Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Piper's First Food: Carrots

This past weekend, we introduced Piper to her first food; carrots.




Piper had carrots for the first time during breakfast. As you can tell from her face, she wasn't quite sure about them. I understand, as carrots aren't my first choice for breakfast either. 




We decided to have Piper try carrots for the first time in the morning that way we could monitor her throughout the day. She had no bad reactions (aside from a few sour faces here and there).




We will be trying carrots out for the remainder of this week before moving on to the next food. We're thinking sweet potatoes will be next!




My husband and I are planning on doing a combination of pureed baby food and baby led weaning with our daughter. I can already tell, Piper enjoys to feed herself. These are going to be a fun few months for us all!




I have also decided that I am going to do a combination of store bought and homemade baby food. I read up on carrots before introducing them to Piper, and decided to give her the store bought carrots instead of making my own for her to eat.

The article I read about introducing carrots can be found, here. And the article I read about nitrates in carrots can be found, here. Both are great articles that I recommend reading before introducing carrots to your baby!

We are having a blast feeding Piper! My husband and I love food more than anyone we know. We love to cook, bake and eat. It's no surprise that Piper is very interested in food, as well!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Armed and Dangerous

I am armed and ready for the week ahead!

As you may know, I have been having problems with snacking at night. Below are my weapons of choice to try and keep me on track, even after our baby goes to sleep for the night!

1. Dark chocolate. I'm hoping one (or two) squares of this intense dark chocolate will take care of those chocolate cravings that come for me after the 7 pm hour.




2. Fresh fruit salad. Sweet goodness for a morning snack or add a bit of cool whip for an after dinner treat!




3. Cheese and crackers. Satisfies that salty craving!




While I was preparing for all of the above, I also made sure to have some of our meals planned and prepped for the week.




I bought a lot of meat this week; half of it got packaged up and put in our freezer and, the other half is in the fridge. We have chicken thighs, italian sausage, salmon and top london broil. It's going to be a good week!




And we can't forget about the sides for dinner this week! A fresh mix of greens and a lot of red peppers and onions. It's summer time (even if it may have felt like fall all weekend)!




Readers, what healthy snacks are you armed with for the week ahead?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Drool Worthy Recipe Share

Happy Friday, friends! This week literally flew by; I can't believe it's the weekend, already. It must have gone so fast for us because Monday didn't really seem like a Monday. Or maybe it's because it's summer. Time always goes too fast in the summer (if I do say so myself).

This weekend, my husband and I are planning on picking strawberries (late in season, but we've been meaning to do it for weeks now). We are also going to make a trip to visit a friend in NY and show Piper some sights while we are there!

As for today, I don't have too much to share with you aside from these drool-worthy recipes that I've come across for you and I:

Parmesan Baked Sweet Potato Fries Recipe -- the pictures in this post made me crave burgers, sweet potato fries and (dare I say) a nice cold beer. Maybe this weekend?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blizzard with No Churn Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Recipe.  That recipe is a mouthful but, I happen to enjoy mouthfuls of ice cream. My husband loves to make ice cream, and I love to eat it. What are the odds on that one? I'll pass this recipe along to him and we'll see what he thinks.

Meyer Lemon Spaghetti with Asparagus Recipe. We all know from yesterday's post just how much pasta is loved in this house.

Grilled Mediterranean Cedar Plank Salmon Recipe. We have some salmon hanging out in our fridge. I think it may want to be turned into this meal, soon.




And, because I only found one dessert recipe for you from the world wide web today, I will share one of my favorite desserts from my very own archives. Oreo Mousse Cups Recipe.

Readers, what are your plans for the weekend? Have you ever gone strawberry picking before?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Family Made Dinner

Have you ever made your own homemade pasta? If not, I urge you to give it a try. It's such a treat; like eating out at a restaurant. So good and so fresh!




Last night, my husband, Piper and I made dinner together. That's the best way to make dinner; when you're all together. I can assume that having a mobile child in the kitchen is going to be messy and time consuming, but I do hope to keep Piper in the kitchen even when she's mobile. She already loves to watch the process of cooking and before we know it, she will also be enjoying the food we cook as well!




For dinner, we made shrimp alfredo with fresh fettuccine pasta. That is a very special dish in our house! We don't eat pasta too often because my husband and I both stuff ourselves silly with it, but last night was a good treat. If you've been following me for a while then you know that I'm not about depriving ourselves of certain kinds of food, but just eating whatever we want in moderation. That's how I lost my first 40 pounds and {with a little self control} that is how I will lose the rest.





