July 2019 Recap

July is the best so while it is sad that it is over, the only good thing is baby C’s birthday is coming right up! We got lots of pool days, a week at the beach, and a lot of outside time. Mr. J and I got a date to a new restaurant in our town square that was nice but maybe not our fav for other options nearby. I love El Centro and would choose Mexican over where we went.

I made a lemonade slaw to go onto crispy fish tacos with lemonade mix and used frozen breaded fish pieces with the slaw and avocado. I heard from a few who made them which was so fun!
The Three Bite Rule - Lemonade Slaw
Truffle and Herb Deviled Eggs were for no particular occasion but were fun along side dinner.
The Three Bite Rule - Truffle & Herb Deviled Eggs
I made a smoothie with frozen dragon fruit puree packs+ coconut almond milk + mango and the change for me was that it wasn’t a breakfast replacement.

Next month I have a salad and an appetizer already lined up. We’ll see what else I get to. I have a few ideas, of course!

The Baby Girl:

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She’s 100% walking now. A month ago (at 10 months) she was walking a bit and then it picked up, big time. She ate a ton on vacation so maybe there’s a growth spurt ahead! She is so happy all the time. She loved the beach sand and the ocean water and watching her toddle around on the beach was fun. She likes riding around in shopping carts or in the real stroller to look all around, instead of being in her carseat. I’m excited for her birthday! My little babe will be 1!?!?!?!

The Little Boy:

He’s going to a new school in our town for preschool before kindergarten next year. We’ve been mentally preparing him. I love him for his thoughtfulness and I try to arm him with info because his go-to is to want to stay home until he can picture where he’s going and what it will be like. He has been zooming on his balance bike and loving ice pops. I grabbed pedialyte ones for how active and sweaty he gets. He got to go bowling and loved it.

2019 goals:

Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: I joined a giveaway group on facebook and got rid of a few things immediately! A wire rack and a baby activity seat went like hotcakes!
Feeding Littles: We had Italian subs in salad form so I shared the little one’s version, deconstructed, minus lettuce. 
Work on advanced food prepping: Using what we had was the name of the game before vacay and then we were gone, so that was half the month!
What I’m reading: I read Palisades Park and Rich People Problems.
What I’m watching: We caught a part of a CNN series about Movies.

June 2019 Round Up

I loooove June. It is such great weather in New England with just a hint of summer. I’m not a fan of >80 degrees, so this is my happy place. It is the end of the fiscal year at work so fundraising is at 100 mph. I am le tired. In June we lightly celebrated Mr. J’s birthday, went to Western MA for a 1st birthday, went to the Downton Abbey exhibit, our flag day parade was super fun and we went to Maine. The little ones are in a fantastic rhythm and are such loves.

The Manchego Birthday Burger was my fav this month!
The Three Bite Rule - Manchego Burger
This lightened up lunch combined my love for a hearty grain and a worth-while green. Some fruit in there is a good choice too! Farro/Arugula/Blueberries/Watermelon, what’s not to love?
The Three Bite Rule - Farro & Blueberry Salad
Plus, I made some loaded Buffalo Chicken Nachos with a nacho tip everyone can benefit from {spoiler: you need layers. lay-ers!}. Plus, make these in the toaster oven for a fun meal/snack that won’t heat up your kitchen!
The Three Bite Rule - Buffalo Chicken Nachos
I’m pumped for July. Work will chill down a bit and vacation is coming up!! I missed the annual beach week when I was overdue last year and I look forward to it all year. I have some fun food coming up: tacos, an app, and some summery foods!

The Baby Girl:

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Annnd she’s off! She’s trying to walk and taking lots of consecutive steps. I can’t believe it! She’s so strong. She likes eating everything and I just want a few more teeth to come through! She has the bottom two in the middle- that’s it! She went in the pool and loved it.  She loves everything really. It is so fun to see her expressing herself when somebody takes something away from her – sometimes that’s us for something she shouldn’t have and sometimes that is big brother suddenly wanting his toy. She’s going to do well holding her own. She LOVES her brother and nobody can make her giggle like he can. She can clap and a wave is coming along.

