Friday, May 31, 2013

Secret Excitement

Out of clutter, find simplicity.
Out of discord, find harmony. 
In the middle of difficulty comes opportunity.
-~Albert Einstein~

Today was another low key, relaxing day with a great balance. We did a lot of playing along with just the right amount of housework. We didn't have a huge agenda, which I am trying to make a Friday habit. 

We did have a little excitement (or maybe a lot) that I can't wait to blog about! I don't want to jinx the awesomeness, though, so I'm going to wait a few days to be certain it will all unfold the way we have planned. I tried not mentioning it but I am just too excited not to. And just in case you are wondering, no, we are not pregnant... Haha.  Sorry for the cliff hanger, but things just seem to be falling into place for us and it's just too exciting to hold it in entirely.  All will be shared soon enough!

We have a busy Saturday as usual. There is an estate auction that I am going to with my parents in the morning while David goes to help his parents with some yard work.  I am hoping to come away with a couple of beautiful milk glass pieces and perhaps a vanity that I can refurbish?  It will all depend on who else is interested and therefore how high the price goes. The auction is for the belongings of a dear lady who took care of my sisters and me after school when we were little. It would mean a lot to have a piece of hers. We also plan to check on our bees and go to a company picnic for David's work {if we have time that is!}. 

What's a Saturday in the Ladnier household if it's not jam packed?? Sunday, on the other hand, is wide open!  

 What is your family getting into this weekend?


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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer Routines

It is officially getting hot here in the Bluegrass. It is still a pleasant hot, though. We have very humid summers and the humidity isn't too bad yet. That means that you might break a sweat in the sun but can relax comfortably in the shade. Especially if there is a breeze! That is perfect summer weather in my opinion. 

I mentioned in my last "5 Happy Things" post that we were enjoying a lot of park time. We plan to run a 5k later this summer so I am doing the 5k101 training program. It is an 8 week program and I am almost done with week 2. The program has been pretty easy on me so far but I am enjoying the structure and hope it will help me with my time at the race this year. I had an iTunes gift card so I went ahead and purchased the $4.99 5k101 App so that I can listen to my own music or podcast while I run. There is a free App, though, that just has generic motivating music in the background that isn't too bad. If I didn't have that gift card I would have just went with it. 

With this program, you are supposed to run 3 times a week. I've been taking Ayden to various parks that have trails right around nap time. He falls asleep while I am running then when i'm done, I park him in the shade, spread out a blanket, kick off my shoes and read. It is amazing!  I have no idea why I never put forth the effort to do this sooner. 

Today was errand day so I wore my running clothes out and about. I don't typically do that sort of thing but it's working for me. I just don't care enough to worry about finding a place to change at some point during such a busy day.  After story time, we grabbed a salad from Whole Foods and took it to the park for a picnic before our run. 

I had a great run, Ayden had a great nap:

And I got in some great reading time. I even put my phone on silent and made sure I didn't jump to check it for every little vibration. When Ayden woke up, he went down the slide at the park a few times (his current favorite thing to do at the park) and then we finished our errands. 

When I got home, I did all kinds of snack prep and made dinner (well, roasted some veggies to go with the rotisserie chicken that I picked up at the grocery) while David and Ayden played outside.

It seems that the warmer weather and longer days are doing wonderful things for our routine and overall moods. I think, now that we have a young child, that I definitely don't enjoy winter once the holidays are over as much as I used to. Yay for the arrival of summer!  We can't wait to make the most of it!!

How does your routine change in the summer months?


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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Easy Beet Chips

I always thought that I hated beets. I feel like they get tossed in with other childhood horror foods like Lima beans and Brussels Sprouts (mmmm, Brussels sprouts!). One of the coolest parts of our dietary lifestyle is how much it has opened my eyes to the multitude of possibilities when it comes to preparing food. Just because your mom always steamed your broccoli then smothered it in cheese-like sauce doesn't mean that is the only way to prepare it. I don't know about you but the beets of my childhood were pickled, paired with liver and onions and eaten by my grandmother who loved to force her food onto you. "Come on, just one bite..."  Yup. Beets were pretty much ruined for me early on in life. 

