This Week // 01.23.15

January 23, 2015

january_day-9

january day // livelovesimple.com

Lately each week seems to move faster than the one before it. Maybe it’s because there’s so much that I want to get done before baby girl arrives. Our days can be monotonous this time of year — extreme cold and bad weather can do that — but they’re filled with a lot of love & learning, too. And for that, I am deeply grateful. Every day I learn more about the woman, wife, and mother that I want to be. Life is always whispering lessons to us, if only we choose to open our ears hearts and listen.

Pregnancy

I can hardly believe it, but I finally had my first (and second) visit to the chiropractor this week. I put all of my excuses and nerves to the side, made the appointment, and went. The chiropractor that I’ve chosen came highly recommended to me from dozens of women who have used her for prenatal care. I could go on and on about her accolades, but suffice to say that I feel blessed to have this particular chiropractor just a short drive from my house.

My first appointment was a couple of days ago and my second was today. She’s leaving for a trip next week and wants to get several adjustments in before then. I haven’t felt any major change so far, but my fingers and toes are crossed. The pain in my lower back by day’s end and in my hips while sleeping has become intense. I’m hopeful that some relief is on the way.

I am still taking iron pills for my pregnancy anemia and unfortunately they cause me a bit of nausea. I believe that they are important, though, because one morning I didn’t take my pill and felt quite dizzy right away.

It’s been becoming more and more “real” to me that baby girl is on her way. We drove past the hospital where I delivered Roman and plan to deliver again the other day and it was like a jolt to my system. I flashed back to the night of Roman’s birth and began to imagine what round two will be like. It’s so exciting and nerve wracking at once. I need to start visualizing my birthing experience as I did the first time around. It really helped to set me on the right course.

Decluttering // Bassinet

The epic decluttering of 2015 rages on. It’s us against the junk. Six years worth of stuff and three months to purge! We’re making great progress. It’s slow going. I mean really slow going. It’s so emotionally taxing that I am breaking it into the smallest chunks. As I’ve mentioned before, break downs happen more than I’d care to admit, but I accept that as part of the process.

I’ve received some comments & emails of support and questions, too. I really appreciate the feedback and I plan to write a thorough post outlining the entire endeavor when it’s complete. One of the things I hear the most is how difficult it is to part with sentimental things. To that, I say, yes, it truly is! It’s shocking how emotionally attached to “things” we are in this society. I addressed this issue in my original post on minimalism, but I’ll talk about it again soon.

The other exciting thing going on in the house is that we’ve gotten baby girl’s bassinet. I’ve decided to try and keep her in a bassinet in our room until she is ready to move into the nursery with Roman. I fell in love with a bassinet awhile back, but it was way out of our budget. Then a very similar one popped up for $20 in one of my local mom’s groups on Facebook! There were so many interested parties but luckily I was the first one and my father went out in an ice storm to pick it up. There is quite a bit of rearranging that needs to happen in our bedroom to make room for it, but we’ve made great progress this week and we’re almost there.

Roman James

Little Roman has had quite a week, too. I said it in his last developmental update, but the rapid pace at which his vocabulary grows is just incredible. He picked up at least ten new words and phrases this week, but my favourites are swing (which he pronounces “wing”) and hot cocoa. I melt!!

He’s been attempting to jump for awhile now and this week he mastered it. He jumps all around like a little bunny rabbit — it’s so adorable. He’s so proud, too. He often points to the ceiling as if to tell us that he is going to jump right up and hit the ceiling. Sometimes we will give him a boost so that he actually does it.

We’ve also been making a real effort to play outside for a little while each day if the weather permits. It’s quite a task with all of the necessary layers, but it’s truly worth it. Yesterday he flat out refused to nap and come evening we were in full-blown tantrum, meltdown mode. It was awful! Gratefully, he had a nap today (after some minor protesting) and I believe that the fresh air made it happen. Here are some photographs from our time outdoors today.

january day // livelovesimple.com

january day // livelovesimple.com

january day // livelovesimple.com

january day // livelovesimple.com

january day // livelovesimple.com

january day // livelovesimple.com

january day // livelovesimple.com

january day // livelovesimple.com

january day // livelovesimple.com

january day // livelovesimple.com

january day // livelovesimple.com

january day // livelovesimple.com

january day // livelovesimple.com

january day // livelovesimple.com

january day // livelovesimple.com

january day // livelovesimple.com

january day // livelovesimple.com

january day // livelovesimple.com

Although the winter landscape is harsh, there’s always some measure of beauty to be found outdoors — no matter the season.

