Monday, September 30, 2013

Mommy Makeover - Week 12

Wow, I can't believe I've been rocking my mommy makeover for 12 weeks now! I feel like that is such a long time, but it seems to have gone by very quickly (if not a little painfully!).

This past week was pretty cool. I started Power Plates and a Mommy & Me Fitness Class.

Power Plates was definitely not what I was expecting. I expected to do a variety of normal exercises, bicep curls, squats, leg lifts, etc. just on the vibrating plate. This, however, was totally incorrect. I don't even know if I can explain what I actually did...toe touches, holding a push up position with a ball between my legs, and like a crab maneuver were just a few of the things I did. It was about 20 minutes of random positions and maneuvers all done on a vibrating plate. And it hurt! One very cool part about Power Plates was that at the end you get a power plate massage! I thought that was pretty cool. Apparently that's how they cool down your muscles after the work out. I'm not so sure I'll be continuing with Power Plates. I gave it a try, but I'm just not sure it is for me.

The Mommy & Me Fitness Class was amazing! I am a big fat chicken, so I was basically hyperventilating as I was walking into Hummelhofbad, where the class was held. It was really cool to meet other moms with babies the same age as Alexa. It was even cooler to see Alexa interact with these babies. She immediately became BFF's with this 8 1/2 month old little girl. They shared toys and binkies, stole toys and smacked each other around a little bit...laughing all the while. It was seriously adorable. I was sweating within the first two minutes of class. 1. The fitness room was really warm, 2. we strapped the kids to our stomachs with this crazy fitness belt and 3. aerobics is hot and sweaty to begin with! Yeah, having a 16 pound mini furnace strapped to your stomach while doing all kinds of aerobic exercises is a work out and a half! I loved it. Muscles that I didn't even know I had were burning! I can't wait until our next class.

Now, down to some serious business...the weigh in!
This week I didn't gain or lose anything. I guess I'm going to have to bump up the action again. Maintaining weight is good, but losing weight is even better!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cutest Baby Ever!

While in Germany last week, I caught a couple of really awesome shots of Alexa being, well, being ridiculously adorable! I thought I'd share them with all of you. I hope they make you smile!

 Big girl eating a cookie at the table in the hotel.
Lübeck, Germany

 Playing with her toys on the couch.
Hüttersdorf, Germany

 Playing on the rocking horse.
Hüttersdorf, Germany

Sitting on the tray table on the train.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Separation Anxiety :(

Alexa has a pretty bad case of separation anxiety. It seems I can't get anything done these days unless she is sitting on my lap helping me do them. If I even so much as turn my back on her...not even leave the room, just turn around, she starts getting upset. God forbid I have to pee! I feel so bad for her because she is pretty much a very chill and happy baby all the time. Now, she's like a nervous wreck, always looking up from playing with her toys to make sure that I am close enough to her!

Night time is a hot mess. She goes to bed with a bit of coaxing (a.k.a. being sung to and rocked to sleep while holding my hand or with her hand on my face) and in her own bed. However, she cries in her sleep now, not awake and crying, but sleeping and crying and calms down as soon as I pick her up or I put my hand on her cheek. It's so bizarre! Between 2-4am she ends up in our bed and basically super glues herself to me. If I move away, or she suddenly rolls away from me and isn't touching me she freaks out!

I know that separation anxiety is just a phase and that all kids go through it, but how long is it going to last and is there anything I can do to make it easier on her (or us)?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mommy Makeover - Weeks 10 & 11

I was on vacation last week and didn't get a chance to post my Mommy Makeover results for week 10 before I left. Week 10 was another great week. I kept up with my running and healthy eating. I did NOT start the 30 day shred. There was just too much other stuff going on. I dropped another .50kg (1.1 lb) which was great!

