Friday, March 29, 2013

Simone's Five Month Favorites

Sweet Simone Baby.  Five Months Old.
When I look at the pictures of Simone the day she was born I'm blown away.  She still seems like my tiny baby girl, but in reality she's not.  She's a social little lady, who loves being part of any and all conversations.  She will roll from her back to her belly and back over again.  Her squeals fill our house all day long and she's a master of grabbing her toys and tossing them around.  I'm so impressed by her motor skills and by her ability to vocalize her mood.  She loves sitting up between my legs right now.  It's hard for me to get anything done lately because she LOVES to play all day and we all know I would rather play with her than do dishes!  We also have started introducing her first foods.  More to come on that in a later post! 
Right now Simone's favorite things are...

Can I just say...teething is hard!  Simone's had some fussy days & nights.  We've been without solid naps during the day and back to waking up a few times a night.  What happened to my baby who slept 8-9 hours?!  We're getting through it with a coffee IV drip for Mom, and cold teething rings for Simone.  We also picked up some of those teething tablets on recommendation from my friend Jenny.  So far... they seem to help a little.  Anyone have other magic advice??

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Simone's Styling Diggs

I get so many sweet compliments on Simone's room.  It's far & away the most complete & finished room in our ever evolving home!  I love the colors of it!  I realize someday she will eventually ask "can we change my room to..." so I'm living it up now.

I also realize that someday we may actually USE this room.  Right now it's a really pretty place to house Simone's stuff.  She sleeps in her pack & play in our room for now.  I like having her close so if she does wake up I can change her & nurse her right away.  Saves all of us from extra time awake in the middle of the night.

We got Simone's crib from Target it's the Simmons Slumber Time Elite in Espresso Truffle. As far as bang for your buck I think it's great. Nice quality, it looks beautiful, and the price is in the affordable range! Simone's rag quilt was made by her Grandma Beaupre with hand picked fabrics to match her room. The pillow was made by a friend of my MIL's (I will update with the name & if she has an Etsy shop, because I'm not sure) with those same fabrics. We opted not to put anything on the wall above the crib for safety reasons.
The lamp was a hand me down (hence the bumps in the shade) from my parent's house. My Mom used to have this lamp by her chair in the living room, so it's pretty special to me. The little bird is actually a Christmas ornament from Hobby Lobby (known affectionately in our house as simply...the Lobby). If you don't live near a Lobby, I suggest you reevaluate your priorities, pack, and move immediately. Just kidding... kind of. I also picked up the chalkboard at the Lobby, and painted the edging to match her room.  And, no...we didn't hire a professional artist to do the chalkboard.  That's all me, baby! 
I made this mobile for Simone in my 8th month of pregnancy. At that point, I always had to have SOMETHING to work on for fear of going insane waiting to meet her. I bought a bunch of ribbon from the Lobby, one of those embroidery circles, and a hook to hang it. That kept me busy for about thirty-five to forty-five minutes. The bird cage hook thingies is also from the Lobby, and ditto that on the bird clips. Don't worry, I would hide those Lobby receipts in my secret McFlurry cups from Todd and stuff them way down deep in the trash.

Next to my glider I decided to do a little wall of prints for her with cute sayings.  I bought a bunch of wooden frames from Goodwill, painted them, and Googled free printable and printed them the size of the frames.  We also had a canvas print made of our first "pregnancy picture".  It's a pretty goofy picture of Todd & I in Hollywood, Florida pointing at my non-existent belly when I was about four months pregnant.  We figured she should see her silly parents faces every morning when she wakes up!
We opted to forego a changing table.  Her room is pretty small as it is, so we just stuck a changing pad on top of her dresser.  It works.  The quote on the wall is just a painted canvas with letter stickers (from... you guessed it!) because I couldn't find the print in the colors I wanted ANYWHERE on Etsy.  The book shelf things are just Ikea spice racks painted with the coral pink from her room.  I took one picture frame that I had dropped and broken the glass and made a little hair clip holder using ribbon stapled to the inside of the frame.  The lamp I've had forever (a garage sale find) and the birdcage was actually the card holder at our wedding.  A girlfriend gifted us the Sentsy warmer.

The little rocking chair was mine from when I was a kiddo.  I keep swearing I'll redo the padding.  Right now it's still has the Care bears fabric that my Mom made from my nursery.  Maybe I'll never redo it.

