Life + Style

January 31, 2013

Trust Your Instincts

Have you ever gotten a positive diagnosis to something you didn't want and wonder why they can't call it a negative when clearly that's what it is.  Well yesterday Tagg tested positive to several things at the allergist including dairy, egg, and peanuts.
The positive?
We have an explanation and a plan.  I do well with that.

It explains that my gut feelings were right and there is something wrong with my baby.
Underneath it all he is still my laid back sweet little man.  The crankiness, clingy-ness, fussiness, and sleeplessness were the symptoms winning.  He couldn't tell me what was wrong with him but the scratch test could.  My intuition told me to search every avenue at my disposal to find an answer to what has been plaguing him and thus our whole house.  And I'm so glad that I did.

So yes, it seems we'll be joining the ranks of thousands of y'all that have to ask, "what's in that?" when we go out to eat and I'll become the mean mom that says no to sharing snacks at the playground.  Just in case.  No more milk, cheese or yogurt.  Ice cream treats, cupcakes, and chocolate?  Nope.  And let's not even talk about the elimination of half and half, sour cream, mayonnaise, and butter from cooking.  To be honest, I'm most nervous about cutting him off cold turkey from his beloved milk bots.  But his formula is milk based and has to go.  We're doing total elimination.

I feel like we've been inducted into some sort of secret society.  And those unfortunate enough to be included all share a burden of needing to monitor their kids or themselves that much closer.  Like having two kids so close in age wasn't already challenging enough.  Like doctors visits and physical therapy didn't already eat enough of my time.  But I'm going to be an expert at this.  I already grocery shop out of three different stores and will happily add a fourth to my regime if it means keeping alternatives in our house.

Are you in the club too?  Tell me about it.

On the flip side, sometimes you get a negative answer that is oh so positive.  
We got just that at our appointment on Tuesday at Children's Hospital.  The specialist confirmed that there is no apparent underlying cause for Tagg's delays and that continued therapy and encouragement really are our best avenue for improvement.  I'm okay with that.  I'm okay with helping him for as long as it takes and fielding the "how old is he, is he walking yet?" questions.  Answer:  No, he's not standing and can't even pull himself up yet.  How old are you, are you working out yet?  
Because those come at every turn, but I'm ready for them.  And I will be his voice until he has his own.  I know there are many worse things that could have hit our household and many thousands of children are suffering far worse than mine. There are mothers that will continue therapies of all kinds with their children for years with little results.  But it's not a contest.  This is just our story.


January 30, 2013

Deisgn Crush: Luxe Report

If you follow me on pinterest you might have noticed my new obsession Luxe Report.  The stylish duo Christin and Lauren put together some incredible tablescapes and vignettes.  Their gorgeous but liveable rooms completely encompass my style and I have a feeling you're going to likey likey too.

 Thanks ladies for being so awesome!

January 29, 2013

Comfy Clothes & Comfort Food

Well y'all know the current conditions of my life and it pretty much orbits around comfort.  I've been known to rock the pajamas well past noon on more than one day.  But don't think I'm a sad state.  I'm good at comfort wear.  Leggings and a cute top or a cotton house dress?  Yes please.  If this were the 80's I'd be rocking my perm and track suit.  I just know it. 

In an effort to add a few new pieces to my comfy wear rotation I've gathered some cute alternatives to your old sorority t-shirts and boyfriend boxers.  All can be worn to target come the warmer months but pair nicely with a pair of leggings or uggs at home like I do.

What are your favorite end of the day outfits?

We're off to Tagg's appointment at Children's Hospital this morning to get his foot evaluated by a specialist.  Did I mention that there's a chance his physical delays are stemming from an actual problem and that the root of the problem might be with his foot.  Yes, well anyway.  We've been waiting on this appointment for seven weeks and I'm anxious to hear what is said.

So let's all put on something comfy tonight right at 5:00, pour a big glass of wine and make something fatty.  Sounds good right?

January 28, 2013

Meal Planning Week One

Okay, so it's Monday and I thought we should talk about meal planning a bit.  
 Who's with me?

