It is already Monday and Valentine’s Day is this Thursday. My extra long training runs this weekend kept my mind off planning some fun on Valentine’s Day. If you’re like me, you’re still in luck! This post is all about red foods you can prepare for all your Valentine’s Day meals. Each meal is described below and be warned, this is oriented to kids and not to having a romantic meal with your partner. Best of all: NO FOOD COLOURING!!!
Breakfast is probably the easiest thanks to availability of berries. Whether you’re go-to breakfast is porridge, cereal, or pancakes, you can easily add some strawberries or raspberries on top to add some red to your meal. I’m going to serve crepes with strawberries and a side of watermelon.
We’re in the midst of a cold snap and in light of this, I’ve filled my fridge with homemade chicken stock. I’ll put this stock to good use by using it to make a tomato soup. I never follow a recipe for soup. Instead I’ll wing it by adding pureed tomatoes and touch of cream to my stock. Add a few apple slices and we’ve got a red meal!
For dinner I’ll be making tacos! I’m most excited for this meal and here is my menu:
Red hard shell tacos
Blade steak, bbq’d medium-rare (for the reddy-pink colour)
Reddish sour cream (add a touch of hot sauce for colour/flavour)
Red rice (cooked in boiled beet water)
I’ll be buying Fresh is Best hard shell tacos in the tri-colour pack since they make a red taco. My local grocery store also sells a sun-dried tomato soft tortilla shell that is red and would work for this theme. Salsa and red peppers are self explantory. As for the blade steak I’ll get my BBQ over 500F then throw on the steak for 3 mins, quarter turn, 3 mins, flip, 2 mins, quarter turn and off 2 mins later. I’ll let it rest for at least 8 minutes and then slice it up in strips for the taco meat.
For the reddish sour cream, I’ll only add a hint of hot sauce since I don’t want too much spice for the kids. Lastly, the red rice will be white rice cooked in leftover beet water. Since i’m making baby food I will simply boil some beets for the baby and save the water for when its time to make my rice.
If you use the hard shell tacos then this meal is actually gluten-free, as is the lunch!
This Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday and that’s almost as exciting as Christmas in my house. My husband and I are big NFL fans and this year we are in the running to win our playoff pool.
Our Super Bowl party is different from others because we:
Do not invite friends over.
Get grandma to babysit.
Eat foods inspired by the teams.
I’m a big New England fan and my husband is an “any-team-playing-New-England” fan. Last year my team may have lost, but I’m confident we will win again. I am also in love with Tom Brady – or as I call him, “my other Tom” since Hubby’s name is Tom.
I used to listen to sports talk radio on the drive to work so I was much more informed about the teams strengths and weaknesses and could annoy my husband by making Stephen A. Smith inspired remarks throughout the game. Now that I’ve been busy mommin’ two kids, I don’t stay up to date on NFL stats so I make Gisele Bundchen style remarks if New England has a bad game (e.g., “My man can’t throw and catch the ball at the same time!”).
There are just too many distractions and not enough true fans if you watch the game with a big group. Some people’s priorities on Super Bowl Sunday are: (1) food, (2) commercials, (3) football. That’s just not us. We rank football top and this year while we’re calorie counting, food may be third. Also, [*TMI*] from our downstairs washroom you can still see the TV while you pee so you never miss a minute of the game.
So while we don’t invite people over, I also think people won’t want to come over after they read about our washroom door policy and that we’re calorie counting at the moment.
Our 3 year old is a good sports fan and has mastered her touch down dance this season. However, with a game of this magnitude, we need to call in grandma to help keep her occupied. I’m going to get the painting easel set up for her in the dining room. She likes it when I pencil something on paper and she can paint over it. For Sunday I’ll pencil in some footballs, goal posts, and some L’s and I’s for her to trace and paint.
I’m hoping for sunshine so grandma can play outside with the munchkin and she can practice her bike riding. Don’t worry, I’m not forgetting my baby – the plan is that the baby will nap during the game.
