Favorites at age 2!

Since I’m trying to get back on the blogging train, I wanted to share a few things that we are loving at our house at this age, while linking up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes!  I always enjoy reading when parents share their kiddos’/parenting favorite things at whatever age they’re at.

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Top row: 1. Latt Table and Chairs from Ikea. This was a birthday gift and it’s Jimpy’s favorite place to enjoy smoothies! I don’t even mind if he colors on it (he already has) because it’s such a great deal. 2. Play kitchen: this was a very generous gift from Patrick’s mom for Christmas. It has gotten a lot of use these past 6 months! 3. Toy food: he received this set with said kitchen and still loves it! I love the durability and it definitely should last through a few kids.

Middle row: 4. Tool kit: we have been playing with these almost non-stop for months. 5. Football: we have a few different kinds, but I like these soft ones the best. He might be content playing with a ball all day long. 6. These Crocs: Jimp went through a phase not long ago where he ONLY wanted to wear Crocs. He will deviate a little now, but they are still his favorites!

Bottom row: 7. The last three are a few of his favorite books right now, which he happens to call “babas”. Hop on Pop – a classic! Why I Love My Mommy: cute animals and sweet text makes for a fun, easy read. 123: A Child’s First Counting Book: we all actually like this one! It is adapted from classic fairy tales so the illustrations are super fun to look at. Jimp always wants to read it again and again.

What are your kiddos’ favorite right now? And what did they like at age 2? Please share!

 

A second birthday!

Yikes! I realized it has been several months since I have posted any sort of update on our life. We are definitely going through a busy season in life right now, but I wanted to share a few (a lot) photos in honor of our now TWO YEAR OLD! I can’t believe I’m a mama to such a big boy. I love this little boy so much and I am so blessed to be his mom. Being a parent has been a wonderful journey and I can’t wait to see what God has planned for us in the future! Here is a look-back on the past two years…

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From his birthday (I haven’t shared this one too much, but it is definitely my favorite from that day). The first photo of the three of us. Maybe one day I’ll share the story!

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Also from day 1. That was the only NB outfit he wore and went straight into size one diapers!

From his Baptism day at 6 weeks old.

4 months

4 months!

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At almost 6 months old visiting Patrick’s grandpa in Ohio.

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Just over a year old.

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Celebrating Halloween as a little chicken at 16 months old!

19-20 months old.

Before and after his first real haircut at 21 months!

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Celebrating his auntie’s wedding at 22 months old!

Demonstrating some of his best faces on his second birthday last week!🙂 Love this boy!

 

Goals for March

Though a few days late, I wanted to share my plans and goals for the month of March! The season of Lent/Spring can be pretty crazy at work with Easter and Holy Week approaching and therefore religious education and First Communion prep coming to a close. I see the light at the end of the tunnel and am so looking forward to summer and a bit more rest!

February goals (recap):
Spiritual:

  • Start Rediscover Jesus for Lent (started but didn’t really do it–started reading A Life with Karol and love it!)
  • Do a weekly holy hour during Lent (Did this once)
  • Go to confession!

Family:

  • Start some type of family prayer for Lent (Maybe a decade/day?) (I pray with Jimp every night before bed but that’s about it. Want to get better about this still!)
  • Go to the zoo. We were gifted a membership last year. We need to take advantage of it a few more times before it expires!
  • Go to the library story hour (My mom took Jimpy and he seemed to enjoy it!)

House:

  • Finish painting kitchen (cabinets, walls) Still have a few touch-ups to do, but I’ll take it!
  • Replace all kitchen hardware

Health:

  • Complete the Whole30! Recapped here
  • Continue with meal planning for the month and try three new recipes New meals included: butternut squash soup with coconut milk, blackened mahi, and grilled chicken wings (I didn’t really follow any recipes, but at least we were adventurous and tried something new!)
  • Finish reading The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet Also read: It Starts with Food.

Etc:

  • Haircut
  • Massage (pure laziness on my part–this just isn’t that important to me I guess!

Now onto March:

March has been so busy so far with Spring Break and Holy week approaching! This past weekend ,we also celebrated the first of 3 weddings we’ll be attending within the next couple of months, which was lovely!

Spiritual:

  • Go to confession
  • Celebrate Holy Week and Easter with family
  • Attend daily Mass at least once a week (This has worked well the past few weeks, actually).
  • Finish reading A Life with Karol

Family:

  • Celebrate my sister-in-law’s bachelorette in Fredericksburg next weekend! Can’t wait!
  • Start some sort of family prayer
  • Go on family walks at least 5 days a week (we do this often already but I want to make it a regular part of our routine!)

