A Healthy Slice of Life http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com Delicious recipes, healthy living tips, and fun food facts Thu, 18 Dec 2014 21:38:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Kaitlyn at 7 Months Old http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/kaitlyn-7-months-old/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/kaitlyn-7-months-old/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:26:31 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=24905 Another baby update already? Yes, friends, another month has flown by and though I sometimes feel these posts only thrill the grandparents and my own desire for record keeping, I continue to write them. Now hold on to your hats, I’m feeling chatty. Kaitlyn turned 7 months old on the 16th. No official photo shoot […]

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Another baby update already? Yes, friends, another month has flown by and though I sometimes feel these posts only thrill the grandparents and my own desire for record keeping, I continue to write them. Now hold on to your hats, I’m feeling chatty.

Kaitlyn turned 7 months old on the 16th.

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No official photo shoot this month because we are flying by the seat of our pants over here trying to enjoy the holiday season and figure out this ‘throw schedule to the wind’ phase that Kaitlyn seems to be going through.

Where to start?

EAT

This past month Kaitlyn has really started embracing baby led weaning. She can grab pieces and bring them right to her mouth, which makes eating out more enjoyable because she is distracted.

7-months-old-high-chair

At home she eats solid anywhere from 1-3 times a day, depending on the day.

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She is regularly eating bananas, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, broccoli, peppers, peas, avocado and carrots, but has also tried pasta, bread, ground turkey, pear, puffs, yogurt melts and shredded chicken. I let her try a pouch (organic peas and mint) and she didn’t really take to it.

So far sweet potatoes appear to be a favorite, but I don’t think she really has strong taste preferences at this point.

I’d say she nurses 5 times a day (6:15, 9:30, 12:30, 3:15 and 6:15ish), but honestly, right now she must be hitting a growth spurt, getting teeth or something because yesterday she nursed a ton. I was a bottomless pit of hunger and thirst and it felt like the newborn days again. Whatever you need baby girl!

She took a bottle well when I was out of town a couple weekends ago and I’m reminding myself I need to keep up the occasional bottle so we can keep that as an option.

SLEEP

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I can’t blame her for lack of schedule- that’s all on me. At seven months old, Hailey had a nice orderly little routine. Isn’t that cute? What first-borns get? Kaitlyn is always on the go. Lucky for me, she adjusts well, clocking in cat naps in the car. I know if we are going to leave the house that we need to be pulling out of the driveway by 8:45/9 and she will immediately doze off.

If we are at home, she usually takes two naps. One from 9:00-10:30/11ish and another around 2:00 for 45 minutes or an hour and a half. She goes to sleep at night at 7:00pm and though I’d say she usually sleeps until 6:15, this week it’s been between 5:30 and 6. This morning in particular she was up at 3:30, so between the odd sleep and extra eating, I’d say something is going on.

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And have I mentioned how much she loves standing in her crib? It’s about time to lower the mattress. Sniffle.

PLAY

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Oh that face, I just love it. Kaitlyn is a happy girl. Truly, the child is so cheerful unless she’s flat out exhausted.

She crawls everywhere on all fours, but her new favorite is pulling up to standing, then attempting to let go with one hand and turn around. She pulls up on toys, baskets,legs and chairs, which has led to some decent falls. She’s a bruiser.

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In the last few days I’ve noticed a real uptick in her babbling. I guess I would call it that? She gurgles and whispers, but I haven’t heard any distinct ‘dadadada’ or ‘babababa’ sounds. I keep trying to lure her to start with ‘mamamama’ but she isn’t quite there yet.

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Let’s see, what else?

She wears mostly 6 month clothing or 6-9 month. She wears size 2 diaper. She’s a little thing, though I won’t know her official height and weight until her next appointment.

Dislikes: being stuck in one place and not able to move (the carseat), getting overtired, being left behind (if people leave the room she will crawl furiously after them crying… sweet thing), sleeping according to a predictable schedule, getting her fingernails cut

Loves: clawing me in the face and pulling my hair while nursing, standing up, ‘flying’, tickles on her back, try to claw the freckles off my chest, open mouth slobbery kisses on my face then bursting into giggles, making a squenchy face, the Ergo (YAY FINALLY!), and her sister

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No one can make Kaitlyn laugh like Hailey.

