Compromise in Life and Eats

Hi there!  These August days sure are finding me busy!  We’ve been doing lots of shopping (clothes, supplies, even Halloween costume requests are being made!), doing doctor’s appointments for the dog boy and the non-furry boy, and just trying to prepare ourselves for the upcoming back-to-school routine.  Whew!

I have been thinking about how lots of things will have to be “okay” once I’m back to work.  Like lots of dirty clothes piling up during the week, less time for journaling/reading, shorter walks for Roscoe the dog, and more errands/chores on the weekend.  I am always amazed how much I can accomplish at work in one day.  I sometimes feel like I’m stuck in quicksand when I’m at home.  Example…dishes in the sink for the 9,124 time today!  Compromise is a good thing, I know.  We can’t all have our way all the time.  It’s a good lesson for me to be happy and content with “good enough.”  Then, there are things that you (or maybe it’s just me) can’t really compromise with.  In no particular order, I think it might be exercise, cooking healthy foods just about nightly, time for me to read my Bible and journal, and being able to go outside *hopefully* once a day.  So there!  I’m not compromising on those things.  I clearly don’t mind dirty dishes, clothes, or floors.  Also, I would like to not compromise on having my husband home for dinner by exactly 5:30 each and every night, but this one has been taken out of my hands!  🙂

Speaking of compromise…I think I’ve managed to label myself at least where a diet is concerned.  I’m a flexitarian!  Basically, this means that I’m mostly vegetarian/vegan.  Say what?!  Well, I currently don’t eat beef but do eat venison.  I don’t eat chicken.  I think it’s gross in general.  However, I will probably eat a smidge of chicken salad if given limited other choices.  I won’t eat it at home since I can control my other options.  I have eaten fish recently but didn’t really enjoy it.  So…this may be on the way out as well.  I don’t really like dairy.  Ice cream has no allure for me.  YET I do love a bowl of fro-yo!  I made the switch to almond milk and cheese when I was breastfeeding and kind of continued it.  HOWEVER, I will most definitely eat a slice of pizza with real cheese if I’m at a yummy pizza place.  This diet has been called the lazy vegetarian/vegan, but I think it’s just what will work for me!  P.S.  My husband and kids still eat meat and dairy sometimes.  🙂

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Picture from last summer (2016) 

What are your thoughts on being a vegan/vegetarian??

Natalie

A Meal with The Neighborhood Harvest

We really really go thorough some greens in a week!  I find that I’m often running out of salad fixings before it’s time for my weekly grocery store and/or Sam’s Club trip.  It’s kind of a pain too since I have to lug both kids in just to pick up some spinach or kale.  I was contacted by Rebecca at The Neighborhood Harvest about this very issue!

Check out this description of their services seen on their website…

Our greenhouse farm is not weather-dependent allowing us to deliver freshly-cut greens year round.  Delivery within a day of harvest yields plants with two-three times more shelf-life than store bought greens.  Yet we are comparably priced.

There is no other source of greens and lettuces that are: 

*Delivered to your door the day after harvest.

*Sustainable, Beyond Organic, Pesticide and GMO free.

*Locally grown in Suffolk, VA reducing your environmental footprint 

and supporting the local economy.

*The most incredible flavor!

To have my greens delivered, I just put a cooler out on my front porch.  Everything was packaged so nicely!  Once I opened up each container to really check out the goodies, it was easy to see that the quality was far superior to what I had been getting at my local grocery store or Sam’s Club.  We enjoyed these greens (baby kale, mesclun, baby spinach, green leaf lettuce, romaine, and some pea shoots!) in salads for several days.  The meal below was a veggie lover’s dream!

Chickpea Tofu BBQ sandwiches <-Recipe here!  Very good!  🙂

Sweet Potato {oven} Fries

side salad with ranch dressing

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I would highly recommend this service!  Just think how inspired you would be to eat your veggies if they came fresh and super delicious to your doorstep!  Here’s a link to explain a little more how it works!

Have you ever tried a delivery service like this?

Blue Apron or any of those other total meal delivery services?

How was your experience?

Natalie

Pinspiration Wednesday

Good Morning!  I’m linking up with Justine, Leigh, and Erica today to share some crockpot recipes that are perfect for those busy school days on the horizon!

