Friday, February 27, 2015

But There Are So Many Colors in the Rainbow: Peach Apricot Fruit Leather

We moved into our house in kind of a hurry, we only had one open weekend to get all the furniture moved and everything else happened on weekdays after work.  Which means, it's still a bit of a work in progress.  I wanted to get a handle on finishing up some of the bigger projects before the baby comes, because goodness knows there's going to be a lot less time after. 

My number 1 must do was a "big boy room" for Thatkid.  For a couple of reasons.  The first is that we're using his current furniture for the nursery, so we need to get him into something else if we want a space for the next one to happen.  The second is, with all the attention that's going to be coming to the new arrival, we wanted to take some time to really heap it on him and make him feel special.  Emphasizing the aspect that he's a big boy and gets big boy things.  And of course, he's outgrowing that little bed of his anyway.

So we've begun the process with the first step - painting his room a new color, one of his choosing.  I wanted him to have some input on his room, since it's his space.  And I remember how cool it was when my parents let me pick the paint color of my rooms.  Our before picture shows the muted brown the room started out with.

When we first started looking for a paint color for the nursery, Thatkid kept picking out colors for his room.  All of which were a deep, dark, purple, which I feared would make his room insanely dark.  And a little goth for a 3 year old.  We brainstormed ways to incorporate dark purple into the room without turning it into a dark lair.

But when we actually went to pick out the paint, Thatkid had his eye on a different color:

Behr Curry Powder.  Thatboy and I affectionately call this color "baby poop."  Thatkid calls it "brown and orange" or "my favorite color."  He was so excited about it, that despite Thatboy and my feelings about the color, we bought a couple gallons and got to work.

We spent most of Sunday (and some of Monday night) transforming Thatkid's room:

So the first step has been accomplished, now it's just a matter of the furniture and decor!  I'll post another update when we've got a finished product!

And honestly I can't be too surprised Thatkid is picking orange/brown colors.  One of our favorite snacks right now are homemade fruit roll-ups, which are a similar color.  We all can't get enough of them, even Thatboy, who isn't the hugest fan of dried fruit. But something about these wins everyone over.  I also really like how easy they are to make, since they consists of only dried fruit and sugar.  It's like the work is already done for you!

Peach Apricot Fruit Leather (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
1 lb dried apricots
1/2 lb dried peaches
1/4 cup sugar
  1. Put the apricots and peaches in a food processor.
  2. Sprinkle a large cutting board with sugar.
  3. Pat and roll out the fruit mixture to 1/8 inch thick and cut into 1 1/4 x 2-inch strips.
  4. Roll each strip lengthwise into a tight roll. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dinosaur Train: Ginger Marmalade

Having a toddler means being introduced to all sorts of new television.  A lot of it is terrible.  With repetitive, annoying songs, complete lack of plots, or characters with no redeeming qualities.  One show which Thatkid loves which we have completely encouraged in Dinosaur Train.  It's Jim Henson (so harkens to my childhood of Sesame Street, Muppets, and Fraggles).  The plotline revolves around 3 pteranadon kids and their tyrannosaurus rex brother.  Each episode has them boarding the "Dinosaur Train" - a train which can travel between the Cretaceous, Jurassic, and Triassic period - to meet a different species of dinosaur.  It has introduced us to so many types of dinosaurs we've never even heard of and also covers concepts of nature like earthquakes, droughts, snow, and rain.  And covers topics like not waiting to pee, being afraid of strangers, or jealousy.

When I saw the "Live" version of the show was coming to town, Thatboy and I thought it would be a good first theater experience for Thatkid.  So we got tickets and on Saturday headed to see the show.

I had prepped him that it was going to be a little different than the show, the characters were going to be more like puppets than cartoon characters, but we'd be sitting far enough away where they wouldn't see him (he still flips out when costumed characters look at him or try to interact).

He was pretty excited about the entire thing and kept asking when the dinosaurs were going to come out.  He was a little annoyed by the whole intro where PEOPLE came out to warm up the audience and assign them roles as Therapods, Sauropods, or Hadrosaurs. 

But eventually, the dinosaurs DID come out! 

Just like the television show, the Live show featured a trip on the Dinosaur Train in order for Buddy, the adopted T-Rex to ask a question about what it was like to grow into a giant carnivore. 

And who was Buddy looking for to ask this questions?  Why King Cryolophasaurus obviously.  Thatkid's favorite character.  He was so excited to find out he was going to be in the show.

