STUFFED PEPPERS

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Once the weather starts to warm up I typically prepare much lighter meals packed with veggies. Stuffed peppers are one of my favorites and make a super easy and quick weeknight meal.

Usually they end up being a mix of meat, rice, and whatever vegetables I have on hand – today zucchini, mushrooms, and tomatoes.  I also used ground turkey and brown rice to make these a healthy dinner option. I kept the flavor light and simple but with a few tweaks you can switch things up pretty easily. Think ground beef, tomato, basil, and mozzarella cheese for an Italian version or ground lamb, olives, roasted peppers, and feta cheese for a Greek spin.  These are topped with a bit of breadcrumb and Parmesean cheese to make the perfect delicious bite.

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Ingredients
4 medium peppers
1 lb ground turkey
1 cup cooked rice
1 medium zucchini
4oz mushrooms
2 small tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
4 TBSP olive oil
1 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
handful of parsely, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Cut tops off peppers and removed ribs and seeds.  If necessary, slice a small amount off bottom of pepper to allow it to stand.  Sprinkle inside of peppers with a 2 tbsp oil and salt and pepper.  Roast in 350 degree oven until peppers just begin to soften, about 15 minutes.

Cook rice according to package directions and set aside.  Meanwhile heat remaining oil in medium pan and add turkey.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until browned. Small dice zucchini and mushrooms, mince the garlic, and add all to the pan.  Cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Dice tomatoes and add, along with any juices, to the pan and cook a few more minutes.  Stir in rice and parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Use a spoon to fill cavity of pepper with meat, rice, and veggie mixture.  Don’t be afraid to fill those babies up!  Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and cook about 10 minutes more until peppers are soft and tops are slightly browned.

*Any leftover mixture is great stuffed in zucchini or tomatoes or eaten right from a bowl!

 

 

 

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WEEKEND REVIEW

imageHow was everyone’s weekend?  We had absolutely beautiful weather here in CT so I packed up Logan and took him on his first official hike!  We visited Case Mountain in Manchester which is a nice family-friendly place and can be as easy or difficult as you’d like based on the trail you choose. Considering I was carrying him in our Baby Bjorn backpack we opted for the main path following the white blazes which is a bit easier than the rest, although the initial hoof up the hill with 17 extra pounds strapped to you is no easy feat!

The area is the former family land of the twin Case brothers, who operated a highly successful paper mill during the 1800s.  Their mansions sit on either side of the entrance to the recreational area and a really neat, although dilapidated, chestnut cabin can be found along the trails.  I love history, especially that which can be found in your own backyard! The summit, Lookout Mountain, offers great views of Hartford and the surrounding areas.  Although the trees are still brown at this point it is still a lovely hike.  Logan seemed to enjoy taking in the sights and was sound asleep by the end of it.

image I also found this adorable embroidered dress from Gap that I can’t wait to arrive. I’ve been seriously gravitating towards breezy bohemian styles lately and this one will be great with wedges on a warm summer night.  Plus I scored it for 35% off (this sale is still going on!) making it even sweeter. image

Also how cute is Logan in his new sun hat?! I’m obsessed with this little boy.

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All around an excellent weekend!

MOM UNIFORM

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I’ve always trended toward a more casual style and now that I’m a mom this is even more so true. My outfits need to be functional enough to allow me to get down on the floor and play with Logan but still fashionable enough to leave me looking and feeling put together. Enter my mom uniform – denim, a cozy tee or sweater,  and comfy shoes.

This striped long sleeve tee from JCrew is on point.  Stripes are my jam and this shirt does not disappoint. It pairs great with denim pants or shorts and is light enough to be worn through both spring and summer.  I kept this outfit super simple for a day of running errands pairing it with comfy skinnies, Toms, and my favorite field jacket.

 

H&M Denim  //  JCrew Factory Field Jacket (sold out, similar here and here //  JCrew Striped Tee  //  Toms Classics

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WEEKEND BUYS

 

Clutch //  Peplum Top //  Scarf
Linen Blend Dress // Printed Pants  //  Pleated Swing Dress

Old Navy had some great sales this past weekend, plus a super cash promotion so I took Logan out for a little shopping and scored some awesome deals.

Once Spring hits most days you’ll find me in a dress and Old Navy’s selection definitely did not disappoint. This linen blend dress is perfect for a casual weekend and this pleated swing dress could easily be dressed up for a function or night out.  I also love this sheath dress and this shirt dress for work.

This peplum top and these fun printed pants are certainly helping to round out my spring wardrobe.  Many of their sales are still happening so I’d recommend checking them out!

I couldn’t leave without grabbing something for Logan – I have a real obsession with buying baby clothes…it’s bad. But how can you say no to such cute outfits!

