Don’t wanna work out… and green baby food

workout

Do I have to get back into shape? For the LONGEST TIME (essentially since the boys were born), I’ve used the excuse of having twins to avoid working out extensively. Not only did I tell myself that I had three long months of strict bed rest, but I gave birth to twins! So instead of getting back to the gym or hitting the pavement once my doctor cleared me at six weeks, I just kept making excuses. Work, being tired, maintaining a house, caring for two infants… Granted, I did run once, play a bit of golf, and an entire season of recreational volleyball… But fast forward almost a year later and I have no excuse. It’s not about a bikini body or fitting into prepregnancy pants. It’s about HEALTH and being able to MOVE with my children without losing my breath or fearing I can’t keep up one day.

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The following pictures are random stuff and updates. Scroll down to get straight to the baby food recipes!

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I keep telling myself that this blogging gig may not last too much longer, but then I wouldn’t have a healthy outlet for my endless, random thoughts, nor would I have a convenient online journal-thing. I revived my favorite bloggers page in case you’re interested!

Celebrated my sister‘s birthday over the weekend! By the way, I’m really loving my new chalkboard!

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How cute were they in their Hawaiian outfits from their Gramma and Granpa??? They are joined in this picture with the singing Jellybean Rabbit. My goodness, it’s hilarious when the rabbit sings and dances because the boys stop in the tracks and are mesmerized by him!

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We ate at a restaurant and MY GOSH Jer screamed practically the entire time! My new nickname for him: Jerodactyl!!! We need to nip this NOW because we can’t have a crazy baby out in public. It’s one thing to deal with the screaming at home, but he is learning FAST that it gets him what he wants and it’s also amusing (at least to himself). Behavior therapy effective immediately.

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New play pen is under construction! Adrian’s loving it. Both babies are crawling – it’s great, as well as tiring!

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Adrian tends to hold toys and items in the air.
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He climbed up here himself.
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Bathtime has upgraded from the little tub to a… fancy shmancy laundry basket! First day we tried it, they hated it. Second day, they hated it half the time. Third day, they would have begged for five more minutes if they could talk! It’s so fun seeing them splash around, but that means as we bathe them, we are in the splash zone!

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Finding them like this in their cribs more often… I’m just waiting for the day they pull themselves up and we’ll know it’s time to lower that mattress! Jer (Camera 1) & Adrian (Camera 2):

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It’s nice being able to trust them to sit long enough for me to prepare food and whatnot. Here they are hanging in the kitchen as I prepared their breakfast over the weekend:

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Well, the homemade baby food saga continues!!! Here are two green “recipes” I’ve followed myself and had great success with. Again, I use the term “recipes” very loosely because they are hardly complicated! They are more like instructions to prepare baby food. But if you are like me, you want clear explanations and pictures in order to gain a foolproof method for yourself.

Asparagus Puree

From Tyler Florence’s Start Fresh

Ingredients

1 lb (10 medium stalks) asparagus, washed and tough stems removed

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Mashed Peas

Ingredients

One bag frozen peas

Directions:

– Cook peas as directed on package (I boiled them)

– Drain peas and cool

– Mash in a mixing bowl (If baby is not ready for texture, puree with a little bit of added water. If baby is old enough, no need to mash at all!)

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After I scooped some peas into small containers for daycare, I divided the rest into an ice cube tray. This is after it froze:

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After it freezes, I pop the cube out and store em in a ziplock bag. It’s so easy to defrost or pop in a cube or two in whatever I am cooking (chicken soup, pasta, etc).

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Check out more recipes on my Homemade Baby Food page! It’s a work in progress, but slowly growing!

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Do you have foolproof baby food recipes? Please share! I’d love to try new ones.

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A Good Night and Corned Beef Hash Recipe

I put the boys to bed all on my own last night. We played, brushed teeth, read a bedtime story, and they went to bed.

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No whining, no crying. Just a hint of a fuss when I had to leave Adrian on the floor while I put Jer into bed, but soon it was completely silent. Music to my ears! It was a good night.

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No matter how many tears, screams, fusses, and back-arches we endure that day, some sort of magic fills the air the moment they are asleep. It’s as if the world puts everything back into its place and we get to take a step back, soaking in the big picture, and we realize that this fleeting time in our lives is too precious to be filled with frustration and worry.

What’s a mom to do when her babies are in bed at 7:00 on the dot? She pours a glass of wine, puts on a YouTube video, and cooks!

