Sticker Chart

Julia has started showing more and more interest in the potty but recently she’s figured out that asking to sit on the potty will get her out of whatever she doesn’t feel like doing at the moment, so if we’re in the middle of getting ready for bed she’ll ask to sit on the potty to delay the inevitable.  I decided that we should start using a sticker chart as an incentive… so now she gets one sticker for going #1 in the potty and two for going #2.  2.9.2015(6)

We only started using it on Thursday and it’s already gotten quite a bit of use!  Friday night at Chabad (we went for Shabbat dinner), Julia used the potty there twice so she got to put two stickers on her chart for Friday.

She’s still not able to tell us before she needs to go so at this point we still need to ask her if she’d like to sit on the potty but if we ask at the right time (or put her on when we know her diaper is dry after a nap) then she’s actually able to go.  We’re in no rush to actually potty train her because we don’t feel inconvenienced by diapers in any way but it’s nice that she’s starting to be excited about it!

 

2.9.2015(9)Ken was on call this weekend so Julia and I spent a lot of time together keeping ourselves occupied (I cannot wait until Ken’s test is over and done with in a few weeks so we can have family weekends again).  2.9.2015(5)

Saturday morning we went to the Frozen-themed storytime at the bookstore that’s close to us… Julia wanted to stand right in front to see the pictures and she loved that they had cookies and milk as a snack! 2.9.2015(8)

After storytime we came home for lunch and naptime.  At home our special treat for Julia was always that she got to have “Mommy milk” at naptime and nap in Mommy & Daddy’s bed but nursing to sleep for naptime has been interfering with her naps at school so we decided it was time to find a new naptime routine.  I’m so glad that it was a fairly easy process both days this weekend… Julia took naps both days without nursing and without too much of a struggle! 2.9.2015(4)

It means I actually get some time to myself to get stuff done, read, relax, nap, or do whatever I feel like doing.  It was lovely!

In the afternoon we watched Frozen together before going over to play with a friend and have dinner at her house.  2.9.2015(7)

Sunday morning we had Julia’s music class and then our afternoon plans got cancelled so instead we went on a loooooooong walk and stopped at the playground since the weather was a bit nicer yesterday afternoon!  Julia had fun on the swings for a few minutes and then played in the sandbox for a good 45 minutes.  She was “making birthday cakes”!  2.9.2015(3)

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After the playground it was time for dinner, bath and bedtime!  2.9.2015

I don’t like to talk about my work on this blog since it’s a personal blog but I do just want to mention that I am about to finish up at my current job and start a new job in a couple of weeks!  This is my last week at the job I’ve had since July 2013 and it is certainly bittersweet to be leaving.  I’ve been working part time the whole time I’ve been here which has been really nice with a little (fairly needy) toddler but I’m looking forward to taking on new challenges and learning a lot at my new (full-time) job, which I start 2 weeks from today.  Next week I’m taking the whole week off and doing things for myself–a bunch of gym classes, a movie in the theater, some fun reading at a coffee shop, maybe a little bit of shopping for myself (need some new professional clothes for my new job!) and possibly a nap or two in the afternoons :)

I’m sure there will be a steep learning curve and it will be stressful as we figure out what it’s like to have two full-time working parents in a family of 3, and how to handle our new schedule and Julia’s sick days, but I’m looking forward to making this transition.

 

Super Bowl Champions!

This past weekend was a wonderful one!  We got babysitters two nights in a row so we could go out by ourselves and the Patriots won the SuperBowl!

Friday night we went to our friends David & Hilary’s new house!  They bought it fairly recently and wanted to show it to us now that they’ve unpacked their boxes.  It’s really nice–has a lot of wood, nice architectural details, and the kitchen is really nice!  It’s a little too small for us with one 2-year old but suits them really nicely.  They’re also walking distance from the restaurant we went to for dinner, Clementine!

