Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Eventually I'll get to rest again, in a decade or so.

I'm a photographer, but I haven't been taking any photos; even on my iPod! I have just been experiencing life a bit more, but I always feel obligated to share a photo when I write. Therefore, I haven't written much, because I feel bad posting without a photo. Bummer. I hope you don't mind if I write without images now and again, though everything is prettier with a picture.

This week is a busy one. We were out on Sunday, which led to getting a bit behind on getting prepared for the week ahead; i.e. lunches are on the fly this week - cheese or PB sandwich anyone? Our weekends always seem to be full of running around these days, so we're hoping to slow it down a bit and get in regular family time to settle into a routine of sorts before number two arrives and said routine is blown out of the water.

If anything, I just need to rest a bit more... I've been on overdrive in all areas and it's really catching up to me. I did my workouts and walking last week, but I was wiped out by weeks end literally back to square one. Argh.

Some days I ask Chris, will I ever be normal again? He chirps back, was I ever normal to begin with... Ha. I feel like I've been pregnant for years. I've forgotten what it is like to not be exhausted day in and day out, with a girth that makes reaching my toes difficult. I'm almost 23 weeks and finally - yes finally - morning sickness has started to dissipate; though it likes to chime in every now and again. I had the lovely all-day sickness that they fake for mornings with Miles through 20 weeks or so, and I think this one is out to get me...

Poor Ruby started to get sick on Saturday night, coughing and having breathing problems. I gave it a day, thinking maybe it was allergies (we were out all day for the nice day), but it didn't seem to stop. So, after a second sleepless night Sunday, I brought her to the vet on Monday for a full check-up, tests, and meds. No exact diagnosis, but major issues have been ruled out, so it's just meds and keeping an eye on things. She seems to be breathing better, with the occasional cough, but last night she was up for hours coughing and I just sat with her. Ah, no sleep already... too soon too soon!

Today and tomorrow I have the pleasure of attending the New Jersey Librarian Association's Annual Conference. It's nearby, which is awesome, and I get to learn and catch up with old colleagues from around the state. Lunch today was with a few awesome librarians I haven't seen in six or seven years! Just like old times.

It's nice sometimes to be an attendee instead of always a presenter or teacher. A lot of what I do professionally these days (which I do love) is presenting and teaching others technology, research, or other exciting things. Every once in awhile, it's great to sit back and not be on the spot... but while I'm sitting there I feel the urge to put in to present next time. I'll probably get in more presentations in 2016 across conferences. While pregnant, it's just awkward as people follow my belly around, ha. And I hate presenting when I constantly sound out of breath; it takes a lot out of you.

I'm working on letting go of who I used to be, and accept that I'm yet again morphing into something else: mom of two, runner, maybe not a runner, long distance, maybe not, foodie, maybe not... This year is so overwhelming with the changes in life (jobs, family, new house) that I'm just hanging in there and I'm just going to keep moving forward one step at a time or one day at a time. A lot is out of my control, and maybe that's my lesson this year - let it go, let it go... and trust in my faith.

Oh, and my red raspberry leaf tea just arrived (excellent for pregnancy/birth - I drank all throughout with Miles). Thank goodness! And I've ordered new protein powder, as well as picked up teeny tiny cups of ice cream to slow down the calorie intake and expenditure of recent runs to the ice cream store :)

Eventually I'll get to rest again, in a decade or so. It's worth it for these little monsters, but man, I am no happy glowing pregnant lady. I can deal with being tired or sore from workouts, but when I've got a little guy sucking the life out of me from the inside and another on the out; whew it's a day to day battle. Having number two is no joke when number one is running around... there is no rest for the weary :)

Have a nice week, I'll be back next time I have a moment to sit still. Time to make a cup of tea (Chris is the best at it).

- kate -

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Our $25 per person Weekly Food Budget

A lot has been in the news lately about the budget for those on benefits from the government. I don't plan to comment on all of that (here's a great piece on it), but I thought it would be fun to share how we use our budget for food and write about things like I used to.

I'm always surprised to find out that our family food budget is below the "Thrifty Plan" under the USDA food cost guidelines. We spend about $75 or less per week, currently shooting for $50 a week to stockpile a few extra bucks, on food and household goods. This isn't to say that we are able to always stick to that budget, sometimes we go over to around $80 per week, but I strive to see that number or below weekly when we hit the grocery store(s).

