Parenting and Family Update

So, Baby J is going to be 7 months in only a couple of weeks! This past month has absolutely FLOWN by!! I now have a crawling everywhere, pulling up on everything, curious baby! He also is now trying to mobilize himself while still latched on and nursing… fun times! He sleeps on his belly with his little baby butt up in the air.. and I love it.

But, lately, what I don’t love is bed sharing. I actually am surprised to be saying this. But, with some back and neck issues, I feel like I need to be seeing my chiropractor everyday! We had recently took away his co sleeper bassinet, since we watched him stand up in it one night, and took apart our bed and put the mattress on the floor. Lots of people tell me the mattress doesn’t feel different on the floor, but I beg to differ. Anyway, my other issue is that I no longer had a headboard to prop my pillows and myself up on…and, with Baby J as mobile as he is, I suppose we both did a half asleep dance around the bed, as I would frequently end up just about hanging off onto the floor- thus, the twisted neck/back experience. Sooo, needless to say, we are ordering his crib mattress (hopefully tomorrow), putting our bed back together, and will be side- carring his crib. More examples of this here, and I will be sure to post our pics also when we are finished.So, for now, we continue to do our little night time dance. ;)

Aside from this, Daddy and I are looking into some play groups, and “drop and play” centers around our area for Baby J and I to join, and hopefully involve Daddy in also. We are also looking into swim lessons for him, but we may wait until the summer is over and the Y is less crowded with kids. I have also started and pretty much stuck to the no television rule while Baby J is awake. Its been working, and having music at least lightly in the background has also inspired quite a few “get up and dance” sessions while both Baby J and I were feeling a little bored.

As far as Baby J eating goes, we are going to start Baby Led Weaning sometime in the next 2 weeks. He is showing all signs of readiness as far as we are concerned… it’s just that we want to make sure he isn’t upset by teething or hitting a new developmental milestone at the same time we try to introduce something so new and exciting to him. He just cut tooth #2…finally! He also watches us eat and moves his mouth and also smacks his lips together- which is pretty cute. He is also getting better with picking up and grabbing different toys… along with things on the ground he finds that we don’t want him to have (of course). ;)

And lastly, I *think* I may almost be ready to put him in the nursery at church. Given how his schedule has him staying awake a lot of the time at church, I think it may benefit him and us a lot more if he gets some playing time in during church service, unless he falls asleep nursing of course. But, on the days that he nurses before we leave, and is basically ready to play by the time we get there, I think that’s what we will start trying out. I say this now… but, I don’t really think I am ready yet. Luckily, we have been able to go in there together so he can get a feel for things, and I can also “check out” some of the volunteers. So, we shall see.

On a more family-centered update, since we have pretty much gotten the hang of our major dietary changes, I am now getting us into the routine of buying better toiletries and cleaners. I just cleared out a ton of stuff from our hall closet that I don’t want to use on myself or Baby J any longer, and replaced my shampoo, conditioner, body wash, leave-in conditioner, mousse, and face washes and blemish fighters. I also got rid of my disposable nursing pads and bought some organic cotton ones… which is great, not only on our wallet, but of course little to no chemicals, and muuuch less waste! I am also thinking about using mama cloth, but that’s a whole other post! I am currently looking into greener cleaning supplies and some DIY options. We also plan on cloth diapering Baby J in the very near future. :)

I think that’s just about everything I can think of. If you have any resources for cleaning supplies, be sure to share! :)

Tuesday’s Food

Yesterday was….Monday! In every sense of the word!! Baby J is typically a little extra rambunctious on Mondays, especially after a long weekend of being out and about. And we had a Babywearing International meeting last night to go to. So, I pretty much grazed and snacked all day, and hubby made me some scrambled eggs with some chicken sausage when we got home. So, that brings us to today….

