Weekly Menu Planning

Back in 2012, when I was trying to loose weight for my wedding, I tracked EVREY single thing that I ate, planned my meals out every Saturday and spent Sunday prepping and making meals. It worked wonders and I lost 20 lbs in 5 months.

Nowadays tracking, planning, prep, etc. is much more difficult. Having a toddler running around makes it difficult to make the plans and stick with them. I’ve been back on the band wagon many times and a few weeks in something comes up and I forget to plan a week, forget to enter in my food, and I fall off.

So here I go trying again….I’m hoping that by doing a weekly blog post I’ll keep up more with the planning. I’m not going to enter food into any app or anything like that, I’m just going to plan the week and really push myself to stick to the plan.

So here goes……


Grocery List:
5 green peppers*
cheddar cheese
1lb grass fed beef
black olives*
jalapenos*
free range skin on bone in chicken thighs*
artichoke hearts*
green olives*
pasture raised eggs
coconut flour
whole fat greek yogurt*
strawberries*
3 avocado*
3 tomatoes*
2 cans tuna
blueberries*
2 heirloom tomatoes*
hummus*
granola
salsa
shredded coconut
dates
cashews
good seed bread
watermelon
cheese sticks
cucumber
*denotes items I purchased, others I had at home

All of the above gives myself and R breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week. I’m loving doing all of my grocery shopping at New Seasons Market. And the best part? I only spent $57.77 at the grocery store! When purchasing all organic, free range, hormone free food the prices can get a bit spency but so far New Seasons hasn’t been too bad!

First up on the menu? Green Pepper “Not”-chos

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OMG were these delicious! Large sliced green peppers, a few purple corn chips and lots of delicious toppings (we did tomatoes, black olives, beef, and cheese). Bake at 325 for 20 minutes and enjoy! In our house we LOVE nachos so this was a great way to make them lighter. Give it a try.

Stick around for more posts about all the yummy things we make this week, can’t wait to share!

Making Something New out of Something Old

My husband and I love doing DIY projects, but honestly it can get a bit spency. Plus time consuming with all those trips to the home  improvement store!

So since I tend to enjoy “cleaning” out the house often I figured HEY! Let’s find ways to use the crap we have to make something awesome! We have lots of plans so this post is the first in a series of awesomeness 🙂


Project 1 – Changing Table to Outdoor Bar

When we first had R a friend gave us this changing table. It’s been used as a changing table, tv stand, toy storage and more. Recently we acquired new toy storage so the plan was to give away the changing table. As I was preparing to  post it to  NextDoor I had an aww-ha moment. This changing table would be PERFECT for the outdoor bar I’ve been wanting to build!

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Original Pottery Barn changing table

This is what we started with. Great piece of furniture but needed some new life. So we decided to paint and put on a new top. We removed the top and measured it so we new what size to get for the new top.

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Simple $20 piece of wood. My husband took care of this part (thankfully). We tested lots of stain options and decided on an oil type wood stain. But when we put it up against the paint color it was far too light. So we added oxidation solution on top (LOVE this stuff!)

While hubby worked on the top I worked on painting the old piece.

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Our outdoor area has shades of brown/orange so we wanted to make this piece fit right in. I am not a lover of painting walls but painting furniture wasn’t so bad!

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Here is our ALMOST finished product. We weren’t quite sure on the top so we waited overnight to see how it looked once it was totally dry. The next morning we still wanted to darken up the color to provide more contrast with the base so hubby sanded, oxidized and finally applied a poly seal to the top.

FINAL PRODUCT!!!!

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Totally in love!! It’s so nice to have a place to put food here instead of on the outdoor dining table, it saves so much room. It is also a great place to store R’s toys and all the grill tools. Plus the perfect place to set up a nice little drink station for parties!

Total cost – $35 SO worth it 🙂

5 Types of Friends I Have as a Mom

Growing up I seemed to have a new best friend every year. I was still friends with the previous ones, it’s just that one relationship was the strongest and it seemed to change every year.

Nowadays, as a mom and an adult, I don’t have one single best girl friend (my husband is great and all but he’s no girl best friend 🙂 ) but instead I’m surrounded by lots of amazing women. Each of them holding their own special place in my life and part in who I am.


1.College Friends
For me this is mostly my sorority sisters with a few others mingled in. These women have a special place in my heart, they were a big part of who I am today. College was my time of self discovery and where I “grew up” (kind of, I’m still working on that one). I feel like they also know the most fun me. The get drunk every weekend and dance all night me. I was so cool back then, nowadays 3 glasses of wine and I’m hungover the entire next day.

image courtesy of google images
image courtesy of google images

2.Gym Friends
These are my motivation ladies. I’ve been working out pretty consistently since R was born and I LOVE it! I’ve never felt so strong. These are the ladies that keep me moving. They encourage me to keep it up and tell me my ass looks hot from all those squats I’ve been doing. Plus we also like to drink wine, especially on Fridays.

