2017Back Home Again: 2017

Sunday, November 26, 2017

What is Post Partum Depression?

...it's feeling utterly alone.

...it's feeling like a hot mess 24/7.

...it's yelling at your kids/husband and feeling like a horrible person for it.

...it's knowing you need help but can't do anything about it until you have insurance again.

...it's feeling utterly alone.

...it's not wanting to leave the house. Ever.

...it's all you can do to pick up the kids from school because you're so exhausted.

...it's your five year old daughter comforting you when you're bawling because your five month old won't sleep and your husband is out of town.

...it's answering with "I'm ok" or "I'm good" when people ask how you're doing because they don't want to hear the truth.

...it's feeling utterly alone.

...it's not bothering to wear anything but sweats because what's the point.

...it's wanting to crawl in a hole and never come out.

...it's feeling like no one cares.

...it's wanting to blend into the wall.

...it's feeling like you're screaming in the middle of a crowded room and no one notices.

...it's wondering why it's always you that has to reach out.

...it's just being so, utterly alone.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Pumpkin Patch 2017

It's October, it's October! I love fall and October is my favorite month of the year. Cooler temps, changing leaves and pumpkins everywhere. I love it. We go to the same local pumpkin patch every year, but this year we decided to do it differently. Since Alan's extended family hasn't seen Cameron yet, we made a trip to Louisville for the weekend and then stopped at Huber Orchard and Winery on the way home. It's a huge place with a farm market, orchards, pumpkin patch, winery, distillery and kids area. Almost every time we go to Louisville we say that we should go sometime, so this year we made it happen.

We had originally intended to take the wagon ride out to pick pumpkins and apples, but I decided to buy already picked apples at the market. The kids were wild with excitement and after falling in a hole in the pumpkin patch, I wasn't feeling picking apples too. We got orange and white pumpkins and the nice thing was that they capped the price of their pumpkins so you could get a ginormous one if you could carry it. I've never had a white pumpkin before and I cannot wait to carve a ghost out of it. Get it a ghost...on a white pumpkin... Yes, I'm a nerd :-)

The kids had a blast in the family fun park, riding pedal cars, going down the giant slide, playing on the playground, jumping on the bouncy things and more. They had a corn maze, bamboo maze and flag maze, but we didn't do any of them since we're planning on going to a local Halloween event at the end of the month with a corn maze right down the road from our house (It's something we look forward to every year and I cannot wait!). That, and Alan's foot was really sore since he's healing from a fracture a few weeks ago. 

October is one of the busiest months of the year for us, with two birthdays and our wedding anniversary all in the same week. But, I absolutely love this time of year. The temps here finally fell out of the 90's last week and it's so nice now. We have a lot of stuff planned this month that I hopefully will get a chance to share. Yay October!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Cameron Three Months

Cameron turned three months old on Friday but it's been a little crazy so I'm just now getting his update written. Alan fractured a bone in his foot on Thursday so he's got a boot and crutches for a few weeks and on the couch with his foot up and icing it when at home. 

This kid. He still screams, but when he's not screaming and wanting to be held, he's so alert and looking around. And smiling. He squeaks instead of laughs, like he just can't get a laugh out yet. He's got to be held up so he can look around and take in the world. Even though he smiles a lot, I still can't gotten one on camera. The photo above is the closest I've gotten and as soon as I was done with his three month photos he was all smiles. 

I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I was just going to have to deal with using a breast shield because he just wouldn't latch to me. But we've now gone over 24 hours with no shield so I'm really really hoping that he's over it. It's so annoying and cumbersome to nurse in public with it so it would be awesome if it's no longer needed. 

I also was brave and put him in child watch at the Y so I could get some much needed exercise. I've been run/walking with the dog and Cameron through the neighborhood while Cecily's at prek in the mornings, but the few weeks of cooler weather appear to be over for awhile and since it's nasty humid, I needed to get over my trepidation of leaving him. I was gone about 30 min and he slept the entire time in the swing. It was amazing to get that time to myself. 

