A blog about nutrition, food, recipes, lifestyle, parenting, and fun! Here you'll find a healthy mix of real-life meals made from whole ingredients balanced with the pleasures of life, including buttercream frosting and good wine.
As I’ve mentioned, I got an Instant Pot for Christmas. I grappled back and forth for a long time whether or not I wanted one. I already have a rice cooker and crockpot, so did I really need this “10-in-one” appliance? Ultimately the reason I decided to put one on my list was because of the promise of saving time. What takes 8 hours in a crockpot takes 30 minutes in an Instapot*. I don’t use my crockpot as much as I should because of the time it takes to cook things, although I love the crockpot effect. I wondered if it would completely replace my rice cooker – I am still undecided on that. But I kept seeing people make delicious looking recipes in 8 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and since the inception of KERF, “quick and easy” recipes have been my favorite. So for the love of quickness, I decided to ask for one.
*I referred to the Instapot and someone thought I’d made a typo, but that is its nickname!
I didn’t put too much thought into which one I asked for on my Elfster list – maybe I should have? I read a review and got the one the person recommended. It’s the Duo – 8 quarts, so it’s on the big side. That was my first reaction: this thing is HUGE! I’ve gotten used to it though, and I do think that it’s better to have one that can fit more food for the most flexibility.
I was a little intimidated by it at first because I didn’t want to blow my hand off with steam, but I read the instruction manual from front to back and then had no qualms. It’s actually quite simple to use.
While we have made two full recipes thus far – this one and this one – the bulk of the recipes I have tried so far have been how tos.
First: hard boiled eggs. I followed the Skinnytaste tutorial and had perfect luck. So quick and easy. (Although literally boiling eggs isn’t all that hard, I will admit. But I loved that you can set it and forget it instead of monitoring the pot to boil.)
But the real game changer was making an egg “loaf” !! I followed this recipe.
This was there is no peeling and no ice bath – just nice, firm, cooked eggs for egg salad (or perhaps just for slicing and eating?!) I have heard you can use this same technique in the microwave with a slight risk of exploding your eggs everywhere, which I have done when trying to micro-fry an egg years ago and is no fun to clean up at all. So again, the Instapot doesn’t totally invent this technique, but it makes it super easy.
I started with a Corningwear oven safe dish and buttered the edges. Then I cracked in 8 eggs and put the dish in the IP with 2 cups of water on the bottom and the steam rack.
I cooked them on Pressure Cook for 5 minutes + 5 minutes natural release. The yolks were perfectly cooked. Then I dumped it in a bowl and sliced it up with two knives for super quick egg salad! I dressed it simply with mayo, salt, pepper, and dill. Because the eggs were so fresh, the salad was very fluffy. Loved it!
Served with saltines for lunch : )
Lastly, I’ve tried potatoes twice. First russets for baked potatoes which did not turn out so well. I did Pressure Cook for 14 minutes (I was following an internet recipe) and had to do them on another 5 minute cycle to get them cooked through (and they still weren’t perfect). When I did sweet potatoes the next day, I did a full 20 minute cycle and they were PERFECT!
Again, you can bake sweet potatoes in the oven, but not in 25 minutes to be this tender. So the Instapot wins for time.
I love baked sweet potatoes but don’t make them often enough, so they are on my favorites list now.
+butter + brown sugar! (Reminds me of the ones from the old Eppies! Remember them Cville friends?)
Served with a salad for lunch.
It seems that Skinnytaste and Pinch of Yum have tons of good Instapot recipes – like this soup roundup.
The next few things we’d like to try: a whole chicken, one pot mac and cheese, oatmeal (!) and something frozen. As always, I’d love your go-to recommendations!
I usually gather everything I need onto the table before eating breakfast – there are a lot of things! Breakfast bowl of a strawberry Fage yogurt with chopped pear and homemade granola.
Stitch Fix has branched out a bunch since it began, including maternity, men’s and kids! I am excited to start my fixes back up this year now that I’m very close to my usual size. In the meantime, Stitch Fix sent us a box for Mazen!
I filled out his profile with an emphasis on comfortable play clothes, animals, shoes, and “cool” outfits. I was more than impressed with what they sent! They aren’t paying me to write this post and I was under no obligation to write about it – I just thought everything was super cute and wanted to share!