 

For fun: Hailey at seven months old part one and part two – plus other baby-related posts.

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Simple Baked Italian Chicken with Fresh Mozzarella http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/simple-baked-italian-chicken-fresh-mozzarella/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/simple-baked-italian-chicken-fresh-mozzarella/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:47:03 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=24883 You know what always makes dinner taste great? Someone else cooking it. You know what’s a close second to that? Making it ahead of time so by the time dinner time arrives, it feels like someone else already prepped it. Yesterday required a trip down to the South Park area of Charlotte, which is a […]

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You know what always makes dinner taste great? Someone else cooking it.

kids-in-the-kitchen

You know what’s a close second to that?

Making it ahead of time so by the time dinner time arrives, it feels like someone else already prepped it.

pounded chicken

Yesterday required a trip down to the South Park area of Charlotte, which is a solid 45 minutes from home. Knowing there is no such thing as a quick trip when you have two kids in tow, I knew it would be a full day, so I somehow managed to be on top on my game and prepped dinner right after eating breakfast.

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One of the destinations on our list was South Park mall, which never disappoints. There is a new H&M, an American Girl store and a Pottery Barn Kids that I had to all but drag Hailey out of.

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We chowed down on some Chipotle.

chipotle lunch

And gave Santa one more solid effort.

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Despite Kaitlyn’s face, it went better, but clearly still not great.

Anyway, back to the chicken!

I was right in that it was a full day affair, and man was I happy when I arrived home that all I had to do was pop dinner and a spaghetti squash in the oven then kick back any enjoy some tunes while dinner baked.

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Then we chowed down.

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David enjoyed it so much he barely minded the ‘fake noodles’ of spaghetti squash. And that says something.

italian-baked-chicken-over-spaghetti-squash

Simple Baked Italian Chicken with Fresh Mozzarella
 
Serves: 4 servings
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts, pounded flat
  • ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 25 ounces marinara
  • 6-8 ounces fresh Mozzarella
  • 2 Tbsp bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp basil
  • 2 Tbsp freshly grates Parmesan
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pound chicken until it is a half an inch thick, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  4. Pan fry the chicken, roughly 3 minutes per side.
  5. Pour the marinara into a 9x13 baking pan.
  6. Place the cooked chicken breasts in the marinara and top with slices of mozzarella.
  7. Evenly distribute the breadcrumbs over the mozzarella, followed by the basil and the Parmesan.
  8. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for a remaining 10 minutes.
  9. Serve over spaghetti squash or noodles with more freshly grated Parmesan, if desired.

 

What is your favorite prep-ahead meal?

I think our household favorite remains enchiladas, but simple slow cooker pot roast with this overnight kale salad sound pretty great right about now too!

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How I Handle the Hard Days of Being a SAHM http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/handle-hard-days-sahm/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/handle-hard-days-sahm/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 12:37:02 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=24861 I love hearing your ideas for blog posts. Quite often you have better ones than I do so I appreciate the input! Recently you asked how I handle the tough days, the days that aren’t all about milestones and snuggles. So, let’s dig into it. First, I want to be clear that I don’t sugar […]

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I love hearing your ideas for blog posts. Quite often you have better ones than I do so I appreciate the input! Recently you asked how I handle the tough days, the days that aren’t all about milestones and snuggles. So, let’s dig into it.

First, I want to be clear that I don’t sugar coat stuff on the blog. I tend to naturally focus on the positive and choose to see the good in people and situations most of the time. Still, for the 90% of me that shouts ‘choose joy!’ there is a 10% of me that is rolling her eyes at the cheerful girl because let’s be honest, tough days happen.

Mornings sometimes come too early and nap times are fought with fury because a sweet little 6 month old decides to throw her schedule to the wind. Three year olds (who shall remain nameless) sometimes have full-blown meltdowns when they realize the forgot to switch their night time ring to their morning ring (apparently  jewelry is particular to the time of day it’s worn). Husbands call mid-day with news that they’ll be home by 9:00… if they’re lucky. Project coordinators call and let you know it’s probably going to be just a few more days on a project that was slated to last 4 weeks, but has turned into 3 months and counting. The house somehow gets to the point where there are more toys than floor.

