Baking Together!

Alivia and I love to bake together! It's one of our favorite activities to do together.  We love to make yummy baked goods because we love to eat the goodies after we bake them, because we're bonding, because Alivia can make a huge mess (more her love)! And, it's the one time I don't get super stressed out about the huge mess. haha...Alivia knows how to make some pretty huge messes. :) I can tell she is going to be a lover of cooking/baking as she grows (or at least that's my prediction) because she asks to make "muffins, granola bars, or cookies" quite often. We're always willing to try new recipes and looking for yummy things to make!

Costco Fun!

We seriously love Costco! Sometimes, I only go to get one thing (although that is difficult to do), but we end up staying for an hour because of the samples and all the fun things to look at. Alivia thinks it is a play place with all the toys to try out and books to read/look at. Nolan is usually sleeping but as of late he has been waking up during our Costco runs and joins in on the fun. He is now an avid cart rider, but this is one of the first times that he rode in a cart and loved it. :) Cuteness!!

Uncle Chris!

Uncle Chris came home from being in Israel for 1 year. He stayed with us for 2 weeks before moving into his own place. We really enjoyed having him stay with us and catch up! Aliva loves her Uncle Chris. :) It's so fun to have him close by again.

Drastic Measures!

It was time to take drastic measures for Mr. Nolan. His skin issues were causing me more stress that I thought it was and I needed something to turn, something promising, something to start working. We went to the extreme and guess what, IT'S WORKING and for more that 1 day! We have many "oh my goodness, this is it, it's working" moments but it only lasts for a day, maybe 2 at most. Nolan has had pretty clear skin, not perfect, but the best skin he has had since 2 1/2 months for a full week now. PRAISE the LORD!! I didn't really realize how stressed about it until now. I feel so relieved and I am just praying that what we are doing is really, truly the answer to his skin issues. So what are we doing?
We did made 3 4 big changes:
1. We dropped all creams/lotions/steroids that we had been using and started over with a new cream. We are pleased with the results. I don't know if that is the true reason he looks better, but he has stopped his itching quite a bit. He still itches when he is tired due to habit, but he has cut down a lot. And, since he is not itching, his skin doesn't have his many usually scratches on his face, arms, chest, legs as usual. We found a cream dedicated to those with eczema or psoriasis from a company called Derma E. It is quite pricey, but it's worth it if it works.
2. I dropped almost everything out of my diet. And, I mean the majority of my diet has changed. I thought I was already quite limited but now I'm super limited. We are doing a Paleo challenge to get our base diet and see how we feel by eliminating processed foods, grains, sugars, legumes, dairy, soy (for the first 2 weeks). We only ate vegetables, fruits, nuts and meats for the first 2 weeks and then we decided to add rice, beans, oats, and the occasional dark chocolate (very limited) into our diet too. I used to eat chocolate every day 2 to 3 times a day-my weakness-but now I have had it 2 or 3 times in 3 weeks and only in our homemade granola bars that we made. Alivia loves rice, beans, and oatmeal/granola bars and we don't believe those foods to effect Nolan, so we decided to add them back into our diet earlier than the 6 weeks. (Side-note: I feel really good and plan on at least continuing to eliminate wheat from my diet when we are done with the Paleo challenge. I was having some major issues when I re-introduced wheat into my diet after finding out Nolan was not sensitive to it. I found out that I have a sensitivity to wheat (not gluten) that was causing me to feel yucky for over a month. Once I stopped eating it again, I felt immensely better with lots more energy!!)
3. We got rid of our kitty, Sniffels, of 4 years. Nolan was showing allergic reaction moments to him so we made a huge family move and brought him to a no-kill shelter in Castle Rock. We miss him because he was a fantastic cat, but we are happy to be animal-free for now in our life. It's nice to have to only have to take care of the kiddos and not worry about another living creature.
4. Nolan takes a bath (almost) everyday for 15 to 20 minutes. (this is the hardest change because it's sometimes hard to find the time to soak him in a bath for that long, but I can tell this really hydrates his skin when paired with lathering him up in a nice moisturizing cream (Derma E) after the bath.

Here's to continued healthy, happy skin!!

Snowy Day Pictures!

Here is are some pictures from February that I thought were so cute, had to post them after looking through pictures. Alivia and I were enjoying a cold winter day while Nolan was sleeping away.


Italian Sausage and Vegitable Chili- Yum!

We have made this soup twice now in the last 2 weeks. Even though it is a hot summer, this is so delicious and tastes yummy that it's okay (to us) to eat a soup during the summer time. Give it a try on a hot day or if you think that is weird (on a rainy summer day or save it this recipe for the fall). Trust me, it is that good!! The original recipe is in black and I have made my changes next to the text in purple. Enjoy. :)

Paleo Beef (Italian Sausage) and Vegetable Chili
Makes a hearty pot of soup with plenty to freeze for leftovers or serve for company (about 10 servings). Approximate cooking time: 90 minutes. I made a double batch to freeze and put the leftovers in small tupperware bowls for a quick lunch for Ben to bring to work.

