Friday, October 31, 2014

Celebrating the Week: 32 Weeks Pregnant

I don't know why, but Fridays are often a challenge for me when it comes to blogging.  Should I join a Friday link up party?  Should I post my "Friday Favorites"?  Last Friday I decided to just "celebrate the week" by sharing my favorite moments from the week.

It was so much fun, I thought, let's do it again.  I'm going to celebrate this past week's awesome moments!

I've only got eight short weeks left until baby #2 arrives, so the theme of every day continues to be (1) prepping for baby and (2) enjoying every moment, both "me" time and time with the family.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WIAW #24: Meal Planning is Improving my Life!

I'd like to talk about a divisive subject: meal planning.  Either the subject puts you to sleep or you think meal planning is a worthwhile endeavor.

But really, hear me out.

If you're not a fan of meal planning, you're thinking why would anyone bother?  I used to be in that camp.  Why meal plan when you have your pick of places to eat at or pick up take out?  At some point, you might realize that it's not a bad idea to cook at home now and again.  For me, cooking at home became a necessity when I realized that eating out was no longer meeting my foodie standards.  In short, it just became too expensive and too inconvenient.  I moved from a neighborhood where I could walk to several inexpensive restaurants to a neighborhood where everything was a drive and much more expensive.

I've been cooking at home for about four years now.  And in those four years, I've done everything from winging it to semi-planning to full planning.  It's taken me some time to fully graduate to full planning and I'm sure I'll lapse into periods where I won't meal plan, but I've been meal planning for five weeks now (here's a sample meal plan) and I've been getting more out of it than I expected!

How Meal Planning has Improved my Life

1. I'm discovering great new recipes!  I link up with other meal planners over the weekend.  They often share some of the recipes they are planning on making, and I've discovered a couple of new recipes this way.  But more than anything, I get a craving to make something, like a good chili, and then I'm motivated to go hunt for a good chili recipe!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pregnancy Update: 31 Weeks

Somehow, four weeks have flown by since my last pregnancy update.  Life gets busy.  It seems that as I get further along in my pregnancy, the weeks are flying by faster and faster.  I'm freaking out just a little...less than two months until my to-be-schedule c-section!!  Eek!

So let's get on with the update!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Meal Planning: October 26 - November 1

I hope you're all having a wonderful final October weekend!  We have been participating in several Halloween celebrations here in Colorado -- from a fall celebration at my son's Montessori school to Boo at the Zoo at our wonderful Denver Zoo.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Celebrating the Week: Me Time

I am well overdue for a pregnancy update, the last one having been posted over a month ago.  I'm at week 32 which means I am only eight weeks away from temporary surrender of my freedom (as I know it) and that means I am trying to savor every day, every moment of "me" time that I can find.

With my three year old son at Montessori school five days a week, I am able to find loads of time for myself -- even if that "me" time involves things like laundry and washing dishes.  Seemingly mundane activities like chores seem awesome if you can do them without the constraint of a toddler or infant only moments away from needing to pull you away from something you may already not want to do.  So for the five or six Fridays, I am going to try and celebrate the happy moments of the week.  Because I'm sure I'll be looking back at these posts fondly come January.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Travel Thursday: Steamboat Springs

Downtown Steamboat Springs, CO.  October 2014.
It's time for my Travel Thursday series and this week I'm bringing you somewhere I've visited recently.  The last couple of Thursdays, we've gone out of the country (Brazil) and we've gone somewhere challenging (Grand Canyon), so this Thursday we're going to take a trip that's a little more laid back.  Although I've lived in Colorado for a little over a year now, we're still exploring our new state.  This past weekend, we decided to check out another ski town during the shoulder season -- it hasn't started snowing yet, and summer is officially over, so most of the ski towns are hibernating right now so to speak.  It's the quiet before the (winter) storm that will bring skiers, both locally and from out of state.

Destination: Steamboat Springs, CO
Date of Travel: October 17-19, 2014
Fun Fact: Steamboat Springs is not named so because there were ever any steamboats in the town.  The area is home to many natural hot springs and the story goes that early trappers thought they heard a steamboat chugging in their direction.  When the trappers learned there was no steamboat coming and that the sound was coming from a spring, they named the spring Steamboat Spring and the town was later named after that spring.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WIAW #23: Taking it Easy

The start of my morning Tuesday walk.  No, I was not on horseback.
After a few intense weeks of trying lots of new recipes, I'm taking a break this week.  My husband is on a business trip for the entire week, so there isn't much point in cooking big meals.

