Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Traditions I want for my Family

As Christmas approaches I have begun to think about the traditions that I would like to establish for our little family. This year our Little One won't get to participate in all of these things but I can't wait until she can!

Have an Advent calendar and devotion- I love this one.
Pack an Operation Christmas Child box.
Take a walk through the local park that puts up beautiful Christmas light displays.
Bake and decorate Christmas cookies and hand them out to those who serve us all year long.
Take the hayride through the Living Christmas Story that takes place in a nearby city.
Picking out our Christmas tree and decorating it as a family.

She was fascinated with the Christmas lights
I do not want to overfill our calendar but be able to take time to relax and enjoy the season. I hate that so often I get stressed out and exhausted during this season when what I really want is to enjoy family and cherish what this season is all about- the coming of our Lord and Savior. I want that for the Little One as well- I want her to know that Christmas is not about receiving gifts but celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Real Food: Week Five

Week Four of the food challenge went alright- though I did make exceptions for the holiday traditions. I figured I did not want to cut things out that were apart of our Thanksgiving since I enjoy those things and it is a once a year occurrence. I did resist a Sonic hamburger on Sunday and waited to eat lunch until we got home...man that was hard!

This week's challenge is 'Two new Whole Foods' the rules are:
" Try a minimum of two new whole foods that you’ve never had before."

I like this challenge! I went to the grocery store today planning on picking up Kale since it seems to be the trendy food of the moment. My store only carried a large package of cut Kale for $10.99! I was not paying that much so I picked up Watercress instead. I have never eaten it before and the package said it would be a good addition to salads or sandwiches. The other food I am planning on trying is steel cut oats, I have had a sample package in my pantry for some time now and I'm going to give it a try!

Though I have not been extremely strict about keeping to these challenges it helps me to be aware of what I'm putting in  my body. I have made a few changes to how I eat- I am now sweetening my coffee with maple syrup, no more refined sugar! I have a feeling that it is going to be even more difficult to stick with these challenges since the holiday season is now upon us but I am going to do my best!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


This year I am thankful for so many things. I do not think I could list them all but here are a few:

Our Little One and that she made her debut into the world safely.
My husband who loves me at my worst and knows when I need some extra TLC
Our extended family who has helped us out in so many ways whether it by providing meals, watching the Little One, or kind words
Our church family who is so loving- their prayers and their meals have meant so much
Time at home to rest, recover and get to know our Little One
And so much more- we are such a blessed family

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Three Months!

Holy Smokes- I have a three month old! These past three months have flown by- I say that now but some of those first few nights seemed never ending. Here's what's going on with the Little One

She is babbling away, I sure do wish I knew what she was saying!
Recently she has started to laugh, it is so fun.
Yoga is one of her favorite things and it tires her out
Now when we read to her she studies the pictures and reaches out to touch the pages
Last night was her second night sleeping in her own room- I think she slept better than I did.
She is still waking up once in the middle of the night to eat...I cannot wait until this part is over with.
I'm not sure how much she weighs right now but she is GROWING and her cheeks are just getting chubbier, I love it!

I love her expression in this picture!

Hanging with Auntie Jessica
Dad loves to mismatch clothes!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Real Food: Week Four

I thought last week's challenge would be difficult- but I made it through pretty easily. I guess I don't eat as much meat as much as I thought. I did have one slip- we went to a wedding and I had a little of the beef. Going vegetarian would be doable for me but I really do enjoy red meat every now and then and chicken is a staple in our house. I did not hear one complaint from my husband about not having meat during our dinners this week either I was proud!

 Open Faced Portabella Mushroom sandwiches topped with diced tomatoes and basil- these were super yummy!

This week's challenge is No Fast Food or Deep Fried Food. The rules are:

 "No fast food (as detailed below) or any foods that have been deep-fried in oil.
For this challenge you must avoid:
  • Restaurants with drive-thru windows
  • Convenience stores that also typically sell gas
  • Places where you watch them assemble your food through a glass wall
  • Restaurants that are situated in a “food court” setting
  • School lunches (most schools do not have a fully functioning kitchen and simply heat precooked meals)
  • Airplane food"
You can see the rest of post here.