Which brings me to my next big announcement...I'm now a stay at home mom! Things didn't work out with daycare so we made the decision that it would be best for me to just stay home. I am enjoying my time with Cameron, but it's definitely different not working!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Kids Behind the Blog: September 2017

A day late but who's counting, right? Time just seems to blur together!

From our recent trip to Northeast Indiana over Labor Day

How is school going so far? Tell me something you have learned.
C: Today I learned the noodle lasso game and everyone lost.
E: Good. Umm...I don't know.

Have you made any new friends yet?
C: No. I only have Brantley and Felix there. She has said multiple times that she doesn't like the girls in her class because they only want to play Barbies instead of ninjas.
E: Yes, Landon, Kaiden and Gabriel

What is your favorite thing to do after school?
C: Play with Faye. Complete with an eyeroll...
E: Play at home

What is your favorite TV show right now?
C: You know...Agent P! aka Phineas and Ferb
E: Pokemon...you should know that!

Do you have any pets? Tell me about them.
C: I said I'm not gonna do anymore questions...
E: One is Honey Bear she's a beagle dog mixed with a lab. We think.  And the other ones are both cats, Domino and Powder. They're both girls, Powder's grey and white and Domino is kind of greyish whitish.

The hosts of this link up decided that this would be the last month for it and I'm gonna be honest, I'm sad. While I don't really write all that much anymore, I love this because it enables me to share little bits with you. So to our hosts: thank you for doing this for over a year and a half. It's been real!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Great American Eclipse 2017

Sunday we drove to Murray, Kentucky to stay overnight for the total solar eclipse. Evansville was just north of the totality zone so it got a 99% eclipse. I was originally planning on staying here for it, but as I started doing research totality sounded really cool and like a necessary experience. So I figured out a of where to go. 

I live about 1.5 hours north of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, which was one of the best places to view the eclipse in the nation. But since the estimated traffic was over 100,000 people, I decided there was no way we were gonna deal with that. I decided to go to Marion, Kentucky originally because we would get 2.5 minutes of totality and it's off the beaten path, but large enough that it has a park and a McDonalds and stuff.

But, Alan did a hotel search on Friday and found a hotel room in Murray for Sunday night, so off we went. Murray was just outside of totality, by about 10 minutes so we still had to travel, but we were already in the area. The hotel gave us a list of places that were having viewing events and we decided to check out one that was supposed to have a farmer's market but it was kind of lame and there was nothing for the kids to do for five hours since we left super early to get into the zone. So, we went to Hardin, a tiny town about 15 minutes north of Murray with a park and a library that was having a eclipse party. We got there around 9AM and there was one other family there. The kids played at the playground and we went over to the library to do some crafts and just hung out. 

It was really cool seeing it gradually get darker and more like twilight all around us. Except when it was about 20 minutes until totality and these giant clouds started going by. We weren't sure we were going to see it at all and sure enough, we saw maybe 10-15 seconds of totality before the sun was covered by a cloud. It was really really cool and I wish we could've seen more of it.  It got really quiet and the cicadas started buzzing. It didn't get completely dark, but it was like a 360 degree sunset and you could see a few stars, which were actually Venus and I think Jupiter. The temperature also dropped. 

The photo I took on my phone. Venus is the star on the upper right, the sun is the tiny speck of light in the cloud. I'm pretty disappointed that that happened because I keep seeing photos from others on Facebook that actually got to see it. It is what it is, but it was a let down.

Ewan thought it was really cool and Cecily was just like oh it's dark, I'm gonna go play on the swings now. The good news for us is that in 2024 there's another total solar eclipse and this time Evansville will be in totality. All I'll need to do is go out into the backyard to see it!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cameron: Two Months

Cameron, or Little C as I like to call him, is two months old today! It's hard to believe he's been here that long already. I seriously have a hard time remembering what life was like without him. 

