Sunday, February 7, 2016

Survey of Five

A few weeks ago, Julie over at PBFingers posted a little survey, and since my posts have evolved into a rather monotonous pattern of rehashing our weekends and a few meals, I thought I'd mix it up. I changed some of her prompts, deleted some that I have no business answering (you don't want to know what music I listen to, trust me--unless you, too, enjoy a super random assortment of country, musical numbers, and Britney Spears), and threw in an extra or two for fun.


Places I’m Dying to Visit
  • Alaska (maybe on a cruise, but I’d be happy with a land tour, too)
  • Norway/Denmark/Sweden


  • Scotland and Ireland
  • New York City and Boston (we’re in the early stages of thinking about planning a trip here, perhaps in 2017)
  • Florence, Italy (I took a few art history courses in college, and most of the art I studied is in Florence. Plus pasta.)


Five Foods I Eat Every Day
  • Eggs, in some form
  • Chocolate (only dark chocolate over here)
  • Milk
  • Tea--black tea with maple syrup and milk is my favorite
  • Greens--I’ve gotten much more in the habit of incorporating greens every day




Five Exercises I Love Most (“Love” is a relative term)
  • Jumping lunges--these get my heart rate up super quick every time
  • Push ups/planks--always a challenge, plus lots of varieties, and you can do ‘em anywhere
  • Overhead press--there’s something empowering about lifting something heavy straight up over my head. I feel super badass.
  • Clams--my friend Heidi taught me these and I still do them at least once a week. They work my glutes/hips in a way no other exercise does.
  • Walking. It’s simple, it’s awesome to get fresh air, and it is so versatile. Walk fast uphill for more of a challenge, or take a stroll around the block to unwind at the end of the day. Something for every mood.


Five Talents I Wish I Had
  • Drawing anything more advanced than a happy face, which, thankfully, is Marshall’s only request when we play with crayons (for now).
  • Interior design. I love Pinterest, but I have trouble translating what I like in other people’s houses to my own space.
  • Baking. I think I’m a decent baker, but I’d love to do fancier stuff.
  • Running. I really like running, and I think anyone who runs any distance at any speed is a runner, but I wish I had a little more natural running talent--it’s always been a truly challenging workout for me.
  • Remembering stuff? I feel like I have a terrible memory. Is that a talent?


Five Chefs I Wish Could Cook for Me Every Day
  • Julia Child


  • Ina Garten
  • Gordon Ramsey
  • Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen
  • Michael Pollan (not technically a chef, but I’d love to see what he eats every day!)


Five Things I Wear (Almost) Every Day
  • Walking shoes with my prescription orthodics to walk to and from work (yup, I look super cool in my work clothes + walking shoes)
  • Workout clothes, lately long yoga pants and a long sleeve shirt because our house is freezing at night when we work out!
  • Socks, all the time at home. I hate stepping into the kitchen without socks.
  • Makeup--I say this because for a long time (when I stayed home with Marshall) I skipped makeup often. I didn’t mind, and of course my husband gave me the cliche that I look beautiful no matter what (awww), but I really feel more put together and more confident when I wear makeup, so it’s nice to be back in that routine. (Of course, I totally sympathize with people who don’t wear any makeup normally; I’m just one of those people who looks better with a little somethin’.)
  • Work clothes. New (or renewed) for me since starting work in November, but I have enjoyed adding to my wardrobe and dressing up a bit when I go to work.


Five Movies I Can Watch On Repeat
  • The Sound of Music
  • The Sweetest Thing
  • Father of the Bride
  • Easy A
  • Crazy, Stupid, Love


Five Books On My Current Reading List
  • Currently reading: The Rest of Us Just Live Here, which is cute but not as good as I had hoped
  • The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
  • All the Light We Cannot See
  • Prep (I’ve seen this book in bookstores for years, picked it up, put it down, and finally I bought it at GoodWill for $2)
  • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, which many friends have recommended, especially now that I’m a working parent.


Five Things I Ate This Week
  • Lots of oranges! The tiny ones (I guess they have different names, but these were the little ones from Trader Joe’s); they’re easy to peel, perfectly ripe, and great for throwing into lunches.
  • Costco Spinach Salad--My coworker texted me to ask if I wanted to share because he had a huge salad (he wasn’t kidding; that thing was gigantic), so I gladly accepted an excuse not to pack a lunch!
  • Smoothie bowls! I took a long break from smoothies for a few months, but this week I brought ‘em back in bowl form with sliced fruit and granola on top.