I budget about $25 per week per member of the household, planning to add another $25 per week when Baby #2 arrives (which might be tight with formula year one). I don't have to budget for diapers, since we use cloth diapers which is a huge savings in our budget; especially this go around. And most people might not use their food budget for items other than edible goods, but I try to throw as much in that category as we can.

In college, I survived on $15 or less per week, so to me, it is a little more flexible (and little kids once past formula don't consume huge amounts of food... though with two boys, we'll be trending upwards... eeek).

I'm thankful we have the flexibility to add to our food budget when needed, but if we plan our meals in advance and keep staples on hand, it makes it easier to stay within a budget. We don't exactly eat fancy, but on occasion I'll spring for feta and peppadew peppers! (Thanks Alex and Steph for introducing me to them so many years ago). And it doesn't hurt to plan a dinner at a g'parent's house now and again ;)

I use a local farmer's market for our produce, as it's been far cheaper than the supermarket overall and fresher. And, you know what, I'm a Walmart shopper and feel no shame. We switch between Walmart and Wegmans depending on the staples or meals that upcoming week. Each provide us with low cost options in certain areas of our pantry and fridge. With Walmart's Savings Catcher App, I've gotten a bit back on my purchases which is a nice addition.

Now, we don't buy organic, but I'm not convinced that everything sold organic really is anymore. When we were a part of a local CSA, I could visit the farm and taste the difference. That isn't always an option with supermarket goods, and knowing how a farm's cross-winds, etc. affect pollination and pesticides we may or may not be getting organic for that higher price. I do prefer a local farmer's market vs. a large supermarket, but as long as we're focusing on vegetables (and now growing some ourselves) that's a huge win in my book.

Oh, and I do look forward to picking my own strawberries at a u-pick farm visit in June... hot, sweaty, and 7 months pregnant. I'm crazy like that.

Are we perfect? No. Are we always Thrifty? Nope. I am not sure though I'd ever spend the "liberal" plan under the guidelines... whew, now how many crazy items could I buy that week?! It's double... get me some goat cheese will ya? Wouldn't doubling our food budget be fun! I believe a lot of food would go to waste that week.

I do feel we spend far less than the average household on food, but aren't lacking nutritionally or otherwise. I still buy flax seeds, chia seeds, spirulina powder, red raspberry leaf tea, etc. Most of those added items come from my personal budgeted allowance. We are both on an allowance of about $40 per week for gas/extras, but I usually have leftover now with a smaller commute so I put it into my ice cream cravings or dinners out :)

The reason we're on a tight budget is to get our emergency savings back in order from our huge house sale loss and our even larger house buying expense, plus the unpaid maternity leave I'm facing, and well, it's fun to be frugal. It's become somewhat of a game for Chris and I at times to see what we can do with what we have. We've learned so much in squeezing our budget; and I'm a bit of a general about it.

I mean, we definitely chose to have another boy because it would save us tons of money, right? Ha. How life is funny like that...

Throughout the past several years with the economic ups and downs, I've become far less of a shopper and more interested in selling old stuff and gaining side income. Chris has become super handy about making things for our house and doing renovation work himself. I love watching him finish a project and the joy it brings him. See: homemade desks, end tables, kitchen island thing, bathroom renovations... and more.

It's helped us tremendously get out of debt, but also I've loosened my attachment to fancier things and have found pleasure in a more simple life. I don't feel compelled, though at times I really really want that $2k lens..., to buy lots of new things anymore. I save up for larger purchases forgoing the things I want now, for the item I really want later (hence, I'm still saving for that lens and may sell a few items to get it). I prefer Goodwill (score, $3 pair of maternity shorts like new!) and re-purposing old items. It's apparently better for the environment, too.

I used to think it was a bad thing to budget and be frugal, like I was weird or something. Now, I'm realizing the tremendous amount of freedom it's bringing us, the peace of mind, and the joy of creating and viewing our entire house as a trendy makerspace.

For more similar thoughts to my own on frugality...

- kate -
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pregnancy, parasites, elephants, walking and ice cream.

It's been a tricky past year. Lots of changes, good decisions and bad. The immediate future isn't looking as neatly planned out as I would love to cling to, but as the weather has warmed I've had to laugh at the ridiculousness of what my life has become and how much has happened and changed in the last twelve months or even twelve weeks. When I look back further, it's amazing how far we've come.

Sometimes through the darkness it's difficult to see any light at the end of the treacherous ride. I usually try to hold on tight, knuckles white, holding my breath ever deep, and fight the inner critic by placing one foot forward at a time. "Just keep swimming... just keep swimming" as I say often to Miles while he laughs at me. I made it through once again, and I know with support I'll keep pushing forward every time I'm hit with the unbelievable dark shade that clouds my days, weeks, or months through life's ups and downs.