The little fuzzy rug was a Target clearance end cap (who doesn't love those?) find, and I love using wicker baskets to hold books, toys, and blankets.  All of her light switch and electrical outlet covers are from the Lobby.  Get them when they do their half off sale on metals.  Soooo much cheaper!  Oh, and that diaper genie... hasn't been used once.  Although... real foods have made us rethink that!
Doing a quick one-eighty here's the other side of the room.  My girlfriend Heather made Simone the CUTEST diaper wreath & door hanger for my shower.  The bird hooks again are from the Lobby.  Grandma Beaupre also gave Simone her first little backpack for when we travel to the mitten to see our Michigan family!
For the paint used Valspar's paint + primer in Aqua Glow for the upper walls, Homestead South Resort for the bottom, and Sweet Melon on the chair rail & accessories.  We were very lucky to have my MIL here over the summer to help us paint and get her room ready.  Todd put together all of the furniture... but I did all of the heavy lifting of Lobby bags! ;-)

{Pumpkin Soup} - A Husband's Favorite

I think that Todd could live on Pumpkin Soup.  I mean, when we make it we make enough for four people and it's usually gone the first night.  Besides being absolutely delicious, creamy, and warm cooking pumpkin soup makes your house smell like Christmas.
You will need....
1/4 Cup of butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Cups of chicken broth
1 t salt
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t of cayenne
1/4 t cinnamon
1 16 oz can of pumpkin
1 Cup of half & half
parsley or chives to garnish (I skip this and do a leaf or two of spinach instead)
Get it done...
Melt butter, saute onion and garlic
Add broth, salt, coriander, cayenne, and cinnamon, bring this to a boil, reduced heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
Stir in pumpkin mix, simmer another 5 minutes.
Add half & half until heated through, but don't boil.
Remove from heat and puree mixture (I use our blender).  You will want to serve immediately after you puree.  Also, don't skip the puree step... this is what gives the pumpkin soup a velvety texture. 
This soup will keep 5 - 7 days in a sealed container in your fridge.  But if your house is anything like mine it will be gone far and away before that.  This recipe is enough for four people (or one Amy & one Todd), but I would suggest doubling it because it's addicting!  I served it with a grilled cheese & simple spinach, feta, almond, and cranberry salad. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Cleaning - Makeup

I have been on a mission through our whole house the past two weeks.  Bagging up stuff to donate, tossing out trash, and trying to simplify our lives in general.
Did you know Goodwill does home pickups?  Check out their website to schedule one.  I liked using that date as a deadline to motivate me!  It is so freeing to get rid of the JUNK around the house, and a good feeling knowing someone else can give it a new life.  Recycling isn't just separating out your plastics & paper! 
I was inspired by a segment on the Today Show... fourth hour of course because I love a booze induced good time.  Kidding, slightly.  They had a segment about cleaning out your old makeup and beauty products.  I realize while watching I had eye shadow from my high school days.  Some over 10 years old.  What the hell am I still doing with neon pink eyeshadow that I never touch?  My hording ways are pretty disgusting, so I decided to make a change.
I pulled out my Caboodle... yep, my lime green with sparkles one, that went to every skating & cheer leading competition, and dumped it out.  There were seriously about four things I ended up keeping because they were new.  Everything else, trashed.  It was time for me to say goodbye to frosted pinks & blues.  The Caboodle is going in Simone's closet, because I'll be damned if that leaves our family!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Regular Girl's Breastfeeding Experience