The dino slippers were a huge hit.
Especially with the complete dinosaur-themed jump suit! Mazen loved it.
He made me put on his shark sweatshirt and we had an animal battle.
I loved these Sperry sneakers for nicer occasions.
He got two pairs of Hatley pajamas, which are very nice fabric and always needed.
And a cute little outfit complete with a stylin’ jacket.
I would love to do a box for him every season, and since you can order them on demand, there’s no commitment. Everything in our box totaled $165 with the buy-all discount, and since everything fit we kept it all. I thought the prices were pretty good for what we got, nice shoes and brands included. Stitch Fix has kids sizes 2T to 14 and they send 8-12 pieces. Try it out!
De ja vu. Here we are snowed in again. Thankfully we didn’t get the 10 inches we got last time, but it was enough to cancel school – probably through Wednesday. Ugh!!
On Friday night Thomas and I went on our first solo date since having Birch! Thomas’s mom, brother, and nephew came over to play with Mazen and B while we went to dinner. Do we look pumped!?
We landed at Mas where T’s sister in law took good care of us. It was funny that her boys were at our house and we were with her – family night! We ate all the food! Highlight was a mushroom tart. And the chocolate mousse!
Birch slept EIGHT HOURS on Friday night. He also looks so proud of himself for learning to put his toy in his mouth
I went to ACAC for Chris’s class. I’m hoping this is my new Saturday routine! I had a smoothie with Sarah afterwards and coffee and toast before. It was a great class, as always!
Back at home we carried on with the weekend. Toys for the small…
And the big!
Thomas went to the gym mid morning and brought us Roots for lunch! I am loving the Mayweather kale salad bowls. I removed half and saved the other half for Sunday lunch.
On Saturday afternoon Mazen and I went out ahead of the snow for a little day date and shopping.
I was heading to the jewelry store to have my ring resized when it was so cold out that it fit! I probably still need to have it adjusted, though. It was fun to wear all day – I love it. Thomas and his mom gave it to me when Birch was born. It was her grandmother’s, and it’s the October birth stone – Opal!
A friend of mine had this jacket on last week and when I complimented her on it she said it was from Old Navy! So I went in search of it and bought it – in the lighter color (which is on sale for $22 as of this moment!). It ended up being $30 and although it’s fairly thin, I love the zip pockets. I only buy tops with zip pockets so my phone won’t fall out! Of course I also found a few other things – these high waisted leggings with mesh and this workout tank. I’ll report back if they are as great as the higher end brands!
Mazen saw these footie PJs and wanted to get them to be like his baby brother!! We ended up buying them in this pattern instead. He squeezed himself into a 5T and I couldn’t say no! (Plus they were 30% off). I looked high and low to find them matching with Birch, but they didn’t make these patterns in his size small enough.
We also went to Barnes and Noble for coffee/hot chocolate and some book hunting. Ready for bed a few hours later! (Note all the dog hair already on the footies – ugh!)
Once the boys were settled down, I had a little girls night to catch up with some friends. For the occasion, I ordered an abundance board from Plenty!
It was SO beautiful and a huge hit with my girlfriends!! We totally demolished it too – there was barely anything left at the end of the evening! Also this was my dinner : )
Birchie slept NINE hours on Saturday night – omg!! He was back to 5+4 on Sunday, but the fact that he has slept 7,8, and 9s is amazing at 2.5 months. I hope it continues!!
Thomas is big on weekend breakfast, and we had a biscuits from JM Stock, mini omelets, bacon and fruit.
There was massive Lego building this weekend before the snow accumulated enough for some sledding. Matt took Mazen out on Sunday, so T and I hunkered down at home and snuggled with the baby.
I started my Monday out like this:
Hope you guys had a good weekend! And I hope that our snow is melting fast.
I think I have mentioned this before, but pregnancy is sort of like one long vacation. Not that it’s all fun and games, but that a lot of the normal routine things get paused for 3/4 of a year. Mostly in the fitness department – no contact sports, no pushing it with weights or cardio or heart rate. There’s a general slowing down and being gentle with the body. While I stayed active during my pregnancy, I also relaxed into “easier” workouts. After all, growing a human and carrying around all that extra weight in the front is a workout in itself! It all kind of comes to a grand finale when the baby arrives and your only exercise of the day is walking from the couch to the fridge and back.
