Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Random Q&A

A random Q&A for your Wednesday morning!

What do you have to have when travelling? My phone charger, and I never ever remember to pack it until I'm walking out the door and my husband says, "Do you have your phone charger?" I'm also that crazy person who sits down next to you on the airplane and proceeds to sanitize everything I might possibly touch with wet wipes.

Favorite beauty products? I love this Eucalyptus Spearmint Stress Relief line from Bath & Body Works.

What's on your desk? Aside from work-related items, I have family photos, my Erin Condren Life Planner, and these two dinosaur friends holding air plants, that I have miraculously not killed in over a year!


Have you ever won anything? I haven't won anything major, but my brother won a CAR from Disneyland on his 6th birthday! Disneyland was celebrating its 30th anniversary and they gave away a new car to every 30,000th person who went through the gate. I don't remember much (I was 4) except how cool the pop-up headlights were.

The best money you spent this week? I found some good deals at Carters on winter clothes (and Christmas pajamas, I couldn't resist!) for Swede and Baby #2.

Do you like your name? Yes! When I was growing up I thought Kelly was too ordinary. I was always trying to jazz it up. For all of eighth grade I spelled it Keleigh. But then the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college I worked at a summer camp where all the counselors made up different and often wacky names. My best friends were Shimmer and Chiquita. I was Olive. After that it was so nice to be Kelly again, and I never wanted a different name. (Although I do love nicknames! A la Noodle.)

What is the last movie you watched? I watched The Age of Adeline on Saturday night. I'd been wanting to watch it since it was in the theater last spring, but it was a little slow.

What is something you are grateful for? Swede, of course! And also coffee.


Your turn! What is your answer to any of these questions?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Fall Colors Weekend

The big event this weekend was driving to Silverton on Saturday morning to see the fall colors. Silverton is a little town in the San Juan mountains about an hour north of Durango. If you've heard about it recently it's probably and unfortunately because of the recent Gold King Mine waste water spill which dyed the Animas River the color of these leaves for several days. But Silverton really is a neat little town that's a great jumping-off point for various backcountry adventures, and is also the terminus of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

Main Street - Silverton, Colorado

We had planned to have breakfast in Silverton but one of the two breakfast joints in town was closed and the other was really crowded, so we ended up with mediocre breakfast burritos from a coffeeshop down the street. Bummer.

Fortunately, the fall colors did not disappoint!

Incredible!

My favs

This photo would be epic if only she was smiling...

On Saturday afternoon I baked Jessica's "not-so-boring bran muffins" from Seriously Delish. I am seriously obsessed with this cookbook, and this might be my favorite recipe. I know you're thinking, Bran Muffins? Really? Yes. They have zucchini and pumpkin in them along with oat bran and flaxseed, so I think they are pretty healthy as well as being delicious.

Messy kitchen =

Delicious muffins!

I had been planning to bake something a little more decadent, such as these pumpkin spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, but unfortunately I failed the one-hour glucose test to screen for gestational diabetes on Friday. (And proceeded to have a complete and embarrassing meltdown at the doctor's office... Sigh). I have to do the three-hour test this week which hopefully will come back OK, but I've been giving some of my recent nutritional choices the once-over and it wouldn't hurt to cut back a little on the dessert front.

In other food-related news... This was dinner on Saturday. I wish it came with a glass of red wine!

Swede did not share the avocado

Sunday was pretty low-key. I went to church in the morning, then read The Martian during nap time. (Or what should have been nap time and ended up being Swede alternately playing/fussing in her crib for ages before taking a brief snooze. Which fills me with a terrible foreboding that nap times are coming to an end. When did your kids stop napping? What can I do? Help!!!). 

With regards to The Martian, I was really excited to read it, but so far (about 50 pages in) it's been a little technical. He's just stranded there on Mars trying to figure out how to grow potatoes. (For those of you who have read it... It gets better, Right?) I've heard that it's really good, and it's the next pick for my book club, and Jonathan is really excited to see the movie, and I can't see the movie until I've finished the book... So I'll press on. 

