The Waiting Game

There are few things I’ve encountered less stressful than waiting for a newborn’s arrival with a toddler at home and a husband who works in a field where his days aren’t spent in one place.  While I have a long commute, I’m blessed with a job that ensures I’m always in the same place if a family emergency arises, and we made the choice to keep the kids in daycare near me for that reason.  The only time we feel the strain is when Jason is the only one who can respond to family emergencies (like driving a laboring wife to the hospital).  It worked out fine with A because I went into labor overnight and our only responsibilities were Abby (our Australian Shepherd), three cats and the pile of chickens.  They were all able to keep a few hours until my mother in law stopped in to pick up the dog and water and feed the others.

Expecting with a toddler is a totally new game – one that had him out of work yesterday in a dreadful snowstorm because early labor is just dragging on and neither of us are keen to deliver a baby in our Subaru on the side of a road because we got such a late start to the hospital.  We are fortunate in good neighbors and family who are all willing to take A at a moment’s notice, but the constant mental gymnastics of who can we call if X happens is starting to take its toll.  We have a plan, and a back-up plan, and my doctor’s reassurance that we can bring her to L&D with us if we need to, but I don’t think I’m going to feel fully settled about any of it until Baby M is here, and we know exactly how the nexIMG_3461t 48 – 72 hours are going to play out for our sweet girl, who is so very excited about her brother’s arrival.

So what are we doing to cope with the waiting today, given that the house is about as immaculate as it can be with a toddler in full time residence, the freezer is full of homemade meals, and the hospital bag is not only packed but also in the car (where it has been since the first false labor scare of two weeks ago…ugh).  We’re going to town – to do some shopping and walking and have another Mama/Toddler morning because A deserves all the time she can get before her little brother arrives and throws our routine out the window, and I’m trying to remind myself that things will get more difficult to manage before they get easier, even if it’s uncomfortable to be out and about at 40 weeks.

And until A wakes up after last night’s rough night of sleep, I’m going to sit back and enjoy what I’m hoping might be my last quiet cup of morning tea with only one little one to care for.

Returning to the Garden

Gosh, it’s been such a long time!  About a year ago, I decided to vacate this space for a new home that just never found its legs, and thinking I’d settle in there (without finding an authentic voice), I kept putting off a return to this blog… until I feel like I just can’t anymore.  I miss writing and having an avenue for our chicken and gardening and family expansion that is coming so very soon.  Two weeks ago, we put in an order for another thirty chickens, hoping to find something we prefer to the Buff Orpingtons for meat.  We’ve ordered a mixture of Bard and Partridge Rocks from Murray McMurray and are eagerly awaiting expanding our flock.  We’ve also put in a seed order for this year’s garden, limiting it to our primary stock vegetables (those we can freeze or can and grow organically): peas, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, carrots and garlic (already in the ground and hopefully poking through the snow soon!).

But there’s bigger news.  Baby M will be arriving any day now, joining his older sister who has eagerly awaited his arrival for the past few months.  And in anticipation of Baby M and my almost five months at home with the kiddos, we’ve reinvested in a lot of the sustainable baby practices we did for A: preparing to breastfeed, restocking some of the cloth diaper supplies we needed, ensuring we’re ready for all that laundry, and purchasing a new baby carrier.  With A, I used a Moby (sparingly) and Jason got a lot of use out of our Ergo when she was bigger, but I really struggled with the Moby and I’m super-excited to get started with our new Sakura Bloom ring sling in Peacock, which came in the mail two weeks ago.

We’re counting down the days to spring and all of the new arrivals on our increasingly growing homestead, and I hope you’ll join us again for the adventure.

So happy to be back!


We Eat/She Eats and Monday Motivation

Today marks the beginning of another school year, and though I’m excited to get back into the classroom, I feel much less so about leaving A.  She has great daycare, but my schedule this year is a little tighter than last and lands us at home around 4:30 every day, instead of 3:30.  A celebrated last night by waking up about five times — thank God Jason is the one who does the back and forth to the crib, or I’d be an even more tired Mama.  Along with the return to school comes the return to pumping and scalding my milk because of the extra lipase that makes it really disgusting for poor A if it’s frozen (tastes just like soapy water).  I’m hoping to post about that soon, but it’s such a process that the thought of taking photos of it has been overwhelming in the past.

In terms of exercise, I maintained last week, dropping about a half pound, despite not tracking food via WW and just enjoying my last week of freedom with an evening beer after the little one went to bed most nights.  I did complete T25 Beta, but ended the week with so much hip pain and lower back achiness that I’m taking a week off to focus on yoga and core building.  I’m not sure my post partum body was ready for Beta yet (even though it seemed really fun!), and I’m considering another round of T25 Alpha before I move on.  A lot of reading I’ve done suggests a week off between Alpha and Beta to protect knees and hips from the jumping, but I’m still weighing my options once I get through seven days of twice daily 20 minute yoga work.

