Toddler vs. Vegetable: Apples & Zucchini

I love zucchini. I love to saute it with onions, grill it in strips, bread and bake or fry for “fries,” roast it in the oven AND eat it in baked goods! It is one of those vegetables, like carrots or sweet potatoes that are delicious both sweet AND savory. Of course, my toddler isn’t interested in eating it on its own…

apples and zucchiniIt works great in egg muffins (with cheese or without) and I love to put it in baked goods in a banana or pumpkin bread. Recently, I tried something different! I’m not sure what gave me the idea but I had some apples that needed to be used, as well, and whereas I would normally put both apples and zucchinis in muffin form, I didn’t feel like baking. So, I chopped up the apples and zucchini pretty small and tossed them in a saute pan with some coconut oil. Any oil or butter would probably work. I sauteed them lightly (I didn’t want them mushy and I also knew they would be reheated in the future) and dusted them lightly with cinnamon.

zucchini, apple, cinnamon, coconut oilI have to admit that I did not taste this! But my daughter LOVED it. I felt really good that she got vegetables, fruit and some healthy fat.

You could peel each ingredient if your toddler is picky enough and smart enough to realize the green is a sneaky vegetable or just use green apples! :) And, if they don’t like this experiment, this could easily be put inside a baked good!

Have fun experimenting with different veggies and getting your toddler or child to enjoy eating healthy and interesting food! This was also a great food for Evie to practice eating with a spoon!

Toddler vs. Vegetables: Cheese-less Eggs

This recipe is pretty obvious, I think. It’s basically our Egg Muffins without the cheese!

As I’ve written about before, my daughter, who is now 19 months old used to love eating vegetables but now the only way she will eat them consistently is in things [aka hidden]. I typically offer her the vegetables in their regular state (cooked or raw, depending on the vegetable) a couple of times but then I find another way to use them before they go bad. The most popular way in our house, and probably the easiest is in eggs! And, pretty much any and every vegetable works. We have cooked black beans, green beans, carrots, and other veggies that you wouldn’t normally think of including. Sometimes, I hand chop them up and other times I use the food processor to get them a little finer.

The other weekend, I had some zucchini – a veggie we don’t have often but they were just beautiful at the store. I cooked some up with some onions on the stove for myself and my husband – yum. But Evie wasn’t interested. I also made some chicken sausage. I have been loving chicken sausage lately; this was a variety with apple. Meat – another thing that Evie is not loving these days!

cheeseless vegetable egg muffinsSo I chopped some of the zucchini, onions and the sausage and threw them in basically what was a scrambled egg mix. If you want to know measurements, you’ve come to the wrong place – I tend to eyeball things. I want to make sure that there is a good amount of mix-ins in comparison to the eggs. Evie loves cheese so I thought why not see if she will eat these without the cheese? It was something of an experiment and had she hated them, the adults would have eaten them! But, she loved them. You can make these in small muffin size or normal tins. Cook them anywhere between 10-15 min at around 350 or 375. Just keep an eye on them – the edges will start to brown and they won’t be jiggly.

These are great because I can throw in anything! It gives Evie something healthy to eat and eliminates waste. I should also say that if you need something quick, I have microwaved these eggs many times. In a ceramic ramekin or coffee mug for 1-2 minutes depending on how much mixture you put in! My husband doesn’t like the consistency of a microwaved egg but Evie doesn’t mind (and neither, really, do I).

Toddler vs. Vegetables: Smoothies

green smoothieSmoothies provide a wonderful way for adults and kids alike to get in several servings of fruit and vegetables. The “green” smoothie became popular several years ago and for good reason. You can throw in the green of your choice (spinach, kale, etc.) into the blender with your smoothie ingredients and boom, you’ve included a serving of vegetables. We prefer spinach at our house because you cannot taste it and because we always have it in the freezer. We like spinach salads, spinach smoothies, sauteed spinach by itself or mixed in with rice, pasta and other dishes. We also put spinach in our eggs and egg muffins.

Smoothies are super easy to make! Just throw your ingredients in the blender and press go! I recommend adding greens, fruit (some frozen for texture but fresh works or a blend of the two), and a liquid (juice, almond milk or water). We also either add yogurt or protein powder most days for an extra punch of protein. Really, it just depends on what we have in our fridge and freezer and our preferences! My husband likes his smoothies with juice, I prefer mine with protein powder and water. Evie gets whatever we make that day!

