at dusk on a wednesday

* maren floated down the stairs one day with this wig on her head. my friend helen & i laughed forever.
* the girls have started randomly yelling "whu-BAM!" at appropriate (and inappropriate) moments.
* i just started the last book of the zion covenant series. i've liked it a lot.
* i am gardening with bliss and abandon.
* the baby will show up about the same time as the tomatoes.
* the garden primer and square foot gardening make me feel like i have an inkling what i am doing.
* we started composting again. holes drilled into a garbage can with a locking lid, rolled around in the yard every few days.
* there is a doorway of juniper that leads from one part of the backyard to another. it makes me think of narnia.
* i started making my to-do lists in pencil. that way i can erase the stuff that didn't get done and i don't care about at the end of the day anyway.
* i am making a ridiculous cake for book group tomorrow.
* i am getting huge.
* this is not an exaggeration.
* if this is what a third pregnancy is like, i'm a little nervous about the fourth.
* i don't believe anyone who tells me it's just because it's a boy this time.
* i loved michelle duggar's post on letting go of expectations.
 * we finally caved and bought a blender.
* this has thrown us into the daily quest for smoothie nirvana.
* have you tried putting an avocado in a smoothie? it's incredible.
* i am burying myself in books until nice weather comes back: organic body care, simple modern sewing, natural health, last child in the woods.
* i totally pre-ordered some ed emberley to make some pants for the boy. kid needs clothes, right? that's what i thought.
* i think we're all caught up now. how are you?



eat healthy // feel better

Whenever my husband is gone, I have a bad habit of lapsing into kid/junk food mode. Kraft Mac n Cheese for lunch. Spaghetti for dinner, a can of mushy green beans if you're lucky. I also have a bad habit of indulging in way too many mommy treats. Cookies and chocolate are at the top of the list, and I justify them easily because I need them to keep my sanity while he's gone. Right? Right.

Compound all that with a second-trimester appetite and you have one great big tummy ache. After 3 weeks of this nonsense I started feeling like serious crap and decided enough was enough. So, after a deal-sealing dinner of greasy Chinese takeout one night, I sat down and made a list. Because for me, half the battle is knowing what to eat while the other half of the battle is having it prepared and available.

It's been all of 5 days since I quit eating crap and started eating real food again, and I feel so much better already.

So, in case you could use some inspiration or just some different ideas, here's the list I put on my fridge:

cooked grains with milk, honey/brown sugar, and butter/coconut oil -- quinoa, wheat, farro, barley, oats (I cooked a big pot of quinoa this morning and plan to use it for breakfast for several days)
yogurt + granola
fruit + toast with nut butter
NO packaged cereal

cheese + apple slices
smoothie or fresh juice
hard-boiled eggs with s+p
NO packaged junk

Lunch (usually my achilles' heel)
brown rice + beans with roast veggies + salsa (this one requires planning, but a batch of each will last all week)
simple egg salad -- mash a hard-boiled egg with mayo, relish, s+p, herbs
grilled cheese with sliced apple or caramelized onions or bacon
fancy wrap -- cream cheese + turkey + cranberry + spinach (my fave this week -- I've had at least 2 a day)
-- turkey + avocado + fruit salsa + cheese
-- turkey + hard boiled egg + bacon + avocado + blue cheese
-- chicken + spinach + feta + craisins + poppy seed dressing
NO mac n cheese

beans + rice with grilled chicken + salsa
broiled or seared tofu + simple fresh veggie + grain 
sausages + polenta + simple fresh veggie
tabbouleh + pita + grilled chicken
butternut soup + chef's salad
real tacos
grilled flank steak + szechwan slaw
chicken salad in pitas + fruit salad
lentil soup + homemade bread

There's lots more dinner ideas over here from when I was the private cook for a sorority house for a year (didn't see that one coming, did you). What about you? What are your go-to real foods that taste good + don't cost a fortune?