Otherwise known as yesterday.

When the going gets tough, I’m sometimes tempted to throw my own tantrum, mock the culprit, pop open some 1pm vino or call up David and ask if he realizes how much I do on a daily basis, but none of those things offer real solutions (minus the wine…). Instead, I take a deep breath and roll through some real solution options:

1. Take a time out. I’ve been known to put myself in time out. Not only does this confuse the heck out of Hailey, it gives me a second to collect myself and reemerge calm(er). I’ll tell her that “mommy needs some quiet time” (because I have a terrible habit of speaking in third person) and she’s much more likely to quiet down herself than if I try to force her into a time out.

2. Vent to a friend that gets it. I have so many wonderful friends in all different life stages. When my frustration is kid/meltdown/exhaustion/mundane-ness related, it really helps to cry/whine/vent to a friend who knows what it is like to be a stay at home mom to two little ones. Bonus points if her husband travels or works crazy hours too. Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name brand of crazy.

3. Change the day’s game plan. I was supposed to make grilled halibut for dinner? Scratch it- we’re having popcorn. I need to pick up dry cleaning or other tasks that aren’t urgent? Forget them- we’re playing in the driveway. Anything that isn’t 110% necessary gets postponed to another day and I find that kind of easing up on my to-do list akin to a giant exhale. Little ones don’t understand deadlines, to do lists or schedules and I find that things get most hairy around here when I’m trying to run too tight of a ship.

4. Enlist the village. I’ll ask a friend to pick Hailey up from school if I’m in a pinch. I’ll hire a neighborhood girl to come over for an hour or two after school. I’ll snag a morning to myself that David has free to be with the girls. And if things get really piled up, I’ll call on Mema or Nana to come pitch in for a couple days. I don’t have family close by and that can be tough, but I remind myself I don’t need to be a martyr. There are solutions if I need more helping hands, I just need to look for them.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that my goal is to parent with patience and kindness. Do I fall short? All the dang time, but having that as my goal gives me perspective. As a mom, I feel the best thing I can do for my kids is to be their safe home base. This doesn’t mean they always get their way, but they need to know I can handle their crazy without flipping out myself.

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But most of all, when I really feel run down I drink in a big dose of gratitude (and wine. …am I mentioning that too often? Me thinks so). On the long days, the tiring days, the I-must-have-a-million-new-gray-hair day, I remind myself that I am where I only dreamed I could be. I love being a stay at home mom to our two girls. I’m grateful for such a driven, devoted husband that gives me the opportunity to be the one here to handle the porch project, the doctors appointments, the constant feeding of the kids and dog, the whininess, the meltdowns and the sick days. Because in between all of those is where you’ll find the milestones, the looks of wonderment and the giggles.

Fellow SAHMs, how to handle the tough days?

Working moms, how do you juggle it all?

Women in general, I know we all have tough days whatever our situation, what’s your best technique for letting it go?

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10 Things We Made this Weekend http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/10-things-made-weekend/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/10-things-made-weekend/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 12:08:04 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=24854 With 10 days to Christmas, I’m mostly focused on going slowly, leaving some to-dos for a later date and enjoying this time of year that always seems to fly by entirely too quickly. This weekend we did just that. So as a different kind of weekend wrap up, here are 10 things we made this […]

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With 10 days to Christmas, I’m mostly focused on going slowly, leaving some to-dos for a later date and enjoying this time of year that always seems to fly by entirely too quickly. This weekend we did just that. So as a different kind of weekend wrap up, here are 10 things we made this weekend…

1. S’mores. A holiday staple for sure. Friday night we did bath (mistake to do this pre-dessert by the way) and put Kaitlyn down, then David took Hailey outside to find the perfect stick. He showed her how to whittle it and then what she could use it for: ooey gooey marshmallow goodness!

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Side note: an after-bath sugar rush makes for a later bedtime.

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2. A dent in my book. I’ve needed a book for a long time to reignite my love for reading. Since I usually go for books I can learn something from, I finally forced myself to deviate and chose The Light Between Oceans. I’m really enjoying it and I find myself trying to fit in reading whenever I can, which isn’t all that often. However, on Saturday afternoon it was 60 degrees, so David and I kicked our feet up during nap time and soaked it in.