Week 11 was hard. I was on vacation. We went to a wedding with a TON of delicious desserts. I won't lie...I tried all of them. I'm not ashamed though. I shared most of them. I don't think I'm going to lose weight and keep it off by starving myself or by not ever allowing myself snacks or desserts. I think I've been doing a great job (chocolate cake weekend is the exception) of eating in moderation - healthy and unhealthy food. Just because food is healthy doesn't mean you should eat four portions of it. Calories add up!

I was able to work out one day while we were away. The hotel we stayed in had an eliptical machine and I did just over 2 kilometers on it. The rest of the week the weather was horrendous; cold and rainy the entire time. I didn't run at all.

When I weighed in this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had dropped another .30kg (.66lb). Grand total weight loss - 7.2kg (15.84lb).

This week should be great. Not only are Alexa and I starting a mommy and me fitness class, but I've also signed up for Power Plates. Let's go fat busting activities!!

7 Months Old

Today, my baby girl is seven months old. How is that possible?! The time has just flown by. I looked at her yesterday while she was sitting in her stroller and she looked SO BIG! She can sit up on her own now. She scoots around on her butt, slower than molasses, but she's moving nonetheless. She hasn't quite gotten crawling down, but does like to move backwards and in circles when she's laying on her belly.

She loves food!

 She's super eggsited about eggs!

Loves to try new things. Likes to pick the crumbs up off of her highchair and is really investigating how all of her toys work. She is so amazing!

Happy 7 Months Old to my beautiful little bean! Mama loves you!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ribbit, Ribbit

Oh my goodness, how cute is this?!?! I decided to get extra creative and made my little bean a froggy hat. She loves it!

To make the hat:
Cast on 50 stitches of green yarn (I used a heavier, thicker yarn)
Knit 2 rows
Purl 2 rows
Continue on in this way until you have knitted at least 6-8" of material
Cast off

Fold the material in half and sew the two opposite open edges using the same green yarn
Turn your hat inside out

For the eyes:
Cast on 10 stitches with green yarn, leaving a 3" tail
Knit 10 rows
Cast off leaving a 3" tail
This is ONE eye
Repeat for the second eye

Cast on 7 stitches with grey or white yarn, leaving a 3" tail
Knit 8 rows
Cast off leaving a 3" tail
This is for ONE eye
Repeat for the second eye

Cast on 5 stitches with black yarn, leaving a 3" tail
Knit 6 rows
Cast off leaving a 3" tail
This is for ONE eye
Repeat for the second eye

Place the black knit square/oval on top of the grey/white square oval and center it like an eyeball. Using the tails of black yarn, sew the black square onto the grey/white square. Then repeat the same on the green square. Make the second eye the same way. Once the eyes are assembled, use the tail from the green yarn to sew the eyes directly onto the top of your hat. TADA, Froggy hat!

I considered (after the fact) making a rim with a red tongue on it. Since I am not that skilled at knitting, the rim and tongue will have to wait!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Guten Morgan!

Hello my friends! We are currently on vacation in Germany. We had a wedding in northern Germany over the weekend, which was so gorgeous and now we've ventured to southern Germany to visit with a friend from the US and her family. I love the Germans. I love the way they enunciate and pronounce words. I love that I can understand 99.9% of what is said because of how they speak. The dialect in southern Germany is hilarious. They say things like "moyen" for Morgan (good morning) and call Karotten - "Möhre". Learning new vocab is always good...maybe it will help me on my upcoming German exam?!

Alexa has been awesome. She is quite the little traveler. She's 6 1/2 months old and has been in six countries (Austria, England, USA, Czech Republic, Germany and Poland)! She loves meeting new people and checking out her new surroundings. She's a bit rough on the vacation sleeping a.k.a she doesn't sleep at all. Girlfriend hung out until midnight the other night! She doesn't even get super cranky, she just isn't interested in missing out on anything.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Alexa's Favorite Toys - 6 months

In the last month and a half, Alexa has really started playing and interacting with her toys. She shakes rattles, knocks over block towers and of course, puts everything in her mouth! Pictured below are her five absolute favorite toys these days.

The Oball that we have is even cooler than the one pictured here because it rattles!

