April 25, 2013

Farewell For Now

Posted by PEC

Back in October, we announced that we were cutting back a little on our posts due to our little guys joining the world (Callum was born October 31st, and Merric was born January 4th). We've now got a few months of parenting under our belts and have had to re-prioritise our time.
   
Merric

Callum

This post is very bittersweet to write, so we'll just get right to the point. We have come to the decision that the season of writing this blog has come to an end, an open end. Let's explain. You see, we started this blog nearly 2 years ago as a creative outlet for the both of us. It grew and provided awesome opportunities including television appearences, product testing for Whole Foods, room makeovers, and much more. We have fallen in love with this blog, but we have also fallen in love with our babies. With both of us returning to work part-time, our time at home has been cut back and our commitments have needed to become more...well...evaluated. Ah what the heck, here's a little video explaining it a little more...


All in all PEC has been a great season of our lives. We are so sad to see it go into hibernation. We'll still chime in from time-to-time, so don't delete us completely from your blogroll! Muah muah muah.

March 11, 2013

Whole Foods Whole Trade Fruit: Part Two

Posted by Kristin

We're back for round two of the Whole Foods Whole Trade Fruit (read Part One here). This time, we're using these bananas in a new and exciting way: banana ice cream.



 
 
 
 



You may think banana ice cream sounds disgusting. I did at first, honest! I actually hate banana-flavored anything but love real bananas. My hubby found this recipe while doing his juice fast in February and it was quite a hit. The ingrediants are simple and super pronounceable and you can add other tasty treats to make it more interesting. You can read more about the benefits of this ice cream over at Food, Faith and Fun.

Banana Ice Cream from Reboot with Joe.

Ingredients:1 large or 2 small frozen bananas
1/2 Tbsp. almond butter (optional)
1/2 Tbsp. cacao nibs (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
2 Tbsp. almond milk – add more if needed (The almond milk helps the bananas blend easier)

Add all ingredients into your blender and blend until a smooth “ice cream” consistency is formed.


If you use all the ingredients listed, it’s approximately 206 calories.

For our version, we used the bananas, almond milk, 2 tbsp of peanut better and some chocolate chips. It was delicious! Now we just throw any over-ripe bananas in our freezer and know that we have a super easy dessert ready to go.


A perfect portioned dessert for two!



Little flecks of chocolate make it all the more tasty.

March 5, 2013

Pinstrosity

Posted by Laura

Pinterest is a double edged sword. It's very inspiring, but tricks you into thinking life is supposed to look polished and perfect. Life is not polished. It is scuffed up. I like scuffed up. I like nicks on the surface of my kitchen table and spit-up stains on the shoulders of my shirts. That means that I'm living my life, not watching it and protecting it.
This is why I love the website pinstrosity. Pinstrosity showcases failed pinterest projects. Now I LOVE pinterest, but pinstrosity brings me back to reality. From their about page:
Pinstrosity began one evening as the ladies and their handsome husbands made a night
of movies, desserts, and talking about the various projects they were up to. “How fun would it be to showcase all our recently failed attempts to recreate Pinterest projects?!” They began that night and have been typing and Pin testing like mad-women ever since!
So I have my own pinstrosity. From my "yum" board, I made Slow Cooker Thai Chicken & Shrimp. Well, let's just say it wasn't as pretty as the original pin. In fact, mine looked like Tillie's vomit after she ate my bottle of vitamin B6.



The Original
Original Pin

I gathered all of my ingredients...



Started up the slow cooker, and let it cook all day...ingredients blending and filling the air with goodness.



And then...the result. Oh my.


Thanks to the ladies at Pinstrosity and their honesty, I don't feel like a complete weirdo with the way my version turned out! Go check Pinstrosity out and have a good laugh!

March 1, 2013

Whole Foods Whole Trade Fruit: Part One

Posted by Kristin

Recently, a nice, little email made its way into my inbox inviting me to try out some fresh pinepples, mangos and bananas. Our local Whole Foods store is running a promotion on fresh produce from fair trade growers in Costa Rica, Peru and Ecuador. Here's a bit more on the Whole Trade philosophy:

At Whole Foods Market, we’re not just about selling groceries; we believe we have a responsibility toward all people involved in our business. This includes shoppers, shareholders, team members and suppliers as well as producer communities in developing countries. We also believe we have a responsibility toward a healthy planet. Whole Trade helps make it easy for customers to shop with conscience. Every purchase of a Whole Trade product is like a vote for a better world!
So when Whole Foods offered Laura and I a selection of these fruits to try out in some recipes, it took all of two seconds for me to say YES PLEASE!

PEC received some cherries from Whole Foods (WF) this summer and Laura and I whipped up some tasty recipes. So I was happy to oblige WF again and see what I could create with these fresh fruits.

First up: Mango Pineapple Salsa.



I've made enough fresh fruit salsas to know the basic ingrediants. I scoped out some recipes online but decided to just go for it on my own. The end result was a tasty treat to serve alongside some homemade tortilla chips.


Tortilla chips are so easy to make at home!

