Back again

I’ve been a busy. Back to working part time while being a full time mama. My little baby is now 8 months old and I’ve started giving her solids. I followed baby led weaning guidelines with my older daughter. If you are not familiar with baby led weaning, here are a few highlights:

– wait until baby can sit independently and shows an interest in solids.
– give baby soft foods that you are eating. This includes things like steamed veggies, avocado, and other foods that are not highly spiced. Kate’s first food was steamed sweet potato.
– give an ounce of water in a sippy with meals.

That’s it in a nutshell.

My other past time is cooking. My hubby and I are trying to cut down on our expenses. Eating out and convenience foods are a huge budget buster. So I’ve been trying to cook almost all our meals at home. If we eat out once a week, that would be a vast improvement.

Of course to help me do that, I had to get some new kitchen toys.
– a bread maker. This helps me make organic breads. I can buy a 5 lb bag of organic flour for about $4. A jar of yeast is $2. The bag of flour makes at least 6 loaves of bread. When I buy a loaf of organic bread, it can cost me between $4 and $5.
– a juicer. I bought an Omega 8004 which is a masticating juicer. This is definitely a luxury item but I love fresh juices. This helps use up veggies that I don’t feel like cooking but need to use up.
– an Instapot. This is an electric pressure cooker. I have been using it for making soups. But I hear that it is wonderful for cooking beans. It can cook dry beans in under an hour!

So we’ll see how much I spend on food this month. Our goal is to save enough money to start furnishing and fixing up our home without creating debt.

Here’s a random picture of the dessert I made last night. It’s a peanut butter cookie milkshake. I am vegan so now cows were harmed in the making of this dessert:)


I have converted to the dark side…

I got an IPad 3.  I never thought I would succumb to Apple but I did.  And it is lovely.

I’ve been wanting to get some sort of tablet for a while now.  I was contemplating the Asus TF7000 or the Galaxy Note 10.1.  Both of these tablets are pretty nice and have HD screens.  What got me though was the retina display.  It is so much better than anything else out there.  Pretty much makes other tablets look like POSs.

When I got the IPad, I was initially disappointed that it didn’t play Flash or Adobe products.  After doing some research, I found that Steve Jobs was morally opposed to using Adobe products because they refused to make software for iMac.  So he never put them on the iPhone, iPad, or the iPod.  There is a work around though.  If you want to view things like full episodes of shows, each network has an app that you can download and you can watch the shows from there instead of the website.  Kind of a pain cause you need the app but they are usually free and these iPads come with a ridiculous amount of memory so a tiny app is usually not cause for concern.

Another thing about the iPad, is that it is very intuitive.  My 3 year old daughter picked it up and immediately knew how to swipe it open and get to apps.  She can’t read but she can use an iPad.  I don’t plan on letting her use if very much.  Just for times when I really need her to sit still and this is the only activity that will work.

The baby is growing like a weed.  I weighed her yesterday and she was 15 lbs, 11 oz.  She’s almost toddler sized!  Her clothes are 12 month sizes now.  And she is tall.  About 27 inches.  That puts her in the 97th percentile for height.  Incredible since neither dad or I are very tall…

I haven’t discovered any must have apps yet.  But I am glad I can retire my Sony eReader.  Sorry but the new software that came out very recently is terrible.  I had to download it because the hubby cleaned off the hard drives of both computers and the software wasn’t backed up.  No problem I thought.  Yes there is.  The new software that is available cannot see any library books or docs.  And it is not intuitive.  No help menu exists that is helpful.  Sony is shooting the eReader and letting it rot in its own blood by releasing this software.  I am sad about the books I bought from the dumb Sony store though.  I should have known better and bought thru Amazon.  At least I can read on any tablet and my computer.

We’re farmers…

Of one tomato plant, mint, basil, cilantro, and two corn plants.  lol.  I love fresh herbs for cooking and they are quite expensive.  I’ve never had a green thumb.   In fact, I’ve had a plant graveyard in the past.  But I’m trying to be I can optimistic that I can bring these plant to harvest.
My mom is a wonderful gardener.  She maintains a huge garden with citrus and avocado trees, tomato, eggplants, and even lettuces.  She is also a lover of all things orchid.  It takes her hours to water and feed these plants which in arid southern CA may not be the greenest thing.

My 3 year old (aka love bug) started the two corn plants at her preschool.  They studied corn for a week.  Planting it, learning foods made with corn, shucking it, and eating it!  She is now an enthusiastic corn eater:)

I’m having a hard time scheduling exercise in.  Instead of beating myself up about it, I decided to exercise when I have a chance.  But to spend the rest of my maternity leave enjoying my kids.  I still want to lead an active lifestyle and I think running after my kids counts.  That just means I need to be really careful with my diet.

