Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Whole Heart

At the Oakland Zoo Lights

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lashes & Drool

Gorgeous long lashes and buckets of drool, that's what this little girl is made of.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

April Photo Challenge. Day 22: The Last Thing You Bought

To be honest, the last thing I bought was manure. I thought I'd spare you those photos. You're welcome.

Slightly cuter, we unveiled the last thing we bought for Lana tonight. My dad heads home in the morning, so I figure I'm going to need something extra special to entertain her. She's going to be one unhappy camper without Grandpa and MOOSE! to keep her company, and I've got tons of laundry and packing to do before we head for Colorado, so I need all the distraction I can get.

Lana's been OBSESSED with buckles for the last couple months. All she wants to do is lock buckles. Which is awesome, except she's super fast and she needs you to undo the buckles for her. Listening to her scream until you walk across the house to her high chair to help is not awesome. I'd seen the Buckley Boo featured as a house favorite on the styleberry blog ages ago, so with this latest fascination, I figured it would be pretty popular around here too.

So far, so good! I'll let you know if it saves us any meltdowns tomorrow.

( I think she likes it.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April Photo Challenge. Day 18: Hair

What is there to say about the hair, really? She's nearly 19 months old and it's still barely there. She's still mistaken for a boy more often than not. And it's still coming in blonde. What are you gunna do?

I'll tell you what I'm gunna do: enjoy that I don't have to clean food out of the long hair of my MESSY eater 3 times a day!

In other news, yes, that's her fork in the shared salsa bowl. Because evidently sucking the salsa off your tortilla chip then re-dipping over and over again isn't getting the job done. I suppose it is the healthier delivery method for salsa consumption. And if you've ever tried Raf's salsa, you probably wanted to eat it with a fork too. Just admit it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

That Kid

 As it turns out, I have that kid. 
The kid with dried black bean soup all over her face.
The kid with dirt in her nails. (And all over my floors.)

The kid who thinks that the half-full "BOONS" the neighbor dropped off are THE GREATEST GIFT EVER RECEIVED.

Yep, I have that kid. I am so stinking lucky.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April Photo Challenge. Day 17: Something you don't like

Weeds. Though, it's not so bad when the whole fam is out pulling them. If only we'd started before they were dwarfing our veggies. 

Don't get too excited. I make no promises on a blogging comeback. But I decided at the very least I need some motivation to start picking up my camera. Too much time sorting photos on my computer and not enough time taking new ones makes me one grumpy mama.  So, why not try another little photo challenge. I hope you don't mind that I'm starting mid-month? Didn't think so.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Reluctant Meal Maker: Meal Planning

I know this is kindergarten stuff for many of you, but meal planning was truly a foreign concept to me. Once I learned a bit about it, I spent the second half of last year giving it a shot, and flailing at best. I wasn't detailed enough. I didn't consider snacks or breakfasts. I'd forget a couple ingredients from most recipes and either find myself at the grocery store more often than I'd prefer, or resorting to whatever backup box I could dig out of the cupboard.

I'm still not a pro, but it's definitely getting better. The tricks for me have been DETAILS and FLEXIBILITY.

Details. I have to get super detailed with my meal plan. I have to consider breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and beverages. For a while, I was trying to just come up with 5 dinners, then I'd decide that day what we'd have. Fail. Didn't work for me. What is working for me is sitting down with the calendar and really considering our week when I plan the meals. Will Raf be home late? (Don't try something complicated when you don't have help distracting the kidlet.) Are we planning to be out most of the day? (Keep dinner simple, or use a slow cooker meal.)

Flexibility. As much as being detailed has helped, I also have to be flexible. Sometimes plans change. Then the meals change too. Sometimes I get home and have zero energy left in my tank, or Lana can't handle flying solo. Leftovers, it is! Sometimes I still forget to add things to the grocery list. Time to substitute! (This doesn't always work out well, but I'm glad that I'm at least getting comfortable enough in the kitchen to give it a go!)

