A hungry elf and a First Haircut!

The other day Hadley asked me if Holly (our elf) was hungry, and if she was, what would she eat? I told her that elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup. So of course, we had to get Holly something she would enjoy at the store. The next morning…

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There were candy cane crumbs all over the place, she is so messy.

Then last night I didn’t remember about Holly until about 1:30am when Truett woke up. So being more than half asleep I quickly moved her to our Moose. Not very creative, but tonight will be better!

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This morning Truett’s hair would not stay out of his face, and I’ve been hearing for a month or so now that I should get it trimmed up in front. So I called and made an appointment for him, and we all went to Meg, the same girl that cut Hadley’s hair last year. Yes, a whole year ago. When we walked in, I apologized to her beforehand for bringing a 13 month old to get a haircut, as I’m sure that’s not how she wanted to start her Friday. Then she told me she loves doing little kids and babies – she must be nuts! So he sat in my lap and she trimmed it right to where I asked her too, just to his eyebrows, and even texturized it. He looks adorable, but I was so sad! It was so hard seeing that sweet brown hair fall to the floor.

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Sorry for the food in his mouth, he is pretty much eating in every picture ever.

I did a little more Christmas shopping afterwards (I’m almost done!) and then we had a great lunch at Fish City Grill. Let me just say, the food there is always perfect, and the service is great. But today was above and beyond, because Truett started to get sleepy right as we sat down, so by the time the food came he was not having it. The manager came over and said that she needed to take him with her because she hadn’t gotten to hold him yet. So she walked around, greeted tables and checked on servers and introduced him to everyone. He loved it of course, and it gave us time to eat our food while it was still hot. You heard me, hot food! When she brought him back after we finished, I thanked her and she said she loved doing it. I told her we would definitely be returning, and we appreciated her helping us. As a previous bartender and server all through college and after, I know how many parents would get so frustrated when their kids would cry through the meal, or other tables would give them dirty looks. Now as a parent, I go through it myself. It was so nice to have a manager take it upon themselves to make your experience that much better. Not only will we keep going back, but I will tell all my friends with kids about how family friendly they are, on top of having great food.

Now just waiting for the kids to wake up from their naps, run a couple more errands and then home for the night to make stuffed bell peppers for dinner. Tomorrow I’m heading to Dallas for my mom’s engagement party! Excited to spend the evening with friends and family, celebrating Mom and John!

What was your hardest ‘first’ with your little one?

Would you let a staff member of your favorite restaurant walk around with your kid so you could eat?

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A little TV inspiration.

I was watching Parenthood last night, which is one of my all time favorite shows, and there was a part where Julia and Joel were sitting on the couch and she was apologizing to him for going off on him before. But she started talking about how she didn’t think she was good at being a stay at home mom, she was overwhelmed or bored and it wasn’t fulfilling to her. Joel responded in a way that was great, he said for the first time, she had free time and to enjoy it. Now, her kids are older and in school half of the day, but I get a few minutes here and there sometimes. I guess it just really resonated with me because Brent and I have had that conversation so many times. I am always looking to hear that I’m not crazy and that everyone goes through it. I don’t think I am one of those people who was just automatically great and fulfilled in the stay at home mom role. I didn’t ever have a big important job position or make tons of money, I just usually had jobs that I really enjoyed. Especially once I found the veterinary clinics, I found my calling and thought I would be doing it forever. Maybe if I had hated my job it would have been easier to transition to staying home. Either way, it took me a long time before I really started enjoying myself and my kids. I would say like ten months maybe? Before I wasn’t missing work and the interaction with co-workers and clients. I had to try hard, stay busy, and be creative with my kids. Go on so many play dates and really bond with other moms. I think that was the factor that really helped me was to make friends. Living here in Oklahoma, it was hard to meet people, because in Texas I had a huge support system and lots of friends who stayed at home. It seems like its harder to make friends the older we get, maybe because we get so much more picky about who we want to be around. But I did, and I love the other moms that I know now.

Anyway, I read so many blogs and articles on how to keep your sanity when you are staying at home. They helped in some ways, but I really just had to find my balance and self-worth on my own. I stay so busy now that its hard to get everything done, but I feel a sense of importance. I like having my husband depend on me for certain things, the way I depend on him financially. And he never makes me feel inadequate. He is so amazing and supportive of me.

Onto the Elf! Last night Holly took a ride around our living room on one of Hadley’s horses! Hadley came running in our bedroom and said, “Mom! Did you see the elf? She’s riding my horses!!” She was pretty excited, and then the questions started. “How did the horses get down there? They were on my shelf. When did she come back from the North Pole? How does she get in our house? Did she climb on that horse or jump?” I was trying to think of really creative answers.

