Food Friday

Being that I am the primary meal planner and cook in our household, I can say with pure exhaustion that this time of year can be hard when it comes to quick, yet healthy meals for my family.  Quick and healthy are the key words I am looking for when finding food to prepare for us all.  This time of year is busy as I’m sure you all can relate to.  Our calendars are rapidly filling up, leaving little time in the evenings especially to prepare a decent meal, let alone sit and enjoy a nice family dinner in a timely matter.  Monday and Tuesday nights will be especially hectic because my youngest will have soccer games and t-ball games when we typically sit down and eat dinner.  With that said, as a mother and a wife, I want to still be able to whip something delicious up for my family and not throw together a below par sort of dinner.

With that said, being able to pull off a dinner that is quick, yet healthy takes some planning on my part.  I’ve learned that this gives me a giant headache, as it’s not my most favorite task to accomplish.  I also learned while grocery shopping, that family grocery shopping may work for some of my followers, but it does not work well for me.  Trust me, I tried it yet again this past weekend (Lord help me) and I almost had a full blown panic attack in the middle of the beans, rice and pasta isle!  It will be a while before I do it again.  Going at it alone is just so much less stressful, productive, and feels like my mind isn’t a web of commotion.  Planning first takes time to sit down, look at our busy schedules and see what types of meals will work best on each day.  It also requires time to look through recipe books or online for recipes.  It requires scavenging through your cupboards, freezer, and fridge to see what we already have that we can use, it requires making a list.   This can be time consuming to do, so I also have to plan around my schedule to do this around quiet times (morning during nap time is usually best for me). I typically plan for 2 weeks, so I typically plan during the last part of that 2nd week and do my grocery shopping on the weekend before the beginning of my 2 week cycle.

My two week Meal plan looks something like this:

Monday 5/15:  Crock-pot Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches, grapes & carrot sticks

Tuesday 5/16:  Left-overs

Wednesday 5/17:  Left-overs

Thursday 5/18:  Advocado-Provolone Turkey Wraps, Cantaloupe

Friday 5/19: Crispy Chicken-BLT Salad, Cantaloupe

Saturday 5/20: Home-made Mini Corn-dogs muffins, brown beans

Sunday 5/21:  Pinwheel Pizza, pineapple & Carrot sticks

Monday 5/22:  Undone Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Tuesday 5/23:  Leftovers

Wednesday 5/24:  Fool Proof Turkey Meat Loaf, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, corn

Thursday 5/25:  Leftovers

***Will start meal planning for the next two weeks.

Friday 5/26:  Home made Chicken fingers and green beans

Saturday 5/27:  Spaghetti and home made garlic toast

Sunday 5/28:  Grilled BBQ Chicken, corn & baked potatoes

***Will grocery shop Sat or Sun

I want to point out that like anything, sometimes things don’t always go according to plan.  Sometimes we are able to follow our food menu to a T and other times, things come up and a meal is pushed over to the next day or two.  For example, my husbands parents like to visit us on the weekends so often times we will go out to dinner, or grill out on a whim or eat at their house or I will prepare a meal that I had intended make to have leftovers for us but gets eaten in one sitting when company comes.  It’s important to leave a bit of wriggle room when it comes to meal planning for this reason (and always have staple items in your kitchen to make a meal on a whim when your plan backfires).

Last night was T-ball night and if you look back at the menu for Thursday 5/18 we had Advacado-Provolone Turkey wraps.  This was the first time I had ever made these and will not be the last.  I loved how easy they were to make.  They were light and didn’t sit hard in our stomach (something that is nice when you eat a late dinner).  They are also perfect for summer, as they are refreshing.  I like that you can prepare ahead and make these an hour or two before you eat and stick them back in the fridge and just grab and go or just have everything washed, cut and all in one area of your fridge to grab and whip up when ready.  I served them with cantaloupe (which I had cut up earlier in the day) and we each had a handful of chips (not usually what I choose to have go with our dinner but it just worked last night).  If you have picky kid eaters at your house like I do mine, you can also modify this recipe to their liking by either making a simple wrap with what the like on it (mine just wanted the cheese and turkey) but asked to have red pepper sticks on the side or just separating the ingredients and giving them a sample of each.  Since this was such a hit at our house last night I wanted to share with you the recipe:

 

Easy Avocado Provolone Turkey Wraps Recipe

Ingredients:

  • tortilla wraps,
  • garlic and herb laughing cow cheese
  • spinach, black pepper turkey
  • 2 slices provolone cheese
  • 1/4 sliced avocado
  • 4 strips red bell pepper.