Saturday morning we took Julia to Orioles FanFest!  It was very very very crowded and a little too overwhelming.  She got to meet the Bird: 2.4.2015(11)

and got a balloon bracelet made while she was waiting in line! 2.4.2015(10)

After the part in the Convention Center we decided it was just too crowded to try to do anything with Julia so we walked over to the Stadium where they were giving tours of the Orioles Clubhouse!  During regular tours you’re only ever allowed to see the Visitors Clubhouse so it was really neat to see the Orioles side!  We saw the cubbies/lockers where they keep their stuff.  Adam Jones had laid out his stuff across three lockers for people to see.  2.4.2015(6)

and we got to see where the Orioles practice their batting skills: 2.4.2015(7)

Then we got to go out into the Orioles dugout and even onto the field (not the grass) to take some pictures!  2.4.2015(9)

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Julia was definitely starting to get tired and grumpy by that time so we went home for lunch and her nap.  In the evening we had a new babysitter come over to play with Julia and then Ken & I went out to Corey’s gig at Midtown BBQ.  2.4.2015(5)

Sunday morning I took Julia to her music class, which she is really enjoying, and then in the afternoon we went to watch the SuperBowl!  It was a knuckle-clenching game but ended just the way we wanted it to!  Julia had fun working on some arts and crafts that were set up at the kids table 2.4.2015(3)

and she liked putting on temporary tattoos and eye-black: 2.4.2015(4)

She also got to try on a Bledsoe-signed helmet!2.4.2015(2)

2.4.2015I left with Julia right around half time to get her home and in bed and then I watched the second half of the game on my iPad at home.

Congratulations to the New England Patriots, SuperBowl Champions!

 

Big box!

Yesterday was an exciting day for us when we got home from work/school!

First, there was a big box from Gagee that contained a sweater for me, two sweaters for Julia, some new books and some presents from one of my mom’s Girlfriends.  My mom made me this sweater which matches with a sweater that she made for Julia!  NE2

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This weekend we’ll try to get a picture of me & Julia in our matching sweaters!

One of the sweaters my mom made for Julia is a bit too big for right now (it’ll probably fit her in a year or more.  But the other one fits her perfectly right now and matches with a hat my mom made her a few months ago.  Julia was excited to try on her new sweater from Gagee today and she wore it to school, too! 1.30.2015

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Second, my Stitch Fix box surprised me by arriving several days early!  It wasn’t scheduled to get her until Monday but arrived yesterday afternoon, so that was exciting to see when I got home from work! SF11

This time I requested the same Stylist I had for my last Fix because I felt like she really got my style and what I was looking for and she picked out some fun pieces for me.  SF7

This time there was a particular pair of pants I had seen on other blogs that I wanted to try out so I requested those pants and I also requested a bag.  Here’s what she sent this time: SF10

In case you can’t tell, it’s 3 shirts, the pants I had requested and a necklace.  I was glad she sent the pants but I was honestly a little disappointed to not get a bag.  It turned out okay since I loved the necklace but I would have liked a bag to try out.

I tried everything on myself first but wasn’t really able to get great pictures… here’s the necklace: SF9

and one of the shirts: SF8

but I really had to wait until Ken was free to help me take better pictures.

The sizing on the pants is very funny (according to another friend who got them in one of her Fixes) and so they were so small that I couldn’t even put them on.  That was disappointing, to say the least.  But here were the three shirts: SF6

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The first one I didn’t love.  I liked the color and the pattern, and the style was nice but the fit was a little funny since it was tight across the chest and the upper arms and I didn’t like that it was see-through so would require wearing a cami under it at all times.  The other two shirts I liked a lot… the black one with the studs is nice because it can really be dressed down (with jeans/skinny pants) or up (with a skirt or dress pants) and I like the material and the fit.  And the sleeveless shirt I just love.  It’s a nice silky material in front with just a plain black back.  It fits perfectly and is just really lovely.  I paired it last night with the necklace and really liked the way they looked together! SF3

So needless to say, I decided to keep the blue shirt, the black shirt and the necklace.  Because of the $100 I had in credit from friends signing up for Stitch Fix, I only ended up having to pay $30 total.  That’s a pretty sweet deal for 2 nice shirts and a necklace! :)