Her soft blocks are not only good for stacking (my job) and knocking over (her job), but they're also soft enough that if she falls over she won't get hurt. Apparently, they also taste pretty good since she's always got them in her mouth!

The pink rattle is great because not only can she make lots of noise by shaking it all around, but the opposite end is perfect for gumming and teething on.

Her stacking cups are my favorite. Such a simple idea, but so many fun games to play with them! We stack towers (my job) and she knocks them over (her job), plus we play hide and seek by placing smaller toys under the larger cups. We say the names of the colors while we stack too. Alexa likes to practice pretend "drinking" from the cups as well.

Her all time favorite toy of the moment is the Fisher Price Puppy, or puppy as we call him. She got the Fisher Price Puppy as a gift from a friend of the family when we were in the US and it is such a great toy! At first I thought it was bulky and would never be played with, but I was seriously wrong. She loves all the songs and rhymes the puppy sings and pretty much everywhere you push on the puppy starts up some kind of interactive game, song, poem, or other learning element. She even gives puppy a hug when he asks!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Little Pumpkin

I love knitting little baby hats! They are so super cute (even when they are ugly or dorky looking). Plus, Alexa is nice and lets me try all the hats on her. Having a cute hat model sure does make the projects more fun! I decided that I wanted to make her a couple of holiday hats, starting with a pumpkin hat for Fall and Halloween. I am even toying with the idea of making a jack-o-lantern hat! Well, before I get ahead of myself here is the pumpkin hat...

I started off by buying bright orange yarn for the hat and a light olive green yarn for the stem and leaves. I had watched a couple of YouTube videos and saw how other people made the hats and worked on the leaves. Since I am seriously a beginning knitter I decided to just wing it. I don't know how to read patterns or do any stitches other than knit, purl and a slip stitch, so I went with what I knew and made up my own pattern!

Based on other online baby hat tutorials I knew that I would need to cast on at least 40 stitches, which is the size for a newborn hat. Since Alexa has a bigger head than that I decided to do 50 stitches and see what happened. I also measured her head (16") and knew that I would need to knit at least 8" of knitting so the hat would be big enough. (I'm pretty sure all of you knitters out there are dying from my lack of knitter's speak...sorry!)  It took me about three days to finish the hat, about six hours total knitting time.

No pumpkin hat is complete without a stem and a leaf! At first I just made one leaf, but I thought it looked pretty dumb...

A friend suggested that I just add a second leaf and TADA! Super cute pumpkin hat!

Hat Pattern:
Cast on 50 stitches of orange yarn
1. Knit 1 row
2. Knit 2, Slip 2 for one row
3. Knit 1 row
4. Knit 2, Slip 2 for one row
5. Knit 2 rows
Repeat steps 2-5 until you have 8 inches of knit material
Cast off
Fold your rectangle in half the short way and sew the left side and right side closed, you are left with one side open
Turn your material inside out - Tada! You made a hat!

Leaf Pattern: (I made 2 leaves)
Cast on 7 stitches of green yarn
Knit 4 rows
Knit two stitches together and then finish knitting that row (you now have 6 stitches)
Knit 3 rows
Knit two stitches together and then finish knitting that row  (you now have 5 stitches)
Knit 2 rows
Knit two stitches together and then finish knitting that row (you now have 4 stitches)
Knit 2 rows
Knit two stitches together and then finish knitting that row (you now have 3 stitches)
Knit 2 rows
Cast off

I sewed the leaves onto the hat using the tail of yarn from when I casted on and the tail from casting off.

Cast on 5 or 6 stitches and knit until you have about 2 1/2" of material. Fold in half the long way and sew the open sides. Sew onto the hat on a short side.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Baby Antics #6

I have found that the less I sleep the more I get done during the day. This is because if I stop for even a split second I will fall asleep standing up.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Shopping for Winter Jackets ALREADY?!

