Fit 'N' Well Mommy

Being a mommy doesn't always mean sacrifice

Happy Friday! August 31, 2012

Happy Friday and Labor Day Weekend! What are your plans for the weekend? Our weekend is jam-packed, to the say least! My husband and I have a double-date with some friends tonight. We are going to dinner and then seeing “Crazy For You,” at Sacramento’s Music Circus. I haven’t seen a musical in a while, so I’m pretty excited! I absolutely LOVE musicals, especially since I used to be in them when I was in high school and college. Tomorrow, we are doing some wine tasting with my in-laws and family friends in Clarksburg and then going to dinner. On Sunday, we are heading to a Labor Day BBQ in the afternoon and then we are celebrating our good friend’s birthday at our house that night. It should be fun!

Today, my mom came up to visit and play with Keenan, while I went to CrossFit. Since I had to get out the door fairly quickly this morning to make the 9:00 a.m. class, Keenan and I ate a quick breakfast of toasted pancakes with peanut butter and honey on top (I also topped mine with half of a banana) and a side of strawberries. It was just what I needed before my workout!

Keenan enjoying his breakfast this morning!

My breakfast this morning.

Today’s WOD was with a partner and it consisted of:

– 200 meter farmer carry

– 60 deadlifts (women weight: 145 lb)

– 200 meter farmer carry

– 60 hang cleans (women weight: 95 lb)

– 200 meter farmer carry

– 60 push presses (women weight: 65 lb)

– 200 meter farmer carry

– 10 rope climbs

It was a good workout for the end of the week. My partner was awesome! He carried me for every farmer carry, but we split up the lifts equally and at the end, I did 7 of the 10 rope climbs, since he was so tired from carrying me! We finished in 26 minutes and 2 seconds, under the 30 minute time cap doing the prescribed weights.

Since I am not able to go to the gym on Monday, due to the holiday and only one class time, I’m planning to go again tomorrow. In fact, we are going to bring my mother-in-law, since she is staying with us to babysit Keenan tonight. I’m curious to see how she likes it!

After I worked out this morning, I headed to Ross to search (once again) for a cup for Keenan and a basket. I absolutely LOVE it when I find bargains! I found a cup for less than $3.00 (though it’s a little bigger than I wanted), a basket for $2.00 (which is slightly too big, so I have to return it) and a cute Puma jogging/sweatsuit for Keenan for $14.00! That is what I call a good shopping trip (though, I still need to find a basket)! Where do you like to shop? Are you a bargain hunter?

Look who has his own water cup!

When I got home, Keenan was so thrilled to have his own water cup that he kept asking, “Mommy, water in it!” I quickly washed it so he could start using it. He tried the jogging/sweatsuit on and he looked so cute! It fit him perfectly with a little room to grow. Since he doesn’t have many fall/winter things that fit, I thought the little sporty jogging/sweatsuit was a good start!

Sporting his new jogging/sweatsuit!

For lunch, I made Keenan a turkey and cheese sandwich with a side of avocado and peaches. I made my mom and I turkey sandwiches with lettuce, tomato and avocado spread with mustard on sandwich thins, along with baby carrots and peaches from my parent’s orchard. In addition to my sandwich, I had an iced coffee (much needed after a hard workout), since I didn’t have time to make my usual latte this morning.

Well, it is time to do some things around the house before getting ready for tonight. Have a great weekend!

 

Silliness and the Love of “Baba!”

Showing his love for his “Baba!”

Today was once again all about being silly and goofy at our house. Keenan literally wrestled his “Baba” on the couch for 10 minutes straight this morning! He kept saying, “Ummm, I love you Baba” as he hugged and laid on him. Keenan loves “Baba” so much that he practically goes everywhere with us, not to mention “Lambie” (or his new additions: Elmo and Polar Bear). But, “Baba” and “Lambie” still reign at the top, amongst all of Keenan’s critters! Poor “Baba,” he has travelled to two countries and back, not to mention Alaska, Oregon and Hawaii while still staying intact. Every time he goes through the wash, I swear he comes out looking a little less stuffed! 🙂

Wrestling with “Baba” round one!

More wrestling and showing his love for “Baba!”

Anyhow, more about today: As soon as Keenan got out of his crib, he demanded to have peanut butter for breakfast. So, I made him a frozen whole grain waffle with peanut butter and blueberry honey with a side of strawberries. I ate a waffle topped with a scoop of Fage 0% Greek yogurt, honey, strawberries and banana. It was the first time I had yogurt on a waffle and it was delicious! I will definitely do it again!

My lovely breakfast…a good change from my usual!

After breakfast, we headed outside to feed Slinky. Since we were outside, I decided to do a bit of pruning/dead-heading flowers, while Keenan played in his sandbox. After being outside for awhile, we headed to a play date (rather, a book club meeting) for my MOMs Club. On our way home, we stopped by Marshalls and picked up Keenan’s sunglasses! They called me last night telling me that they had found them. Keenan and I were both happy to have his sunglasses back! I still feel bad about the whole thing.

Busy playing while I pruned!

For lunch, I made Keenan a turkey and cheese sandwich with a side of carrots, nectarine and a glass of milk. I made myself an egg white sandwich (microwaving a 1/2 cup of egg whites with a little Parmesan cheese and spices mixed in a small bowl for 1 minute and 30 seconds) with lettuce, tomato and mustard. I used to be on an egg white kick, but for some reason, I just forgot about it, until I saw the container in our fridge today. The sandwich was exactly what I was craving!

Keenan’s lunch.

My lunch.

