Sunday, May 4, 2014

What I'm Up To

Hello! It has been way too long (again) since my last post but I'm back! Thankfully my baby has been sleeping for the past few weeks and I'm getting back into the swing of normal life. I have several goals for this month, which are as follows:

Work out regularly. So far so good on this one. I'm still struggling a bit with getting back into my running routine but hopefully I can figure that part out too.

Participate in the 4th Annual Flats Challenge. The challenge starts one week from today and I'm excited to participate for the second time. I did it in 2012 and enjoyed it. Last year, we were getting ready to move and I was 7 months pregnant so I sat that one out. The flats challenge requires that you use flats throughout the day and try to use them at night as well, and that you hand wash all diapers that are used for a week. I adore our Blueberry bamboo flats and use them most of the time on my baby although I tend to use different diapers for overnight. So our night diapers will be a little different than our usual routine. And handwashing will obviously be a little different from our usual routine too. I am excited to participate again, though, as my first experience was very eye-opening! First of all, I was reminded just how versatile flats are for any cloth diapering mama. Second, I discovered that handwashing wasn't nearly as tedious or awful as I somehow imagined. I have no doubt that I will learn new things with this challenge as I will have 1.25 kids in diapers (my oldest is nearly potty trained but he still wears cloth trainers or diapers at nap and nighttime). I will be doing several posts next week on this topic so you will be able to see how it is going :-)

Continue to clean up my diet. I have been working on my diet and tracking calories in an effort to lose weight. I was doing great until I got sick a couple weeks ago. I had even dropped a few pounds and fit into my skinny jeans - woo hoo!! Anyway, the scale has crept a little in the other direction in the past few days but I have continued to watch my calories. What I have discovered is that my diet/calories are great through the week but I just wreck it every weekend. I plan to rectify that going forward. A little cheat/wiggle room here and there is fine, but I am focused on eating better through my weekends as well going forward. I'm hopeful this will help me reach my fitness and size goals.

Finally, I'm thrilled that it is FINALLY spring! I'm excited to get outside more with my kids. We have been taking lots of walks and going to the park but I'm looking forward to doing lots more in the coming weeks as well.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! What are your goals for this year? I have never been a fan of official new year's resolutions but I have a few goals. They are as follows:

Get fit. I am not aiming to be super-skinny but would like to get back the strength and stamina that I once had. I would also like to clean up my diet. There is too much crap in it currently and I just need to cut it out. Period.

Read more. I feel like I have lost about a million IQ points since having kids and I hate that. I blame exhaustion and too much Thomas but I believe I can feel smart again. Regular reading can help, I think.

Get my work back on track. As you may or may not know, I do bookkeeping work now that I am home with my kids. I have been behind for about 6 months and am desperately trying to get caught up again. 

Figure out my calling. I was blessed to be able to earn a Bachelors and Masters degrees in business but, frankly, I'm not sure that business is my true calling. I have also been blessed to have some diverse career opportunities. In the short term, I still really want to be at home with my kids but God continues to really prod at me that He is wanting something more from me and that that thing will be big and unexpected. Please join me in prayer for figuring out just what it is that He wants me to do this year. I'm starting to get some inclinations after several years of prayer but they seem very strange to me. Hopefully He will fully reveal His will for my next career move in the coming year.

What are your goals? 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Still not sure what to get for someone on your Christmas list? Here are a few of my current favorite things.

The Bodum Travel French Press. I adore my French press. I love it so much that I donated my electric coffee pot when we moved several months ago because it hadn't made a pot of coffee in nearly two years. To me, freshly ground beans and utilizing a French press are musts for home coffee preparation as the coffee is just so much better. My husband doesn't drink coffee at all and I don't drink it every day. Plus, I frequently take it on the run when I drink it. I stumbled upon this nifty little gadget a few months back and was intrigued. After using it for several weeks, I am very impressed! Basically, this is a very nice 15-ounce travel mug with the press built into it! It saves me from cleaning a separate press and it is better insulated than any other travel mug I own. Additionally, the 15-ounce size is just perfect for my needs. If there is a coffee aficionado (or loose leaf tea fan) on your list, I would highly suggest checking out this cool product.

Anyone who spends very much time around me knows that I'm a popcorn fiend. I love making it on the stove top in my Whirly Pop but I also like to make it without oil sometimes. I have never been a big microwave popcorn fan but I swore it off altogether a few years ago due to the chemicals in it. My air popper broke a few years back and I never replaced it because I didn't really love the rubbery popcorn it made either. Yet, I was considering buying another air popper because it is healthy when it is made that way. Then I stumbled upon the Nordic Ware Popcorn Popper.I am really digging this popper! It can be used with or without oil, the popper can double as a bowl and the pieces (just a bowl and lid) are dishwasher safe. This thing is a busy popcorn lover's dream! At less than $15, it is very economical too.

As a busy mama, I rarely wear very much makeup (usually just concealer, powder and a little eye makeup). I used to wear lipstick every day when I was working but I don't recall the last time I used it. Still, a little color will help to brighten a tired face. I love Sugar Rose lip balm and use it frequently. It is a great lip balm but it has just a little dark pink color in it too. It's a bit pricey at $22 for a thick tube but totally giftable/splurgeworthy.