He is still fairly fussy, but it's gotten a little better. As in, he only screams some of the time instead of all the time. I'm able to put him down on his play mat or have Ewan hold him for a few minutes so I'm able to go to the bathroom or do the dishes or laundry. And he smiles and coos all the time when he's not screaming, although I haven't been able to catch a smile on camera yet. He's got crazy spit up still and I go through at least two shirts a day. I gave up dairy for a bit to see if that would help but didn't notice a difference. Maybe he's just one of those kids that's a geyser? I really don't know.

He still hates the carseat and it's pretty much a given that he will scream the entire time we're going somewhere in the car. We're also still using a nipple shield but I am determined to get him off of it. I've gotten him to latch to me a couple times when he's not frantic so I'm hopeful that by the time he's three months we won't be using a shield anymore. Cameron is solidly in three month clothing so I'm curious to see how much he weighs at his appointment next week. Especially given all the stress to regain his birth weight. 

The kids adore him and are always wanting to hold him and be in his face. I feel bad for the kid because they always wake him up. Not gonna lie, I'm glad we get some quiet time just the two of us in the mornings!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

What We Were Up to This Summer

Since I was able to be home with the kids most of the summer, I thought I would share some of what we were up to...now that school has started! Honestly I will never get used to the kids starting school at the beginning of August. For someone who always started around Labor Day, it's just so weird...but I digress....

Anyway, enjoy the photo dump!

We went to several library programs...our favorite was Bubblefest.

While Ewan had a playdate, Cecily and I had an ice cream date.

And we all had a Starbucks date.

We went to several parks, but we also spent several days at our local YMCA splash pad.

Just this past week we made glue slime. The kids loved it, but I was totally grossed out!

I did my best to try to make sure they weren't stuck in the house all day everyday, but with a newborn we had plenty of days at home. Luckily Alan loves playing with PVC pipe and made them a water table and we got a pool for them to swim in some.

And Cameron was cute as usual.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Kids Behind the Blog: 2017 Back to School Edition

Today is actually the big kids' first day of school. Cecily started pre-k and Ewan started first grade. I cannot believe my babies are this big already!

Cecily wasn't having it this morning...

If you could change one of your family's rules, what would change?
E: That no one can hold or touch Cameron but me.
C: I get all the cartoons.

Are you a good friend? Why or why not? 
E: Yes, because I have no idea.
C: Yes, because I love my mommy. 

Where is your favorite place in the whole world?
E: That would be our house.
C: The haircut store She got a haircut the day I asked her. 

If you could invent anything in the world, what would it be?
E: A machine that makes Pokemon cards come to life when you scan them.
C: Robo Perry As in Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb...the girl is obsessed!

What are you most excited about this year in school?
E: Umm....everything!
C: I don't like school!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Cameron One Month and Going from Two to Three

Cameron turned one month old on Saturday. I'll be honest, this month has been HARD. Much harder than I thought it would be. 

We left the hospital on a bililight because he was jaundiced and even though we were originally told he would need it for a day or so, it turned into a week. Neither Ewan nor Cecily had jaundice so we had no idea the suck that was in store for us. Luckily Alan stayed home from work that week because I would've lost my mind trying to recover from birth and having to deal with him hooked up to a plug all week on the bililight plus taking all three kids to the hospital everyday for him to have labs. Not to mention entertaining the big kids.

Oh yeah, our pediatrician kept having me bring him in to do weight checks every couple days because it took him almost three weeks to regain his birth weight #notbreastfeedingfriendly. We've been having nursing issues and still are so while I knew he was fine because he's having plenty of wet and dirty diapers, having to go in constantly and deal with the pressure to give him formula was really stressful. I'm lucky that one of the hospitals in my city has a good lactation department and a good friend is a lactation consultant so they were reassuring me that everything is fine but hormonal postpartum mom makes it not so fun. He had a lip and tongue tie that were revised when he was two weeks old, which has helped nursing a little, but he refuses to latch without a nipple shield so there's still that.

We've been calling him Ewan #2 because not only does he look almost identical to Ewan at the same age, he has a lot of the same mannerisms. i.e. He's pretty fussy. Basically I cannot put him down, ever.

