Sunday, August 21, 2011

Menu Planning Monday: August 22 - 28

How did everyone's menu plan go last week? Did you stick to your plan? I find that sometimes when I plan specific meals for specific days I have a difficult time sticking with the plan, but it went really well this week. I really loved being able to decide what I wanted to make for dinner each day knowing that I had everything on hand for a variety of meals.

Another thing that helped me out this time around is that I planned meals for the entire week, not just Monday to Friday.

This is how the week played out for me:

Monday - Broccoli & Cheese Stuffed Chicken (Guilt-free) I was a little worried when I used up my guilt free meal on the first day, but Andrew was working & had Tuesday off, (he normally works Tuesday nights as well) so it worked out alright.

Tuesday - Chili & Cheese Macaroni This was delicious - more to come about this recipe on Friday!

Wednesday - We had dinner at Andrew's parents house with his Aunt, Uncle & cousins who we don't get to see very often, but who are my very favourite aunt & uncle in law. We had barbecued pork chops & salads & everything was delicious & then we had a yogurt pie that my mother in law made for dessert.

Thurday - Andrew worked this night, so I was going to just make Pierce & I spaghetti, but there was leftover Chili & Cheese Macaroni, so we shared that instead.

Friday - We went out for dinner at Shoeless Joe's. We shared a plate of calamari as an appetizer & for dinner I had Montreal Smoked Meat Poutine & Andrew had a Buffalo Chicken Pizza. Both were delicious & we had leftovers to eat for lunch the next day.

Saturday - Pierce & I ended up eating at my friend Andrea's house. She has a little girl who is only a week younger than Pierce & they get along really well.

Sunday - Turkey Meatloaf

So yea. Not a lot of eating from the menu plan went on last week. But that's ok because we only ate out once, which is awesome for us.

I have added another category this week as well. Date night. It is explained below with the rest of the categories in case you missed them last week. There are now 8 categories, so I can pick & choose each week.

Meatless - This is pretty self explanatory - a meal containing no meat
Casserole - Any casserole-type dish
Crockpot - Any meal made in the crockpot
Guilt-free - A prepackaged meal on a day when I am tired or don't feel like cooking
From the freezer - A recipe using up an ingredient that is in our freezer
Something new - A brand new recipe! (so if you have a recipe you'd like me to try, let me know!)
Date night - A recipe for a date night in with the hubs after Pierce goes to bed
Wildcard - One of the categories can be repeated if I so choose

Here's what's on the menu for this week:

1. Walking Tacos - These look so delicious, but Pierce won't be able to eat them, so we'll have them one night after he goes to bed. (Date Night)

2. Crockpot Barbecue Chicken - We didn't get to try this last week, so we're trying again for this week. (Crockpot)

3. Spaghetti (Meatless)

4. Shepherd's Pie (From the Freezer)

5. Sweet & Sour Chicken (Something New)

6. Kraft Dinner (Guilt Free)

Ugh...why are there so many days in a week?! I am running out of ideas!

7. Tuna Casserole - I didn't make this last week...(Casserole)

And that's that! Whew!

I definitely need a little more inspiration on the meatless category. I have a feeling we can only do spaghetti once per week for so long before we get bored of it. If you have any recipes you can recommend, please do so!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Foodie Friday: Tuna Casserole

Here is the Tuna Casserole recipe I promised from Monday. I love this recipe because it really is super easy - I can make it while Pierce plays in the living room - and it's healthy, too! This usually makes enough for the three of us to have it for dinner one night & for lunch the next day.

3 cups uncooked macaroni
2 cups frozen peas
1 can tuna, drained
1 can cream of cheddar soup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Bring a pot of water to a boil & throw in the macaroni & peas. Boil until the macaroni reaches your desired tenderness. Drain pasta & peas & put them back into the empty pot. Add the tuna & soup & mix well. Pour into a small casserole dish & cover with the shredded cheese. Put the casserole under the broiler until the cheese is melted & bubbly. Enjoy!

P.S. If anyone has a recipe that they would like to share with me, please let me know! I love trying out new recipes & I would love to feature it here on my blog!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Someday Soon

The thing about postpartum depression is that there's this stigma associated with it. And if you haven't gone through it, you don't know what it's like. It's a lot like motherhood that way. When you're about to become a Mom you know that it's going to be difficult. Like REALLY difficult. And you're almost unsure of the fact that you'll be able to do it (at least I was).

