5/31/2016

Current Favorites

During pregnancy,  I struggle being comfortable.  Sleeping is difficult,  eating is difficult (due to gagging often on certain foods that I used to love), back pain is constant, and temperature sensitivity is all the time.  Hormones and a shift of gravity putting pressure on back and spine are common culprits during pregnancy.

I decided it's time to invest in items to help me feel a bit more comfort.

For too long, I have worn shoes with no arch support. This is especially not good during pregnancy.  The time finally came for new comfort, versatile shoes.  While searching, I came across many flashy, bright sneakers, something I just can't wear with everything.

While looking online at J crew,  one of my favorite shops in the history of ever, I found the shoes I feel i've searched forever for, as well as a few other things I purchased. Must be pregnancy doing this to me, but I went a bit crazy shopping.

Note: I don't do sponsored posts (maybe in the future), but am sharing just for the purpose of sharing, the stuff I bought since it's been a long time since I've bought anything.
                        These are the New Balance for J. CREW sneaker. Absolutely adorable.  love the vintage look of them and according to reviews, they are very comfortable.  They are on backorder until September,  so I'll have to wait.
                      These Sea Vees Legend vintage sneakers are selling out fast at j. Crew, and I am glad I got these before they were gone. I love the comfort of them and they go with everything. Perfect pregnancy and post  shoe. Wish I just had them at Disneyland a few weeks ago.
       I love t-shirts and anything basic. I was able to snatch this Sailboat dyed tee at the 40% off during the big jcrew sale.

 I spied this on Amazon and couldn't resist it. It's the crochet tablecloth and hopefully its still available.  I am really into the vintage theme for my home with a touch of the farmhouse going on.
I am a tad obsessed with these chicken wire baskets.  I have quite a collection going on. I store books, toys, laundry,  etc in them. I get mine at Tj Maxx
 the Liz Lange collection of maternity dresses. I love striped clothing and saw this at Target in the maternity section about two months ago. I just checked and its still available online in solid and striped colors. Just size down one whole size. It is so light and comfortable. I have even slept in it. Whoops.

The pregnancy pillow.  These are easy to find. This particular one is from Walmart. I can't say enough about the support they give.

So there are my summer, pregnancy splurges. I know I will get tons of use out of each of these items.

5/26/2016

Summer

Summer is almost here.   For those who have been reading my blog since 2009 or later, thank you! It means a lot to me that you take interest in my life, recipes, and some of my journal rants.

During the summer, I will no longer be blogging. I will resume back in the fall.  So what will I be doing?

Staying active! A few hours a week at the gym. How I LOVE the gym. Yoga and body bustin are amazing!

I envision picnics, BBques, hearing those crickets at night, looking up at stars and lots of cleaning up our house to prepare for baby's arrival.

Choosing a name is hard this time around. One week I love a name and the next week I don't.

Sunny will be in dance camp and will be busy with gym daycare where she gets her socialization with other kids, which in turn makes her much happier.  Isn't it funny that kids and adults both get moody when they don't have enough socialization. Sunny is a much happier kid when she has peers to engage with and I have to say, I am the exact same way. Aren't we all!

Sunny has also been registered for pre-school and will start this August, 6 hours a week! I am so excited to see her grow up, yet sad at the same time. Time please slow down.

She says she can't wait to wear a back-pack and get on a school bus. Haha!

I hope all you have an excellent summer as well.



5/20/2016

Dark Chocolate Paleo Birthday Cake

As a kid I ate a lot of sugar. My favorite place was a small store I referred to as "Old Nisson's." The store had everything it seemed.  Sadly, the store was demolished in 2010. The old man, Named Mr. Nisson, lived next door, still does, and he would patiently ring me up everytime for all my bundles of penny candy, Charm suckers, Jolly Rancher's, and other treats that I can't find around anymore.

A friend and I would ride our bikes down to the store, then slowly eat our treats together. My favorite childhood memories.

Not only did I gain my independance taking off to that store, but I went there a lot without my mom's permission.