Sweatshirt & Shorts set  //  Patterned Onesies  // Pocket Tee & Pants

LOGAN AT 6 MONTHS

imageLogan turned 6 months old today and I’m left wondering where the time has gone! It feels like just yesterday his tiny little body was put in my arms for the first time. These past 6 months have been absolutely exhausting but also so rewarding and I can’t believe how much he has changed in such a short time.  Some updates on where we are at 6 months follow!

Feeding. Logan was fed breastmilk exclusively through 4 months, after which we started supplementing with a bit of formula. My supply greatly depleted after returning to work and I was unable to pump enough during the workday to satisfy his appetite while at daycare. I still exclusively breastfed while at home and the majority of his bottles at daycare were still breastmilk. As we approached 5 months, the proportion of breastmilk to formula decreased and soon his bottles at daycare were all formula. At about 5 ½ months I stopped pumping and we also started giving formula bottles at home because my supply continued to drop. Currently we are down to one breastfeeding session a day (usually in the middle of the night) and I anticipate that fading out shortly.

It took me several weeks to be ok with our ending breastfeeding. I felt in some way that I had failed him, and honestly felt more hormonal deciding to end breastfeeding than I did during the first few days home with Logan. Ultimately it has been nice to have my body back and the stress and worry I felt about how much milk I was producing has melted away. Logan is just as happy with a formula bottle as he is with breastmilk and looks up at me with the same wide beautiful eyes that completely melt my heart. I am so happy I stuck with the breastfeeding for as long as I did, as I was very close to giving it up early on, and am very proud of the amount of milk I was able to provide him. I am still in awe that I was able to nourish a tiny human for so long.
We have also tried sweet potato and peas although his interest in solids is limited to about one bite and then he just wants to play with the spoon!

imageSleeping. Logan got really sick around 4 months old and hasn’t slept well since then. He has an awful cough as a result of a respiratory virus that according to doctors can, and in his case has, lingered for months. I still feed him once during the night and most other times we are able to calm him with a pacifier and resting our hand on his chest. He typically wakes every 2-3 hours though resulting in very tired mommy and daddy.

We’ve used this noise machine since he moved to his crib from the bassinet and have a pretty strict bedtime routine so are hopeful things will get better. We also recently started using an essential oil diffuser in hopes of relaxing him during the night. I’ll let you all know how that works out in a future post! We swapped out the Grobag mentioned in this post for a Halo Early Walker sleepsack as it has holes for his feet to stick out – something I wanted in case he figures out how pull himself to standing sooner than we expect.

Movement. Logan is fully rolling both ways – belly to back and vice versus. He’s figured out how to roll and “worm” his way around the floor to get where he wants to go. I think he’s pretty close to crawling as well as he lifts his back end up and propels himself forward. He is also very close to sitting up from a laying position on his own and tries to do so constantly.

Other updates. Logan is teething but none have popped through yet so he is super drooly.  Often times I get to work and realize I have a drool spot on my shoulder! He loves his hands and feet and more times than not one or the other can be found in his mouth.

Logan has developed quite the little personality. He can be a bit sheepish around new people which I find to be completely adorable and has developed a little stranger danger especially if he wakes up in a different place from which he fell asleep in. Not to mention he has the best laugh!

Some of our favorite baby products at 6 months are the Halo Sleepsack, this gel teether you can freeze, and this Green Sprout car rattle that Logan loves chewing on. Similac Sensitive Non-GMO and Dr. Brown’s Wide-Neck bottles make formula feeding a breeze and this probiotic seems help keep him regular. Boudreaux Butt Paste was a lifesaver when Logan developed his first diaper rash and he loves spending time in this bouncer .

imageI never imagined the amount of love I could have for this little human. He is the best part of my day and his smile makes me so happy. He has brought so much joy to our lives.

Read about our favorite baby products at 4 months here and my initial thoughts on motherhood here.
Let me know your experiences with a 6 month old – or what you’re most looking forward to! I love hearing from other moms (and dads)!

THOUGHTS ON MOTHERHOOD: WORKING OUTSIDE THE HOME

I overhead a comment the other day from a woman who had decided to stay at home after having her baby to be a “fulltime mom” and that got me thinking about my own decision to return to work.  Truthfully I was put off by the notion that a fulltime mom is one who does not work outside the home.  Does being a working mother make me any less of a fulltime mom than one who stays home?  I view motherhood as a 24/7 job regardless if you are with your child exclusively during that time.   I think about, worry about, obsess over Logan all day every day.

imageReturning to work was the best decision for myself and my family.  It was important to me to maintain my professional identity after having a baby – one I have worked several years to develop.  I enjoy my job and have many career goals left to accomplish.  It also affords us the opportunity to maintain our standard of living and participate in activities and hobbies we might not be able to on one salary.  That’s not to say there aren’t times I wish I was home with Logan more and I miss him terribly when I am away.  It is a constant balancing act to do well at home and at my job and I’ve accepted there will be times when I’m not great at doing both.   I give so much credit to those mothers who do stay home with their children.  The 3 months home on maternity leave were absolutely exhausting and I imagine it only gets harder.   The decision to return to work or stay home is a personal one and as mothers we should stand behind and support each individual’s choice.

