When I was a kid, I used to sign up for classes through Tucson Parks and Recreation. I did ballet, tap dance, acting, piano, magic, painting, baton twirling, babysitting, pottery, self defense, gymnastics… you name it, and I probably took a class in it. As I became an adult, I found less and less time to pursue those types of leisure activities. Now, with two young kids, its almost impossible to leave the house. Having young children is rough and neither my husband nor I like to have two kids by ourselves during the bedtime hour. Very difficult. However, I miss learning the fun skills that let me pursue new artistic ventures. Those classes gave me an outlet to express myself as well as accumulate a ton of random interesting hobbies and skills (I actually switched to private baton lessons for a little while). Since my schedule is pretty tight for the time being, I’ve found my creative inspiration in Craftsy. If you haven’t checked out Craftsy.com and are arts-and-crafts inclined, I suggest you take a look. The site has a wide variety of video lessons to choose from. Everything from sewing and drawing to cooking and… jewelry! I’m refining my jewelry skills through a class on Craftsy right now by learning how to work with wire. So far, my teacher on Craftsy has taught me how to wire-wrap top-drilled stones which is how I made these lovely earrings: And used the same elements in the design of this necklace: Also, I learned how to create the nifty wire circles that appear in these earrings. Look for a Whimsicle necklace that uses that wire circle soon. All of these items are available for sale as well 🙂 Classes range anywhere from $15 to $50. The class includes materials lists, step-by-step beautifully produced videos and access to the instructor and other students. The online class hosts its very own online community where students can post pictures of their work and ask questions. Best of all, the video lessons are available to you forever. If you need to re-watch something to remind yourself of how its done, you can. If you are looking for a new hobby but can’t find the time to take a class, I definitely recommend Craftsy. If you end up enrolling in a class, let me know! Especially let me know if its good so I can add it to my wish list. I’m a little addicted.
Running With A Stroller I’ve written before about running while sick. When I was on the brink of a horrible sinus infection and had loads of disgusting mucus, I was able to push through and make every run on my training schedule. This weekend, I skipped my long run. It doesn’t matter how sick I am, but when I have a sick child, it completely derails me. My son, Dude, is 9-months-old and hasn’t had a fever (lucky) his entire life until this past week. It started with a cold and low-grade fever, then went away for a couple of days and came back hard on Friday night. That night, Dude joined us in our bed, (which he does every night but that’s another post). He tossed and turned and cried out uncomfortably. The soles of his feet and palms of his hands radiated heat. I reached for the thermometer on my nightstand and took his temperature. 103. Panic rushed through me. I go berserk with fevers in my children. I always imagine the fever continuing for days and days and the doctors aren’t able to figure out what’s wrong and it turns out to be some horrible, deadly disease… I’ve watched way too much television. I gave Dude the recommended dose of Infant Advil. Once it took effect, he went to sleep. On Saturday night, same thing. Except this time, it was apparent he had a stomach ache too. He wouldn’t nurse. I got out of bed and bounced with him. Then, he had three massive diapers in a row. After that, his fever miraculously broke and he slept. I could have gotten up early on Easter Sunday to run, but I decided to forgo it in favor of the extra hour of sleep. On Monday morning, after nursing all night to soothe his tummy, Dude woke me up my throwing up all over me. It was 6 AM. Funny thing is that it didn’t even faze him. He just rolled over and went back to sleep. I was up though. So, I went running. I was expecting a horrible run, but once I started, it felt great. Easy, even. Some Boston marathon mojo must have been in the air. Their start time was the same time I began my run. When I came back home, I looked like this. Yes, I’m exhausted. I still am, but I’m hoping that Dude is on the mend and I get much better sleep tonight. Tomorrow starts another running day. I’m still pushing on for that 5k on May 31st! Read on: Fixed Mindset Miss a week of the Running with a Stroller series? Catch up here: Running with a Stroller
“MOOOMMMMM…Carson pooped on the floor!” I grab a plastic bag and walk up the stairs, mentally preparing myself to stay calm. I take one look into the room and scream, “CARSON! Bad Boy.”
