Harvest Sunset 3 column

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How Do I Keep My Head Above Water?

Image Credit:Google Images

As a mom, sometimes it’s one of the hardest things to admit. With all of our responsibilities and expectations, both of what others have for us and what we put on ourselves, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But we often times are the last ones to ask for help or acknowledge that we are struggling.

I have these days from time to time and honestly feel a little guilty. Guilty that maybe I am not loving my children to the fullest or giving them the attention they need. Guilty that I should be getting X, Y & Z done, and why can’t I seem to accomplish simple daily activities. Guilty that I do not always find pleasure in the sometimes tedious tasks of making lunches, folding laundry, helping with homework, volunteering for school functions, special school assignments, menu planning, making dinner. On top of other household responsibilities like grocery shopping, paying bills, scheduling repair men, scheduling Dr visits, care of the pet, decorating the home, gardening etc. Oh and lest we not forget CLEANING! It’s a never ending cycle. Once I finish one task, it seems things just multiply in its place! I’m really struggling with finding the perfect balance. Don't get me wrong, I love my family to death and I know that God has trusted me with these wonderful blessings called children. Sometimes, it's just really hard.

In addition I have two part time jobs, am a member of a MOPS goup (which I love), school PTA, do Bible study and am a member of my local Junior League. All of which I enjoy, for the most part. At this current stage in my life, I have 2 children and another on the way, due in April. At 32 weeks pregnant, I find my patience is sorely lacking. I can blame some of it on the pregnancy and some of it on the fact that maybe I am not managing my time well? Maybe I am expecting too much from myself or have very unrealistic expectations? All of this has been weighing heavily on me lately and the thought of adding another child to the mix fills me with anxiety. I have gotten better at "saying no" and know my limits as far as my volunteerism goes with these other organizations. I do feel I need the time away from home from time to time and I really look forward to the bonding time with other moms that these other outlets provide. But perhaps something has got to give.

What I am coming to realize is, I CAN’T DO IT ALL. And I think, maybe that’s ok. I do know that giving myself some grace and trusting in God to lead the way is the best I can do. It's going to be a constant battle but I hope I can find some peace in my heart and the right balance for me and my family. Definitely a work in progress!

I would love to hear from other parents who are struggling with these feelings and how do you deal with it? How are you keeping it all together??

P.S. I’m participating in a blogging event through Blogelina , an online blogging resource for a wealth of information with all things blogging! Check her out!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Week of 2/27-3/5

It's Monday again!! I'm typing this late in the day and what I had planned for tonight's dinner totally changed. This afternoon our power went out in the neighborhood for a few hours. Of course it happened literally 2 minutes before I was going to turn on the stove for dinner. So we went to Plan B and went out for some yummy tacos at a new local spot. I just moved Monday's planned dinner to Tuesday.

Here is my plan:

Mexican dinner out

Chicken & Vegetable Stir Fry
Brown Rice

Taco Soup (Made with ground turkey)

Leftovers-any of the above

Pork Chops (Either BBQ or Breaded & Baked)
Frozen Mixed Veggies
Creamy Cheesy Risotto

Dinner out

Italian Chicken Sausage and Whole Wheat Penne
Garlic Bread

I'm looking forward to a fairly stress free week, hence the reason for no new or complicated menu items. I just finished hours and hours of work preparing over 100 items for a consignment sale that starts Wednesday. (Post to come) It's my first one to participate in and I'm hoping the $$ I make is worth it!! I plan to shop a little for some boy things too so it may just end up being an even trade.

Head over to Menu Plan Monday with Orgjunkie to browse hundreds of other menu ideas!

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Peek into our Week

This past week we had gorgeous weather, 70's & even 80 yesterday! We had some fun outdoors getting the garden ready for Spring planting and the girls played in their sandbox, blew bubbles, went to the park with friends & just enjoyed the sunshine!

Here is a cute shot I got of them in our backyard blowing bubbles. I love the sunshine streaming right down on them.

Remember the sunflower & watermelon seeds the girls and I planted almost 2 weeks ago? Well we placed them in our laundry room which gets a good bit of daily sunlight. The girls anxiously checked on them every day. At the end of week one, Callie's watermelon seeds had some growth!

