Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Beach Babes

We booked our beach trip and naturally I am planning away. Any excuse to dream about resting is alright with me. The days are long right now my friends. I'm also looking forward to a cocktail or too! Sam and I usually will take shifts when we are on vacation so that we both get to relax. How do you guys rest while on vacation with little ones? Last year Phoebe was just a wee babe and not mobile. When we took Matilda to the beach for the first time she ran straight into the ocean. Eee! Those little wild creatures. Here are some things on my wish list as well as a couple of things I've already picked up (like those bathing suit bottoms and those little salt waters for Bee). Hooray for summer!

For Matilda: of one sea tank | pineapple bathing suit | silver birks | round sunglasses

For Phoebe: kitty one piece | salt water sandals | sun hat | terry cover-up

For me: high waisted bikini bottoms | coral twist top | polka dot top | black + white dot topturkish towel | bkr water bottle | tortoise shell sunglasses

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Toddler Years

Having a toddler is sort of like having an abusive boy friend. When things are good - bless there might not be anything better. When they're bad, help us all. Let's start with the good... that soft hair, those little cheeks, the sweetest grins, first words forming when you least expect it. It's incredible. However, with toddler-dom comes some pretty exhausting er annoying moments throughout the day. Last week Phoebe fussed constantly when she didn't get her way (she has THE most hilarious "mad" face where she sticks her lips out and furrows her brow).  On top of the fussing came the throwing of food, or herself, to the ground. I googled "17 months" and up pops a slew of "dealing with tantrums" and "your fussy toddler." Ok, cool at least we aren't alone.

It's funny though, right now, as I stare at this picture I stole from instagram (which I love btw) I feel nothing but immense over-the-moon love. All of those frustrating moments of climbing the stairs over and over again at ballet to keep her happy and seeing her scoop up huge handfuls of dirt from my plant and throwing it all over the floor and herself, well they just melt right away. All I see is this glorious smile. This smile I achieved by the way by saying "poop" over and over again. Only high brow humor for the Graham girls. Sometimes with toddlers the bad days are so bad we want to cry ourselves to sleep, but sometimes they are days like today that fill my entire body up with warmth and gushy love. Thankful and there's comfort in knowing if one day really really sucks, the next will be better.

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Outdoor Lighting with Wayfair

Today I'm over on Wayfair's Idea Lounge talking about my love of garden lights and the magic they bring. I share five different (and gorgeous) outdoor spaces and how to get the look. Hope you guys will pop over and check it out! This modern garden shown here kills me. You can also find more outdoor inspiration pinned here and here.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Recap Week Two!

Hope you all had a happy Easter weekend! We had the sweetest day yesterday, only wish I had taken more pictures. Also... I did it! The two week challenge is officially over for me (feel free to jump right in!). I feel stronger and healthier and I can tell that my clothes are starting to fit differently. This week I was very aware of the lack of self care that has been going on since I was pregnant with Phoebe. I wasn't making time for myself, I wasn't fueling my body properly, and I realized the importance of endorphins! I can be a pretty anxious and stressed out person (read: perfectionist, type A, yada yada), being able to release that stress through walking and yoga has been HUGE for me. Also, having a buddy that keeps me accountable has been awesome (thanks, Amy!).

I did indulge in a little Easter treat (or two) yesterday. I think it's important to have healthy balance in order to truly have a healthy lifestyle. If you are constantly depriving yourself you'll be miserable. Knowing that I would be faced with some of my favorite foods, I had very healthy meals and then indulged in small desserts. It was so wonderful to be with family and celebrate and I wouldn't have it any other way. I also walked my first 10,000 steps at one time. It felt amazing to accomplish that! Setting fitness goals for me is huge. I told myself I couldn't come home until I did it, and blisters and all I did. Yay!

From here I will continue to eat mostly Paleo and drink TONS of water. I will also walk 10,000 steps a day, actively exercise 30 minutes a day, with yoga three times a week. The only thing I'll be changing is allowing myself a treat meal each week (which will include wine). Since I had treats on sunday I'll skip this week's. This is how I lost 25 lbs and kept it off for a year. It works! Last time though I wasn't even exercising. That part of the puzzle is new and I am loving it. Hope you'll join me! You can follow along here and I might do monthly recaps. Thanks so much for your encouragement and if you want to play along just tag your photos with #lwgchallenge.

Two week results:

Lost five pounds
Gained endurance, energy, clear skin
Clothes feel looser

Healthy inspiration:

These are some accounts that I really enjoy: @amandabisk (amazing yogi!), @eating_whole (Lauren embodies what I embrace with food and inspires me with fitness, toddler meals, recipes, etc), @mynewroots (love Sarah! she is a wealth of knowledge).

I want to know what inspires you to workout, eat whole foods, etc. What are some of your favorite sites for meal ideas or fitness routines? I'll go first! I really like Lexi's Clean Kitchen. Great stuff!

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Weekend Notes 11

This has been a big week. We finally debuted our patio for the Home Depot style challenge, I tried cauliflower crust pizza for the first time, I have completed almost all 14 days of my two week challenge, there are Easter parties to be had, birthdays to celebrate (my Lynndaddy <3), and I've been busy planning a party for Minted that I'll be co-hosting with Annette Joseph at the Mom 2.0 Summit. Are you going? It's going to be real fun. Excited to see some blogger friends and meet some new ones.

I'm on the hunt for a double jogging stroller. Any opinions/rec? Was thinking about this one.

Hot yoga is my thang. I really love these pants and the price (additional 30% off right now!). I also need to get this for all of my crazy hairs. This towel would surely be better than the one I've been bringing that we normally use to wash the car.

