Friday, November 15, 2013

This is why we can't have nice things

Today Hans took little OC out for a couple hours so mommy can have some much needed lazy time. She is still waking up every couple hours at night and even though Hans takes over one of the feedings in the middle of the night I have this annoying habit of not being able to sleep if I can hear her at all so I lay awake in bed waiting for her to fall back asleep. This also can be said about taking naps during the day. I swear I can hear that girl breathing in the other room. Anyhoot, the months of 5 hours of broken up sleep per night were finally starting to catch up with me so Hans said "he wanted to take her up to the mountains to do some elk scouting so I could get in a good long nap."  Um...ok!  Let me tell you, it felt AMAZING!!! 

Now that I am awake and they are still out on their adventure I have some time to mindlessly watch trashy tv while I scroll through Pinterest. On the screen I see that Hans' cousin Morgan, pinned the perfect pair of Nikes. I love that girl by the way. She is such a beautiful young lady. The perfect mix of beauty queen and tom boy. We secretly hope Olive grows up a lot like her. We see pictures on facebook where she is out hunting deer with her dad, all decked out in camo, and the next one will be her looking cute as can be in her cheer leading outfit. Of course we want our daughter to be her own person and we will love and support her no matter what. Even if she is a band nerd we will be there at every concert cheering on her tuba solo.  Ok, ok, back on subject... I instantly got all excited and clicked the link to find them.  I mean look at these beauties!

This is where my dreams come crashing down. I was hit in the face by a big ole' slap of reality and realized I will never in a million years own these shoes. Why you ask? I live on a farm. I live somewhere where there is not a stitch of pavement or sidewalk for a good 15 miles.  That means dirt and gravel surrounds me and these poor shoes would look horrible the day I took them out of the box. For example, yesterday I went for a run up the hill in our front yard and by the time I was done my shoes were soaking wet and covered in not only mud but sheep poop. Gross! This harsh reality also goes toward high heels, any shoes made of suede or any other material that water will discolor, and pretty much any shoe not doused in some sort of shoe protector. More or less that limits me to my cowboy boots, romeos, and rain boots.  I have no idea what I'm complaining about though because to be 100% honest, I can't walk in heels to save my life. I'm that girl you see walking and say to yourself  "yikes, that poor thing is really struggling walking in those shoes!"  

So, this is why I can't have nice things but ya know, I am A-ok with that. I'm a country girl at heart and will gladly take a little mud on my kicks over a concrete jungle any day. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Bumbo

I'd like to give a great big high 5 to whoever it was that invented this magic little baby seat called The Bumbo. Heck, forget the high 5, I'd like to lay a big fat wet one on 'em!  You may be thinking I'm crazy but seriously, today my life was drastically changed by it. Before today I have either been taking the worlds fastest showers, or waiting for Hans to get home so I could shower and actually take the time to shave my legs and wash my hair, or just skipping them all together which is pretty gross if you ask me considering the amount of spit up, milk, and who knows what other bodily fluids are spilled on me daily. 

I have had The Bumbo stored in the closet since my baby shower because I knew it would be awhile before we would be able to use it and actually I kind of forgot about it until earlier this week when it caught my eye and I pulled it out. Olive can now totally support her neck and head and loves sitting up or standing more than laying down so I figured it was a good time to try it out. Other than her chunky monkey legs almost not fitting in the leg holes, she sits in it perfectly. 

After the pretty sweaty workout that Olive and I had today (me working out and using Olive for my weights during most of it)  I was DYING for a long hot shower where I could not only wash my stank off, but shave my legs, and wash my hair. Problem being it takes longer than her hour long nap to do both of those and dry my hair afterwards so I was either going to have to go with the slicked back top knot for yet another day or have legs that would for sure feel like 60 grit sandpaper by tomorrow morning. Then it dawned on me...Baby + Bumbo + big huge step in the back of my shower ='s  a half hour of entertainment for my child that LOVES the water and an extra long shower for mommy.  So in we went and a half hour later I came out squeaky clean with a little girl who was grinning from ear to ear.  Plus all the steam and being splashed with warm water made putting her down for a nap afterwards a piece of cake.  Aaaawwwwhhhhh is all I have to say about that.  Thank you Bumbo creators...thank you!

