Tuesday, February 28, 2012

FOOD: Quinoa and Spinach Bake

It's been a while since I have shared a recipe- so here it is! This is a yummy and healthy little number that I found on Whole Living, and have really really enjoyed. I have added a one or two ingredients that you can leave out, if your so inclined....


Quinoa & Spinach Bake
Serving Size: 8
Calories per serving: 190


Ingredients: 
cooking spray
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon rosemary or thyme
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
1 lb of spinach (I use frozen spinach in 10oz blocks, quantity 2)
1 cup of non-fat cottage cheese
1 medium onion
1 clove minced garlic
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms (give or take, it doesn't need to be exact)
2 large eggs
pepper (to taste)


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-by-8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with olive-oil spray. Coat with breadcrumbs; set aside.
  2. Put frozen spinach in a pot of water to and turn on high heat, you will leave the spinach in until there is nothing left frozen. Drain from water and squeeze out the excess water with a large spoon.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and red-pepper flakes, and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat; transfer to a medium bowl.
  4. Add spinach, quinoa, cottage cheese, pepper, and eggs to the onion and mushroom mixture, and stir until well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, and place in the oven. Bake until set and edges are brown, 60 to 70 minutes. Slice, and serve warm or at room temperature

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Beautiful Moment: Mama and Baby

Today I went on a little walky-bear with my favorite baby. It was so beautiful in Palo Alto, and I love to take advantage of the fantastic weather by strolling along my favorite path called The Dish. It's about 4.5 miles of rolling hills, and I love it. Anyway, Easton, my darling baby boy got a little hungry halfway through- which is quite unusual as I try and time his eating perfectly around our walks...

We stopped to take a "milk break" under a shady tree. I settled him and I down and fed my little guy. As I fed him, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of "mama feeding baby" right in the middle of  nature. I'm usually not a super "naturey" kind of girl. I like the mall, the city...but today I was struck by how lovely and natural it really is to be a mother.


I felt totally confident feeding my baby under that tree. I didn't wish I looked more put together, or that my hair was a little less messy.  I wasn't daydreaming about how to lose the final pounds of baby weight- I didn't even want a camera to capture the moment. All I wanted was to soak up the memory I was making:  just mama and baby, taking a break under a shady tree to enjoy a little milk. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life- and it was captured, right in my soul.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mom to a 5 MONTH OLD!!!


Easton turns 5 months old today. He was squirming all around when I tried to get a few pics of him sporting his 5 month sticker. The squirming thing- that's quite new. I mean, he's always shimmied and jived a bit- but squirming with all his might- shaking around like he's a little baby Elvis, that my friends is new. He is definitely going to keep his mama's hands full from now on- and if he is anything like me, he'll be singing and dancing show tunes (preferably made-up show tunes) by the time he's able to crawl.

I love to sing to my baby. I sing made up songs, current hits, and baby lullabys. I sing while I'm cooking dinner (usually theatrically identifying each ingredient I'm adding at the time), and while I'm changing his dipe. I sing while I drive, while we cuddle in the morning, and of course....I sing a goodnight song that goes something like this- "goodnight sweetheart, well it's time to gooooo...goodnight sweetheart, well it's time to goooooo, I really hate to leave you but I really must say, goodnight sweetheart, GOODNIGHT." 

Easton is doing wonderfully at all he does. He is working so hard at rolling over- he's almost there, but not quite. He has officially found his little thumb, and usually bites down on it rather than sucks it- but sometimes when I put him down in his crib for sleep- he begins to softly suck that thumb. Maybe I shouldn't love it...but I DO. I think it's so presh, 


Easton absolutely LOVES Molly, our pug. He can't get enough of her. He grabs her hair and skin while she sits next to him and she takes it- even when I know he is tugging really hard (honestly, he grabs my skin and pulls with all his might and it freakin HURTS) Our little Molly loves him back, and licks his face, ears, and neck folds for what seems like hours. He isn't just interested in Molly, Easton has also started to take a little interest in my food. This usually means that it's time to start thinking about feeding him solids. I'm totally obsessed with nursing, however, and I think I will cry the minute that I'm not his only source of nutrition- weird, I know, but that's my truth.  We have decided to wait until 6 months to do the "solid thing", which is what the doc recommends anyway. 

