First Steps

After months of physical therapy and loads of positive encouragement on our behalf, our little gal has finally taken her first steps! As you all know, this has been a long road for us, so to say we are two happy parents, is an understatement.

Of course we knew she would walk eventually, but since she is well past the “average” walking age, there were times, I admit, I was growing quite concerned. While she is on target with all the other developmental milestones (although I pay little attention to this), it was still difficult to see the other toddlers her age circling laps around her at the park.

Now I can rest at ease knowing she is well on her way to keeping up with the other kids, and for now, I’m going to enjoy the calm before my main form of exercise is chasing after her all day.

And yes, I was bribing her to walk with tortilla chips.




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12/52

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 “A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

I shared this image on my Instagram last week, but it was just too good not to share on the blog. Her scowling expression, messy face and of course the beautiful Golden Gate bridge made it a must share.

Berlin: She is a great judge of character, I always joke with Ryan that if Berlin doesn’t like them, then neither should we. There was a lady on the beach that day acting far from normal, Berlin immediately picked up on it and gave the woman her best scowl. Got to love her.

Linking up with Jodi.



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Berlin Bites: Sweet Potato Hot Pockets

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I’m always trying to come up with recipes that are easy, on-the-go meals for Berlin. I would much prefer to pack a meal that can be eaten with her hands, rather than pack a fork or spoon while we are out and about.

When I’m in a rush (which is always) I end up falling back on the food pouches (she likes the Wise Punkin brand), but of course I prefer to have homemade food prepared if at all possible.

I came up with this idea when I spied the frozen Hot Pockets on the shelf (you know, the ones from when you were a little kid?) while strolling through the freezer aisle of the grocery store. I thought for sure I could replicate these, but in a healthy way, and the filling possibilities are endless.

I chose to use spelt flour as it is rich in both fiber and protein and has a high water solubility content; making it easier to digest than other flours (such as whole wheat). I added sunflower seeds for a little flavor and texture and considered next time maybe adding a bit of honey for some sweetness (give it a try and let me know what you think).

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Sweet Potato Hot Pockets

Dough Ingredients:
2 cups spelt flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup warm water
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds

Filling Ingredients:
Medium sweet potato
1/2 cup organic, no salt canned black beans
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 cup organic shredded spinach

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Pierce sweet potato and bake for approx 45 minutes on 400 degrees (I threw mine in the toaster oven in the morning).

While the sweet potato is cooking prepare the dough by combining all ingredients (except 1/3 cup of water) into a food processor and pulsing until a dough forms

Slowly add in the additional 1/3 cup of water as needed, you may not need it, or you may need all of it

Lay the dough in-between two pieces of parchment paper (if rolling impaired like me) and roll until flat

Next use a cookie cutter of choice and cut out the dough (in case you’re wondering, this is a porcupine-doesn’t look like much of anything really)

Once the sweet potato is done baking, remove from the skin and place in a medium mixing bowl, add black beans, cumin and spinach and mash together

Then place your filling on the dough shapes and either fold over or place another shape on top (if small), then crimp the edges with a fork (be careful not to overfill).

Then bake on a cookie sheet in the 400 degree oven for approx 10-12 minutes. Pockets are done when dough is browned.

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You can use just about any filling your heart desires, I chose these specific ingredients as I knew they would satisfy Berlin’s picky tastes.

They will keep in the fridge for a day or two, but then I suggest freezing the leftovers for a quick grab-and-go meal. They can be heated in the microwave for a minute or so, however I prefer throwing them in the toaster oven to keep the dough from getting soggy.

Enjoy!




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Breastfeeding: The End

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For the past nineteen months Berlin and I have enjoyed the same routine every night; bath, nurse, books, then bed. But early last week our routine suddenly changed. As I prepared to nurse Berlin, I lifted my blouse, and without hesitation she instantly pulled it back down. She then stuck the pacifier in her mouth, turned the opposite direction and cuddled up to me to read a book; and just like that we were done nursing.

In all honesty I was hoping it would happen this way, and I was wishing the time would come soon. For months I had battled the weaning process; reading books and blogs on how to wean and discussing it with my fellow nursing mothers, but despite my best efforts there was little weaning done.