3.Volunteer Friends
These are my inspiring friends. These are the ladies that inspire me to be a better me and always keep trying. They are some of the most amazing women I know. They are moms, lawyers, philanthropists, coaches, survivors, the list goes on. Whether they are the women I’ve encountered during my time advising or with the League, these women are the people that keep me doing my best. They have so much on their plate yet they still have the time to give back to amazing organizations. Plus we enjoy lots of wine at all our events too.

4.Mom Friends
I love my momma friends. These are the ladies that keep me sane. They revel in my experiences and support me when I’m feeling like a shitty parent. And seeing our kids grow up together is amazing! We are all a little different but those little humans bring us together to laugh, cry, and drink lots of wine. That’s what moms need, lots and lots and lots of wine.

Image courtesy of google images
Image courtesy of google images

5.Old Friends
Sometimes these friends feel like a world away. I have such different memories with them and they seem so long ago. But those are the things that connect us to them. Those are the things that make you able to complete each others sentences even when you haven’t seen each other in years. Every time we sit down to have a drink together it all comes back so easily.


So basically the requirement to be my friend is that you like to drink. If you enjoy an adult beverage or two we’ll probably get along just fine. And if you don’t, well you better at least enjoy chocolate.

image courtesy of google images
image courtesy of google images

10 Things to Know for Camping with Tots

This past week was spent with R’s besties camping out in the woods and celebrating the little ladies 2nd birthday! I can’t believe she’s 2!

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A tradition Matt continued from his childhood is waking up to a room full of balloons, so even though we were camping we kept it going!

Outside of celebrating her birthday we spent lots of time enjoying the great outdoors.

Ok, so let me preface this by saying that I haven’t been camping in YEARS! I went a lot as a kid, both with family and Girl Scouts, but it was probably high school the last time I camped. This camping was “supposed” to be easier because it was in cabins. But I swear tent camping would have been easier than these cabins. It was nice to have a stove and electricity but otherwise these cabins were basically death traps waiting to happen! Okay maybe I’m over reacting a little but seriously there were nails sticking out, broken benches, ugh.

We had such a blast! But I gotta say I’m quite happy to be home. Sleeping in my own bed and having a playroom to “lock” my kid away in is pretty damn awesome. We were too ambitious, we planned on staying 7 nights, we lasted 5….barely. So here are a few things I learned while enjoying the great outdoors with the little ones:

10. Don’t Do It!
If you’re thinking of going, just don’t. Instead put up a tent in the backyard and play outside. It’s much easier

9. Wrap your Kid in Bubble Wrap
They are toddlers. They fall a lot. Enough said.

8. Don’t forget the First Aid Kit
Believe me, you’ll need it. The bubble wrap I suggested above will help but I swear you’ll still need it. Likely for yourself too. One of our mommas cut open the bottom of her foot on the first day, not a fun way to start out the trip but she was a trooper and stuck with it.

7. Man on Man Coverage versus Zone
As often as you can, try to have just as many parents as there are children, or at least older children who can help the tots. The ground is uneven, there are hills to fall down, streets to get run over on, animals to get stung by, and a million other things to mess up the kids so you need as much coverage as possible

6. Lots and Lots and Lots of Spray
Bug Spray – I swear everything bites while you’re camping. We had flies, mosquitoes, freaking everything! I hate the damn bugs. Sunscreen – apply, apply, apply! I know, applying sunscreen to toddlers usually ignites lots of screaming but imagine trying to apply sunscreen to a burnt toddler. Give yourself a chance of avoiding a crispy lobster child by applying constantly

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5. Remember, it’s Camping
That means it’s dirty. Really dirty. And toddlers attract dirt. They also really love putting dirt in shoes and then pouring it on each other and you

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4. Go During the Week
This will allow you the weekend to recover from the crazy. Originally we planned Saturday to Saturday but after 5 days we were totally done. The last day was spent sitting in the grass entertaining our kiddos in the campground laundry room. That’s right, the laundry room. But the good part is we then had Friday-Sunday to get ourselves back to some semblance of alive before the hubby had to go back to work Monday

3. Nap Isn’t Just for the Kiddos
The kid takes a nap so you should too. The sun is exhausting, it’s hot, and you deserve it. It’ll keep you ready for more beers (see below). Plus it’s a family trip (not a vacation because anything that requires you to chase toddlers and be up by 7am is NOT vacation)! The perfect time to attempt to catch up on your missing sleep