Dinner was served at a decent hour (which doesn't always happen) and so we ate, fed Piper her bottle and then we were on our way out for a little fun!





After dinner, we went to the park. Piper got to swing a little bit. Check out the picture below and tell me if you think she liked it.




So far, 5 months old is the absolute best. I feel like I always say that for each month but she just keeps surprising me. She raises her eye brows at things she finds interesting, she smiles at people she loves, and she cries when she sees or hears something she is unsure of. She's had her own little personality for some time now but it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. We are loving it!

Readers, have you ever made homemade pasta before? What is your favorite pasta dish?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Culprit

It's Wednesday, already? Hey, I'm not complaining!

I believe I figured out the culprit of this not-losing-weight deal I've got going on right now. The culprit being night time snacking. Wah wah.




Yesterday, I ate well all throughout the day. I had mini egg cups for breakfast, cheese and crackers as a snack, the most delicious salad (pictured above) for lunch and an awesome dinner (pictured below).




I eat well all throughout the day, I even work out, but once my 5 month old daughter goes to sleep, I head for the kitchen and snack until it's time for me to go to bed.




I feel like I night snack because I'm tired. Is that even a thing? Well, I guess it is a thing for me.

There's a time in the day when it's too early to go to bed but too late for much else. I have always found comfort in food, so it's becoming my way to relax. That's not a good habit to have; I broke myself of this habit before and I can do it again.

I'd like to say the first step to fixing the problem is identifying the problem. Night snacking is definitely the problem. Now it's time to work toward a solution!

Readers, do any of you struggle with night time snacking? What are some ways you have found help you to stay out of the kitchen at night?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Best Detour Ever

Yesterday wasn't Monday. Okay, I guess by definition it was a Monday but, it sure didn't seem like a Monday to us.




It was a gorgeous summer day -- warm with big white puffy clouds and bright blue skies. Perfect weather! My husband had some overtime from the previous week of work, so he left work early yesterday and we went exploring.




My husband and I took our 5 month old daughter, Piper, for a walk at a somewhat local trail. We drove a little ways to get there but we figured it would be worth the trip for a walk on a nice shaded trail on such a hot day. Well, guess what else likes the shade on a hot day? Mosquitoes. Like, hundreds of mosquitoes. So, needless to say, our walk on the trail got cut short to only a half mile (we didn't want Piper getting bit up) and we went to a local ice cream shop, instead. Best detour to our plans, ever!






Piper got her first taste of some handmade vanilla custard at one of the best places you could possibly get it in the U.S. We might be bias because we are sorta locals but really, she got some prime custard tasting in yesterday!


Hanks


As promised yesterday, I was going to keep track of everything that I ate and share it with you today. I took pictures of most everything, except for 2 slices of provolone that I also snacked on with my sister when she stopped for a visit. (We kind of love provolone cheese -- it rarely makes it to sandwiches or anything else that it was originally intended for because we just eat it all by itself.)


3 Mini Egg Cups for Breakfast

Cheese and Crackers for Snack

Chicken Salad with Craisens, Provolone Cheese and Raspberry Vinaigrette for Lunch


Grilled Salmon, Onion, Corn and Brown Rice for Dinner

3 Piece of (my husband's) Homemade PB Fudge for Snack

Don't forget about the small vanilla custard cone that I shared with my daughter, too. Come to think of it, she only had a lick or two herself so I guess that doesn't quite qualify as sharing a cone, now does it?

We had so much fun yesterday with plenty more to come! Summer -- it's on!

Readers, what are some things you want to do this summer? Do you live by a nice walking or bike riding trail? What's your favorite flavor of custard?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Bring It On Monday

I have to say, I'm welcoming Monday with arms wide open. A new week? Bring it on! 

This weekend was full of celebrating and good times. I ate a little too much of the not-so-good-for-you stuff and because of that, I have decided to avoid the scale. It's just going to tell me what I already know -- I need to get it together! I don't need that reminder. I'm ready make today {and every day of this week} count!

I have decided to keep track of everything that I eat today in a little notepad and I'll be sharing it with you all tomorrow. Accountability, accountability, accountability. I'm also going to do a workout today, and I'll share that with you all, too. {Keep an eye out for my update tomorrow -- I need you guys to stay on me, now.} It's nearing the end of the month and I want to end it with at least some sort of a loss on the scale! More importantly, I want to end the month feeling the benefits of eating healthier.