Other Sunday activities included: Nachos for dinner, a family hike, watching the new episode of Brooklyn 99 (<--The only show that Jonathan and I watch together), and checking out the lunar eclipse!

Back to the salt mine tomorrow. I sure miss my Mondays-off summertime work schedule!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Countdown to Baby #2

Friends, I'm feeling a little anxious that I am approximately 0% ready for Baby #2 to arrive. There's still plenty of time - All of October, All of November, with two weeks to spare before my due date. But I've had this nagging feeling lately that there are THINGS I NEED TO BE DOING. I guess this is the good old nesting instinct kicking in.

I am a hearty subscriber to the when-in-doubt-make-a-list philosophy, so here goes:

1. Go through all Swede's newborn and 3 month size clothes to pick out which are suitable for a boy. (Quite a few, actually, because we didn't know she was a girl and so most everything is gender-neutral). Then I'll need to decide what to do with her old clothes that are NOT suitable for a boy. (I think the answer might be, Keep them for my next friend who has a baby girl, because I don't think I can handle giving them away completely).

Baby Swede! Rocking one of her more boyish ensembles

2. The 3rd bedroom in our house is currently being used as a TV room/Music room and Jonathan's office, so we need to move all that stuff downstairs & reconfigure the living room. Then we need to move the mini-crib into that room, and I think we'll need a dresser, and a second sound machine, a second baby monitor, and black-out curtains.

3. Install the infant car seat.

4. Pack my hospital bag.

5. Take a tour of the "Family Birth Center" at the hospital.

6. Decide if I want to have newborn/family photos done. Find a photographer and schedule if so.

7. I'd like to make and freeze some meals. I didn't do this before Swede was born but it would be really nice to have some ready-to-go dinner options.

8. I really need to get started on preparing-Swede-for-Baby-#2. I ordered this I'm a Big Sister book to start the process. Any suggestions from folks out there with two little ones?

9. Not directly related to Baby #2, but I would really like to get most Christmas presents bought by the end of November.

10. Same as #9, but I just realized I can order Christmas stockings now! I didn't buy them last year because I knew we were planning on Baby #2 and wanted them all to match. I really like these. Or maybe these? And I think I want to get Christmas pajamas for the kids - Looking at this for Swede and this for Baby #2.

Christmas 2014, Seems like forever ago!

I know, I know... Enough talk about Christmas! It's hardly done being summer yet. I'll be the first to admit I got a little carried away just now. My apologies. It's just more fun to think about stockings and pajamas than reorganizing the entire house and you know... childbirth.

I'm also feeling a near-desperate need to completely reorganize my closet, but I don't really think there's much point until I am back to my normal size/weight again.

I don't know about you but making a list really helps me calm down and put things into perspective. One thing at a time, It'll all get done!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Weeknight Dinner #2 [Slow-Cooker Mexican Chicken Soup]

Lately the weather has been alternating between warm & sunny feels-like-summer days and cool & cloudy (or rainy) feels-like-autumn days. I've started adding soup to the weekly meal plan, but I've been checking the weather report daily to decide which is the best day to make it.

The perfect rainy Tuesday dinner! It's all about the toppings.

I think I found this recipe last year in a free pamphlet from King Soopers/City Market (or whatever your local Kroger grocery store is called). It's a great slow-cooker recipe because you can just throw everything in and go. (OK, You have to chop the onion, but that's all). I don't have time in the morning to actually cook anything before it goes in the slow-cooker.

Here's the recipe, which I (mostly) follow:

1 onion, chopped
4 chicken breasts
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
2 cans (4-oz each) chopped mild green chile peppers (This time I used roasted Hatch chiles from the farmers market)
1 can (15 oz) red enchilada sauce (mild or spicy depending on your preference)
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
1 tsp each cumin, chili powder, and salt (I don't actually measure these)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 package (10 oz) frozen corn

Toppings: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, lime wedges, tortilla chips, cilantro (if you're so inclined, which I am not)

Put everything (except the corn) in the slow-cooker on low for 6-8 hours, then shred the chicken with two forks, add the corn, and let cook another 30 minutes or so. Add your choice of toppings and you're good to go!