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I know that I’m going to need all the time I have in the late afternoon/evening to check off the daily “to do” stuff AND spend lots of time with the little man and little lady.  I just know I’m going to be missing them so much!  Here are a few supper ideas that will let me enjoy time with them instead of standing over a stove!

Seasoned Chicken, Potatoes, and Green Beans – Doesn’t this look easy?!??  I’ve done this before in the oven too.

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Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili – I think this looks so good!  You could even use leftovers for tacos.  I would serve this with a nice salad.

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Let me begin this one by saying I HATE to bake potatoes!  They take so long, but the Mr. (and now Holden) loves them!  This recipe may be our answer…

Crock Pot Baked Potatoes – I would probably do just cheese or just bacon.  I would even add steamed broccoli.

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Now, this one isn’t a crockpot recipe but…it’s super easy!

Creamy Potatoes and Peas – I didn’t use fresh peas (frozen instead), and I added leftover rotisserie chicken from Sam’s Club (about 1/2 the chicken).  My guys loved it!  The Mr. even requested a definite repeat of this recipe soon!

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Isn’t it just something about a crockpot going that reminds you of the cooler months?!

Speaking of getting ready for school, it’s tax-free weekend here in Virginia starting this Friday.  I got my school supply list for Holden ready to go!  His list is so little compared to what I know it will be as he moves up in school.  In case you are wondering, here is a listing of other states’ tax free weekends.  Happy shopping!  Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday!

Natalie

5 for Friday

Hi there!  Wow…this week has flown by!  I think we have Independence Day to thank for that!  I hope you’re ready for another weekend and a hot one at that.  Here’s five things on my mind this Friday…

{ONE}

Helen Elizabeth is three months on Sunday!  She is getting to be such a big girl!  Here’s a run-down of her stats…

  • Sleeping from 9PM to 5:30/6:00AM without any feedings!  Hip hip hooray!
  • Naps are better during the day with longer ones in the morning and short (1 hourish) in the afternoon) for a total of 5 naps
  • Breastfeeding continues to be great – Miss Helen does NOT like a bottle!  We are working on that.  🙂
  • Weight – She weighed 10lbs 14oz at her two month check-up mid-June.
  • She’s a happy baby most of the time!  We’ve seen lots of smiles and heard lots of baby talk recently.
  • Helen loves baths, fans, and looking at books…even big brother’s!

She is so much more alert these days!  Here we are doing a little water play with her.  She promptly spit up in the water after this picture and grossed out her big brother!

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{TWO}

Running – I’m really enjoying running again.  Hallelujah!  Also, it has been pain free except for that feeling of tiredness that makes me think I’m slightly crazy to be planning to run 13.1 miles in Virginia’s hot and humid weather!

I have been fortunate to do lots of outdoor runs in the past two weeks, but I got a late start on Thursday.  I had to do my 3 miles on the treadmill.  It was a pretty fast one!  First mile was 7:46.  Second mile was 7:11.  Third mile (+.1 – I actually pretended it was a 5K and ran the extra .1) was 7:29.  Overall time…

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{THREE}

Family Visits – We’ve been so blessed to see lots of family over the last several months.  The trend continues with my sister-in-law and her fiancee coming to visit this evening.  They’ll be staying with us this weekend and enjoying some of our hot and humid weather!  I think it will make for a very early beach day tomorrow!  I’ve got lots of good food planned and can’t wait to see them!  Here are two recipes that are guaranteed good (aka I’ve tried them before!).

Chicken BBQ Sandwiches

Key Lime Bars

{FOUR}

Groupon – I love how Groupon can inspire you to do something you haven’t before.  It might be a new restaurant, a day at a paintball park, or even a massage!  I bought three Groupons in the past couple months.  One was for a local Lego place that allows kids to visit and build.  We’ve been before, and Holden really loved it.  I also bought my Rock n’ Roll Half-Marathon entrance fee from Groupon for some percentage off.  Another one I bought with Holden in mind was the Color Me Mine visit.  We went this week.  The Groupon covered the studio fee.  Holden picked out something to paint, and I had to pay that additional cost.  He picked a crab mug!  Must be inspired by his recent fishing trip!  We had such a nice, relaxing time painting together (Helen was snoozing!).  I can’t wait to pick it up next week after it has been fired.