They’re calling for snow & ice here tomorrow, so we’ll be housebound & keeping warm by the fireplace. Have a wonderful weekend, friends! xx

We were trees.

January 21, 2015

livelovesimple.com

livelovesimple.com

“In our former lives, we were trees. Maybe we have even been oak trees ourselves. This isn’t just Buddhist theory; it’s science. The human species is a very young species—we appeared on the Earth only recently. Before that, we were rock, we were gas, we were minerals, we were single-celled beings. We were plants, we were trees, and now we have become humans. We have to recall our past existences. This is not difficult. You just sit down and breathe and look, and you can see your past existences.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

Yesterday we bundled up and headed to the park. It was cold, but the temperature hung around the freezing point. We only stayed about twenty minutes, by that time Roman’s little cheeks were like ice. Still, we needed to be outside, to get some fresh air. Something happens to me when I’m outside, even for a little while. In the warmer months it’s not as noticeable because we spend time outside each day. But in the colder months, when outdoor time is sparse, it’s much more noticeable. Something happens to my spirit, some kind of awakening. It’s like I come alive again.

Being outside reminds me that I don’t truly belong indoors — not at my very core. We evolved outdoors. For tens of thousands of years our ancestors were wild & free. There were no climate-controlled homes & cars; there was no technology; there were no processed foods; and so on. And before that, before we evolved — who knows? I just know that I feel more at home walking in the forest or floating in the sea than I ever have in a shopping mall or behind a computer screen.

livelovesimple.com

livelovesimple.com

livelovesimple.com

livelovesimple.com

livelovesimple.com

livelovesimple.com

livelovesimple.com

livelovesimple.com

I am so grateful that we live in such a beautiful part of the world. Where we can escape to the outdoors when nature calls us — even if it’s only to a suburban park on a little lake for half an hour. I’ll take it. ♥

Roman James @ 20 Months

January 20, 2015

livelovesimple.com

livelovesimple.com

Growth & Appearance: You seem to get more mature every day, more handsome, too. You look so much like me when I was your age. I found a toddler photo of me the other day and the resemblance was striking. You look like your Papa, too. In my eyes, you are perfect. I often wonder if it’s because I am your Mama or if it’s because you really are perfect.

Although I don’t know your exact measurements, you are undoubtedly big and tall. You wear a 2T in most clothes and a 3T in pajamas (since they have built-in feet). You weigh between 32 and 35-pounds and I have no idea how tall you are. We really need to get you into the doctor for a checkup/measure, but my fear of the rampant flu (and this year’s largely ineffective vaccine) is keeping us away from there at the moment.

You had another haircut since your last update and this one was even more adorable than the first. We will stick with this style for a long while. Your Papa and I both just love it, as does everyone who sees you.

livelovesimple.com

livelovesimple.com

Sleeping: You’ve been sleeping well for awhile now and, after the six months of hell that we went through, I thank my lucky stars every day. The most difficult sleep issue that we face these days is how sensitive you are to sounds. Just like me, you wake up at even the very softest sounds. Even though we still use your sound machine at nap and bedtime, any little peep can wake you up. The other night, you woke up every time the heater went on and the heater goes on a lot during these frigid, winter nights. You would wake up, cry a little, and then (gratefully) settle back to sleep. Still, your crying woke us up every hour or so and that made for a difficult night all-around. Most nights this doesn’t happen, but you do typically wake/cry/settle at least once per night.

