Thursday, September 19, 2013

third trimester

We’re officially beginning the third trimester this week at 28 weeks. Super excited to be at this point because the baby is doing fantastic, I’m feeling good and enjoying these weeks of actually looking unmistakenably pregnant. It happened just as we were leaving child care so everyone we were seeing on a daily basis knew Owen had a sister on the way and then entering elementary school it’s pretty clear. So a quick photo (which I’m still taking the old fashioned way) to document this landmark.

I was able to get by all summer in my shorts and after next week all the tanks, sandals and shorts are going away. I’ve started pulling out my fall clothes and the timing of this pregnancy is perfect for dressing up. I’m loving scarves, light jackets, cardigans and boots. I kinda feel like if you dress up while pregnant you feel better about the whole experience. Making it work is all part of the fun, granted it can be a bit of a challenge. Having said that, I’m still fitting in my regular jeans & clothes - for now - but I went ahead and purchased 2 pairs of maternity leggings (the best thing to wear pregnant!) & a pair of jeans from ASOS mail order and then have 2 pairs of stored maternity pants (black skinnies and jeans) I bought in March on an H&M mark-down. So I feel set to adjust through these last 3 months and hope to post more pics if I can convince Nuno to be a photographer for me (or teach Owen – hehe).

And now to talk about a recent recipe. I’m all over Smitten Kitchen right now, it’s my stand-in when Everyday Food can’t keep up with my new recipe demands. As tomato season is unfortnetly coming to a close we recently tried Deb’s Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes [Pomodori Ripieni di Riso]. I like the idea of a creamy rice filling on a stuffed vegetable and super juicy tomatoes are the perfect vessel. The prep was super quick but they took a little while to bake. Although we were happy with the results Nuno felt that the stuffing might have been tastier with a meat or cheese addition to filling. Which I agree, this meal is great for a light vegetarian dinner. We paired it up with foccacia to help round it out a bit.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

school lunches

With Owen entering school things have changed quite a bit for him, all of which I’m pleased to report are positive & exciting. As a parent though, the biggest change we’ve undergone is having to make school lunches. We’ve been fortunate enough to have spent the past 3 years sending Owen to a child care that prepared meals on-site. Naturally, bringing a lunch has its limitations, sorry Owen, no more piping hot Sheppard’s Pie and Mac n’ Cheese. Just before he left his child care I asked for photocopies of their monthly menu plans to try my best to find items easily transferable to a lunch box and, luckily, many were. I also researched on Pinterest, but if you do a keyword search for school lunches you’ll find some of the most artistic and totally unachievable on a daily basis examples where people dress up food into art. I believe food should be fun, but maybe I’m just a little lazy to ever imagine it would be possible to carve Kawaii radishes daily for a lunch box. What I decided to do was get Owen involved in making items for his lunch to get him interested in what he was eating. We started by trying these Zucchini, Banana and Flax Muffins from Everyday Food magazine September 2011. In some of my entries for the past 2 years I’ve shared how Owen is always a willing participant when it comes to baking and having a helper and kitchen baking buddy is so much fun. Here he is with a job custom-made for a three year old, mashing bananas.

It’s pretty funny, I’ve had to give Owen a little lunch demonstration every morning. I want to be sure he can open all the containers and he knows which item goes with what. For example, I gave him hummus with veggies, but his orange slices were also in the same cooler bag, so I did my best to explain that the orange slices aren’t very tasty with hummus. It all got eaten, so I’m assuming it’s working. 

Because we’re new to this and are always looking for more ideas, if you have any to share – please do! In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few simple and mostly healthy school lunch ideas we’ve put together as a starting point for reference. Right now I’m attempting to keep all lunches to finger foods just to make it simple to start. Some of the listed items require a fork & spoon, but all can be eaten cold. Photos and much reference courtesy of where else but the ever resourceful Martha Stewart. 