I think I’m addicted to sugar.  Unfortunately, that’s a really easy drug to find.  I know it’s bad for your body and mind.  Cause obesity, diabetes, wrinkled skin, etc.  I don’t think I can eat it in moderation.  So, I’m vowing to stop eating refined sugar and packaged foods.  Stuff like whole wheat bread is ok.  Cinnamon buns are not.  Fruit sugar is ok too.  And I need to stay away from dairy.  Eggs are easy because I hate them but I love cheese and dessert.  I have started dabbling in baking my own treats for my kiddo.  She loves pumpkin bread and asked me to bake some for her preschool snack time today.


True Food Kitchen

I ate here today for lunch and had a wonderful meal.  It’s my mom’s birthday tomorrow and my sister wanted to take her out for lunch here.  The restaurant was very large and open, lots of space.  Decorated with lots of planters filled with herb and edible plants.  The bathrooms were separated into men and women’s restrooms but shared a sink area.

I started out with the Natural drink. It’s a mixture of ginger, agave syrup, and soda water.  Totally refreshing.  They do have some fruit infused water at the entrance for you to try while waiting for your table.  Today’s flavor was pear mint.

I had the mixed Autumn salad.  Lots of roasted veggies like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes.  But the star was the pomegranate seeds and the dressings.  I asked to have all three of their salad dressings on the side and my favorite was the lemon vinaigrette.  

My parents both had meat dishes and my sis had the ravioli.  She wasn’t too impressed by the size of her dish.  It held only 5 raviolis.  The menu was clearly labeled to let you know what was vegan, vegetarian, and meat dishes were obvious.  A big plus for me.  They even had a vegan option on the kids menu.  My 3 year old had the almond butter, apple, and banana sandwich with carrot sticks.

I wish I took some pictures but of course having the kids there, I was a busy mama.  I will be back though.  A definite visit for vegans and vegetarian diners.


Love letter to my baby Kate…

I sat on the couch nursing you tonight thinking about how perfect this moment was.  Your sister and dad are in bed reading and you and I get to spend this precious time together.  I look at your face.  Your eyes are closed yet you still suck getting nourishment from me, your mama.  Your long lashes flutter and I think “thank goodness you got your lashes from your daddy”.

After you’ve had your fill, you open your eyes and look at me.  Your lips spread into a smile as you recognize me.  Next you start stretching your arms and legs.  Asking me to let you “stand”.  You smile again.  Those gummy smiles melt my heart.  I look at your chubby legs and the creases in your neck.  I breathe in your milk smell and your sweet milk breath.  You look at your hands in wonderment and grab at your feet.  I smile thinking how you must be surprised at the presence of these appendages.  My breast milk has nourished you for the last 9 months.  My body has housed and nurtured you for the past 14 months and that’s absolutely amazing.  Our bond is so strong.  Not even the bond I have with your daddy is this strong.  Calming you and feeding you is my job and it’s the best in the world.

I love you so much.  Your my last baby.  Every moment from now on, I’ll be in awe of how your are changing and growing.  Every moment, you learn something new.  One day you will become a woman but for now, you are my baby and I am your mother.  One day I will write out your birth story so you will know how much you were and are wanted.  But for now, I will luxuriate in your baby presence.  Because tomorrow you will be another baby.

Book Review: Eat and Run

Like I said before, I love reading and thinking about becoming an ultra runner.  It just sounds so romantic.  Having a goal, communing with nature, and becoming one with pain.  Almost like giving birth.
I’ve read several books on running before.

  • What I think about while running by Haruki Murakami
  • Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Now… I have run a half marathon in the past but I haven’t been too consistent with fitness.  I’m trying hard and my goal is to do a long run next year.  It’s pretty hard for me to train with two little girls but I will put in an effort when they don’t need me.

Eat and Run is an interesting autobiography of Scott Jurek, ultra marathoner and vegan.  It shares his struggles and triumph growing up with a sick mother and carnivorous family.  I thought he wrote the book well and even included recipes at the end of each chapter.

I don’t think I can write anything earth shattering about the book but it really struck me how running was a journey for this man.  He had journeyed through college, the Barrancas, and Death Valley on his two feet.  Although he runs fast, he slows down to appreciate life.  As a society, humans have lost the ability to slow down and enjoy the earth.  This man enjoys the act of running and fueling his body both with his chosen activity and the food he eats.  He truly is what he eats.