While my days are going much more smoothly because of meal planning, I still have my challenges...

Time. Meal planning is time consuming! It takes time to scour Pinterest and cookbooks for healthy, whole foods-based, seasonal, TASTY meals! It takes time to go through each ingredient list line by line and check the cupboards and fridge. It takes time to shop at 3 or more stores.

I just have to keep reminding myself that it's less time consuming to do this once a week than to do it every day of the week. And I'm assuming that like everything else in life, with experience, the process will become second nature and it won't feel like it takes any time at all.

Eating on the Go. I've always had a hard time planning food for myself when I'm out and about. And I really do hate having to hit the closest drive thru in order to avoid yet another intense hangry episode! I'm better about planning for Lana. I pretty much always grab one of her covered snack cups and at least a couple levels of her Zoli on the go feeder before I head out the door. But I still can't seem to pack a snack for myself. Or water. And now that Lana's down to one nap a day, it's gotten much worse. We're out on playdates during lunchtime at least a couple days a week now, and I never know what to bring for lunch. Lana's happy with a bunch of snacks, but I'd prefer getting something more substantial in her so that we have more success with her afternoon nap. And I need to eat too, darn it! I just don't have that many recipes up my sleeve that don't require reheating or reliable refrigeration. I need to come up with some, quick! Any (toddler friendly) ideas out there??

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bitty Update

Curious what the little one has been up to lately? A little of this, a little of that...
 ...adopting cloth napkins as the BEST.TOY.EVER!
...making early fashion statements. Stylish? Maybe. But not nearly as cute as when she was running around naked after her bath last night and brought me her boots to put on!
...checking out Christmas photos while mama sews. The dogs were especially popular. (She climbed into the chair on her own, btw.)
...dragging around her favorite quilt.
...exploring sunlight and shadows.
...and wedging herself into really tight spaces! 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Reluctant Meal Maker: A Clean Slate

When we came home from Oregon after the holidays, we cleared all the old stuff out of the fridge and gave it a good cleaning. Raf even rearranged the shelves. Silly as it may seem, this small gesture: starting with a clean slate, has made such a positive impact with helping me stay on point.

I'm always in awe of the refrigerators of my most clean and organized friends. They're so sparkly and spacious and...well, bare! Frankly, I wondered how they ate! Or if their secret to keeping a wonderfully clean kitchen was eating out all the time! Well, now I know that's not the case at all. With a rock solid meal plan and a precise shopping list, I too can have a sparkly and spacious refrigerator. 

It's been a month and the fridge is still clean and organized. I know where things are. I know when we're running low. And I know what's on the verge of spoiling and needs to be used asap. It's no longer overwhelming to open the fridge. And (bonus!), it's no longer embarrassing when someone else does.

A couple side notes: 

1. I also cleared out the freezer this month. I love to freeze things, so it was getting a little unwieldy. I purged all the old, expired stuff, and reorganized like with like (meats together, veggies, fruit, etc.), all the while taking a mental inventory of what I have on hand that I can use in upcoming meals. It's still not nearly as neat as the fridge; maybe if I can ever find a spot to put a deep freeze...

2. Sticking with the FlyLady system and Shining my Sink on a daily basis is also really helpful. I typically do the dishes after each meal, every day. Annoying? Sure. But I'm so grateful for it every time I head in to start preparing the next meal. My head just feels lighter when I walk in and have a clean slate. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Reluctant Meal Maker

The overarching theme for my 2012 resolutions is: BE PREPARED! I was hoping to join the Boy Scouts so they could teach me a thing or two, but I'm pretty sure they won't take me. Not because I'm a girl or too old (that would be discrimination); rather, because I'm a lost cause. Guess I'm on my own for this one!