Speaking of lunch, I just read an interesting article on BabyCenter about popular characters helping kids eat healthy foods. The article talked about how popular kid’s characters are used frequently to sell junk food, but recent research has shown that the same characters can be used to promote eating healthy foods. As soon as I read this, I thought, well…duh! After seeing Keenan be so infatuated with Elmo and wanting to do what he does, of course kids would be influenced to eat healthier food, if their favorite characters were eating it! The article goes on to say that the method can be used in schools to help promote healthier eating. In one study, researchers had children pick between cookies and apples. A group of kids were offered plain (non-branded) apples and cookies, while another group was offered plain cookies or Elmo apples that had stickers of some of the Sesame Street characters. The Elmo apples were chosen more frequently than the cookies. Although, this seems to be a no-brainer for me, I think this is very powerful. Hopefully schools, government organizations and even some parents will use this effective strategy. How do you feel about using popular kid’s characters to influence children to eat healthier foods?

After Keenan’s nap, we went to CrossFit and did a good, but not so gruelling workout. It was a nice change, compared to the past few days! Today’s skill included hanging snatches and the WOD was 3 rounds for time of 10 snatches (women weight: 95 lb) and 15 facing the bar-facing burpees. Since I can’t seem to snatch anything above 85 lbs (another weakness I have to work on!), I stuck with 75 lbs for the workout. I finished my 3 rounds in 9 minutes and 21 seconds, not too bad.

For dinner, we had roasted brussel sprouts with a simple pasta sauté of whole wheat spaghetti noodles, cherry tomatoes, onions, fresh basil from our garden and feta cheese. It was very satisfying! This was Keenan’s first time eating brussel sprouts and he did pretty well.  At first he didn’t want to eat them, but after I sprinkled a little balsamic vinegar on top, he liked them!

Dinner tonight!

Keenan’s plate!

Well, it’s time for bed, since I’m heading to CrossFit in the morning, instead of in the afternoon. My husband and I have a double date with some friends tomorrow night. We are going to dinner at Kupros Bistro and seeing “Crazy For You” at Sacramento’s Music Circus, while my in-law’s babysit! Night, night!

 

You will always be in our hearts, Chris! August 29, 2012

Today is a special day: it is my oldest brother Chris’s birthday and the “estimated” due date of when Keenan was supposed to be born two years ago (he decided to arrive nine days early!). My brother would have been 40 years old today. We lost him fourteen years ago in a freak accident on my family’s farm. Even though he was 10 years older than me, he was a wonderful big brother, always looking out for me. When my other brother would pick on me when we were kids, Chris would always come to my rescue! In addition, he always looked out for me at school, making sure I was okay. He babysat me when I was little, drove me to school (even walking me to class) and picked me up. He was really the best brother a little girl could ever have! To keep his name and memory alive, we named Keenan’s middle name after him: Keenan Christopher. Keenan will always have a special guardian angel looking after him, his Uncle Chris. Happy Birthday, Chris! We love you and miss you!

After we had breakfast this morning (our “usual”), we went to swim class at the Y and then ran a couple of errands, including a trip to Marshalls. I am looking for a small basket for some of Keenan’s kitchen accessories ( “cook cook” stuff, as he calls it!) and a small water cup like mine below. Keenan loves to drink out of water my cup, especially in the morning, so I thought he would enjoy his own cup like mine. But, we didn’t have such luck, we didn’t find a basket or a cup. However, I did find some great deals on workout clothes! I love that you can find quality workout clothing for such a bargain!

While we were shopping, I put Keenan’s sunglasses next to him (in our shopping cart cover) and somehow he misplaced them. I must have been looking at some clothes while he dropped them somewhere. Needless to say, we looked all over the store, but couldn’t find his sunglasses. I was a little frustrated, so I said “Gosh,” and Keenan started saying, “Gosh Damn it” over and over (thanks to hearing it from my lovely husband when he was fixing something a while ago). I immediately told him we don’t say that word and redirected him, but once we got home, he said it again, thinking it was funny. I told him no, we don’t say that word again, but he said it once more. I put Keenan in a time out for a few minutes and he was quite upset. I felt bad (and still do) for punishing him, when I should have paid more attention to where he put the sunglasses, making sure he didn’t lose them. If we hadn’t lost the sunglasses, Keenan probably wouldn’t have said those words Ugh…I hate the Mommy guilt! Do you ever feel guilty, even though part of you feels you did the right thing when it comes to disciplining your children?

For lunch, we ate the rest of the turkey meatloaf. Keenan had meatloaf, roasted sweet potatoes and leftover yogurt that he didn’t finish from his breakfast this morning. I made a salad and added the meatloaf for protein; it hit the spot!

Enjoying his lunch!

My lunch!

Once Keenan wakes up we will be off to CrossFit for my favorite day: Gymnastics! I’m always curious about what the WODS will be on Wednesdays. For dinner tonight, we are having grilled country style pork ribs, leftover spaghetti squash tomato bake (from last night) and sauteed chard with an onion and sun dried tomatoes! I just finished prepping the chard and marinating the pork, to save time for tonight.

Letting the chard dry (after I washed it) before chopping it.

Before I forget, here is the recipe for my kettle corn that I made for Keenan’s party favors. I received a couple of inquiries for the recipe, and I completely forgot to post it yesterday.

Kettle Corn:

Ingredients:

– 1/2 cup large popcorn (Pop Secret Jumbo Size Popcorn) *You can use any kind/size of popcorn, I just like using the large kind.

– 1/4 cup oil

– 2 Tbsp sugar

– salt (to taste)

Directions:

1. Pour oil and sugar into a large pot and heat on the stove (medium to high heat).

2. Pour popcorn kernels into pot and place lid on top.

3. As soon as you hear the oil and sugar sizzling, and the first kernel to pot, start shaking pan.

4. Continue shaking the pan until the last kernel is popped (or popping to slows down).

5. Pour popcorn into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and mix. Enjoy!

 

Cleaning Day and Pre and Post-Workout Snacks

My Little Cleaning Helper!

