The Idea of Him: Throwing Parties as Parents

This post was inspired by the novel The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson. Allie thought she had the perfect husband, until she finds him and another woman in a compromising position in their own apartment. Join From Left to Write on April we discuss The Idea of Him. Join us for a live chat with Holly on April 3.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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In my effort to keep my book club posts out of the depressing sector, I thought I would write about a topic that was touched briefly upon in the book.

Allie’s husband liked to entertain in their home and Allie was always on duty to put together the perfect party. Allie and Wade had 2 younger children and in the book the children stayed in their rooms, doing homework, reading, etc… while the party was hosted in the family’s New York City apartment.

Initially, I was floored by this, I couldn’t imagine throwing some sort of industry party while my kids are upstairs. Than I realized I was more like Allie than I thought. Nick and I don’t throw ragers like we used to (a post for another time) but we love entertaining and we don’t have family close by. Every year we have a Superbowl Party. I make a ton of food and order a few pizzas. Our friends bring delicious treats and beer and we all gather around the TV to watch the game and catch up. B has always been a part of this tradition, and this year he loved watching the game, eating pizza and desserts, and hanging out with our friends. I put him to bed at half time and was able to hang out with our friends after bed time.

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From 2013’s Superbowl Party

For those who want to just dabble in party throwing, I think a daytime event might help. I throw a ladies only cookie swap every December. The first year I was the only one with a child, now more of my friends have kids and it is a fun kids and moms event. It will also give you an idea of how your kids might handle large groups of people being in your home.

The more I think about it, the more I think having an upscale party, like a fancy NYE party, would be fine to do when our kid(s) are older.

What do you think? Have you had a party with your kids at home? Would you ever?

Weekly Updates: 03/24/14 – 03/30/14

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Monday - We ended up staying in CT until late Monday morning, Nick was able to work from home, so I took an early evening class at Pure Barre. I thought that the evening classes were harder because I am not used to working out at night, but I think it is a combination of that and the fact that most of the night classes I’ve taken have been taught by Melissa and she is one tough teacher! (14/20)

Tuesday –  Back to my morning classes, I took the 6:10 with Leigh. The classes were starting to thin out a little bit since a lot of people had already completed their 20 classes for the Pure Madness Challenge. Classes weren’t empty but they weren’t completely full either. (15/20)

Wednesday – Another Pure Barre class, I know you are surprised. (16/20)

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Thursday - Another Pure Barre class, this was my first class with Amanda as the instructor. I will be honest, it wasn’t my best. I didn’t feel super motivated and I struggled with a lot of the sequences. I think part of it was the stress going on in my life, but also because with my desire to fulfill the 20 classes in 30 days (and the fact that I was unsure if I was going to be in town over the weekend) I needed to get every week day class in, and I think that stressed me out. (17/20)

Friday - Pure Barre had a great thing during the month of March, on Fridays you could bring a friend for no charge to a class if there was space. The problem for me was that the last class of the day is 4:30 pm and since we don’t have any child care anyone who wanted to come with me would have to come at 6:10 am. Luckily, Jane was up for the challenge. The staff was awesome at having her, and I felt a little bad because Melissa taught one of the hardest classes I had taken so far! BUT she loved it and will hopefully be joining me this month! (18/20)

Saturday - We ended up staying in town over the weekend and so I registered for a few classes. I took the 9 am on Saturday, taught by Amanda. I had a much better experience this time around, so I am chalking Thursday’s class up to be a fluke. (19/20)

Sunday - Today was the day! I completed my 20 classes in 30 days with 2 days to spare! Kelly was teaching the class and it was definitely a full circle moment since she taught my first class ever at Pure Barre. Everyone who completed the challenge received a gift, I also got to write a note about the my feelings after completing the challenge that they posted, as well as a great photo with a trophy.

IMG_7989I am going to write a more thorough post about my thoughts on Pure Barre, but I want to end today’s post just sharing that the staff at the Lynnfield location is amazing. Everyone is so genuinely nice and motivating. The instructors and barre tenders (aka ladies who work at the front desk) are always open to helping students work on their form or work out any scheduling kinks.  Not only is the staff wonderful, but the other women who attend classes are great as well. A lot of the morning ladies head across the parking lot to Starbucks for their caffeine fix together before starting the day. If you are in the area, I highly recommend checking out a class!

I am extremely proud of myself for making it through this challenge. I am starting to feel better about my body post-miscarriage, and I am feeling emotionally healthier, which I think is a combination of Pure Barre and Yoga.

Have you ever completed a barre or gym challenge?