The Little Boy:

He’s so sweet and being super well behaved. I melt when he tells me he loves me “all the way past my ponytail”. He’s allll about the pesto right now and has been into peaches. For lunches he told me he doesn’t always want sandwiches so I’m trying to keep it varied. I cracked up when we picked some basil one night and he said, hey- this smells like pesto! In my attempts to raise open-minded, accepting, and thoughtful kiddos – and after a narrow-minded incident in the Boston media, I got us a bunch of books about different kinds of families. It was great to test out a few. Now I want to add a favorite to our personal collection. Libraries are just the best (there’s a highlight reel on my instagram of kid favs)! He was a trooper in the car to Maine but dang, motion-sickness is awful. The meds help but until then, he’s ghostly pale, quiet, and looks so scared. Library books and a ring pop really helped pass the time (4 hours). He had the time of his life with his cousins (and their trampoline).

2019 goals:

Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: I dropped several boxes off to Savers while peeking at sneaks for the ever-growing little guy. I also joined a free/hand me down group in my town on facebook so I want to see if we can hand off a few things asap.
Feeding Littles: I’m not sure I shared many! I shared making pizzas on the tiny naan for some toaster-oven pizza, with tiny pepperoni of course. 
Work on advanced food prepping: Ehh. Meals have been quite minimal and speedy.
What I’m reading: I took forever to read Radium Girls and then sped through The Gown.
What I’m watching: I’m so so into the Bachelorette after having zero expectations- I thought she couldn’t speak! We both love Amazing Race and Great Foodtruck Race. I now want to rewatch all of Downton before the movie comes out in September!

May 2019 Recap

Somehow work got pretty nutty in May so it feels like a bit of a blur. I had a good month in the kitchen for blogged foods. Weeknight foods I’ve been really minimal to allow us to get outside after work, before dinner.

One of my favs was this really amazing breakfast sandwich with roasted tomatoes. I loved this as a stretch beyond the norm.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Brioche Sandwich

I made some broccoli & cheddar puff pastry pinwheels that couldn’t have been easier.
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli & Cheddar Pinwheels
Quick! Make this meatloaf burger before Independence day arrives. Brown sugar ketchup and crispy fried onions are perfect.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatloaf Burger
June is the end of the fiscal year at work so it’ll be 100 mph. June is also Mr. J’s birthday which means: birthday burger!! Here was last year’s birthday burger and the rundown of previous ones. I’ve flagged 2 that I’ll decide between. Also flag day is coming up. Such a strange holiday but our town LOVES flag day. The parade is huge and goes right down the end of our street.

The Baby Girl:

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She’s 9 months old! She tried shrimp and loved it – pancakes, green beans, and blueberries are also favs. She is suddenly not as into bottles so hopefully that doesn’t continue to be a thing. I love seeing her eat all the things. She’s close to 17 pounds and ohh-so-happy. Baby girl is surfing around and will take about a step without holding on. Splashing in the tub is her fav so we think she’ll love the pool.

The Little Boy:

He looooves soccer. We missed the town soccer timing so he’s at a community one and it has been great. I only hoped he’d participate and he definitely does! It is mostly skills and that’s good for them since they each have a ball. I love how much he can talk about. He’s sweetly reflective and has an impressive memory. We have been reading a ton and finding some really fun library ones. He’s had a really fantastic time at daycare and doing so well behaved. I’m proud of him.

2019 goals:

Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: My sis is having a yard sale so I’m passing off baby stuff! No more baby tub, baby bouncer, tiny bottles etc.
Feeding Littles: I shared this farro bowl and the Meatloaf Burger
Work on advanced food prepping: I’ve given myself the headstart so planning my ideas for the week with options that are quick has been my success.
What I’m reading: I read Grapes of Wrath for bookclub and slogged my way through it. Then I read The Great Alone and couldn’t put it down.
What I’m watching: We didn’t watch many movies and will be very sad when we finish Schitt’s Creek.

