Monday, February 23, 2009

Assignment 2 in my meal planning adventure

Okay, assignment two in my meal planning and grocery shopping course is to write out a one week menu plan and grocery list, including snacks.. This is not the same as the last lesson, which was just a list of good meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

This meal plan is specifically designed for a one week period, enabling me to use ingredients on multiple days, incorporating leftovers into the plan, and balancing the amounts of different types of foods we eat.

Note that my breakfasts are
a little fancier than cereal and milk, mostly because my gluten free cereal is really expensive, I am not supposed to have cow dairy, and Lucas isn't eating cold cereal yet. Ryan eats regular cereal almost every day so his breakfasts may be a bit different than listed here. Also, I am going to be making Ryan's lunches so I tried to note those in here as well. I will need to allow extra fruit, veggies, chips, cheese, and dip in the shopping list to add to his lunches.

I tried to
balance protein and carbs as best as possible and include plenty of fresh veggies and fruits in the meal plan. Lucas is still a beginner eater so there are a few things that won't work for him, like celery and carrots, whole nuts, etc. He also needs two snacks a day in addition to his three meals and whole milk so that is all included.

I'm going to have to wait at least 3 more weeks before trying out this plan, since I am in my first trimester and never know what I am going to be able to eat, and mostly can't stand the sight of food or thought of cooking. In the meantime I am working on these lessons, and I am very happy with this meal plan. It was so much fun I think
I'll try to make up a few more weeks worth to have ready.

Here is it!

Breakfast: Yogurt and banana with nuts
Lunch: Tuna lettuce wraps with apples and corn chips
Dinner: Slow cooker pork with jalapeno, grn pepper, onion with corn tortillas
Snacks: Cheese/crackers, fruit leather and nuts
(Start dinner at lunch time, make extra tuna for Ryan's lunch tomorrow)

Breakfast: Soft boiled eggs, toast, and fruit (also hard boil eggs for egg salad tomorrow)
Lunch: Leftover pork and tortillas from yesterday
Dinner: Eggplant Parmesan with green salad
Snacks: Sliced cucumber with home made hummus, apple slices with peanut butter
(hard boil extra eggs at breakfast for tomorrow's egg salad, cook extra eggplant slices and make sandwich for Ryan's lunch tomorrow)

Breakfast: Rice pudding
Lunch: Eggplant/Mozzarella sandwiches, grape tomato salad
Dinner: Egg Salad Sandwiches and tomato soup
Snacks: cheese and crackers, fruit leather with nuts
(Make extra egg salad sandwich for Ryan's lunch tomorrow)

Breakfast: Leftover Rice pudding
Lunch: Leftover eggplant Parmesan and salad
Dinner: Seasoned Beef Tacos with cheese, tomato, lettuce, avocado, and salsa
Snacks: leftover tomato salad, yogurt with fruit
(Don't have to make Ryan lunch for tomorrow, eat out on fridays)

Breakfast: Cereal with fruit
Lunch: Leftover tacos
Dinner: Home made pizza with peperoni and leftover veggies, green salad
Snacks: cucumber and hummus, apple slices with peanut butter
(make pizza crust ahead of time and store in fridge or freezer)

Breakfast: blueberry pancakes and yogurt with sliced almonds
Lunch: Leftover pizza, veggies, and salad
Dinner: Grilled fish with steamed broccoli and rice
Snacks: fruit leather and nuts, cheese and tomato quesadilla

Breakfast: Toast with peanut butter and honey, apple slices
Lunch: Eat out for lunch today
Dinner: Minestrone soup with home made bread
Snacks: Celery and Carrots with ranch dip, corn chips with home made bean dip

And here is the
grocery list.... many of these things I won't have to buy because I always have them stockpiled in the pantry. I am also trying to keep to a grocery budget (includes toiletries, cleaning products, etc) of one hundred dollars a week. Once I try out this menu plan (about a month from now) I will post my spending for these groceries and see if it will work in my budget for the future.

Pork shoulder
Ground Beef
Fish (something on sale)

Mozzarella Cheese (regular for ryan and lucas, and buffalo or goat for me)
Parm/Romano Cheese
Dozen Eggs
Cheddar Cheese
Plain goat milk yogurt
Milk (whole and nonfat)

Lettuce for wraps and 2 bags of salad mix
Tomatoes (one large slicing tomato and box of grape tomatoes)
Green peppers
Berries (get these frozen if cheaper)

Jar of salsa
Peanut butter
2 cans white beans, 2 garbonzo beans, 1 can kidney beans
Diced tomatoes
Chicken Broth
Tomato puree
Tomato soup

Corn chips
Bread (regular and gf)
Ranch dressing
Bread Mix
Pancake Mix
Pizza crust mix
Fruit Leather
gf crackers
Corn tortillas
Taco sized flour tortillas (for Ryan)

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

8 weeks and counting

I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I no longer feel completely helpless and hopeless, we hit the 8 week mark yesterday, and even though it was one of the worst days in over a week, I know an end is coming soon.