Ingrediants:
-1/2 a mango, peeled and chopped into small pieces
-1/4 of a pinpeapple chopped into small chunks
-1/2 a small red onion diced
-1 small jalepeno seeded and minced
-2 tbsp chopped cilantro
-1 tsp salt
-1 1/2 tbsp lime juice


Combine all ingrediants and mix. Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups of salsa.

Try not to eat it all at once!



Keepin' it real: mess leads to success.



Fresh, spicy and tasty.

Part Two of Whole Foods Whole Fruit is coming next week! We still have bananas to tackle and we've got a tasty and healthy dessert to share.

February 26, 2013

Five Days

Posted by Laura

On a Monday my husband's only brother was admitted to the ICU with pneumonia. His lungs filled with blood and his body went septic. Five days later his heart stopped and he died. He was 29 years old.

In those five days a facebook page called Updates on Seth was created, and reached 68,000 viewers. In those five days a movement called "Random Acts of Kindness Inspired by Seth" or better known as "Random Acts of Sethness" started where people did acts of kindness in his name. This lifted spirits and gave people hope. You see, Seth valued kindness, human connections, and people's stories. That is everything this movement is about.

Go do something kind today, and think of Seth. See other's at www.actsofsethness.blogspot.com.

Merric with his Uncle Seth...01/05/13


February 22, 2013

The Reboot Diet

Posted by Kristin

A while back, Mike and I watched the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It's the story of a middle aged guy, Joe Cross, who is plagued with various medical issues and one big ol' belly. He's tried different diet fads throughout his life, all resulting in little or no change. Fed up with where he's at, Joe decides to go on a juice diet for 60 days. He eats nothing but fruits and veggies and juices them so that he can get the amount of calories and nutrients that he needs. The documentary follows him as he travels across the country seeing the typical eating habits of Americans. At the end of the documentary, he has successfully reached a healthy weight, is exercising regularly, has ditched all his medications and has a much healthier life style over all.

This story really struck a cord with my hubby and after thinking it over for several months, he decided he wanted to try it. There are various juice diets you can try to start (5, 10, or 15 days) and all the guidelines and recipes are listed on Joe's website, Reboot With Joe.

The adventure began on Tuesday and it was a crazy begining. We went shopping on Monday for all the fruits and veggies and let me tell you, I've never purchased so much produce at one time. Mike is documenting each day of the diet this week on his blog, Food, Faith and Fun. Head over there to read the details of the juicing so far for day 1 and day 2.

Here are some pictures of what our kitchen looked like after purchasing all the goods. Bon Appetit!

Every corner is packed with produce!
 
 
 

Every inch of the table was covered!


February 15, 2013

No Spending for 2013

Posted by Kristin

Always on the look out for ways to save a dime, a news story on the Today Show recently caught my eye.

"Minimalist mom vows to spend nothing on her kid in 2013" (full article available here).

Wowza! I'm a bargain hunter through and through, but spending nothing? That's quite the challenge. The news segment also featured an interview with another woman who hasn't bought anything new in five years.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



While that sounds extreme (and in many ways, it is), I realized that many of the steps she takes to avoid buying new I already put into practice. Good Will and I are tight and I know many of the other thrift shops in the area to scope out for certain items. Garage sales call my name come spring and I know Mr. Craig and his list very well. I've also gotten many items handed down from family and friends or have found them on Freecycle . But this woman's spunk stirred something in me. I'm not saying I'm ready to commit to a full five year binge from buying new items (even she said she buys certain things new-like underwear- duh!) but it did make me scratch my head and think about what I could possibly get used before heading off to the store.

In the last year or so it seems we're really been blessed with many things coming to us completely free. Some of them we sought out and found quickly and some of the items were simply offered to us. Many of the items we received were things we wanted or needed but we had a little time to wait and see what came our way. More often than not, we eventually ended up getting what we needed at no cost. Here's a list of somethings we've recently gotten for free:

  • A jogging stroller and car seat
  • An extra car seat base
  • A double electric breast pump (just ordered new plastic parts)
  • Countless baby clothes
  • A perfectly working juicer (Mike wanted this for months)
  • A high-end tread mill
  • A dining room table and 6 chairs
  • Tons of baby/kid books
  • The grand finale- a new microwave to relace the old one I blew up. Yup, within one week we had a new one!
So I guess in hindsight, sometimes it pays off to poke around a bit and see if someone has what you need. And a good old dose of patience to wait for what you want certainly doesn't hurt either.


February 12, 2013

Getting the Nursery Ready

Posted by Laura

Getting our nursery ready in a small 2 bedroom apartment (where the spare bedroom was previously an office) was more work than we anticipated. The months leading up to Merric's arrival were spent purging our home, organizing our things, and eliminating our office/sewing room/storage room to make way for the nursery. It got a little chaotic.

Due to small bedrooms with tiny closets, we took a trip to IKEA and bought two EXPEDIT shelves with DRĂ–NA fabric bins and KNIPSA boxes.

Best.
Purchase.
Ever.






For our crib, we wanted simple. Simple and bright. We went with a Delta Sedona Classic Crib from Babies R Us, and are very happy with it.