And today for StitchFix Friday, I got all dressed up for work in a black pencil skirt with my new shirt, new necklace and a black blazer… here I was this morning looking like a professional Lawyer/Mommy!  SF2

 

And the third exciting thing last night was that we made our 6th Blue Apron meal!  BA5

Ken was on top of his studying last night so he was able to help me with the cooking… first we got all the prep work done: BA4

and then while I took care of some other things around the house, Ken started cooking up the gnocchi!  The recipe has you boil them first to cook them, and then has you saute them with butter in a pan to crisp them up a bit and bring out their delicious nutty flavor.  So that was Ken’s job: BA3

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After the gnocchi are nice and browned, you add Brussels Sprouts, Red Onion, Thyme, Lemon Zest & Lemon Juice, along with some Parmesan Cheese.  The end result was absolutely delicious!  This is definitely a dish we will make again.  It was quite filling but this recipe made just enough for the two of us for dinner.  Some of the recipes seem to make leftovers and some don’t, but honestly that’s okay cause we don’t need leftovers from every single dinner! BA

I’m sad that we’re not getting another Blue Apron shipment tomorrow but we decided to skip it this time because the recipes didn’t look all that appealing to us.  We’ll be just making recipes from our own collection this week and then next weekend we’ll get another Blue Apron shipment.

Looking forward to a nice weekend of fun and football!

Stitch Fix on its way!

In other exciting news, I have another shipment coming from Stitch Fix this Monday!

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If you’re not yet familiar with Stitch Fix, please check out this link:

https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3042303

It’s essentially an online personal stylist who picks out 5 items for you as often as you want (can be just clothing or a mixture of clothing/jewelry/bags).  You pay a $20 styling fee to receive a box but if you decide to keep anything from the box, the $20 goes toward the cost of that item.  You have 3 days to try everything on and anything you don’t want to keep, you send back in a pre-paid shipping envelope.  They take into consideration your own personal style, your preferences, and your sizes and they look at Pinterest boards if you have them, as well as personal blogs.  You can make specific requests (which they don’t guarantee they will honor) and you can tell them if you have something specific you need clothes for (a job interview, a wedding, a graduation, etc.) so that they can pick out clothes specific to that type of event.

It’s a really fun way to add new pieces into your wardrobe now and then, especially for busy people (like working moms?) who can’t go shopping frequently.  It’s nice that you can try the clothes on in the comfort of your own home so you can see what other pieces in your wardrobe the clothes might work well with and if you don’t love anything, you’re only out the $20 which is what you would have spent on gas to get to and from the mall plus lunch at the mall and a coffee on your way home ;)

So check it out using the link above and let me know what you think! I’ll show you after Monday what’s in my next Fix!

Little Miss Independence

Julia has become little miss Independence in the past couple of weeks.  At school, she learned to put her jacket on by herself and now she insists on doing it all by herself every single time.  The problem is that she gets mad if we try to do it for her, so it can take a long time sometimes!  She also discovered that putting on her pajamas is similar to putting on her jacket so she likes to do that all by herself, too! 1.27.2015(4)

Last weekend when I got home with Julia on Friday and saw that she was in a good mood, we decided it would be a good night for a Family Date Night, which we’ve started doing on about a monthly basis.  So we got all dressed up–Julia in a “tutu” (she calls all dresses tutus) and then we went out to Petit Louis Bistro, where Julia enjoyed her steak & frites! 1.27.2015(7)

When we left the restaurant, it was snowing and Julia was so very excited!  She kept saying, “It’s snowing! It’s snowing! It’s snowing!” and jumping around.  At one point, two older ladies were leaving the restaurant and Julia turned to them and said, “it’s snowing!”  I’m sure they thought she was adorable!

We also showed Julia that if you tilt your head back and stick out your tongue you can catch snowflakes on your tongue!  She loved it. 1.27.2015(8)

Since there’s been snow on the ground, Julia always asks me if she can touch it: “I wanna touch it”.  And every day when we leave the house, she says “snow so slippery.”  Safety first!