If you haven't read Edie's posts about long range meal planning here please go do it next.  She has a simple plan that goes over how to add your meals into google calendar on repeat.  She's also got a ton of good recipes.  The repition on your calendar eliminates a whole other level of stress involved in meal planning.  You know, I did okay last week, but what about this week, woes.  I tend to get lazy and this eliminates that for me.  I spent my first day adding in an entire month's worth of recipes on repeat.  I had them set for day of the week each month since I'm only cooking five nights a week.

Truth be told Matthew is involved in our process so he's in charge of cooking freezer meals for our family on Sundays.  This affects my meal planning so I'll be sure to throw those in on Mondays if it includes something to be used later in the week.   For example, Matthew made crock pot barbecue that I can freeze and pull out as needed.

So here's what you need to do next:  Click through and see if you're on board with what I'm cooking.  Substitute for other meals if you'd like or rearrange days.  Then add the meals to your google calendar with the links and full recipes and set to repeat as often as you'd like.
Go through each recipe and write down the ingredients you'll need.  You'll see some repeats so make sure you account for quantity.  Also note where you can substitute in a rotisserie chicken like I plan to do tonight and Wednesday to make things more achievable.

Monday: Barbecue Chicken Pizza
Tuesday: Lemon & Garlic Roast Chicken
Wednesday: Four Cheese Chicken Ravioli with Apple Gorgonzola Sauce
Thursday: Lemon Fusilli with Arugula and Grilled Chicken
Friday: Black Bean and Corn Quessadillas with Chips and Salsa

My friend Natalie swore she enjoyed cooking.  In fact, she considered it her me time.
I thought she was crazy.
I have little kids with needs not just wants in the late afternoon.  They need constant supervision.  We don't have an open floorplan where I can watch them play while I cook.  We have an unbearably small and impractical galley kitchen.  I'm not good at it.
Cooking just doesn't work for me.  It's not possible until my kids are older.

Well my loves, I drank the cool-aid.  After just one week I can proudly say I did it and I'm going to do it again this week.  And the one after that too.

I used some good old fashion tactics and they worked.
 I rearranged the contents of our cabinets and cleared out room for a club house in one of the bottom cabinets.  You'd be amazed at how much this entertains Wells and Tagg.  I also confiscated the iPad for myself.  I put on my pandora stations and pull up my recipe for the day.  Then I poured a glass of wine.  

Of course they were nipping at my heels the whole time but at 12months and not quite 2.5 this is to be expected.  I fed them veggies straight off the cutting board and went about my cooking.  Wells climbed up in her little chair to help me stir a few things.  They both ate everything I cooked last week.


January 26, 2013

How to talk to Women: A Guide

We had another rough night last night.  Tagg is going for allergy testing on Wednesday which means last night was his cut-off for ALL ANTIHISTAMINES.
We lasted until 1am when his poor crying and hysteria got me and I gave him a quick shot of benedryl in the mouth.  He promptly thanked me and slept solid through the rest of the night.  
I hope this doesn't throw off his testing and I promise not to do it tonight.  I think.
Before any of y'all lose any sleep yourself that I'm doping him up to sleep, that's not the case.  His eczema is just so bad that antihistamines are the only thing that calm it enough to let him sleep soundly.
Neither Matthew nor I are good at losing sleep.  We get rude.  There's no sweet tone of voice when you have a screaming baby in your arms at 1:15am and the only thing you both agree on is that neither of you have any clue how to solve it.

I'm thinking today is a "honey, have some wine" day.


January 25, 2013

If it's supposed to happen, it will

Note to self:
If it's meant to happen, it will

Thanks for all the encouragement yesterday.
And the virtual hugs.
Y'all are good people.  Real good.
I promise, I'm not officially down, it's just that sometimes it feels really good to vent.  
I've been having a tough time blogging lately and not sharing what was really going on.  So again, thanks for letting me switch gears for a day.

One thing that is supposed to happen and most certainly will: these oreo brownies. In my mouth.

