Fit 'N' Well Mommy

Being a mommy doesn't always mean sacrifice

Hard to Say Goodbye July 24, 2012

Keenan licking his plate clean after finishing a piece of his early birthday cake last night!

It is always hard saying goodbye to my brother, sister-in-law and niece. Every time they leave, I always have tears in my eyes, no matter if I’ll see them next month or 3 months from now; I just hate goodbyes! My husband just took them to the airport, to fly back home to Montreal. Thank goodness for skype, because it would be hard to not see my niece for a while! Fortunately, we will see them in September, since my cousin is getting married. Knowing that we will seem them in little over a month, makes saying goodbye a little easier this time. We had a great time with them this past month and Keenan and his cousin had SO much fun! They played so well together and shared lots of laughs. We called them “Ooga and Booga,” because they were always so silly together!

Last night, we had one last family dinner together (Mexican food from our favorite taqueria) and my brother and sister-in-law surprised Keenan with an early birthday cake and gift (since they won’t be here for his birthday on Aug. 20th). It was so sweet and Keenan was excited, but he didn’t really know what to do. He was mesmerized by the candles, so my niece and I helped him blow them out. They got an ice cream cake (a perfect choice, since Keenan is infatuated with ice cream cones these days!), so Keenan devoured his slice and ate some of my mom’s cake, too! They got him a set of balls: soccer, basketball and football, as well as a Play Doh ice cream maker set. Keenan was thrilled!

This morning, after we all finished a simple breakfast of Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal, Fage yogurt, nectarines and blueberries (lattes, of course!), we opened the ice cream maker set and Keenan and his cousin had a blast making different kinds of ice cream cones.  As they were playing and Play Doh was flying everywhere, onto our rug and in the crevices of our coffee table, it made me realize how little space we have, especially as Keenan is getting older and accumulating more toys (and bigger ones). So, as his birthday approaches, I need to start thinking about making more room, i.e. purging and reorganizing (which my husband loves…not really!). We want to get Keenan a little table to use for art projects and playing with Play Doh, but the question is “where do we put it?” Before I was pregnant, my husband and I always said we didn’t want our house to be overrun by our children. We wanted it to still look like our home, but with a small play area for our kids. We have to think creatively in finding more space, so it doesn’t become overrun with Keenan’s things. I can only imagine what it will be like when we have another child! Do you have the same issues with space and finding room for your child’s toys? Does your house feel overrun with your child’s or children’s toys? How do you make room for all of your child’s or children’s things?

Speaking of Keenan’s upcoming birthday, call me old fashion, but I like traditional mailed invitations. I know evites are the new thing, which are much easier and most importantly, environmentally friendly, but I just like receiving an old fashion invitation in the mail. I enjoy making cards, thank you notes and invitations, so I look at it as a fun project to make his birthday invites. I know most people might think that making your own invites takes too much time and since I’m at home with Keenan everyday, I  have plenty of time to do them. Creating your own invitations doesn’t take much time at all. I made Keenan’s 1st birthday invites last year when I was working. You can make them as simple or as intricate as you like. For his 2nd birthday invitations that I just completed and mailed, I purchased cream colored card stock (already cut in a A6 size) from Cutcardstock. They are very reasonably priced, about 10% cheaper than purchasing a package at Michaels or Office Depot. I formatted the invitation in Microsoft Word, added Keenan’s picture and wording. Since I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked (since we are getting ready to leave for Alaska), I made them very simple, but cute. We are going with a theme of “Keenan’s Favorites” for his birthday this year, so the invite was geared to some of his favorite foods, which we will have at his party. It should be fun!

This afternoon, we are heading back to CrossFit for another awesome workout and then home for dinner. Yesterday’s workout was brutal for our first day back after a week off! It was a partner WOD, consisting of rope climbs, box jumps, over-the-bar burpees and deadlifts (women weight: 205/men weight: 325). The workout was 2 rounds for time and my partner and I completed 1 round and 23 reps at 175 pounds for our deadlifts. It was tough! I could definitely tell that my lack of working out last week and not eating as I usually do, affected my performance. When we are in Alaska, my husband and I are making sure to at least workout every other day, so we don’t feel like this after being gone for two weeks!

On the menu for tonight is sauteed Kale with a torpedo onion (diced), sun dried tomatoes and chicken sausages over whole wheat couscous. It should be yummy! I will make sure to take pictures and post the recipe tomorrow! Have a great rest of your afternoon!

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A Family who eats together, stays together July 11, 2012

Keenan and Daddy having lunch together.

“A family who eats together, stays together.”

My mom and grandma used to say this when I was younger. Sitting down at the table to have meals together has always been an everyday tradition in my family. It was a time for all of us to come together and share about our days, worries, frustrations, ideas, goals and plans. Even when we were all busy, we still made sitting down for dinner a priority. Even now that we are all grown and have our own families, we still make sitting down for meals a priority when we are all together. It is something we all value. In fact,  dinners in our family tend to last a while, because we like to solve the world’s problems! But, sitting down at a table and taking a while to eat can actually be good for your health, too! By eating slowly, you are less likely to overeat because you are more mindful of when you are full. By sitting in front of the TV to eat, you are more in tune to what you are watching than what you are putting in your mouth, thus you are more likely to overeat (also the commercials for juicy hamburgers or mouth-watering pizza might tempt you to indulge in more unhealthy foods…, i.e. late night fast food runs). Where do you and your family eat your meals? Do you find it important to eat together as a family?