April 2019 Recap

Spriiiiing! It makes me so happy. Winter was mild this year but I LOVE the daylight, everything growing, getting outside more, and transitioning from wintery foods. April was fun with a more social opportunities than I sometimes have with friends and a few fun family festivities. I think our energy is up! I feel like I’m being more realistic about what’s possible in the kitchen and I’m being OK with setting the priority that we eat together and eat different things, but I’m not forsaking all else to stick to my dinner plan. Seeing the little babe smile on the swing when her big brother pushes it when we get home is worth wayyy more than the meal prep I otherwise could make happen that night!

I love a grain bowl and these Thai Coconut Rice Bowls with Pork were such winners. The pork was leftover from a crockpot pork, the rice was ready in 10 minutes from the pressure cooker, and the sauce I zipped together in the blender the day before.
Thai Peanut Coconut Rice Bowl - The Three Bite Rule
I need to perfect my salmon cooking. I overcooked it but the leftovers were perfect in a Salmon BLT with lemon aoli.
The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Aoli BLT
Next month I have some good stuff coming! I have a burger, a breakfast, and a few other things.

The Baby Girl:

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She’s so fast and so strong. She was pulling up to stand before quite hitting 8 months old. All she wants to do is stand! She’s a quick and quiet crawler who can disappear to explore before you know it! I’m so proud of her sleeping skills, though I’m sure daycare wouldn’t mind her sleeping more there! She has 2 little chiclet teeth on the bottom and wants to eat everything. She’s loving the swings and chewing on T’s raptor dino that is unofficially regulated to being hers now. Her teachers at a daycare-wide dance party swooped her away and brought her around to see everyone. They really love her. She’s so happy and chill even when hungry or tired. We got bows to keep her hair out of her face and they’re just too cute.

The Little Boy:

He’s sooo into favorites right now. What’s your favorite dino? What’s your favorite fork? What’s your favorite color on this picture? I forgot that that’s a thing for kids. He loves the baby and is a fantastic big brother. It melted my heart when he said he “just wants to be 6″ why I asked, “because then C will be 3 and we can play more.” I’ve loved doing puzzles with him. I think he over-does it on some favorite foods and thinks he wants them but then isn’t really into it- like certain cereals. It seems he will always want pasta, bananas, and avocado. He likes all candy- even junky stuff from a town egg hunt. I loved watching him at a daycare-wide dance party. He wanted to participate, was a bit reserved, then got into it. He thrives on having close friends. I missed the deadline for town soccer so he’s doing a little community one. We’ll see where his comfort-level is. He’s been happy on bike rides with Daddy but also is doing fantastic on his balance bike. His love for library books rivals mine.

2019 goals:

Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: ehhh. All I did was pull together items for a clothes swap at work. We have a bunch of baby equipment earmarked for a yard sale.
Feeding Littles: I shared dinner of shrimp with Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki sauce, brown rice, edamame. He wasn’t into the shrimp that night but liked it when he had rice in the same bite. 
Work on advanced food prepping: A day-off mid-month was huge for this! I cooked and blogged 3 things!
What I’m reading: I read An American Marriage for bookclub and really liked it. I read China Rich Girlfriend and loved it as much as the first in the series.
What I’m watching: We watched All the Money in the World and The Imitation Game. Both are so intense and fascinating. I want to know more about each in real life! TV-wise, Mr. J and I got into Schitt’s Creek and are ob-sess-ed. Amazing Race is back

March 2019 Recap

March just wizzed right by! My birthday kicked off a fun month! I’m feeling like we are so much more in a groove and all doing really well! The babe is so happy and now quite predictable. The little boy has loved the snow and more daylight is so great for us! Mr. J and I are on a roll. Work has been  super busy- which I love. We all were sick through March so we were all to ready to be better and healthy after colds, seemed-like-strep, a stomach bug, and a perpetually runny baby nose.

