Disclosure: All reviews are my true and honest opinions. Posts may contain affiliate links where I earn a small commission from your purchase, but I will always let you know which links those are. :)

Thursday, May 31, 2018

VEGAN for a Week Day 3 Meals + Mexican Potato Casserole

A cinnamon roll breakfast smoothie HERE with frozen bananas so it turned out to be more like a shake or frosty consistency.

Toast with guacamole

Oven roasted potatoes with guacamole, then ketchup when I got tired of the guacamole.

Some grapes Calvin didn't finish.
Vegan cookies and almond milk. I just made my regular chocolate chip cookies with almond milk instead of eggs, all shortening instead of butter, and no chocolate chips. And yes, I totally had more than is pictured.

Mexican Casserole inspired by THIS, but here's what I actually put together:
3 large Russet potatoes sliced like french fries
1 can seasoned chili beans
1 cup salsa
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Totally should have boiled the potatoes awhile beforehand. Some were squishy, some were kind of hard. My husband still ate it though! Success! He did complain about the chunks of stuff in the salsa... so next time I'll have to puree it before adding it in.
Baked at 400 degrees for 25 min.

Toast with peanut butter, cinnamon, and chia seeds.

This is the day I started to feel like I was starving and realized I needed to eat more.

Thanks for reading.

VEGAN for a Week Day 2 Meals : Work Day

Day two, a work day. You can see there was less snacking because I was at work and didn't have many options for snacks.

Oatmeal with peanut butter, almond milk, vanilla, cacoa nibs, chia seeds, maple syrup

Leftover fried veggie quinoa

Crescents with tomatoes

Crescents with jelly
Chips and salsa

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

VEGAN for a Week Day 1 Meals + My Favorite Easy Homemade Granola Recipe

Original post HERE.

Day one down.
Since it was Memorial Day we went to a family BBQ in the afternoon.

Now I did learn something from this first day having attended a family get-together where food was out. You're probably less likely to endlessly snack on random stuff if you know half of it isn't part of your diet. In that aspect, I can see how a diet like this would help you lose weight. It's harder to come by real, whole food snacks at an event like that, while all the processed stuff is readily available.

I ended up making my own dinner (not what I originally had planned) because my husband wasn't hungry after eating at the BBQ and I only had to feed myself.


So this is what I ate:

Oatmeal with coconut flakes (should have added them afterwards, they were squishy after microwaving, I like them crunchy), cacoa nibs, maple syrup, almond milk

2 kiwis & a can of roasted and seasoned chickpeas (recipe below)

Wrap with whole wheat tortilla, garlic hummus (store bought), spinach, tomatoes, roasted chickpeas

Went to a BBQ and had carrots, broccoli, watermelon, honeydew, vegan s'mores (made by my sister in law, I don't have the recipe)

Fried veggie quinoa

Homemade granola with almond milk (recipe below)
I love me a sweet snack after dinner, that's my weakness! And it feels good to make that snack something healthier.

Roasted & Seasoned Chickpeas
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed. Then sandwich them in a clean dish towel and roll them around gently to get as much moisture off as possible.
Toss them in 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne.
Bake at 400 for 35 min. I ate it all in one sitting, you could split it into two snacks, but the chickpeas lose some crunchiness if you don't eat them immediately.

Yummiest Granola Ever :)
2 cups oats
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup cacoa nibs
1/8 cup coconut oil
1/8 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix wet and dry separately, then combine, bake at 300 for 25 min. Makes about 4 bowls of granola cereal.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Vegan For a Week Challenge : Meal Plan w/ non-vegan Husband

Over the last couple years I've gone through spurts wondering if I could go vegetarian or vegan. I've watched plenty of documentaries on Netflix that give me inspiration to eat better. I've definitely added more fruit and veggies and real food to my diet. But the one thing that's finally pushed me over the edge to really give it a go is Ellen Fisher. If you haven't watched her on YouTube, you should. Her editing style is beautiful. Her family is just too precious. She's vegan. And... why can't we all live in Hawaii?! Just asking...