You can make a super thick smoothie and put into your own refillable pouch for easy sucking down for the kiddos. I typically just pour a little bit of mine into a cup with a straw for Evie. She actually gets really upset if I don’t share with her.

Toddler vs. Vegetables: No Bake Nut Balls

no bake peanut butter carrot ballsWe continue to struggle to get Evie to eat her vegetables. She used to eat so many and now I feel like I have to mask every vegetable to get them inside her little belly. Last night I fed her carrots by hiding them in a rice and quinoa mix. Tonight I put black beans in her pasta with red sauce. For lunch she ate several of these no bake nut balls I made over the weekend.

Once again, Evie refused to eat her carrots. Seriously, I can’t even think of any other veggies to even try to get her to eat. I feel like I’ve tried everything readily available to me. So, I had a plate full of carrots that I wanted to use but I didn’t want to fall back on the same oat muffins I’ve been making. I didn’t want to actually cook anything so I went to Google and found this recipe: http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/61752/bake-carrot-balls which inspired what I would do next.

Like usual, I didn’t really follow this recipe but it was great inspiration.

I threw the probably half carrot’s worth of cooked carrots in with a full raw carrot – I only had one in the fridge – into the food processor. I think added about 1/4 cup of pecans – I didn’t measure, it’s just the last of the bag we had. I threw in some raisins because that’s the only dried fruit I had on hand and I processed it until I could tell it wasn’t getting any finer. I then put all of that in a bowl and put in 3-4 spoonfuls of peanut butter. I kept putting it in until I could tell it was enough to keep everything together in balls.

Here are the ingredients in list form:

- cooked and/or raw carrots (1-2)
- handful of raisins
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pecans (or other nut)
- peanut butter (or any nut butter)

peanut butter carrot no bake balls ingredientsI did not have shaved coconut like the inspiration recipe calls for so I pull out some animal crackers and processed them until fine for our finishing coat. Graham crackers would also be a good substitute for this coating. Once my mix was together, I formed them into balls and rolled them in the cracker dust.

 

As I rolled I found myself making them smaller and smaller. The first ones were a great adult bite but I needed smaller for an Evie bite.

no bake carrot peanut butter ballsOnce I had everything rolled, I put them in the fridge! That is actually a lie. Evie and I both tasted some and deemed them good. They do stay together once they’ve been refrigerated overnight. They are also easy to pinch and then re-roll which I have done to make some of the larger balls smaller for Evie’s little fingers and mouth.

These have made great snacks (for Evie and Mommy alike), lunch in and lunch out. Today, we took them to the park and they were great for her to eat on the go. We paired them with a pouch that included some additional veggies, and lots of grapes. I really like that these have a lot or protein and healthy fat in them plus a healthy dose of vegetables.

no bake carrot peanut butter ballsThey were fun and easy to make. I can see these being a regular in the future. When she is older, I can only imagine how fun it will be to have Evie help me roll them and dip them in the cracker crumbs. These would probably freeze really well too.

Extra Ultrasounds (weeks 28, 31, 32)

We had our extra ultrasound right at 28 weeks just to check and see how our little one is growing. We had some tests early that just indicated that we needed to watch how the placenta is performing. I’ll take an extra ultrasound or two as long as it means she’s healthy! Of course, our stubborn child refused to roll over so we really didn’t get any good pictures of her face. Although, we did see she has hair!

We learned that she is potentially dropping off the growth scale with her stomach only being at the 6th percentile but I later learned from the midwife who leads my prenatal group that it’s not just her stomach that is small. She’s small all over, which is more than likely just genetic and not an indication that there is an issue. They call this Interuterine Growth Restriction and it is very common – most of the time it’s just indicative of a small baby but other times it can be a sign of other problems. They are going to keep an eye on her for now just to make sure. I don’t (and the midwife doesn’t really either) think it is necessary but I can see how they would want to cover themselves.