Finally, if you are local, I would suggest checking out Candy House. It is an easy place to forget about but they have some really fun treats. I love to give their truffles or their salted milk chocolate caramels (my personal favorite). Their chocolates are always beautiful and they are elegantly packaged too.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

'Tis the Season

I can't believe it but Christmas is just a few short weeks away. I have been working to finalize my lists and start my shopping. Thankfully, we're paring down the number of people we're exchanging gifts with this year too. (Yea for a less is more Christmas!) I am super-excited to see the holidays through my two year old's eyes as I anticipate Christmas to be pretty magical to him. We will be buying very few gifts this year but here is what I have come up with so far.

Andrew: toy Stihl chainsaw (Daddy is intent on this one and I agree that he will dig it), Memory board game, books (Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site and Tickle Time). I'm thinking an electric toothbrush and some art supplies for his stocking. We also talked about a train table and accompanying train but decided that he is still a little young to play with it properly.

Allison: a homemade doll, books (can you tell I like books?!) and possibly The Little Mermaid (since it will be vaulted by the time she'll be into movies in a few years). I'm super-stoked about the doll. My very talented friend, Cassie, is making it and her dolls are just adorable! I'm planning on getting a couple more fun books for our collection (Dinosaur's Binkit and That's Not My Puppy: Its Coat is Too Hairy). Can you tell I love Sandra Boynton books yet? We have a ton already but they are so fun! I have no idea for her stocking but I need to do something.

I'll probably do picture books for our parents and frame some photos of the kids. And I have no idea what to get my husband...he's always the tough one for me. (I'm open to ideas if anyone out there has any!)

How is your Christmas list shaping up?

Friday, November 1, 2013

November Goals

How is it that the holidays are already around the corner? This past year has flown by at a frightening pace! I guess moving, having a baby and chasing after a busy toddler, all while working and running a household will do that! Since my baby is sleeping more regularly these days (knock on wood!), I'm determined to get some more "me" time again. These are my goals for this month:

  • Work out at least four days a week
  • Organize my office. This is the one room that is still a disaster from moving. It is the catchall room for our house but I'm convinced it can be better than the piles of crap stacked in there currently. 
  • Read a book. I rarely make time to read these days but I really love to read. I haven't read a book since last winter and I'm very sad about this. I'm open to suggestions :-)
  • Get my Christmas shopping done. I've been making my lists but I would love to have everything bought this month. 
  • Decorate my house. My walls are still bare and this makes me sad. At the very least, I need to hang things up that I already own and like. 

This list doesn't look like much but I suspect it will prove to be tough.

Meal Planning Basics

Food is one of my family's biggest expenses. I am a firm believer in eating whole foods whenever possible and would love to buy all organic and make absolutely everything homemade. But life gets in the way of that goal and it just isn't practical with two young children and our busy lives. Several years ago, I discovered that a little planning goes a long way with both saving money on food and eating better. Sadly, I got out of the habit a few weeks back when I was super-pregnant and too exhausted to cook every day. But I have been gradually getting everything back on track (hello blogging!), including our meal planning.

I know there are lots of fancy tools out there to help plan meals but I have always found my old-school methods to work pretty well. First of all, I have a list of meals which I maintain. Basically, if I try a new recipe that we like, it goes on list. When I'm planning meals and drawing a blank, I consult the list. I have a second list of budget-friendly meals that I try to rotate in consistently. These include meals like soup and sandwiches, ham and beans and my husband's least favorite, breakfast for dinner. Perhaps it is odd, but I like to look at the weather when planning meals. If it is cold and rainy, I know I will want a warm soup or chili. If it is unseasonably warm one day, I probably won't want to turn the oven on. And no one wants to grill in deluge rains.

So from there, I start working around our calendar and plugging in meals for the week. The benefit of looking at the whole week at once is that I can eliminate (or minimize) waste by coordinating veggies and perishable ingredients.

What is your strategy for meal planning? Do you use a service or go at it on your own?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

My Fall TV Favorites

New tv shows - yea!! Last week was very exciting for me for this very reason. Sad? Maybe a little. But if you are nursing a baby, you quickly discover that you are sitting around a lot while baby eats. I like to watch tv while nursing because it doesn't require my hands at all. So I was quite excited to check out some of the new shows and catch new episodes of my old favorites. Here are my thoughts on the ones I have watched:

The Goldbergs - I love, love LOVE this one so far! The show is told from the perspective of a 12 year-old boy who is documenting his family's life in the 1980s. Think The Wonder Years but twenty years later - you know, like our lives when we were watching The Wonder Years (ironic, huh?). In my opinion, it is well-written and fun.

Trophy Wife - This one was a big disappointment for me. Malin Akerman stars as Kate, the third wife of Brad who has three kids with his two former wives. I was excited for this one based on the previews but the show seems incredibly predictable and I was bored. I really expected more, given its cast of familiar faces. I'll be skipping this one going forward.

I'm also watching The Middle, Modern Family, Nashville and Parenthood.The Middle and Modern Family are oldies but goodies! So far, the quirky Heck family has not disappointed me and I am digging Modern Family as much as ever. Nashville is soap opera-y as usual but I still enjoy it. And Parenthood is my perennial favorite.

I also recorded Lucky 7 but I couldn't quite get into it. I may give it another shot, though. I also have Betrayal recorded but haven't watched it yet. What are you watching this fall? Is there anything you'd recommend?