I had my mom laughing so hard she was crying when I related pregnancy to having an intestinal parasite. I'll let this post explain the details (warning: some explicit language). To me, the comparison is obvious. (This is a joke obviously! I don't truly believe a baby is a parasite; well not medically since it's the same species, but we'll leave science out of this).

To others, when they ask how I feel and I respond "as good as someone with an intestinal parasite" they laugh and make weird faces. I forget I'm supposed to say, "great, I love it," but I'm a little more honest about it than most I guess?

Pregnancy and I don't get along. We're not BFFs. I do not glow (though people have said I do - am I radioactive?).

To me, pregnancy is burdensome to my body and mind, but the end result is obviously worth it after the grueling experience they call childbirth - I mean, Miles is the MAN. Thank goodness while I feel like an elephant, I'm not one who gestates for 21 months! Can you even imagine giving birth to a toddler? That could save on diapers and formula (but I love cloth diapering...)

As the spring has finally (somewhat) arrived, I've made the decision to go forward and start a walking plan. I'm completely lost without following a plan in some loose manner, which leads to less and less motivation and movement and the cycle downwards. See: my blog post a couple weeks ago after laying on a couch feeling terminally ill for three months.

I've picked two 5k run/walks to do in May and June to stay on the wellness journey while I am in limbo with regular running and all manners of intense exercise. I could probably run the races, but since I haven't been running regularly throughout pregnancy like I did with Miles (up until 6 months), I'm not pushing to start now. I'm OK with walking... really, I am. No, really, I will just walk... fast?

This week I'm walking 3 days and lifting weights 3 days. I'm lifting more than my midwives say is the 'standard' 25lbs, but I know what has worked best for my body. I have been riding my bike much to the shocked stares of strangers, and lifting in the gym was funny when the burly men were like - say huh girlfriend's pregnant and using a barbell... I think that's a norm in Crossfit though, right? I mean, I've only seen pictures from inside those boxes.

I've also been listening more to outside stories of people around me than just existing inside my head. This has helped me realize we're all going through insane difficult times at one point or another, and while it might seem like my world is ending; someone else is suffering far more and needs my support.

It feels good to get back into the gym and on the roads; out in the sunshine. Some of my motivation to workout might include desperate requests for a run to the ice cream store by my loving husband... but that's what pregnancy is all about - right? At least I've never requested pickles AND ice cream. I'll just stick with one or the other at a time. And he's brutal saving me from myself, he limits me to once or twice a week...

So far, this baby LOVES chocolate chip mint ice cream with hot fudge, random vanilla malted milkshakes, tons of meat, and the ever wonderful batch of cheese fries (which I only ever seem to order when I'm pregnant). Maybe I can convince Chris to go out for some tonight... Miles personally loved chocolate peanut butter with hot fudge, the random vanilla malted milkshake, those ever loving cheese fries, and... absolutely no meat.

While you can see my spirits have lifted quite a bit, many have expressed their concern over my post a few weeks ago, and I absolutely appreciate it. Only one person reached out within the first few days of the post which made me feel super lonesome, but as I've come out of my fog more have said they wanted to write or call. Definitely, if I write crazy stuff, call me, text me, email me and say - you're crazy, my friend. Sometimes I need a wake-up that the world isn't half as bad as my mind has made it up to be. And in desperate times, we all just want to know someone cares (who doesn't have to, I mean, Chris doesn't have a choice - I kid).

I'm learning to "let go" as what seems to be my yearly lesson, ride the waves and listen to the whispers on the ocean breeze. This year is going to be a ride (which year hasn't??), but man, I'm going to walk my way through it and come back stronger - maybe even a runner again by year's end. 2015, you haven't beaten me yet.

Will you join me?

- kate -
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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Number Two for Nikki | jersey shore maternity portraits

In the coming year, I have high hopes of getting back into shape and in a better mindset. I also plan to change up my photography gear and continue to learn more so I can get better straight out of the camera. I am always nervous before a photo session, wondering what it may entail outside of the ideas in my mind. In the end, I'm always surprised by the moments I catch and looking back over my portfolio on the memories I was able to be a part of.

This past weekend, I had the honor of photographing a previous maternity/newborn client expecting her second little one. It's an exciting time all around for new births this year! Only a few weeks to go and Nikki was looking and feeling great.

- kate -
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Monday, April 6, 2015

It's a...

