Thursday, August 23, 2012

Makes a daddy's heart happy!

SYT teaching PUT the basics of golf.  And, just in case you are wondering, yes, Spencer does have favorite golfers already.....
"Luuuuuuuuuuke" (as in Donald)- Hysterical to hear him say it. What's funnier is that our neighbor's son is also a Luke and I'm pretty sure that Spence thinks it's that Luke who is golfing on tv.
Tiger Woods is the other fave
I do not doubt that the reason we would have a 3rd child is so that B could round out his foursome!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pinterest recipes

I love Pinterest. I could not ask for a better place to organize my ideas. I think the problem I have with Pinterest is that when you go back to update your board, your followers don't see your updates. This, to me, only becomes a problem with recipes. I want the followers of my food board to know if I liked a recipe, if I hated a recipe, if I tweaked a recipe, etc. I have tried a LOT of my pins (and have deleted the ones we'll never eat again) and wish there was an easier way to let people know that certain ones are really good IRL.

I've decided to post a few of my favorites here, so at least all of you will be able to check out these, knowing that they're tested and delish!!

Gazpacho Chicken Salad- amazing. We've made it 3 times already in the past month. I add one can of cannelini beans (rinsed and drained) and use about half of the tomatoes (we're not huge tomato fans around here). This makes a great dinner and is wonderful for lunches throughout the week. Serve it with Naan or Ciabatta bread and a great white wine. Would also be wonderful for a ladies lunch on a bed of lettuce.

Honey Lime Chicken Skewers and Black bean, corn and avocado salad- Easy weeknight dishes that work well together but also delicious enough to serve to company. You wouldn't even have to do the skewers- just grill the chicken breasts instead of cutting and skewering. You could then serve the chicken over a bed of cilantro lime rice with black beans if you don't want to make the avocado salad (but you should make it- it's so good!). Again, both of these make great leftovers- the chicken is great chopped small and added to the salad.

Penne with vodka cream sauce- B and I make this every Valentine's day. If there were a recipe that shaped our relationship, this would be it. Amazing "date night in" meal. This year, we're going to try it with homemade pasta. I cannot wait!!!!

Baked spaghetti with cream cheese- A great dinner for a cold winter's weeknight. Really easy, very kid friendly, easy to sneak extra veggies into. We added spinach (I will add spinach to practically everything I can) as well as a few chopped bell peppers.

Monogolian beef- I don't really like Chinese food, so I wasn't expecting much from this dish; however, B loves it, so I made it to make him happy. It was much better than I expected, and it will definitely go into our regular rotation. I served it with stir-fried veggies and put the beef and the veggies over white rice. I did think it was a little too sweet, so I will cut back on the sugar next time. I'm sure it's much healthier than any restaurants version of Mongolian Beef!!

Slow Cooker Tiki Masala- This recipe (and the butter chicken recipe in the post) are our favorites that I have pinned so far. They are both better than any Indian food here in GR, and I love that they're crockpot recipes. I use boneless skinless chicken breasts in both recipes as it cuts down on the grease and the fat. Spencer loves both, too, so I would consider them kid friendly. I throw a bunch of peas into the Tiki Masala for color and nutrition!

Grilled brussel sprouts- If you haven't tried brussel sprouts in awhile, give them a try. They really are quite good if done well. Prior to this recipe we had never grilled them. We always roasted them with balsalmic. I didn't skewer them as we forgot to soak the skewers while we were at work, so we just did them in the grill basket instead. Worked like a charm.

Dairy free double chocolate granola bars- . I found out that our local grocery store does sell the Enjoy Life brand of dairy free chocolate chips and this has pretty much changed my world. I have made these granola bars twice in the past two weeks and take one of these every day in my lunch as my treat. If you aren't dairy free, just use whatever chocolate chips you like, but definitely still make these. I don't use the other weird flaxseed cereal, I have just crushed up frosted mini wheats instead, but I would also sub corn flakes, wheat chex, crispix, rice krispies, or another plain cereal. B loves these, and he is the first to criticize "fake" things that I make when I am dairy free. Trust me, you will be glad these are in your freezer/fridge when you need an easy snack that is full of fiber and delicious! The granola is amazing on it's own, and, if I could, I would eat it with vanilla yogurt every single morning!!