Confessions of a Mom, Vol. 10

Before we get to today’s post, I just want to say there has been too much loss in the past year, in the city of Boston and in my personal life. Many thoughts and prayers to the Boston Fire Department and to the families and friends of the two firefighters who lost their lives doing their job. Thank you to all first responders, everywhere, without you wouldn’t be safe.

Disclaimer: please read this post with an open mind and sense of humor. Sometimes we all need a good laugh.

 

When my toddler picks out his own clothes for the day

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How I feel about the fact that it has been freezing cold outside the past week

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How I feel that the temperature for today and tomorrow is “play outside all day” type of weather

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{Vol. 1,  Vol. 2Vol. 3Vol. 4Vol. 5Vol. 6Vol. 7Vol. 8Vol. 9}

WIAW: Spinach & Rice Recipe

Thanks to Jenn for hosting WIAW! Make sure to head over there after checking out my eats and recipe.

For this week I am going to focus on what I have been eating during the days we fast.

My favorite post-workout carb!

My favorite post-workout carb!

For breakfast, post-workout, I have my usual oatmeal with a scoop of peanut butter, I have been subbing the regular milk for almond milk. The same goes with milk in my coffee.

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Lunch is usually a salad with lots of veggies, this one had a side of sweet potato and broccoli. I also had some shrimp.

For dinner, we had a staple in Nick’s home, Spinach & Rice. It is super easy and fast, and if you workout at night, it is an awesome post-workout meal!

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp of Olive Oil

1 medium yellow onion

3-4 cloves of garlic

1 15 oz can of tomato sauce

1 large box (I used Olivia Organics) of fresh spinach

1 cup of rice

Instructions:

Chop onion and garlic and saute in olive oil in a large pot until the onion is translucent.

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Add Spinach, I usually put half of the box in and let it cook down a little and then add the other half.

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Add the can of tomato sauce and then one and half cans of water to the pot.

Let the mixture come to a boil then bring the heat to low.

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Add a cup of rice. Cover and let it cook for 30 minutes. I usually end up letting it cook for closer to 25 minutes but that’s because of how my stove cooks. You want the rice to be cooked completely.

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Serve with a slice of fresh french bread to soak up the extra tomato sauce!

Notes

Make sure you use fresh spinach, because frozen spinach will add too much liquid to the mixture and fresh tastes better!

You can half the recipe if you want to use a smaller box of spinach. You could also substitute the grain if you prefer.

Have you ever had spinach and rice, or something like it?

 


Weekly Updates: 03/17/14 – 03/23/14

I’m posting from my phone due to some family stuff going on and I don’t have my laptop, I apologize for any formatting or post issues. This post is going to be short and I hope to get back to my usual posts soon.

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Monday – I was ready to head to Pure Barre but as I was headed out the door Nick asked me to stay home. He wasn’t feeling good and needed to sleep instead of having toddler duty.

Tuesday – I managed to squeeze in a morning class at Pure Barre. Then I was back on sick husband and toddler duty. (10/20)

Wednesday – I ended up taking an evening class at Pure Barre and man was it tough, but I learned a lot. Also, I remembers why I don’t take classes at night. Everything smelled like hamburgers after class because of the nearby restaurants. (11/20)

Thursday - Again, I took a night class, and while I didn’t hate it, I defined felt less strong than I do in the morning and had less will power to push through the pain. (12/20)

Friday – I ended up taking a morning Pure Barre class because there are no evening classes on Fridays. I went to bed pretty soon after my Thursday class but woke up in the middle of the night, so waking up at 5 was rough. (13/20)

Saturday & Sunday – I had plans for classes but a family thing took major priority. I’m still hoping to complete the 20 classes in 30 days, I have 7 classes left and 10 days I believe.

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Confessions of a Mom, Vol. 9

Disclaimer: please read this post with an open mind and sense of humor. Sometimes we all need a good laugh.

We just watched Frozen for the first time, and I think that Let It Go is not the best song on the soundtrack.

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When I have a sick husband and high energy toddler at home

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How I feel that it is officially spring!

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{Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3Vol. 4Vol. 5Vol. 6Vol. 7Vol. 8}

The Divorce Papers: My Dream Job

This post was inspired by the novel The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger. Young lawyer Sophie unwillingly takes her first divorce case with an entertaining and volatile client in this novel told mostly through letters and legal missives. Join From Left to Write on March 18 as we discuss The Divorce Papers. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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This book was amazing, and I could write on any number of subjects in regards to it. Since most of my From Left to Write posts end up being about more sad topics, I am going to stray away from the actual topic of divorce and kids in divorces (the number of posts I could write on either is endless). Instead, I want to write about the “dream job”.