I was actually surprised that the first one to sprout was the watermelon. I thought for some reason it would be the sunflower seeds as they must be easier to grow. Keira was dissappointed her seeds had not sprouted yet and we had started to give up hope. But we still checked daily, as Callie would say "Wet's go see sissy's pwant".

And, after several more days, success!

We planted 4 seeds in each pot and got 3 sprouts from the watermelon and just one from the sunflower. Now if we can only find a good place to transplant them and keep them alive!

Yesterday I went to a huge moving sale with a friend and Callie. I found several baby boy outfits while Callie entertained herself playing with all of their children's toys for sale. When it was time to pay and go, Callie said "wait, i see something" as she was looking in a box of small misc toys. I said "Ok well it's time to leave" and she insisted so I went to see what she was looking at. I saw a little "Nemo" fish and thought that was what she was wanting. But then I saw a tiny little Woody figure and knew that was it. I got it out for her and asked how much and the owner said she could have it. I'm sure she is just glad to be getting rid of toys! He is literally like 2.5 inches tall & Callie was so pleased to get him.

Now I have to tell you the back story on why this Woody means so much:) Last week we ran out of Callie's kid toothpaste and she refuses to use the same kind as sister. So we made a drug store run and picked her up a new kind with Toy Story characters on the tube. Who knew she would get so attached to a tube of toothpaste!! She was so happy and began talking to Woody and carrying this toothpaste with her everywhere for 2 days. She read Woody stories, put Woody down for nap, swang him in the swing outside, and even took him to bed with her. It was hilarious!! I wish I had gotten a picture of her in action. So then I told Kevin, I have got to get her a little Woody doll so she will stop carrying this toothpaste everywhere! Even when we went to the garage sale, she had it with her in the car and almost took him with her but I got her to leave him behind. I didn't want her to lose it and also figured I would get a strange look or questions about why she is carrying her toothpaste around!! So, as you can see, finding this tiny little Woody figure at the bottom of a toy box was the highlight of our day!!

Callie with Woody 1 and 2

It's so fun to see how something so small and simple can make her so happy! She has been carrying Woody (#2) with her everywhere and to bed at night. I am not looking forward to the day where he inevitably gets lost, but until then we are making fun memories!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Week of 2/20-2/26

Happy President's Day! I'm so glad to have this day off with the kiddos! Even though I only work Monday & Friday, I get really excited about a holiday off!

After having my menu all planned out for this past week, my husband found out he had to go out of town for work on Friday until late Sunday. I did a little rearranging and moved our Baked Chicken to Thursday while he was still here and saved our left over Spaghetti & Meatballs for Sun night. Sadly, I had made the gumbo which was terrific, and I forgot to transfer the pot to the fridge once it had cooled and it sat out all night long! I was so bummed we had to throw all of the rest of it away!
Since my husband was gone and it was just me and the girls, we cheated a little bit the rest of the week. Instead of steaks on Friday I was so exhausted by the end of the day that I took the girls to McDonald's. Saturday we made a frozen pizza at home and Sunday night had our left over Spaghetti. Not exactly the healthiest weekend, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to survive!

Here is what we have planned for this week:

Chicken Fajita Tostados
Black Beans
Spanish Rice

Homemade Minestrone Soup
Spring Salad

Grilled NY Strip steaks
Sautéed Mushrooms
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Spring Salad

Leftovers-any of the above

Mexican dinner with MOPS group parents. Free dinner & childcare!!

On Your Own
I have a friend's baby shower to attend this evening so daddy & the girls are on their own! Probably going to be pizza for dinner!

Taco Soup??
I have some ground turkey I can use but am having a hard time coming up with what to make!?

Head over to Menu Plan Monday where I'm linking up with Orgjunkie & browse hundreds of other menu ideas!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pregnancy Update:29-31 weeks

Ok so I've been really horrible about updating as my pregnancy progresses and before I know it, it will be over!! I just hit 31 weeks today. Time is just flying by! So here's an over due update:

First, some good news! I passed my 3 hour glucose test!!! I was very nervous about this because with my first child I failed the one hour and then again failed the 3 hour testing. I suffered through the daily finger pokes, weekly perinatologist visits, meetings with the nutritionist and tracking EVERYTHING I ate. I was able to keep my blood sugar under control this way. I know one of the risks of gestational diabetes is having a large baby. She only ended up weighing 6 lbs 10 oz which was perfect. With Callie I passed my one hour test so this time I really didn't know what to expect. When they told me I failed my one hour I was pretty sure then this time I will have GD again. But I was wrong, thank God!