Directions:
Layer tortilla, garlic and herb laughing cow cheese, spinach, black pepper turkey, 2 slices provolone cheese, 1/4 sliced avocado, and 4 strips red bell pepper.  Enjoy!

Happy menu planning!  I hope I gave you some ideas for your next meal planning adventure!  Part of the joys of wife-hood and motherhood is making sure your husbands belly and kiddos bellies are happy and healthy!  I hope you enjoyed this Food Friday, brought to you by a mom who is happy she doesn’t have to menu plan or grocery shop for another week!

There is a Mother out there! I see you.

I see you…

There is a mother out there who carries hope in her heart of another child.

There is a mother out there who has an angel baby and or knows loss of her child.

There is a mother out there who has step children.

There is a mother out there who has foster children.

There is a mother out there soon expecting her first baby…second baby…third…

There is a mother out there who has adopted or is in the process of adopting a child.

There is a mother who can’t have a child and so desperately wants one.

There is a mother out there who had a child but can’t have another one

There is a mother out there.

Be aware of these mothers on this mothers day and remind yourself that you are a mother if you carry the love of your child in your heart and wear this love on your sleeve day in and day out 365 days a year 24/7!  You are not forgotten this mother’s day, you are stronger, braver, and loved more then you will ever know!  Happy Mother’s Day! Today we celebrate you.  I see you.

 

 

I’ll Do It Tomorrow

This week I feel like I’ve been busy doing many different things.  If you asked me to tell you’ve why I’ve been so busy I really couldn’t tell you.  It would also be a mystery as to why my to-do list is ever long and nothing I had anticipated getting done this week has gotten done.  Being honest with myself, I feel like those busy things I have been wasting my time doing, have been an excuse to help me avoid what it is I should actually be doing.  I’ve been in this funk before and it’s never a good thing. In all reality, it just sets me back and adds more to my plate.  Overwhelming is a good word for how it makes me feel when I don’t get things done.

I’ve been easily distracted too and know this is procrastination at it’s finest.  The good intention is there, yet I just find myself saying “I’ll do it tomorrow.”  In actuality, I should be doing it now because in the past when I’ve gotten in this mode I quickly learn it’s either doing the important task now because if I don’t it turns into never.  Waking up on Monday, I just knew it would be this kind of week for me.  I woke up tired, and feeling like I was on the verge of getting a cold.  I was supposed to get my allergy shot, but decided not to.  Why?  Because I’ll just do it next Monday.  The joke is probably going to be on me when something comes up and I can’t go then either.  Damn it!  I should have just gone this week!  Do you ever find yourself doing this?  It’s really annoying when these moods creep up because it ends up creating more of a headache later on and it certainly doesn’t help in the stress department.

As I was watching my oldest daughter practically bouncing off the walls with energy this morning while she was waiting to get on the bus for school, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “I wish I had her big ball of energy, I’d crush the life out of my to-do list.”  Instead, I am finding myself dragging my feet yet again today for the 4th day in a row.  Seriously, what is my problem?  I need to get it together!

Here are a few things I am procrastinating (that are not even super big-deal things) this week in no particular order:

  1. Menu Planning
  2. Grocery shopping
  3. Cleaning my house: Bathrooms (getting the lime build up off our faucets especially), floors, Kitchen, bedrooms, cleaning the carpets, etc.
  4. Working out
  5. Shopping for a Mother’s Day gift for my Mom & an end of the year gift for E’s teachers
  6. Yard work-Digging up plants, cleaning out the window wells, mowing the lawn and weeding
  7. Purging of junk and getting rid of clutter
  8. Doing a shutterfly order (I’m way behind on scrapbooks and pictures for the girls)
  9. Transplanting my aloe and Jade plant
  10. Spring/Summer shopping:  For the girls and myself
  11. Planning E’s birthday party for June (I know I’ve got time, but I’m usually already on top of this and I’m clueless for this year).
  12. Preparing Learning activities for the kids for the next two weeks
  13. Running small errands:  Filling my car with gas, getting stamps
  14. Getting my 3 walks a day in/walking the dog
  15. Planning for our vegetable garden this year (which will need to get planted in a few short weeks).
  16. Research on how to do my DIY project:  Refinishing 4 dressers and a headboard.