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3. Banana Pancake Bites. Adding a sliced banana and cutting them into pizza slices proved to be a hit with the three year old crowd. I can see why- have you ever caramelized a banana? If not, stop what you are doing and go try it now. I’ll wait.

toddler banana pancake bites

4. Kaitlyn an official family member. Poor second child. It took almost 7 months to get her name painted and hung up. Still, it looks pretty cute now in her neutral, nature-themed nursery.

baby name on a hiking stick

5. The Olympic gymnastic team! Ok, not quite yet.

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6. A trip to the grocery store.

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7. An upgrade to our charging station. David switched out the regular outlet for a USB version. For some reason this made his day?

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8. Vegetable soup. Steamed butternut squash. Boiled eggs.

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And salad dressing. I’m really trying to make more of my own and really like this mixture of walnut oil, apple cider vinegar, agave and salt.

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9. My child have nightmares. What is it about Santa that terrorizes young children? Oh… the fact that it’s an older stranger that sneaks into their house while they are sleeping? Gotcha.

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10. An elf zipline.

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And as a bonus, we made a Christmas memory that remained un-photgraphed, but etched in my mind. Last night we bathed the girls and put them in jammies. Then we loaded up in the car with hot (warm) chocolate and drove around to look at Christmas lights. Our neighborhood also does luminaries, so with those lit, it felt magical. Hailey shouted Merry Christmas to people out the window and pointed out every ‘icestickle’ she saw. David told her that just last year she called snowmen “no-somes” and I was again reminded how quickly time flies.

Mission “soak it up” is set to continue this week. Time to wrap some presents!

Did you make anything fun this weekend?

Food, crafts, memories?

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Things I’m Loving Lately http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/things-im-loving-lately-2/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/things-im-loving-lately-2/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 13:01:04 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=24823 Can I first say that I’m loving it’s Friday? With Mema’s helping hands I knocked out so much of my to do list this week, but I’m a little tired from it all. Hailey and Kaitlyn really have the most wonderful grandparents that love and want to be with them. Lucky ladies (and lucky me […]

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Can I first say that I’m loving it’s Friday? With Mema’s helping hands I knocked out so much of my to do list this week, but I’m a little tired from it all. Hailey and Kaitlyn really have the most wonderful grandparents that love and want to be with them. Lucky ladies (and lucky me who benefits from their visits!).

So what else is rocking this little world of mine lately?

1. Let’s start with Stitchfix (<- affiliate link). I am getting monthly fixes and though I don’t always blog about them, they’ve really scored some points with me lately!

I’ve received a few comfortable tops that make me feel a bit more pulled together than workout gear.

stitchfix-layered-top

And some dresses that have me feeling like I need to get out more so I can have a chance to wear them.

stitchfix-dress

2. Christmas parties! Julie hosted a few of us the other night for a cookie exchange and I really had such a great time feeling like Brittany and not just mom. Though ‘mom’ is one of my favorite things to be, it was pretty refreshing to relax and laugh with just friends.

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Plus, cookies.

cookie-exchange-reindeer-cookies

3. Kodiak Cakes Muffin in a Cup. The kind people sent me a few of these to try out and I was surprised at how delicious they are- dessert-like! The ingredient list is decent, though the sugar content is high. Most muffins are just cupcakes in disguise, right? These would be fun to have around for a quick, occasional treat though.

kodiak-cakes-muffin-in-a-cup

4. The girls. Obviously. They are just so sweet together. Kaitlyn giggles like crazy when Hailey tickles her and Hailey spontaneously tells her how beautiful she is. They’re the sweetest!

sisters

Hailey went in for a kiss on the nose and Kaitlyn went for the wide-open-mouth-drool-kiss. Ha!

5. This fancy chocolate box from Davidson Chocolate that my friend Diane sent us. It’s made of solid chocolate, but too pretty to eat. What’s a girl to do?!

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6. We finally picked out our tree yesterday at Josh’s Farmers Market!

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Though we are a little late this year, I love this tradition.

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After the girls went down, David and I put on Christmas Vacation and went to work on decorating.

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I love it. We get an ornament each year to commemorate a big even/trip that took place and unwrapping those warms my heart as I place the meaningful ones front and center. I love a personalized tree.

