in downtown San Diego which was quite lovely. Even more awesome was the fact that my Mom gave me some of her points so I was able to book a very nice room. The best part might have been the bed all to myself and that I was able to sleep through the night without interruption for TWO WHOLE NIGHTS! 


My friend and I hit up the shops after indulging in pancakes for breakfast. Her husband picked us up later and chauffeured us around town. We discovered this place called 85C which supposedly has the best coffee ever and it was really good. Later that night, they took me out for Mexican food and a HUGE margarita. It was nice to be able to drink without worrying about anyone but me. 


We also checked out the Christmas Lights in Balboa Park before calling it a night and heading back to the hotel for another night of uninterrupted sleep (can you tell that I've been having a lot of interruptions to my sleep?). 


The next morning we watched Splash on tv and relived some childhood memories before checking out of the hotel and heading to the Hillcrest Farmer's Market. It was a pretty good market though it had nothing on the Ballard Market! It was a bit of a shock to see fresh berries though!


We finished out the day with some time on the beach before I headed to the airport for my flight home. It was a wonderful weekend and just the way I wanted to spend some of my last days of my 30s. I can't believe that I'll be 40 by the end of the week. That sounds so grown-up and yet, I do not feel like a grown-up. 


Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Traditions - Advent Calendar Day 11, 12 & 13


On Day 11 of our Advent Calendar, we visited my Dad's grave and left some flowers before heading out to lunch and a day of remembrance.


For our twelfth day, we stayed close to house and made Play-doh Snowmen! I think I had more fun with the creations than Molly did.


She did have fun gathering supplies on our walk home from preschool and loved putting buttons on the snowmen. She directed me in making a few of them too. 


Today, on Day 13, we headed to the Sheraton Gingerbread House Village which supports the JDRF Northwest Chapter. We had a great time checking out all the beautiful houses and Molly talked about the different ones all the way home. Maggie slept through our adventure. She would be so bummed if she knew what she missed out on. 




I leave tonight for my first solo trip away from the girls. I'm going to visit my best friend in San Diego and I am so excited for a weekend away. While I'm gone, Scott is going to continue the Advent Fun with the girls. I'm sure they will be having an exciting weekend themselves. 
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