I made these cheeseburger turnovers with tots in them and they were so fun and an ideal one to prep in advance.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Turnover
I took a Trader Joe’s haul to the next level with tips to take Trader Joe’s items and turn them into a full meal.
The Three Bite Rule - Trader Joe's Favs into Meals
I also made a nutella croissant baked French Toast and LOVED it. My nutella tip is key!
The Three Bite Rule - Nutella Croissant Baked French Toast
Next month will have a rice bowl and a sandwich and I’m not sure what else. We are heading to Maine for Easter. I will probably make a Carrot Cheese Ball. I also make some chocolate peanut butter eggs to have at home.

The Baby Girl:

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What a happy lady! She sits up and suddenly started going from laying to sitting- transitions hadn’t been smooth until just now! Baby C is eating and loving it. We are working her through all the baby foods to ensure there aren’t allergies and also we need her to eat enough to be a meal before reducing to fewer bottles because of her challenge to gain weight. She has 2 bottom teeth that popped through. She loves to bite on everything.

The Little Boy:

He love love loves playing in the snow. Now that it is gone, we’re mucking around in boots and getting outside more. Thank goodness! He’s very into PJ Masks which isn’t my fav. I love seeing how many books he’ll dive into in a row. Some meals he gobbles them up quickly and wants more, other meals take for-ev-er. Breakfast for dinner of eggs and sausage is a current favorite. He likes “snacky lunch” meaning- not a sandwich.

2019 goals:

Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: ehhh. I didn’t really make it happen. I hope to tackle the kitchen utensils.
Feeding Littles: I shared a repeat dinner I made before- we did of “Pizza” polenta bowls with white beans- for all. 
Work on advanced food prepping: I did this pretty well this month with some morning prep to give me a head start.
What I’m reading: I read The Slap for bookclub and none of us enjoyed it. I also read Today Will be Different and The Map of Salt and Stars which was so amazing.
What I’m watching: We watched Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri and was blown away. So good. We also watched Tag and laughed out loud. The little boy watched a few movies. Snow days and sick days seemed like good times to snuggle for movies! He liked Moana and Trolls.

Trader Joe’s Becoming Balanced Meals

Every influencer can show you their Trader Joe’s haul, but it is easy to leave Trader Joe’s with fun things that don’t really get you closer to a complete meal. I don’t pretend anyone can/should do all their grocery shopping there, but Trader Joe’s is suchhh a lifesavor at this stage of my life for meal starters or a hands-off main dish! These shortcuts to getting varied dinners on the table is a huge asset to me. If I’m not strategic shopping at Trader Joe’s, then I do leave with fun things that have me scratching my head of how we’ll eat them or did I just spend $50 on things that don’t go together and I’m still not ready for dinner?

Here are a few of my favs, and what I do with them:

Orange Chicken + Edamame in the shells + brown rice:

I usually make the rice that morning, or the night before, to speed us up. The package comes with 2 packets of sauce so making half is an easy option. The breaded chicken is baked then gets tossed into a sticky sweet sauce. This is a true fav of ours so we make the whole thing for 2 adults, 1 preschooler who eats like a teenager, and a leftover serving for lunch. He looooves popping edamame out of the pods too so it is fun to eat a veggie in a different way.
The Three Bite Rule - Trader Joe's Favs into Meals

Cauliflower Gnocchi + Pesto:

TJ pesto is the best out there- of any brand. It freezes well too if you don’t want it too often when opened. The frozen cauliflower gnocchi is such a hit for TJ fans. It does taste like cauliflower but the true trick is that it shouldn’t be prepared according to the package! Saute in a pan with just a tiny bit of water. Get it some toasted/golden sides and toss in pesto for big enough flavor to lean towards gnocchi instead of cauliflower. Make 2 packages if serving more than 2 people. For 2 adults and a little kid, 2 bags are really necessary. This is a 10 minute dinner in 1 pan. Done.
The Three Bite Rule - Trader Joe's Favs into Meals

Eggplant Cutlets + pasta + sauce:

I love plain kitchen ready tomatoes instead of regular sauce but Trader Joe’s has some good sauces too! Their pasta there is always super cheap but I had some on hand. More importantly, the eggplant. It is the best, and one of the only places to find it! I love it to be eggplant parm, eggplant parm subs, on pizza, in calzones, in grilled cheese even, and it is great as a stack with cheese, sauce, and the above pesto! Because it is frozen it is easy to pop a few into the oven or toaster oven!

