Winter feels like it is going on FOREVER! I cannot wait until spring. I am really excited about experiencing good weather again. Due to the baby as well, I feel as if I have been stuck inside for a long time. It will be great to get outside more often.
I also looking very forward to starting my garden again. Last year I was away and did not have access to land so it did not happen but this year I am on maternity leave and plan to really enjoy it as I may not get to do so again for some time.
Once, a few years ago, I planted seedlings in February but learned quickly it was too early for them. This year it seems much colder than that year. So, for now, I just have to dream of spring and the garden instead of doing anything. I can come up with some general ideas and plans. Here are a few things to note:
- Herbs to plant: oregano, basil, dill, fenugreek, cilantro
- Veggies to plant: peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, corn, potatoes
- Other things to plant: strawberries, pumpkins, flowers
- Things to buy: new lawnmower!!, fairy/garden lights, outdoor furniture
Okay, so my third goal for this year is to improve my health and fitness. I want to feel better this year! I will give more details on exactly how I will do so as I go but am going to kick things off Monday, February 19th, by doing a mini-challenge for the rest of February. The main parts of my goal are to:
- Build muscle
- Improve cardio vascular health
- Eat healthier
- Drop some pounds!
Today is Lunar New Year and the Year of the Dog…which is MY YEAR! 12 years ago I made a significant difference in my health and wellness during the last Year of the Dog and plan to do so again! This time, though, I want to maintain that progress. Wish me luck 🙂
So one of my mat leave goals this year is to learn to cook a few new things as I mentioned a few posts ago. My plan was to cook at least two new things a month…which I have been doing. However, to keep motivated and interested, I also said I would have 3 dinner parties this year. I planned for the first one to be for my husband’s birthday but our little one ended up in the hospital so the timing was just not right. However, I got things together a short while later and earlier this week we hosted a Greek inspired dinner. Here is what was on the menu for the night:
Appetizers: Grilled pita with hummus, saganaki, and dolmathes
Mains and sides: Greek grilled chicken, spanakopita, lemon potatoes, and Greek salad
Drinks: Greek wine (it was horrible though!) and Ouzo
Dessert: Ice cream cake (because it was the husband’s birthday, after all, though I do hope to learn to make baklava one day)
I learned two main things due to this experience. 1). Cooking with a baby on hand is HARD! Luckily, my sister was around to keep the little one entertained so I could do what I need to do. Next time preparing ahead of time or in small doses while baby sleeps is key….or while the husband or someone else is home. 2). It is possible to make things if you really want! My sister commented it would be faster to just buy them or go to a restaurant but I enjoyed learning the process and building skills. I know I will put some of this knowledge to future use with other dishes. Plus, I can use less sugar, oil, butter etc and have the foods be less processed which is great. Since I often work overseas, it will also be great to have some recipes under my belt for the days I am sick of local food…which definitely happens. The main thing is that I want to be able to feed my baby healthy home cooked meals in the future.
This whole experience has given me a lot more confidence in the kitchen…plus it was fun. I invited my family over to join us and we all enjoyed ourselves. In fact, it has inspired us all to have a once a month family dinner in which we rotate the hosts. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else will serve! In the meantime, I will keep on cooking new things and look forward to the next dinner party…probably in the summertime.
SPANOKOPITA!! By far the most difficult of the Greek dishes to make but I did it! Plus, it was actually yummy!
Happy Valentine’s Day! This year I am feeling pretty blessed with my baby, husband, and other family. We are all very lucky to have each other.
Since it is a Wednesday today and my husband will be out of town tonight, we already celebrated by exchanging some gifts. I wanted some fancy mugs to go with the Keurig I got for Christmas and my husband also threw in chocolate, flowers, and a cheesy Valentine’s Day balloon (mostly for our baby who likes them so far). I bought him a bottle of Acqua di Gio cologne. It has always been one of my favourites. Hope everyone else is enjoying their day!
