1.31.2014

Oh, Friday

I need some cheer, bright colors and happy things this week since we're still plagued with the sickness at our house :( Autumn is putting up the good fight to get rid of it, Ernest has had it the past few days and somehow (by the grace of God) I have managed to stay mostly exhausted healthy. I'm over the cold, sickness and being locked up inside! So what makes me happy? Browsing the internet for stuff that makes me laugh, shopping for stuff I don't need and reading books that make me feel like a tween.
//one//
Have you seen this Taylor Swift spoof video of her Grammy performance? I just about died laughing!



//two//
I'm sooo ready for spring. Bright colors, warmth and lots of sunglasses. I need some new shades since I've been rocking the same Chanel sunglasses since the beginning of time. Or 8 years which is pretty much a lifetime in sunglasses. I'm loving these! Perfect Valentines Day gift? Hint, hint.

My sunglasss motto always is: the bigger, the better. That's what she said.

//three//
I've been reading the Divergent series. It's Hunger Games meets Twilight and is oh so good. I've made this deal with myself that I can read it on the iPad when I'm working out on the elliptical. Otherwise I'd spend all my free time finishing the series and not working out!

Via
//four//
 How cute is this little hat?! I found the pattern on Etsy and plan on trying my hand at it. This will be my first time following an actual pattern. Eeek! If it turns out still looking like a bunny when I'm done, I'll be posting it to my Etsy shop Bunny Autumn.

//five//
I like to do some easy blog reading when I have a moment. One of my favs is Farmer and the Bell.  Karli's little gal is the cutest (I'm pretty sure her and Autumn would get along fabulously!) and she just did some sweet little Valentines art. Once Autumn is feeling better, I hope to try this out too! Word on the street is Karli is hosting a giveaway on Monday for Bunny Autumn. Be sure to check it out because it is good, Valentines themed and free!!
Via
Have a happy, HEALTHY Friday and weekend everyone!

1.28.2014

Book Train

Have you heard of the book train? I hadn't until my sweet friend Holly and her adorable baby girl, Vera invited me to join the other day. It's a great way to 'meet' some new mommy friends, grow your babe's library and find some new books. Lets be honest, how sick and tired are you of reading 'You are My Cupcake'??? I know our library could use a refresher! We're so excited to be on the train!

Via

Here's how it works...

1. 6 Mama's join the train. You can email me or reply to this post if you're interested.
2. I send you the address of Ms. Vera and her age
3. You send her an age appropriate book
4. You ask 6 of your friends to join the train. 
5. Once they join, I send you our mailing address and you and your 6 friends send a book to Autumn. 
6. Then you repeat the above, get some books for your kiddo and the train continues.

It's pretty simple and you can find some great books at Amazon or when you're making your daily weekly trip to Target.

Let me know if you'd like to join the train, I hope you do!

XOXO

1.26.2014

Hot Mess Express

Today is day 4 that Autumn has had the terrible horrible crud going around town. Fever, chills, tummy issues, cough, stuffy nose, runny nose. Basically you name it, she's had it.
Just when we thought she was feeling better this morning, this afternoon was a different story and her fever spiked over 100 again. Our doctors office has a rule that unless their fever is at 104+ or over 100 for 3-4 days not to take them in. Well today, after being over 100 for 4 days, I felt it was time to take her in. Fortunately she doesn't have an infection, unfortunately there isn't anything we can give her except for lots of love, hugs, kisses and snuggles. That's exactly what we've been doing for the last four days and will continue to do until she's 100% better. The doctor said she should be feeling better in 3-6 days. That feels like a lifetime!
I've had this irrational (ok, maybe not) fear of Autumn pooping in the tub since before she was born. I've tried to think of what I'd do, how do you get it out, etc. etc. etc. Yes, irrational. Almost 16 months and we've been in the clear. Until...
 