When you are sleeping, your Papa and I tip-toe around the house, avoid anything that makes noise, and talk only in whispers. Living in this little house with such a light sleeper has proven to be quite a struggle. I have no idea how it will work in a couple of months when we have a crying newborn here with us! It’s a scary thought, but we’ll make it somehow. I’m constantly reminded of how quickly these days of baby and toddler-hood will be gone completely and I try so hard to cherish every precious moment — even the challenging ones.

livelovesimple.com

livelovesimple.com

Talking: In your last update, I listed out all of the words that you were saying. This time, I won’t attempt it because there are just too many. Your vocabulary expands every day. You really are, as they say, “like a little sponge.” It’s obvious that you have a thirst for knowledge. I haven’t been around a lot of toddlers, but I have a feeling that you are a bright one. The things that you say and do and put together and understand completely blow me away.

Over the past week, you’ve started stringing a couple of words together at a time. For example, when you want to get off the bed you say, “Me down.” Anytime you want to know where something is, you say, “Where’d he go?”

livelovesimple.com

livelovesimple.com

Development: You love to help. You are a master with the feather duster. You put all of our recycling in the recycling bin and garbage in the garbage bin. You help me unpack the groceries. You retrieve your shoes, coat, hat, mittens — whatever we need. The pride on your face when you successfully complete a task is perhaps the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

You love to create! You spend time drawing on your chalkboard each day. I bought you your first coloring book a couple of weeks go and you just loved it. I can’t wait until you are ready to start some real projects — it won’t be long now. I hope that you always have this deep love for art & creating.

There is always so much going on with you developmentally that it’s hard to capture in a few paragraphs. Some other things that you are mastering are building block towers, helping me to put your clothes on and take them off, and playing with toddler apps on the iPhone/iPad. (Although you’re too smart for most of those apps! You master them in no time and then get sick of them quickly.)

Favorites: Curious George has been your favourite show for a very long time, but I think you may finally have a new favourite — Blue’s Clues. You still absolutely adore your “Georgie” though. Your favourite foods are bananas, grapes, olives, macaroni, french fries, cheese, potato chips, and broccoli. You also love smoothies and drinking through a straw. Other than your favourites, however, you’ve become quite picky and mealtimes can be challenging if I don’t bend to your will — so most of the time I do! Other than the things I’ve mentioned you don’t have too many favourites. You like all of your toys and have been having a lot of fun with your Christmas presents, especially your dinosaurs, drum, blocks, and train set.

livelovesimple.com

livelovesimple.com

Dislikes & Behavior: You are an exceptionally well-behaved toddler. A couple of weeks ago we went to lunch with some family who were in from out of town. They wanted to watch a football game and there were only high-top tables available. You can’t put a highchair or booster seat at a high-top table. So I held you on my lap and hoped for the best. You sat on my lap like an angel for over an hour. It was incredible! I’ve also taken you on some larger outings, including a full day in the city, and you were good as gold. The only time you get cranky is when you are tired and even at that you are quite sweet.

For the most part, the only time you exhibit “bad” behavior is when you don’t understand something. For example, after we’ve had a toss with one of your balls you might toss something at us unexpectedly later in the day. You’re quite strong and it hurts! But we try to remember that you’re only doing it out of confusion. You will also test your boundaries a bit when you don’t get your way, but those times are few and far between.

When you do act out, and continue to do so after a warning, we put you in timeout for one minute. (Timeout is currently your crib because it’s the only place that will contain you). After a timeout you’ve usually learned your lesson and I can count on two hands how many times we’ve had to use that method. I am a big fan of the timeout method of discipline and hope that it will always serve our disciplinary needs. (Wishful thinking!!)

You are a little bit shy. Your crazy/funny personality is usually reserved for our house only. You are incredibly attached to your Mama & Papa and most of the time you don’t want anyone else to hold you. It can get exhausting for us, but secretly I love it a little bit. I would keep you to myself forever if I could.


The most important thing that I want include in this update is how incredibly joyful you are. You are the happiest little boy that I have ever known. You smile and laugh all of the time. You have the sweetest disposition and a deep zest for life. You get thrilled over the simplest things. When I tell you that it’s time for a bath or a book or a meal or a car ride, you just get so excited and start to run around, laughing & smiling, in anticipation of whatever we’re about to do. You have a true “Joie de Vivre” and I pray with every fiber of my being that you never lose it.