Happy soup season!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Weekend Highlights

(In chronological order)

#1: Donuts for breakfast on Saturday morning! We have pretty boring taste in donuts in this family. ("Not boring... Classic!" I can hear BFF Laura's voice in my head). I like plain raised glazed, and Jonathan likes blueberry cake. No fancy sprinkles or frostings necessary, although I do think "fancy" donuts are so pretty. What is your favorite type of donut?

#2: Playtime with Swede:


She likes to pretend to take her stuffed animal friends hiking. She gets them all buckled into the Osprey backpack and fills the pockets with her fake food for snack time.

#3: Bike ride on the river trail with Swede and my mom. The weather was gorgeous this weekend. Sunny but not too hot. The leaves are just starting to change.

#4: After nap time on Saturday, we went to the library and then out for ice cream at Cold Stone.

 Cake batter ice cream for the win!

A rare photo of the whole family!

#5: Neighborhood block party. This was a first, but I hope it's not the last. It was fun getting to know more of our neighbors. Many of them have kids Swede's age, several of whom are in her same class at preschool and we didn't even know it! The food was really good too. It was a potluck. We contributed brownies, and there was pulled pork and bratwurst, potato salad, fruit salad, spinach salad, some kind of delicious cornmeal spoon bread situation... Yum.

#6: I made it to church again on Sunday morning. Why it is so hard to start a habit, but pretty easy to keep it up once you've gotten going?

#7: I took a nap during Swede's nap, which I haven't done since the epic fatigue of my first trimester, but I haven't been sleeping very well at night and needed some extra rest. It was lovely. (And included snugs from GB, which make all naps better).

#8: Jonathan took Swede to visit his parents on Sunday afternoon and I made a new page for the quiet book.

Beep Beep

This page is a mix-and-match robot. The blue body is sewn on but you can swap out the arms, legs, and heads.

#9: Hike around the neighborhood with GB:


#10: We had this Green Chile Queso Cheese Dip from How Sweet Eats for dinner. Nothing like a bowl of melted cheese to end the weekend right. (Except for the leftover brownie I'll be having later).  I used some already-roasted Hatch chiles so it was quick and easy to put together. It was delicious!

The lowlight of the weekend was dropping my phone and cracking the screen pretty badly. Boo. I've been thinking about getting an upgrade and I guess this means it'll happen sooner than later.

Book(s) of the week: A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan. (Sidenote: Is Elisabeth supposed to be pronounced differently than Elizabeth? Pretty subtle if so but I wonder if EliSabeth is upset that she's always called EliZabeth). I really liked this book! The main character seemed really REAL to me, navigating the everyday life struggles of being a working mom, a wife, dealing with a sick parent, etc. I'm currently reading (and absolutely loving) Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos. I don't know why it took me so long to read this book. It's sweet and funny. I really like the main character's voice, and all the references to classic movies which I've seen and love are fun.

That's all! What was the best (or worst, but hopefully best) part of your weekend?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Weeknight Dinner #1 [Pasta with sausage, kale, sun-dried tomatoes, and parmesan]

Let me preface this with the obvious fact that I am not a food blogger. I don't make up recipes, and I definitely don't take mouthwateringly gorgeous photos of the food that I do make. I have so much admiration for the creativity and artistic talent of those who do, but it's beyond me! I thought I'd just share a few quick and easy weeknight dinners that are in the rotation around here, because I know I'm always on the lookout for more similar ideas.

Another thing you should know is that I don't really follow recipes. I think of them as rough guidelines and as soon as I have the basic idea I don't really bother with measuring cups and spoons. This meal is based on Creamy Bow Tie Pasta with Kale and Sausage by Bev Cooks, so go check it out if you want a more formal recipe. (And mouthwateringly gorgeous photos!)