There were times when it seemed I was having success, we would drop down from six to four nursings a day, sometimes even as low as three, but then just like that, we were back up to six plus times a day. Admittedly so I wasn’t as strict about the process as maybe I should have been (I mean obviously or her feedings wouldn’t keep increasing as they did), but due to her slow weight gain I felt tremendous guilt not giving her the added nutrition she needed. So I continued on, allowing her to nurse as often as she liked, whether it be two or even eight times a day. This roller coaster of feedings went on for several months (you can only imagine how sore my boobs were from this constant flux of supply), until nearly two months ago when I successfully got her down to three times a day; morning, noon and night. At that point I was perfectly satisfied with the number of daily feedings and felt less pressure to wean her. I began to trust in the natural weaning process and was more than confident that she would begin to wean herself as she was ready.

Admittedly I was yearning for my independence and the feeling of owning my total body again, but it was still a shock that she weaned so suddenly. I’m thrilled she did so on her own terms, without any pressure from me, but I still feel a sense of sadness knowing I will never nurse her again. But alas, I’m sure this holds true for all nursing mothers and I’m confident that down the road I’ll be nursing another.

For now I’m so proud of both Berlin and I for having made it through a year and a half plus and I’m beyond grateful for the beautiful end to our journey; a self-weaned, satisfied baby with little pain and no depression on my behalf. I have to say, it was a perfect ending.

 


 

 

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11/52

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 “A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

Berlin: I considered cleaning up her face, but this is her most days; happy, silly and messy. Just as she should be at nineteen months.

Linking up with Jodi.




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Berlin Snacks: Cheesy Crackers

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You might have heard me mention before that Berlin is obsessed with crackers. I don’t know when it all started, but I will tell you there is no turning back. For awhile I was trying to ignore her passion for the salty snack in hopes it would pass, but my denial was getting us nowhere. Every grocery trip was like a broken record, “crackers, crackers” throughout the entire store until I would finally give in (if you don’t know I’m a total pushover when it comes to my daughter). In all honesty, I’m ok with her having crackers on occasion, but since its grown into a love affair I’ve become a bit more concerned with all the processed ingredients and even more so the high sodium.

So this week I set out to make my own healthy, low sodium crackers. Let me start by saying this was no easy task. It took me three tries to get to this recipe and I still feel like it could use some tweaking. However, Berlin was satisfied and ate almost the whole batch in one sitting, so I dubbed this recipe complete.

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Cheesy Crackers

2 cups blanched almond flour

4 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 egg (or flax egg to make vegan)

1-2 tablespoons of water

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large mixing bowl mix all dry ingredients together.

In a smaller bowl whisk egg and oil together.

Pour egg mixture into dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms. If the dough is crumbly add the water until dough is solid (I needed approx 1 tablespoon).

Cut two pieces of parchment paper the size of your baking sheet. Lay the first piece on a cutting board (or counter) and place dough in the middle.

Lay second piece of parchment paper over the dough and roll out until dough is about 1/4″ thick.

Cut crackers with a pizza roller into desired size and poke a hole in the middle (I used a chopstick).

Then transfer the parchment paper with the dough onto the baking sheet and bake for approx 10-12 minutes

I wanted the crackers to be soft and chewy for Berlin so they were less of a choking hazard, but if you like your crackers crispier then I would suggest baking them closer to 15-20 minutes.

These can easily be made vegan by substituting the egg with a flax egg or they could be made with dairy by using real cheddar cheese instead of nutritional yeast.

Hope your little one enjoys.




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Nineteen Months

Growing / She seems much taller these days, however it might be that she is standing more often (rather than scooting on her bum all the time). She finally weighted in at 20 lbs our last checkup-but feels much heavier on achy back.

Eating / Still a great eater. Her favs lately consist of all things Thai; pad thai, fried rice, coconut noodle soup…and she’s still loving the Mexican food, can’t get enough of the burrito action. Ryan accidentally (well he says so at least) bought some peanut butter cereal puffs that she is in love with, but who doesn’t love some sugar filled puffs?!

Speaking / The girl can talk! She talks and talks, saying sentence like structures (not sure what she is saying), but she is definitely  carrying on a conversation. Although her sentences are not understandable, her single words are very clear and well spoken. Her words of the moment include; why, outside, car, bus, park and still loves to say “uh-oh.” Then there is her new recent word, her first curse word; “puck. Mama has to watch her language.

