Friday, January 29, 2016

Apricot Date Coconut Bites

Hi friends! Since my last post, life with Emmett has only gotten busier. This kid demands his outside time via wagon pushing, garden puttering, stroller walks to the park, and back carry hikes to walk the dog. With all that going, snacking for us both is often a must. While E would be perfectly happy to subsist on graham crackers if I let him, I try to mix things up and give us an energy boost to keep us going between meals and naps.
Benji enjoyed a quick baby hand lick after Emmett enjoyed his!
I love making raw peanut butter oat date balls, but since I often swirl PB into my oats in the morning or pack a PB banana sandwich for hike and park days, I wanted to do another fun raw snack based on coconut. I was inspired by some snacks I got in the bulk bins at Whole Foods that had coconut, pumpkin and dried mango, and my first try was a home run! You could easily sub sunflower seeds instead of pepitas or dried cranberries or raisins for the apricots, and lemon zest instead of orange. Use whatever flavor profile suits you (or whatever's in your pantry)!

Apricot Date Coconut Bites

8 pitted Medjool dates
8 dried apricots
1 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 pinch salt

Place dates and apricots in a food processor and pulse until they're well-chopped.

Add in remaining ingredients and process until very finely chopped. With clean hands, form into 18-24 balls depending on size. Place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Keep in fridge or a cool spot and enjoy!
Baby approved hiking snack!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Day in the life - 13 months

Just like that, sweet baby Emmett is racing towards toddlerhood. While he isn't walking on his own yet, he's obsessed with crawling, cruising and pushing his wagon around all the time. It was a gift from his great aunt and great grandma for his first birthday.
Speaking of which, his first birthday party was a blast! We had an awesome turnout of 30ish adults including lots of family and over 10 kiddos from 5 months to 5 years old. Since the party skewed towards the adult set, we served breakfast tacos, mimosas and bloody maries. We had lots of fun games and snacks for the kiddos too, and Emmett (kind of) enjoyed his smash cake. It was all a little too much for him though, and he went down for his nap way earlier than usual and missed the last 30 minutes or so of the day :)


Ever since he hit 12 months, life has sped up. I always knew things would get hectic when he got this age, and boy was I right. I wanted to slow things down and try and capture a whole day. For those who find that sort of thing interesting (or wonder what stay at home mommyhood is like) - this post is for you. Hint, there's a lot of NOT staying at home and adventuring!

6:40 a.m. - I hear Emmett fussing, and he's turned on his little "baby TV" in his crib. I double-check the video monitor, and he is up and ready to party! I grab him and nurse him in bed, then we snuggle and play for a little while.

7:10 a.m. - I set him down to crawl and say hello to Benji (one of his favorite things to do in the morning) and then play with his bin of toys we keep in the bathroom while I hurry to get dressed for the day. My mom uniform is leggings, tennis shoes, a shirt and jacket if needed since we are go-go-going all the time. No time for makeup or fancy clothes right now unless something special is happening!

7:20 a.m. - Diaper change! I thought I smelled a dirty diaper, but he tricked me. While we're in his room I pick out his outfit for the day. It's a surprisingly warm day for mid-January, so I grab a few layers so he can be comfortable all day.

7:25 a.m. - We head downstairs. I find a caraffe of coffee that Luke set aside for me. He's been getting up super early this week to get some more time in at work since he's got a big presentation next week. Normally he's around for the morning ritual and breakfast time, so Emmett and I are missing him a lot. They usually make the coffee while I get ready for a few minutes in peace, so having the coffee already made is a pleasant, much-needed surprise ;) I fix breakfast while Emmett plays with some toys.

7:30 a.m. - Breakfast! I made some of Tina's overnight apple cinnamon steel cut oats yesterday knowing it would be more challenging without Luke to help. I just had to throw it in the microwave for an easy breakfast (topped with raspberries, pomegranate and toasted pecans)! I usually have a little smorgasburg for Emmett since his appetite changes daily. Today I kept it simple with Cheerios, blueberries, some of my oatmeal, and a pouch I made of full fat Greek Yogurt with some pureed sweet potato mixed in. He happily chatters his baby babble through breakfast, but doesn't eat the whole thing.

