To spread some rainy day cheer

February 29, 2012 § 2 Comments

I love rainy days. They are quiet, often productive, bum days. I was looking through my photos for something completely unrelated, but I stumbled on Rafe’s old photos. For one, I can hardly believe he was that little. And two, who doesn’t like photos of a cute baby? These are a few of my favorites. Enjoy. {I apologize in advance for the poor quality of some}

Like father like son. This was just after delivery, while they were waiting for me in recovery.

Still in the hospital, looks like an old man.

One of Johnny’s favorites. He wishes there were a microphone in front of Baby’s mouth. And yes, his hair did that naturally.

Em, yes. Have you seen my monocle?

I have a million sleeping photos. This might be my favorite.

I leave you with the photo. Check out that eyebrow. What other 2-month-old could do that?

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A day in our life: weekly menu plan

February 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Every Saturday I am going to post my weekly menu (for the upcoming week) on my blog for a few reasons:

1. Accountability. I really want to stick to a weekly menu plan (weekly as in Monday-Friday), and what better way to stay accountable than to post it online for all to see?

2. Ease. I want to have an easily accessible archive of what I have made recently and not so recently…make it easy to add something to my weekly list I haven’t made in months.

3. To (hopefully) inspire you. I love seeing other people’s weekly menus. It inspires me, and I think it is interesting to see what each family tends to eat…the differences never cease to amaze me.  Maybe you enjoy seeing what other people eat, too!

So, posting two days late, but posting nonetheless:

  • Monday: Soup with hummus and pita chips
  • Tuesday: Vegetable lasagna
  • Wednesday: Curried couscous salad
  • Thursday: Italian chicken and rice
  • Friday: Lasagna soup
The recipes are below:

Soup with hummus and pita chips. Today is what I call a “coming-off-the-weekend-and-haven’t-made-it-to-the-grocery-store-yet day”. I think that is pretty self explanatory. To clarify, the soup is canned soup. Yum.

Pioneer Woman’s vegetable lasagna (recipe found here)

Curried couscous salad, a fabulous recipe I received from my friend Jackie (who is a great cook). When she first found out I was pregnant with Rafe she emailed me several recipes that are healthy, filling, and easy to make; pretty much recipes that are perfect for when you are tired, feel fat, and want something fresh.

Ingredients

  • 14oz. chicken broth
  • 10oz box of Far East couscous (plain), cooked as box directs with chicken broth instead of water
  • Pine nuts (expensive but delicious – optional)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • green onions (about 3), chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans – same thing)
  • Diced red pepper (I usually just use a green pepper since it’s cheaper)
  • currents (just small raisins – just use raisins if you already have ’em)
Dressing
  •    6 Tablespoon lemon juice (you can buy the big bottle of it at the grocery store rather than buying tons of lemons)
  •    1/2 c. olive oil
  •    1/2 teaspoon cumin
  •    1/2 teaspoon curry
  •    pinch of garlic powder

Directions

Cook couscous as directed, chill if possible. Add all prepared ingredients, then add dressing when ready to serve. Enjoy!

Italian chicken and rice. I have seen many variations of this, but this is my favorite, slightly adapted from my friend Naomi.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts OR a beef roast
  • 1 packet of Italian dressing seasoning
  • 1 jar (8 oz) of sliced pepperoncini peppers

Directions

Place chicken or beef in crockpot, pour entire jar (juice too!) of pepperoncini peppers on top of the meat, sprinkle Italian dressing seasoning packet on top of meat and peppers. Cook on high for 6 hours. Serve on top of warm rice with a side of veggies.

I hope you all like this one as much as I do!

Lasagna soup or more accurately, leftover lasagna vegetable soup. I’m sure many of you have seen the Pintrest recipe for lasagna soup floating around recently. Basically, the inspiration for a lasagna soup got the wheels turning in my head. Here’s what I plan to do:

Ingredients

  • Leftover lasagna
  • Chicken or vegetable stock
  • Ricotta and parmesan cheese mixture (found here under “cheesy yum”)

Directions

Cut leftover lasagna in either 1 inch cubes or thin 1 inch strips (basically so that the noodles can fit onto a soup spoon), place in a pot with broth, stir, adding brother until you reach a desired consistency. Warm in pot until heated through. Top with cheese mixture, and serve with crusty bread.

