Thursday, February 28, 2013

Celebrating Chinese New Year Coloring Style

 Our favorite media specialist, Miss Kristine, loaded Pip up with a set of coloring sheets to celebrate Chinese New Year. We hadn't planned on celebrating the year of the snake, but with a tower of markers, takeout from Panda Express and new coloring sheets we gladly joined the festivities. 
 Mr. R. and I made up pretend fortunes for each other based on our astrological signs. FYI: Mr. R. will enjoy spending more time in the kitchen and laundry room this year. Aka, I hope the year of the snake gives him a strong desire to love folding laundry and doing dishes

. Mr. R. told me that the year of the snake will bring a strong desire for me to close cabinet doors and squeeze from the bottom of the toothpaste. Ha!
 Gong Xi Fa Coi (Happy New Year)  Friends!

A "Pin-cess" Castle

Miss Pip fell in love with Princesses this fall and this Christmas Mr. R. and I decided a Princess castle should become part of our household. We cashed in a few gift cards for the little people Disney princess castle and hid it away in the pantry. 

Miss Pip was so overwhelmed with love and loot this Christmas that we decided to save her Castle for a fun Valentine's Day surprise. Thursday afternoon she woke up from her nap to see Cinderella's castle on our coffee table. 
Upon first sight, she ran right to the castle yelling "pin-cess! pin-cess!". She loves to knock on and then open the doors. She loves the elevator and how she can make the princesses dance on the outdoor patio.
And if we are being honest, I love it to! I love that she babbles dialogue to me as we play. I love that she kisses her princesses good night when she puts them in the bed. I love that I am seeing her blossom before my eyes. 

Happy Valentine's Day Mr. R.!

I was down and out on Valentine's Day this year. What I thought was the stomach flu on Saturday turned into a kidney infection by Sunday. I was out of work on Monday and Tuesday and in survival mode for the rest of the week. I was feeling better, but not up for anything other than working and coming home to take up residence on our couch.

We decided to postpone our Valentine's Day celebration until later that weekend. My gift to Mr. R. this year was a food passport. I found the idea on pinterest and did a bit of research on urbanspoon and yelp to find the best foodie recommendation in our neck of the woods.
Mr. R.'s passport includes 40 places. Some require us to enjoy a full meal, while others specify a dessert, drink, or wine and cheese pairing.

I included a few rules to keep it interesting and make sure we don't give up.
1. Whenever we are stumped for a place to go on a date with refer to the food passport.
2. We must include the date when we went to the restaurant and what we ordered.
3. We must rate the meal/snack/drink using the sticker system. (green= amazing, I want more! yellow = good, we will be back, pink = not worth a second trip)
4. We cannot return to a restaurant in the passport until we have completed the passport.

And if you are wondering about Mr. R's v-day gift to me; He did good! Kendra Scott, Elle earrings in mint.

Happy Presidents' Day, February 18th 2013

Mr. R. and I are getting really good at savoring and enjoying our days off. 
For the first time in years we actually had Presidents' day off on the same day. On Monday we took full advantage of a chance to sleep in and then headed to our neighborhood park. We had the park to ourselves for a bit and enjoyed unlimited slides and swings. Pip even tried out the upright top with Mr. R. She loves to spin in circles. The weather was cold, but the wind was mild so we headed to the doc to see the fish, bivalves, and birds. Pip loved waving to the boats as they passed by.

Blogging & Running

I am finding that blogging is very similar to running or exercise. When I am in my groove I make time daily to upload pictures, blog, and run. I feel great and accomplished after I have finished my routine. And yet I so easily fall out of my groove due to a new schedule, a fussy toddler, a sickness... and it is so hard to get back into a routine.

The month of January I completed a 30 day running challenge and each day in January I dutifully jumped on the treadmill, laced up my running shoes, and ran at least one mile. After my run I would cook dinner, we would have family time with Pip, and I would blog before bed. It was a perfect easy to follow schedule and yet when February graced us with her presence I stopped. Running became less of a desire, blogging fell behind, and let's face it, dinner is not my favorite part of the day. Where is that chef that will cook and clean for free?

Now that March is on the horizon I am trying to force myself back into a better schedule complete with daily exercise and more regular blogging. I am already three days into my March/birthday challenge and I have my photos organized in hopes that blog posts will be a bit easier and faster to roll out.

So in short I guess this is my apology/explanation why you have heard so little from Casa Republican in February 2013. Perhaps March will be a little kinder to us all.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

31 workouts for my 31st

On March 19th I turn 31. I am honestly utterly stunned that I am all of sudden IN MY 30s! When did this happen? I recently read an article that said the best gift we can give ourselves is exercise and less stress. Because of the world we live we are constantly ON, we are connected to each other through technology leading to constant communication and little chance to think and reflect. The article said that exercise allows us to practice concentrating on the task at hand letting our brain actually rest and refocus. Meaning exercise actually calms our bodies while making them healthier and stronger. 