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Heading back our for the day, I’ve finished almost all of my Christmas shopping, and it isn’t even December yet!! This is a first for me for sure. Picking up Hadley from school and then to the gym, as well as grocery shopping.

I’m making stuffed bell peppers for dinner tonight, with lots of veggies mixed in. I think they are going to be pretty delicious, we’ll see if Brent will eat one. He is not a fan of bell peppers but said he would try it.

Excited to head to Dallas this weekend!!!

You shouldn’t over-analyze the elves…

We figured out that our elf is actually a girl, so we have named her Holly! Hadley’s reaction to her this morning was not as enjoyable as I wanted it to be, but I have to keep reminding myself that she is 3, and is just learning all of this Christmas stuff. She asked us about a thousand and one questions about the elf, and I think she might have been disappointed that it wasn’t a live, tiny elf from the movies we’ve been watching. Brent is worried that she is so analytical, the elf thing may not be as much fun with her, only because she wants to know the logics of everything. How did it do this, why, when, how would that have worked, what if it was this way… For example: “How did she get in the tree? Well how did she climb up there, its high. How did she get in our house? do you think she came in the chimney? We had a fire going, it was probably hot. Why isn’t she moving? When is she going to talk? Is she going to come down? Is she hungry? What do elves have for breakfast?”…and so on and so on, ALL DAY LONG. It’s like, this is a fun thing, not a science project! I think it will take her a few days to start playing along, but I did hear her talking to Holly while I was in the other room with Truett today, and that was pretty cute.

Last night Holly was reading some of the other animals and baby dolls in the house the story of Elf on the Shelf, so I’m hoping it will be fun to see what Hadley thinks of that! It is hard to think of ideas for her that a preschooler will understand. Many of the ones I have seen online are funnier for older kids, so I’m keeping a list of ideas going for smaller kid stuff.

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It sure was nice not going to work today, taking Hadley to preschool and running errands. Can you believe I’m halfway done with my Christmas shopping? I can’t, I always wait until the very last minute. Still trying to decide what to get Brent though. He is very hard to get gifts for. He says he likes to be surprised, but then he gives you a list of only 3 things he wants. Can’t really surprise you if you only give me 3 options! I’m trying to think of something that isn’t on his list, but it is so hard, he is super picky.

Looking forward to today, getting back to the gym, organizing the toy room (yes, I am looking forward to that the MOST!), and getting the laundry done. I have a lot to do, I really let my housework slip while I was working. I give such props to the working moms, and the single ones especially. You guys are some strong motivated women! I just felt so overwhelmed, it was almost more than one can take. I’m just glad to be home, back to doing activities with my kids everyday and keeping my house the way my husband likes it, because I think that is very important.

Back to Normal! And a nameless Elf…

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We did! It was totally different than our usual holiday, but we really enjoyed it. Normally, we drive out to Albuquerque to spend Thanksgiving with Brent’s family, but this year we decided to stay at home. Due to Brent recovering and not being comfortable with being seen, as well as it being so rough traveling with a one year old for 10 hours in the car… Too old to sleep the whole way but he’s too little to understand why he is in the car for so long, it’s awful. It’s even been hard on the three hour trips to Dallas lately.

So we spent the week together, my mom came for a few days which was great, and I worked for 2 days and am finished! Claire starts back to work today and I am back at home with my babies. As I predicted, it was bittersweet to leave work again. I really do love working there, and working with your closest friends is never boring. The animals we see, the learning every day, it is the absolute best job. But I am so glad to be back home, especially since it is almost Christmas. I have so many fun things for Hadley to do! Probably the one I am most excited about is having a little Elf come live with us for the next month. This year begins Elf on the Shelf at our house!

We put our outside lights up over the weekend, I made wreaths and trees that light up, and picked out our tree yesterday. It was funny, because there were so many pretty trees! And normally we wait until the second weekend or so in December to get a tree, but we have so much going on, and now that Hadley is finally excited about Christmas, I wanted it sooner. Tonight we were talking about how we’ve never had a tree this pretty before and then realized, they are usually all picked through by the time we get there in mid December! So we got the tree up and the lights on it, but little Truett woke up from his nap with a fever, and did not want any part of being put down or any kind of distractions, so we couldn’t get the ornaments up. Brent had started chili in the crockpot yesterday morning, and it was so so good for dinner. My very favorite chili recipe is the 2 Alarm Chili Kit, and we usually leave out the Masa packet, as well as about half of the salt. And I double the tomatoes because they are delicious! Man was it good chili. So we ate and I gave the kids a bath, hoping that Truett would go to sleep and Hadley and I could decorate the tree. But because that’s what I wanted to happen, it of course, did not. They both fell asleep, and I thought about just finishing the tree with Hadley after school today, but realized this could be a perfect entry for our Elf!

