My “homemade” project this week is figuring out my dehydrator. 🙂 I borrowed one from my in-laws a few months ago but since then it has just been sitting there staring at me. You see I hate to read manuals and this contraption appeared to require manual-reading. I decided to pick a pumping session and flip through the manual. No pressure. Maybe I could figure it out through the pictures. It’s pretty easy. You basically plug it in and pick a temperature. Fruit dries at about 130 – 140 degrees according to my manual. When I got the dehydrator cleaned and ready to go, I started having fun. Luckily, I did read that I could not submerge the base in water. So no electric shocks. Good thing. I first did a round of apples, bananas and cantaloupe slices. They turned out great! The dehydrator is pretty loud and it takes most of the day so you should plan accordingly. Just think, dried fruit or veggies without extra sugar or chemicals! I also tried dried oranges for some sweet-smelling decorations. Can’t wait to try some fruit leather! Who needs fruit roll-ups?!
I’ve really enjoyed reading http://atlantamomofthree.wordpress.com/. I’m pretty picky with the blogs I follow but I highly recommend this one. This blog is great because this mom shares a variety of issues about motherhood and she keeps her comments positive. I found all her posts very interesting and informative. She has three children so she talks about lots of different age issues from birth to big kids. She also promotes things that I find important and interesting for moms to talk about – natural birth, breastfeeding, homemade goodies and even prayer. I love sharing stories with other moms via blogs. It’s always great to find a kindred spirit.
In line with my goal to make more homemade goodies this year, I whipped up some nutbutter and apple/peach sauce last week. I’m starting slow, okay! I grabbed bags of nuts that I had left over for the nutbutter. I used hazelnuts and almonds. Since both these nuts are slightly dry, I added just a drizzle of olive oil for a creamy consistency. I threw the nuts in my Vitamix and spun that sucker until the batch looked spreadable. It turned out a dark, rich color with flecks of deep brown. The apple and peach sauce was easy too and a few apples go a long way! I cored and steamed about 6 apples and then threw them in the Vitamix after they cooled a bit. Save that water from steaming for smoothies! Then I added a freezer bag full of sliced peaches leftover from summer. I kept spinning until the peels were ground up so Baby could swallow it easily. The batch made two large jars full! I keep adding the sauce mix to other things – hot cereal, yogurt, puree veggies. I need to try an applesauce muffin recipe next. Can’t wait to try some other homemade goodies this week!
If you’re like me you need a race and a training schedule as motivation to workout. Maybe you’re one of those people who can work out just for the fun of it. I’m motivated by competition. My goal this year is to compete in a couple of sprint triathlons. That’s a race were you swim, bike and then run. The distance for a “sprint” race is usually 0.5 mile swim, 12 mile bike, and 3 mile run. Some of the races I competed in pre-baby were the Lake Norman Triathlon and White Lake 1/2 Ironman. The 1/2 Ironman race seems like a lifetime ago – when I had things like time and muscles. This year (post-baby) the first race I’d like to enter is at the end of April. Right around the corner. Now that I have some more flexibility with my time (since I quit my job a week ago to start my own practice), I have no excuse for not following a training schedule. My favorite place for free training schedules and general information about tri racing is BeginnerTriathlete.com. The training schedule I plan to follow is found at www.beginnertriathlete.com/sprint. Here is my first week:
Monday: Swim 15 min / Run 20
Wednesday: Bike 35
Thursday: Run 20
Friday: Swim 30
Sunday: Bike 40
It seems doable. We’ll see. I ran today so I’m already going to switch Monday and Thursday. Also this schedule provides 5 months of workouts and I only have 3 months until my first race! So, I’ll need to ramp things up much faster. Hopefully, I’ll be able to skip some weeks as I get going. The goal at this point is just to get started and stay consistent. And for that, the biggest motivation is not bombing at a race! And also the thought of wearing a tri suit at the race but that’s a scary thought right now so I’m quickly wiping that image from my mind. There…it’s gone – until my next swim workout! Eek.