Goals for the Week:

  1. Survive the 4 a.m. Alarm Clock – One Day Down, Four to Go!
  2. Live healthily by packing my own lunches, drinking my new Klean Kanteen of water (40 ozs) at work every day, and getting in those 40 minutes of yoga.
  3. Limit caffeine – one cup of coffee a day at school – that teacher’s room pot is sometimes such a siren song…
  4. Make dinner every night – no takeout!  We did takeout pizza last week, and I felt so gross afterwards… then we did pizza on the grill at home and it was So. Much. Better – no grease, healthy toppings, happier tummy!

We Eat/She Eats:

We Eat: Eating Well’s Picnic Chicken, Wild Rice, Green Beans
She Eats: Bits of Chicken, Water Melon, Wild Rice (chopped if large), Green Bean Bits, Yogurt with Pear Sauce

We Eat: Roasted Pork Loin, Homemade, Sugar-Free Apple Sauce, Roasted Potatoes & Steamed Carrots
She Eats: Bits of Pork Loin, Apple Sauce, Potato, Steamed Carrots

We Eat: Chicken Cesar Salads with Garden Veggies
She Eats: Grilled Chicken, Cucumber Bits, Watermelon, Avocado, Parmesan Cheese

We Eat: Cheese Burgers (Grass Fed) on Sandwich Flats, Roasted Fries, Salad
She Eats: Sautéed Ground Beef (Grass Fed 90/10), Potato (baked), Cucumber Bits, Cottage Cheese or bits of Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar

We Eat: Chop Suey (Jason will make with Grass Fed Ground Beef, Homemade Tomato Sauce, Homemade Salsa and Elbow Mac), Green Beans,
She Eats: Leftover Chicken (from salads), Pasta, Green Beans, Avocado

Amelia also turns ten months this morning (5:17 a.m.) – where has the time gone?

Happy Ten Months Old, Sweet Amelia!

Happy Ten Months Old, Sweet Amelia!


Preserving the Harvest: Peas

One of the biggest factors that allows us to forgo takeaway so often during the very busy school year is the amount of produce we are able to put up during the late summer months.  While having a baby has definitely altered the shape of our days (and the amount of spare time I have), we are still going strong, preserving vegetables for the upcoming winter months.  I’ve posted previously about preserving green beans and zucchini and summer squash, but one of Jason’s favorite vegetables is peas.


Quart Freezer Bags

Fresh-picked peas (you want these shucked immediately after picking or the pods get gummy and hard to manage)

Large pot for blanching (with large metal sieve, if possible)


Bowl or clean sink full of ice water

Cookie Sheets

Clean, absorbent dish towels

Before starting, make sure you have enough space for two cookie sheets in your freezer, as you need to flash freeze peas BEFORE placing them into bags.

  1. Pick your peas on a day when you have enough time to process them start to finish.  Pick the pods, shuck the peas, and get started preserving.  If you must, I’ve found that shucked peas are okay in the fridge, covered, for 24 hours before processing.

    Fresh Peas from the Garden!

    Fresh Peas from the Garden!

  2. Bring your water to a rolling boil.  Meanwhile, prepare your blanching sieve and pans (cover with a fresh dishtowel).

    Prepared materials.

    Prepared materials.

  3. Blanch peas (this is where I use the metal sieve) for 2 – 3 minutes, until the color changes to a rich green.
    Fresh Peas

    Unblanched Peas

    Blanched Peas

    Blanched Peas

  4. Place blanched peas in an ice water bath to cool.  I usually just lower them into ice water in a pot while still in the sieve, so I don’t have to strain ice out of them before drying.  Leave in ice water until peas are cool (3 – 5 minutes).
  5. Transfer peas from the water bath to dry dishtowels, then roll peas on dishtowels into logs to hurry along this process.

    Peas, rolled into a dishtowel to remove water.

    Peas, rolled into a dishtowel to remove water.

  6. When dry, spread the peas on a clean, dry dishtowel on a cookie sheet.Toweled Peas
  7. Place in freezer until frozen solid (6 – 12 hours).

    Frozen Peas

  8. Loosen peas and transfer into freezer bags.

    Loosened peas.

    Loosened peas.

  9. Remove air from bag and place in freezer.

    Peas, ready for the freezer!

    Peas, ready for the freezer!

These peas can be used in cooking all winter long, steamed or placed in the microwave and served plain.

