Author Archive

31
May

Aquarium…here we come!

Aquarium

I was so excited to take the day off from work on Emily’s actual first birthday so we could be together doing special things the whole day.  When I was thinking about what would be fun for Emily, the Baltimore Aquarium came to mind.  She is finally old enough to appreciate looking at all the fish, and it sounded like a fun adventure for her birthday.

Emily excels at the whole stranger anxiety thing that babies have going on.  She started early at 3 months, and at almost 14  months, the “stranger danger” is still going strong. People are welcomed into our home with blood curdling screams of terror (so nice).  This always makes me a little bit nervous when we go out, but when we got to the aquarium, Emily did great.  In fact, I think she enjoyed the people watching more than the fish watching.  The funniest thing she did happened in the darkest areas of the aquarium.  In the Baltimore Aquarium, you start at the top of the building and wander down ramps that go past huge tanks with sharks, and fish, and other ocean creatures.  It is fun because you can look all the way down form the top to the bottom of the building.  Anyways, this area is pretty dark to really highlight the tanks.  I guess the dark helped our shy little girl come out of her shell, because every time we would enter a dark area, she would suddenly start talking in the loudest voice we had ever heard come out of her.  It was hilarious.  I know we were getting looks from people wondering who this kid was that thought the dark, quiet areas of the aquarium were the best place to really start babbling at the top of her lungs, but it was great to see Emily just having a good time and come out of her shell.

Goofball

Her favorite part of the aquarium (other than the dark) was the jellyfish. She loved watching them float up and down under the black lights. Mesmerizing.  If only I had a tank above her crib, maybe she would be content to just stare at the jellyfish when she wakes up in the middle of the night.

Jellyfish 1

Jellyfish 2

Looks like she had a fun and busy day…

End of Day

Category : Baby | Blog
8
Mar

What?!

Emily is 11 months old today, which means I am in full birthday planning mode (not to mention freakout mode because how could my baby already be on the verge of one year???).  Of course I will have all of the details for the party after it happens, but here is a sneak peak…

Peter Rabbit

Birthday Wreath

Flower Ball

I still have a lot of details to figure out, and I have to keep my perfectionist side in check because your baby only turns one once and it would be easy to get stressed out while trying to make it perfect.

Happy last month of your first year Emily!

Emily 11 months

Category : Baby | Entertaining | Blog
4
Mar

I made it to the finish line!

Whole Living Challenge

I made it to the end of week three, and I have to say that the transformation in my eating has been really good.  I feel like I am back on track with healthy eating and limited sugar intake.  I have lost a few pounds too.  I am definitely planning to keep a few of these recipes in my regular repertoire. Here is my review of the food for Week Three:

Category : Food and Drink | Recipes | Blog
2
Mar

Love, Love, Love!

I am obsessed with my runaround bag.  I got hooked on the blog Noodlehead because I asked one of my friends who also sews/quilts what sewing blogs she likes and this one was at the top of the list.  When I saw her pattern for the Runaround Bag, I immediately wanted to make it.  It took a while to choose the fabric I wanted to use, but I finally settled on this one (Amy Butler Midwest Modern Martini) for the exterior with a gray interior.

Midwest Modern Martini

I love gray and yellow together.  So I picked my fabric and got to work on it during my last few weeks of maternity leave.  I have been using it for almost 8 months now and I love it!  It is the perfect size for all my junk belongings.  This was my second attempt at a bag and first attempt at a zipper pocket, so I am pretty proud of myself.

Zipper Pocket

Check out that zipper action!

Runaround Bag

I like the bag so much I decided to make one for my sister for her birthday.  When I got to her house she saw my bag and commented on how much she liked it (isn’t that the best when you get a gift for someone and they randomly mention how much they like that thing or want it and you are secretly jumping up and down on the inside).  Here is the bag I made for her:

Runaround Bag Sister

Even Elmo (aka my niece) likes it!