Lunch-

We had those corn tortillas from the other night, so I wanted to put them to use. I had swiss cheese slices, guacamole, lettuce blend, mushrooms and peppers, with some salad dressing drizzled over them. I also made just a plain blueberry smoothie- almond milk, yogurt, frozen blueberries. :)

Image

Dinner-

Chicken- I wanted to try a different balsamic marinade of sorts for our chicken tonight. I cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, and put it in the skillet with some EVOO, salt, garlic and paprika. In a dish I stirred up some balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic from the jar, parsley, basil and some dill. I sauteed up the chicken until there was no more pink, then drained the pan (I have the skillets with lips on the side that have holes in the lid to drain- LOVE them!), and added in my mixture… I let that sit with the lid on, I would say, 10-15 minutes, then drained most of that out so I could begin caramelizing the rest of it on the chicken. I did have to add a little bit more EVOO to it because it was starting to dry up, but once I did that, it came out great! Definitely something I will repeat!!

Veggies- I sauteed in EVOO and garlic- fresh zucchini, yellow and green peppers, and green beans I had frozen after heating them a bit in the microwave (don’t shoot me, I do still microwave stuff- shh!).

Starch- I made that Whole Foods Organic Rice Medley I mentioned in last week’s post, with Soy Free Earth Balance, dill, parsley and cilantro.

Image

YUM! :)

Weekend Yummies!

I look forward to the weekends for soooo many reasons…. time to make good food is one of them. With two sets of hands, it is so much easier to get a lot of things done! Not all of the time, of course, but most of it. This weekend was one of those times! Yay! On Saturday, we finally had time to check out a local farm stand near us that many of my friends had recommended to us. Like many farmers, they grow organically but cannot afford the high price of the official USDA stickers and certificates. We were able to get some plums, lemons, zucchini, and cucumbers for under $7! Not too shabby!

Saturday’s dinner-

I put some garlic and EVOO in my skillet, sliced up my zucchini somewhat thinly (thinner then for salad), and let that sit for a bit to start sizzling and get worked in, I then added some yellow and green peppers we got the last time we went food shopping and let them all “dance around” together, and then added in mushrooms lastly. I dashed some cilantro, dill, and basil on top. I then made quinoa and black beans on the side. It was pretty tasty yet light, which was great after a long day of running errands in NJ heat!

Image

Sunday’s dinner-

We decided to buy some ground turkey thigh this time to get a feel for the different taste and texture. I was craving mexican, so that’s what we had tonight. I browned up my turkey meat with EVOO and garlic as usual, then made my own “taco seasoning” with cumin, onion, smoked paprika, and chili powder. I drained the meat and then added a can of organic refried beans, and half a can of green chiles. I added in some cilantro at the end. I forgot to buy organic corn tortillas on our last shopping trip, so unfortunately, we had to pick up some non-organic ones today when we ran out after church, so that’s what we wound up having. I use 0% fat plain greek yogurt as a sour cream replacement, and it’s really good. We had salads for lunch, and have been snacking on fruit all day, so this was all we had for dinner. I know that’s kind of “un-crunchy” of me… but, it was a long weekend and we wanted to enjoy some time to rest also. ;)

Image

So, there are 2 more dinners to add on to the list!! Both were generally quick and tasty…. and of course healthy!! :)

What I eat for lunch during the week.

I will be totally honest with you, with a very busy 6.5 month old crawling around and now PULLING HIMSELF UP on things (yes you read that right!)… I don’t get a lot of prep time for lunches during the week. So, I need fast, simple and yummy that packs a nutritional punch! I need to pretty much be able to run to the fridge and grab some stuff and throw it on a plate when I know Baby J is about ready for his afternoon nap, which he spends on my lap.

So, my lunches are kind of boring. Sorry guys, I know, I know… disappointing. For starters- I LOVE avocado and what do you make with avocado?…. Guacamole!!!! Lots and lots of guacamole! I probably have guac about 3 days a week, maybe 4… ok, and sometimes 5. Yep, I may have a problem. LOL!