Speaking of being a mom  – I NEED this travel coffee mug.  It’s a Mean Girls reference which is one of my favorite movies.   Watch the scene here!

Coffee Mug

Here and here are some tips for returning to work after maternity leave.

These habits of effective stay-at-home moms could easily be part of any mother’s routine!

I’d love to hear about your decision to either return to work or stay home and the reasons behind your choice.  I’m always interested in the experiences of other mothers as I try to navigate my own path.

WEDNESDAY WANTS: SCALLOPED FLATS

I’m loving scalloped ballet flats lately. The detailing is sweet and really dresses up a pair of otherwise boring flats.  They look great with a pair of skinnies or a breezy spring dress.

I would love this pair but at this point in my life can’t justify spending nearly $500 on a pair of shoes.  Luckily this trend is popping up everywhere and I’ve found some really affordable options

Audrey Brooke Winny  //  Sam Edelman  //  French Connection
LC Lauren Conrad  //  American Rag

I’m a huge fan of Of Sam Edelman shoes. They are high quality and at a great price point and they offer the scalloped flats in a variety of colors. These gold ones are so perfect and this fuschia pair would be a great addition to my spring wardrobe!

 

 

WEEKEND BUYS

Hey all! Sorry for the radio silence the past few weeks – it’s proving to be more difficult than I thought balancing work, being a mom, and finding time to post here.  I am hoping to carve out some time to post more regularly though so please keep checking back!

Last week was a really long week at work so I mostly was looking forward to laying low in the house all weekend.  That didn’t stop me from doing a little online shopping though and I found some great deals.  Spring is in full force in the stores, and although we had SNOW here today, my mind is on dressing for the season.

Tank top // Gingham Bathing Suit // Rugby Stripe Shirt
Fringed Sandals // Tee Dress // Poncho

I naturally gravitate to more neutral colors that can easily mix and match into a complete outfit.  Given the little time I have to get ready most days I need options in my wardrobe that easily fit together.  All the above are also super comfortable – a huge plus when toting around a baby!

Speaking of the little guy I found some super cute pieces for him as well!  His daycare teachers recently told me he is the best dressed baby in their room – a reputation I intend on maintaining through the upcoming season!

Bodysuit // Socks // Pants

I’m looking forward to warm days with Logan and the opportunity to regularly get some fresh air.  What pieces are you eyeing for spring?

MOMS DAY OFF

Growing up my mom would let us take the occasional mental health day.  A day where she called us out sick from school and we were allowed to relax at home or run errands with her.  Those days are something I’ve carried into my adult life – the idea being your everyday stressors are limited and you allow yourself to physically and mentally rest.

Being a new mom and having returned to my fulltime job outside of the home I have been running on empty for several weeks.  Pure exhaustion is the only way to describe it.  I was more than due for a day off.  So I took the day off from work, helped get Logan ready for daycare, and settled in for my solo day. At first I felt guilty about sending Logan to daycare as our time together during the week is limited. As I touched on in this post I really do think time away from him makes me a better mom, so I kissed him goodbye and pushed the guilt out of my mind.

What did I do first?  I slept. Hard. Until noon which I haven’t done since college and it was every bit as amazing as I remembered.   The sun was shining so I opened up my sunroof and hit the road. I took myself out for lunch, grabbed an afternoon latte, and went shopping where I picked up these boots and this dress that I can’t wait to pair together.  I also bought myself a bouquet a flowers just because.

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This day was exactly what I needed.  I feel refreshed and reset. And it made my evening with Logan all that much sweeter.

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More about mental health days can be found in these articles:  how to tell you’re in need of a mental health dayhow to take a day off without guilt,  and ideas for a mental health day.  What would you do on a day off?

 

LINKS I LIKE

A roundup of  Internet things that caught my eye this week

1.  Sometimes when you have a particularly delicious looking meal you need to snap a picture to share.  Follow these rules for instagramming food.

2.  That first link led me to this wonderful creation –  Tex-Mex breakfast waffle nachos. I will be trying these one weekend in the very near future.  Yum!

3.  This list of 25 most iconic movie quotes of the last 25 years is great.  How many of these movies have you seen?

4.  This cosmetic database includes details on the chemicals and toxicity levels of thousands of beauty products.  I initially started using it to check on the products I use on Logan but have since started checking my own beauty products.

5.  A listing of the most photogenic places in each state.  Connecticut’s location is Mohegan Sun Casino.