Saturday I took Julia to Port Discovery, where we met up with some friends who have a membership there.  Julia enjoyed playing in their Diner Area, their Water Room & their Curious George exhibit! 1.27.2015(6)

At one point, Mary had to take her older daughter, Joanna, to the bathroom so I got to hold Baby Lucy for a few minutes.  We took a selfie, of course! 1.27.2015(5)

Then on Sunday after Music Class, we met up with Miss Steffi for brunch while Ken watched the Arsenal Soccer match.  Our girls brunch was a lot of fun, and Julia was excited to show us her “masterpiece!”  1.27.2015(3)

After brunch we went home and played with her “doctor toys” and had a great afternoon!  1.27.2015

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Coming up this weekend we have some exciting things… Friday night Ken & I are going to dinner with our friends Dave & Hilary after first checking out their new house.  Then Saturday we have a new babysitter coming over while Ken & I go to see Corey’s gig play a show at Midtown BBQ.  Sunday we have Music Class in the morning and then of course in the evening is the Super Bowl!  The game is at a horrible time, which means I probably won’t get to watch very much of it but we’ll at least go to the party before the game and for the first quarter or half and then I’ll have to get Julia home for bed.

For now I just have to say, “Let’s go Patriots!”

More Blue Apron Meals

After making a few more Blue Apron meals, I have decided I am a big fan!  Especially during this period when Ken has a lot of studying to do and is busy with things on weekends, it’s really nice to not have the weekly “what should we have for dinner?” discussion, which inevitably ends in us making a few of the same 15+ dishes we make on rotation.  And it’s really nice to not have to go grocery shopping.  Since I last wrote, we’ve made three more meals:

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This Whole Wheat Linguine I made last Thursday night.  It had a really nice flavor from the garlic breadcrubms and the lemon zest.  The walnuts added a nice crunch to the dish and the kale was really delicious with the pasta.  This dish was definitely a hit!  BA8

The prep work took about 20 minutes total and then the cooking itself took about 20 minutes as well so it wasn’t a very labor-intensive meal.  BA7

And the end result looked just like the picture, which always makes me happy! :)

This recipe definitely made enough for both of us to eat plus leftovers, so the portion sizes were generous.

Next up, we made a banana leaf wrapped cod with spiced rice: BA4

The rice and fish were both a little too spicy for Julia but we really enjoyed the flavors.  Ken said his fish was a little dry so it probably could have cooked a little less time, but overall this dish was fun to make, beautiful and delicious. BA3

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And finally, a couple nights ago we made a Tuscan Ribolita Soup:BA11

This turned out more like a stew than a soup.  The bread cubes definitely made it thick like a stew but the egg added a nice something extra on top.  The flavors were delicious in this and again, it made enough for both of us to eat for dinner and we had leftovers.  BA10

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We have another meal to make tonight (a gnocchi dish) and then we’re skipping the delivery on Saturday because the recipes didn’t look all that appealing to us but next week we’ll be back on!  I can’t wait!  :)

Second Blue Apron Meal

Last night we made the Mushroom & Barley soup from Blue Apron and it got wonderful reviews from both myself and Ken! BA4

I did the prep work (which took about 30 minutes) while Ken gave Julia her dinner and entertained her.  BA3

And then after she went to bed I started cooking the soup.  I like that they have you do all the prep work first so that when you’re ready to cook, you just dump things in the pot.  It also makes it easier for families with working parents because if you wanted to, you could do the prep work in the morning and cook in the evening or you could do your prep work the night before, even.

The soup smelled delicious while it was cooking!  I wish I could pass smells along to you through the computer! BA2

And then when it was all done the recipe had us add a garnish of Fennel Fronds & Creme Fraiche, which added a little something extra creamy to the soup!  BA

There was enough for each of us to have 2 bowls of soup last night and there’s enough leftover for one person to have a BIG bowl of soup or for each of us to have a little bowl.  The soup was chock full of veggies so it was surprisingly filling, and the broth was delicious and just creamy enough.  I probably could have added a little more salt, but I’d rather my food be under-salted than over salted.

