Monday, March 29, 2010

A Food Revolution


Ezra chopping lettuce for taco salad. Canaan slicing roasted peppers for fish taco night.

I was so excited last week when Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution started showing on TV. I am a huge JO Fan and have followed his career, including his food revolution in England.
His food revolution, if you have no idea what I am writing about, is his crusade to improve school lunches and the way kids and families eat overall. Very insightful and educational. Canaan and Ezra have been watching it with us and are equally as intrigued by the show, and Jamie.

I feel we eat really well as a family. We make about 80-90% of our food from scratch and what we buy already made is chosen with much care and attention. With that said, my kids are not above asking for McDonald's on occasion or a Wendy's hamburger. And there are those times that we will "splurge" (although eating awful food isn't really a splurge) and get fast food.

I enjoy cooking many unique and out-of-the-ordinary meals. I like to expose the kids to as many flavors as I can and join them in the process of making the meal. But I am also realizing that making a meatball sub or chicken fingers at home is important too. Showing the boys that "fast food" made at home is healthier but more importantly tastes even better! Both boys love our rendition of fettuccine Alfredo~ made with homemade pasta that the boys help roll out and a lighter cream sauce they can help whisk. Both love buffalo chicken fingers made with homemade breadcrumbs and tossed in a healthy buffalo sauce.

Getting the boys in the kitchen cooking with Mike and I has been the most vital element to their enjoyment of food. When Canaan was a little over a year old I would put him on the kitchen island and give him a bowl, measuring spoons and a whisk along with all sorts of dry ingredients. He would sit there while I made dinner making his own creative dishes. By the age of 3 he was making his own scrambled eggs and helping with most meals.

And as most of you know, at the age of 7 he now owns a marshmallow company and is constantly coming up with new creative ideas for meals and treats.
If you watch the clip from the link above, you'll see Jamie discussing how many kids nowadays don't even know how to use a fork and knife. So many foods are finger foods that children don't need utensils to eat. Very shocking and sad indeed.

The show has given me a renewed purpose to continue feeding our boys well and stay as far away from the processed stuff as we can.
Thanks to people like Jamie who take on these kinds of crusades!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Super Healthy (and yummy!) Meatball Subs



I picked up this cookbook a few weeks ago for my friend's birthday and bought a copy for myself as well. Everything from it has been really good and last nights meal~ meatball subs ~ was no exception.
I took a few liberties with the recipe but overall followed the basic premise:

1 lb lean ground turkey
1 slice whole wheat bread, pulsed in food processor
1/4 cup grated parmasean
1/2 cup shredded carrots (I pulsed mine in the food processor along with the onion)
1/2 cup onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 T. parsley
2 t. thyme
1 lg. egg, beaten
1/2t salt and pepper to taste

Preheat broiler. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Form into 2 1/2" balls and place on the baking sheet. Broil until browned about 10 minutes.

Place 3 meatballs on a hoagie roll. Top with marinara and mozzarella cheese.


Meatballs before going in the oven


Meatballs just out of the oven

And did I mention that these are really healthy? Veggies in the meatballs and lean turkey. My kids said it tasted better than Subway too!

Monday, March 22, 2010

He's One Month Old



Yes, can you believe it? One month already has passed. Little Othniel has gone through well over 200 diapers, nursed well over 300 times, and slept so beautifully in our arms for the past 30 days.

We all are adjusting well to his arrival. Even the lack of sleep doesn't seem to be affecting us as much as it had in the beginning. Canaan and Ezra are exceptional big brothers...only occasionally arguing about who gets to look in Otto's eyes when we are driving in the car.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hello Sun

Oh how nice the sunshine has been. After a long, cold, icy, snowy winter (which I am not complaining about...because I really do love winter) it is nice to have some sunshine warming the house each day. The sun has inspired my new summer handbags and coin purses. They have been fun to make and although I don't usually make anything for myself, I think I may need one of these bags for the pool this summer.