You know, I think I'm getting the hang of this parenting thing after all.

What creative ways have you other Mom's put your Bumbos to good use?

Monday, November 4, 2013

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Spicy Butternut Squash Meatloaf

This past weekend my bestie Laura (aka Lala) FINALLY came down to visit us and I could not have been more excited! However once she booked her train ticket down I started panicking...Oh crap, what on earth am I going to cook all weekend???  Sounds like a silly thing to worry about but you don't know Laura. This girl is a major foodie. No, not even just a foodie but a full on food snob! You know the kind who spends hundreds upon hundreds of dollars on just her dinner and won't eat leftovers. I knew our boring dinners of venison and broccoli just wasn't going to cut it.  Being a new mom was going to limit my time I had to prepare and living in a town that has a VERY small selection of gourmet foods was going to also be a major set back. We also like to eat somewhat seasonal so I started looking around my kitchen to see what we had picked from the farm recently and honed in on the gorgeous butternut squash I had. Ding, Ding, Ding....I came to me the second I saw it. I was going to plan a Spicy Butternut Squash Turkey Meatloaf. I know, you just turned your nose up when you heard meatloaf but let me assure you this is no run of the mill boring meatloaf, it's a pretty fancy one. Fancy enough and obviously yummy enough because Lala had seconds the next day. I'd call that a total success!

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced (3/4 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and diced in medium chunks (1 1/2 cups)
3 oz. bacon, diced medium (1/2 cup)
1 3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 to 2 slices of sandwich bread, diced medium
1 large egg

While you are preheating your oven to 350 degrees, you can prep all your ingredients so they are ready to go. Please be careful when working with the butternut squash. You need to put some muscle in it but the skin is pretty tough so don't chop a finger off!
 In a medium skillet,  heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion,  garlic,  butternut squash,  and bacon, and cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables begin to brown and soften, about 5-7 minutes.  Add sage, red pepper flake, and salt and pepper and cook about 1 more minute.

 In a large bowl combine turkey,  cheese,  bread, and egg.  Using your hands, mix together the vegetable and bacon mixture to the turkey mixture.
Transfer the mix to a greased loaf pan and bake until cooked through. About 40 minutes. Let rest about 15 minutes before slicing.

We served the meatloaf with an equally delish side dish of spiced butternut squash and some cheesy sourdough bread from a local bakery. As a bonus the next day, the leftover sourdough and meatloaf was the perfect combination  for meatloaf sandwiches!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What are these funny little seeds???

I am always up for trying the latest and greatest health food fads and although Chia seeds are nowhere near new, they are becoming more and more popular in the health conscious person's diet. When I first heard of Chia seeds I couldn't help but think of Chia Pets. Yes, I just sang Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia and don't lie, you sang it to when you read it. Come to find out, these little seeds are the same as the ever popular childhood greenery toy. These  itty bitty seeds are native to South America and have been a staple in Mayan and Aztec diets for centuries. Today, they draw the interest of many people for their health benefits and uses in cooking. It turns out the South American staple is a rich source of nutrients and antioxidants.

What are these so called health benefits you ask?

Chia seeds are packed full of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. The omega-3s in chia seeds can help reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol.  

The seeds are an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons. That is one-third of the daily recommended intake of fiber per day.

They are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer. Antioxidants help prevent wrinkles too. Can I get an AMEN for that!

Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 18 percent of the daily recommended intake for calcium, 35% for phosphorus, 24% for magnesium and about 50% for manganese. These nutrients are important to help maintain a healthy weight and keep up those energy levels.  The combination of protein, fiber and the gelling action of chia seeds when mixed with liquids help to keep you feeling full longer which means fewer calories you are snacking on each day.

Chia seeds are even gluten free. I used to be strictly gluten free however I started to slip a bit during pregnancy when I craved nothing but carbs during the first trimester. Now that Olive is here, it is time to start getting my diet back on track which means as little gluten as possible.

You may be wondering how you should incorporate these seeds into your daily diet? Well, there are several ways you can do this. To keep it simple you can sprinkle them over salads, add into smoothies and protein shakes, make chia pudding, bake into breads and muffins,  etc.... All it takes is a simple Google search and you can find hundreds of ways.