Postpartum depression is hard like that. It's hard because it makes you feel like you'll never get better. It's hard because there's a stigma associated with it & you feel like you can't tell anyone how you're feeling. There's a misconception with regards to motherhood that once you become a mother, you should feel happy. Not just happy, elated. But not just elated, either. It's like you should be living in this cloud of orgasmic happiness. You just had a baby!! How could you be anything but happy?

And it's made even harder by watching others get better. That is, if you're fortunate enough to have a community of people around you who know what PPD is like. You know it's possible to get better because you see others doing it. And you feel like you're doing everything right, but you're not recovering as quickly as others are. And you know you shouldn't, but it's hard not to compare.

I've been there. I've suffered with PPD. And the reason this post is the way it is, is because those posts on other blogs that were all "Everything is puppies & rainbows, & unicorns that fart fairy dust" were not helpful to me when I was still recovering. They were just the opposite. I am so happy for anyone who has overcome PPD, because I know how horrible it is. I know the way it feels to sob on your shower floor while the water pounds down on you because your baby is crying & you need to have a minute where you can't hear him so that you can calm yourself. But reading those "I'm better & life rocks!" posts was so difficult.

I am better. But there are lots of women out there who are not. And my heart goes out to all of you. You will recover too, someday soon.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Anything with Wheels!

We bought him a car mat at Ikea this week & while he was napping I set it up for him as a surprise for when he woke up. I love that he just lay down on the mat & started playing like the big boy that he is!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Schedule Shifting

Pierce has a crazy schedule. It is one he set himself, not one I put him on. He wakes up anywhere from 6:00am to 7:00am (usually closer to 6, though) goes down for his nap at 10am (yes, 10!) wakes up at 1:00 (although lately it's been closer to 12, but he really does need 3 hours) & goes to bed sometime between 7:30 & 8:00.

I don't know why he has such an early nap, especially since he gets tired in the late afternoon. Not tired enough to nap, mind you, but tired enough to act out, not listen & hit me. Good times.

I have wanted to shift his schedule for so long, but every time I tried, my house would end up Cranky Central not only before he went down, but even after he woke up. Call me selfish, but crankiness all day is something that I would really like to avoid.

Although lately, as I mentioned above, he has been napping for only 2 hours. Yesterday he slept until 7:30 & it was glorious, but he was still ready for his nap by 10:30 (I was going to try to stretch him to 11:00 but that wasn't happening) & he woke at 12:30 so the day's schedule followed as usual.

But today he woke up at 8:45 (and believe me, it was even more glorious than yesterday morning, I kept waking up, seeing that the sun was coming through our window & thinking to myself "No, no, he'll be awake any minute now. Close your eyes & go back to sleep, quick!") so I decided to make the best out of the situation. I bribed my husband with sex asked my husband if he would like to accompany us to Ikea & he eagerly agreed. Ikea is at least a 30 minute drive & usually takes a whole day to walk through, but we took the shortcuts to the places that we were interested in which was mainly the Children's Ikea. I was pretty sure we would have Epic Toddler Meltdown at the store, but Pierce was very well behaved & happy to spend the entire time in his stroller. After a little shopping and a quick lunch, we headed home. I brought the pacifier (yes my 22 month old still uses the paci for sleep time GASP!) with us just in case he wanted to fall asleep in the car & when he got fussy we gave it to him, but he never fell asleep. When we got home it was 1:00 - normal toddler nap time - and we put him down for a nap. He slept is 4 hours & when he got up we played, had dinner & took him to the park. We left the park at 7:30 & headed to Michael's to purchase some cardstock for his birthday invitations & banner. I was pretty sure we were going to have a tantrum in the store because he a) doesn't like sitting in carts & b) was used to going to bed at this hour. But we got through the shopping trip with no tantrum!! I was impressed. We came home, gave him a bath & put him in his crib by 9:00.

I am VERY happy with how the day turned out today. This is truly the schedule I'd like to be on. I hope we are able to maintain it, because so many toddler programs happen during the morning when most toddlers are awake.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - August 15 - 21

I have decided to get back into the swing of things with menu planning for the week. I think it is one of the most important things you can do to save money around your house because a) you only need to grocery shop once per week & b) it puts an end to that creeping "What am I going to make for dinner?!" feeling that starts around 3pm when I realize that we're going to have to eat in about 3 hours, and there isn't any food in the house.

