Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Embarking on a journey, a short journey

Husband and I are starting the 10 day juice fast tomorrow morning.  No solid foods, just fresh juices fruits and vegetables (and my bp meds of course) for 10 straight days.

I'm more worried about the caffeine withdrawals then I am about the food withdrawals.  I'm also a little worried about feeling sick to my stomach for 10 days, then another week trying to get back on solids!

Tonight we made carrot + apple + ginger juice and it was amazing!  The only thing I would change about it is chilling if first.  I'm weird like that, I like all my drinks cold.

Wish me luck. I'll be vloggin and bloggin my way through it to share the ups and downs with you guys.

I'm pretty psyched that my husband wants to do it too. He wants to lose weight, I want to detox and have less headaches (weight loss is a bonus).

How many of you think I'll fail and cave before my 10 days are up?


Haha, do you ever laugh when you look at your budget and compare them to your actual expenses?  I did today. Luckily, at this point in time we have a little wiggle room in our budget!   A year ago I couldn't say the same...

some of our ut ohs this month...

We spent $430 eating out (including dinners and lunches) when we only budget $150 HAHAHA, okay not really funny.  Is our defense, we did take our friend out for a nice dinner or two whilst he was visiting this month.   ($280 overbudget)

We spent $550 this month on grocery items.  We paid an additional $132 for our CSA for 4 weeks.  That's a whopping $170 per week on groceries when we aim to spend 80-100 HAHAHA okay again not funny again.  It's little side trips to the store that kill us.
(~$282 over budget).

Those two casually spending mistakes there could have left us with >$560 in the saving account if we had watched our spending more carefully. YIKES.

I think it's good to sit down periodically and do this to quantitatively look at your mistakes.  I plan on watching the grocery trips to whole foods and NOT eating out more than one  or twice in September.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chocolate Beet Cake with Spiced Creme Anglaise

Oh my dear.  This cake sounded a little interesting to me when I set out to make it.  I followed the directions on this blog to make it, which I found very helpful, with some more help needed for the Creme Anglaise.  I actually called my brother, who is a french chef, well he's not french, he is trained to cook french food, anyway I digress....So my brother helped me get my cream sauce right, but other than that, the cake was pretty easy.  If you have 4 or 5 beets kicking around and you love chocolate cake like myself, give this recipe a try.  Don't be intimidated by the Creme Anglaise, this cake would be good with just the confectionary sugar as well.

It smelled a little too beet like for my liking when it went in the oven, but once it was done, not only did it look beautiful, but it tasted beautiful as well!!  Some photos from dinner tonight.  We also  had orzo with squash and basil for dinner.  We used a ton of our CSA stuff in these two items, which makes me feel like super woman of the kitchen and super healthy mom of the year at the same time.

Mimi's helping of the orzo with squash and basil

2 year-old happily eating her veggie-filled dinner

Luckily this guy likes meatless cooking as much as I do, call me crazy but I love him all scruffy looking

Feeling like the end of summer....

Now, it most definitely is NOT the end of summer judging by the weather here in Texas (102 today), but the overall feel to things just feels like the end of summer.  The kids have gone back to school, the college has started it's semester, pumpkin spice lattes are at starbucks, hobby lobby is filled with fall and (GASP) Christmas decorations, halloween costumes are on the brain, and I want to make harvest vegetable things like pumpkin bread and apple pie.

This is the one time of year I miss home. I grew up in a small town in upstate NY with the most picturesque falls.  There are rolling hills of brilliant oranges and reds, the smell of fresh picked apples and crushed grapes in the air, and a chill when the sun goes down by the end of August.  I wish plane tickets weren't so expensive :-(

Well anyway, today I'll have to get by with the smell of Autumn Leaves and Macintosh Yankee candles lit throughout my house with the AC still cranked to 74.

All week when Mimi naps, I'm not allowed to sew or have "me time." I'm supposed to be working on the ol' dissertation, so Saturday at naptime I crank up the sewing machine and bust out some naptime crafts. Here is yesterday's project.  An "End of Summer Dress" for Mimi in some really cute fabrics I found.  I had originally bought there to make a quilt for someone, now instead it will make 3 summer dresses for Mimi and her friends.  Mimi's is the prototype.  I didn't use a pattern and just winged it and fitted the dress to Mimi and made adjustments when she woke up from her nap.

Her friend's dressed will likely be the opposite, red at the bottom and nautical at the top.  They may have ribbons instead of buttons too, we'll have to see.