Let me preface this, I got about 45 minutes of sleep in a 48 hour span because she was literally up the entire Thursday night.  I'm tired, I'm cranky, she's cranky. We were just the hot mess express over here. Soooo on Friday, I was trying to break the fever and gave her a bath. I noticed a little brown something in the tub. Yuck! I thought maybe it was in her diaper when I put her in and just hadn't noticed it. Scooped it out, problem solved. Not too bad. I got this! Until...I was grabbing her towl to get her out which took about .7 seconds. In that time, poor little babe had the worst diarrhea in the bathtub! Oh the horror!!!! I freaked out, plucked her out in a hot second which scared the shit out of her (oh wait, too late!) rinsed her off, dried her, slammed the door shut and told Ernest to bring home an XL bottle of wine (he did!)! It was a good few hours before I went back in. I haven't been feeling great myself and that was just too much for me to handle. I finally mustered up the courage to go back in, threw away what I could and tried cleaning the disaster. Oh man, poor baby couldn't help it but good grief I could have done without that shit! Literally. We were definitely laughing about it Friday night, because, what else is there left to do?!
It just breaks my heart seeing her so sick and not being able to do anything to help her, really. I would take all the sickness if it meant her being well. Here's hoping tomorrow brings lots of healing for Autumn (and some sleep for Mom and Dad!).

1.22.2014

It's the Little Things

Do you ever have those days that have you cringing, where nothing seems to go right and all you want to do is curl into a ball and hide under the covers?

Me too.

That was my yesterday. I felt like I was being pulled in a thousand directions, had tons of stuff to get done and of course didn't get any of them done the way I wanted (or at all). It was busy at work, I got lost going to a meeting and was late (I hate being late), I spilled my coffee all over my desk, I'm trying to hustle my shop, I was trying to take good photos but the lighting was horrible, Autumn was getting impatient with me, I kept telling her 'let me just finish ___'. Before I knew it, it was time for her to go to bed and I realized I'd barely spent any time with her. All that kept ringing in my ears was 'let me just finish this' as I kept putting her second to silly stuff, really.

I hate that.

So then I felt horrible about that, I had to work out since I hadn't Monday, which then put dinner off. Ernest ended up getting McDonalds and I ate toast, at 10pm. I still had to make lunches, shower, and do some work. I just felt overwhelmed yesterday, like I wasn't doing a good job at anything and that really bothers me. Working a full time job, being a good mom, being a partner, running a house and now trying to run another business can just be too much pressure sometimes.
I hate to complain because I know how blessed I am and others would love to be in my shoes. I love my life and all the things I have going on. But everyone just has those days where the pressure is just too much. I guess.

This morning, I heard Autumn whimpering at 6am. She hasn't woken up this early in a few weeks and I rarely get to see her before I leave to work. So I went to grab her and was greeted by her sweet smile and messy bed head. It's as if she knew (and God knew) that I needed those extra 45 minutes with her today. To kiss her a million times, to squeeze her tight and laugh at her little babbles.
It's the little things.

Seeing her this morning just made my day. Today is already infinitely better than yesterday. Here's to spending more time with Autumn and Ernest, less time 'just finishing' all the other things and finding my balance.

XOXO

1.20.2014

Weekend Recap

This weekend was so fun! I was mostly working like a mad woman trying to get everything for my Etsy shop open and fighting off a would-be cold, but I did have some time for some other good stuff. 

Friday night I hung out with this gal. 
 
For dinner, I made this Greek dip. It has Greek yogurt, hummus then layered with cucumber, onion, olives, balsamic and feta. I made it extra healthy with cucumbers and bell pepper in lieu of pita. I found the recipe from Iowa Girl Eats. It's like heaven!
You saw that cute face above? Don't let that innocent face fool ya! This is the face of a little girl who found my chapstick, took off the lid and kept reapplying it until her entire face was covered in shiny chapstick. When I tried taking it away, she threw the fit of the century. I would have been annoyed except she looked so damn cute!

Friday night I was knitting away but took a break once Ernest got home. We talked and laughed for hours on the floor until we realized how late it was! I sure do love that man of mine!