Luckily the kids found King, who was having his own problems with being shy.  And the kids helped him overcome his fears.

Just in time for a rock concert!  Which had Thatkid out of his seat, dancing and singing along.

Overall I think it was a great introduction to theater for him.  He was able to sit in his seat and enjoy the entire thing without being distracted.  He loved the experience.  And it was nice for me to be able to see him having such a good time.

One of the things covered in the show is what the dinosaurs eat.  There are Carnivores, like Buddy and King, Herbivores (there's even a song about hungry, hungry herbivores - "if it's green it's gooood"), and Omnivores.  Because of this, Thatkid knows he's an omnivore.  He eats everything.  And breakfast is a great time to showcase this when we eat meat, grains, and fruit! 

Marmalade seems especially fitting for a dino-themed day, because it uses all the parts of the orange. There's something very primitive about eating orange peels, don't you agree?  

Ginger Marmalade
3 oranges
1 lemon
1 Tbsp chopped preserved ginger

  1. Peel the oranges and cut the peel into very thin slices.  Cut the orange pulp.
  2. Slice the lemons very tbin and combine all the fruits in a large pot.
  3. Add 3 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, then let stand overnight in a cool place.
  4. Bring to a boil again and cool rapidly until the peel is tender.  Measure the fruit and liquid.
  5. For each cup of undrained fruit, measure 3/4 cup sugar and add to the fruit, along with the ginger.
  6. Heat until sugar is dissolved and then cook for about 20 minutes or until thick.  Pour into sterilized jars and seal.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Crave Wednesday: Pear and Prosciutto Pizza

That's it.  I'm calling it.  I'm ready for February to be over.  I know, that's rich coming from a spoiled little California girl who hasn't been buried in snow for weeks, but honestly, the past few weeks at work have been a whirlwind nightmare, Sunday night I was trudging out through the rain on a wild goose chase, and I'm dying for some fresh produce.

I always hit a certain point in the winter where I'm dying for fruit.  When that citrus craze that carries me through the previous months rescinds, leaving it its wake the need for something I can really sink my teeth into.  The berries are not quite there and the stonefruit is non-existent.  My search for apricots last weekend left me empty handed.  And the out of season fruit that is available is anemic at best.  So my solution for dealing with the lackluster fruit?  Cook it.  Winter pears may not have the zip and bite of their autumn counterparts, but throw them on a pizza and you'd never know.

Cooking fruit always brings their sweetness to the surface, and the texture issues of out of season fruit seem to melt right into whatever you're cooking them into.  Pear is a great addition to salads, which is what this pizza reminds me of.

Pear and Prosciutto Pizza
2 tsp olive oil
2 cups vertically sliced sweet onion
1 prebaked pizza crust
1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese
1 medium pear, thinly sliced
2 oz prosciutto, cut into thin strips
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts, toasted
1 1/2 cups arugula
1 tsp sherry vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 450.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion to pan; cover and cook 3 minutes.  Uncover and cook 10 minutes.
  2. Place pizza crust on baking sheet.  Top with onions and sprinkle with cheese.
  3. Top with pear and prosciutto.
  4. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.  Bake for 12 minutes.  
  5. Sprinkle with nuts.
  6. Place arugula in a medium bowl.  Drizzle vinegar over greens and toss gently.
  7. Top pizza with arugula mixture.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 25 weeks

Traveling when pregnant is a totally different ball game.   For a couple of different reasons.  The first is that it gets more uncomfortable.  Size is only part of the issue.  There's also the constant need to pee.  And round ligament pain. 

The second problem is trying to figure out what to pack when your size is changing.  Or when you're traveling to a place with a vastly different climate.  Do you buy a maternity coat or bathing suit for a weekend trip knowing you won't be wearing it again?

The third problem is trying to navigate a new area when you're not sure how you're going to be feeling or what you're going to want from day to day.

But, like everything with pregnancy, you can rise to the occasion or be mired in doubts.  On our trip last week, this is how I handled it:

#1 - Travel discomfort.  Let's just say I did not handle this as well as I probably could have.  We planned on the red eye.  I am fantastic with red-eyes.  I can (and do) sleep anywhere. The car, airplanes, sitting on the couch for a minute after dinner.... The only problem with this is when you're flying while pregnant, you're supposed to be getting up at regular intervals and walking around, to help prevent DVT.  I figured I'd chance it.  I put on compression socks and planned to sleep.  The second problem arose when Oppo-baby decided to take this "sleep" time as time to play rock-um-sock-um robots with my uterus.  I didn't sleep a wink during the flight because I was so uncomfortable with the beating I was getting from within.