I’m looking forward to our third Blue Apron meal this week and then to three more arriving for next week!  We’re skipping the following week since the recipes didn’t look all that good to us but we’ll have to see what’s on the menu the following week to decide after that!

Blue Apron

I’ve mentioned Blue Apron before… but up until now we had not actually signed up to receive a box from them.  We had only ever used their recipes which they have available on their website.  Well now that Ken is so busy studying for OKAPs and we still want to make delicious healthy meals at home, I decided to finally sign up to receive a box from them…

Basically the way it works is you tell them what kinds of foods you eat (we said fish & vegetarian) and then they send you the list of recipes available each week and you can opt in or opt out, depending on what recipes are on the menu, and you receive a box of ingredients.  You can also pick and choose a little… so for example, this week the fish was a catfish (which is not kosher) so we opted instead for the 3 vegetarian dishes.  It includes exactly the amount you need to make the recipe–no more, no less–and a beautiful recipe card.  You can sign up to receive meals for 2 people or “family style” meals that feed 4 people and you get 3 meals to make for the week.  So our first box arrived on Saturday with 3 meals and we made the first one last night.  1.20.2015(3)

We started out with the Roasted Root Vegetable Salad.  Tonight I’ll be making the Cremini & Porcini Mushroom & Barley Soup and then on Thursday I’m planning to make the Whole Wheat Linguine with Kale & Red Walnuts.

The salad last night was delicious, used some interesting ingredients we wouldn’t ordinarily buy or be able to find (like a Cara Cara Orange and heirloom carrots), and made enough food for seconds and leftovers.  The ingredients were all very fresh and the flavor was fantastic.  The best part about this service is that if you enjoy cooking and are open to trying new recipes, it takes the planning and shopping out of making healthy meals for your family.  I don’t mind the cooking, and actually really enjoy it, but with busy weekends and a busy 2-year old and Ken having study sessions 3 nights a week, it’s nice to not have to think about what I’m going to make and to not have to go to the grocery store.  Obviously we still need to go for basics like milk, eggs, and things to have for breakfasts and lunches but it’s nice to have three meals all planned out for us.  I might try the family-style meals at some point since they seem to make more leftovers (which would be nice to have for lunches and nights we’re not cooking) but for now I’m excited to try a few weeks of the 2-person meals.  I’ll try to give a full review at the end of the week once we’ve tried the other two recipes.

And our second shipment will be arriving on Saturday with 3 more delicious meals to try!

Let’s go Patriots!

I’m back after a nice long weekend! Ken was on call this weekend so we didn’t have a whole lot of plans. I know I’ve said it before but I always find it ironic that it takes Ken being on call for us to have a lower key weekend.

Friday I picked up Julia from school and we just took it easy in the afternoon, having leftovers for dinner. Saturday we went to the Aquarium with Lara & Jane and then we came home for lunch, a nap and some movies at home.  Julia’s favorite thing at the aquarium were the Jelly-fish.  She would have been happy just watching the jellyfish for hours, I think!  I also really enjoyed watching the Dolphins.  Each time we go to the Aquarium Julia does better than the previous time.  I’m really very glad we got the membership since it’s already paid for itself in just 3 visits. 1.20.2015(4)

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Sunday we just played at home in the morning since it was gross and rainy all day and then in the evening we went to watch the Patriots game!1.20.2015

Ken has become involved with the Baltimore New England Patriots Fan Group and for they playoffs they’ve been watching at Canton Dockside. One lady has taken it upon herself to set up a kids table for each of the games so that the kids can hang out, do some arts and crafts, and generally have a good time. It’s been nice that we’ve been able to bring Julia with us and she can play with play-doh or color while we enjoy the game and good company. The game didn’t start until after 6:30 so Julia only lasted through the first quarter but it was fun while she was still in a good mood!1.20.2015(2)

Of course we are very excited that the Patriots won and can’t wait to see them dominate in the Super Bowl in 2 weeks!