I cannot believe Fall is already here. Where has this year gone? It has seriously flown by. I can't believe Alexa is already 6 1/2 months old. I just can't handle how fast she is growing! I started looking around for a Fall/Winter Coat for her and that is when it hit me...she is going to be moving around this winter! Whether it is crawling or walking (or both! YIKES!), my little bean is going to be on the move and therefore, I not only need a warm winter coat for her, but it looks like I'm also going to need snow pants! Just imagine the adorable pictures I'm going to be able to take!

Here is the super cute jacket and snow pants that I found from Carter's. I figured that since she pretty much has everything from the Spring/Summer 2013 line, we might as well carry on the cute clothing right on into Fall/Winter 2013.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mommy Makeover - Week 10

This past week has been pretty cool. I went hiking twice, once with my sister in law and once with Michael and the bean. I also kept on running. I finally was able to fit in a morning run on Saturday morning and let me just tell you...I LOVE morning runs! They set you up for a really great day.

I am really proud of myself for not falling off the chocolate wagon this weekend. I found out that my dream life of having Michael home every night after work is coming to an end. He'll be back to working away all week and coming home on the weekends starting today. Total life suckage. I am super grateful for all the time we did have together as a family, but I'm still allowed to sulk a little bit.

Walking/Running. I walked and ran over 22 kilometers this week! I'm feeling good!

Strength Training/Ab workouts. I am slacking a bit on the strength training and the overall ab workout (which I should really be doing double time on the ab workouts because lets face it...I have no ab muscles.) I am possibly considering, maybe (I said MAYBE!) thinking about starting the 30 Day Shred by using the youtube videos. Have any of you ever done any of the work outs? Know someone who has successfully completed the Shred?

Weigh in.This week I had some seriously fat moments and also some pretty amazing skinny moments. Let's see what the scale said...I lost 1.2kg (2.64 lbs)! This is awesome, but also dumb. I already lost that weight last week and then in one day ate it back in chocolate. Stupid me. Now, I am basically just making up for the chocolate cave in. Stupid, stupid chocolate! Anyway, I'm glad I got back on track. My original goal was to lose 12 kg in 12 weeks. This is week 10, I only have 3 more weigh ins. I am most likely not going to meet my goal, so let's change it a bit! To date, I have lost 6.3kg (13.86lbs) , only 5.7kg (12.54lbs) more to go. Let's do this!

New goal: Lose the remaining 5.7kg in 10 weeks. That is an average of .57kg (1.25lbs) per week. I got this!

Fresh from the Garden - Turkey Harvest Stew

My mother in law (Oma a.k.a Grandma) has an AMAZING garden. Seriously, amazing. This year it has been incredibly plentiful. Since Alexa started eating solids, most of the vegetables for her baby food has come from Oma's garden.  Peas, green beans, wax beans, zucchini, squash, and now butternut squash and pumpkin! Oma brought over a huge bag of freshly picked squash, butternut squash and a huge pumpkin and I had to figure out what to do with all of it.

I searched a little online for butternut squash recipes. I ended up making my own butternut squash soup which was delicious! Then Oma brought over two more butternut squashes! It was clear I was going to have to whip something up with all of these delicious veggies...I give you - Turkey Harvest Stew.

I had enough stew to freeze for another dinner for Michael and I, I pureed and froze some for Alexa, put aside some for Michael to take for lunch AND still had enough leftover for our dinner and my lunch the following day!

**Please note: this recipe yields 5 liters of stew!**

All veggies add! It just needs to simmer and thicken up. 
(Unfortunately, there are no after pictures because we ate it all up!)