Here's what I do: Cook up some Italian sausage in a large skillet. Add some kale, some sun-dried tomatoes, and some cream. (Maybe a cup?) Let that burble away until the kale is cooked down, then add (the more the merrier!) some grated Parmesan cheese, and serve over pasta. Voila, dinner!

On my bucket list is to someday take a food styling class

Last summer we joined a CSA and were so inundated with kale that we made this for dinner about once a week from June to September, then had to take a break for six months to recover.

In other news, I went to a "pop-up boutique" last night for a clothing line called LuLaRoe and bought a pair of super soft leggings in a fun flower print. <--My first pair of non-solid-color leggings ever! It's an exciting life I lead.

And here is GB pretending to be a mountain goat:

The double-ear-fold-back is one of my favorite looks

Hooray that it's Friday tomorrow! Hope you all have fun plans for the weekend.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Five Favorites - September 2015

1) Yoga! I started going to a weekly prenatal yoga class on Tuesday evenings and have really been enjoying it. The yoga class itself is nice. I like taking the time to stretch and breathe and to just be calm and still. It's also nice to connect with other people, and especially ones in similar circumstances. One downside to working at home is that it's hard to make new friends! Another good thing about this class is that I'm gone from 5-7, so Jonathan handles bedtime with Swede. She has a meltdown if Jonathan tries to put her to bed when I'm home, but if I'm gone they have a perfectly nice time. It's good for them to have some special time together, and it's good for me to have some special time away!

2) My favorite breakfast these days is triple berry chia seed pudding.

Just noticed this bowl is chipped... Bummer

My super easy "recipe" is to mix together 1/4 c chia seeds, 1 c milk, and 1 c Greek yoga. It thickens up in the fridge overnight and in the morning I add a drizzle of maple syrup and all the berries. Peaches are good too. Swede is also a fan! We usually share two breakfasts from one batch. The only problem I have is remembering (and being motivated) to mix it up the night before!

3) My favorite item of clothing right now is this A-Line tunic from Garnet Hill. Obviously there's enough room to be 27-weeks pregnant, but it's not specifically a maternity item, so I'm hoping it'll work now and later. Although... Looking at this photo I'm not entirely sure it's that flattering right now, Hmmm. I don't think I care though. I'm all about being comfortable these days!

You'll know it's really fall here when I stop wearing my Chacos

Before I move on to the next favorite... Let me complain for a minute about how Garnet Hill still charges shipping & handling fees. It drives me crazy to pay shipping for clothes if I don't end up keeping them. $10+ for the privilege of trying something on? Luckily this tunic worked out but I hesitated for a long time whether to buy it or not because of the dreaded shipping and handling fees.

4) I am not much of an interior decorator. Our house is mostly comprised of mismatched pieces picked up over the years. It's not that I wouldn't like it to look like a Pottery Barn catalog... I'd just rather spend my time and money elsewhere. I didn't "do" a nursery for Swede at all. We plunked a mini-crib with an attached dresser/changing table and an old armchair in a corner of the guest room and called it good. Baby #2 will most likely get similar treatment, although I am in love with these two prints from Etsy, and think they would look great in a nursery if I can get my act together.




This is the shop they are from, although it's on a break until late September.

5) I know it goes without saying that Swede is a favorite all the time! But I am really enjoying watching her personality develop. Shopping for her has been so fun, but I'm looking forward to when she'll start picking out her own clothes. I'm just so curious what her "style" is going to be like! Currently it involves wearing three headbands all at once.


Luckily she also likes this puffin print dress from Boden which I couldn't resist!

What are you enjoying this month???



Sunday, September 13, 2015

Weekend [Sept 12-13, 2015]

Hey Friends!

I think this is going to be a pretty short weekend recap. For the first time in who-knows-how-long I didn't make a weekend to-do list, and I ended up not really doing much. I think there might be a correlation there...

Saturday:

We had a slow start in the morning but eventually headed to the library and then took advantage of the gorgeous weather to play at the river again.