This weekend, we got to celebrate my husband's first Father's Day! It was so sweet, really. Piper and her dad have this amazing bond that was formed from the time she arrived. Piper was born via c-section and so it was just the two of them for her very first couple hours in this world. During that time, I swear Piper and her dad pinky-promised to be each other's favorites because that is exactly what has been going down, ever since.




If you're new to this blog, I think you need to read this post in order to get a glimpse into how much this guy means to me. Then, take however much he use to mean to me before we had Piper, and multiply that by like a bazillion. That's what happened when he became the father of our child. The way he loves me, and the way he loves our daughter is inspiring. He inspires me to be a better version of myself, and encourages me in anything I do. I know he'll do the same for our Piper Grace; I can already see it in his eyes when he looks at her and smiles.




Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. Love never fails. {1 Corinthians 12:4-8}

I am blessed to be able to replace the word "love" in the above verse with "Nick" because love is what he shows us every single day.

Readers, how was your weekend? Who else is ready to make this week count?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Banana Oatmeal Cookies or Muffins

Grab a hot cup of coffee, a banana oatmeal cookie or muffin, and get comfy because I've got a great post for you today!

Don't have yourself a moist and chewy banana oatmeal cookie or muffin, yet? Well, if you've got all of the ingredients listed below and about 30 minutes on your hands, you can have your banana oatmeal cookies (or muffins) and eat them too!




I have had two very ripe bananas taunting me all week. You may have found yourself in this very same predicament before. You didn't eat the bananas in time, but you don't want to waste them! Good news, my friends, a solution (that isn't the same ol' banana bread) is here for us all.

Banana Oatmeal Cookies and/or Muffins
Recipe courtesy of Life Love and Sugar

Ingredients:

3/4 cup salted butter, cubed
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cloves (optional - I did not use)
2 tsp cornstarch (optional - I replaced with about 1-2 tbsp. of flour)
3 cups old fashioned oats

Directions:

1. Mix together butter, brown sugar, sugar, egg, vanilla extract and mashed bananas until well combined.

2. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves and cornstarch (or just more flour if substituting for cornstarch) and mix until combined.

3. Stir in oats.




4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5. Spoon tablespoons of dough onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Flatten dough a little bit, into thick discs. They will spread a little when baked.

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges just start to golden.

7. Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes, then move to cooling rack to finish cooling.





If you'd like to make muffins instead of cookies, follow all of the directions until step 5 and spoon about 1/4 cup of mixture into muffin pans, instead!

This is my new favorite way to use those nearly black bananers. (Yes, I said bananers.)

Readers, what is your favorite thing to do with overly ripe bananas?

Friday, June 19, 2015

I Miss Working

I'm going to be real with you all. I'm at about 5 months in to being a stay at home mom and I have come to find that I miss working a tiny bit. Call me crazy but I believe it really makes sense. Almost a decade of habit doesn't go away overnight.

I sure don't miss the bad things about work, such as the long commute, dealing with other people's bad moods (yeah, I said it), etc. However, I do miss the good stuff. I miss the routine. I miss producing a meaningful, good product of work. I miss deadlines -- boy, do I love me some deadlines. The cat is out of the bag, you all. I'm a Grade A nerd that loves to organize things, meet deadlines and produce a good, quality of work. So, I guess you could say I'm a little worksick. It's kind of like being homesick but you've got to be a little crazy in order to come down with a case of worksickness.

Please don't get me wrong; I absolutely love being Piper's mommy, and the fact that I get to stay at home with her is a bold and underlined dream come true. But, that doesn't mean that I don't miss working, too. I enjoy working. And so, I have come up with a solution. It took me a couple months to get everything settled, but I'm finally up and operational.


My new work space.


I have begun working my own schedule, doing my own kind of work. My schedule is: whenever I want, but mostly during Piper's naps. My own kind of work includes working with Sponsors for this blog, hobby photography, and running an Etsy store. I'm my own boss of a few different ventures now and I'm loving it!


Like mother like daughter.


These "jobs" have been satisfying my craving for work. It's the best of both worlds. I can work whenever I want, and however much I want. If I'm feeling restless, some weeks I "work" every day during each of Piper's naps. Other weeks, I only work once or twice. The best thing is that I get to do this all while parenting Piper exactly how (my husband and) I want. I'm living the dream over here, my dream.

I can tell you that I don't have it all figured out but, I know that I've come a long way from where I was a couple months ago. Being a stay at home mom was exactly what I wanted, but when I started feeling worksick, I felt a little confused. If being a stay at home mom was what I wanted, why did I miss my old life sometimes? My confusion is gone now, and I am so, so excited that I found my own "best of both worlds".