I am grossed out by how messy and disorganized my life is right now. Everything from my car to my house to the stroller is covered in toddler snacks, spilled formula, and littered with dirty laundry, trash, and out of place toys. Everything is in disarray. My to do list is about a mile long and spread apart into about a hundred lists all over the house, I've been neglecting my friends, and poor Lucas barely has been able to play out of the house. I feel completely scatterbrained and am going bananas. But there is HOPE!

Every time I near the end of a phase in my life, I get the urge to start re-doing things, fixing things, cleaning things, and creating things. It doesn't matter what kind of phase, this is just what I have always done. That's how I know this is coming to and end... because I am getting in the mood!

Last pregnancy, by the end of the first trimester, I was so sick of being stuck in bed, seeing the same thing every day for weeks, that I wanted to redo the entire top floor of the guest house we were living in. Luckily, we decided to move to an apartment, so that took care of that.

This time, we are staying put. And again, I have spent so much time laying in bed, feeling sick, that I cannot stand to look at our bedroom! I already am coming up with lists of projects that we need to do. Get new sheets, finally finish our bathroom (it's been nearly a year and there is still no sink!), go through all my clothes and get rid of stuff, clean my car, organize the garage, bla bla bla bla... and I am going nuts because I don't yet have the energy to do any of this, and we don't exactly have remodeling worked into our budget right now... paying debt is more important! So, we'll see where I go with these plans, but for now, I want CHANGE!

Here is my list, mostly for me, of what I need to work on when I am feeling better...

Celiac testing for lucas
Weekly menu planning and smart grocery shopping
Clean, wash and get car serviced
Get lucas on a better routine for meals, naps, and bedtime
Switch lucas to one nap and cut out daytime bottles
Cut out baby food and get lucas used to eating more table food
Figure out some sort of weekly schedule for laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc.
Fix fencing in back yard to keep lucas safe
Exercise.... walk with lucas at least 4 times a week
Be more strict about my own diet
Plan more stamping/scrapbook nights with my friends
Wash the windows
Steam clean the couch
Finish Lucas's photo album
Clean/organize the garage
Donate/sell unwanted stuff

I'm sure there is way more, but that's all I can think of for now... and I'm ALL over it, once I feel human again!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Weird Cravings, updates, and stuff

All my energy for the past week has been going to the garden memories blog.... it will be ready VERY soon! I am hoping to launch it on Monday.... hoping.... so stay tuned!

I have been getting requests for speck 2.0 updates.... So... Saturday will be 8 weeks! I am still sick, but dealing with it better thanks to the wonderful medicine from my doctors, lots of love and attention from my wonderful hubby, and extra help from our parents.

I have had more weird cravings this time around...

I HAD to have PF Changs last week so Ryan drove to T.O. after work to pick it up for me.

A couple days ago I NEEDED McDonald's fries at 11pm, even though I hadn't had them in about two years. Ryan got me those as well, along with a Chocolate Shake. :-)

We were watching Burn Notice on tv last week and one of the guys was drinking martinis with huge olives and all of a sudden I needed Olives! We didn't have any, but I survived. I didn't want to make Ryan run to the store - again!

I have been eating my parents pickles every time I visit, for some reason they taste different than ours.

But most of all, I have been craving veggies. All day long, I want salad, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and I want it all covered in ranch dressing. We've gone through a Costco size thing of Hidden Valley Ranch and are half way through the second one... ugh.

My jeans already don't fit. I can't zip them up, so I'm wearing the bella bands again, and my maternity jeans already! I feel like I have a new wardrobe again after trying on all the maternity clothes I hadn't seen in a year. Hopefully they all still fit me in 6 months!

We are trying to figure out what to do for this baby's room... no decoration plans until we know the gender, but currently the room is my office. There is junk everywhere as I am trying to go through it and figure out where it is all going to go. I am going to miss my pretty office. I don't want to move in with Ryan... his office is full of computers and wires and lots of monitors and guy stuff... it smells like iguana in there! I am thinking of making an office in the dining room - we moved the table out and it would be easy to set up a desk, and then I could watch lucas play while I work... who knows, we have time to figure it out I guess...

That's all for today. I am headed to the kitchen to eat a popcicle, or hmmmnn, bologna sounds good... another thing I haven't had in years! What made me think or that? Lucas, we may have to walk to the store today.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Valentine's Date

This year for Valentine's Day we did not go to a fancy dinner, no roses, no wine....

We ate Corralles, and we loaded Lucas up in the hiking backpack and took a walk around the Ventura Harbor.
We peeked in all the windows at the V-day couples, the young ones all dressed up, the "old married" ones (like us) in jeans and sweatshirts.