I pinned those crazy delicious looking deviled eggs right here. Need to make two sides this weekend. Excited to be able to experiment. Helps a lot having Sam around. Want to make something out of this book.

Art for kids' rooms and nurseries (or your living room!) that I really love.

So excited for Jen and her family. Love this brave and awesome adventure they are going on!

This has been an interesting week in parenting. Both girls have needed extra love for different reasons and there have been some epic meltdowns. Going to attempt to keep a quiet saturday with egg dying and recharging to get ready for hunting, basket filling and overeating (vegetables - game still on). Happy Easter to all! So thankful for the resurrection and for God's love. I'm such a hot mess and glad that He still loves me. He loves you too.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tips for Moms: Meal Planning

What's that expression... "Fail to plan, plan to fail?" Haha, that's a little dramatic but I think in most of areas of life right now that it holds pretty true. My minutes are micromanaged these days and the micros are Matilda and Phoebe ;). Sam and I are working on making sundays "meal planning" days. I've been making an effort to write out a week's worth of recipes, going shopping for the ingredients and then cooking the meat for the week. Sam made two pounds worth of burgers and three large chicken breasts.

Here's the dinner plan for this week:

Monday: Burrito bowl mondays. Deconstructed burritos! No tortillas, but everything else. Lots of cilantro and sriracha for me please.
Tuesday: Thai Chicken Burgers (Sam made ours from turkey + bison) from It's All Good. This recipe is so amazing and worth buying the book alone. Serve with side salad and fruit.
Wednesday: Tacos. Our favorite "always in rotation" weekday dinner. We love mexican food.
Thursday: We do brinner once a week. Thursday makes us tired so bacon or chicken sausage and eggs it is.
Friday: Fire Roasted Tomato and Basil Cauliflower crust pizza!!
Saturday: Dinner out. Yes.
Sunday: Sam's Sunday Chicken with Mashed "potatoes."

Each recipe is packed with veggies so they're not just meat by any means. Also working on one vegetarian meal a week!

For breakfast the girls love Ezekial raisin bread and greek yogurt and I tend to make eggs + sausage or drink protein shakes after a long morning walk. I also love making a bunch of these egg muffins and popping them in the oven throughout the week.

For lunch it's mostly leftovers... burgers and chickens with salads, guacamole, etc. I try to mix it up so that they have different sides and sauces. The girls eat whatever I eat with more fruit and sometimes gluten-free english muffins with jam or butter.

I have been snacking on snap peas with hummus and spoonfuls of almond butter. Heaven and keeps those sweet cravings away.

You can also prep veggies and portion out smoothies. Sam will make a ton of chocolate protein shakes and then freeze them. If I have a hot yoga glass I'll leave it on the counter and then it's ready to eat when I get home. I really want to stock up on some glass containers like these and edge out the plastic. Would love to hear any of your tips! xo

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fire Roasted Tomato and Basil Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I have been wanting to try cauliflower crust pizza forever! With the two week challenge I've been working on remixes of comfort food favorites and getting creative in the kitchen. Dinner is always a mom topic of conversation, typically followed by "ugh it's impossible with a busy baby" or "I just make the same things over and over again." Guilty as charged for saying both. I was recently sent some samples of Progresso's new Recipe Starter sauces that allow moms to create family meals fast. I thought the Fire Roasted Tomato would make the perfect sauce for this pizza.

Cauliflower is super versatile. We've used it to make mashed faux-tatoes and rice. I think it's sort of the ultimate grain substitute. Here's what I did to make the crust. I'll also give you a more dough-like variation. You can also make a bunch of crusts and freeze them and then add the toppings and delicious sauce for a quick + easy healthy dinner (or lunch!).

Fire Roasted Tomato and Basil Cauliflower Crust Pizza
serves 3-4
adapted from this recipe

You will need:

- 1/2 a head of cauliflower, chopped
- 1 egg
- Fresh Parsley (about 2 springs, chopped)
- sprinkle of chili pepper flakes
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese
- salt and pepper to taste

For toppings:

I used sauteed baby bella mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil.

Preheat oven to 450.

Step one:

Drop cauliflower florets through the top of a high-powered blender (a food processor will work too!) and blend until it resembles "rice."

Step two:

Most recipes recommend steaming or microwaving the cauliflower and then ringing ALL the moisture out before combining with other ingredients. We have neither so I left the cauliflower raw and then added egg, parsley, spices, garlic and cheese. I used a wooden spoon to stir and then my hands to combine. Baking it raw creates a more crunchy, textury crust which I love but if you want more of a "dough" then try steaming it first.

Step three:

Form a crust on a parchment lined baking sheet. Then bake for 15 min or until golden brown.

Step four:

Precook toppings. I sauteed the baby bellas then added the sliced tomatoes uncooked.

Step five:

Remove crust from pizza and add your sauce. I used the Fire Roasted Tomato sauce from Progresso which has an amazing flavor with a little kick. I also love that it's chunky and not smooth. Delish! Spread over crust and then add cheese, toppings as well as a drizzle of olive oil around the crust.

Step six:

Bake until cheese is bubbly, about 10-15 more min. Dinner is ready! Remove pizza with parchment paper onto a cooling rack and let cool about 10 min so that you can cut it easily.

Would love to hear your quick dinner tips! Have you ever made cauliflower crust pizza? Check out Progresso's sauces and let me know which one you'd like to try!

Compensation was provided by General Mills via Federated Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of General Mills.

For more easy dinner ideas, visit here.
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