This is going to be tough, not that I eat a lot of fried food or fast food but it's Thanksgiving week. On Tuesday we will celebrate Thanksgiving with my Dad's side of the family and we do not eat the traditional Thanksgiving foods but instead we eat shrimp and fried oysters. Also I will be hitting the mall of Friday with my mom, grandma and sisters for our traditional shopping trip and we usually eat in the food court. I have not decided if I will made an exception for either of these events or not. It seems like every week I make an exception for something or another so we'll see.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Things I love about being a Mommy...

Becoming a Mom has completely change my world- I know everyone says that it will but again it's one of those things you don't quite grasp until it happens. Here are a few things I love about my new life:

I dance more.
  All that rocking and swaying is very comforting to the little one and it usually helps her snooze.
I listen to more music.
   With all that dancing there has to be music!
I spend more time outside.
Being outside seems to calm her
I do more yoga.
She loves it! We are taking a Mama Baby Yoga class and we do a little everyday at home
I am eating healthier.
Since I am not only feeding myself but my little one I am more aware of what I put in my body
I love to watch her as she learns and delights in the simplest of things
Now that I am a mom I am thankful to my mother for all the sleepless nights, and patience it takes to have a newborn. I am also thankful that God has given us such an amazing gift.
Now that I am staying home I have more time to crochet, sew and blog- that is if she takes a decent nap.
My little Etsy model

Monday, November 14, 2011

Real Food: Week Three

I believe I jinxed myself when I said last week's challenge was going to be easy. I completely failed, on Tuesday I drank sweet tea it was at church and I filled my glass up and drank it not remembering the challenge until I went to re-fill my glass with water. I was so mad at myself!
Then came Thursday, it was our fourth wedding anniversary and I said, it's just one night and it's a special occasion, I'm going to cheat and I had a fall apple martini. I'm not going to lie- that thing was AMAZING and worth the cheat.
Friday we hosted a little family get together and I made my very yummy very special apple cider and I of course had a glass- it was another 'special occasion'.
Saturday morning I was fixing coffee for the mister and myself and was in the middle of a conversation about how the day was going to go and out of habit I plopped in a spoonful of sugar into my mug. AHH!

So I am realizing that there are always going to be 'special occasions' and if I am going to commit to this I need to commit. Today starts Week Three: Meat and I've planned out the meals and I am planning on being successful! Here are the rules:

"All meat consumed this week will be locally raised (within 100-miles of your hometown). Meat consumption will also be limited to 3 – 4 servings this week, and when it is eaten meat will not be presented as the “focal point” of the meal. Instead meat will be treated as a side item or simply used to help flavor a dish."

Since local meat is super expensive and this family is on a TIGHT budget we will be eating vegetarian this week. I did look for local meat and it is available through several avenues in my area which is good to know.  Here are a few things we will be dining on this week:

Farmer's Market Stir Fry 
Portobello Mushroom sandwiches
Margherita Pizza with homemade pizza crust
Quesadillas with mushrooms, onions and cheese
Sweet Potato Soup

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One More Way to be Green with the Little One

Since our sweet Little One has come into the world we produce more trash than ever before! For the first few weeks of her life we used disposable diapers and disposable wipes- for a household that recycles and composts this jump in our garbage was a bit unsettling to me.

When the Little One was about 6 weeks we transitioned over the cloth diapers, this was the plan all along but she was just too tiny to fit into what we had gotten for her. My friend, Jessica was a HUGE help in figuring out what kind of diapers and how much to get before she arrived. After spending all that money for diapers I couldn't bring myself to purchase cloth wipes, I figured I would buy some once the shock of how much cloth diapers cost up front wore off (yes I know, in the long run we are saving TONS of money but initially you have to spend some cash!). I just never actually got around to getting any, so we kept using the disposable ones.

Just like disposable diapers, the cost of disposable wipes add up. It seemed like I was running the the store every week to buy more, even when I bought the big pack. So what does a mom do? I made my own! Now they aren't pretty since I'm not too handy with the sewing machine and I still need more. I made my first batch with some flannel I had leftover from another project and measured them so they would be a perfect fit for the wipe container I had on hand.

