Tuesday, February 28, 2012

- so it happened -

Last night I let something happen that I swore I would hold off doing for as long as I could...I let Ellie fall asleep in our bed with me. Let me start off by saying as loud as I can...I do not think co-sleeping is bad in any way! As a matter of fact, although when I was pregnant I never planned on it, when Ellie was born she ended up sleeping not only in our bed, but on top of me, for the first three months of her life. That was the only way she would sleep with her colic and her reflux, and everything else that made her cry so much. And I definitely knew that there would eventually be a day as a toddler when she would start crawling into bed with us. All kids do right? But I was holding off as long as I could...because when Ellie develops a sleeping crutch, she holds onto it for dear life and it is so hard for us to get her to break it. I did not want "sleeping with us" to become her new sleeping crutch, because let's just face it...I have a queen size bed, a toddler who is a super light sleeper, and a hubby who moves around and fidgets a lot at night. All of those things combined do not make for a restful night's sleep for momma!

But last night as she was sitting on our bed, she asked me to cover her up so she could snuggle with me. Ummmm, how could I resist? I let her lay down and I covered her, and we snuggled, and we both fell fast asleep. An hour later, I woke up with the most peaceful sleeping toddler in my arms, and the thought of "oh no, what have I done?" racing through my mind!

Matt came into our room and said he had peeked in on us earlier and it was the sweetest thing ever...us sleeping together. And to be totally honest, I know why you co-sleeping momma's do it! Her little body pressed up to mine...her heavy breathing...it was so comforting. She has never ever been one to fall asleep in our arms once she hit four months old or so, and I was definitely jealous of all those other mom's that have been able to hold their sleeping child. But still... holy cow, what did I do?? My little one is now going to ask demand to sleep in our bed all the time, and she will lose.her.mind when I put my foot down and make her fall asleep in her crib.

I figured once we put her in a toddler bed, we couldn't stop the middle of the night visits that would lead to her crawling into our bed. But I thought for sure I could buy us more time. But as Matt reminded me, I made my own bed (ha ha) by letting her lay down with me, and now there might be trouble!

Wish me luck tonight as I put her down in her own crib and try to explain to her that little girls sleep in their own beds and mommies and daddies sleep in their own beds...sigh.

p.s- In case you are wondering, I did transfer her into her crib. The last thing I wanted was for her to wake up and discover that she was still in our bed. I begged Matt to do it, but he didn't want to be the bad guy, so I picked her up as gently as I could, accidentally made her hit herself in the head with her own floppy arm (mommy fail!) and somehow managed to get her into her crib without too much hassle.

p.p.s- There would be a sweet picture of me and my baby sleeping together for me to post, but my hubby failed to grab the camera when he peeked in on us. I did politely remind him that his job as the husband of a blogger, is to document moments like these so I can blog about it later! Always gotta be thinking of the blog right? lol!

- there are no words -

There are absolutely no words to describe how much I love this little girl...

Being her mom is the greatest gift I have ever been given. Nothing can beat it. And no words can describe the joy I feel when I see her little face...there are no words.

Monday, February 27, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

I hope everyone had as good of a weekend as I did! I was healthy!! And my hubby was "mostly" healthy...and the little one was healthy! Hooray! I spent a good portion of the weekend dedicated to photography (editing pictures, a photo shoot with my very favorite photographer, Nina, and various other camera tinkering)...all in all, it was a good weekend.

Today, I am so, so excited to introduce you to one of my newest blogger friends...I am obsessed with her blog because she always has the coolest posts! I'm telling you, you are going to want to go check it out!

Meet Amanda, from Marshalls Abroad. Amanda is a beautiful Marine wife who is currently living abroad with her husband, Cam. She blogs about the amazing adventures they have, and their day to day life, living abroad. You definitely should read their love story...it's so sweet!

(Image credit Amanda)
Amanda is sharing an amazing recipe with us today! How good does this sound? I love homemade pizza! And the salad is the perfect pairing!

