Dinner Last Night: Pork Fried Rice

Hey there, remember me?  I used to blog?  Well in case you're wondering why I've been so M.I.A., I went back to work full time on January 6th.  Yep, I'm a working mom, and man, is it tough!  Time has now become my most precious commodity, and I now more than ever, I am determined to make every second count!  Mad props to all you out there who juggle a career, child, and more.  

As such, I've had to sacrifice a few things for the sake of spare time; blogging being one of them.  My home is to crank out a bunch of posts one weekend when I'm feeling energized and relaxed…we'll see. In the meantime, one thing I am excited about is our new plan for advanced meal planning.  I wish I could outline the entire program today, but it's a Wednesday, and I'm utilizing this narrow window between a cat nap, cooking dinner, and a bed time routine to crank out this post.

One of our solutions is finding relatively simple, yet nutritional dinners, including this fab find via Dinner: A Love Story - pork fried rice.  After an internet search of "quick weeknight dinners" this post was near the top of the list.  Initially I thought, "pork fried rice," are you kidding me?  How is that easy?  OMG…it is!  Trader Joe's frozen rice will save your life - I am a convert!  Plus, it reheats well for leftovers.  CHA-CHING!  

More quick and easy dinners + my awesome new meal plan routine to follow.  Stay tuned…

image & recipe/dinneralovestory

What Are You Reading?

It's been a while since I've read a book - a real book - that didn't relate to the topics of parenting, breastfeeding, or sleep schedules.  What are you reading these days?  Do tell…  I've love a recommendation or two! 


10 Reasons Why I Love You

I'm falling behind on my posts...

{3 months}
1. You’ve discovered your hands!  While you’ve already been captivated by your thumb, you’ve made the recent discovery of your hands.  You hold one over the other, knitting them together in your grasp as if to say a tiny prayer.   This hand holding alternates pretty steadily with tucking them in your mouth, your whole fist sometimes!

2. You still adore your changing pad, especially around the bewitching hours of 5-6 o’clock.  We place you on there, lock eyes with us, and there’s this spark in your pupils as you begin your kicking, reaching, “flailing” routine, it’s like an above water swim or something.  Both Daddy and I can recognize that spark in your eyes, it’s as if you’re showing off your mad skills.  We look forward to this every night.

3. You’ve begun to grasp at everything!  The toys hanging from your play mat, the tassles on mommy’s hoodie, my hair, and may I say you’ve got quite a grip!  It’s amazing how the world is coming alive to you, things you used to just look at are now becoming objects you can touch and connect with.  It’s amazing to see you grow and interact with your world.

4. Since about 6 or 7 weeks, you’ve been quite the talker, but you save your true personality for mom and dad.  It’s funny, because others will try to cajole a smile out of you, and while you often oblige, it’s as if you’re saving your true colors for us.  Your laugh, giggles, sweet smile, and wiggles, we love to make you smile, it melts our hearts every time.

5. You’ve almost rolled over!  You’re more interested in rolling back to front than front to pack.  Your latest move: lay on your back, arch your back and twist, thus propelling your body on its side.  Just one little elbow tucked underneath stands in your way from a full body roll over.  It’s bound to happen soon!

6. You’re such a happy girl!  You light up whenever your dad comes home.  When we hear the keys turn in the door, and his footsteps in the hall, you look up and around, and reward him with a big gummy smile when he walks in the room. It’s priceless!

7. Your noises have multiplied!  From cries to “cat calls” to chirps and gargles, your range of sounds and vocals has quadrupled.  We love hearing you talk, babble, and communicate with us.

8. You’re a copy cat!  One of your favorite things to mimic is sticking out your tongue!  We stick our tongue out at you, and instantly you’re mesmerized; intently studying and watching, before you try this “trick” yourself.  Another move you enjoy mimicking is when we roll our “R’s” and you gargle back, that and blowing raspberries…you love to copy us blowing your lips together to make us laugh.  

9. Sitting up!  The Bumbo is your new best friend, although it’s a tight squeeze with a cloth diaper on (haha).  You enjoy sitting up on the counter, giving you the best vantage point in town as we make dinner.  

10. You have the cutest way of crossing your feet as you lay on your back.  You rest one foot atop the other, and often switching back and forth as you wiggle and play.  At night, in you snooze in your crib, we can see the two little feet, nestled across each other in the bottom of your sleep sack.  

6 Years of Blogging

This blog is 6 years old today.  SIX!  Where has the time gone?!  While my posting frequency has lagged in the last year(s), I still love blogging and hope to continue it indefinitely, even if my posts do become fewer and far between.  Blogging for me began as a hobby, a creative outlet to write, share, ask, and express.  But this blog has evolved into so much more for me, and become a time capsule, preserving moments of my life in time.  Now look back on and reread snippets of my thought process from the most important moments from my life with nostalgia...meeting my husband, falling in love, getting married, my pregnancy...it's a gift to read these feelings preserved in time.  

Here's to 6 more years of blogging...and BEYOND!

Quote of the Week

I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good, either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.
~ Roald Dahl

*thanks for the inspiring quote Heather!


Goals for 2014

+ Maintain balance
As I prepare to return to work after four months of maternity leave, what I'm most anxious about is balance.  In the coming year I want to strive to maintain a balance as best I can; loving up my little girl, continuing to date my husband, carve out time to laugh with my friends and family, work hard in my job, and make time for myself.  All of these things are important, and I know it will take some time to learn how to juggle everything successfully.

+ Explore and discover
I am constantly amazed and awed as I see my daughter soak up the world around her. Seeing the world through her bright eyes, everything is fresh, wonderous  and gloriously new and interesting.  I want to adopt this way of thinking for myself as well.  2014 is our year to see everything anew; the waterfall at the park, the crackling leaves of a tree, the frost in the window.  I want to see and do more, and delight in seeing familiar people, places, and things through her eyes.