Just like when I come home from a vacation craving sweaty workouts and salads, I ended those first six weeks after B was born, coupled with nine months of a changing body, with the biggest craving for workouts. I had a cycle teacher back in 2006 who used to yell out in her classes: “Increase that resistance because you CAN. There are people who wish they could be cycling right now but can’t.” This was a year after I had had foot surgery and my activity was very limited, so I was extra appreciative to be working out again.
I have that same gratitude mentality about workouts these days – I am so thankful to be able to run, jump, and play again that it makes me crave the activity even more. Getting out of breath feels so good. I am already addicted to the endorphins!
I’ve been running inside on the treadmill on cold days and outside on warm days with Aaptiv. I went to ACAC Afterburn athletic conditioning on Saturday and strength class on Monday. And indoor soccer started this week! Also because I can’t just escape to a class whenever I want, I appreciate each time I do get to one so much.
A few weeks ago, I had thrown on sweatpants and a hoodie when I got up and entertained both boys all morning. By 2 pm, I was feeling so gross and grumpy and in desperate need of a shower. It made me realize how much feeling clean with a little make-up on contributes to my mood. And so I started embracing the first-thing-in-the-morning-shower every day, even if I have a morning workout planned.
Before having Birch, I could workout out whenever I wanted. But since babies are so unpredictable, sometimes my plans for a workout and shower while he’s napping change 10 minutes into the nap. I HAVE to shower every day. So I have been showering first thing upon getting up even if I have plans to get a morning workout in during nap time. This results in what I have been calling “Clean Sweat.” The sweat that one produces 20 minutes into a workout after a shower is often scented with soap, deodorant, and sometimes perfume. The sweat without a shower first? Not so nice. So if B wakes up 15 minutes into my workout and I don’t get a chance to shower after, at least my sweat is somewhat clean. (If this happens I take a rinse-off one-minute shower later in the day.)
Showering first but dressing in workout clothes allows me to be spontaneous and roll with the punches of our unpredictable days.
Little B did not nap so well this week. But he did his longest stretch to date at night – just shy of 7 hours! He woke up twice during that stretch making some noises, but he put himself back to sleep both times because I waited to see if his eyes opened before reaching for him. Here’s to hoping that continues! I am LOVING the Halo Bassinet (Bassinest actually) now. When Mazen was this age we went from rock n play (which I don’t like but is good for newborns) to crib (which I could not sleep next to). It’s so much easier to check on B or pat him or put his paci in from my bed with him literally right next to me. He seems to love the mesh sides too. It’s now on our baby items MVP list.
I love mornings! Coffee, sunshine, cracking open my computer and catching up on news and things, feeling like I have the whole day ahead of me. Breakfast foods are my favorite too!
Power toast before a treadmill workout (I didn’t want too much food in my stomach even though I was sipping coffee up until I hopped on. Oops!) Whole wheat bread + banana + PB + chia + honey.
My treadmill (which is 10 years old) randomly decided the incline was stuck at 1.0 and then fixed itself 15 minutes later. No idea what happened but it was definitely broken for a while there! I don’t know what we will do if it breaks down, but I think we would buy a new one. At this point I am convinced that I will continue to use a home treadmill forever, so buying a new one, especially this one that Sherry from YHL recommended for $599, would probably be the one I’d buy. On the tread, I did a 24 minute class on Aaptiv and then followed that with 10 minutes of coached strength training. I also bookmarked some of the shorter yoga flows and hope to do one of those soon!
Birch likes to play with my extra (clean) make-up brushes while I get ready in the morning.
Yesterday Thomas made us egg sandwiches on English muffins with fried egg and havarti cheese. Mine was waiting for me in the toaster oven when B and I came down. So sweet of him! I am eating all the clementines this time of year.
Breakfast #3 from earlier in the week was a Daily Harvest smoothie in a bowl (half of one actually) plus half a bran muffin from Mudhouse. Their muffins are so good with the crispiest top! Still on my bran muffin kick.