Saturday I had a much needed hair appointment where I got rid of my Elvira haircolor and fringe bangs. I'm a bit sad to see the bangs go but with summer coming, it was necessary. Thick bangs+ sweaty weather= hot mess. Not good. I'm loving my new highlights and fresh cut. I'm also loving my new stylist...finally I found someone I can trust with this crazy mane of mine!
Cue, awkward selfie and a half duck face
I still had some solo time while Ernest and Autumn were running errands so I got busy on taking pictures of my knits. Once they got back, I had my little model help me. She was more interested in running away and getting into stuff. But somehow (and with the help of a cookie) she cooperated.
Also, she has been veto'ing one of her naps. Nooooo!!!! I'm not ready for this! She'll either take a good morning nap or a good afternoon nape but the last week it's one or the other. She'll still get crabby like she needs a nap but to no avail. We've still been putting her in her crib to nap, she'll cry, then play and gab, then scream to get out. Sigh.
This is the face of a babe who refuses to nap.
We resorted to letting her watch Tinkerbell on the couch after much screaming

Saturday night, Ernest parents came over so we could go out to eat. We stuffed our face at our favorite steak house (with a salad bar for me). Mmmmm. Then it was more Etsy cramming.

We got up early and Autumn watched Doc McStuffins while I worked out. She's such a good girl!

Sunday, we had some friends over to watch the games. Ernest made a special request to have jalapeno poppers (jalapenos, cream cheese, shrimp then wrapped in bacon) and dips. I hadn't made poppers in a while and now I remember why. They are a bitch! I read some great tip to boil the jalapenos first to take out the heat (we're both chili wimps). Great idea right?! NO! As they boiled, the house filled with hot jalapeno smell. Luckily Autumn was taking a nap but my eyes starting watering, I was coughing like crazy and sneezing up a storm!!! I opened every door and window possible and turned on all the fans. I finally had to take the pot outside. It was bad! The good news is, the jalapenos were no longer hot. But really,it was awful. OH, and as I was cooking them, the bacon grease dripped off the pan and into the oven filling the house with smoke!! Jalapeno popper FAIL!! Never.ever.again.

After I recovered from being poisoned from jalapeno fumes, our guests showed up. It was all 'the boys' for the first game so Autumn, Jack and I went outside to get some fresh air. I decided to take them for a walk. Holy hell, slowest walk of my life. And the most frustrating. Jack kept running around us and getting tangled, Autumn wanted to stop and pickup every rock and sit down to play with it. LOL. We only walked down 4 houses then turned around. It took us an hour. haha. We also played peek a boo. Her favorite activity!

Once the 49er vs. Seahawk game started, we ordered some pizza's (thank goodness!) and got our beer and cheer on. Autumn started off in her 49er cheerleader outfit and then needed an outfit change. Her Aunt Allison bought her this jersey when we were still in the hospital after she was born. It was huge then and barely fits now.
 Her and her daddy were just too damn cute sporting their matching jersey's! Autumn was the life of the party being the little ham that she is! 
Unfortunately, the 49ers lost :( Womp womp. Good thing we had a pre-Super Bowl party! It was great hanging out with friends and having a good time!

Such a great weekend...if only it was longer!! Have a great week everyone!
Autumn singing up a storm! She's so sweet!




Exciting News!!

Remember my whole New Years resolution of just 'do'? Well I did! I finally decided to bite the bullet and open up an Etsy shop! My shop is Bunny Autumn where I am selling knit and crochet goods. I'm constantly working on new stuff and hope to add more than just knits very soon!

So why 'Bunny Autumn'? I'm always calling Autumn my little bunny and well, love bunny was taken so Bunny Autumn it is! Hahaha.
In the spirit of love, the shop is filled right now with everything heart and love related. With Valentines quickly approaching, there is something for everyone on your list!
I put together a fun little heart filled photoshoot as part of opening the shop.
I wanted to highlight the many ways you could use my mug cozies.They're perfect on mason jars to dress them up, there's several different sizes and tons of color combinations! The shop has tons more stuff to see so head on over!
To celebrate the opening of my shop, I'm offering a 15% discount on any purchase now through Valentines Day! Use code: LOVE14 at checkout.
And if this wasn't the cutest little model there ever was!
She was not having anything to do with posing, so as any good mother does, I bribed her with a cookie! She gobbled that thing up like it was her job! Good model, good.
I'm so very excited about this little journey I'm taking! I hope you will take a look at my shop, explore and well...shop!