My husband grew up with the same tradition, so when we got married seven years ago (I still can’t believe it has been that long!), we made sitting down at the table for dinner together a priority. When we had Keenan, we knew we wanted to instill this value on him, thus we eat dinner together as a family almost every night. We ask Keenan what he did during the day and what he liked best about it, which helps encourage conversation with him, so he learns that dinner is a time for sharing (and also enjoying your food!). He enjoys talking with us and eating like my husband and me (using his utensils, a skill we are still perfecting!). My husband and I also try to have one “at-home date night,” either Friday or Saturday each week, where we open a bottle of wine, cook a special meal and eat dinner together after Keenan goes to bed. It is nice after a busy week to look forward to our little date night, where we can slowly make dinner and talk uninterrupted. What do you do for date nights? How often do you have date nights?

Today, Keenan and I shared our “usual” breakfast with fresh strawberries, and I enjoyed a latte with a little sugar-free Brown Sugar and Vanilla Torani Syrup. It was SO good! After not sleeping very well last night (I don’t know why…maybe in anticipation of our upcoming vacation), I definitely needed it! I only had a small cup, so I saved the rest for an iced coffee after lunch, which was also very yummy! For my iced coffee, I pour the coffee (espresso, since I use my stove-top percolator) over ice into my glass, add a couple tablespoons of non-fat milk and a splash of sugar-free syrup, and mix! It is the perfect balance of bitter and sweet! It’s also great to enjoy an ice-cold coffee on a hot Summer day, like today (I think it’s still 90 degrees outside, yikes!).

After Keenan woke up from his nap (he finally fell asleep after his little peeing escapade: taking off his diaper and his sleep sack, thus peeing on his mattress while yelling at the top of his lungs for me!), we headed to CrossFit to work our tails off again. Dinner was leftovers and now it is time for some relaxing and catching-up on “So You Think You Can Dance!”

 

My Little Shopper Helper July 9, 2012

Keenan having fun riding Nonna’s Rocking Horse over the weekend!

We are all home again and ready to start the week (a short one, since we leave early Friday morning for a vacation with my family). Since we had no real food (fruits, veggies, eggs and milk) in our fridge, Keenan and I made a trip to the grocery store after his swim class this morning to stock-up (buying only enough to get us through the week). Keenan is my “Shopper Helper” as I call him, because he loves going to the store and helping me pick out our things and putting them in the cart. He also loves to hold onto the list for me. I enjoy taking him to the store, because it is a great learning experience for him and teaching moment for me. We talk about all of the different things that we see and how they can be prepared/cooked. How do you involve your kids at the grocery store? Do you find that involving your kids in picking-out fresh produce helps them to eat their veggies?

After getting home and unloading the groceries (which Keenan likes to help with; I hope it lasts!), I put together most of our dinner, so it will be ready when we get home from CrossFit (CF) tonight. We always end-up staying late at CF, so unless I prepare dinner ahead of time, it makes it challenging to get it ready quickly, so Keenan can go to bed on time (between 7:15 and 7:30 p.m.). On the menu for tonight is turkey meatloaf (mixed with feta cheese, fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes), oven-baked sweet potato fries and sauteed spinach with onions, garlic and olive oil. For the meatloaf, I am cooking it in the crock pot which keeps it nice and moist! I put it on low, so it can cook all afternoon. Since our oven has a delay start function (which I recently discovered, thanks to my husband!), I prepped the sweet potatoes, placed them onto baking sheets and put them in the oven to start while we are at CF. The delay start function is AWESOME! I’ve been using it a lot lately, because it makes it easy to prep things ahead of time, like roasted veggies and potatoes (things that won’t spoil while sitting in the oven for a couple of hours) and have them ready when you get home. Just like a crock pot (which I have been using more lately, to save time at night), you can fix-it and forget about it! The only thing I need to do when we get home tonight is cook the spinach, which only takes 10 minutes, at most. How do you save time when making meals for your family?

Here are the recipes for my meatloaf and oven-baked sweet potato fries. They are both my creations!

 

 

 

Turkey Meatloaf in the Crock Pot: (serves 6)

Ingredients:

– 2 lbs ground turkey

– 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil)

– 1/4 cup fresh basil (chopped)

– 1/4 cup feta cheese

– 2 eggs

– 1/4 cup of ketchup

– 1 cup oatmeal

– 1/2 onion (finely chopped)

– 1/2 cup ground flax seed

– 1 clove of garlic (minced)

-1/2 teaspoon pepper

-1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

– pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Spray non-stick cooking spray or rub a small amount of olive oil on the bottom and sides of your crock pot (to prevent the meatloaf from sticking).

2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.

3. Put all ingredients in crock pot and form a “loaf” shape.

4. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours. Serve warm and enjoy!

The turkey meatloaf before I set it to cook.

Oven-baked Sweet Potato Fries: (serves 3)

Ingredients:

– 3 medium-large sweet potatoes or yams

– 1/2 cup ground flax seed

– 1/4 cup olive oil

– 1 clove fresh garlic (minced)

– 1/2 teaspoon pepper

– 1/8 teaspoon salt

-1 teaspoon cumin

– 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

– 1 teaspoon all-purpose (no-salt) seasoning *I use Costco’s Kirkland brand

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. If you have baking/cooking racks, place them onto 2 baking sheets (if you don’t have any racks, drizzle olive oil or spray non-stick cooking spray on each baking sheet).

2. Peel sweet potatoes, slice into wedges (or large steak fries size) and place into a large bowl.

3. Pour the rest of the ingredients on top of the sweet potatoes and mix well, to ensure each wedge is coated with an equal amount of seasoning.

4. Place sweet potatoes on baking sheets and bake for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Enjoy!

Ready to go into the oven!

 

 
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