#2 - What to pack.  I always have this problem when I travel while pregnant, I always bring something "just in case" I get bigger than I planned at the time I pack.  This trip had the added complication that I was traveling from California where we don't get snow, to the North East where they sometimes do in February.  I have "cold weather" coats - beautiful wool peacoats, but none of them close over my frontal region any more.  So I invested in a maternity puffer jacket.  I waited forever to buy one because I really didn't want to spend money on something I would only wear once, but I ended up buying it and leaving the tags on, figuring I could return it if I didn't need it.  You guys heard about Winter Storm Neptune?  Let's just say I lasted exactly 12 hours before ripping that tag off.

#3 - Planning for the unplanned.  I packed so many snacks for this trip!  Things that were easy to travel with - granola bars, yogurt covered raisins, fruit...  And I also mapped out all the restaurants around the hotel so I would know where to go if that insane hunger arose.

In general my traveling while pregnant philosophy is "it is better to have and not need, than to need and not have."  After all, the last thing you want when you're pregnant is to be uncomfortable.

Total weight gain/loss: +15

Next Appointment: March 2.
Maternity clothes? I had one of THOSE moments this week where I had to go to court and had nothing to wear.  I decided to go with one of my skirt suits, since most still fit pretty well with a bella band.  This one is now in retirement.  The jacket hit at just the wrong place, making every shirt underneath look sloppy.  The skirt has a kickpleat, and due to the weird rising and pulling based on the way I have to wear it with my stomach it just felt awkward.  What's funny is that despite how not flattering I felt it was, my boss commented that I looked really nice that day. 
Stretch marks: nada.
Sleep: Sleeping great at night, but having a hard time sleeping in the morning.
Best moment this week: I ordered my very first thing for the nursery!  A crib skirt and valence.
Movement: Yes.  I'm obsessed with watching my stomach move too.  And this week Thatkid got a chance to feel a kick for the first time!  And what kicks - I wouldn't be surprised if I gave birth to a full grown soccer player.  They hurt and take my breath away. 
Food cravings: Nothing
Food aversions: Nothing
Gender: Not finding out
Belly Button in or out: In.  But it never popped last time, so I'm not expecting it to this time.
What I miss: Sleep!
What I am looking forward to: Finishing up Thatkid's "big boy room" so we can figure out the furniture situation for the nursery.
Contractions: Not this week
- All the nerve cells are now on the surface of the baby's brain!
- First baby items bought!
- Baby can feel vibrations and hear people talking.
- Baby can make coordinated movements with hands and feet, make a fist, grab hold of toes

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Runday: All About The Bling

Let's talk medals.  A completely controversial topic.  You see, when I first started running races, the only people who got medals were the top 3 finishers.  The rest of us usually got a crappy cotton t-shirt.   And really, it wasn't a huge deal, I never really ran for the medal, I ran for the experience. 

And then more races started handing out medals.  And more people began signing up for races.  And the running community divided between people being annoyed at "participation medals" and those who loved the new additions.

You know where I stand?  I'm pro-medal.  As I said above, I never ran for the medal.  But this isn't about me.  I know there's also a contingency who doesn't love that races have become accessible to every Tom, Dick, and Mary, but I think it's a good thing.  I think it's great that people are getting out there, being active, and competing - even if it's just against themselves.  And if medals encourage more people to get up and running, then medals are the perfect carrot.   It's a sign of accomplishment for someone who can't even begin to imagine running 3 miles, let alone 26.2.  And yes, of course there is a sense of accomplishment in the actual completion of the race, but that's completely internal.  Sometimes we want something external to show too.

With that in mind, I've rounded up some of my all-time favorite medals that I've earned.  Ready for a little jaunt through running history?

 The first medal I ever got was for the AFLAC Iron Girl 5k.   It wasn't my first race by any means, but it was the first race I ran that handed out medals.  So even though it's not so flashy, it will always have a special meaning to me.  And it was also the first race I ever ran with Thatmom!