7. Lilywrap. This clever, stretchy, reusable wrapping is just so easy and cute! My friend, Ashley, owns the company (women supporting women- YAY!) and sent me a few of their new prints to check out. Koda is grateful to be included in the fun this year!

lilywrap-paw-prints

I feel like with less than two weeks to go before Christmas, I’m finally getting into the swing of it. I still have plenty to do but am feeling excited and full of cheer. Bring on the weekend!

Christmas trees- do you prefer the coordinated look or a mix of random ornaments?

Though I love a beautifully decorated tree, I opt for the full-of-memories version myself.

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Healthy Eating During the Holidays http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/healthy-eating-holidays/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/healthy-eating-holidays/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 12:32:05 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=24795 A few years ago, this would have been one of the posts I was most eager to write. I’d spit out all the classic suggestions of eating before you go to a party, volunteering to bring the vegetable tray and either choosing to have a dessert or a drink. I’m not saying those suggestions are […]

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A few years ago, this would have been one of the posts I was most eager to write. I’d spit out all the classic suggestions of eating before you go to a party, volunteering to bring the vegetable tray and either choosing to have a dessert or a drink. I’m not saying those suggestions are bad advice, but I don’t find the need to be so structured in my thinking anymore.

In fact, I wasn’t even going to mention how I handle the holidays, but after receiving some emails (ok, ok, it was only 3) about the topic, I figured I’d bring it up. So, how do I handle holiday season eating?

Pretty much how I handle it any other time of year.

Whomp whomp. What a boring answer, huh?

But truly, now that I embrace the idea of intuitive eating, I have zero restrictions or rules on what I can or can not eat. And because of that, I find myself sticking to more nourishing foods.

spaghetti squash and meatballs

Mixed greens salad with spaghetti squash and meatballs

Over the years I’ve become very in tune with how my body feels when I eat certain foods. I know a cookie or two tastes great, but I know eating the dough and then a couple cookies makes me feel slightly sick and lethargic.

I know a glass of wine or two makes me super happy, but more than that knocks me on my butt.

I know too much processed stuff and I just feel ick.

In contrast, I know having eating plenty of veggies and protein keeps my energy high and my immune system strong.

breakfast

Over medium (basted) egg over avocado with bacon crumbles and sriracha with grapefruit

I think it’s also helped that I like the way the good stuff tastes. Eating seasonally and experimenting with new foods makes just another salad, suddenly delicious.

cold weather salad

Mixed baby super greens, diced apple, toasted pecans, diced red pepper and fresh parmesan

However, at parties or restaurants, I’m not shy about exploring outside the veggie tray and enjoy the offerings I may not get very often.

holiday party spread

like Julie’s ham and cheese sliders, which were deeeeelicious.

Overall, what I think is most important is the letting go of any guilt, a concept I used to work on weekly with my health coaching clients.

Mexican and margaritas? Yum! Then I just make my next food choice one that I know makes me feel more energized.

fall salad

Mixed baby greens, purple cabbage, avocado, roasted butternut squash, goat cheese and pumpkin seeds

This strategy (if you can call it that) works for me. Yes, holiday eating I feel pretty good about. However, if anyone has any suggestions on keeping up with exercise… I’m listening!

I’ve been pretty terrible at intentional exercise lately and looking for what will motivate and excite me to get back to it, but that’s a topic for another post.

How to you handle holiday eating?

Do you find it helpful to abide by ‘guidelines’?

What is your favorite holiday/seasonal treat?

I’m a dip girl and get excited about new dips to try or anything having to do with cheese!

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Christmas Traditions http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/christmas-traditions/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/christmas-traditions/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 12:20:43 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=24781 At three years old, Hailey is really old enough to enjoy Christmas in all it’s wonder and magic. I love hearing her interpret the holidays. For example: Hailey (again she asks): Mom, Christmas is Jesus’ birthday, right? Me (again): It sure is. Hailey: I think he wants a Frozen cake with Elsa and Anna. And […]

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At three years old, Hailey is really old enough to enjoy Christmas in all it’s wonder and magic. I love hearing her interpret the holidays. For example:

Hailey (again she asks): Mom, Christmas is Jesus’ birthday, right?

Me (again): It sure is.