Monday was MLK Jr. Day and Julia’s school was closed for Parent Teacher conferences. In the morning we went to play at JTown and then we volunteered at Levindale for a PlayDate Together. It’s this very sweet volunteer opportunity for little kids: basically a few families will get together at Levindale, a Jewish nursing home, and just hang out… read stories, sing songs, etc. with the residents there. They love seeing the children’s energy and enjoy watching the activities! I think it helps keep them feeling young.

Then at noon, I had Julia’s parent-teacher conference. Unfortunately Ken was busy in surgeries so he couldn’t join me but it was nice to have some time to talk to Julia’s teachers a little more thoroughly and one-on-one. They told me that they’ve been very pleased with the way she’s transitioned to her new school. The biting has stopped completely and she only has occasional incidents of grabbing other kids but they said that’s completely age appropriate. She’s very social and loving towards her classmates and her teachers and they said developmentally she’s right where she should be. She is very observant, very verbal, loves books and music, and is just a joy to be around. The only big problem they’re having right now is her eating… she just doesn’t want to eat. She would rather run around the room playing than sit down long enough to eat her lunch. She’s also fascinated by the texture of her food so there are certain foods (like bagels with cream cheese) she would rather play with than eat. We are working on it at home too and it’s a struggle for us there but we are hoping to help her become more independent in feeding herself. This morning she did a great job showing us she could eat cereal with a spoon (she spilled a little milk but that’s to be expected) and we are going to continue encouraging her to use silverware to eat like a big girl.

One exciting thing she’s learned in the last week: putting on her own jacket!  We lay it down upside down for her and she slips her arms into the sleeves and then flips it over her head to put it on.  Starting yesterday she refuses to put her jacket on any other way.  Little by little she’s becoming an independent little girl!

24-hour bug

Yesterday morning we woke up as usual.  Julia nursed in bed with me, we got dressed and went downstairs for breakfast.  I gave her milk, which she drank very quickly, and then started to give her a banana.  She coughed once so I thought she was just choking on her banana and then she proceeded to throw up all of the milk she had just drunk.

Ken & I assumed she threw up from drinking too fast or from choking on the banana, so we changed her clothes, got her ready for school and put her in the car.  Ken started driving her to school and then called me not even 5 minutes later to say she had thrown up again all over herself.  So we got her out of the car, got her cleaned up and I put her in the bathtub to clean her off.  She threw up again a few times in the bathtub until her belly was pretty much all empty and then I got her dressed again and we spent the day at home watching movies in bed.  I covered the bed with towels just in case she had any more incidents but she was okay the rest of the day and was able to keep clear fluids and breast milk down without any more problems.  1.16.2015

She was clearly not feeling well… she just wanted to lay down and cuddle, nurse, and relax on the bed.  After a (fairly short) nap, she seemed to be a bit better so went on a walk to get some fresh air, and then we just hung out at home until Ken got back.1.16.2015(2)

Around 5 PM I tried to get her to eat some crackers but she was completely uninterested in food at that point, so I just nursed her and she went to bed around 7 PM.  1.16.2015(4)

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She woke up this morning seemingly feeling better so she had some breakfast and then we played at home a bit to make sure she was okay.  After she kept her milk and strawberries down for an hour I figured she was okay and this morning she’s back at school!

Ken is on call this weekend, which means it’s a whole weekend with no plans!  The only plans we have all weekend are to go watch the Patriots game on Sunday afternoon.  The game is pretty late, so Julia and I will probably join Ken only for the first half and then we’ll need to head home for bedtime.  I might take Julia to the Aquarium Saturday or Sunday afternoon but a nice weekend at home as a family might be just what the doctor ordered! :)

Monday is MLK Day so we’ll have a Mommy & Julia day then but this weekend I’m hoping Ken won’t be too busy on call so we can spend some time together as a family.