There are about 112 bullets that come to mind under the BE PREPARED! header in my life that I currently suck at. Let's just say that I'm a much less organized person than people give me credit for. One thing is glaringly obvious to me: I have frustration in my life on a daily basis because I don't like to cook. I have no imagination in the kitchen. I hate having to clean up a mess 3 (or more!) times a day. Meal planning is completely foreign to me (the concept is literally something I discovered in the past year). I could go on, but this is not the point. The point is: cooking is now my J-O-B. Feeding my family healthy, nourishing meals multiple times a day is now one of my primary responsibilities. And not liking it and not knowing how are not acceptable excuses. This is the year that I learn. This is the year I get organized in the kitchen. Heck, this may even be the year that I learn to LIKE cooking! At the very least, this is the year that I remove the daily frustration.  

I got started just after we returned home from the holidays, and am happy to report that so far things are going WONDERFULLY! I'm planning to share a few of my motivators, things that are working for me, and some pleasant side effects of getting organized throughout the week. Join me? If you can stand my rambling long enough, you may even be rewarded with something super special at the end of the week: our list of January Winners: recipes we tried and loved enough to pass along! It's a list of links you won't want to miss! 

Print of image above can be purchased here

What Does a Bear Say?


One of our favorite books is Bear Snores On. If you're not familiar, the plot goes something like this: a motley crew of woodland creatures gathers for an impromptu party in Bear's lair while he's hibernating. Then, "...a small pepper fleck makes the bear...."

For the past few days, Lana's been cracking up at Bear's sneeze. Then, yesterday, we were flipping through another book and when she saw this teddy bear, she said, "aaahh-TEW" 

Um...ok? Raf and I looked at each other, and I asked, "do you think she thinks that a sneeze is the sound a bear makes??!" Well, after another reading of Bear Snores On later that morning, it was confirmed. I'd point to Bear and ask, "what does Bear say", and she'd promptly respond, "aaahh-TEW!" Stinking cute. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I found this in my bedroom yesterday. And my heart melted. At some point, Lana had taken her boots out of the drawer where I'd put them away, and had put them away herself. {Sigh.} Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by her cuteness. And my love for her.

Excuse the blur in these photos. She caught me taking the picture above and ran in to claim her property, so she caught me a bit off guard. But, I figure, your need for a cuteness update is more important than my annoyance with bad focus. ;)

By the way, I know I haven't given a "what's she doing now" update in forever, but my goodness, she understands EVERYTHING. She probably has for ages, but now we can tell! So, when I tell her to go get her boots, she pops up with a panicked look in her eyes like "oh crap! my boots! hurry! find them! before she leaves without me!!" And then she goes and gets them! Just one of the many adorable things that is making this such an awesome stage.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Getting Acquainted

Have I mentioned what bad parents we are? We're the ones who didn't get a gift for our child for Christmas. Nope, not one. We packaged up a new coat on Christmas morning so that she wouldn't feel left out, but I didn't actually buy it as a gift.

I may be a terrible gifter, but I'm not a terrible person. I decided (before Christmas!) that I wanted to make a snuggly new blanket for Solana, but I couldn't track down the right minky (darn seasonal colors!) I had packed both the flowered cotton I had planned to use, and this Goldilocks print I adore to Oregon, hoping that I would have better luck minky shopping there. Well, no luck on that front, but Lana quickly adopted the Goldilocks print as her own after pulling it out of a box one day.

Judging by her reaction to the fabrics when I laid them out on the floor yesterday to work on the blanket, I think she's still a fan! So far, we know it's good for...

...identifying bears,

...downward facing dog,


....and snuggling, of course!

Now to turn it into a completed blanket! (Though it will likely not be nearly as interesting then.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Slide

We were planning to check out a new playgroup today, but when I headed out to load up the Bit, the truck was dead. Ugh. Between that and it's ill-functioning speedometer, I'm ready to upgrade to a plug-in. If only they made electric cars SUV size.

So anyway, we just walked over to our neighborhood park instead. Because really, even without new friends, the slide never gets old.

Happy New Year!

Don't you just love a new year? Everything feels so fresh and optimistic. I even have a clean fridge and a meal plan for the week. Boo-YAH!