Team Inspired Foods
We’re calorie counting to reach our weight goals for our upcoming vacation, but that won’t stop me from making foods inspired by the teams and the host city. Thankfully, California screams healthy foods unlike last year’s Philly cheese steaks! Below are my culinary plans.
My Auntarazzi [she is always snapping pics] lives outside of LA and I called on her for some LA inspired foods. I thought an afternoon kale and avocado smoothie was very LA, but thankfully she had some better ideas. My LA inspired food for Super Bowl LIII is:
Mini Fish Tacos with Guacamole
I am going to fill my tacos with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, squeeze of lime, and white fish. Add some fresh, toddler-mashed guac and these are going to be perfect. I can chop my veggies in advance and bake the fish in the oven so I won’t miss the game.
New England Patriots
If my mother is watching my toddler then it means my father will probably be on our sofa watching the game. He’s a vegetarian so for my New England inspired food, I’m choosing:
Boston Baked Beans [sans pork]
Boston baked beans have molasses and are more hearty than the beans I typically prepare with tacos. I’m going to modify the recipe so that these are taco-friendly baked beans.
Atlanta – the Host City
If a Super Bowl happens and you don’t eat chicken wings, did it really happen? Well, I don’t want to find out so my host city inspiration food is:
Lemon Pepper Wings
I am taking this inspiration from Rembert Brown who made a compelling case for lemon pepper wings as Atlanta’s signature food.
Have a Great Super Bowl
I hope you all have a great Super Bowl Sunday whether or not you’re a football fan or more of a commercial watcher. Let me know how you rank: football, food, and commercials in the comments below!
The 1st quarter I was preggo and soaking up last moments as a family of 3. I stopped running in January as I entered third trimester and the sidewalks iced up. We celebrated Malia’s third birthday with a Moana party. I was healthy enough to work until the end of my pregnancy. I learned that a healthy baby in your belly doesn’t mean momma isn’t tired, sore, and uncomfortable!
The 2nd quarter was sleepless nights and fun filled days with a new baby. Born on a Tuesday and off to the trampoline park on Friday and swimming lessons the next day. We never slowed down when Abbey arrived and we still haven’t. I started running again at the end of May with a podcast and friend.
The 3rd quarter brought sunshine and playing outside with the neighbour kids all day long. I ran a 5km race in July and that accomplishment felt as good as running a marathon. It reminded me of my mantra: respect the distance!
The 4th quarter brought the start of 3 yr old preschool, a vacation to Palm Springs, and Abbey’s first trip to Disneyland! I could live in Palm Springs and float in the pool every day. The relaxed feeling of floating on my back and seeing palm trees and blue sky staring back at me is my new happy place. I still mentally visit that place a few times each day! I also ran two 10K races – 1st with hubby and next with my mom.
Christmas was magical (yet exactly like the Matt Damon SNL parent Xmas day skit) and today we are excited to say goodbye to 2018 and hello to new adventures in 2019!
The unofficial start of the Christmas season is fast approaching. As a Canadian, I have no attachment to tomorrow’s American Thanksgiving festivities. However, the American tradition that has migrated north in recent years is Black Friday.
My inbox is being bombarded with soon to be savings and deals and the paper delivered to my door is 90% flyers.
Do you get in on the Black Friday madness? I can understand being opposed to lining up at the mall, waiting in hours long queues, or skipping a family holiday to buy a TV. However, doing some online shopping in my PJs seems perfectly fine to me.
Last year I bought my parents and in-laws instant pots and cookbooks so they’d understand what their instant pot was. Had I not purchased on Black Friday there’s no way I’d have been able to stay within budget.
I say bring on the holidays!
Let me know in the comments below what you’re hoping to find on sale this Black Friday.
Happy 1 year anniversary to Mousehousemom.com, my blog! This isn’t really a cause for celebration since it wasn’t long after I began the blog that I got pregnant and wanted to sleep every minute when I wasn’t at work.
This past year we celebrated our first born’s 3rd birthday and a few weeks later we welcomed our newest addition, a baby girl, into our family. I’m now 8 weeks in on my 18 month parental leave.