2 Tbs coconut oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp ground chipotle (I didn't add this)
2 tsp sea salt (optional)
1 tsp cumin (I didn't add this)
1 tsp garlic salt (I added real garlic instead)
2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1”x1” chunks (I used Italian sausage instead because I didn't have stewed meat on hand, and it turned out to be a fabulous change up)
2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
1/2 of a (4 oz) can diced jalapenos (may add more if desired) (We did a small amount because of the kiddos, but could spice it up a bit)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf (I didn't add this)
7-8 medium mushrooms, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 yellow zucchini, diced
1 large red pepper, diced (In my double batch, I used green and red pepper)
4-6 large kale leaves, shredded (I used spinach as that is what I had on hand
fresh cilantro for garnish (I didn't add this)
green onions for garnish (I didn't add this)
1 small can full fat coconut milk (placed in the fridge for a few hours) (Actually quite surprising tasty)
Several scoops of purred pumpkin (you can't even taste it and it adds a nice thickness and extra nutritional value)

I followed the directions spot on
1) Heat large soup pot over medium-high heat.
2) When hot, add coconut oil and onion to pot and brown slightly.
3) Meanwhile, combine chili powder, sea salt, cumin and garlic salt in a large dish. Roll raw beef stew meat in the mixture to coat on all sides.
4) When onions have browned slightly, add beef and brown on all sides.
5) Add the diced tomatoes. Fill the empty can with water and add to the pot. Add green chilies, jalapenos, chipotle peppers
6) Add zucchini and red pepper, and cook for another 20 minutes.
7) Add kale and finish cooking for 10 more minutes. Season with sea salt if desired. Serve with sliced green onions, fresh cilantro and a dollop of thickened coconut milk from the top of the can.

Recipe from Paleo Plan: Quickstart Guide and Paleo Challenge

And She Said (Splash Park)!

After going to a local, free, awesome, fun splash park (aka water fountains by Alivia), she was trying to persuade me into staying instead of leaving and going home. She said, "Let's not go cause I need to and I want to stay!" It almost convinced me, but I told her we would be going back sometime soon and that was an ok enough counter offer to leave without a scene. :)

Nolan 8/9 Month Update!

Nolan is 9 months and that means only 3 months until he is 1! Wow, I feel like his first year is flying by even faster than what it felt like during Alivia's first year.

Nolan's Stats:
15 pounds, 6 ounces. (I plan to get his length at his next appointment and will take note of it at that time) Wow, he almost weighs as much as Alivia did at 1 year. We do have small kiddos but Nolan looks like a beast compared to how Alivia looked at this age!!

Nolan's Loves:
- Playing with balls- he actually throws them on occassion too
- Eating food- like a champ
- Taking Baths- with his sister
- Being outside- enjoying the sunshine
- Reading books- for a minute and then just hitting them with excitement
- Standing up- holding on to something... LOVES this!
- Dancing- bobbing up and down with or without music
- Playing with Alivia- all the time (sometimes he even aggrevates her now. It's the start of brother/sister love)
- Playing with a lot of toys surrounding him- so he can pick and choose
- Going on walks- stroller times rock
- Being around a lot of people- he loves to watch people (thankful that he loves the YMCA childwatch)
- Being held by mama- a lot
- Grunting- when he wants something
- Smiling- at people when they say "Hi" to him
- Carts- at the grocery store (seriously, he loves holding on to the push bar)
- bubbles- outside in the wind
- Chewing- on anything and everything

Nolan's New Things:
- He got his 1st tooth at 9 months. His bottom front left tooth is coming in strong. No wonder he likes to stick everything in his mouth. And, shortly after he got his 2nd bottom tooth. He is a two teeth cutie now!
- He no longer consistantly naps well in his carseat or transitions well from his carseat to the crib after traveling. BOO! Sometimes, he will surprise us but most of the time he wakes up after we stop the car or transition him from the car.
- He is eating like a champ. We have been doing the baby-led weaning approach and it is working fantastic for him. The only "purree" type food that he is eating is applesauce, otherwise he eats what we are eating cut up real small. He loves food now that we have figured out that he won't touch purrees. He has only had a couple of days of "no interest" and we figure it is due to teething, and being sick (ear infection and virus)
- He sits up wonderfully now. Only, every once and while will he fall over
- Stands qutie well when holding on to something
- He is crawling backwards (as of the week of June 4)
- He is rocking, rocking, rocking on all fours. Any day now and he is going to crawl. Ben and I put in the votes. I guess that he will start crawing on June 17th, right at 10 months and Ben guessed he would start crawling on June 10th in 2 days. We shall see!!