Rafe’s first day at the National Zoo

February 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Yesterday we went to the National Zoo. It was such a blast and I kept having flashbacks of when my mom took us when we were kids. Even though I have been back to the zoo twice since I was a child with my mom, I still couldn’t believe that I was the mama packing the lunches and getting the group together to go on this outing. I kept feeling like a kid. Maybe that’s why I love the zoo so much. In fact, Johnny took me to the zoo when I was pregnant with Baby last year. It was fun walking around in the weak November sun, sipping tea and looking at the leopards.

At just past one year, Rafe is the oldest of the babies, so of course they weren’t fully able to appreciate all the animals (well, even appreciate the animals at all for that matter), but it was a gorgeous day to walk around, chat with my friends and look at the exhibits. We saw the elephants from two angles, on a lower level and then from a bridge over top. Rafe was actually able to see the elephants on the bridge, so that was a success in my mind. We also saw some monkeys, a panda, a giant anteater and prairie dogs, and could hear the lions growl and roar.

It was a fun day, and maybe next time we can take Johnny with us (and see the beavers and seals exhibits, which were closed due to construction yesterday).

So, here are some photos from our day. The last three were taken by my good friend Kristin. You should check out her photography website sometime if you get the chance!

 

First stop: the elephants

Second angle of the elephants, on top of the bridge

All the babies in a row (Rafe checking out the lovely ladies)

Photo credit: Kristin Solomon

Baby blue eyes. Photo credit: Kristin Solomon

Photo credit: Kristin Solomon

Armed for battle

February 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

 

Because I declared war on my house this morning (in addition to also declaring it  National Household Pajama Day), I thought I would show off my armor, gear, and second in command. I had a feeling today was going to be one of those days. I wish my mood would be sunny skies and cloudless days every morning, but sometimes it just takes a while for my body to get with the productive program.

Thankfully, I was able to accomplish almost everything on my to-do list (and did a few additional things that weren’t, so it probably evened out to accomplishing everything on my list…right?), so I am pleased with my day.

Tomorrow Baby and I are going to the zoo with three of his girlfriends. They are super cute, and I’ll make sure to take lots of photos and post them in a timely manner :)

Cheers.

 

Homemade Greek yogurt in a crockpot

February 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

When I was visiting my friends in Atlanta last summer, I went to a Greek yogurt-making party that was hosted by my second mama (a best friend’s mother). She shared this recipe with us, and I have wanted to try it ever since last July. Well, last week I finally got around to making it, and it turned out wonderfully! I was really surprised how much it tasted like yogurt purchased from the store. Because I was able to get the milk on sale (and with a coupon) for $1.50, I was able to get a week’s worth of yogurt for that price! The recipe says it makes about 4 ½ cups yogurt, but I think it may have been a little more than that for us. You should give it a try if you haven’t already…it’s so easy to make!

Do any of you have a different yogurt recipe you’ve tried and liked?

Note: I didn’t have any raw honey (or any honey for that matter) on hand, so I just used two packets of Truvia.

Straining the yogurt to make it extra thick and creamy.

The finished product!

Some of the best marriage advice I ever received

February 18, 2012 § 2 Comments

Dress like a wife, not a mom.

This isn’t where I tell you “no more mom jeans.” I think most women get that they aren’t supposed to wear those at this point (well, most women in their 20’s and 30’s at the very least).

When Johnny and I were engaged, we met a few times with our (then) pastor and his wife, Aaron and Sara, for some premarital counseling. We were given lots of great advice, and were able to gain some insight from them on how that advice could look practically in our future marriage.

Out of all the wisdom we were given, the one thing that stuck with me the most was when Sara said to me: It’s important to me that I am a wife first and a mother second. I want to dress like a wife, not a mom. Even though I wasn’t a wife yet and certainly wasn’t a mother, that resonated with me and I resolved I would hold on to what she told me. She has four adorable kiddos, and I would definitely consider her a hip and easy going mother. If she can do it with her four children, surely those of us who have less children can do it, right?

I have so many thoughts about this subject that I’ll try to empty my brain in an organized manner for you. Before I do that, however, I am putting out a disclaimer: I am not a fashionista. I am not a hipster, though Johnny kinda is (he won’t admit it). I am not a trend-setter. But you know what? Most of us aren’t. And for those of us that aren’t, we can still look clean, put together, pretty, and not screaming I AM A MOM AND I HAVE BEEN SPIT UP ON 3 TIMES ALREADY AND AM RUNNING ON ONLY 4 HOURS OF SLEEP.