In the weeks and months ahead, stay tuned for more frequent posts on the blog. I’m in the midst of planning a Walt Disney World vacation, learning how to get back into running, and trying to figure out how to entertain a 3 year old while I nurse a baby during the day. You’re fortunate that you can follow along on this journey without having to smell the inevitable spit-up in my hair or the horrible diaper changes that fill my days. Unless of course this is my own mother (who makes up 75% of my site views) reading this, then I apologize for the smell.
Below are 10 reasons I’m telling myself it will be easier with baby #2. With only a few more months to go until baby #2 arrives, I’m getting nervous for how I’ll adapt to parenting two kiddos instead of one.
1. I’ve already seen every shade of poo.
I’ll never forget Googling baby poo colours and being really scared for what the results might yield. It wasn’t just the colour it was frequency, consistency, etc. Having seen it all before I think I won’t be such a worry wart.
2. After 2.5 years of breastfeeding I feel like I know how it works.
This was a major challenge as a first time mom, but I relied on our Public Health Unit nurses to help me through it and in the end I got the hang of it.
3. I’ve got mad diapering skills.
Before my daughter I had only changed 1 diaper and that was 1 diaper more than my husband’s record.
4. No need to watch YouTube videos to figure out how to swaddle.
Maternity ward nurses can swaddle like pros, but it took me and the hubby a bit longer to figure it out on our own. Now we can turn my daughter’s dolls into burritos with their blankets in a flash.
5. Sleep deprivation isn’t something new – that’s old hat the past 3 years.
I was a 10 hour per night sleeper before kids and the sudden reduction was probably the biggest shock to my system.
6. I now have Netflix installed in my bedroom.
This has nothing to do with baby #2 other than I can lounge in bed with a good show while baby #2 naps in the bassinet.
7. I can put my Ergo Baby Carrier on with my eyes closed.
Wearing your baby means freedom for you. While I won’t fry bacon in my Ergo (or in the nude), I will vacuum, grocery shop, and maneuver airports like a boss. It’s not just freedom, it’s a close intimate cuddle with your love bug!
8. As freak-out first time mom, I bought every 0-3 month style sleep sack so I’m ready with options.
My daughter ended up liking one sleep sack (free leg style), but that didn’t stop me from buying every style out there while we searched for the holy grail.
9. Car seats no longer scare me.
I’ve joined multiple Facebook groups on Car Seat Safety and consulted Car Seat Techs and manuals. I know the do’s and don’ts and follow them religiously.
10. My toddler is happy and healthy.
I didn’t totally screw up the first one so I must be doing something right and this is giving me confidence I never had the first time.
Thanks friends for reading! Do you have any tips on how to balance a toddler and a baby? Please let me know in the comments below.
This fall, I’m excited to get back into the kitchen. I’m calling it my FunFoodieFall… although, “Awesome Autumn Eats” was a close second. I’ve got the two best sous chefs around (hubby and munchkin) and I’ve planned out some delicious weekend fun. I kicked off my fun foodie fall last weekend with a homemade pumpkin pie.
See ya’ Smokey, Sweaty Summer
I found myself complaining on the sweltering hot days this summer that all the heat was interfering with my desire to cook up some homemade delights. There was no way we were turning our oven on, yet all I wanted was some fresh made bread, a roast chicken, and then to make soup from the chicken bones. With FunFoodieFall as the next season it means we are getting ready to say goodbye to Smokey Sweaty Summer.
Fall is My Favourite Season
Fall has always been my favourite season, which goes back to my days of running cross-country through the crunchy leaves. Starting a new routine in September feels natural to me and each weekend until December 17, I’ll be whipping something up in the kitchen to celebrate FunFoodieFall.
We’re big into NFL and College football (go Buckeyes!) and from the kitchen I have a perfect view of the TV. I don’t feel I am being overly ambitious since I already know I’m going to be at home most weekends and have the time to conquer this fun challenge.