The absolute coolest thing we witnessed in month 5- LAUGHING OUT LOUD! Tony and I heard it at the same time, looked up at one another and exclaimed, "did he just laugh out-loud?!?!?" Well, he did. And I made him do it five more times that night. Honestly, it was such a beautiful sound that I cried. It's like, I had been waiting my whole life to hear that sound, and I didn't even know it. Amazing. 

In month five we haven't seen too many NEW developments, he has just been sharpening and perfecting the ones from months 1-4. He is much more observant than his previous months, and has really begun to control his body with greater strength and ease. 

It's been a good month. And it's going by fast. Too fast, if you ask me.



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!






































I love Valentine's Day. I love love. I LOVE ma family. I LOVE ma friends. I hope ya'll have a fabulous day, and may it be filled with love.

xoxo,

Rebecca

Monday, February 13, 2012

Baby "Must-Haves" Guide

I have like a million friends that are pregnant right now. Some are vetran moms, but a few are first timers. I totally know the feeling of complete confusion and overwhelm-ness (not a word but I like it) over what the heck to buy/register for. There are so many gadgets and gismos at every baby store you walk into- and you feel like each item makes SOOOO much sense, that you must need it for your bundle of joy. Not the case, however.


I have put together a not-so-long list of my "baby must-haves," Enjoy!


Baby Must-Haves Guide
FEEDING
1. Boppy Pillow
2. 2 Boppy Pillow slip-covers
3. Pump (I rented a pump from the hospital for the first 3 mo- I still haven't purchased a pump, but if your a working mom- you need to buy a good quality one)
4. 1-2 4-8oz bottles (We rarely use a bottle, but when we do we bought Dr. Browns these bottle help if the baby has gas, re-flux, or colic)
5. Nursing pads- they have these in reusable and disposable
6. Baby-Food Maker: We have the BEABA, it's so pretty- but a blender or food processor is sufficient (and pretty much the same thing :)
7. High Chair: (this is something you don't need right away, so don't trip if you have to buy it after babe comes)
8. Baby food freezing tray- this one is what we will use, it's by a family company that makes stainless steel serving-ware (we want to avoid plastic even BPA free) you can buy ONYX here!
9. Baby plates and utensils will also be purchased from ONYX


BATH TIME
1. Infant bath
2. Summer Infant bath sponge, this is what the baby rests on in the bath
3. 1 rubber duckie, you can even buy one that tells you if the bath water is too hot :)
4. 2-3 towels, Easton's favorites are these!
5. 4-6 wash clothes, we have a few from Pottery Barn Kids and these organic washcloths from Buy Buy Baby
6. Lotion, Body Wash, and Shampoo- we use Noodle & Boo, exclusively and LOVE IT!


GET MOVING
1. Baby Carrier, we got ours from a friend (thank you Jamie) and love it! We have the Baby BJORN
2. Jogging Stroller- we don't have one yet, but I intend on buying it from someone on Craigslist :)
3. Stroller (our stroller has a bassinet on it- so we used the bassinet as his crib in our room until he switched to the nursery- our stroller is the Bugaboo Cameleon, all black edition)


BEDDING
1. Crib: we purchased a beautiful crib on Craigslist! This is the model Pali crib we bought- it was less than a year old and we bought it for $350 with the mattress- Craigslist doesn't have to be grimy, ya'll!
2. Dresser
3. Changing pad to put on the dresser and two covers to wash weekly, these covers are our favorites
4. Two-three fitted crib sheets, we registered for our organic sheets at Pottery Barn Kids
5. Swaddle blankets by Aden + Anais, these are great for swaddling little babes- but you'll find lots of uses for them after your babe is too big to swaddle
6. The Miracle Blanket, it's amazing and it totally helps to keep ma babe swaddled now that he is older and stronger


POTTY:
*we use cloth diapers, so I will recommend what we use :)
1. Bum Genius (with snap closure) Organic and Regular
2. Bum Genius Diaper Sprayer, self explanatory :)
3. 1-2 wet bags, to put in the dirty dipes (we have 1 upstairs and 1 downstairs)
4. Bummies Wet Bag, to hold dirty dipes when your on the go
5. Diaper liners- help to keep the dipe a little less messy and they are compostable, get them here!