Today was cleaning day at our household…definitely not one of my favorite things to do, but something that has to be done. Who really loves to clean, anyways? The day was a lot better and definitely more fun with my handy little “Cleaning Helper!” Lately, it seems Keenan is fascinated with helping, whether it be unloading the dishwasher, setting the table or cleaning (especially vacuuming), so I’m enjoying every moment of it! I am keeping my fingers crossed that this continues!

After breakfast (having our “usual,” of course), Keenan and I worked on some “Thank You” notes for the gifts he received for his birthday. Later on, we headed upstairs to start cleaning. I gave Keenan his own rag, so he could help me dust/oil the wood, which he loved! When it was time to clean the bathrooms, he even helped me scrub the bathtub and clean his potty! Do your children like to help with certain chores? At what age does the “helping” phase stop?

Using his new crayons to make “Thank You” notes!

For some reason, Keenan was really thirsty and hungry all day, today. He drank a ton of water and inhaled all of his meals, so I’m not sure what caused it…growth spurt? For lunch, I made him a turkey and cheese sandwich with some leftover roasted sweet potatoes and a glass of milk. He polished everything off in 5 minutes (including his milk)! For my lunch, I made my “typical,” a turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato on a sandwich thin with baby carrots and a small peach. I ate it quickly, so I could prep dinner and finish cleaning before going to the gym.

I have received a couple of questions in regards to my pre and post-workout snacks, so I thought I would address them here. To be honest, I forget to talk about them, especially since I always seem to be in a hurry to eat them. Anyhow, I try to eat a snack an hour before I workout that consists of a little carbs and a little protein. My pre-workout snacks are usually one of the following: a half of a banana with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter or almond butter, 1/4 cup of homemade trail mix (roasted unsalted almonds with dried cherries, dried pineapple and banana chips) or a small handful of dark chocolate covered roasted almonds. I mostly eat the banana and peanut butter, because it seems to sit the best on my stomach and provide the most energy for me during my workouts. After I workout, we usually eat dinner within an hour, so I don’t typically have a snack. However, I do drink a lot of water to replenish the fluids I lost. If we are not eating dinner within an hour, such as when we have our “at home date nights,” I will have a small snack that consists of carbs and protein (more carbs than protein). My post-workout snacks mainly consist of one of the following: chocolate milk (non-fat milk mixed with unsweetened cocoa powder and xylitol) or a piece of cheese and a couple of whole wheat crackers. People have asked me what is the best thing that they should eat to fuel their workouts and recover from them, and I always say it really comes down to the type and intensity of your exercise, in addition to how your body handles certain food. A good rule of  thumb for both snacks (pre and post-workout) is they should include a little bit of carbs and protein. The carbs can be whole grain bread, crackers, oatmeal, fruit and chocolate. The protein can be meat, eggs, dairy, nuts, nut butters, soy, etc. Or, you can combine the two in a quick shake or smoothie (protein powder mixed with chocolate and milk or protein powder with berries and yogurt) or drink chocolate milk. Either way, as long as you are consuming carbs and protein, you will be doing your body a favor, which should help you perform better and recover for the next workout.

Today’s workout was a good one, but definitely grueling! For the skill, we did fast/explosive back squats using a moderate weight, doing at least 10 sets of 2. The WOD was 3 rounds (time capped at 15 minutes) that consisted of 50 double unders, 40 thrusters (women weight: 55 lbs) and 30 kettlebell swings (women weight” 35 lbs). I did 2 rounds and 32 double unders, not bad, considering yesterday’s WOD. I was also happy because today was the first time that I was able to do 30 double unders in a row!! I’ve been practicing my double unders for months, so it finally paid off! Also, after yesterday’s performance, I decided that I’m going to get to the gym at least 15 minutes early to warm-up with double unders, do medicine ball cleans, followed by power cleans (to work on my “early arm bend”) and consecutive kipping or butterfly pullups. I don’t always have additional time during the week to go the gym on a 6th day, such as Saturday, to work on my weaknesses. I figure 15 minutes, 5 days a week of practice is better than nothing! So, we’ll see how it goes. I came in early today and my cleans were pretty good, no early arm bend, whoohoo!

For dinner tonight, we ate leftover turkey meatloaf, spaghetti squash tomato bake (a new recipe, thanks to the idea from A Healthy Happy Home that she got from Green Lite Bites) and a salad. The spaghetti squash was a hit! It will definitely be one of our “regular” side dishes. I tweaked the recipe a little, using mozzarella cheese instead of the Mexican blend it calls for, changing the spices to be more Italian flavored and sprinkling Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs on top.

Sorry, the quality of the image isn’t good. I took this with my phone because my camera wasn’t handy. It was certainly delicious, though!

Well, after a long day of cleaning, I’m ready for bed. Night!

 

Keenan’s 2nd Birthday Party Recap August 28, 2012

Happy Monday! Was it me, or did the weekend go by way too fast? We had a great weekend: Celebrating Keenan’s birthday on Saturday with our family and friends, and on Sunday we had a reunion for our Bradley Method birth class. It was definitely a party weekend! Needless to say, we are all still recovering from the festivities (lack of sleep and too much good food!).

Keenan’s birthday party went very well. Keenan had a blast playing with all of his friends and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The party started at 3:30 p.m., and everyone pretty much left around 8:30 p.m. or so. Keenan had so much fun playing at his party, he immediately fell asleep as soon as I put him to bed around 9:00 p.m. He was exhausted, but just as I thought, he was up bright and early at 6:30 a.m. the next day, since he doesn’t sleep well at my parents’ house. I’m not sure why he doesn’t sleep well at my parents’ house…either there are too many different sounds or he is too excited to be there.  Since he was so exhausted, I put him to bed a little early last night, at 7:00 p.m., and he woke up at 8:00 a.m. this morning!

