Fa La La and Yum Yum Yum

Ah Christmas. I love it. I mean Fall is my favorite season, but Christmas is my ultimate favorite thing in the universe! Now, no, I’m not the type to put up my decorations right after Halloween, but let’s just say the moment I’ve eaten the turkey and downed a glass of bubbly apple cider, all my thoughts fall to Christmas.

Mr. Right and I are going to pick out our tree next weekend, and tonight starts the super exciting “decking of the halls!” or hall… seeing as my apartment only has one. 🙂 We even started watching Christmas movies this week. It’s just not Christmas without, Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, Rudolph, or the Grinch.

And I am so excited to share my love of Christmas with Little Miss and Baby Miss. Last year I was able to do lots of fun things with Little Miss, but now Baby Miss is old enough to get in on the fun. Yay!

Today, while Little Miss was at preschool, Baby Miss and I created Rudolph, complete with shiny nose and all!

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Isn’t he cute?

All I had her do was color a paper plate brown. Then we added big googly eyes, and a red pompom for a nose. The antlers are her hand prints on brown paper. We poked a hole on the top and stuck a pipe cleaner through. It may end up on the Christmas tree when it arrives, otherwise, Rudolph looks pretty cozy hanging on the kitchen cabinets. 🙂

Little Miss and I made our first batch of Christmas cookies today. (Yes, I know cookies aren’t exactly Paleo… but they are very much Christmas, and I only ate one…ish.) ;-p

We had planned on making peanut butter cookies, but realized we couldn’t find any peanut butter in the house. EEk! So, we opted to create Nutella cookies. They turned out fabulous. All I did was slightly tweak the peanut butter cookie recipe.

The recipe we followed came from America’s Test Kitchen, found here.

I changed a few things in the recipe. Because Nutella is much sweeter than peanut butter, I halved the sugar (both white and brown). The first batch also came out slightly salty, so I decided to halve the salt too. The dough is quite sticky, so I recommend refrigerating it for a bit to make it easier to form balls. Then just roll out tbsp size balls, and bake 10-12 min at 350. They are fabulous! Feel free to sprinkle raw sugar on before baking (it gives them a great texture) or mix in nuts, chocolate chips, or anything else you fancy, into the dough.

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That’s it! Easy peasy. Hope you love them as much as I do.

Love!

xoxo

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Happy Almost Thanksgiving!

Seeing as it’s almost Thanksgiving, I wanted to share with you the two versions of “turkeys” that Little Miss and Baby Miss created. They will be taking the turkeys to their grandparents house tomorrow.

The first version, was created by Little Miss, who’s 4. We started by tracing her foot onto brown paper. Then she traced her hands onto multiple colors of construction paper. I cut the hands and feet out, then she decorated the “feather” (hands). I cut out an orange triangle for the beak, and a red squiggly for that wobbly bit on a turkey’s neck (what’s it called?). Then we cut out little orange feet, and I had her glue all these pieces on the turkey. I tried to show Little Miss how to put all the pieces on the paper, but she wanted no help in doing so. Mr. Turkey ended up a bit hidden under the feathers. I would recommend gluing the feathers first. 🙂

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Now with Baby Miss, who is almost 2, we used a paper plate as the “feathers”. I let her color on it first, then she glued different colors of construction paper all over it. I cut out a turkey body, and created the same face and feet pieces as described above. She helped me glue them on. It turned out really cute.
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Both girls are so proud of their turkeys and can’t wait to give them to their grandparents.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I’ll see ya after the holiday!

Love! xoxo

Themes

With Baby Miss almost 2 now, she’s starting to make a lot more connections, and seems to be learning new words, signs (we do sign language with her), and understands more every day.

Because of this I started a few months ago to work on “themes” with her. This basically means that for one month we do crafts, read books, and explore a specific topic. With this young age, you want to make sure the theme is simplistic (ie dogs, instead of pets); then as they grow older you can expand the topics.

Themes are a great way for young children to explore in depth, a topic. It has helped to teach Baby Miss new vocabulary, such as “apple” and “pumpkin”.

The use of themes in no way means that every activity you do has to be part of that theme. I like to offer at least one new craft, book, or activity that has to do with the theme each day. We also repeat a lot of activities (depending on interest). The rest of our day is spent following your little one’s interests (which is important in itself).

I like to vary the activities for Baby Miss; this means that some activities are art related, some music, some language, some sensory, some practical life, and some gross or fine motor related. This way the theme is seen from all angles, as well as offering your little one a chance to explore the topic in their own way. Every child learns differently. Some prefer to learn by moving their bodies, other by reading, some listening, etc. By varying the activities, you offer your child some experience in each of these. It will also help you to discover your child’s strengths and the areas they may need some more help on.

Here is the list of themes that I came up with Baby Miss (2 yrs). The Bolded item is how I will “update” the theme for next year when Baby Miss is 3.

Sept: Apples                      On the Farm

Oct: Pumpkins                  Fall

Nov: Leaves                      Family and Friends

Dec: Christmas                 Christmas

Jan: Rain                            Winter

Feb: Colors                       5 Senses

March: Bunny                  Spring

April: Numbers               Numbers

May: Fish                           Ocean

June: Flowers                  Garden

July: Water                       Summer

August: Alphabet          Alphabet

I will try to make sure to post more of the activities that I do with Baby Miss, based on these themes; so you can get some ideas for your own little ones.