Laura from I'm an Organizing Junkie (this place is like my heaven) hosts "Menu Planning Monday" on her blog each (you guessed it) Monday & I have decided to join in. The banner at the top of this post links you to her site.

To make menu planning easier, I have decided to do one of each of the following each week:

Meatless - This is pretty self explanatory - a meal containing no meat
Casserole - Any casserole-type dish
Crockpot - Any meal made in the crockpot
Guilt-free - A prepackaged meal on a day when I am tired or don't feel like cooking
From the freezer - A recipe using up an ingredient that is in our freezer
Something new - A brand new recipe! (so if you have a recipe you'd like me to try, let me know!)
Wildcard - One of the categories will be repeated each week, since there are only 6 of them

Without further ado, here is our menu for the week of August 15 to the 21: (We are having dinner at Andrew's parents house on Wednesday, so there are only 6 meals here. I will decide each day which meal I will make that night.)

1. Chili & Cheese Macaroni (Something New)

2. Turkey Meatloaf (From the Freezer)

3. Tuna Casserole - This is my own recipe, which I plan to share with you later this week! (Casserole)

4. Crockpot BBQ Chicken (Crockpot)

5. Spaghetti (Meatless)

6. Broccoli & cheese stuffed chicken (Guilt-free)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Trying to Domesticate Myself

About a week ago, I was inspired by a real life friend (I know, right? I'm just as surprised as you are!) to bake some cookies. We had a playdate at her house earlier in the day & she was baking cookies & so when I got home & wanted something sweet I knew that there was a relatively easy peanut butter cookie recipe on the back of the Kraft peanut butter jar. wasn't on my jar of Kraft natural peanut butter. So I headed over to Happy or Hungry (which is an amazing food/lifestyle blog that you should all check out because Lindsey is very inspirational, non-judgmental & also because she & I went to high school together!) because I remembered she posted the recipe there.

I was a bit worried about how the cookies would turn out because the consistency of natural peanut butter is quite different from "regular" (not that I think peanut butter with additives in it is regular, but you know) peanut butter, but I figured how much difference could it make?

It makes a lot of difference, actually. A lot.

My poor cookies. First, when I took them out of the oven when they should've been ready the centers were still raw. So I put them in for another 5 minutes. When they came out that time, they were fully cooked, but incredibly crumbly. Like, I couldn't even lift them off the baking sheet. & they smelled burned even though there was no sign of burned cookies anywhere. It was strange.

They only tasted okay. After they'd cooled I brought the baking sheet to the couch with me & peeled off parts of cookie to eat. They weren't great. & most of them ended up in the garbage.

Another fail in the kitchen for me. So disappointing!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sometimes I Wonder

Sometimes, when I have time to sit & think, I wonder...

Did I really have PPD, or did I just have a hard time adjusting to motherhood?

I have been considering typing out this post for a long time, but I have been worried about what people would think.

The thing that causes me to wonder this is that I feel like I am doing really well off of my medication. And I wonder if, maybe I didn't really need that medication. Maybe I needed to adjust to becoming a mom faster.

It was difficult for me to admit to myself that I might have had PPD at the beginning because I took the "depression" part of that literally & thought that I would be sad & cry all the time. But instead I was incredibly irritable. Anything would set me off, even the littlest things.

And I know that irritability is a symptom of PPD. And I know that I most definitely exhibited signs of PPA.

So maybe I did have PPD & PPA. Or maybe I didn't & I just needed to adjust to motherhood better.

Or maybe it's that I really am recovered & I don't want to admit it to myself. I have been struggling with the idea of recovery for some time now. I don't know what scares me so much about it. I am feeling a lot better. There are some days when I feel like I need my meds, but most days I feel good. Of course, I get frustrated with Pierce sometimes, but what parent doesn't get frustrated with their kids sometimes?

Whatever the case is, I still don't think I'm ready to admit that I'm recovered.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I don't have a garden. I don't actually have a yard at all. We live in a third floor condo so we have a small balcony off our living room & the balcony is covered & faces East which has always made it difficult for me to grow plants out there. One year I fell in love with Gerber Daisies & decided to ignore the "full sun" requirement of the tag & just go for it. Within a week they were dead.
The next year I went shopping with my mom & grandma & my mom suggested that I try a window box, so I did. I put some petunias in it because I have grown them before & they are relatively easy to maintain. They thrived in the little rectangular window box hanging over the side of our railing & I think they did so because they were pushed onto the other side of the roof of our balcony.

