Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Loving Lately

Mid-week post! Hello! I'm here to share some fun finds I've come across lately, as well as some family adventures. Here's what's making me happy lately...

Online shopping! I’ve had way too much fun finding things we need (and “need”) lately, and I’ve been randomly scoring some great deals! Following companies on Facebook really helps, and stocking up when there’s a good sale has been a huge time and money saver. The other day, for example, Jet posted 25% off Honest Company products, and I walked away with tons of bubble bath for about half off (thanks to a first-time-user discount)! I also checked out thredUP (an online consignment store where you can buy and sell clothes) for the first time, because I’ve heard great things about their deals for kids’ clothes. Before I checked out, I asked (via the little “Chat with us!” feature) if there is a first-time-user discount, and sure enough I got an additional 40% off (I bought two maternity dresses for a fancy night we have coming up, but neither one worked out unfortunately, and I also bought Marshall a pair of overalls!).

Amazon Prime Day wasn’t as huge a hit for me, but I did buy a new diaper bag, and I’m so excited to start using it. It’s a big upgrade from my last one and will transition easily to a weekender bag when we no longer need diapers.

New recipes
Terry and I have really stepped outside our comfort zone lately with some awesome new recipes. I love browsing Cup of Jo, 100 Days of Real Food, and Smitten Kitchen <--I love the “Surprise Me!” button!) for inspiration, and sometimes I’ll put my own spin on dishes. Here are some we’ve tried lately:

Orange Creamsicles--perfect for hot nights!

Strawberry-coconut water popsicles (I just threw a bunch of strawberries and some coconut water in a blender and then poured the resulting mixture into our popsicle molds--they were so sweet and delicious! And perfect for me to get some healthy coconut water in, because I’m not a huge fan of drinking it straight)

Mango Chia Pudding--again, I’m not a huge fan of chia seeds and so far haven’t found a good way to incorporate them into my diet, but this recipe is DELICIOUS. So easy and quick, too! Marshall kept asking for more, also, which is a great bonus lately, as he’s hitting the infamous two-year picky phase!

Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Stuffed Peppers - I made this recipe once with a few minor tweaks and loved it, so we tried it again with an enchilada flair. I just added some cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder, and used pepper jack and cheddar instead of the other cheeses. It was delicious, and a perfect side dish or main entree.

Sloppy Joe’s! I can’t remember the last time I had sloppy Joe’s, but I thought it would be a fun recipe to try. SUPER easy, totally delicious, and we all gobbled it down. Terry even convinced me to try making homemade hamburger buns, which are tasty but not quite fluffy enough for me, so I’ll keep working on it.

Egg (white) pizza bake--like a frittata, but bigger, and cooked entirely in the oven. I used kale and collard greens for some variety, and we portioned them out to bring as snacks at work all week. Honestly, chopping all the greens and sauteeing all the vegetables was a LOT of work (luckily I had some cooked sausage and ground turkey in the freezer, so I just threw those in, but that would have added even more work), so I’m not sure we’ll make this one super often, but the idea of it--lots of veggies + cheese + eggs--is definitely one to repeat. Next time I’ll just double the batch and freeze half so I get even more out of it. Delicious, though, and a great way to eat tons of greens, which has been a real struggle this entire pregnancy. (By the way, I used 12 whole eggs instead of the recommended egg whites.)

(Making bread with Daddy)

(Recent haul from the farmer's market)

Sticky Toffee Pudding! For our five-year anniversary, Terry and I celebrated a few times to spread out the magic. First, we spent a night in San Francisco while my parents watched Marshall. Then for our actual anniversary, we gave a nod to our honeymoon (Italy and London) with a dinner out (with Marshall!) at an Italian restaurant

and homemade sticky toffee pudding. It was such a fun night!

Movie nights at home the last two weekends have been a perfect way to unwind after a long week. We watched Spy, which was hilarious, and The Big Short, which was fantastic (but definitely required a few pauses on my part to make sure I understood everything). Watching new movies and shows together has always been a favorite pastime of ours, but it is easy to get into a routine of watching our old standbys instead of diving into something new. Silly, because the new stuff is so fun!

And speaking of which, another new favorite: Catastrophe on Amazon Prime! We started watching a few weeks ago on recommendation of our friend Amanda, and we savored every episode. Hilarious, extremely vulgar, British humor...what could be better? I highly recommend it for anyone, but especially if you have kids, because it gets REAL about life with babies.

Watching Marshall and Scout interact has become a real joy around here. Scout is still terrified of the kid, but Marshall is really interested in the cat. He'll grab a toy for Scout and then walk around the house chanting, "Scooooout! Where are you? Come play, Scout!" Meanwhile the cat finds ways to hide.

Finding a healthy (and sustainable) balance during this pregnancy. A few weeks ago, our former birth teacher came over for an exercise consultation, where she took me through a full pregnancy-safe workout and showed me tons of exercises that are perfectly healthy for me to do up through my delivery date. We also talked a lot about nutrition, changes I can make in my diet to optimize baby's health, and ideas for reducing my stress. While the consultation was extremely helpful, it also gave me some anxiety about "doing everything right" and ended up making me feel like I was actually doing everything wrong.

So over the last two weeks or so, I've been working on finding a healthy balance between what our teacher suggested and what is realistic and sustainable for me. I certainly agree with eating healthy, for example, and adding nutritious foods and reducing sugar. But I also think there's something to be said for enjoying the act of eating, indulging in occasional treats, and fully embracing the experiences of eating out or taking Marshall out for a treat!

(After going out for ice cream recently!)

I have added lots of greens and vegetables to my diet and reduced my sugar intake, but I am still having tea on occasion and enjoying dessert when I want (a few times a week). It's a happy medium for me that keeps the experience of eating fun.

Similarly, the exercises I learned have been awesome for making adjustments to my strength workouts. But our teacher wanted me to follow a very specific type of power walking for cardio workouts, and I just wasn't feeling it. We like going for longer walks, and we like letting Marshall out of his stroller to explore now and then. So now I'm incorporating all her suggestions for strength exercises (modified push ups, dips, upper body exercises with very light weights, bodyweight squats, stationary lunges, pelvic rocking, planks, calf raises, etc.), but we're enjoying our normal family walks for cardio. I also walk at work (20-30 minutes at lunch) at least three times a week (which might go down as it gets hotter in LA). I'm so much happier just relaxing and enjoying workouts instead of stressing about doing it "right"! I'm a pretty active person, so I'm not worried about each individual workout so much as maintaining a generally active and healthy lifestyle.

Some photos from a recent walk to campus with our baby Bruin...
(We counted the chimes when the clock struck 10.)

Overall, this pregnancy has been far less stressful than my first, and finding this healthy balance for nutrition and exercise feels like a wonderful way to head into the home stretch. (I'll have a pregnancy update soon...true to second kid form, we're way behind on sharing those updates. But I'm 27 weeks today, officially entering the third trimester!)

So that's what's going on around here! I'll be back sooner than later this time, but have a great rest of the week!


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