Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday I'm loving

Simple summer salads. Last night for dinner we made a salad of fresh salad greens, green onions, roasted carrots, beets, potatoes, goat cheese and vinaigrette. Delicious!

Jeans! Oh how I love to wear jeans. This is one of the reasons I love Fridays.

Red beans and rice. The other day I was having a bad day so my Mom made me red beans and rice for lunch. The leftovers, of which I'm eating now, are just as tasty. This is my ultimate comfort food.

New clothes make it so much easier to get dressed in the morning.

3 day weekends. Because I'm organizing a fundraiser, which takes place Sunday, I'm taking Monday off work. I need a day to do laundry and cuddle with Margot after a very busy weekend.

The Office. We re-watched season 3 of the office over the past couple of weeks and I love the office. And I love it when Jim and Pam finally get together!!

Campaign season. Oh how I love campaigns. Even if I'm not very excited about the candidates I still love to watch democracy in action. Besides campaigns produce such great material for Stephan Colbert. The Report is so much funnier during election season.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

not so exciting

From time to time Chris reads my blog. The other day he commented that my blog makes our life look much more exciting and interesting than it actually is. I don't think this is the case. However, just in case someone out there reading this has that impression, allow me to enlighten you with some examples of just how not exciting our life is.

  • We haven't been on a vacation in over a year since we spent a long weekend at the coast with Chris' parents last July
  • With the exception of our occasional date night, or having to work late, we spend every evening the same: dinner at 7pm, followed by bath and baby bedtime at 8, then we are in our PJ's on the couch watching TV or reading from 8-10
  • we always go to bed between 9-10
  • date nights, which happen once every two months, are pretty much always going out to dinner
  • occasionally we mix things up a bit and get a movie from Red box, however this usually ends with us not liking the movie and having a 30 minute conversation about the lack of good movies made these days
  • we fill our weekends with your basic things: errands, trips to target, grocery shopping, play dates in the park, church, not enough house cleaning, not enough yard work, occasionally we go out to lunch after church
  • most of our entertainment is found from Margot
  • some other forms of entertainment we enjoy: NPR, The Colbert Report, The office, anything Aaron Sorkin wrote, Frasier, the Cosby show, History detectives, Myth Busters, Ally McBeal and old country gospel
  • you know how some people are always discovering new and interesting things? like my sister is always finding new music, and my cousin always finds new decorating blogs etc. We are not those people, usually the general public is already half bored before we catch on
Now none of this is meant to be a complaint. We are very happy with our life and generally we are too tired to care if things are a little boring. Although I wouldn't turn down a good vacation.....

Monday, July 23, 2012

monday mish mash

I had a wonderful weekend. My lovely sister and I took Miss Margot pants up to Portland and went shopping. We left Friday afternoon, took Margot on a little shopping trip before heading to our Aunt and Uncles for wonderful dinner. Margot loves to shop. It was as if she knew that the Gap was a wonderful place. She was happy, squealed with delight and flapped her arms around. It didn't hurt that there was a giant mirror in the dressing room that she got to look at herself in. Saturday we left Margot at my in-laws and headed into downtown Portland for the Nordstrom's Anniversary sale. Nordstrom's is wonderful...the end. Chris joined us Saturday evening and we stayed another night at his parents house. It was great for everyone, I got to go shopping, Margot got lots of extra love from everyone, we got to see my Aunt and Uncle and Chris' parents, it was a nice weekend for all.

It's good that I had such a nice weekend because work this week is INSANE. I'm also organizing a fundraising benefit that happens this weekend and between the two I'm feeling a little batty. I keep remembering random little details I need to take care of at times in which I can't stop to do them or write them down.

Last night on our way back into town we stopped at the market and among other things bought haagen-daz ice cream. Usually we just buy Tillamook or Umpqua but the haagen-daz was on sale and oh my goodness it was amazing. Seriously it was the best ice-cream I have ever had.

Because we were gone all weekend I failed to make a menu for the week. I think we are winging it. Every once and a while I kind of like a week with no menu. It encourages a certain amount of creativity at meal time. However it's only good in very short doses otherwise chaos ensues.