I'll start this post by saying... I completely respect how any Mother chooses to feed their sweet bambinos.  Prior to Simone's arrival I decided to take the path of breastfeeding.
I'm pretty stubborn and if someone suggests I CAN'T do something then I'm likely to do it until I'm a pro.  So, pre-due date I read probably three books front to back, and took a class on breast feeding your beeb.  Now, I'm not saying those really taught me anything.  But, I knew going into it that nursing isn't always easy, there will be challenges, and I should get ready to BE FLEXIBLE.
Truly, I think that's the biggest part of being a Mom.  Or, really I should say a successful human being.  Prior to Simone I struggled with flexibility, and didn't embrace change much.  Having her has made me tougher and more bendy than ever before.
Anyways, back to the boob at hand...
After all the prep work, the day came.  Simone was born and within twenty minutes of her arrival the nurse handed her to me and said let's feed this baby.  I was so awkward, it wasn't like practicing with a doll at ALL!  But I put her up to the nip and she just went for it.  I give her all the credit in our nursing success the first night.  She had no issues with her latch and she just seemed to know exactly what to do.  Me on the other hand, not so much.  It took me a while to get her in a comfortable hold.  My advice on this is nurse as much as possible the first few days.  Try holding them in different positions until you find the right one.  Try a boppy, try no boppy, try your rolled up trusty hoodie for goodness sakes.  Find what works for YOU.
Leaving the hospital I felt really good about breastfeeding!  Sure, I was a bit raw as I've never had another human being feeding from me before, but I felt confident.  Cut to the next night at home... engorgement.  Ugh.  And, if you don't already know, let me be the one to give you this great piece of news... you get this whether you nurse or not, so HA, we're all in this together!  That was a long night for her and I.  Never before have I seen my boobs grow to the point of ridiculousness from collar bone to belly button.  But, through that night we just stuck with it, I nursed her for hours.  Struggling with the latch because my boobs were like rock hard bowling balls.  Sure, there were tears, frozen bags of peas at 3am, and waking Todd up to just hold her while I cry in the shower.  It wasn't glamorous, but the most important part was we got through it.
The first few weeks breastfeeding can be pretty demanding.  They eat often and for long periods of time.  I felt myself wanting to give up many times, but pushed through.  There was a time around her three month mark where it seemed like I had been nursing every two hours for the past 90 days.  I decided to try supplementing with formula.  I checked with our doctor and she gave us the go-ahead.  In that time, Simone probably took five bottles of formula.  She doesn't dig it...that's for sure.  So after that I went back to 100% nursing. 
And, you know what?  It got better.  Time between feedings got longer.  I also learned to time her feedings better, to pump while she was napping so that I can be away from time to time, and to love and appreciate this short window where I connect with her like no one else can.  I'll fully admit, it was hard.  I wanted to break, many times.  But, I'm here to tell you if you want to do it, stick with it.  See a lactation specialist if you are struggling, and know that I don't know anyone who regrets trying.
A few HUMBLE suggestions... 
  1. Buy a good pump!  I have a Medela Pump In Style Pump... yes, it's fricken expensive, but there are programs to get one through your hospital and some insurance companies even cover this cost!  Get some milk storage bags, too!
  2. Get a crap-load of Lanolin nipple cream (FYI a crap-load translates to a tube...yes, it's enough!). 
  3. Buy some nursing pads (reusable are great, but have several sets) because you will leak for a bit. 
  4. Frozen peas are a must for soreness the first week (or month if you're me).  Warm showers help, too!
  5. If you are struggling see a lactation specialist
  6. Drink tons of water... then drink some more.  After you've finished that, have one more glass. :) 
  7. There are also lactation cookies, teas, and candies.  I've never tried them, but I've heard good things! 
  8. Take a breastfeeding class, it prepares you for some things.  Also, take that class with a grain of salt, because I left mine thinking our teacher was a judgemental meanie head.
  9. Explain to your partner how important this is to you.  Hopefully he (or she) will be supportive.  I swear I can't tell you how many times Todd talked me "off the ledge".  It makes a huge difference to have a cheerleader! 
  10. Finally, be stubborn, but be flexible.  Some babies experience tongue tie, nipple confusion, etc., etc., etc.  Don't beat yourself up if you have to step outside of your "plan".  I laugh now when I think of all of my "plans" for having this baby girl.  I think the best advice I ever received was DO WHAT WORKS FOR  YOU.  Don't let anyone make you feel bad, guilty, or question what you think is best for your child.  Let them use their own children as guinea pigs. 
I in NO WAY am any kind of an expert.  I'm just sharing with you what got us through those rough patches.  I'm not a militant nursing mom who is going to give you mean shifty eyes.  I'm just a normal girl, who wanted to nurse her baby and I'm not afraid to tell you it's hard, but WONDERFUL.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Simone's Easter Basket

