Thursday, June 23, 2011

Quick and Healthy Snack Ideas

In an effort to be more healthy and lose those last few, ahem...ten...ahem, pounds of baby weight, I've been working on cutting back on processed foods.  (In case you were wondering I decided to stop blogging about my weight loss adventures because it's boring to write about and probably even more boring to read about).  This week I tried two different quick, easy, and very healthy snack recipes.

The first one was baked kale chips.  Gwyneth Paltrow made some on the Today show last week and I was intrigued!  I couldn't find her exact recipe, but used this one (which seemed very close to hers).  They taste like potato chips (almost)!  My husband and I ate the whole batch in one night!  (I don't recommend this, however, because I did get a bit of a stomach ache from all that kale.  Apparently, there can be too much of a good thing!)  Here's the recipe:

Baked Kale Chips
(We were so excited to try this recipe that I forgot to take a picture of what it looks like prepared...)
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • with a knife or kitchen shears remove the leaves from the thick center stems and tear into bite size pieces
  • wash and dry kale with a salad spinner
  • drizzle kale with olive oil and add salt
  • bake until the edges brown (but not burnt), 10-15 minutes

I found the next recipe in Tracy Anderson's 30-Day Method.  I bought the book on clearance (for $4!!) at Target.  I love her post-pregnancy workout DVD, so I thought I'd check the book out.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to eat as little or exercise as much as her "method" suggests (especially while breastfeeding and taking care of a 3 month old).  However, the recipes included in her book are pretty simple and extremely healthy.  I will definitely be trying more of them!  Here is my adapted version of her recipe:
Cucumber Mint Relish
  • 2 mini-cucumbers, chopped
  • 1 cup mukimame, thawed
  • 4 tablespoons coconut water
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
  • toss all ingredients together (it doesn't get much easier than that!)
As you can probably tell from my picture above, I forgot the mint.  (Hey, grocery shopping with an infant is not easy)!  It was still really good without it, but I'm excited to make it again WITH mint since it seems to be a pretty key ingredient...

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Perfect Greige

Item number one on our summer "to do" list- painting our house and garage.  While we have a small, perfectly rectangular house, it didn't take us very long to decide that we'd be hiring someone "to do" this job for us.  With John's new job and a 3 month old baby there is very little free time to be had.  The job would have taken us months!

The painters were scheduled to start in mid-July but, much to our surprise, they called late last week and said they were running ahead of schedule and could start on Monday!  My excitement quickly turned to panic when I realized that this meant we'd only have the weekend to choose our colors.  (John panicked because that meant he only had the weekend to take down all the window boxes, windows, and other various things that were attached to our house).  I spent the better part of Saturday (in between feeding, pumping, changing diapers, etc...) poring over the deck of thousands of colors.  Then, I discovered an amazing tool that brought my obsession to a new level.  The Sherwin Williams color visualizer.  It allows you to upload a picture of your house and then, with the click of the mouse, you can see what different color schemes would look like.  How cool is that!!

I knew I wanted a blue door and John was set on white trim, so that just left the main wall color...  I thought that it made sense to choose the door color first and then pick coordinating neutrals for the rest of the house.  John thought that this was a crazy idea, he wanted to choose the house color and paint the door later.  (We tend to have opposing view points on all things house related).  After much debate, I gave in realized that John was probably right and we were able to narrow down our choices to three- grey area, the perfect greige, and ramie.  (All, of which, I think will match whichever shade of blue we decide on).

Meet the contenders:
Grey Area

The Perfect Greige


Today, the painters painted an area of each on three sides of our house and the garage.  We had been almost completely set on "the perfect greige," but it turns out it's not-so-perfect (at least not on our house).  It is our least favorite of the three because it seems to have a pinkish hue, which isn't the look we're going for (plus it clashes with our roof).  My neurotic side wanted to see a few of the colors we ruled out since they look totally different on the house than on a little 2 inch sample or on a computer screen...  Ugh!  However, John pointed out that since we both liked ramie the best, we should just go with that.  Why does he always have to make things so simple?!  Fortunately, I was able to recognize this as a great decision and decided against arguing about it, even though I got less that 5 hours of sleep last night.  Usually, that would be a recipe for disaster!  Maybe motherhood is making me wiser (or just too tired to fight).

