Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Off the grid

So, I've been off the grid for the past few weeks, enjoying the heck out of Grammy's, Uncle Nick's & Papa's visits from Chicago.  Grammy was supposed to fly back a week & a half ago, but was sweet enough to extend her trip to take care of my little sickling, Reese. 

We were having a blast over the weekend Papa was visiting when Mike commented that Reese felt warm.  Fast forward to the end of her nap & she had a 103 temp & felt miserable.  I've never seen the bugger feeling worse.  Thank goodness Grammy was willing to stay because we've missed a lot of days of work over the holidays from sicknesses.  Sick kids is what stresses me the most about being a full-time working mom.  When we notice a fever, we both look at each other like, "who's missing work tomorrow?"  I've not been able to build up a great vacation bank since taking nine weeks of maternity leave & the constant, random days I take with sickness, holidays, etc.  But, Reese is MUCH better & she had a week of bonding with Grammy!

There was tons of fun in between all the visits with plenty of game playing,

Reese experiencing bowling for the first time,

 a rare, kid-free outing with our friends,

sneaking out on a weeknight date night,

playing hooky from work to spend the day on the water & go on a dolphin watching boat,

enjoying a girl's lunch at high tea where Reese got her own little kettle & cup,

 and walking, walking & walking some more.  Grammy decided to pick up a Fitbit Zip like mine & we made sure to get 10,000 steps every day.  Sunday we went for a nearly two hour walk!  It was such a fun excuse to catch up & get some exercise.  

Grammy rescheduled her flight to Monday evening but it ended up getting cancelled because of the extreme cold in Chicago.  I dropped her off this morning & was very, very sad to see her go!  She's such great company & amazing help, so I cry every time she heads back.  I had a good cry in my car, driving back... I'm an emotional mess!  And today is my last Wednesday off for the next month as I cover my co-worker's medical leave.  We'll be severely short-staffed so I have tons of anxiety over the upcoming weeks.  I've been spending my day, cleaning & organizing like a fool which always helps ease my anxiety.  An anxious Allison always equates to a tidy home!  Anyway, hope you've all been doing well over the past few weeks!!

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pump up the nutrition

Since it's a chilly day, I'm making a comfort meal for dinner tonight; Pioneer Woman's sour cream noodle bake.  Click here for the recipe.  I've made it before & it's super yummy & definitely comforting.  It's not exactly the most nutritious dish though with ground beef, sour cream, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese & noodles, so I decided to pump up the nutrition!  I know I've mentioned before that I have to sneak veggies into our meals like a criminal since my kids are such darn picky eaters.  So, this was no exception as I blended handfuls of spinach in my NutriBullet with the tomato sauce that the ground beef simmer in.  You could use any cooked vegetable you wanted in place of the spinach; carrots, broccoli, whatever.

I basically doubled the recipe for the most part, so I used two cans of tomato sauce instead of one.  I used just enough tomato sauce to puree the spinach.

Okay, I admit it, it doesn't exactly look appealing, does it?

But, by the time I added the rest of the tomato sauce, it ended up looking like a rich gravy instead of something pulled from the swamp.

You can always use plain Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream for some extra protein & less calories.  The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of sour cream which is 240 calories & less than three grams of protein, swap that out for Greek yogurt & it's 85 calories & 12g protein, so you'll save yourself 155 calories & gain 9g protein.  You can always use whole wheat noodles in place of egg noodles for extra fiber.  Ground turkey or lean ground beef would be a perfect swap for the ground chuck.  I'm constantly modifying our recipes to boost the nutrition because every little bit helps.  And instead of having a heaping portion of the sour cream & noodles, I'll pair it alongside a tossed salad to up the volume of my meal without a lot of calories.

My MIL brought us a treat!

I'm a dietitian who believes that everything in moderation is just fine & I don't believe in fad diets.  Will you lose weight on a fad diet?  Probably.  Will you keep it off?  Not likely.  I don't avoid carbohydrates, gluten, sugar or any other foods labeled "bad" or "forbidden."  Yes, every once in a while I grab Happy Meals for my kids when they're cheaper on Tuesdays or Thursdays & we have a busy evening.  Gasp!  The dietitian eats McDonald's?!!?!  Yes, but not often.  For the most part, I do eat well, I try to limit my portions by using smaller plates & I get up & move whenever I think about it.  If I have a few minutes to spare at work, I run up & down the stairs a few times.  Instead of sitting in the cafeteria for my 15 minute morning break, I take two laps around the back of the hospital & eat breakfast at my desk.  We don't have to deprive ourselves or be extreme in order to achieve our goals.  Just look at the big picture & make small changes that can add up to a big result over time.  Working in the nutrition field can be frustrating because so many people dish out misinformation & assume the nutrition professional role.  Dr. Oz?  A doctor a dietitian does not make!  So that's my story & I'm sticking to it!  Happy Hump Day!

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Recent happenings

This has been a good week so far.. we're all basically healthy!!  Wahoo! 