Rembrandt was kind enough to send me their tHERSday kit, a little goody bag with some fun drug store essentials.  Essie nail polish, pretty marimekko napkins and a cocktail are definitely happening tonight.  I'm not big on manicures but I'm thinking of trying it out tonight in either mademoiselle or geranium.
Do you go bold or pastel with your manicures?

I'll be honest, I'm not huge on drug store brands.  My lotions and potions are typically where I don't mind splurging.  But I was pleasantly surprised to find I have some new favorites.

I've been using the Aveeno Pure Renew Dry Shampoo for a few weeks now and I really like it.  I'm already out of the bottle I was sent to review.  It works well to stretch washing my hair another day or two and smells great.  My favorite way to use it though is while I'm styling my freshly washed hair. It gives an extra bit of grit like you have with next day hair that makes my hair stay in place and have more body.  Big fan of that.
I've also been keeping the Nuetrogena hand cream in my diaper bag and love that it's fragrance free.
I can't wait to try the Rembrandt Stain Dissolving Strips.  I'm a big red wine and coffee drinker so this is a must for me at least twice a year.  And might cost a little less than my trays from the dentist.  I'll let y'all know how they work!

January 24, 2013

Life Lately

I'm not going to lie, January hasn't been great.  We've had nothing but cold winds, rain or snow here just about every day keeping us home bound more than any of us would like.  
Everyone has been sick.

Poor Tagg got an ear infection that didn't get diagnosed right away, way to go mom of the year.  I thought his crankiness and poor sleeping was caused by teething or a growth spurt.  Thankfully it was caught at his one year check-up and the pediatrician put him on amoxicillan to treat it.  Around this same time his sleeping got worse.  He was literally up all night.  His already bad eczema worsened and the crankiness was at a nine.  Then he broke out in the most horrible case of hives and swelling and he was diagnosed with an allergic reaction to the drug amoxicillan.  Again, mother of the year.
I knew something was off with him for almost two weeks but because he didn't have a fever I waited until the issue was literally staring me in the face to do something about it.   

On top of this, we found out that we have to be out of our house by May 1st.  This was an interesting twist because my Grandmother owns this house and we had submitted an offer to her to purchase it.  Regardless of her decision to sell, we had planned to stay for another year.
That was turned down along with a vacate date.

And we have no clue yet where we're moving!  

We put an offer on a house on Tuesday and the sellers have until tonight to respond.  I'm on pins and needles.  If this house doesn't work out we'll most likely have to rent for a while because there is nothing else on the market that we like.  This spring should bring lots of great houses but none that will meet our May 1st timeline.

Anyone have any neighbors who are about to list their house?  Want to give us first dibs if our first choice doesn't work out?

And it affects Tagg as well.  His therapies are all based on where we live.  If we move, we'll have to start the paperwork over in a new municipality.  And the thing is, we're not sure which one we will end up in.  There are three very strong contenders.  If we rent it will most likely stay in the city of Richmond.  The house we put an offer on is in one county and all the other homes we would consider are in another.  That's a lot of possibilities.

I've moved so much in the last few years and I'm sick of it.  I'm ready to feel settled.  I know military families are laughing or scoffing at me right now because that is your life.  My friend Kara has had to move more than anyone of I know.  But it's still hard.  And packing with two toddlers doesn't sound like much fun.  And not knowing where we're headed, literally is killing me.  I like to feel settled.  Did I mention that already?  I know things work out for a reason and I have to trust in God's plan.  

But if you could just say a little extra prayer for me today that I can do that.  
Because I'm having my doubts.


January 23, 2013

Cheese Tortellini Soup

I was going to wait until Monday to start talking about meal planning but it's what's on my brain. 
And what's on my brain = what's on my blog.

I'm really excited to start doing this with y'all and holding ourselves accountable to cooking.  There is a really great post on Life In Grace that got my wheels turning this weekend and I think you should read it.  It's the premise for the meal planning I'm going to implement and the source for the recipe from yesterday and the one for the cheese tortellini soup today.  
I actually switched things around and made this soup last night instead of the chicken.  It was so easy, took less than thirty minutes from start to finish.  And I had the chopped fresh veggies already out to feed the kids while I cooked which was great.  Matthew said it was one of the most flavorful things I've ever made and wants it on immediate rotation.  Wells and Tagg loved it so much they both wanted their own bowls and spoons.  This was less productive with Tagg but cute to watch him play with a metal spoon and look-alike white plastic bowl.