2. Bring Lots of Booze
After chasing your toddler for hours all you are going to want after bedtime is a very large cold alcoholic beverage. But don’t drink too much, you need to be prepared to wake up in the middle of the night when something “scary” wakes up your little one and then again at the crack of dawn with a tot screaming in your face for breakfast

1. HAVE FUN!
Even though we were EXHAUSTED by the end of every day, we had such an amazing time. R had SO many firsts and it was exciting watching her explore. She went on a boat, she went tubing, had lots of ice cream, played horseshoes, played tether-ball and more.  The adorable factor was on  point for 80% of the week (the rest was spent sleeping or stressing about safety). It was the longest and most fun week I’ve had in ages

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In the end it truly was a great trip but my final recommendation? Don’t plan on going for a week.  I think 2 nights tent camping would have been perfect. Next year we will still enjoy a 4th of July #bestiesweek, and R’s  birthday, at a cabin but more VRBO or AirBnB style. (We might be wimps but oh well)

Enjoy a couple nights of outdoor fun and excitement and then head home to relax for the rest of the weekend. It’s totally worth it!

This Mom Thing

Before R came I had been with the same company for 5 years. It was my first job out of college and I LOVED it. I had plans to go far in the company and was well on my way to making that happen. I was really good at my job, like really good, and now that I’m a mom I have to say I feel a little bit lost.

It’s not that I don’t love being a mom and love being home with my little lady, because seriously there is NOTHING better than a random hug and kiss from that sweet little toddler!, but it doesn’t come as naturally to me as working did. So I’ve been trying to find ways to make it more, like a job I guess. I’ll get excited about something (planning crafts, activities, etc.), then I get busy and then I forget and then I get excited about it again, do more work and the cycle repeats itself but I feel like I seldom actually accomplish anything.

I’m also not a homemaker haha! I don’t love cooking and I hate cleaning, especially the laundry and the dishes (thankfully my husband is much better at those things that I, score for me!). So I’m feeling a bit lost when it comes to what I do and where I fit.

I try adding in volunteer work to fill that spot of “work” and that sometimes helps. But trying to fit it in with my own hobbies and my family can be hard. There are times I feel like those hours are time I should be spending on R but then when I have that time I often have no idea what to do with it. I feel like before R, there was work and Matt with a little bit of other stuff. But now with R I have R work, volunteer work, hobbies work, Matt, home ownership, chef, maid, teacher, dog sitter, you get the picture. It’s not that I didn’t have some of those things before R but I swear I had way more time then ha!

So I guess what I’m trying to say about this thing called stay-at-home mommying is I’m still trying to figure out what the f*** I’m doing. I’m trying to figure out where I fit into this equation of mother, housewife, etc. I definitely haven’t found my sweet spot. I’m not unhappy, there really is nothing better in life than being a parent, but I just don’t feel that same sort of heart pumping excitement I used to get with work.

It saddens me to say that. Seeing R count to 3 for the first time the other day was AMAZING but I’m missing that same excitement for myself and the things I do. I get lots of time to be excited for R and my hubby about all the awesome things they do but I don’t have things I do that give me the same “feel good” feelings work did. Sure I have hobbies, but I’m just not as good at them as I was work (although I have to say I’m getting MUCH better!).

I know it’s been two years, almost awwww, already but with a kid I feel like every few months is like starting a new job. Every time you think you have it down, they change. So here’s to pushing on. Keeping strong, going with the flow, and encouraging myself to keep figuring it out. Someday, maybe I’ll get there.

Runchkins – Kids fashion delivered to your door!?!?

If you know me well you know a few things – 1) I’m not great at creating my own stylish outfits, 2) I love StitchFix and 3) I love dressing my kid in adorable “mini me” clothes.

So when I heard about Runchkins, basically StitchFix for kids, I thought, “I HAVE to check this out.” I know what you’re thinking….why does she need fancy clothes for her little human that will outgrow them in 3 months anyway? Well I mostly did this just to check it out, I was crazy curious to see what they might come up with and yes, I’m a sucker for adorable boutique type baby clothes. Plus I figured the $20 styling fee was worth it even if I only keep one item.

My review? It’s an adorable idea but I’m not in love (like I am with Stitch Fix!!). The clothes just didn’t work for R. I’m kind of not surprised since she’s related to me and I struggle to find clothes that fit right. The outfits were pretty cute though! We had a fun fashion show 🙂

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This one didn’t work at all, it has elastic in the legs which just doesn’t work for R (she’s still got her baby thighs hehe). I also just purchased something similar recently so although I love the look I wasn’t upset about it not working.

