Sunday, September 14, 2014

Recipe Round-up

I enjoyed doing this last week, and since I'm getting almost all from pinterest, it's easy to share them here :). So, here are some winners from this week!

These were super yummy! Instead of buying ground chicken, I threw three chicken breasts in a food processor and it worked great. I also added cherry tomatoes to the guacamole, and paired it with grilled zucchini.

Herb and Pecan crusted Salmon. We're apparently on a "top salmon with nuts" kick. I wish we had thought to make salmon like this before. With all the basil we have growing in our garden, and pecans from Costco, so it was easy and convenient, and oh so tasty. 

6 Ingredient Slow Cooker Pot Roast | (grain free, paleo)
This one was a little "meh" but entirely due to user error. Our crock pot is very bare bones (I'm hoping for a new one for my birthday/christmas) and doesn't have any lights or anything to let you know if it's on. So, I made the meal, plugged it in, and turned it on, then went about my afternoon. I checked on it about an hour and a half later, only to find it completely cold. Ends up that the outlet needed to be reset and wasn't working. So, I replugged it in, but the damage was done. Dinner wouldn't be ready until 10pm, so I had to go to a plan B. That meant that we cooked this almost completely the first night (we couldn't quite stay up until 10pm), and then finished it the following. Unfortunately, this meant that it got a bit dried out. It was ridiculously easy though, so I definitely want to try it again with an outlet that actually works :). 

Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops and Polenta Recipe
Balsamic Pork. This was a "freezer meal" I made a few weeks ago that was perfect for the night of the failed crock pot meal (I'd already been defrosting it for the following night. It was due to be grilled, but since this was the night Ed gets home late, I opted to pan fry and then finish in the oven. Great flavors on this - easy and as a freezer meal, the marinade really had time to soak in. 

All in all, a great week for food. That said, I'm looking forward to our standing happy hour date and leftovers on Friday nights. Such a great way to celebrate the end of the week. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Our Little Helmet Boy

It's official! Evan is officially a helmet (or, to be precise, docband) wearing boy!

Yesterday was the big day. We had gotten his final scan last week, and luckily it's quick turn around time since the company is actually based here in Phoenix, with the bands made in Tempe. Ed was able to sneak away from work so that we could all be together for this important event.

Somehow, regardless of our appointment time, Evan always arrives tired, and today was no exception. He was only able to get a handful of "power" naps beforehand, which made me a little worried for how he'd do. 

As soon as we got to our room, our Orthotist, Barb, came in with the band and strapped it on. Evan didn't give any real indications at first that he even realized he was wearing it. He wore it for about 20 minutes, to see how the fit was and what needed to be adjusted. After Barb left, Evan kept turning his head left and right, probably trying to figure out this new sensation on his head. 

The band was a little low along the eyes and made his face look a little squished (something they took care of!).

Looking down on the top, you can see the big gap on the back left. The band works by placing light pressure on the parts of Evan's head that stick out further (his back right and front left). It's about the same amount of pressure his head gets from sitting in his carseat. Since it is "holding" those parts of the head in place, when Evan's head grows, it will grow into the gaps of the band, rounding out the flat spots.

He did start to get a little fussy, but it wasn't really the band's fault; he was just so tired. Ed did a good job trying to keep him entertained. 

After the time was up, Barb came back in and made some marks where the band needed to be cut. Then she took it off and looked for red marks. She would come back in about 30 minutes to see which marks were still there, which would tell her where the foam inside needed to be shaved/softened. 

I soaked in a few last minutes with my helmet-less boy, cuddling his sweet head. Then, it was time for much needed nap. 

He only got about 15 minutes before he had to wake up for his final fitting, but his mood was much improved afterwards! We checked the fit a last time, learned care instructions (23 hours a day, hour off to clean baby and band for probably about 8-9 weeks) and we were off. 

Walking back to the car, it was so odd to see our little boy with this white thing on his head. He honestly just didn't look like himself, which was weird. Carrying him, I had to be careful of not bopping myself in the face, and I couldn't lean down to kiss that sweet head anymore. We'll have to get used to some new norms. 

Last night, after he went to bed, I immediately jumped into action to get his helmet decorated, so that it would look less medical and more special and fun. I painted the whole band white, then applied decals I had gotten designed for me by a company that specializes in band decorations. Three plus hours of paint and modge podge later, I was finally able to go to bed. After feeding him at 4:30, I got back up to add some more modge podge so that he could wear his band today like he's supposed to!