After nap we went for a HOT walk on this trail near our apt. Mimi had a ball picking up rocks and putting them in the stroller.  She would lag behind trying to pick up a large rock and yell to us "Pappa! Mama! Wait I got a new Idea!" then she would run over, put the rock in the basket of the Bob Stroller and say "Oh! That one is perfect!" She repeated this set of phrases until the cuteness wore off....

Then we went for Snowcones.  Mimi of course wanted a flavor that was bright red to stain her new dress....

I think in this last picture she looks like the kid in the True Blood intro.....

Alas, the new dress in soaking in her bathroom sink drenched in shout now....

Talk to you all soon!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Week in Review

I kicked butt this week folks.  Clean diet, much exercise, well rested.
Me tonight, 5 lbs leaner since last weekend!  Don't mind the pile of crap next to me....ah downsizing houses is so fun...

I ran 11 miles this week, lost 5 lbs and feel pretty amazing.  
Now my SAHM week was a different story, 3 no nap days and no dissertation work done.
This morning when I met my friend at Town Lake to run with our uber cool jog strollers, I mentioned that I like running at night because I don't have to wear sunscreen, which subsequently drips into my eyes when I sweat and burns my eyes.  She said "You actually put on suncreen when you go for a run!?" YES, because LOOK AT MY 29 YEAR OLD FACE!  Oh the damage of my younger carefree years!!!
Wrinkles, age spots, sun damage, not to mention the awesome dark eye circles I'm rocking.

This picture is so raw to me.  This is ME.  No editing, no blemish remover tool, just me.

Okay now I just need to lose the OTHER 5 LBS I've gained since I moved to Austin Texas, land of hot weather and tacos.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I've been cursed. What the heck happened to daily naptime!? I'm NOT letting this happen. My kid needs that midday rest, Momma needs that midday dissertation writing session/break from toddler.

Mimi has been giving me a really hard time going to sleep at naptime. I know she's tired. She lays in her bed forever singing, playing, trying to grab toys in her reach. Then an hour later, she yells "Momma I'm all done!" meaning "too bad so sad momma i'm not napping today."
Before she realized I was standing there with the camera....

smiling at me as if to say "hahhahahahahahah I'm awake"

I don't want to threaten things like losing outings or (gasp) a spanking or something for not sleeping, because she's actually staying in bed pretty nicely, just NOT sleeping.

Any tips or tricks for this? And NO, we're not stopping naptime, she still needs this rest. I can tell she is tired, I know my child. Plus, when she doesn't nap, she a wreck by dinnertime and we have mega dinnertime meltdowns.

She's still sleeping 11-12 hours at night consistently and rarely waking up.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Accidentally Vegan

Now before you go all crazy, I'm not going vegan.  I'm not going to lie though, I would say 50% of what I eat is Vegan, but not on purpose.  I just don't eat tons of meat, I do however consume my fair share of eggs and milk products.  You won't see me wearing an "I'm Vegan" shirt anytime soon.  I wanted to share with you tonight's dinner, an accidentally vegan dinner that was attempt to include the vegetables from our CSA before they could go bad.

I give you:
Sweet Potato, Spinach, and Arugula Salad with Craisons, Quinoa and Homemade Grape Juice Dressing
Grilled Eggplant Marinated in Garlic, Soy Sauce, Olive Oil, and Chopped Mint

I chopped the eggplant this morning (4 small ones) into 1/4 inch pieces.  I marinated those with a few tablespoons of soy sauce and olive oil and threw in some chopped mint and minced garlic.  I let it sit all day in the fridge, then grilled them for 10 minutes.

The salad is Arugula and Spinach with Quinoa and Craisons mixed in.  I made a dressing from olive oil, a reduction of grape juice, hot sauce, mustard and salt.  I combined all of the above and then laid what are basically baked sweet potato fries (baked in the oven with olive oil, salt and paper @425 for 25 minutes) on top of the salad and served it.  The warm of the sweet potato with the chilled salad went really well, as did the spicy arugula with the sweet craisons.  

The eggplant was a little strong for me, but my husband had thirds, so it must have been good!  Next time I'll use balsamic vinegar instead of soy sauce and not let it marinate as long.

So as far as I can tell no meat products were used in this dish.  Whoops, another accidentally vegan dinner.....

Monday, August 22, 2011

Can it be? lol

So yesterday I started doing something my husband does when he realizes he's getting chunky (now he's never really been chunky really).  He periodically needs to re-train his body to feel real hunger.  It's not a diet. He eats what he wants.  From the minute he wakes up, the minute he goes to bed, he does not eat unless he's feeling hungry.  This sounds so simply right?  I've seen him do this "body training" before, it's actually quite funny.  He walks to the fridge or pantry, opens it up, then says "wait, i'm not hungry." and he closes it and walks away.