Enjoy!  I know we will!

We Eat/She Eats and Monday Motivation

I’m feeling a little low as I write this, having just waved goodbye to my mother and younger brother.  We had the best weekend, and even though we got a little off track on the healthy eating (my mom is an awesome cook!),  I still managed to lose another pound last week and finish the full T25 Week Four lineup.

Hanging with the family before they headed south.

Hanging with the family before they headed south.

So here we are… the Monday two weeks before I go back to work.  A is down for a great morning nap, I just finished the day’s workout, and I’m starting to try to imagine a world in which she and I get home from work at dinner time and have to shuffle ourselves into a routine of snuggling, nursing, and still getting a meal on the table.  Over the next few days, I’m hoping to post about some of our favorite make ahead meals.  Living in a rural area, the takeaway options are nearly non-existent or incredibly unhealthy, so we combat that by making and freezing meals ahead of time to try to help balance evenings when I have to work later than normal.  So here’s our lineup for this week:

We Eat/ She Eats Week Five:

* = Produce from Our Garden

We Eat: Chicken Cesar Salad: Grilled Chicken, Salad Greens, Organic Lettuce, Cucumbers*, Tomatoes*, Red Onion*, Zucchini*, Organic Croutons and Parmesan Cheese
She Eats: Chicken Bits, Cucumber*, Banana, Parmesan Cheese, Cabot Greek Yogurt, Avocado

Tuesday: Plan Ahead & Freeze for Back to School
We Eat:  Meatballs in Homemade Tomato Sauce with Pasta, Green Beans*, Side Salads*
She Eats: Bits of Meatball (working on an Amelia-friendly recipe), Pasta Pieces, Green Beans*, Watermelon, Parmesan Cheese

We Eat: Indian Chicken made with Seeds of Change Masala Sauce, Peas*, and Organic Chicken Thighs, Brown Rice, Cucumbers* in Greek Yogurt with Mint* and Garlic*
She Eats: Chicken Bits, Cucumbers* in Greek Yogurt with Pear Sauce, Brown Rice, Pieces of Peas* (chopped up)

We Eat: Hamburgers on Sandwich Flats with Sweet Potato Fries and Cucumber* Spears
She Eats: Ground Beef Bits, Bits of Bread, Sweet Potato, Cucumber* Chunks

We Eat: Tomato*, Bacon & Pepperoni Pizza on the Grill (homemade crust)
She Eats: Cheese, Chopped up Soft Pizza Crust, Avocado, Lean Protein (Probably Organic Chicken Breast)


  1. Continue to drink more water … I’m really struggling to get to that 10th glass every day.
  2. Live in the moment – summer is fading fast!
  3. Start getting up at 4 a.m. and working out to prepare for the return to work.  Sigh.
  4. Try to get to the blueberry fields.

Hope you’re enjoying a lovely summer Monday!

We Eat/She Eats and Monday Motivation

Somehow, another week has blown by!  I look back over last week, and how much we accomplished even though Jason had to spend the entire weekend working out at his dad’s house in preparation for its inspection, and I am so thankful we’re still balancing things.  Cords have been picked up and put away, more baby proofing has been accomplished, and I finally got to those pesky floors!  And, by some grace of luck, I managed to week and mulch our flower beds and stain the decks before we had company last Friday night.  But to get down to the purpose of this post… last week’s meal planning went great, and A ate what we ate (or what I had planned for her) every night of the week!

This week, we’re getting ready for a visit from my mom and brother (Amelia’s Uncle Sparky).  They’ll be arriving Friday night and staying through the weekend, and since Uncle Sparky lives in LA, this will be his first time meeting little Miss Amelia.  I can’t wait!

In terms of how things are going… I fully completed Week 3 of T25, and with the addition of more careful eating practices, I am down 1.5 pounds!  I’ve noticed some hip pain this weekend, but I think it’s just my body continuing to adjust.  We’ll keep our fingers crossed!  Eating healthily is so much easier with all of our own fresh veggies finally coming in!

Fresh Peas from the Garden!

Fresh Peas from the Garden!

This week’s We Eat/She Eats focuses a lot on what we can get out of our own garden at this time of year: onions, garlic scapes, zucchini, and cucumbers.  The tomatoes and corn are coming, albeit very slowly!  Amelia is also loving watermelon or watery-melon as I call it when I feed her, so we’re going through about one a week, and it makes such a great, healthy snack for Mama, too!