Well, here are some lunch suggestions, I actually feel somewhat bad I don’t have 5, or even 7… we typically wing it on the weekends when my hubby is home, since he sometimes offers to cook something while I spend time with Baby J. I am working on expanding my lunch horizons soon, so stay tuned! ;)

Lunch 1: Guacamole, chips, cold grilled and seasoned chicken breast, or a “safe” brand of sliced turkey breast (cold cuts), sometimes cheese or cheese substitute. Sometimes fruit or yogurt, or a smoothie. This is my favorite lunch. :)

Lunch 2: Gluten free, soy free Veggie burger, guacamole or plain avocado with just some salt and lime on it, and a yogurt or a smoothie.

Lunch 3: Chicken salad with…you guessed it… avocado. Sometimes, shockingly, I will have guac and chips on the side with this. Sometimes I will have almond milk ice cream with this meal… the salad cancels it out, right?

Lunch 4: One lunch a week typically is leftovers, though my husband is pretty much in charge of taking them to work to finish them off when we do have them.

So, after writing this, it’s pretty much confirmed I need to beef up my lunch selections! Hahaha. Any suggestions?! Feel free to comment and share!

What have we been eating?!

Wow! So very sorry friends for being off the blog for a while! It’s been yet another super busy week… we are also in the process of being ankle-deep in paperwork and phone calls and emails, getting approved for a mortgage so we can buy our first home!!! Yay!

So, in the hustle and bustle of this week, I may have also forgotten to take pictures of all the foods I’ve been eating… again, sorry! They all looked, and tasted pretty good for the most part! I am going to try my best to explain them all for you now, just to give you a run down and an idea at how we’ve been doing with the diet changes. :) Here goes:

Dinners:

Dinner 1: Fresh wild-caught tilapia from Whole Foods Market, seasoned with their organic chipotle seasoning, paired with black lentils tossed in EVOO and some spices, with a great, fresh, organic salad! It was DELISH. And also, my very first time making lentils, and they came out great and will remain a staple! I made the tilapia on the stove with some EVOO. This was also my first time making home made salad dressing… since most dressings have at least one thing we cannot eat, I decided to finally make my own! It was super easy, and tasted great. I looked up a couple recipes online, then came up with my own rendition…. I basically just put EVOO, with some balsamic vinegar and spices (don’t forget the salt!) in a mason jar, shook it up, and tasted until I got it “just right”. Hubby tasted and approved! ;)

Dinner 2: Quinoa made with broth instead of water, seasoned up with some black beans, chickpeas and balsamic vinegar and EVOO. I believe we also had a salad on the side for this dish as well. It was fast, easy, and tasted great… and quinoa is very versatile, as you can flavor it a million ways to taste however you want… even sweet!

Dinner 3: Mixed rice medley, chicken breast from Whole Foods market, mixed veggies. I wanted to try something different, and since many ready-to-make rice medleys aren’t gluten free, I was pretty happy to find that the 365 Organic Brand Rice Medley was, and it was quick prep, too! It tasted great when I mixed it in the skillet after cutting up the chicken into bite sized pieces! We seasoned this with Caribbean Jerk seasoning and of course EVOO, and it was great! I am pretty sure we had some sort of mixed veggies on the side, though, unfortunately, I cannot recall exactly right now… so sorry!

Dinner 4: Fresh green and yellow peppers, mushrooms, and quinoa tossed in the skillet with EVOO, spices, and balsamic vinegar. I am pretty sure we also added in a salad with this. Something easy, quick, and it packed a lot of flavor and nutrition! Yum!

Dinner 5: Turkey meatloaf with ground Turkey from Whole Foods Market with french fries and mixed veggies. So, I have to admit, we do still have frozen potato french fries in the freezer! But, I am glad we did, since this was one of those days, I REALLY needed it! I was able to quickly throw together something that actually wound up tasting pretty good for the meatloaf, and was surely thankful we had those french fries to add on!