Reese moved up to her new classroom at daycare yesterday.  This is a big deal because she's officially moved over to the big kid side of the building & away from the side she's been in since the ripe old age of three months old.  My little girl is growing up very, very quickly all of a sudden & I'm not always dealing well with it!  Her Beginner classroom teachers are missing her a lot!  I went to say hello today & they had a very depressed look on their face saying it just wasn't the same without Reese.  However, she's doing AWESOME in her new room & I think the word her new teacher used  today was "phenomenal."  Needless to say, I'm very proud of my gal!

Cameron was nice enough to show Reese where to stand for her picture which is never easy with that stinker!

And even though she's growing up way too fast, we can still try to rock her like a baby while she flails and wiggles to get out of our grasp!

We had a very nice, low-key weekend & Cam was able to try out his new Hot Wheels car maker kit from Santa.

He was hoping to make a red car, but unfortunately the machine was pre-loaded with a purple wax stick.  The finished product was pretty cool & we had fun making it!

The weather was awesome on Sunday so we grilled Parmesan almond crusted Tilapia filets & sipped a martini from my new glasses I got from Melanie & Mike for Christmas.  The fish turned out great!  Click here for the recipe.

We ate dinner on the patio & relaxed before the rat race began again Monday morning.

Speaking of race, I wore my new fitbit Zip that Mike got me for Christmas.  I am by no means a New Years resolutions girl, but I do like the fresh start of a new year to reevaluate the way I'm doing things.  This year I want to wear my fitbit & aim for at least 10,000 steps a day & hit the gym two to three times a week.  I haven't been going to the gym as much as I'd like since it's past the kid's daycare, so I officially switched to the gym at my hospital as of today.  It would only make sense to exercise where you work, right?  Well, I hesitated because I do not want to work out with anyone I work with.  I am the most antisocial person when it comes to the gym; don't look at me & do not talk to me!  I want to get in & I want to get out!  So, it's a very small place & never crowded from what I'm told, so I'm happy with the change so far.  My goal is to work out before I start my 7am shift so I can get home with the kids earlier in the evening to make things less hectic.  Not to mention that ever since I've been sick, I've gotten myself to bed so that I'm getting about 9 hours of sleep each night.  I can't seem to get enough sleep; I'm tired after even ten hours straight!  I'm also getting back to drinking my NutriBullet shakes each morning for breakfast.

I've even started jogging recently which is definitely new for me since usually a runner I am not.  I'm alternating between walking & running & just gradually building up the amount I'm running.  All of that has been easy for me lately because of the cooler weather.  It'll really be difficult when it's back to 93 degrees & God-awful humidity in the summer.

Today was surely not hot & the high of the day was in the low 40s which isn't typical for Florida.  Granted, it's NOTHING like the -40 wind chills that Chicago is getting hit with!  But, this weekend will be back up to 80 degrees just in time for Grammy & Uncle Nick's visit.

Anyway, that's what's going on around here, hope you're all having a great week!  Stay warm, Northerners!!!

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Sickness is all around me

The title of this post keeps reminding me of Love Actually which I happened to watch at least three times this Christmas season.  Instead of, "Christmas is all around me!"  I keep singing, "Sickness is all around me!"  Yep, so there's that.  Anyway, sickness has been in our house for a little over a week & I'm stifling my congested cough in order to not wake my sick gal from her 4 hour nap.  I didn't anticipate ringing in the New Year with 3 out of 4 of us being sick.  Mike is the only one that's dodged the bullet so far.

On top of her four hour and still going nap, Reese slept over fourteen hours last night!  Poor girl needed the extra sleep to kick this bug she's been fighting all week.

We always have birds of many kind hanging around our neighborhood & backyard but we've never had a Sandhill Crane actually come into our yard, so we were surprised to see this guy right by our window this morning!

Cam's been in daycare while we're working, but he's out of pre-K for the week, so he was able to stay home with us today.  As amazing as he is as a big brother, he really knows how to push his sister's buttons.  And when she's sick there are a LOT of buttons to be pushed so there was plenty of whining & crying going on this morning! 

I've gotten a ton done today which is great to have a jump on the weekend & other than Mike needing to drag the tree out to the street, Christmas is all put away & about 8 loads of laundry are done.

While Reese napped, me & Cam headed out to the back yard to play Boom Boom Balloon.  That game scares the heck out of me & I shriek every time that dang balloon bursts!

It's one of the colder days we've had so far this season, so it was great to enjoy some chill!  Cam is definitely a Florida boy & freezes whenever it's under 60 degrees.  I tell him he wouldn't have made it in the Chicago area where I grew up!

Stella has Mexican roots & loves the heat too, but she was basking in the sun on the blanket as we played.

 Dempsey on the other hand was nowhere to be found.  We eventually saw her sitting in the corner of the yard all by herself just staring at us.  It was so funny.  Eventually I was able to call her over to us & she seemed all timid & odd with her normally curly Puggy tail straightened like a stick.  It quickly dawned on me that she's terrified of balloons popping & wanted to be no where near Boom Boom Balloon!  What a goofball.

It was an impromptu day off but it's been a great one!  My girl has been fever free all day today so I'm hoping that will all the rest & extra sleep, this sickness will be kicked to the curb.  Happy New Year!!!

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