That's the beauty of the meal planning I'm doing.  You have the ingredients with recipes on hand and can swap them for another recipe if you want at that last minute.  Don't worry, I'll be going over all the details on Monday with you.  

2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 1/2 boxes of chicken stock (10 cups)
1 bag of fresh spinach
1 large bag or two small bags of cheese tortellini (our grocery store has it in the dairy section)
1 28 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes (you can use another brand but these make the BEST soup)
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1-2  T. honey
salt and pepper to taste
{always add salt along the way and don’t wait until the end}

Saute the onions, celery and carrots in olive oil for 5-7 min or until the onions are translucent.  Add the diced garlic and sauté another 2-3 minutes.
Add the chicken stock, tortellini, tomatoes,  spinach, vinegar and honey.   Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until the pasta is tender.
Serve with grated parmesan cheese and crusty bread!


January 22, 2013

Creamy Lemon-Pepper Orzo with Chicken

 One of my new resolutions has been to cook for my family.  This is a task I've failed at before.  On ideal conditions I have zero interest or skill.  Throw in two babies and I'm completely inept.  Matthew is an amazing cook and has very high expectations for his food which makes my confidence in my own meals plummet.  He's assured me time and time again that I'm not terrible and he'd rather have a basic plate of my food on the table after work than just about anything else he'd have to cook or order himself.  Sorry Baby, was my biggest line.

I read some tips on meal planning this weekend that made it really simple.  You just put it into your calendar.  Simple as that.  Write it down for the week and shop once.  I've got mine set up in google calendars and I get my daily email which takes all the scary creativity out.

Yesterday morning I brought my kids and my list and we bought ingredients for five meals.  Weekends are going to be left to Matthew or takeout.

I'm excited to give my family the gift of a meal each night.  I'm proud that my kids will see me cooking.  Not in an anti-feminist, mom does the cooking kind of way.  But in a way that involves them and teaches them and encourages them to want to feed themselves as well.

I know I'm not too big on recipes or cooking here on the blog but if y'all are interested I'm more than happy to share.  I've got a whole week's worth of recipes and grocery lists ready on Mondays.

What do you think?  
Interested in meal planning along with me?   
Do you already do it?

 Cream Lemon-Pepper Orzo with Grilled Chicken

1/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt, at room temperature
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    1 large clove garlic, minced
    Juice and zest of 1 lemon
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    3 boneless skinless chicken thighs
    1 cup whole wheat or other whole grain orzo
    1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed and patted dry
    2 ounces finely crumbled goat cheese, at room temperature
    4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as basil and tarragon


Whisk together the yogurt, 2 teaspoons of the oil, garlic, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl until well combined.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and preheat an outdoor or indoor grill to medium heat. Rub the chicken thighs with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Grill until nicely marked and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board at let stand for at least 5 minutes.

Add the orzo to the boiling water and cook according to package directions for al dente, stirring in the peas the last minute of cooking. Drain the orzo and peas, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Stir the orzo and peas into the yogurt mixture, along with the goat cheese, 3 tablespoons of the fresh herbs and at least 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid, until well combined. Transfer to a platter.

Thinly slice the chicken and arrange on top of the orzo. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and the remaining 1 tablespoon fresh herbs and serve.


January 21, 2013

Nursery Progress

My sister is hard at work making her second child and pulling together a pretty cute nursery on top of that. Y'all already got to see a peek at her powder room and get first dibs on her dining room reveal so I thought you might like to see her progress so far in this room.

This is her second little boy so a lot of the big ticket items are being recycled from the first nursery in order to save some money and earn some extra points with her husband.
But the addition of new art and accessories makes this room feel anything but second hand.  In fact, I'd venture to say that I like room better in its reincarnated form than its first run.

 She's begged me to reiterate that this is purely a progress shot and not the final images so keep that in mind.  Although in my opinion, it's pretty amazing already!


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