When my scale shot up to 189.9 yesterday I panicked and had a mini meltdown.  I resigned myself to try his trick for a few days to remind myself of how it feels to actually be hungry.  It was really hard, when I was mindlessly working in the kitchen it was hard not to munch on stuff.  When I fed Mimi lunch and I wasn't hungry, it was hard not to eat.  When we ate dinner and it tasted SO delicious and I wanted more, it was hard to stop myself and remind myself I was full.

I ate whatever I wanted, oatmeal, a cookie, craisons, some noodles, and beans and greens with cheese for dinner.  The hardest part was when I was sewing. This is going to sound funny, but when I sew, I eat chocolate.  I sewed Mimi an adorable dress last night after I put her to bed and I had to fight the urge to eat those Newman Own's chocolate filled sandwich cookies taunting me from the pantry.

I also drank a ton of water (and unsweet tea sigh) and today I woke up to a pleasant surprise:  186 lbs this morning.

So I'm going to go throw on my running garb and try to get a jog in this morning.

There is actually a book that my husband read that gave him the idea to do this "body training" but I can't remember what it was titled.  If anyone is interested let me know!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wake up Call

Holy Crudmoly.  This morning I weighed 189.9 lbs. WTF Jen!?  Way to let yourself go!  I was 179 when we left Gainesville in late June.  I first noticed it when this photo was taken a week or so ago, do you see that 2nd chin creeping in?!

I'm really disappointed in myself.  I have resolved to not let myself gain weight like this again.  I'm never going back to those days of avoiding having my photo taking, and having my "fat pants" turn into my everyday pants.

I have set a goal to get back down to 179 pronto and won't let myself buy any new clothes at all until I get to that point.  I'm going to start running everyday mon-fri and giving myself the weekend off.  I'm happy I have realize this phenomenon now and not when I creeped above 200 lbs.  Eventually (before January) I need to get to 165.  Geesh.  I'm still in disbelief about the number that showed up on my scale this morning!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Melt my Heart

I love my little girl so much.  I love doing things that make her happy and (I think) enrich her.  Little Mimi started Ballet this week.  One of the great things (in the list of many) about being unemployed a SAHM is being able to take your kid to activities in the middle of the day and get to see them really enjoy things.  I feel like I really did miss out on Mimi's life from 10 months to 23 months while she was in full time daycare.

Here's Mimi in her full on ballet garb.  I think she got just as much of a kick out of putting it on and feeling special as she did taking the class.  The class went well too.  No separation anxiety of any kind whilst I waited in the parent area separate from her studio.  She did escape twice to come tell me "come dance with me mamma!" How precious right?  There were 8 kids with two instructors and boy did they keep them moving and groovin' the entire 45 minutes.  Mimi took a 4 hour nap that day, no doubt also due to leftover tiredness from our visit with Sophie and gang.

I'm going to soak up these little girl days where she wants me to be with her all the time.  Someday she'll be saying "go away mom!"  Thanking my blessings again today for all that I have.

Here's Mimi at whole foods below where we had a little organic food spending spree as it was.  Hopefully we won't have to hit the grocery store for awhile...we really blew the grocery budget this week! lol  She saw a box with Puffins on them, so of course it came home with us, luckily it was on sale.

Aw Mimi, Mommy loves you so much.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The world ends when we walk out of the door...

I started working at Gymboree tonight as a "new line" employee, basically I work 1-2 Sunday nights a month and I get paid minimum wage (yuck) but get 40% off at the store (score) and 20% off at the outlet (score).  I had fun, the people were great, the work was easy, and I got to see all the new halloween and fall stuff coming out.  This transient employment with them may be more damaging than good for my bank account! lol

I was gone a mere 5 hours and my husband freaked the hell out when I was back 20 minutes later than I told him.  He managed to mess up the kitchen I spent all morning cleaning, forgot to let the dog out so the dog literally peed on my food in the doorway when I came in (gross), and Mimi was of course, awake, in mis-matched jammies and overtired and crying.  What a freakin' mess.

Sometimes my husband says in conversation to people that he wouldn't mind being a stay-at-home dad, and I almost gasp and laugh out loud.  He can't even handle her on short intervals without freakin out or trashing this place.  He has no idea the level of patience and multi tasking required to be at home fulltime with a toddler.