After hours of playing around with the visualizer, I also decided to paint the window boxes brown.

Meet our potential colors:
Ramie (main house color)

Turkish Coffee (window boxes)

Drizzle (front door)

Hmmmm...  that scheme looks really familiar.  It totally reminds me of the colors we have going on in our living room.  At least my taste is consistent!  I think it has a warm and cozy (and slightly modern) vibe, but what do I know.  Nevertheless, I'm really excited to see the finished product.  Hopefully, it won't take us too long to find time to paint the window boxes and put them back up.  I'm so excited to finally plant in them- now I just need to figure out what kind of flowers will go best with our new color scheme (too bad there isn't a "visualizer" for that!  Maybe I should invent it...).

Finally, on a more serious note, we found out that there is lead in our current exterior paint.  I guess this shouldn't be a surprise being that our house was built in 1952, but it was something that we hadn't thought about.  Thankfully, the company that we went with is certified and trained in how to deal with it and also gave us a bunch of guidelines to follow so that we don't get any particles in our house.  (Unfortunately, this will increase the cost of the job).  I, of course, had to google "lead paint and babies" and totally freaked myself out, but they assured us that there will be no harm done.  Had we decided to do the job ourselves, we probably wouldn't have known about the lead- this could have been very dangerous for little Jackson!  Thank God we're lazy!

Stay tuned for before and after pictures...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

3 months!

Another month has flown by and boy were we busy!  You have lived up to your nickname "Action Jackson" because you love to be on the go...  Overall, you are an extremely content little baby, but if we sit still or stay in the house for too long you get a little cranky (so does mommy, so we're a perfect fit).

You are now about 13.5 pounds and 24 inches long.  At your 2 month check-up you were in the 50th percentile for weight and 60th percentile for height (quite a difference from the 5th percentile when you were born)!  You are sleeping like a champ- usually from about 9 or 10 at night to 6 or 7 in the morning.  A couple of weeks ago we started to put you in your crib to sleep.  I think you like it, but you often wiggle yourself from one end of the crib to the other over the course of the night.  Mom is working on getting some sort of nap schedule in place, but you don't really like naps (unless you're getting a ride in your stroller or in the car or if you're snuggled up with mommy or daddy)...
You and daddy and KG napping in the guest room on a Sunday afternoon.

You are smiling more and more every day and have even squealed a few times- I can't wait to hear you laugh.  You are especially happy in the morning and you always give daddy a smile when he gets home from work.
You are mesmerized by your hands and stare at them constantly as you move them around...  It's pretty funny to watch.  You have also started to notice your toys more- you love to hold onto the toys that hang from your car seat (and try to put them in your mouth).
Tummy time is still not your favorite activity, so we bought a Bumbo for you.  You were not a fan at first, but it's growing on you...  I even caught you smiling in it the other day!
You still love your activity mat, but only when you're laying on your back.  You especially love laying on it and dancing!
Mommy "graduated" from her new mama class, but (don't worry) we'll get to see all of your girlfriends again when we start "beyond newborns" next week.  Here's a picture of you with your friends on the last day of class:

Here are some of the other things we did this month...

You attended your first Twin's game.  You loved taking in the sights from your ergo carrier (mommy and daddy took turns carrying you).
You weren't too interested in what was happening on the field (I don't blame you- they're not doing very well this year).
We only lasted in our seats for about 3 innings, but that was mostly because mommy was afraid a fly ball was going to hit you in the head...  I think next time mommy and daddy go to a game we'll leave you with grandma.

Daddy had a couple of days off last week (before he started his new job), so we brought you downtown to the Farmer's Market and to the Smack Shack.
We'll have to bring you back there when you can chew because their lobster rolls were amazing!  You took a nap while we strolled around the farmer's market and were kind enough to hold mommy's flowers.

Last, but not least, I got to celebrate my very first mother's day this month!  We had both of your grandmas over for brunch (along with your uncle Sam and aunt Nicole).  Then, for dinner, you, daddy, and I went out for sushi- mommy even had a martini!  It was a perfect day, and not because of the martini, but because I am so lucky to be your mom!

Happy three months peanut!
Love, Mom