I decided to do it again this year, since it makes me feel good to have something green & pretty outside my door. We went shopping on Monday for flowers & Pierce was SO interested in all the flowers & plants everywhere. He wanted to touch them all & we kept having to remind him, "Be nice to the flowers!" (this is how we taught him to pet the cat nicely). So I thought it would be fun to have Pierce help me out with transferring the flowers I bought into the window box & it turned out to be a hilarious experience.

Walking out to the balcony. The cat, George, decided to help us, too.

Of course, the first thing Pierce goes for is the dirt.

Which he then, naturally, places in his mouth.

There was something important happening across the street for him to show me.

At this point, I had to explain to him that toys don't grow like that.

Here he is petting the flowers & I am trying to encourage him to be nice.

Yes, I used Pierce's toy shovel. Problem?

This picture does not do justice to the dirt that was on the bottom of his feet by the time we made it inside.

Love the expression on his face here!

It was all worth it in the end...the flowers turned out so pretty.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In Two Days I Will Be a Working Momma

Please excuse me while I go throw up now.

In all seriousness, I'm kind of looking forward to it. I feel like getting out of the house, meeting new people & having some adult conversation will be good for me. I am hoping I will feel refreshed after getting out of the house rather than staring at the same 4 walls all day long. And I think that will make me a better, more patient mom.

At least, that is how I foresee it going. I am sure that when Andrew drops me off (we only have the one car) at work on Friday morning (who starts work on a Friday?!) that I will tear up when I say good bye to that little boy who has only known his Momma as "Momma" since his little life started almost 20 short months ago. I will feel awful getting out of the car & walking away, picturing him in my mind watching my back as I walk away from the car & wondering where his Momma is going.

I know that this experience will be good for both of us. It will be good for me to finally go back to work & feel as though I'm contributing more to the household. (side note: I have been applying for jobs since before Christmas & this is the only position I have ever been offered. Who was it that said the recession was over?) It will be good for Pierce to realize that Momma can't always be with him & he will be okay on his own for a little while. & also that his Momma will always come back.

But it is still scary for me. & I wish I could explain it to Pierce or even just let him know that on Friday I won't be there during the day, because I'm sure that watching me walk away from him on Friday morning will be scary for him as well.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why I Haven't Been Around

I am so sorry that I haven't been around lately.

To be honest, I just needed to pull back from the blog a little. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to share freely about my experience with postpartum depression. I really really wanted to vomit on the pages of this blog about how, more than once, I would put Pierce in his crib & get in the shower with the water on full blast so that I could no longer hear his screams. How I would sit there & cry wishing that I could be the type of mother he needed me to be. But just as his cries terrified me, so did sharing those moments here. I was terrified to hear that I was a bad mom & there are some people that read this blog who I wasn't ready to share that information with. (Hi Mom!)

The fact that I was unable to share as candidly as I wanted to was the reason that I needed to take a step back from the blog. I wanted my voice to help bring light to the subject & make other women who were suffering in silence feel more comfortable about getting help for themselves. The reason I got help was because another blogger started posting about her experience with Postpartum Depression & because I saw her participating in #ppdchat on Twitter (Mondays at 1pm & 8:30pm EST) and joined in. So I wanted to pay it forward to other women.

But not feeling safe enough to post what I wanted to post made me feel like crap. So I had to stop posting altogether because I needed to find ways to strengthen my feelings towards myself. I already had enough reasons to feel like crap & if I could eliminate any of them, I was going to.

So, I am sorry that I have been gone for so long, but I am happy to say that I am feeling more like myself lately & that is without the assistance of medication. And I am happy to get back to posting more often!

Postpartum Progress Postpartum Progress

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A post for Kim

I have been trying to write this post all day long. I don't know what to write. Last night when a friend called I just started sobbing & verbal diarrhea-ed out the situation to her. I was worried she'd think I was lame because you're an internet friend, but she totally understood why I was upset.

We have never met in person, but I care about you. I want you to be safe, and happy, and pain-free. And it irritates me every time I see you hurting that all I can do is send thoughts and virtual hugs. I wish I could be there to support you in person, but I can't.

Please know that even though we're far apart, I am here for you. Anytime. All the time. Thinking about you & sending you virtual hugs until I can do something more.