This weekend is my family camping trip. Sadly we are not going. As much as this decision pains me we know it would completely throw off Miss Margot's bedtime routine and we would all pay very dearly (with many many tears) upon our return. So until next year no camping for me. Le sigh...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Miss Margot at 8 months

Dear Margot,

You are 8 months old today. Oh how time flies. You are no longer that tiny little baby we brought home from the hospital. This stage of your life has brought me so many conflicting emotions. On the one hand I love to see you grow and change. I often can't wait for you to learn the next thing to watch your excitement in the discovery. Yet I just want to burst into tears when I think about how fleeting this time is. You won't be a baby much longer. The thought of you no longer fitting into my arms and falling asleep on my chest, makes me so sad. While it's easy to be in a hurry. After all we are always 15 minutes late it seems. I try so hard to stop and cuddle, hug, nurse and enjoy you every chance I get because I know you will be a big girl before we know it.
At 8 months old you are so much fun! You love to laugh and play and talk. You are an extremely social baby. You love people, especially children and babies. You chatter non stop. Just in the last week you have started say more consonants and different sounds. You have been saying da da quite a bit however not in context. When you see another baby or child you immediately start a conversation. You are so funny. And as soon as Daddy comes home you really start to go. You need to tell Daddy all about your day in great detail.

While you don't crawl you do scoot backwards. Usually you move in the opposite direction of where you are trying to go. This seems to make you very mad and is usually followed by tears. (oh how you are your mothers child:) You have a rather dramatic side. If you want to be held and we set you down you quickly go into an all out wail, screaming and flailing your arms about. I think you are showing us your stubborn streak.

You love to play outside. You happily sit on a blanket and look around and play so long as we are near by.
You went swimming for the first time not long ago and you loved it. You also continue to love your walks. Mommy loves to put you in sun hats. Sometimes however it is a battle to keep them on your head.

You still eat with gusto. You are starting to feed yourself. This has provided so much entertainment for us. You love bananas, meat, and lentils. You also love to drink water out of your sippy cup. You HATE avocados. This month we will start giving you yogurt and cheese.

You still sleep all night from 8pm until 5:30-6am, nurse and go back to sleep for another hour or two. We have a great evening routine established. You and I come home at 5:30 we nurse and cuddle. Then you play in the kitchen while I prepare dinner. Daddy comes home at 7pm we all eat dinner together and then do your bath, massage, PJ's, Goodnight moon and nurse. Then you go into your crib and go to sleep between 8 and 8:30.

Here you are at 8 months old.

Weight: 19.5 lbs (?)
Height: 25 inches (?)
Clothes: 9 months and some 12 months

Monday, July 16, 2012

Menu Monday

Today I am linking up with Rachel at No Simple Language for Menu Monday. As I said the other day, dinner is a little more challenging since Chris' started his new job. He's home later which means I need to get dinner ready without him here to entertain Margot. Sometimes Margot is content to sit and play and I have no problems, other times...let's just say we've had some very late dinners. To make all that easier I have been spending an hour on Sunday doing as much prep as possible for the week ahead. I've also been putting a little more care into our menu plan. I try to find recipes with little to no prep or prep that can easily be done ahead. So far this had worked really well. Here is our menu for the week:

Sunday: Pork chops with homemade pesto over brown rice with roasted carrots

This was super easy and yummy. I simply seasoned the pork chops with salt and pepper and cooked them in a skillet in some EVOO. Then served them over rice topped with pesto I had made Friday night. To roast the carrots I seasoned them with EVOO, salt and pepper and roasted them at 350 for 45 minutes. To make the pesto I put one bunch basil and a large handful of fresh spinach in the food processor along with one clove garlic, handful of walnuts (walnuts are way cheaper than pine nuts), fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, then drizzled in EVOO until it was the right consistency.

