Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Whole 30-ish

This past weekend while Mike was away, I hit a wall.  As I sat at the dinner table eating smiley fries alongside Max, not only did I start to feel kind of, for lack of better word, gross, it also dawned on me how horribly I have been taking care of myself lately.

Ever since my first pregnancy, I have developed quite the sweet tooth.  Junk and carbs have been my jam. Sourdough toast has been my go-to breakfast, and the festive Halloween treats have certainly gotten the best of me.

I have been sluggish, worn out, hungry all the time... even though I just ate (carbs), and I hate the way my clothes fit.

I was in such an amazing place when I got pregnant with Ella last summer.  I had proven to myself that having a body that I loved, even post-baby, was totally possible.  I was eating healthy, and exercising, and I felt amazing. I had also just completed my very first Whole 30.

Now let me be honest with you, I call my version of this, my Whole 30-ish diet.  I lovingly refer to it as this, because I do not 100% abide by the Whole 30 or Paleo guidelines.  My goal is simply this: to cut out all refined carbs, dairy, sugars, and unnatural foods as much as possible for 30 days in order to sort of detox my body from the unhealthy foods it has become addicted to.

Will I do this long term?  Probably not.  Do I think it is necessary for everyone? Absolutely not.  It's just that it has worked wonders for me in the past.  Not only for weight loss, but as an energy booster, and as a way of reminding myself what REAL food actually is, and that most of it doesn't come from a box.

I am not preaching, I am not recommending, I am not claiming expertise on any of this in any way.  I just want to use my blog as a means to share about my journey, and to share some of the recipes I love, as well as products that I have found and really enjoy, for anyone who might even have a speck of interest in any of this.

Ok... disclaimer over.  Now... I promised my Instagram followers that I would share the recipe I made the other night for Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili.

This recipe is something I adapted from a recipe I found on Pinterest.  I added some things and changed a few things, and both my husband and I agreed, the result was some really tasty chili.  If you're not into ground turkey, feel free to use ground chicken or ground beef, by all means.  Also, we like things a little spicy around here, but I will provide some milder options in the instructions.

Please understand, that recipe writing isn't exactly my strongest skill, as I generally am a "pinch of this, dash of that" type of cook.  Truly though, I think this recipe would be hard to mess up.  In a little over 30 minutes, you should have a healthy, hearty, gluten free, paleo, yet still very tasty, bowl of chili.

Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili
adapted from Skinny Taste

4 slices of bacon
1 pound of lean ground turkey
1/2 cup of yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of Rotel (I used the spicy version, opt for the mild if you don't like the heat)
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (you can also omit this for less spice)
a couple of dashes of hot sauce (such as Tobasco, use your judgement here, the more you add, the spicier it will be)
salt and pepper to taste

In a dutch oven or large pot, cook bacon according to directions.  I like mine crispy, so that is how I cooked it. Remove from pan and rest on paper towel-lined plate.

Add onion and garlic to remaining bacon fat and saute over medium heat for a moment until slightly translucent, then add turkey. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until browned.

Add Rotel, tomato sauce, chicken stock, sweet potato, and all remaining spices.

Cover and simmer over medium-low for about 25 minutes, or until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally. Crumble bacon and toss into pan.

Top with avocado and/or cilantro

If you guys have any questions or comments, if you try anything different, or if you make this as is, I'd love to hear what you think.  I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Weekend Recap

I generally like to write a little post that recaps our weekend every Monday. This week it just so happens to be coming to you on a Tuesday.
Mike was traveling this past weekend, and it took me a whole extra day to get my stuff together and attempt to get back to our somewhat normal routine.
If you are a single parent with little ones and you are reading this, I am in awe of you... That gig is no joke.
All was fine and good around here the first few days.
I told Max that he was the man of the house, and he was thrilled to take on the role. Both him and Ella were amazingly well behaved on Thursday and Friday. I felt like super mom as I effortlessly juggled both of my children without my husband's assistance.

By Saturday evening, "sh*# got real"! Max was bouncing off the walls, and Ella was whiny. M insisted upon climbing all over me every time I sat to nurse E. Tantrums were thrown when needs weren't immediately met, and I found myself wanting to climb into bed to hide under the covers. These tiny people were literally owning me!

But... Low and behold, with some earlier-than-normal bedtimes and an extra large glass of red wine in hand, I forged through and we made it to Sunday evening.
I have never been so happy to see Mike, and couldn't be more thankful that his having to travel for work is a rarity.
Despite the occasional chaos, M, E and I did still manage to have a pretty good weekend (for the most part).

I have been up to my ears in Etsy orders lately, which I couldn't be more thrilled about, so a trip to the yarn store with my lovely assistants was a must. 