To be honest, I'm welcoming the change.  It's nice to take a breather from the kitchen.  I still have to do some cooking...after all, I've got a three year old who needs his lunch packed for school as well as breakfast and dinner at home.

As always, I'm linking up with Jenn at Peas and Crayons and sharing with you my eats (and some activities) from Tuesday.  If you're curious about what others are eating, come check out the link up!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Oh to be Three Again

This weekend, I tried to spend as much quality time with my son.  I focused on setting aside the phone, the books, the magazines, and all the other things I like to do on the weekends when I'm not focusing on cooking and house chores.

I made a full commitment to engage with my son during as much of as his play as possible.  I mean I stop and read a book to him here and there throughout the day, but it was a real effort to sit and do puzzles, mess with playdoh, and play with his legos.  He's at this age now where he's independent, so when he plays, I try and get housework or some other task done.

Spending so much time with him this weekend got me thinking, three is a pretty good age.  I used to miss my twenties, when I was single and had all the free time in the world, but after this weekend, I've changed my mind.

The year I was three was probably a very good year.  If I could be three again...

...I would try as many sports as possible without fear of being judged.

...I would attend every friend's birthday party.  And say yes to cake every single time.

...I would definitely freeload and ride my dad's shoulders every moment possible.

...I would try and make every day Halloween.  There are never enough opportunities for dress up.

I no longer worry much about what others may think of me or whether my job defines who I am (that is, when I had a job), but there are days when I realize my son can teach me a thing or two about enjoying life rather than worrying about things that aren't worth worrying about.  Those are the days I realize that being a parent I have just as much to learn about life as my son does.

If you could rewind to any age of your life, what would it be?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Meal Planning: Cooking for One

This week my husband will be out of town Monday afternoon through Friday evening, which means I will not be as motivated to cook in the evenings.  I am a stay at home mom, so I do occasionally cook a full meal at lunch and then the meal then doubles as dinner (and frees me up to spend time with my son and husband when they get home).  I may have to apply that strategy a few times this week or I'll be eating tv dinners and canned soups.

Normally, I do my meal planning by theme (see last week's meal plan), but as I'm cooking for just me and the toddler most of this week, this week's meal plan features dinner for a full family on Sunday and Saturday, but simple meals Monday through Friday.  I should clarify that I cook a separate dinner for my picky three year old.  He used to eat what my husband and I ate, but those days are long gone.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

San Francisco: Activities to do with Children

I've lived in the Bay Area off and on since the 1980s when I was a kid.  Alot has changed since then!  When I became a parent in 2011, we returned to the Bay Area (after a seven year stint in Southern California), and I realized I needed to figure out a way to get out of the house that would also be enjoyable for my little guy and enjoyable for me.

Whether you live in the Bay Area or are coming to visit San Francisco, here are some fun activities that go beyond the usual tourist spots (and maybe include a few of the tourist spots).  I'll continue to add to this list as I fish up old photos of additional places we enjoyed while our son was ages 0-3.

This post is today's contribution to my Travel Thursday series.  For more destinations, check out my full list on my collection of Travel posts, which includes future posts!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Day in the Life: A Not-So-Paleo Day

Happy Wednesday friends!  Are you up for some food voyeurism?  I switched to a Paleo lifestyle this past February, but since getting pregnant, I've relaxed the Paleo rules.  I generally try to eat Paleo 80% of the time, but Tuesday was a BIG carb day -- by my usual Paleo standards.  Come join me for a review of my day, with a little taste of life, hour-by-hour.  I'm linking up this lovely Wednesday with Jenn from Peas and Crayons to share a day of eats.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Admiring...the fall colors throughout Colorado. last few spa pedicures before I have baby #2 at the end of the year.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Liebster Award

Leslie from Life Begins at 30 nominated me last week for the Liebster Award.  I have to confess, I was nominated earlier this year, but morning sickness derailed my blogging and I was unable to post in response to that nomination.

"Liebster" means "dearest" in German and the Liebster award is handed out from one blogger to another -- primarily to newer bloggers with smaller audiences (less than 200 to 3000 followers, depending on what rules you find out there).  So thank you Leslie for nominating me!

Each blogger nominated answers ten questions posted to him/her in the nomination and then nominates five more bloggers and poses ten questions to the nominees.  You can read Leslie's Liebster Award post here and you can also check out the four other bloggers she nominated (besides myself!).  It's a great way to discover new blogs, so I encourage you to check them out!