Workouts this week:
Monday – Evening strength class at ACAC
Tuesday – Walk with friends in AM (~60 mins) and a power walk on treadmill before dinner (~25 mins)
Friday – I’m heading to baby yoga today and hoping to walk downtown and back.
For Mr. B: lots of tummy time!
Lunches this week revolved around this amazing farro and sweet potato salad from Plenty. It has a lemon zest and herb dressing with currants and raisins and I don’t know what else, but is freaking delicious!!
I had it two different days!
I had a Fage 2% plus peanut butter powder plus chocolate chips for snack a little while later. This was my favorite snack all week!
Lastly, Thomas brought me a Bodos salmon, cream cheese, and veggie bagel for lunch one day. The salmon is hiding. Delish!
For dinners we had taco night with Mazen. So glad this is one he likes! (His favorite dinners are pizza of any kind, spaghetti and meatballs, quesadillas with spinach and cheese, steak with a side of veggie, and tacos. He does not love soups or mixed dishes so when we have those I do often make him his own little entree but pull some ingredients from the soup (like chicken!) to have on the side. We had cauliflower recently, which I described as “white broccoli” and he had it with chicken. He put it in his mouth thinking it was chicken and the look on his face when he bit down was priceless. Thankfully he laughed and kept eating – so glad he liked it ok!
Note my “mama” place tag and joke book at my plate! We tell jokes over dinner.
My taco salad had greens, cilantro, Butcher Box ground beef with peppers, jalapenos, sour cream, guacamole, crushed shell, and salsa. Plus a side of soft tortilla.
Another night for dinner we had Plenty salmon with lemon-dill orzo. Della uses tons of fresh herbs, and I need to add more to all of my meals! They make everything taste so fresh.
I ordered a second entree from Plenty this week – stuffed peppers with turkey, quinoa, and mozzarella with kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas. I didn’t take the time to plate it nicely because I was hangry after strength class and dove in. Sure tasted great!!
Speaking of turkey, this little one sure is a happy boy! When he’s not nursing or napping, he’s usually smiling <3
The most glamorous thing I wear everyday is my baby. Obvi. I couldn’t survive motherhood without my Solly wrap!
This post by Sherry of Young House Love really struck a nerve with me earlier this year. I have paired down my closet so many times as I have gotten more and more into minimalism. Yet I still only wear about 30% of my wardrobe during regular weeks. This paragraph from Sherry’s post was what spoke to me the most:
That’s the core idea behind my “uniform” – just figuring out what you love and stopping the vicious cycle of buying other things to stay “on trend” or for the sake of “variety” or to “look different” and then realizing months later that you never wear them because they don’t make you feel as good or you don’t like the cut or the color nearly as much as your tried and true favorites.
The “for variety’s sake” part of her post spoke to me loud and clear. I tend to hang on to so many pieces “just in case” a certain occasion comes along, or worse, so I am not photographed on the blog wearing the same thing every day. But I still wear the same comfortable staples all the time. Comfort is the number one factor for me when I’m choosing an outfit. It’s hard to find clothes that are stylish, pretty, and comfortable. I wore the same pair of maternity shorts in four different colors all summer long because they were the only shorts that were comfortable.
Actually speaking of maternity clothes, that’s sort of where the uniform idea really gelled for me. My maternity wardrobe was much smaller than my usual one, and I did just fine. This concept is kind of like how my preferred way to decorate a house is neutral grays and whites on the walls, trim, and larger pieces dressed up with easy-to-change accent pieces. I still tend to choose a neutral palate even for the accents. So it makes sense that I’d keep my wardrobe staples to my favorite neutral colors and fabrics and change my look from day to day with accessories – scarves, outerwear, jewelry, hair, etc.
All this to say that when I unpacked the few nursing clothes I kept from when Mazen was little, I hated everything. The shirts were flowy and boxy and all short sleeves? I have no idea what I wore that first winter he was breastfeeding. But nursing clothes have come a long way! As soon as Birch was born I realized I needed some new nursing-friendly clothes. I went to Green Bean Baby Boutique and bought a few of the nicer Boob Designs pieces in person and ordered inexpensive staples on Amazon at 3 am. For a while all of my social feeds had ads for nursing clothes! Of course you could just lift up your shirt to nurse – but breastfeeding is so much easier when you have a hoodie that flips up or shirt that moves to the side, especially in the cold winter when you don’t want to take off your shirt. And who doesn’t want to make breastfeeding a little easier?