Lately, I’m loving ItsJudysLife. Judy is a gal who posts daily vlogs (videos) that I’ve come to really enjoy. I previously didn’t understand the point in watching someone else’s life, but ever since she got pregnant with twins, I’ve been hooked! I think it’s the point that I am sort of reliving the early days with the boys and it is fun and intriguing to see another mom’s experience and perspective. How adorable is this? Her babies hold hands all on their own!

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I really, really, really hate using canned goods. I wish I had all the time, energy, money, and resources in the world to cook every single thing from scratch. But the reality is that we live (currently) off of convenience about 75% of the time. It’s too much to be in the kitchen all day long. So whenever possible, I try to add as many veggies and other ingredients that turn a canned good into something somewhat healthier (or less bad) and it sneaks in more veggies than usual. With that said, I bring you… corned beef hash! Inspired by my parents and in-laws as it was a go-to breakfast meal on the weekends growing up. Part of the rotation of spam, vienna sausages, and eggs.

Corned Beef Hash

Ingredients:

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 white potato, diced

1 can corned beef, crumbled

Salt and pepper to taste

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Chop all veggies.

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Heat oil in a skillet/frying pan on medium heat (I use either olive oil or canola oil). Saute garlic and onion – not too long because they’ll continue to cook.

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Add tomatoes and continue to cook until tomatoes soften.

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Meanwhile, open corned beef can and crumble in a bowl with a fork. Fill can almost to top with water (you’ll use the water in the next step). I know there are more “authentic” corned beefs out there (as in the ones on St. Patrick’s Day), but this is the type I pretty much grew up with.

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Add corned beef to skillet and mix with veggies. Add water and wait until water is boiling.

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Add potatoes and cook for an addition 5-7 minutes. You don’t want the potatoes to be super mush, so I check the tenderness with a fork once or twice. Sprinkle a few dashes of salt and pepper.

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I forgot to snap a photo of the final product! But it’s delicious (and almost impossible to have otherwise) with white rice. I know, I should do brown rice.

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Upcoming homemade baby food recipes: Table foods! I’ll still post recipes for the purees and mashed foods, stay tuned!

The boys have moved on (a bit late, but it’s ok) to table foods! Here’s a preview of what I prepared for daycare this week:

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Thanks for reading! 🙂

 

The twins at 11 months

(Plus a sweet potato “recipe” below!)

AJ & JT @ 11 months!

AJ & JT @ 11 months!

The twins @ 11 months

Things they’re doing these days:

  • Clapping their hands (Jer is getting better each day!)
  • Getting louder
  • Still sleeping through the night (knock on wood!)
  • Playing more – they imitate and pick up on things better
  • Eating table foods
  • Army crawling (Jer)
  • Scooting backwards in crawling position (Adrian)

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AJ @ 11 months

AJ @ 11 months

Adrian Joseph

(No height or weight measurements this month!)

I have 6 teeth.

I can get into a great crawling position, but I’m still on the fence about crawling.

I like to clap my hands and cheer.

I’m a chunkster.

I can say “mama” really well, but I forget who I should be calling “mama.”

I started out grasping the concept of brushing my teeth and now I just shut my mouth. Get that thing away from me!

My laughter and smiles fill mama and papa’s hearts.

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JT @ 11 months

JT @ 11 months

Jeremiah Tyler

(No height or weight measurements this month!)

I have 7 teeth.

I can army crawl so fast that you’d better not blink.

I am getting better at clapping my hands.

I have been extremely clingy to my mama these days. Don’t you dare take her away from me.

My screams are deafening. Use caution when holding me near.

I still love my binky.

I am a pro pincer grasper.

My laughter and smiles fill mama and papa’s hearts, as well.