XOXO

1.17.2014

Vegetarian Toddler, Part III- 5 Veggie Recipes

//5 Vegetarian Recipes//
 I am definitely not a food blogger (case in point: my pictures, or lack there of) and none of these 'recipes' will be winning any Michelin awards. These are quick and easy meals I can whip up that are healthy and Autumn approved. Also, I've realized I am horrible at taking process pictures while I'm cooking. Juggling a toddler, a meal, a dog at my feet waiting for any morsel of food to drop and my sanity doesn't leave much room for pictures. 

I like easy recipes that don't have a million ingredients and don't require a special trip to the store. I need easy recipes. All of these are quick, simple, healthy and yummy dinner recipes and usually make enough for some lunch leftovers.

//Veggie Spaghetti//
I am always trying to cook stuff in the Crock Pot. It just makes life so much
easier. This recipe is perfect for that! I cut up the veggies the night before, throw everything in in the morning, cook it on low and it's perfect by dinnertime. 

1 package veggie grounds
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
2 small cans tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
2 cups water
1 tbsp dry mustard (not critical)
I throw in whatever spice combos I have around. About a tsp. of each...parsley, oregano, Italian seasoning, thyme, pepper
Garlic salt (to your liking)
1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 c chopped carrots
1/2 c chopped mushrooms
Whole wheat pasta- Cooked separately in boiling water according to package directions. If you're looking to make this healthier, you could julienne some zucchini and blanch it or serve this with cooked spaghetti squash.

Throw everything (except pasta) into the CrockPot, put it on low for 6 hours, then it switches to warm for the remaining hours until dinner. Serve over the pasta. For Autumn, I serve her's with some fresh cut up fruit, soy milk and sprinkle the spaghetti with nutritional yeast. Everyone loved this recipe! Even Ernest...who had no clue there was zero meat in this dish!

//Potato Soup//

Another CrockPot easy recipe. The quantities are totally dependent on how many servings you want to make. This was enough for the 3 of us.

3 cups potatoes (washed with peal on)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups vegetable broth
1 can corn
 1/2 an onion, chopped

Throw everything in the CrockPot on low for 6 hours. Mine remained on warm for another 3 hours. Once everything is soft, throw it in the blender and give it a good blend until all the big chunks are out and put back on low. I served it with some grated cheese on top, a fish fillet (pork chop for the man) and some fruit for Autumn. You could also add a dollop of sour cream and some scallions.

//Fish, Roasted Veggies and Balsamic Mushrooms//
Autumn turned a huge page this week and started eating fish! One night, I decided I'd try to make her a fish filet and see what she'd do with it. Well, she gobbled almost the whole thing up! I've adjusted some of my recipes for this new development.

Fish fillets (I bought frozen cod fillets from Costco)
Chopped mushrooms
Trimmed green beans
Sweet Potato, chopped

For the roasted veggies, put the oven on 400. Spread the green beans and sweet potatoes evenly and coat with a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt. Let them roast for about 25 minutes or until tender.
Place the mushrooms in a small saucepan with 1/4c of water. Cover and let steam about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the fillets in a warm pan with olive oil. I add a little sea salt as they cook. Depending on the thickness of your fillet, I usually cook it about 3-4 minutes on each side (for a thicker one try 4-7 minutes each side). Once the mushrooms wilt, add some balsamic vinegar.