Mimi was so overtired I had to lay in bed with her for like 20 minutes calming her down telling her we're going on a trip to see Sophia tomorrow.  Now that she's asleep, I am going to let out the dog and pack our stuff for tomorrow so it doesn't take us all freakin' day to get out of here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Copycat Babygap Dress Without a Pattern

So I went to the Children's museum with my friend the other day (again I know) and she has twin girls a little younger than Mimi.  They had on the most adorable dresses, and to be perfectly honest, I couldn't tell they were homemade until I examined them really closely.  I was impressed.  I have been sewing for a little while now, and my technique has improved (just ask my friends who got homemade gifts from me last Christmas!).  I want to be able to make Mimi adorable dresses, for a cheap price, that people won't really look at and say "nice homemade dress" but say "where did you buy it?"

Mimi has this friggin adorable denim babygap jumper dress that I got off of ebay for $3.99.  I love her in it.  Sadly, my treelike toddler is growing so quickly her little bum peeks out of the bottom a little bit more than I'd like, and it will soon be retired to the "give to a friend" or "save for baby Olive" pile.  (Olive is the girl name we like for our next potential girl child if you're wondering).

I looked at the dress and thought, I can copy this.  I made myself a pattern by tracing the dress and adding 1/2 inch all the way around as a seam allowance.  I added and extra 1 1/2 inch to the bottom to prevent bum peekage, and dug through my box of fabric I have on hand.  The dress is fully lined also.  The front is gathered at the yolk, but the back is not.  Next time I think I may make a fabric flower or some funky buttons on the shoulders to add some spunk.

Take a look at what I ended up with......all done in 2 hours.

It came out a little slimmer than the denim dress, but the fit in the chest and the length are exactly like I wanted.  My husband says the zipper is tacky, but I was trying to use what I had on hand, next time I"ll use an invisible zipper.  Don't mind the hem folded up, the dress needs to be washed and ironed.

Courtney, if you're reading this, you'll see that Mimi has claimed the pink fish bow for herself, I hope Soph likes the orange one!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Holy Empty Hardrive

Each year, I make a photo book for Mimi on my Iphoto account, exquisitely detailing all the events and adorable moments of her year.  As we have just passed Year 2, I have finished Mimi's book (all 100 pages) and sent it off for printing and binding.  My poor hardrive looks forward to this day.  After the book is printed I archive the libraries of photos onto dvd disks and pack them away safely.  Then, I'm able to clean them off my hardrive and let my poor computer breath a little easier.  30 gigs easier to be exact.  One year of Mimi's life in photos amounts to 30 gigs of memory.  Wow.  Considering my dear macbook only has 100 gigs total and is loaded with applications as well, you can see why little cookie (that's my macbook's name) looks forward to this.  

I feel like I have a new computer. EVERYTHING runs faster.  This Macbook has been my sidekick now for 5 years I think.  It has lasted unbelievably well with no real issues and one optional software upgrade.  If you haven't already, do yourself a favor and buy yourself a Mac computer.  Unless of course you're a mac hater, in which case you can't read my blog anymore.


But seriously, buy one. You'll love it.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Do you ever get frustrated with people for being ignorant?  Now when you call someone ignorant, you're not calling them stupid, you are saying that they lack knowledge, or intelligence on a specific subject, that they are unaware or uninformed.

To tell you the truth I don't know why I waste my time even commenting on this girl's videos.  She can be ignorant, intolerant, abrasive, aggressively rude with her replies.  I really cannot fathom why she has so many loyal followers.   From the snippets of her life you gather from her videos, objectively she seems like a great mother.   Not that I'm any sort of judge of what is great parenting.  But her attitude on certain subjects can be so aggressively closed-minded. If you dare say something to question her opinion, she becomes instantly defensive and rude, and throws back at you comments with giant capitalized letters as if to emphasize her aggressiveness.  Really uncalled for.

In her last few videos she has made many comments about "I could not take my healthy newborn to a hospital filled with sick people for her hearing test!"  "Why take my HEALTHY newborn to a doctors office full of sick people!?" and yet she takes her newborns to all kinds of other outings like a children's museum.  I dare to say I could culture some pretty nasty germs from swabbing the exhibits at a children's museum in a city, not to mention the amount of kids in the place.  

My one friend put in nicely that it's ironic that she thinks denying your child healthcare keeps them healthier.

You can see from my comments, that I was not rude, nor aggressive.  I was trying to point out that if she washes her hands often and keeps her child covered (as it appears she does) she shouldn't be so afraid.  Not rude.   I'm not ignorant of infectious disease people.  I worked for an emerging pathogens department and I've had microbiology, neither of which I bet she could claim.

