Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Wednesday One: Week 15

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Menu Monday #49

So, I'm a little behind this week, but we've been busy! On Friday night, we stayed in for dinner. We can't seem to keep everyone healthy around here (Daisy appears to be feeling somewhat better, but unfortunately isn't wanting to eat much but boiled chicken, not dog food. Sigh.), as Noah came down with a really high fever on Thursday after waking from his nap. Paired with a runny nose and cough, he was pretty miserable. So, while I was out enjoying a little "me time" while the boys napped, I picked up some Chick-Fil-A to bring home for dinner. We cashed in our "buy once, get it twice" receipt, so dinner was absolutely free! Score! Despite not feeling well, Noah still had a healthy appetite through it all, so he was happy to enjoy his nuggets. :)

On Saturday morning, I made my whole wheat banana bread pancakes with vanilla maple glaze again. They are so good! After that, Ethan and I headed out to a birthday party for one of his preschool friends. It was hot, hot, hot outside in the 80s, but it was nice to soak up the sunshine! After naps later that day, Noah was feeling good and his temperature was back to normal, so we went out to Carrabba's for dinner. I really love their Tag Pic Pac dish, so I indulged in that. :) For dessert, we made our way to Menchie's for some frozen yogurt to treat the boys. Unfortunately, Noah's fever returned later that evening, so it was early to bed for the boys.

On Sunday morning, Josh made our usual egg bagel sandwiches for breakfast. We decided to stay home from church in case Noah was contagious. We didn't want him passing any germs to all of the other little ones at the kids' worship! We spent the day at home, cleaning, and later enjoying the warm temps again. Fortunately, Noah's fever finally went away for good and he is feeling like himself again!

Sunday: Blackened salmon, brown rice, roasted asparagus
A delicious meal for a gorgeous, hot spring day! It was the perfect evening for grilling out, so we enjoyed this yummy meal! The boys had grilled tilapia, while we had the salmon. For dessert, we had fresh strawberries in chocolate pudding. I'm not sure why I had never had chocolate pudding before, but I actually really liked it! Who knew?

Monday: Cheeseburgers, sweet potato tots
Ethan and I attended another fun birthday party (an awesome pool party!), so Josh got dinner ready while we were on our way back home. Normally I'd make baked sweet potato fries, but since I wasn't there, Josh was able to throw some frozen tots in the oven. :)

Tuesday: Out to eat
Tonight we will be attending Ethan's kindergarten orientation (!!!!), so we'll make things easy by grabbing a bite to eat while we're out.

Wednesday: Out to eat
My aunt, uncle and cousin are coming to town to check out a local college campus, so we'll show them around the area, then enjoy some local fare for dinner!

Thursday: Roasted cauliflower and mushroom carbonara
I'm excited to try this new recipe. I have no idea why I stopped roasting cauliflower, but I was reminded last week how incredibly delicious it is! This dish sounds, and looks, amazing. I can't wait!

Friday: TBD
My parents will be in town, so I'm not sure if I'll cook or if we'll go out. After all of the eating out during the week, I should probably get back into the kitchen though! Haha!

Saturday: TBD

What's on your menu this week?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Luscious Lips with Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipstick

So, I don't normally wear a lot of makeup, especially lipstick. But, I recently received a sample of Rimmel's Moisture Renew lipstick from Influenster to try out. I'll admit, when I first put it on, it was a bit shocking seeing my lips so bright! Haha! I kept checking them out every so often though, and it actually really grew on me. Who knew I'd like lipstick so much?

Here I am wearing their shade "As You Want Victoria."

As you can see, my normally non-existent lips are really highlighted here!! I normally don't like wearing lipstick because it makes my lips feel sticky, but that wasn't the case with this tube. The color is so vibrant, too. Simply amazing! Not only does this lipstick not leave my lips feeling sticky, it actually felt like it moisturized them, like a chapstick. Awesome!

