Wednesday, May 8, 2013

April in Food

Yesterday was my 100th post here! Woohoo! It's probably fitting that it was about Jacob...he kind of consumes a lot of my time right now. Not that I'm complaining- it's just a fact of motherhood! : )

When we moved to the new apartment, I started keeping each week of menus that I make. I thought I'd use them for inspiration on the weeks that I sit down and have NO idea what I want to cook or what sounds good. Also, it helps me keep track of random recipes we try, as I write down where it is I found that recipe. So I thought I'd share some of it with you to maybe give you some inspiration! Note that we moved the first week of April so no menu got made!

April 8-14:
Breakfasts were Cream of Wheat with fruit puree for Jacob and cereal for Jim and I
Lunches during the week are almost always leftovers or sandwiches

  • Basil Pesto Pasta: Grab a box of penne and a jar of pre-made pesto. Boil the pasta according to package directions and add in as much or as little pesto as you like. Top it off with some parmesan or mozzarella cheese, maybe add a salad and voila! 
  • Meatball Subs and Chips: We cook up this recipe for meatballs from Mark Bittman, buy a bag of hoagie rolls, get some mozzarella cheese for topping and either use a homemade tomato sauce or buy a jar of marinara sauce for this yummy make-at-home version of a Subway sandwich. All different kids of veggies and cheeses optional! 
  • Honey Glazed Chicken Stir Fry
  • Caesar Pasta Salad
  • Double Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies
April 15-21:
Breakfasts were cereal, cereal bars, cream of wheat with fruit puree, yogurt and/or biscuits.
Lunches were hardboiled eggs, applesauce, leftovers and sandwiches (**Jacob hated the eggs!)
April 22-28:
Breakfasts were cereal, cereal bars, cream of wheat with fruit puree, yogurt and/or biscuits.
Lunches during the week are almost always leftovers or sandwiches
So I hope that gives you something new to try for dinner this week (or next week if you've already got a menu planned out for this week!) ; )

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Jacob :: 15 Months

Jacob turned 15 months last week, but we went for his well check up today, so I waited to blog until today. He has slimmed down since his last appointment. He was 26 lbs. 6 oz. and 32 inches long. He is now on the chart and in the 91st percentile. 

Not too much has changed since last month. He is sleeping better at night (translated LONGER). He rarely wakes up before 7 and has even been sleeping until 8 these last few days. The nap schedule is all sorts of unpredictable. He usually just takes one a day but depending on what time he woke up, it could be at 10 or 12 until as late as 2. I try to hold him off as long as possible but some days are harder to do because of our schedule with kids. 

We started giving him diluted apple juice this week and he loves it. If he could pick, I'm certain he would eat cereal bars and lil crunchies (and ritz crackers) all day long. So, we add in some yogurt and still give him some baby food to make sure things are as balanced as possible. 

We did finally get rid of that 4 month battle of a diaper rash. Dr. S said we could go back to using our cloth diapers (my wallet thanks you Dr. S) so we'll give it a try and see. If it comes back though, I'm afraid we'll have to move on. 

He is signing bite and all done, waves and nods his head "yes" and is developing perfectly. Dr. S wasn't discouraged or worried about the fact that he isn't walking. Taller kids walk later, boys walk later, and he has made it clear since birth that he is on his OWN schedule. He has 3 more months to figure it out before physical therapy is in the future. 

He is currently fighting a cold and allergies, but no meds needed. He continue to be obsessed with cars and going for rides in the wagon. His favorite thing to do is stand in your lap in the drivers seat. In fact, I let him do that a few times waiting on Jim to get done in his office and he will now scream most car rides because HE wants to drive. Oops. We did give him a toy steering wheel and it helps most of the time.

Monday, May 6, 2013

New Seasons + Monday Night Random List

It's been decided that I'll be transitioning from part time in the home work to a full time outside the home job. I, of course, have mixed feelings about it. I love spending time at home with Jacob, but we honestly aren't on a "stay at home" schedule. I love being able to help my Mom, but she won't be needing me for much longer. I'm not going to go into much more detail, because I'm sure I'll leave something out and then sound ungrateful or like work at home or work out of the home mom's have it better or worse. My thoughts on staying at home are much like my thoughts on breastfeeding: to each her own. For some the decision is clear and easy; for others its more complicated and more difficult. I am not the one to judge whether you are doing what's right or wrong. God gave you to specifically be your child's parents and provides you with the wisdom to parent that child. (Credit to Candis for that piece of wisdom)

I've applied for 5 jobs and already been turned down by 2 and 1 was filled before I could submit my application. I am not at all worried about this- just waiting to see what door(s) open. 

A few more random things for your Monday night:
  • I did a painting class tonight at my church. It was super fun! 
  • Jacob has slept in until at least 8:30 am the last two mornings and I've slept right along with him. I'm going to set my alarm in the morning to get up and actually make good use of that time which means I'm pretty much guaranteeing that Jacob will wake up early. 
  • Jacob goes for his 15 month check up tomorrow
  • My dogs have killed two birds this week. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Fat Mum Slim :: Photo A Day {End of April + Beginning of May}

I forgot that I usually label the pictures with the number that corresponds to the date. So, these aren't actually dates 1-7. I'm not going back to redo it though.