Elmo with Runaround Bag

Category : Sewing | Blog
25
Feb

Tofu is in the House!

tofu

So I am feeling good and I have lost a few pounds (so exciting!) and the food is tasty, but I am still finding a lack of motivation for the third week of detox.  I do find myself occasionally thinking about eating a giant burger, but I can resist that.  I think I just don’t want to put in the effort of planning the next week, which is a slippery slope to eating junk.  Good thing I decided to blog about this so I feel like I have to plan, otherwise I might be getting off the Whole Living train right about now.  So here we go. The third and final week…

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Day Six

Day Seven

Snacks

Category : Food and Drink | Recipes | Blog
24
Feb

Two Weeks and Feelin’ Good

Whole Living Challenge

Week two was much easier than week one.  My overwhelming afternoon sugar cravings have greatly diminished and I feel like I have more energy (could also be because Emily is sleeping better).  So here is what I liked and disliked from Week 2 (I had more leftovers than expected so I haven’t tried nearly as much as I thought I would for week 2):

Category : Food and Drink | Recipes | Blog
18
Feb

Fish is in the House!

I am pretty excited to add fish, brown rice, and quinoa into my diet!  This week looks promising.

Whole Living Challenge

Fish is in the House!

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Day Six

Day Seven

Snacks

Category : Food and Drink | Blog
16
Feb

First Week Summary

Whole Living Challenge

The first week went well (minus Valentine’s Day – you can’t attend a cookie party and not eat a few cookies).

The Hardest Part

The afternoons were brutal for me.  I truly have an addiction to sugar (especially chocolate) and my craving is strongest in the afternoons.  I was able to eat fruit after dinner in substitution for dessert, but not in the afternoons.  I found myself thinking about eating something sweet a lot in the afternoons.  I came very close to cheating a few times, but I made it.  The trick will be continuing to limit my sugar intake after this three week detox is complete.

The Best Part

Having every meal of the week planned out ahead of time was great.  I never came home at night without any idea what I was going to make for dinner.  Also, I felt really healthy. It felt good consuming so many veggies, and I really enjoyed it.  My refrigerator looks like the produce section at the grocery store, and it is great.  I really hope to change my cooking habits through this.  I definitely want to incorporate more veggies along with our meals from now on.  I always felt too tired to cook dinner and a veggie side dish, but I am learning new way of making quick veggies, and I plan to keep it up after this is all done.

The Most Surprising Part

Most of the recipes have been really tasty.  I think my favorite so far was the cauliflower stirfry.  I couldn’t believe how much flavor it had with just garlic, ginger, and lemon juice!

Recipe Reviews

Here is what I thought of the recipes I have tried so far:

  • Mango and Tahini Smoothie I really did not enjoy the tahini in this.  The flavor combination just did not work for me.
  • Creamy Broccoli Soup Yum.  Very green.  The avocado made this soup very creamy.  A great addition.  It had nice flavor.
  • Curried Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup This soup was very good.  I ended up making it with red curry powder because I was all out of regular curry powder, and it was really tasty.  It was nice hardy soup.
  • blueberry smoothie This was really good, but next time I think I will leave out the mint.
  • Cauliflower stirfry As I already said, this was one of my favorites.  Definitely a keeper even after this detox is done.
  • Lentil Salad A keeper with a few modifications.  I add some red wine vinegar and topped the salad with sliced avocado.  Much better with these additions!  Also a keeper.
  • Kale and White Bean Soup I felt like this could benefit from more flavor.  I think next time I would make it with veggie broth instead of water.
  • Roasted Chickpeas Good flavor but the texture was too mealy for me.

The plan for Week 2 is coming soon.