I think my sweet-tooth developed rather quickly from that point on.

Whenever my sister babysat, I would run off to the gas station that was conveniently located next to their apartments and load up on sweets and then came the summer babysitting for my sister when I was 12. She had endless otter pops and poptarts stored in her place and would spoil me rotten with treats after work. Those were the days.

Now I am making up for all that by cutting down on the sugar. It's hard, but in deciding what to do about Sunny's birthday this Saturday, chocolate cake is what she asked for.  I decided to make a gluten-free, dairy free, sugar free, high fiber cake that is DIVINE. I have made it about 8 times and it's probably my favorite out there.

We are not a gluten free or paleo family, but this cake is for anyone who wants a healthier approach to eating cake. It bakes up perfect and has the right about of sweetness with loads of chocolate flavor.

The frosting is a simple buttercream chocolate frosting, but I have topped it with fluffy whipped cream and strawberries as well.

I am not having a large party with friends this year. Just family. With desperately trying to potty train my child, working on the house, and being prego, this mama just wants a little simplicity this year.

Speaking of pregnancy, let me throw in a picture of my baby girl. She was in the cutest pose and I can't stop smiling. How flexible!

I love being pregnant. It really is the best!





Dark Chocolate Paleo Birthday Cake

Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pulse together dry ingredients in a food processor
  2. Pulse in wet ingredients
  3. Grease two 6-inch springform pans with coconut oil
  4. Pour batter into prepared cake pans
  5. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes
  6. Cool and frost with frosting of choice
  7. Serve
Note: If making cupcakes, do everything the same, but reduce bake time by 5-8 minutes

Source: Elana'spantry.com

5/16/2016

Mushroom Risotto (Dangerously Good)

Lately I've been in somewhat of a fickle.  I have been trying to create balance in my life, but have found some struggle.  Sunny needs attention, my house needs care, and I need to create a grocery list and plan meals.

We are doing a lot of home improvement on this fixer upper of ours.  These last few months have been the busiest ever for the Tracy family.  I am sure the TLC our home has gotten is well received and she is thanking us.

Sometimes I am hesitant to put too much money into this house, but I know home improvement is not a waste. It actually is a very smart choice.

I was on realtor.com the other day just because, and I noticed homes in my small town have skyrocketed.  In just one year, homes have doubled, tripled in price. The market is high right now. We bought our home at the right time.

Our home was built in the 70's. The windows are all the originals. They are not energy efficient and the glass is cracked in some areas.

Our french doors are in the same category.  We finally decided to order new  doors and new windows. Just 3 for now.

Everyday for the past several months, it seems we are working non-stop on our house.  After Rodney gets home, I remind him that priority is to study and do his homework, not spend so much time working on the house.

Sunny comes up to me each evening and says "The sun is going down, the sun is going down"  Who taught her about the sun going down???

Our grass is very dry at the moment and our garden is struggling. We have exterior paint stored in the shed that has to be used up or it will get dry, and the pressure is on to keep those weeds under control.
Rodney is working on sprinkler repair, but for now we are hand watering and relying on our thunderbird. It hasn't been enough for poor grass.

Homes take so much work.  At the end of the day, we are exhausted.  Time for bed.

Oh yes, dinner.

I enjoy watching cooking shows and was watching one the other day. Risotto was introduced to me. I had never heard of it. I found this specific rice in the rice isle and decided to make it right away. It is a great one pot meal and I may have ate way more then the recommended portion.  This goes great served alongside steam veggies for a side, or a salad.

Note: I didn't add meat to mine, but thin cut beef strips or even shrimp could be tossed in.
.


Mushroom Risotto










0ptional: Parmassan cheese sprinkled on and lemon juice squeezed on top.:
  1. In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.
  2. Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. recipe source: allrecipes.com

5/14/2016

Motherhood: It is what it is.

Before I was a mother, I had a somewhat distorted view on motherhood. I indeed pictured a little glamour associated with it.

I bought a gorgeous diaper bag that I later found was not practical or functional. Little did I know.