During the conversations that Sophie and Mia have in the book, Mia talks about how she wants to be a lawyer, and that she thinks she would do well in that career. It made me go back to my thoughts of trying to put off college when I was a senior in high school.

I had a million career paths I wanted to major in, but not one had I really taken the time to develop any real feelings towards. I wanted to put off school for a year, but my parents refused to let me (even if I am the one paying) because they thought I’d never go. How I feel about that is a post for another time…

I ended up at a private college about an hour away from home. I hadn’t declared a major, but it was probably in partying, I didn’t really care about school and I was doing okay in my classes. The only ones I ever paid attention to were in the English or History department. My second semester was kind of awful, I was driving to Worcester (3 hours one way) almost every weekend to be with my sister and her friends. After a hundred conversations I decided I was going to apply to schools in that city. I got in to two and the third had a stipulation that I needed a higher level math class in order to transfer in. I took that class and ended up enrolling at WPI, not to major in engineering, but for a path that would end up with me going to law school. I did 4 years at WPI and took the LSAT, I actually did well and would’ve gotten into law school, but I still wasn’t sure that it was the right path for me. I ended up in a job with my sister and worked for a little over a year.

I went back to school to get my Master in Education, I was going to teach History for grades 5 – 12. I loved student teaching and I loved the relationships I had with the kids and the other professionals at my schools, for the most part. I hated dealing with the entitled parents who thought I failed their child since the child didn’t do well on an exam or paper. I ended up leaving a school when I was pregnant and I haven’t gone back to teaching since. With all the craziness that has gone on at schools, especially locally, part of me wonders if I ever will. I loved teaching, that part I miss, but there are a lot of political things about teaching that I am glad to be away from.

I still have some of the dreams that I did before I even entered college. Owning a coffee shop and bakery or becoming a photographer. Lately, though I would also love to work at a fitness studio or work in social media, or combine them both!

I fear that I will never find my dream job, and I love this stay-at-home mom thing I’ve got going on, but kids grow up and pursue their dreams, and what happens to mine? Do I just give up on having a dream job?

What is your dream job? Do you have it?

 

Weekly Updates: 03/10/14 – 03/16/14

Weekly Workouts

Happy St. Patricks Day! Hope you wore your green today!

And if you missed it last week, I had a guest post on the 90 Plus Cellars blog last week!

Monday -

Finally, I got my butt to Pure Barre in the morning, apparently I am not the only one that has a hard time getting out of bed Monday mornings because it was the smallest PBL class I have been to so far. (5/20)

Tuesday – 

I was supposed to go to Studio Poise with  Jane for Poise Xpress in the morning but she texted me in the morning that she wasn’t going to make it. I was rallying for her but I had a long day ahead of me so I am glad I got the extra sleep.

Wednesday – 

I made it to Pure Barre in the morning (6/20) and then at night I went to Studio Poise for a charity yoga session that Yoga Jake was leading, you might remember that I had an awesome experience last time Jake taught at Studio Poise so I was definitely looking forward to this. The class was on the smaller side, so we ended up practicing different types of inversions. I had never done one before so I was totally down to hang out in Child’s Pose the whole time. I did try to do one and I was pretty impressed that I was able to do it. I continue to surprise myself and I think I forget how strong I can be.

Thursday – 

As I was heading home from yoga on Wednesday it was raining and foggy so I ended up cancelling my morning class, it was a good thing I did because it was pretty slick on the roads.

Friday – 

purebarremadnessI know you’re surprised, another Pure Barre class, I gotta get to 20 somehow! (7/20)

Saturday – 

I headed to Pure Barre in the morning, then Nick, B and I went for a couple walks because it was gorgeous out. (8/20)

Sunday – 

I took a late morning Pure Barre class with Lauren and it was wonderful, I had never had her as a teacher before and she was able to chat with me about things that would specifically help my body keep the correct form. After Pure Barre I ended up going grocery shopping and then running around and doing a ton of errands and cleaning after I got home. I think I spent the entire day on my feet. (9/20)

Food -

We were pretty good this week. For fasting we had the quinoa bake and for the other days we had grilled chicken kabob and lots of veggies. For lunches I had fish, broccoli and sweet potatoes. I keep craving chocolate and lots of it, my sweet tooth is going crazy lately.

How was your week in workouts and food? Any cravings lately?

Orthodox Lent and Fasting Recipes

Growing up Catholic I never really though too much about other religious sects within Christianity. I didn’t know any Orthodox Christians and I didn’t know a ton about how things were different. Fast forward to college, not only is Nick’s family Greek Orthodox, but we had friends that were Orthodox as well (Russian, Serbian, etc…)

There is definitely a lot to learn about Orthodox Christianity, and I think I understand most of the basics, but one of the areas that is vastly different is Lent. For Catholics, the more public aspect of Lent is mostly about giving up one thing for the duration as a sacrifice. For Orthodox Christians you fast during Lent, not a fast like no eating or drinking, how you usually associate the word fast.