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There are no words to express the happiness that you bring to my life every day. It sounds silly and like I am gushing, but it’s the simple truth. Every morning when I hear you wake in your crib, I so much look forward to going in your room and picking you up for our first cuddle of the day. I kiss your cheeks constantly, every time I pick you up. You give the sweetest hugs and kisses now, too! I can’t express my gratitude for you, my little monkey. You are my sunshine.

Until next time…

xoxo,
Mama

Recipe: Pan-Seared Scallops with Bacon

January 19, 2015

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

I have always been a seafood lover. I could eat fish every day — salmon, cod, shrimp, mussels, mahi, every kind of sushi under the sun — you get the picture. Unfortunately, most of the affordable fish found in the supermarket today is farm-raised, imported crap. Gratefully, there are still a few places around here where you can get fresh, wild-caught goodness. Unfortunately (again), it comes with a price tag to match. That said, nutritious, organic food is one of the few indulgences that we cave to as often as we can afford.

Last week, I picked up these delicious jumbo scallops. They were out of this world. Scallops are a rare treat — I can count on two hands how many times I’ve prepared them in my lifetime. Since I’m not a scallop-expert I ventured to Pinterest in search of the perfect recipe. I found this one, which looked amazing, and just happened to have all of the necessary ingredients.

If I had to choose one word for this dish, I’d choose divine. It’s a bit light, so I served it with a heaping side of mushroom risotto, not pictured here.

Ingredients
3 bacon slices
1 1/2 pounds jumbo sea scallops (about 10-12)
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, sliced
12 ounces fresh baby spinach

Directions
Cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Leave drippings in pan. Coarsely chop bacon, and set aside. Increase heat to high.

Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. Add scallops to drippings in pan; cook two-and-a-half minutes on each side or until done. Transfer to a plate; keep warm. Reduce heat to medium-high.

Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add half of spinach; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add remaining half of spinach; cook 2 minutes or just until wilted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in remaining salt and pepper to taste.

Divide spinach mixture among plates; top each serving evenly with chopped bacon and scallops. Serve immediately.

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

If you like scallops, you’ve got to give this recipe a try. It’s really simple to make, but it looks & tastes gourmet. What about you, any favourite seafood dishes? I’d love to hear them.

This Week // 01.16.15

January 16, 2015

livelovesimple.com

livelovesimple.com

livelovesimple.com

Nesting + Decluttering

I’ve heard so many people say recently that they are on a mission to declutter. I think it’s wonderful! Imagine a society where we are all more mindful of the things that surround us and the things that we bring into our homes. I don’t want to get too far off onto a tangent about sustainability, but it’s a wonderful thing both for our planet and for our peace of mind.

We started this round of epic decluttering just before Christmas and we’re still going strong. The length and breadth of this project is testament to just how bad things had gotten around here. It’s scary and uncomfortable to witness just how much crap we’ve accumulated in the past couple of years. I actually break down in tears a few times a week and get completely overwhelmed with the scale of it. Realistically, I know that things are not that bad around here — but when you combine junk + pregnancy hormones + a baby due in just over two months — there are bound to be some tears.

It’s all for a wonderful cause though and I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re chipping away at everything day-by-day and I can see the progress.

Home-bound

The temperatures have been absolutely frigid, so it really is the perfect opportunity to tackle these house projects. It’s been far below freezing and just the past couple of days it’s “warmed up” to right around the freezing point. We’ve been spending all of our time indoors. Aside from cleaning, I’ve been doing a lot of homemade cooking, little projects with Roman, and we’ve been taking car rides a couple of days each week, too.

I’ve been tempted to schedule some play dates or even make a trip to the library, but apparently this flu season has reached epidemic proportions in our state (and around the country). I actually contracted the flu when I was pregnant with Roman, and needless to say, it was just the worst. So we’ve been absolute hermits for weeks. I’m praying for a break in the weather and maybe even an early spring(!) so that we can get out into the great outdoors sooner rather than later.

Pregnancy Anemia

When I woke up Monday night/Tuesday morning for one of my many “potty runs” I felt quite dizzy. I didn’t think too much of it and fell back asleep. Then, when I woke up in the morning, the dizziness was severe. I couldn’t lift my head without the room spinning and I had to hold the wall for support just to stand. It was really terrifying. My first thought was that it had to do with my blood pressure because I remember hearing from other women that it can become an issue during pregnancy. I was frightened, but not completely panicked because baby girl was moving about in her usual way.