Boob Designs B Warmer Hoodie – my GO TO staple for everyday!! So cozy and I love the pocket for my phone. It’s tunic length so can look a little dressy with boots. Like all of the Boob Designs tops, the panel flips up.
Boob Designs Simone Shirt – this shirt didn’t make the collage for some reason, but the fabric is really thick and I can dress it up a bit! It’s probably my favorite. Pictured below!
I have a great mix of really nice Boob Designs and Lulu/Athleta pieces and inexpensive loungewear from Amazon and Old Navy. Of course these aren’t the only clothes I wear, but they are the ones that are in high rotation. My old wardrobe is currently in storage with a label that reads “Do not open until 2019.” Honestly I can’t even remember what is in that box, but I don’t really need any of it for now because the tops are not easy to nurse in and the bottoms are probably too snug. I think the best thing about these nursing clothes is that there is no reason not to keep wearing them long after Birch is weaned because the secret panels are not obvious. Unlike maternity clothes, these I can wear forever!
There is one thing you can count on having a kindergartener with you all day: surprises! Like finding a shark in the bassinet.
Or spiders appear next to your oatmeal!
I was nervous about having both boys for such a long stretch of time over winter break, but it actually went quite well. Matt had Mazen for a portion of the day times, so that was super helpful. I scheduled a few playmates to come over for Mazen, and our times just hanging out went well too. He is so sweet with his brother!
Sharing his bee and owl blankies with Birch (#bedhead!)
Brothers play Pokemon together:
Legos with Thomas:
We did a ninja course morning workout together and went to ACAC swimming on the weekend.
A walk downtown for the library and hot chocolate. We tried out the big boy seat in the stroller. B did well, but it’s not as warm and cozy as the car seat so we’re mostly using that for now.
And a visit to Bounce and Play where he played hard with several other kids while we relaxed in a chair with a podcast and one of us napped:
On the day I didn’t have Mazen last week I went to Bend Yoga with Birch for the mommy & me yoga class. Birch was happy through the whole class! My shoulders were sore from all the downdogs.
We stayed after for the weekly mother-to-mother lactation support group, and then I went with a friend to Citizen Bowl for lunch. The #umami bowl is my all-time favorite.
I’ve been making big bowl salads at home too, like this arugula one with roasted sweet potato, chicken, goat cheese, and a homemade honey mustard dressing. The dressing is just equal parts honey, dijon mustard, olive oil, and lemon juice plus a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder (or garlic if you like!) Shake together in a jar and pour.
I ate cornbread muffins for days! Yum! These were made from a mix I found at Whole Foods.
After moming it out for the past few weeks, I’m hoping to focus a bit more on work with Mazen back in school. I said I was going to wait until the new year to get “back to work.” I’ve been publishing a lot more lifestyle posts and less recipes/topics – do you like things this way? I’ve enjoyed taking some of the pressure off of an editorial calendar and just kind of writing what comes to mind everyday. It’s been refreshing – like the good ole days! I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Hope you guys had as snuggly of a weekend as we did!
On Friday night our friends the Moores brought us dinner. (The last of the new baby meals – we appreciated them all so much!) We enjoyed pizza and salad and a little rose!
Thomas went out bowling with a group of guys, so the boys and I did bedtime all together in Mazen’s bed.
Mazen loves to read to Birch, and it couldn’t be more of a win-win-win for the three of us!
After kissing Mazen goodnight, I took B up and put him to sleep and read my book for a while. I’m 30% of the way through On Second Thought and it’s really good! (On another note, I tried Nine Perfect Strangers and just couldn’t get into it! I might try it again later.)
When rumor surfaced that Chris was teaching “old school plyo” on Saturday morning I put the class in my calendar weeks ago. His Thursday morning plyo class is my all-time favorite: it’s 50 minutes of group ex cardio in a dark room with catchy music (think dance party clubbing at 2 am) There is no equipment, and it’s HARD! He started doing Afterburn (which involves a step) on Thursday mornings a while ago and stopped teaching plyo and there are many of us who miss it so much. At least for now, on Saturday mornings, he is bringing it back!
