Monday, May 25, 2015

Cinnamon Raisin Quinoa Hot Cereal


We are really trying to get Blake to learn healthy habits and learn to like different kinds of foods.  I hate to give her instant oatmeal because of the amount of sugar in them.  They are convenient sometimes but I try to make her home cooked food as much as possible.  I like to make a batch of this on Sundays and it can just be heated up for her on weekday mornings while I'm at work.  It's also really delicious!

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 1/2 cups of cold water
  • 1/2 tbs butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp apple pie spice
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 box (or a handful) of raisins
Bring the quinoa and water to a boil for 1 minute and then reduce to low and cover.  Simmer until cooked and water is absorbed, about 10 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.  That's it!

*Sometimes when it is re-heated it can seem a little dry.  Just add a little more milk.


I also make my own apple pie spice because I couldn't find it at the grocery store and I already had all the ingredients. Here's how to make your own.
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon
  • 1 tbs allspice
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom

Enjoy!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mexican Lime Chicken Soup

For Cinco de Mayo this year I wanted to do something different.  And easy, since it's a work night.  I made this soup the night before so we can just heat it up after work.  

I found the recipe on Pinterest here.  The only thing I changed was that I used 2 limes instead of one because I couldn't taste any lime with just one.  

If you love Mexican food flavors (like I do) than you will love this soup!  If you hate cilantro or cumin you better skip it :)



  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 stalks celery 
  • 1 medium jalapeno 
  • 4 cloves garlic 
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes w/chiles
  • 1 tsp oregano 
  • ½ Tbsp cumin 
  • 2 medium limes 
  • ½ bunch cilantro 
  • 1 medium avocado

Dice the onion, celery, and jalapeno (scrape the seeds out of the jalapeno before dicing). Mince the garlic. Cook the onion, celery, jalapeno, and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until tender.
Add the chicken breast, chicken broth, canned tomatoes with chiles, oregano, and cumin to the pot. Bring the whole pot up to a boil over high heat then reduce the heat to low, place a lid on top, and let simmer for one hour.
After simmering for an hour with a lid on, carefully remove the chicken breast from the pot and use two forks to shred the meat. Return the meat to the pot. Squeeze the juice of one lime into the soup. Get as much juice as possible from the lime by using a spoon to scrape the inside of the lime.
Rinse the cilantro and then roughly chop the leaves. Add to the pot, give it a quick stir, and serve. Dice the avocado and add a few chunks to each bowl.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Early Toddlerhood: 12-18 months






Sleep: 
Well we made it!  I'm now on the other side of the endless sleepless nights.  Every night is not perfect but for the most part, we sleep through the night (in our own beds).  She wakes in the night and puts herself back to sleep. Whoo Hoooo!!! It feels good.  I'm so glad I waited for her to get there naturally in her own time.  It isn't easy to wait patiently for this milestone but nothing about parenting is easy.  Looking back, I am so thankful for all that quiet time we spent together in the middle of the night.  I'm happy we co-slept a little bit too, even if Kyle and I both got kicked in the head more than once.  I will never regret the time that I have spent on Blake's needs because she is already needing me less and less everyday. 


Naps are improving too.  It is all just coming together now :)

**I do still rock/walk and/or nurse her to sleep.  She loves to read at bed and nap time also.  She is in a size large Zipadee Zip which is probably not necessary but is a comfort to her and keeps her warm.  

Food:
Oh man food has been a struggle.  I had such high hopes for the healthy habits I was going to create for Blake.  Then we started solids at 6 months and have struggled ever since.  Until now...

I was desperate for her to just try ANYTHING.  I gave up on healthy food and made things like mac and cheese and chicken nuggets just to get her to try different tastes and textures.  I figured if I can get her to try things then I can move into more healthy foods.  Well she pretty much hated everything except fruit and the squeezy baby food packets. Then all of a sudden, she decided she would try things.  It's like she slept through the night one night and woke up thinking "ok I'm ready to eat now."  It's crazy how these two things started happening at the same time but it's making life much easier. 

