Almost July / Summer Bucket List

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Here we are just two days out from July (why does that always feel like the middle marker of summer to me?) and my poor blog has been neglected. I can never decide what I want this space to be - a personal blog for my own development and passions, a photo dump for our daily happenings, or just a place I pop in randomly to ramble on with promises to post more often. For now, in this season, I like the idea of it becoming more of a place to record our every day activities, if only to look back on myself. We've been busy this week with a picnic at the lake yesterday, sprinklers with friends today and visiting a farm tomorrow. I had a grumpy day on Monday when I realized I once again forgot to schedule things with friends and the long week ahead looked looming. 

In all transparency, I struggle with the planning portion of being a SAHM. I can stick to the boring parts of cleaning, naps, meal prep but then I find myself bored or in a rut and I need to remind myself to get out and DO things. I guess it's just the natural introvert in me. I'm working to be better at getting out and doing things, even if no one is around. I mean, really, I haven't had a summer where I didn't work (in the traditional sense) since I was a teenager, so what's holding me back? I tell myself it's a lot of work to plan, pack up, get going but H is at an age where all he needs is some diapers, snacks and sunscreen and he's good to go. I tend to make outings bigger in my mind and need to get over that hurdle. So that's exactly what I did this week. I even made a little summer bucket list for us (and a lot of these can be repeated or saved for the weekend so Ben can join):
  • Giggleberry Fair
  • The Little Pod -- an indoor gym for kids that's perfect for rainy days
  • North Wales splash pad / Promenade shop sprinklers -- both free!
  • Pool days
  • Menlo Park carousel
  • Freddy Hill Farms
  • Bucks County Childrens' Museum
  • Tabora Farms sand pit
  • Nockamixon Lake beach area
  • Doylestown castle park
  • Elmwood Park Zoo
We are checking off the sprinklers with friends today so I'll be back at the end of the week with a photodump. Happy summer, friends.

Beekman Cookbook / mushroom, spinach and fontina panini (pg. 199)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It rained all day today so the little man and I ran errands in the morning and then hid inside and alternated between playing, cuddling and getting some stuff done around the house. Despite having a few hard days because of teething, today was one of those days where he kept surprising me with how fast he is learning and developing. Skip ahead a paragraph if you want to get to the food portion of this post... 

I've been trying to incorporate H into helping me with household tasks instead of constantly moving him out of the way or rushing to finish what I'm doing before he demolishes it. Anyone with a toddler can relate but they are into everything and while it's super cute, it's also exhausting. Since he just wants to move and wiggle, especially during diaper changes, he now "helps" me when we're done. I carry him over to the trash can (nope, still not walking ;)) and he drops it in. We high five and he is so happy to be a part of the process. Honestly, while we've been doing this I just thought it was a fun and creative way to keep him from having a meltdown, but when I stripped him down for his bath tonight and half mindedly told him, "go put it in the trash", he crawled over, dropped it in the bathroom trashcan and looked over at me with the biggest, proudest smile. My mouth was on the floor. It might not seem big for people without kids but when you're constantly reaffirming your kids "say mama!", "where's the ball?" and they finally react and YOU taught them that thing - well, it makes all the long, hard days worth it. Can you tell I'm wiped from the teething? haha okay, on to the recipe...finally.

I've gotten into the habit of prepping dinner super early because I never know what our afternoons will look like.  Today, I sliced and sautéed the mushrooms and cut up the cheese during H's snack to cut down on prep time but these sandwiches will come together in under 20 minutes either way.

When we sat down to eat, my husband grabbed ketchup and I grabbed banana peppers but we each took a bite first and realized the sandwich needed absolutely nothing else. The mustard provides a tangy kick and the fontina cheese is somehow both sweet and spicy. The mushrooms are a wonderful way to round out the sandwich with some meatiness and leave you feeling super full and satisfied (but with that being said, I could have eaten like 3 because they were that delicious!).

Like all of the other Beekman recipes I tried, I was skeptical that these would be that good because the ingredient list was so short and simple but that seems to be the beauty of . We're adding this to "The Book" (where I keep all of our favorite recipes....which at this rate might be this whole cookbook.