Bananas, peanut butter, and nilla wafer sniacks- I made these for a church picnic this spring and the kids liked them a lot. I thought they were just okay. I had hoped they would be better. If you do make them for a birthday party or playdate, know that they cannot sit longer than a few hours without getting the nilla wafers mushy from the banana. Definitely not something you can make the night before.

Buckeye bark- I adore chocolate and peanut butter so I thought these would be my favorite thing ever. I definitely do not think they are as good as regular buckeyes (though they were a lot easier than rolling out the balls). B liked it and the friends we gave our Christmas goodie packages too said they really liked it, but I didn't love it and I'm not sure if I would make it again. I have too many other favorite sweets to make something that is just "okay" in my opinion.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes- You NEED to make these. Not even a question. Your husband/boyfriend/fiancee/girlfriend/roommate will love you, and your children will think you are the best mommy ever. We made them for a Friday night in one night last winter and just about died at the deliciousness. These would be a wond erful Saturday after Thanksgiving breakfast when the whole family is together and you are getting into the holiday spirit. I think they would also be lovely as a birthday morning surprise. I promise you that you and everyone you serve them to will love them. PROMISE!!

Frozen banana "ice cream"- This is currently my dessert of choice since I can't eat real ice cream right now. I do bananas, peanut butter, cocoa powder and vanilla- it's fabulous and quite a bit less fattening than regular ice cream even with the peanut butter. You can definitely still taste banana pretty strongly, so if you aren't a banana person, don't bother trying this. I also add a bit of almond milk during the food processing process to make it creamier.

Carmelitas- Hands down, the BEST recipe I have pinned. I have gotten repeated requests to make these again and again and again. In fact, they're so good that I've already blogged about them! I cannot tell you the joy I felt when one of our church friends brought over dinner for us two weeks after Peter was born and she brought a whole container of these. I literally called B at work screaming with joy that Alyssa had brought us carmelitas. Just watch the faces of people you serve these too- I promise they'll be just as excited as I was!!

I hope this run down gives you a few new recipes to try! Please let me know if you do. Also, if you have pinned recipes that you love, please let me know. I am always looking for new ideas!!  Happy cooking!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

You need to check out this sale.....

I was looking for a shirt at Talbots earlier this season that I had seen on another blogger, so I ran in to try it (and a few other things on). I ended up not liking the shirt, but I fell in love with a cardigan that I found. I decided I would wait for it to go on sale, and then I just got lazy. Every time I got a Talbots email, I would think, "I should really check the price on that cardigan", but then I would get distracted by a 2 year old, a newborn, dinner, sleep, etc. On Friday I had time to kill at work and was able to check the email I got that day and to my very, very excited surprise, the cardigan was on mega sale!

I would highly recommend that all of you head over to the website (or your nearest store) to pick up this baby. It is darling on (fits very true to size), the embelishments do not look cheap IRL at all, and it's on sale for $29.49!! I ended up ordering the orange and the green. I would have ordered the pink too, but I just bought a pink Lilly cardigan a few weeks ago, so I don't need another.

There are a few other really cute things that are also total STEALS if you have time to check out the sale.

I ordered the black clutch and the black dress above. We'll see how the dress fits (could look horrid on me, but the store is close enough to return with no problem). I thought long and hard about the cheetah print clutch too but decided that one clutch was enough for now. I really love that maxi above (I would order it in the petite size so that I wouldn't have to get it hemmed), but I couldn't think of an occasion this fall where I would wear it. Anyone else need it? I think it's fabulous!!

Let me know if you end up ordering anything. I can't wait to get my box in the mail!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What to Wear: The Nursing Edition

Trying to find clothes that are cute and "transitional" (ie- I haven't lost all my baby weight yet) post-partum is not fun.  No one wants to buy a whole new wardrobe that won't be worn for long, and there are definitely occasions that you want to dress up for (ie- not wear yoga pants and a tshirt) during those weeks/months after giving birth.  This has been my life this summer.  I am now at the point wear I am fitting into more and more of my regular clothes (with about 7 lbs left to lose) but am now faced with another dressing dilemma. 

Nursing/pumping at work clothes
While the above shirt is labeled as nursing wear, it is not something I would wear (ever), nor is it appropriate for someone who has to work in an office and pump three times a day (for the next 9 months of my life).  I breastfed Spencer for approx 13 months (wanted to stop at 12 but the darn kid wouldn't drink whole milk at all and the pediatrician said he had to be drinking milk or formula before I could stop nursing), and I'd like to do the same for Peter.  I've also come to the point when it's time to head back into work and get out of the comfy yoga pants/maxi dress mode.  I don't know how many of you are in similar situations, but I thought I'd put together some ideas of what to wear when you/your precious babe needs access to your lady parts 5, 6, 7 times a day!!