Answers to Leslie's Questions:
1. What is your all time favorite race or sporting event that you've participated in?
I would have to say that would be the San Diego Rock n' Roll Marathon.  It's the longest distance I've ever run, and I had to finish 5 months of dedicated training in order to run the marathon twice: once in 2009 and again in 2010.

2. What food reminds you of home?
Both my parents are from the Philippines and I am first generation, so my mother didn't cook very many American dishes.  The one filipino dish I still cook now (which reminds me of home) is Filipino-style adobo.  If you're curious, here's an online recipe which is close to my mother's version.

3. Favorite childhood memory?
I was a military brat as a child.  We lived in the following places: Hawaii, Maryland, Japan, and California.  I have lots of memories from each of those places, but collectively, I loved our transient lifestyle.  Moving every two to three years was just a way of life for me.

4. Favorite sport/sports team?
I've learned to enjoy watching all kinds of sports (football, basketball, soccer, even ice hockey), but I don't have a favorite team.  My favorite sport to participate in?  Snowboarding.  Although, since becoming a mom, I haven't done much of it.  Now that we live in Colorado, I'm hoping to get back into it in another season or two.

5. How did I become a blogger?
I actually discovered blogs while I was researching information as a new mom: I wanted advice on cloth diapers, activities to do with newborns, etc. and I discovered the world of blogs.  For a long time, I only read blogs.  And one day I thought it would be nice to capture my ever-changing world (since becoming a mom) and I started blogging in the spring of 2013 when we moved from California to Colorado.

6. Favorite place to travel?
Ohhh this is a hard one.  I looooove to travel.  I would have to say Europe because there are many countries in that continent.  I've only been to France and Brazil outside of the U.S. and there are so many countries I want to visit.

7. What is your favorite food/meal/dish to cook?
Anything that requires braising.  Braising usually requires very little work (like using a crockpot): you sear the meat, then put it in a heavy pot and stick it in an oven for several hours at a low temperature (less than 300F).  The result?  Very tender meat!

8. Favorite song?
Can't say I have just one.  I'll pass.

9. Do you have fur kids?
Nope.  Last pet I had was a cocker spaniel that my brother and I shared when we were 10 and 12 years old.

10. What is the one item you always have with you?
Sadly that would be my smartphone.  Can't leave home without it.

Ten Questions for You and my Liebster Award Nominees
1. How do you typically start your day?
2. What is your favorite book?
3. What is the one piece you wish your current self could give to yourself at 21?
4. If the Internet didn't exist, how would you spend your free time?
5. What are you most looking forward to this upcoming holiday season?
6. Are weekends for relaxing or living it up?
7. What do you love most about blogging?
8. What do you love least about blogging?
9. Chocolate or fruit?
10. What is one of your talents? This can be big or small.  Just something that is unique to you!

My Five Nominations for the Liebster Award
Now it's my turn!  I'm nominating the following five bloggers and their blogs for the Liebster Award!  Go check them out -- I love visiting their blogs regularly!  And if they have the time, I hope that they do a Liebster Award post in the near future, answering the ten questions above, and nominating five more bloggers for the Liebster Award.

Yuliya @ Welcome to Mommyhood
Laura @ Fit Mama Love
Karen @ Running Over the Hill
Angie @ A Mother's Pace
Stacey @ Grief Bacon

Check out my ten questions above -- I'd love to hear from you and your answer(s) to one or more of these questions...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Meal Planning: October 12-18

I've gotten a lot of positive comments about my style of meal planning (by theme/category) and I was curious about other ways of meal planning, so I did a little poking around the internet.  Here are some common meal planning methods I found:
1. Hand picking specific recipes for each night
2. Choosing recipes based on what's on sale at the grocery store
3. Choosing recipes that fit a specific diet (weight watchers, vegetarian, Paleo, etc.)
4. Following someone else's meal plans
If you've been frustrated by meal planning not working for you, I also found this very helpful article, 15 Tips for Better Weekly Meal Planning.  Take a look -- you might find a tip or two that will work for you.  This is my second time around trying out meal planning and I'm glad I'm giving it another try.  The first time I tried meal planning, I was picking out specific recipes and then I wouldn't follow through (because the recipe didn't sound appealing anymore).  I've found that I like flexibility and my method of theme works for me.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Recipe! Corn and Cod Chowder

If you've been following any of my weekly meal plans, you may know that every Monday is Soup & Salad night at our house.  I've been craving soup as a comfort food and we've been trying out a lot of new soups...  Most of them have been good, but this was recipe got the most oohs and aahs.  Cod is a relatively inexpensive fish (compared to halibut or sea bass) so I think we'll be making this chowder on a regular basis.