I decorated a nursery and crib thinking I would walk down the hall each night when baby woke. Little did I know that never happened.

I bought beautiful white dresses and outfits full of lace and frill and delicate baby shoes, never imagining they would quickly be stained or shoes lost.

I pictured myself with makeup on daily, hair done, and a beautiful mama wardrobe right on point.

After I became one, I realized quickly how messy it is. How colicy a baby can be, and little sleep and hours of nursing can make mama live in pajamas for a time being.

How could I have been so wrong.
           

When I think of each year that goes by, Sunny turning 3, I feel rather accomplished in a way. I have kept this child alive for 3 whole years. Wow!

The gym is my favorite place to socialize with other mama's.  I love all my friends dearly, but sometimes I get caught in comparing myself to them.

I don't think anybody is perfect, but some people come across as a tad bit superior to me when it comes to how they parent.

Enter the world of Instagram, ahem I mean Pleasantville.

A few weeks ago, I was walking laps with a friend who has 3 kids. She told me her bedtime routine with each child. She went on to say that every night her kids have a strict routine which involves the whole brushing teeth, singing songs or reading before bed, followed by scriptures and prayer.

Scripture reading could be more consistent and we are working on it.

She asked me about mine. I was honest and said I have never had a bedtime routine with Sunny. She usually just falls asleep on one of our laps while we are watching TV, then we carry her off to bed.

Another friend informed me that her children are not allowed to watch TV unless it's a special day or a huge reward.

My thought on that was what is wrong with TV shows. Most are educational and children love that time to relax.

Sunny watches about two hours a day and she learns a ton from her shows.

Some mother's may have better structure then I, but they also may have a different child then I. Yes, I am sure I could follow their examples and do as they do, but that is not going to happen at this time of my life.

That is one reason why I choose not to have an instagram account. Long ago I became way to frustrated over perfectly neat homes, children devouring messy food with no stains anywhere, and happy smiling faces all the time.  Is this real or is it an illusion. I just don't care to associate with it. Instagram is wondeful I some ways, but it can also cause feelings of inadequacy.  I am sure mother's across the world wonder if they can measure up to another mama out there. Not sure this is healthy.

The reality of my life is it is messy. I have lots of stained clothes. Handprints and crayons are found on my walls and glass, and each day, my table and floor are lined with crumbs.

Naps are non-existent in my home and constant fixer upper tasks are done along with parenting.

If my toddler was somewhat of a robot and behaved exactly as I wished or commanded her, maybe I would be up to a smooth, consistant, perfectly routined polished bedtimes, each night for her.

Instead, I am going to sit my bum on the couch and relax with my 3 musketeer family and snuggle my sleeping girl as she rests on our laps.

This concludes my journal rant tonight.

This is my life and I am blessed with what I"ve got.




5/12/2016

A Date With Sunny

In less then 2 weeks, this little gal will be 3.  Part of me wants her to stop growing up, and the other part is excited for all these new developments happening to her. It is happening way to quick. 

Sunny:

NEVER stops talking or singing.  

She is very sensitive to emotions. If someone is upset or a child is crying, she will comfort them.

She is strong-willed, always will be.

She is a strong leader

Still friendly as ever to any boy or girl she sees.

Loves hide n go seek, painting, drawing, etc.

Legos are always fun

Loves Daniel Tiger show

Is very in to princess dress up and make-believe play.  

I love my girl so much, it literally hurts.
I just couldn't imagine life without her.

In June, Sunny will start summer camp for one month. To be honest, I am terrified of letting her go three times a week.  This is sordive an introduction before pre-school starts in the fall.

I know I can stay busy working on so many neglected projects.


 I could work on a hundred things in and out of the house.  With our fixer upper constantly needing work, I love to engage myself in house projects and cleaning.  Painting has been one of the works, prepping our front yard and shoveling up huge rocks is another, and there is always mowing the lawn and watering,planting, weed digging and gardening. I could stay pretty busy. 