...BOY! :D

I'm excited to have two boys to get dirty with and be the queen of the castle. I'll never have to shovel the driveway or mow the lawn again, right? Chris is thrilled and how we finally found out is a funny story for another day. I'm glad I hung in there to get to this point, I was feeling quite uneasy if it was going to be a girl (my gut feeling) and I wasn't sure what to do with a girl! I'm not much of a girly girl even though I could definitely go for a pedicure right about now.

I took a few self portraits this weekend, as I realized I haven't taken any maternity shots since getting pregnant. Being ridiculously sick will do that to you. With Miles I took some each month, starting around 12-ish weeks. I'm at 20 weeks now, halfway to the finish line (or more, this baby needs to come a bit early!).

Hope you had a very Happy Easter with your family and friends! I'm hoping to get a little relaxation in this week to gear up for the busy spring and summer ahead.

- kate -
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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sitting on the water's edge.

The sun was reaching the edge of the deep blue sky. Not a cloud to be seen for miles. As I sat there contemplating what to do next, I was surprised to find the ocean to be as calm as I'd ever seen it. No white caps, no crashing waves or thunderous sounds; just the sea lapping up the shore as if it were a relaxing summers day. Not an ounce of thrashing at the water's edge; only peace and serenity.

I wondered how cold it would feel if I just walked right in. Imaging myself walking right down the slope of the beach, continuing off the steep ledge near shore to sit on the deep dark bottom. I disregarded the thought, since I knew I'd end up floating to the surface and back to shore. There was no current to be pulled out by. I didn't have a towel or a change of clothes, so I sat there instead wanting to feel more alive; as the numbness was dulling the senses that existed before.

Often as a teenager and thereafter, when I was struggling with coming to terms with a loss or choice in life, I'd sit at the beach looking for answers. I always feel the presence of those who've passed on, down by the water's edge. There I'm faced with the reminder that as much as we want to control our fates, the world has it's own plans. Much like the ocean, we have no control over the tides, the thrashing, or the calm moments. At any time, it could shift. The ocean always holds answers for me as God's whispers blow off the water.

Footprints is one of my favorite pieces of writing. My parents had it on their wall growing up, and I now have their framed print on my mantel. When I need help, I go to the beach, toes in the sand, waiting to be carried. Most people don't know why living near the beach is so important to me, but maybe this story helps you to understand. When we lived 20 miles away, it was not the same to sit around a reservoir digging my feet into the dirt. Unless I was running, not much was coming to the surface.

In the past twelve years, since the first step in my lifelong journey of running began, I can only think of three or four times where I realized how deeply I not only want to run, but needed to run. Running is more about mental health for me than medals, races, or times. Though, I do enjoy the snacks at the end of a race. It is my therapy. Being pregnant, more sick than last time (where I ran up until six months pregnant), I've not gotten more than a run or two in. It's been difficult to face the challenges ahead without the ability to use my body as I would like to knowing what is in store.

I'm not in any healthy shape, I'm sure I'll receive a firm talking to at my next midwife appointment, and I am still exhausted daily despite resting as much as is humanly possible having a three-year-old-baby-guy running around. My body is craving tons of salts and sweets in order to curb this lingering nausea as I venture into the 20 week mark. I even want to drink coffee (bleh!).

This coming year won't be a success story of getting super fit while pregnant, reaching any milestones, or doing much of anything other than taking it one day at a time. For someone always so ambitious, it's hard not to feel like this this year is a waste. I don't do well on "idle".

I've decided, for now, not to give up. I may not be able to give 100% to everything and everyone, but I'm going to do my best a little at a time. This past weekend, I took the time to garden and remembered how much fun it was to play in the dirt. Now I get why Miles loves to scoop, squish, and dig everywhere. I wasn't going to plant anything this year, overwhelmed with all the life changes, but I am glad I chose to get these seeds started.

Watching the garden bloom is a soft reminder of how slow the process of growth is in nature, yet how bountiful the result when given the right time, nurturing, and light. Maybe I will see growth this year, just not in clear measurable ways.

I started cilantro a few weeks ago and it already grew like crazy.

More herbs and plants starting in the garden window I love so much.

Life has a funny way of sending you signs.

After getting my garden together, Chris and I went to the Christmas Tree Shop (Miles spent time with his MiMa and PopPop). I wanted to look at a little adirondack chair from their flier. On the flier, it was white with a cat on it. My initial thought was, how cute, I wonder if Ruby would even sit on it (she's like a real dog who gets dirty and all)... but Bambi would've LOVED it.