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Love this sweet boy!  He has so much to say and wants to learn/take in everything!  I hope his curiosity continues.  🙂

{FIVE}

A couple cool quotes I saw on Pinterest this week…3ac40d475b8901bf25e1545ce9f5ece5.jpgtumblr_o23ds6S4gI1s8zgc6o1_500.jpg

Source

Have a great day!

Natalie

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Up Wednesday

Happy Hump Day!  It’s the last week of school for some kids, and you can just feel the excitement of summer in the air!  I visited my school yesterday and got to see students and fellow teachers.  The main attraction was definitely Miss Helen.  We visited for a little over an hour and a half.  However, she slept the whole time!  She only peeked her eyes open a few times for a select few people.  It was so nice to see the kids, and I may be crazy…but it seemed like they had grown so much in just the two months I’ve been gone!  Helen looked just lovely in her power color, purple, but I didn’t get any pictures as my arms were full of a little baby I know.  Here’s a selfie I took in the Starbucks drive-thru…got to document this out-of-the-house-with-make-up-and-real-clothes thing!

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This week has had a few ups and downs with Helen’s sleeping.  We tried something different on Monday night to try and alleviate the early evening nap crying.  It was AWFUL.  It turns out we just traded the early evening cries for the later evening cries {and for a longer period!}.  😦  Last night, we were back to the cries during the early evening nap.  It took her quite awhile to settle down, but I do think she got a little catnap in before waking up again right before 8:30.  However, she went right to sleep after a feeding, a bath, and some screaming at Daddy.  She screams at him every night.  Isn’t that terrible?!?!?  No sweet baby rocking.  Just screams!  It seems like she has to just get it out of her system.  Then, she settled down and slept until 5:30 with one feeding that I woke her up for at 11:30.  Yay!  No night crying and sleep all around!

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Even Roscoe is happy {though he doesn’t show it}!

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I really feel like this week has been the week for me to get back on the healthy eating horse  and enjoying my work-outs.  When I had Holden, I worked out pretty intensely right after having him {we’re talking like two weeks}.  I knew this was against my midwife’s directions, but I was desperate for exercise to help cope with the postpartum depression.  I am firmly convinced this was why I had bleeding that continue for many weeks.  This time around I took it much easier with absolutely nothing the first week, walks the second week, and yoga and walks the third week.  It wasn’t until week 5 was just beginning that I tried a slight jog.  I gradually added in light weights.  I am happy to report that any bleeding ended by week 3.  Yay!  However, I noticed that the baby weight wasn’t coming off as easily.  I’m sure being older has something to do with it as well.  I also noticed that I was coping with being tired by eating little bursts of “energy” like sweets, heavy snacks, and chocolate!  Obviously this wasn’t helpful for fitting back into my jeans.  I knew I had to do something.  I increased my work-out sessions and intensity, but I pretty much kept eating like I wanted to.  I still felt heavier/sluggish, and my wardrobe choices were limited.  I knew that the next hurdle was diet.  I reread the Eat to Live book by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.  It is such a motivating book that provides a very simplistic approach to revamping your diet.  I would highly recommend it.  The main facts I want to share from the book are focus on whole foods {no processed stuff}, cut out animal products {this includes dairy…although I’ve been eating eggs}, unlimited greens, lots of other veggies, tons of fruit, and no snacking {this goes against LOTS of other health advice, but I’m telling you…try it for a day or two or three.}.  I’m definitely over-simplifying all the good info in here, but you really need to read it for yourself.  It’s a pretty easy read too.

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Image from Amazon

My little work-out buddy working on her neck muscles!

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My two treadmill work-outs so far this week…I’m having some Achilles tendon discomfort.  I plan to give the treadmill a break the rest of the week and {hopefully!} get in the gym.  I also did only walking and a 15 minute yoga routine yesterday.  I’m really enjoying the free Tone It Up routines on Youtube.  Here’s the one I did.  

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That’s all for me today!  We’re off to put some items in the mail, grocery shop at Trader Joe’s and Sam’s Club, and chill on the sofa with my favorite girl before big brother gets home from school.

Hope you have a great day!