Monday:  Jason Working at His Dad’s House – Homemade Takeout
We Eat: Grilled Chicken and Cheddar Panini Sandwiches on Rye Bread, Crispy Fries, Cucumber Spears
She Eats: Grilled Chicken Bits, Cheese,  Avocado, Cabot Greek Yogurt with Fruit

We Eat: Eating Well’s Easy Salmon Cakes over Salad with Cucumber Spears and Creamy Dill Sauce and Watermelon Cubes
She Eats: Cucumber Bits, Watermelon, Cabot Cottage Cheese, Leftover Chicken

We Eat: BBQ Chicken with Homemade Sauce, Sautéed Zucchini with Melted Parmesan Cheese, Orzo with Herbs,
She Eats: Chicken Bits, Chopped Zucchini (sauteed but before I add the cheese) with Fresh Parmesan (unmelted), Bits of Orzo, Fruit (Mama needs to buy more watermelon!)

We Eat: Hamburgers on the Grill on Sandwich Flats, Sweet Potato Fries, Cucumber Spears
She Eats: Sautéed Ground Beef, Cucumber Bits, Watermelon, Cabot Cottage Cheese

Friday: Mom & Uncle Sparky Arrive!
We Eat: The Pioneer Woman’s Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs (without eggs), Salad, Bread, Green Beans
She Eats: Meatballs (chopped up) without Sauce, Pasta Bits, Green Bean Bits, Bread

And in case you were wondering what meals look like at our house… here’s Taco Salad from last week:DSC_0098

What are you and your little ones enjoying the most this summer?

We Eat/She Eats & Monday Motivation

Though it took me several days to make it (for some reason it fell out of the rotation last week),  we had a real We Eat/She Eats success on Sunday night when A ate exactly what we did – organic chicken sausage (with sun dried tomato and basil) sauteed with organic zucchini and red pepper over pasta (hers was all cut into tiny bites), garnished with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.  She gobbled it up and finished it with a side of Greek yogurt with pear sauce.  She also ate a great lunch on Sunday of turkey (chopped), blueberries (diced) and cheddar cheese with a few Cheerios.  It’s really interesting to watch how much more delighted she is with more seasoned and flavorful food.  Here’s hoping we’re raising an adventurous little foodie!

In other news, T25 is still going great.  The scale still hasn’t moved much, and since balancing nursing with weight loss is such a struggle for me (I’m back at my pre-pregnancy weight, which I’ve maintained since doing Weight Watchers this past spring), I’ve decided to commit to three more months of WW to see if it can get me to my goal weight.  I went off when I traveled home to Vermont, knowing that I didn’t want to pay for two weeks during which I’d probably slide off program, but I’m ready to finish slimming down in hopes that a little less weight might ease up the last of my residual back pain.  I should note that all of these dinners are pre-tracked in my WW calculator, something that I’ve had really good success with in the past.  I tend to eat the same breakfast every day, and knowing what dinner will bring allows me to make better choices at lunch and in the early afternoon, when I tend to be most snacky.

We Eat/She Eats: Week Three

We Eat: Grilled Chicken with Homemade BBQ Sauce, Maple Braised Carrots, Orzo
She Eats: Chicken Bits, Steamed Carrots & Chopped Orzo with Greek Yogurt & Pear Sauce if she’s still hungry after dinner

We Eat: Cheese Burgers (90% lean, grass fed beef) on Sandwich Flats and Homemade, Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Watermelon
She Eats: Sautéed Ground Beef, Cheddar Cheese, Sweet Potato (Frozen), Watermelon Bits

We Eat: Homemade Taco Salad: Lettuce, Tomato & Peppers Studded with Ground Beef (Homemade Spice Mix), Light Sour Cream, Avocado, Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar & Tortilla Chips (garnish – think croutons)
She Eats: Sautéed Ground Beef, Avocado, Watermelon Bits, Sharp Cheddar or Cottage Cheese

We Eat: Chicken, Sautéed and cooked in Seeds of Change Masala Sauce over Brown Rice with Broccoli and Garden Peas!
She Eats: Sautéed Chicken, Broccoli, Chopped Peas, Cottage Cheese

Friday: Possible Dinner Guests
We Eat: Homemade Pizza on the Grill – Pepperoni and Veggie
She Eats: Leftover Chicken, Leftover Broccoli, Cheese, Cheerios

What are you looking forward to cooking this week?


Weekend Wrap-Up

It feels sacrilegious that I’m writing our weekend wrap-up on Sunday morning, but that’s sort of how the whole weekend has felt.  We had an awesome dinner with friends on Friday night, but Jason and his mom have had to spend the entire weekend (and nearly every weekend this summer) out at his father’s house preparing it for sale (we’re under contract!), which has made for a weekend that, frankly, feels a lot like the middle of the week.  I’m not complaining, but it has lent a different feel to the days, particularly since A loves her Daddy so much.