More on Keenan’s party: I made it pretty simple with red table cloths (going with the Elmo theme), flowers for centerpieces, a birthday banner (from his 1st birthday), Elmo balloons and Elmo plates and napkins. It was a perfect day, too, not too hot or too windy.

Once everyone arrived, we snacked on my husband’s infamous guacamole and chips (one of Keenan’s favorite foods) and swam. Keenan had fun swimming with his puddle jumper! After some swimming, the kids played with the water table, took rides in the wagon (courtesy of Nonna!) and played on the swing set. The kids were constantly busy playing, it was so fun to watch!

Before dinner, the kids swam a little more, making them all pretty hungry! For dinner, we had grilled chicken, Artichoke Torta, grilled peach spinach salad, fresh blueberries and strawberries, along with some freshly baked ciabatta. It was all very yummy! The kids dined at the little table, while the adults sat at the big table. The kids did a great job of cleaning their plates and once they were finished, they were off to play again!

A little while later, I brought out Keenan’s Elmo cake (Pig-out Carrot Cake), and we all sang Happy Birthday. It was funny, Keenan was afraid of his birthday candles and kept turning his head away (not wanting to look at them). Since he was a little unsure about blowing out his candles, his friends gladly helped him! Since we have talked about the danger of fire, I think Keenan was a little too scared. I hope we didn’t permanently scare him away from blowing out his birthday candles in the future! In addition to cake, my husband made peanut butter chocolate swirl ice cream, so all of the kids had ice cream cones in addition to the cake (LOTS of sugar). Keenan ate Elmo’s eye balls and his ice cream cone first, so he was too full to finish the rest of his piece of cake. Luckily, we have plenty leftover for him to have little pieces for some dessert this week!

As you can see, I decorated Keenan’s cake with m&ms (red and orange), chocolate chips for the mouth and peanut butter cups for the eyes. I definitely learned my lesson; I will not use m&ms again because they immediately started to bleed as soon as I placed them on the cake! Once I put the cake back into the fridge after I finished decorating it, the frosting and m&ms stopped melting, so it wasn’t too bad. But, I was still a little bummed that the cake didn’t turn out exactly as I had hoped. At least the cake tasted good! The cream cheese frosting was perfectly tart and sweet, while the cake was super moist! Below is the recipe:

Pig-Out Carrot Cake:

Ingredients:

– 4 eggs

– 2 cups sugar

– 3 cups flour

– 2 tsp cinnamon

– 1 tsp nutmeg

– 2 tsp baking soda

– 1 tsp salt

– 1 1/2 cup canola or grape seed oil

– 1 tsp vanilla

– 1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple (reserve 1/4 cup of juice for frosting)

– 3 cups grated carrots

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs and set aside.

2. Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

3. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour in oil, vanilla and beaten eggs. Mix.

4. Add crushed pineapple, carrots, raisins and walnuts.

5. Pour into greased 9X13 pan (or prepared cake pans) and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until knife inserted comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients:

– 1 cube butter

– 1 8 oz. package cream cheese

– 2 cups sifted powdered sugar (add by taste, instead of all at once)

– 1/4 cup pineapple juice

Directions:

1. Beat  together until well mixed.

2. Spread frosting over cooled cake.

After cake and ice cream cones, the kids played a little more before everyone headed home. For party favors, I gave each family a small bag of kettle corn that I made. All, in all, Keenan’s party was a lot of fun! Everything went smoothly; my husband and I were still able to relax, enjoy everyone’s company, watch Keenan have fun, while getting all of the food ready. It was great day.

Since it was so late after everyone left the party, Keenan opened his birthday gifts on Sunday morning, after we got home from church. He definitely knew how to open his gifts! One exciting gift he got was from Nonna and Avo: a tricycle! The nice thing about this tricycle is it has a removable handle, so we can push him now (since he doesn’t know how to peddle) and once he learns to peddle, you can take it off.

Today, Keenan helped my husband put his new trike together and then we went for his first ride! He was SUPER excited to take it for a ride!

Once Keenan woke up (sleeping for 2 1/2 hours), we headed to CrossFit for a much needed workout, after eating lots of sugar and rich food this weekend. My body sure needed it, but it definitely was not my best WOD. The WOD was a 7 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible), doing power cleans (women weight: 115 lbs) and 12 over the box jumps. I started with the prescribed weight of 115 lbs, but once I was on my 4th rep, it took me 5 attempts to get another one, so I decided to go down in weight to 105 lbs (not something I’m happy about). Since I changed the weight, I lost a lot of time, thus I was only to complete 3 rounds and 5 reps. A weakness of mine is “early arm bend” which makes it hard to increase my strength, if I don’t have proper technique. The “early arm bend” is something I have been working on for months, so it is something I need to continue working on…bring on more medicine ball cleans!

For dinner tonight, we had my turkey meatloaf in the crock pot (Mexican style with: cumin, oregano and salsa), roasted sweet potatoes and a salad. I didn’t have enough oats, so I added some flax seed and bread crumbs, thinking it wouldn’t effect the consistency. As soon I scooped the meatloaf out of the crock pot, it fell a part, thus not holding up as it usually is. But, it still tasted good! Since we were so hungry, we inhaled our food before I could take a picture, sorry! What did you make for dinner tonight?

 

TGIF and Potty Training August 24, 2012

Enjoying his pancake with peanut butter and blueberry honey on top, along with some banana on the side (he didn’t want his sliced on top) this morning!