I’ve gone back twice now, without P, to continue to be checked out. I think it must have been 31 & 32 weeks (or the Thursday before I officially moved into those weeks) and she is continuing to measure small but still at about 17% overall (10-90% is the range you want to be in). I was a little disappointed to learn that she’s now at around 2% in her stomach but again, she’s just small all over. She continues to test A+ when it comes to her movement, blood flow, fluid, and practice breathing. It’s really these tests that are the most important because it means that she is still safe and healthy in her current environment and everything is working as it should. Basically, we have a small baby. Week 34, two more ultrasounds away, they will do another growth test to see if she has dropped in size or picked up. It’s likely she’ll have picked up some since she will do her most growing in the last two months, which we are in. P will probably go with me to that one since these in between ones are so short.

My initial reaction to being told that I would have to come back for 3 weeks in a row was irritation. I already have pre-natal appointments that are every other week and now we’re adding on more. It’s just more time and more money, but I know I need to be grateful that I get to have the weekly opportunity to see my baby and get some reassurance that everything is going well whereas most women get a 20 week ultrasound and that is it!

16-17 Weeks

I’ve actually been blogging weekly to bi-weekly throughout my whole pregnancy but all of those posts were marked private because we decided to wait to tell the world about our big news. I think I will probably keep those posts private but it’s probably time I start “the list” that most other bloggers use to mark their time while growing their wee ones.

For a quick rundown, I am 17 weeks pregnant tomorrow. Not quite showing but there is a little belly. If you didn’t know me very well you would never know especially since I mostly wear loose fitted clothing. All of my pants though are either yoga or maternity – so comfy! And one of P’s cousins actually gave me some more clothing this weekend when we were up in VA. We went up (6 hours there and 6 back – whew) to see his family and celebrate one of his other cousin’s baby showers and also one of his other cousin’s (there are a lot) daughter’s 3rd birthday. It was a whirlwind trip and I was sick with a cold the entire time but it was worth it to get up there. I am feeling fortunate though that we will only go one more time before the baby comes for our own baby shower. As much as I love being up there the getting there is rough especially right now and especially when sick. P was so frustrated with my coughing that I finally laid into him about being more sympathetic – I think that was the first time I’ve really gone off since pregnant so wanted to make note. He says I get mean when I’m hungry but I think it’s more that I just say, I need to eat, firmly. He knows to find food.

How far along: 17 weeks tomorrow
Gender: we find out next month!
Weight gain: not sure, was about 5lbs 3 weeks ago (129lbs total)
Maternity clothes: yes! and fortunately a lot of my dresses still work
Stretch marks: none yet, need to find a cream/lotion
Belly button in or out: in still
Sleep: not much. even though so tired most of the day, when I finally lay down to sleep, it eludes me and then I wake up several times during the night due to discomfort, P’s snoring, my coughing, need to pee or move, and sometimes for no obvious reason at all. I’m planning on getting a body pillow this week in hopes it will help
Best moment(s) the past few weeks: 
I think being with family this weekend at the baby shower was really nice. I got lots of advice and it was just nice to know that there is this large support system. Oh, and the wallpaper in the nursery was stripped – by someone else! – and that felt really good to know we won’t have to do that ourselves.
Worst moment this week(s): Yesterday I felt really weird/bad. Symptomatically, it was like I got overheated and had not eaten enough but since I was in the AC and made sure I was eating that could not have been the reasons. But I blacked out, fortunately while sitting, while at a video shoot at a client’s that morning and then continued to feel weighed down, tired and sluggish all day. My stomach also felt off. But it seemed to get better the later it got. I have no idea what it was or why.
Miss anything: I miss feeling normal, like myself and having energy. I miss the idea of hot yoga even though it’s the last thing on my mind since I never have enough energy to much more than just walk for exercise. I miss a really good night’s sleep.
Movement: I don’t feel the baby moving but I definitely feel my body shifting.
Cravings: No real cravings. I drove past an old favorite Mexican restaurant and really wanted their amazing shrimp quesadillas so I had one and one day a couple of weeks ago I really wanted a blueberry bagel with cream cheese. Other than that, no real cravings just a basic need for food.
Queasy or sick: See “Worst Moment.” I’ve had a cold for about a week which is draining on top of my stomach being out of whack for no reason I can tell. Heartburn and indigestion is a fairly regular companion.
Looking forward to:  Our gender reveal party next month and finding out the sex. Also, starting to figure out what we want in the nursery in terms of color and decor. (Maybe getting some of that 2nd trimester energy everyone’s been telling me about!)