Natalie

A Meal and A Lofty Craft Ambition

It seems as if my school days are more fast and furious each day!  Although I complain about it sometimes a lot, I do like being busy.  There is a fine line between completely overwhelmed and just putting in good work on a work day.  Teaching English/reading skills all day is good in a way as the skills and lessons can overlap somewhat being I’m working with third and fourth graders now.  It just cracks me up that NO YEAR is remotely the same as the last, and I laugh at the thought of being able to reuse/recycle lesson plans!  So not happening!

Today’s chillier temps and a busy day meant it was a soup and bread kind of dinner for us.  My favorite soup recipe is this…

-1 pkg frozen mixed veggies

-1 medium onion, chopped

-1 32 oz. container of chicken broth

-2 cans navy beans, rinsed and drained

-2 tbsp.-ish of olive oil

-salt & pepper

-2 bay leaves

  1. Soften chopped onions in olive oil in large stock pot for approximately ten minutes over medium/high heat.  Be careful not to burn.  I do this often!
  2. Add all other ingredients.  Bring to a boil and let boil for about five minutes.
  3. Reduce heat or turn off completely with lid on for about 15-20 minutes or whatever!
  4. Server with warm bread and butter (preferable that you let someone else bake for you!  Thanks Kroger!)

Ta-da!  Everyone LOVED it!  H especially liked dipping his bread in his soup.  I am reminded at every meal how thankful I am that H is a super good eater.  This recipe gave us dinner and three containers of left-overs for lunches.  Enjoy!  🙂

Now, my craft isn’t that easy!  I’ve always admired these peace sign wreaths…especially at Christmas time.  I would love to have one and discovered one to buy.  However, it was sadly more than ten bucks (like 5 times that much!), and I’m cheap.  Here’s the one at CB2!

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Then, there’s this DIY one…

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It doesn’t look super complicated.  I think the most challenging part may be gathering up the twigs!  Fortunately, I’m pretty sure I can wander around my parents house and find some that would work.  Hmmm…DIY is not my thing.  What should I do?  Buy, make or just admire via the internet?  🙂

Speaking of other Pinteresty wants – Look at this neat one!  It’s a fingerprint sweethearts necklace.  I LOVE personalized jewelry that is super meaningful.  What could be more personal than something as unique as a fingerprint of your love?!?

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More cute jewelry!  I love all these cross bracelets!  Unfortunately, the one I like the best {the white one} is sold out right now.

Could this post be anymore random???  Yes, it could.  I know when I’m not feeling my best or when things are challenging at work the people (and doggie) at home get the rest of me, sometimes not the best of me.  I saw this good reminder recently and thought I would share.

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Click here to get the free printable!

It can be hard to remember in the craziness and demands of the day, but I know ultimately that my husband, my child, my family have to be my priority over students, fulfilling roles outside these walls, etc.  Each day is another chance and another challenge.  Hopefully, this list inspires you like it inspires me.

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5 for Friday

Hi there!  It’s finally here!  Last day of summer vacation!  I truly feel that summer has been satisfying.  Last summer was a lot about work with the moving process, but this summer the theme was FUN!  The Mr. told me the other day that he got zero projects done that he had planned for the house this summer.  I’m pretty sure I was a bad influence in this department.  🙂

We are thrilled to have the Mr. off with us today.  A dentist appointment is on the agenda for H today.  However, I’m sure we’re head on to more exciting things as the day progresses.  Here are five things on my mind this week…

{ONE}

New mattress – We are loving our new mattress!  I was a little concerned that the mattress was too firm, but I think we’ve both adjusted to it.  H loved having the old mattress in the den for about 3 days.  He used it to jump his heart out!

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Have you ever seen anything cuter?!?!?

{TWO}

Multitasking v. Monotasking – We all know about multitasking.  We say things like – Women are good at it.  Men aren’t.  I have to multitask all the time in my professional and personal life.  I’m a master at doing a million things at once.  I escaped to Barnes & Noble for a bit of tabloid magazine reading when H was at his summer camp time.  I did feel slightly bad about reading 3 of these priceless works of fiction, so I grabbed a couple yoga/healthy living magazines as well.  One magazine had lots of interesting articles like the one below…