I don't know about you... but I think I'm a little obsessed with holidays with this baby girl.  Since she is too young to realize what is happening... I do fully admit that gifts for her are self serving.  Clothing won't really count as a very cool gift when she gets older.  So for now... I'm living it up.
Here are the goods I scooped up for Simone's very first ever Easter Basket, and yes... those are capitals.  These firsts are so important to us!
All That Jazz
I got almost all of the clothing from Old Navy.  I love their kids clothing, and the prices are great!  I feel like they are much cheaper than Target, and better quality.  Although, I never turn down looking for baby clothes at Target.  I scored Horton Hears a Who from for $5!
The Princess and the Pea book is from Ross ($2.99 for all of their books!  ROCK!), and it's super special because her Grandma Beaupre sings a lovely song from when she was in the musical.  Super sweet.  I picked up the butterfly & bumble ball jr. at the dollar store and the bunny popsicle makers at Fry's in the Easter isle.  The basket came from flowers we got while in the hospital after she was born, so I swore then that this would be her Easter basket until it falls apart! 
Anyone else feel totally offended by the green plastic "grass" stuff?  Just me?  Ok.  Whatever.  So I opted for the neutral colored grass to fill her basket. 
After rolling the clothes and realizing the book I bought was way big... Here's her first Easter basket!  I LOVE IT!  Next year I'm excited for her to get some candy, and more interactive gifts.
Simone's First Easter Basket! 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ginger Baby on St. Patty's!

St. Patty's Day is just a wee bit different with a little one!  I didn't ingest one drop of green beer... bummer.  However, my adorable little ginger (I think it's official... her hair is red right now) dressed in green made it one for the books!
Back up to Friday night.  Friday night sushi = fail.  The place was packed, they lost our sushi slip, and Simone was DONE after being there over an hour before our food came.  She was seriously so patient for us... and I knew the whole time that we were really pushing our luck.  Simone's cranky hour is usually between 7:30 - 8:30pm, and what do ya know... that's the extra hour we were at dinner.  Do your kids have a cranky time?  She just wants to be held, bounced, or danced around.  I love our usual sushi place, but I got totally grumpy faced (grump-a-sauras is what we call it) when they sat us at a tiny two person table in the middle of the dinner rush.  Bahhhhh, they are usually the best and I'll go back, but seriously, I'm still venting three days later because it was total crap.
Anyyyyways.  To make up for our failed attempt at a night out, we hit up The Nosh for scrumptious pancakes, bacon, & eggies Saturday morning.  We LOVE this place, and Simone was a blissful baby because it didn't take three fricken hours to eat! :) 
We hit up the Depo (the...home depo that is) for a few things we needed.  My husband is basically always doing a project (or three...) at any given moment.  Does anyone else live a DIY life?  We do, and it's messy sometimes.  But, I love his drive to always improve our home.  It's sexy... in a "This Old House" kind of way... ummm Bob Vila anyone? Ya, never mind.  We grabbed lunch, and Simone & I went shopping for my girlfriend's baby shower.

My Handy-Man in the Depo

Saturday night Todd worked on his project and I worked on snuggling the most perfect baby the world has ever seen.  It was low-key, and I'm totally down with that.
           Sunday-Funday arrived & Todd got some super cute green eggies made by yours truly!  I took a photo, but they looked so wrong when photographed.  I was bummed because they look super cute in person.  Meh.  After breakfast & getting Simone decked out in her green gear we headed to my Dad's for a grill & chill by the pool.  It was seriously beautiful outside.  This is the perfect time of year in Arizona... and my Dad's Girlfriend's kids even jumped in the pool, CRAZY!
Mommy & Simone

Daddy, Grandpa Hart, & Simone
Simone got her first bathing suit from Grandpa Docherty (my Dad)! Though it was much to cold for her to get In, I had to see her in it! It's obviously leopard print & pink. In honor of her Grandma Docherty! Perfection!

I mean...this much cuteness should be outlawed!

When Todd & I got home we went for a nice long walk to the store to get some beer!  No green stuff, just some Shocktop (our new favorite) and a sunset walk back home. Capped off by chillin on the patio...and Todd & Simone falling asleep together on the couch.  Life is good!
Night, world!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bits of Seriousness

