Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cameron's New Room!!

Finally!! We've been in our new home for a little over four months now and despite the fact that the kids' rooms were complete almost before anything else, it's taken me this long to get the photos pulled together. And their rooms are not entirely even "done," because I left room for them to add to things as they grow. But this is probably the closest and most picked up they'll be for a while (having them home in the summer is like letting animals run rampant in the house. If I have to pick up one more wet bathing suit off of the hardwood floors, I'm going to lose it).

Monday, June 29, 2015

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa + 30 Days of Dinner

If you follow me at all on Instagram, you might have noticed less photos of cocktails and macarons and more photos of dinners. After a school year full of hours of daily carpool commuting, a big house move, and lots of work crammed into little time, I needed to get back to healthy eating. A few years ago I did a Whole30 and ate a "clean" diet for a good chunk of time. It was difficult to keep up, but I had more energy, slept better, and had a more positive outlook on things in general. So I decided to give it another go and just finished up another Whole30.

And I've been feeling so good this time around that I decided to extend it to a Whole60. I always find people sharing their menus and recipes super helpful and since I've already received questions from lots of people about this particular Whole30, I thought I'd share our month of meals. This is not going to turn into a Paleo food blog -- I plan on posting just once a month -- and if you have no interest in it, feel free to not read these particular posts!

I've found that I am most successful at Whole30s when I keep up our regular social life (even though that means not cocktailing when we're out with friends), eating out on the weekends (ordering as clean eats as I can find), and cooking extras to have plenty of food for leftovers (that way I have food already cooked for breakfast and lunch). So my month of meals generally means I'm cooking most weekday nights, but eating out or leftovers on the weekends.

One of my most favorite foods is sushi, but rice is a no go on Whole30. And even though I generally dislike cooked seafood, I've been on the hunt for recipes so that I still incorporate fish into our diet. This salmon was a big hit and was super easy to make. For the most part, the kids eat the main protein and vegetables we have, and then I add in an extra carb source for them (e.g., rice, quinoa, bread, etc.). Read through for the recipe and our full 30 days of meals at the end -- I started on a Wednesday, so that's when my meals start, but use the 30 days however you wish!

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa

- 2 lbs salmon, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
- 1 tsp black pepper

for the Avocado Salsa:
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1/2 small red onion, diced
- juice from 2 limes
- 1-2 tbs finely chopped cilantro
- salt to taste

1. Mix the salt, chili powder, cumin, paprika, onion and black pepper together, rub the salmon fillets with olive oil and this seasoning mix.
2. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Pre-heat the grill.
4. Combine the avocado, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt in a bowl and mix well. Chill until ready to use.
5. Grill the salmon to desired doneness (I do just about 5 minutes total).
6. Top with avocado salsa.

Monthly Meal Plan 

Day 1 (W) -- Grilled Balsamic Chicken, broiled sweet potatoes, and green salad
Day 4 (Sat) -- dinner out - I had Greek meatballs and a salad
Day 5 (Sun)-- dinner out - I had a tomato "sandwich" and more veggies (thus, also leftover stew when I got home)

Day 7 (Tues) -- Lemon Chicken with Red Onion, Roasted Green Beans, and leftover cauliflower + carrot puree
Day 8 (W) -- Greek Meatballs with Avocado Tzatziki Sauce and veggie kabobs (I just slice and toss veggies in olive oil and spices, skewer them, and grill them for a few minutes)
Day 9 (Th) -- Italian Baked Eggs (sans cheese and bread) over sweet potato "noodles" and green salad 
Day 10 (F) -- Carne Asada with Avocado Tomatillo Salsa and baked sweet potato fries (this steak was delicious and is my new favorite steak recipe!)
Day 11 (Sat) -- dinner out - I had a burger and brussels sprouts
Day 12 (Sun) -- dinner out - I had a green salad with grilled chicken and brussels sprouts 