Typically I'm not fast enough to place in any of the races I run.  The only exception is the Villa Park 5k.  Because they gave medals to the top 5 from each age group, I snuck in as number 5!  It's the only medal I've ever actually earned because of my time and that makes it hold a special place in my heart.

My very first half marathon!  The AFC Half Marathon medal isn't especially shiny.  There's nothing inherently special about it.  It's not even all that pretty.  But no matter how many half marathons I've run, this will always be my first.  I can still remember crossing that finish line, and nearly crying.  It was such a huge deal for me.

The previous medals all had special significance because of the races themselves.  These next few?  I love just because they're pretty.  I know, I'm superficial.  The California 10/20 is one of my favorites based completely on the look of the medal. Shaped like a guitar pick, it is probably my coolest shaped medal.  And the pretty glittery blues make it stand out.

What can I say, I have a thing for things that sparkle.  The Safari Park Half medal is also very glittery.  Glittery with a cheetah on the front.  A glittery cheetah.  Do YOU have any medals with a glittery cheetah on them?  Really, it's how I like to think of myself as I run. 

The Blerch is probably my cutest race medal.  How adorable is his chubby little face?  And those wittle bitty wings?  It's also kind of cool to get the same medal for a virtual race as those who ran the actual thing.

My last favorite medal is a combination of the reasons I love the above medals.  Right now, it holds special meaning because it's the medal from my current PR for a 5k.  A PR I worked really hard for last year.  But in the hopes that this won't be my last PR in a 5k, I also like the medal because it moves.  That hula skirt?  It shakes back and forth.  Like one of those little dashboard dolls.  So meaningful AND cute!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Winter Wonderland: Strawberry Preserves

On Sunday we awoke to find Winter Storm Neptune upon us.

This was not Thatkid's first experience with snow, but it was his first experience like this.  For that matter, it was Thatboy's first experience like this too!  Between the temperatures being below 10 degrees, and the fresh snow piled on the ground, we just don't get weather like this in California.  Even at our ski resorts.

So of course, we had to go play in the snow.

Thatkid alternated between crying about how cold he was and having the best time of his life.  I tried to explain the snow was a little too soft for making a snowman, even our snowballs wouldn't stick, so we resorted to throwing handfuls of snow at each other.

But you can't play in the snow forever, so we took our little bundled up boy out to breakfast.

Growing up on the East Coast I have fond memories of Friendly's.  Not that it is any sort of quality food, but I warmly recall family celebrations over their ice cream sundaes.  And hot chocolate.  And the pancakes with a chocolate chip and whip cream smile.  When I saw there were a Friendly's a couple blocks from our hotel, I texted Thatboy that we needed to take Thatkid.  After I hyped him up on chocolate chip pancakes, we found that in the past 20something years they had a new addition to their menu - M&M pancakes.  (Served with bacon...of course)

By the time we finished up with breakfast, Nana was just getting up, so we packed up and headed back to her house.  Thatkid kept the family entertained with his antics.  Especially his new-found best four legged friend.

Overall it was a very successful trip, because even when it's cold outside, family always makes the insides warm and bright.

We did a lot of good eating while we were in New Jersey - fabulous pizza, amazing Chinese food, and of course, Dunkin' Donuts.  But now that we're back in California and I can take advantage of what we have - other than warm weather.  We've got strawberries in February, and of course, my favorite cheese in the world - burrata.

I like to combine the two, and the best way to do so is with strawberry preserves.  Strawberries cooked down makes them easy to eat atop cheese.  And the burrata is only enhanced by the complementary sweetness of the berries.

Strawberry Preserves
3 cups sugar
1 cup strawberries
  1. Cook the sugar and 1 cup water together until the mixture reaches 238 on a candy thermometer.  
  2. Wash and hull the strawberries and add to the syrup.  Cover and remove from heat.  Let stand 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the berries and set aside.  Cook the syrup to 238 again.
  4. Add the berries and let stand over low heat for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the berries and reheat again to 238. 
  6. Add the berries and cook until the syrup is thick.  Let stand 24 hours before putting into sterilized jars and refrigerating.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Coast to Coast: Candied Grapefruit Peels

Friday night after work and school we headed to the airport.  There aren't many long weekends between now and the baby's arrival, and less when I'm not in trial, so we decided to take advantage of this one for a last minute trip to visit my grandmother.

