Menu for the Week #2

Happy Thursday!  There is something so great about this day.  I feel like it’s the day that says, “Congratulations…you did it!  You just about made it to the weekend.”  I also feel like Thursdays grant you permission to start the weekend.  When I was full-time teaching, I would always say how it was nearly impossible to have a bad Friday. No one can put you in that bad of a mood on a Friday at work right?!?  Don’t get me wrong; there were plenty of Fridays that did not always go so well…hello…field trips on Fridays!!  However, it just meant for extra celebrating.

I did not do so well planning the menu for dinners this week over the weekend like I usually do.  It was kind of a one day at a time approach.  It’s not so easy either preparing dinner with a 4 1/2 month old.  Like today, I started prepping for dinner at 2:00 and it’s going in the oven at 5:30.  Of course, I could make it easy and not put that much effort into dinner, but I cannot do that, at least not yet.  So here was the menu for this week:

Monday:  Layered Eggplant and Zucchini Casserole with Chickpea Puree

Tuesday: Black Bean Tamale Pie

Wednesday: Chicken with Roasted Butternut Squash and Green Beans

Thursday:  Lentil Meatloaf (courtesy of Angela from Oh She Glows) with Roasted Veggies

Friday:  Egg Pizza… Michael and I had a version of this at Birba in Palm Springs for the first time a couple of years ago and we’re hooked.  I’m still trying to perfect it; it comes out a bit differently each time but always delicious.

I know how difficult it is coming up with recipes; so hopefully, this helps you out a little bit.  I’d love to hear what was on your dinner table this week.  Have a great evening and don’t worry about indulging in a couple drinks to celebrate the upcoming weekend!

Christmas Recap and Happy Almost New Year!

Less than 7 hours and we will be ringing in 2015!  Michael and I are enjoying this holiday beer tasting at home, and I couldn’t be happier.  Sadie is currently napping; she thinks she is allowed to stay up late tonight. I told her 8:00 and that’s the latest 😉  I was never a fan of New Year’s Eve anyway, so staying at home is quite alright with me.  Plus, we’ve been binge watching Breaking Bad.  I cannot get enough of this show!

While it is a bit late, I wanted to quickly recap our Christmas.  Christmas has always been my favorite holiday.  I always get really sappy and lovey dovey during the holidays, which Michael always replies, “Oh boy.”   Add a baby into the mix and watch out, it’s 100% better.  We totally got into family traditions and while Sadie is only 4 months old, we played it up big time!!  On Christmas Eve day, we made gingerbread cut-out cookies for Santa, recipe compliments of Gina at Skinnytaste. The weather was warmer than usual for this time of the year, so we took a stroll together during the afternoon, which was so nice!  After Christmas Eve mass, we enjoyed a yummy dinner.  Michael and I always get excited to make a delicious Christmas Eve dinner and on the menu this year was shrimp and scallops with cauliflower puree and a shredded kale and brussel sprout salad.  This meal + paired with a glass of champagne = yummmm!  Then, we enjoyed snapping photos of Sadie before we started our Christmas Eve movie tradition, Love Actually.  Boy, did I luck out with Michael secretly loving this movie.

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Completely in love with the fireplace and wondering how Santa gets down that chimney!

On Christmas morning, Michael and I patiently (I say that lightly because we practically fought each other running up the stairs as soon as we heard her make a peep) waited for Sadie to wake up to let her know that Santa came.  She opened up her presents and by far her favorite is the Beach Baby Exersaucer!  She also loved her books!

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Waking up on Christmas morning, happy as can be!

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After opening our gifts, we quickly regrouped and packed our belongings to travel home to PA to see our families.  My oldest sister, Joleen, has Christmas dinner at her home.  As my family continues to grow, we have seem to have outgrown my parent’s house and fit better in Joleen’s house (I’m number 4 of 5 children!)  And bonus…we all have a big sleepover that night too!  It’s so much fun!  I’m sad to say that I did not take any pictures that night.  The rest of my family was snapping away on their phones and cameras, so I just figured that I would eventually get the pictures from them!  I need to get better at that though.