During naptime, I worked on orders and took the opportunity to watch a "chick flick" while Mike wasn't here. The Fault in Our Stars left me a sobbing mess, frantically trying to put myself back together before my kids woke up for fear that Max might think something truly awful had happened. If you're in the mood for a good tearjerker, I highly recommend it, just be prepared with tissues in hand.

On Saturday morning, after we made some lightened up donuts topped with spider-infested sprinkles, we took a great fall stroll. The weather was perfect and I think we all really needed the fresh air, and it was so nice to get out and take in the beauty of fall while it lasts.

We also decided that this weekend was the perfect time to paint our pumpkins. I covered our picnic table with newspaper, dug out our washable paints, and we headed out to the deck, where I let Max go to town. My little artist created the most beautiful pumpkin complete with blobs of blue and black all over, and only freaked a couple of times when I insisted on washing off his paintbrush mid-project. It was sunny and in the 70's here yesterday, so it felt great to be outside making a huge mess, rather than inside for once.

I suppose that about wraps it up. I have about a billion loads of laundry to tend to, a trashed house to clean, orders to fulfill, and costumes to complete. Happy Halloween week!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Swoon Worthy

I'm keeping it short and sweet this weekend, Here's is a list of things I'm swooning over as of late...

1.  Is this not the cutest idea forever.

2.  I loved Gone Girl, and with the recent release of the movie, I am now totally intrigued by Gillian Flynn's other work, Dark Places and Sharp Objects.

3.  This coat is on point!

4.  So many glittery DIY projects, it's hard to choose just one.

5.  I'm thinking this bowl would be the perfect addition to our Thanksgiving tablescape. It could pull double duty as coffee table decor!

6.  Carter's has been killing it lately with the trendy clothes for babes... I picked up this super cute tunic for Ella the other day. I kind of want it in my size.

7.  Definitely making these lightened up donuts this weekend.

8.  These books are a genius idea for little ones.

9.  I'm pretty sure I already listed a similar dress to this before, which just goes to show how much I love it.

10.  Pretty sure we'll be making these cute little treats this week!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Crocheted Candy Corn Bunting | A Pattern

I discovered recently, that I am not only addicted to eating candy corn in the fall, but I'm also slightly obsessed with the look of the sweet little treat too.

It's like the unnofficial symbol of Fall... You know, after pumpkins, and apples, and leaves and whatnot.

Anyhow, I think you all know by now how much I adore a good festive garland, so I created this super cute candy corn bunting to add a fun little seasonal touch to Max's bedroom. Hearing Max shout "candy corn!!!" as soon as he saw it, confirmed that my yarn version is a pretty good little replica.

Scrap yellow, orange, and white worsted weight yarn
Size H (US) crochet hook
Large yarn needle

With yellow yarn, chains 10 plus 1 (11 chains)

hdc in 2nd chain from hook and each chain across (10 hdc's), chain 1 and turn.

hdc in each stitch across (10 hdc), chain 1 and turn.

hdc first 2 stitches together (if you are unfamiliar with this step, watch this video), hdc 6, hdc last 2 stitches together. Switch to orange yarn, chain 1, turn.

hdc in each stitch across (8 hdc), chain 1, turn.

hdc first 2 stitches together, hdc 4, hdc last 2 stitches together. Chain 1, turn.

hdc in each stitch across (6 hdc). Chain 1, turn.

hdc first 2 stitches together, hdc 2, hdc last 2 stitches together. Switch to white yarn, chain 1, turn.

hdc in each stitch across (4 hdc), chain 1, turn.

hdc 2 stitches together, hdc 2 stitches together, tie off and weave in all yarn ends.

To create a bunting, I simply chain stitched until I achieved the length I wanted my bunting to be. In this case, I opted to keep it small, with only 3 crocheted candy corns, so I chained 100, plus 1 to turn. I then single crocheted 35, and slip stitched into the 10 yellow stitches at the widest part of each candy corn. I didn't leave any spaces between the candy, so 30 slip stitches, and then 35 more single crochets.

You can make as many candies as you'd like, make the bunting any length, or even use the candies as cute little coasters. They work up pretty easily and quickly!

Have fun with it, and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ella Rose | 6 Months

I honestly can't believe that the time has already come for me to write about our sweet Ella turning 6 months old. How on earth a half a year has passed since we welcomed this little lady into our world, just blows my mind.

The girl just bubbles over with personality. She's loud, funny, snugly, sweet, curious, and such a beautiful little soul. We're loving every second of watching her grow.

Ella now proudly shouts "mama" (music to my ears), "yaya", and "baba". 

She's a champ when it comes to eating, sweet potatoes are her fave, and though we still haven't seen any teeth pop through, she's a total drool factory, and is giving Sophie the Giraffe a serious workout.