  • Chorizo breakfast burrito this morning at our farmers’ market. We met up with some friends who recommended the burritos, and OH MY GOODNESS were they not kidding about how incredible these burritos are. I can’t wait to go back for another one!
  • Chocolate quinoa bites from Costco. About as healthy as I’ve found for a packaged chocolate-covered snack.

Don't worry, I'll be back with my usual "What We Did Recently" this week, too! Gettin' crazy with multiple blog posts!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

But First, Pancakes

Sunday Chore Day! 

But first, pancakes.

(topped with peanut butter and maple syrup)


Marshall and I hit the grocery store and Target as early as we could to avoid the crowds, but we didn't avoid the rain. Since we were getting wet anyway, I made it an adventure and let Marshall walk in the rain to check out some fire trucks!


(waving goodbye to the trucks)


Back at home, Marshall helped Terry vacuum. 


He was very thorough.

Seriously, very thorough.


And we took full advantage of the rain day with plenty of baking and food prep.


Brownie bites--adapted from Fitnessita-- 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup peanut or almond butter, 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup (or less) maple syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (combine all ingredients in a food processor, process finely, then roll into 1-inch balls, store in fridge)

Side note: Upon putting away my food processor, I somehow dropped it, and it hit my wrist on the way down (thankfully only from a low cabinet), then broke Scout's food bowls. My wrist seems okay, just a little bruised and sore, and the food processor is scratched but otherwise seems okay, too. Sorry, Scout.

Spinach, mushroom, onion, and cheddar frittata to enjoy for breakfasts this week

Roasted sweet potatoes and farro for salads this week--my favorite combination is these two plus pomegranate seeds, feta, and balsamic

Broccoli soup for tonight's meal

I also finally got around to changing our chalkboard in the kitchen:

(I swapped in some Julia Child quotes but didn't photograph them)


And some other fun photos:

Last night we attended Marshall's first basketball game at UCLA!


He watched some, walked around a lot, and said "Basketball" about 800 times. Afterward we went to Burger Lounge for dinner, and I tried a lettuce-wrapped burger, which was less "wrapped" than I had hoped but still delicious.


We've enjoyed some lovely walks around the neighborhood lately, complete with obeying all traffic signs.




This kid...



And the other day I took some photos on my walk home from work. Not a bad way to end the work day, right?




Oh, and here was Terry's favorite meal of the week: pappa al pomodoro. Total comfort food in this delightfully chilly weather!


This week was a fun one. I went to a little happy hour with some coworkers, Terry and I enjoyed some new episodes of our favorite shows, and we rocked the menu at home. And suddenly tomorrow is February! But first, sleep. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

EAT IT!!

These two make my day, every day.


But today (Saturday) I got a special treat: A full hour at home by myself! Much as I love love love my boys, sometimes I really miss the days of getting two or three hours on my own while Marshall took a nap each day. Now my only alone time is my walk to or from work. So I appreciate what little time I do get on my own. Today, I chose to take a short break with a hot cup of tea and a rice cake topped with peanut butter and homemade granola. It was a delightful twenty minutes!



Backing up a bit, here are some meals we've enjoyed lately:
Roasted sweet potatoes with a taco mix (ground beef, onion, bell pepper, chopped spinach, black beans) on the top, plus pepper jack cheese, guacamole, Greek yogurt, and salsa. Turned out to be delicious!



I meal planned terribly this week (remember my bacon guacamole sandwich suggestion?), so after work one day I hit Trader Joe's to grab some pizza dough. Unfortunately, their "wheat" pizza dough isn't whole wheat, but it was quite tasty in a pinch (tough to roll out, though!). I made two white pizzas (ricotta cheese instead of sauce): one with arugula that Terry's coworker gave us from his garden
drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar


(Marshall picked all the arugula off his pizza, and Terry told him, "You can put it on your plate or eat it," to which Marshall replied, "EAT IT!" and scarfed it down)


and Brussels sprouts and bacon pizza, which we saved to eat for lunches. 



All three of us came down with minor colds this week, so we've kept workouts relatively light the last few days. Today, though, we headed out early for a long walk around the neighborhood, and the fresh air felt awesome. 


Okay, picking up again on Sunday. Yesterday Terry and I ended up getting several hours together for a date day. We grabbed drinks at one of our favorite restaurants, saw a movie (Star Wars--not my choice, but actually a fun, entertaining movie), and went out to dinner. It was really nice to hang out with that guy I like so much, and I really appreciated that he pushed so hard for us to get a day out.

