Archive for November, 2015

Years back, I never really thought about taking care of my hair.  In fact, I did the opposite.  I was a fake blonde for a long time, having to get it colored every couple weeks to keep the dark from getting through.  I straightened it.  I washed it all the time with whatever shampoo and whatever conditioner.  I just did not spend much time thinking about it all and the damage it was doing.  Then, after the birth of my second, my hair started falling it.  It was the normal post-pregnancy hair loss but to me, it was devastating.  I have very thin, fine hair as it is and really couldn’t afford to lose any.  For the first time in forever, I did not take my hair for granted and was taking hair pills, buying the best re-growth products and doing whatever I could to save what I had.  Eight years later, I still take my hair seriously.

Because of unwanted grey hairs, I get my hair colored more than I would like to.  Really, it is every 4-5 weeks.  This is not because I have a head full of greys.  This is because I would prefer to never see one grey hair and for that reason, I make sure I don’t.  I also love to hvae curls in my hair.  It gives volume to my normally flat, straight hair and just looks better.  For these reasons, I have focused on two areas when it comes to my at home hair products; not over washing and protecting.  These are the 5 products that I use each week to ensure that my hair stays healthy and vibrant.

Hair Products

Moroccan Oil Dry Shampoo
One of my biggest goals with my hair is to not wash it very often. With fine, thin hair, this is very hard to do and often within 24 hours it can look greasy and gross, especially after a workout. For the longest time, I couldn’t get myself to a point where I didn’t wash it every day. I finally committed and now only wash my hair 2-3 times a week, depending on what I have going on. The only way I make it this long is by using this dry shampoo. It is my favorite. It smells great, doesn’t create a ton of build up in my hair and is easy to use.

Kerastase Densifique Bain Densite
This shampoo has done wonders for my hair. I use a very small amount on the days that I wash and has kept my hair looking healthy without weighing it down. It adds body and I love the texture it leaves on my hair once washed.

Schwarzkopf Q10 Time Restore
Because I am only washing my hair twice (maybe three times a week), when I do, I use a mask conditioner to help provide some much needed moisture to help protect my hair. I really like this one because it does not need to sit on your hair very long, rinses out easily and does not weigh my hair down. I must note that I use a very small amount and do not put it anywhere close to my roots, just through the middle of my hair and the ends.

Kerastase Discipline Fluidissime
After getting out of the shower and towel drying my hair, I spray this heat protector all over and comb through. It has done an amazing job of protecting my hair from the heat I use from the blowdryer and curling iron. I also love the smell.

Schwarzkopf BC Bonecure Hair Rescue Sealed Ends
After I comb through the heat protector, I use this on my ends, just to help protect healthy ends and heal ends that may need it.  You only need to use a very small amount.

After both of these products, I style as usual.

One final thing I have done that is helping all those baby hairs along our hairline is changing up my part.  It was suggested to me that if you constantly change your part, your hair will not continue to break in the same places.  I am not sure if it is working as I just started but I will keep you posted.  Plus, it is fun to change things up a bit!

Just a note to my recommendations. Everyone’s hair is different. Just like our skin, something that might work for me may not work for you. The best thing to do is ask your hair professional. My girl has been instrumental in making sure I am using the proper products. I do love these ones and highly suggest giving them a try but only if you think any of the reasons they are benefiting me, they might also benefit you.

With this post I am signing out for the rest of November. I am really looking forward to enjoying next week with the family. I wish you all a Blessed Thanksgiving Holiday.

 

Turkey Root Vegetable Pot Pie

Hello again, Juggling in Heels readers! I’m so happy to be back to share some serious thoughts about a very important topic, something that is probably on all of our minds as we approach my very favorite holiday…

L.E.F.T.O.V.E.R.S!

Leftovers are the reason we all buy turkeys that are WAY over the “1-pound-per-person” recommendation.

If I followed that recommendation for our holiday gathering (allowing just a ½ pound for each little mouth under 5 years old), we’d be enjoying a 7 ½ pound turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

Umm…NO. Not happening here.

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever bought anything less than an 18-20 pounder…for reasons like this Turkey Root Vegetable Pot Pie.

This pot pie is a spin off of Mama’s Pot Pie, my very first post on Sweet Peas and ABCs, and my daughter’s favorite meal. This one, though, uses those delicious turkey LEFTOVERS and is more seasonally appropriate with all those colorful root veggies. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onion, celery, green beans… that’s straight-up autumn on a platter.

Turkey Root Vegetable Pot Pie

Side note: Never tried parsnip? It looks like a cream-colored carrot and tastes sweet and nutty. They actually get sweeter after frost turns the starches to sugar, so they’re wonderful in winter too. And the carrots? Try purple or yellow ones to add a pop of color!