  • The original recipe calls for ciabatta rolls but I couldn't get my hands on any so I used sourdough bread. The ciabatta would have held up better against the wetness of the mushrooms but the sandwich still turned out delicious and sandwiches are supposed to be messy, right?
  • I think any brown mustard will do. We used Dijon which actually worked out better than the spicy ground it called for because I find that can be dry in sandwiches.
  • I plan to not make so many substitutes for future recipes because, well then I'm not doing really doing an accurate recipe review, am I?

Cooking My Way Through The Beekman Cookbook

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

In my pre-baby days, I never followed recipes. I'd peruse through magazines or online and find something I thought looked good, but then make it myself without a second look at the actual recipe. Now? Mama don't have time for that.

I have been loving finding recipes for every night of the week and following through with them. Basically it's all spelled out for you and the brain portion of the work is done (which I really need by the end of that day). Do I get some duds? Sure. But it's usually nothing a little hot sauce won't take care of (or if it's REALLY bad, we order pizza...but that's pretty rare).

I received the Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook and I. am. obsessed. I spent over an hour paging through it the other night and bookmarking everything. So far I've made two recipes and each time I think "this is gonna need x,y,z or this is not going to turn out" and each time the final product blows my mind. Last week I made the collard greens with apple and hot mustard dressing for Easter (everyone loved them!) and then last night I made the penne with roasted asparagus, peas, salmon and ramps. I failed to get pictures of either of them because we devoured them so fast but while I was stuffing my face a thought hit me. I should make it my goal to cook my way through this cookbook (inspired by my favorite movie Julie and Julia of course). We are entering prime produce season right now and are surrounded by amazing farmers who have become friends so we're always loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables. I've really been getting back into living sustainably so cooking more in season always has be excited to jumpstart both my green thumb and cooking healthier. Expect to see lots of recipe reviews and maybe even some around the house green projects. Happy cooking!

Harrison's First Birthday Party

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I started planning Harrison's first birthday wayyy back in January so I'm really excited to share his special day here. He earned the nickname "grump toad" when he was a newborn and although he's far from grumpy these days, the nickname stuck and every time I tried to think of a theme for his party I knew I'd regret it if I didn't stick with something so personal and so him - so toad themed it was!

April's a tough birthday month because the weather is all over the place so ultimately I decided we had to do indoor. We rented a Sunday school room at a big church that already had a huge mural on the wall (free decorations!) and they included a projector and tables. My MIL made all the centerpieces, my best friend made his cake and the rest of the food was made from friends, family or from Ben's work (perks of working in foodservice!).

The day couldn't have been more perfect. He took a long nap right before his party and then showed up ready to mix, mingle and play with all his friends. He loved his first taste of sweets and was all smiles and such a trooper until the very end. It worked out so well having his party smack dab between his naps! I didn't take a ton of pictures but I LOVE this first one of him enjoying his cake. I plan to get more family pictures taken in the next couple weeks since our last ones were taken at around 7 months and of course, we'll take some on Easter. I've also linked the slideshow I made for him - I slaved over this (I'm not super tech savvy) and I'm so happy I finished it because it's a little piece of memorabilia we'll have forever. Happy birthday, Harrison!

Week 1 Meal Plan

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Yesterday, I posted about getting back on track with my eating so I thought I'd share my weekly meal plan. I focus my meal planning on dinners since we usually ate the same thing every week for breakfast and lunch (fruit, hard boiled eggs, avocado toast, salads, a big batch of veggie get the idea). Anyway, here is our (mostly) *vegetarian dinner meal plan:

Sun - crockpot detox lentil soup (this made a TON so we'll be eating this for lunch all week)
Mon - maple crusted salmon, roasted broccoli, and quinoa
Tues - veggie ravioli with roasted asparagus
Wed - creamy Italian baked eggs
Thurs - roasted veggie flatbreads (mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, asparagus + herbed ricotta)
Fri - leftovers or a freezer meal
Sat/Sun - Easter dinners at all the families' houses - yay for not cooking :)

Harrison is starting to eat more and more of what we eat so I'm really trying to keep him in mind when I meal plan our dinners. I've been working to up his veggie game and I've found that he really enjoys his veggies roasted so I usually set aside a small batch for him without salt or any spicy seasonings and he gobbles it all up - mom win!