1 :: May 2 Picture - Morning Ritual - - - I always get out my planner and look at what's going on that day and what needs to be done.
2 :: April 30 Picture - Glasses - - - I'll be so glad when I get my contacts back so I can wear proper sunglasses.
3 :: April 27 Picture - Earth - - - A view of my corner of the Earth
4 :: May 3 Picture - This Is Really Good - - - Mini Snickerdoodle Cupcakes that are leftover from a Wednesday night Bible Study
5 :: May 1 Picture - I Bought This Today - - - CONTACTS! Finally, no more glasses!
6 :: April 28 Picture - My Sunday - - -A Picture of sermon notes from church
7 :: April 29 Picture - I Wore This Today - - - and everyday, I wear my wedding rings and necklace with Jacob's name on it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

MOPS Talk : Being an Organized Mom

UPDATE: Here are the links to the printables:
iHeart Organizing's Free Printables and Ones You Can Purchase
Life Your Way's Printables (All Free or you can pay $7 for a zip file including all of them)
Clean Mama's Free Printables and Ones You Can Purchase

This morning, I gave my first official presentation on being organized. As terrible as I am at writing, I'm even worse at speaking in front of people. I'm afraid my presentation was scattered and rushed as I was trying to cram a lot into 30 minutes. So, here's a review of what my perfect talk would have been.

Why Does Being Organized Matter?
While there is no direct commandment from the Lord to be an organized Mom, there are a few places that refer to our role as a Mom in Scripture. Our God is a God of order. He created things in a specific order and has a perfect purpose for every thing He has created. Our lives are ordained to the second to go a certain way. He is all about order and not chaos! Titus 2 says that older women are supposed to teach younger women how to be good workers at home. Whether you're a stay at home mom or work outside the home or a combination of both, you're still a Mom and still a manager in your household, even if you're husband is very much involved in that aspect of life. 1 Corinthians 14 tells us that God is a God of peace and order. Matthew 25 tells us to be good stewards of our resources. The Bible also speaks against laziness in Proverbs.

Hear me say that being organized does not make you more or less spiritual or on top of things. I am simply submitting that we've all been given a set amount of time, the same 24 hours in a day, and if some of these things help you better manage your household so you're freed up to do other things, then please implement them.

A Few Things To Remember:

  • What works for you may not work for someone else. What works for you for a while may not work once your life enters into a new season. BE FLEXIBLE and always evaluating and adapting your plan. Forcing yourself to do something that isn't working is counter productive to your cause in being organized to free up time.
  • Let go of perfectionism. Accept good enough as just that and move on. Perfectionism is the enemy of productivity. 
Being Organized in your Cleaning
Before we can address cleaning, we've got to address all of the stuff in your house. If you don't find something beautiful or functional, get rid of it. For things that you want to store, store them in numbered crates. For instance, crates with the numbers 1-4 are all Christmas decorations. Crate 5 is spring home decorations and Crate 6 is that black and white table setting that you love to use on special occasions. Then, you know what you have and where it is. 

Maybe you're a once a week cleaner and you'd rather spend a couple of hours once and week to knock it all out. Maybe you prefer to do a little at a time every day. Personally, I follow Clean Mama's routine of doing a few chores daily and one bigger chore. I declutter, wipe counters, vacuum, and do a load of laundry every day. Mondays I clean bathrooms, Tuesday I dust, etc. You can read more about her cleaning routine here. Find a routine that works for you. And remember, just because it works for a friend doesn't mean it will work for you. BE FLEXIBLE and READY TO CHANGE if life demands it. Maybe you'll want to clean twice a week or on Monday and Wednesday and Friday.

Something else to remember is that clutter, even if you despise it as much as I do, will come into your home. Have somewhere it all goes so that you can deal with it at the appropriate time (whether that's nightly or weekly). Put a laundry basket somewhere that everything goes into and deal with it at night after everyone has gone to bed. Not letting it pile up more than a week will be incredibly helpful in staying on top of things.

One more thing in the area of cleaning: implement the one in, one out rule. If your child gets a new toy, tell them they have to pick one to give away. New shirt for you? Find one to donate. Having this rule ensures that you don't acquire too much stuff to deal with and keep clean. Less is more.

Being Organized in your Menu Planning
Whether you make a menu monthly or weekly, it's important that you make your menu plan realistic. Don't plan a 45 minute cooking meal on a night you have a lot going on. Use the crock pot that day or just plan to eat out. Find a few easy meals that are quick that you can throw together in a few minutes for other busy nights. 

When you make your meal each week, take your schedule into consideration and shop at home first. What items do you have that you need to use up? Then, make your grocery list as you make your menu. Add any non-food items and then go grocery shopping. Stick to the list! 