For Autumn, I give her half a fish fillet, cut up fresh pear, green beans and sweet potatoes.
I made fish for her again, but this time I served it with green beans, pasta and pear


//Pea and Mushroom Orzo//

1/2 box orzo, cooked according to package and drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
frozen peas
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1/2c unsweetened soy milk or almond milk

Saute the mushrooms and frozen peas with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the cream of mushroom and milk to the pan. Add the cooked ozo to the pan. Incorporate the mixture until the orzo is completely covered. Add more salt/pepper to taste. I serve Autumn's sprinkled with some nutritional yeast and with some green beans and fruit. (Sorry no pic)

//Mini Veggie Pot Pies//

My mom made these for Autumn the other day. She put them in a muffin tin, popped them out and put them in individual freezer bags so I could easy pull them out and defrost them for her. It doesn't get much easier than that!

Ready-made pie crust (I'd like to try a healthier version like this recipe)
Organic frozen veggie mix, defrosted
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 c. grated cheese

Heat your oven to 350. Mix the defrosted veggies, soup and a splash of soy milk to thin the mixture a bit. Season it to taste. Meanwhile, use a large round cutter to make the bottoms of your pie crusts. Use the same size for the tops of the pies and cut out an equal amount of tops and bottoms. Spray your muffin pan with some non-stick cooking spray. Press the crust into a regular size muffin pan. Bake the bottoms only for about 10 minutes or until they start to turn golden. Fill them just below the top with the veggie mixture. Cover with your pie top, pinch the edges, add a slit on top so they can breath. Bake the pies for 30 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown. If you want to freeze them, let them cool completely. Scoop them out and put them in individual freezer bags. To defrost, I put them in the refrigerator and warm them in the microwave in 30 second increments. Test the centers before you serve them to the babe!

I served them with some soy milk and mandarin oranges. I challenge you to not eat them all yourself! They are that good!

Since the pickiest little eater is just that, I'm always looking for new vegetarian/vegan recipes to try, what are your favorites? I hope to continue sharing what is and isn't working for us. We've been venturing out a bit more in the breakfast department. Look for that post soon!

Here are some of my go-to's for information and inspiration:
The Vegan R.D.
Vegetarian Times
 Cook Vegetarian

THE GOOD LIFE BLOG


 Today I'm linking up with the lovely ladies of The Good LifeCarolina CharmA. Liz Adventures, and Hello Happiness and am sharing 5 Vegetarian Recipes.

1.16.2014

Vegetarian Toddler, Part II

I rely heavily on smoothies to get Autumn some of her fruits and veggies. They're the best of both worlds, I have peace of mind that she's getting what she needs and Autumn absolutely LOVES them! 
I stock up on our veggies and frozen fruit from Costco. Huge time/money saver. You can usually find everything organic there too, bonus! Smoothies are a perfect opportunity to add in vitamins/supplements too, such as a probiotic or other liquid vitamins that I discussed here because the taste is masked by the yummy fruit and veggies. These recipes are super simple, are enough for both of us and can be made in less than five minutes. With a toddler, that's key!!

//one//
whole banana, orange and 1 cup of soy milk, probiotic powder

//two//
Banana, 1 cup frozen mango chunks, 1 cup soy milk, 1 handful of spinach (I swear
you don't taste the spinach!)

//three//
Banana, 1 cup frozen mixed berries, 1 cup soy milk, 1 tbsp almond butter, handful of spinach.
Doesn't this look like the Pantone color this year? #radiantorchid
Some smoothie recipes I flagged to try are:

//one//
avocado, spinach, coconut yogurt, banana, frozen mango, frozen peaches and soy milk. 
I'm not too sure how this one would go over with my picky little eater. But that's one healthy punch of a smoothie! The original recipe can be found here.

//two//
I found this recipe but am going to adapt it like this:
1 cup frozen cherries, 2 tbps almond butter, 2 tbsp mini chocolate chips, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 banana, chocolate soy milk.
I like the creaminess banana's give and usually make that swap instead of sugary yogurt.
Via
This table is also a great resource to try new smoothies
via

Autumn loves to eat her smoothies with a...fork?! In her Dad's Captain America shirt. Sitting cross legged on the counter. Totally normal.
Don't worry, I was standing right next to her so she wouldn't fall :)
What are your favorite smoothie recipes?