Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Food | Tempeh & Quinoa

At the beginning of January, or at least once we got back home to N.C., we were eating very very healthy. Our fridge was a storehouse of fresh fruits and vegetables, and we spent a week savoring a large pot of homemade vegan soup. We also discovered that we love Kale and Brussels Sprouts! Life was good, and we felt good. But I guess I spent too much money on all of that wholesome goodness, and had to cut back a lot towards the end of the month, and I never thought I would say this, but I feel it. My mood has been depressed, my cravings have been out of control, and my body hasn't felt 100%. Have you ever experienced this before, knowing that it was related to your diet?

Fortunately, Wednesday marks the start of a new month, which has me thinking a lot about what we need to be filling our bellies with. I'm going to try a new tactic of splitting our food budget into sections, with a certain amount allotted to that group, like $20 for veggies, etc. I think that this will at least ensure that we're bring home the right types of food and in the right amounts.

One of the things that I think was really helping me feel great, was my protein intake. I seriously would have never thought to watch the protein in my diet had my midwife not brought it to my attention that I really needed to work on getting 3 servings each day. Mostly what I did to achieve this was eat an apple with peanut butter for breakfast every morning, and boy was it delicious. Because I felt so awful this past week or so, It has me wondering what other ways we (meaning Cody and Seb, too) can get more protein.

Enter... Tempeh and Quinoa. Do you cook with either of these? I would love any tips or recipes that you have. I love that Quinoa is a grain, but is also packed with protein. I'm sensing a good replacer for pastas and rice.

P.S. I found this helpful. (Also image source)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Seb | This kid is the light of my life

I just found this video from before Christmas and thought I would share. Seb thinks that if there is music playing on the computer, then he needs to "watch" it as well as sing along. What could be sweeter?

21 weeks & 2 days

I can't exactly balance my cup on my stomach without assistance, but we're getting there. At times it seems that this pregnancy is flying. And then I have to remind myself that I still have quite a ways to go. Most agree that the second trimester is the easiest time in a pregnancy, and I would have to agree, although I still have bouts of exhaustion that come out of nowhere, and sleeping extra doesn't seem to help. My days have been filled with lots of reading about birth, taking Seb for walks, him trying to convince me that it's way more fun to just run around instead of riding in the stroller for an hour—it's not, Seb, it's just not (I love that kid)—and doing battle with my grocery budget. It's getting warmer here, and that's always a reason to rejoice. I'm looking forward to when the mornings get a little less chilly, and Seb and I can just throw on light jackets and go out right after breakfast. We could do that now, but I've become such a weather wimp.

In other news, I am almost giddy about the women's retreat that I'll be going on this weekend, although I get so sad when I think of leaving Seb for the weekend. Thankfully my in-laws will be coming to help take care of the little guy, and it makes me feel better knowing how much fun he is going to have, and that Cody will be able to get some work done, too. Have you ever been on a women's retreat? I still feel almost funny that I'm going, since for some reason or another I still feel like a college girl. You're not in college anymore, Mary. I'm hoping that it will be a time filled with good fellowship, and honestly, a lot of time on my own to read and write. This girl needs to figure out some life-things, and pray about what it's going to be like to have two wonderful bubs. Do you have more than one child? Any advice or things I should think about? Thanks to the friends who have already given me encouragement and advice. Keep it coming, please! Or even if you just have or will have one child soon, anything that you've been thinking about?

Thanks, Katie, for your post this morning. I'm still in my yoga pants!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Seb | Year One Photo Book

For my birthday last year, Cody's parents gave me some money to make a photo book of Sebastian's first year, and I finally put it together. I had intended on getting it through Apple, but as I was looking at their book layouts, I wasn't entirely happy with any of them. I had heard so many good things about Pinhole Press, that I decided to see what they had to offer. Let's just say these people know how to make an attractive book. I love how their layouts and design let the photos speak for themselves, and you really feel like you've just created a precious keepsake. We ordered up a 97-photo book with a red cloth binding, that is just lovely. The only drawback to Pinhole Press, that I've encountered, is that the layout of their books can't be altered. This fact almost kept me from purchasing our book through them, since I was particular about the order and orientation of our photos. I eventually made it work, but it would have been much better had I been able to keep things exactly chronological and displayed how I wanted.