Last summer we had a fun challenge for ourselves to try a new veggie every week. Somewhere along the way I got brave and decided to give beets a chance. We roasted and drizzled a balsamic reduction over them and they were so. amazingly. good. 

As it turns out, there is more than pickling when it comes to preparing beets and we had been missing out!  Since then we have had them several ways, including in our homemade juice and now:

In salty, earthy, satisfyingly crunchy chip form!  The process is pretty easy:

Cut off tops and bottoms of your beets.
Peel away the outer skin.
Give your littler helper his own Gerber knife so he can help.
Slice your beets as thinly as possible.
I like using a mandolin slicer!
Put the sliced beets in a bowl and drizzle on your favorite oil.
Add some salt and give them a toss.
(We like to use Celtic sea salt.)
Line them up on your dehydrator trays (or cookie sheets).
Dehydrate on 125* (or put in the oven on the lowest setting with the door cracked.)
24 hours later (or however long it takes to make them crunchy) you have delicious chips to use in dips, eat with sandwiches or feed to your toddler as snacks on an airplane ride to Washington DC. 

Kid tested, mother approved!
What a great way to get some great veggies into my baby!  And us too for that matter.

If you are interested in reading more about dehydrating, one of my favorite fellow bloggers recently wrote a post about it.  Head over there and check it out!

Do you make any homemade chips?  We make beet, sweet potato, apple/banana, and most often, kale!  Link your favorite recipes below!


Anything purchased from the links above will help support this little blog of mine!

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

5 Happy Things: Balanced

Today was pretty amazing. The weather was great. I went to bed early (for me) last night so I was nice and rested. I maintained great balance between myself, Ayden and housework.  We ate dinner outside and had great family time in the garden. Since I am in such a happy mood, I thought it'd be a good time to share 5 happy things:

1) I came across this quote on Pinterest and think that if everybody lives by it, the world would be a better place:

2) Working together to grow and prepare food for our family. 

3) Seeing our honey bees hard at work in my mom's gardens. 

4) Time at the park. 

We play. Ayden takes a nap while I run. I read on a blanket in the shade while Ayden finishes his nap. 

It is an amazing new part of our routine!

5) Hearing Ayden giggle. He is getting a big boy belly laugh. 

There is just so much to be happy about!  It was hard to limit myself to just 5. What are 5 happy things going on in your life at the moment?


Monday, May 27, 2013

Toddler Travel Tips

We made it home safe as sound!  Back in November, after Ayden's first bout of air travel at 10 months old, I wrote a post compiling our tips for air travel with an infant. A lot has changed since then so I thought I'd update with a toddler version!

If you haven't read the post linked above, go ahead and read it now.






Ok, your back?  Good!  My thoughts on less is more, carrier vs stroller, plenty of snacks and taking an empty water bottle to fill at a water fountain are all the same. 

What has changed the most between then and now is Ayden's attention span and what will hold said attention. He is no longer amused by peanut wrappers and cups with straws. He is a big boy now and needs something more.  Here is what you could find in Ayden's toy bag this go around:

His absolute FAVORITE toys. 

Substitute your child's favorite toy here...
These toy horses keep him occupied for long periods of time. He likes to make them gallop all around and has them "eat" all kinds of stuff. These came in handy for the flight and while waiting for our food at resturaunts.  

Creative materials!  

Ayden is just now getting in to drawing. I grabbed primary color markers (only we didn't have red so dark pink was close enough), a pencil, a pair of child scissors (used only with supervision), some cat stickers and a small sketch pad. This was the winner on the plane ride. I tucked all of the supplies into a zippered pencil case. Not only did he enjoy drawing, but also zipping/unzipping the pouch, capping/uncapping the markers, opening and closing the scissors, making the cat stickers move all around (including on my forehead). This also was a great activity for our long car ride to our farm field trips and during our picnic. 