Enough with the suspense, here’s what I’m going to be making all fall long as part of my FunFoodieFall:
New Finger Licking (NFL) Snacks
Pasta from Scratch
Gourmet Grilled Cheese
Bake Pies (Apple and Pumpkin)
Make and freeze Lasagnas
Homemade Ramen Broth
Prepare a Ghoulish feast for Halloween
Perfect my Olive Garden Copy Cat Zuppa Tuscana
Brine a Turkey
Meatballs in Homemade Sauce
Homemade Buckeye Chocolates
Bake Artisan Bread
Host a Christmas Cookie Baking Party
Macaroni and Cheese
These are all of my favourite foods to eat during fall. Some will be much easier than others to prepare so I won’t be slaving away for hours each weekend. The soups on the list all have simple prep and then all the hard work and flavours occur during hours of simmering on the stove.
I think I’ll be heading over to Pinterest to get some ideas for some of these FunFoodieFall ideas and themes. I’ve never made buckeye chocolates or a ghoulish feast before.
When my daughter (the Munchkin) was 16 months old we made a spontaneous decision and went to Europe for a week. My husband and I had booked 1 week off work and had planned to enjoy a few days at home and a few days a few hours away in Parksville, BC. About two weeks before this was to occur, we checked flight prices and found a deal too good to pass up. Soon we were off as a family of three to Europe for one week.
Today I’m giving an overview as to how we planned for this spontaneous trip and why we thought flying 11 hours with a 16 month old was a good idea.
Upcoming Posts on Rome
This post is the first in a series of posts about travelling with a toddler in Rome. Upcoming blog posts will include key highlights from our trip and cover how to successfully tour the Coliseum and Forum. I’ll also share how to use Rome’s public transit system instead of the hop-on-hop-off busses. We also had a successful beach day that I’ll discuss. Stay tuned for these posts in the weeks ahead. Also, if you have any specific questions please email me and I’ll try to address them.
Past Toddler Travels
We had traveled six months earlier with our Munchkin to Florida for a two week trip in three different cities. I had also taken her for a weekend to Ohio. On both trips the Munchkin enjoyed airplane rides and was in a pleasant mood most of the time. She could sleep in her baby carrier and never had any issues with time zone changes. Given her successful track record with flying and time zones we thought we could handle the trip. Also, the departing flight was scheduled for 1 hour after her usual bedtime so we had hopes that she’d sleep.
Our Munchkin had a couple months of walking under her belt. She also had a few teeth and was a good eater. The Munchkin loved pasta, bread, and tomatoes, which was a good match for Rome! Naps made us worrisome as she was still at the two naps a day stage with a 9:30am nap and a 2pm nap.
Packing for a Week in Europe
We filled our suitcases with summer clothes and focused on bringing as many outfits for our Munchkin as possible. We knew she may go through double the outfits as us. After all, she was a messy eater and known to get herself really dirty! We also estimated 7 diapers a day and were able to pack enough diapers into the folds of our clothes and the crevices of our bags. We know what diapers we like and since we had space we decided to bring them along. I also packed food pouches so she could have a snack on something familiar. Our daycare suggested we bring any and all drugs from home so we had baby Advil, baby Tylenol, baby Benadryl, teething gel, and a super duty diaper rash cream. We never used any of it, but it did give me piece of mine knowing we had it just in case.
As for Mom and Dad packing, we each packed one nice outfit that would be suitable for the Vatican – you know, in case Pope Francis wanted to chat over coffee…
I called our travel company (Transat) to inquire about our airport transfers. I was advised it was a bus transfer and based on this advice I did not pack a car seat. We found out in Rome that it was a minivan and they didn’t care we had no car seat. That was pretty stressful, but we had a safe ride.
We decided to bring a hand-me-down umbrella stroller. The stroller had seen better days, but it still worked! From all of my pre-trip research we heard that the cobble stones of Europe could wreck a stroller. So from this research I then researched baby stores and found PreNatal chain of baby stores. They had a great selection of umbrella strollers so the plan was to buy a brand new umbrella stroller when ours broke. Fortunately/unfortunately (?) our stroller never broke so it returned home with us.