Have you made a photo book? What is your favorite company to work with? I'm kind of hooked now, and would love to make a small book of our wedding. And of course, baby boy #2 is coming soon... I'm just proud of myself for making Seb's book before this little one arrives!

Thanks for the book, Mom and Dad Strecker! We can't wait for you to thumb through it's pages when you visit this weekend.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Little boys

Another busy day around here trying to organize our den and keep the rest of the house in some semblance of order and cleanliness (not succeeding). But when my thoughts get a break, all I can think about is what we're going to name this new bub, and how adorable it's going to be to have two little boys. Matching nordic sweaters? I think yes.

1 / 2

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Say hello to my little heartbreaker no. 2

That's right. We have another little boy, which means Cody and I were both dead wrong. But hey, at least there's no losing when it comes to the sex of your baby, since this is undoubtedly one of those win-win situations. In fact, Cody and I treated ourselves to circus peanuts and chocolate, respectively, just for being parents times two. In short, we are in love with his cute little self already. And in more good news, my due date was moved from June 20th to June 9th, which means I'm 20 weeks! Hooray for being half-way and not even knowing it.

So it looks like I'm going to have to throw out my ideas of infusing some florals into the nursery. Sebastian is doing a little dance. Not really, but if he understood florals, he would be.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cloth | How to lanolize your wool covers

Initially I thought I would start with the basics of cloth diapering, like type, quantity, washing, laundry soap, etc., but I've been getting so many questions about wool lately, that I thought it might be more helpful to start with how I lanolize my wool covers. Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is something I forgot to cover.
But first...

How to know if it's time to wash your wool cover:
1. Does it smell bad?
2. Is it dingy?
3. Do the leg holes seem a bit stretched out?

I wash mine about once every month, and usually smell is the best indicator that it's time. 

Now to the lanolizing...

1. Take your soiled wool cover + wool wash + lanolin + wash basin + small glass jar w/lid, and find a convenient surface to work on.

2. Pour roughly a couple teaspoons of wool wash into the bottom of your basin. I eyeball this, and adjust the amount based on how many covers I'm washing at a time and how soiled they are.

3. Fill the wash basin with tepid water & swish gently with your hand to make sure all of the wool wash is mixed. Wool reacts badly to extreme temperatures, so it's very important to monitor the water temperature as it comes out of your faucet. In the warmer months, it's easy to achieve the right temperature by filling your wash basin with water and letting it sit over night. In this case, add your wool wash the next morning & swish to mix well.

4. Add 1 or 2 wool covers to your mixture and gently plunge & squeeze until they are saturated. Never wring or agitate your wool covers

5. Let your covers sit for 15 + minutes. Washing my wool covers is normally an all-morning project. I come back to the covers several times and plunge and flip them a few times, just to make sure that they've been able to release all the dirt. However, if you're in a hurry, you don't need to let them soak for longer than 15 minutes.

6. Gently squeeze your wool covers and remove them from the wash basin and set aside. At this point I sometimes empty my wool wash mixture and make a new one. But I only do this if my covers were really dirty, like if Seb sat in a pile of dirt with just his wool cover on.

7. Take your glass jar and fill with about 1 cup of water. Microwave it or heat your water until it is steaming or almost boiling. Essentially you want it to be very hot. 

8. Add a daub (see above picture) of lanolin to the hot water, put the lid on, and using a hand towel around the jar, shake it until the lanolin is dissolved. A tip on choosing your lanolin: I was told by the owner of Sustainablebabyish that you should go with solid lanolin, avoiding the liquid versions. She recommended Sheepish Grins, which is sold at Sustainablebabyish, and which I currently use. I started with Lansinoh Nipple Cream, but they changed the product slightly, and it is now very very bad. Several months of failed lanolizing with Lansinoh's new product caused awful stains in the crotch of my off-white wool covers. If you have the older version (mine is from 2010), it should be safe to use.

9. Pour the lanolin/water mixture into the wash basin (your wash basin still contains your wool wash mixture), and mix gently with your hand.

