Friday, June 28, 2013

A sorta stay-at-home mom

This week, I've unexpectedly become a stay-at-home mom since Reese is still sick.  Unfortunately, it would be a lot more fun if she was actually feeling better, but I'm still enjoying the extra time with the kids.  It's a shame that most of the time I spend home with them on weekdays is when they're sick.  Yes, I'm off Wednesdays, but that's my catch-up day so we can enjoy the weekend without chores.

With Reese being under the weather, as expected, she's just not herself; very, very sensitive (even more than usual) & easy to cry.  The poor thing has a cough & strained voice, but has been fever free since yesterday.  At around 11 last night, she started crying over the monitor & my heart was sad to hear her strained voice cry, "Uhh Mama! Uhh Mama!"  That's what she says over & over when she's very upset.  So I went into her room & it was so nice to just rock her & cuddle.  The sleepy, dark moments at night are always the sweetest.  It never ceases to amaze me when I think about just how much I mean to this little girl.  Just like my mom was always my comfort, I'm now her mom & her greatest comfort.  I'm so lucky.

Since I'm rarely home with both kids during the week, we're figuring out how to fill our days.  We can't do much with Reese being sick, but I still try to keep them active.  We build with blocks, play cars, watch a movie or two, color & play card games.  I re-learned how to play Go Fish & War with Cam during Reese's nap today!  The house is clean & the laundry is done, so for a change, I'm not running & running.  Reese is a very high maintenance baby so I can't get much done when she's awake... she likes to be held a lot when I'm up & moving.  Not very conducive to productiveness!  I make the most of evenings & Wednesdays, scrambling around to get things done, so I can focus on her (and of course, my Cam) on the weekends.  Unfortunately I am not someone that can relax in the midst of messiness & I never will be... if the house is a disaster, so is my mind.

I'll be taking more time off with the holiday weekend coming up & luckily Mike will also be with us Thursday & Friday.  I'm always wondering what stay-at-home moms with a somewhat older child & a younger one do for inexpensive fun.  She's too young for the movie theater, we don't have a pool available to us & it's so stinking hot outside which limits our options!  Maybe I'll take lunch to the shaded park down the street before Reese's nap?  I'm envious of the other blogs I come across.. it seems like many are so creative with their kid's activities & filling their days!

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Stanley Cup & the sickie

Monday night we celebrated the Hawks bringing home the Stanley Cup!!!  It was an amazing win against Boston so we jumped around the family room like a couple of fools!  WAY TO GO BLACKHAWKS!  You'll see in this post that three years ago they also brought home The Cup!

My little boy has changed a lot since the last time the Hawks won.. he was just about Reese's age in the first picture & now he's such a big boy!

In other happenings, Reese may look happy in this picture from Sunday, but she's sick!  When she slept as late as 9am Sunday morning, I had a bad feeling that something was off.  As soon as I went into her room & heard her barky sounding cough, I new she was sick.  My mom came up to watch her Monday & other than a very low-grade fever in the morning, she was fine the rest of the day.  We sent her to school yesterday & figured all was well since we hadn't heard from daycare.  Unfortunately as Mike was on his way to pick her up, they called & said she had a temp of 101.  All in all, she's been super energetic & happy, but she's definitely fighting a virus.

I'm nursing my baby back to good health today, so hopefully extra sleep will kick this bug!

Poor crusty nosed love bug!  And as clingy as she normally is, she's ten times more while sick.  Needless to say, 100% of my focus is on her during her waking hours.  Sometimes Cam has trouble understanding that, but we're all having a great day together regardless.  I'm just thankful to be with my kiddos today.  When you feel crummy, nothing is more comforting than Mama!

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Cry me a river

Man oh man, I am so relieved that it's Friday!  This week has chewed me up & spit me into the sewer... well, at least that's how I feel anyway.  I've been dealing with a cold, insane fatigue, horrid cramps & an even worse attitude!  Both mentally & physically, I did not think I'd survive this week.  But as all of you moms know, we're not allowed to be sick because it's business as usual regardless!

Sick or not, the alarm goes off at 5:30am, work awaits, laundry awaits, dinner awaits & so do tantrums!!!  Reese's tantrums, not mine; although I seriously did feel like throwing a few myself!

I'm in a rut & feel like I could just use some downtime.. a vacation sure would be nice!  I'd also like to punch Facebook in the mouth & sometimes wonder why I log on since everyone's syrupy sweet, happy posts make me want to gag & then throw my phone in the trash.  See, told you my attitude was less than stellar!!  But, on the bright side, free movie Wednesdays are back at our local theater!  We smuggle in some popcorn & snacks & we've got a completely free outing under our belts.

We squeezed in a much needed haircut too!  My little man is looking even more handsome then ever with his new do!