There is the old saying that “The best way to get something done is to begin.”  There is also the concept of positive perspective.   A positive attitude has not been my strong point this week.  Instead of saying “I’ll do it tomorrow”, I should be telling myself “I can get through this task, even though it’s not my favorite.  Once it’s done, I won’t have to do it again for a while and then I’ll have free time to do something I enjoy or to just relax.”  There are many benefits to completing these tasks as well and maybe they would get done if I started focusing on the benefits of finishing them.  After revisiting my list of to-do’s I may also be feeling overwhelmed by the list in its entirety.  Maybe if I break it down and give myself an allotted time frame to work on or accomplish each task from day to day, even if I don’t finish some of them from beginning to end, at least I have started working on completing them.   This takes some of the pressure off.  Most importantly, I just need to stop making up excuses so I start seeing results.  When I start seeing results I know that will aid in my energy level because I will feel accomplished!

Now that I’ve given myself time to reflect and a small pep talk it’s time to begin!

 

…but I didn’t.

Recently, I accidentally (or coincidentally, which ever way I shall choose to perceive it) overheard a private conversation being had by two women (about my age) who were having a rummage sale that I happened to stumble across this past weekend.  While they were chatting away at what seemed to be a very serious and private conversation, my ears caught interest in the topic of discussion and became very attentive to their conversation.  Some of you may be thinking shame on you Nichole! I have to admit I did feel bad at first for listening in on these women BUT at the same time I was very interested in hearing two random strangers talk about their circumstances.  Can you guess the topic they were having a conversation about?  If you said infertility and IVF you guessed correctly.   Now I know they probably didn’t realize anyone was listening or even cared about what they were talking about.  They most certainly didn’t know that the random stranger looking at all their treasures in that very moment, in their garage, had walked a mile in their shoes before either.  I so badly wanted to chime in on their conversation, I really did…but, I didn’t.

It truly was that scenario where you don’t want to let the people who were talking about something so private, know that you overheard what they were saying.  Especially because you never know how open a person is about that topic with a complete stranger.  I guess I was kinda sorta eavesdropping too, and who really wants to admit they were doing that?  It really is bad manners, I know.  Yet, at the same time, I felt like in that instant my cup had overfilled with that “me too” feeling and it was weighing heavily on my heart to share this with them…but, I didn’t.

Instead, I walked up to their table and bought a couple of the clothing items they had been selling.  I smiled at them as I approached them, as they both fell silent and instead asked how their sale was going and made other small talk with them.  I kept feeling this nudging feeling to admit I had overheard their conversation and I wanted to ask more questions and also share with them some smaller details of my struggles…but, I didn’t.

As I sit here today and think about that moment in my weekend, it is clearly one that stood out to me and I can’t stop thinking about what if I had went up to them and said, “me too”.  What if I had reached out to them and asked more questions or shared my story or said I know I’m a complete stranger, but I’m here if you need to talk?  What if…?! Regret is a funny thing, no matter how big or how small.  Looking back, I wonder what I was afraid of and why I couldn’t be more bold in that circumstance?  I’m trying to reflect on this moment today and I am still at a loss as to why I can’t stop thinking about it and why it’s been weighing on my heart?

There were so many moments in my infertility/IVF journey that I felt alone and wished someone had reached out to me, wished there was someone tangible to go to, to hang out with to get my mind of things or be a shoulder to cry on and could have been my rock or my guiding light.  Maybe this is why I can’t stop thinking about it.  Part of me feels like I turned my back to a circumstance where I could have been beneficial to someone else and I didn’t open my heart to them.  Yet, I was afraid because maybe they would have looked at me funny or thought why is this stranger telling us this, if I had opened up.  I guess it was just hard knowing what to do, so instead I did nothing.

What would you have done in this scenario?  Have you ever had any …but, I didn’t situations in your life?

 

 

Ear Infection

This past Wednesday evening I had a glorious hour long massage as part of an early birthday present to myself.  It was heaven!  I haven’t felt that relaxed for quite a while now.  As we all know though, all good things must come to an end.  I will never understand why some hours feel like eternity, while other hours feel like they go by in the blink of an eye.  Well, I blinked and it felt like my pampering ended as quickly as it started.  As much as I wanted to beg my massage therapist to stay in that calm, quiet, stress-free environment I knew it was time to get up, get dressed, and mosey on back to my family. When I say mosey, I will admit that I was dragging my feet a bit in getting back.  I love my family, I really do!!!  However, I’ll admit breaks away are sometimes the best medicine for me.  I know this break away and this massage has been a long time coming.  I enjoyed it immensely-so much so, I scheduled another massage for myself at the end of August (mainly because my massage therapist talked me into it by giving me a discount if I made an appointment that same night for another one) and well, you don’t have to twist my leg to do that again!  Yes please, sign me up!!!