Many of you reading this know me.  For those of you who don't in December of 2011 I lost my Mom to overian cancer.
She was diagnosed with stage four cancer and almost four years post diagnosis, after sugeries, radation, ROUNDS AND ROUNDS of chemo... the cancer had spread to her liver and she passed.
I don't think I'll ever get over losing my Mom.  Because she was so young, because she was one of those people everyone connected with, and espically because she was my Mom.
I was lucky enough for my Mom to watch me get married to Todd.  She looked like a dream at the wedding... she was on an "off" time of chemo, doing really good, had her own hair, and was able to kick up her heels a bit.  So happy & thankful for that.  I just wish she could have met Simone.
After my Mom died, my whole focus changed.  I realized the only thing that matters in life is your family.  This change in my focus caused me to really examine having children.  Leading Todd & I to begin trying to have a baby.  Which lead to the greatest silver lining in our life... Simone Michelle. 
Being pregnant, having a brand new baby, and being a Mom for the first time is daunting.  For me, it was even more so without my Mom around.  I wished so many times I could talk to her, ask her advice, talk about what it was like when she was pregnant, or when I was first born.  But, without her passing, we wouldn't have Simone.  Sure, we might have had another baby down the road, but for it to be this exact little person we have today it had to happen when it did.  For that (and a million other things), I'll always be grateful to my Mom.
I miss her everyday.  I think about her all of the time.  And, I know she would be proud of the person I've become since losing her.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Zuppa Toscana

I originally found this recipe on Pintrest from the blog Mom on Time out.  Credit where it's due!!

I adjusted the recipe (not on purpose...) and ended up loving my version, but it came out a different consistency more like a thick potato soup.

 I'm still going to try doing it with the water... I live for this soup! 
Anyways... here is the original recipe, and I'll put in bold my big huge mistake that ended up being a great one!  See, things gone somewhat wrong can end up being the best things ever!
You will need...
1 lb Italian Sausage (spicy if you prefer more heat)
5-7 slices of bacon
5 medium russet potatoes
2 c kale, chopped
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 qt water
2 cans of chicken broth
1/2 large onion
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
Get it done...
Crumble the sausage onto a baking sheet. Bake the sausage in the oven at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes or until no longer pink. Place on paper towels to drain. 
I cooked my ground sausage in a pan, quicker & no oven heat up!
Cook the bacon and crumble into small pieces. I baked my bacon. Slice the potatoes between 1/8? and 1/4?. I used the thick setting on my mandolin. Just make the slices about the same size so they cook evenly. Dice up the onion and mince the garlic. Throw the potatoes, onion, garlic, chicken broth, and water into a large pot on medium heat until the potatoes are cooked through.
I went with REAL bacon bits from the salad toppings section of Fry's.  Oh, and small thing... TOTALLY SPACED putting in the 1 quart of water... no biggie.
Prepare the kale by chopping into bite sized pieces. Kale is wonderful for soups because it holds up to the heat so well. It’s also delicious! Add the sausage, bacon, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Amazingly, I got all of this right...
During this time the potatoes will start breaking apart into smaller bite sized pieces because they are so tender. Turn the heat to low and add in the kale and heavy cream. Let the soup heat through and serve. We like to serve this soup with some grated Parmesan cheese on top.
At this point I couldn't figure out why my soup was more of a mush... but it didn't matter... it was so delicious I was burning the roof of my mouth eating it out of the pot.  Ehh, please don't tell my guests that last part!
Anyways, everyone raved.  Maybe because I had an almost five month old baby on my lap... but you know, I'll take it where I can get it!  This is going to become a total staple in our house from here on out!  I served it with plain baked chicken (got that oven on after all), and a spinach salad with almonds and strawberries.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lasagna Spasagna

... or at least that's what I've renamed this delicious and family friendly dish!
This lasagna is so yummy, and tastes even better when reheated.  I make a full pan, and Todd & I eat it for lunches the rest of the week.  Delish doesn't even begin to describe it.  Heads up peeps, this is a meat free lasagna, but in no way is it lacking!!

You will need...

12 lasagna noodles (for one 9 x 13 pan)
12 oz frozen chopped spinach (or you could use fresh that you've cooked down...frozen is easy peasy)
12 oz small curd cottage cheese
1 egg
2 T oregano
1 T garlic salt
4 cups shredded mozzarella
6 cups spaghetti sauce (I just used a jar since I like my lasagna a little less "saucy")

Get it done...

Preheat that oven to 350

Boil water and cook your lasagna noodles until they are al dente; drain, then rinse in cold water

Microwave your frozen spinach to defrost (about 2-3 minutes) and squeeze out excess water. 

