Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Meal planning!

I recently saw a coupon on "living social.com", it was by emeals.com and I thought I give it a try!
This website offers to plan your dinners for one year every night according to your needs! You can choose your meal plan by size of family, store, or preferences like; clean eating, low carbs, portion control!
Once you choose your meal plan it triggers a weekly menu with ingredients and simple recipes. It also triggers a shopping list which is super organized. The list is divided in columns; meal number ( so if you omit a meal you know what groceries not to buy) grocery item and a Column for additional groceries you might need during your weekly shopping!

I tried for two weeks now and I absolutely love it: for me it is always a brainer; what's for dinner? My grocery day is Wednesday and I print the list on Tuesday evening while I watch TV. I sometimes take meal out ( take out or going out for dinner day) I adjust it on my shopping list or I swap it for a dinner that I usually make:)

I am impressed on how organized this meal plan is and at the end of your week you did not waste any ingredients since you used them in 2 or 3 different recipes!

One less thing to pull my hair out over:)))

Try it and live with passion!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Toddler Mania!

I like to think of my glass half full at all times! I believe an optimistic mind creates a happier you! Don't sweat the small stuff, right? 
Happiness has always been important in my life, that's why I married my husband because he makes me laugh so hard almost every day! 

I think because of our recent move and me being 38 weeks pregnant my glass sometimes seems half empty. The last two month were very emotional for us and I sometimes forget that our little Zach might feel the same or at least senses what his Mom and Dad feel. 

Zachy did so well with the change, he amazes me! I think because of all the changes in his life I totally forgot about the "twos" I refrain from calling them the terrible twos since my memories of him will never be associated with terrible. 
But boys oh boys is he stubborn right now, he has endurance that I never had or have. A battle over not running on streets or about throwing the golf clubs after the dogs can drag forever. And if you know me, you know patience is not my best strentghs. Don't get me wrong we discipline him and such behavior is certainly not desired, but I also learned to pick my battles. Here is why:
 
He is becoming his own person and he developing a personality that we as parents need to help to shape and guide but without breaking their spirits and push our personality on him at all times. 
There needs to be room for feelings of frustration and anger, again we are here to make sure that it happens in a safe and reasonable way. Just imagine being that age and having all these emotions and you just don't know how to express them or how to handle them, as a parent it is our job to identify such and help them to express/ handle their feelings. It usually does happen in a playful way or if you have their attention (seldom) a good explanation is also very helpful. Don't expect instant gratification but wait a few days or weeks later your little one will surprise you. That's when you have an awesome parent moment and you should bathe in them:)) 

An example of a two year old "having his own mind"

We recently joined a gymnastic group, it is for Mommy and Toddlers. It is 50 minutes long and the trainer introduces different exercises to coordinate upper and lower body. 
There are mostly little girls in the class and the class starts with trampoline jumping, one child at a time. The little girls sit on Mommy's lap and patiently wait for their turns while cheering each other on" yay Rachel.... claps for Charlie ". Well and then there was my little munchkin announcing from the top of his lungs "it's my tuuuuurrrn". He refuses to sit in my lap or wait his turn. He squirms and he pushes and grunts to get free so he can explore on his own, which he does! In the beginning I felt so frustrated and so helpless. I threatened Zach with time outs, or telling him he has to sit down now, making threats like no Lollipop for you after class etc. But luckily after one class my light bulb went on and I was determined to make this class fun for him and for me. So before we went in I told him that he has the freedom to run around but that I also expect him to learn a few new things that the teacher introduces. So we did I let him do his own thing for 5 minutes and then took him over to the balance beam, he was so cooperative and very pleased with himself after. 
What I am saying it's all about balance, the grey zone! There are black and white zones for sure when it comes to safety but mostly its really grey. 
So now instead of threatening or being impatient I will just hug him a little more. It seems to help and it makes me calmer too. 

Stay tuned for my Transition from one to two children update... soon people, hopefully :)))

Live with passion and try to enjoy even the smallest things in life. 


Daniela 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

cooking made easier!

Let's face it... I only have one little munchkin right now and I already feel like cooking takes up a lot of time sometimes. I try to balance our dinners. I did grow up very traditional with meat every day and Roast on Sundays and part of me keeps some tradition going (like the roast on Sunday) but I also realize that we need to eat more clean. 
So my dishes usually include fish/meat/vegetable dish sides either a salad or a vegetable and a s a grain choice I alternate between Israeli cous cous, rice pilaf, rice, polenta, potato (rare), pasta. 

Here is what makes cooking a little easier 


The steamer bags are so great! They steam almost any vegetable. They have instructions on the back on how long to put them into the microwave, depending on the amount. The nice thing is after you steamed them just add salt/pepper/spices/ fresh herbs with olive oil and it tastes great and fresh, best part no clean up. I usually wash them out and use them up to three times. 

A few times a month I like to use my slow cooker and I really dislike the cleaning part. It's so bulky and does not fit in the sink etc.. Well these liners are awesome. After you done you just grab the liner and toss it, wipe your slow cooker down and store away! 
They are also great when I bring soup or a dip along that needs heat. I make it at home and grab the liner top, put a rubber band around it. When I transport my dish (in crock pot)  in the car I have no spilling. 

Garlic! For some reason my hands smell like garlic forever when I touch it. I once went to a cooking class from Trader Joes and they told me to rub my fingers over stainless steel. I really don't think it works. 
TJ has this really nice crushed garlic, just keep it in your freezer and pop a garlic cube in your pan when needed. The individual cube trays make it very simple. 