I posted this on my personal Facebook page. E is on top and C on bottom. 

While Alan can get him to sleep in the bouncer, he doesn't like anything else really. Especially for me. I spend my days holding him or wearing him around the house. And nursing. Lots and lots of nursing. Cecily was so chill and even though Ewan was not, I think I got spoiled by her. He is having more awake quiet time, as long as he's held, and will let Ewan hold him for 5-10 minutes so I can get a little break. 

As for going from two to three kids. Everyone said it was hard, and yep! They're correct. I feel bad for the big kids because they have to entertain themselves a lot because I'm so consumed with Cameron. We have been going to the Y splash pad and a park about once a week and on the days we haven't gone anywhere, we go outside to play in the backyard for as long as we can stand the heat. Last week they went to a vbs/arts day camp program which was really nice for them to get to do something just for them and for me to have a few hours of semi-quiet. Even though it's been hard, I have enjoyed my time home with them this summer. It's hard to believe there's only two weeks left before school starts!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Save Money With Groupon Coupons

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. 

I'm sure we all know about Groupon by now (unless you live under a rock). But, have you heard of Groupon Coupons? It's a great way to save on places you shop everyday.

For example, we all love Amazon, right? Well, here are 156 Amazon coupons! It seems like we have an Amazon box on our porch every other day. Prime Day was last week, but you can still save money on all the stuff you didn't buy. We frequent Target all the time, and Groupon Coupons has coupons for Target too. After visiting Target, my husband can just run across the street and visit Home Depot, which seems like his second home. 

One of the things I have been wanting to do for ages is the DNA kit from Ancestry.com. Well guess what? I found coupons for that too!

Groupon Coupons has deals for almost everywhere you can think of. And you can view them on a computer or mobile device to make saving even easier. Be sure to check it out before your next shopping trip!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Introducing Cameron Niall

Cameron Niall made his appearance at 11:40 PM on June 15, 2017. 9lbs 9oz and 21.5 inches. Here is his story.

I had a bpp last Tuesday to check fluid because my doctor had been bugging me for weeks to do a growth scan since I was measuring six weeks ahead and he couldn't feel baby at all. I knew there was a lot of fluid, but figured it would be on the high end of normal, not borderline severe. He left the decision up to us but strongly suggested an induction sooner rather than later. I really didn't know what to do because I did not want to be induced and risk what happened with Ewan to happen again but I also knew that there are risks with polyhydramnios. My doula looked up a bunch of studies and while the risk my doctor kept mentioning, cord prolapse, was actually fairly low, the risk of stillbirth was too much for me to be ok with. So I reluctantly agreed to an induction for Thursday morning. The plan was to do a slow water break and monitor to make sure that he stayed head down and there was no cord since he was already that way on Tuesday. 

Well, he goes to break my water Thursday morning and my cervix was way posterior and Cameron wasn't engaged at all. After some very painful tries, he called for an ultrasound to check position. I knew from where she was scanning that he wasn't head down, but it was devastating to hear her say it out loud that he was transverse. I basically had three options, go for a c-section, try an ecv to turn him from the outside or go home and hope he turned back to where he was supposed to be. I wanted to go home and come back on Monday when I was 40 weeks in the hopes he had turned back then go from there. My doctor was strongly against it and I knew Alan was too, but not how much until after Cameron was born. 

There were many, many tears and eventually I decided to do it, although I knew I was going to blame myself for my decision either way if it resulted in a c-section. However, my awesome nurse had had one herself so I was able to talk to her about it. She said don't do it unless you get an epidural because it's really painful. One of the things I really really didn't want. I was absolutely terrified of the ecv though and didn't want to feel any of it. So I wound up with a half dose of a spinal plus an epidural. I listened to the fear release track of hypnobabies the entire time and it took maybe 20 minutes for him to go head down. Alan said it was really crazy to watch on the ultrasound but I didn't see any of it. 