I tried reducing our family's meat intake a couple times, but always found it so difficult with the world's pickiest eater of a husband! Seriously, he's pretty bad, especially about real food. He picks chunks of tomato out of spaghetti and just plain won't eat anything where he sees a single piece of onion, although he likes the flavor. As far as real food is concerned, the only stuff he eats are rice, beans, potatoes, and corn. And so I've incorporated those into some of our dishes for the week.
And I think that's my biggest hang up. I don't want to make two meals every night! And I know if I left him on his own, his eating habits would only worsen. He would have frozen pizza and pizza rolls and fast food for dinner if I refused to cook for him. So what am I supposed to do? Should I abandon him and only worry about me and Calvin (our two year old)? Or should I make meals big enough for us both, only for him to take one bite? Or should I just cook his regular old meals and make myself something else, doing twice the work? Seriously. Someone tell me what to do!

So this week, I've come up with the best compromise I could think of. I found recipes I thought were easy enough to make us both happy. I've included how I'll alter them for us both. I hope this gives you a little inspiration. And for real, if you're vegan or vegetarian cooking for a household that isn't, please help me out. How do you do it?

Mexican Potato Casserole (inspired by THIS)
salsa, beans, corn, small cubed potatoes, nutritional yeast, taco seasoning
cheese for Justin's half

Crescent Rolls
crescent rolls (see other surprising vegan foods HERE) filled with
pepperoni and mozzarella for Justin
hummus and tomatoes for me

leftover casserole
(maybe scoop it into tortillas to switch things up)

Bean & Corn Enchiladas
enchilada sauce, beans, corn, tortillas
cheese for Justin's
(I think I'll roughly squish up the beans so they don't go rolling out)

Flatbread Pizzas
homemade vegan flatbread HERE
tomato sauce for both
pepperoni and mozzarella for Justin
veggies for me

Saturday/Sunday + All Lunches:
Salad - Italian dressing, spinach, tomatoes, etc.
Wraps - guacamole, hummus, zucchini, tomatoes, beans, mixed frozen veggies, etc.
Sandwiches on super seed bread
Veggie fried quinoa
And Justin's on his own (ha!), sometimes we just don't plan much for the weekends, so this isn't unusual.

Breakfast Options:
oatmeal - coconut flakes, cacoa nibs, maple syrup, peanut butter, berries, applesauce, etc.
toast - peanut butter, jelly, chia seeds, etc.
chia seed pudding with homemade granola
homemade granola with almond milk
Homemade Granola guide HERE

seasoned, baked chickpeas
potato fries
Cinnamon roll smoothie HERE
Thanks for reading.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Calvin is TWO!

The sweet little boy who made me a mommy is turning two today. I cannot believe it. This past year especially has absolutely flown by.

He runs and climbs everywhere he desires. He was already such an independent boy and that continues in his playtime too. I can't wait for little brother to be big enough to play alongside him.

Speaking of little brother, it is amazing to see Calvin with him. He is always asking about "baby brother." He says "bless you, baby brother," when he sneezes. He gives him bedtime kisses and it's adorable.

He says "thank you, mommy," when I hand him something. He requests different foods. He opens up the fridge when he's hungry too (and sometimes leaves it open). He hugs me and says, "mmm, mommy." He walks around with his finger to his chin saying, "hmm." He will repeat pretty much anything you say.

He has started making little sentences like "tractor fall!" and "baby brother hungry?" It's really cool to see his vocabulary grow.

Lately he likes to chase the cat. He'll climb on the top of the couch to sit by her, follow her upstairs, corner her under the coffee table. Sometimes she swats at him when he's making her mad (she doesn't have her claws though).

He loves going outside. He LOVES tractors. He knows all his basic colors and can identify half the alphabet. He knows a lot of shapes. He even knows a pentagon from an octagon, but the hexagon has him stumped. He is such a smart little boy.

He's funny and clever and sneaky. He'll just stare at you as he does something he's not supposed to. Sometimes I have to hold back a smile or giggle when he is mischievous. He sucks at listening. He is very stubborn. It's totally true when they say "silence is suspicious."

He's not potty trained. We haven't made any progress with that, even though I try to let him run around naked every once in awhile and coax him to sit on the potty with promises of "candy beans" if he goes.

"Candy beans" are jelly beans and he totally got a kick out of Easter this year! He would come up to me and ask "find eggs?" for weeks after Easter was over.