Happy Friday! I’m SO glad it’s Friday because it has been a long week. But, at the same time, I still have lots to do before I can embrace the weekend and relax. Tomorrow is Keenan’s birthday party, so we are heading to my parents after he wakes up from his nap this afternoon, to get things set-up and start prepping some of the food. Keenan’s birthday menu includes: guacamole, salsa and chips for appetizers, grilled chicken, Artichoke Torta, grilled peach salad, fruit and bread (fresh ciabatta from a local bakery). For dessert, we are having the “Pig-out Carrot Cake” and peanut butter ice cream (so the kids can have ice cream cones, Keenan’s favorite!) I’m also making Kettle Corn to put in small bags to give away as party favors, another one of Keenan’s favorite foods. Tomorrow should be fun! I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures and share the recipes soon!

Since we are leaving for my parent’s house this afternoon, we headed to CrossFit this morning. Since Keenan slept in until 8:00 this morning (whoohoo!!), we had a very quick breakfast of leftover peanut butter banana pancakes from last Saturday, toasted with some peanut butter, honey and banana slices on top (Keenan’s request from yesterday). You are probably wondering how we kept pancakes fresh from a week ago. When we make pancakes, we usually make a large batch, so we can freeze the rest and use for quick breakfasts. All you need to do is pop the frozen pancake in the toaster to defrost and toast. Toasted pancakes are the best!

Today’s workout was BRUTAL, to say the least! It was a partner WOD with a 30 minute time cap, completing 3 rounds for time of: 800 meter run, 45 squat cleans (women weight: 65 lbs) and 45 burpees. My partner was awesome! We both pushed each other to get the work done and it was great, because we were pretty much at the same level. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to complete the WOD within the time cap. We finished at 31 squat cleans of our third round. I pushed myself to run faster today (working on my weakness!) and boy did I feel it! I felt like I was going to puke in my last 400 meters. Anyhow, it was a good workout to end the week, especially with all of the yummy food we are going to be eating this weekend!

After CrossFit, we got some last minute groceries for tomorrow, headed home and had lunch. I made Keenan a chicken and cheese sandwich with torta, strawberries and a glass of milk. Since I didn’t have my “usual” breakfast this morning, I had it for lunch (Fage 0% Greek yogurt with flax seed, chia seeds, Kashi Go Lean Crunch Cereal and strawberries), along with a delicious iced coffee that my husband made! He tried something different: he made a coffee concentrate (that he chilled overnight) and added milk and Xyllitol (for sweetness) to it! It was like drinking coffee milk; it was SOOOOO good!

A quick picture of my favorite little guy and me after lunch (my post-workout sweaty self!).

Oh, about potty training: Keenan continued to go on the potty this morning and before his nap. We’ll see if this is the real thing and he is on the road to not wearing diapers in the near future. We have been working on “potty training” for a few months now, having him get used to the potty and the whole concept, but he hasn’t shown much interest. When we first brought the potty home, he was excited to sit on it and he actually went on the potty for a couple of weeks. After those first two weeks, he wasn’t interested anymore. I’ve heard and read that boys take longer to potty train than girls, but this sure seems to be a LONG process! I don’t want to force him; I want him to go on the potty when he is ready, but I feel we haven’t made much progress. I read about the method of staying home for 3-4 days, keeping your child naked (or at least without a diaper and pants) and having the potty near at all times. When your child starts to go, they will notice it and can sit on the potty. Sure, you will probably have lots of accidents the first day, but supposedly, each day gets better until they learn to recognize when they need to go to the bathroom. I’m tempted to try it, but I’m still a little hesitant. So far, I’ve made “going on the potty” a part of Keenan’s routine, sitting on it 2 hours after he wakes up in the morning, when we get home from being out and about, before nap time, after his nap and before his bath. But, I’m not sure our “routine” is enough for him to learn when he needs to go. For all of you moms out there who have done the whole potty training thing with your children, do you have any tips, suggestions, and/or advice? Any ideas are gladly welcomed!

Well, Keenan is waking-up, so it is time to pack the car and head out! Have a good weekend!

 

Cooking for toddlers

Do you find it easier to cook separate meals for your kids than what you and your spouse eat? Or, are you of the belief that your children eat whatever you make (only making one meal for your family)? Recently, I have been hearing from some of my Mommy friends that it is easier for them to make separate meals for their children, than to try and get them to eat what they eat. It seems exhausting just thinking about making different meals every night for Keenan, along with what my husband and I are going to eat! I am 100% of the belief that Keenan (and any future children that we have) eat whatever we (my husband or I) make (with the exception of making him something different when we have our “at-home date nights”). Of course, I’m talking about when a toddler can physically eat what you’re cooking, as a baby that’s 9 months old won’t be able to handle the same things. I remember how some meals were hard/crazy because Keenan would get angry that he couldn’t chew something easily, but we learned that it was all about his comfort, not his taste. It definitely can be frustrating at times when Keenan doesn’t want to eat something, but he has to learn to at least try everything on his plate. It’s funny: Sometimes he will say, “Keenan not eating that,” but when he tries the food, he finds out that he likes it, and devours the rest in seconds! My husband and I love to cook and eat a variety of food (some pretty spicy), so we want Keenan to enjoy and appreciate a variety of food, too (not being picky). Toddlers are picky and probably every child goes through a phase of pickiness (Keenan certainly did a few months ago), but if you continue to give them what they want, without introducing new foods, they will just continue to be picky eaters. It was hard to get Keenan to eat vegetables a few months ago; we tried everything, dipping them in tzatziki sauce, melting cheese on top and making veggie patties, but nothing seemed to work. One day, last May, he ate some sauteed kale that I made and loved it! Ever since that day, he has been eating veggies (I’m keeping my fingers crossed it continues!). I know it might seem easier in the short-term to cook separate meals for your children, but think about the long-term effect. Do you want your children to grow-up being finicky eaters (possibly lacking healthy eating habits), or do you want them to appreciate a variety of foods and have healthy eating habits? Also, it is a good life lesson for our kids to learn: we can’t always have what we want, so we need to learn to accept and adjust to what life throws our way.

