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
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
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
18
Dec

Life will never be the same.

Baby Collage 1st month

Baby E is now 8 months old!  The time has flown by, but it also seems like a long time ago that we were taking the pictures above.  It has been an amazing journey so far.  I never knew how sleep deprived I could be (or how delusional my husband could be in the middle of the night), and I never knew how happy one smile could make me feel.  Each day is a new adventure as E becomes more and more her own unique person.  She has opinions now and is better at communicating her likes and dislikes with squeals, screams, and laughter.

The hardest lesson for me in this transition (other than coping with sleep loss) is the loss of my personal time.  I like to accomplish many things each day and love working on my projects, but now I have to remind myself that I shouldn’t feel bad when I don’t get things done because E is a big accomplishment and spending all of my time with her is the best project.  Even with this blog I have to tell myself that it is okay that I haven’t posted anything for long periods of time because my time is spent with this amazing new person in my life and nothing is more important than that.  I never imagined that 8 months would go by without posting, but taking more time to live life and less time to write about it has been the priority since E was born.  Honestly, I have been writing this post for about 5 months and have changed the first sentence from 3 months to 5 months and now 8 months.  At this point, I am finally regaining some personal time as E becomes more independent and has started taking naps (sleep is definitely not her strong suit).

I am so excited to be days away from baby’s first Christmas even though I know this Christmas is more for me than for her.  It has been wonderful bringing the tree into our house and lighting it up for the first time and seeing her reaction.

Hopefully I will be able to start posting more frequently soon.  For now I wish everyone a very happy holiday with friends and family.


Category : Baby
8
Apr

Our Baby has Arrived!

Birth Announcement

Category : Baby
1
Apr

Look out Martha!

My sister threw me the most amazing baby shower!  She always claims that she is not good at putting these things together, but she far surpassed anything I have ever seen.  Take a look…

The idea of hanging gifts on the clothes line was so cute.

Clothes Line

Check out the mint chocolate owls she spent hours making…

Chocolate Owls

And this amazing “Welcome Baby” sign.  She wanted to use the baby’s name, but we aren’t revealing that until the baby arrives.

Welcome Baby

We had amazing food catered by Pain Quotidien

Food

Sandwiches

…and of course a photo booth since that is my husband’s business…

Photo Booth

My sister put out a scrap book for everyone to put the photos from the booth in with messages.  She also put out paper and an owl bank for people to write down wishes for the baby and insert them into the bank.  Another great idea she had was to have people bring a book for the baby instead of a card (which is how I got so many books for my front facing bookcase).

We played one game at the shower, which was great.  My sister found an old book about pregnancy and we had to fill in the blank for excerpts from the book.  Here are a few samples:

  • During the first half of pregnancy, an ____  _____, without stays, may contribute to your comfort, especially if you have been accustomed to wearing on.  Answer: elastic girdle
  • The most important consideration in regard to the expectant mother’s wardrobe is that it should be ____.  Answer: attractive
  • What should the expectant mother pack in her hospital bag? Cologne, cosmetics, manicure set, your favorite talcom powder

As you can see, the answers were pretty interesting and everyone enjoyed the game.

Overall, the shower was amazing and lots of fun!

Category : Baby | Entertaining
31
Mar

Let’s see what we have accomplished

  • Clear out all of our junk from the baby’s room – this is no small task.  I’m not sure how, but somehow we have managed to fill our entire house with stuff in 2 years.  We have 3 bedrooms upstairs in our house.  The plan is to make one a nursery and one a play room for now.  That means cleaning out 2 rooms!  Yikes!

So far we have the baby’s room cleared out and about half of the play room.

Tan Room

  • Tear out old closet system.  The old shelving in the closet was pretty dirty from the previous owners (we’re talking melted jolly rancher candy dirty), so it has to go.
  • Patch and paint the closet.
  • Put in new closet system (to hang all the super-cute baby clothes).

My husband worked very hard tearing out the existing closet shelves, sanding down the walls and painting them before we had the new closet system installed.  Here is the closet with the shelves torn out before sanding and painting:

Baby Closet Torn Down

And here is the new and drastically improved closet:

Finished Closet

The double hanging bars, drawers, and shelving have made the closet so much more efficient than before.  Plenty or space now for all the cute baby clothes.

  • Patch and Paint the ceiling and walls

Going Blue

Done.

  • Remove old ceiling fan and put up new ceiling fan.  Not all of the lights work on the old fan, plus it is pretty ugly – so out with the old and in with the new!  We decided to go with another ceiling fan because air circulation is supposed to help with SIDS when the baby is sleeping.

Out with the old…

Old Ceiling Fan

In with the new…

New Ceiling Fan

  • Get a dresser/changing table and crib.

Done.  We got a dresser/changing table used on craigslist and put a fresh coat of paint on them and bought the crib on overstock.com.

  • Build the crib.

Done.

  • Get an area rug.

Done.  Got a cotton rug on overstock.com.  I wanted to stick with natural materials for rugs to try to avoid off-gassing of chemicals.

  • Decorate walls with decals and artwork.

I wanted to add a personal touch to the room with some homemade art for the wall.  I went to Michael’s and picked out paper with different patterns and textures that would go with my color scheme, and I picked out a shadow box frame (super cheap thanks to those reliable weekly 40% off coupons).  Then I went to work with my scissors…

Owl Art Parts

Next I put the pieces together.

Daddy Owl

Sticking with the owl theme.  I wanted a family of owls to represent our new family so I added 2 more owls and branch.

Owl Family

And here it is in the baby’s room framed in the shadow box…

Owl Family in Shadow Box

Little did I know at the time that my brother-in-law was crafting a similar idea.  He used torn paper to create an amazing owl for the baby’s room.

Eric's Owl

I also knew I wanted to do some sort of wall decal for the room.  I found the perfect decal here: Trendy Peas

The decal came in several pieces and was super easy to put up:

First I cut the paper up into smaller pieces to make it more manageable to peal each piece off.

Wall Decal Step 1

Next I put up the tree:

Wall Decal Step 2Wall Decal Step 3

Then came the owls:

Wall Decal Step 4

And finally the leaves:

Wall Decal Step 5

  • Put up curtains.

The curtains are how the whole owl theme got started.  I fell in love with this super cute fabric and the owl theme was born.  I sewed the owl fabric with a panel of green at the bottom and green pompoms going between the two panels to make the curtains.

Curtain pompoms

And with that the room is complete.  So here it is again…Before

Tan Room

After

finished room

You may be wondering about the rose colored chair in the corner that does not fit in with the theme at all.  This was my grandmother’s chair that I got when she passed away, so for sentimental reasons I wanted to put it in the baby’s room.  I have thought about making a new cover for it, but the task intimidates me and there are other things that are higher on the priority list.  So it is staying the way it is for now.

Some details for your viewing pleasure…

Changing Table

Owl Knobs

Owls and Birds

Bookcase

I really wanted to get a bookcase for the room where the books face forward because it not only looks nice, but it allows children to really see the books and pick out what they want to read (or pull them all off the shelf one by one as has been done by several one-year-olds who have visited).  I got this one on kids.woot.com.

Category : Baby | Design | House Fixing