My loving husband gave me a dutch oven for Christmas. I’ve had fun trying out new dutch oven recipes. We tried The Gracious Pantry’s dutch oven chicken last night: http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/clean-eating-dutch-oven-chicken/. I used chicken thighs instead of breasts, which worked out fine. I cooked it closer to 45 minutes but that may be my oven’s temperamental issues. I like things very flavorful so I doubled the spices. I also added carrots and potatoes – veggies I needed to use up. I served it with some millet cooked in chicken broth. Perfect. Often my husband rates clean eating recipes as “okay” but this was a firm “good”. The best part was that I could make it ahead of time and pop it in the oven at dinner time! I’m all about what’s easy!
I quit my job! Last week was my last week at a big law firm. This is the first week of my new life, which I am inventing as I go. My goal is to start my own practice and be up and running by the end of the year. I kept daycare but have more time and flexibility. I’ve already filed for a PLLC, which is very exciting. I had to contact the State Bar then the Secretary of State and then the State Bar again. Good grief. I also need to tackle insurance and a trust account. I’m having fun learning new skills. Seriously!
The main reason for leaving my job is to spend more time with my family. At least, I think they need me. It will also be nice to have time to exercise. This is my second day home and it’s been good so far! I feel a little out of sorts, like I’m paving a new path, but it’s also exciting. I made a few house rules to promote success.
Rule 1# Dress for success. That means business causal or better a majority of the time. Yes, even at home when no one will see you. I’m hoping this will promote a working environment and professional image. Rule #2 Set a Schedule. This means a full calendar. So I set up lunch dates twice a week for the next two months. And don’t let the day dictate what you do. Decide the goal for the day, week, month and year. Even have a 2-year plan. Then make sure to modify the schedule as you go. We’ll see how I do by the end of the month! I have also dedicate my first two weeks at home to self-reflection and organization. I have set aside several hours each day for quiet reflection, goal-setting and prayer. I’m also organizing the house, which is awesome to do at the beginning of the year no matter what! I think better with a clean, organized house. Like I said, it’s only day 2! 🙂 Wish me luck!
I love thinking of new ways to create creative spaces for my baby! It’s harder than you’d think!
The time has come. It’s a brand new year, and with that, comes an urge to organize; to start fresh. Now, I’m not big on resolutions, in fact I don’t make any at all. But I do like to have a new space. A place that is not only clear of unnecessary clutter, functional, and open…but also pretty to look at. If I have to spend my whole day in it, the space better be easy on the eyes, I tell you!
I have had many of you ask about our playroom here at Small Potatoes. And many of you, after reading An Educator’s Guide to Creating Learning Spaces…
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Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.
This isn’t a clean eating meal but it’s quick, easy and yummy. I make wild rice soup from Bear Creek and turn it into a thick cabbage stew. First, cook some sausage (optional: bacon, onions, garlic) in the bottom of the pot and then remove the grease. Second, make the wild rice soup in the pot with the sausage. Third, add any veggies you can find in your frig. My favorites to add are cabbage, potatoes, frozen peas and carrots. Feel free to get crazy 🙂 This makes a huge meal with lots of leftovers. It’s great on a cold day!
Due to my perfectionist nature, New Year’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. I haven’t screwed anything up yet in 2013! I know – I’m crazy. Actually, I used to find New Year’s Day very depressing. I think most people find the post-holiday season to be a drag. It’s dark and cold outside. You’ve probably gained 10 pounds from the holidays. Your skin is dry and itchy. You’d rather be on a beach but instead you’re going back to work. Your favorite football team probably isn’t going to the Superbowl. And, to top it off, you still have to take down the Christmas tree and all those holiday decorations. The sight of Christmas decorations after Christmas drives me crazy!
So why do I love New Year’s? Resolutions! What woman doesn’t like a reason to make a list?! I also like thinking up tricks to make them stick. One of my resolutions is to get back in shape and loose those pesky mommy pounds. My goal is to compete in a sprint triathlon in the spring. The trick to make the resolution stick is signing up for the race. Having the race on the calendar motivates me to work out. Another one of my resolutions is to read more books. So I set a goal of reading 20 books on Goodreads (www.goodreads.com). I still have a few resolutions that I’m not sure how to implement, but I’m working on it. I want to get up early and have one hour of quiet time before Baby wakes up. I want to be more passionate about work and I want to make healthy meals for my family everyday. I may as well throw in world peace while I’m at it. Good grief! But that’s the point, isn’t it? Anything is possible when you wipe the slate clean and start fresh in a new year. What are your resolutions?