10. Re-submerge your wool covers and gently plunge & squeeze.

11. Leave your wool covers in the wash basin with the lanolin & wool wash mixture for at least 30 minutes, occasionally plunging and rotating your covers to make sure that the lanolin penetrates the entire cover.

12. Remove covers, gently squeeze (never wring!) to remove as much water as possible, and place on a large towel. Fold the towel over the covers, and gently, but with pressure, roll the towel over the covers, thus squeezing out as much water as possible. Once I've finished rolling, I place all my weight, with my knees on the roll, to get as much water out as I can.

13. After using the towel to sop up excess water, lay flat to dry, or for quicker drying place on top of cups or jars. I put them on jars, and it usually takes about 36 to 48 hours for them to dry.


UPDATE* You can get Sheepish Grins solid lanolin here.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

North Carolina | Giant consignment sale

The Kids Exchange is one of the biggest baby/kid consignment sales in the nation, and happens every 6 months (hooray!). Seb and I came away with a few pretty snazzy items. My most exciting purchase was a pair of Saltwater sandals, which I'll admit I was desperately hoping would be there waiting for us, and they were! Now let's hope they're his size this summer or the next. Sweet Faro shoes (swoon), new jeans, green shorts & one pretty fabulous bike for the dude. Oh and shout out to my baby-man (again). I could not have imagined him behaving better during a 3 hour shopping trip. We took our radio flyer wagon, a few toys and a couple snacks, and everyone was singing his praises as we perused the goods. I have one beef, though. He threw out the incredible color-blocked moccasins that I picked out for the baby... maybe he's protesting like Lily on Modern Family??

Where do you like to find deals for the kiddos? Happy weekend!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Home | Five things that made my day

I scored some amazing items at a consignment sale today. More about this coming tomorrow.

My little man was such a big boy today. His good behavior shouldn't surprise me at this point, but it does. And I love it.

Finished an incredible book and started another. Both are about natural birth. Hooray for the end of this reading drought.

I didn't lose my temper, or even get frustrated, once. This was an enormous feat considering that at one point I was weaving through the most enormous line I've ever seen, butt in the air, with one hand on our wagon and the other on Seb's new "bike," trying to make sure he didn't run into the lady in front of us. I didn't need to look around to know that I was getting some looks.

After Cody left for some Theology on Tap tonight, Seb and I sat in front of Shaun the Sheep and ate a big bowl of popcorn made with our new Whirly Pop.

What made your day?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Inspiration | Studio Meez

I am newly and completely taken with Studio Meez, the blog & the shop. This blog is brimming with the most wonderful kind of knitted eye-candy, if ever I saw any. And this little brooch would be so sweet added to a little girls dress. Enjoy!

Seb | A little light reading

I swear, somehow this kid knows that Hillsdale is his home. I was busy making myself a little coffee, while Seb was, I thought, watching The Rescue Rangers. When I came back to the living room this is what I found. I'm not even sure where he found the Alumni Magazine that came just a few days ago, but he was just nonchalantly perusing it's pages like he was a seasoned reader, and learning all kinds of wonderful things about Dr. Geyer (let's face it, that's why he wanted to read it...).

I guess he knows a quality publication when he sees one. Or he was sufficiently brainwashed during all the time he spent in the Publications office before he was born.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Decor | Art from nothing

This should really become my interior decorating motto. Technically none of the things I make come from nothing, but just about. I have so many scrap/craft items filling up our den that we can barely set foot in there. I have no idea how Cody can study in such chaos, and I know that my mom would say I've got the Tillis curse. So in an effort to de-clutter and decorate the kid's (!) room, I'm making a little art from nothing in order to fill the walls, and make it feel cheery. To me, a poorly decorated nursery looks like it can't escape smelling like Desitin. I want my nursery to smell like cherries and vanilla. (You may laugh).

I'll show you the full pictures once I get the nursery done. I used vintage wrapping paper from my grandma (the one on the Tillis side...), and old photos for the first set. Unfortunately they are only pictures from my family because those were the only pictures I had. I would love to do another set of Cody as a baby, and his parents. For the second one, I used an old feed sack fabric and very old frame, also from my grandma, and this sweet picture of my oldest sister and me. On the back of the photo my mom wrote that Bekah was 3 and I was 4 weeks. I hope I can get a picture just like this with Seb and his little brother or sister.

