Thinking Ahead!

This weekend was perfect!  We didn’t have much to do on Sunday (except grocery shopping and laundry).  With Lance on the couch watching March Madness and Miles sleeping on his lap, I had plenty of time to plan ahead!

  1. I prepared a crock pot recipe for tonight with this easy 5 ingredient White Chicken Chili
  2. I made healthy breakfast muffins for the week with this recipe
  3. I made dinner (spaghetti and meatballs) with extra meatballs to freeze for future dinners with this easy recipe

How do you plan ahead for the week, and what makes your life easier?

 

 

Nine months of fortune!

I have blogged a lot about my feelings about being a mother. I think it’s pretty clear I’m head over heels for Miles John Waltman. These past 9 months have been the most fulfilling, trying, and exciting months of my life. Every time I think I’m on top of things, he throws us a curve ball. I love my husband more than I ever have and am so incredibly impressed with his ability to grow into an even more incredible father than what I had imagined.

Miles is saying “Mama” and “Dada”. He has 2 teeth on the brink of coming in. He’s getting where he needs to go by rolling around, but not crawling quite yet. He will eat some baby food at daycare and sometimes for Lance, but he won’t eat any from me. He loves to play on the floor and he loves his doggies, Koa and Max. He can be a little temperamental and tends to be either really happy or really mad in just a few seconds.  His favorite toy right now is a barnyard toy from his Grammy.

We sat in the grass for the first time on Saturday, and he really enjoyed touching it. He also had fun touching trees rocks.  I’m excited to watch him explore outside this summer.   Here are a few pictures of our fun time!

Kristina’s Favorite Products!

I love a great product!  It doesn’t take much to get me excited about new household items, accessories or make up.  Here are a few things I have tried lately, and really like:

  1. Bona Hard Wood Floor Cleaner –  My floors have never looked so clean!  This cleaner is non-toxic, has no scent, and is good for the environment.
  2. Scrub Daddy scrubbing sponge –  Not only is it adorable, but it gets hard if you use cold water, and soft if you use hot water.  It’s the ultimate scrubbing and washing tool for dishes!
  3. Benefit Super Curling and Lifting Mascara – this stuff really curls and separates each individual lash, making my eyes look huge and my lashes luxurious!
  4. Younique BB Flawless Cream – I love that it’s a light-weight foundation and it feels like I have nothing on but it really evens my skin tone and covers imperfections.  This product actually lasted me 6 months and I used it at least five times a week!  Well worth the money!
  5. BonaVita 8 Cup Coffee Maker – This little guy is reliable, and makes a truly delicious pot of coffee at lightening speed.

Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank Donation

I have been exclusively breastfeeding Miles for 8 months.  My supply has regulated over time, and I only produce about 30 extra ounces a week beyond what Miles drinks, but it wasn’t always this way.

At one point, I had so much extra milk, I could barely keep up with pumping.  I got extremely painful Mastitis a few times and thought about giving up.  My husband and I bought a deep freezer to store food, but quickly found out that my milk was taking over.

milkfreezer

I was talking about my extra supply at daycare and a fellow mom named Sarah told me about Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank. It took a little while to go through an approval process, but it was so worth it!  The great thing is once you’re approved, you can continue to donate as many times as you want to.  I can still keep enough milk on-hand in case of emergency, but none of my milk is going to waste.

I took my first load of milk over a few weeks ago and was overwhelmed with a feeling of extreme happiness. The nurse in the facility said that my milk would feed babies in the NICU at Magee for a month!

milksuitcase

I’m still waiting to hear how many ounces it was, exactly.  The reason why they use the breast milk in the NICU is because it’s proven to help pre-mature babies with their digestive system; reducing their need for gastrointestinal surgery.  Read more about the science behind it, here, under “What Difference Does Breastmilk Make”.

Overall, it was an incredible feeling and I hope to donate a few more times this year!

My heart is full

A few weeks back, I decided that I was going to try to be more realistic with what I can accomplish in a weekend  by creating a Weekend Wishlist.  Well, I have really stuck to my guns, and have focused on being more realistic about crossing things off my to-do list while spending quality time with Miles and Lance.  This weekend we did laundry, groceries, and spent time with friends.  It was fabulous!

flowers

Sundays are always bitter-sweet for me.  The end of the weekend marks five long days without my baby.  Since today was Valentine’s Day, and my late Grandfather’s Birthday, emotions ran high and happy and sad tears were shed.  There was one constant feeling I had throughout the day, though.  That feeling was, my heart is full.  It’s a remarkable feeling to be bubbling over with love.  How incredibly sweet it is to be a mother.  I never imagined that Valentine’s Day could feel any better.