Weekend Round-Up

This weekend was great.  Full of friends and fun with very little relaxation but great.  Friday night P and I went to dinner with some of our good friends to…. I’m not sure what verb to use because celebrate isn’t really appropriate and mourn is too much… spend some time before they move to Louisiana.  You may remember E & M from our church supper club.  We’ve been fortunate enough to become close friends over the past year even as our supper club participation dwindled – we just kept hanging out and inviting other friends.  It’s sad to think those days are over but we are definitely excited for this new chapter of their lives as M moves into a new stage of his career and E moves in mommy-hood.  In a later post, I’ll have a rundown of the shower we threw for E on Sunday at our house.  It was fun.

So we ate at the Carolina Ale House where we sat on the lower level but right off the sidewalk.  The doors/windows were open and there was a great breeze.  It was just a nice evening.  I was surprised at how good the seasonal salmon salad was that I ordered – CAH isn’t exactly known for its food.  I was pleasantly surprised.  P had a turkey wrap that also looked good.  We got to see some of the Pulley’s friends that we’ve had dinner with before and I hope that we somehow manage to run into them again even without to aid of our mutual friends.  It was a bittersweet night.  M described it as the last game of high school sports – you are sad to leave but also know that you’re onto bigger things.  We just hope they come to Greenville and visit regularly.  E has become a regular in my life between book club, church, just being friends so I’m already on the lookout for a replacement.  (She’ll know what I mean.)  They’re also not moving too far from our family in New Orleans so I’m anticipating some road trips in the future.

We didn’t stay out late Friday because we got up fairly early Saturday to help my bff move in Asheville.  We woke up to pouring rain which did not have me excited to either be driving mountain roads or moving but fortunately the rain stopped by the time we reached MD’s old apartment.  MD has been moving small carloads over steadily the last 2 weeks so really it was just P and her bf’s muscles that were needed to move the big things.  I really felt kind of useless…told MD I was counting on getting some exercise.  Oh well.  I’m really happy for MD – she’s got a great career, has met a good guy, and now has moved into her first grown-up house, which is really cute.  We were there only a few hours and we got homemade lasagna as payment.  And when I say “homemade,” I mean even the noodles.  I had 2 helpings, it was that good.  I wish we had been able to stay and hang out some more but we had to get home so P could finish the front deck of the house which he had spent the last week tearing down and rebuilding.  I needed to get home to clean for the baby shower.  So, we just had stuff to do.

Saturday night we went to the brand new dueling piano bar downtown, Jack N’ Diane’s, which deserves its own post.  And Sunday’s baby shower does as well.  As you can see, it was a pretty jam-packed weekend.  I think P and I will take it easy this week because I’m pretty sure all of our weekends in August look like this too… should be fun.

 

Today’s Letter

I subscribe via email to one blog and one blog only: Today’s Letters.  (All other blogs get Feedly-ed, Google Reader’s most recommended substitute.)  I love receiving short and sweet daily updates from this couple who lead a very interesting and inspiring life.  My two favorite posts of the week are “Gratitude Lately” and “Today’s Letters.”  Gratitude lately is a photo based post about the little things in life Em is grateful for that week – it could be the hot tea she had with breakfast, the chickens laying eggs in her yard, or something to do with her cute labrador puppies.  The Letter is a very short note calling out the people, food, and/or animals in her life and thanking them for something – maybe it’s a thank you for being you or thank you for a specific action or gift.  These notes are always positive, always smiling, and always personal.  I love that she always gives her husband two thank you’s.  I know nothing about this couple personally but I admire this about her take on marriage.  Always say thank you.  Always show and tell your appreciation.  Don’t be afraid to shout your adoration from the top of the internet rooftops.  It is inspiring for me to remember to do the same in my marriage.  It is unlikely that I would remember to weekly post on here but I want to do at least one.