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Veggie Fried Rice + Dumplings + other mix & match Asian-inspired goodies

The veggie fried rice only takes a few minutes to cook in a pan and while we love it, I think it needs a little drizzle of soy sauce or teriyaki sauce. The pork potstickers are great and easy to make just a few. There are always other fun Asian inspired frozen foods to mix & match like bao buns, spring rolls, etc. I also like to cook a few pot stickers alongside sesame noodles. These freezer goodies really make dinners feel different. Roasting some broccoli then topping with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds is a simple side. I’ve also tossed cucumber in sesame oil & rice vinegar for a 2 second side!
The Three Bite Rule - Trader Joe's Favs into Meals

Roasted Corn + Chicken & Cheese Tamales:

The roasted corn is so fun and a great side to tacos or inside burritos. We probably have something Mexican once a week so I like having this around. It is great in Mexican Street Corn. Tacos + roasted corn + a few chips makes for a fun dinner. I love the tamales and Mr. J and I liked mini chicken tacos but the little one wasn’t as into those. I should try again though. This corn is often a side and I open up some black beans to go into the tacos or on the side too.
http://thethreebiterule.com/easy-sesame-noodles/

Sauces & Pantry items:

These can be a bit seasonal – I was shocked to find Marsala sauce a second time, but the Trader Joe’s bottled items are really fantastic and great time savors. When I had just a little leftover marsala sauce, I added some veggie broth, mushrooms, and marsala wine to stretch the leftover sauce a bit. I was inspired by a balsamic & fig dressing and can definitely put this Island Soyaki to work. I grabbed Chili Lime seasoning and the umami seasoning to try them out. I make my own Everything But the Bagel but that is a fantastic one too! Having a sauce on hand can really make basic dinner items come together quickly. Adding any of these sauces to some turkey meatballs over rice or egg noodles would make for efficient meal with salad or veggie of your choice. Or using a sauce with chicken to become a sandwich or panini would be delicious.
The Three Bite Rule - Trader Joe's Favs into Meals
Their bakery items are also great- the focaccini rolls are super soft and a fun way to elevate a sandwich or the pretzel buns with sausage & peppers is so good. I always grab some snacks. The sesame sticks are a constant and I like their trail mix variations into portioned packs. I can’t ever get over how economical their cheeses are! I sometimes grab frozen fish and the refrigerated pastas are helpful to be quick dinners too!

Happy shopping! What am I missing? Any favorites of yours?

February 2019 Recap

February seemed to just roll right along. The end of February means my birthday is right around the corner! Bring it on! It has been strangely rainy without too much snow. I’ve tried to get outside as much as possible and I think it makes a world of difference for myself and the little ones. I wish daycare could take the preschoolers out more – there’s some magic temperature they have to go by but I have more faith in our hearty little New England babes than the temperature suggests!

This crispy fish rice bowl was prob my fav thing I made all month. It was on repeat a few times! I transformed a fish taco concept into a rice bowl and loved it.
The Three Bite Rule - Crispy Fish Rice Bowl
This Greek Orzo Chicken Soup with Lemon was such perfectly. I prepped it to be lunch for a few days and found it comforting with more flavor and interest than it even looks like!
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Orzo Chicken Soup

I have some good stuff ahead for March – an appetizer that turned into dinner, and maybe a smoothie. I’m going to test out a breakfast option so we’ll see how that goes.

The Baby Girl:
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She’s such a smiley baby! Her party tricks include sitting and rocking back and forth on all fours. Baby girl wants to move! She’s sleeping like a champ even since we swapped out the magic merlin suit (which really is magic) so now she rolls all around and can re-discover her pacifier to settle back into sleep. Baby C tried cereal and loved it. She’s had some purees too and loves eating them and wants to do the spoon herself! She looks so big sitting in the high chair with us at the table! There’s a tooth coming in! I just went through her next size of clothes and realize I don’t take her to nearly as many formal occasions as other people who hand down dresses with tulle. Her fav toys are an activity cube with a mirror, and rubber toys to chew which look SO much like dog toys. She LOVES the tub and will kick her feet to splash for as long as we’ll let her.