For my 31st birthday I am giving myself 31 workouts. I decided that the workouts must last at least 45 minutes and include strength training and cardio. They can be done in the house with the help of workout videos, I can run outside, I can do them solo or in a group. I have decided that while I am working out my phone is off and Mr. R. is in charge of wrangling Pip. 

Tonight I finished workout #3 of 31, a 4 mile cardio walk with walking guru Leslie Sansone.
Workout #2: Tae-bo Fat burning cardio
Workout #1: Tae-bo Tae-bo Dedication DVD 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Homemade Pizza Challenge #3

A blogger friend created a challenge in 2012 to stop ordering pizza. She and her husband are self-taught foodies who love pizza, but did not love the selection or price tag of delivery pizza. They spent the better part of 2012 baking 40 pizzas in their kitchen. Along the way they claim they perfected the thin and crispy pizza crust and found a way to cut calories and still make and amazing pizza. 
 You know I love a good challenge and that Mr. R. likes to save money. When I asked him about cutting out pizza take-out budget he was skeptical, but three pizzas in we are enjoying our stint as pizza makers. Tuesday we tried a recipe from Jessica at How Sweet Eats. Bacon, roasted brussel sprout, balsamic vinegar, and cheddar pizza. 
 It was amazing. Mr. R. and I each had two slices and Pip ate a whole slice herself. The Brussel sprouts are roasted in the oven for 15 minutes at 425. I toss them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season them with salt and pepper before there stint in the oven. The crust is Pillsbury thin crust dough topped with Kerrygold Irish cheddar cheese. The bacon was cooked on the stove top until crispy and then added to the pizza. 
This one is a keeper!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday Night

On Mondays when Mr. R. is in town her has class. This means Pip and I are on our own from mid afternoon to way past both our bedtimes. While Mr. R. is pouring over statistical data and accounting spread sheets, Pip and I are holding down the fort. Most Mondays we try to get out the house for a walk and some exploring. We might run errands or visit friends. But some Mondays bring cold rain and we are forced to stay indoors making the most of my creative ability and her attention span. 
This past Monday it poured. We hunkered down in the living room thankful for a dry roof over our heads. I pulled out the rice box and puzzles. We stacked block towers and knocked them over Godzilla style. We made tomato soup for dinner. We finger painted and practiced shapes. She is awesome at recognizing circles and hearts. 
And finally it was time for a bath.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Date Day Sunday

Sunday Miss Rita offered to watch Piper and give Mr. R. and I a chance to run errands sans Piper. The goal of our Sunday was to restock our pantry. Once a month we do a big pantry restock including food, cleaning supplies, paper products and toiletries, we usually end up hitting the three big box stores, Costco, Target, and Walmart, with a list close to a mile long. We also took full advantage of an afternoon out to squeeze in a date. 
We had lunch at Maggiano's Little Italy. We window shopped at our favorite stores at the Town Center and even made a stop at Barnes and Noble to peruse the magazine section. 
Have I mentioned how much we love Miss Rita?

Sunday Morning Sandwich Making

Sundays mornings are usually spent in a crazed rushed state. Trying to get all of us dressed, the diaper bag packed, and to be out the door in time to make it to church before 9:00AM. This Sunday however, we were early. Early enough to consider having breakfast before walking out the door. Pip heard Mr. R. and I discussing breakfast options in the kitchen (cereal or fruit incase you were wondering) and she decided to make her own breakfast. 
I guess she was in the mood for a sandwich. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Her 1st Festival

This weekend our local Catholic Parish hosted a festival. On a whim we decided to take Pip. We arrived tickets in hands not knowing if she would be a fan of the carnival atmosphere. 
She loved it.
She loved the music, the noise, the carnival games, and girlfriend could not get enough of the rides. She is a daredevil! She loved the kiddie coaster, the tea cups, and I think she would have ridden the Dumbo ride all night if we had let her. 
She lasted 2.5 hours at the Carnival and was a bundle of nonstop energy the entire time. She wanted to visit every booth, take in every sight, and try every ride that her 34 inches of height would allow.
She arrived home exhausted, yawning through dinner, and passed out before 8:00 PM.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A kidney infection, valentine's day, and a much needed break.

The title pretty much sums up the past week. Last Thursday I started to feel unwell, the feeling you get before you get sick. By Saturday I was convinced I had the stomach flu. I was achey, I had intense stomach pain, and I couldn't keep anything down. On Sunday the stomach pain became unbearable and I found myself in the hospital being treated for a kidney infection. Several doses of antibiotics and pain meds later I was sent home to rest and recover.

Last week I had two unexpected days off from work. I spent my days on the couch, catching up on season 2 of Downton Abbey while the world continued on without me. In my mind I think I carry much of the responsibility for our family on my shoulders and that without me listing, doing, and planning our little household would fall. Last week was a wonderful reminder that my husband is a superstar and will rise to the occasion when needed. He was chief cook, bath giver, story reader, and errand runner.