The afternoon sun that pours into our kitchen has also inspired some 2pm painting while the boys nap. I have been listening to lots of jazz during these power painting sessions too which is fun, inspiring, stress relieving, and energizing.

Here's to many sunny days to come!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Friendships



I have been thinking alot about friendships lately. Not just about friendships, but the way those friendships impact my daily life.
To be quite honest, with as much as we have moved over the past ten years I find it hard to truly invest in solid relationships with other women. I have had some extremely close relationships that have fizzled over time because of distance and that seems to make it more difficult for me to put myself out there and risk the same heartbreak and sadness again.
With that said, I do have some amazing girlfriends. Some live here, some are a days plane flight away~ but no matter the distance, I cling to the relationships I have with these precious gals because frankly I don't think I would have an ounce of sanity without them.
My life is daily impacted by these friends.
I can be having an absolutely miserable day and a phone call from Kristie can put everything back into perspective and help me realize that I am not alone in this crazy thing called motherhood. Kristie motivates me to be a better mom and a better friend. She is simply amazing.
In my little studio space at the top of the stairs I have a cork board filled with inspirational photos, quotes, and tidbits. Tacked to it is a printed out copy of an email my sweet friend Crystal sent me when we first moved to Lexington 6 years ago. We had just left Florida and left a great community of friends, including Peter and Crystal. Several weeks after our move, Crystal sent me the most powerful and encouraging email. She wrote out a prayer for me and since that day I have often re-read that prayer tacked to my cork board and been once again reminded of the importance and vital necessity of support and care in our friendships.
One of the furthest in distance, but closest to my heart friends is Jen. She lives in Papua New Guinea and although our emails are sporadic, they are such a source of encouragement and joy. We have seen each other only a couple of times in the past 10 years but when we do have time together it is as if we haven't missed a beat.
And then there are the unexpected friends. Friendships that have evolved through a common bond of motherhood, interests, or struggles. These friendships always amaze me. Pam is one of those friends. In college, although we lived on the same floor, we never spent time together. But in recent years we have connected. She has her life in Minnesota and I have mine in Kentucky. But we share in many of the same dreams for our lives and her friendship is a source of inspiration to me.
The list could go on and on. Each person brings something unique to my life and brings out in me something that only they can.
I share about these gals in my life because as I live longer on this earth, I am even more sure than ever that cultivating friendships is essential in our lives. It is very easy for me to focus my attention on my children and husband and come to the end of a week and realize that I haven't reached out to anyone else! I have poured so much of myself into our home and family that I have let other relationships take a back seat.
Often our TV culture portrays women's relationships as catty, thwarted by jealousy and too high maintenance to invest in. Thankfully, I have not found this to be the case in my life. I am blessed with relationships that have are full of mutual respect, a willingness to support and encourage one anothers life endeavors, and a level of humbleness and forgiveness that is necessary for any true, lasting friendship.

Gifts From Afar


The boys were surprised and ecstatic to each receive envelopes in the mail from New Zealand yesterday. In each of the 3 envelopes were a pair of socks with adorable kiwi birds on them.
A dear person in our lives sent them while vacationing in New Zealand. We are so blessed with wonderful friends and family!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Feeling Pretty




