Days like these

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This post is probably going to be uninteresting to all of you, I am mostly writing it for myself.  I want to make sure I never forget magical weekends like these.  Weekends full of so much good stuff.  We didn’t do anything particular but SJ was happy and I was happy and I felt like I CAN DO THIS all weekend.  I can kick ass as a mom, and there is no better feeling than that.

Friday night we had a great dinner at a restaurant with no fits.  Just my well behaved child eating chicken dumplings at PF Changs and coloring nicely on the black and white panda the hostess kindly left for us.  We went home, let SJ stay up just a little too late but that is okay.  I didn’t work out but I think my body needed a rest.

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Saturday morning I woke up at 7 am, SJ woke up at 8.  I laid in bed watching TV until he woke up.  He woke up happy has the sun shined on his face, such a big smile in his crib.  He handed me Gigi (his blanket) and I carried him out.  We watched cartoons as he drank milk in bed.  My husband had to work, so SJ and I cooked breakfast (eggs and turkey bacon) as we played outside in the warm sun.   Around 10:45 we decided to run to the park (well I ran, SJ sat in the stroller I pushed).  The park is SJ’s love language.  He is so happy there.  We came home at lunch and SJ took a nap.  I did at T25 video.  Once SJ woke up we had to do our weekend errands: Costco and Trader Joe’s.  There was a fit thrown at Costco for Oreos but other than that we carried on.  It was so warm outside, I decided to treat SJ to his first overpriced ice cream at Cold Stones.  We stood together in a long line in a hot and humid shop waiting patiently for our turn.  We ordered a sweet cream with oreos and sprinkles.  SJ LOVED it, but would you expect anything less?   Steve was at his brother’s bachelor party in San Francisco at this point so we came home to the dogs.  We played with the neighbors for a half hour  before dinner.  I made pesto spinach tortellini’s for SJ and maple glazed brussel sprouts with chicken sausage for me.  We played together until bedtime, I put SJ down and climbed into bed shortly after myself.

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Sunday morning we woke up and decided to make homemade blueberry muffins from scratch.  I love cooking with SJ.  You helped with everything- the pouring, the measuring, we watched as the kitchenaid mixed it all together.  Shortly after they finished baking, Steve came home.  He was understandably beat so SJ and I decided to play outside to give him a break.  I set up his water table and we had a blast.  As I went in to start getting lunch ready, I came back and SJ had taken off his diaper and jumped in the water table for a swim.  It was hysterical, I love that kid so much.   I dried SJ off, we lunched it up, and then it was off for nap time.  I took this opportunity to go for a long run by myself and it was AMAZING.  It was one of those really good runs where my I felt like nothing could stop me or take me down.  After nap time, we played and ate corned beef and cabbage for dinner in honor of our heritage and St. Patrick’s Day.

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You see, there was nothing major that happened.  We didn’t go to Disneyland or to the beach or on an extravaganza.  We spent quality time at home just me and you kid and it was so special to me.  I never want to forget days like these.  You are the most amazing person I have ever met and if it is even possible I love you more and more each day.

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Meal Planning 5

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You didn’t think I would forget did you??  Here is what I planned and am cooking this week.  Also, last week I started T25 and can I just say so far so good.  It is a tough workout but I am really enjoying it.  It keeps me motivated and sore but most of all it is inspiring me to keep eating healthy.  I need to find a fabric tape measure so I can start to measure my progress!

Sunday: Steak + Chicken + Zucchini + Rice  (We basically just used leftover food that we had in our fridge and freezer that needed to be cooked up- 1 steak, 2 chicken breasts and a zucchini)

Monday: Maple Glazed Brussel Sprouts with Chicken Sausage

This was freaking amazing!! I could eat this 3 nights a week.  Seriously- it was that good.  I left off the pomegranate seeds and used 2 links of Italian chicken sausage and 2 links of spicy Italian chicken sausage and this was so money.  The spicy was a nice compliment to the sweet sprouts.  Plus I would also recommend going heavy on the caramelized onions because in my opinion it made this dish.