It is February! I have been missing since mid-January due to the mystery of my skinny baby. So it all started with my baby having severe reflux which I posted about in the past. We tried all kinds of things and eventually had to go on medication. The first one, Zantac, did not work but the second, Nexium, along with thickened milk formula brought down the spit up to about once a day from 8 times a day. However, the baby seemed a bit skinny still!
The doctor assured me he would catch up as he was 3 weeks early but made a referral to a pediatrician just in case. A few weeks later we were able to see the pediatrician. He let us know our baby was VERY skinny-in the 3rd percentile! He send us off to the hospital for some testing. A few tests turned into us ending up there for a week while the doctors did all they could to understand what the issue was. All the tests came back as normal which was baffling.
So, they put us on a strict every 3 hour feeding schedule with less milk per feeding but with formula that was fortified with more calories. We did this for a few days while other tests were done and the baby was gradually, though slowly, gaining weight. They guessed he may have a high metabolism. Then we were released but the next day, at a follow up appointment, he went down! I could swear the doctor looked at me as if I had been lazy and skipping feedings at home. I was a bit offended but realize he must see all kinds of people and I may suspect the same in his shoes. So, he and the dietitian have fortified the formula with more calories and we were told to come back in a week. Since then I obtained an at home scale and have been monitoring my little guy closely. It looked like he was gaining all week but I wanted to see the number on the hospital scale just to be sure!
The week later check in came up…and he had gained 300 grams. I was relieved! Since no other issues can be found they think the little guy has a fast metabolism and needs to be woken up regularly to drink milk. Strange. I sure did have a scare, though, with that 3 percentile thing! Being a new mom can be full of stress and worry that you never would have guessed. However, all seems well now…though I plan to watch my guy on the scale closely for the next while. Hopefully the case of the skinny baby will soon be closed!
Okay, so after some more careful consideration, I have come up with my second mat leave year goal. It is to work AND play. Part one of this goal involves finding some light work to keep myself mentally stimulated. This could be volunteer work or paid work but something in line with my career ambitions that I will enjoy…and that may open doors in the future. I have learned that everything I have been involved in has led to some other opportunity or experience so I may as well focus in on things more in line with my interests and ambitions.
The second part of this goal is play. By this I mean that I do not want to take on work that is too heavy so I can enjoy some time to play. I will play with my baby but also want to take a vacation so my husband and I can enjoy some time playing. It cannot be too soon as our baby is still small but I think I will deserve it after the hard work of pregnancy and newborn care!
As I mentioned in my last post, I want to use my maternity leave time wisely. So, I have decided to come up with some goals for the year. After some careful thinking, I am starting with my first goal: learn to cook more things! I have never been the best cook. My husband is great at it and complains about almost everything I make. I am not too worried about him but now that I have a baby, I want to learn to make a few decent homemade meals that will come in handy as he grows up. Thus, my first goal was clear.
I have started by creating a list of a few key items to learn to make. After all, I will end up delaying and delaying otherwise and do not want to cram all the learning in at the end of the year. Another way I am discouraging procrastination is to set up some fun parameters around the goal. In this case I am going to ensure that 1). I learn at least two new dishes per month and 2). that I host a dinner party (small or large) at least three times this year to show off my new skills. The first one will be in early February for my husband’s birthday.
So far I have learned to cook a creamy spinach pasta and, just today, I made some mini-cheesecakes. Two were coffee flavoured, one was plain, one was chocolate swirl, and the last was peanut butter with chocolate swirl. I ate the peanut butter one and it was really great. It was also very easy so no more spending 10$ on a single slice of cheesecake from the dessert shop any more. Maybe, in addition to more natural healthy food, I will also save some money?!
Anyway, for the first dinner party I am planning a Greek theme! I have already reached out to a friend for her spanokopita recipe and will track down some kefalograviera cheese for the saganaki. The Greek salad should be easy enough but will need to figure out which mains to prepare for the vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Finding the Greek wine will be easy enough! May have to skip the Greek dessert though as it is not may favourite. More cheesecake, perhaps? We will see!! Am looking forward to my cooking adventures!