We also traveled with our Ergo Baby Carrier. Recognizing it was above 34 degrees Celsius most days we also bought cooling towels that could go around our necks, over the Munchkin’s legs in the stroller, or in between our body and the Munchkin’s body when in the carrier.
Thanks for reading! If you’re planning a family vacation to Europe, I’d love to hear your comments.
At the end of May my husband and I made a summer bucket list. Now that we are almost a full month into summer, I thought I’d check-in and see how I was progressing with the summer bucket list. I am keen to accomplish our list, which is why I have our summer bucket list on the fridge. I see it multiple times a day – even more now that my freezer is [more like “was”] filled with my grandmas famous cookies!
My Summer Bucket List
Below is my status update on our summer bucket list. Hopefully you can find some good ideas from the list and make some fun summer memories with your family.
Go to Local Lakes
Living in beautiful BC we have no shortage of lakes within an hour or two of our house. We haven’t made a trip to the lake yet, but this year we want to try out Whonnock Lake, Alouette, or Rolley. I’ve picked these three lakes because I’ve never been to them in summer. Each lake has its perks – Whonnock has a playground and canoe rentals. Alouette is a hidden gem, which I knew nothing about until I saw the breathtaking photos by Cradled Creations photography – after seeing those pics it will get added to your list as well! Lastly, Rolley is a lake I used to run cross country at in the fall and it has a beautiful loop around the lake for exploring.
We know our toddler won’t be up for hours of swimming or wading so we’ve got shovels, buckets, and beach balls ready for when we make our post-nap trip to the lake.
Hubby out for Bike Rides (for Fitness)
Since I have my running routine in place we put this on the bucket list to make it a priority. Summer is best for biking and my husband has a speedy road bike that is collecting dust in the garage. As much as he wants to get out and ride, our weekends are pretty full with family time and this isn’t meant to be a ride in the park. It’s for him to get exercise and cover 30 plus kilometres.
Mommy (me) Do the Grouse Grind
My husband and I began dating in the fall after we spent the summer leading up to it doing the Grouse Grind once a week. Once we started dating we stopped hiking to the tops of mountains on a weekly basis. I love the sense of accomplishment I have after finishing the Grouse Grind. The view at the top ain’t too shabby. Since the trail is fairly rugged its not safe to carry the munchkin in the carrier on our back. My husband and munchkin can have a morning together and I’ll go do the Grind. Still need to pick a date and go! Interested in joining?
Go to the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE)
The PNE is comparable to a state fair. We’ve taken our munchkin every year since she was born. They have livestock barns where you can see horses, chickens, goats, and agility bunnies. We take in a show (e.g., horse show or super dogs), eat some fair food (e.g., mini donuts), and see the sights. One of our close friends has always joined us and I think we all look forward to saying goodbye to summer at the PNE.
Go Kayaking or Canoeing
Before I had my daughter, my husband and I would take our moms kayaking once a year. Now that our munchkin is two, I think she’d enjoy a canoe ride. Ocean kayaking with a toddler seems crazy, but canoeing seems like a fun outing. However, my munchkin has no fear of water. This means I’m nearly positive that she’ll jump out of the canoe, but with life-jackets on all of us that should be ok.
Host a Canada Day BBQ
Finally something I’ve accomplished on my bucket list!! We had neighbours and friends over for a simple BBQ. I think hosting a Canada Day BBQ may become a family tradition.
Backyard Pool Fun
I found a great inflatable pool and we’ve been enjoying it for weeks now. Another item to cross off my summer bucket list. If you’re looking for more information, I recently blogged about maximizing backyard fun – more than just a dip in the kiddie pool.
Family Bike Rides
We are keeping up our family bike rides that I spoke about in an earlier blog post. As long as the munchkin has a snack, she is happy.
Go for Ice Cream
Last summer I have no recollection of paying a visit to an ice cream parlour for a cone. I’m a huge ice cream fan and while my freezer is fully stocked, I still enjoy a trip to the ice cream parlour. Ice cream and a leisurely stroll go together like stained glass and churches! My in-laws live in South Surrey so you might see us in White Rock, enjoying a double scoop cone.