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When I opened the box I LOVED these shorts, so cute! But they didn’t fit at all! If you check out the pic you can see the right side of the shorts have crept up her leg. Ugh, I know how she feels 😉

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Although cute it was actually too big. Sure I could keep it for future but I wasn’t totally in love. She did love the pockets, I too love pockets!

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This dress was not good. It’s actually odd, it’s long but a little short for a maxi AND the shoulder straps were way too long so if adjusted the length would have been even more awkwardly short. If it had fit I would have kept it though, it was really cute and fun!

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The shirt wasn’t really my style but I actually thought this one was so adorable! I was also in LOVE with the skirt. She wore it today and it was a hit! She looked so grown up in it too! I kept the skirt but not the shirt, I wasn’t sure if it was something I’d rotate through her closet since I don’t normally like screen printed shirts.
The shoes….I love the idea of these shoes because they are hand made in South Africa but who thinks white shoes for a toddler is a good idea? They are also elastic in the back and R has always had those types of shoes cut into her feet:

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The last outfit was very cute! A navy dress with birds on it. Love it, has enough detail to make it interesting, and she loved it! That’s how you know it’s a good purchase! I kept this one for sure!

If you want to check it out? Here is my referral link. Give it a try, worst that can happen is you pay $20 (styling fee) to have a fun fashion show with your little one. Totally worth the fun!

Father’s Day

I have a pretty awesome husband, I gotta say. He’s a great husband, great dad and just all around awesome! We just spent a fabulous weekend celebrating him. I had planned a fun filled weekend and it really was great.

For all of Matt’s gifts I love to have R help me and make something creative. So this year we made him a custom painting for his garage. I also made a couple dish towels and did R’s handprints plus got him a new flour sifter and rolling pin (not only does he build stuff he likes to bake too!)

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Friday we had an awesome date night! We’ve been cutting back on date nights to save money so it was much needed and SO much fun! We went back to one of our fave spots from our time living downtown San Jose, Chacho’s. Tequila shots and a chevla were a great way to start the weekend!

Saturday we had more family time and we spent actual Father’s Day taking a hike at Rancho San Antonio, visiting Deer Hollow Farm and playing in the creek. I love seeing our little girl with her daddy, she LOVES that man! I also got him an extra special present, an hour long massage! He works long days and then comes home to work on the house even longer so he deserved it!

 

How was your Father’s Day?

How to lose your sanity in 5 minutes or less

The answer? Have a toddler…

Today was supposed to be a great day. We had plans with our Friday Adventure Group, more on that later, to check out Rancho San Antonio and Deer Hollow Farm. Then in the evening a fun date night with the hubby.

As per usual, things don’t always go as planned. R wasn’t having a great morning and said she wanted to stay home. She was being extra clingy and cry-ey (totally made that word up) so I thought it would be best to stay home. I was probably wrong….

So this story actually happened over the course of the entire morning, not just 5 minutes, but each instance was less than 5 minutes and each of them got me closer and closer to losing my marbles.

Anyway,  I decided it would be a great day to take the dogs for a bath at the groomer. Husband forgot to charge his car so he took mine and I had the brilliant idea of walking our two dogs and pushing a stroller the mile to Petco. One would think this should be an easy task right? Well not with my dogs. One likes to run and the other hates the leash but in the end we made it work without anyone getting (seriously) injured. After arriving at Petco we insert meltdown #1 – R was SO upset we were leaving the doggies behind. This meltdown was cute so I didn’t get upset and we went on our merry way.

Next stop, Target to get myself some coffee and milk (so I can have more coffee at home later). This is where we insert meltdown #2. Apparently leaving Target isn’t something a toddler wants to do. I totally understand, but if I stay too long I’ll end up buying the whole store so I drug her out and we headed home.

Back at home it’s time for lunch so I set R up with some homemade chicken nuggets and mustard (she ate more of the mustard than the chicken). At one point I had to “potty” (will I ever use adult words again?!?!) and I come back to find her bowl of chicken nuggets is now all over the floor. After asking her to help me clean them up and getting a very bitchy “no” back we insert meltdown #3. I put her in her Thinking Chair for 2 minutes with her timer and after the first minute she had calmed down. We talked and I convinced her to help me (as much as an almost 2 year old can and still with a bit of sass).