Dinner 6: Gluten free pasta with shrimp, EVOO and seasonings. Super quick, easy, and YUM. It’s pretty self- explanatory…. we defrosted frozen shrimp, made some veggie-based gluten free pasta, and tossed everything together in the pot once the pasta was finished. We had green beans on the side as well. Another Yum!

Dinner 7: Homemade turkey patties with ground turkey from Whole Foods Market, rice, and mixed veggies. Ok, so this is kind of like making meatloaf….except it works out better when you realize at 12:30 you still didn’t defrost the turkey meat! LOL ;)

See, those weren’t so hard, right?! So, now that you know what we’ve been eating for dinner, which is basically most of the hard work, I’ll try to hop on here a little later today and reveal what I eat for breakfast and lunch while at home with Baby J. Hint- it includes a lotttt of avocado!! ;) As soon as Baby J nurses to sleep, I don’t get caught up in Candy Crush, or I have mommy time later, I will be sure to post… stay tuned!

Until then, read here to see why we trust Whole Foods Market and their standards for meat and fish. :)

My lunch today!

No, I’m not pregnant! It is advised that nursing moms continue on with their prenatal vitamins while nursing their babies. Plus, its really easy on my tummy, and I’ve had issues with multivitamins in the past. ;)

Today was my first day trying these “chips” called “Eat Your Vegetables”…. I love guacamole, so I was trying to find a suitable substitution for regular corn tortilla chips, and thought these may work out. I chose the sea salt and lime flavor, and it was pretty good. The texture may take some getting used to, but it held up well while dipping!

My smoothie- My smoothie today was Organic Stonyfield Farms Vanilla Yogurt, Frozen Blueberries, Silk Almond Milk, and a handful of Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Oatmeal.

*I am not reimbursed or paid for reviewing these products. Enjoy!

Image

A new journey!

So, the newest leg in this journey we are on, includes making different food choices. I basically decided in these last 2 weeks, that I am SICK of constant digestive upset for both Baby J and myself, feeling lethargic, achy, and tired (besides the usual mama-tiredness)…so, I’m going to do something better! We are going to eat better… all hands on deck, no cheating!

Here is the “official” list of what we are currently eliminating from our diet:

Gluten- as always- but now, no more for me- AT ALL!

Lactose and most dairy- seems Baby J and I tolerate most yogurts. And sometimes cheese.

Corn- especially if there are better choices, and if we want corn, we get Organic or locally grown Non-GMO certified.

Soy- research is pointing out time and time again, that it is in SO many things, and that it is not good for women, or boys… so basically, no one should be eating it. If you do, pleaaaase do so in moderation!

Tomatoes- seems neither myself or Baby J can tolerate them very well

Non-Organic Rice- arsenic levels have been scary lately

Non-Organic Eggs- because you never know what they went through before they made it to you

Non-Organic Juices, and Juice not watered down- in an effort to reduce sugar

Non-Organic foods that are on the “Dirty Dozen” list… We do try to buy everything fresh organic or local, but I will bend on the “Clean Fifteen” (link at the bottom)

We are also doing our best not to eat anything in a can…but, lets be real, with a 6 month old around who is super duper energetic, sometimes I just need the beans from the can! So, if we do buy canned, its Organic only. And usually only beans.

Frozen items- organic frozen veggies, and frozen fruits so I can make smoothies… and I will keep certain veggie burgers in the freezer so I can “make and run” if Baby J decides he really needs mommy to hold him and mommy is hungry.

As always, we do our very best to avoid ALL food dyes… and from here on out, as I said NO CHEATING. So, no more Twizzlers….oh well.

So, I know many of you are reading this, and having a small panic attack… and wondering, “WHAT are you going to eat?!?!”…the answer is simple… REAL, WHOLE FOODS! It honestly sounds more intimidating then it is, and when you think about how much better you and your family will feel when compared to saving an extra 20-30 minutes on cook time, you will thank yourself! There are actually SO MANY recipes available to us right now, I’m almost a bit overwhelmed!