Turkey Harvest Stew
Bowl 1-
2 cups of fresh pumpkin, peeled and diced
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 butternut squash (from the seedless end), peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices

Bowl 2 -
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
2 stalks of celery, washed and sliced
1 large yellow squashed, sliced and cut into pieces

Pot -
1 1/2-2 Tablespoons coconut oil

1 yellow onion, diced
1 heaping teaspoon garlic, minced

Ziploc Bag -
1/4 of a large turkey breast, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used dinkel vollkorn mehl)
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder (I'm obsessed with garlic)

Additional -
2 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of veggie broth
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 tsp. crushed, dried rosemary
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
water as needed
1-1 1/2 cups of dry whole wheat pasta (I used

In the order listed above, I peeled, diced and placed the ingredients into their specific containers. After cutting up all the hard veggies and placing them in Bowl 1, I filled the bowl with cold water until the veggies were covered. Put that aside.

In a large stock pot, heat 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil over medium to high heat. Add in your onions and garlic and let cook for about 3 minutes. (You might want to turn the heat down a little bit). While the onions and garlic are sauteeing, prep your flour and seasonings in a ziploc bag. Then cut the turkey breast up into small pieces. Add all of the turkey to the ziploc bag, seal and shake until all pieces are coated.

Add the turkey to the pot and stir with a wooden spoon to keep the flour from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add more coconut oil. Cover and let cook for 3-5 minutes until the turkey is lightly browned. Add 2 cups of chicken broth (the liquid should just cover the turkey). Cover and let cook on medium for 15 minutes. Add the contents of Bowl 1. Add 2 cups of veggie broth, cover and let cook on medium for 15 minutes. Add the contents of Bowl 2, the can of crushed tomatoes and enough water (if necessary) to cover the vegetables. Add the rosemary. Add 1 Tablespoon of tomato paste. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer - let cook for 45 minutes to one hour.

Using a ladle, remove 3-4 ladles worth of stock and place in a small pot (you will use this to cook your noodles). Add 1-1 1/2 cups of dry noodles and boil for 10 minutes. Drain pasta and add to the stock pot. Add parmesan cheese and cook for another 10 minutes on low. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Suzy and Martha

Recently, my Suzy Homemaker/Martha Stewartness has been vibing strong. I have been quite creative and crafty in the living room, not to mention super adventurous in the kitchen.

I attempted to make my own "Kinderwagonkette", or stroller toy, which was a total flop, so I moved on to knitting. I decided that I wanted to knit Alexa a hat!

Well, hat #1 was a little bit too tiny...and by little, I mean it is now her doll's hat.

It was a fun, quick project though, so I grabbed the bull by the horns, or the baby by the head(?!), remeasured and started anew. I even used old knitting squares and pulled together a pretty neat hat! Since then, I have had hat knitting fever!

Plus, I have the cutest hat model imaginable!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

It's the Season of Soup!

I love Fall for so very many reasons: the leaves changing from green to red and orange and yellow, the temperature cooling down enough to wear my very favorite clothes (t-shirt, jeans and a hoodie) and of course because of the delicious Fall flavored foods (apple cider, pumpkin pie and SOUP!). Here in Austria, soup is akin to breathing. It is almost impossible to sit down at a restaurant without ordering soup before your main dish. The soups here are to die for, so I have jumped on board the soup train! One of my favorite Austrian soups is Kürbiscremesuppe, or pumpkin cream soup. Within the next few weeks our house will be filled with the aroma of pumpkin cream soup. Best of all, we are getting the pumpkins fresh from my mother-in-law's garden! That recipe will be coming up soon!

This week I have been all about the Italian Wedding Soup. With the weather changing, I have come down with a little cold. Nothing makes a scratchy throat feel better than a nice hot bowl of soup or a nice hot cup of tea. I'd been drinking tea to my heart's delight all weekend long and when that didn't do the trick it was on to the cure all - a nice, fresh pot of soup. I decided to make Italian Wedding Soup because it is a nice, flavorful and hearty soup AND because Alexa can eat everything in it, so two birds, one stone. I looked up recipes online and decided, as usual, to wing it.