House:

  • Plant more seeds for veggies and plant a few more herbs (so far we have a few seedling for squash, cucumbers and chard and I planted parsley and cilantro in pots).
  • More yard work/gardening (just want to maintain what we have and keep it from getting overgrown!

Health:

  • Continue eating healthily, limiting grains, sugar, and dairy.

Whole30 Recap

Hello! I have been meaning to post about my progress on the Whole30 throughout the month and the 30 days just FLEW BY! This past month has truly been a life-changing experience for me as we completed the Whole30 Program. I call it a “program” because it’s not a diet. Yes, you eliminate certain foods for a time (mostly grains, sugars, alcohol and dairy). However, I chose to look at it not as a deprivation, but instead tried to look forward to eating the whole, natural, delicious and quality foods we COULD have, while ealing your body at the same time. Yesterday was DAY 30 and we are actually going to keep (with a few modifications) going because we feel SO GOOD.

I might treat myself a little this weekend , possibly with a glass of wine, as we are going to a “stock the bar” shower and a wedding, but I’m not too worried about it and will see what happens. In the past, I would have been concerned about being self-conscious or worried about what would be available, but at this point I don’t even crave the sugary/processed foods that I used to so it’s not so much a temptation if I’m around them. I also go into these social events prepared (possibly with a snack and always with a full belly) so I’m not starving. Overall, this is a huge win for me. I was addicted to snacking and sugar. Period. Now, I snack occasionally on something nutritious and that’s normally only if I don’t eat enough food at regular meal times.

Other results:

Energy levels: by the second week my energy levels were much better, partly because by bed time I was ready for bed and could relax and easily fall into quality sleep. I am also less stressed and having less anxiety about things that I used to, which makes it easier for me to fall asleep at night.  Last week I also spent the afternoon walking around the zoo on a warm day and I didn’t even need to stop for a break! Win for me!

Sleep quality: Being a mom of a young child, my sleep habits have not been great since my son was born. So falling asleep easily and sleeping SOUNDLY all night has been huge for me.

Eczema: my skin issues have definitely improved, but could still get better. I want to keep going with the program (for the most part) to not set this back for myself!

Overall, the program was a major win for myself. My goal was to eat healthier and change my relationship with food. Overall, we ate DELICIOUS foods to satiety and fueled our bodies to help us live our best quality lives possible and I can honestly say this worked. We also chose not to eat out at restaurants during the plan so overall it was helpful for our budget too.

Did I miss anything? I honestly didn’t miss too many things besides a piece of really good dark chocolate from time to time.😉 I look forward to treating myself to some of this soon!

I posted my meal plan for dinners for the first week here and now I’ll share what we roughly ate the next three weeks. I never really planned for lunches/breakfasts because I mostly relied on things that were quick and easy to grab like leftovers, eggs, or tuna salad with homemade mayo. I tried to meal plan two weeks at a time, which was a huge accomplishment for me since I am not normally a great planner. We would do a huge Costco haul every other week and smaller grocery trips in the middle to stock up on produce, eggs, etc.

Week 2 Dinners:

  • Sunday: roasted chicken, potatoes, and brussel sprouts
  • Monday: chicken apple sausage, potatoes, broccoli/spinach
  • Tuesday: roasted butternut squash soup with coconut milk, spinach and chicken
  • Wednesday: (Ash Wednesday) Veggie frittata
  • Thursday: (bun-less) mushroom burgers with avocado, broccoli, and sweet potato fries over a bed of greens
  • Friday: sweet potato hash, eggs, and green veggies
  • Saturday: pork roast

Week 3 Dinners:

  • Sunday: chili made with ground beef and veggies
  • Monday: beef stew with carrots, celery and potatoes
  • Tuesday: leftovers
  • Wednesday: roast chicken, potatoes, brussel sprouts
  • Thursday: burgers with avocado/onion/tomato, broccoli, sweet potatoes/gold potatoes fries, over spinach, topped with a fried egg
  • Friday: shrimp, zucchini noodles, potatoes
  • Saturday: leftovers

Week 4 Dinners:

  • Sunday: barbecue grilled chicken wings (best meal of the month! Made by the husband), potatoes, broccoli
  • Monday: shepherd’s pie
  • Tuesday: roasted chicken, potatoes, brussels
  • Wednesday: ground beef meatballs, brussels, potatoes
  • Thursday: grilled chicken wings, potatoes, broccoli
  • Friday: blackened mahi-mahi, shrimp, sweet potatoes, broccoli
  • Saturday: burgers, avocado, brussels/broccoli, spinach, potatoes

Whew! That was a long one! I guess I had a lot to share about the excitement I have about the program. I have a lot of great resources on my Pinterest board on meals, planning, rules and general advice from bloggers. If you’re looking to find out more, I’d suggest picking up It Starts with Food, which explains the science behind the program and check out the website for rules and more resources. Going forward, we already are planning to do another Whole30 in May and will (for the most part) continue the lifestyle. I plan to add in grass-fed butter back in (because who doesn’t like butter?) and have the occasional glass of wine and treat like dark quality dark chocolate. We have a few weddings coming up over the next couple of months and we look forward to celebrating with our friends and family and enjoying life.🙂 Have you ever done a similar “reset” or eating program? I’d love to hear! Cheers!

