Monday, August 24, 2009

Every Bit Helps

The fact that I use anywhere from one to three twenty ounce Styrofoam cups each day at work has really been weighing on me. I'm always trying to do little things to make a difference in improving our environment & this overuse of Styrofoam was certainly not helping!

So, Mike and I decided that we were going to switch to reusable plastic bottles instead & I'm feeling very good about the change. Many of the bottles that I looked at had very small openings which I didn't like since I add tons of ice to my water, but this bottle works perfectly under the ice dispenser at work. As I leave work & head to the gym, I refill my bottle for my workout, wash it when I get home, pop it back in my purse & bring it back to work for another day of fun!

A Taste of Japan

As I was e-mailing Matt this week, I discovered that he had a knack for cooking Japanese food. Random! So, he was gracious enough to cook for us on Friday night & it was such a treat! Relaxing with friends, chatting over some drinks & enjoying a wonderful meal is the perfect way to start any weekend!

Yan Can Cook! I mean, Matt can cook!

This tasted as good as it looks! And we even
had a salad with ginger dressing!

And some Japanese beer to wash it
all down. Ahh!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Earth Mother I am not!

Nothing clears my mind quite like cooking a tasty meal. However, at the same time, nothing annoys me more than following a recipe to a T. It was the realization that unless I was baking (which I don't tend to do), I by no means had to be a slave to a recipe, that made me start cooking far more than I used to.

Since having Cameron, we've put more effort than usual into eating well-balanced, nutritious meals & serving him a wide variety of foods in hopes that he will have a very open mind when it comes to eating. So, having said that, you would think I would have been able to come up with some interesting baby food recipes, but I haven't. I never saw the point in pureeing my own fruits & veggies since the Gerber food we buy has zero additives. Also, most days Cameron ends up eating exactly what we're having, cut into finger foods, so I never saw the need to make anything else.

Until recently, that is! Some work days we're so busy that we don't eat dinner until after Cam goes to sleep & he ends up eating only oatmeal blended with fruits & veggies on those days. That got me looking for some foods with a bigger nutrition bang which led me to some ideas on a blog I follow; My Charming Kids. I take very little credit for these creations since they were inspired by MckMama. There were no exact instructions, so I got creative & fumbled my way until the end product was what I had envisioned.

Both mixtures were put into ice cube trays until frozen & transferred to a zip-lock bag for storage.

Here are the 2 recipes I whipped up today... I may not have come up with the ideas, but I did create the names!

Poo Poo Pops!
Named for their high fiber content

-Dried kidney beans
-Fresh spinach
-Old fashioned oats
-Plain yogurt, 24oz container
-2 hard-boiled eggs
-Olive oil

I chose to go with dried vs. canned kidney beans for their lower sodium content of 20mg vs. 340mg per serving. I re-hydrated the beans the quick way by bringing them to a boil & removing them from the heat & allowing them to sit, covered for one hour (I also reserved the cooking water). When they were tender, I popped them into the food processor with a handful of fresh spinach, a good sprinkle of the oats, the entire container of yogurt, the 2 eggs & a handful of prunes. I ran the food processor, adding the reserved water from the beans & a short stream of olive oil as needed until it formed a thick, porridge-like consistency.

The name may be deceiving as the end product actually tasted very good; the prunes added a hint of sweetness. I plan to use this in place of Cam's oatmeal & mix it with his Gerber fruit.

This is what the end product looked like

Pea Pea Pops!
Named for their main ingredient.. split peas!

-Dried split peas

Grind the peas (I used my coffee grinder) into a fine powder & add to a pot & cover with water. Keep additional water close at hand & continue to add as needed while simmering at a low-medium heat until tender. I also plan to blend these with Gerber fruit when Cam is ready to eat.

Early riser

Today Cam woke up at 5:30am, had a bottle & went back to sleep. Seeing as it's the weekend, I went back to bed, only to get up a few minutes later when I realized there was no hope of falling back to sleep. I was hoping to get a bit more rest since I'm catching what Cameron is now getting over; my throat is a bit sore & my lungs feel like they're being constricted. But, it wasn't to be! On the plus side, it was wonderful to have a perfectly still & quiet house to myself. I brewed some yummy Hawaiian Hazelnut coffee, lit some candles & surfed the internet while catching up on some taped shows. All in all, it was a peaceful way to start my Sunday.

Anticipating Jake's arrival!