I'm tired, but it was well worth the effort. He does look awfully cute. Here's a little 360 degree tour :)

 After putting the band on, came the real test.

Nap time.

Verdict? All is well. Hopefully the rest of his band journey will be just as easy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

California Adventures: Nisene Marks

A trip to Santa Cruz wouldn't be complete without visiting Nisene Marks, the site of our first date all those years ago. We were super excited to take Evan there for the first time - it would also be his first redwood experience!

He may not have been thrilled when he arrived! Luckily, he fell asleep pretty soon after we began. 

We decided to go easy so that Evan could ride in the stroller, and stayed on the fire road. We did take little side paths when we could, though!

It was a beautiful day, and we were very much appreciating all the sunshine after lots of beachfront fog back at our rental. 

Our sweet boy started waking up just as we were nearing the turn around. 

The look on his face was priceless when he finally opened his eyes and saw the forest. To say he was taken with the trees would be an understatement.

And, here's a video of Evan's first view of redwoods!

When all was said and done, it was about 2 hours of redwood loveliness. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

It's Raining, It's Pouring...

View image on Twitter

If you didn't hear, the entire Phoenix area was hammered with rain from about midnight onward, last night. We were up feeding Evan around 2am and stayed up watching the torrential rain and lightning, and hearing the thunder booming. Thunder woke us up a few more times, and when we got up in the morning, we were greeted with an overflowed pool and flooding in our backyard that was coming awfully close to the house. Luckily, all drained pretty well in our area, though there were still many roads closed last I checked. 

By midday, the rain had stopped, so Evan and I took a walk in the neighborhood to check things out. 

Is it just me, or does he look super grown up here? What is happening to our baby?

I'd heard that our greenbelt was impressive, and it lived up to its reputation.

Ed and I decided that it actually looks pretty nice as a lake...

Looking on the side, you can see where the water level was earlier in the day.

In fact, some neighbors in a facebook group I'm in posted this picture of them boating in the greenbelt! This is a thing that people always do when it floods here. I saw video of someone jetskiing through some flooding while watching the news. 

This street was flooded earlier, but was clear and open as Evan and I headed back towards home.

The sports fields didn't fare quite so well.

It'll be a while until anyone is playing baseball out there!

In any event, having a day where the high was only 88 made me excited for fall, or at least when it will start cooling down (late October, early November from my recollection). Sitting with open windows, while getting to relax (during naptime) was heavenly.

Recipe Round Up

I've been spending a bit more time researching and trying out new recipes since I started staying home and eating Paleo. It's been fantastic, as I've found some real keepers - healthy recipes that aren't too tricky. I thought I'd share some of my favorites, in case anyone else is looking for some good new ones to try! Click the pictures to visit the recipe.

This is one of my new favorites! A little more work than some others, but the flavors are wonderful, and as an added bonus, it's super inexpensive, due to the cut of meat.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken & Sausage on
This one was also a great bang for your buck kind of recipe. It made a ton of food (my crockpot was actually too small to make the whole recipe), and was perfect over spaghetti squash. One of the easiest new recipes I've tried, it is the quintessential easy crock pot recipe. 

Slim Palate's Pistachio-Crusted Salmon by Michelle Tam
Pistachio crusted salmon. This one is a totally new way for me to make salmon, but was fantastic and incredibly easy. 


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Hiking Horton Creek

So, Arizona does have forests. In case you were wondering. While they aren't quite the redwoods, they are a lovely respite from the Sonoran Desert. 

So, over Labor Day Weekend, we took the suggestion of some friends, and headed up to Payson, a little less than 2 hours away, and more than 15 degrees cooler. 

We were excited to take Evan on his first Arizona hike. The temperature was just below 80 when we began around 9am. 

It was a beautiful trail, following the path of the creek that gave the trail its name. 

While it went gradually uphill, the trail was quite mild and a very low key hike. Perfect for someone who isn't quite back in shape, and who always sucks at elevation :). 

While the hike goes out around 4 miles, we didn't make it quite that far. 

Not long after this picture was taken, Evan decided that he was done being in the Ergo. He seems to have about a 20 minute limit where he either gets fussy or falls asleep. Unfortunately for us, it was the former. 

Ed was superdad (like always) and unclipped Evan so that he could feel nice and free. We went another quarter mile before I insisted we turn around, since holding Evan without a carrier for over a mile of hiking would be intense.

Ed was definitely feeling it by the end :). While it certainly wasn't the longer hike we'd imagined, we're still really glad that we went. 

We're looking forward to many more outdoor adventures as the weather cools!