He likes to brush his teeth. We just recently picked up some "elmo toothpaste" and it makes brushing so much more fun. He has three amber necklaces and likes to pick out which color he wants to wear for the day. Sometimes he lets me spike his hair with aloe vera gel, but it never stays put on this active little boy.

Speaking of hair, we went from our first big boy haircut around his first birthday, to a cute, long, grown-out hairdo, back to another short haircut right before baby brother was born. He looks so much older with his hair buzzed. I miss the long hair. And he hates haircuts. He is totally not a fan of the clippers.

His favorite breakfast is pancakes.
His favorite lunch is PBJ. He mostly just refers to this as "mlunch." I think he might mean "sandwich" or "lunch."
His favorite dinner? I couldn't tell you because he never eats it! That has been one of the biggest struggles recently. We got into a pattern of making him his own dinner usually, but this momma is fed up with making two meals. He needs to learn to eat regular food too and expand his taste buds, so we've been working on making him eat our food. It's hard. We waited too long and gave in too much and now we are paying for it. Haha. He's a picky little eater, that's for sure.

He likes to watch YouTube on the TV. We watch tractor videos and videos teaching colors and shapes.

He knows where Aunt Ry lives. The other day he walked all the way down to her house without anyone! He and Justin were outside and when Justin went looking for him, he was on her porch all the way down the street.

He already has a farmers tan going on. He had one last year too. Maybe I'll go order him some tank tops right now haha.

He will find the only patch of mud in the yard and stick his finger in it, walk over to show you his finger, and say "dirt." He stomps in puddles on the patio. He stomps in mud at the property. He loves his Papa's tractor and even has a little one just like it that he simply calls "green tractor." Justin even ordered him a battery powered tractor for his birthday! He's going to be so excited, I can't wait for the moment Justin shows it to him. Next year I think he'll get a trailer to tow little brother around in.

It's incredible how much he's grown this past year. I know I'll be saying this for years to come, but time really does fly. They grow up so fast. Before we know it, it will be little brother Eren's second birthday and Cal will be nearly four! It makes this momma's heart sad but excited to see what's to come.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Pumping & Nursing Schedule Working Mom Breastfeeding 2 Month Old

This is our general schedule during the work week. I still nurse on demand, so the at-home times can vary, but my at-work schedule is very solid.

On Thursdays and Fridays, my husband drops the kids off at grandma's. He leaves at 5:15 am.

2:00 am - nurse
4:45 am - wake the baby to nurse
6:00 am - pump at home
7:00 am - arrive at work
8:30 am - pump at work
11:30 am - pump at work
2:30 pm - pump at work
4:00 pm - off work
5:00 pm - nurse
7:00 pm - nurse
Sometimes he sleeps until 2:00 am, sometimes he nurses again anywhere between 9:00 pm-midnight. Sometimes he nurses every hour from 5:00-9:00 pm, but everything else is pretty constant for my workday. Pumping sessions might move 30 min either way depending on how the workday is going.

On Mondays and Tuesdays, I drop the kids off at grandma's. I leave the house at 6:30 am. The only thing that changes are the 4:45 and 6:00 am feeding/pumping session. I don't pump on days I get the boys ready.

2:00 am - nurse
6:00 am - wake the baby to nurse
7:00 am - arrive at work
8:30 am - pump
11:30 am - pump
2:30 pm - pump
4:00 pm - off work
5:00 pm - nurse
7:00 pm - nurse

I hope this was helpful.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Working Mom Back to Work Day #2

Morning of day 2 back to work. Sorry it's so blurry!

This is the morning of my second day back to work. Both mornings have gone sooo much smoother than I was imagining. I thought for sure we would be late, both kids would cry all morning, nothing would go right, and I'd leave the grandma's breathing a huge sigh of relief I didn't have to deal with that all day!

But the mornings were great. I got Calvin ready first and Eren nursed well and was very pleasant while I packed everything up to leave. Justin even got to say good-bye to Cal both mornings because we were up so early to get ready. (Usually Justin leaves before Calvin is up) Last night, Eren even slept six hours straight, which was really nice because Sunday night Calvin was up at midnight with a bad dream and Eren woke up soon after we got Cal back down. Oh, the joys of motherhood. It's all about mastering how to function on so little sleep. 