Caprese Pizza & Salad
Store bought or homemade pizza dough
2-4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Cherry tomatoes
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Halve the tomatoes and put them on a cookie sheet, drizzled with olive oil and salt. Roast them in the oven for 15-20 minutes. This will prevent your pizza from getting soggy. Place the rolled out dough on a cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil over it, and cover it with shredded mozzarella & the roasted tomatoes. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Top with basil

Gorgonzola cheese

Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
lemon juice

Chop the salad ingredients and mix together. Mix the dressing ingredients together in a jar and mix into the salad.

(Image credit Amanda)

(Image credit Amanda)

Thank you so much Amanda! Both the pizza and the salad look so good! There's nothing better than homemade pizza!  Don't forget to go say hello to Amanda at Marshalls Abroad. Tell her how good her recipe for homemade pizza and salad sounds!

Friday, February 24, 2012

- being nice -

I'm alive!...or at least I think I am. I think I've survived the worst cold I have ever had! Now that that's over with, I can get on with life! Hooray!

One thing I learned this past week with our entire household being sick, is that sometimes it's very, very important to take the time to be nice to each other, even if you don't feel like it. Let's just say with Matt and I both being sick, and dealing with a sick toddler, we weren't the nicest people to each other. It's easy, isn't it, to forget how to be nice to the people that are the closest to you in your life? Maybe it's because we know they love us unconditionally, and they will always forgive us for our "not so nice" days, but that shouldn't be reason enough. Matt is the person closest to my heart, and yet, he is the first person for me to snap at when I'm not feeling very nice (and vice versa too...this works both ways!). You would think we would treasure those people who are closest to us, but more often than not, those are the people who bear the brunt of our crabby moods.

This past week, Matt and I snapped at each other many times, and we argued...we argued because we were sick...we argued about being sick. It wasn't a fun week at all, and if I could rewind time, I would understand that this week, more than ever, it was important to take the time to be nicer to him, and not to take out my crummy feelings on him. Because when a person is closest to your heart, that's where you want them to stay, for a long, long time.

(Image credit katespadeny.tumblr.com)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

- please excuse my absence -

Ugh! We are all sick. It started with Ellie, and it has moved around the house. I have it pretty bad now...and I'm dragging...

So, please excuse my absence on my blog, and on all of your blogs. I promise I will be back soon to catch up on my reading and to post some more posts (whenever I feel human again...)

Monday, February 20, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Hi there! Sorry for the late post today! Trusty 'ol Blogger didn't automatically post when scheduled...of course! Anyway, I hope everyone had an outstanding weekend! And now it's Monday...back to  reality (oh, how I love the weekends!).

Today I'd like you to meet Summer from over at the Crosbie Crew. She is married to the lovely, Mr. Crosbie and is the mama of two future heart breakers, Hudson (I love that name!) and Parker. Her blog is all about their daily lives in the OC...but she does mix it up by throwing in a few crafts and recipes along the way.

(Image credit Summer)

Summer's recipe sounds so yummy for a chilly winter evening! I hope you enjoy it...it looks so good!

Black Bean Soup
4 cans of black beans, drained
1 onion chopped
5 slices of bacon, chopped
1.5 Tbs minced garlic
1.5 cups of veggie broth
1 can of Rotel
2 big squirts of ketchup
a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs chili powder
salt and pepper

For garnish (optional)
sour cream
green onion
avocado, sliced
fresh lime
fresh jalapeno, chopped, no seeds

In a large pot, cook the bacon for about 5-7 minutes. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent.  Drain the bacon grease. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the broth, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Rotel, and chili powder. Stir in the beans and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Slow simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. Chop cilantro and add to the pot, allowing it to simmer an additional ten minutes. Garnish as desired.

(Image credit Summer)

Thank you so much Summer! 
Be sure to visit Summer over here and say hello!