My doctor broke my water immediately once he was head down and my nurse chased him on the monitor for what seemed like hours to make sure he stayed head down while it came out...and out...and out. Probably one of the funniest parts of the day was when not only did she, but my doctor sat on the bed and wound up having to change their clothes from it. Haha! 

The plan was still to hope contractions started on their own at this point, even though I had an epidural and was going to have to deal with it from 4cm on. Well, they were sporadic and he wanted to start pitocin. I bargained an hour to try to breastpump and while it worked while pumping, it didn't make them consistent really. When he came back and asked if we could start pit, I agreed, even though again, it was something I didn't want. I took my doula off guard but I knew it was probably coming anyway so I figured might as well get on with it. 

Once the spinal wore off, we discovered that the epidural was only working on one side. Just. Like. Ewan's. Birth. I kept doing hypnobabies and telling myself that it was a different baby and birth but it was turning out to be a repeat of everything and I was terrified. We were switching positions using the peanut ball and I was doing my best to stay calm and just go with everything because my goal at this point was a vaginal birth. Contractions were slowly getting more intense and I was getting to the point where I probably needed to top off the epidural in the hopes that it worked this time since I was limited in what positions I could do. I was starting to feel some pressure so I was hoping that it was transition and I had them check me, I had made it to 7, as far as I got with Ewan. The epidural was topped off and it worked for maybe an hour? I'm not really sure. However, I'm pretty sure I was at 9cm at this point. 

It was an interesting experience because while medicated, I also felt everything like an unmedicated birth. I don't recommend it. I was stuck with positioning and eventually started saying I wanted him out now instead of just moaning or whatever it was I was doing. Alan said mean Holly came out and I told him we were never having sex again and that various people were on the bad list. Things are kind of fuzzy at this point, but my doctor came in eventually and was like ok, let's push. 

I made them cover the clock because otherwise I would just stare at it the entire time, so I'm not sure how long I pushed, it felt like hours, but one of the nurses later said it was probably about an hour or so. The epidural had been topped off not long before but I totally felt everything on my left side. My nurse kept telling me to hold my leg but I couldn't move it since it was numb and since she was also using an external monitor it took her a moment to switch to help me so I wasn't able to push right when I was told to. I eventually told her to shut up because she was pissing me off. I did apologize for being mean after Cameron was born though.

While my doctor was outwardly calm, I could tell that he was getting anxious because he kept asking me if I was ok with the vacuum. I kept asking for more time to try to push because I could feel him moving down and then when his head was right there. Cameron's heart rate was rising and I knew he needed to come out or he was going to go into distress so believe me I was trying my hardest to get him out, even though I thought I was going to pass out while pushing. He eventually asked me if he could "make a cut" because there was tissue right where I tore the last time and he would probably come right out. While not something I wanted, at the point if it was going to help, then fine. And sure enough, his head was out I think on the next push. 

Then I heard the most terrifying words: shoulder dystocia, call for help. Which means that his shoulder was stuck behind my pubic bone. The next thing I know, there were a bunch of people on the bed and I was in the most pain of my life when one of the nurses was pressing down on my stomach, uterus, public bone, I'm not really sure what. I have no idea what I was screaming but all I could think was "Please God just get him out. This is not going to end after all this with me knocked out in an emergency c-section not knowing if my baby is ok." Someone was saying numbers, which I later learned was time, but I thought it was his heart rate. Absolutely terrifying. Then I felt the worst pain of all and everything went white. I thought my scar ruptured and I was going to pass out right there when they told me he was out. I'm not sure how long this was, but I think maybe 90 seconds. 

One of the things I wanted to do with Cecily and didn't was "catch" her and pull her onto my chest. Even through all of that, my doctor let me pull him onto my chest. Sort of because I couldn't really reach. Things are fuzzy here but what I do know is that Alan was offered to cut the cord, but said he'd already done that once so he didn't. I wanted to delay clamping but I'm not sure if that happened. I could tell that Cameron was having trouble breathing and when asked if they could take him, I said to. Once the birth team had him I heard him start crying and heard my doctor say something to the effect of there we go, so I knew he was going to be ok. 

