Tag Archives: busy mommy

A Major Hiccup.

Last Monday, the 4th, I began my online Lactation Educator/Counselor class through UCSD! :D

As of today, I have officially withdrawn from the class, and I am awaiting my tuition refund. :(

What happened?

I did all the research I could before the class began, but one small detail threw a huge wrench in the whole works. I sat down on the first night of class, cracked open my new notebook and text (I’m such a first-day-of-school nerd) and began scrolling through the course curriculum when I saw one big problem: it required me to watch hour after hour of online video.

Not a problem for most (in fact, it looked fascinating) but…

I do not have an unlimited data plan. 8O

I called Verizon, and they assured me that if I were to watch all the video in question, I would pay out the nose in overage fees.

I spent a few days racking my brain for solutions, and there truly is only one: drop the class and try to re-enroll later, after we move, when we hope to have access to better internet service.

I’m very disappointed, but I have to admit – I’m not devastated. Well, I was for a minute. Quitting anything eats away at me in an awful way (and I just really, really want those letters behind my name!) But then I realized: If I believe that opportunities present themselves for a reason, at the right time, then I have to believe that they un-present themselves in the same way, right?

I had great plans for the education I was about to receive, and I looked forward to branching out into a new field that I feel more passionately about than almost anything. But, I don’t have to give that up altogether. I still have my blog, and my voice – and I can use them in any way I want! So between getting back to blogging a little more regularly, househunting, toddler-catching, and my full-time job responsibilities (which are multiplying like bunnies) there won’t be more than minute or two to even lament the opportunity lost.

And, speaking of opportunities, that is how my employer teaches us to think of problems. Every problem, they say, should be looked at as an opportunity to overcome a challenge in a positive, productive way. So, if that’s the case, then opportunity is knocking now, right? I just don’t quite know what’s on the other side of the door yet.

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So, you might be seeing a little more of me and ABCGP in the coming months!

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Filed under Breastfeeding, The Everyday

A for Effort…

Oh, poo. :(

In last week’s Made-from-Scratch Sunday post, I promised you all a Honey Whole Wheat Roll recipe, and I had every intention of delivering. I wrote up a lengthy post with lots of photos, but somehow, while I was adding the links, I deleted the whole thing. Poof. Gone.

I wanted to rewrite it. I really did. But Sunday is a whirlwind of a day for us, so I’m going to have to offer you a raincheck. :oops:  After  grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning the bathroom, a batch of squash muffins that ended up in the trash :( , a big pot of lentil chard soup, pistachio curry crusted chicken tenders, bathtime, a bit of exercise and lots of dishes, I got nothin’ left.

So now, the diapers are folded and put away, lunches are packed for tomorrow and my little snugglebug decided to nurse and turn in early tonight. As for me, I’m going to pour myself a tiny little glass of wine and spend some QT with the hubs…

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Do NOT miss my next post…My Blogtastic Extravaganza Baby Bundle giveaway will be going live on January 18th, and the linky will be up, so get ready to HOP!!

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Filed under The Everyday

Could you eat the same thing every day?

When I talk about cooking in batches so that my family can avoid fast food and eat well even when our schedule is out of control, I often get the same response:

“Oh, I couldn’t do that. I can’t eat the same thing 2 days in a row.”

Really? My first reaction is “Sheesh. Picky much?:roll:

Not me. In fact, back when my relationship with food was, well, less than healthy, I ate the same exact thing for 12 weeks straight.

Yup, every day, the same food. I figured out the calories, and in my mind, I couldn’t go wrong. Here was my menu (I don’t think I’ll ever forget it):

  • Breakfast: One double fiber English muffin with one Morningstar Farms meatless sausage patty
  • Lunch: One frozen diet entree (approx. 300 calories)
  • Dinner: 3 oz tilapia and one bag of Steamfresh broccoli

That was it, for 12 weeks straight. It worked, too – I lost a good 25 pounds!