My fasting for the glucose test also helped me at my Dr weigh in right after. I was hoping to have only gained maybe 2 lbs since I gained that whopping 12 over the holidays!! But I actually lost 1 lb since my visit 3 weeks prior. I was definitely happy with that. I had another Dr appt this past Wed after another 3 weeks and I gained 4 lbs. I think I am at around 21 lbs total weight gain with 9 weeks to go.

I have felt pretty good except that it is getting harder at night to get comfortable and sleep. I probably wake up 3 times every night and sometimes it is hard to fall back asleep. I've also been having A LOT of Braxton Hicks contractions, partly I'm sure due to my lack of water intake.

Baby boy is moving around constantly! I think I'm going to have another busy body on my hands! I wish I could peek inside and really see what he is up to. Sometimes it is almost like he is running in place in there.
His heart rate this last visit was 142. He is usually in the 140's, lower than the girls who were in the 150-160's most of the time.

I've spent a large part of this weekend working on his room. Basically cleaning it out first and finding new homes for all of these random things. And, I finally ordered the baby bedding! I'm very excited for it to come in, around mid March. In the mean time I have the fabric swatches so I can match paint and other knick knacks, wall art etc. Etsy has some really cute things I will be looking at this week. So fun!

A few pictures of "Us":

30 Weeks

29 Weeks

Since my biggest challenge right now is to remember to drink enough water, I've been using this reusuable cup with a straw that I got as a Christmas gift.

It's been a lifesaver and I love that it has a lid on it so I can take it into stores with me while running errands. I hate to buy or use bottled water unless I have to since it is so wasteful. The only downside is that it needs to be handwashed. I just wish now I had about 5 more of these!!

With only 9 weeks to go, my hope is that I get some updating done here a little more often.

On my list this week: Finish cleaning out the baby room. Choose paint color & purchase a sample can of paint to try next to the fabrics. Start looking for a dresser. Look online for inexpensive art and decor ideas for his walls.

And for now, I'm off to bed!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

This morning Callie and I met Keira at school for her "Bananas about You" brunch for Valentine's Day. All of the Kindergarten & 1st grade students gathered in the cafeteria for waffles, fruit and yogurt and parents were invited to share in this with their children. Keira always loves it when she has a school visitor! She is also having an afternoon classroom party but sadly we have to miss it since it is during Callie's nap time. Last night she finished all of her princess Valentine's cards and couldn't wait to give them out today!

My sweet girls!

Friday night her school had a Valentine Dance and she took Daddy as her date. She thought she might be a little embarassed to dance with him but I think she quickly got over it! He said they had a great time and she loved seeing & dancing with her friends. They also had limo rides that took them around the school which she thought was so cool!

A little blurry action shot.

Tonight we are planning to eat in & miss the crowds! I'm making Seafood Gumbo for Kevin and I but still deciding on what to make for the girls. Then I thought maybe I will take them out for ice cream as a treat. Yum! But I have to be honest, it's probably just as much for me since I have been craving ice cream so much lately!!!

Have a great Valentine's Day! Hope your day is special and spent with those you love!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Week of 2/13-2/19

Last week I tried 2 new recipes that were wonderful!! One easy one and one a little more involved. First I made the Skinny Loaded Nachos with Turkey, Beans & Cheese from Skinny Taste. I also made a roast chicken as was in my menu plan but rather than the Lemon Rosemary Chicken recipe I had made once before I found a new one in my January issue of Martha Stewart Living. It is a Roast Chicken with Lemon, Parmesan and Parsley. Delicious!

Here is what we have planned for this week:

Leftover Mexican Chicken Casserole

We made this Friday night before Keira’s Kindergarten Valentine dance. She went with Daddy and had such a great time! Posting pictures tomorrow.