ACTIVITY
1. Swing (I would wait and test one out on your baby before you buy one, you just never know if your babe will like to swing or not)
2. Bouncy Chair: Easton sits in this one!
3. Boppy Play Gym; I can not RECOMMEND THIS ENOUGH!! Easton has spent HOURS laying under this thing- we don't put the batteries in it....
4. One or two wooden rattles, we love Haba and this one is Easton's favorite
5. Motion Activity Jumper; Easton uses this more and more every day- I wasn't too sure about having it at first- but he loves it. I just don't put the batteries in...


CLOTHING
*I recommend not going to crazy on clothes- everyone buys them for you, you may get hand-me-downs, and truly...you'll put your baby in your favorite outfits and forget the other ones.
1. 3-4 (0-6mo) Sleep Sacks; Easton wears these every night!
2. Socks
3. 6 snap tee-shirts (newborn size)
4. Jammies with feet
5. Onesies
6. pants :)




Miscellaneous
1. Audio monitor- **we don't have one yet, we can here him when he cries. I'm just going to let you know my opinion on video monitors....I don't think they are necessary at all. If anything, I think it's very important for a baby to learn how to sleep through a parent walking in to check on him or her. If you have to go into your child's room for any reason and they aren't used to that...you'll have a cranky and awake baby on your hands. I check on Easton and he sleeps through it, the END.


I will add more if I think of anything else I use and LOVE. I was very lucky, because I got loads of home-made lovelies from my sister- everything from baby bibs to play mats. I also got some fabulous hand-me-downs. If you have a baby, what's your favorite gear???

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Spaghetti Squash: A healthy substitute for PASTA!!



I'm constantly trying to come up with new, healthy and delicious dinners for my fabulous Tony (and me too, of course). But, especially for him. He has heart disease, and after walking through two angioplastys with my husband, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt- THEY SUCK. I made a commitment long ago that I would help him in this journey to live a long and healthy life. That means, cooking healthy dinners, lunches, and everything in between...i.e. snacks. :)


Here is a great little recipe that I found somewhere, and tweaked to fit mine and Tony's taste buds. You can always substitute the broccoli for any other veggies, add veggies, or whatever!  I usually serve this as the main dish, and bake asparagus to serve on the side. 


Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 tablespoon packed light-brown sugar
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (toasted) or slivered almonds
  • 1-2 cups steamed broccoli
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms (saute)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush cut sides of squash with oil, and sprinkle with sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Place squash, cut sides down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 40 minutes (every oven is different, and I check the squash at 30 minutes and see if it needs longer). Stand to let cool slightly.
  2. Scrape squash with a fork to remove flesh in long strands. Place in a large bowl. Add oil, Parmesan, parsley, steamed broccoli, pine nuts, sauted mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Toss, and serve immediately.
This dish makes about three servings and totals (approximately) 240 calories a serving. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Happy and Content...



Tony and I are not huge fans of buying loads of baby stuff. It's easy to fall into the trap- stores like Buy Buy Baby and Babies-R-Us make you feel like you need EVERYTHING to be a good parent or to make your babe happy. But the Frascones are sort of on the minimalist side of baby supplies. We do have a few things for the little guy, but not too much... I worry a bit about over-stimulation. Also, I feel that people, kids, and now babies have far more than they ever really need or have time to use. I am trying to teach Easton, early on, that "stuff" will not make him happy. I want to teach him that contentment comes from the inside, not from what he owns. It's this lesson, that I continue to work on, myself.

Since we only have a handful of baby toys, it's been really easy to spot his favorites. He likes two different noises best: crinkly bag sound (think a plastic shopping bag), and squeak noises. He has an organic (yes, organic) giraffe that Tony named Carlos- Carlos hangs from his car-seat and squeaks when I squeeze it for him. He flips for Carlos.


But the toy that Easton loves best makes his favorite crinkly sound and is in the shape of a book. He takes this "book" everywhere- he plays with it all day long.


Since he loves the "book" so much, I wanted to buy him another one.  While we were at Buy Buy Baby, Tony stopped me before I got to the checkout with a similar toy in hand. He asked why I wanted to buy it when Easton already HAD one that he liked. It was a total reality check. It's like, if he has one- why does he need another one? He doesn't. If we want to keep Easton content with the things he has, we can't buy new stuff for him all the time. Lesson learned. Thanks, Tony!

The point of my post is this....my little guy is thriving-  not because of the stuff he has, or the toys he likes to play with. He thrives because of the love, nourishment, and affection he gets. That, my friends...that, you can't buy in a stinkin store. (well, unless you use formula...) LOL.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mom to a newborn: 4 months OLD!!