Monday: Crock pot black beans with chorizo* over rice, salad
Tuesday: Grilled steak with Chimichuri sauce, quinoa, salad
Wednesday: Crock Pot BBQ chicken and baked potatoes with broccoli
Thursday: BBQ chicken quesadillas, salad
 To prep for the menu I chopped white onions, green onion, parsley and cilantro. I also defrosted chicken stock, made chimichuri sauce, made a large pot of rice and started soaking black beans.
Margot hung out on the kitchen floor playing with her "special kitchen toys" AKA anything plastic I can find in my kitchen.
*I am testing this out today. I have such a love/hate relationship with my crock pot. I soaked black beans overnight. Then this morning I rinsed the black beans and placed them in the crock pot with 1/2 cup diced onion, bay leaf, whole clove of garlic, 2 TB fresh cilantro, 1 cup diced chorizo, one quart of chicken stock and some water. I have never cooked dried beans in the crock pot before so we'll see how it works.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Summer fun

We are having such a great summer so far. Last summer just seemed to drag on and on. I think this is mostly because I was pregnant, hot and emotional, not really the best combination for summer fun. This summer is just great and here's why:

1. It's light longer allowing Chris and I to sit outside and enjoy our front porch in the evenings after Miss Margot pants goes to bed

2. It's so fun to take Margot outside to play. She is interested in everything and is so aware she's in a new environment. We often walk around the yard in the evenings looking at the different flowers

3. We have yummy yummy blueberries.

4. Kiddy pools are AMAZING. Seriously, my Mom got one big enough for several adults to sit in along with miss Margot. So refreshing after a long hot sticky day.

5. Summer clothes are so stinking cute on babies. Hello rompers, baubles, dresses and sun cute.

6. I love the smell of baby sun block.

7. We are eating fresh summer produce every night.

8. Chris is really enjoying his new job and we all seem to managing the work load well.

9. Despite our little house getting very toasty by the days end Margot continues to pretty much sleep through the night.

10. I'm not fat and pregnant which generally is an improvement for me. My summer clothes fit and I am so much more comfortable than I was last summer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday night dinner

Well it seems summer has finally graced the Pacific Northwest with its presence. True to form it became hot just after the 4th of July. Signs of summer around here include the smell of baby sun block, sun hats, warm nights and a CSA box full of wonderful produce. This weekend Margot and I enjoyed her first swimming experience. And let me just say that there are few things in life as adorable as a baby girl in a pink ruffled swimming suit. We also enjoyed lots of salad, basil, spinach and beets, which brings me to a quick and yummy, albeit, unique way to eat beets.

With Chris working more hours I'm looking for even more ways to streamline weeknight dinners. This recipe is great because almost all of it can easily be made in advance and then just thrown together. It's also very light which is nice for summer and is equally good cold (as a salad) or hot. This recipe comes from the Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast cook book. However I have made a number of alterations to make this work as a weeknight meal. The original recipe can be found here.

Brazilian Rice and Beans
2 medium beets, scrubbed and ends trimmed
1/2 small onion diced OR 3-4 green onions chopped
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
1/4 cup of grated cheddar cheese
1 can of black beans
1 clove of garlic or 1 garlic whistle
cooked white or brown rice

Bring beets to a boil in a small pot of water. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered for 30-40 minutes until tender. Saute the garlic and a third of the chopped onion in some olive oil for 1-2 minutes. Add the can of black beans. Cook on low for 10-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Once beets are tender let them cool a few minutes then peel of the skin. It should come right off. And chop beets. Place some rice on each plate and top the rice with the beans. Place beets alongside rice and beans. Top with cheese, cilantro and onions. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

June Photo a Day

Given the drizzle around here it's hard to believe that July has arrived. But alas it has. So here, once again is our month in random snap shots.
 Morning starting with a messy desk
 My-le sigh-empty coffee
 Thai steak salad is on my plate
 A close-up
 The wrap city sign and my new favorite lunch on the go
 Someone doesn't want to wear their hat
I drink tea in the morning
 eating cereal with fresh farmers market strawberries at 6am
 my view today as I cean out the fridge
 Feeding Margot was the best part of my weekend
 our red front door
 future BFF Margot and Rose taken from a low angle
 $3 art (?) from St. Vincent de Paul completes our gallery wall
 Time for beer at Falling sky brewery
 sweet yellow corn and basil barly rissotto for dinner
 out & about in downtown Eugene
 A lot of stuff fits into my bag
 imperfect yard featuring weeds in my planter
 A favorite photo featuring a very tiny 5.9lb Margot
 A very big Margot making funny faces where I slept
 From the high angle of Chris upper story office window Chris and Margot talk business
 Margot's spoon in motion
 bacon chedder grits are on my mind
something cute
 playing on a soft blanket in our front yard
making the most yummy ceviche with a friend