Category : Food and Drink | Blog
11
Feb

A Healthy Eating Restart

When I was pregnant, I gave up a lot of unhealthy foods.  After I had Emily I went on a little binge of all the things I gave up for 9 months.  Then the sleep deprivation kicked in and I found myself craving anything with sugar (in large quantities).  To top it all off, those cravings were combined with the insatiable hunger that comes with breastfeeding.  In the beginning, I watch the pounds I had gained rapidly disappear and I thought I would be back to my pre-pregnancy self in no time…ha!  The wight loss definitely bottomed out and then plateaued and then started to rise again after the first few weeks.  Of course another problem with thinking I would be back to my old self in no time was the fact that my stomach was all stretched out.  So here we are, 10 months later and I need to reboot myself in the health arena.  I have a two part plan.  First, I was reading All Things G & D (one of my favorite blogs) and saw the Whole Living Challenge.  Perfect!  This is exactly what I need to start over.  It is a three week (four if you feel ambitious) healthy eating plan.  It involves reducing your diet to the basics (fruits, veggies, lentils, and nuts) and then slowly adds things (fish, grains, eggs) back in.  The part that scares me the most is giving up any added sugar (no candy or cookies or chocolate – ahhhhhhh).  Caffeine is also off limits, but since I gave that up when I got pregnant, I won’t miss it.  The second part of my plan starts on February 19th.  I am taking a postnatal yoga class that targets all those areas that got stretched during pregnancy.  It is a six week class, which will hopefully whip my core muscles back into shape by the time Emily is 1 year old.

Veggies

Week One Starts now (as I sip on my mango and tahini smoothie – yum?)

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Day Six

Day Seven

Snacks

Stay tuned to find out which recipes are keepers, and how I am doing.

Category : Food and Drink | Recipes | Blog
8
Feb

Papers Papers Everywhere!

I need to get organized!  Before Emily was born I started trying to get everything in order.  Unfortunately, I bit off more than I could chew – nesting gone wild!  I pulled out so much stuff, convinced I could get through it all and purge our house of every unnecessary item.  That great plan combine with Emily’s decision to come into this world a week early was a recipe for chaos…and I have been living in that chaos for 10 months now (yes, Emily is 10 months old today!).  Needless to say, it is driving me crazy!  The problem is my husband and I are both savers.  That combined with no time makes for a lot of mess.  I can’t even bring myself to show you what our home office has become.  We are in desperate need of purging and reorganization!  So I need an action plan (aka a list because I love lists and they make me feel better and in control).

I have very little spare time and my husband has even less with the demands of his job.  Every once in a while I have visions of getting a burst of energy and going on a cleaning rampage.  That never really happens, but just in case it does one of these days I asked my husband if there is any system to his piles of papers that cover every surface in our office (including the floor).  Sometimes there is organization within the chaos, and I don’t want to throw off his whole system.  So just in case my fantasy of a cleaning rampage comes to fruition, I wanted to see what the consequences would be if I cleaned up all of his mess in addition to mine.  I think I got a tentative nod from him that it would be okay.

Okay, back to the action plan.  Here is what we are dealing with: papers that need to be filed (I have gotten as far as creating a super organized filing system), papers that need to be recycled, papers that need to be shredded, old magazines, old newspapers, my craft supplies, and lots of random stuff.  The problem is the amount of time it takes to go through all of this stuff and determine what should be kept and what should be trashed.  To make it manageable, I think I need to break it up into small goals instead of waiting for my burst of energy (which lets face it, will never come because I am a crazy sleep-deprived mom who can’t drink coffee because then my baby gets wired from the breast milk).  Enough rambling.  Decision made (drumroll)…Quadrants!  I am going to separate the room into quadrants and focus on one quadrant at a time.  In addition, I will put all of my magazines together and go through them while I watch television at night (multitasking, what?!).

Magazines

So here is the action plan/list:

  • Quadrant one: my area of the office
  • Quadrant two: the wall of storage
  • Quadrant three: the seating area
  • Quadrant four: my husband’s desk area
  • First clear off my crafting/sewing table (this will provide a work area to sort papers)
  • Get a bag for recycling and the shredder ready
  • Put away all crafting supplies
  • Sort papers into filing piles and recycle/shred any unnecessary stuff
  • Start a list of any organizational supplies we need to get for things that don’t have  a place yet.
  • File papers after each quadrant has been sorted.

We’ll see what I am left with after I tackle this list.  Fingers crossed that I can make some progress and bring sanity back to our home office.

Category : House Fixing | Miscellaneous | Blog