Combine the next 5 ingredients in a bowl (spinach, cottage cheese, egg, oregano, & garlic salt)

Spinach Mix

Spray 9 x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray (I used Olive Oil spray, it's the
Layer 3 lasagna noodles to cover the bottom of the pan and cover with 2 - 3 cups of spaghetti sauce and an even thin layer of the spinach mixture

Layer three more lasagna noodles, 2 - 3 cups of the sauce and 2 cups of cheese

Repeat the spinach layer and mozzarella layer, ending with mozzarella on top

Ready to Bake

Bake at 350 for 35 mins or until cheese is melted and slightly golden

That's it!  It would feed about 6 - 8, add a quick side salad & garlic bread and have everyone impressed with you!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Baby Shush App

...the best 99 cents I've ever spent.  And, for a girl who loves the Dollar Tree...that's sayin' something!
I love when I find out about little helpers, time (and money) savers, and Mom secrets.  Check out this app if your baby needs white noise to sleep.  You get to choose from several noises, and duration of the noise...all on your iPhone (or android).
There are several versions of this app, but the cheapskate that I am I opted for the 99 cent version.  It rocks.  Simone couldn't sleep through the night when it was too quiet, so this was a life saver.  Todd & I actually really enjoyed the white noise, too.
About three weeks ago I forgot to put it on one night, and she ended up being fine without it, but it got us through the time where she needed that white noise.
Hope this helps your household get a full nights sleep, we all know you deserve it!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Wild Weekend

Our weekend was filled with a lot of fun & excitement!  Friday it was raining and hailing here in Phoenix all day.  The hail was so amazing, but it was coming down so hard it broke a few of our neighbors garage windows.  Freaky Arizona weather!  So Friday night we abandoned our cooking at home all week challenge and hit up our favorite sushi place Sakana.  Seriously, if you are looking for great sushi, amazing service, and a friendly atmosphere TRY IT!  Todd & I started going to Sakana when we first started dating, so they have watched our life change so many times.  I love taking Simone in there now, and she is definitely a little celebrity to the staff!
Todd & Simone Enjoying Family Date Night
Saturday was a pretty dreary day... but it didn't stop us from hitting our town's rummage sale.  Total bust for us, but we had fun checking it out.  We grabbed lunch at another favorite spot, On the Border for some Mexican food with my Dad, his girlfriend Julie & her kiddos.  We headed over to my Dad's after that to hang out and play with Simone.  Todd picked us up a new patio set while the rest of us bummed around the house. 
My Dad Feeding Simone
On our way home we passed by a chili cook off, so of course we pulled over to check it out.  Bummer that we missed it by an hour, but NOT a bummer that it would be back up and running on Sunday!  Since we were already starving we cruised into Panda Garden.  This little place has some DELICIOUS food.  We had a great time in there, they are very friendly and we ate so much we had to be rolled out! ;-)
A+ for Presentation at Panda Garden
Sunday we woke up talking about chili and SCORE, the weather was PERFECT!  We were so excited to get to the cook off, and it didn't disappoint.  There were thirty vendors serving their chili you could buy tasting kits, and vote for your favorite.  It was seriously yummy and we can't wait to go next year when Simone can actually try a bite, too.  Todd even pointed out that they had cotton candy (my absolute favorite naughty candy), and bought his grown-up-wife a bag. 
Simone & I at the Chili Cook Off
Finished up the weekend relaxing on our new patio set, enjoying the beautiful sunset, and dining on another family dish Spinach Pie.  I'll share the recipe soon!
Hope you all had a great weekend, too!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lunch Time

This week I wanted to cook from our family cookbook every night.  Two years ago my Mother-in-law gave us a great gift of recipes in a family cookbook.  She used a great website called TasteBook where you can add to a cookbook from recipes on the site, or add your own family favorites.  I love ours because we can make her special meals even when she is all the way in Michigan.  Although, I never claim they are as good, because it's always better when Mom makes you something with love! 

Todd, Me, & Linda (aka Mom)

I wanted to share a few of the meals we are making out of Mom's cookbook because they are amazing, creative, & beautiful... just like her, go figure!

Last night I made Kale-Quinoa Salad.  Now, Todd introduced me to Qunioa (sounds like KEEN-WA) a few years ago.  I was skeptical, but seriously this stuff is better than rice and WAY healthier.

Don't be scared fellow junk food lovers!  This is one healthy salad that this mac & cheese craving, meatloaf loving, and brownie scarfing girl can really get down for.  And it's insanely simple to make.

You will need...