Oh, and by the way. Baby Miss and I went on a “leaf hunt” today. We walked around the neighborhood collecting leaves that interested us. We talked about their colors, shapes, big and little. After her nap we are going to doing some gluing with them. 🙂

Love!

Paleo

Ah weddings… they bring out the crazy in all of us. About two months back I went in to meet the woman that is making my dress. In that, it came to my attention that I had grown slightly larger then I used to be.  Oops. I mean ok, so I haven’t gone for a run in like 9 months, and I may have become too close and personal to a pint of ice cream, but I’m not that big am I?

I was in denial for a while. It happens to the best of us. I had gone up a pant size, and was about to need to go up another when I decided enough is enough. I stepped on the scale. It had been months since I’ve done that. I had gone up 25 lbs in 6 months… big Oops.

So ok, I needed to workout more and eat less. I get that. I tried that. But nothing seemed to be happening. I’m not willing to starve myself. I like food (ie check out my very first post). And I was working out for an hour several times a week. That’s gotta do something right? But, nothing. Nada. Zip. That equaled to a very annoyed, very stressed Amy. I do not like to be annoyed, stressed Amy. Neither does Mr. Right. 🙂

And while all this was going on, I also had my face to worry about. Let’s side step a little bit and talk about acne. I have had acne since I was 9 years old. I started getting the occasional zit (I mean the big ones) in elementary school, and by middle school my face was covered. I had tried everything. I tried the hardcore stuff, the natural stuff, the dermatologist, and everything in between. The only thing that ever worked for me was antibiotics, but I’m obviously not going to stay on those forever.

I am now 23 and my face looks just like it did when I was 16. It still flares up terribly around my cycle, and only starts to calm down a few days before my next one… and that’s while I’m on birth control. Let’s not talk about the 3 months that I tried to go off the pill. It was a nightmare! My face ached it was so broken out. Add on the fact that I’ve been trying to workout more, and it seems like when I workout really hard my face breaks out even more!

So, here I am, at my wits end. I do not want to be fat and acne-ridden on my wedding day. I refuse. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! So I started doing research. It couldn’t just be from what goes on my face. It has to be hormonal, and it has to be affected by what goes on inside me.

That’s when I discovered the link between inflammation and acne. I had read The Clear Skin Prescription by Nicholas Perricone about 2 years ago, where he stated that acne was an inflammatory disease. But for some reason it didn’t click until now. While I was recently looking up information on how to control acne with diet, I stumbled up on the Paleo Diet; otherwise called the caveman diet. It’s centered around eating as our ancestors did. The main staples are meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and berries. You completely cut out all grains, legumes, and sugar. Dairy is allowed only in small amounts, and only if it is organic, grass-fed, and full-fat. In all the research I was doing on acne, this kept coming back as the bases of an anti-inflammatory diet. It stabilizes your blood sugar, which lowers your inflammation, and BONUS, keeps you full longer. Who knew that what I did originally for my face, could actually help me lose weight? And guess, what? I’ve been at it a week, and have lost 3lbs! No crazy exercising, a few runs, some yoga, and walking my dog. I feel great, full of energy, and NOT HUNGRY! My cravings for sugar are almost all gone, and each day it’s becoming easier.

I found a great book (at Costco of all places) called Practical Paleo. It’s full of research, ideas, and recipes. It’s full of big pictures, and easy to understand text. It helped answer a lot of my questions.

Oh, and my acne? Doing a lot better. It’s obviously not going to clear up in a week, but I have no new cystic flareups, and my face isn’t tender at all. (What am I using on my face? Remind me to tell you all about my love affair with Lush. 🙂 )

Granted, it is pretty hard to eat out- but it’s completely doable. Just make sure to ask the server all you can about the food and tell them that you can’t have any dairy or wheat (that usually does the trick). Look for meats, fish, and lots of veggies. Salads are pretty easy to work with.

This is all pretty new to me, so I will make sure to let y’all know of any good recipes I’ve found, tips I have, and how my results are going.

 

Love!

xoxo

 

A few changes around here…

Hello all!

I know it’s a long time since I’ve blogged…. life has been NUTS!

But I would like to let you know that I’m back, I’m full of great new ideas, and I’m ready to roll!

You will notice a few changes around here. I’ve changed the layout and title of my blog. I am now located at http://www.lifebytheseasons.wordpress.com. I love my new layout a lot! It’s seems much simpler and easier to find what you are looking for. I changed the name of the blog for a few reasons. One, I think it sounds better, and two, it seems to sum up what my blog is all about. I focus a lot on seasonal food, crafts, activities, etc. This seemed fitting. I also consolidated my blog categories to Homemaking, Lifestyle, Nanny Files, and Yum. Homemaking will cover anything crafty, cleaning and organization, etc. Lifestyle is anything about my upcoming wedding, things I’m doing, anything going on. Nanny files is all about the kiddos, and Yum is… well food. 🙂

That’s about it! Hope you like the changes. Let me know if there is anything else I can do to make this blog more welcoming, warm, and easy to navigate.

Love!

xoxo