We still can’t decide on a name for the little guy, but he came last night and made our tree look great!! I think tonight he might bring his letter from Santa and his book, so we can learn all about him.

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Any ideas for a name?

Skinny Pumpkin Bread and Surgery

I have a really hard time finding a few minutes here and there to work on my blog, so I’m looking forward to being home again and making it what I want it to be.

Last night I was trying to burn off a little anxiety as well as prepare breakfast ahead of time, because this morning was an early one. My husband is having a minor outpatient surgery, which will be fixing his Rhynophyma that he has lived with for over 10 years. It’s is a cosmetic procedure, but it is will be doing more than just correcting this medical problem. It will definitely rebuild his confidence, and I can’t imagine my husband anymore handsome or perfect, but I’ll take it!

And my mom is coming tonight, I’m excited! And I saw her last weekend, but she gets to stay for 4 days! I can’t wait!!

So I was at the store picking up diapers and I grabbed a box of pumpkin bread and a can of pumpkin because I’ve heard that you can substitute it for oil and eggs in some recipes. What better to try canned pumpkin in than pumpkin bread? As far as I’m concerned, you can’t put enough pumpkin in anything.

Mix the dry mix, 1/2 cup and 3 Tablespoons of the pumpkin, and 1 cup of water until smooth, then bake according to the directions on the back. Basically I read that for each egg you substitute 1/4 cup of pumpkin and for oil it is an even exchange.

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Per serving, and there are 12, this bread has 127 calories and 1.5 grams of fat. Has 40 carbs, but 8 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein per serving as well.

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Please excuse my pictures, it was 5:30 this morning and I hadn’t had enough coffee yet.

The bread turned out more than amazing. Dense and so so moist, definitely does not taste low calorie. It tastes just like pumpkin pie. Brent couldn’t eat anything this morning so he made me describe it to him, haha. He kept talking about how wonderful it smelled, and the whole house smelled that way. You may be adding carbohydrates to this recipe, but you are also adding fiber and protein, because if you made the recipe by the box, it would have 170 calories per serving, 1.5 grams of fat, 27 carbs, 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protein.

Our amazing friend Kelly was at our house at 5:30 this morning to stay with the kids so i could take Brent to the hospital. She is so wonderful! We could not have a better group of people who love our kids and are willing to help us out. I am so lucky to have these people on my life since our family lives far away. When we moved here over 3 years ago, I was really struggling with being away from my family. And I still do, but not as much, only because we have made such strong bonds with our group of friends, that we consider them just like our family. We spend holidays together and weekends, date nights, you name it. We share babysitters and watch each others kids so we can have time alone with our spouses. What is that quote about friends, “Friends are the family we get to choose for ourselves”. It has taken us quite a while to build our circle of friends and I’m so glad it has. I have friends from work who are some of my best friends, our neighbors are definitely the most amazing neighbors you could ever ask for. I will outgrow my house and someone will have to physically remove me before I ever leave our cul-de-sac. And through work or other friends I have met some of the most wonderful people who I love spending time with. I remember crying to Brent a couple of years ago about how I didn’t have anyone here in Oklahoma and how badly I missed my life back in Texas, all I wanted was to move home and be with my family and friends. I’m so glad he said no, and we stayed here. And not only for the people we have met, but for the family we have become.

Cauliflower Pizza!

Yesterday at lunch Brent was having a salad and said, “This salad is not as good as I wanted it to be.” I asked why, and he replied, “Because I want pizza.” So that’s what was for dinner.

I found this recipe on Pinterest over the summer, and have made it many times since. My kids eat it, my husband eats it, it totally satisfies our pizza cravings with 1/3 or the calories and almost zero carbs depending on what toppings you use. Hope you enjoy it as much as we have!!

First you take the head of cauliflower and ‘rice’ it. Put it in the blender, food processor, or I like to do it with a cheese grater over a bowl. Rice the whole head and put it a microwave safe container and microwave for about 7 minutes. Don’t add any water, the cauliflower has enough naturally that it will just steam itself.

Once it is cooked, scoop it out, one measuring cup at a time. For each cup of cooked cauliflower, you will add one egg and one cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Then put in some Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Enough to where it starts to smell good.