I delivered the placenta, which my doula told me broke a record on the number of pills because it was so ginormous, and my doctor stitched me up. I would up with a partial third degree tear in addition to the cut he had made. Once the tension was all over, everyone started chatting about whatever and it was hilarious when he busted out in German to my doula, who is fluent. She later told me that he asked her how he did and she responded how did I not know you speak German?! I then told them both in Spanish to speak English.

I'm glad I got another vaginal birth, but I also know how dicey it was, especially at the end. I know I need to process everything but right now I'm just glad we're ok. I guess it just goes to show that no matter what type of birth, it can all be traumatic.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day Survey

I saw this on a blog I follow and since I love surveys, I thought I would do this as well. Not to mention that baby #3 is quickly approaching and I haven't written any pregnancy updates aside from telling you I am pregnant. 

1. Did you have an epidural? Two with my first that only worked on one side, then a spinal for the c-section. With my second I did after 29 hours...vbac'd 3 hours later. You can read their birth stories here and here

2. Was the father in the room? Yes, of course!

3.Were you induced? No. Although Ewan's birth was a case of "failure to wait" so I had every intervention possible. 

4. Did you find out the sex? Yes, but we're not telling about the third!

5. Due date? December 29, October 19 and June ??

6. Did you have morning sickness? Ha! I think you mean 24/7 sickness. I was sick with both Ewan and Cecily from about 6 weeks through labor. Surprisingly with this one, it finally quit around 24 weeks. A friend of mine suggested taking magnesium to combat nausea and while skeptical, I figured might as well try and see what happens. Maybe it has helped, who knows. I'll take it though!

7. What did you crave? With Ewan I was really limited on what I could eat due to my gallbladder, but Chick fil A, Mexican and Grape Fanta. With Cecily Chinese. With this one Chinese and sweets. 

8. Did you deliver early or late? Ewan was at 41 weeks, Cecily was at 40+6. This one I think will be probably around then too. 

9. How much weight did you gain? 26 lbs, 33 lbs and currently about 25 lbs.

10. Did you have complications? Yes. With Ewan I was hospitalized twice for gallbladder attacks and wound up with an ERCP which is a stent in the bile duct to allow bile to pass through and your liver to function. With Cecily I was exposed to rubella in early pregnancy and was no longer immune. So I had to go through all sorts of testing to see if I had contracted it. With this one, yes I have, but no I really don't want to talk about it. 

11. Where did you give birth? Upland, PA (Philadelphia area); Evansville, IN

12. What was the sex of the baby? Boy, Girl and ??

13. How many hours were you in labor? With Ewan 36 hours, with Cecily 32 hours. With this one I'm hoping it'll be less than 24 but I'm not getting my hopes up. 

14. How much did you baby weigh? 8lbs8oz, 9lbs8oz and ??

15. How old is your baby today? 6, 4.5 and almost 35 weeks. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I've Been Keeping a Secret...

If you follow me on Instagram, are friends with me on Facebook or know me in person, then you already know, but I've been keeping a secret for several months now....Baby #3 is arriving in June!

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was looking forward to doing all the things I didn't do with my other two kids. Weekly bump photos and posts galore! But life had other plans. I've had several complications early on that meant I wasn't comfortable telling many people until after the anatomy scan around 20 weeks. Unfortunately this complication also meant that I have had to stop running, which honestly drives me crazy. I also had to give up on my plans to run the half marathon at Disney World in January. Coupled with being really really sick for the first half of my pregnancy, I went through a dark time for a few months after realizing the WDW half wasn't going to happen. Although I walk a few miles a week right now, I miss running. A lot. 

Let me just say that pregnant at 35 is definitely different than at 30!

I honestly don't really like taking photos of myself while pregnant, but here are the two that I have taken (aside from race photos...ahem 2016 Evv Half and Urban Bourbon).

We do know the sex and no we aren't telling. We also have no idea on a name. We cannot agree on one at all. Any suggestions? 