I tried all of the normal solutions (laying on my left side, drinking water, eating something) and while I had some relief, the dizziness didn’t disappear completely. I called my doctor and they said I should come in right away. A look at my most recent blood work showed low iron/pregnancy anemia. I was completely shocked. I’ve never had iron issues in my life and considering that I eat a largely vegetarian diet, I always make extra certain that I’m taking in adequate amounts of iron. However, I suppose that pregnancy changes all!

Remember how I was just saying the other day that I’ve been craving meat? Well, now I know why! It also explains the severe shortness of breath I was experiencing, and why I was devastatingly tired no matter how much I slept. Of course shortness of breath and exhaustion are normal for pregnancy, but I knew it was beyond that. It’s a bit of a relief to know that it wasn’t in my head. I’ve been on iron pills for two days now and haven’t had any more dizzy spells. I’m glad that we caught it before there were any severe consequences. Now I will stay on top of it and I’m packing more iron into my diet than ever!


I suppose that’s it for this week’s update. I hope that you have the loveliest weekend, friends. I’ll be back next week with one of my favourite recipes ever and with Roman’s 20-month update, too. xx

Pregnancy Update // 30 Weeks

January 14, 2015

thirty weeks // livelovesimple.com

I’ve been seeing this little week-by-week pregnancy questionnaire floating around quite a bit. I won’t commit to doing it every week — that would probably get redundant — but now that I’m nearing the homestretch there are some exciting things going on once in awhile. I’ve made a few adjustments to the questions so that they make sense to me & my pregnancy.

I’m not one for taking weekly pictures of my bump. Other than my maternity photographs, I didn’t do much to capture my first pregnancy at all. However, there’s a good chance that this will be my last pregnancy, so I thought it would be nice to capture some of these final weeks for memory’s sake.

The “bump” pictures above are simple iPhone snaps that M. took this morning. One is a silhouette of that big, beautiful bump and the other one is lit so that you can see what a hot-mess I am these days. It’s real though — jeans, a sweater, and a messy pony is sometimes all I can accomplish these days.

You might notice that I appear to be wearing two different colors beneath my sweater. That’s because I received this Maternity Support Tank Top last week. I find that the tank provides the most support against my skin. So I wear it tucked into my jeans. Then the maternity panel of my jeans comes up over the tank, creating the two separate colors that you see under my sweater. Obviously fashion is simply not at the top of my priority list right now.

Alright, on to the questions…


How far along are you? 30 weeks.

Sleep: I’ve been sleeping better this pregnancy than I did last pregnancy. It may be the fact of sheer exhaustion. This time around I am chasing a toddler all day and I am older. I genuinely believe that I am feeling my age. I can feel this pregnancy, and all of the aches & pains of it, much more intensely this time around. That’s a part of the reason why this will likely be my last pregnancy. I don’t think think that I could physically do it again. My hat goes off to the women well-past thirty who are still pushing out babies.

Anyway, back to sleep… As I said, I sleep well. At this point, the real challenge is my bladder! I am up at least every three hours to pee and some nights it’s more like every one or two hours. All of the interruptions take a big toll on my quality of sleep and leave me exhausted during the day. M. reminds me that this is my body preparing me for life with a newborn. Naps have been my best friend throughout this pregnancy and I sneak in between two and four naps (during Roman’s nap time) every week.

Movement: I remember thinking that Roman moved a lot in utero and that he was a hard hitter — but this little girl — my goodness! I’m not sure whether she hits really hard or whether she just hits where it hurts, but ouch! She tends to hit or kick me in the most painful places, often in the low part of my belly where I have muscle & ligament soreness. She also hits me right in the bladder at the most inopportune times! I jokingly complain about it, but deep down I take it with a grain of salt. Every little movement is a sign from her letting me know that she is healthy & strong, and I cherish every one.