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The article was basically saying that we are spreading ourselves so thin that we aren’t allowing for awareness of our current spot in life (even if that happens to be washing dishes or driving to work on the route you’ve taken for 25 years).  The article continued by saying that greater awareness can bring greater joy where we might least expect it (again think dirty dishes, boring old road).  I am admittedly a multitasker.  As a mom and teacher, I am probably doing several things at once like driving, talking on the phone and also having a broken conversation with my child.  Perhaps I’m grading a paper, watching the class work, and talking with a student.  It makes me a little dizzy thinking about it.  Since reading the article, I’ve been trying to reduce my level of multitasking.  Case in point:  turning the radio off while driving…just drive-no radio switching, checking phone (only at a light, people), talking on phone…gosh, maybe that phone is the real issue!  I did the dishes the other night like I actually liked doing them…isn’t that a weird concept?  I took my time – no rushing, no hurried hit-or-miss job with the kitchen clean-up.  It was actually kind of nice.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll monotask a little at work too and get really crazy.  Here are 12 myths that Health magazine shared associated with multitasking.  

{THREE}

Calling/Seeing/Generally Stalking the Mr. – I’m bummed to give up my stalker day job for this teaching thing.  H and I really enjoyed all the extra time with the Mr.  We’ve met him for a couple picnic lunches.  He’s come home for lunch a few times.  We’ve visited him randomly.  We call him throughout the day.  Basically, we are groupies.  Yesterday’s Example:  Cooked pancakes so he would be forced to go to work later and have breakfast with us, Met him at the bank for some business matters (and hung out there for 40ish minutes due to bank computer issues), AND Called him to catch up at lunch time.  🙂  Unfortunately, I’m way busy during the school day.  I’ll have to restructure my call time to 3:30 and give up midday meetings until next summer.

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Waiting for Daddy at the fountain…

{FOUR}

Meal Planning – Although I didn’t totally throw in the towel with this, I did take a more relaxed approach this summer.  It’s no big deal if I don’t have things planned out!  I can stop by the store leisurely and pick up milk, fruits/veggies/etc.  I can worry about prep in the afternoon when I’m already at home for H’s rest time.  Well friends, those days have ended.  It’s time to make a more concrete plan about what’s cooking (M-F).  I did a little research about Americans’ eaten habits and was once again saddened.  These two facts were particularly sad to me.

20% of all American meals are eaten in the car.

Americans spend 10% of their disposable income on fast food every year.

Although I don’t think 20% of anyone’s meals should be consumed in a car.  I do really feel for the kids.  How can we expect them to make healthy choices and enjoy eating them if they’re gobbling up fast food on the go?  As with many things with parenting, you have to be the role model, set the example, practice what you preach.  You can read all the frightening facts here.  P.S.  I did check the sources, and they seem to be reputable.

Here’s my first-week-back’s plan:

Monday – Asian Lettuce Cups with sides of rice and steamed carrots

Tuesday – Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing (H will probably skip the greens, but that’s okay! – P.S.  DO NOT put two cloves of garlic in here.  Only a teeny tiny smidge.  MEAT FREE NIGHT!  The Mr. LOVES that.  🙂

Wednesday – Burgers with Grilled Summer Veggies (one ear of corn, zucchini, etc.)

Thursday – Spinach Lasagna Rolls with salad (MEAT FREE AGAIN!)

Friday – Homemade Chicken Nuggets with baked fries and broccoli

Okay, now I’m hungry!  Check out this delicious dessert I found on my magazine perusal…

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{FIVE}

H’s Teacher/New Preschool – I’m so looking forward to meeting H’s new teacher.  We have her name and his room assignment {Wow!  He has a room number!  So official!}.  Next week, I’m planning to go on the Parent Meet Night (the Mr. will be at home with H – no kiddos allowed).  Then, the Mr. will take H the following day to meet her and see his classroom.  I am confident that it is going to be a great year!  However, you better believe I’ve already started praying for this woman and whoever her assistant is.  It is so important to have great people with your little one each and every day!  No one is like a mommy exactly, but a loving, motivating teacher is a treasure.  That is what I hope for H, and that is what I’ll try to be this school year!  After all, my Spider-Man needs lots of opportunities to grow and learn.  I’m quite sure he’s got big things to tackle in the future.

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Reading away!

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Ready for action!

Any final summer plans that you are looking forward to?

What foods do you start to crave when September gets here?