Our Lives Are Made In These Small Hours

There’s a tiny little life inside of me … I’ve seen you once and watched your tiny heart flutter. I’ve never met you but I’d protect you with everything I am and everything I have. We heard your heart beat and it forever changed us. Nothing will ever be the same. Nothing matters as much as you and you don’t even have a name yet.

I’ve spent the last 15 weeks with you and have already learned so much. You’ve taught me that my body is capable of amazing things. You’ve taught me that your Dad is truly the most patient, understanding, and giving man I’ve ever met. You’ve taught me that even when life is hard it’s worth fighting for. You’ve reminded me that life is amazing. And most importantly you’ve taught me that sometimes you have to wait patiently for amazing things to happen.

You’re my little lemon. I pray you have your Fathers ability to love and forgive. I hope you have his ability to be calm. I hope you get my eyes and my love of life. I picture you as a tiny little talkative smarty pants who can justify anything. Your negotiation skills will I’m sure be the death of me, but I deserve it!

I can’t wait to meet you but I don’t want to rush this experience. I’m so sick but it’s all worth it. I love you ferociously, sometimes it makes me cry! Because of you I will never take a single breath for granted.

I think you’re a boy but if you’re a girl your Daddy is done for! You are lucky because you have an amazing father. He’s loving, and stoic. He’s the most forgiving, strong man I’ve ever known. He has taken care of me since the day I met him, even when I made it an extremely difficult task. He will protect you with every fiber of his being. If you’re ever scared he will make it better, I promise.

So many people are waiting anxiously to meet you. But right now you’re all mine. We are on this little journey together. People can’t help but notice I’m starting to show and everyone is talking about you. I’m sure you hear Grandmas constant chatter about you! You have three amazing beautiful nieces that can’t wait to hold you and teach you all sorts of things! You’re a Seahawks fan… I’m sure you got the memo Grandpa is going to teach you all about football! But for now it’s just you and me. I’m Laying quietly at work thinking about you and breathing in just how blessed I am.

I love you little one,
Mom

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Rainy Sunday = Girl Time!! ImPress Manicure Review!

Last week Influenster sent me the ImPress manicure voxbox. Today Emma and I decided to take these fun press on nails for a test drive!!

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We decide to try out the neon set on Emma because I’m currently sporting fake gel nails already!! I was imPress’ed (see what I did there ;) ) that application was so simple a 9 year old could do it in a mater of minutes!!

It really is just a few simple steps to beautiful nails!
1) Pick out appropriate nails by size for each finger. The kit comes with an assortment of sizes and we had no trouble finding a good fit for each finger.

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2) Use the included prep pad to clean nails.
3) Peel off backing to expose adhesive.
4) Press firmly onto each nail doing thumb last.

That’s it! No wait time, no dry time! Quick, easy, inexpensive, and fun!!

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Removal is just as easy! Peel them off or soak for one minute in nail polish remover.

If you’re like me and can’t paint your nails to save your life these might be right up your alley!! I love all the colors and designs available as well! Check out the collection at Broadway Nails

I was provided these nails complimentary for review purposes. Opinions are my own and unbiased.

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Lemon Pound Cake

Hi friends! As many of you know I’ve gone back to work part time! More about that another time. For now I want to share a recipe with you I’ve been making regularly the last couple months. I always seem to have left over Greek yogurt and sour cream in my fridge. This recipe makes good use of those left overs!

This time around I used lemon yogurt and a few additional ingredients but feel free to do the basic sour cream pound cake by trading the yogurt for sour cream and vanilla for the lemon extract. Also omit the lemon juice, zest and poppy-seeds. You will still wind up with a dense, moist loaf that is great as a base for strawberry shortcake!

The lemon pound cake has a great lemon kick and I like to drizzle it with a little glaze made of lemon juice and powdered sugar.

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Ingredients

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1/2 cup butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup lemon yogurt
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
Zest from one lemon
Juice from 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons poppy seeds (optional)

Method
Allow butter, eggs, and yogurt to come to room temperature for best results.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease and lightly flour a loaf pan.

In a stand mixer beat sugar and butter on a low/medium speed for ten minutes. Don’t skip this step!

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In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

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Zest and juice lemons, set aside.

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Once sugar and butter are light and fluffy add lemon extract and one egg at a time beating for 60 seconds on low after each egg.

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Add in zest and lemon juice and mix on low for 30 seconds.

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Add in half flour mixture and stir to combine, alternate yogurt and flour mixture until all ingredients are combined.

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Be sure to scrape sides of mixer as needed. Stir in poppy seeds if desired.

Transfer mixture to loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes or until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove from pan and allow to cool on rack.

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Starting Over

“You only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low.”

It’s been a while since I posted anything except recipes! I figured today is as good as any to change that. It’s been a long few months. Being off work has not been anything I expected it to be. I have found myself with zero motivation to eat healthy, workout, etc. I have taken giant strides backwards from where I was because running and working out has caused me too much pain. My mental struggles of being unable to get my body to work with me has been a frustrating experience.

On Monday Kevin and I met with Chris, a personal trainer at a new local gym. We spent four hours with him and it was an amazing experience. Having the chance to voice my experiences and frustrations was almost a cleansing experience. I walked away from the session having realized a number of things.