Wow, what can we say? The boys are almost one. ONE FREAKIN’ YEAR OLD!!! That’s 365 days around the sun, countless hours of crying, endless number of diapers, a gazillion bottles, but not enough hugs or kisses. We could NEVER love them enough because our love just somehow grows more each day. Right when we think our hearts are full and content, the boys squeeze in more happiness and joy, causing our hearts to burst. This is only year one. The future years to come will only be full of more surprises and enjoyment from these two monkeys. Thanks for following us on our journey through parenthood and life in general!
See more monthly updates HERE!
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Some updates… and a “RECIPE!”
My new obsession: Chalkboards! Not just any chalkboard, but one with chalkboard markers! All the fun without the dust. Here are my first two creations:
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The boys really enjoy their mesh teethers. For starters, we’ve put frozen pear puree in them. At the very start, Jer loved it. Adrian didn’t want anything to do with it until the next day. Now they are both loving it. It’s awesome to not only sooth their aching, teething selves, but to use frozen fruits! Natural remedies for the win!
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Soon I will post recipes (instructions) for roasting fruits! Fruits are not only an awesome source of fiber, vitamin C, and more, they are a wonderful way to sweeten other foods and add a yummy flavor. Not gonna lie, I use the fruits to entice the boys to eat more greens and blander foods. But at least they are getting their veggies and the sweetness is natural, not added refined sugar.
Pears to make easy, yummy frozen pear puree!
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I need to hurry up and post these “first foods” recipes because we’ve already moved on to table foods! Here is how I prepared sweet potatoes. I need to work on the picture-taking. I am really good some days and completely forget on others. Again, I don’t really consider these “recipes” since they are more like instructions, but either way, hope they help!
Did you know people often confuse sweet potatoes and yams? To this day, I’m not sure if I’m distinguishing them correctly. From what I gather, sweet potatoes look similar to russet potatoes (white potatoes) and are a light yellow color inside. Yams (there are a variety of types) are orange inside and darker on the outside. If you can help me tell the difference, please share!

Sweet Potato Puree

Ingredients:
3 sweet potatoes
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Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse and scrub potatoes under running water. Pat dry them.
Pierce several holes around each potato using a paring knife or fork. Do not peel for baking!
Wrap each potato in foil and place on a baking sheet.
Bake for 30-60 minutes or until soft.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Slice each potato in half lengthwise.
Scoop out the meat. Mash or put in food processor as you see below:
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I combined the pureed sweet potato with the butternut squash I roasted at the same time. These two-food combos are fun and colorful and a great way to mix it up for you and baby.
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The aftermath:
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After I prepare a few containers of food, I fill ice cube trays with the rest of the pureed food. Thaw, warm, and serve the ice cubes when needed.
One day, I will write, party plan, and cook/bake for a living. Until then, I will continue to blog, throw shindigs as best I can, and pretend I know what I’m doing in the kitchen. Thanks for reading!

First solid foods for baby: Purees

I give props to hip-hop so… I give props to purees…

So hip hop PUREE… ho… hey… ho…

Yes, I can be pretty corny. You’ll just have to deal with it. With the song reference above on my mind, I am in the mood to finally share some baby food recipes! Heads up, these “recipes” are super easy! I’m not so sure they are even recipes. They’re really just cooking directions. See my homemade baby food page for resource info.

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Prepare – cook – store. That’s it! Prepare: washing, peeling, chopping, slicing, or even opening a bag (of frozen veggies). Cook: roast, steam, or boil. Store: If not serving immediately, dump into ice cube trays or mini containers to freeze or refrigerate in a bowl/container until needed.

While very easy to follow, they are time-consuming. I’m either a really slow chef or just too ambitious and don’t pace myself. Nonetheless, I am absolutely LOVING my new kitchen adventures and am not only serious about making sure the boys eat “clean,” but I’m passionate and enthusiastic about the process and it is only fueling my desire to continue preparing/cooking their food at home to introduce them to the wonderful world of food.

For now, I’ll share my butternut squash recipe. Shortly after, I’ll share sweet potato, peas, green beans, carrots, pears, & apples. Stay tuned for recipes on each!

Butternut Squash Puree

Ingredients:

One butternut squash

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Slice butternut squash in half, lengthwise. I use a large knife and a sturdy, no-slip chopping board.

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Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and guts. Reminds me very much of a pumpkin!

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Place meat down in a shallow baking dish (I used a glass 9×13 dish). Fill dish with about 1″ water.

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Bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes.

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The shell/skin looks gorgeous afterward.

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I turned them over to cool.

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To achieve the puree, scoop out the meat and plac in a food processor (I use a mini Ninja). Blend just a few seconds because it’s already super soft. If your baby is 4-6 months, blending may be necessary until baby gets used to eating. Otherwise, the meat is so soft that you can just mash it up before feeding.

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I just eyeball the mixture until it reaches a consistency I like.

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To freeze, store, and use later, I put the pureed squash in these awesome silicone ice cube trays I ordered online from Target. The cubes measure to about one (1) ounce of food. I also filled some reused Gerber food containers to throw in the freezer as well.