And my sassy little girl continues with her shoe fetish.  Seriously, she is obsessed with shoes & puts them on &  takes them off all day long.  She's not satisfied with just messing with her own shoes either, she wants to make sure any shoe within eye sight is on the foot of it's rightful owner.   She's a goofball!  Well, anyway, I'm thankful it's the weekend, thankful that we'll be having our weekly pizza & family movie night & I'm especially thankful for the massive tub of ice cream in the freezer that awaits me!  TGIMF'nF!

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Monday, June 10, 2013

The (healthier) pancake post

Like most busy moms (and dads!), I know how insanely rushed mornings can be as well as evenings.  Most mornings, my kids end up eating Kashi whole grain waffles with natural peanut butter & honey or preserves.  I'm always looking for something new, so on a whim recently, I picked up pre-made frozen pancakes from Walmart.  Slap them in the microwave for a minute & a half & they're ready to go.  While heating them in a rush, bleary eyed at 6am, I decided I was going to make a healthier, homemade version of my own.  And that's just what I did!

Whole wheat blueberry pancakes
Makes 12-16 pancakes

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup ground flax seed
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
2 cups milk (I used fat free)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Truvia OR 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup blueberries (or strawberries or bananas or whatever you desire!)

In a small bowl, mix together whole wheat flour, flax seed & baking powder.  In a larger bowl, mix eggs, milk, salt & sugar.  Stir in the flour mixture until just moistened.  Add blueberries (or other fruit of choice) & stir to incorporate.

Preheat griddle pan on medium heat, pour batter to desired pancake size, cook until bubbly, flip & continue cooking until golden brown.  

Since my exceptionally picky son doesn't like whole pieces of fruit in his pancakes, I puree the berries with the milk in our NutriBullet & then add it as directed.  Since I have a ton of frozen fruit on hand, I thaw the fruit in the microwave & then puree it.

This is what we had for dinner tonight, topped with honey, syrup or peanut butter (or all of the above) with a side of fresh fruit.

I made a double batch, froze them in a single layer on aluminum foil, packaged them in groups of three & stored them in a Ziplock bag in the freezer after they were frozen solid.  Heat three for a minute & a half and breakfast (or dinner) is served!

Evenings are nuts in our house!  After dinner/clean-up, we start the bedtime routine.  We only bathe our kids when they begin to reek which is about once every two weeks.  Ha ha, only kidding!!

Miss Independence wanted to dress herself tonight.  I have a feeling she's going to be an, "I do it myself" kind of gal!

Her sweet big brother took a bit of TV time to share some smooches!  Of course he couldn't be bothered with peeling his eyes from the TV.

Cam even takes the time to assist his sissy with having some water... all while continuing to watch TV.

The moment I ask Cam to look at the camera & smile, he goes into goofball mode, looks anywhere but the camera & wears anything but a normal smile.  Unless it's a candid shot, he looks a little cockeyed in pictures!

And before hopping into bed, Reese took a few minutes to say goodnight to her peeps on the telly!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Organized pantry = happy Mommy!

There are so many things I love about our new house, but one of the main reasons is the added space that keeps us so much better organized.  That doesn't mean things don't go to the wayside time & time again, but once I do tackle an area, getting it back in order is a cinch!  Since I'm off every Wednesday, this summer I want to focus on gradually organizing various parts of the house.  I started with our pantry since we spend so much time in the kitchen.  In our old house, our pantry was a nightmare.  Seriously, I think I actually had several nightmares about it.  So, now I'm hypersensitive about keeping the pantry clean & tidy.

As you can see above, things were definitely not at their best!  When we made pancakes last weekend, I decided we had to get our flour & sugar into wide mouth jars so there wouldn't be a snow storm of flour on the counters every time I baked.  We previously had the flour & sugar in their own bags within a Ziplock bag.

And here is the after!  Much better!  The bottom shelf is sauces, vinegars, etc, the next is baking, then canned goods, then snacks & grains & the top is miscellaneous & cereal.

I picked up these three wide-mouth glass jars from Marhsalls for under $20.  I love their chalkboard labels!  I also lined the shelves with contact paper I had on hand.  I'm not sure how well it'll hold up, but it was easy to do so I gave it a shot.  Whoever decided that wire/slotted shelves in a pantry was a good idea, deserves to be slapped upside the head!  I just love it when my narrow cereal containers constantly tip over because of the slats!  But not really.

I also rearranged most of my cabinets & moved things around to make more sense of things.  I used to wrestle with a mountain of pans anytime I wanted to bake cookies, so this system makes much more sense!

Speaking of cookies, my little guy decided he wanted to bake a batch!

He literally knelt in front of the oven & counted down the twelve minutes on the timer; I think he was pretty excited!

Many evenings I make myself a cup of tea so Cam's decided that he also wants a mug so I'm often making him a cup too!  He's distinguished like that!

My little gal wanted me to take a picture of her with my cell this morning... every time she sees my phone, she'll hold it & say, "Cheese!"  She's pretty cute!