I realized I have spent the last months letting my illness get the best of me both physically and mentally. I have spent all my time focusing on where I’ve been and not where I’m going. I let the past cloud my vision of where I am today and what I need to do to take care of myself.

I realized I have forgotten to pay attention to what my body can do VS what the Lupus says it can’t. I need to be more realistic about my training goals. I need to embrace the good days and accept the bad days with a little more understanding and grace.

Chris reminded me that those bad days are going to be that much worse if I give up all together. Things will be harder if I continue to let my healthy eating slide.

Somedays I won’t be able to do a full workout or run. Somedays I’m going to hurt. Somedays I’m going to make poor food choices but that doesn’t mean I need to give up completely. One slip doesn’t mean I need to fall off the mountain and sit idly by and let it crumble on top of me.

On Monday I decided to spend the next 30 days embracing the life I have. I decided to go back to square one. The past is done with and where I was 6 months ago, a year ago, 2 years ago no longer has any bearing in where I am today! I’ve decided to embrace what I learned and what I was capable of in the past but to leave it alone and start fresh.

My main goal is to listen to my body. Going back to basics will hopefully reenforce the good healthy habits I know I am capable of embracing. Starting fresh gives me a chance to relearn what works for me right now.

Last night I took the trainers advice and took Muffin for a brisk 30 minute walk to warm up my muscles before jumping on the treadmill and attempting my first “back to basics run” of hopefully many. I walked as I needed and felt strong the whole time! Afterwards again at chris’ advice I spent a good amount of time stretching and foam rolling to avoid aches and hip pain. This morning when I woke up I stretched my legs and was thrilled to feel no post run pain! This was a huge victory for me and reminded me that even though my body isn’t perfect and lupus kicks my ass it can still do some amazing things! I am cautiously optimistic regarding my running. I know I can’t push it and I know that if the Lupus pain flares up I need to reevaluate things. But for today I’m calling it a win!

Today was a gorgeous day and we took Muffin to the park for a 3 km walk. It was nice to be out in the sunshine and fresh air. We came home and made a healthy dinner and then I headed off to the gym for an hour workout.

I keep picturing the little tortoise,from the children’s book The Tortoise and The Hare, not because I feel like I’m racing anyone or myself but because he reminds me that dedication and determination are the stepping stones to my own success.

I’ve spent too much time letting my self perceived failures dictate my current endeavors. I was reminded that nothing is a failure, it’s simply an experience. I realize that despite feeling good the last few days my body will undoubtedly challenge me again in the near future and that is why I realize it’s best for me to take baby steps one day at a time. As cliche as it sounds I really believe baby steps are the answer to my getting back on track. Maybe in a few months I will be strong enough to set more substantial goals, or maybe I won’t. Either way I’m fully committed to starting fresh and embracing myself and all the things my body and mind are capable of doing. It’s a much better option than the self sabotage I’ve grown accustom to the last 6 months!

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Chicken Cashew Lettuce Wraps

Last summer I ordered something called “Dragon Boats” one night when we went out for dinner and ever since I’ve been meaning to try to make them at home. Tonight I did, with fantastic results! They are fresh and flavorful. I used leaf lettuce as the wraps but you could use whatever kind of lettuce you like.

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Ingredients
3 chicken breasts
1 cup dry chow mien noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 crushed garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped pepper
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 can sliced water chestnuts drained
1/2 cashews
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Thai chili paste
4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon chili sauce (more for spicier)
Handful of cilantro
3 sliced green onions
1 head of lettuce of your choice

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Method
Heat a tablespoon olive oil over medium heat and toss chow mien noodles in heated pan for 2 minutes, set aside.

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Cook chicken in remain olive oil.

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Once the chicken is almost cooked add in peppers, onions, mushrooms, water chestnuts, garlic, thai chili paste, and cook until soft.

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In a small bowl mix together soy sauce , brown sugar and vinegar. Add this mixture to pan and cook for 2 minutes.

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Add in hoisin sauce, cashews, cilantro, and green onions and cool for 3 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently.

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Serve this mixture on lettuce leaf wraps!

Enjoy this fantastic homemade tasty take on a take out classic.

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Chocolate Chip Muffins

I’ve been playing around with my basic muffin recipe lately and I’ve finally tweaked it to perfection! These muffins are quick, easy, soft on the inside with a little crunch on the outside! They can be dressed up with a streusel topping or left as is for a simple treat!

I’ve done these muffins with blueberries, raspberries and chocolate chips, all have turned out great. I’ve also played with the flour ratio (white and whole wheat) but this batch was for hubby so they are just white flour and jumbo!

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Ingredients
2 cups flour
3/4 cup white sugar
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter (melted)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk
1 cup chocolate chips

Optional
1/8 teaspoon vanilla bean scrapings

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Method
In a large bowl mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, powder, salt)

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In separate bowl whisk together milk, egg, vanilla, vanilla bean paste.

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Stir melted butter into dry ingredients and then stir in wet ingredients, storing until just combine.

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Gently fold in chocolate chips.

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Divide evenly into 12 standard muffin tins or 6 jumbo which have been well greased

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Bake in 400 degree oven for 18 -20 minutes for standard size and 25 minutes for jumbo. Muffins are done when tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean.

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