Before I go into today, last night was all about being silly and goofy at our household! Since my husband wasn’t getting home until late, Keenan and I enjoyed some play time outside in his pool, after the gym. He refused to put his swim trunks on, as you can see from the picture. He thought it was SO funny to be bare-bummed and running free!! He was quite the character, so I had to share this today!

Our little “Naked Boy” having fun in his little pool!

Our lovely kitty, “Slinky” came by to say hello!

Now, onto today: Keenan slept in again this morning! He woke-up at 8:27, whoohoo!! I REALLY hope this continues. Anyhow, we had a play date at our neighborhood park for my MOMs Club this morning, so we ate a quick “usual” breakfast  (even though Keenan requested to have pancakes and peanut butter instead!). I promised him pancakes tomorrow, and I know Keenan won’t let me forget about it!

Keenan played pretty hard at the park, so much that he was practically falling asleep during lunch. Since he was so tired, I made him his favorite sandwich (peanut butter and honey), along with some applesauce and milk. After lunch, he went down for his nap pretty quickly. But, today was a little different than most, he asked (which hasn’t happened often, if at all) to go on the potty before lunch, and before his nap! Usually (pretty much every day), I have to coerce him to go on the potty, and when he doesn’t want to, I don’t force it. When he woke up from his nap, he went on the potty again! We’ll see how he does tomorrow….but more on potty training, later!

Soooo tired…

After Keenan’s nap, we went to CrossFit and did a VERY grueling workout. The skill was 5 sets of 2 heavy squat snatches and the WOD was: 200 meter run, 21 shoulder to overhead presses (95 lb. for women), 10 kettlebell snatches (35 lb. for women) on each arm, 400 meter run, 15 shoulder to overhead presses, 10 kettlebell snatches on each arm, 600 meter run, 9 shoulder to overhead presses and 10 kettlebell snatches on each arm. The time cap was 20 minutes and I only made it through the 600 meter run, doing the prescribed weight. Needless to say, I was disappointed with my performance this afternoon. The weight for the shoulder to overhead presses felt heavier today than it normally does, for some reason. But, most importantly, I need to be faster on my runs to get through all of my WODs quicker. So, I have another thing to work on! There is always room for improvement, right?

After CrossFit, we tried out a new recipe (see below) that included zucchini, yellow summer squash, an onion, cherry tomatoes and cannelloni beans. We all loved it, so it will probably be a part of our “usual veggie dishes.” In addition, we had grilled chicken (marinated in brown mustard, olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and spices).

Summer Squash and White Bean Saute adapted from EatingWell (serves 4):

Ingredients:

– 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

– 1 medium onion, halved and sliced

– 2 cloves garlic, minced

– 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced

– 1 medium yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced

– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

– 1 15- or 19-ounce can cannellini or great northern beans, rinsed (see Tip)

– 2 medium tomatoes, chopped

– 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar

– 1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add zucchini, summer squash, oregano, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring once, until the vegetables are tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Stir in beans, tomatoes and vinegar; increase heat to medium and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in Parmesan.

The line-up of some of the ingredients, excluding the onion, zucchini, yellow summer squash and garlic (since they were already cooking at this point)!

Mixing it all together.

The finished product (minus the feta cheese).

*Notes: I used two zucchini and one yellow summer squash along with 1 1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes (instead of regular tomatoes), because I didn’t think the recipe included enough veggies for 4 servings. I also sprinkled feta cheese on top for some added zip!

Also, I finally decided on what kind of a cake I’m going to make for Keenan’s birthday party on Saturday. Since I don’t have time to test out a new recipe (making a peanut butter ice cream cake), I’m afraid to make something for the first time and have it not come out right. So, with that being said, I’m making our tried and true, “Pig-Out Carrot Cake,” which Keenan loves (I’ll post the recipe soon!). I made the carrot cake for his 1st birthday and he devoured it (eating 2 whole slices!). I love this carrot cake recipe because it is so moist and the frosting is cream cheese, sooooo delicious! I’m a little less stressed now that I have the cake figured out! :) Have a good night!

 

Cauliflower Rice and a typical Wednesday August 22, 2012

As promised, here is the recipe for the Cauliflower Rice that I made for dinner last night. It was good, though a little on the mushy side, since I accidentally pulsed the cauliflower a too long in the food processor. Also, I don’t know what it is, but during and after eating Cauliflower Rice, my husband and I always feel really warm and start to sweat. I don’t add any hot chili peppers or many spices, so I’m not sure what causes it…weird! If you make this recipe, let me know if you experience the same thing! Since I add meat to this dish, it is a perfect one-pot meal!

The line-up that went into the Cauliflower Rice.

Cauliflower Rice (Mediterranean Style): (serves 4)

– 2 heads cauliflower

– 1 red onion (diced)

– 1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts (chopped)

– 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (chopped)

– 1/2 cup kalamata olives (sliced in half)

– 4 Italian sausages (diced) or 12 oz. of chicken (chopped)

– 2 cloves of garlic (minced)

– 1/4 cup feta cheese

-2 Tbsp olive oil

– 1 tsp Italian seasoning

– pinch of salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions:

1. Wash and chop cauliflower. Place in a large microwaveable dish and microwave on high for 7-10 minutes (until steamed).

2. Meanwhile, heat a large pan over medium heat and add olive oil and garlic. Next, add chicken or sausages and cook until browned (a few minutes).

3. Add onion and cook until softened.

4. Once cauliflower is steamed, place into a food processor and pulse, until it is the consistency of rice (you may need to do this in two batches). *Make sure not to “over pulse” it, or the cauliflower will become mushy when cooked.