Dear P, even though this morning I had to take you your forgotten phone and wallet to your office for the 2nd time this month, I love the way you kissed and hugged me in your corporate lobby even in front of the ladies at the desk. Dear very nice Ladies at the Front Desk, I should really know your names by now but I love that you get this little insight into our marriage every time I come by to deliver forgotten goods or with lunch.  We are going to work on putting P’s phones, keys, and wallet all in the same place every day so that this does not happen again. Babe, it also helps to not bury them under the clothes stacked upon your dresser.  Dear Laundry, you just don’t stop. Yesterday the glove compartment door in my car broke and P went out into the never-ending rain to attempt to fix it.  He removed the door, brought it inside, and spent a good 30 minutes taking it apart and studying what is wrong all while telling me I had too much stuff in it but also that it’s just a piece of plastic.  He wasn’t able to fix it but he will once we get a good replacement part.  Dear Car, I cannot wait for a new one but you have been good to me the last few years, getting me to and from with a speedy 6 cylinders.  We just need more room and maybe a few more gadgets.  Dear Rain, you are never ending and I swear it isn’t normal but I am trying to not succumb to your gloomy ways and appreciate all the love you bring to the earth even if you’re overdoing it and drowning our plants.  Husband, you looked handsome in your blue work shirt this morning and I realized that I typically miss that part of your day when you’re dressed in something other than yard clothes.  We should dress up for each other at least once a week even if it’s just for an evening in (you got me in my dress and make-up last night!).

And with that, my slight annoyance is gone (although a stop at Starbucks certainly helped).  I feel good and ready to continue to face the day which has already included several calls to car dealership and junkyards!  This is an exercise (not calling car repair places but the letter!) I shall endeavor to perform more often.

No More Puppies

We kind of have an unofficial dog sitting business at our house.  P started it several months ago by posting a flyer at his office.  Not only was it a way to earn some extra money – this started when we were buying/renovating the house, planning the wedding, and I was starting a business with no real knowledge of how successful we’d be from the first – but I think P also saw it as a way to convince me that we don’t want a dog.  Well, we have been super lucky to have only had older, house trained, calm, cool, and collected dogs stay with us over the last year and his goal of proving I don’t want a dog hasn’t been all that successful.  Until this weekend.

We agreed to keep a new dog.  Most of the ones we keep are regulars. They know us, our house, etc.  I know their routine. They are easy.  Sam is a different story altogether.  I was a little nervous when I saw the original email from his owner:  1 year old, likes to chew, sleeps in crate at night.  But, we are trying to pay off some credit cards and also save up to replace our carpet so I was like okay.  Then we had two of our regulars need a sitter too.  We said okay.  991140_739799244504_1469851115_oAs you can see, Sam is a beautiful dog, probably part chocolate lab but unsure totally of his genetic make-up.  And he is very sweet.  I like a dog to give a little love.  But he doesn’t stop.  He doesn’t understand “no.”  He doesn’t understand any commands actually.  He actually was fine during the day, in fact, after Lucy showed up and they got to know one another, it was a very peaceful day.991888_739799469054_2146415648_o

But then nighttime came.  P and I decided to use a Living Social deal we had for dinner and go see a movie with a gift card.  Sam is supposed to be crate trained so we put him in his crate so we could leave.  I have never heard such awful noises come out of a dog.  It was like we were torturing him.  I thought he was going to break his crate into pieces.  P assured me he would calm down once we left and hopefully he did but I think Lucy may be traumatized from the experience.

When we got home we decided to try letting him sleep in our room (on the floor) like Lucy does instead of being in the crate again. He’d already been in there 4 hours while we were out and I could not handle the barking/whining/screaming.  He did pretty well until about 5:45 am when he landed his paws right on top of me.  Okay, I will take them out.  Took the dogs out, was ready to crawl back into bed but Sam wanted to play.  Lucy didn’t want to play.  I didn’t want to play.  Sam didn’t care.  He kept trying to leap up on the bed so P put him in his crate.  Once again, screaming bloody murder ensued.  It was awful.  And it continued.  P finally just got up around 7 and took the dogs downstairs with him so I could sleep before having to keep the nursery at church.

After church, we ate lunch with some friends who are expecting their first child and I was like, I think I can kind of understand what it is like to be up all night with a baby.  Now there are a lot of differences in this situation but it did give me a whole new appreciation for what they are about to encounter with an infant… at least the baby will be theirs, can be cuddled, and won’t be stronger than you… Luckily P was able to nap a bit that afternoon but I did not.  Sam did not want me to nap and kept jumping on me and honestly, he is stronger than I am so I pretty much stood in the rain all afternoon so he could tire himself out outside.  I tried walking both dogs that afternoon but we got caught in the rain so our yard on a leash was as good as I could do.