Yesterday was the perfect girl's afternoon as we celebrated the coming arrival of Jake at Lisa's baby shower. We ate delicious Italian food at Carrabba's Italian Grill, sipped champagne, enjoyed cake & watched Lisa open all of her gifts.

It will be wonderful to watch Cameron & Jake grow & play together when he arrives in November!

I won a prize!

Kelly & Lauren, looking so pretty as usual!

Me & the mama-to-be (and Jake too!)

So pretty! From A Piece of Cake in Tampa.

It's that time of year again!

Fall has always been my absolute favorite season. Unfortunately, one of the downfalls of skipping out on winters since moving to Florida, I'm no longer able to enjoy the changing seasons. Nothing beats the crisp, cool air of fall, the beautiful, bold colors & the smell of burning leaves in the air.

Well, this beer, Shipyard Pumpkin Ale, brings me straight to the feeling of fall! I look forward to the time this beer comes back & always savor the last beer of the season when the time comes.

I especially miss Halloween; I loved the time we went to the haunted corn maze & drank hot apple cider when we finally made our way through. Or spreading ourselves outside on the grass to carve pumpkins. It just doesn't feel like Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas when it's 80 degrees outside. That's why I'm extremely excited to be going back to Chicago for Christmas this year. We're hoping Cam will get to see a bit of snow! Mike & I were also planning on spending a day in the city, stopping at the German market, getting hot, spiced wine & having dinner at Wildfire.

As much as I miss many things since leaving IL, those feelings will lessen as January comes around & we're able to bike, walk, go to the beach, etc while everyone up north will be holed inside. I'm glad that Cam will have the opportunity to be active year round, but I'll always make sure he knows where his mom & dad came from!

Monday, August 10, 2009

My therapy

Last week was extremely hectic so I was unable to hit the gym at all. I realized just how important it is that I work out consistently since I found that I had an even worse body image than I normally have. It seems that when I workout 3-4 days a week, I'm much more confident in myself; it's easier to choose clothes for the day & I don't cringe when I'm looking in the mirror.

When I joined the track team as a freshman in high school & was forced to wear teeny, tiny shorts, I decided then & there that I was going to lose weight. I'm the type of person that goes full force when I set my mind to something. This can be a positive or negative trait. Unfortunately in this instance, it was very negative. I basically stopped eating altogether & exercised compulsively. I lost nearly 40 pounds from the start of the second semester of my freshman year to the first semester of my sophomore year. As the tennis season began, I was basically unrecognizable to my teammates. That's when some started to "monitor" me; the football coach who happened to be my biology teacher would check my lunch bag before & after each lunch period to make sure I ate & he would report back to my tennis coach. But at this same time, many people commented on how "great I looked." Yeah right; that just proves how warped people's ideas are of what is considered attractive.

As sad as this sounds, I found that it was very easy to starve myself. My mom & dad worked long hours & came home well past dinnertime so it was very easy to say, "yeah, I ate" when they asked. My sickness became very bad when I would be doubled over with the most intense stomach cramps imaginable just because I ate something containing a bit of fat. My body just wasn't used to digesting it. This may be a bit TMI, but I even stopped getting my period for a year since my BMI was below normal.

Thankfully, I slowly began to overcome this insane way of living (if you want to call it that) & gradually, I ate healthier & gained weight. I did this with zero professional help. I think the turning point was when I truly realized just how consumed I was by this; there was no possible way I could keep this up when I was older & had a family. It was all I thought about. I could tell you the calorie content of any food named. My life literally revolved around what I ate (or didn't eat) & how much I exercised.

This obsession is what drew me to my profession as a registered dietitian. I was shocked as I sat in my first nutrition class & heard my teacher say that 60% of RDs have once had or have an eating disorder. It makes sense if you think about it.

I am so happy to say that I no longer abuse my body in such a way; instead I strive to treat my body with respect by eating healthy & working out. However, it is very sad that at times I still struggle with such a negative self image; probably on a weekly basis. I am now 30 years old, so I will continue to work on overcoming this; I am tired of wasting time on such meaningless thoughts. I refuse to look back at my life & realize what a shame it was to expend so much negative energy on disliking the way I look. Not only that, but when I'm feeling negative about the way I look, my entire attitude is poor.

So, my goal is to continue to eat a well balanced diet & exercise 3-4 days a week in order to have a strong, healthy body. Cam deserves to have a mom with a positive self image who teaches him to grow to be a self-assured adult.

Showered with love (and presents!)