+ Meal planning
Going hand in hand with juggling, my husband and I are attempting a new method of meal planning to streamline our food budget, fridge stock, and overall sanity, inspired by this post.  I'm excited for this new approach, and committed to making it a success...I'll keep you posted! 

+ Be active
With two bridesmaid stints ahead in 2014, I gotta get my butt back in gear and start the year off right!  Whether that be a good old fashioned run outside or a stroller walk on a clear day, I'm looking forward to getting my body back to pre-baby shape.

+ Unplug, write letters, call friends
There used to be a handful of friends I'd frequently chat on the phone with, and lately that number has dwindled.  While we still keep in touch via text or email, I miss the sound of a friend's laugh through the airwaves or the smile inspired by the sight of a friend's familiar handwriting on an envelope when picking up my mail.  While I've always been a card-sender for birthdays and such, this year I aspire to write more letters, call more friends, and unplug just a bit more.  When I look back at my life I want to remember being present in every moment.  Snapshots of me checking my phone, scrolling a feed, or perusing Facebook is not a memory I want to have of myself.  Here's to unplugging more in 2014.

What are your goals for the New Year?

Cloth Diapering: How It's Going

You may remember way back when, my husband and I were considering doing cloth diapering. Well...we bit the bullet and jumped on the cloth diaper bandwagon, and I figured it was high time to report back on how it's going! Since our daughter's birth, we've been doing cloth diapers almost exclusively, and with great success! Our current stash is a hodgepode of cloth diapers.  Some I registered for on Amazon, others I picked up via zulily deals, and many I bought on consignment through local moms groups and craigslist, and finally the rest I purchased new.

For the first month to 6 weeks, we exclusively diapered using size 1 cotton prefolds, held on with a Snappi, underneath Thirsties Duo Wrap waterproof covers.  At this point, she was starting to outgrow size 1 prefold diapers, so we began using size 2 prefolds with the same waterproof covers, and started using some AIO (all in one) diapers. For you cloth diaper newbies, AIOs are basically a diaper cover that's fleece lined that you stuff with an insert (which resembles a cotton maxi pad).  These are designed to wick away the moisture from the baby, so when she pees, the wetness goes through the fleece layer, and soaks the cotton insert, keeping the baby feeling dry.  Then, you can reuse the cover if the baby just pees (just restuffing it with a new insert),  and if they poop,  you have to wash the whole thing.  

At about 6 weeks, we began adding in the following diapers - a combination of AIO’s (all-in-ones), waterproof covers, and cloth inserts.
- 4 Lotus Bumz diapers with inserts
- 1 Little Monsters cloth diapers
- 2 Flip diapers covers with inserts

My favorites so far are BumGenius 4.0 and GroVia diapers.  I enjoy GroVia’s, (though the most expensive of our lot) because they have a convenient snap-in system, inserts snap into place, and can be easily removed and replaced. These diapers are extremely absorbent and suitable for nighttime wear.  BumGenius 4.0 I also really like, the fleece lining is soft, and wicks moisture away easily, keeping baby happy and dry.  We've had several wet leaks with the few Lotus Bumz and Little Monsters diapers we have, so those are always the last ones I use before doing laundry.  To date, we’ve had zero blow outs.  Zero!  And I'm told that's something to be proud of! There’s something to be said about a diaper cover, it holds all the mess in!

Once she has dirtied a diaper, we place said diaper in a waterproof wet bag.  These wetbags are our brilliant, by far my favorite kind! They zip closed and contain not only the messy diaper, but the smell as well!  Luckily, we haven’t had any problems with diaper odors infiltrating her nursery.  Once the wet bag is full of dirty diapers, it’s time to do laundry!  We keep 2-3 wetbags on hand (one extra is intended for day care), and alternate, so when one is being laundered, there are typically 1-2 others to contain any new dirty diapers.

Many people are discouraged from this form of cloth diapering due to the fact that you must launder the diapers yourselves. And while I’m only about 3 months in, I can say, it’s really not that bad.  Honestly!  We do laundry roughly every other day, sometimes every 3 days.  At this stage, she’s exclusively breastfeeding, and breastfed poo is more liquidy to begin with.  Translation, it washes off fairly easily.  We had been washing her diapers in our utility sink in our basement, where we pre-wash the diapers, rinsing off any solids, before a hot rinse in the washing machine, followed by a wash cycle using this cloth diaper detergent (cloth diaper detergents are recommended to preserve the life of the diapers and prevent any detergent residue build up).

For the skeptics, I'm here to tell you it can work. Will you spend more money upfront? Yes. Will you do more laundry? Yes. But is it worth it? In my opinion, a thousand times yes. We have bought maybe 5 packages of disposable diapers in 3 months. And at $9.99 - $24.99 a pop, those boxes aren't cheap! We still use disposables when traveling, to avoid doing laundry on the road, but I'm sure if you were really committed you could easily continue the cloth habit while on the move. So while our investment into cloth diapering was up front, I'm confident we will save hundreds, even thousands of dollars as our daughter grows, and ideally be able to use the diapers again when we decide to have more kids.

I'm a big advocate of this system, and believe it can work for your family, with a little research, preparation, and the stamina to follow through. If you have any queries, I'd be happy to answer questions or provide any insight from my own experience; email me at lovelylittlethingsblog {at} gmail {dot} com.

Traveling with Kids

After a successful three flights over the Christmas holiday with a 3-month old, and an inspiring boost of confidence from this video, I have a new hope and enthusiasm about the prospect of traveling the world with our kid(s) someday...
Happy New Year!