Kale, one large bunch, finely chopped
Quinoa, 1 cup (1 cup quinoa cooked in 2 cups of water)
Dried cranberries (*really ties the room together, man.*)
Almonds, finely chopped
Olive oil, drizzled all over ingredients
Lemon juice, drizzled over all ingredients

Combine first 4 ingredients, add olive oil and lemon juice sparingly (to taste).
Store in covered container in the fridge.  Better when sits over night... but we ate it straight away and it was perfect!  We had this with turkey wraps and left over pumpkin soup from the night before...I'll post that recipe, too.  It's my hubs favorite thing of all time...except for his little beeb, Simone!


It's Beautiful Outside

For those outside of Arizona... this may be a time of freezing cold weather.  For us, it's the time of year where everyone is out... before the insane oven that we live in is set to 450.
I really love taking Simone on walks to the park!  It's part of this little perfect image I have in my head of playing with her while the sun shines and the birds sing!  Packing a lunch for the big kids (Todd & I) was just icing on my little dream world cake.
We put down a blanket, and feasted on our meal... which were simple turkey sandwiches and our favorite soy sauce & wasabi almonds. Simone slept for most of our outing, since the walk to the park in her stroller puts her to sleep. But, when she did wake up she enjoyed watching the kids at the park play, run, and laugh. Todd & I talked about how it will be so amazing to watch her run through the park in the not too distant future.

If you are in Arizona, get out... take a walk, eat lunch on a patio, open your doors!  It's beautiful & the heat is coming! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Wicked Awesome App

Hey guys! I found a really cool app called CocoPPa.

It allows you to customize your icons & backgrounds for your iPhone! Read the instructions carefully, because you don't want to delete the original apps icon, but just shift them to a new folder.

I had to share how cute these are! Check out my home screen! Take a pic & share yours once you customize. :-)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Simone's Birth Story

This is a long BOOK of a post, but I want Simone to be able to read this someday.  Don't worry, I'll add in far more gory details when I tell her the story... but here's the "as-short-and-not-gross-as-I-can-get-it" version.

I love thinking about the week leading up to Simone's arrival.  I was in that final stretch of pregnancy... you know.... the I'm too huge to do much right now phase.  I was big, and felt like a low hanging fruit!

My final Doctors appointment was the Thursday prior to having Simone and the Doc promised I wouldn't make it out of the weekend.  But, you know how that goes...being that pregnant is like saying hurry up and wait.  We just wanted to meet Simone and hold her close.  I was already progressing... I leave it at that.  Just waiting on contractions to start.

So, Friday passes, then Saturday... and I told Todd I was sure I'd end up being pregnant forever.  During those days all I did was bounce on my exercise ball and beg Todd to take me on yet another walk around the neighborhood. 

Sunday, October 21st I woke up feeling strange.  Like, don't have anything to say kind of strange... which BELIEVE you me...that's a strange one!

Todd & I had breakfast at one of our favorite little spots, The Nosh and I couldn't even get through my pancakes.  Which are ah-mazing (with a delish sugary walnut topping thing...serious go there!) and that is completely unlike me.  However, I told Todd let's press on with our plan to buy me a crafty junk organizer at Lowe's. 

A lady in Lowe's asked, "Oh, when are you due?" which I probably half talked half grumbled "tomorrow".  We come home from Lowe's and I'm convinced that I'm starting to have the baby/somethings wrong/were going to end up delivering her in the car when I saw the teeny tiniest bit of blood.  So off to triage we went!  This is about 2pm. 

Long story short in triage...spent 3 hours with an awesome nurse (from Michigan...she noticed my can of Vernors) who was hilarious said I wasn't progressing.  Told me to go home and enjoy my final days of pregnancy, but before she sent us home she did one final "check".  Now, I had my membranes stripped at the Doc's office on Thursday... but this Michigan nurse must have had some bear sized hands because when she "checked" I think she started my true labor right then.

I waddled to the car with Todd... tears coming down my face... I wondered how I could deal with the pain for a few days!?  Todd.... my sweet Todd, tells me let's go home, get dressed, and go have one last date night before becoming parents.  I would pretty much do anything (barring hurting animals or giving up brownies) to enjoy a nice night out where someone else cooks, serves you, and cleans up.  So, this charged me up.  I got all fancy in my nicest pregnancy dress.  At this point I was pretty used to what I WAS calling contractions, and ready to put this baby-having business to rest, for the night at least.

Todd took me to The Keg (which, comeon... I don't know many people who don't love their twice baked potatoes!) for one last hurrah.  Our waitress took our order, and as she took my menu and walked away...BOOM... my first REAL contraction.  Now, I thought I had contractions earlier... this was toe curling, white knuckling, eye crossing REAL.  I told Todd to start timing.