I got to run by the store Monday after work and that was nice. Run in, run out, easy peasy.

One thing I do not miss is pumping at work. Three times per day, eating my lunch hunched over the pumping parts attached to my chest. That tingly feeling when you know you need to go pump but you're busy finishing other work. Worrying about how much you're producing and if the grandmas are overfeeding little mister. Motherhood is full of worry, no matter if you're with the kids all day or not.

I imagined this transition back to work like I was abandoning my babies for two years. Like I wouldn't see them again and they would be so big by then. (We plan for me to be a stay at home mom in a couple years) To imagine that my little Eren will be Calvin's age by the time I get to spend each and every day with them again breaks my little heart! I know the time will fly. It already has been going so fast. I can't believe Calvin will be TWO this Memorial Day weekend!

I didn't have a breakdown. I didn't cry. But I definitely was not overjoyed to leave them. I know they're in good hands, of course. I know the grandmas want to spend time with them and love on them too. And on the inside, even though I didn't want to admit it, I needed a break.

I am so fortunate to have Wednesdays off from my job. Only working four days a week is awesome and I would absolutely recommend to anyone facing working mom guilt to try and cut back at work if at all possible. I very truly believe it has helped me stay sane and not feel too strained and stretched thin. (I've had Wednesdays off since I returned to work after Calvin was born, except for last summer when I worked five days, which sucked super bad and almost threw me over the edge. You can read my mom guilt post that I wrote at the end of that summer here). The day off gives me the opportunity to keep up on the house a little, do diaper laundry (and all the other stupid laundry), and get to spend time with my littles. I get to spend a full day each week pretending I'm a stay at home mommy. That's truly how I view those days off. I just can't wait to be home with them all the time.

So although this is just week one of about 90 until I get to be with my babies all the time, I know we all need it on some level. They need to spend time with the grandmas to get to know and love them. The grandmas need it because grandmas just love grandbabies. And I need to feel like I'm contributing to the household in a financial sense and I guess you could say I do need a break from the munchkins sometimes too, even if I don't like to say that.

I hope things continue going smoothly and I hope this stupid working mom guilt starts to subside. Here's hoping it's just a first week back thing and it doesn't last too long.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

MIA Mom of 2

Well, I sure have been MIA, haven't I?

Life with a newborn and a toddler is crazy, let me tell you. Anytime you want to do anything at all, it takes a lot of planning ahead and extra time factored in for poopy butts and toddler meltdowns.

I am so in love with my little family. Seeing how Calvin loves on his baby brother is seriously the most adorable thing I've ever seen. It melts my little heart to see him giving kisses or randomly asking to hold him.

But it's hard work. I don't even know when the last time I wore makeup was. And whenever it was, I can almost guarantee it was not applied first thing in the morning, it was probably closer to nap time, after noon.

I head back to work here shortly and it's very bittersweet. I don't want to leave my babies. I have grown accustomed to spending every single day with them. We have a routine, even if it's not exactly what organized people would call a "routine." It's very hectic. And I want to continue that. I don't want to miss out on anything. These last seven weeks have absolutely flown by. Way faster than they did with my first son. Eren is growing every day. Calvin is too. He is just so grown up. Looking at him compared to his tiny little brother, it's absolutely stunning to remember him being that tiny just two short years ago. Two years! Time really does fly.

So although I don't want to leave my babies and I desire so much in my heart to never return to work and stay with them forever, I know I should get back out there. I look forward to being able to stop by the grocery store on the way home from work and shop all by myself instead of packing up the boys and towing them around with me while I pick up a handful of things. I look forward to dropping them off at the grandma's in the morning and not having to worry about them for 9 hours. On the mornings when everyone is crying and nothing is going right, I will breathe a sigh of relief to drop them off and get in my car to head to work alone.

I am jealous of stay at home moms who get to spend every day with their babies. But at the same time, I understand just how demanding it is. And so here we go, back to work, back to working mom life, but with two littles to constantly think about. Back to pumping at work (which I am so not looking forward to), back to sleepless nights that end with an alarm clock sounding, back to a different kind of exhaustion. I hope I can make it. :/