Semi-Homemade Beef and Noodles

Lately all I seem to want is comfort food. For me that means things like pot pie, mashed potatoes, chicken n dumplings, bread...basically all the carbs. Especially since winter decided to show its face this week.

One of my favorite things is beef and noodles, even though I hardly ever eat it. There is this restaurant in my hometown that has the best beef and noodles that my mom and I used to go to all the time. My stomach is grumbling just thinking about it! 

A few weekends ago I threw a roast in the crock pot with some veggies and herbs and decided to attempt to make my own version. Sidenote: I totally intended to use the Instant Pot to make this a lot quicker, but the roast was so big that it wouldn't fit. In fact it barely fit in the crock pot. Yay for my local grassfed beef farmer! 

I call this semi-homemade because I didn't make the noodles, I sent Alan to the store for them :-) But, by all means if you are ambitious enough to make your own, go for it! I cooked my store bought noodles into some bone broth I made (you can use canned beef broth but here's a great recipe for bone broth if you're ambitious) and then stirred a tablespoon of flour into a bit of water to add to the noodles after they were cooked to thicken the sauce. I then shredded the beef and added it and the veggies to the noodle mixture. Done! Yummy beef and noodles.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Kids Behind the Blog: St. Patrick's Day Edition

I can't believe I forgot to post this yesterday! If you follow me on Instagram then you already know why I haven't been around much, but if you don't (you should!) you'll just have to wait a few days :-)
Better late than never, right? 

What’s at the end of a rainbow?
E: A mutant
C: A rainbow crystal.

What do you like to do when it rains?  Jump in puddles or play inside? 
E: Do nothing.
C: Jump in puddles.

If you found a leprechaun at the end of a rainbow what would you do? 
E: Throw it in the trash.
C: Chase it back to the zoo.

Tell me three ways you know it is spring time.
E: Warm, we don't have to wear a coat, we can wear short sleeves
C: Play outside more, go to the park, eat popsicles

Do you wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? What happens if you don’t wear green?
E: No. Pinch your noggin.
C: Yes. I don't know.

You can link up here. Hopefully I'll be on time in April!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My Favorite Food Substitutions

As I was making dinner a few nights ago, I was following, but not following a recipe. It got me to thinking about the ways I make food substitutions all the time for various things. Here a few of my favorites. 

I don't like most nuts, but I do like pistachios. So I use them in pretty much anything that calls for nuts, from Paleo sausage stuffing to homemade pesto.

Greek Yogurt
I don't like sour cream or mayonnaise (I'm weird I know). So if I want to enjoy something like spinach and artichoke dip, I use plain Greek yogurt instead. You still get the tanginess but without the yuckiness (to me at least) of sour cream or yogurt. Please it's healthier. Win, win!

Flax or Chia Eggs
While we aren't an egg free home, I do use flax or chia eggs from time to time. They're super easy - 1 tbs flax seed to 3 tbs water - and add a nutritious punch. I usually throw them in my favorite waffle recipe I make for the kids, or even in cookies.

I don't use applesauce as often as I use the other substitutions, but I do use it to lessen the amount of oil and therefore fat content in baked goods. My favorite is in brownies.

I will admit that I don't like beets. But I do like to use them as natural red food coloring. We get them every summer from our CSA and I always roast, puree and freeze them to use. One of my favorites are these red velvet cupcakes. Works beautifully!

What are some food substitutions that you use?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Kids Behind the Blog: Love Edition

I love this link up but haven't done it since I think October. Well, I'm back and here's what the kids had to say!

1) What does the word love mean to you?
E: You're stinky.
C: We love you.

2) Kids choice! How do you want to spend Valentine's Day?
E: By farting. Umm?! This kid is obsessed with poop and farting...he is such a boy.
C: By how much we love you, banana bread and cottage cheese. Love my random girl!

3) Do you have a Valentine? If so, who?
E: No.
C: Yes. Doc. She's talking about her Doc McStuffins valentines.