As I got home from my massage, both girls were snuggling on their daddy’s lap and sleeping.  It was quite the adorable picture actually-until my littlest woke up and started screaming bloody murder and would not stop.  I asked my husband if she had been like this for him while I was gone and he said she was a bit fussy but he got her to calm down, obviously.  So, I figured she just wanted to soothe herself back to sleep by nursing like she so often does, but nursing was not working like it usually does.  She would latch and unlatch and arch her back and scream and try again.  I finally was able to get her back to sleep and I laid her down in her co-sleeper (uffda!).  However, 15 minutes later she was screaming again.  This was very unlike her and my instincts were telling me something wasn’t right.  I went to get her and she seemed like she was in pain.  Needless to say, I spent the night on the couch and K was only comfortable in an upright position on my chest.  It was a rough night.  When we woke up the next day, she seemed to continue to be irritable and that’s when my gut instinct started telling me her ears were hurting her.  However, I know nothing about ear issues so  I called my husband and told him I was taking her in to the doctor to double check.  He trusted my decision, but he also tried to tell me it was just a cold.

Despite my husband thinking it was just a cold, I took K in and she was seen in the late afternoon on Friday.  Low and behold, it turned out she did indeed have an ear infection in her right ear.  Mama bear knows best and I’m glad I listened to my instinct on this one.  This will be her first ear infection ever. We got very lucky with E as she has yet to have an ear infection.  Hopefully, it isn’t something that is repetitive and she continues to get.  She was down right miserable.  Poor girly.  It’s never fun seeing your babies in pain, especially when you feel so helpless and everything that typically makes them feel better isn’t working.  She was sent home with a 10 day antibiotic which has been making her poop a lot and in turn is making her bottom very sore-so she’s been irritable in that way now too.  Sometimes you feel like you just can’t win. She is nursing better and sleeping better though, so it must be doing it’s job somewhat.

Recently, I’ve been trying to learn more about ear infections and also  how chiropractic care can help with them.  This is something I want to look into more if by chance ear infections are a reoccurring issue for K (hopefully not).  I have such little experience with ear infections I honestly didn’t know what all the symptoms could even be. I wasn’t even 100% sure if that is what was going on, it was just honestly my instinct I listened to.  She wasn’t running a fever or pulling on her ears.  She simply had trouble nursing and sleeping and it was by far worse for her at night than during the day.  The doctor told me sometimes kids won’t display any symptoms.  So it’s important to pay attention to the little things and know the true symptoms of an ear infection as well.  If any of you have any experience on this topic, I’d love to hear your two cents!  Feel free to leave me your feedback in the comments!

While I’m waiting for your responses, I’m going to be day dreaming of my Wednesday even massage, while sipping my almost cold coffee.  It’s only Tuesday, but it’s been a week already!  It’s always insane to me how I can be in a complete zen mood one minute and so incredibly stressed and panicked the next.  Things change quickly.  This is why it’s so important to not take for granted those blissful, enjoyable moments in time!  Deep breaths and mosey on!

33 Joys of Motherhood…

In light of turning 33 on Saturday I wanted to share 33 things I love about being a Mama. It’s so easy to get caught up complaining about the downsides of being a mom- like the lack of sleep, constantly picking up toys, and the little time to or for yourself (when I’m going to the bathroom for example, it never fails to be the best time for my daughter to strike up a conversation or need me to do/get something for her in that instant) to name a few.

However, I can without a doubt tell you that the benefits far outweigh those down sides to being a mother!  I know that the very things we complain about as mothers are also the very thing another person is praying to experience. I am constantly reminding myself of this very thing often.  Although we are all human and it’s in our nature to complain, I also try to put forth my best effort to find the positives in everything.  Let me tell you, it isn’t hard to find the joys in motherhood because you have pure and simple joy every single day of your life.