I'm trying to get her to eat more meat (the biggest challenge) because her iron levels are always low at her doctor appointments.


Nursing:

Yes, I'm still nursing.   No, I don't think there's anything weird about it.  I do think it's weird that people make a big deal about it.  If you are thinking anything other than that boobs are for feeding and comforting babies then you're the weirdo :)

That being said, 2 years is my new goal.  It's what I am comfortable with and it is what's recommended by the World Health Organization.  Our nursing relationship has given us such a special bond and it has been my savior at times.  It can cure hunger, fear, pain, tiredness, anxiety, tantrums etc etc etc.  I'm so happy we made it this far.  I think I will be ready by the time she is 2 to let go of this special time in Blake's life.  It's only really a couple times a day at this point.  She comes to me for comfort and when she's tired and that's it.  

Also, I don't think I have it in me to tandem nurse (look it up) and I'd like to have another baby soon-ish.  Overall, I'm so glad I stuck with it even in the hard times and that I didn't rush into weaning.

Bottles: 

Bottles are another story.  The pediatrician said we should really start weaning off the bottle and I guess I agree with that.  They aren't totally necessary since she can use a cup.  It's just what she's been used to when I'm not there and might make things harder for her caregivers to get rid of them.  Since sleep is getting better, maybe this will work itself out.  Every time I start to worry about something the doctor or a friend says we "should be" doing, it just happens naturally and I remember I need to trust my own instincts and stop worrying. 


Frozen:
Frozen is her favorite thing on earth! It has become a way of life. She loves Anna, Elsa, and Olaf.  We have several Frozen books just to keep us from being bored to death at bedtime.  We have multiple Olaf, Anna, and Elsa dolls and a Frozen nightgown that has to be hidden when dirty.  We even have Frozen band-aids.  I have the movie on DVD, on my phone, and on my iPad (just in case) :)


Milestones:
I find it funny, now, that I ever even worried about Blake reaching her milestones. But it's hard not to think about it when I have been studying child development and delays. I think stressing about every thing with your first child is just a right of passage.  It's a learning experience that no one can teach you.  It's also valuable to be aware, if any delays do come up, because early intervention is so important. That being said, the range of what is normal is wide and all children get there at their own pace.  Blake was never even behind in any of her development but she wasn't ahead either.  That's enough to make a new mom crazy.  I will definitely not be such a worrier with the next babe.
At 18 months, she is now walking, running, climbing, hiding, chasing, screaming, laughing, teasing,  going down the slide, feeding herself with a spoon,  saying 50+ words, imitating everything we say, putting 2 words together, and generally bossing everybody around.  She has memorized songs and books that we read often and can fill in the blanks when I am singing or reading to her. She can hold and write with a pen or crayon and she can manipulate our iPhones and iPad.  We are right on track :)  

Momma's got a day job:
We are transitioning into a new time.  I am working a full time day job as well as some nights at Tsunami on the weekends. I finished school and got hired at Cornerstone Therapies (where I did my clinical hours and also known as "the best pediatric therapy center in town")  I'm so thrilled to be a part of their team. I am learning so much more than I ever would somewhere else because of the amazing mentoring program they have.

Potty Training: 
 Not ready to potty train yet but we are starting to look for the signs.

 Preschool: 
Nope.  Not worried about that yet either. Though people tell me I should be getting on lists, etc etc.  All I know is I want a play-based school and I have one in mind that I think might be good when the time comes.

Hugs and Kisses:  
One of the greatest things to come out of the last 6 months was hugs and kisses. When your child can actually show affection back to you, it is the most amazing feeling.



Friday, March 6, 2015

Energy Balls


A few months ago, I posted this recipe for healthy no-bake energy snacks.  They are so good, check them out.  
I found a new recipe online and tweeked it a little bit and came up with some new ones.  They are a little bit more rich and satisfy that chocolate-peanut butter addiction I currently have. 