She weighed in at 16.5 pounds this month, and was 26.6 inches long, during our home "check up", but her official appointment is next week, where I'm sure we'll get more accurate measurements. She's now mostly wearing size 6-12 month clothing, and it still in size 2 diapers.
Her hair has grown so much, that we constantly have to pin her bangs back, and it's an absolute must that she wear a headband at meal time, or else the majority of her dinner ends up in that glorious mane of hers.

In terms of eating, we're in the experimental phase and trying new things every day. Bananas, apples, pears, peas, avocado, green beans, squash and sweet potatoes are all in the rotation now.

We recently borrowed a jumperoo from friends of ours, and Ella just loves it... Her bouncing abilities are out of this world! She's almost sitting 100% on her own, but her balance still needs some work, so the Bumbo seat is still her thing for now.

She's a great sleeper for the most part, we're still going strong in the nursing department, and she is also still totally in love with her big brother.
She wants so badly to play cars with him... And sometimes he even lets her.

We love you and your brother so, so much Ella Rose, and cannot wait to see you both reach many more milestones as you grow. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekend Recap

I can't believe it's already almost the end of October! The weeks and weekends are flying by so fast it's crazy, and this past weekend was no exception.

If you read my previous post, you already know that we spent Friday evening relaxing and enjoying Raclette (and wine) by the fire. You can't have a fire without having s'mores, so Max got his first taste, and as you can see from the photos, he obviously didn't like it at all. We like to replace the chocolate bar with a little Nutella, because obviously, Nutella makes everything better!

Our little wild man has become rather obsessed with his toy cars lately (such a boy), and insists on bringing them with us everywhere we go... In addition to his blankie, which I'm just thrilled to have near by during meal time!

Sunday was spent attending church, doing yard work, and watching ABC Family's 13 Nights of Halloween! Max has becom accustomed to modern technology, and now insists that we fast forward through commercials, even while watching live TV. We were ordered to "fast forward" through every commercial during Monsters Inc. Sorry buddy, no such luck.

And this girl was quite the hit at church in her leopard skinny jeans!

As always, much of the weekend was spent snuggling, lounging, and working on fun festive projects.

I will be sharing my pattern for crocheted candy corn within the next few days, and we found the idea for those adorable little owl s'mores on Pinterest.

We used the remainder of yellow candy melts to make some festive pretzel rods sprinkled with candy corn colored "frinkles" (according to Max), that we found in Target's Dollar Spot. Just what we need around here, more sugar!

Hope you all have a fabulous week ahead!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Swoon Worthy

I'm a day behind on my usual Saturday morning Swoon Worthy post, and it's been quite awhile since that has happened so I'm feeling a significant amount of guilt over it... however, we had a birthday party to attend yesterday, and I'm not sure about anyone else, but for me, leaving the house with 2 kids seems to take a full day worth of preparation lately and generally has me a frantic mess, running around crazy, shoving diapers, and snacks, and changes of clothes in my suitcase sized baby bag.

So... my apologies, but finally, here are the things that I am loving this week:

1.  If you know me or follow me at all, by this point, you know that I have an unhealthy coffee addiction.  So, it makes perfect sense to me, that this is on the top of my Christmas list this year.

2.  Speaking of Christmas, I know I am totally jumping the gun, but just so you can all feel equally as excited as I am, I think it is only fair to make you aware that this list has become available.  Better to be prepared.

3.  Our favorite bib company has now started making placemats as well.  A total necessity in this house.

4.  So... I finally got to taste test these seasonal juices.  The verdict... I'm in love!

5.  I love these custom made dolls... I think they are a genius holiday gift idea. (The deadline for custom dolls is 11/3).

6.  I adore following +Whitney Bond on Instagram, everything she makes looks amazing.  This spaghetti squash recipe is on my must-make list this week.

7.  Dying over these boots.  Just dying.

8.  I absolutely MUST do this... like today.

9.  I love this candle company.  I am particularly swooning over the cranberry balsam and vanilla maple scents.

10. Last but not least, have you guys ever had Raclette?  I recently discovered it and was totally intrigued.  We enjoyed ours rustic-style, by the fire, but they make special raclette makers specifically for enjoying the oozy cheesy goodness.  If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it, as a self-proclaimed cheese enthusiast, it was a totally awesome experience. We found the Raclette at Whole Foods.

Hope you all enjoyed this week's list of things I'm swooning over!  Happy Sunday to all!  Oh, and ABC Family's 13 Nights of Halloween is on today! Yeah!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bundle Me Up | Accessories for Littles

I recently did a post featuring some of my favorite cold weather items for little ones, yet with so many cute options out there, I felt the need to do a post that featured cold weather accessories as well.

In addition to all of the amazing store bought items out there... as always, I urge you to support the makers out there and shop handmade on sites like Etsy.

Now, are you ready for the shameless plug?  My own Etsy shop, Little Peach Blossoms, features a countless variety of winter accessories for the whole family in a number of styles and color options, and I'm working to add new stuff every day, so check it out!
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