Favourite Moment: The best pregnancy moment of the past week was when Roman put his little hand on my belly, started rubbing it and saying, “Baby, baby.” I’ve been telling him for awhile that there was a baby in my belly, but since he’s not really talking much yet, I never knew if he got it. Then he did that the other day and I nearly fainted from the sweetness. Now I think that he does know that there’s a baby in there and I’m certain that he is going to be the most amazing big brother.

Cravings: Everything. Is everything an acceptable answer? It’s incredible really. I went from the beginning of my pregnancy — when I literally couldn’t eat anything without getting sick and I could only tolerate the most basic, odor-free ingredients — to the present where I want to eat everything!

The most interesting craving that I’ve been having is meat. I am not a meat-eater. Typically, I eat a largely vegetarian diet and only eat meat once or twice a month. Early in my pregnancy, I couldn’t physically stand the smell of cooking meat. All of the meat that came into our house had to be cooked elsewhere and brought in prepared, and even then it killed me to catch a whiff of it. Now, however, I crave meat every day! When I was pregnant with Roman, I craved cheeseburgers once in awhile, but this is something different. I’m all about listening to my body, especially during pregnancy, so meat it is.

Other than that, I have all kinds of cravings. Although they are less “pregnancy cravings” and more along the lines of “I’m just hungry all the time so give me everything that I love” kind of cravings. I’m trying to show some restraint, all things considered, and I make sure to get lots of vitamin & nutrient-packed healthy foods into every meal.

Happy or Moody? Both! In general, I am very happy. The prenatal depression that haunted me during both of my first trimesters has, gratefully, gone away. I feel as happy, energetic, and optimistic as I could hope to be most of the time. However, that doesn’t mean that my hormones don’t go completely haywire once in awhile. My fuse can be incredibly short at times and if you throw exhaustion or hunger into the mix, it can get downright nasty around here. I’m also extremely emotional in the sense that things that would normally make me a little sad (like sad movies, for example) can turn me into a weeping mess in no time at all.

Belly Status: This question originally asked if your belly button was in or out, but that doesn’t — and will never — apply to me. My belly button stayed in throughout my entire first pregnancy and by the looks of it, it will do the same this time around. So instead I’ll just give a general update about my belly. It popped & dropped a long time ago. It’s huge and gets in the way a lot. Sometimes I think I can get through a narrow space and just as I’m about to step through, I realize, “Uh-uh, girl. Ain’t happening.” …and it’s only going to get bigger!

Aches & Pains: My biggest pains are lower back pain, round ligament pain, and wicked heartburn if I eat the wrong thing, especially before bed.

Looking Forward To: First and foremost, I can’t wait to meet our baby girl. I am just so excited to know what she will look like and I’m hoping with a whole heart that she looks just like her brother, Roman. He is the most beautiful creature that I’ve ever laid eyes on and if she looks like him, she’ll be a lucky girl.

After that, I’m most looking forward to warm weather. Now that the holidays are over, I’m ready for spring. Unfortunately, we’ve got at least another two months of bitter temperatures to survive, but I know that these next months are going to fly by because that’s what life does. My beautiful baby girl and the beautiful springtime weather will be here before I know it.

Changes to the Home: I could write a novel here. Other than pregnancy/family, this is the most consuming aspect of my life at the moment. I am moving through a massive declutter/reorganization and it’s taking over my mind and body. As I mentioned in my last post, we probably won’t stay in this house forever, but it will be at least another year or two. That means I have to make this space comfortable for us.

We had just finished our major renovations before Roman was born. My next step would have been, decorating/design/organization projects, but instead motherhood consumed me and I threw it all to the wayside. Now I am trying to catch up (probably as a result of my nesting instinct) within these two months before baby girl gets here. It’s a little bit crazy, but I know it will be worth it when I’m finished. It’s also logistically necessary because we have to purge and rearrange our bedroom furniture in order to make room for her bassinet!


That’s all for this update. Hope you’re having a great week, friends. xx

Recipe: Lentil Soup with Bacon & Bell Pepper

January 12, 2015

Lentil Soup Recipe

My winter blues have kicked in hard. Still, one of the things that I absolutely do love about winter is soup. I just can’t get enough. Last week I made my second batch of lentil soup of the season.

I love cooking with lentils in the winter. They are so easy, delicious & hardy. This lentil soup was a cinch to make and we ate the whole pot within a couple days — always a sign of a successful recipe.