The only problem I can find, which I'm sure is common with most lipsticks, is that it does transfer pretty easily onto things. If I give my babies a kiss, it leaves a little pink behind. ;) The good news though, the color still remains on my lips, too!

I'm excited to buy another tube that's a bit more muted for daytime wear, but I'll definitely be wearing this shade for my next girls night out! :) Who knows, maybe I'll become more of a lipstick-wearing gal now, too.

I received this product from Rimmel London via Influenster for testing purposes. This post is not sponsored and the opinions expressed here are all my own.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Menu Monday #48

On Friday night, after the boys got haircuts, we went to a local Italian restaurant, Giovanni's. I've loved everything I've tried there. We started with their garlic knots and I decided to get their Chicken Alfredo calzone. Not the most diet-friendly, but it's absolutely delicious. I enjoyed every calorie! Haha! After dinner, we made our way home so that we could finally watch Frozen!! The boys absolutely loved it, especially Olaf and Sven. :) I also loved it and its great soundtrack. It will be a nice change from Cars 2 in the van. Haha! I can't stop humming/singing "Let it Go!" We'll see how long that lasts, huh? ;) Ask me again after we've seen it for the 50th time?

On Saturday morning, I made my whole wheat banana bread pancakes with vanilla maple glaze. We gobbled those up! After that, we headed out to check out the first local farmers market of the season! It was a little slim this first week, but we're excited to head back again soon. We made our way to Home Depot to pick up some items (including some seeds, so we can start our own garden soon!) after that and discovered that it was the kids workshop weekend. So, the boys were able to make some Rio 2 bird feeders while we were there! They had a great time getting to use hammers (as you can see by Ethan's ornery face in the first pic) and nails to build them, then paint them, too. :)

Unfortunately, Daisy became ill while we were gone that morning, so we stayed home with her for the rest of the weekend. So, that night, we stayed in and grilled our dinner. A visit to the vet this morning revealed that she may have a viral or bacterial infection. We'll have to wait a couple days to see what happens. We're hoping the poor girl feels better soon!

On Sunday morning, Josh made our usual egg bagel sandwiches for breakfast. We purchased more bagels from The Bagel Exchange for these. I don't think I'll ever be able to go back to a store-bought bagel again!

Sunday: Mellow Mushroom pizza
Since we didn't go out Saturday night, Josh picked up some pizza to bring back to the house to eat. We got their Holy Shitake Pie. It is so delicious, with its olive oil and garlic base, caramelized onions, 3 kinds of mushrooms, cheese, and garlic aioli. Yuuuuummmm.

Monday: Chicken nuggets, mac 'n cheese
With Josh out of town again for the day, the boys and I will be living it up with some nuggets and mac. Haha! I use Perdue's Simply Smart frozen lightly breaded chicken chunks and Annie's classic mac 'n cheese. I love that they both use just a few, good ingredients.

TuesdayBrown butter chicken and crispy sage, vegetable risotto, roasted cauliflower
I haven't made this dish in a few weeks, but it's easy and yummy, so it's back on the menu. I'm trying a new mix for a vegetable risotto, so I hope it's good! I've made their butternut squash variety and it was very tasty, so I expect this one will be as well. I haven't fixed cauliflower in years now for some reason, but I've been wanting to again, so I will roast some up! When I made it in the past, I seasoned it with Indian spices (garam masala and cumin) and it was delicious, so I'll be doing that again.

Wednesday: Flour tortilla tacos
This is Ethan's favorite. He loves helping me roll out the tortillas. :) We fill our tacos with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese and sriracha sauce. Delicious!

Thursday: Chicken capri over brown rice, sautéed green beans
This dish is another yummy, easy one. The chicken is sprinkled with garlic powder, and sautéed on the stovetop for a few minutes. Then you put the pieces in a dish, top with ricotta cheese (seasoned with oregano, garlic powder, salt & pepper), some crushed tomatoes, and slices of provolone cheese, and bake until cooked through completely and cheese is melted. It is really good over brown rice, spooning some of the extra sauce on top, with green beans (sautéed in a little EVOO and seasoned with minced garlic) on the side.