All this to say, Birch did not sleep well on Friday night and I considered sleeping in for a hot second, but I knew this was the one class I did not want to miss (I had literally waited a year to take it!) so I went. SO glad I did!
I had PB toast and coffee beforehand – in the car because I was running late after nursing B.
The class was awesome, as I knew it would be. I didn’t know how my postpartum body would do, but I honestly felt like I’d be doing it all along. I think my muscle memory for that one is strong! There were just a few times where we did a ton of jumps in a row that I switched to low impact for the second half of the set.
Post class fuel was a Daily Harvest smoothie and more coffee! I’m up to two mugs a day and loving it. Thanks to Thomas for keeping both boys happy while I was gone. The new Legos were a hit!
We played around for a while before Mazen went to hang with his dad for the rest of the day. B and I watched some Southern Charm and took a nice nap together while Thomas went to the UVA bball game with his brother.
Lunch was leftover chili and a cornbread muffin. Plus a lactation cookie for dessert!
Thomas and I aren’t quite really to hire babysitters for date nights (but we do hope to leave B with his mom soon!) so we decided to brave downtown with Birch joining us. It went really well!
Here was our strategy:
Head out right after nap and nursing so he would be happy and full for a while.
Brought the stroller so he would be table height (although we were prepared to leave it outside/at the door if there was not room but there was.)
Picked a restaurant (Zocalo) that was spacious and not too quiet just in case he made some baby noises.
Brought the solly and prepared for him to want to be held. (He did.)
Brought multiple pacifiers.
Mentally prepared for one of us to step outside with him if necessary, so chose a night that it wasn’t pouring rain or freezing.
Ate fast and crossed fingers!
We shared the kale + farro salad to start.
Our dining strategy at Zocalo is that one of us always gets The Pepper. Then we get a second entree (usually the salmon, but we’re having salmon this week so we switched it up) and we share them both 50/50, switching places twice throughout the meal. I can’t imagine going to Zocalo and not getting some bites of that delicious pepper!! Our second entree with a Mahi with cauliflower – it was very good.
After dinner we went to Splendora’s for gelato. Coconut + salted caramel for me! I actually felt so guilty eating this with Birch watching me. I wanted to give him a bite!
This little dude is just so sweet!! When he’s awake, he’s all smiles.
Daily Harvest smoothie + coffee x2 in the Yeti mug. I was careful about drinking too much coffee while while pregnant. I had half a cup during the first trimester and inched up to a full cup later on. It’s fun now that I can have unlimited amounts of coffee!! I still don’t go past two mugs in the morning (I can’t do caffeine in the afternoon) but 2 > 1
The folks from Panera sent me a gift card as a Christmas gift, and I ordered a Fuji Apple Salad (my favorite salad they make) and broccoli and cheese soup on a rainy day. Did you know Panera delivers now!? We also have one with a drive-thru, which is what I did. I ordered on the app and did the drive-thru with kids in the car. Game changer!
Thomas makes really delicious tuna salad and made a double batch for lunch. (I have been pressing him to add some veggies to his recipe for a little extra color, crunch, and nutrition and he has started to add chopped bell pepper!) When I was in high school I used to eat tuna salad with saltines all the time. Since we’ve had a box in the house, I dove in. It’s such a great combo.
Little B has started napping in his bassinet! Shortly after I wrote about how he takes almost all of his naps in the Solly, we started to test the waters with stationary naps. I wait until the 1:45 awake time mark and then take him up to the master, turn the white noise on really loud, and swaddle him. He often fusses or cries out (very mildly) for a few minutes and I pat his chest or lean in and give him a kiss, sometimes picking him back up for some swaying. But overall, he goes to sleep in 5-10 minutes and we’ve gone from 25 minute “non wearing” naps to 1:45 minute naps (on a good day). It’s been a huge relief to have some baby-free time to get things done around the house.
Also note the swaddle switch. Silly Birch figured out how to get his hands out of the Ollie and was waking up often hungrily sucking them (he LOVES his hands, hungry or not!) I have two Miracle Blankets from Mazen’s infancy, and they were the only swaddles that worked for him. Birch is doing great in the Miracle Blanket. I did see a video on how to use a receiving blanket to get the same arm layer effect with the Ollie swaddle. If I didn’t already own two Miracle Blankets I’d try that combo, but since we have these we’re using them.