I don’t think I’ll be running ultra marathons in my life but I can always take out an hour to just enjoy the earth and moving my body.  I’ve been so wired to technology for a good portion of the decade and I want to distance myself a bit from it and instead live life.  Who needs to read about or look at pictures on the internet when I could be outside breathing some fresh air and moving my body the way nature intended.  Even if you can’t run races or even run, you can do that at least once a day.  It’s good for the soul.

I am intending on getting to the gym today.  There is a strength class I want to attend this afternoon.  Today is supposed to be a scorcher.  It’s already up to the 90’s so I think spending my time exercising indoors would be prudent.  Especially since I am definitely not conditioned to outdoor exercising.

I made dinner last night for my non-vegan friend who was visiting from out of town and my parents.  Of course I used the Happy Herbivore cookbooks and we had chickpea tacos and the Southwest Chop Salad.  Both were a hit.  I also made some vegan lactation cookies and spanish rice for my daughter.  She has a thing for spanish rice.

I loved having my friend down for the weekend.  We haven’t seen each other since my wedding about 4 years ago and we hardly talk on the phone since neither one of us is a phone talker but it felt like she’d been in my life everyday.  We caught up immediately and had so much fun.  I love when someone is just “easy”.  We don’t have any pretenses or agendas.  We just really enjoy each others company.  There are several people in this world that I can do this with and I am grateful for this.



Runner’s World Beginner schedule

Runner’s World Beginner schedule

For someone who is not an athlete, I sure do think about becoming one a lot.  I decided that next week, I’m going to try my foot at running.  The link listed about has an 8 week schedule that I think I’m going to follow.

The first week has you running for 1 minute and walking for 2 minutes.  Repeat 10 times.  I think this is do able.  Runners will do this for 4 days and cross train the rest.

The problem is for me to find the actual time to run.  I think I’ll go before my kids wake up.  Probably have to go at 5:30 in the am.  OMG… I am so not a not an early morning person.

I’m one year older

36.  I’m one year older.  This year has flown by.  So much has happened.  I had a baby.  She’s 4 months old.  My oldest baby turned 3.  But it feels like a blur.  I barely remember any of it.  I am going to chalk that up to sleep deprivation. 

I don’t think I’ve had a full night’s sleep since my 3rd trimester of my first pregnancy.  That’s going on 3.5 years now.  I’ve always been a light sleeper but now I wake up at the slightest change in anyone’s breathing.  I’ve never been able to sleep with a fan on or the air conditioner much to the disappointment of my heat generating husband.  I know this will be for just a short period in my life.  Once my babies decide to leave my bed, I will once again enjoy a full night’s rest.  All of the annoyances and inconveniences of babies and toddlers will be short lived and will be replaced by other worries of school aged and teen aged daughters.  I shudder to think about what my nights will be like when my oldest turns 12.

Milestones for this year

  • Kate was born on 5/26
  • Delilah turned 3 on 8/22
  • Delilah potty trained on 8/29

I really need to keep better track of the baby’s milestones.  She’s already smiling and grabbing at objects.  She started turning from her tummy to back a few weeks ago.  I did weigh her yesterday and she comes in at a whopping 14 lbs 13 oz.  Quite a difference from my petite older daughter who at 3, weighs in at 27 lbs.

Hmmm…. Goals for this year.

  • Work out for 1 hour a day 5 days a week.
  • Cook at home at least 5 days a week.  We’ve been a family who relied on take out or cheap restaurant foods.  It will be healthier and cheaper for us.
  • Up my savings to my kids’ college funds.  I already save $250 a month for Delilah.  I think I am going to start another 529 plan for Kate when I go back to work.
  • Get a small snap and go camera to capture photos.  My hubby has a big huge one that takes great pictures.  But it is very inconvenient.  I can’t take it anywhere because it is massive.  I’ll research one today and start snapping away.
  • Start knitting again.  I love knitting but haven’t had much time.  Now that my little girl isn’t nursing nonstop anymore, maybe I can take it up again.
  • Work out a budget and stick to it.  My husband is always complaining that we don’t save enough money whereas I disagree. 

I’ve tried to save money by using cloth diapers for the baby.  I invested about $250 in 18 cloth diapers and I haven’t bought disposables since she was born.  I used to spend about $50 per month in diapers.  I am also trying hard to cook dinner at home.  It’s very hard considering my husband doesn’t come home until 7:30 or 8 pm every night.  With 2 small children who break down at around 6 pm, cooking usually gets pushed back until he gets home and we resort to going out for a burrito.  When I go back to work in about a month, my plan is to do a prep day during the weekend while the hubby is home so that we can have meals during the week that don’t take too much time.

To sum up, I don’t feel too old.  But I don’t feel young again.  Maybe I need to go out for a walk…