 I personally like to add them into my morning bowl of oatmeal. I don't notice much of a taste at all but I do love the little crunch that it adds to things. To make my morning breakfast even better for me I spruce it up with a 1/2 serving of chocolate protein powder, a splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and banana slices.  In one quick and simple meal I have already covered a serving whole grain, protein, healthy fat, a fruit, and all the little extras that the seeds provide. Plus it keeps me full for hours!


Now that you have heard how I add a serving of Chia seeds into my daily diet, how do you plan on adding them into yours?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Meet Baby Olive

Wow, I can't believe I have taken a 8 week break from writing an entry. The time feels like it has flown by and for good reason. As many of you know Olive is here now and I'm sure you have all been waiting to hear a bit about her. I obviously had a warped sense of reality before she was born because I thought I would have plenty of time to take care of my daughter, keep the house as spotless as I usually did, and still have extra time to write a couple posts a week. Obviously that was totally wrong. At last, I am finally back and even though it may not be several posts a week, I am hoping to get out at least one.

Ok, enough apologizing, let's get to the good stuff....Olive!

After being almost a week overdue we had an appointment with our midwife and she decided that she was going to do two things. #1 she was going to induce me two days later if we had no signs of progress and #2 she was going to try a natural and somewhat uncomfortable procedure (I'll spare you the details) there in her office that would give me a 50/50 chance of going into labor in the next 24 hours. The odds were in our favor because by 7pm that evening I was well on my way to full born active labor. We arrived at the hospital by 11pm and we were admitted. Labor was just as everyone could expect...miserable! They had filled my head with these thoughts that I could get an epideral as soon as I got there and to my dismay, that was not the case. Damn! There were a few complications that kept them from wanting to give me one and finally by the time I was 8cm dilated they decided to give it a try. Due to an old injury and as we were told very thick ligaments in my spine it almost didn't happen. Apparently the anesthesiologist was having a hell of a time getting everything in place. All I could focus on was having to not move a single inch while having back to back contractions (apparently having a 5 inch needle going in and out of your back could cause major damage if you move. Hmm, who knew!) while Hans stood there holding me down and getting more and more freaked out at what was going on behind me. Thank goodness I could not see because apparetnly it involved multiple attempts, lots of blood, and a very sweaty and nervous anesthesiologist. In the end it worked and labor was a breeze from there. At 9:20am on August 27th our little girl came into this world.

She was born at 7lbs 11oz, 21 inches long, and had the longest little fingers I had ever seen. It was actually the first thing Hans and I both noticed. After all the smiles and tears we were able to really look at her and examine every inch of this little miracle. It's so amazing at how much you can see in ultrasounds so you have somewhat of an idea what they look like but to actually see her up close is a totally different story. A few traits are already very clear. She has my eyes and Hans' lips and unfortunately she has my ears and Hans' funny toes. She is going to hate us for that later in life but now they just add to her cuteness.

Three long days later they finally let us go home. Hans and I both thought holy crap, they are actually letting us do this? We had no clue what we are doing but we are about to figure it out really quick and you know what, I think we have done a pretty damn good job at it so far!  Big thanks to my Mom for spending the first 5 days at home with us. She cooked and cleaned while we tried to get used to Olive's busy schedule of eating, pooping, and sleeping. More of the eating and pooping and a lot less of the sleeping.

The next five weeks were a whole lot more of the same thing but at almost 6 weeks she threw us for a loop. Our little piggy who had never ever had a problem sucking down a belly full stopped eating all together and started screaming bloody murder non stop. Of course the day this happens is the day that Hans had left for a week long hunting trip. The next week was a crash course in don't panic and figure things out.The Doc diagnosed her with a nasty case of reflux which he compared to really bad heartburn. He sent us home with some medicine and told us to keep her propped up while sleeping. So from the date she has been sleeping in her swing, napping in her car seat, and downing baby antacids twice a day. The medicine seemed to help in the sleep department because she now sleeps like a champ at night. She goes down between 7:30pm and 8:30pm, wakes up around 3am or 4am where she eats and most of the time instantly passes back out and then is up like clockwork at 7am. Naps are still pretty short and she decides that sometimes she just doesn't want to take many of them but we are working that out.  The medicine did not really help her mood out though. We still had a very cranky baby who spent more time crying than smiling. This is something a mom does not like to see and I knew there had to be something else going on with her. After a bit of research and a trip to the local Walgreens, I came home with something called Gripe Water. I have now learned that Gripe Water is God's gift to parents that have a screaming baby. It's been three days now and we have not had tears unless she is hungry or Pop pokes her with his new scratchy beard and scares her. Way to go Pop!  It is also seeming to help her calm down enough to nap a bit more throughout the day.  I loves my daughter more than anything even when she cried non stop but now that she is laughing all the time I not only love her but I have a blast with her. I can sit there all day and play with her. Last Saturday Pop was even going to watch her for a few hours while we went out with a friend of ours who was in town and I decided I would rather all of us just hang out and watch football. It was the perfect evening! I got to just kick back with friends, family, and my smiling little girl. I could not ask for anything more.