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Sadie is the 5th grandchild for my parents, but you would think she is the first.  Boy, did she get spoiled! Every time I looked up, someone new was holding her and she was just “turning on the cute!”  That’s Michael’s saying for her when she just smiles away and is just one big ball of adorableness.  She received the cutest clothes, bows, and toys from her grandparents, aunts, and uncles.  With that said, Michael and I are now in search of a bookshelf/storage unit for our family room to “hide” her toys in a stylish/decorative way.

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As another year wraps up, I think, “How can we possibly top this year?”  We were blessed with the most wonderful and beautiful daughter.  Words cannot describe my love for her.  I cannot wait to see what 2015 holds in store for our family.  Happy New Year’s from our family to yours!

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Things I Would’ve Told Myself about Having a Baby

I’ve been meaning to write this post all week, but today is the first day I found time to write.  I could be cleaning, showering, napping, etc. right now during these precious 30 minutes of nap time, but I choose to clear my head!

There is so much to say regarding this topic, and I know the list will only continue to grow and grow as parenthood is like a long term college course that you must retake each year.  However, as Sadie’s 4 month birthday is approaching, I think back about how much I have learned about becoming a first time mom and thought I would share.  Again, this is just my thoughts and opinions, and I realize that it’s different for everyone so….no judging 😉

1.  There will be a lot of crying…from you and the little one.  Holy moly, can you say waterworks?!  During the first couple weeks, I cried a couple of times everyday.  The emotional roller coaster you are on from delivery onwards is crazy.  I mean every little thing made me cry, but at least I kinda knew why I was crying, poor Sadie.  She was just trying to figure out the world around her, and I thought it would be much easier for the little nugget than it was.  It seemed like if she wasn’t eating or sleeping, she was just crying.  I thought I had the unhappiest baby.   I knew crying was going to be part of the deal but I had noooo idea it would be that much.  There were days when Michael would come home and he would open the door to two crying babies.  Then, I would go on other blogs, Facebook, Instagram(#bigmistake), and see all my friends with their babies and just say, “Their baby doesn’t look like they cry a lot.” But, let’s all be honest, who really posts pictures of crying babies and themselves in  pjs with no make up on looking a hot mess. Phew, I am glad those days are over and we are a much more happier bunch 🙂

2.  You’ll have a love/hate relationship with Google.  Michael would always know when I was researching something that I shouldn’t have been and would jokingly ask if he “had to take the iPad away.”  Most days, my answer to that should have been yes!  I am a little better now, but I would google EVERYTHING!  Why does my baby cry so much?  How much should my baby be eating?  How much should my baby be sleeping?  When to transition to crib?  Are hiccups this normal?  Gassy baby?  Etc. Etc. Etc.  I saw in another post a mom that even googled “Newborn who hates life.”  This made me laugh so hard because I know at one point I am sure I googled this but worded it a little differently.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot the worst part, where I would “diagnose” Sadie with colic and acid reflux, (which she had neither) But when you read all these articles and posts from other moms listing the symptoms, you start to believe it.

Then, there were/are days where it’s comforting going online and finding that you are not the only one going through all these crazy times.  So, Google, I love and hate you, but I will not take your medical advice…I’ll leave that to the pediatrician.

3.  Your baby is an incredibly noisy sleeper.  You can read more of my thoughts on this in a previous post about sleeping, but….geesh!  Who knew something so tiny and cute could be capable of making such horrendous noises while sleeping?  There were nights of grunting, gurgling, choking, spitting, crying out, all while our precious sleeping beauty slept next to us in our bed.  That lasted about a week when Michael and I pushed our little bundle of joy in her little bed to her own room.  Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of nights where I can hear her from our room.  Then, when I stumble into her bedroom thinking to find a wide awake baby, I instead find a sleeping cutie who just happens to sound a grown man snoring or a baby who was having the worst nightmare 😦  And don’t worry, I googled “noisy sleeping baby,” and it’s normal.