Have you made any art from nothing lately?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Food | Smitten Kitchen Dijon Braised Brussels Sprouts

Two years ago I tried to make brussels sprouts, and it was highly unsuccessful. Cody said they tasted like dirt, and I reluctantly had to agree. So while we were in Seattle, I took advantage of having my vegan brother-in-law and his, also vegan, girlfriend by my side, and picked their brains in regards to a few food items. They insisted that brussels sprouts should not taste like dirt, and that I should try buying them fresh. I had been wanting to try this recipe for a couple months now because I was going through a weird mustard-craving stage, so I decided I would go on the hunt for fresh brussels sprouts and make it happen.

In conclusion, brussels sprouts are amazing (if you like cabbage), don't, in fact, taste like dirt, and are really easy to prepare. For this recipe, I used milk instead of cream (I wouldn't suggest that), and kept the sauce separate because Cody doesn't like mustard. I'm glad I did that, because it actually tasted better without the mustard. I also used onions instead of shallots. I hope you'll try it! Oh and the leftovers are still good, but you loose the the subtle crunch when they are stored and reheated, so I would recommend making what you can eat for that meal.

Here's to brussels sprouts!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Inpsiration | One Sheepish Girl

Came upon this girl's blog and fell in love. I know you will, too. And how adorable is her shop?

P.S. In the same vein, this Crochet Tumblr is lovely.


Seb | Christmas Toys in Action, Part I

Vintage Fisher Price is where it's at, friends.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Food | Peanut butter face & and other foods for this picky toddler

Cody told me a couple weeks ago that, "Seb gets his finicky eating habits from one of his parents, and it's not you." Fortunately, he is expanding his horizons beyond bananas and oatmeal, and I've made a list of the few things that Sebastian will eat without fail (usually). He now has two dependable sources of protein, people! Oh and this week I could hardly keep him away from the yogurt. I know he needs the calcium because he refuses to drink milk, but three bowls a day, Seb? We've also recently run into a new challenge. He thinks he's entitled to a look-over of the contents of the fridge before eating anything... (yah). This is particularly difficult because I think he is certain there is some magical, tasty food that we're not telling him about, but are hiding in the fridge, like...

"Come on mom, there has to be better food than this!" 
"Well kid, maybe there is, but I'm not going to risk your developing childhood diabetes. More grapes?"

The "Buy it or My Child will Starve" List:

Peanut Butter
Sweet Potatoes

What does your toddler eat?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Food | My first taste of Matcha green tea

I ordered a bit of Vitalife's Matcha green tea a few days back and got it in the mail yesterday. I tried it with hot water yesterday, and this morning I drank it mixed in hot milk, which was incredible. A great way to get some dairy and an energy boost in one delicious drink. The biggest problem I'm finding is how to get it mixed completely. Unmixed green tea powder chunks are less than pleasant, so I need to figure out how to better whisk it. Do you drink Matcha? I'd love to know how you prepare it!

By far, the best thing about Matcha is that within 15 minutes of drinking it, I feel so much more awake, energized, and revived. Who doesn't want that in the morning?!

Is there anything that you eat or drink regularly that helps you feel fueled for the day, or gives you a boost midday?

P.S. Here is the article that convinced me I had to get some. It also didn't hurt that this lady drinks it daily.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cloth | Fancy (wool) pants for a 19 month old

Somebody likes showing off his underwears!

Our new Underwoolies came in the mail over Christmas break, so I finally got them washed and lanolized and ready to wear. The colors are deep sea and gold, and though Seb is about 26 lbs., I purchased size 3 (for 30+ lbs.). You have to account for the bulk of diapers, not just the weight of your baby. Here's to hoping these last until potty training!

P.S. Would you all be interested in hearing more about wool covers and how I care for them? I'm no expert, but I'm very aware of how little help is on the internet, and how confusing it can be. And while I'm asking, are there any other things that I've mentioned that you would like me to share more about?