Hailey: I think he wants a Frozen cake with Elsa and Anna. And candles. But he can’t blow out the candles because he’s just a baby, but we can help him like this (blows out imaginary candles).

For all the challenges three can bring, it sure brings a lot of laughs with it too.

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Back to Christmas, though. At December 10, the season is flying by and I am determined not to let the day arrive without making some magic happen. I’ve been thinking about some traditions I want to create with Hailey and Kaitlyn.

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To me, the magic is in the details.

It’s not the big dollhouse I got one Christmas (though that was great too, in case you are reading Santa), it’s the peeking over the balcony with my brother to see if Santa had come.

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It’s not what exactly we ate on Christmas eve, but the warm and cozy feeling of all piling into the living room after the meal to exchange family gifts with Christmas music playing in the background.

It’s mom making gingerbread boys and thumbprint cookies.

It’s the story of baby Jesus at the late afternoon service.

It’s the stockings my Nannie sewed.

It’s that little blue reindeer statue that no one seems to care about but me.

It’s the details and the people.

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I want to keep that great feeling of warmth and love with my growing family and add it some traditions that we all look forward to every year.

We kicked off this year’s celebration yesterday afternoon with cookies.

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Hailey cracked the eggs and acted as quality control for the ingredients (namely the M&Ms and chocolate chips).

Mema held off a tired Kaitlyn as we all bounced around to Christmas music.

It took longer and got messier than if I would have just done it myself.

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But the tradition is not in the cookie. It’s in the process. The feeling. The people.

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OK, and maybe just a smidge in the cookie itself.

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Some other traditions I’m hoping to create include:

Watching a Christmas movie together in jammies with hot chocolate.

Driving around to look at Christmas lights.

Dressing in our finest for church and attending a candlelight service when possible (probably not this year).

I certainly don’t want to overload Christmas with too many ‘must dos,’ but I do hope to create some traditions that will carry on through the years.

What about you?

What traditions did you grow up with?

Which ones are you creating?

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Healthy Eating During Hectic Weeks http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/healthy-eating-hectic-weeks/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/healthy-eating-hectic-weeks/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 12:04:22 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=24760 How is it that the most wonderful time of year almost always coincides with the busiest? I know I’m not alone here. After getting home late afternoon on Sunday, I really didn’t get my engines revved until yesterday morning. Looking through my calendar I started feeling the pressure of the busy week ahead, but decided […]

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How is it that the most wonderful time of year almost always coincides with the busiest? I know I’m not alone here. After getting home late afternoon on Sunday, I really didn’t get my engines revved until yesterday morning. Looking through my calendar I started feeling the pressure of the busy week ahead, but decided to take it bit by bit and start where I always start- food.

Meal planning on busy weeks is different. I take a no-frills approach.

1. No new recipes. Stick to the basics. Magazines and blogs are bursting with recipes I’d like to try, but on crazy weeks, it’s just not in the stars. I pull out simple, low maintenance meals. This week, for example, grilled cheese and tomato soup make an appearance, along with spaghetti.

busy week meal planning- simple meals

2. Make it to the grocery store. I’ve tried to forgo a formal trip before, but always end up unorganized, grabbing take out or making multiple trips to the store for small things throughout the week, which ultimately ends up in more wasted time. It’s better to go and grab basics- bread, fruits, eggs, a couple veggies, etc and have food at the house.

busy week meal planning- grocery trip

3. Use machines. (If you happen to have them.) I have several gadgets I love, but sometimes forget to pull out. The slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker or bread machine can be so helpful during busy weeks. The set-it-and-forget-it factor makes it easy to squeeze in a little prep the night before or during nap time that results in great food later on.

busy week meal planning- use machines

Plus, bread machines make the house smell incredible!

busy week meal planning- bread machine

4. Have a back-up meal on hand, just in case. I just pulled out my last frozen enchiladas dish for this week, but I also have some store-bought freezer meals ready to go at all times. If something does not go as planned (which let’s be honest, is always), it’s so nice to stick a frozen meal in the oven instead of figuring out how to load up the kids to grab take out and is generally healthier than ordering in.