Friday: Out to eat
We'll go somewhere!

Saturday: TBD
We'll probably go out, unless I decide to make some pizza at home.

What's on your menu this week?

Amos is Seven Months Old!

Age of Baby: 7 months
Even though he's tiny, he doesn't look it! Haha!

Size of Baby:
  • Weight: 15 lbs 0 oz (down to the 3rd percentile), +3 oz from last month
  • Length: 27 inches (down to the 49th percentile), +0.25 inches from last month
  • Head circumference: not measured
  • Height-to-Weight ratio: down to < 3rd percentile
Amos is still wearing a size 2 diaper and 3-6 month clothes when it's cold, but is starting to wear quite a bit more 6-9/6-12 month clothes, especially if they are for spring. He still wears a size 2 shoe.


None this month.

Doctor's Visit Summary:

No visit this month.

Picture of Baby:

Here is Amos's 7-month picture in the 12-month onesie. He's definitely getting more hair now, even though it's still not much, and hard to see here! Haha! All of my babies have been bald like me!

And here is a comparison of all three of the boys at seven months, just for fun. Ethan and Noah were still significantly bigger at this point (Ethan was 28 inches long and weighed 17 lbs and Noah was 27 inches long and weighed 17 lbs 3 oz).

Ethan, Noah, and Amos (each at 7 months)

Accomplishments this Month:
  • Drags himself around the room
  • Pushes himself up on hands
  • Sits forward in his high chair
  • Sits up on the floor with little assistance
  • Sitting at the table when we go out to eat & in the stroller (instead of in carseat) for walks
  • Found his thumb
  • Takes a pacifier
  • Picks up and grasps small toys
Amos is all over the place now! I think this is the reason for the small weight gain this past month. He has to be burning more calories than he is consuming most days! I seriously can't sit him on the ground without him immediately rolling over and he's off and dragging his little body all over the place to get what he wants! He puts one forearm out in front of himself, then drags his body up to it, and keeps going that way all the way across a room in mere seconds. He can push his entire body up into a push-up position, but then doesn't put his knees down to crawl that way though. He either drags himself that way, or with his body laying on the ground. It's pretty funny to watch. And it means it is time to think about baby-proofing a bit better again. He hasn't tried to climb any stairs yet, but I do make sure the gate at the top is closed so that he doesn't tumble down them when he gets to them!

When it's time to eat, he is definitely excited about it. He sits forward in his chair and starts making chewing motions with his mouth in anticipation. Haha! He can really gobble it up! He's also starting to sit up on the floor some by himself, but usually he needs a bit of assistance from his arm to hold himself there. He doesn't quite have the balance yet. Because he wants to eat, we've started putting him in our clip-on chair when we go out to eat. He likes being at the table with the rest of us and eating his dinner, too. :)

So, the little guy managed to find his thumb. And he really, really liked it. Sigh. So, in an effort to curb the thumb-sucking, despite how incredibly cute it is, we tried to introduce the pacifier instead. We know we can take that away from him at some point, but his thumb, not so much! So far, that's working pretty well, but he still likes to sneak his thumb in there sometimes. ;)

He has also really started playing with a lot of his little teething toys. He can grasp them with no problem, and keep hold of them while chewing away with those little gums!