Just mix together all the ingredients, chill in the fridge for a little while and then roll into bite sized balls.  

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My birthday is looming...34 is almost mid 30s.


Alright, alright 34 is mid 30s but enough about that.

Things to start doing in your 30s

If you haven't started doing these things already, it's time to start.  I read this article the other day and it had some great reminders. Of course none of this info was new to me but it's easy to keep saying "I will start that tomorrow."  It's time to take action before it's too late.

1.   Start saving for retirement.
2.   Start taking care of your health. (diet, exercise, mental health, etc)
3.   Don't spend time with people who bring you down.
4.   Be good to people you do care about.
5.   You can't have everything, focus on a few things you do well.
6.   Don't be afraid to take risks, you can still change.
7.   Continue to grow and develop yourself.
8.   Nobody knows what they are doing, we all just wing it.
9.   Invest in your family.
10. Be kind to and respect yourself.



Another thing I try to do is spend a few minutes of my day thinking about the things I am grateful for.  It's cheesy but thoughts really do change how you feel and then how you act.  They can shape your life.  Last year I decided to make a vision board.  I definitely don't post this up in my house or anything but I gathered some pictures and quotes of things that inspire me or are things that I want for my life and made a word document.  I look at it on my computer or my phone whenever I can and guess what?  Pretty much everything on last year's board has happened in my life in one way or another.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2014

Recap of 2014

1. Well we moved again.  This time we are staying put (I swear).  Three moves in the last 3 years has not been fun but we got the deal of a lifetime and are in a dream location and in an actual house.  We are living the small town lifestyle now.  I didn't think that Seal Beach was really for me but since moving in in June, I've completely changed my mind.  I love the kids playing in the street every afternoon, chatting with other moms out on walks during the day, pulling Blake in the Radio Flyer to Pavillions to get stuff to make dinner, pushing Blake in her car down to the park by the pier to play.  They also have so many fun activities going on all the time.  Concerts and movies in the park all summer, a huge 3rd of July spectacular (yes I said the 3rd), a huge Christmas tree lighting at the pier complete with sledding in real snow and Santa showing up by police escort, and the world famous Christmas parade.


2.  Blake turned one



3.  I finished my clinical fieldwork for my SLPA and am now just awaiting my license in the mail and searching for a job.



4.  Blake went on her first plane ride to Cabo.



5.  We hosted Christmas at the new house.



6. Blake hit a ton of firsts.  Crawling, walking, talking, kissing, hugging, etc etc etc.  She is so much fun now but a total handful too ;)
She's going to hate me for this one day but seriously, it's just so freaking cute.  I mean...look at the socks :)



7.  We decided that it was better for our man Cody to go live with Grandma.  He was slowly becoming more and more anxious in our household and was still not completely trustworthy around Blake.  We love that guy so much but we were finally tipped over the edge when Blake stepped on his toe and he reached up and nipped her behind the ear.  Definitely NOT COOL.  He is much happier over at his Grandma's house (he just plain likes her better than us) and we don't have to stress and worry about him peeing on the carpet, barking and waking up the baby, attacking the mail man, or bolting out the door into the street constantly.  We still get to see him regularly so it worked out pretty well.  I really tried everything up until this point because I didn't want to let him go. I'm not sure I could have even done it if we didn't have this perfect arrangement.  We got really lucky.




My goals for 2015:
1. Get a job!! I'm so ready for this next chapter to start. My internship has given me a taste of how it feels to finally be doing therapy and it makes me want it so much more.
2. Let go of small stuff and try to be more present in each moment.
3. Do a few DIY house projects.  Since we don't have a lot of money it makes it hard to decorate this big house but it is slowly going more and more from house to home.
4. Be productive every day.  Even if that means to just get out of the workout clothes and get ready in the morning. Sometimes it feels easier to be lazy but I really do feel better when I start my day early and am getting things done.