And when I pointed out that nephrologists, cardiologists, and orthopedics aren't full of infectious people I wasn't talking about taking her newborn there (obviously), I was pointing out that Hospitals and Doctors offices aren't all full of sick people, they are full of people seeking medical attention or advice, and that the world is not full of people with leprosy, cholera, or MRSA trying to cough and lick her and her newborn.  Nobody is out to get her, and some simple hand washing goes a LONG way.

And of course my comments have to do with objective debate! Why else would I have commented? To give you flattery on your videos? Is that the only reason you make videos? So people tell you things to inflate your ego?  As much as I post comments about InformationMommy, at least she welcomes debate, and will comment back to you (even if she disagrees) with tact and intelligence.

Why am I even talking about his Lucy? Because I was pointing out that you were over generalizing and that your fear of doctors office was somewhat irrational.  I know, I know, silly me, you can't admit that anybody might have a point but you......Debating with you Lucy, is a lost cause.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Austin Children's Museum

Warning! Photo Heavy Post!

on the metrorail
I bought a season pass for a place I'd never been to. Stupid right?  Well I had heard many testimonials from the park moms, and read their yelp.  What convinced me was the quantitative value of this pass.  The pass was $75 for 12 months.  It allows 4 people (including guests) to come each visit on the pass.  I calculated, based on normal admission rates, if I brought 1 extra adult and child with me each time, I only needed to go 4 times in 12 months and the pass pays for itself. Awesome.  Not to mention the metrorail stops 3.5 blocks away from the museum for $1 (instead of $10 to park and the gas and traffic).

We left at 10ish (after I ran 2 miles!!! Go me) and got to the museum at 11am.  It was kind of crowded in the main room, but all of the side areas were pretty quiet with only a few kids.  Mimi ran in without hesitation and started playing.  They had play kitchens, a play grocery store, animal exhibits (like milking a fake cow), train station exhibits, miniature play houses, craft areas, building areas, etc.   Great for Mimi's age, but maybe boring for a child over 5.
Playing on the train table

Cooking some steaks
After 1.5 hrs, we grabbed our strollers and headed over to PF Chang's for lunch.  Mimi ate half of my meal and was SO well behaved (compared to other restaurant experiences) and we were back on the train at 2:15, and home in bed by 3pm.

Can't wait to go again, especially with this heat!

All in all the museum was a great experience and a great value.  One tuesday of every month they don't allow large groups, so my friend and I decided to mark that date on our calendars and head downtown on that day.

So happy this mess is at the museum and not at my house.....

Playing at the dollhouse with Allison and her momma

Playing in the playhouse

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Splash Away

With this heat, outdoor activities almost have to be by water, or in water, preferable icy water lol.  When Courtney lured  convinced me to move to Texas, I don't think she mentioned that the sun is so hot it will bake your skin off.....Thanks Court! :-)

Anyway....it seems to be the consensus of the group of moms I hang with that we should congregate near water.  Today we met up at a splash pad near downtown.  Mimi is the only one of the bunch that LOVES to run head first through these sprinklers. Observe the evidence below....

They had a pretty nice little playground too but the slides and climbing areas get so hot it burns the kids skin, for real.  After 1.5 hours, we packed up our soggy red-faced children and stopped at the Whole Foods Flagship Market downtown for lunch.  Their lunch bar(s) are AMAZING.  Good think I hate going through the traffic to get there or I'd spend my "Whole" paycheck there....hahahaha nice pun right?  Okay anyway......on the roof above the store they have a shaded area to eat and a playground.  We ate our lunches and let the kids play until they literally told us they were tired and wanted to go home. Nice.  

Mimi is down for her nap and I am going to grab a shower and do some dissertatin' (redneck for dissertation).  Cheers

Monday, August 1, 2011

Night Night Time

Do you watch your kid(s) sleep? I totally do.  Every night.  Some nights I have to resist crawling in bed with her and snuggling, or worse waking her up and bringing her in bed with me just to snuggle.  My little snuggle bug.  

I wouldn't give up this bug for anything.  I hug and kiss her all day long and tell her she's the most amazing thing I ever did.  She says the most precious things to me without being prodded to now.  She holds my face delicately and says "I love you mama."  She kisses my boos boos better, and gives the best squeeze hugs in the world.  Thank heaven for this little girl.

 See the sippy cup? she holds it like a security object.  Don't worry, it's just water...with ice...if you forget the ice she tells you so!
Papa's eyelashes.  So beautiful.