I would like to start a series of posts explaining what I’ll be eating and making for us as a family, and my reviews on stuff we have tried.

For now, let me post my favorite websites that  I am currently looking through to get some ideas from to add to our recipe stack, and they also explain why to eliminate certain things from your diet, and eat a certain way. Have fun! :)

Living Without  

One Green Planet

The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen

The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen

If you have any that I can add to my list, please feel free to comment and let me know! :)

The time I tried telling God MY plans.

Hello there again! If you have been following my blog, you may have noticed I haven’t been writing too much lately. So sorry! I am now the mother of a VERY active 6 month old little Baby J! He is crawling, sitting up, falling over, and rolling all over the place! This is very, very different from 6 weeks old, I’ll tell you.. wow!

Another thing you may have noticed if you’ve been reading, is that I recently posted about what else I wanted to in life…you know, besides raising kids and being a wifey. ;) I was pretty set on telling God what I wanted to do. Those of you who are also Christians may be able to relate to what happens when you try to do this. Most of the time, when we do not seek God’s plans for us, the plans we had for ourselves falter, fall out of our scope of interest, reach or possibility. Or, when we do finally seek God’s will for us, we find He has very different plans for us.

I have to say right now, this is definitely the case in my life! Surprised? I’m actually not…haha. I have always had an interest in helping teenagers and young women with their faith, and just life struggles in general. When I had been called to be a youth leader for a short time in my single life, I enjoyed working with youth, hearing their stories, and really enjoyed the challenge of being an example to them. Recently, a new opportunity has opened itself up at our “new” church- where we have been going since we were married. I will not speak about it in detail just yet, but it is related to youth ministry. :)

If you are wondering about what happened to La Leche League leadership, or the prospect of becoming an IBCLC… well, the things involved in that type of work- whether volunteer or paid, are out of our scope of what we want for our family, and clearly what God wants for us as well. The first few weeks of speaking with those involved helped to see it was evident it would not be a way for me to truly use my gifts. I am still very much a lactivist at heart, and love reaching out to other mamas as well as we all go through our breastfeeding journeys together, but it is not truly where my heart lies to make the proper commitments.

We are still very much in the prayer, planning, and possibility stages when it comes to this potential opportunity. I hope I can ask all my Christian readers for prayers for us as we try to hear God’s voice when it comes to these potential plans… including how to involve the entire family in them!

Hope all is well with you as you read this, and I hope I have inspired you to stop and listen to what God has for you…. it may surprise you! :)

 

Peace, Mamas.

Wow, so apparently since I decided to take a facebook, and forum hiatus, and really only blog and Instagram, I missed some kind of weird collision of planets or the wind or something, which seemed to make all the moms take up cases against each other due to their parenting styles. Unless its always been around, and since I am a mom now, I am seeing it more often. Either way, can we try to work towards a little peace with each other?! I’m taking inspiration from some fellow blogger mamas, and also needed a place to air out my own frustrations with popular questions that turn easily into arguments…so, I’m writing this post.

Let me start with a disclaimer, so I don’t have to repeat myself. :) My husband and I co-parent… I do not “make him” parent with me, do things he doesn’t want to do, or “talk him into” things. *Both* of us have wanted to be parents since before meeting each other, and we do not take this responsibility lightly. We research, but also do things that come naturally to us, and what we feel may be best for our family as a whole. We discuss things, and we also go through trial and error. We are not perfect. You are not perfect either. This is simply what works for us right now… this list has already changed in the almost 6 months (gasp) since having  Baby J, and I predict a lot of it will be ever-changing, but most will stay the same. You do things the way you feel you should and what is best for you and your baby, I don’t doubt that. You’re a wonderful mama. Now, on to my list. :)

Feeding. Baby J nurses and has never been offered a bottle. I have no need or desire to attempt pumping, and I really hope the same with future children as well. We are doing Baby-led weaning. Baby J has to meet certain “criteria” before being offered solid food. He will not be offered rice or oatmeal, and barely any purees. It is my every hope to nurse him until he decides he is done. Sticking with “food before 1 is just for fun”, and the baby-led weaning philosophy, we will nurse first, then offer food second… not stress if he doesn’t like something, and allow him to show us what he’s capable of.