Tuesday: Orzo with Shrimp, Asparagus, and Feta

This was another win.  Usually my husband graciously eats my creations whether he likes them or not, but this he said “this is really good” after one bite.  Without me even having to prompt him with my incessant asking “do you like it? do you like it?” I have been trying to not make a lot of pasta and stay mostly gluten free to keep with my weight loss but this was well worth it.

Wednesday: Turkey Taco Salad  A staple in my house.

Thursday: Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes

Wish me luck.  This time I am going to crock pot it all day while I am at work, hopefully this is a success.

Friday: Night off or easy meal.

*Bonus: Last Saturday we actually made an excellent meal.  We made a pasta with pesto, chicken, sausage, broccoli, and tomatoes.  Again I tried to eat mostly the veggies and meat to lay of the gluten pasta but it was so good.  PLUS this means last week I cooked 6 nights- boom!  I will make it again, photograph, and post the recipe.

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Shrimp Orzo

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Maple Brussel Sprouts with Chicken Sausage

Weekends are hard

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I know you must be thinking, “what?!, you cray girl!”  But truth be told, weekends can be hard.  They can also be ridiculously amazing.

A weekend is only two days and it can be hard to fit in everything I need and want to do in just those two days. All I really WANT to do is spend time with my kiddo and do fun things.  You know, maybe go somewhere cool, see a giant smile on his face because I just really nailed it in the fun department.  The reality of the situation is I also have to grocery shop, Costco, Target, clean, and do laundry (yes I realize I made Costco and Target verbs, I mean they kind of are).  I always feel guilty schlepping my son along on these tedious errands since he already spends a lot of car time commuting with me weekly.  I want him to spend as much time on the weekends being free and having fun!

At the end of the day I am just a mom doing my best to balance it all. I know this post probably sounds like a rant but I am hoping it will be a reminder.  A reminder that someday when I am fortunate enough to either be a SAHM, working from home mom, or part time SAHM, that I will appreciate the luxury that is going to a Costco on a Tuesday morning.

It’s the little things in life.

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A fun weekend + Meal Planning 4

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Normally on weekends we don’t do a whole lot (I know lame but hey we are tired), but that was not the case this weekend.  We really crammed it all in!  On Friday we went to a Crab Feed that we usually go to every year to support a local High School.  This year there was 700 people and 1 crazy toddler.  Yep, no sitter so SJ came too and surprisingly he was so well behaved.  I am pretty sure we used up all our good ju-ju for the next few months on toddler behavior out in public.   Saturday night was lunch out and dinner at a friends house.  Sunday was cleaning house, meal planning, grocery shopping, and a good-bye party held at our house for my sister in law.  She is a super smarty pants and scored an unreal job right out of nursing school at UCLA, so she will be leaving the Bay Area this week for that.  We will miss her terribly.

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A little after dinner birthday/ good-bye cake for my sister in law. Can you tell SJ loves cake?

So without further ado…. meal planning week 4!  Can you believe I made it 4 weeks?? I can’t.  I must say though I am starting to see the savings on our grocery bill big time and I feel a lot healthier since I have been planning mostly healthy and gluten free dinners.

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On my new Brim Papery meal planner

On my new Brim Papery meal planner

Sunday: Steak + Lobster + Asparagus + my Roasted Red Potatoes (recipe below)

Since it was a good bye dinner for my sister in law, my hubby cooked it up.  He is a master of the grill, I am a lucky lady. We BBQ’ed everything but the red potatoes

Monday: Ground turkey fried rice

This was a MAJOR win.  So freaking good AND toddler approved!  SJ gobbled it up faster than you can say “are you done with that?”.  I based it off of this recipe, except I swapped out the red bell peppers for carrots and peas.

Tuesday: Shrimp Kabobs (shrimp, bell pepper, onion, zucchini, and mushrooms in a teriyaki like sauce) + quinoa + spiced sweet potatoes

Wednesday:  Pulled BBQ chicken + salad + sweet potato chips

I bought this BBQ pulled chicken at Costco this weekend but I have also made it myself in the crock pot before. The hubs will have it on bread as a sandwich while I opt for just the meat.