Friday, February 17, 2012

- my little addictions -

I'm addicted to my iPhone
I'm addicted to Diet Coke
I'm addicted to Italian food
I'm addicted to photography
I'm addicted to the weekends
I'm addicted to redecorating my house...often
I'm addicted to Pinterest
I'm addicted to TV (but mostly just for background noise...I very rarely actually watch anything)
I'm addicted to a clean, tidy house
I'm addicted to striving for perfection (a big downfall of mine, unfortunately)
I'm addicted to traveling
I'm addicted to her...

BTW, she doesn't have a chipmunk cheek...it happens to be a mouthful of marshmallows that I used to bribe her with to take some pictures of her! lol!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

- be positive -

I seriously dislike being around people who are negative all the time. It drives me crazy, and brings me down. I happen to work with one of the most negative people I have ever met. And I can't even begin to tell you how much it affects me on a daily basis. As hard as I try to not let her get to me, I work very closely with her, and I happen to be her supervisor as well, so it's not that easy to just ignore her horrible attitude.

I'm not going to pretend my life is rosey all the time. I'm also not going to pretend that I am always upbeat and positive. But I like to think that most days I am in a cheerful mood and have a smile on my face. It really just makes life so much better when you are smiling and positive!

So today, I just want to remind everyone to smile, and be positive! People will like you more, and you will truly be happier inside! 

(Image credit soon2befit.tumblr.com)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

- happy love day -

From my little valentine to you...I hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Hello, hello, and happy Monday to everyone!

Today I thought I would share with you a "go to" recipe of mine...I'm warning you...it's nothing gourmet! But then again, I never professed to be a gourmet chef! While it's not a dish that will ever be served in a fancy restaurant in New York, it is super easy to make and doesn't take longer than thirty minutes from start to finish. That's my kind of weeknight recipe!

Stewed Tomato and Green Bean Chicken
1-1.5 lbs chicken thighs
1 can of stewed tomatoes
1/2 bag of frozen green beans, any style
1/2 cup cooking sherry
salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken thighs in a pot and salt and pepper. Pour the undrained can of tomatoes over the chicken. Cook on medium high, covered, for 10 minutes. Pour the cooking sherry into the pot and stir. Cover and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, on medium low. Pour in the green beans and stir again. Cover and cook for a remaining 5 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Serve over rice or pasta.

My sister originally shared this recipe with me and it's now always in my dinner rotation at least once or twice a month, because it just does not get any easier that that!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

- this is how we roll -

Just in case you didn't see this picture on my other blog yesterday, this is how we roll when momma needs to get some shopping done...

Yup, she's in the "unsafe" section of the cart...holding my phone, that currently has absolutely no case protecting it if it were to fall and hit the hard floor, shattering it to pieces. 

Luckily, I trust my kiddo to stay seated in the cart (I promise, she's really good when it comes to things like that)...and I know that she will hold onto that phone for dear life. Because she totally understands that if that phone breaks, she will not be able to play her games on it anymore! It's the one thing she is so careful with! 

Folks, that's just how we roll! Remember all of those "I'll never..." when you were pregnant? Yup, I do ALL those things I said I would never do. Because letting her watch videos and play games while I'm shopping makes momma and kiddo much happier! I just do what I can to keep the peace!

Linking up with...

 then, she {snapped}

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

- a little of this, a little of that -

 Hope everyone had a great weekend and a wonderful Monday (ugh...that's what I think of Mondays). The hubs went away this past weekend... a guys trip. He had a blast, and I'm so glad he was able to get some good 'ol fashioned dude time in, but we sure did miss him and we're glad he's home! Ellie and I spent some quality time with my mom, and got to spend some time with Lisa and her son, too. Definitely a low key weekend for us, while Matt partied like a rock star!

Turns out, I don't really have one particular thing to write about today, so you're gonna get another one of my mish mash posts...here it goes...

- This winter has been unseasonably warm, and I am loving every minute of it!

- Will I ever, ever, ever stop wishing there were more hours in the day? Hmm, now that I have a kiddo, probably not.

- I have an obsession with thinking about baby names...I could do it all day long! Am I pregnant? Nope...haven't even started for baby #2...but I have names all picked out already! I know, I'm crazy like that.