Since then, however, I’ve learned that such monotony is no way to live, and that kind of restriction and deprivation aren’t healthy for my body, mind or spirit. Losing the processed foods and experimenting with more whole ingredients reminded me of the wide world of beautiful food out there that I was missing, and I’ve been on a new, much more balanced path ever since…

But, one aspect of the diet stuck with me: How EASY it was! Admittedly, it was no way to achieve and maintain good health, but knowing exactly what I needed at the store, and exactly what I would be cooking each night, took a ton of weight off my shoulders!

So, now that my schedule is beyond maxed out, I’m calling on the better parts of my old diet plan to help me stay on target! Those prepared, processed and even “drive-thru” foods look SO good on nights when it’s late and I’m tired, but they sure don’t make me feel good at all (and now that little man is eating with us, I have to plan meals with as many natural and organic ingredients that he can enjoy, too.) So my new mission is to write up a menu when I get a little time during the week, shop on Sunday, and prepare as much as possible in advance to help my weekday self out!

Last week’s plan? I roasted a chicken on Sunday and served it with homemade gravy, smashed potatoes and spinach from our winter garden.

On Monday, shredded chicken was tucked into tortillas with a touch of cheese to make quesadillas. We paired them with some fresh organic salsa, guacamole, hummus and a touch of plain Greek yogurt (all of Little Man’s favorites! You should have seen him chow down!

On Tuesday, the small amount of remaining chicken was sauteed in a skillet with some garlic, then layered in a bowl with black beans and the remainder of the salsa, guac, and yogurt.

By Wednesday, we were ready for something different, so we had easy baked salmon, leftover black beans and steamed veggies (an extra salmon filet doubled as lunch at Grammie’s house for 2 extra days!)

Thursday? Pizza piled high with mushrooms and diced veggies from our summer garden harvest. For Little Man, some lentil veggie blend that we had on hand for him (no pizza for him just yet!)

(Sure, you could argue that chicken 3 nights in a row is a lot, but to make a chicken stretch that far, the actual portion sizes need to be really small. We do a lot of meatless nights, but when we do eat meat, we try to make sure it is only a small component in the meal.)

Bonus? There was almost nothing last week that my husband couldn’t help prepare! There wasn’t one night all week that either of us spent more than 10 minutes preparing dinner!

This week? A turkey! I’m thinking sandwiches, followed by soup with lots of fresh veggies!

As a blogger and admitted foodie, I’d much rather be preparing interesting meals off the cuff each night, based on what’s fresh and seasonal and what “food mood” I might be in at that particular moment, but right now it just isn’t an option, and I have to be realistic. There have been too many nights when the day’s gotten away from me and we wind up with no plan for dinner, and that’s when unhealthy foods infiltrate my kitchen. I have a responsibility not only to my family, but to myself as well, to make good, real food a priority.

And to those who say “No” to eating the same thing a few days in a row, I would just say that I’m very thankful to have the choice!

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Do you ever cook in batches, or plan your meals in advance? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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Filed under Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food

Feeling Frazzled…and Thankful!

I’ll admit that I’ve been having a little trouble keeping it all together lately. The past year has been such a whirlwind, and while I rarely, if ever, admit that I am overwhelmed or need help, I’m at the point now where I can say it: I’m overwhelmed.

That’s not to say I don’t love my life. I do. I adore being a mother, and my little boy is, unquestionably, my heart and soul. But I am having trouble balancing his needs with my own, especially when my own include having a neat, clean house, constant new projects and all my ducks in a row at all times. I’ll tell ya, folks, it just ain’t happening right now.

I was always a little afraid of having a child because I heard so many people talk about how you “lose yourself” once you have little ones to look after. But now that I’m waist-deep in the thick of things, I don’t feel like that at all. All frustrations aside, I feel more like “me” than ever. Instead of taking over my life, my boy has become an integral part of it; he’s helped me discover the best parts of me (that I didn’t know existed), and he inspires me every day to become a better person.

I realize now that being a “better person” isn’t reflected in how many times my name is published or whether my laundry is piled up, or even whether I cook dinner from scratch each night (although that one IS pretty darned important to me…) It’s about love and patience and peace. It’s about constant questioning, challenging and learning. It’s about embodying the qualities I want my son to see in me, and modeling the ones I want him to emulate.