4) How many days are in the month of February?
E: 28 After he went and looked at the calendar. 
C: 7

5) How do you show someone you love them?
E: By telling them they're stinky.
C: By making a heart.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

It's OK February 7, 2017

...that not only do we have to get a new stove, but our water heater started leaking over the weekend so we might need a new one of those too.

...that I keep seeing people eating Girl Scout cookies already. They still aren't in in Southern Indiana. This girl wants her Thin Mints!

...that there are daffodills starting to come up in my backyard. In February. 

...that this flip flopping weather is making me crazy. Don't tease me with spring. Pick one!

...that I'm on week 3 of 6 of Alan being gone. Hopefully the kids aren't too crazy this week. Almost halfway!

What's ok with you this week?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

My Favorite Valentine's Day Pins 2017

I will freely admit that while I am a decent cook, I'm not that crafty. That doesn't mean that I don't check out Pinterest and wish I was however. I love looking at cool things people create on Pinterest - some realistic for me and some way out of my league. Here are a few of my favorites for Valentine's Day this year. 

I'm still pretty proud of my GoSqueeze Valentine's I made for Ewan's preschool class a few years ago, but I really think I could do this one too.

This one seems easy enough. An added bonus is that we have tons and tons of old crayons lying around.

I love love this. We don't have much Valentine's Day decor so this would be great to add to it.

We love smoothies in my house and this one is super easy to make.

I'm always trying to come up with creative things for the kids lunches. While Ewan would be happy with peanut butter and jelly everyday, variety is the spice of life. Therefore, I like to mix it up a little every now and then.

What are some of your Valentine's Day ideas?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

It's Ok January 31, 2017

...that I've taken a pseudo Facebreak. There's just so much negativity on there and it's affecting my mood so I can't be on there much. 

...that we have some serious decisions to make about Ewan's school and it's majorly stressing me out. 

...that I'm totally addicted to Property Brothers. Every time I watch it, I wind up looking at houses for sale, even though we're not buying another house. 

...that I'm a mean mom because I grounded Ewan from his DS. And he won't stop reminding me.

...that Roger Federer won the Australian Open at 35. He may be "old" by tennis standards, but he's still one of my favorites!

...that we finally joined the local YMCA and I cannot wait for swimming!

What's ok with you this week?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Eat Well Be Well Voxbox

For once Influenster got it right! I received the Eat Well Be Well Vox Box not too long ago and I can honestly say that for the first time, I loved everything in it. 

I received coupons to try products from Evol, Udi's Gluten Free and Earth Balance as well as a sample package of Glutino Pretzel Twists. I'm familiar with all of these and I was super excited when I opened the vox box and saw what was inside for me. 

Here's what I got:

EVOL Chicken Tikka Masala: Evol frozen meals are made with real, simple ingredients which I love. I have had Evol breakfast burritos before, but never tried a single serve meal before. It was a great thing to take to work for lunch when I didn't have any leftovers because it was really good! My only complaint is that I wish there was more of it. 

Udi's Lasagna with Meat Sauce: While I am familiar with Udi's Gluten Free foods, I don't think I have ever had any of them before. I chose the Lasagna with Meat Sauce as it was a larger meal that we could enjoy as a family. You can throw it in the oven or pop it in the microwave. It was great for when we're in a hurry between work, the kids' school and outside activities and we're hungry and short on time.

Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread: While I prefer to use real, grassfed butter from a local Amish farmer whenever possible, one thing I absolutely love is this coconut spread. I use it from anything from grilled cheese to homemade frosting. So so excited I was able to score some with this vox box. 

Glutino Pretzel Twists: I love pretzels, but for some reason I especially love gluten free pretzels. I took these to work for a snack and they were very quickly devoured. 

I liked the Eat Well Be Well Vox Box so much that I only have one complaint, and that is with the Influenster app itself. Almost all of the tasks you are supposed to do have to be done in the app. Except that for some reason I can't log in so I can't do very much. I had this issue with the last vox box I received too. Hopefully it'll get fixed soon!

I received these products for free thanks to Influenster in exchange for my honest opinion.
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