Keeping it just about the food for WIAW, you fast every Wednesday and Friday. Everyone I know does fasting a little bit different, but for the most part you don’t consume meat or dairy, this also means no eggs or seafood with a bloodline. There are obviously exceptions, pregnant women, children, women who are breastfeeding, etc…

I thought I would share with you some recipes and ideas that follow those guidelines. Recipes that I’ve tried, recipes that friends and family members have tried. If you have any you would like to share please link them below.

Breakfast

For my morning coffee I tend to use almond milk or coconut milk and I use almond milk in my oatmeal. Obviously you can use soy milk as well, but for me personally, I prefer almond or coconut.  Vegan butter can be used as a replacement for regular butter. Personally, I find breakfast to be the hardest meal to keep dairy free, so many breakfast foods have some sort of dairy/meat component, the one that always slips my mind is eggs.

Mindy’s Banana Bread Muffins

 Iowa Girl Eats Immitation Starbucks Oatmeal – like she did, I would use almond milk instead of dairy

Kammie’s Slow Cooker Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats

Lunch and Dinner

In previous years, I have lived on peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and pasta. Not exactly healthy, but I didn’t know nearly as much about cooking as I do now. Now, I have more carbs than I do most weeks of the year, but I try to keep it to things like quinoa and brown rice. I try to load up on lots of veggies and to make sure I find a way to get protein. My favorite family recipes are spinach and rice or lentils. Both recipes I need to write up and share with you. I tend to eat the same stuff for lunch and dinner because it is easier then prepping four different meat & dairy free meals for each of us. Try some of the recipes below if you are fasting this Lent.

Thug Kitchen’s Basmati Stuffed Grilled Peppers, I prefer tomatoes to peppers and might even leave out the rice.

Laura from Mommy Run Fast has a ton of great recipes but here are some highlights: Quinoa Minestrone, Soba Noodles with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Tofu, and Crockpot Black Beans.

Wildly Fit’s Lentil Stew – lentils are such a great way to get protein!

Two Peas & Their Pod’s Black Bean and Enchilada Quinoa Bake – this is a family favorite. You can either use vegan cheese or just omit the cheese altogether. It also makes A TON of servings, you can make a whole pan and freeze some so you can take out the servings you need instead of eating it all week.

Burgers – There are a ton of black bean burger recipes out there for you to make the following ones are ones that either I or my family members have made and loved. Maria’s Spicy Black Bean Burger – just omit the cream sauce and Girls Gone Sporty’s Spicy Buffalo Black Bean & Quinoa Burger with Vegan Blue Cheese Sauce. You can also try a Greek Veggie Burger or an unfried Falafel Burger.

Still want pasta, but want something to add to it? Try these quinoa meatless meatballs!

Try slow cooker Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew

And if you need something sweet at the end of the day? Try these Crockpot Baked Apples!

Find more recipes at Jenn’s WIAW Linkup!


What are your favorite meat and dairy free recipes? 

Weekly Updates : 03/03/14 – 03/09/14

Weekly Workouts

 

Monday – 

Nick and I stayed up late watching the Academy Awards, plus B was still feeling crappy, so I took the day off. Way more important to do some sick toddler snuggling then trying to figure out when to work out.

Tuesday – 

I took my first class of the Pure Madness Challenge at Pure Barre Lynnfield with Elizabeth. I loved her energy first thing in the morning, it wasn’t so peppy I wanted to smack something, but it was the type of energy that made me excited to be in class.

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Wednesday -

I took Pure Barre another great class, I really like that every day is different, it keeps your body working and keeps it from becoming boring.  (2/20)

Thursday – 

Pure Barre again, I know you are very surprised. (3/20)

Friday – 

I was planning on going to class, but I woke up with cramps so bad I was crying in my sleep. I took some Advil and went back to bed. Most of the time working out helps me work through the cramps and inevitably feel better. This time, I could barely make the walk to the bathroom, so my decision was made for me.

Saturday – 

I took an early Pure Barre class with Kelly. I really appreciate that she took the time after class to talk to me about how to get the most out of a class and how to know that I am working the right muscles. (4/20)

Sunday -

I had plans to go to Studio Empower in Newton to take a class and share the information with you, but I needed to reschedule for some personal reasons, but I will get there soon and share it with you all!

Food:

I made a lot of veggies and fish for me this week for lunches, changing it up really helped my boredom. I will share more about this week in Wednesday’s post!

 

How was your week in workouts?