Ingredients:
16-ouce bag of lentils
handful of baby carrots chopped
bell pepper diced
medium onion diced
five slices of bacon, cooked and cut into slices
salt & pepper to taste
a pinch of fennel seeds, chopped
3-4 bay leaves

Directions:
Put all of your ingredients in a large pot. Cover with water, adding an extra inch or two of water over ingredients. Turn stove on high heat. Bring pot to a boil. Lower heat and simmer with a tilted cover for an hour and a half. Check in occasionally to stir and to see if you need to add water — ingredients should always be completely submerged.

Sit back, enjoy the delicious smell floating through your house. When time’s up, serve it hot!

Lentil Soup Recipe

Lentil Soup Recipe

Lentil Soup Recipe

Lentil Soup Recipe

Lentil Soup Recipe

Lentil Soup Recipe

Lentil Soup Recipe

Are you a “winter fan” of soup? If you have a favourite winter recipe, please share it (or a link to it) in the comments. I’m always on the lookout for warm, delicious recipes this time of year. xx

This Week // 01.09.15

January 9, 2015

crazy hair / livelovesimple.com
Roman peeking over my desk.

I gave M. the hair gel and asked him to style Roman’s hair away from his eyes. This photograph is the result of that request. It’s a pretty good representation of what this past week has been… crazy. As I type this, I can’t believe that it’s already Friday night — and that Monday will start the third week of January!

Nesting

The past week has flown by. I’ve started “nesting” — but it’s not a fun, pretty, “preparing baby’s nursery” type of nesting. It’s a holy hell, this house (and all of our crap!) is making me crazy kind of nesting. When we moved here, we only intended to stay five years at most. Well, last month we celebrated our six-year anniversary in this place…

There are a lot of wonderful things about our home — especially the yard, the woods, & the location (so close to both of our families). But there are some things that make it very wrong for us. The main problems are that there is no designated space for Matthew (he has no privacy, ever) and there is limited storage. We don’t have a garage, the basement is cinder block/dirt floors, and the attic is a crawl space. That leaves no place but closets & cupboards for storage, and those filled up a long time ago. We’d also love to have a second bathroom and one more bedroom so that our two babes don’t have to share one forever. Change may be on the horizon, but for now, here we are.

We are truly minimalists at heart. We’ve been living together for seven years and have paired down our possessions time & time again. In recent years, some things have begun to accumulate and we need to meet them head on. The worst offenders at the moment are clothing, shoes, and miscellaneous junk. This week I started the process of sorting through it all.

Our first priority is getting our bedroom to rights so that we can rearrange furniture and make room for a bassinet. It’s been an uphill struggle, but I finally cleared the hardest part (our shelving unit) yesterday. Next up I’ve got to tackle a few areas in my office and then we can get someone in here to help us with moving the furniture. It’s daunting. I’ve got a lot on my plate at the moment, but I’m breaking it into manageable pieces and pushing myself forward.

Pregnancy

Speaking of time flying past, I’ll be twenty-nine weeks along on Wednesday. What!? It’s really incomprehensible. Because of the complications that I had early in my pregnancy, and then M’s injury and hospitalization — my first two trimesters were such a blur. It’s only recently that I’ve really had time to think about my pregnancy at length.

Generally, I feel good but my lower back pain is becoming a true challenge. Since M’s injury in October, I’ve been the sole caretaker of Roman and our house. That means that all of the high-impact jobs (taking out garbage & recycling, raking leaves, shoveling snow, carrying laundry & groceries upstairs, every single bath-time, meal-time, & diaper change, etc.) fall to me. Mix all of that bending & lifting together with my rapidly changing body — an expanding uterus that is shifting my center of gravity, stretching and weakening my abdominal muscles, and putting a lot of strain on my back — and it’s a recipe for pain.

I really need to see a chiropractor and I’ve found a great one who specializes in prenatal care, but it’s been difficult with all of M’s appointments, arranging care for Roman, etc. I am going to try really hard to get an appointment scheduled this week. Sometimes I literally can’t walk by day’s end and that’s just a dangerous position to put myself in.