So then, how exactly does this relate to marriage? I truly think that dressing like a wife, or at least making it a priority (we all have those days when we barely have time to shower, much less think about a cute outfit) reminds our husbands that we care. To Johnny, it says that I still care about being attractive, that I still want him to think I am the most beautiful woman in the room. I always want him to know that I value our relationship more than I value my relationship with our kids. That may sound strange to some, but I firmly believe that if my marriage suffers, my kids will suffer. So I try to dress like a wife and not the worn out, busy woman I sometimes feel I am.

Without further ado, here are the things that I remind myself, often:

1. Dressing like a wife instead of a mom doesn’t have to be hard. Really.

Okay, I am sure this gets more difficult with the more kids you have. And I know I only have one. But I firmly believe that if you make a little effort to be aware of popular fashions, key in on popular items that are easy (i.e. oversized sweater and leggings, jersey dresses) and require little care (cotton knit sweater vs. cashmere), then you are okay. Notice what women are wearing at the store, go on Pintrest, or have some of your favorite clothing stores send you their catalog. It doesn’t take long to flip through it and tear out the pages with the outfits you like and think are easily doable. Put it in a “style box” or “style binder” in your closet so that when you need inspiration its right there to flip through.

2. Dress for your husband…not always the practicality of your kids.

Sometimes I pull on leggings and one of my husband’s oversized t-shirts (well, oversized on ME) and call it a day. To some people, that might be mommy-wear. But my husband appreciates that look, and he likes that look. So to me, that IS dressing like a wife because my husband likes it.

3. There is a lot of relativity here.

Note above. My husband likes the knot on top of the head, leggings, knee socks, boots, huge t-shirt and cardigan with a thrown on scarf look. Sounds complicated, but it only takes minutes to put together, not to mention it’s comfortable, easy, and realistic.

4. Just go for it.

When in doubt about whether your outfit is too “out there”…just do it. Don’t question, just do, as my super hip cool friends told me on Sunday:

Them: Jenevieve. Just wear shorts with tights!

Me: Yeah, but I think…

Them: Don’t think! Don’t question! Just do! You totally can pull it off. Just do it!

So. Here is me doing. Or rather, me telling you to do ;) [Update: I did it on Friday. I’m still a little wary of the look, but John loved it and thought I was so cool. So it was a win for me, I suppose]

5. Imitate looks you like with clothes you already have.

It isn’t always possible to imitate a look exactly, but it is possible to imitate the general feel of an outfit with similar items you may have in your closet. Also, I have found that when I look at my closet with “new eyes” I am able to see my garments in a new way, which does wonders for my imagination and creativity. Pintrest always has lots of cute outfits put together (see below), and it is fantastic for giving me a starting place. Just take an idea and run with it.

6. Accessories are your little helpers.

Accessories are fairly cheap. They go with more outfits than a new shirt can. The mix and match possibilities are endless. Jazz it up with some nice earrings, a scarf, and cute flats. You’re good to go. My favorite accessory is a scarf. It’s baby friendly. If it gets drooled on, tugged on, manhandled, what have you, you can always just throw it in the wash and wear it again tomorrow.

I leave you with some inspiration, thanks to Pintrest:

Still a cool-weather look, but most should be able to do something similar for another month or so.

Two pieces, lots of pop (high neckline perfect for the mamas).

Non-bulky scarf, easy and comfy.

Perfect for a play date at the park.

Easy accessories, neutral items that can go with almost anything (though not a fan of the shoes).

 One last thing: ladies, what are some of your favorite “go to looks”? I would love your thoughts and further inspiration! The main reason I posted this was to challenge myself first, and share my thoughts with others second. So…give me your thoughts!

My lovies

February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Today I am remembering last year’s Valentine’s day. It was early in the morning, and I was rocking Rafe right after he ate. I was thinking about how blessed I was to have two valentines instead of one. I told him I loved him, and then he smiled. I had my phone nearby and was able to catch his sweet little face. He was only 9 days old, and though I knew he didn’t know he was smiling, it warmed my heart. This year, that little boy is now one and smiles at me all the time…and I know he knows it. He even says my name now.

My other valentine, Johnny, tells me often that he loves me and loves our son. He also writes me notes every morning. That goes a long way. He also shows me he loves me by working hard at his career so I can stay home with Rafe. I love how he is goofy and silly with our son, and he is pretty funny when we hang out with our friends, too. He loves music, and loves writing about it. He’c complex, but I like that. I’m glad I have forever with him.

Here are Johnny’s presents. Aren’t they cute? What did you get your valentine?

 

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