The Little Boy:
I’m shocked to say he’s really not into rice/grains at the moment. He wants pasta whenever he gets to choose. I loved seeing him jump right into the crispy fish in a taco. He didn’t eat much on a his/hers night of steak & salmon but tried each without any prompting from us. Then he went to town on chicken and black bean enchiladas one night and pulled pork another night so it is safest not to assume anything. He loves the snow and is enjoying winter. We took him to a Paw Patrol Live show and he was enthralled in his way of quietly absorbing a new activity. He’s been great in his toddler bed and takes the ok-to-wake rule of his light/sound machine very seriously. He stays in and calls out “mommy daddy, my light is greeeeen”!

2019 goals:

Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: My closet feels like shopping with matching hangers! Next I have my sights on the kitchen utensil drawers.
Feeding Littles: The pre-schooler was trepidatious but loved the Copycat Cracker Barrel meatloaf. The combo of getting dinner on the table and not having phones at the table is tricky for photos since I also don’t want to interrupt a hungry little guy. 
Work on advanced food prepping: I’ve been on top of prepping some things in the morning. Even clustering ingredients in the fridge or from the basement freezer is helpful.
What I’m reading: I read The Girl with Seven Names for bookclub and The 57 Bus and All We Ever Wanted.
What I’m watching: We watched a few movies- Bad Moms Christmas, Gone Girl, and Crazy Rich Asians. I loved Bad Moms and wasn’t impressed by Gone Girl as a movie. Crazy Rich Asians was pretty good, but much better as a book. I caught up on a few Project Runway All Star episodes and loved them. I haven’t done any Bachelor this season- am I missing anything? I’m loving a CNN series of the 1980s- which seems like a necessary refresher for politics in our lifetimes, and have the 1990s next. I really think I could have benefited from more US history and government education instead of Mesopotamia, or so much on ancient Egypt, or all the hours I spent in early art history being quizzed on cave drawings- don’t get me started on Shakespeare’s Histories and Tragedies or astronomy which never covered any stars.

January 2019 Recap

January is fun for us, not the holiday-letdown that I hear others speak of. My little boy is 4! We celebrated with a family party for him & his cousin to jump at the trampoline park and pizza and cake at home. Another weekend we had a trip to Maine. Mr. J and I went out to dinner at a new-ish Mexican restaurant in our town and we looooved it. Now it is almost February!

I have to come clean. I was going to sneak meatless tacos in one night but Mr. J unloaded the groceries. I was being secretive but Mr. J will try anything so I didn’t really need to be. They were a hit! I love tacos as a meatless option since it is so much faster to get ready (especially from frozen) and a meal where the flavor and texture is really fine. I fully recommend this beefless ground with some taco seasoning added in and a splash of salsa. Seriously, I bet you could fool anyone in a taco or nachos. This infographic blows my mind for environmental impact of eating meat. While we’re not going vegan over here, the water use, deforestation, and climate change all make me know I can do more.

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad was a nice change for lunch.
The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
Just because it is January doesn’t mean we don’t need something sweet, right? Everything Cookie Brownie Bars to the rescue.
The Three Bite Rule - Everything Cookie Brownie Bars
Quick Ham & Cheddar Pizzas with a Mustard Drizzle hit the spot for a cool winter night.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheddar Pizza with Mustard Drizzle
For February, I’m excited for superbowl snacks and I have some really great posts to work on. I’ve been stumped on breakfasts so I need to get myself more creative & easy options. I never want winter smoothies, it is just too cold.