- I seriously hate drama...so much! And I hate that I manage a team of drama queens at work. Seriously, it gets so old. I really struggle between doing what I should do to be a good manager or just telling them to grow up. And what's worse, my team have all worked for me for over 4 years, so I've literally dealt with the same drama for over 4 years...ugh, it's getting old.

- A little public service announcement...tattoos can be addicting...once you get one, you will probably want more. But they are permanent...yup, permanent (well, let's not get technical and talk about laser removal, etc). So be wise while choosing the design and the size...(I may or may not have gotten another tattoo last week...and I may or may not be freaking out now, because it's definitely bigger than I probably should have gotten it...but, we won't talk about that right now. I love the design and I'm sure I will get used the size!)

- Does anyone else struggle as much as I do to really know who you are? Will I ever be completely confident and comfortable with just being me? (I'm sure I'll post more about this soon, as it has been weighing heavy on my mind lately...)

- I am getting super anxious about two major changes coming soon in our household...potty training, and moving Ellie to a toddler bed. Neither are happening right now, but I know they are coming, and just the thought of either of those two things freak me out. She has been using the potty on and off for over 5 months, but she hasn't shown interest in it lately. I know there will come a day when we just need to take the jump and go for it full time, but...ugh, I don't even know where to start. And the toddler bed?? Double ugh. Ellie hasn't tried to ever climb out of her crib, so we are keeping her in there as long as we can. But I know the toddler bed will eventually have to come, and I can't figure out for the life of me how we will ever get her to stay in the bed. Kiddo doesn't love bed time, and I know it will be a fight to keep her in the bed without that wonderful crib. Any suggestions on either of these two topics? Please, help me calm my anxiety!

- My kiddo has at least 4 pairs of Toms in her closet....momma has none! I think this momma needs a new pair of shoes, huh? A pair of Tom's to be specific! Any of these would do...

Monday, February 6, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

I know I've been a little MIA the past week...no good excuses other than a touch of writer's block, plus a super busy week...did ya miss me? Yup, thought so!

Today, I'm sharing a recipe from Laura at Between the Lines.

(Image credit Laura)
Laura is an Army wife and a mother to the sweetest little one-year-old blondie, named Ethan. She has a slew of interests and occupations, including but not limited to, pharmacy technician, psych major, Scentsy consultant, Avon representative, and photographer. Photography is one of her biggest passions, so, there are often a number of her great photos displayed on her blog. Recently, their family sponsored their first child. His name is Jeff, and he's from Kenya. You can read all about their amazing decision to sponsor Jeff here. It's a great story to read, and an amazing cause!

Laura's recipe sounds so good...you have gotta try it!

Pappardelle Pasta and Chicken Sausage
1/2 lb pappardelle pasta
2 cups broccoli florets
1 Tsbp oil
1 lb chicken link sausage
1 red pepper
1 cup fat free, sodium reduced chicken broth
2/3 cup half and half
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Five Italian cheese
2 Tsbp shredded parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in a large pot. Add broccoli florets for the last two minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil up in a skillet on medium heat for five minutes. Add sausage cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add red peppers. Cook until peppers are crisp-tender and sausage is done.

Drain pasta mixture. Add to the skillet, along with the half and half, broth, and oregano. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until sauce is slightly thickened. Top with shredded cheese and continue to cook 1-2 minutes until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

(Image credit Laura)

Thanks Laura! Any recipe that has pasta in it is always a must try for me!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

- six healthy choices I try to make on a daily basis -

Don't get me wrong, I am definitely NOT the epitome of health! I should exercise way more than I do (or, maybe I should just exercise period...ha ha), I definitely indulge in glasses of wine, snacks, and sweets, and I don't count calories or check fat content like I should.