P.S.  I am a little nervous about going home for Christmas and having to share a room with her again.  Probably will have to drink an extra glass of wine or two to get through those nights 🙂

4.  Your body will look different.  I know this is a touchy subject for some, and I try not to dwell on the numbers I see on the scale, but I’m human and I have insecurities.  I was lucky enough in that most of the weight came off within the first couple of weeks on it’s own.  I think this was caused by the constant anxiety and upset stomach I gave myself about now having this precious life to care for.  My appetite was completely different and took about two weeks to feel normal again.  However, for the last 3 months, my weight has stayed exactly the same.  There are 6 pesky pounds that won’t go away.  I know I know, you say 6 pounds, who cares?  I’ve said that too!  But when I get a good look at myself after getting out of the shower, I know exactly where those 6 pounds are…my stomach!  My body has taken on a slightly new shape and I wonder if it’s here to stay.  I wonder if it will always bother me and if anyone else notices.  My body is a little softer, my hips are wider, and my boobs are way smaller than they were before I was pregnant.  Clothes fit differently and for right now, as much as I want to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe in hopes to give myself that little boost in self-esteem, it’s not important.  What is important is that I am healthy, both mind and body, and that Michael and Sadie are healthy and happy.

5.  Your baby will be freakishly strong.  This just makes me giggle and may seem totally insignificant.  However, be prepared to lose wads and wads of hair!  I plead and beg with Sadie on a daily basis, “Please let go of Mommy’s hair…Mommy doesn’t look cute with short hair!”  I just don’t want to cut it, but she is making it so tempting.  Even when it’s in a ponytail, she will grab the part that’s pulled up, which hurts even more!  And that’s just her tiny little grip.  Don’t get my started on her head butting.  She has given me red marks on my forehead and a blood blister on my bottom lip from her cute little round head.  I think she’s going in a for a nice snuggle and WHAM, I take one to the head and she’s totally unfazed by it all as I wince and bite my lip trying not to swear.  Somedays, I think I need a helmet.

6.  Ask for help.  This is huge!  As much as I want to be SuperMom, I need help, simple as that.  I think Michael and I are a super parent duo but outside help from family and friends is great.  I remember when my parents came out to visit for a night during the week, and I went to the grocery store by myself.  I just thought it was the most magnificent thing in the world.  I rushed through in the grocery store  in record timing because I felt terrible being away from her, but it was nice.  Don’t get me wrong, I love her dearly, but there are things that are just that much easier to do without a baby in tow and also you need some alone time every once in a while.  It does take a village to raise a child.  If you are lucky enough to have loving family and friends close by, consider yourself to be blessed.

I know I could go on and on and will probably add to this list fairly soon, but I think it’s a good start.  I think if I would have told myself this while pregnant, I would have laughed.  You take all kinds of advice and tips while you are pregnant, but you fully don’t understand it until it’s game on and there’s a child looking up at you.  Becoming a mom is the most wonderful and amazing gift and challenge I have ever received.  What an extremely lucky lady I am for being blessed with with such an amazing husband and daughter.

What’s for dinner?!?

Do you ever get in the, “What should I make for dinner tonight” rut?  I think this comes up about once a month…wait, who I am kidding, probably every week when I try to to plan out the meals for the week ahead.  On Sunday, I start figuring out the meals by searching countless blogs and visiting my go-to websites, Cooking Light and Skinnytaste for ideas.  Basically, I am searching for someone to tell me, “Here, make this!”

I’ve always found cooking to be enjoyable.  Call me crazy, but it’s calming to me.  Well, not as calming some days now when there is an infant trying to launch herself out of her Bumbo seat as you try to convince her that cooking is fun and she’s a great helper 🙂

Happy Helper
Happy Helper
Disgruntled Sous Chef!
Disgruntled Sous Chef

To some, cooking dinner may be a chore but to me, it’s more of a hobby.  I love trying new recipes, and I am very lucky to have a husband who will eat anything and likes to cook himself. (He seriously makes the best breakfast meals ever!)  We’re quite the duo in the kitchen!  Below are pictures of us a couple years ago when we were making our own sushi!