Today after a rough night of sleep, Terry let me sleep in a bit and then we all headed to the park, Costco, and Trader Joe's. Here's our meal plan:




Monday: leftovers for lunch; pappa al pomodoro for dinner
Tuesday: my new favorite salad for lunch (roasted sweet potatoes, feta, pomegranate seeds, farro, greens, balsamic vinegar); leftover soup for dinner
Wednesday: same salad for lunch; shredded chicken burritos/salads for dinner
Thursday: leftover chicken burritos/salads for lunch; shop the fridge for dinner
Friday: leftovers or whatever's in the fridge for lunch; fish and vegetables for dinner

Today I'm also prepping:

banana blueberry muffins (using this base recipe)
brownie batter bites similar to these ones, but since I don't eat protein powder and I think 5 is far to few, I use 1/2 cup coconut, 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup chocolate chips, 3 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon sea salt
- as much as possible to get meals ready for the week


Now let's talk about some workouts!

Over the last two or three months I've been really working on increasing intensity, consistency, and overall effectiveness of my workouts. I'm lifting heavier, working harder, and feeling really good fitness-wise. Here are some workouts that have made me feel good:

This Leg + Plyo workout from PB Fingers (super tough, but each time it gets a little easier)


Tabata + Lower Body:
Complete the first exercise in each set for 20 seconds, then rest 10 seconds, and repeat for a total of 4 minutes. At the end of each plyometric exercise, complete the listed lower body exercise.

Set 1: Jumping lunges // 100 walking lunges
Set 2: Squat jumps // 75 squats
Set 3: Mountain climbers // 50 plie squats
Set 4: Squat thrusters // 25 pendulum lunges per leg


This upper body workout I gave Terry when he asked me for a challenge:


Another Tabata workout:

Complete all five exercises for a total of 8 rounds (20 minutes):

Squat jumps
Burpees
Squat jacks
Jumping lunges
Push ups


Plus lots of yoga, walking, and a jog here and there. 

Now it's time to get ready for Monday. Enjoy the evening and have fun this week!


Monday, January 18, 2016

Bacon Guacamole Sandwiches?

What a week! I survived my illness, but being sick Sunday to Monday really makes for a crazy rest of the week. I have approximately one photo from Tuesday through Friday, but it's a cute one. Marshall and Terry came to meet me on my walk home from work (in Marshall's new wagon!) and saw a fire truck.


The rest of the week remained mercifully uneventful to let us get back on track, and on Friday night I got to sneak out of the house for a few hours to hang out with Amanda. She recommended The Last Five Years on Netflix, a musical starring Anna Kendrick, and I loved it! It's a departure from Anna's normal comedy, and she is truly a phenomenal singer and actress. Plus the night involved ice cream and wine, so we really lived it up!

Saturday morning Marshall and Terry got back in the pool after a months-long hiatus for swim lessons! Marshall wasn't sure what to think...


I got to watch from an observation deck above the pool, so I couldn't always tell what was going on, but there were tears to start and smiles to end the lesson. The pool was pretty cold because all the little ones were shivering when they got out and it took a while to get Marshall warm. Pitiful, but adorable too.


Once Terry gave him a ball to "chase," Marshall was distracted from the cold and happy to splash around.

After swim and lunch, we had a birthday party, which was at a My Gym and so fun! And we were home in time for dinner, which made for a relaxing evening.

On Sunday, Terry wasn't feeling great, so we kept close to home. I found a recipe or two I wanted to try while both boys napped, and ended up prepping food for most of the week.
(I made these donuts, which were awesome!)


Roasted sweet potatoes, donuts, farro (not pictured), and a frittata with spinach, roasted tomatoes, and goat cheese.

Marshall and I had the day off today, and I was so happy for a whole day together! Terry ended up staying home to work, too, so we were all around. Marshall and I took a trip to Bed Bath & Beyond and then enjoyed a long walk around the block (I love when we aren't in a rush and I can just let him wander at his own pace; he is so funny to watch!). 


He loves stop signs (???), and this is what he did every two steps for at least half a block. 


Future crossing guard, just like his mama. (I kid you not, I won an award for Best Crossing Guard in 6th grade. Proud moment.)

And some food lately:
Mahi mahi (topped with pesto, baked at 375 for 20 minutes), peas, and farro with feta


Salad with greens, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, farro, feta, and an egg. YUM.