And today, it’s about being thankful.

This Thanksgiving, I’m going to spend my day with my favorite people. The husband that fate insisted I marry after nearly 2 decades apart, our giggly little boy, my endlessly supportive mom and dad, and my one and only brother. It would be easy to dwell on the fact that my work schedule is more than I can handle right now, or that I should be blogging more, or that I haven’t been exercising enough or doing any of the things I should enough….but I won’t.

Instead, I will spend the day feeling grateful. Grateful for YOU, my community that I refer to as my friends, even though I don’t know your faces. Grateful for this priceless outlet for my angst and ideas…

But most importantly, I’ll be grateful that I have my family, my health, my career, and a lifetime of endless opportunity ahead of me.

….and for pie. I’ll definitely be grateful for pie! ;)

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! I hope you all have the chance to relax and have a wonderful holiday!

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Filed under Parenting & Family, The Everyday

Easy Pumpkin Pie Dip

If there’s one flavor that defines the holiday season for me (besides maybe peppermint for Christmas) it’s pumpkin. (Have I mentioned this before?) :)

I love pumpkin. I love it in pies, cakes, breads, lattes, fudge, you name it. But, those things don’t always fit in with my mission to stick with wholesome, natural, real foods. Pumpkin is very healthy and nutrient-rich, but all the sugar, whipped cream, and other things we muck it up with are most definitely not.

That’s why I love the days between Halloween and Thanksgiving, when pumpkins and winter squash are abundant, and super cheap! If you haven’t already visited your local farm stand, drop what you’re doing and go. NOW!

I did, and I brought ALL these beauties home for a mere $3 total! The Cinderella pumpkin alone should yield at least 16 cups. How’s that for maximizing your food dollar? :)

What? You’ve never cooked a pumpkin? You’re not alone. Most people I come across tell me that they would, but they don’t know how. Pumpkins (and all winter squash), with their hard, intimidating exterior can be offputting.  But, fresh pumpkin has SO  many benefits:

  • Your purchase can help support a local farmer.
  • Fresh produce hasn’t lost any nutrient content through processing.
  • No can! Cans can leach toxic things into your pumpkin, not to mention they have to be transported, recycled, blah, blah, yuck.

If these things are important to you, you’re in luck! It really is extremely easy to prepare a pumpkin for your favorite recipe! There are several ways, but here’s my method:

  • Wash pumpkin.
  • Split pumpkin in half and scoop out seeds. Cut halves into wedges if they are large.
  • Put pumpkin, cut side down, into a baking dish with about 1″ of water. (Check water and add more if it gets too low during baking.)
  • Bake at 350 degrees until fork tender.
  • Remove from oven, let cool. Scoop out flesh (use an ice cream scooper!) and use in your favorite recipe! (I like to put mine in the food processor for a quick whirrr if it looks fibrous. )

My favorite way to use our stash of fresh pumpkin puree? Pumpkin Butter!


Find details on my recipe here.

Keep pumpkin butter in your fridge throughout the fall and winter. You can use it on toast, in oatmeal, for baking, even over ice cream. And if you’re heading to or hosting a party, here’s the easiest holiday recipe ever!

Pumpkin Pie Dip

  • 1 cup pumpkin butter (the thicker, the better)
  • 8 oz neufchatel cheese

Combine ingredients in a bowl; whip until smooth. Add extra cinnamon or nutmeg to taste. Serve with gingersnaps or graham crackers. (For a little extra flair, serve dip in a tiny, hollowed out sugar pumpkin!)

*This recipe is easily doubled or tripled.

Is it healthy? Well, that’s all relative, isn’t it? Sure, it has a little fat and some sugar, but if you’re looking for the true taste of fall made with real ingredients, fresh produce and nothing artificial,  this might be right up your alley (and you’re probably supporting a local grower while you’re at it!  :D )

Put it on the buffet and watch it fly! Happy entertaining, everyone!

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Filed under Green Living, Recipes & Food