Bagel with Cream Cheese
Bean and Cheese Quesadilla
Pea Butter and Jam Rolls / Sandwich
Ham & Cheese / Turkey Ranch/ Chicken / Tuna / Salmon Salad Sandwich
Savoury Waffle Sticks
Sweet and Sour Meatballs with Brown Rice
Homemade Pizza
English Muffins with Ham and Cheese
Whole Wheat Croissant with Ham and Cheese
Fried Rice
Chicken and Vegetable Stir-fry with Brown Rice
Macaroni and Cheese
Avocado Sandwich / Open Face Toast (dying to try this one with Owen)
Leftovers Pita in a Pocket (such as a slice of meatloaf)
Tortellini with Peas
Chicken Fingers with Plum Sauce
Mini Turkey Meatballs w/ Bocconcini, Garlic Bread and Marinara Dip
Crepe Roll Ups (Sweet - Pea Butter and Jam or Savoury - Ham and Cheese)
Sweet or Savoury Hand Pies
Broccoli & Pasta Salad

Snacks / Sides:
Dried fruit
Tortilla Cups with Yogurt and Fresh Fruit
Toasted Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Pita Triangles with Yogurt Dip
Graham Cracker Sandwiches with Mashed Fruit Blended with Cream Cheese
Veggie Sticks with Ranch Dip
Homemade Oatmeal / Pea Butter / Chocolate Chip Cookies
Whole Wheat Tortillas Pinwheels with Apple Butter
Pitas Wedges / Pita Bites with Tzatziki or Hummus
Fresh Fruit & Dip
Applesauce Pouch
Banana Bread
Muffins (Raisin Bran, Blueberry)
Homemade Trail Mix with Yogurt
Ants on a Log
String Cheese
Yogurt Tubes
Whole Wheat Crackers with Pea Butter or Cheese Cubes
Digestive Cookies / Arrowroots
English Muffin with Jam
Rice Cakes
Fruit Leather
Frozen Fruit (grapes and sliced bananas)
Popcorn Balls

If I have time later I'll link to some of these recipes online

Friday, September 6, 2013

labour day weekend 2013

With the recent switch-up in routine in having Owen enter elementary school I realized I forgot to blog about this past Labour Day Weekend. Not that there is a whole lot out of the ordinary to say, we do the same thing every year because we love to. We visit Sarnia to spend time with my grandmother.
Part of our tradition is to always stop off in London to visit Storybook Gardens in order to break up the drive a bit. On Saturday before we hit the road I did a quick Google for a refresher on how to get to Storybook Gardens where I discovered they were celebrating their Star Wars Day. Talk about perfect timing! There was even a discount on admission for kids who chose to dress up. From our experience at the NF Comic Con, we thought we’d find out if Owen was interested in wearing part of his Jedi costume, to which he was thrilled! So here’s a montage of that little adventure.

We had a wonderful visit catching up with family in Sarnia, we always really enjoy our time there. It’s hard when family isn’t close by, but what time we do spend is great for making memories. My aunt, uncle and grandmother came with us to the Animal Farm – another of our annual Labour Day traditions.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

first day of junior kindergarten

I mentioned a couple posts ago about how Owen is starting school. It seems pretty mind-blowing sending a three year old to elementary school, but seeing his ability & desire to learn and all the knowledge he gained from child care I was looking forward to seeing him step up to the next level. We’d been preparing him for school for about a month now by reading books about kindergarten, taking him to his new school, having him choose lunches and explaining what will be different between child care and big kid school. All this talking-up got him pretty stoked for his first day. 
Here he is doing a dance (that kinda looks like the puppetmaster) before leaving on the first day. He was so excited, which is a good thing, right? Well, it also made me a little uneasy because maybe we’d built this experience up a little too much. But when we picked him up after his first day he told us he had a good day even though there were moments he felt lonely. Understandable because he was in a child care with the same kids every day since he was a baby. One of his challenges will be to make new friends. Thankfully, today, his second day, he bounced right out of bed and was raring to return, which was a great relief.

Surprisingly, his first day of elementary school wasn’t as difficult for me as his final day of child care. We’ve grown to love and trust the staff of his child care and saying goodbye wasn’t easy. Coincidently, Owen’s been with the same teacher for 2 years (he moved through rooms and staff shuffle somehow always kept them together). The teachers in the preschool room put on the most amazing send-off.

Look at these adorable chocolate grad caps and diplomas (totally out of nutrition guides, but I’m sure we all agree that parties are the time for treats and to indulge!). They gave us a box of amazing gifts & memories, including a class year book. I thought I’d share Owen’s entry.

I still wonder what sort of embarrassing details the child care knows about us via Owen. 
So, I spent most of the event choking back tears with a full blown sob as his teacher and I were hugging goodbye & thank you (hey, she started it!). I think it's possible I’ll miss them more than Owen will. Hopefully our daughter will get accepted into the same child care here when it’s time.