Friday, May 8, 2015

The Gift of Sleep

Sunday is Mother's Day and I can't wait! Obviously it's my very first Mother's Day and I feel like I've entered the super exclusive and incredible group of motherhood finally! They just don't tell you that the entrance fee is 9 months of heart burn, swollen feet, hip pain and nausea. But the rewards are you get to be the proud mother a beautiful healthy baby who you will love unconditionally for the rest of your life.

While Nolan is too young to go out and purchase or make me a Mother's Day gift, this year he has gifted me with the most wonderful gift of all....a full night of sleep. That's right. Nolan has been sleeping 6-8 hours every night for the past week-and-a-half, and it's been incredible! The little guy goes to bed at 8:30-9pm and then doesn't wake up until anywhere from 3-5am. Praise the Lord!
The first night he did this I cried I was so happy. Then I was terrified because I thought something was wrong or he was sick. Nope! Nolan just likes to get his beauty sleep! 
The gift of sleep I owe to one single thing.....creating a bedtime routine. I've spent the last 4 weeks doing the exact same thing every night with Nolan and when Nolan turned 2 months old, it finally clicked with him. {Hallelujah Chorus!}
Here is what we do....
Sometime during this hour, Nolan eats, gets burped and then hangs out in his swing or cuddles with me or Dusty. 
Bath time!
I know all the books and online resources say to only bathe your baby 2-3 times a week. Well, I don't care! Nolan only gets washed with soap and shampoo every other night and on the other nights he just takes a quick soak in the warm water. This relaxes him and is key to him falling asleep at a decent time. No bath = late night bedtime!
Nolan then gets out of the bath and gets slathered and massaged with Johnson & Johnson Baby Bedtime Lotion. Then I put him in his warm footy pajamas and read to him Llama Llama Nighty Night. The lotion has magical powers I swear! Or probably just lavender. But either way, I noticed a huge difference in how well he slept when I started using this lotion. Now I even use the baby bedtime wash when I bathe him.
Nolan gets swaddled from the armpits down (I'll explain) and then has his last meal of the day. He loves to be swaddled but has always fought having his arms contained in the blanket since day 1. Plus it makes me feel better having his arms out because if he were to roll over, he can still use his arms and hopefully prevent SIDS. Then I burp and cuddle him until he is in a deep-deep slumber and gently place him in his bassinet for the night!
Nighty Night Nolan!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Light & Fresh Tuna Melt

It's funny, the entire time you are pregnant you think, "I can't wait to eat the food I want and drink all the fun drinks I want when this little guy is born!" WRONG! Just when you think you can go back to living a care-free foodie life, the realty of breastfeeding hits you. Your baby still eats and drinks what you eat and drink.

For instance, one night I ate some gorgeous and rich rosemary grilled lamb chops. They agreed with me, but did not agree with Nolan one bit. I had to pay for that one with an entire night of colicky crying and what felt like endless diarrhea diaper changes. Lessoned learned: no more lamb. Now after 2 months, Nolan and I have figured each other out...thank goodness! Nights like those are miserable for both Nolan and mom!

One of the foods I've been wary about is seafood, especially tuna. I love tuna fish casserole, it's one of my favorite all time comfort foods. And don't even get me started on ahi tuna and spicy tuna rolls! But while I was pregnant and now breastfeeding, the potential mercury levels make me nervous for little Nolan, and I haven't wanted to risk it.

Luckily for us new and expected mothers, plus any tuna lover, I discovered a new brand of canned tuna fish that gets rid of all our mercury fears. Safe Catch tuna screens every single tuna fish for purity and mercury levels, making it completely safe to eat. Plus it gives you the extra Omega-3's your body and growing baby need by packing the tuna raw in the can, sealing all the important nutrients and then cooking it. I've been told most tuna fish brand precook the tuna, which washes away and drains most of the important nutrients. How disappointing. This Safe Catch tuna on the other hand....definitely not disappointing!

So in celebration of a tuna fish that I can safely eat, I made a light and fresh tuna melt that is healthy and fulfills my tuna cravings. It has easily become one of Dusty's favorite go-to lunches and mine.

Light & Fresh Tuna Melt
{Serves 2}

-1 (5 ounce) can Safe Catch Tuna, drained
-1 tablespoon minced Shallot
-1 tablespoon Mayonnaise
-1/2 tablespoon Lemon Juice
-1 teaspoon dried Parsley
-Dash of Salt & Pepper, to taste
-Dash of Tobasco, to taste
-2 slices Whole Wheat Bread, toasted
-4 slices of Tomato
-1/4 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Preheat boiler. In a bowl, stir to combine the tuna, shallot, mayonnaise, lemon juice, parsley, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Spread 1/4 of the mixture on each of the 2 toasted pieces of whole wheat bread. Top each tuna melt with 2 slices of tomato and 2 tablespoons of cheddar cheese. Place open faced tuna melts onto baking sheet and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling, approximately 3-4 minutes.