busy week meal planning- freezer stash

5. Prioritize convenience. Sadly this can mean spending an extra buck, but maybe that extra buck at the store will save your several of them if you had to resort to a last minute meal-grab out. I like prepping my own food, but some weeks are crazy so if you can and need to, snag the pre-chopped veggies or the ready-to-go meatballs (on our menu this week).

busy week meal planning- convenience

*Bonus Points* if you can prep any items. Bananas and apples are nature’s fast food, of course, but it’s nice to have some sources of protein or fat ready to grab too. My favorite quick-prep item that I’m always grateful I took the time to do is boiled eggs. They are great with fruit for breakfast, on top of a salad at lunch, quickly mashed up into a sandwich filler and Hailey loves them too.

busy week meal planning- boiled eggs

How do you handle healthy eating during crazy weeks?

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Stacy’s Bachelorette Party in Nashville http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/stacys-bachelorette-party-nashville/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/stacys-bachelorette-party-nashville/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 12:32:24 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=24740 Oh man, what a weekend! Or I should really just say what a 36 hours. One of my very good friends from middle school and high school is marrying David’s best friend next month. Stacy and Jay actually met at our high school reunion and BAM. Love and marriage. I’m so excited for these two […]

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Oh man, what a weekend! Or I should really just say what a 36 hours. One of my very good friends from middle school and high school is marrying David’s best friend next month. Stacy and Jay actually met at our high school reunion and BAM. Love and marriage. I’m so excited for these two and so honored that both David and I are included in the wedding.

When both bachelor/bachelorette celebrations were set for the same weekend, mom and dad happily agreed to come hang out with the girls. I am so grateful for their help. I knew the girls were in great hands so besides the fact that I was worried if I had left enough milk (note to self, ALWAYS CHECK THE FREEZER STASH AT LEAST A WEEK BEFORE LEAVING TOWN), I left Saturday morning feeling excited.

trip to nashville- 1

Can I just tell you how my perspective on flights has changed since becoming a mom? Waiting for a flight? No problem. A bathroom stall all to myself? What a luxury. Quiet time for, gasp, reading? Amazing!

I arrived in Nashville and a friend of Stacy’s, Erin, who I had never met picked me up at the airport. So sweet of her! We jetted to the Doubletree Hotel Downtown (great location BTW), met up with all the girls and headed to lunch at Back Alley Diner.

trip to nashville- 2 back alley diner

I was looking for something substantial to prep me for the libations to come and opted for the grilled buffalo chicken wrap and fries.

trip to nashville- 3

Back at the hotel, Jay’s sister surprised Stacy with an adorable tray of champagne and desserts.

trip to nashville- 4

So thoughtful! With the pop of a champagne cork, the celebration began.

trip to nashville- 5

A toast, fun question games and present opening had us laughing, crying and really enjoying being together.

trip to nashville- 6

At 5:00 we had to rush Stacy along to get her ready and out the door for a big surprise…

trip to nashville- 7

A limo!

The limo was a huge hit. Our driver, Michael, was wonderful. We brought out own champagne, jammed out to our own tunes (Erin was a great DJ!) and drove around Nashville taking pictures.

trip to nashville- 8

trip to nashville- 9

To say it was a blast would be selling it short. It was ridiculously fun!

trip to nashville- 10

Eventually we made it to dinner at a great spot called Pub 5.

trip to nashville- 11 pub 5

I was so nervous picking a restaurant, but really lucked out with this choice. The atmosphere was rustic and relaxed and the food was delicious!
trip to nashville- 12 pub 5 pasta

Toni and I split the seafood pasta, though I could have easily licked the plate clean myself.

From there, the party continued to the honkytonks. We danced, we celebrated, we got a little crazy. My view for the rest of the night looked a little like this:

trip to nashville- 13

But man oh man is Nashville a fun town. I loved the street performers who worked Stacy’s name into the songs.

trip to nashville- 14

I excitedly grabbed this hot dog on the way back to the hotel at a chilly 2:30am (I’d guess?). Old habits die hard.

trip to nashville- 15

Unfortunately all that fun caught up with me and Sunday I felt rough, to put it lightly. Mama can’t hang like she used to. A combo of drinks and 3 hours of sleep didn’t bring out my shiniest side but I can say the rough day of travel home was worth it. Plus, I was so excited to see my girls and nurse Kaitlyn again (pumping just doesn’t work very well for me for long term). And I’d be amiss not to give one more special shout out to my mom. She had all sorts of fun and playtime with the girls while keeping them fed, bathed and happy- I’m so grateful for her!

nana and girls

Like I said, whew- what a weekend. What a great celebration of an awesome girl. Jay, you are one lucky man!