New bowls! I've been meaning to find some soup/pasta bowls for a while and finally did! Also, this was tonight's dinner, a savior from the freezer. (I hadn't labeled it, so on our meal plan it was literally "Mystery Soup." I'm so glad it turned out to be Mexican chicken soup

Tonight's dessert: donuts! I dipped the 100 Days of Real Food donuts in melted butter, then in a little sugar and cinnamon. Heavenly. 


We've been rocking our workouts (minus a few sick days here and there) and eating at home almost exclusively, hence my inability to find time to write here. My workouts this week look as follows:

Sunday: yoga and walk 
Monday: Heavy upper body weights
Wednesday: Rest / Yoga for stretching
Thursday: Upper body with light cardio (long walk/easy jog)
Friday: HIIT of some sort
Saturday: Rest

Since I'm doing two intense workouts (Tuesday and Friday), my other days are pretty light this week. 

Our dinners this week are completely unknown at the moment. I used all my creative energy on breakfast (frittata, which will be reheated each day all week) and lunch (big salads most of the week). I seriously sat staring at my blank menu planning page for half an hour and came up with "bacon guacamole sandwiches." WHAT?! THAT'S NOT A THING! And we don't even have guacamole! We'll see what we pull out of thin air when we get home tomorrow and have no ingredients!

Hope your week is off to a magnificent start! 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Sick Weekend

It's been a rough few days for our little family. Thursday night Marshall made a sound I've never heard before, and I raced into his room to discover he had thrown up. Oddly, he had also somehow gotten his blanket over his head, so I thought maybe he hadn't been able to get it off and panicked, hence the throw up. But after we changed him, changed the sheets, and got all settled in bed again, we heard, "Uh oh!" and found another sad puddle in his crib. We brought him into our bed, where he cuddled awhile and threw up yet again, but thankfully that was it. He slept the rest of the night in his crib (we didn't have anymore mattress covers, so we layered a few towels in case of another incident). 

Kids are amazing, though. He was smiling and laughing and asking to play in between each time he got sick. He seemed completely healthy and fine; I was truly baffled. We all stayed home the next day; Terry worked a bit from home and Marshall and I hung out to keep things mellow. Unfortunately, we offered him breakfast and lunch and he threw all that up, too, so we stuck to a liquid diet the rest of the day. He seemed totally fine the rest of the weekend (aside from being angry about not getting food), so I'm glad it was a quick bout for him.

(drinking broth)


We laid low the rest of the weekend. Terry and Marshall were supposed to have their first swim lesson, but we opted out in case M had anymore stuff coming out of him. We did stop at a high school basketball game for about an hour to watch our friend Justin coach! It was so fun to see him in action and to catch up with Jenn a bit.

Sunday I suggested doing something different, so we decided on a walk by the beach.




Marshall kept saying, "Beach! Beach!" We're pretty sure he had no idea what the beach was until he saw it, but he was excited.


And in the afternoon we brought out the wagon and walked to the park for some play time. 

And then I started in on a workout, which was going along nicely until I suddenly felt nauseous. I stopped my workout, rested a bit, and sure enough, within two hours I was throwing up too. It was awful. I got sick four or five times, then slept until Marshall woke up at 5. But Terry got up with M (more on that later), and I basically stayed in bed until 2 pm. Thankfully, tonight I finally feel much better. I ate a piece of bread and some applesauce and have been able to keep liquids down, so I'm on my way to recovery. 

And now a mushy note about my amazing husband: Terry has been absolutely incredible over the last 24 hours. He stood outside the door each time I was sick so I'd know he was there. He cleaned up after me and then cleaned the house today. He stayed home from work to take care of me. He slept on the floor next to me because we hadn't washed the sheets yet. He woke up with Marshall, took care of all the morning routines, got him to and from day care, and still worked several hours. Tonight he made minestrone from scratch for him and Marshall to enjoy. He was tireless and truly gave me and Marshall the best care, stepping up to the huge challenge of parenting on his own for a day. I don't know how single parents do it, but I am yet again grateful for my amazing husband.

In other news, here are some photos I found on my phone:

This salad we're obsessed with: roasted sweet potato (butternut squash would also work), farro, walnuts, feta, and greens with balsamic vinegar. So delicious!


And a tasty breakfast: toast with sliced avocado topped with an egg. Easy but looks fancy. 

We've been loving the rain around here! I hope more is on the way. Plus, Marshall looks super cute in his raincoat and keeps calling the umbrella a "cane" (??? how does he know what a cane is?).

The skies have been killer lately. 




And now I'm off to bed to kick this thing completely. Wish me luck!