However, I do try to make a handful healthy choices on a (mostly) daily basis that are pretty easy for me to stick to:

1. Always choose whole grain carbs - For the past few years, I have only been buying whole grain, wheat bread, pasta, and rice. I actually didn't mind the transition, but I definitely think Matt had a harder time with it. Let's just be honest, most of the time, whole grain carbs do not taste as good and as their "not as healthy" counterparts...the white carbs. But, they are so much better for you!

2.  Buy frozen vegetables - I know, I know, frozen vegetables are not as good for you as fresh ones. But, with our busy lifestyle, cutting and prepping fresh vegetables is just one more thing that I would never get around to. I would often just serve a dinner with no vegetables because the thought of chopping was just one extra step in my dinner prep (I loathe chopping vegetables...I don't know why!) And if dinner plans ever changed, and we didn't get around to eating the fresh veggies, they would end up in the trash after sitting in our fridge for too long. Now, I make sure I always have a stock of frozen veggies on hand. I never have an excuse not to add veggies to the meal since they are already cut and prepped for me! Just taking this little step really helps us get more vegetables in at dinner time. (And frozen is better than nothing!)

3. Drink water...A LOT of it - I drink a lot of water every day...at least 72-80 ounces. It cleans out your body, keeps your skin hydrated, and even can help you lose weight by raising your metabolism and keeping you feeling full so that you don't over eat. I really don't mind the taste of water (does water even have a taste??), so drinking a lot of water every day is not hard for me to do. But if you aren't thrilled about plain water, try squeezing a fresh lemon in it. It makes the water taste much better! Or, try putting cucumber slices, limes, or strawberry slices in it..all pretty darn good in water (they all help liven up the plain 'ol water!)

4. Choose white meat (or very lean red meat) - We are big white meat eaters in our house. Ellie thinks every meat is chicken because she sees so much of it on our plates. While a big juicy steak or burger can taste amazing, most red meats are very high in saturated fats pound for pound when compared to white meat. It's not that red meat is horrible for you, but too much of it can definitely raise your cholesterol levels. I remedy that by cooking mostly white meat in our house....chicken, turkey, and of course, fish. Ground beef is never in my freezer, I always use ground turkey instead. I choose turkey burgers whenever possible, and if we do cook red meat, we choose lean cuts such as top sirloin, or sirloin tips (a good rule of thumb...generally cuts that have the word "loin" in them are the leaner cuts... this applies to both beef and pork).

5. No snacking at night - Matt is a huge snacker...I am not. So this is a pretty easy, healthy choice for me to stick with. After dinner (and sometimes dessert if I'm lucky), I'm usually done eating for the night. I generally don't snack while we are watching our nightly television, or if we watch a movie after Ellie goes to bed. While eating after dinner isn't necessarily bad for you, choosing unhealthy snacks can be. And those are usually the snacks that most people turn to in the evening. If you are still hungry after dinner and you have the will power to choose something healthy, like an apple, or some carrot sticks, go for it! But if you find yourself always grabbing potato chips or cookies, then it would just be better to avoid eating once you are finished with dinner!

6. Cooking at home - This isn't always the most fun thing for me to do. I'm really busy during the week, and cooking is definitely a chore for me. I don't love to cook...I don't hate it, but it's definitely not a passion of mine. But cooking at home is so much healthier than getting take out, or eating out. I make myself cook dinner at home at least four days a week...on a good week, five. (For our pocketbooks, and for our health, it should be six or seven days a week, but this momma needs a break once in awhile!) When you cook at home, you can avoid processed foods. You can also make healthier choices. I don't always cook the healthiest meals, but at least I can switch out ingredients to make them better for us...fat free creams, non fat milk, and again, whole grains. There are plenty of easy recipes you can make if you are pressed for time...check out some of the quick recipes of the week that all of my lovely readers and contributors have helped me compile!

 (and yes, Matt totally comes home after work and kisses me as I slave over a hot stove, and no, I don't wear a dress, apron, and pearls while cooking dinner!)

So those are the baby steps I take every day to be a healthier me. Do I have a long way to go?? YES! But at least I am aware, and isn't that half the battle?? :-)

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