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By no means do I think I am the world’s best chef, but I’ll give myself a pat on the back and say that I do fairly well.  Lately, I’ve been a little more comfortable just trying my own recipes or altering ones I find, partly because I don’t always have the ingredients or I’m trying to make it a little more healthy.  As I previous stated, Michael and I will try anything, so you may find anything from lentil meatloaf to shrimp tacos or tofu veggie stir-fry to a juicy cheeseburger on the dinner table.  However, over the past couple of years, I’ve been finding more ways to cook with proteins other than meat.

While you may think that I must have all the time in the world to decide what to make for dinner, it’s harder than you think when you want to change it up and always keep it healthy and interesting.  Here’s what on the menu for this week:

Monday:  Tofu Veggie Stir-fry with Soba Noodles

Tuesday:  Eggplant and Zucchini Layered Casserole with Chickpea puree

Wednesday: Chicken Tamale Casserole

Thursday:   Falafel with Avocado Spread

Friday:  Some type of homemade pizza

Saturday:  Michael is taking over, but it’s game day!!  I know salmon burgers and black bean nachos are involved 🙂 Go Navy Beat Army!

Sunday:  Who knows?!?

Cheers to cooking and good food!

Weekend Highlights

Good morning!  Hope this Monday is treating you well.  Even though I stay at home with Sadie, a part of me always has that “back to the grind” feeling on Sunday evenings.  Is that normal??  I think part of it is because Michael and I are such good tag-team partners when it comes to taking care of Sadie, and I just love the time we get to spend together on weekends.  This weekend was another Christmas themed one.  Here are some highlights from the weekend!

Visiting Santa for the first time!

On Saturday evening, we took Sadie to go see Santa.  Our town had their annual “Christmas in the Village” celebration.  There’s a Santa parade, hay rides, kid crafts, ice sculptures, and much more.  Sadie was such a good girl 🙂  She did not make one peep and just took in everything around her.  We were also so excited to put her in her elf outfit again…whether she likes her outfit as much as we do is to be determined.

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Sunday Hike

It was a pretty rainy, cloudy week, so it was nice to see the sun on Sunday!  Michael and I decided that we would get bundled up and enjoy some of the day outside by going on a hike.  There’s a one-mile trail at a park by us that we have not been to yet.  It was nice to get out and enjoy the day.  Look at those two cuties!

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Christmas Cookie Baking!  

This is the first year we decided to actually bake some Christmas cookies.  We’ve done a batch or two in the past, but I wanted to experiment with some different types of cookies this year.  To be honest, I just save the cookie baking for my mom.  She is the the cooking baking queen.  Whenever there is a wedding, party, and/or gathering, everyone asks her to make some cookies.  Her cookie trays are just out of this world, and she absolutely loves every minute of it!  I also have to give credit to my cookie inspiration to Courtney of Sweet Tooth Sweet Life.  After seeing her posts about baking cookies, it was a go for me.   Here is what’s on the list for us so far:

Bourbon maple bacon cookies

Pistachio and cranberry cookies

Chocolate Espresso cookies

Gingerbread cut-out cookies

Happy Monday!

Overcoming the Daily Mom Look

Never in a million years did I or will I just let myself go and tread in the “mom look” waters.  However, there have been a few days where I have dipped my toes in the water and today when I looked in the mirror…I felt like I dove right in!  I looked in the mirror and yikes!  I looked like the 13 year-old babysitter…no make up, messy ponytail, yoga pants, and an oversized sweatshirt.

I remembered the first time I feared that I became “that mom.”.  I had been in my pjs all day and Sadie was just being a little extra fussy.  I just finished making dinner when Michael smiled at me and said, “Are you save those noodles in your hair for later?”  Ugg, that’s when I frantically said, “Nooo, I have become that mom!”