I had delusions about being the perfect mom. I would be loving ( I think I have that one), patient, have my kids dressed in cute little outfits and make my own baby food from scratch. Many moms fantasize about this. In truth, it doesn’t happen- unless you are Super Mom and I salute you. Take baby food. When it was time to wean my first child onto solid food -between working and being a first-time mom – I picked up a jar of Gerber pretty fast. It worked. We packed the baby food in our diaper bag when we went out to dinner. My husband and I fed her, taking bites in between spoon-risings to eat out our own meals. Life was happy. Since I decided to stay home after the birth of my second child, I attempted to give this “Baby Food Chef” thing a go. I became super excited as his 6-month birthday neared. I chopped, peeled and boiled sweet potatoes for our own dinner and made a batch of sweet potatoes, minus the good stuff(i.e. cream, salt, butter) for him. I pureed his food and sectioned the puree into the individual compartments of an ice cube tray- so they would be “convenient” later. When the time came to feed him, I mixed a bit of sweet potatoes with some expressed breast milk. As I brought him his food, I thought, “this is it. Perfect. He’s going to love it and eat the whole thing.” He refused to even open his mouth. Wouldn’t take it. I tried again the second night. Same thing. This time with crying and clamorous shouts of disdain. That’s when I decided to give baby-led weaning a try. In short, baby led weaning is letting the baby eat real food entirely by himself. No purees. No spoons. No adults putting anything in the baby’s mouth. The process is supposed to encourage healthier eating by letting the baby regulate his or her own food intake as well as exposing baby to a much wider variety of food. To start, I gave my son whole avocado cut into bite sized pieces. He smeared the avocado all over his tray and wouldn’t eat any of it. The next day, I gave him some baby carrots boiled so that I could mash them easily between my fingertips- about 45 minutes of boiling. He picked up the carrots and gummed them a little. A piece of carrot broke off and he immediately started gagging. The books on baby-led weaning warn you about babies gagging on their first foods. My husband and I reach for our son and get ready to finger sweep his mouth. Before we get to him, the piece of carrot flies out. My boy just reaches it for it, unfazed, and tries to eat it again. Every meal time, we fed him some of our meal minus dairy, nuts and of course, honey. He ate strips of whole wheat tortilla, chunks of broccoli, bits of […]
My daughter and I like to go on weekly dates every Friday after school. It’s a time I use to talk with her and to have a little treat that has no redeeming nutritional value. Friday dates are a blast! This past Friday, we chose Starbucks so that we could indulge in Frappucinos off their secret menu. Well, secret to some extent. Since Starbucks makes drinks to order, you can have them combine whatever flavors you desire. You just need to tell them exactly how to make it. Our choices this time? Cotton Candy Frappuccino. Made with: Vanilla Creme Frappuccino as a base 1 pump raspberry syrup Harry Potter Butterbeer Frappuccino Made with: Vanilla Creme Frappuccino 3 pumps toffee nut syrup 3 pumps caramel syrup caramel sauce drizzle I recommend the cotton candy variation. The drink is very reminiscent of the candy floss and was yummy to both my daughter and me. We didn’t enjoy the Butterbeer as much. I felt the toffee nut flavor was overwhelming, so that it didn’t taste like Butterbeer really but was more like having a Toffee Nut Frappuccino. Ordering off the secret menu is a lot of fun! I used the website: http://starbuckssecretmenu.net It works very well on a cell phone. I just browsed over to the recipe and showed the barista. If you are intrigued by the concept of secret menus, I also recommend the website Hack the Menu What Starbucks variations do you recommend?
Love clam chowder, but can’t justify the heaviness of it? Try this slow-cooker recipe that lightens up this delicious soup. Although most of the fat has disappeared, the soup is still very creamy and has a ton of flavor. As a bonus, it is incredibly easy to prepare. You will need:1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil1 onion, diced2 ribs celery, diced2 tsp minced garlic2 cans clams (8 ounces each)1 bottle (8 ounces) clam juice3 potatoes, cut in bite sized cubes (I used red potatoes)1 can (12 ounces) 2% evaporated milk Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Throw in the onion and celery. Cook until the onion becomes translucent (about 12 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more (or until you can smell the garlic). Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker. Add the clams (with juice), bottle of clam juice and potatoes to the slow cooker. Stir well. Cook on high for 2 to 3 hours, or on low for 3-4 hours. I found that 3.5 hours on low worked well for this recipe. Stir in the evaporated milk the last hour of cooking. Season with pepper and serve. Tabasco green sauce would also make a tasty seasoning. I served this soup with a salad (greens, turkey, pepperoni, mozzarella, tomatoes and green olives) and bread rolls from the bakery. It was a very easy and tasty weeknight meal. Enjoy! Recipe from The Runner’s World Cookbook.