Day 13 (M) -- Citrus Bacon Shrimp + Grilled Stonefruit Salad (kids had pasta and meatballs)
Day 14 (Tues) -- Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos (in romaine lettuce "tortillas") and veggie kabobs 
Day 15 (W) -- Avocado Turkey Burgers, sweet potato fries, brussels sprouts, and watermelon 
Day 16 (Th) -- leftovers
Day 17 (F) -- dinner "out" - WholeFoods salad bar
Day 18 (Sat) -- dinner out - it was my first birthday dinner so I had oysters, steak, and potatoes with duck confit 
Day 19 (Sun) -- dinner out - my second birthday dinner :) I had oysters, a burger, and a baked potato 

Day 20 (M) -- Paleo Burgers and veggie kabobs
Day 21 (Tues) -- Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa over paleo rice and veggie kabobs 
Day 22 (W) -- Sweet Potato Chili (the kids LOVED this!) and Roasted Green Beans 
Day 23 (Th) -- leftovers + brinner for the kids 
Day 24 (F) -- dinner "out" - WholeFoods salad bar
Day 25 (Sat) -- dinner party at our house - I made Whole30-compliant food and a pasta salad for our friends, who also graciously brought more carbs and sweets for them :) I made Bacon-Wrapped Dates for an appetizer (without brown sugar and some without goat cheese for me and also served charcuterie), Carne Asada, and Sweet Roasted Beets with Herb Citrus Dressing
Day 26 (Sun) -- leftovers

Day 28 (Tues) -- Paleo Chicken Nuggets and Parsnip Fries (my nuggets did not turn out as nuggets, more like a coconut chicken stir fry. So I added cashews and it was delicious)
Day 30 (Th) -- leftovers, sweet potato wedges, and green salad

Friday, June 26, 2015

Weekend Makes

We've had alternating days of outrageous heat and thunderstorms in DC this summer. Besides being incredibly difficult to plan outdoor activities with the kids, the weather pattern has really brought on the bugs. From fun fireflies to menacing mosquitoes, the bugs are back. So we're embracing them this weekend.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Project 52 -- Week 25

Cam spent her first week of camp making friends with a group of girls from Kane's class. The difference between five-year-old and six-year-old girls is amazing. Cam went from having a little bit of baby left to her to teaching Kane hand-slap songs, asking me whether I knew that "Katy Perry and Taylor Swift used to be friends, but now they're not," and throwing around the word "totes" like it was her job. God help us all.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Day in the Life (June 2015)

As is apparently par for the course this season, June 12th was obnoxiously hot in DC. Like singe your eyelashes off hot. But the kids were off of school and had not yet started camp, so we refused to stay inside all day.

6.30 am -- I tried to get up early to run before it became unbearably hot. It was still a rainforesty run at 6.30, but picking my shoes from the family's pile of muddy running shoes made me happy.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Flag Ponds Nature Park

By this point in the summer, we've usually been to the New Jersey shore at least twice. But with new school schedules, extracurricular activities, and my attempt to right the disaster created by sending the kids to only two weeks of summer camp last year, we just haven't been yet. But I wanted to go to a beach for my birthday and I wanted an adventurous day trip. I started researching around a bit and then I remembered that my friend Darcy (from No Monsters in My Bed) had blogged about a super cool beach in Maryland where you can find fossil shark teeth: Flag Ponds Nature Park. When I realized it was only about an hour and a half away and close to Solomons Island (which has been on my list for a while), it was a go.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Project 52 -- Week 24

The kids were home for one week before they started a bit of camp. It was interesting to see them spend a few days winding down from school, interacting and getting along. And then the bickering set in. And went and went and went. This included serious negotiations over how to write music together (I'd already forced them to go outside and figure out how to get along). Now they're in camp and missing each other like crazy -- despite being just down the hall from each other.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

DIY Father's Day Felt Catchall

We're over at The Land of Nod's blog today sharing our super easy DIY tutorial for a fabulous felt catchall. Dads have a lot of stuff, so give them somewhere to keep it! Head over to Honest to Nod to get the goods.