Thatkid hasn't seen her since his first birthday, so we were well overdue.  Before Thatkid, Thatboy and I often jetted to the East Coast on redeyes to make the most of the weekend and not lose a full day in travel.  This was our first time doing it with a small child.  And it actually went surprisingly well.  He slept on both flights (although he was up and crazy from 2am to 4am). 

We arrived in New Jersey around 9am and headed over to our hotel for a quick shower and change before heading over to Nana's.

It was a different Valentine's Day for us, but perfect in that we got to spend it with the ones we love.

Thatkid had a great time with his Nana,  She spoiled him rotten, but his favorite part of the visit was playing games with her.

One of my big tricks with traveling with a toddler is bringing snacks with us.  This is especially important when you have no idea when you're going to be doing breakfast or lunch.  Dried fruit makes a very easy, very packable snack.  Coated in sugar makes it one of those treats you just mindlessly snack.  I made these with grapefruit, but any citrus will do.  I think we are just about at harvesting time for our orange tree, so I'm looking forward to the orange version of this very soon!

Candied Grapefruit Peels
1 grapefruit
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp light corn syrup
  1. Peel the grapefruit in large strips.  Put in a pan, cover with cold water, and simmer 30 minutes.
  2. Drain, cover with cold water, and simmer until tender.
  3. Drain and cut the peel into small strips, about 1/4 inch wide and 2 inches long.
  4. Mix 1/2 cup of the sugar with the corn syrup and 1/2 cup water in a heavy saucepan and stir over low heat until dissolved.
  5. Brush down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.
  6. Add the peel and cook gently over low heat until most of the syrup has been absorbed.  Cover and let stand overnight.
  7. Reheat and bring to a simmer again, then cool and drain.
  8. Spread remaining sugar over paper towels and roll the peel in it.  Let them stand until they are dry enough to handle.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Crave Wednesday: Manchego and Chorizo Pizza

While you were all cuddling up with your loved ones, Thatfamily was jetting off to be part of Winter Storm Neptune.  I'll update you on our adventures tomorrow, but today I want to start at the end our journey.  On Monday we flew home from the northeast and everything was smooth sailing.

We managed to get on our flight out of Newark before the worst of the storm hit, which meant no delays.  They announced the connecting gate as we prepared our decent into Dallas, and it was just down from the arrival gate!  And we had about an hour until boarding! That's where our luck ended.  Right when we landed they announced we had our gate changed, to a completely different terminal.  And we were running about 20 minutes late.

Nevertheless, we managed to make it to our gate with 15 minutes to spare.  We boarded, taxied to the runway, and were about to take off - when the pilot came over the loudspeaker to announce the toilets wouldn't flush and we had to go back to the gate.  He promised it was an easy fix, usually caused by someone not properly closing some lavatory lock, so maintenance would have us on our way in no time.  Except we ran into a small problem - there were no open gates.  So we drove around the airport until one finally opened up.  And then came the next problem - the maintenance crew was undergoing a shift change.  We sat on the plane for an hour and 10 minutes until they finally fixed the issue and we were on our way.

Of course this meant we got in a lot later than when we planning.  So I resorted to an old standby.  I remember when I was a kid and Boboli pizza crusts were first introduced.  They became the go-to for every slumber party.  There was nothing more exciting for a kid than getting to top their own pizzas.  And what's nice is they make dinner so very quick, because they're already cooked, you really just need to heat the pizzas until the cheese melts.  Which means the most time consuming portion of this meal is boiling the water for the broccoli rabe.  And as usual, I always appreciate veggies after traveling, when I don't get them the way I do at home.  So fresh broccoli, tomatoes, and onions make a welcome homecoming meal.

 Manchego and Chorizo Pizza
1/2 lb broccoli rabe, trimmed
1/8 tsp salt
1 prebaked pizza crust
1/2 cup shredded Manchego cheese
2/3 cup chipped plum tomato
1/4 cup vertically sliced red onion
1 link chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 450.  Cook broccoli for 4 minutes or until tender.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Drain.  Squeeze excess moisture from broccoli rabe and pat dry with paper towels.  Coarsely chop.
  2. Sprinkle broccoli rabe with salt.
  3. Place pizza crust on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle evenly with Manchego cheese.
  4. Top with broccoli rabe, plum tomatoes, red onion, and chorizo.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Cut into 8 wedges.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 24 weeks

Sharing the secret -  I'm not the kind of person who announces their pregnancy as soon as a second line shows up on the test.  Last time around we waited until the second trimester to share the good news, even with our parents.  It goes back to those miscarriage numbers I was talking about earlier.  Once you tell someone, even a parent, you have to be prepared they are going to share it with everyone they know.  And while good news travels fast, bad news often doesn't.  If anything had happened I wouldn't want to be in the grocery store when a friend of a parent came up, rubbed my empty belly, and asked how the pregnancy was treating me.