Shrimp Gumbo

Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti
Garlic Bread
Spring Salad

Leftovers-any of the above

Grilled NY Strip steaks
Sautéed Mushrooms
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Spring Salad

I got a great deal on the steaks, Laura’s Beef brand that was marked down due to being a few days from the sell by date. I just put them in the freezer!

Dinner out

Baked/Breaded Chicken breasts
Wild Rice
Spring Salad

I'm excited for our menu this week and can't wait to get some new ideas for next week! Head over to Menu Plan Monday with Orgjunkie to browse hundreds of other menu ideas!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Itching for Spring! (My trip to Lowe's)

One of the many things I did this past week was make a trip to Lowe's to browse the garden goodies and also get some paint samples for baby boy's room and get some materials for a shelving project.

Even though it is still February (and was below freezing this morning!) I am already anxious to get my Spring garden planted. Last year was my first year with my vegetable garden and it was a lot of fun and was successful for the most part! In Texas (Zone 8) we can start earlier than many other states but still have to wait until the last frost. I'm hoping to have everything planted by the end of March, first of April before this baby arrives!!!

I still have a little work to do to prepare the beds. I need to turn the soil and add a top layer of compost to it. This weekend it was way too cold for that so I am hoping one day this week to get that accomplished. Many of the root vegetables can be planted now as seeds, like carrots and also potatoes, along with onions, lettuce, spinach. My sweet neighbor gave me several of her potato roots and leftover carrot and beet seeds to get started. I can't wait to plant them!! In a few weeks I can plan out the rest of my garden and what I want to plant when, based on their growing season. More on a separate post!

Of course I had to bring something home to get my Spring Fever fix, so I bought this little Begonia plant to brighten up my kitchen island until the weather warms up. Isn't she cute?

I also could not pass up these fun little seed starter kits for the girls. One is sunflowers and the other one is for watermelon. I have never grown either of these before so I'm curious to see how they do. It will take about 7 days to germinate. Once they sprout we can plant them in the garden.

They were so excited to help place the seeds in and water them. Goofy picture-Callie was saying "cheese" very enthusiastically!

Now Keira has been checking on hers every day, patiently waiting to see the first signs of green life peeking out. It is so fun to watch them and see how they are learning how plants grow and what they need to survive.

After our garden purchase I picked up several paint samples for baby boy's room and also some wood for a shelving project for his room. I found this easy project from Knock Off Decor that I can't wait to try! I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Weekend Project-Organizing our Office

When we moved in our new home over a year ago, I was so excited to have my own office space. After several months we finally found a desk we liked and I also added some curtains and eventually bought a bookshelf as well. However, that is where my room organization ended. The room eventually ended up super cluttered and unfinished. With baby #3 on the way, my nesting instinct has definitely kicked into high gear and this was one of the many projects I wanted to tackle. So instead of my weekly "52 Weeks to an Organized Home" challenges I've been doing through Home-Storage-Solutions-101, I figured I better get to work on a more pressing area of my home!

Believe it or not, it was actually worse than this at first. My husband had several boxes from work and other work related items on the floor. Once we got those out we had more room to move around.

I used my cell phone for the photos so I apologize that some may be fuzzy! Here are the before pictures. BEWARE!

After an entire day's worth of work, here are the afters:

We aren't 100% finished with this room, as you can see the walls are still mostly blank. I have a corkboard and dry erase calendar for the wall space above the desk. I also would like to get a lamp and red chair to go by the window. For the wall next to the desk I want to hang photos of the children. On the other walls we plan to hang our college diplomas.

My husband has a different idea and thinks it needs to be more like a "traditional" office with a black leather chair, more traditional wall hangings etc. But I told him since it will be mostly my space (He has his own upstairs) doing our businesses' accounting work and blogging, home bill paying etc I want it to be a fun and functional room that I like to spend time in. I want to add some color so I thought maybe a red or blue chair by the window would be perfect. A cozy one for reading or for my kids to sit in and chat with me if they want while I'm working. I also thought rather than spending money on wall art, I can frame some of the zillion pictures I have and make it a fun wall of photos, maybe kids art projects etc.