I have been thinking alot about fashion lately. Clothes, hair, beauty products, etc... It began during my pregnancy. I discovered this new found love with Sephora. I had heard of women just going bonkers over Sephora stores but I have never been one of them. Overall, I have been the type of gal to stick to a basic beauty routine; wash my face, put on moisturizer, brush some bare minerals on and head out the door.
That began to change though during my pregnancy when I was feeling frumpy and not too sexy in those maternity jeans and oversized shirts. I really wanted to be that hot sexy pregnant mama but really had no desire to spend money on designer maternity clothes that I would never wear again.
So I turned my attention to skin care for nine months. I didn't do this intentionally but I noticed myself meandering for long periods of time in Sephora or Ulta, reading up on the latest moisturizers in Marie Claire, and watching late night QVC when Philosophy was featured.
Part of me finds this to be slightly indulgent and unnecessary. I have traveled to remote parts of third world countries and seen the most basic standards of living. A part of me that rejects this idea of spending extra money on unnecessary things because...well really they aren't necessary.
But then I also began to look at things in another way. It actually ties in with the idea of "homemaking". Homemaking for me, or the idea of making a house a home, is not just in the decor I choose to use on our mantle, the table setting we set when entertaining guests, or the meal I make for dinner. It is also in the overall attitude and environment of our home. And frankly, I feel much more energized, engaged, and happy when I take care of myself- which directly correlates with the energy of the home.
So all this to say, that I have given myself permission. Permission to think more about fashion and beauty and not feel guilty about it. Permission to take a longer shower and use yummy smelly soaps and lotions. Permission to spend a bit of money on a new lipstick or earrings from time to time.
Of course, all of this will be done frugally, but it will be done not because I deserve it ( I have a pet peeve when people say that), but because my family deserves to have a mother and wife who can daily feel beautiful and bring a level of energy and spunk to the home that happens when I put a spritz of perfume on or wear extended lash mascara...just because.

(as a side note; writing this post reminded me of a book I read in college called "Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman". An interesting read, although slightly old-school, but still has some good nuggets of wisdom).

Tennis 101



Tennis is a favorite sport around the Smith home. Both Mike and I played in high school and Canaan has favored tennis over every other extra curricular activity, thus far. Now Ezra seems to be getting in on the action and has been begging for weeks now to get outside and play tennis.
With a warm streak this weekend, we headed to the park yesterday (Otto's first park trip) and played a bit.



It is nice to have a family sport to all share in. It has been nice over the years to play matches with Mike and have a mutual way to burn calories and have fun together.
We are thankful for warmer weather, although winter is still a close second to fall as my favorite time of year.
We are anticipating lots of outdoor play, bonfires, grilling out, gardening, and tennis matches in the coming months.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Sleep? What's that?

Sleep seems to be a forgotten word in this house now days. Otto is finding the hours between 2am and 7am most enjoyable for wakefulness and nursing. Oh how tiring this is for mama and daddy.



In the midst of the grogginess of the day we seem to be managing nonetheless. I am not back to sewing yet but have been taking a few minutes each day to cut patterns for future sewing projects.
I am not looking forward to next week when life really gets back to normal (i.e. dad heads back to work).



For now I will gladly enjoy having an extra set of hands to help change diapers, make Ezra's lunch, throw in a load of laundry, and clean up bowls after breakfast.


(click here to see the new shop)

In other news, I have finally launched a little online Etsy store. Previously I sold on Big Cartel but for the most part, all that I have made in the past I have sold to shops locally or through custom orders. From all that I have heard and read from other Etsy sellers (even the top sellers), making your first sales can take months. I am not too stressed about it. I am thankful to have a loyal cliental here locally although having an additional business online would be great too!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Having Him Home


Yes having Otto home with us is great, but the "him" I am referring to is Mike. He has a 2 week paternity leave and I am just absolutely giddy about having him home with us.
The first 5 years of our marriage were spent together, almost continually. We did full time missions work and were able to travel, work, play, entertain friends, and enjoy life together. Many couples would find that a bit hard to do, but we thrive on our time together.
For over six years now we have lived a "normal" American life. Mike is off to work each morning and home again for dinner. The kids demand most of our time in the evenings and by the time they are in bed we are ready to fall into bed ourselves.

We have always dreamed of owning our own company. Something we can do together each day. Having him home these two weeks has made us even more motivated to continue pursuing our dream of working together again.

We have stayed up late into the night and spent quite a few long car drives talking through our dreams and ideas to work towards that goal.
I'll keep you posted...