New Foods tried this Month:
  • Carrots (March 9th)
  • Oatmeal (March 13th)
  • Green beans (March 16th)
  • Bananas (March 21st)
  • Pears (March 24th)
  • Sweet potatoes (March 26th)
We've moved ahead pretty quickly with more new foods for Amos, as he hasn't appeared to have any problems with any of them. I've also continued to nurse him every 3-4 hours during the day for 10-20 minutes. He normally gets breakfast when we get back home, after we've dropped one or both of the boys off at school, around 9:30 or 10. Then, he gets his dinner with the rest of us in the evenings. I'm going to hold off on a lunch for a bit longer, to be sure he still has room for breastmilk. We've completely stopped the reflux medicine now, and he had been doing really well, but now it seems like some of his solid food is coming back up, but not regularly, and not in huge amounts. So, I think maybe he's just eating a bit too much? We stop feeding him when he loses interest in the meal, but that is rare! Haha! He is kind of a bottomless pit - especially when it comes to his pears, mixed with cinnamon and oatmeal, and sweet potatoes and squash. Those are definitely the favorites right now! His bottom two teeth are in the process of breaking through right now, so more solid foods may not be too far in the future. For now, we're sticking to chunky purées. He seems to be doing well with those, and I like that they have some texture, so hopefully he won't have texture issues with food, like I do! Haha!

Amos has had another good month in the sleep department. He is still averaging around 13-14 hours of sleep a day (10-11 hours at night, including a new record almost 12-hr stretch!, and 3 hours during the day). He normally goes to bed between 9 and 10 pm, then sleeps until between 8 and 8:30 am. He has still had some night waking on occasion, especially recently, but I think it may be due to teething or trying to crawl this past month. He sometimes wants a morning nap again now, but not regularly. He is still usually taking a nice long afternoon nap, unless he gets a long one in during the morning/early afternoon.

It's been another good month for the little guy. It should be a busy upcoming month for him with teeth and maybe some cruising? I'd be happy to have one of the boys not want to move so early though! Haha!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Menu Monday #47 with Menu Planner {free printable}

On Friday night, I was able to attend my first Girls Night Out since before Amos was born! I had a fantastic evening out with the girls. A delicious dinner at Cafe Lola (NY strip steak, asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes and chocolate soufflé for dessert!), and some fantastic company and conversation. Like I said before, I love going out with my guys, but I also love getting my dose of girl talk, too! :)

On Saturday morning, I made pancakes with a blackberry topping. We gobbled those up! For lunch, we visited The Bagel Exchange. Ethan has been requesting it daily since we ate there a couple weeks ago, while on spring break. I can't say that I blame him, as it is probably my favorite place for lunch, even though I always get a breakfast bagel sandwich! :) The boys love their blueberry bagels, topped with peanut butter and marshmallows! Yum! That evening, Josh was giving one of the new hires a tour of the area, so we met them for dinner at the Peerless Restaurant. We had to get the flaming cheese again. So fun, and delicious, too! We also tried the sashimi ahi tuna. It was great. For my entrée, I chose the rack of lamb with the sautéed sherry mushrooms. Yum! The boys did excellent through the long dinner - so well, that they were even complimented by some fellow diners! Awesome! I love when they are on their best behavior! :)

On Sunday morning, Josh made our usual egg sandwiches for breakfast. This time they were extra awesome because we had purchased some bagels the day before at the Bagel Exchange. They seriously put all other bagels to shame!! It's possible we may have also splurged on some white chocolate cranberry scones, too. They are seriously incredible!

I also need to make sure to add that the recipe I tried last week for stuffed chicken meatballs was seriously amazing. Unfortunately, they aren't the most diet-friendly (since we wanted to eat ALL of them because they were so good!), but I'm pretty sure I'll make them again regardless. ;) You must try them!! I halved the crushed red pepper, for the boys' benefit, but probably could have cut out even more. It was perfect for us, but still a bit spicy for them.

I've had a request for the menu planner I use each week when I plan my meals and shopping trip, so I've included a free copy of it at the end of this post. Some of the items are a bit specific to our shopping needs, but I've taken out our names at least. ;) I also only have spaces for Sun-Thurs for meals, because we normally eat out on the weekends. I'm hoping to redesign this list soon, so I'll be including spots for Sun-Sat when I do. For now, you can use this list if you'd like to plan meals and make your grocery list! Please feel free to give me your input on changes I can make for the next one based on what works or what doesn't work for you.

Sunday: Grilled chicken salad
After a heavy breakfast, we needed something lighter for dinner, so we had spinach and arugula salads topped with grilled chicken strips. I also put cilantro lime ranch dressing, sunflower seeds, Romano cheese croutons, and a little shredded mozzarella cheese on mine. Yum!