The Baby Girl:

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She’s doing so well yet I thought she’d weigh more at her last weigh-in, but she’s happy and healthy. She’s 12 pounds and super smiley. We’re now letting her sleep at night until she wakes hungry. Sometimes that has been the morning, other times it is a night-time feeding. She barrel rolls across the floor and can hold herself up with one hand while reaching with the other. Baby girl wants to move! We just set up the high chair and I think she’s enjoying being up to the table while we eat. Mostly, she just likes seeing exactly what her big brother is doing. We want to let her play with baby cereal but she naps 6pm-9:30 has a bottle, then sleeps. Maybe this weekend!!

The Little Boy:

He loved his birthday and then REALLY loved dancing to a DJ at his uncle’s birthday! I couldn’t get over my sometimes-shy-guy bustin’ a move on the dance floor. He had a fun Children’s Museum adventure with his Auntie and true to his nature, wasn’t sure he wanted to go when he really thought about it the morning-of. I knew he’d love it and he did. He’s currently obsessed with these new Cheerios. Our big guy wants his tacos regular sized (I used to cut a flour taco into mini triangles to be easier to hold) but he wants them in a taco stand and takes bites. The other night he ate 3 tacos!  We transitioned his crib to a toddler bed and he’s done great! He doesn’t get out until his sleep machine turns from red to green, and even comically announces “my light is green” and waits for us before getting up. It is too cute. He is loving that baby sister can hold toys now.

2019 goals:

Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: I’m not all Marie Kondo but folding by drawer-clothes to see them all is so great! My closet is next.
Feeding Littles: I posted a few, this Peanut Sesame noodles & edamame and Meatless Tacos which are each crowd favorites around here. 
Work on advanced food prepping: ehh. I can do more.
What I’m reading: I read My Name is Lucy Barton which was lackluster. I read Today Will Be Different. Bookclub read The Power which I went back and forth on – definitely different than ones I pick myself. Mr. J is a reading fiend right now- like a book every few days!
What I’m watching: I’m behind on my favs A Million Little Things and This is Us. I might have to accept that I just don’t have the time for the Bachelor. Maybe I’ll jump in a few weeks from now when there are fewer contestants and I’m not 6 hours behind. We watched The Big Sick and loved it so much- I laughed, I cried, I’d watch it again. The big thing is we got rid of cable. Mr. Roku saved us a chunk and might mean we’re a bit more strategic too versus DVR feeling like a to-do list!

Ok, 2019- We’re onto you!

Happy New Year! As much as the clean slate and encouragement to do all the right things feels exciting it can also feel overwhelming. Suddenly we’re supposed to switch from Christmas cookies to all the kale salads? My plans for the upcoming year usually start in November, with my blogaversary but after some post-holiday clean up, I was feeling jazzed and inspired to help for those whose resolutions include the kitchen! By now we’re definitely into January but the number date doesn’t have to dictate when to get started on good habits!

I’m interested by the idea of a word for the year and I’m loving the lists of “more XYZ; less ABC” as a way to set some intentions versus specific goals. I asked on instagram what some food/kitchen related resolutions were which led me here!

If you’re trying to be more intentional with meal planning:

weekly-meal-plan-1000x600

  • Capsule Meal Planning: gives yourself some structure & starting points to plan a week of meals
  • meal planning in 5 steps
  • also, write it down! It helps you plan, shop, visually see what’s ahead (so you can prep ahead somewhat) and anyone else who is eating can see it!
  • my fav grocery app (Anylist) is now on apple & andriod! Hallelujah! We tried so many when we weren’t both on iphones. You can share the list with family members annnnd save a photo with an item- if you’re super particular about say, pita bread, like me! You can even connect recipes so you shop for all the groceries. I keep lists for groceries, Costco, Trader Joe’s and Target.

If you’re wanting some smart breakfast ideas:

Pumpkin Muffin

If packing your lunch needs some attention:

The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad

If you have a new appliance to play with:

The Three Bite Rule - PB & J Smoothie Healthified

If you’re wanting to do more meal prep in advance

(like me!) I’ll be sharing some of those tips on instagram.