(p.s. we'll have our monthly 12-in-12 up next week!!)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Great Country Farms

Last week we took a day trip out to Great Country Farms for our strawberry picking trip of the season. I really wanted to check out a new place and had heard good things about Great Country Farms, so we decided we were up for the big schlep (1 1/2 hour drive). It was actually quite a pretty drive through Virginia wine country.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Weekend Makes

This weekend I'll be celebrating my 35th birthday (again!) and I truly love nothing more from my kids than something they've made by hand. And since I'm still in the midst of doing this Whole30 (so, so poorly timed), I'm obviously not getting anything sweet baked for me (and, at this point, if someone makes me a steak or hardboiled egg and tries to present it as a celebratory gift, I'll lose it). So, homemade crafts is what it'll be! Granted, I might have to pitch in and help them, but I'll still take it. Hope everyone has a happy happy weekend!!

1 love this colorful felt banner from ArtBar! plus, we can reuse it for every birthday  / 2 the only slice of birthday cake I'll get this year
/ 3 ginormous DIY confetti cannons! / 4 the kids could definitely handle this hand painted accordion card / 5 obviously I need a crown and the kids are super into hand sewing right now

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

HENSE Graffiti Church

Visiting the HENSE Graffiti Church has been on several of our bucket lists for awhile and I promised the kids we'd get it done at the beginning of summer so it wouldn't slip again. I knew that it was in SW DC, but I didn't quite realize exactly how close it was to so many of our other favorite city spots. As soon as I figured that out, I knew we could have an awesome first summer field trip. We headed out first thing yesterday morning and were so glad we did.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Start Creative Studio Doodle Books (and a reader discount!!)

This post was sponsored by Start Creative Studio. We received free copies of the doodle books in return for writing an honest review. The opinions in this post are our own.

When summer comes around, I always have my eye out for travel-sized goodies for the kids. Whether we 're taking a big trip or they're just running more errands with me than usual, I love having small activities that can occupy big time. So I was super excited when Start Creative Studio reached out to ask whether we'd like to give their doodle books a try. Um, yes!!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Weekend Makes

It's National Donut Day!! Donuts are kind of a big deal in our house -- much care is put into tracking down and selecting the perfect one. We've even attempted to make our own before. Cam takes her time and savors them. Kane downs whole donuts like they're munchkins. Either way, these two definitely will be celebrating the holiday. Given that I'm not partaking in sugar right now (why oh why did I have to do a Whole 30 over National Donut Day!?), I've got some other celebratory weekend makes lined up.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 (this one's for me)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Project 52 -- Week 22

In case you haven't noticed, it's been a busy week for us. And I've had no time to post on anything, really. We spent pretty much all of last weekend taking the kids to their very first real music show -- Sweetlife. We learned many, many things (like apparently all I have to do to be a pop star is just yell "F*CK" a lot, which I think technically means I already am a pop star), ate lots of yummy food, and had a great time with our friends. Overall, the kids were total troopers. And they were WAY into getting in the festival mode -- they donned their best music show duds and even tatted up with metallic tattoos before we even knew that every single 17-year-old would be spending $25 to purchase the same at Sweetlife. Next time, we're setting up our own booth for $20 a pop.

It's also the last week of school for both of the kids. We're sad. We're excited. We can't wait for summer!!

And, just to keep things really interesting, I also decided after an entire school year of overindulging to get myself back to cleaner eats. Thus, I started a new Whole 30 last week (see here for all my previous Paleo recipes and weekly meal plans). If you follow us on Instagram, you'd see all the yummy dinners I've been cooking up. But, if you know anything about any of this Whole 30 business, you'll also know I would f*cking kill someone for a frappuccino right about now. And I don't even like those.

Nevertheless, we are all excited about ending the school year and beginning new things!!