Monday: Almond-crusted tilapia, brown rice, oven roasted asparagus
We haven't had this fish dish in a few weeks, so it will be tasty. I love the combo of the Dijon mustard with the almonds. Delicious! I love my fish over rice, with asparagus. Nice and light!

Tuesday: Spiced turkey burgers with peanut sauce, baked sweet potato fries
I haven't made these burgers in a loooooong time, but we decided they sounded good for what should be a gorgeous day for grilling! The recipe actually calls for ground chicken, not turkey, but they didn't have any at the store this week, so I bought turkey instead. With the spices and sauce, it shouldn't really matter much. I bought the cucumber this time, too, so we'll see how that works with it. We all love sweet potato fries, and they are a great pairing with burgers, especially with the spicy ketchup recipe.

Wednesday: Grilled pork chops, roasted butternut squash, toasted pine nut couscous with cranberries
Yep, my favorite pork meal. Sorry for the lack of variety here, but I want to enjoy this one with the squash for as long as we can. It will be nice outside again, so we'll grill the pork!

Thursday: Grilled chicken breast, savory quinoa, oven roasted Brussels sprouts with Balsamic, Parmesan and pine nuts
I marinate the chicken breast all day in Kraft's Zesty Italian dressing. It gives it great flavor when grilled, and keeps it nice and moist as well. I'll make quinoa on the side, seasoning it and adding some diced onion, garlic and maybe sundried tomatoes. We also LOVED the roasted Brussels sprouts I made last week (who knew they could be so great?!?), so I'll make those again. I've found some awesome recipes, so this week I'm going to try this one.

Friday: Out to eat
We'll go somewhere! The weight loss has slowed since we started 3 months ago (18 pounds for me so far, and 16 for Josh!), as we've been slacking a bit with making the best food choices, so we're trying to be more strict this week. Not sure where we'll end up, but we'll probably be watching our plates a bit closer. :)

Saturday: TBD
We'll probably go out, unless I decide to make some pizza at home. We still haven't had a chance to watch Frozen yet, so we really need to do that!! A cozy night at home sounds nice.

What's on your menu this week?

Here is a free printable menu planner for weekly meal planning. You can print it to fit an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper. First, I plan out what meals we are going to have for the week, then I mark off everything I will need to buy for those (i.e., chicken breast or tenders, carrots (writing amounts in the parentheses), etc). Then, I mark off all of the other staples (i.e., fruit, cereal, baking goods, etc) I need for the week. I make one trip to the store, on Sunday afternoon, to get everything I will need for that week. I take this sheet with me to the store to do my shopping, and just cross items out as I put them in the cart. Another good tip is to print out a blank copy of this to hang on your refrigerator. As you run out of an item during the week, you can go ahead and mark it so that you don't forget to buy it the following week! :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Menu Monday #46

On Friday night, we decided to visit our favorite local seafood restaurant, Riverfront Seafood Company. We've never had anything bad to eat there, and this time was no exception. Josh and I both decided we wanted to try one of their newer dishes, pasta jambalaya. It had great flavor and we both really enjoyed it! I also really love their Caesar salad, too. The plate was huge, so we were both able to save leftovers for the next day. Had we known, we could have just split an order! For dessert, we indulged in their blackberry cake with cream cheese icing. It's delicious, and inspired me to make my blackberry cupcakes a couple years ago! :)

On Saturday morning, I made whole wheat pumpkin pancakes with cream cheese icing, per the boys' request. I escaped took off after that to get my hair done. ;) After much internal debate, I decided to go for it and get some bangs cut again. I've spent the last couple years without them, so I guess I decided it was time for a change again. I'm so glad I did, because I'm loving them!! :) For dinner, we went to one of our favorite pizza restaurants, Scratch. It had been ages since we'd been there and Josh had been bugging me for weeks to go. I love their pizza, just not their wait times, so with three little ones now, I was afraid it might be rough. The boys did really well though! We ordered the pesto cheesesticks for them (they can tear them up!), and a "full trust" pizza for us. This just means that we let them decide what they want to put on our pizza! :) This time I know we had red sauce, spinach, jalapeño peppers, mandarin oranges, tomatoes, peperone, another homemade meat, and feta cheese on it. I may have missed something? It tasted great, as it always does! After dinner, we finished up a beautiful night at Menchie's with some frozen yogurt, and actually enjoyed eating it outside!