Thursday: Brushetta chicken + salad + rice

I have never made this before and have thought up the recipe in my head.  If it is good, I will make sure to share on here.

Friday: Night off or I picked up a pack of spinach tortellini’s at Trader Joe’s we have as a back up.

Recipe for roasted red potatoes:

Cut up red potatoes into small squares.  Put them in a bowl.  Then put in a liberal dose of dijon mustard (sorry I don’t measure, but maybe like 3 or 4 squeezes should do it), olive oil (again don’t measure- a few clugs), salt, pepper, red onion, and either fresh garlic or garlic powder.  Once all mixed together spread on a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 40-45 minutes or until crispy on the outside, soft in the inside.

Turkey fried rice

Turkey fried rice

Things we are lovin’

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I thought I would start a little edition called “things we are lovin'”.  You know a little of this, a little of that.

Here are a few things that are working for us that we are LOVIN’ right now.

1. SJ is a typical boy and pees through his diaper ALL the dang time at night.  I didn’t want to do the song and dance of buying 8 million brands of diapers trying to find one that didn’t leak so we went straight for this and it is working like a dream boat.  Speaking of diapers, we use Honest company and we love, love, love.  SJ was getting all sorts of itchy down there with his sensitive skin, so we switched him to these and haven’t looked back.  Despite our night thing, they are extremely absorbent.

2. Acure skincare products.  I get these at Whole Foods and you guys, it is NOT that expensive!  I have a history with bad skin and this is the first thing in a long time that is working for me.  I don’t have to cover my face with foundation to hide all the break outs.  I still have yet to try other parts of the line, but right now I am using this at night with the toner and night cream.

3. This Kids Superfood.  AMAZING.  SJ actually begs we more it. Begs me people.  It is loaded with fruits and veggies, organic, non-GMO, all the good stuff and none of the bad.  It is like a little extra insurance to make you feel like a good parent.  I don’t know about you, but my heart literally sings every time SJ eats a vegetable and I am singing the praises of this superfood which we call “superman juice” in our house.  I have put it in smoothies before, but on the daily I just mix it with water and occasionally add a tiny bit of apple juice.

4. This instant download meal and grocery planner for ONLY $3 at Brim Papery. A pretty, fun addition to my weekly meal plans.

Any awesome finds that you are dying to share?

What do you make for dinner + Meal Planning 3

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This past Sunday my best friend from high school came to visit me with her two gorgeous kids.  It was so nice to spend time catching up with her.  I love how even though we don’t talk very often we can still pick right back up where we left off.  She is pretty awesome.  The kids got along well except for at the end of the visit when my evil dog from my last post bit her sweet little girl.  I felt so bad, I even cried.  Let me know if you know anyone who wants a naughty dog…..

Anyways, my favorite question to ask people these days is what they make for dinner.  I want to know what people are really cooking for dinner.  Not what they pin on pinterest or recipes that have with a million ingredients.  I am talking about what are you whipping up on a Monday night after a long day.  If it wasn’t obvious I am a little obsessed with food.  Right after I had SJ, when family would come to visit and help, all I really wanted was for them to make or teach me to make one dish.  I knew that now that I had a family, I was going to be cooking a lot and I wanted new ideas.

So naturally I asked my dear friend this same question and I got something magical.  A gluten free (her son is intolerant so this is her domain now) mexican casserole.  It basically consists of pre-made Trader Joe’s goodness, which is amazing in itself.

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Can you tell my food photography is getting a little better?

Lauri’s Mexican Casserole:

Ingredients:

Corn Tortillas

Trader Joe’s salsa verde

Trader Joe’s premade asada chicken

Black beans

Frozen spinach

Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease the bottom of a pan and then top it with a layer of salsa verde (maybe 1/2 a cup).  Next cover it with a few corn tortillas, topped with a little more salsa.  Next layer with chopped asada chicken, spinach, black beans, and a little cheese.  Continue layering and once done pour a healthy dose of cheese on the top. I also added some sliced olives.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

I topped mine with sliced avocado but you could add sour cream if you like that stuff.