5. Add cauliflower, sun dried tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and saute for a few minutes. Cook until cauliflower becomes browned.

6. Divide rice amongst four plates and sprinkle feta cheese on top. Enjoy!

Cooking it all together.

The finished product!

On to today: Happy Hump Day! This week seems to be flying by, which is leaving me with not enough time to get everything done for Keenan’s birthday party on Saturday, EEK! I still haven’t decided on what kind of cake I’m making. Since Keenan’s party is all about his “favorites,” I thought I would make a peanut butter chocolate pie or cake, but now, I’m not sure. He loves ice cream so much (especially ice cream cones), so now, I am thinking about doing a peanut butter ice cream cake. I’ve been looking at different recipes, but I haven’t found anything that I really like. Also, I need to make something that I can frost with whipped cream or cream cheese, since I’m decorating the top of the cake/pie as Elmo’s face (using red and orange m&ms). I’m getting a little stressed since I only have a couple of days (my husband thinks I’m crazy, since it’s only Keenan’s 2nd birthday, but I just want things to be nice and delicious, too!). If you have any suggestions and/or recipe ideas, please let me know!

This morning, Keenan woke-up at 8:00 a.m., whoohoo!! It was SO nice to sleep-in, but we had swim class, so we had a very rushed breakfast (and no coffee for me!) to get out the door on time. Keenan was all about being a “Firefighter” this morning, so it was like pulling teeth to get him dressed and ready to go. But, we made it (though, we were a little late, as usual).

Our little Firefighter!

After class, we ran some errands at Target and Michaels for Keenan’s birthday, which took FOREVER! Why is it that when you are in a hurry, the sales associates move SO slowly when you are just trying to check-out and go? It was like everyone who worked at Target and Michaels today was in slow motion!

Anyhow, once we got back to the home front, I made Keenan a turkey and cheese sandwich on a sandwich thin with a piece of torta and some nectarine. He was so hungry that he inhaled everything in less than 10 minutes! I think swimming took it out of him! After he finished, I gave him a little piece of my mom’s banana bars that she gave us on Monday. These bars are like heaven…moist, dense and delicious (with a cream cheese frosting)! For my lunch, I had my “typical,”  a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mustard on a sandwich thin with baby carrots and a nectarine. After re-evaluating my eating habits last week (after we got back from Alaska), I’m trying to pay extra attention to my portions and protein amounts, since I put on a few pounds. I’m hoping these few pounds will come off sooner, rather than later!

After lunch (and after I put Keenan down for his nap), I made myself an iced coffee, since I didn’t have a chance to make my latte this morning. It was SOOOO needed! Well, we are off to CrossFit this afternoon. Yesterday’s WOD was short, sweet and brutal: 100 double unders (which I’m still trying to master after several months of doing CF), 50 air squats and then max ring pushups in 6 minutes. I’m curious about today, since it is “gymnastics day,” my favorite!

For dinner, we are having country style (boneless) pork ribs (most likely grilled) and grilled eggplant with a balsamic vinaigrette. Have a great rest of your day!

 

Organizing your life August 21, 2012

Have you ever been on an organizing or cleaning kick where you don’t feel your life is settled until you re-organize/purge things in your house? For some reason, I have been on an organizing streak lately, specifically to make room for Keenan’s new things, i.e. his IKEA table and free up additional space in our house. I don’t feel I can function at my best, until I get everything organized (I know my husband would roll his eyes, but it’s true!). As Keenan is getting older, it seems we have less “liveable” space, so I want to make use of the room we have, without it feeling cluttered. We have lived in our house for almost 5 years and some of our closets haven’t been touched since the day we moved in, so they are definitely due for some re-organization!

This morning, after breakfast (having our “usual”, of course), Keenan and I played with Play Doh at his new table and then we headed upstairs to organize. I sorted through all of his toys and put the ones he doesn’t play with anymore in a box to store in his closet. It was funny, as soon as I was putting the toys away, he immediately “needed” to play with them (even his old teething toys from when he was a baby)! He was such a goofball today; he wanted to “hangout” in his crib with several of his books, toys and critters, while I was sorting/organizing his things (I wish I had a picture of it all)!

Making ice cream cones!

Anyhow, I’m relieved, because my mission for today was accomplished. I finished organizing his room by lunch time and now, I only have our guest room closet to do! I feel somewhat better now that Keenan’s room is complete. Now, we just have to convince my husband’s parents to store the rocking chair and lamp (what we used when Keenan was a baby) in their storage container, until we need it again when we have a second child! I wish we had the extra space to store everything, but it is amazing how much stuff you to start accumulate when you have kids! For those of you who are parents, how do you manage to store everything (especially if you plan to have multiple children) and/or keep things organized?

“Hiding” in his old toy box, before folding it and putting it away!

For lunch, Keenan requested his favorite (once again), a peanut butter and honey sandwich, but this time, I made it with my mom’s leftover (from yesterday’s picnic) beer bread and blueberry honey from my mother-in-law. He enjoyed his sandwich so much that it was everywhere! I had a piece of leftover fried chicken (I figure my last piece of fried goodness for a LONG time!), a small piece of torta and carrots. It hit the spot! There is something really satisfying about eating a drumstick.

Making a peanut butter mess (even in his hair)!

My lunch, YUM!

After Keenan’s nap, we head to CrossFit ( I wonder what today’s WOD includes) and then home for dinner to make Cauliflower Rice, such a good dish! I am making it Mediterranean style with chicken, sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts and an onion with feta cheese. Look for the recipe tomorrow! Have a great afternoon!

 

Happy Birthday, Keenan!

Our little birthday boy this morning enjoying his new table and backpack from Grandma and Grandpa!