A few things to keep in mind: 
  • Make double batches of food to freeze if you can on nights that you have time to cook for those nights that you don't.
  • Remember to be realistic in your planning
  • Considering freezer cooking with some friends to stock your freezer
Some Final Things
I shared my planner that I print at home and have coiled bound at Office Depot for $3. I use printables from Life Your Way, iHeartOrganizing and Clean Mama (see the link above in cleaning). I also use Dropbox and Evernote (both free!) for other things I want to have on file without dealing with the paper. With iPhone apps, I always have them with me, too! If you have any questions or want to talk, hit me up on Facebook or leave a comment below!! 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bring It

As I look at the calendar today, I can't help but feel a little sigh of relief that April's calendar page is being folded up, scribbled with the months plans marked out, rearranged and ultimately gone.

We sold our house officially and moved into an apartment. We've settled in and I think are adjusted. The dogs seem to be having trouble dealing with the fact that they have to share their "yard." They've never had to share.

We started serving in the preschool ministry at our church and celebrated Easter with our families. Baseball season started, I ran a mile without stopping and have run more this month than I have since Jacob was born. Jim and I watched seasons one and two of Downton Abbey and are awaiting June's arrival for season three to be available on Amazon Prime.

Our country experiences horrific tragedy in Boston and West. Jacob got to go to Chuck E. Cheese for the first time. We are busy busy planning a wedding for my sister. Jim and Jacob both recovered from a staph infection and I recovered from a sinus infection. Jim has been busy at work and I've been busy working for my Mom. We're still teaching table groups and mentoring students. We're making plans for the summer.

I'm excited for May. Summer is making its way closer. April was busy and hard. May could be too, but I'm meeting it with a 15 month old, a husband who loves me deeply and a God whose plan for my life is far greater than I can imagine! BRING. IT. ON.

photo cred : Versagram app

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Busy, Busy Weekend

I have a lot of things I need to unpack after this weekend. Nothing too gigantic or life-changing; just little decisions here and there, some weightier than others, that are on my mind and heart. I won't go into too much detail, as some things don't need to be put out on the internet for all to see!

One big thing comes after attending the Love and Respect conference. We were invited by our mentors. Honestly, we wouldn't have gone if they hadn't invited us. It's not that we think we have this marriage thing down perfectly. And it's not that we think we know it all or don't have areas we can improve in. When I said "yes" to Jim, we started getting ready for the big day almost immediately. An important thing was getting pre-marital counseling.  We had EXCELLENT pre-marital counseling. They sat us down for weeks in a row, gave us books to read, things to think about, asked us hard questions that sometimes made us uncomfortable, and even more importantly modeled for us what they preached. As the anniversaries come, I grow more and more grateful for their wisdom and their faithfulness to share it with us because I know we are better for it. I know that not everyone gets the kind of equipping we did going into marriage. All of that being said, there is ALWAYS room to learn and grow. I can't speak for Jim, but I know there were things that I was convicted over and am challenged and want to change to better our marriage. In the grand scheme of things, Jim and I have a great marriage; at the end of the day, I know he loves me and is on my side and I'm confident that he knows I respect him and will stand by him till death do us part. 1 Corinthians 10:12 says it best, though:   "Don't be so naive and self-confident. You're not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence." (MSG) God designed marriage, he designed the inner workings of marriage and has a purpose bigger than procreation and pleasure. Marriage is a refining fire, a work in our lives to make us aware of just how much we need Christ. My youth pastor in high school always told us that "who you are at home is who you really are." There is great truth in that. I left the weekend encouraged, thankful, convicted, and energized to ask God for strength to do better. An unexpected take-away from the weekend came as I thought not only how I relate to Jim, but also in parenting and understanding Jacob.

After the conference, we celebrated my Grandfather's birthday and then Jim, Jacob, and I went for a run. I'm doing the Couch to 5K thing (I'm only on Day 2) but we went 1.5 miles at about a 12:30 pace (it has you walk and run at intervals which is less daunting to me than going out and running a mile and a half outright). After Jacob went down, we finished Season 2 of Downton Abbey. If Season 2 hadn't ended the way it did, I'm afraid I would have had to read ahead about the seasons to see if I wanted to invest anymore time in this. BUT, since Matthew proposed to Mary and she said "yes" and Mr. Bates got his punishment moved to only life in prison, I will continue on. But things are going along too well, I'm afraid, so I am a little nervous about what is going to happen. NO SPOILERS PLEASE.

Sunday, Jacob woke up a little earlier than usual, so Jim went to our 8 am service and I went to the 930 service so that Jacob wouldn't have to be at church until noon and could get his nap in. We tried an afternoon nap after church, but that never happened. We headed out grocery shopping, to Bahama Bucks (Jacob wasn't a huge fan of snow cones, but he did like Jim's smoothie!) and then I cleaned the Cube. Janey (our "good" house trained dog that hasn't had an accident in YEARS) peed on the carpet RIGHT in front of me twice yesterday evening. It was like she was trying to prove a point or get my attention. This was after two small run-ins with some neighbor dogs and Jacob pooping in the tub. Anyone who knows me knows that I love animals, especially dogs, and especially my dogs; but I would be lying if I didn't say that there are some days that I wonder if we might need to find them new homes because they aren't cut out for apartment living. : (

BUT Monday is here- a new week, a new start, the end of the month. What did you do this weekend??