I have always been one to brush on a little make up even if I’m not going anywhere.  To be honest, it just makes me feel a little better.  However, these days, I found myself skipping my 5-minute face and sporting the same daily wear…pjs, then workout gear, then back to pjs.   I keep saying how I need more cute loungewear for days when we are stuck inside the house.  What do I exactly mean by that…well, I’m not totally sure.  But I envision myself doting around the house and running errands in  clothes that are fitting, cute, and comfortable.  I try to make my workout clothes appropriate daywear,  but those don’t always work when you are all sweaty and gross.  I do have to say that Kate Hudson’s Fabletics line does interest me, so something along those lines.  Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated 🙂

I sometimes think that if we were still living in San Diego the noodle hair mishap would’ve never happened.  I am no fashionista, but I do love clothes!  I love dressing up and trying different styles.  The longer we lived in San Diego, the more my style changed.  At one point, I wanted a jump suit really badly.  A jumpsuit you say?!?  YES!  I would have sported that jumpsuit with heels, big hair, and never looked back.   If I sported that now where I live, I cringe at the thought of the looks and gasps I would receive.

Then, I realized I am just making excuses.  It’s not because of where I live or that I am a mama now.  Yes, I spend my days giving her my undivided attention and sometimes she is dressed way cuter than me, but that is no reason throw style out the window.  By no means, will you find me on a random Tuesday morning all glamed up, but you will find one put together 30 year old with the most adorable accessory on her hip 😉

 

 

Thanksgiving Thoughts and Christmas Beginnings

Thanksgiving was a hit!  Michael and I high-fived each other as we hosted a successful thanksgiving dinner for our family.   While it was a small gathering, (minus 10 of my brothers/sisters/their spouses/nieces and nephews) I think we did a pretty good job.  Even though the turkey is the main event, I always favor the side dishes.  My favorite dishes were the roasted  butternut squash and brussel sprouts and my mom’s stuffing balls.  It’s the only time per year that I enjoy some good old fashioned white bread.  I’ve tried to use different bread and “lighten” up the recipe in the past, but it was not the same.  You just can’t mess with a good thing, especially when it’s your mom’s.

My two favorites!
My two favorites!
Sadie helping me with the turkey!
Sadie helping me with the turkey!

After eating, we enjoyed some relaxing time on the couch.  I think I could have taken the longest nap, but I resisted.

I am really thankful for this guy!
I am really thankful for this guy!

We also took advantage of having our family here to take some pictures for our holiday card.  I’ll share a little preview, but our card features the cutest elf from the North Pole (although, sometimes she can be a South Pole elf 🙂 )

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As soon as Thanksgiving is over, I am in Christmas mode.  I want the tree up, lights on, presents wrapped, etc. Speaking of presents, how many of you went out and did some shopping?  I’ve done the whole Black Friday shopping before, but I’d rather shop online or go to the stores without all the crowds.  Plus, I am almost done with my Christmas shopping.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing like scoring a big deal!  I thought about going out to Target to get Sadie’s last present, but figured it would be gone by the time I would get there.  Then, like magic, Michael clicked the store pick-up option online and just like that, her gift is ready for pick up today, and I did not have to go out in all that mess.

So rather than braving the crowds, we enjoyed our Black Friday with some beer tasting at Rockmill brewery in Lancaster, OH.  This could possibly be the cutest tasting room ever!  It’s an old farmhouse that they turned into tasting room.  It’s gorgeous.  We packed a lunch and headed down to enjoy some beer and cozied up by a warm fire!

At Rockmill
At Rockmill

After enjoying some food and drinks, we completed our day with our new Fisher family tradition….cutting down our Christmas tree.  We found a cute family-owned tree farm about 5 minutes from our house.  Sadie just thought it was the most exciting thing at first.  She was giggling  and smiling away.  Then, about 5 minutes in, she realized how cold it was and was soon over mom’s favorite family tradition!  We picked the lucky tree then retreated back to the warm car, while Michael and my father-in-law got the tree strapped to the roof.

The lucky tree!
The lucky tree!

I hope your Thanksgiving was just as enjoyable as ours!  Now to enjoy the rest of the weekend.

What did you do on Thanksgiving?  How did you spend your Black Friday?  I’d love to hear all about it!