Safe Catch Tuna provided me with sample of their canned tuna to review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
Recipe inspired and adapted from Eating Well

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

{One Month}

Has it really been a month already?!?!
Hard to believe a month has already flown by!
4 weeks of sleepless nights, endless feedings, dirty diapers and the best cuddles....I'm loving every minute of it.
    Nolan's Mom

Monday, March 30, 2015

Duke & His New Little Buddy

One thing I did not consider when having a baby was how Duke, my fur-baby, my "first born" would react to the new arrival. All throughout my pregnancy he was uber lovable and super attached to me. I assumed that because he could somehow sense there was a baby that he would instantly be overjoyed and adjusted to the new arrival.
Boy was I wrong....
When I went into labor, Dusty's dad came and picked Duke up and took him out to the farm to stay while we were at the hospital and during the early days of transitioning with Nolan. After a few days of being home and adjusted (as much as we could) to the new baby, we had Dusty's parents bring Duke to the house for a "meet and great." Duke was not impressed. He gave Nolan a few licks on the feet and a couple sniffs, and was clearly experiencing some sibling jealousy.
Not once did Duke growl or act aggressive toward Nolan, he was more hurt and upset by me! This took me completely off guard and as a new exhausted mom with fluctuating hormones, this totally broke my heart. I'd call for Duke or go near him to cuddle and he would be completely aloof to me. He would ignore me, not make eye contact with me and walk past me as I called for him. To have my fur-baby act like this was devastating.
Luckily....with some puppy treats, string cheese and extra emphasis on cuddling Duke, he has come around to both Nolan and I, and harmony is restored! It took a good solid week before Duke would sit next to me on the couch, go near Nolan and I if we were together and even sleep on the bed with Dusty and I. Thankfully we are all adjusted and back to normal.
If anything, Duke is now completely in love with Nolan and wants to share his dog toys with him during play time!
Lesson learned: I should have listened to the advice I had read in my pregnancy books. They say it's a good idea to distance yourself a bit from your pet towards the end of pregnancy so they are adjusted to not getting as much attention. I definitely didn't do that. If anything I cuddled him more. We did things like let him smell Nolan's blanket and clothes from the hospital to adjust him to baby, but didn't think about adjusting him to the attention he received from Dusty and myself.  Learn from my mistakes!
Now what I'm looking forward to is seeing how Duke and Nolan become the best of friends. I can already see the bond between them developing and it's adorable!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Flank Steak & Potato Hash

It's funny, my mom said to me the other day, "Wow! I can't believe you are blogging again!" I know. I know. I go through long spurts of not blogging...I blame working nights and sleeping during the days while being SUPER pregnant. Plus another thing...morning sickness. A food bloggers worst nightmare. But now that I'm home with my little man and feeling great, I have been enjoying being back in the kitchen and whipping up fun eats. During the day I put Nolan in his little plush puppy dog chair and get to cookin'!

Over the weekend I made these delicious tacos and they were a real treat. I especially loved the pico de gallo from Laurie at Simply Scratch's blog. It could possibly be my favorite pico de gallo yet!

With Spring just about to arrive on the hi-line, I am counting down the days until our little Mexican restaurant, a mere 90 miles away, Serranos, opens up again. Less than 2 months! It's a seasonal restaurant at the gates of East Glacier and the chiles rellenos alone are worth the drive.  Sadly, in the winter time when the restaurant is closed, if you want a taco, you gotta make the I did!

After Dusty and I stuffed our faces with as much flank steak tacos as we could possibly eat, we were left with about 1/2 a pound of flank steak. I don't know about you, but I hate leftover steak. It becomes chewy, tough and just doesn't reheat very well. So what do you do when you have leftover steak? Make breakfast hash! And don't forget to top it with a perfectly fried egg and a couple dashes of Tobasco sauce to really send it over the top :)  

Flank Steak & Potato Hash
{Serves 4}

-1-1/2 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and 1/2 inch diced
-1/2 cup chopped Yellow Onion
-2 tablespoons Salted Butter
-1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-Salt & Pepper to taste
-1 Green Onion, thinly sliced
-1/2 tablespoon dried Parsley
-1/2 pound leftover cooked Flank Steak (or any leftover steak), cut into bite-size pieces

Heat the olive oil and melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the potatoes, onions, salt and pepper to the pan. Cook, turning occasionally with a spatula, for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are softened, browned and cooked through. Add the steak pieces and cook an additional 3-5 minutes until the steak is warmed through. Then turn off the heat and add the green onions and dried parsley.
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