Ayden loves being independent. His snack cup and squeeze pouches give him the independence he enjoys and really keep him occupied. He's busy while he's eating from the pouches, then spends another 15-20 minutes putting the cap back on then taking it off again and again.  

Bubble blower!  

He just loves making the little fan go. 

A tin of trinkets:
About the size of an Altoids tin.
He's been into cards (of any kind) lately and these particular soccer ball cards were new to him so that was an added bonus. He'd hand the cards to us, one at a time, stack them, line them up, put them in the tin, take them out, close the lid, open the lid, etc, etc. 

Of course, books. Always books!

Self explanatory.
Last, and possibly most important, NEW toys. Toys Ayden had never seen before. I picked them up in the dollar section at Kroger and saved them for emergency distraction. Worked like a charm! We pulled these bad boys out on the plane, in resturaunts, and at David's brother's house. 

These would distract him from bordum in a heartbeat and keep him quietly occupied just long enough.  It is tempting to give them all to them at once but hold out!  It's worth it.

Same as last time, we tucked them all into this little Nike bag. I wore Ayden through security and to the gate in the front carry position in the Ergo and this bag rode on my back. 

A couple of other items, not necessarily flight related, that made our trip run smoothly were a "dining kit":

This included our Tiny Diner's placemat, child sized silverware (which Ayden uses like a champ these days!), wipes and a wipable bib so that we only had to pack one.  We'd also toss in a couple of tiny toys and we were set.  Everything we needed for an enjoyable dining experience in one little pouch.

And tubed sunscreen!

California Baby and Badger are 2 of the safest brands according to EWG.
This came in handy when we'd go to the park to play, on our picnic, and while we were walking around the farmers market with his little legs hanging out of the Ergo.  It was compact, smells pretty good and was easy to apply.  I'd use the heavy duty liquid version for the beach or a full day in the sun, but for this trip, it was the perfect travel sunscreen.

Lastly, I really enjoyed my Ergo front pouch. I kept my wallet, Chapstick and a pack of gum in it and it was my perfect little carryon/purse during the trip. David carried our backpack as the diaper bag. It also held our water bottles, camera, snacks, lap top and books. 

Cloth diapring went well for us again. We have enough diapers to last us about 4 days if we use them all; so I didn't do any laundry this time and just tossed them in the wash right when we got home. Easy peasy!  I'm just glad no one at the airport wanted to search the wet bag they all travelled home in. Haha. 

Have you taken a plane trip with a toddler?  Share any tips you'd add below!!


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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Play, Play, Play!! {DC trip, day 3}

Ayden had a TON of play time today!!  None of the places the family was hanging out today were very toddler friendly. Lucky for him, DC has some great parks in walking distance everywhere you go!  Needless to say, all that playing can tucker a baby out!

We also walked around a local farmer's and flea market.  We came away with some deliciously sweet and fresh cherries, strawberries and peaches to snack on. We ended this beautiful day with a picnic. As always, good food, great company, and a place to run and play makes for an amazing time. 

We head home bright and early tomorrow. It's been a fun trip!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Farm Field Trip! {DC trip, day 2}

We had some farm fun today!  Here are some pictures that we took along the way:

Ayden and I napped on the way to our first destination.
Lunch and fun at Fields Of Athenry

Ayden added a turkey sound to his repertoire.  So CUTE!

Cute little ducklings!
Next stop:

Private tour of Moutoux Orchard.
An AMAZING farm and CSA run by two amazing people.

Dixie and Louise. 10 days and 2.5 weeks old.
Ayden pet them!  They must have been just his size.

Awesome chicken coop.
We hope to make one like it for our chickens next season.
Ayden's first ride in the back of a farm truck.
It was a beautiful, educational and inspiring day!  Tomorrow will be much more relaxing.  We have brunch, the park and a picnic on tap.  Can't wait!