It's still a work in progress and I hope to post more pictures soon of it when it is all complete. This week I'm going to start on decluttering our spare room that will be the nursery for baby #3! I have 10 weeks to go and I am feeling a little anxious to get everything done!!!

Menu Plan: Week of 2/6-2/12

This week I'm hitting a little bit of a block in figuring out "what's for dinner?" Hence the delayed posting :) I'm trying to make do with what we have on hand and not make a trip to the store. I have some frozen ground turkey, a whole chicken, and some chicken breasts in the freezer, along with pasta, tuna, and some soups.

Here is what I have come up with:

On your own
I have a Jr league meeting so hubby is in charge. For nights like these we have a few easy meals on hand, like chicken breast patties, Naked Nuggets, canned or frozen veggies and fruit.

Leftover Crawfish Etouffee

Lemon Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, courtesy of Martha Stewart.

Few choices here:
Taco Soup(using ground turkey)
Loaded Turkey Sante Fe Baked Potato Skins, courtesy of Skinnytaste. Love her! Lots of great ideas!
Skinny Loaded Nachos with Turkey, Beans & Cheese, (also from Skinnytaste)

Tonight is the Parent/Student Valentine dance at my daughter's school. She is going with daddy as her date! We will probably eat something easy like pizza so she has time to get ready for the dance!

Leftover Roast Chicken or Turkey recipe above

Dinner out with family. It is my brother's 30th birthday on Valentine's so we are celebrating by going to dinner tonight without all of the crowds!

I'm linking up at Menu Plan Monday with Orgjunkie!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Our Superbowl Dish Today -Emeril's Crawfish Etouffe

Today my husband and I are going to a neighbor friends for the Superbowl game this afternoon. He is a HUGE NY Giants fan so he is beyond thrilled they are in the game! We always try and bring a dish to our get togethers and this time wanted to try something new. We found this recipe today online and it is awesome!! Especially after neither of us even attempting to make a crawfish etouffe, I was impressed how well it turned out. I can't take credit for it though, my hubby made it all himself :) It came out so delicious I just had to share!

Emeril Lagasse's Crawfish Etouffe

1 stick unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 1/2 cups shrimp stock or water
1 pound crawfish tails
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
Cooked long grain white rice, accompaniment

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, to make a light roux. Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, bay leaves, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the sherry and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and crawfish tails and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice.

Stir in the parsley and remove from the heat.

Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Serve over rice, garnished with additional parsley.

There are actually a few different versions of his etouffe that we found. This one was featured on his show Emeril Live.

YUM-O! This recipe makes a pretty large pot of etouffe. I'm so glad there are some leftovers for tomorrow!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Stock Show Fun!

This past weekend my husband and I took the girls to the FW Stock Show & Rodeo. We had been before but not since Callie was born. Sunday turned out to be gorgeous and was a perfect day for being outdoors. They had so much fun!

Here are some pictures we took.

They have a free petting zoo which Keira loves to get up close and feed the animals. Callie wanted no part of it so she watched with daddy.

There was a small pony, a lamma, several goats, chickens, rabbits and a kangaroo!

We walked through several of the buildings that were housing the cattle. Most of the horses were gone already. They were getting ready for a heifer show and so many of them were being groomed. There were so many beautiful animals!

Saw this one cow who had this sign over its stall and had to take a picture, the mother was named Caroline :)

They had an entire room full of rabbits who were being shown by young teenagers who had been breeding and raising them. So many I had never seen before. These were the only animals Callie was comfortable getting close to!

We also went through a few shopping areas and then headed on over to the carnival rides & games.

Callie was too small to ride most of the rides but was able to if Kevin went with her.

Keira rode mostly "big kid" rides but still loves the Carousel!

This one she was so proud to ride by herself!

After several rides they gorged themselves on pink cotton candy!! We stayed til about 4pm & Callie did so well missing her nap time. They were both pretty tired on the way home. Even all of that sugar did not keep Callie from falling asleep in the car! She was out just minutes after we left the parking garage. I wish I had a picture of that!

I'm glad we were able to do this with them before the baby arrives. I have a feeling we won't be going a whole lot of places at first with 3 kiddos! It's going to take a while to get the hang of it!
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