Total time: 5-10 minutes prep, 45-50 minutes
(Tip: Make the meatballs first, it cuts down on the overall cooking time)

For the soup
1 1/2 liters Vegetable Stock
2 large carrots, washed, peeled and sliced
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tblspn. scallions, chopped
2 tsp. dried parsley
dash of garlic powder (I really like garlic)
dash of pepper
dash of chili powder
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (plus extra for serving)
1 1/2 Tblspn. Italian seasoning
Spinach (I used 3 blocks of frozen spinach)
1/2 cup star noodles

Heat the vegetable stock in a large pot on medium heat. Add the carrots, onions, garlic, scallions and all of the seasonings. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes (I brought the contents to a boil and then covered the pot and put the stove on simmer setting for like 2 hours).

For the meatballs
200 grams/ 1/2 pound of ground meat
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2/3 cup bread crumbs
2 Tblspn. milk
1 egg (As I had all of the ingredients mixed together I realized that I had no eggs in the house, the meatballs came out fine eggless!)
1/2 tsp. minced garlic

Mix all the meatball ingredients together and then place on a cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes in a 350F degree oven.

After your soup has simmered for a while, heat up the frozen spinach in the microwave, easily chop it and add it to your soup. Then, add the cooked meatballs and cook at a low-medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Add the star noodles and cook on medium heat for 8 minutes. Voila! You made Italian Wedding Soup! Enjoy!

Baby Antics #5

The reason children have an 8:00 bedtime is so that moms can have an 8:02 bedtime.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I'm a Baby Wearing Mama!

Who would have thought that I would be so into "wearing" my little bean. I knew we would need some kind of a baby carrier, but thought that a simple Baby Bjorn would be enough. How wrong was I! A friend gave me a Moby and after a few months of practicing how to tie the wrap and learning the different ways to wear it, I am completely obsessed. Another friend gave me a Ring Sling, which is similar to the Nordstrom Slings & Wraps... I use all three of the baby carriers all the time. When we go out hiking I usually stick to the Baby Bjorn because I find that it is extra supportive whether Alexa is rear or forward facing. Around the house and around the neighborhood, I constantly use the Moby. It is so comfortable and if I need to wear her while I am vacuuming or doing other chores around the house, it is my go to wrap. Grocery shopping or walking around the mall, I am all about the Ring Sling. I can carry her in a sitting position, a lying position and can even nurse in this wrap. No wonder baby wearing is so popular!

What's your favorite way to wear your baby?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mommy Makeover - Week 9

Weigh in.  This week I was so excited about checking my progress that I decided to weigh in on Friday. I just couldn't wait any longer! I was so excited to see that I lost another kilo! 2.2 pounds down and out! Seeing the numbers on the scale drop is such amazing motivation. So motivating that I thought I could eat chocolate cake this weekend.

If you have all learned anything about me in the last 8 weeks it is that I have no self control whatsoever around chocolate. Chocolate is, in fact, my kryptonite. Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting...that is kryptonite with frosting my friends. Yup, I ate three (3) pieces of chocolate cake yesterday. I would be ashamed, but it was so DELICIOUS.

Now we get to the lesson...when you eat three pieces of chocolate cake the scale does not say nice things about you. So, I went from my super motivated, totally pumped up Friday weigh in where I lost a kilo, to my Monday morning weekly weigh in post cake...yup, totally gained a kilo plus - 1.3 kg to be exact. Nothing good happens when I am in the presence of chocolate.(And on to the excuses...)

In all fairness, we were celebrating my sister in law's 20th birthday. You HAVE to have cake for a birthday celebration! Plus, we did a 5.2km walk after the eating of the cake. Apparently I needed to double or triple the distance of the round for each slice of cake I ate. :/

Stupid cake.

Stupid chocolate.

Here is my new mantra:
I will do better this week. I will do better this week. I will do better this week. No more chocolate!

or maybe this...

Cake is evil. Chocolate is evil. Stupid chocolate cake! (I think I like this one the best!)

In positive news, I have been running just about everyday. I have come up with a new running schedule - Run 3 days, rest 1 day, repeat. So far it is working. And, I am still loving running. I am even toying with the idea of running a 5k! YIKES!