Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Happy Valentine's Day!  I know it is just an invented holiday but it IS nice to set aside a day to really make the people you love feel appreciated.  I always liked it as a kid, and now it's fun to make it special for my kids.  I just wish it involved fewer red dye #40 lolipops...I think Emily has collected about 20 of those in the past few days!

This morning as we had breakfast we were able to watch two real-life lovebirds courting on our swingset.  How appropriate!

That feather-puffing certainly is getting the lady dove's attention.  I distracted the girls once they started trying to make baby doves
 For the girls I cut the pancakes into heart shapes, but didn't bother with Will's and mine.  Sorry honey.

Simple Soaked Sourdough Pancakes topped with maple/greek yogurt, 2 pecans and 1 slice turkey bacon
 Yum!  When I gave up white flour I thought I was also giving up fluffy pancakes in favor of dense little pucks, but soaking the whole wheat flour overnight in something acidic makes your pancakes more digestible and nutritious, PLUS it makes them very light and fluffy!  And since you get the batter started the night before this didn't take any longer to make than our usual oatmeal.

Sufficiently fueled, I headed to the gym for spin.  Only Charlotte kept complaining that her tummy hurt and she REALLY didn't want to go into daycare.  My kids have always been more than happy to go into the daycare (once they got out of the "only mommy" phase that usually hits around 8 months of age) so when they don't want to go I know something is amiss.  I took an extra-long time settling her in and sitting with her, and once I was satisfied that she seemed ok enough I headed in to spin.  I was convinced that at any moment the daycare people would come walking in to tell me my daughter had barfed or something else fun so I was flying on the bike because my workout could end at any minute.  I ended up being able to stay the entire time and sweating BUCKETS.  I highly recommend bringing a child who may be on the verge of barfing with you to the gym, with the extra pressure you'll get more out of your workouts!

This was also my first spin class with my new gel seat and it was fabulous.  My lady bits were ever so grateful, and so was I.  On this day of love, some of mine is definitely directed toward my gel seat.

I swear my eyes weren't crossed when I snapped this picture!
I ran some errands, ate a Babybel Light cheese wheel, picked up Emily and sped home for our super-quick lunch before going back out to dance class.  I made myself a salad (with non-horrible cheese).

Greens, cucumbers, green peppers, 1/8 cup juice-sweetened dried cranberries, 1 oz Maytag blue, 1/2 oz pumpkin seeds, however many pinto beans were leftover in the fridge, 1 tsp olive oil and some balsamic
I also had a spoonful of Trader Joes avocado hummus on the side because the girls were having some and it looked really good but didn't exactly go with the rest of my salad.

After dance class and MORE errands we finally came home to find this (plus my husband) in the front hall!

Flowers for me, Emily and Charlotte, plus the lipgloss I wanted :-)
 Daddy had sneaked home with some surprises for his valentines :-)  I love that he gets flowers for me but I especially love that he gets them for the girls too.  I remember feeling so special and grown-up when I got flowers as a kid!  Plus this way they'll grow up knowing that decent guys SHOULD get them flowers!  The only problem is that once Will tells them the flowers belong to them they want to carry them around all over the house.  Goofs.

We got a couple minutes to give Daddy hugs, then it was (belated!) naptime for Charlotte and chill time for Emily and mommy.  I was hungry for a snack, and wanted cottage cheese.  I also wanted some olives.

Back in college when I lived with my now-brother-in-law he used to eat cottage cheese with spanish olives all.the.time and I always made a big deal about how gross I thought it was.  I still think it's gross.  I prefer jelly or fruit in my cottage cheese, but since I was craving both of these things I decided to combine them and see how things went.

1 cup Nancy's cottage cheese, 6 sliced olives
BLECH!  I was not a fan.  In all fairness I am not really a fan of Nancy's cottage cheese in the first place (it was on sale and there was a coupon!) but mixed with the olives it was super-salty and unpleasant.  I ended up taking the olives out and eating them separately, then choking down the rest of the cottage cheese.  Sorry Brad, still think it's weird.

Will and I are officially having our Valentines dinner tomorrow (when we have a babysitter!) but we decided to have a special dinner tonight too.  We fed the girls at the normal time while I had a snack of a smoothie and kale.

1 orange, 1 banana, 1 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt, 1/4 cup milk, vanilla extract, handful of ice

Roasted kale seasoned with Spike
 When Will got home we joined the girls for our traditional Valentine's Day dessert of (juice-sweetened) chocolate-dipped strawberries.  Emily always does her best to coat her entire body in chocolate while saying "It's fun to get messy with chocolate!".

Yes indeed

Charlotte trying to do her usual camera face with a mouthful of strawberry

I opted for a more easily manageable version

This took a lot of cleaning up
 Once we got the girls and the table all wiped down, we gave the girls the presents from Gemmy and Dibby and a couple little things from us.  I remember my mom did a cute little scavenger hunt for us one year to find our presents and once the girls are a little older I can't wait to do something similar!

Getting new books convinced Emily to allow Daddy to read to her before bed instead of coming up with an original story, yay!
Once the children were put to bed, it was time for the adult dinner!

Red wine mushroom (Hedgeapple) fillet mignon, swiss chard with onions, Chipotle Orange Maple Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
The potatoes were fantastic even though I cut way back on the amount of cream cheese called for (and used neufchâtel instead anyway).  We lit some candles and had the most relaxing (and least interrupted) meal I've had in a long time :-)  I wasn't able to finish the potatoes or the meat though, I was stuffed!

I have heard that many couples with kids put them to bed and then have dinner together afterward, but there's no way I could do this every day!  I felt like I was cooking for quite awhile in order to make two separate dinners and I couldn't keep myself from sneaking a couple spoonfuls of the potato mixture as I was mixing it up.  Now I'm stuffed and it's almost time for bed!  It was nice to have a conversation with Will but doing this often sure would wreak havoc on my diet!

I had a very nice Valentine's Day today, and I am very much looking forward to our night out tomorrow as well!  Between Emily's school party yesterday and our date tomorrow I feel like Valentine's Day is almost a week-long event this year!

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