It's been a very chaotic 8 weeks that have flown by in the blink of an eye and I look forward to the next 8 weeks, the 8 weeks after that, the 8 weeks after that, and so on and so on......  Stay tuned for more updates but until then enjoy a few of the hundreds of pictures that have been taken.
Our amazing photographer Jamie Jones took this great pic of Olive in her daddy's helmet.
I have gotta say we are a pretty cute little family.

Looks like we already  have a babysitter

Hans' morning cuddle time melts my heart to see.

Remember Carlos from the Hangover???
Hans loves a good prop.

Here are her crooked little toes. Just like Dad's.

Monday, August 26, 2013

My kind of meal

I'm up writing a blog post which means, yep, you guessed baby yet! Hans said it best the other day when he said "every day past our due date is like Christmas Eve. You know something really exciting is about to happen but there is nothing you can do to make the time go any faster." It's now starting to feel like the Christmas Eve that will never end! So, in the mean time we are keeping ourselves on the go so we don't have time to sit around and think about it. Well ok, truth is Saturday we sat around and did absolutely nothing but nap and watch movies. The only activity we got was getting out for our daily mile long walk to the mail box and thank god for that or we may have gone crazy. We decided from that point on we needed to stay busy doing something to preoccupy ourselves.

Since Saturday was such a lazy day, I had to continue the theme with that nights dinner. Actually, I am all for any night that I can make a healthy dinner that is quick and easy and this one is just about as good as it gets for 5 minutes of prep time.  It's so tasty that it has become one of the staples in our house so I figured I would share it all with you! I wish that I had some fancy official recipe name to give it but nope, it's just plain Sausage and Vegetables. Hans calls it the Crystal Goulash but that really doesn't sound very appetizing so we are going to just leave that one for him. 

Sausage and Vegetables

Large green bell pepper
Large red bell pepper
2 medium red potatoes
Medium red or yellow onion
1 or 2 Jalapaneos
1 zucchini (sadly I did not have one in the fridge so we had to go without)
1 package smoked turkey sausage
olive oil
black pepper
garlic powder
seasoning salt (I used Johnny's)
Rice of choice or quinoa
6 basic ingredients, doesn't get easier than that!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Slice up all ingredients with a knife or if you really want to make quick work of it, you can use your food processor like I do. I literally takes me longer to set it up than it does to slice everything. Once finished, throw all of the vegetables into an oven safe casserole dish. Drizzle the veggies with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and season according to taste with spices. I tend to go pretty easy on the seasoning salt though due to the sodium content of the sausage and we would rather taste the "real" flavor of the vegetables than covering them up with to much extra.  Once seasoned, toss the vegetables to cover with oil and spices and then add in your slices of sausage.
A little word of wisdom is to keep the slices of your potatoes thin so they cook at the same rate as the other ingredients
Cover with foil and add to preheated oven.  
Once in oven, start to prepare your rice or quinoa
Stir vegetable/sausage mixture at 20 minutes, re-cover and cook for another 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  If you like a little crisp to your vegetables you can now uncover and set under the broiler for 4-5 minutes.
We are loving this Tru Roots  organic sprouted rice and quinoa blend from Costco right now.  Perfect texture and taste!

Finally, top your rice with the vegetables and sausage and enjoy your perfectly balanced dinner of protein, vegetables, and whole grains. Yum!

Doesn't look half as appetizing in pictures but trust me, it tastes oh so good!