Now back to the grind… and the grocery store!

Where was your bachelorette party?

Mine was actually in Nashville too!

If you could choose anywhere to have a girls weekend away, where would it be?

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Let’s Talk Hashtags http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/lets-talk-hashtags/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/lets-talk-hashtags/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 12:17:28 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=24702 I just know you came to your computer or scrolled through your phone this morning thinking, ‘Hm, I’d like to find something meaningful to read. Enlightening. Perhaps even life changing?’ Well, friends, as always, you’ve come to the right place. I’m tackling the oh-so-important topic of hashtags today. Just so we are all on the […]

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I just know you came to your computer or scrolled through your phone this morning thinking, ‘Hm, I’d like to find something meaningful to read. Enlightening. Perhaps even life changing?’

Well, friends, as always, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m tackling the oh-so-important topic of hashtags today.

Just so we are all on the same page, the hashtags I’m referring to are the ‘#’ + word/s seen on twitter, facebook and my favorite, instagram. However, they are also popping up in blog posts, text messages and everyday jargon. Yes, people are actually saying the word hashtag out loud before adding on a word or phrase. #guilty

The former serves a purpose. It actually links to other users using the same hashtag, so it’s easy to find postings discussing similar topics. Please note, however, it’s not always foolproof. I’ve searched the hashtag #6months before looking for other babies the same age as Kaitlyn, only to find lovey dovey pictures of 15 year olds in ‘true love’ and celebrating their 6 month anniversaries. #IusedtobeoneofyousoIcantpick

The latter is completely pointless. In fact, I can’t even understand well enough why people do it to be able to explain the phenomenon. #yetIstilldoittoo

Is the hashtag the new parenthesis? #Ithinkso

Now, the other thing about hashtags is that they are incredibly divisive. While some people (#me) <—See what I did there? find them entertaining, sometimes clever and occasionally useful, others find them to be downright obnoxious. In fact, I’m willing to bet those people have developed a tick just from reading this post. #Imsosorry

As much as I enjoy a good hashtag, and have even been guilty of using the ever annoying #fitmom #fitpregnancy (Yes, I am aware they are eye roll inducing, but they have led several people to find my blog and thus have served their purpose), there is a place I draw a line.

What? You have a line? After abusing hashtags throughout this entire post?

Yes, yes I do.

My line is limiting hashtags to 3 (ok, sometimes 4!) per instagram post.

#thestruggleisreal but I limit it because even I, a self-proclaimed hashtag admirer, develop a tick when I see a picture of dinner with every ingredient hashtagged. #canhashtagbeaverb?

But really…. #chicken #baked #italian #breadcrumbs #potatoes #roasted #coconutoil #saltandpepper #broccoli #steamed #lemon #dinner #healthy #healthyfood #eatitup #yum #paleo #notpaleobutclose #Instayum #instafood #mykidsateittoo #husbandapproved #followforafollow #likeforalike #pleasedoubleclick #reallyimdesperate

WHAAAA?!?!

Too much.

My personal favorite hashtag formula is to include 1 or 2 pertinent hashtags and maybe 1 clever one (if I can muster some wit).

Now for fun, let’s have a little hashtag practice on some recent iphone snaps.

2014-12-03 16.55.50

#playgroup #chaos #11kidsandcounting

2014-12-04 16.00.36

#6monthsold #instacute #repostbecauseIlovehersmilesomuch

2014-12-04 19.42.21

#paleo#getinmahbelly #thankyouwholefoods

2014-12-04 16.22.36

#imagination #freezingpowers #nanasrule

2014-12-04 18.21.54

#newdeck #soclose #onlytook3timeslongerthantheytoldus

DSC00215

#lmbo #bachelorpartyshenanigans #fumanchu #husband #handsoffladies #instahottie #hemaykillme

…sigh, I guess some photos so require more than three hashtags.

Now you tell me…

Hashtags- love or hate?

How do you use them?

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