And speaking of my gal pal, her vocabulary is growing by leaps & bounds!  She loves her Minnie doll & has been saying "Minnie" for a while now, but the other day she started saying, "Minnie Mouse!"  She also yells, "Oh, Toodles!" whenever she watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse & it's quite possibly the cutest thing I've ever heard!  So that's what's been going on around these parts, hope you're all having a great weekend too!

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Undercover nutrition

Before I had kids, I daydreamed of making super nutritious meals with the kids helping me stir & prepare recipes & sitting down to the table as a family as our kids gobbled up their food.  Not only am I a mom with high standards & visions of perfection, but to make matters worse, I'm also a dietitian! Never did I think I'd have picky eaters who loathed every single vegetable that existed.  Nor did I think I'd come to the place where the only chance I had of either child ingesting said vegetable was if I snuck it in like a criminal.  Well, that's me... the vegetable hiding criminal.  And no, rarely do I have time for my child to stand on a step stool next to me to help me prepare dinner in hopes they'll be more likely to eat because they now have "ownership" of the meal.  Nope, I'm usually running around the kitchen in my scrubs after work, just trying to get food on the table before the bath, PJs, bedtime routine.  Weekends?  Mm mm, those are jam packed too!

No, this is not split pea soup, it's the cheese sauce for your basic macaroni & cheese recipe such
as this.  I used my NutriBullet & blended a few of handfuls of spinach with the milk before adding it to the butter/flour roux.  I also never use white pasta, but Barilla Plus instead for extra fiber & protein.  Both kids loved this & never suspected there was plenty of spinach lurking within.

Today was a rushed evening so we did breakfast for dinner.  Reese adores fruit, but unless it's apple slices, applesauce or bananas, Cam wants nothing to do with it.  I decided I'd blend frozen blueberries that I thawed with milk & add it to cooked oatmeal as well as a healthy dose of ground flax seed.  It ended up being called purple power oats!

Reese loved it!  The leftovers will be her breakfast tomorrow morning.

Both of my kids, especially Cam, loves scrambled eggs so I thawed frozen broccoli & blended it with a dash of milk & added it to the whisked eggs to boost the nutrition.  It really gave it an awesome taste & Cam never suspected broccoli.

Yes, I do offer the real deal/whole form over & over & over again, only to be denied over & over & over again.  We eat very healthfully & love to try different foods so I hope Cam will eventually grow out of this narrow-minded eating phase!  I lead supermarket tours through my hospital for people in the community & one lady said, I have to buy cookies & junk food because I have two kids.  What?!

And here's a couple of pictures from the weekend after Cam's soccer game.  You can head over to their blog to see pictures of Cam's very first trophy; he was one proud little guy & we were two proud parents!

Reese had a ball at the playground, hanging with the big kids; that feisty little thing can really hold her own!

As we were heading to leave, I nearly jumped out of my skin when I noticed this strange creature loitering on the stroller by my coffee cup.  I am not a fan of bugs!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

One pan pasta

As I browsed my June edition of Martha Stewart Living, I came across a recipe for one pan pasta that was derived from a tiny restaurant in Italy.  I was instantly intrigued since it sounded both simple & delicious which then made me just a tad skeptical.  But, anytime a recipe is fresh, healthy, inexpensive & quick while claiming to be a "perfectly al dente pasta in a creamy sauce that coats every strand," you can count me in.  So, I made it for dinner last week & it was positively delightful!!  This will seriously become one of my go-to weeknight meals; you really do have to try it for yourself!  Even better, both kids gobbled it up, especially picky Reese who even had second helpings.  We always have garlic on hand & with our basil plant out back, we only had to buy linguine, tomatoes & an onion!  Can I get cheap, cheap up in here?!

We used whole wheat linguine for extra nutrition & washed it down with a glass of red wine, also for extra nutrition....  or sanity!  ;o)  From start to finish, this meal took me about twenty minutes; clean-up was a breeze with a knife, cutting board & pan.

One-Pan Pasta

12 ounces linguine
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
1 small onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 sprigs basil (plus extra torn leaves for garnish)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus more for serving)
 Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper
4 1/2 cups water
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

1) Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil sprigs, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper & water in a large, straight-sided skillet.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil mixture, tossing pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente & water has nearly evaporated, about 9 minutes.
2) Season to taste with salt (I did not need to add additional salt) & pepper, olive oil, basil & Parmesan cheese & serve!

The dish almost had the creaminess of Alfredo sauce without the cream & a hint of spice from the red-pepper flakes, though not too spicy for my kiddos to enjoy.

No, your eyes are not deceiving you, Mike certainly is furiously grating Parmesan onto the table, not the bowl because that's how Cameron likes it, don't ya know?  I never said that my children were not odd!  Anyway, make this dish, you'll enjoy it, I promise!

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