Caleb is very methodical when putting furniture together. He likes to take his time and read all the instructions (as opposed to me who puts pieces together as I pull them out of the box). It's best that we do these types of projects individually :)




Office Turned Nursery

Like I mentioned earlier, we had to do some serious purging! Our office was generally an organized room, but also ended up being the room that we always put things in that we didn't know where else to put them. You know, like a basement or something.

Then
yeeks


Now



This space is where I did my sewing (machine is on the right, built into the table), blogging, gift wrapping, web surfing, life organizing, etc. Yup, I admit that I often let this space turn into a mess.

Then


Now


Then


Now


Living Room Turned Office/Living Room

This was a challenge. We had to put our office into our already tight living room.

Then


Chaos


Now


Then


We cleaned out our bookshelf and added storage crates loaded with office and sewing supplies. We also got rid of our DVD racks and put the DVDs in a sleeve binder under the couch. Sorry DVDs, but you're taking a backseat for the unforeseeable future.

Now

Now

Now

Now


Now


Then


Now


Now

This desk is quite different than our previous one.

Previous Work Space


I've been testing out my theory that since the desk is now in an open space, I have to keep it clean (unlike the office that I could shut the door when I didn't want to look at it). My mantra has been "keep this desk clean, keep this desk clean, keep this desk clean...".

Current Work Space


So things are a little crammed these days, but it's totally worth it!



February 1, 2013

Yeah, So That Just Happened

Posted by Kristin

Sometimes I have some pretty bright ideas. And sometimes a bright idea can go horribly wrong. Like really, really wrong. But in an effort to be real in the blogosphere we PECers have to share our failures right along with our successes.


Evidence of the failure. Oh just wait....

Go back a few weeks. Mike and I were sitting at our kitchen island eating lunch before heading out to do some errands. I had just fed Callum and was anxious to get going soon so we could maximize our time out before he would need to eat again. I also realized that I needed to add a little more heft to my lunchtime salad if I was going to have energy for the afternoon. So I thought a hard boiled egg sliced into my salad would be a good, quick and healthy source of protein. Protein for me equals energy. But being the short-cut-taker that I am, I decided that I would try to hard boil the egg in the microwave instead of on the stove. After all, it would just take way too long for water to boil and cook the egg.

Now, there are two things to take into account before you scratch your head wondering how I ever thought this was a good idea.

1. I cook eggs in the microwave all the time. But they're cracked into a bowl and not still in the shell. I would come to find out that this was an important difference.

2. Science was not my strongest subject in school and I never took physics. I was more of a history girl.

Alright, getting back to the story...

So I took an egg, put it in a small bowl of water and placed it into the microwave for three minutes. I checked it after the first three minutes but could tell it wasn't cooked. I put it on for another three minutes and it seemed less liquidy inside when I shook it. So I started to crack it open but soon saw that the yolk wasn't quite hard. So I put it back in for another three minutes. I then sat down at the kitchen island with my back to the pantry, where the microwave is.

Not shortly thereafter, we were greated with a loud explosion from the pantry. The sound alone made me jump which then made Callum cry, since I was holiding him. I slowly turned my head and saw that the microwave door had blown open and there was glass, hot water and hard boiled egg all over the floor and walls of the pantry.  That's right, the egg had exploded. The explosion was so forceful that it blew open the microwave door and shattered not only the bowl but also the glass plate that stays in the microwave.



Sorry for the poor quality but this is what you get when life happens and you only have a camera phone nearby.


After standing there for a few seconds completely stunned, we started laughing really, really hard while simultaneously trying to calm down Callum- to no avail. So in true husbandly love, Mike cleaned up the mess while I fed Callum to calm him down. And to top all of this off, that darn egg stunk! It smelled like a rotten egg in the pantry for days, even after every surface was thoroughly cleaned. We also realized that, while funny, it was a good thing neither of us were standing in the pantry when the egg exploded or else we would have had really hot water and broken glass all over us.


Stuff went everywhere!

So, needlesss to say, don't try to hard boil an egg in the microwave. Trust me on this one. Oh, and as of Sunday, our microwave is now dead. I guess this wasn't the brightest idea after all...

January 29, 2013

Raising an Issue

Posted by Laura

My husband built this gorgeous hope chest by hand for me as a wedding gift. We wanted to use it in the nursery as a changing table, but ran into a little issue. It's at lower thigh level, making it a little too short for a changing table.



I got a brilliant idea from Kristin to hoist it up on fabric-covered cinder blocks. So, Caleb and I picked these up for $1 each at Home Depot.



I had a package of cloth diapers that were too big to make burp clothes out of, so I put them to use.



I went outside for plenty of ventilation and used low oder spray glue. I wrapped the blocks like presents. This photo is of the first block, which was a hack job, as I was trying to figure out a method. 



Eventually I covered them all, and after letting them dry thoroughly we placed them under the chest. 




Not only did this bring the hope chest up to hip level, but provided extra storage underneath.



blocks and trains, what every boy needs

Just to give you some perspective, I did a 5 minute photoshop job to place me in the room. Ugly sweater party photo?






Ok, so you'd have to be in the room to really see the full effect of the cinder blocks, but you get the point. :)