To finish up a fantastic day, we finally got some movement on the potty training with Noah! Woo hoo! Unfortunately, he's only gone once since then, but we're hopeful, now that we've actually been able to get him to consider the idea! I'm doing his potty chart a bit differently than I did Ethan's. For Ethan, he put a star on the calendar every time he went, and also got a Hot Wheels or Matchbox car with each star. Yes, that quickly became expensive, but it worked! Haha! So, we quickly changed it to a car for every 5 stars, then 10, etc. He was trained in a very short time, so we were spoiled with him. For Noah, we're going to do bigger prizes, but he has to fill up an entire line on the chart before he gets it. Hopefully it will work well, too. Time will tell. If you are interested in downloading a copy of this chart to use for your training toddler, see the bottom of this post!

On Sunday morning, Josh made our usual egg sandwiches for breakfast. After church, we checked out the buffet at our local Indian restaurant, Sahib. We love their food, but they also make for a very long meal when we order from the menu. So, we thought that'd make for a win-win to enjoy some Indian food without the wait! It was also a great way to sample a lot of other dishes that we don't normally order. Everything was really good, but did lack a bit of the heat that we typically enjoy.

Sunday: Grilled chicken salad
After a heavy lunch, we needed something lighter for dinner, so we had spinach salads topped with grilled chicken strips. I also put cilantro lime ranch dressing, sunflower seeds, basil pesto croutons, and a little shredded mozzarella cheese on mine. Yum!

Monday: Blackened cajun salmon, brown rice, oven roasted asparagus
We'll season our salmon filets with Josh's homemade cajun seasoning, grill them, and serve them over the rice. On the side, the asparagus. It's one of my favorite meals!

Tuesday: Melt in your mouth baked chicken, tricolor rotini, oven roasted brussels sprouts
We haven't had this one in awhile, so it will be good. I'm trying brussels sprouts for the first time, too! I'll let you know how that goes! ;) The recipe I linked to coats them in a mixture of EVOO and balsamic vinegar, then roasts them just like any other veggie. I've also found a few other recipes I'd like to try if we like how these taste. :)

Wednesday: Cajun pork chops, roasted sweet potatoes, vegetable quinoa
We'll either grill or sear the pork chops on the stovetop, depending on what the weather is doing. I'm changing up the sides a bit this time. We'll do sweet potatoes (so I can introduce them to Amos!!), and some quinoa on the side.

Thursday: Stuffed chicken meatballs with linguine and spaghetti sauce
I'm trying another new recipe this week. I saw it on one of the blogs I read and thought it sounded good! The boys love meatballs, and cheese, so I'm hoping this will be a hit! :)

Friday: Girls night out!
I'll be attending my first GNO since before I had Amos!! Can you tell I'm excited? Haha! I love going out with all of my guys, but sometimes it's nice to be able to chat with some ladies, too. ;)

Saturday: TBD
We'll probably go out, unless I decide to make some pizza at home. We purchased the movie Frozen (since I've heard nothing but good things about it!!) this past weekend, so we need to find sometime to watch it! So maybe we'll make it a movie night at home?

What's on your menu this week?

And here is a downloadable potty chart:

This should be printed as an 8.5" x 11" sheet. We're using the toilet graphic for #1 and the toilet paper graphic for #2. ;) I have little star stickers that he gets to put on the chart when he's successful! :) Once an entire row is filled, then a sticker is placed on the star and he'll get a big prize!
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