The 33 things that come to my mind that I enjoy about being a mother are:

  1. Getting to experience life through my child’s eyes.  
  2. Having the constant reminder to slow down, and enjoy the little things that will one day be the big things.  
  3. Kissing my children’s boo-boos and wiping away their tears.
  4. Watching my children grow & learn and also spread their wings.
  5. My children make my house a home and fill it with love.  
  6. Always having someone to go on new adventures with.
  7. Seeing my child apply concepts they are learning in real life situations.
  8. Watching my child sleep.
  9. Experiencing with them, each new milestone.
  10. They are my world, but knowing I am theirs too is the best feeling.
  11. Being able to nurture another human being and teach them kindness and compassion.
  12. Breastfeeding/nursing relationship.
  13. Firsts. Every single one of them.
  14. Hand holding, hugs, kisses and snuggles.  
  15. My kids give me a real purpose in this life.
  16. Feeling all the feels from them.  They make me have emotions I never knew I had.
  17. Just as I teach my children lessons, they too teach me things.
  18. Having daily inspiration.
  19. Seeing my daughters smiling, playing and laughing together-it truly melts my heart.
  20. Baking/cooking together.
  21. Seeing my own parents as grandparents and my sisters as aunts.
  22. After being away from your children and then coming back to them and seeing the relief and joy on your face that you came back for them.
  23. Seeing glimpses of me and my husband in our children.
  24. The unconditional love.
  25. Baby giggles and big girl laughter.
  26. Making memories every single day together.
  27. The opportunity to be a teacher and a positive role model.
  28. The depths of my emotions for my children.
  29. Watching my husband with my girls.
  30. Having an excuse to be silly or play games.
  31. Reliving your own childhood.
  32. Creating our own family traditions.
  33. My kids keep me young and healthy!

May!

It’s May 1st already.  When the heck did it get to be May?  I feel like I’ve been in a whirl wind since I had my daughter in November. Most days it feels like all I did was blink and now K is almost 6 months old.  Say what?  I know right!  It just seems impossible.  Don’t get me wrong though. I love the month of May and I am glad we are here.

I enjoy that the world outside, all around us, is starting to come alive again.  The flowers are starting to bloom, the leaves on the trees are starting to bud, the birds are singing & the bees are buzzing.  I love how I see neighbors out working in their gardens, they are out mowing the lawn and how you can hear their children playing.  We once again, for about the 6th year in a row, have a robin occupying the nest in the front of our house.  We always enjoy watching her keeping her nest up to par and keeping her eggs nice and cozy and safe, while awaiting the arrival of her baby robins.  May is just a fabulous month with the anticipation of a beautiful summer to come.

However, the inevitable is happening to me as it does every May.  I turn another page. On May 6th my birthday approaches once again (thankfully, but always bittersweet especially as I continue to move up the ladder in age).  I will be 33 this month.  Again, say what?  I know that’s not old in the grand scheme of things, but dang it I loved my late 20’s.  It’s an obvious fact that I’m inching further away from my glory days and I can hear my biological time clock ticking louder then ever telling me to grab the bulls by the horns and the time is now (didn’t we just do that though?).  It is at the forefront of my mind though as I’m two years away from 35 and in the fertility world that’s when you are automatically considered high risk and in the IVF world things get even more expensive due to age.  Two years seems like a lot of time, but when you are not in control of things and you have a body that doesn’t cooperate and do not have a bottomless money pit in your back yard-it’s a bit more complicated.

Back to my birthday though.  This week is going to be busy.  I’ve got a lot on my agenda each day this week and I will apologize now if blogs are few and far in between.  I typically don’t do anything for myself often, let alone on my actual birthday.  Since nothing will top my Florida dinner cruise birthday back in 2010 (hint, hint), I decided to plan some things for myself this year.  Last year was a very difficult year though and I wanted to start this year off with a little pampering.  I always talk about self care, and it’s time I do less talking and more acting on.  On Wednesday, I am treating myself to a hair cut and color.  I haven’t had my hair colored for a very long time.  With the stress of this past year, and I hate to admit this, but I am starting to sprout grey hairs.  This is my reality and I am not ready to embrace them right now.  Instead, I am ready to cover those up.  I can’t quite decide what I am going to do yet, but I am excited of a fresh pop of color.  Then, on Thursday I am treating myself to an hour long massage.  Then on Saturday (my actual birthday) I look forward to spending the day with my younger sister going to the city wide rummage sales.  I know it will be a day of shenanigans and laughter.  Hopefully in the evening then I will be spending the remainder of my birthday with my husband, and daughters with no real plans (yet).  Maybe we’ll go out to dinner or something because nobody should have to cook on their birthday!

Life is just going by so fast right now, one lesson I am learning, that I know sounds very cliche, is to enjoy each day as if it’s your last, to make sure to slow down and smell the roses & enjoy those little moments that will one day be the big moments and to make sure you find joy in each day, laugh more often, give your heart to those important people in your life, love more, give more and take less, and be kind.  This is my intent this year.  Any advice or tips for me as I reach this new milestone in my life?  I’d love to hear your wisdom!  Please feel free to leave me a comment below!