In the afternoon we visited a house that we are maybe possibly thinking of buying. (If we can sell our current house). Since Jonathan and I both work at home, plus Baby #2 on the way, we've suddenly realized we might need a little more space. It's really a decision we need to make sooner than later, considering that I'm due in exactly three months!

We went out to dinner at Himalayan Kitchen. Eating out with toddlers... Sigh. Not always the most serene experience! But I'd been craving the chai tea and cheese naan.

Sunday:

I went to church again. (<-- Two weeks in a row! New Years Resolutions in action!) 

During nap time I took the dog on a long hike around the neighborhood and then made these delicious chocolate muffins.


The recipe is from Seriously Delish. I don't buy many cookbooks, but I had to buy this one because How Sweet Eats is my favorite food blog. Everything I've tried from the blog and the cookbook has been excellent.

That's all!

PS: How is it already mid-September? It doesn't really feel like autumn here yet. Are the leaves changing where you are???

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

If you could go back in time...

Question: If you could go back in time and live in any different era (and location) throughout history... When/Where would it be?

When I was a kid I would have picked the Wild West. I wanted to be Calamity Jane or a rider for the Pony Express.

In high school I was super obsessed with Paris in the 1920s: Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, Gertrude Stein... Midnight in Paris would have been my dream come true!

Noodle in Paris! May 2013

Then in my early twenties I went through a phase when I was really into memoirs of colonial Africa, such as The Flame Trees of Thika and Out of Africa and Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight. Also, I read West with the Night by Beryl Markham, and for a long time a quote from that book was my personal mission statement: "It is no good anticipating regrets. Every tomorrow ought not to resemble every yesterday.”

As you may have guessed, I had a penchant for romance and adventure.

I'm currently reading Circling the Sun by Paula McLain, which is a novel about Beryl Markham. She grew up in Kenya in the early 1900s, where her father trained and bred racehorses. She became a trainer herself, and then become a pilot in the 1930s and was the first person to fly across the Atlantic east to west. Very Amelia Earhart, except no one has ever heard of her.

Sidenote: Paula McLain also wrote The Paris Wife, about Hemingway's first wife Hadley in Paris in the 1920s. It seems that Paula and I might have some things in common.

Sometimes I think the younger Kelly would be disappointed with how my life has ended up. It's so normal! And sometimes now I do have these moments of struggle to find the "adventure" in everyday life. But overall the current (and hopefully future) Kelly is pretty content with the way things are.

My current motto, from a poem by Marie Howe. A reminder to be present and grateful.

It's just fun to daydream about what it would have been like to live back then - Wherever, whenever, your particular back then might be. (Oh, I didn't mention Jane Austen time, That's another good one). Jonathan's vote is ancient Greece. My friend Megan would pick the Gilded Age in New York.

What about you???

Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day Weekend

I'm going to start this recap with today and work backwards because today was the most fun!

Monday:

In the morning I went with my mom and Swede to a park by the river. There is a little sandy beach and Swede had so much fun playing in the sand and water.

 Muddy hands = Happy toddler

Then we had a great picnic lunch including my favorite Caprese sandwich from a local bakery. (And a gingersnap cookie, of course).

I had to work during nap time but then we went on a family hike around the neighborhood.

Swede is obsessed with this rock. We have to stop and visit on every hike.

Come on, Let's go!

These two! I die.

We went out to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. It appears that Swede is taking after Jonathan who loves Mexican food. She had a cheese quesadilla, avocado slices, refried beans, rice, and horchata. And a few chips and salsa - She kept wanting to try it but it was too spicy!

Sunday:

One of my New Years Resolutions was to start going to church again, and it's taken me 8 months to do it! Better late than never. This was Swede's first time at church and she did really well.

My nap time project was to make another page for the Quiet Book!


This one was more difficult than the house last week. Cutting out the branches on the tree was a little tedious. The idea is you switch the flowers, green leaves, and autumn leaves on the tree for each season. The grass at the bottom is a pocket to store the flowers/leaves not being used.