I hope you'll give it a try too -- it's a fairly quick soup to make, so it's perfect for a weeknight. Serve it with some crusty bread and/or a simple green salad and dinner is served!

Or, since it's Friday, maybe you're looking for something fun to cook this weekend!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Travel Thursday: Grand Canyon

Happy Thursday!  It's that time of week - Travel Thursday - and this week I'm excited to share one of my all time favorite trips: a hike down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  I'm proud to say I've done it twice: once in 2008 and once in 2010.  I'll share the 2008 experience today and save the 2010 hike for another day.

Destination: Grand Canyon, Arizona
Dates of Travel: September 2008 (South Kaibab Trail, 4860 ft elevation gain, 6.3 miles) and September 2010 (Bright Angel Trail, 4460 ft elevation gain, 7.8 miles)
Fun fact about this destination: it is strongly advised that hikers do not  attempt to hike from the rim of the canyon down to the river and back all in the same day.  Yet, that's exactly what I did with my friends in 2008.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

WIAW #21: I Found My Mojo

On Monday I complained that someone stole my Monday mojo... Well, I'm happy to report that I was able to get my Monday back on track.  I guess blogging has its benefits!  Here's how I managed to get my Monday mojo back...

After I took my son to his Montessori school, I looked at my To Do list on my smartphone and decided that I needed to work on adding to the variety of activities at my son's new Montessori "center".  Last week I realized my three year old wasn't spending much time playing with his toys much anymore and was increasingly asking to watch movies on the iPad or computer.  So I did a little rearranging in the kitchen and created a space for some Montessori activities.  I purchased a four-tiered set of trays to hold activities and I use some muffin pans (to the right) to hold additional activities.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Who Stole my Monday Mojo?

I can tell that this Monday is going to be a struggle.  Usually, when I wake up on Monday, I'm ready to embrace the week, ready to get some real tasks done.  The husband is returning to work, the toddler is off to school, and I am refreshed from the weekend and ready to tackle some real tasks and projects.

Last Monday, I was excited to bake, ready to make some hearty soup, and itching to get some laundry done.  Heck, I might even do some real housecleaning (maybe I'd finally get the basement fully cleaned out and ready for winter?!)  

I had a great Monday morning.  I made my son a good breakfast, packed him a healthy lunch, got him to school on time (always a win).  Then I returned home and baked a carrot cake:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Meal Planning: October 5-11

Our cooking at home has really taken off since I started meal planning again two weeks ago.  We don't always follow the meal plan exactly (sometimes we move dining out to another night, other times we cook stir fry on a night other than the night planned), but having a plan has definitely encouraged to cook at home.

Like last week, I'm starting off by sharing some recipes that worked this past week...

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Travel Thursday: Visiting Sao Paulo

It's Travel Thursday and this week I'm doing a throwback to when I went to Sao Paulo, Brazil.  Last week's Travel Thursday we went to Washington DC so I thought this week we'd go out of the country.  I haven't done a ton of travel out of the country, so this trip really left an impression on me.

Destination: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Date: October 2010
Fun fact: This was a business trip that I parlayed into a little vacation

Before my son was born (2011), I worked at a software company in San Diego.  Our company was trying to expand our workforce by offshoring (hiring additional workers outside of the U.S.) and I'd worked at other companies that had partnered with companies in India.  This San Diego company decided they were going to try partnering with a company located in Brazil, and because of my previous experience working with offshore workers, I ended up leading the effort to partner with the Brazil company we had chosen.  Our partnership started in 2009.  Fast forward to the summer of 2010 and my company decided to reward my efforts by sending me out to Sao Paulo to see how our offshore partners were doing in their home country.

And so, I was booked a ticket to fly 6,000 miles to Sao Paulo.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

WIAW #20: Homecooking

I love What I Ate Wednesdays with Jenn (@Peas and Crayons)...I love food...I love sharing what I've eaten at some point in the week and checking out what others are eating.  I have to admit, knowing that I am going to participate in WIAW often encourages me to eat better on the day that I'm photographing what I'll share on WIAW.  If that isn't a good reason to join in WIAW, I don't know what is.
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