I remembered past Valentine's dates at restaurants like the Ranch House and Dukes Malibu, or the fresh lobster Ryan cooked for me two years ago when we were still living in his parents guest house.

Times sure have changed, but the spirit of Valentine's Day hasn't. I am very much in love with my wonderful husband, and my amazing son, and our little walk around the harbor was the perfect way to celebrate the night.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Speck 2.0 at Six Weeks

Here we go again! Belly shot number 1 at 6 weeks... somehow I think this one is going to grow a lot faster than Lucas did.

Didn't know I was gone till I came back

I've been gone for about a week. Not physically gone, but mentally checked out. I was losing control of my self, being consumed by my negative emotions, frustrated with my physical sense of non well-being. I was getting so wrapped up in my own head that I was unable to see, hear, and feel what normally inspires me on a daily basis. Well, I'm back... at least for now. I got a reality check today, thrown back into the world. My, how I have missed the world. Somehow, just putting on nice clothes (something a step up from my normal "mom" attire) and getting out to be with intelligent, educated, and driven people with a common interest was enough to turn my frown upside down.

Today I had the opportunity to join my Grandma Ann, my cousin Elle, and many other wonderful writers and published authors for a fun luncheon. The speakers were amazing to listen to. Hearing their stories of how they wrote their books, what inspired them, the passion in their voices made me remember why I write. I am not trying to write a book, and I don't know if I ever will, but I do know that writing is in my blood. It is in my heart and it is a very big part of what makes me, me.

Being a mom is rewarding and challenging, day in and day out. And somehow in all the focus and concentration I put towards this very serious job, I forget what it feels like to challenge my own brain with something other than toddler games. I miss learning, I miss talking to adults, I miss camaraderie. I miss my old coworkers and the freedom I had as a working adult.

I don't know that I am going to be able to find a replacement for this emptiness any time soon, but hopefully I can continue to have opportunities to get out on occasion and get inspired, situations where I am not just Lucas's mom, but Suzanne.... the writer, the photographer, the scrapbooker, the market researcher... etc. In the meantime, I write here... for whoever may be interested in reading. And if you are reading, Thank You!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Our Favorite Things

Here we are.... enjoying the afternoon together. I've got the camera, and Lucas has a stick in his hand. We couldn't be happier!

Here's something different for a change... what is one object that makes you feel inspired when it's in your hands? Leave a comment and let me know!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hormones, or Something...

Today was not a good day. I am trying really hard to keep a positive attitude throughout this challenge, but today it just did not work. I feel sick, I feel completely overwhelmed by the fact that I still have many weeks to go before I can feel better, and I am so frustrated with myself for not being able to focus all my attention on Lucas. He needs me right now, and all I can do is sit on the couch, or the floor, or the bed, and watch him play. He doesn't like that. He wants me to play with him, hold him, dance with him, sing to him, take him out to fun places. But I can't. Not right now. Today he is teething. He was crying all day long, pulling on his ear, chewing on his finger, wouldn't eat, and just wanted me to help him. No matter what I tried to do, it wasn't working, he wasn't happy. I felt like I failed him today, like I wasn't there for him the way he needed me to be. He's been waking up at night every night for the last week, crying for a "ba-ba" or just crying for help. I feel so sick when I am woken up in the middle of the night, so I have to ask Ryan to go to him every time. I know he loves his daddy and I know that Ryan can take care of him, but I still feel like he needs me and I am not there for him. It actually hurts my heart not being able to go to him when he cries at night. I need this to be over. I need it to be over so badly. I am so frustrated and at times angry that I have to be pregnant right now. I wasn't ready for this, and it is really hard. But maybe I am just having a hard day, maybe Lucas's tooth will break through tonight and tomorrow he'll be in a great mood. Maybe he understands that mommy is sick right now and can't be there for him every moment. I know he knows I love him. I do, more than anything. He wouldn't go to sleep tonight, he cried and cried. Ryan wasn't home yet to help me, and I went into his room and got him out of his crib and just held him. He laid his head on my shoulder and I closed my eyes - for a moment all the sick feelings went away and it was just me and my little angel, his arms around my neck, breathing softly. That's what being a mama is about, being there, to hold, love, and care for my baby. I'm doing my best to do that.

I love him more than I ever thought possible

Lately I have been completely amazed by my son. He is growing and learning so fast, every day he can do or say something new. He never stops moving, trying new things, or challenging himself. I am in awe of this little boy. I can't believe that we created him. Some days Ryan and I just stare at him and ask ourselves how we ever got so lucky to have such a sweet, smart, handsome, and good natured baby.

Now I wonder, am I setting expectations too high for the next one? Am I going to think new baby is also the sweetest and smartest and cutest? Do I have to stop telling Lucas that he is the best baby in the world? Maybe... I tell him I love him about a thousand times a day, and now with added hormones and him giving me hugs all the time, that number is increasing. How in the world am I going to love another child like I love Lucas? I guess I will find out.
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