When we arrived at the store, who was on the box... on a ruby red chair no less - - my little girl, giant deer ears and all. I miss you baby, but I know you're around growling somewhere.

Chris wouldn't let me get the chair... He thinks I'm nuts. You know; we've already established that.

So, I went on to spend the rest of the weekend with my guys working on home projects. The list is endless, but since we love our forever home, it's more enjoyable as well.

Miles went under the house with Daddy to run internet cables... he loves his headlamp.

And he loves my old tripod to take pictures. I need to get him a camera...

A Miles original with me supervising from the couch.

And Ruuuubs... we sing to you every day "Ruby, dooby, do". You love to play fetch, you are the sweetest dog I've ever met. I dremeled your nails all by myself, we played outside, and I brushed your teeth! You never snarl and you're all just love, licks and cuddles. It's hard not to feel like Bambi had something to do with you coming into our lives at just the right time.

Don't look so sad, soon enough it'll warm up and we'll be outdoors all day every day.

- kate -
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A sentence per picture from the #NesiWedding2015

Miles was in his first wedding over the weekend at the ripe old age of 3! I don't think I've been in a wedding yet (other than as a reader once), and I'm far older. Doesn't he look handsome?

Daddy and Miles had big jobs at the end of the aisle.

Miles stole the show, as he loves to do.

And they're married!

A family photo thanks to PopPop. Whew, I feel so huge already...

And someone's puppet made a grand appearance at the reception for the Best Man's Toast...

I didn't take too many pictures at the wedding as I left my big guns at home and used my 70D and a 35mm L lens for fun. I couldn't pass up a bunch of Miles looking dapper for the record books!

- kate -
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Monday, March 23, 2015

Being Pulled Out by the Current

If you've read this blog for some time, you'll come to realize I don't write when I am struggling; trying to make a positive out of a negative and failing miserably. This past year has been extremely trying and I'm not even close to making it through what lies ahead. I've been searching deep for the words to express my sadness and how to find the positive within it.

This past week was overwhelming, exhausting physically and mentally, and really took it's toll. I've been summoned to the darker side and I'm just too tired to fight it. Wrong decision after wrong decision.

It's as if I've been sucked out with the under current, feverishly fighting to swim against the rip tide that is trying to drown me instead of swimming with it and finding a calmer place to make my way back to shore. I'm just about ready to give up and let it pull me out to sea.

Phone call after phone call, email after email, I've been fighting the little things in life while trying to process something quite bigger. In just the past five days, I've fought with insurance companies (who doesn't these days), dealt with crappy over-priced auto repairs, drove all over the state for two days, and found out I do not qualify for family leave under our wonderful state and federal guidelines.

I'm facing a maximum of fourteen days off using all of my sick time to spend with my newborn before having to return to work. I love where I work now and those I work with, but I had grand plans to do things right the second time around. I thought I'd be able to avoid the depression I experienced with Miles in those early weeks and months; yet it's already crept up on me with this new reality.

I started out this pregnancy ten pounds overweight. I have gained more than I should've at this point much to my dismay. I've been knocked down, dragged out, and down for the count for months with no end of this morning sickness and exhaustion in sight. It's difficult to have no control over your body and your mind. It's even more difficult to feel little control over anything else in relation.

I wish I had the zeal and passion I saw last night pouring out of Neil Degrasse Tyson on 60 Minutes. To feel that exuberant about a subject, and feeling like a kid again. For a quick moment, I felt like maybe I could reignite the zest for life I've had when I trained for a half marathon, picked fresh food from the farm or started a photography business and took all sorts of risks without fear of failure; that was before children. Then the thought faded into the darkness.

At least this baby guy has been doing very well despite my downfall. Not that I get credit for his good looks, behavior, amazing intelligence or quick wit...

Maybe the weather will warm up and help me make better decisions and see some positive aspect of my failure aside from no loss in income. Detachment feels like the only way to survive. I realize there are far bigger problems in the world for others and I should suck it up, but I'm just tired of battle after battle; is this all there is?

- kate -
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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Three years ago today.

“The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.” (unknown)

Three years ago today, Miles entered into my life. Over the past several years, I've struggled to keep up with all of my passions with photography, cooking, running, and getting back into shape on this blog as I entered into the realm of motherhood.

I've shared the ups, the downs, and in-between of my experiences and many of Miles' enjoyable moments openly, with some inner conflict. As Miles has grown, I've realized how much less I want to share his amazing comedic timing, or the silly things he chooses to do as a child. I feel a sense of responsibility to allow him this time to explore without his life being on display, for-potentially-ever on the internets; searchable when he's ninety-five and working on his retirement career.