Sleeping at night. Currently, Baby J and I nurse laying down, and he then gets swaddled and lays in his crib for about 2-2.5 hours at the beginning of the night. We peek on him about every 20 minutes or so, and also use a monitor with sound to hear him. After his first wake up, he comes into bed with me, and Daddy sleeps on the floor, unfortunately. (He actually kind of likes it!) We are currently working toward a “family bed” arrangement. More then likely, it will be accomplished more easily when we move.. which is a whole other blog post! We switch sides probably 2-3 times a night, depending on the night. We all sleep pretty well this way, so for now, this works.

Babywearing. Baby J recently moved into his “big boy” car seat. Thank goodness!!! He was starting to really hate the infant seat. The weeks leading up to the switch, we had been using his infant seat with the Snap and Go less and less. He has finally gotten used to, and really does like being worn much more then in the stroller, and I honestly love it, too. (And so does Daddy!) We got the set with his infant seat, and still haven’t unwrapped the stroller. We already conquered a pretty big mall without it, and day to day activities aren’t a big deal. I think we may break it out if we plan a trip to the bigger zoo, to mostly carry our stuff. I can see how it would benefit us in the summer, since we both run pretty warm together, if we were too hot, or he really needed to nap. But, for right now, in the box it stays.

Babywearing “stash”. Okay, I’ll admit, it is SO very easy to get carried away with this! But, whether your “stash” is big or small, shouldn’t and doesn’t matter. To my husband and I, each carrier we own has its own purpose. Due to finances going elsewhere at the moment, we are stopping where we are until we get some other things straightened out. Honestly, I am happy with what I have right now, and grateful for it, and I think that’s what is most important.

Television. This is a tough one. I will be the first to admit… I love having the TV. However, for many, many reasons it is not only harmful to Baby J, but to myself as a woman, and a Christian. When we move, our big cable package will not be following us. Recently, I have stuck with only watching certain shows on certain channels for maybe 2 hours a day tops. Baby J is getting more curious, and there is a lot of valid evidence against babies his age (actually below 2 years) watching TV…even Baby Einstein. So, we have decided very limited TV for all is what is best for our family.

Church nursery/babysitters/”Mommy needs a break”. This may be shocking to some of you, but I have never been away from Baby J since the day we brought him home from the hospital. We have always been at least under the same roof, or short walking distance. We don’t utilize the church nursery at this time, since Baby J will sit with us until he needs to nurse at church and we go to the Mom’s room. We don’t have a need for babysitters, since we do things as a family. We never really went “out” anywhere not family friendly before Baby J came along. And, I do “get a break” just about every day. I am thankful that my husband is very good with offering me time for myself, and knowing how valuable that is to me as a wife to him and mommy for Baby J.

 

Hope you enjoyed this little post. I actually did enjoy writing it. Whatever your choices are, if you are okay with them, don’t resent them, and do what is best for your whole family… go for it! We are all in this parenting thing together. Peace, mamas! <3 :)

Babywearing Saves the Day….or, Night!

After a pretty long day out with my mom, Baby J was having a pretty hard time settling down, and even refusing milkies. :( After a while of trying different things to soothe him, it dawned on me that we walked past our babywearing stash over a dozen times, and neither myself or hubby thought to attempt wrapping. Well, I have to say this was probably my worst wrap job to date, but he fell asleep before I even tied the knot! I was able to walk him around for about 15-20 minutes, then transfer him to bed in my arms for another 10 or so, then when he half-woke, I was able to slide us into our usual bedtime position…..phew!

Image