Mix it all up really well, and then pour it out onto your baking sheet lined with parchment paper. This is the secret to the pizza. Parchment paper. Not wax paper, I have made that mistake. Don’t just put it on the pan either, the cheese glues to it and it doesn’t cook evenly. Trust me – parchment paper. A double batch (2 cups cauliflower, 2 cups of cheese and 2 eggs) makes 2 pizza rounds, about 10 inches across. Basically like a personal pizza. This is enough for my family of 4, and I will have leftovers.

Press it out onto the baking sheet until it is like 1/3 inch thick. Or as thin as you want it, but it has to hold together, so don’t spread it too thin. Put it in an oven heated to 425, for 20 minutes. Then start checking it because you don’t want it to burn but you want it to be golden brown on top. I cook both crusts at the same time for about 25 minutes. You could even use it from this point as garlic bread or cheese bread, it tastes awesome with or without toppings!

Pull them out and put on whatever toppings you like. Brent likes cheese and pepperoni.

I like pesto, ricotta cheese, fresh mozzarella, Italian sausage, and basil on top. So so good!

Put it back in the oven with the broiler on high, and broil until the cheese is melty and the toppings are heated through.

Pull it out and slice it up!

Crust – whole – 350 calories, 5 carbs
– slice (8) – 44 calories, < 1 carb

My toppings – 138 calories per slice and 2 carbs per slice.
Brent’s toppings – 122 calories and and 1 carb per slice.

The average slice of pepperoni pizza from your favorite pizza place has 330 calories and 45 carbs!!

Friday and Fish Tacos

Fridays are almost everyone’s favorite day of the week, right? Well this Friday had so many good things converging on it, it was bound to be a great day.

I’m off on Fridays, which is always a good thing, and I got up as usual with the kids and went to the gym about 8:30. I like to do the elliptical for an hour, because I burn 600-700 calories. I would run on the treadmill, but I have a bulging disc in my back and have been told not to do any high impact exercising. So I do the elliptical and then at least 30 minutes in the weight room doing different circuits. I can’t do any exercising where I bend at the waist, so I had my trainer show me different things I can do. I also like Pilates, because it strengthens your core, and that’s what I need to do to avoid another injury. The disc presses against my sciatic nerve and it runs down my right leg. The pain in my leg took a few months to subside, and although it doesn’t necessarily hurt, I still have odd sensations from time to time.

After the gym the kids and I went to my friend’s house for a play date and coffee. She has a 4 year old and a 4 week old, so we had a great time and the kids played for a couple of hours while she shared some amazing coffee with me. She orders it online from New Mexico, and I’m telling you, it’s some of the best coffee I’ve ever had in my life. New Mexico PiƱon Coffee is the brand, today we had Adobe Morning blend. I will definitely be picking this up when I am in New Mexico for Thanksgiving.

Came home and Truett took a nap, Hadley was hungry and tired so we watched Daniel Tiger on PBS while we had lunch and then she took a nap. I showered and headed off to get my hair done while Brent stayed home with the kids. Isn’t he amazing? So I adore my hair, looks great, and when I got home Brent was craving a turkey burger. We’ve heard of Flat Tire Burgers in Edmond since we moved here, but for some unknown reason we haven’t ever tried them. Until tonight. They are always winning awards and lots of our friends go there. Their menu has everything, and basically you pick what kind of toppings you want, and they have anything you can think of. Then you pick what kind of meat: beef, chicken, turkey, black bean, tilapia, etc. I went with the Yellowfin Tuna Fish Tacos, which were the best tacos I’ve had yet, and I try fish tacos everywhere we go. These by far take the cake. Medium rare tuna, with fresh cabbage, orange salsa, and wasabi ranch on corn tortillas. With a side of sweet potato fries, oh man, it was a good dinner. And I don’t hate myself for eating it. I could have had 6 tacos and not felt bad, they were that good. I’m definitely going to have to recreate it.

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Gave the kids a bath and put Truett to bed at 8, then Hadley got to FaceTime with her Nana and Big Daddy, and then she was in bed at 8:30. We decided to watch a movie, so in the spirit of the election we watched The Campaign, which was pretty funny. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis are hilarious. Did I mention we broke into the Halloween candy?

I love my little at home date nights after the kids go to bed. Relaxing I our comfys on the couch is a perfect way to start the weekend. Especially because it is the first weekend I can actually remember where we have NO plans. No parties, no visitors, no events. Crazy! I dont know what I’ll do with myself! I have a feeling I will be doing laundry and cleaning since I have no excuse not to!

What is your favorite thing to do on a Friday night at home?

Is there a meal you love that you’ve remade at home and it came out well?