And lastly we have bath time. My kid LOVES the water, as do most toddlers, but I swear this kid is obsessed. Lately she wants a bath or shower daily, which was not our habit before. Either way, I let her do a LONG bath today because she was having a blast and we were practicing our ABC’s. She started to get whiny and after all the crying and screaming from earlier my ears and head just can’t handle much more so I decide it’s time to get out and have an early nap time (only 15 minutes early so shouldn’t be a huge deal right?). Getting that kid out of the tub….oh lordy. Kicking and screaming and yelling that she wants more water. Sorry kid, this is the exact reason we are heading for nap. Meltdown #4 is just too much for this momma.

Thankfully my kid also LOVES books so I sat down in her chair, pulled out a book and she came and cuddled right up and calmed down. Snuggling with that little human is one of my favorite activities and I try to soak it up as much as I can because I know she won’t always want my cuddles. But after that morning I sure was thankful for nap time!

In the end, what did I do? I worked out. Wrote up my own interval class, got out my yoga mat and rocked out in the backyard! I feel way better.

Growing What You Eat

I’ve never been much of a gardner. I remember being young and my grandma getting me out in the garden to plant flowers, I never loved it. But it sure is a great skill to have. You can literally feed your whole family but just growing your own produce. But you do have to have the time, the right garden spot, the right weather and some patience.

My first experience growing a veggie garden was in 2010 with my now husband. We had planter boxes in the backyard of our rental house and I wanted to see what we could do. He had been growing a few things years prior, like snap peas, but I wanted to do more. So we got out the gloves and garden tools and went to work. Zucchini, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, peas, and more. It was a fun weekend project. In the end the only things that actually worked were the peas, spinach (so easy to grow) and we got a HUGE zucchini. I have to say that giant zucchini gave me hope, hope that one day I could actually do something with this new found “skill” I wanted to develop.

Our next garden was 2012. We had moved to San Jose where you can pretty much grow anything all year because the weather is so great. We built two above ground planter boxes, and by we I mean my husband, and then planted lots of leafy greens and herbs. This one went TOO well. We could not keep up with the amount of kale and spinach we had so a lot of it ended up going to waste 🙁

Then again in 2014 at a new rental we did a small garden with leafy green and herbs. Thankfully we went smaller this time so we could keep up better. That year though none of our other veggies did anything so it was a bit disappointing.

This year I finally got the garden going! I’m doing a vertical herb garden using a pallet. This project was SO easy! Here’s what you need:

  • garden fabric (to protect from weeds)
  • soil
  • staple gun
  • seeds or plants

And here is what you do:

  1. Clean off your pallet and determine the size of each of your “pockets”. Mine were about 11 inches long and 4 inches wide and deep
  2. Using these measurements as a rough estimate cut out pieces of garden fabric for each section. I really didn’t measure exact. I made it a little too long and wide on purpose to make sure it covered well
  3. Fold each piece to fit in its section making sure that it covers the front, back and side of its section well20160528_203418
  4. Use a staple gun to attach
  5. Put in your soil and plant your seeds or plants

Easy as 1,2,3 (4 and 5 I guess too)

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I put the pallet piece in the center of our garden area. On the left are tomatoes, on the right peppers and in the middle we have some squash and broccoli. I can’t remember which I planted where but we will soon find out as we have some growth just starting to sneak up through the dirt 🙂

Once we collect our first harvest I’ll post more pictures. I’m really hoping we can get some tomatoes and peppers! Nothing beats fresh tomatoes off the vine!

What sorts of things have you grown in your garden?

 

Dinner Time

I’ve never been much of a cook so I’m always on the hunt for easy and healthy dishes to make for the family. I’m also one lucky lady because my husband is actually a better cook than I am AND he actually enjoys cooking. So in our family we’ve decided to switch off each week who cooks dinner. It makes it so neither of us get overwhelmed with too much cooking. We do two weeks a month where we order HelloFresh (post coming soon) so we have that for three dinners which also helps cut down on the stress of figuring it all out.

I try to keep it simple when possible and to keep costs down. So here are a few of my favorite go to options for dinner

Chili Mac – although this one isn’t crazy healthy it’s delicious and makes tons of leftovers! It’s toddler and husband approved too

Healthy Mac ‘n Cheese – I LOVE this stuff. I don’t use as much cheese as it lists and I change out the veggie each time I make it. I also will often add a protein. This one is very toddler approved and even my husband likes the “healthier” option

5 Ingredient Pesto Pasta – I LOVE this dish because it is literally the easiest thing ever. We actually had it for dinner the other night. Ryley also enjoys this one, but without the leafy greens

Salsa  Chicken – this one is great because it can be used in so many ways! We make burrito bowls, salads, mix it with rice, quesadillas, the options are endless. R likes it with some greek yogurt and avocado for lunch. The one I normally make  it actually just chicken, adobo seasoning  and salsa. I vary the salsa to keep  it fun

What are your favorite simple go-to meals?