I've chosen to write less about his life and growth this past year, as I feel now the choices should be up to him to share in the future as he sees fit (and we'll teach him about that when the time comes). He cracks us up, he drives us batty, and he takes us for a ride on a daily basis. I may not always make the best decisions, but this is one I'm starting to really like; giving him the freedom to be captured in our hearts, not always on camera or published online.

This past month, I'm not sure I've taken more than a few photos. Gone are the days of hundreds of images, or thousands in my LR catalog at the end of the year. I'm trying to savor more of the present, while focusing on the future.

I haven't been writing much, as there hasn't been much to share. I'm still in the throws of morning sickness at almost 17 weeks now, which I experienced through 20 weeks with Miles. I'm somewhat exhausted, though I can peel myself off the couch now and then to get outside for fresh air with the baby guy.

Cooking seems to be a hit or miss thing these days, as I have little desire to eat, create, or make meals. On occasion, I've felt a burst of excitement or energy to make something new, but those days are still a bit of a ways into the future. Even foods I've always loved have just become banal to my palate.

Exercise has been a love/hate relationship. Weeks ago, when attempting to workout through the utter exhaustion, I would find some peace from the nausea only to return home barely able to move, and sicker than ever. It wasn't worth the effort most days, that hour of inner peace, for it all came back with a vengeance.

I'm starting to feel a bit better with exercising again, sticking with weight lifting and the elliptical, but most days with our schedules, I've put it aside to get other things done. As the weather warms, I know I'll be outdoors more with Miles at the playground and walking Ruby (she's loving the warmer temps!).

That's where things stand. Not much to speak of, other than loving my career again, and trying to make it through the days and weeks of pregnancy (it's not my favorite experience as it is for so many others). We're very much looking forward to finding out what addition will enter into our lives this year, too!

As always, I'm looking to stay healthier this go around and find that joy for photography, writing, and cooking again as well. In the coming weeks, when the energy reveals itself and my passions return or redefine themselves, I'm sure you'll see more excitement on the blog.

Happy Birthday, my little baby guy! It's going to be a fun day of activities with Momm-a and Daddy today :) I'm not sure who is more excited :D but I cannot wait to see how much more you change in the coming year!

- kate -
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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Greek Salad, Homemade Hummus, and a Secret Message

My brain has been on the fritz now for a few months. It took me three trips to various food stores to finally get all of the ingredients for this homemade greek salad for lunches this week. And well, I actually want to eat this goodness once again.

I had a list, but forgot a few items from the recipe, then realized later that we ran out of olive oil. Why do I make homemade stuff? I guess I enjoy driving myself crazy. It would have been far easier to just buy it prepared or anything prepared at the first store, ha.

This weekend, we spent time with friends, Abbey and Jay. Abbey has been making homemade hummus for quite some time and I had a chance to eat almost all of sample her hummus. It was yummy! We talked about tahini, and I mentioned I had tried to make it years ago, but never fell in love with the flavor.

Thus, I was so delighted by her hummus (I'm not a fan of store hummus so much) I decided to try to make it again! I toasted the sesame seeds first.

Then I processed them with 3 tbsp of olive oil (right before I ran out of it!). And thus, we have tahini.

Then I made hummus using dried chick peas... which took all day to cook. I had to keep shutting them off to go back to the store, so it was a nice long 5 hour process of the fast soak method and then cooking. I always forget how long dried beans take... canned would've been easier. I just like the healthier "idea" and costs of dried vs. canned.

The final hummus was fantastic. I'm bringing it for a snack this week at work most days. YUM!

In other news, Miles is turning into a little photographer. He uses one of my old tripods and sets it up to "take pictures" even though he doesn't have a camera on it. He's too funny! I want to look into kiddie digital cameras so we can actually save some of his photos. A few times he's grabbed a hold of my camera and snapped some interesting ones...

And we posted this on social media a few days ago... "Miles is cooking up something good." After a little while, people caught on to the hidden meaning...

...on his shirt.

This go around, I just haven't felt like posting a "guess what / we are" social post. We've been trying to share with others in person instead of going the whole online route. Personally, I loved keeping it my little secret for quite some time (aside from being sicker than ever before and struggling to just live a basic life). It was something the world didn't have to know about, but now it's getting a little more obvious as the weeks progress.

It's going to be one fun summer!

- kate -
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