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After the ice cubes freeze, pop em out and throw them into a gallon ziplock bag (labeled with the date you made the food). Here’s a random mix of veggies to show you how the cubes can be mixed and matched before serving baby. The frozen cubes defrost really well – I sometimes take out what I need and place in a microwaveable bowl on the kitchen counter. After about 1-2 hours, I just microwave in increments of 10 seconds, stir, and always feel the temperature of the food before feeding.

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Source: Wholesome Baby Food

I’d say I’ve got some happy campers over here. They love mama’s cooking and mama loves them!

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Find more baby food recipes HERE!

Motherhood: I heard, but I didn’t listen

I was warned about those early months.

Warned about the scary, ugly, yucky parts of being a mother and a parent that you don’t always see in the movies or dream about when you’re younger.

I heard everyone and what they had to say.

But I didn’t really listen.

Photography by Tammy Nguyen Le

Photography by Tammy Nguyen Le

I recently came across this article, “What Nobody Tells You About the First 3 Months of Motherhood.”

Even though I could relate to most of it, I didn’t quite agree with the title.

It wasn’t that nobody who told me any of these things. They sure did tell me.

In fact, it seemed like EVERYONE had advice for me, whether it was, “Get as much sleep as you can now!” or, “You’re life is gonna change!”

See, I heard them, but I don’t think I quite listened to them.

Or maybe I just didn’t realize how true those words were, or how exactly they would play out in my own experience.

Then, I went through it myself.

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And having SURVIVED those early months, I can now share my own take on the advice the author above wishes she knew in those early months of motherhood…

Continue reading

First Father’s Day, a Reunion, and a Few Recaps

The time has come. Keeping up the blog is now really hard for me to do. I’ve been super busy at work, planning the boys’ first birthday party (can you believe they’re turning ONE soon? I cannot), and THIS:

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That is my high school class during our senior year. Our ten year reunion is this year! As lead of the planning committee, my days have been filled with keeping the team on track, publicizing the event, and fundraising. Whew! Thank goodness it only happens once a decade. I’ve looked forward to my ten year reunion for a long time, but now with kids, full-time work outside of the home, and a house to maintain, this sure is some task!

The hubs had an awesome first Father’s Day! It was simple and sweet. He is one proud papa!

One thing about twins you have to know is that, “If it isn’t one, it’s the other!” Here’s what I mean:

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It’s so hard to get both boys looking at the camera, let alone smiling. You take what you can get!

Here are the boys with my dad on Father’s Day. They love their Granpa very much! We went to a yummy Filipino restaurant in town, followed by boba at a new spot!

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All three of us enjoy eating so much these days! The boys are eating very well. It’s so awesome to feed them good food. I’ll add recipes I used for the boys’ food because I want other moms to realize how easy it is to prepare food at home. It’s time-consuming at first, but with great planning and organization, it benefits not only the babies, but the entire family!

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They are used to sitting in their high chairs and can feed themselves if I give them fruit slices (apples/pears) or their new favorite, Baby Mum Mums! Thanks, Auntie Heather, for telling us about them and thanks, Ninang/Auntie Melissa and Ate Cristina, for getting them for us!

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I have so much to update, I don’t know where to begin! Let’s start with the most important for now. We’re still doing our Boba Fridays!!! The boys can’t get enough and we don’t want to deny them happiness:

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We celebrated Ate Cristina’s 4th birthday earlier in the month! You may have seen on my Instagram (@sharissespieces6) a video clip of the boys enjoying one of the rides at Chuck E Cheese. Let me just say, CUTEST THING EVER!!! Here’s our family picture at one of the cool stations. How neat is this? It appears like it’s pencil-drawn:

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I can’t help but share the video. I love how they’re so into grabbing the steering wheel. If you look closely, Adrian’s (left) face is so adorable as he makes a “Yikes!” face!

Since I have too much to update, I’ll save them for another day and just add this picture collage. We attended my friend, Bernard’s, show last night, The Producers! It was hilarious and clever and we witnessed some amazing talent! Here we are with Carmen Ghia (“He had a stroke!” and Leo Bloom (OCD much). They were fabulous!!! I enjoy watching shows and especially love supporting our local theater. Can’t wait for the next one!

 

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Did I ever mention Bernard has been my friends since the 1st grade? He’s also on our high school reunion planning committee. How awesome is that?!

Gosh, the countdown has already begun to the boys’ big first birthday. Looking back at how tiny they were and how big and grown they are now really tugs at my heartstrings!!! Time sure does fly.