Live with passion

Daniela 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Making "old" look vintage

When we moved into our new home the former owners left a few odds and ends, including an old beat up metal bucket!
I got so close to throw it away but somehow my creative side stopped me:)
Well it took me 1 month to get to it but here it is my "herb bucket"! I love it and my vegetable garden is doing very well so let's hope my parsley, mint and oregano grows as well!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Colors

I needed a fun idea on how to teach my two year old colors. He loves to learn but for some reason he has a difficult time with colors. Everything is pink ! Kind of cute:) 
We now have designated color days. Maybe three colors a week so he gets a break as well. We are starting with basic colors like Green, red, blue, yellow! 
I will stick to those basic colors for a few weeks and repeat it again, I realized sometimes you do not get an immediate response or understanding from your Toddler. Zach surprises me often when he comes up with a new thing that we actually taught him a few weeks ago. 
Today we started the week with the color Green!

                                            We started with a green outfit, well somewhat green! 


A nature walk is perfect to teach the color green, trees, grass, leaves, even our trash cans are green :) 


 

This guy was across from our driveway when we were leaving for gymnastics. As if he knew he would be useful today:) Turtle: green!
 I went on google and googled images to color: we colored a tree, iguana, snake, and frog with green crayon, and markers! I created a special folder for his artwork. You could also do green stickers or just green finger paint. Hobby Lobby has some wood animals, like frogs or dinos that you could also color green and then play with them after.

                                                       Pretend play with green foods.
Our little boy has so many racing cars, but this time we only looked for the green ones. 

At the end of the day when we were sitting at the dining room table, my husband asked ZAch about what color he learned today. I showed him a green salad leave and Zach said pink!
Too funny, lets see when it actually registers. 

Live with passion 

Daniela 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Roomba

Roomba, yes or no?

Roomba is an automated small round vacuum device! It has a set of rubber brushes and bristles brushes, also 3 small side brushes to scoop up dirt!
I have my Roomba for over a year now!

PROS:
- Roomba measures the room and vacuums everywhere, even under the bed!
- great for large rooms, before you go to bed, or leave the house turn Roomba on and it's done!
- Roomba automatically docs itself when done and charges!

CONS:
- I bought my Roomba at Bed Bath Beyond: thank goodness because I am on my fourth Roomba, exchanging is easy!
- you have to get to know Roomba,'it gets stuck on really random things!

CONCLUSION:

After a while you get to know what ticks Roomba off but once you are beyond that it's really a helpful device. It vacuums very thoroughly and I have to empty it almost after every room! Since I have a little guy I don't always get to bring out the vacuum! The playroom is so big it takes me forever, so before going to bed Roomba is on duty! And waking up the next morning and seeing vacuum lines is so calming :))))

Consider it, I heard Costco has great deals and a great exchange policy!

Live with passion

Daniela

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

DIY Fabric softener!

Browsing Pinterest I came across a pin about fabric softener! One of the ingredients is white vinegar. I am a big fan of white vinegar. My grandpa in Germany used to clean most everything in his house with White Vinegar. I still remember walking in his house and his kitchen smelled so strong, he used it for his coffee maker to make it run better again. I use it for my washer once in a while to prevent the built up from water.

Here is the recipe for "FABRIC SOFTENER"




                                                                            You will need 
                                                     
                                                                        - 6 cups of hot water 
                                                                        - 3 cups of white vinegar 
                       - 2 cups of a Hair conditioner ( I prefer low cost: Suave), pick a scent that you like 
                                                                       - container ( I used an old juice container ) 






Mix all the ingredients together and fill it in a container of your choice, please make sure to store away from small children! 


The result is fresh smelling laundry, and huge cost saving...... wash away!!! 




Next I want to try laundry detergent... I will keep you posted.


Live with passion

Daniela

Friday, May 4, 2012

Finger Painting on a hot humid spring day!

91  degrees and 92% humidity did not stop my little guy from being and outside adventurer! We played in the pool for a while and blew bubbles while we listened to Pandora (love Jim Gill Station, nice toddler tunes with a jazz twist. )

Today we did finger painting outside and we had so much fun. Zach was really into it and started to paint himself, his Mommy, the rocks that were holding the paper down and the table. 

                                                 These colors are nontoxic and clean up easily

While he was painting the picture, he talked about his Daddy and that he will give it to him because he is coming home soon! 

Mommy's Handprint on Z man's back! 
Who needs paper when you have such a beautiful canvas available :) 
The end result!!!


Now off to shower, Daddy just came home. TGIF!!!

Live with passion

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe with a twist!

I made some yummy moist chicken cordon Bleu! I thought I share my recipe!
Ingredients:
• 2 chicken breast
• 2 slices cheddar cheese
• 4 thin slices ham
• bread crumbs
• garlic& herb marinade
• salt and pepper
• 2 toothpicks

1.
Wash chicken and butterfly chicken ( cut horizontally). Lightly pepper and salt chicken and put 1 slice of cheddar cheese and two slices of ham on one side of chicken!
2.
Cut toothpick in half. Close chicken and put small toothpicks into chicken to keep it closed while in frying pan.
3.
Submerge chicken briefly into Herb & garlic marinade and roll in bread crumbs right after.
4.
Place in hot frying pan with a little olive oil. Fry for 2 minutes on each side.

Important!!! Don't forget to tell your guest about the toothpicks in their chicken or take them out before serving !

Enjoy

.... And live with passion!