Cook a Low Country Boil
I found out about the low country boil a few years back in a food magazine. My husband’s birthday is coming up next week so I should give it a try. While I haven’t made one yet, I know that my low country boil will feature red potatoes, corn on the cob, crab, shrimp, sausage (i.e., kielbasa), and Parallel 49 beer!
My grandma and I are a jamming duo when summer raspberries are ripe. The munchkin enjoys homemade (no sugar added) raspberry freezer jam on whole grain toast every weekday for breakfast so we go through a lot of jam. I prefer to can my jam and stock my pantry with it. I only saw local raspberries for sale last week so in another couple weeks I’ll start jamming!
I’m going to make a jam gift for the munchkin’s daycare instructors. I’ll write out “thanks for being so sweet” and share a jar of jam as thank you for taking care of the munchkin. I’ll share more on this in a future post.
This is one of the last things we’ll do in summer as the apples aren’t ripe yet. Last August we went picking at the orchard the first weekend it opened and I got to enjoy some new varieties, such as gravenstein apples!
Camp in the Backyard
This was on the list because my nieces were here a few weeks back. Unfortunately it rained most of their time here so no camping. I’ll put this back on the summer bucket list when the munchkin is older.
What’s on your summer bucket list? Leave a comment in the comments section below.
There’s no way I’d be where I am today if it wasn’t for my loving, supportive husband, Tom. Today is our seventh wedding anniversary. In light of this, I’m sharing 7 low key and low cost ways to celebrate your wedding anniversary. When my husband and I get each other gifts we tend to go big. However, we don’t celebrate all occasions with gifts. Most of our wedding anniversaries have been spent apart due to work so we focus more on acknowledging our anniversary through small things.
1. Make a Nice Dinner on the Weekend
Weeknights are insane for us. We don’t have time for a weeknight date so plan to prepare a nice dinner on the closest Saturday or Sunday. Yesterday we enjoyed a nice BBQ’d meal with our daughter. The dinner was ribs, corn on the cob, asparagus, and french bread. The meal is far from fancy, but we both love ribs and rarely find the time to make them.
2. Go for an Evening Stroll
You can do this with your spouse or bring the kids along for a walk in your neighbourhood. You can get your kids’ scooters, bikes, strollers, and all head out for an evening stroll.
3. Enjoy a Dessert Together
I’m guilty of falling into the sofa with an ice cream bar and watching one of our Netflix shows. Instead of putting on the television, enjoy your dessert just the two of you. We have a small front porch and summer evenings are the perfect time for us to sit on it and catch up on each others day. Tonight you’ll find us sitting on the patio indulging in ice cream and sharing a laugh.
4. Swap Household Chores
While this doesn’t scream romance, it does show that you care. My husband always cleans the kitchen while I go and water the plants and run a load of laundry. Switching up the housework, which needs to get done, anniversary or not, can be a small, subtle act of kindness.
5. Cut Back & Relax
My husband and I are normally busy doing yardwork or more stringent house cleaning while our daughter naps on weekends. Give yourself permission to cut back on the bigger tasks. Number 4 above reflects on the housework that can’t be skipped, but this is the stuff that is nice to do, but not necessary to be done (e.g., dusting the blinds, scrubbing the shower tiles, weeding the back garden that nobody can see). On Sunday we napped while the toddler napped and my body is thanking me for that extra bit of sleep.
6. Send a Thoughtful Text
I’m sure you’re texting your spouse throughout the day, but this text should be one that’s more thoughtful. Think of something small that your spouse did and send them a text thanking them. Or sneak a chocolate bar into their lunch bag and text them to see if they found it yet.
7. Renew Your Vows… while folding socks
I’m not a sappy person so a vow renewal has almost zero chance in my future. That said, I believe in my wedding vows and take care in honouring them. Reflect on your vows and how you chose a vow and not a promise that can be easily broken. You can do this without putting on your wedding gown and inviting people over to witness it. Tonight we’ll renew our vows as we fold the never ending pile of laundry.