Once a week, I try to make extra effort to take Sunny out for a mama-daughter date and get her out of this house environment.  This can be a picnic, lunch out, or something Sunny likes to do.

A few days ago, we headed to the Children's Museum. It was quiet as ever and we spent a bit of time there.  Sunny was less enthused.  She would of loved it more if there were other children there.

This week, Sunny also had her last day of dance class and they had a cute performance. 


Here are pictures from the Town Square/Children's Museum










                                                                    Dance Performance


                                                        Sunny and her dance teacher

5/07/2016

Spring Vacation 2016

I am finally getting around to posting about our vacation to CA.  Despite how exhausting part of this vacation was, it truly was the best!!

We left early in the morning and headed to Newport beach to check into our hotel by mid-afternoon.

Sunny was a dream in the car. The best kid ever! No whining, no complaining. Just so happy!!!

She never slept. Not once!

We had our car really packed to the core. Our goal was to save money by not eating out until Friday, for Rodney's Birthday dinner.

We had a ice-chest packed with lots of sandwich making stuff. And soup. Lots of soup and microwave stuff.

Sounds kindof great eating sandwiches every night. It sounded okay with me.....at first.

Anyway, we arrived safe and sound and finally were able to check in.  Hotels in beachy towns are often laid back and not the cleanest or newest looking. I expected this. The hotel was okay and everythng I expected.

That night, we headed out to the mall. Sunny finally fell asleep.  We stopped by the Newport Temple.  Beautiful.

The next day, Tuesday, we headed down to Newport Pier and Sunny saw the ocean for the first time.  It was freeeezing. The tide was high, the ocean was loud, and Sunny was a bit scared of it. We took a boat out for a sea lion tour.

Later that day, we headed to the beach. Sunny had been talking about building sand castles non-stop. She had a BLAST!  She threw a huge tantrum when we had to leave.

Wednesday, we headed back to the Pier and we walked about 3 miles along the trail. We saw an Elementary school right on the beach. Very cool.

Around noon, we checked out of our hotel and headed to Anaheim for our next hotel, The Super 8.  Rodney and I stayed there before and it's only a short walk from Disneyland. Super nice too.

We checked in, ate some snacks and walked around for awhile. The next day we would be leaving for Disney bright and early.

On Thursday, we hopped on a bus and headed to Disneyland at 9 am.  We are not to smart. We didn't get fast passes.  The crowd was outrageous. The lines were anywhere from 40-60 minutes.

We had a stroller, a backpack full of snacks and water, and a very excited toddler.  This was an early birthday present for her.

She wanted to see Tinkerbell and Mickey right away.  There was a very long wait to see them. We managed. Worth it.

Around noon, we headed back on the bus and headed back to the hotel for lunch. Most people would not go through that stress and eat at the park. I must add that Disneyland has some of the best food in the world. Very expensive but I hear it's worth it big time. Especially the gumbo in the New Orlean's part of the park.  

We headed back after a short break at hotel and got on only a few more rides in Fantasy Land and Toon Town.

All in all, we spent about 11 hours there and only got to ride less then 10 rides.  Next time fast passes will be a requirement!

Disneyland was magical and so worth it for Sunny's sake. When we got back to hotel that night, she fell asleep right away.

Friday was our last day and we headed to Knottsberry Farm.  This park was so quiet and the lines were less then 5 minutes. We spent a lot of time in the kid park and Sunny rode the same rides over and over and over.  Anything for Sunny!

We spent a full day at the Knottsberry and between that and Disney, we were tired out. We got back about 5 pm and headed out to eat for the first time all week. We did the California Pizza Kitchen.

That place is so good. Rather expensive but the best food around. I saw way too many things I wanted and sordive went overboard. Big time.  Oh well.

 Saturday, we headed home.  Sunny was so great on the way home. She loved every second of this vacation.

I took tons of pictures on my phone. So convenient, but no the best quality. I am just glad we have the memories.  These pictures are in no particular order.

























































Tasty!

Tasty!
Mango Salsa (see January archive on right for recipe)