Two years ago, today, our lives changed forever. My husband and I welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world. I can’t believe it has already been two years! It seems like yesterday that we brought him home from the hospital; our little peanut of 6 lbs and 1 oz. Where did the time go? The past two years have been awesome, to say the least! We have thoroughly enjoyed our new roles as parents, even during the sleepless nights when he was first born or the occasional tantrums, now. The silliness, full-belly laughs, smiles, hugs, cuddles, holding his little hands in ours, tickles, conversations, play time, story time and most importantly, watching Keenan grow and develop have been the rewards of being parents. We love each and every moment that we spend with him, and we look forward to many more to come! Happy Birthday to my Sweet Pea, Keenan!

For his birthday festivities, we started the day off with one of Keenan’s favorite breakfasts of waffles spread with peanut butter and honey (except it was with the blueberry honey Grandma gave him for his birthday), along with fresh blueberries and strawberries. After breakfast, we met my parents at Sacramento’s Railroad Museum to show Keenan real “Choo Choo Trains” for the first time, followed by a picnic lunch. Keenan was fascinated by the trains! He kept asking to see more by saying, “More Choo Choo Trains!” He was so mesmerized by all of the trains, that he didn’t want to leave when it was time for lunch!

Sitting in the Conductor’s seat!

For lunch, my mom made her famous fried chicken (a family tradition anytime we have a picnic) and beer bread and I made my Grandma Rose’s Artichoke Torta and fruit salad (made with Keenan’s favorite fruits: blueberries, strawberries, banana and peaches). For dessert, we enjoyed Peanut-Butter Swirl Brownies! I put two candles on Keenan’s piece and we sang “Happy Birthday” to him. It was funny, he seemed a little apprehensive about blowing out the candles, but after we helped him blow them out, he devoured his brownie! After dessert, Keenan opened his gifts, which included a Firefighter hat from my parents (and he immediately wanted to wear it).

Enjoying his “birthday picnic” with Nonna and Avo!

Once we were all done and got to our car, Keenan fell asleep before we were even out of the parking lot, with his Firefighter hat still on! To make it more comfortable for him, I reached back to take off his hat, which scared him, so he abruptly woke-up and screamed, “Ahh!” We laughed SO hard!! Fortunately, he dropped right back asleep. But, as soon as we got home, as I was transferring him to his crib, he woke-up and didn’t want to go back to sleep. So, it was play time, pretending to be a Firefighter, wearing his new Firefighter hat, along with his boots and jacket (that Nonna bought him a few weeks ago) with his new backpack (that Grandma and Grandpa gave him for his birthday). We read the Firefighter story with all his gear on and he didn’t want the story to end. He wanted to keep reading and reading it!

Our little Firefighter!

Keenan was so set on being a “Firefighter” this afternoon that he didn’t want to take his gear off and get dressed to head to the gym. It was like pulling teeth to get him to take everything off. Finally, with a promise that he could wear all of his “Firefigther gear” tomorrow, he agreed to get dressed, so we could go to CrossFit. Today’s workout wasn’t too bad, but still challenging. We did 5 sets of 2 reps of power complexes (power clean, hanging squat clean followed by a squat clean) for the skill. For the WOD, it was 5 rounds of 5 deadlifts (185 lbs for women and 275 lbs for men) and 10 burpees for time. I finished in 4 minutes and 25 seconds, doing the RX women weight! Whohoo!

For dinner tonight, we are having swiss chard, sauteed with a red bell pepper, onion, sun dried tomatoes and Italian sausages, sprinkled with feta cheese. It should be good! Night, night!

If you are interested in the recipes for Artichoke Torta and Peanut-butter Swirl Brownies, here you go:

Artichoke Torta, YUMMY!

Grandma Rose’s Artichoke Torta (a very special food in my family that my Grandma would only make for special occasions, i.e. birthdays or holidays):

Ingredients:

3 packages frozen artichoke hearts

1 onion

1 cup olive oil

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 cup dried parsley

3 cloves garlic (minced)

6 eggs

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare a 9X13″ glass dish by greasing with olive oil.

2. Boil artichoke hearts, drain and cool.

3. Beat eggs in large mixer. Meanwhile, place onion in food processor and pulse, until finely chopped.

4. Add onion to eggs, along with the rest of the ingredients (except for the artichoke hearts).

5. Place artichoke hearts in food processor and pulse, until roughly chopped.

6. Add artichoke hearts to the rest of the ingredients and mix in mixer on medium speed for a few minutes (until well blended/mixed).

7. Pour mixture into prepared 9X13″ glass dish. Place dabs of butter into each corner and one in the middle.

8. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool, cut into squares and enjoy for an appetizer or side dish cold or warm!

Yummmmmm!

Peanut-Butter Swirl Brownies by Martha Stewart (makes 9 large squares): *I followed the recipe exactly. It was probably one of the first times, in a long time, that I didn’t substitute any of the ingredients to make the recipe healthier. Since the brownies were for Keenan’s birthday, I thought I would make the “real deal” (which my husband was excited about!).

Ingredients:

For the Batter:

– 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan

– 2 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely choppe

– 4 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

– 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 3/4 cup granulated sugar

– 3 large eggs

– 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:

– 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

– 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

– 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang. Butter lining (not overhang).

2. Make batter: Put butter and chocolates in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted. Let cool slightly. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

3. Whisk granulated sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs, and whisk until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture; stir until well incorporated.

4. Make filling: Stir together butter, confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, salt, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.

5. Pour one-third of batter into prepared pan; spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Drop dollops of peanut butter filling (about 1 tablespoon each) on top of batter, spacing about 1 inch apart. Drizzle remaining batter on top, and gently spread to fill pan. Drop dollops of remaining filling on top. Gently swirl peanut butter filling into batter with a butter knife, running the knife lengthwise and crosswise through layers.

6. Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift out; let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

 

 
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