You may think that you need to live in a coastal locale to enjoy a dinner cruise. Would it surprise you to know that you find one about an hour-drive from Phoenix? Off the 60, through Apache Junction and up into the Superstitions.
Once…I went to Georgia. It was my cousin’s wedding and the rehearsal dinner was held at this spectacular BBQ place. The pulled pork literally melted in my mouth. As a semi-vegetarian (in that I didn’t really like meat all that much, so ate a lot of cheese based dishes instead), I had no idea meat could taste that good. Every time I’ve eaten at the BBQ place since then, I have ordered the pulled pork off the menu and hoped it would be as amazing. I’m always disappointed. This crock pot recipe comes pretty darn close to the deliciousness of that Georgia restaurant. The best part is that it is super easy and makes the house smell good all day. You will need: 5-6 pound pork shoulder roast 2 yellow onions, sliced 3 Tbs chili powder 1 tsp coriander 2 tsps cumin 2 tsps onion powder 1 Tbs dried parsley 2 tsps salt First, slice up the onions and place them on the bottom of the crock pot. Then, mix the spices together to form a dry rub. Rub the spices all over the meat. Attack any children nearby. Place meat on top of the onions and close the crock pot lid. Cook the meat for 5-6 hours on high. Then lower the heat to low and cook an additional 3-4 hours. You do not have to add any liquid. At the end of the cooking time, your pork will look like this: I recommend taking the roast out and draining all of that fat. Including the fat is super yummy, but it isn’t needed. The meat is still very moist and flavorful without it. Shred the meat and serve. We chose to have carnitas burritos the night we made it. We used whole wheat tortillas with sour cream and Tapatio sauce. You can eat the meat just by itself too (as Erik chose to do). This recipe makes a lot of food. Leftover carnitas make an excellent salad topping as well, if you aren’t up to eating a plethora of carnitas burritos. However, this meat is so good, using a fork to eat it straight out of the refrigerator works as well. Original recipe from Everyday Paleo.
I am what I like to call a “baby Christian.” What does this mean exactly? I have in the last year grown in my faith in God and have accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. That is the correct church response, isn’t it? Since having my third child, Kinley, I have felt a profound change in myself that can only be described as divine intervention. I feel more at peace with myself, the world, and feel a calm contentment that was lacking before. I feel happy when I pray and when I attend church, small groups and gather with like-minded women at church.
We walked precariously into an un-marked tan, brick building and were immediately underwhelmed. I should have known based on first impressions that this outing had trouble written all over it. Did I listen to my gut? NO! I did not. The Stuffington tour, which lasts about fifteen minutes, starts in this room where kiddos can check out a few of the items they have for sale. Parents beware: the bears are very expensive ranging from $24.95 all the way up to $99.95 and the quality is sub par. As we were waiting for JoAnn and her kiddos to arrive, Carson and Kurt took the opportunity to stroll around and check out the happenings. Shortly after our friends arrive Carson starts vomiting. Not just a little spit up, projectile. Kurt runs over to the waste basket and starts dry heaving…this is going great. JoAnn politely asked the woman in charge for some paper towel so that I could discretely clean up Carson’s mess and she gave me two paper towels. TWO! I couldn’t help but laugh. The tour begins in a small classroom where students are educated on the beginnings of the teddy bear, using washed out photos of Teddy Roosevelt and his teddy bear. JoAnn and I exchanged glances and had inner giggles. We were then led into the work room, which to be honest, was a little uncomfortable. It was a room filled with about ten workers sitting at their sewing machines watching us look at their expansive array of fabrics. The kids got to watch the workers, learn about eyes/buttons and then see the stuffing machines. This concluded the tour. From beginning to end, it was a debacle that one can only laugh at. It was a very short, but fun experience. If you would like to check it out for yourself, tours are at 1pm daily. Don’t be late…as they will be over before you know it. http://www.stuffingtonbear.com/tours.asp