When using cloth wipes you need something to moisten them with, you can just use warm water or make your own solution. I chose to make my own solution since I didn't want to leave the baby on the changing table while I ran to the bathroom to wet her wipe.

 It didn't take much to make the wipe solution! 

The recipe I used was:

  • 2 tablespoons baby shampoo or wash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 tablespoons of aloe gel
 I found the recipe here there are several other recipes depending on your babies needs or what you have on hand. Once I mixed it all up I just put my wipes in my old wipes container and poured the solution over them. It only took about half of the solution to wet my wipes so I just transferred the rest into a tupperware for the next round.

Though we are not using these cloth wipes exclusively yet it makes me feel better that I am cutting down on my use of the disposable wipes. I like that we won't be spending as much money and she is getting less exposure to whatever chemicals the disposables have in them. I just need to get some more flannel to make some more as that girl can go through some wipes!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Real Food: Week Two

Whew! Week One of the Real Food mini-challenge went my super fast! I think I was pretty successful at my task of adding two servings of either fruits or vegetables to each meal.

There was one night where Chick-Fil-A got in the way though. I was having a really hard time since I tried to cram too many things into one day and care for the little one. Errands are so hard when you are working around a 2 1/2 month old's schedule! I was zapped, she was fussy and cooking was the LAST thing I wanted to do. My husband, being the wonderfully sweet man that he is offered to pick up my favorite meal, Chick-Fil-A! I could not resist. However, I did add baby carrots to my dinner so I got one serving in instead of two- you do what you can, right?

Moving on to week two. This week's challenge is titled Beverages and the rules are:

"Beverages will be limited to coffee, tea, water, and milk (only naturally sweetened with a little honey or 100% pure maple syrup). One cup of juice will be allowed throughout the week, and wine (preferably red) will be allowed in moderation (an average of one drink per day). "

I think this challenge is going to be pretty easy for me since I rarely drink anything else besides coffee or water. I usually sweeten my coffee with plain table sugar but with the challenge this week I will be using maple syrup. I tried it this morning and it definitely didn't taste like my normal coffee but it wasn't too bad. I am hoping to try the Maple Mocha she has on her blog and maybe the Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate.

Here's to an easy week because next week is 'Meat' and it looks like it's going to be a tough one!

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Quit.

Earlier this week I quit my job. I called my boss to tell her that I would not be coming back as we had planned. When I got pregnant there was no question- I would go back to work after some time home with the baby. It is amazing how persuasive an infant can be.

After being home with Emma Rose I was beginning to dread returning to work, even though it was still 2 months away. I was even going to have a great set up with work, only working part time, and she would go with her daddy for some of the mornings that I worked and go with me and stay at our work day care for some. After MUCH deliberation my hubby and I made the decision that I would stay home with the munchkin. Right now she changes so much every day, she is growing like a weed, becoming more aware of her body and becoming responsive with lots of smiles and baby talk. I am lucky, I know most people do not have this luxury and it is going to difficult financially for us, but we are going to try it.

I get to hang out with this silly little one all day!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Real Food: Week One

Awhile back I ran across the 100 Days of Real Food blog and was excited by the whole concept. The author started her blog with a challenge for her family to eat 'real food' for 100 days. You can see her rules for real food here, but basically it's eating foods that are whole and/or minimally processed.   On her blog there are recipes and helpful meal plans to encourage people to take the 100 days challenge.

I was a little overwhelmed with cutting out all processed food for 100 days, so I thought I might do the 10 day challenge- but right now with the new baby a week without Chick-fil-a or pizza probably is not going to happen. So I'm taking baby steps and doing 100days of mini challenges. The first week is Fruits and Vegetables: adding two servings of either fruit or vegetables to each meal. I started Monday and have been successful so far. There has been smoothies for breakfast, carrots and hummus with lunch and soups with veggies for dinner. I've planned the rest of week out so hopefully I will meet my goal!

My husband was  quite curious as to why I wanted to do this and thought I was just plain crazy when I talked about cutting out all processed food for 100 days. Since I toned it down and am only doing the mini challenges I think he may be more on board. I just want to be healthy since I am not only feeding myself but my daughter as well. If I happen to lose the last bit of baby weight by cutting out more processed food and adding in more fruits and veggies then I won't complain!