Turkey Chili Casserole: A Superbowl Fav!

cornbreadmix
This recipe was the easiest thing I have ever made and the perfect combination of salty and sweet!  Lance and I have been frequenting Trader Joe’s lately, and we sampled some Turkey Chili Casserole and had to make it.

  1. Four cans Trader Joe’s Turkey Chili (or about 8 cups of chili of any variety).
  2. 12 oz Mexican Blend shredded cheese
  3. Trader Joe’s Cornbread Mix (or any cornbread mix)

For the cornbread mix I needed:

  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Pour 8 cups of chili into the bottom of a 9×11 pan. In a large mixing bowl, put all the ingredients together for the cornbread mix, then pour it on top of the chili.  Sprinkle the entire package of cheese on top of the cornbread mixture.  Put in the oven at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until it appears golden-brown.

My Weekend Wish List

I have been trying to stay in-tune with what I find creates stress for me, lately.  Sometimes, I wake up on a Saturday and get excited about the potential the weekend holds for our family to have fun, and spend quality time together.  After thinking for a few minutes, I realize there’s a lot of things which “have to get done,” and then I quickly get disappointed or stressed about managing our time.

So, this Saturday when I woke up, I decided I wanted to make a list of “to-do” and a “wish list” underneath it.  Often times, I think things have to happen, but they actually don’t really need to.  This is how I overload my weekend and turn fun time into stress.  Lance and I sat down and said everything we had to do this weekend, vs. what we wanted to do.

This was our list:

to do

 

The truth was, when we actually thought about what we ABSOLUTELY HAD TO GET DONE, there really wasn’t much.  We knocked out the grocery shopping and trip to target on Saturday along with nap-time sleep training.  That left Sunday for our wish list.  On Sunday, we chillaxed, I got a much-needed pedicure and Lance played Playstation for a few hours and I had lunch with my best friend.

We even made delicious meals both nights!!  Lemon Orzo Chicken, and Spanish Chickpeas and Rice!

 

While we didn’t get everything I wanted to get done, I realized that my expectations were unrealistic if I wanted any down time.  We had a great time this weekend, and I think our to-do and wish list will be a new weekend tradition which will help us prioritize and be realistic about what we can accomplish.

smiles

The sickest winter, EVER!

I mean “sick” in the literal sense.  Between Lance, Miles and I, we have all been sick this winter at least 12 times.  Why?  DAY CARE!  There has not been a weekend where Miles, Lance and I have all been well since he started day care.  Please tell me it get’s better!

I have taken Miles to the pediatrician at least once every two weeks since September.  We have spent a small fortune on co-pays.  Not to mention the money I am wasting for time in daycare when he is home sick.   I just keep telling myself, something has got to give.

Saturday night, Miles was vomiting and had diarrhea, a fever of 103.4 and a nasty cough.  Lance and I switched off holding him for hours since that was the only way he would sleep and stop crying.  As I hoof it into the pediatrician again tomorrow (I was just there Friday because Miles had a rash), I need to remind myself of all the parents who have a terminally or chronically ill child and be incredibly thankful that my son will get better.

I do feel bad for Miles, though.  When there’s nothing I can do for him, it makes me feel bad for having to keep him in daycare. I did find this article which made me feel a little bit better.  According to this study, kids go through this whenever they enter a group setting. It may be at 3 months and it may be in kindergarten.  At least Miles won’t be missing important lesson plans, and he won’t remember feeling so horrible.  I guess that makes me feel better….maybe.

Miles’ Photoshoot!

I have been itching to get Miles’ photos taken.  When I was younger, I saw my sister-in-laws get professional photos of their kids all the time and I never really understood why.  Now that I am a mom, I can see why the DIY photos beyond quick cell phone snaps are less of a reality.

My boss recommended I used her friend and family photographer, Ada DeFanti.  I checked out her site and really liked the way her photos transposed a candidness and true happiness.  They didn’t seem so “posed”.  After I met Ada, I could see why.  She was really sweet and down to earth, and made us feel truly relaxed and happy during our shoot.  Miles even gave her a few smiles!

The end result is I am in love with the photos of my beautiful boy.  The memories are priceless, but Ada’s rates are respectable.

Beautiful Glass Art in Pittsburgh

While I have been working for the Arthritis Foundation, I became friends with a former honoree, and amazingly talented glass artist, Ed Kachurik, and his wife Carol.  His studio is nestled in Westmoreland County, just down the driveway from his cozy home.

I have the opportunity to visit with him at least once a year to see all of the new pieces he has created while I am picking out awards for our Bone Bash Gala.

I highly recommend his work for unique, one-of-a-kind pieces for awards, paper weights, ornaments, light fixtures, cremains, conversational pieces and more.  Ed and Carol are happy to tailor a piece for you!  Here’s their website.

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