Our food came and I was at about 6 minutes between 1 minute contractions.  Now, our birthing class had taught us the 5-1-1.  Don't come to the hospital until your contractions are five minutes apart, one minute long, for over one hour.  So, I ate my dinner between my contractions, and white knuckled my chair when I was having them.  Todd swears people were staring at us, you know... just clearly in labor trying to get in my last meal!  I couldn't have been bothered to notice.

Todd asked if we should go right to the hospital from dinner, and I was NOT having that.  I wasn't going to be sent home again... so I pressed him to take me home where I would gather my things and put on my jams before heading off.

We got home and I had him put my bags in the car so we could hop in when I was ready.  Now, at this point my contractions are between four and five minutes apart.  Todd wasn't sure what he should do, and to be honest I didn't know what he should either, so I told him to assemble my new craft organizer!  Now, when we talk about this we crack up because here I am... full blown labor and he's putting together this huge thing in the garage.  Don't anyone give him a hard time about this, I swore to him it's what would make me feel better, and to tell you the did.

At some point I realized we got to go.  I've been in 5-1 labor for about two hours and it's getting closer between my contractions.  So we drive to the hospital...I don't really think I ever sat in my seat... I kind of just hovered using the "oh s*#$" handle to hold myself up.  HAVING A BABY IS NO JOKE.

We get to the hospital, are sent into triage again, and start the wait to see if I'm progressing.  I gave the nurse devil eyes when she suggested that if I wasn't I would go home again... Through every contraction Todd would be right there.  At one point the only thing that helped was having him put his forehead against mine and breathe.  He stayed calm and there were not incidents of hair pulling, slapping, or name calling like in the movies!  After an hour the nurse returned, and sure enough I was at a 6, and being admitted.  She asked me if I would like my epidural waiting for me, and I asked if it was too early.  She laughed at me.  I even tried to be cool and walk to labor & delivery... that wasn't happening.

When we got to our room it was such a cool, calm, and perfect experience.  The Doc who gave me the epidural was named Dr. Lee and he did it with such speed and ease.  I realized epidurals aren't for everyone... so all I'll say on this matter is I loved Dr. Lee, I felt no pain after that point and I loved being able to relax and take a three hour nap before having Simone. 

At around 4:30am the nurse came in to check me.  She was sure I wouldn't be too far along, so Todd took a quick bathroom break.  She went to check and looked at me with a smile & said... well, Amy, you're at a 10, we're going to get the Doctor called and do a practice push.  Todd came out and she said hey, Dad... we're going to push now.  He was a little shocked, and I started to shake.  I hadn't really thought too much about the fact that I was about to push this baby out until right then.  The next hour or so the nurses got everything ready, we did a practice push, and my Doctor arrived. 
I'm so glad I made the decision to have the birth of our Daughter be something that just Todd, myself, the Doctor, and our amazing nurse were a part of.  Todd cheered me on the whole time.  He said the sweetest things... I won't share them all, but my favorite thing he said was "you're bringing our daughter into the world"... and I'll never forget his face and how I felt when he said it.

After three contractions (could have been four)... on October 22nd, 2012 at 6:19am, Simone Michelle Hart was born.  When I saw her it was so surreal.  I know it's what everyone says (because it's so true) I fell in love with her more than I knew was possible.  Todd was by her side as the nurse cleaned her, weighed her, and measured her.  They had Todd bring her back to me and we just all snuggled together.  We did this as a team, the three of us.  And I knew right then that we would be this team forever.

Rice Cereal

Simone had her first meal the other night.  It was the sweetest thing watching her experience the new texture of the rice cereal!

I think our excitement far outweighed her's.... but we got her jazzed up by asking over & over if she was ready.  This got her pretty excited, enough to start babbling and throwing her hands up.  I'm pretty sure she's going to grow up thinking everything we do is cause for a silly song & dance.  Ok with me.

At first she didn't quite understand the new sensation...  But she kept going for it, so we fed her the whole serving.  Most of it got eaten!  


She's the cutest little creature. After every bite she had to suck on her hand, which was adorable. I had the camera rolling and you can watch the whole event for yourself on our YouTube page. Although Todd asked who would want to watch a 2 minute video of our baby eating...and of course in this proud Mom's eyes the answer is

Until next time!