If you're a stay at home mom, and you feel worksick, I just want to say: don't feel bad about it! I wish I could go back and tell this to myself. There are plenty of things you can do to satisfy that nerdy-working-need all while taking care of your little one. It only took me a few months to figure it out, but I'm so glad that I did.

Readers, have you ever worked as a stay at home mom or dad? Do you hope to stay at home with your child(ren) one day? What is a nerdy-working confession of yours?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Donuts and Anything Rustic

Did you know that Krispy Kreme has Oreo Cookies and Cream donuts out right now? Please don't ask me how I know this but, I found out the great news just yesterday. (And yes, they are delicious.)

It's Thursday and if we've been led astray (led astray by some very tempting donuts) it's time to refocus on our goals. But first, a bonus to eating donuts: they make you thirsty for water. Or maybe that's just me? Anyways, I'm done with donuts, for now. I'm going to end the week on a good note!

Action plan: more water, less donuts; eat at home, don't order out now that the week is coming to an end, and finally; exercise today, even though your muscles may still be hurting from the workout you did two days ago. What workout am I talking about? Follow this link and repeat the workout twice or three times and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

In other non-donut news, this week my husband and I reopened our Etsy Shop, "Anything Rustic". We took some time off from making creations while I was pregnant late last year and early this year after our daughter was born. We are back now with a few banners and signs and we are welcoming any Custom Order Requests!

My husband is great with woodworking (as you may have seen from "the desk" post). If you have anything rustic in mind, send us your request! We'd love to talk to you. We plan on putting up more listings in July, too. If you don't have anything in particular in mind, stay tuned and follow our Facebook Fan Page. There's a coupon code in it for you, if you do!


$8.00 on Etsy - listing to expire in July, 2015

Readers, what is your favorite kind of donut? Do you have an Etsy shop? Share it with us!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Piper's First Rat Rod

Earlier this Spring, I found an old Radio Flyer wagon at a yard sale. My husband was so excited because ever since he found out I was pregnant last Spring, he had been searching for project ideas for our little one. He told me to keep an eye out for a wagon and this is what I found.




As you may remember from a previous post, my husband has been working on a "rat rod" truck for us to all enjoy and take to car shows. His project has been a slow work in progress. However, Piper's first "rat rod" wagon has already debuted when she went to her first car show last weekend!




My husband isn't completely done with the wagon, but it was done enough for our first car show of the season! People were asking us if they could take pictures of the wagon and yelling out compliments as we passed. My husband was one happy guy and my daughter is one lucky girl. She has the coolest dad I know.




Since we're talking about Piper, I might as well share a few more pictures of the little sweetheart. Right?




After the car show, we stopped to take a couple pictures of Piper since she was awake and it was so nice and warm out. The place where we took these pictures is special. My husband and I are high school sweethearts and we both remember walking home from school down this lane of trees. We remember how these trees were so small back then. They are full grown now, as are we, and there we were, standing with our daughter in hand under those same trees. Life in our small town where we grew up is so, so sweet.


 

Please note: dad gets the smiling picture and she sticks her tongue out in both of mine. I'm not jealous or anything.




Readers, have you ever been to a car show? What's a special place you still get to visit from when you were a child?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Midway Check in June

Public Service Announcement: We are halfway through June, people!

How is your month going so far? Did you make any goals to reach this month? I made some goals for myself and it's time to revisit them.


Lately, I've been having a couple of these beauties for breakfast each day!


GOALS

Drink 120 ounces of water each day. This isn't happening every single day, but it's happening more often than it was last month. Progress!

Eat home-cooked, fresh food, barely any frozen or boxed ingredients. My husband and I are doing much better at this goal. We have a meal plan for the week ahead and we've been eating some pretty good, fresh meals!

Exercise at least 3x per week. Ah! I have been working out but, only like once or twice a week. Looking forward to ending this month strong, with a better streak than that.


My husband has been making fresh homemade tortillas for our shrimp tacos!


So far, I am 2 lbs. down and I'm hoping to get rid of at least another 2 lbs. before we finish the month. Revisiting my goals is one way to help keep me on track. Here are a couple more things I am doing or plan to do to finish out the month on a good note: 

1. Keep track of our water intake on the fridge, above our "filling station".

2. Write out my workout plan for the week.

3. Write out my meal plan for the week.

4. Prep ahead any meals and snacks that require a little more time.

 
Big, fresh, beautiful fruit salad for breakfast and snacks!


Readers, how are you doing with your goals this month? What are you going to change to end the month even stronger than you began?