Don’t feel the January pressure to do all the things. Take something that you WANT to do and just stick to that. Or pick a new resolution or intention for each month!
My goals:
Year of organizing/decluttering
Feeding Littles
Advanced food prep

 

December 2018 Recap

Howwww is it the end of December?! I think this was the fastest month of the year! Fingers crossed I can get photos of a bunch of menu items during my week off from work.

Christmas was magical. I think 3 (almost 4) years old is quite possibly the most ideal age for Christmas wonder. Our little guy loved seeing the lights, decorating the tree, and meeting Santa. Baby C was so happy and napped and ate pretty well considering it was an unusual day. Christmas day was great. Christmas eve we hosted dinner at home and making fresh pasta has become our tradition for the last few years. We made ravioli and crockpot meatballs. Dad made his signature antipasto and Mom made all the cookies.

December was busy with almost-final touches on the basement renno, social gatherings for dinners out and holiday parties, and busy at work. I really tried to balance Christmas being a magical time with what is actually do-able without adding stress. I decorated a bit less, we didn’t get lights onto the house, visiting Santa was suuuuper late, but the kiddos can’t understand a calendar so it is OK for this season of our lives. More and bigger wouldn’t help anything except for making stressed out parents.

The basement renno is allllmost done. It is in the final stretch. It is livable and just needs the tiniest of details. After the first overnight guests we may settle more toys there though having family helps us (cough, all credit to Mr. J) get the last items done. I’ve tried to “own” meals/laundry/gift wrapping while he’s taking on all the projects!

I think everyone needs loaded waffle fries on a menu, even if just for lunch.
The Three Bite Rule - Loaded Waffle Fries
I made an easier-than-expected Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese and hope that it reinvents leftovers from Christmas!
The Three Bite Rule - Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese
This PB&J smoothie is my favorite. I rarely make any others now that this one feels perfected.
The Three Bite Rule - PB & J Smoothie Healthified
Work closes between Christmas & New Years, which is awesome for time home, and also since I’m at a negative balance from maternity leave. I hope to enjoy the time and to get a few recipes blogged (I have a dessert, a pizza, and maybe a soup on my list!), stock the freezer just a bit, and get a few things done.

The Little Boy:

He moved up to the next class at daycare which is awesome. Such a big kid! We put his play kitchen into the basement and he is loving cooking for us! He is suuuuper into tools and kept very occupied by poking holes with a screwdriver into our broken-down cardboard. He got to watch his first movie! We watched the original, animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He loved it. For food, he loves eating his gingerbread house and all the treats of the season. Meat-less tacos didn’t phase him and I was glad to see him eat them as is, and not deconstruct them to eat elements separately. He liked “fancy toast” which means nutella. He was so excited for Christmas and couldn’t wait to leave cookies for Santa. His birthday is coming right up which might mean that at 4 years old, we maybe should give up the crib. I had hoped we’d get to be sleeping through the night before the effort of teaching him to stay in bed, but alas, someday.

The Baby Girl:

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She’s suchhh a happy girl! She’s very chill, very smiley, and eating better. We’re on a better dosage for reflux. I think she loved being held by all the family for Christmas. We have a good routine going in the mornings and after work. It feels like a relief to know what to expect with her now. Daycare loves her because she’s so sweet and doesn’t cry.

2019 goals:

Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: 2 donation pick ups helped move things out but we’re not 100% settled into the basement yet. Almost! I’m glad to report our wetbar is cleared off now that we moved into our desks in the basement renno.
Feeding Littles: I wish I did this more. I’ll keep at it. Dinner is just such a rush to get onto the table and I try not to have screens at the table! Here’s one!   
Work on advanced food prepping: I capitalized on Trader Joe’s favs (Mandarin Orange Chicken & edemame) and some pre-made freezer items this month (like leftover Thanksgiving meatballs, lasagna, a calzone)
What I’m reading: I didn’t read all that much this month. I’m quite far into What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton but it is ohh so long- I’m about 400 pages into the 600ish pages. I may call it done and move on.
What I’m watching: Christmas movies! Christmas with the Kranks is a fav and so underrated, in my opinion. We rushed to squeeze in a few other favs like Home Alone, Elf, Christmas Vacation, etc.