7:55 a.m. - Breakfast is over and Emmett is frantically pointing outside. He wants to play! I get him dressed for the day, grab his wagon and we set off. He can keep a pretty good pace, but the longer we go, he tends to get a bit more distracted. He likes to pause to watch cars drive by, and he'll plop down if he sees a stick or leaf that needs playing with. And, we saw the neighborhood guineas which was exciting! He made it a full half block before it was clear he needed a break. I plop him in the wagon and push him home my self - quite the leg workout!

9:00 a.m. - We stop by back home and trade the wagon for a stroller. It's mom's turn for exercise! We head off on our walk. Emmett passes out by 9:15 and I get another 25 minutes in for a 2.24 mile walk. I listened to the latest Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast while he slept - I love always learning something new on my walks!

9:45 a.m. - While Emmett shakes off his stroller catnap, I throw together a beef stew in the crockpot, tidy up and set up for hosting my playgroup. Emmett is moving about again and this time I smell a dirty diaper! We get him changed and then drop Benji off in our neighbor's yard. We read books (including 3 renditions of Moo, Baa, La La La - per Emmett's request, not mine ;) ). Emmett saw me pull out his baby slide so he demands several turns going down the slide in a row. We snack on a couple graham crackers.
10:30 a.m. - Playgroup pals show up! There are 3 6(ish) month olds and a two year old older brother. We start out hanging inside munching on snacks and visiting, but Emmett points outside to the backyard and wants to go outside again (with all this walking and hiking, I think I've created an outside monster!). We move the party outside and the kiddos have a blast.

12:15 p.m. - Everyone leaves and we run across the street to grab Benji. I throw together lunch for us both while Emmett plays. I'm not really feeling last night's leftovers, so I make half a sandwich and pull together a few other scraps, including some of the beet hummus I made for playgroup (originally developed for one of my clients). Emmett enjoys a brown rice/quinoa blend, spiced black beans, broccoli and corn, apples and a yogurt pouch. He doesn't eat it all again (I got out a lot since he's been eating a TON lately).

12:45 p.m. - Lunch is over. We have a blast playing with his activity board his grandpa and grandma made him for his birthday, reading books, and playing fort under the kitchen table.

1:21 p.m. - We head upstairs to nurse. He's been going nonstop and is showing signs of tiredness for sure.

1:35 p.m. - Sweet, sweet nap time! I quickly clean up from lunch and then plop down on the couch to prop up my feet. I start working on this post. I post a hike that I'm leading next week for Hike It Baby. I cruise some recipes on the Whole Foods Market website for a post I'm working on for their blog (I do a few posts a month for them freelance style, it's great!). I respond to a few emails for the North Austin Mothers' Club - I'm the membership VP so all people interested in joining get to hear from me! :) I actually still have some time after all this (thank you crock pot meal!), so I finally start working on Emmett's first year photo book.

4:07 p.m. - He's awake! This guy has playtime on his mind and starts pointing towards the backyard straight away. I put his shoes on and we go outside. He points to the garden and we end up hanging out there for a good 20 or 30 minutes. He's having a blast!

4:45 p.m. - I convince Emmett it's a good time for a walk. I put him in his carrier and grab Benji's leash and we head towards Walnut Creek Park for a quick hike. It's a nice mix from our usual neighborhood walk and Benji loved some off-leash time.

5:25 p.m. - We are walking back up our street when Luke drives up - dad's home! We're all excited to see each other and we bundle inside to catch up. I nurse Emmett while Luke and I chat. Then they play for a bit while I do a few things in the kitchen.

5:50 p.m. - It's time for a family wagon walk around the block. We run into some neighbors and chat and enjoy the sunset.

6:20 p.m. - Dinner time! We sit down to our beef stew and toast. At the last second I decide Luke's beer looks good so I pour myself a small glass. Emmett loves bread soaked in broth and pounded more than his fair share. He also enjoyed the beef and some corn. He was not having the broccoli or carrots, and kept throwing them to Benji. Ah the joys of impending toddlerhood... :)

6:50 p.m. - We clean up and play downstairs. Emmett is having so much fun playing with all of us. He's surprisingly good at making his cars "go" and playing ball.