Sunday was my sister's wedding shower & the day couldn't have turned out better. It was hosted at Turtles in Sarasota which happened to be the same place that Mike & Mel had their baby shower when Madelyn was on the way over 6 years ago. The room was on the second floor that overlooks Little Sarasota Bay so we all had a gorgeous view as we ate, drank & watched Lauren & Gregg open presents.

Before we ate, the guests stayed entertained by taking a pop quiz: "How well do you know Lauren & Gregg?" And as the happy couple opened gifts, everyone played Bridal Bingo; I used a free template that I found online for the bingo cards. We all had a wonderful time & it was such a great day reconnecting with family & celebrating all things Lauren & Gregg!

Such a pretty cake!

The ring bearer was thrilled to be there!

Mike & Mikayla

My God daughter Madelyn. She was in this
very room six & a half years ago when she was
still in her mommy's belly as we celebrated their
baby shower.

A toast to love!

Beautiful roses grown by Gregg's aunt.

We even got some roses to take home!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Perno Pizza Friday

It's Greek to me! That was the theme of our pizza this evening & it was magnificent! We thought of a Greek salad & went from there; wheat crust slathered in sauteed, chopped garlic & topped with chopped olives, pepperoncini, fresh tomatoes, feta cheese & gyro meat. We served the pizza with a side of cool, Tzatziki sauce, a glass of wine for me & a cold beer for Mike.

Happy 6th Birthday!

Our little girl, Dempsey turned 6 on August 5th so we had a bit of a celebration with some Frosty Paws ice cream which she loves. Demps is the sweetest, little Pug in the world, but God forbid you try to take away her ice cream, she will growl!

Happy 6th Birthday, Puggy, we love you!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Aurthur trumps Mom

So we purchased this cute storage frog when we were shopping at Ikea in mid-July & immediately hung it on the back of Cam's door to hold diapers, wipes, & lotions. Well, this past weekend, Cam decided to suddenly become very interested in Aurthur (yes, I named him!) just as he became interested in the balloon that had been attached & floating from a lamp in our living room months after it had been there.

When Cam would wake up in the morning or from one of his naps this past weekend, he would immediately look at Aurthur & I would walk him over there & make up silly stories about the frog life that he leads & demonstrate how he eats bugs, watches over him as he sleeps, etc. I could tell Cam was starting to remember his name because he would look over at Aurthur each time I said his name. Mike was a bit skeptical that Cam actually knew the frog's name as we got him ready for bed Monday night. That is, until I said, "Cam, where's Aurthur?" And he immediately looked over at his frog.

So.... the point of this post is that if Mike says, "Cam, where's Mama?" he just looks around the room as if he's bored & looking for something better to do! First he says, "Da-da" constantly with NO "mama" to be heard yet & now the damn frog gets more recognition than me! What's up with that?!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday snuggles

Poker night at Cakey Manor!

Last night we went to Matt & Kelly's for poker night & had a really great time. Well, that was until Cam decided to wake up around 10ish & not go back to sleep until we were forced to leave at around 11pm. Poor Mike spent the entire hour trying to get him back to sleep, but it wasn't to be; his teething must have been really bothering him. In the end Matt & I decided to split the pot & we called it a night because not only was Cam clearly not going back to sleep, but Mike was feeling terribly too (yet again, one of us got sick from the various germs Cam brought in from day care).

The rest of the gang stuck around & played a second game, but I was happy to be leaving $15 richer. Yeah, I'm a high roller. That's how I play!

It's the whole gang.. minus Matt. But, see
below b/c I gave him a shout out!

Look at me, bringing in the cash!

It's the Greens. Both wearing Green!
Can you get any cuter?

Here's Matt. He is one swell guy; charming,
handsome & intelligent! (over e-mail, I promised
I would blog about him & say such flattering things).
But these things all happen to be true!

Party foul! Mike spilled my drink &
broke the champagne flute!

Itsy, bitsy, teeny, weenie!

Yesterday as we were pulling into our garage, Mike noticed a teeny, tiny American green tree frog sitting on a leaf of our bush so he called me over to check it out. As I looked at the cute, little bugger, I noticed that they were EVERYWHERE! Seriously, every leaf we looked at had one on it; it was pretty amazing. They were in a perfect spot, settled under the outdoor light, ready to snatch up all the bugs as nightfall came. So cute!

See how tiny!

There are 3 in this picture

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Just thought I'd share a picture of the rose that was given to us at church last week. I have mixed emotions about flowers because I love their beauty but hate to think about them slowly dying. So I took a picture of it at it's most vibrant point so that I could hold on to the beauty of it.