When Grandma Nona comes over, I think it’s a “treat” to be able to vacuum out the car Also another reason why I love my badass Dyson Absolute! No way I’d be hauling a full-size corded vacuum outside.
I also went for my longest outdoor run yet – just shy of four miles – while Nona visited with Birch. Mazen biked with me through the neighborhood while I ran. The difference between before lunch runs and after lunch runs a NIGHT and DAY. And it’s not like I’m eating huge amounts of heavy vegetables or rich comfort foods at lunch. But I think just having that second meal in my stomach makes me feel that much heavier. My favorite time to run is after breakfast has digested – 10-11 am-ish. All that to say – it was not my best run.
This year I will be splitting my time between the following, in this order of priority.
Caring for a baby
Playing with a kindergartener
Running a household (putting this in because laundry, food prep, packing lunches, and emptying the dishwasher are always time sucks!)
Working on all things Kath Eats Real Food
Self care (workouts, me time)
Of course there are more categories of life, but these are the big ones.
As I emerge from my self-proclaimed “maternity leave,” I know I need to get a good time management schedule underway. I am still not sure if this will involve child care or not. I want to do it all, but I know a little help goes a tremendously long way. I have started planning out my days in TeuxDeux including details like when I’m going to shower, the day’s planned workout, blog posts and appointments, and our dinner plans.
Needless to say, I am trying to be very purposeful with my life this year.
This is kind of a flashback to 2017’s word – intentional. In fact, I used the word purpose a few times in my descriptions in that post. Intentionality is a theme I will always come back to. It’s a way of decluttering the mind and focusing in on the things that matter most.
I’ve talked on the blog before about block scheduling my days to simplify work-life balance and be “on” as mom when Mazen is home. I am thinking if I do hire a babysitter a few mornings a week this will allow me to get all of my work done in the first half of the day so I can devote the second half to parenting and housekeeping. (Self care TBD!) Having Thomas home on the weekends makes it tempting for me to hide away and do a little writing, but we have a pretty firm rule that weekends are for family time. I remember when Mazen was born I did a lot of blogging in the evenings, which was a bit draining at the end of the day, and I’d like to figure out the best way to contain work to normal workday hours and reserve evenings and weekends for Thomas, Mazen, and Birch. (And Gus!)
Piggybacking on the above, if my work days are to be compressed a bit, I have to be focused during those hours. Rather than spinning wheels making to-do lists or dillydallying in YNAB (my favorite way to procrastinate), I need to hit the ground running when work time begins. I can do unlimited amounts of planning and list making in my head or notepad on my phone when I’m not near the computer and when work time begins, I need to DO. Whether that means having the right ingredients for a recipe already in my fridge or a blog post outline ready, work hours = create. As far as blog content goes, I’m channeling this post On Being Real. I’d love to combinate a mix of real life healthy living posts mixed in with some recipes and topics as needed. Maybe a 2:1 ratio. Matt Allen, an MBA business consultant, asked me what my business goals were for 2019 and I realized how important is really is to write them down and have a plan. So that’s something to be intentional about too!
Eating well and working out are both super important to my self care routine. I need a little exercise nearly every day to feel my best. Stress leaves my body through beads of sweat. And we all know that eating well makes you feel great. What I have realized lately is that my mental health is equally happy with a 20 minute workout to a 60 minute one. So if all I have time for is 15 minutes of walking in the basement in my regular clothes, that is all I need. The treadmill and Aaptiv have been life changing for squeezing in mini workouts. I’m also planning evening exercise twice a week – one strength class and indoor soccer – and that way I can count on two really good workouts a week if the rest of my week has short, efficient ones.
Having a small baby makes mindful eating especially challenging since I tend to shovel down food not knowing how long I have to eat or am so busy caring for the baby that I forget to eat and am starving past mealtime. Like most things in life, having a plan can help with that, so scheduling foods for breakfast, lunches, and snacks in addition to dinners in advance can help keep the day balanced, blood sugar stable, and my body fueled with nourishing options.
Those are the big categories. The little ones – home, money, entertaining, friendships, etc. – all matter too, but like sand between stones, they fill in where needed.