In the evening I watched Dan in Real Life <--One of my favorite movies. Always makes me want to have a big loud family! That is unlikely to be a reality since we're sticking with two kids and it doesn't look like there will be any cousins.

Saturday:

It was off-and-on rainy all day. We ran errands and took care of chores around the house and played with Swede. The big excitement of the day for her was learning how to "jump" off the very bottom stair to the floor.

We went to the library where pretty much every hold I'd placed in the last six months had come in.

I have three weeks to read all these books!

Book of the week: The Rocks, by Peter Nichols. I gave it 4 stars on Good Reads. I think I heard about this book because it was featured on The Skimm (<-- Basically my only source of news). It's the story of two intertwined families on the island of Mallorca. The interesting part is that the story is told backwards. It was a little strange - The characters you meet as grown-ups in one chapter are teenagers in the next chapter, and toddlers in the next, and then not even born - but interesting and well-written. This book and The Vacationers has made me add Mallorca to my list of dream vacation destinations!

Bonus photo of Swede for the road:

My new favorite photo

Back to the salt mine tomorrow. Hope you had a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A to Z Quiz

I think maybe the reason I decided to start a blog was to do fun surveys like this one!

Age: 34

Biggest fear: This isn't my biggest legitimite fear, but I think "animal people" are super creepy. Body-of-a-man-Head-of-a-donkey type situations. Midsummer Night's Dream is a no-go. The centaurs in Harry Potter? I'll look away and you just tell me when they're gone.

Current time: 8:41 am

Drink you last had: Currently drinking my beloved daily vanilla latte.

Easiest person to talk to: Good ol' bestie-face Laura

Halloween 2014 before going to see Dracula at the Colorado Ballet

Favorite song: "Abel" by The National. Probably the reason I'm married to my husband! Not that song specifically, but he introduced me to the band, and two weeks later we went to a show - They opened for R.E.M. at Red Rocks in June 2008! And... The rest is history!

Grossest memory: When Swede had the stomach flu last April and threw up all over me. I've experienced my share of spit-up and vomit since she was born, but this one was so... chunky.

Hometown: Durango, Colorado

In love with: My husband. (Except when he's driving me crazy. Then I'd have to go with Paul Newman.)

Jealous of: "Perfect" people. You know... Those people whose hair and makeup and clothes and children and marriage and house and vacations are all Pinterest-perfect all the time? I know their lives are messy and complicated just like the rest of us, but it looks so perfect from the outside.

Kindest person you know: My mom

Longest relationship: Jonathan and I started dating in June 2008.

Middle name: Elizabeth, after Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. One of my very favorite books. I love that this is my middle name. My mom's copy of P&P was a Christmas gift from my dad when she was pregnant with me, and my copy was an anniversary gift (#1, paper) from Jonathan.

Number of Siblings: I have an older brother named Rob.

At the San Diego Zoo in May 2010

One wish: That I could be more present in the moment

Person you spoke to on the phone last: I work from home so most of my phone calls are to/from clients and co-workers.

Question you're always asked: When I go to Denver for work every couple months everyone asks, "How's the baby?" This last time it took me a minute to realize they meant Swede. She doesn't seem like a baby anymore! I'd say, "You mean this one?" and point to my stomach.

Reason to smile: My sweet goofball daughter

 Pretending the world is upside down is serious business

Song you last sang: Itsy Bitsy Spider. Swede does the most adorable hand motions.

Time you woke up: I woke up at 5:30 today thinking, Did the alarm already go off? Nope. It goes off at 6 during the week and I'm usually up by 6:15.

Underwear color: Pink

Vacation destination: I've spent a week at La Jolla Shores near San Diego probably 15 out of the last 20 years. Planning my first trip there with the kiddos for next summer!

August 2013 when I was pregnant with Swede

Worst habit: Overreacting to minor annoyances

X-Rays I've had: I broke my arm when I was 5.

Your Favorite Food: Ice cream

Zodiac Sign: Leo

Happy Wednesday!