And for the rest of the week this is what is on the menu:

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Sunday: Steak, veggies, sweet potatoes, and wild rice (slight adjustment to the above)

Monday: Lauri’s Mexican Casserole

Tuesday: Red beans and rice

Wednesday: Baked lemon chicken, veggies, quinoa (Baking chicken with some fresh squeezed lemon, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  In the same dish adding zucchini and broccoli to bake along side it).

Thursday: Turkey tacos again, tortellinis, or something easy.  It is just me and SJ this night.

Friday: We are going to the annual San Mateo crab feed.  It is delicious and oh so fun.  Now we just need to find a babysitter still….

So, what does everyone else make for dinner?  Any easy favorites?

A rough night + Meal Planning 2

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This week has not been without it’s challenges.  It started out lovely with the 3 day weekend which included an overnight trip to Carmel and a toddler sleepover.  However, come Tuesday night, all hell broke loose.

I was trying to keep up my meal planning and was hard at work cooking salmon and salad.  My toddler was running around and playing as normal.  After I cooked dinner, I decided that SJ and I were going to sit down at the table and have a civilized dinner unlike what we usually do (eat standing, in front of the TV, or while running around like a banshee).  SJ was being quite good and I was pleased at my mothering skills.  No biggie I just came home from work, whipped up this fabulous dinner, and now me and my well behaved toddler are sitting at the table having a lovely conversation while we eat our veggies.  Yep, spoke too soon.  I get up to go get SJ his water that I assume he left on the floor in the living room when I saw a horrific scene.

Our guinea pig cage was knocked over onto the living room carpet, completely in pieces, with no sign of guinea and a toddler shoe in the middle of the shambled cage.  There was poop, hay, food EVERYWHERE.  The only thing I could muster was repeatedly saying, “oh no, OH NO, OOOHHH NOOOOO”.  SJ came running over and stood at the foot of entrance with an “oh shit I forgot I did that” look on his face.

Meanwhile, one of our dogs who is not friendly at all was chasing the guinea pig around and I couldn’t get him to stop.  The only thing I could do at that point was cry.  I stood behind our TV stand and just cried.  SJ came over, touched my arm with complete innocence and compassion in his eyes and signaled for me to pick him up with both hands in the air.  He gave me a huge hug and a kiss and I was filled with the magic that children possess.  How do they know?   The fact that children know when to be calm and when to offer love and support just completely puts me at awe.  They are so innocent and loving and it is just hands down the ultimate reason as to why we reproduce.  Their hearts are so full of love because that is all they know.

Once I got the crazy dog out of the living room, I noticed large clumps of hair and blood stains on the carpet.  The guinea pig was huddled under the dog stairs we have scared shitless.  That damn dog attacked him.

I called my husband hysterical and he came home and cleaned up the mess and examined the guinea pig.  He is okay but I don’t know that he will ever forgive us.  So now we are trying to figure out what to do with the vicious dog, as this is not the first time he has attacked.  He bites me and my husband all the time and he has even bitten SJ a couple times.  It is an incredibly hard position to be in, since we are so passionate about giving homeless pets a home (hence how at one point we had 4 dogs and now have 3 + said guinea pig).

I guess at the end of the day it was just another case of me taking on a little too much.  I try so hard to come home and then pick up the role of the perfect housewife and mother and it is just HARD.  It is hard to do it all and I don’t think humans are designed to do it.

Needless to say, last night we ditched the meal plan and got Panda Express instead.  I am not giving up on it, I am just recognizing when it is okay to stray from the plan and take a break.

At any rate, here is what the plan for this week was.

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Sunday: This was when we had the toddler sleep over.  Our single dad friend came over with his twins and we ordered pizza.

Monday: Chili

Tuesday: Salmon (baked with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika)

Wednesday: Planned: Turkey Taco Salad Actual: Take out

* Turkey Taco Salad is one of my top 3 recipes. Super easy, quick, and delicious

Thursday: Baked Chicken with potatoes and veggies (recipe coming soon)

Friday: Night off or my hubs might BBQ steaks.