The risk of miscarriage drops after the heartbeat is heard, so we decided to share the news with family after that first appointment.  Thatboy called his family and told them over the phone.  They were disappointing.  He was expecting them to be enthused, but they acted as though he told them we were getting a new couch.

I got a different reaction from Thatbrother.  I wanted to let him know first, before anyone else.  I don't know if I had a real reason for that, just that I was sending things out to family and I wanted him to know before the cousins and aunts.  Thatbrother was excited, although he expressed disappointment that we wouldn't be having our second kids at the same time.  Given that he had a 3 month old at the time, I told him our schedules probably wouldn't match up.

The next people we told were the matriarchs of my family.  My mother, cousin, and great aunt were all heading east to visit my grandmother.  I wanted to share the information with them at the same time, kind of as a pick-me-up for my grandmother.  We recorded the heartbeat at the appointment and I texted it to my mom, telling her it was a special message from Thatkid to my grandmother, and she should play it when they got there.  She couldn't get it to work.  And given that she didn't think it was a big deal, didn't bother trying to make it work, despite my pleas with her to keep trying as I sent it through as many avenues as possible.  When she finally got it to work, and read the accompanying message, she was ecstatic.  Everyone was.  It was the reaction Thatboy had been looking for.

As for the rest of the family, we sent them a special message on Halloween:

As for our friends, we sent them a little Thanksgiving message from all of us, including the little turkey coming this spring.

Well, we're at 24 weeks my friend.  And I feel like I am exponentially bigger than last month.  Currently Oppo-baby is the length of an ear of corn!

Total weight gain/loss: +15
Next Appointment: March 2.
Maternity clothes? Mostly non-maternity this week, with the exception of a couple maternity dresses.
Stretch marks: nada.
Sleep: I'm having a hard time sleeping in the early morning.  That really obnoxious light sleep where you're aware of everything around you.
Best moment this week: Seeing movement! (see below) 
Movement: Yep. And I've been saying for a while Thatboy would be able to feel them if he had any patience, this week not only did he feel them, but we both watched something move across my stomach. It's that very cool and creepy alien looking thing I never had with Thatkid, possibly due to the anterior placenta.
Food cravings: Nothing
Food aversions: Cured meats (pepperoni, proscuitto) just aren't appealing this week
Gender: Not finding out
Belly Button in or out: In.  But it never popped last time, so I'm not expecting it to this time.
What I miss:I could so go for a glass of something alcoholic.  Or two or three.
What I am looking forward to:  Nothing big this week.
Contractions: Not this week
- Skeleton is hardening
- Brown fat is forming on the neck, chest, and back to be used after birth to produce heat and energy.
- Baby is yawning!
- Baby can breathe in and out through each nostril.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Runday: What's Wrong with Walking?

The title of this post is an exact quote from my doctor when I was complaining to her about how I was starting to get pelvic pressure when running.

I was expressing my frustration based on the fact that I never had even a moment of discomfort when running through my first pregnancy all the way up until the day I was induced.  And yet, at 22 weeks, I was worried I was going to have to throw in the towel this time around (Thanks Oppo-baby). 

"Well do you have to run?" my doctor asked.  "What's wrong with walking?"

To be fair, there is nothing wrong with walking.  Walking is fantastic.  It serves the same purpose of getting out of my office and breathing in some fresh air.  It's still cardiovascular, although obviously less intense than running.  But you know what my problem with walking is?  It takes too long!

One of the reasons I run is because I like being done sooner rather than later.  I get bored doing anything for too long.  I love the fact that (prepregnancy) I can sneak out of my office and get 3 miles in and only be gone half an hour. 

I have such admiration for people who walk half marathons, marathons, or the Breast Cancer 3-day.  I think they have so much more dedication than speedier runners because they devote way more time to the same distance.  Heck, I don't even want to run a marathon because the idea of running over 4 hours doesn't appeal to me!