Learning / She is slowly but surely learning how to take her first steps. She is so close, but lacking the confidence to just let go and go for it. Soon I tell ya, soon!

Mastering / Temper tantrums. She is generally a happy, easy going child, but suddenly she throws herself on the floor in a fit of rage over the smallest thing (like me given her a broken cracker, she always wants a full cracker, and one for each hand).

Loving / For all of those that follow my Instagram, you know she is obsessed with her stuffed animals. She has four different ones that are in the rotation (bunny, lion, kitty and a cow), however kitty is always in the mix, he’s her number one. She is still loving her toddler chair, however she now enjoys pushing her animals around the house in the chair, more than sitting in it. She loves mimicking me do housework (no complaints here!), her favorite is helping me sweep with her mini broom.

Loathing / She hates sleeping lately, especially napping. She has always been great at going to bed (not so much staying asleep) but never fussed when we put her down and always took great naps-never had a problem with naps. Suddenly she fights us every step of the way. She knows her sleep routine, so even bath time (her fav) erupts in a fight as she knows the end result is bedtime. It can take me up to 2 hours to get her down for a nap these days (total waste of a good day), but I keep trying as I know the consequences if she doesn’t sleep. Then she will often scream for an hour or two at night then eventually pass out from exhaustion. Overall its a real hoot of a time.

Laughing / She’s a total goof, always laughing or mock laughing at everything (she loves to pretend laugh and throw her head back with this silly, toothy laugh).

Playing / In the past few weeks she has not been into so much of “play” but things that involve deep concentration or observation. Where as she would normally be climbing up and down the gym at the playground, she now is content to sit back and observe the other kids for long periods of time. At home, rather than play with her toys she would rather read book after book or carefully line up all her stuffed animals one by one then move again to another location and start all over again.

 


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10/52

10.52

 “A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

Berlin: she is utterly attached to these stuffed animals; “bu-ya” & ” me” for bunny and kitty. If you’re wondering “me” stands for meow. She mostly refers to all animals by the sound they make, rather than by name.

 


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Berlin Bites: Buckwheat Spinach Waffles

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I don’t know about you, but mornings are a bit chaotic in our home. Ryan is rushing to get out the door for work, I’m trying to sneak in a quick shower before he leaves, while Berlin patiently {impatiently} waits for someone to feed her.  For a short while breakfast was simple enough; scrambled eggs or a cup of yogurt sufficed, but as Berlin’s taste buds evolved and her appetite grew larger, it became tougher to find quick and easy meal ideas for the busy mornings.

Ryan is a huge fan of all things carbs for breakfast; bagels, pancakes, waffles…don’t get me wrong, all tasty foods, but with little nutritional value. As of recently these foods became our go-to for Berlin as they were quick and easy, but then I was left feeling guilt-ridden (I know I’m a health maniac!) over the little nutrition she was receiving for her first meal of the day.

My solution; make ahead and freeze, goo green waffles. I know, I know, sounds {and looks} disgusting, but truly, they are very tasty-and kid approved!

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Buckwheat Spinach Waffles

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 cup oat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, whisked

1 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup organic spinach

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

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Preheat waffle iron & spray with coconut oil

Place all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well

Place all wet ingredients (including spinach and blueberries) in a blender and blend until smooth

Pour wet ingredients with dry and mix well

Pour approx 1/2 cup of mixture onto the center of waffle iron and cook according to your iron

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I serve the waffles as is to Berlin, but feel free to add fruit, butter, syrup…whatever you fancy for you or your child.

This recipe makes almost exactly four waffles, however as I mentioned above, I like to double the recipe and freeze for an easy go-to meal.

Hope you enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes.




 

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Academy Walk

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Is it okay that I’m jealous of my daughter? I mean come on, this kid has it so good! Not only does she have two parents that love her to death, but she is growing up in most amazing city; San Francisco.

There is an abundant amount of activities for kids here, all of which are awesome (and sometimes free). Once a month the museums about the city grant free admissions for either a day or a full weekend.

This past weekend, we lucked out with the Academy of Science being free the entire weekend, so we went twice. I swear this kid has seen more culture than I experienced the first twenty years of my life.

As you can see here, we are making quite the progress with Berlin’s walking. She insisted on walking the entire museum (with help of course), but we are so pleased with her progress!




 

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