The first thing you need are good nursing tanks.  I have some from Target, Old Navy, Gap and Motherhood. The pull down ones from Motherhood I like way more than I expected to, and since they don't have clasps anywhere, you don't have to wear anything layered overtop to avoid it looking like a nursing top.

I wear a tank a few days a week, layered under cardigans, sweaters, and blazers. They keep some modesty (I share an office with 4 other females and they're around while I'm pumping most of the time) and still help me to look pulled together when worn with dress pants and a blazer/sweater.  I highly recommend at least two black and two white tanks and then a few colored ones to go under your more neutral cardigans. I find I wear my black and white ones all the time so only having one of each is not enough. Finding time to do laundry mid-week when you are away from the house 45-50 hours a week and have a baby at home is hard, so just make it easier on yourself and have an extra!

Button downs, popovers, or wrap tops are great options when pumping at work or nursing in public. It's easy to be discreet when you only have to undo a few buttons, and the wrap tops allow you to just slide the fabric right under your bra. I actually have the wrap shirt above in two colors (navy and coral from Target) and it's been my go to shirt all summer. It was easy to dress up or down and looks great with accessories, and the ruching on the side helps to hide the post-partum belly. Now that I am almost back to my normal size, it still looks cute on and is completely appropriate for work. I wish they had it in a long sleeve version for this winter!

I love to wear dresses to work. I find that they are super easy in the morning to put on, comfortable to wear throughout the day, and always help me to look pulled together/polished. Many of my "normal" dresses don't work while I'm pumping b/c you can't exactly unzip an entire sheath dress and sit topless in the office, so I've had to find other options.  I find the easiest dresses to wear are vneck or crossover top dresses that are made of a modal or cotton/lycra fabric that has lots of stretch. 
I have the above maxi from Target in blue. I wear a nursing tank underneath (it's a pretty deep vneck) and it's perfect. While I wouldn't wear this to work (too casual), it's been perfect for maternity leave and weekends. It's really long, so if you are tall, this is definitely the dress to buy!!

While this dress is technically a maternity dress, it's got the stretchy vneck and a darling embellishment at the waist which would be perfect for the first few months of nursing when you are still trying to lose the baby weight. I actually have a maternity dress (Liz Lange, Target) that I bought after Peter was here that I have worn all summer. I just bought one size down and it's a very flowy maxi dress so you cannot tell AT ALL that it is a maternity dress. I love it! At the above price (29.99- Target's website), you can't beat this dress for something that looks pulled together (especially under a cardigan) but feels like you are wearing pjs. Certainly something I would wear post-partum!
The above dress by JCrew is one that I adore. I actually have an almost identical one from Land's End that I bought when I was doing this two years ago with Spencer. At work, I just unbutton a few buttons while pumping, and off I go. Easy peasy!!

Cute dress from the Loft that has the vneck. This would be adorable with a cardigan over top for work (white for now, navy or gray for fall).
Wrap dresses (above from Banana) are the ultimate nursing dress. I have two in my closet and am always on the lookout for more.  These are also great for moms who SAH but who need a great dress for church.

Other tips:
I try to keep a few extra nursing pads in my pumping bag. This way if I forget to put them under my tank or in my bra in the morning, I can deal with that at work.

I don't have a hands free pumping bra, but I have heard they are fantastic. I just use one hand to prop both and then type with my other hand. Most of the time while I am nursing, I tend to get onto my Google Reader anyway, so it's more about perusing than it is about typing. If you are actually needing to type while pumping, I would for sure recommend a hands free bra!

Get a great water bottle for work. Nursing drains me of fluid (literally!) and most people are constantly thirsty. It's easier to remember to drink when you have a cute water bottle at work that makes you happy when you see it.

Does anyone else have suggestions for ladies who are pumping at work? What are your favorite outfits to wear? I'm currently at work in a white VV button down and charcoal slacks, and my outfits this week include a button down dress, a cardigan and tank with capris, a navy wrap top with coral chinos, and a skirt and top (this top will be a little tricky but I'll keep my lab coat on when pumping).