7:15 p.m. - Time to head upstairs for start bedtime. Emmett loves bath time, and Luke and I have quite the sassy song we sing every night for the tub. After that it's jammies, books, bottle, brushing teeth, goodnight book and bed.

7:53 p.m. - Lights out! I finally hop in the shower, then Luke and I chat while we finish cleaning up the kitchen. I enjoy a cookie and then we kick up our feet and watch some Downton Abbey.

9:30 p.m. - Time to get ready for bed and do some reading.

10:00 p.m. - Lights out!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Gone Hikin'

Sorry for the absence! It's funny, when people hear I'm staying home with Emmett, they think I'm getting to take more time to blog. Now that he is almost 10 months old (whoa!), free time in front of the computer is rare indeed.

What I HAVE been spending a lot of time doing is hiking. I've always wished I had more time to be outside, with with a desk job and a long commute, I didn't get to spend nearly as much time outside as I would have liked. Luckily, Emmett seems to love the outdoors as much as I do, so we spend a good 1-3 hours outside everyday on the move, usually a long walk just the two of us in the morning, and then a family walk with Luke and Benji in the evening after dinner. I'm so thankful for the chance to enjoy nature with him, feel healthy and have that time when I know we both will be calm and happy.
Checking out the ducks and turtles in Town Lake on a hike
I was so excited to discover Hike It Baby, a free meetup group that gets families outside. Hike It Baby is kind of a misnomer though, as there are older kids and many of the hikes are more just walks. But still, it's been a great way to socialize and encourage me to drive outside the neighborhood to enjoy the outdoors! We participated in the September Hike It Baby 30 challenge that encourages families to hike 30 miles in 30 days. Emmett did 75 MILES in September, primarily with me (a few solo hikes with Luke while I was at Body Jam), and also many included Luke and Benji. It was cool tracking our walks and hikes to see just how far we're going (and how much faster I walk pushing the stroller versus our meandering walks with Benji).

Scenes from our latest adventure to Enchanted Rock. Fun!

My friend is vegetarian, so I packed us some sandwiches with pumpkin hummus, cilantro sunflower seed pesto and veggies! Baby approved :)

Speaking of the outdoors, we DID get a new grill this summer and have lots of dinners cooked outside. It means less mess to clean up, less time chopping AND I didn't heat up the kitchen this summer. But, I was a little lazy, so it also meant less bloggable meals. Sorry!

Emmett is pretty much down to just one long nap a day, so I'm able to do my dinner prep (and sometimes cook the whole thing) during that time and then cook it while he's playing with wooden spoons and his baby mirror in the kitchen when Luke is on his way home. My main goal these days is making something all three of us can enjoy so I'm not making Emmett something separate, and that either doesn't require tons of dishes or has dishes that can be cleaned as I go. We love to have a quick 5 minute cleanup after dinner so we can start our family walk!

Now that Emmett has two teeth, he's enjoying solid foods more than ever before! He's still nursing, so solids are just for fun, but it's amazing what that kid can eat. He enjoys carbs (grains, bread, pancakes, pizza dough), meat (steak, chicken, salmon), Cheerios, peas, blueberries, peaches, all kinds of squash, beans, lentils, Greek yogurt, cheese, almond butter and more. I've been trying to expose him to a wide variety of spices and flavors so hopefully prevent a picky palate, but I'm sure he'll become a picky eater at some point no matter what.

Simple late summer salad of mixed greens, quinoa, millet, buckwheat and brown rice, roasted butternut squash, feta and salmon!

Food blogger baby date! Bess and Amity joined Emmett for a good time at the Toybrary

Easy summer breakfast - Greek yogurt topped with a banana nut muffin and fresh berries

I got to try these at a media event and take them home - OBSESSED! Loved on the grill and crumbled over a salad

Family hike to celebrate Hike It Baby Austin's first anniversary

Fun with bubbles at Gymboree

E eats mostly whole foods, but lots the occasional treat like queso! Enjoyed at TacoDeli with Aunt Lauren, Uncle Brian and Cousin Ben!

Some lick smacking after trying mint ice cream on a visit to Grandma's house