Sunday night P left for a business trip.  I am pretty sure he was glad to be leaving the dogs behind.  Mace, another regular, came over shortly after and I’m pretty sure he did not want to stay after being greeted by the circus.  After some time on leashes outside I put all three dogs on the deck (door open to the sunroom where I was) and let them play around a bit.  Despite Mace being much older, I think he enjoyed the play time and established his role as alpha male.

1006420_740073030834_1477989269_o997903_740072896104_1192741938_oThankfully it had stopped raining and by the time it started again, they were ready to settle on the floor with me and watch So You Think You Can Dance.  (After I mopped.)  At about this time P texted me with some advice that would change the course of the evening with Sam.  His owner emailed him and told him a squirt bottle with water will keep Sam from barking!  This was a game changer and luckily we had an empty one!  Sam went from crazy, insane puppy to…986869_739799543904_1155753561_o

Calm.  Or at least afraid of being sprayed with water.  Thank you Lord.  I seriously was running low on patience, on sleep, on warm feelings.  I’m usually such a softy with dogs and don’t like to yell or discipline but I was seriously on a short fuse.  Luckily I was able to get him to sleep in his crate last night and with help from my friend, the water bottle, he settled down after about an hour.  And with the help of ear plugs, Benadryl, and a glass (or two) of red wine, I slept pretty well last night until around 6:45 when Lucy barked to let me know she needed out.

After taking 3 dogs outside, feeding them, giving them their meds, and putting them in their respective rooms for the day, I made it to work this morning almost on time, despite getting up about an hour earlier than normal.

It is only Monday.  I have all three until tomorrow and then will have Lucy and Sam until Saturday.  I am hoping we can get into a rhythm and the rain will stop so I can take them for a walk/run and tire them out!  It’s hard being cooped up in the house all day!  Wish me luck making it through this week.  Pray for me and for patience and for the state of our house…

Any other tips, like the water bottle trick, to help get puppies to calm down??  Looks like another night without a walk or run after being cooped up all day.  Momma needs her rest.

 

Aquarius vs. Aquarius

I was reading a blog post from Carrots ‘N Cake that talked about star signs and their compatibility with others and it inspired to do a little research of my own into my own star sign and P’s.  We are both Aquarius’s, his birthday being in the end of January and mine being mid-February.  I’ve never been one to pay any attention to star signs or horoscopes or anything like that but it was kind of fun to read and also see some of the characteristics that are right on the money!

This was the first article I found:  http://www.horoscopes-love.eu/aquarius-and-aquarius-love-match-compatibility.html.  There were definitely some statements that rang true for our relationship.  Case in point:  “The Aquarius man and Aquarius woman duo prove to be a well-matched and attuned couple only if each maintains a certain distance and gives the other their personal space.” The concept of personal space was definitely a theme in this article and I’d have to say it is true for us.  As much as I often complain that P and I don’t get to spend a lot of quality time together (because we really don’t!  9-12 hrs a day spent at work, another hour or so at the gym, weekends and evenings spent doing different chores, we may not even be in the same room from 7am til 8pm that night), I know it is equally important that we spend quality time apart.  My frustration often comes with wanting our quality time (together and separate) on my terms and that is not usually how it happens.  Give and take.  Give and Take.

Another site I found, Cafe Astrology, also had some interesting insight:  “You have an aloof air about you that others find attractive…. It is easy for you to feel claustrophobic in relationships that are too close, too needy, or too demanding of your time. If you have the space to breathe a little, all the better. This is when you are at your best.  You are a curious person and enjoy intellectual stimulation in your relationships. Although you are not someone who would be considered flighty, you do not tolerate stagnation very well. You need to feel like your relationship is heading somewhere. Your ability to detach yourself from a situation, take a step back, and look at it from a unique perspective is a tremendous strength. As willing as you are to stir things up if you are in the mood to enforce change, there is a wonderful calm surrounding you that can be most appealing to others…

I found this whole section was about me.  Again, needing space, my tendency to come off as aloof and unapproachable, my desire to always be seeing progress.  I also see these traits in my husband and I think they help us better relate to each other.

I really just did this out of curiosity – I would never base my relationship or any other choices on my sign – but it was interesting.

What is your star sign?  Is your significant other’s sign “meant for you”?