Hopefully this helps someone out there!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lobster Party 2012

The best party of the summer was a bit different this year. Due to the fact that I can't eat dairy and I didn't have a ton of saved milk (so I didn't want to pump and dump), I decided it wasn't worth me staying for dinner and dancing. It was a tough decision to make as the party is seriously so fun, but I knew I didn't want to be drinking on an empty stomach, and literally everything served at the party has butter of some sort on it!

Instead, I brought the boys down to the beach for cocktails and appys and to socialize for a bit. We were able to snap a few pictures. It was out of control hot (above 90 and humid as all get out) but it wasn't sunny, so that helped a little bit. It is awful when it's that hot as everyone is dressed up and looks so cute and then is just standing around sweating through everything. Uggg.... You hate to be outside at one of the biggest social events of the summer and feel gross like that, you know?
Love these two!

Fake smile much, Spence??

This one is better, but I should have been holding Peter upright. Notice the hickey on my shoulder from my little baracuda!!

Spencer and his cousin. He is obsessed with her! They're really sweet together and we're hoping they always love each other like they do now!

I'm going to frame this one!

B's pants and his dad's shorts.

Spencer spent most of his time burying his shoes in the sand. It kept him quite occupied, so I was happy!!

Can't you just feel the humidity when you look at this picture? The air was so heavy.

The pretty grasses at the dunes

After we socialized sufficiently, I took the boys back to my mom's house and put them down. I then ate dinner and watched the Olympics until B called to have me come pick him up (I did not want him driving). He said the band was great (as they always are) and he had fun hanging out with his brother, sister in law, and his cousins. I'm just going to be counting down til next year!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Before you came into my life, I missed you so bad(ly)

Peter turned 3 months old this week! I'm constantly amazed at how fast time is flying with him. He survived his first week of daycare better than I did! His two teachers both thought he was so chatty and such an easy, happy baby. I concur!!

He is taking 3 4.5-5 oz bottles while at daycare and took to the bottles like a champ. Prior to going this week, he had only ever had two bottles, but you'd never know it by watching him guzzle them down. Neither of my boys had trouble transitioning from nursing to bottles to pacifiers. We use the Tommee Tippee bottles because I think they are the most like nursing.  He did have one day where he needed the extra bottle we send- he was so fussy after his second bottle of the day that they gave him more and he sucked down 2.5 more oz for a total of 7 oz!!  Yikes, buddy!

He is sleeping well both at home and at daycare. He consistently needs a long afternoon nap (usually between 1.5-2 hours). I'm shocked he can sleep well at daycare- it took Spencer a long time to adjust to all the noise in the room. Peter does the best when bundled and put in the crib; however, the other day he took a 2.5 hour nap in the lofted area underneath the toy bar! His teacher said he looked so comfy, she didn't want to move him and apparently he loved it based on that nap time!!

He is still waking up overnight to eat. It's frustrating as Spencer was sleeping through the night by now, but I know I can't compare them. Some nights I'll go into the nursery to feed him in the rocker, but most nights I'll pull him into our bed and we'll both fall asleep while nursing. I'll usually wake 30ish min later and then put him back into his crib. He's a quick nighttime nurser, so I am thankful for that! He usually sleeps for a 5-6 hour stretch and then another 3-3.5 hour stretch. I'm just waiting for the day when he does 8 or 9 hours!!

I spent part of this evening putting away baby clothes that no longer fit him. He's over 15 lbs now!! It's been fun to put him into the same clothes that Spencer wore and remenisce about things we were doing when Spence wore that outfit. I've been REALLY good about not buying new things for Peter. There are times when I want to but I also know it would be silly to do so as we have everything he needs. I am looking for matching pumpkin tees for the boys for the fall. It's fun to put them in similar/matching outfits!

Such sweet feet!

Spencer just adores him and wants to kiss, hug, or hold him all the time. I hope he remains in love with him once Peter is old enough to crawl over and steal his toys :)

Love the wrist folds!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

USA Women's Gymnastics!!

They made it look EASY!!!!  Congrats, were absolutely amazing!!!

Gabby is so adorable and performed as an all around contender should, and Jordyn's floor routine could not have been any more perfect.  Overall, though, I do have to give complete and utter props to Mckayla Maroney. I have never, ever seen a vault as good as hers. She just flies. I'm so glad she gets to compete for the vault individual medel just so that I can see her perform two more times.

I love the Olympics and am going to bed WAYYYYY too late to catch it all.  Not so good with work starting next week!  Should have talked my work into one more week of maternity leave just to be able to stay up next week too!!