I ran across a mention of a “summer reading challenge” on a blog and thought it sounded like fun! (You know how I love a challenge, right?) Our local library runs a summer reading challenge for kids with lots of great prizes and I thought it was only fair that grown-ups should get to have some fun, too.
There is a facebook page for the challenge, where everyone participating can post their completed books. The “rules” are simple”
1. Pledge how many books you’ll read May 15-September 15.
2. When you read a book, post a report.
3. When you hit your pledge, give yourself a gift.
I’m challenging myself to read 20 books this summer (remember, I’ll have some maternity leave time in there, which I know means lots of time spent on the couch nursing and/or baby-holding). My reward will be some personal trainer sessions with my friend and trainer Pamela. I know how to work out on my own, but I really love having someone else design workouts for me and hold me accountable.
Right now I’m reading Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist, and an unpublished draft of a novel by Laura Vanderkam.
What are you reading these days? Want to join me for a summer reading challenge?
Meal plan for the week — here you go! Lately I’ve been drinking green smoothies for breakfast or granola, fruit, and Greek yogurt. Weekday lunches are usually leftovers from dinner (or sometimes Jimmy John’s)!
Sunday lunch: Italian pot roast (crockpot), creamy cheddar polenta, tomato, asparagus, & mozzarella salad <– I’ll mix the leftovers of this salad with rice & chickpeas for weekday lunches
Sunday dinner: grilled pizzas, salad, strawberries & cream
Monday: salmon, homemade sourdough bread, veggies/salad (depends what I find at farmer’s market)
Tuesday: grilled slices of leftover polenta, fried eggs, salad
Wednesday: Salmon-potato cakes (inspired by this recipe for halibut potato cakes), veggies/salad, homemade bread
Thursday: Grab a quick dinner out on my way to a meeting at church. (Can I just say for the record that 6:30pm church meetings are brutal for a working mom? Really for any working person, but I have an extra stop at daycare. Blah.)
Friday: Grill something, or eat out
Saturday: (See Friday)
Here we are… 28 1/2 weeks down, 10 1/2 weeks to go. We still don’t have a nursery set up at all, but I did get a car seat and baby clothes from a coworker earlier this week, so that’s progress. And some friends are throwing me a diaper shower in about a month, so that pretty much covers all the essentials, right?
I’m at that sweet spot in pregnancy where I definitely look pregnant, not just odd-shaped or fat, so people are extra nice to me, but I’m not at all uncomfortable yet. I am still able to exercise on a regular basis and *most* of my maternity clothes still fit. (Yes, I actually put on a shirt this morning that was too short already! I sure hope I can find enough decent-looking clothes to make it through a work week by the end of this pregnancy!)
I haven’t really gotten any crazy food cravings (other than mustard), but I think my sweet tooth is on high alert. The main thing I miss being able to do it have a glass of wine at the end of a stressful day. And a Jimmy John’s Beach Club sandwich sounds pretty awesome too, but I’ve already made arrangements for a friend to bring one to the hospital for me.
I had my follow-up ultrasound last week and everything is looking great. They could even see hair on the baby’s head, which I find kind of amazing.
I’ve been drinking a lot of green smoothies this month as part of a month-long Love Your Greens series on the Unconventional Kitchen blog. Last week they challenged us to invent our own original smoothie recipe and post it to the facebook group. I had been craving chocolate all week (since I was doing the Sugar Detox thing) so here’s what I invented. It’s definitely dessert-y, but still a great way to get your greens (and some healthy fat to boot)!
Almond Joy Smoothie
2 handfuls spinach
3/4 c. vanilla unsweetened almond milk
1 1/2 frozen bananas
2 T. cocoa powder
3 T. unsweetened flaked coconut (soak overnight in the almond milk to soften, otherwise your smoothie could be a little gritty)
1 heaping spoonful of almond butter
Here are some tips I’ve learned for making the best green smoothies: Freeze your greens (it sounds weird but it actually works. Just throw a bag of prewashed spinach into the freezer). Soak dates overnight for better blending. Blend the greens and liquid together first on high, then add the rest of the ingredients. If you don’t have a high-powered blender (I don’t) make sure frozen fruit is in small pieces and allow it to defrost slightly.
I need some protein to make this type of smoothie a meal. Try adding a scoop of vanilla protein powder, some greek yogurt, or a couple of eggs on the side.
This is the 22st post in a series, 31 Days of Eating Unprocessed, which was inspired by October Unprocessed, hosted at the Eating Rules blog.
Lots of birthday parties this time of year! This one was really fun. There was a refrigerator-box fire truck to play in, and the kids got to tour the firehouse, climb inside a real firetruck, and of course – play some fun games like pin the badge on the dalmatian and eat birthday cake!
I survived the Sugar Detox Challenge! It was a challenge, but a completely manageable one. I did give in and treat myself to Andy’s Custard on Saturday night with my family (we had coupons for $1 sundaes from our baseball tickets on Thursday), but other than that I was really good.
I learned a couple of things during the course of the week:
- I really, really like chocolate.
- I crave sweets in the afternoons and after dinner, both times when I seem to be low on energy. In the afternoon, I can revive myself with a healthy snack (more sugar just makes the situation worse later anyway) and getting up from my desk and moving around a little bit. In the evenings, I usually am not actually hungry, since I’ve just eaten dinner. One small sweet treat is plenty (dates were my new best friend last week) and actually going to bed at a decent hour helps, too!
In related news, I kicked my coffee habit! It took about a week and a half of first slowly phasing in decaf, then a few of horrible migraine-y days of withdrawal, then finally deciding to stop torturing myself and having a cup of green tea instead. Green tea does still have some caffeine, but it’s significantly less than than the 2 cups of coffee I was drinking every day. I’m calling it a success!
It’s menu planning time again! Lately I’ve been drinking green smoothies for breakfast (here’s a good recipe) along with some eggs. Weekday lunches are usually leftovers from dinner (or sometimes Jimmy John’s)!
Sunday lunch – to be determined… I think I’m cooking, so it will be something easy!
Sunday dinner – Vegetarian Greek lentil casserole, pita bread & salad
Monday – Spaghetti and meat sauce, broccoli
Tuesday – Turkey sloppy joes & roasted asparagus and sweet potatoes
Wednesday – BLTs if we can find decent tomatoes & pasta or cold grain salad
Thursday – leftovers
Friday – Asian noodle salad with some added protein — chicken? tofu?
Saturday – eat out
I took a tiny break from my weekly scrapbook project, and somehow I ended up 6 weeks behind. Oops! Our two main events in early April were the Color Run, and my niece’s “princess” birthday party, which I’ve already blogged about.
Next up (as soon as I get some more photos developed) — our California vacation and Josiah at Grandma Camp!