This weekend I started to feel more like myself and tonight I am actually looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. Pip is now down for the night and the pups are hogging the bed. Time for me to close this laptop and fight for a sliver of bed space next to Mr. R.

Happy Presidents Day Friends!

Homemade Pizza Challenge #2

I made spaghetti and meatballs on Sunday. We had leftover meatballs and a pizza crust sitting in the fridge. Meatballs + pizza curst = meatball pizza. 
We cut up the meatballs into thin slices and sauteed one onion and one green pepper in olive oil and garlic. I topped the pizza crust with a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella cheese. We par baked the crust then topped it with the meatballs, peppers and onions, and marinara sauce. 

To say this pizza is good is an understatement. It is amazing. In fact two weeks later we are still raving about this pizza. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Easy like a Sunday Morning

And this Sunday morning involved switching back into pajamas after church, banana, strawberry and Nutella crepes, cooking in the play kitchen, playing Princess, second cups of coffee, catching up on blogs and a naps for all. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday (Almost)

 We needed a new shower curtain rod for our newly tiled shower! Holla! Our bathroom looks amazing!
Pip has decided the shower rod is much more useful as a walking stick/musical instrument.
 Mr. R. took this opportunity to teach her the quintessential Lord of the Rings quote, "You shall not pass!". She makes a cute Gandalf no?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Caught Ya...

  Today half way through my workday a stomach virus descended upon my digestive system and I felt like death. I ended up leaving work early and taking up residence on our couch and our bed. Now 6 hours later, I am starting to feel human again. Mr. R. took over Pip duty tonight allowing me to rest. He earned major brownie points tonight.
  These photos were taken this afternoon when he caught Pip reading in her room.
P.S. Check out her pigtail mini buns.
I die! It's cuteness overload here. 

Cupid Delivery, February 4th

 A new toothbrush. She is big fan of Hello Kitty and brushing her teeth. This morning she woke up and began asking for "the cat". Eventually after searching high and low for the infamous "the cat", she led me to the bathroom, picked up the toothbrush, handed me the toothpaste and triumphantly screamed "cat! cat". Clearly, cupid did good on this one. 

Baking with Pip

Cookie dough dips have been taking over Pinterest the past few months. I have been pinning a few dips to make and try and why not spend my Monday night in the kitchen with my sous chef. Mr. R. was taking his quantitative analysis midterm so he missed out on the taste testing and fun. 

Pip is really into helping now. She wants to pour ingredients in the mixer, hand me the ingredients (whether I actually need them or not), and taste EVERYTHING. Simon and Sophie happen to love when she is in the kitchen. They seem to have an unspoken deal with Pip that gets her to drop food and utensils in their direction.
*I cut the butter down in each recipe to 1/4 cup. 
We prefer to eat our cookie dough with pretzels, apple slices, and graham crackers.

Cupid Visit, February 3rd

Can you tell I am having a blast filling these mailboxes? I wish you could be in the room to see the excitement in Pip's face as she opens the mailbox. Once she knows Cupid came she runs to the dining room, pulls out her own chair, and reaches for her pink mailbox. She can't quite open the mailbox by herself yet so Mr. R. or I loosen it for her and then she ooohs and ahhs as she peeks at the contents inside. Melts my mama heart. 
On Sunday she found a Hello Kitty purse inside. The purse was immediately opened, stuffed to the gills, and placed on her arm. She only puts the purse down long enough for baths and naps. Right now her purse contains a pink marker, chapstick, and Ariel the little mermaid. 
Mr. R. has also been on the receiving end of cupid gifts. Sunday I told him "life would be unBEARable without him".  We have all been enjoying his new stash of gummi bears. In our house, the red ones are the first to go.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February 2013 Goals:

January Revisted:

My Goals:

  • Cut out coffee creamer. It's incredibly delicious but also full of empty calories. 
  • Complete the mile a day challenge. The goal is run daily, the run needs to be at least a mile.
  • Turn off the computer at 9:00 PM
The Result:
  • I gave into coffee creamer. I lasted two weeks without it and then I gave in. A friend at work heard about my slip-up and she suggested I switch to almond milk and splenda in my coffee. 
  • The mile a day challenge is finished! I think I want a medal or parade in my honor. Just kidding! 
  • I did turn off the computer every night at 9PM and it has been wonderful! I am sleeping better and I finished my first novel since Pip was born!
February Goals:
  • Run three days a week
  • Start some sort of weight lifting program
  • Read two books
  • No clothes, shoe, or accessories shopping

Cupid Mail

While Mr. R. and Pip walked the pups Cupid delivered a few surprises to the Republican household. 
Pip: Fisher Price Little People Princess Belle and monkey socks
Mr. R.: He found a card that said "I soda think you're amazing! Thanks for all you do! P.S. Check the fridge." I bought a 12 pack of his favorite Vanilla Coke.