I'm a little late on this 4 month write-up. Let's just say, time flies when your having fun. I am so in love with life as a mom to ma boy, I can't even stand it. The month between Easton's 3mo birthday and 4mo birthday was packed full of "baby's firsts." In this month, Easton began to grab objects and play with his little hands (his favorite animal to grab in was a "circus monkey" that hangs from his play mat).  He started to make noises that have consonants in them, like "aaahhhGGGoooo." So cute! He had is first long sleep stretch- which was more of a gift for his mama than him- (I firmly believe that a "good night" make no difference for him but makes all the difference for me). The little monster also discovered his ears this month- he goes to grab them all the time, and I happen to think it's the cutest thing ever (and no, he does not have an ear infection).

 Easton got his first cold in the fourth month of his life, which was heartbreaking for us. It really is hard to see your tiny little baby cough with all his might- but he got better in no time, and I helped the coughing (I think it was me) by rubbing Vic's Vapor rub on his feet and a small amount on his chest just before bed. We put a humidifier in his room, and stood in the bathroom for 15 minutes, three times a day, just praying that the warm steam would help his little cough. It did. Either that, or the stinkin cold just ran it's course. I'm okay with both scenarios.

In the fourth month, Easton was baptized- something that Tony and I had been looking forward to since before he was born. It was beautiful and wonderful, and most importantly- it was at the church where I was baptized as an infant, and we had friends and family there, supporting our baby boy.

Easton also had a special visit from his Great Granny Hazel, and his Grandma Lynn. We all went visited and went on a hike in the woods, which obviously, Easton loved :)

Day to Day Schedule:
Easton and I really began to develop a schedule this month. We wake up around 8am, I feed him and then put him in his swing to hang out while I go down and have breakfast. He stays in his swing for about an hour- playing with his hands, grabbing at a rattle, and napping. During that time I usually read the news, do a devotional, finish my coffee, eat, and send some emails off. This swing routine happens EVERY DAY, and I love it. I love giving him the space to be "okay" on his own and I love that I get to start my day with a little "me" time. Win, win.

After his second feeding of the morning, we get out of the house for a few hours. I usually meet up with a friend for a walk or hike, or I workout on my own. I love that I am exposing Easton at an early age to my daily workouts. It's not only important for him to see his mama making a commitment to health, but I believe it builds character. It's an important lesson for a child to be able to sit patiently in a stroller for an hour or so and understand that the whole day does not revolve around him.

We are always home by 2pm, so that I can put my little monster down for a nap. He usually sleeps from 2:30-4:30 or 5pm. Yes!! I'm able to use that time to clean, cook (at least a portion of dinner), and get laundry done. I'm so blessed that this child has been taking long naps.

Dad comes home around 6:30 most nights, and I finish dinner while the boys play. After dinner, Tony takes Easton up for a bath. Those two boys have been bathing together almost every night since he was born. It is such a special bonding time for them- I get teary just thinking about how cool it is that they have a "thing"- just the two of them. Easton is a crazy man in the bath. He absolutely loves the water, and kicks his little feet so much that we have had to put towels down to keep the floor dry. He is a little fish, which is why I signed him up for his first water-babies class at a swim school in the area. He loved his first class- and looked ADORABLE in his little swim dipe.

We put Easton to bed around 10pm. Yes, that is pretty late, but it's when the little guy gets tired. We tried to put him down earlier and he just doesn't go to sleep. He sleeps in his nursery and has since about a week before he turned 3mo. I put him to bed while he's awake and listen while he talks to himself for 5 minutes or so- then, he's out like a light. I rotate between putting him on his tummy and swaddling him and putting him on his side.

During his 4mo checkup, Easton got 2 vaccines (we are doing an alternate schedule, so I will be taking him in more often- but he won't be getting as many shots at a time), he weighed 14 lbs 2 oz and was 24 in. His weight is in the 34%tile, and his height 20%tile. His head is quite small (like his mama's and daddy's) and was the 3%tile. Yes, that means that 97% of babies his age have a head that are bigger than his. Hilarious.

So, that is Easton's fourth month of life in a nut-shell. This mama is so happy, so blessed, and so very content. I am more in love with my husband because of what an amazing dad he has turned out to be, I am in awe of the gift that Easton is, and I am so extremely in love with my little family. It was a good month. 

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