Update: Kitchen Reno Progress

I hope you all had a peaceful and sweet Valentine’s weekend! We decided to celebrate at home on Saturday with a relaxing afternoon, kid-free! We spent Saturday morning pretty busy with some shopping at the Tomball Farmers Market and then completing our bi-weekly haul to Costco for some Whole30 friendly foods. We ended up cooking with some of our new ingredients for lunch (chicken apple sausage/veggie frittata) and dinner (pastured slow cooker pork roast from the farmers market). Afterwards, we just hung out and watched some Fixer Upper until it was time to pick up the baby boy.

I have been meaning to share some photos of our updated kitchens since I write this post. I am happy to finally show some before and after photos! We have our kitchen cabinets mostly painted. There are a shelves that need to be painted/touched up, but we are overall super happy with the work that’s been put into them and the progress we’ve made. I also have to add one more coat of paint to some of the walls and finish painting the pantry door, but I’m happy to have most of the work done before we start the major bathroom renovation this week. We also had to replace the faucet on the sink, an unexpected but necessary splurge.

Before:

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Via Har.com

After:

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I hope you had a blessed weekend with loved ones!🙂

A Few Meals for Lent

Happy Mardi Gras (or Shrove Tuesday)! I hope you’re getting a chance to celebrate with donuts, king cake, cookies, etc. I will be celebrating with a banana and almond butter thanks to our Whole30! I can’t believe Ash Wednesday starts tomorrow. These past couple of months have seriously flown by, partly due to lots of work events and an active toddler. The past couple of Lents were difficult for me due to pregnancy (2 years ago) and an active baby who nursed a LOT (last year), when it came to traditional fasting. I wasn’t able to give up meat on Fridays when I was pregnant because of the need for protein/certain aversions. I can’t remember what (or if?) I did instead that year. Last year I was able to get by on eggs and fish on Fridays but also did something different and gave up social media, which was definitely a struggle for me but helpful. I plan on doing the same again so I can focus more on family, prayer, and personal reading.

I’ve come up with a list of a few of our family’s favorite grain-free/paleo-friendly/gluten-free meatless meals:

  • Nom Nom Paleo’s sweet potato hash and eggs (So filling! Would be great with bacon or sausage on any other day!)
  • Any kind of veggie frittata (When the Whole30 ends I’ll make one with cheese in it!)
  • Shrimp scampi with veggies or zoodles
  • These salmon cakes (very simple to assemble and can be made on a skillet too)!
  • Simple salmon with veggies
  • Cauliflower fried rice (omit the bacon and add an extra egg)
  • Coconut flour pancakes (excited to make these again after the Whole30! I normally omit the honey)
  • Tuna salad with homemade mayo

Gluten free:

  • Rice pasta with meatless sauce and/or shrimp
  • Cheese and spinach quesadillas on corn tortillas, salsa and guacamole
  • Garlic fried rice and with fried eggs

Looking at this list, I realize that there are a lot of eggs in there! What will you be making this Lent? I’d love to hear!

 

Goals for February

This is quite a bit late, but I wanted to share my goals for the month! January went by really quickly and with starting the Whole30 this month, I’ve been happy for a chance to reset. Lent influences several items on this list, so I look forward to beginning a few things to spiritually reset too.

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Playing with the “Wawa”

Spiritual:

  • Start Rediscover Jesus for Lent
  • Do a weekly holy hour during Lent
  • Go to confession!

Family:

  • Start some type of family prayer for Lent (Maybe a decade/day?)
  • Go to the zoo. We were gifted a membership last year. We need to take advantage of it a few more times before it expires!
  • Go to the library story hour (My mom took Jimpy and he seemed to enjoy it!)

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Visiting the library with my mom

House:

  • Finish painting kitchen (cabinets, walls)
  • Replace all kitchen hardware

Health:

Any plans for the month or big things coming up for you? I didn’t put this up there, but I also plan to use a massage gift card I’ve been saving for almost two years! I also NEED a haircut (#toomuchhair) so I’m looking forward to a little bit of pampering too!