*Once upon a time I was a vegetarian and then started eating meat again when I was pregnant and nursing but at a year post partum I've slowly been creeping back to eating mostly plant-based. I don't restrict Harrison to any sort of diet - he eats the rainbow and I make sure he gets a little of everything! And it's a good thing because he does eat EVERYTHING lol.

What's on your menu this week?
How do you meal plan with little ones in mind?

Back on track

Monday, April 10, 2017

I started the New Year off strong by doing a Whole30 in January, rejoining the gym in February (and actually going consistently thanks to a 5K training plan!) but the last few weeks I've totally fallen off the wagon. I know it's a combination of things like late work nights and planning Harrison's big bday bash but with Memorial Day just a month and a half away and a week at the beach calling my name, it's time to get back on track *cue throwing out all the leftover cupcakes from H's party*.

We still have a busy few weekends coming up before that but I know setting a timeline and giving myself a plan is the best way to get back on track. I'm not looking to lose X amount of lbs, but rather just eat a lot cleaner and get back into consistent working out so I lose the bloat and feel better overall. My insomnia has been so bad and I desperately need my energy back!

Lace up. One of the other reasons I gave myself an excuse to skip the gym more and more was because my feet have been KILLING ME after my runs. I know it's my crappy shoes but I'm getting some Brooks running shoes as an early birthday gift so I'm really hoping this helps. I'm looking forward to getting some outside runs in too now that the weather has warmed up. This is the perfect week to get back to my 3-4 gym sessions/week since Easter is coming up this weekend.

More greens, less grapes. This is sort of a multi-faceted topic that includes replacing my wine with more greens and just eating more plant-based and cleaner in general. Warm weather = sipping wine outside but I always find that this can sort of snowball into then ordering takeout and then feeling like crap the next day and then the whole weekend feels shot. Yesterday I did a green juice for breakfast, salad for lunch, we went on a long walk and then just sort of grazed for dinner and I woke up feeling a lot less bloated than I normally do on a Monday morning. I made a huge batch of detox lentil soup that I'm looking forward to eating all week for lunches. I also have a week of vegetarian dinners planned which I'm always excited for because whenever I eat plant-based I always feel my best. I'm thinking I might share that in a separate post.

Go to bed! Motherhood is a funny thing - despite how tired you are at the end of the day you almost always get a second wind once the baby is down for the night because it means "me-time" usually for the first moment in 12-13 hours. I've been in a viscious cycle of staying up late because I figure I'm going to be tired no matter what but I think this is leading to being over-tired and then I wake up in the middle of the night and can't sleep. I need to redirect that energy into heading off to the gym and then home to unwind and go to bed - I know my body and mind will thank me in the morning.

So that's basically it! I'm playing with the idea of doing progress pictures? Like I said, I'm not looking to lose any weight but just get back to eating clean, losing bloat and gaining strength and stamina. I have a whiny little man who needs a nap so until next time!

Hello out there?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Here we are a whole year from my last post. I can't even believe it, and honestly I had totally forgotten about this blog until my friend Amber started blogging her pregnancy updates and I remembered I had done the same. What have I been up to? Well, to start....I had a baby!

Harrison Jacob Kulp came into this world on Sunday 4/10/2016 at 4:44 PM. I cannot believe he will be a year old in 12 days. This last year has been absolutely crazy, wonderful, tiring, overwhelming, joyous and SO many other adjectives but that's a post for another time.

I'm so happy I rediscovered my little corner of the internet because lately I've really been working on finding a balance for myself and (finally?) have things to write about besides baby. Not that he isn't worth writing about but I am learning to rediscover old passions of mine and work on some new ones too. I can never consistently journal so maybe I'll try my hand at this blogging thing again....we'll see!