Roman/Winter Blues

Before I close this week’s summary, I have to mention my sweet boy. The weather has been brutal. We’ve had snow and arctic wind & temperatures far below freezing. It’s been painful to be outside for even a few minutes. That means lots of time cooped up indoors and a mama who is hesitant to leave the house at all costs. Gratefully, Roman has been good as gold and sweet as pie through it all. His new Christmas toys have been keeping him busy and I’m always looking for creative, entertaining projects like stickers, coloring, & building.

It’s really incredible just how much he is developing these days. He’s so sweet & smart that it just bowls me over. I’ll be doing a full update on Roman James @ 20 Months shortly and I’ve got so much to share.


That’s it for this week, friends. I’m hoping to make this a regular thing so that I can look back & remember our weeks in the future.

How about you? How was your week? Anything fun planned for the weekend? Hope it’s a great one, whatever you do. xx

A Baby “Sprinkle” with Minted

January 9, 2015

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I’ve been going back & forth about whether or not to have a “Sprinkle” since I found out that we were having a girl. (What’s a Sprinkle, you ask? It’s like a “Baby Shower” except it’s usually a lot smaller, so it’s called a “Sprinkle.”)

I knew that I would not have a party if we were having another boy — I’ve already got all that we could possibly need in that arena — but a baby girl will be a different story.

The gifts that I got at Roman’s shower were a Godsend. I didn’t have to buy nearly anything for him until he was a year old. What a wonderful gift for a new mama. The etiquette around second showers, however, is a little blurry. Some people consider it to be rude or selfish to have a second shower. Still, Sprinkles have been rising in popularity over the past several years, especially for mamas whose second baby is a different gender.

I’ve been on the fence about it all, but when Minted recently reached out about partnering, I took it as a sign — I am meant to have a Sprinkle!

My first baby shower was a big shindig and we invited everyone, but this party will be much smaller — more like a little get together for my nearest & dearest. Most likely I’ll hold it at our house and I’ll do the work. I’m always looking for a reason to throw a party and celebrating the upcoming arrival of our baby girl just feels right, etiquette be damned.

I’m just thrilled to be partnering up with Minted for this celebration of our baby girl. Minted has long-been one of my favourite places to shop for invitations and party decor. (In fact, our wedding invitations and our first family Christmas cards both came from there!) So I’ve really been having a blast browsing through Minted’s beautiful selection of baby shower invitations and party decor.

Here are a few of my favourite baby shower invitations from the Minted website.

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Here are some pieces from one of the baby shower party sets that I just love.

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Completely adorable, right!? And the other thing that I just learned is that Minted also has a blog — Julep — that is full of lots of beautiful party inspiration & ideas. Here are a couple of their inspiration boards that I just want to jump into.

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I can’t wait to share more as I sort out the party details in the coming month. So, what about you? Have you ever been to a Sprinkle? Would you ever host one?


This post is in partnership with Minted. Thank you for supporting the folks that help make this blog possible.

Minted just released its new Save the Date collection and extended their Winter Wedding Event through January 12th. Check it out and receive 15% off wedding invitations and save the date cards.

52/52 :: the end

January 7, 2015

week 52 // livelovesimple.com

The 52 Week Project – A portrait of my son, once a week, for one year.

When I started my 2014 52 Week Project, I gave myself permission to get as far along as I could manage without guilt. I know that life can get in the way and committing to do anything for a full year can be a recipe for letdown.

However, week after week, I captured some lovely snaps of my sweet boy and I am so incredibly grateful to be able to look back on the collection. Of course I missed a few weeks while I was sick — but most of them are there. It’s really something special to look back on, from the first week through to this last one.

He truly moved from being a baby to being a wee boy this year. I will forever be grateful for having it all captured in this special way.

That said, I’m not going to continue the project in 2015. I’ve got some new, creative ideas for this space. I’ll still be capturing & sharing lots of Roman (of course!). I may jump in from time-to-time and participate in Jodi’s linkup. However, I need to let go of the pressure of the weekly posts as I move into this third trimester and put my creative energy into some new pursuits.

Thank you for following along and for the sweet comments, as always. xx

To see the other posts in our series, click here.

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