So my plan is to just keep a better eye on my pace.  Slow it down a bit.  I actually ended up taking a couple weeks off from my daily runs, more due to the craziness of my work schedule than anything else.  When I started up again last week it was back to being comfortable, with no pelvic pressure.  So I'm going to keep going for as long as I can before I have to....walk.

Friday, February 13, 2015

More Valentine's Day Treats: Walnut Stuffed Dates

Valentine's Day is tomorrow people - are you ready?  It's not even a beginning of the month holiday, but it always sneaks up on me.  I put it out of my mind until February 1st, and then before I know it, it's the week of Valentine's Day and I haven't picked up any gifts or cards.

This year I was a little better.  I think because I had Thatkid's party to plan.  So when I picked up decorations and activities I also threw some cards and other treats in the cart.  Like supplies for Thatkid and I to make Valentines for his class party today.

For some reason, it's really important to me that he plays an active role in things "from him."  He picks out the gifts for all the birthday parties he goes to, made the Christmas gifts for his teachers, and I wanted him to make the Valentines for his classmates.  Because he can't write yet, the boxed kind can't really have his personal touch, so we went for something homemade.  I printed out the fishbowl and he stuffed each bag with fish. 

I did my own Valentine's Day stuffing.  I think most people jump straight to chocolate for this holiday.  I know Thatboy does.  But he jumps to chocolate for every holiday.  Personally, I don't go ga ga over chocolate.  Dates aren't really a chocolate substitute.  Try to pass one off to a chocolate lover and they won't be fooled.  So don't misinterpret me when I say that dates are a great alternative to chocolate.  Sweet, rich, and dense, they always seem very decadent to me.  Cheese stuffed dates are probably familiar to most people, combining the savory and sweet.  These are all sweet, no savory.  And the nut meat makes them that much richer.

Walnut Stuffed Dates
Equal number of dates and walnut halves
1/2 cup sugar

  1. Place dates in a strainer, cover, and place over boiling water for 10-15 minutes until soft.
  2. Cool until you can handle them, then place a walnut half in each date.
  3. Sprinkle a clean work surface with sugar and roll the dates until they are coated in sugar. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Toddler Valentine Extravganza: Shortbread Cookies

Happy Early Valentine's Day!  We started celebrating early last weekend with a little get together with Thatkid's friends.  I've mentioned before that we try to get together every month with Thatkid's friends from his old school, and this month I thought it would be fun to have everyone over for some Valentine crafting.

I kind of went all out in setting the scene.  Just for fun.  With lots of pink, red, and hearts.

And of course, I loaded up the table with loads of sweet treats.  Because of BA's allergies, I made allergy-friendly recipes.  Like rice krispie treats (or as Thatkid says, rice krispie hearts).

And shortbread cookies.

I made a ton of short bread cookies.  Enough to package them up for the kids to take home.  And enough for Thatboy to take into work with him.  As I said, I made them because they're egg free, and BA has an egg allergy, but they're also incredibly easy and addictive.  So I laughed when Thatboy texted me asking for the recipe for his boss.  A recipe for shortbread cookies?  Coming right up.

Shortbread Cookies
3 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Cream butter and sugar in an electric mixture.
  2. Add flour and sugar and mix until dough comes together.  Shape into a disc and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Roll out the dough and cut with cookie cutters.  Place on baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes.

For the adults, there was doughnuts, fritatta, and Swedish braided bread.

I set up a bunch of different projects for the kids to do.  Mostly involving stickers.  Lots and lots of stickers.

I made heart stamps out of toilet paper rolls.  This is how you know Thatkid loves me, because he thought these were so cool - and really?  toilet paper rolls.

Thatkid was most excited about making tissue paper stained glass hearts.

I cut out construction paper heart outlines and placed them on contact paper.  Then I let the kids loose with a bowl of cut up tissue paper.

 Once they had completed their masterpieces, another piece of contact paper went over top to seal the goodness inside, and the grownups cut the heart out.  The other big hit project wise was making their own Valentine mailboxes.

Did I mention I had lots and lots of stickers?

 After they tired of art, they ran around the house.  Then they ran around outside.  Before we knew it, it was lunch time.

 And after lunch there was more playing.  Eventually the inevitable toddler meltdowns began, and everyone packed up for home and naps.

Thatkid had such a good time playing with his friends and Valentining it up.  It's always fun to get together with these kids, and I especially enjoyed watching them celebrate the holidays.