We did sneak in a lovely dinner last night (pizza on the grill) and a quiet early evening together before A woke up for an hour.  When she did finally go down, she slept through the night for the second time ever, so this Mama’s keeping her fingers crossed that it happens again.

Since the summer is slipping away so quickly, I wanted a quick list of things that I’m hoping to accomplish this week.  Not having to drive into work should definitely help with the getting things done, but it’s also that time of the summer where I usually start devoting my mornings to lesson planning again, so we’ll see how it all goes.

  1. Put away A’s Swing.  She hasn’t used it in more than a month, but it’s still set up in her bedroom and taking up a TON of space.  We’re thinking #2 needs to wait a year or two, so it’s definitely not something I want under foot until then.
  2. Re-cord the living room entertainment system.  There are so many wires behind our bookshelves, and A has taken to trying to get them.  I also need to figure out some kind of charging station for the laptop because the old cord across the living room floor to the coffee table is an accident waiting to happen.

    I love this idea from HGTV

  3. Wash the kitchen floor.  Seriously.  Scrub it on hands and knees.  Because if A isn’t crawling on it, she’s licking it like her best friend, Abby the Dog.
  4. Find a solution to the mail on the kitchen table nightmare.  So much mail.  So little organization.  I’m thinking some sort of organizer I can hide away in my kitchen closet.  Ditto for a purse hanger.  I need somewhere other than the floor to set my handbag when I come in.
  5. Put together Katie’s Bridal Shower gift – I’ll share this one with you after her shower on August 2.
  6. I doubt I’ll get to it this week, but I bought 15 yards of fabric in April, and my living room still has the ugly Roman shades that have been up since… Jason bought the house ten years ago.

    Fabric Swatch – Waverly Swept Away

  7. Finish Week Three of T25 – Weeks 1 & 2 are complete.
  8. Keep harvesting peas.  Yesterday, I picked, shucked, prepared and froze two quarts.  All during nap time.  I’m hoping to do a Preserving the Harvest blog post on how to freeze peas that taste sweet and fresh all year long.

What are you hoping to accomplish this week?  Amelia is working hard on standing up in her crib every chance she gets!DSC_0085

We Eat/She Eats and Motivation for Monday (well… Tuesday)

We’re running a little late here because we got invited over to the neighbor’s for some playtime on the porch after our afternoon nap yesterday, but here’s your update:

Goals for the Week:

  1. Continue to eat less sugar.  We did okay last week.  Then I baked a batch of cookies.
  2. Keep pushing the water.  It’s hot and so hard to keep up with nursing A while remaining hydrated.
  3. Snack on fruits and veggies.

T25 is going great so far.  I finished week one, getting all of my workouts in and doing the Sunday Stretch workout, as well.  I feel great and my back pain finally seems to be receding.  I haven’t noticed any major movement on the scale, but I have a lot more energy and a lot of muscle to rebuild.

We Eat/She Eats

We Ate: Tomato & Goat Cheese Bruschetta (we had both eaten really late lunches)
She Ate: Yogurt with Pear Sauce, Cheerios, Watermelon, Ground Chicken (weekend leftovers)
We Eat: Grilled Rib Eye (Grass Fed), Herb Roasted Potatoes (local potatoes with herbs from our garden), Steamed Asparagus
She Eats: Ground up steak (depending on how tender the meat is), potato, steamed asparagus bits, watermelon for dessert

Wednesday: I have to work, so I’ll prep Jason and A’s dinner before I leave.
We Eat: Burger & Homemade Fries for Jason
She Eats: Sauteed Ground Beef (Grass Fed), with Fruit & Cottage Cheese

We Eat: Spaghetti and Meatballs (Homemade – Pioneer Woman Recipe – Frozen)
She Eats: Alphabet Pasta, Cottage Cheese, Leftover Steamed Carrots

Friday: BBQing with Friends on the Lake
We Eat: Bringing Watermelon Salad (Recipe to Come) & Italian Lemon Cake
She Eats: We’ll bring watermelon, Cheerios and Yogurt for A (and likely give her bits of chicken, as well)

We Eat: Sausage, Zucchini, Parmesan Cheese & Pasta
She Eats: Steamed Zucchini, Pasta, and Cottage Cheese

In the spirit of truthful reporting, we managed to follow our menu exactly last week, except for Wednesday when I had to work and I came home and made French Toast for dinner for myself, mac and cheese for Jason and pasta bits, peaches and yogurt for A.   This is the entire reason why we’re doing a freezer meal for when I work on Thursday.  Gone are the days of putting A on her play mat in the kitchen and cooking while she watched on her back.