Friday, January 5, 2018

Five on Friday ~ Updates for the New Year

Welcome first Friday of the New Year! This week, Lucas at 9.5 months figured out how to crawl up stairs. I could only laugh. I think it must be some sort of weird sign that it's going to be and exhausting but truly wonderful year!

Five things we have going on this first week of the new year...

1. Instant Pot
The Instant Pot was, I believe, the gadget of 2017. I'd seen a ton of blog posts, recipes, etc about it, but I knew my husband would not be on board with buying a new kitchen appliance. My mother-in-law was in town recently and there was a great price on Instant Pot at Target. She pulled it up and said she wanted to order us one for Christmas so I immediately agreed it was a great idea. Hence, our new Instant Pot arrived! We've made several recipes. My mother-in-law made pork ribs and my husband and I tried Chicken Curry with great success - this recipe was fabulous! The step by step instructions are perfect for the Instant Pot novice and I loved using the cashew cream to thicken the curry, although I did soak my cashews for a few hours first which the recipe does not specify doing. We also made Chicken Adobo in it with great success, we put the pot on saute mode after removing the chicken to let the sauce reduce and thicken. Next up: Hard-boiled Eggs and Steele-cut Oatmeal!

2. January Meal Plan ~ Monthly Meal Planning Experiment
Because my husband and I both work and we eat dinner early - I'm talking 5:15-5:30 early here - we have a system where we cook two big meals on the weekend. We grocery shop on Saturday morning and then cook a big meal on both Saturday and Sunday. We eat off the leftovers all week, alternating days because my toddler gets fussy if I try to feed him the same thing day after day...he has a very discerning palate LOL. We make a quicker meal mid-week to get us through Friday and I also prepare fresh vegetables everyday. Our standby veggies are green beans, broccoli, zucchini, or cauliflower and we go through pretty large quantities of each every week. Using our system, I planned for 3 dinners each week. Some extra veggies are not on the menu, but are implied ;-)

I noticed a few things right off... We suffer from a lack of variety and also from an all meat-based protein diet. This is what happens when I don't plan! So I reflected back on my Vegan Family Meals post to add in some of the favorites! I'll need to make the vegan pasta in a much larger quantity to have leftovers for the week. The red lentil dal was liked by all and I can't believe it fell out of the rotation (I use that word very loosely!) especially since Lucas is still loving his pureed Lentils with Butternut Squash.

Action items for next month's meal plan - Choose new Instant Pot recipes to try and choose a new vegan recipe to try!

3. Cold Weather
We are hanging out in the house these days. I know kids go out in colder weather, but for me 35 degrees is just too cold to venture out with my kids unless there is at least some snow to play in! Last year Henry really enjoyed our few snow days. I realized he didn't have any mittens (do they make mittens for one year olds?) so I just pulled some warm socks over his hands and it worked great! We liked these little KEEN toddler boots too!

This cold weather (along with with the short daylight days) is making my Resolution to go for a walk every day a little more challenging. Luckily, my mom is in town from Minnesota and she is game for going for a walk no matter how cold the weather! As January begins and I reflect on my spreadsheet of 18 for 2018, I really wonder if January is a good time to start resolutions! Perhaps people would be better at keeping resolutions if they could start in June ;-)

4. Eczema Update
My husband is feeling extra itchy due to the dry air in the house from the furnace running so frequently. Lucas is not doing too poorly thank goodness! He has not had a recurrence of his initial Leg Rashes which were a combo of heat exacerbation and new scooting/crawling on his legs. Lucas has developed more traditional looking eczema (dry, scaly, red patches) on the inside of his right elbow, under his chin, and on his cheeks. We are currently giving him baths every other day using Honest Co Purely Simply Body Wash and Lotion. We spot treat with Aquaphor.  I occasionally apply 1% hydrocortisone cream twice a day for worsening irritation, but I try to use the steroid cream very sparingly. Lucas isn't bothered by these spots and I'm hopeful that they will improve with age, especially the neck eczema which is the result of friction and wetness. We change his bib frequently, but he only has 2 teeth still so I'm sure his days of drooling are still many to come! You can see the eczema spots on his cheeks in the pic below.

5. Getting Back to Routine
As a working mom, I can't say enough about keeping a routine and planning ahead! Simple things like prepping breakfast and lunches the night before, regular nap times, and exercise keep everyone happy and fit! So, while I am a little sad the holiday season has come to an end, I'm also really looking forward to settling back into daily life. The routine reminds me to find joy in the everyday things like a nice walk with my mom, Lucas' joy in exploring, Henry's focus when drawing or putting together a puzzle, and the boy's laughter.

Here's to 2018!
Wishing you a wonderful weekend!


  1. Haha, those pictures make me happy we don't have stairs! My little guy loves climbing up the stairs at my parents' house, but he has no clue how to get back down again safely. I love the idea of making two big meals on the weekend! I used to do a lot of dinner prep during my son's late afternoon nap, but ever since he dropped that one, it's been harder to get dinner ready on time. I used to meal prep on the weekend all the time, but somehow got out of the habit. This is good inspiration!

    1. Yes! I am already missing that late afternoon nap which was so convenient for getting dinner ready. Lucas tends to be a little fussy right as I'm getting off work at 4:30 which makes getting dinner on the table more of a challenge. Henry gets to play on his iPad from 4:30-5:15 which keeps him busy and also easily limits his "technology" time because he's happy to give it up when it's time to eat. I'm not advocating tablet usage or tv...but if you can find some daily activity which needs little supervision for that time right before dinner it really frees you up!