Turkey Root Vegetable Pot Pie

I think I may even enjoy leftovers more than Thanksgiving dinner itself. Something about cooking all day… even though I LOVE it, I don’t really feel like eating it when we sit down for our holiday meal. But I adore a turkey/stuffing/cranberry sauce sandwich later that evening. And the next day? This. Pot. Pie.

Turkey Root Vegetable Pot Pie

No need to step foot in another grocery store, after all the time spent shopping and cooking for Thanksgiving. Here’s the breakdown on the LEFTOVERS you’ll be able to use up for this pot pie:

  • Turkey
  • Poultry seasoning, parsley and thyme
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Red or white potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Celery and onion
  • Green Beans
  • Chicken or turkey stock
  • Pie dough

Set aside a handful of each ingredient as you’re prepping your holiday meal and this next-day pot pie is nearly done.

Turkey Root Vegetable Pot Pie

After a long day of holiday shopping, wouldn’t this be nice to come home to?

Bring on the LEFTOVERS!

Little Hands Can…

  • Wash and scrub the root vegetables
  • Toss the vegetables with oil and spread them on a baking sheet
  • Shred the turkey with forks or clean hands
  • Pick herbs, wash them and pull the leaves off
  • Roll out pie dough and use cookie cutters to make fun shapes

Prepping potatoes

scrubbing-potatoes

 

Turkey Root Vegetable Pot Pie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 small red or white potatoes
  • 2 carrots (we like to use purple or yellow carrots for a different color)
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 cup frozen green beans, cut into small 1 inch pieces
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion (1 small onion)
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery (3 large stalks)
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock (or turkey stock if you have it)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked cubed or shredded turkey
  • 1 sheet pie dough (homemade or store bought)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash and scrub the root vegetables (sweet potato, potatoes, carrots and parsnips) with a potato scrubber. Peel and chop the vegetables into small 1/2 inch cubes.
  3. Place the chopped root vegetables and green beans on a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the vegetables are tender. Use a paring knife to pierce the vegetables to check that they are soft. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool slightly while you make the sauce.
  4. In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook the onion and celery until soft, but not brown. Stir frequently, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small pot, heat the milk and chicken broth together on low heat. You just want to warm them through. (You could also warm them in a glass measuring cup in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes).
  6. When the onion/celery mixture is soft, add the flour to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Slowly whisk in the warm broth/milk mixture and cook until thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
  8. Add the parsley, thyme, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
  9. Toss the cooked, cooled vegetables and turkey in the sauce.
  10. Pour the filling into a greased 9×12 inch baking dish.
  11. On a cutting board or counter top, roll out your pie dough to about 1/4 inch in thickness, using a sprinkle of flour as needed to prevent sticking. Invite your child to cut out fun shapes using cookie cutters. Lay the dough shapes on top of the filling, overlapping them to completely cover the top.
  12. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  13. Let the pot pie cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Notes
You could substitute chicken if you don’t have turkey.

 

On the Side

Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips are all root vegetables. But what exactly are roots? What do they do? What do they look like? Why are they important? We’re exploring some of these questions by growing our own potato plants!

Growing Potato Plants

Roots, by definition, are the part of a plant that attaches to the ground, bringing water and nourishment to the rest of the plant. They are the lifeline of the plant, taking air, water and nutrients from the soil so the plant can grow. Roots also help anchor the plant in the soil, which is important during heavy rain or wind.

Using a potato or sweet potato from your recipe, you can explore how roots grow using just water and sunlight. Make your potato grow into a potato plant…which can then grow more potatoes!

You’ll need:

  • toothpicks
  • a potato or sweet potato
  • a large glass (preferably clear, so you can see the roots growing)
  • water

Insert four toothpicks into your potato, pushing them about ¼ to ½ inch into the potato. Space your toothpicks around the middle of the potato, as if you were positioning them at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock. Assist your child if needed. The toothpicks will rest on top of the glass and allow your potato to be suspended in the water so roots can grow.

Growing Potato Plants

Fill your glass about 2/3 of the way up with water. Place your potato into the glass and rest the toothpicks on top. The potato should be suspended in the water and should not touch the bottom of the glass. Place your glass with the potato near a sunny window. Change the water every few days so the potatoes aren’t sitting in cloudy water.

Growing Potato Plants

Within a week or so, you should start to see roots growing. We are currently 8 days into our potato plant experiment and are starting to see very small white roots growing out of both our potato and sweet potato. Within 2-3 weeks, stems and leaves should sprout up from the top. After a month or so, you can plant the potato in a small pot with soil and let it continue to grow.

In the spring, we hope to plant our potato plants in our backyard garden…and then, harvest our own potatoes. Maybe we can use those potatoes for next year’s pot pie!

Happy Thanksgiving!

~Sally

Side note: With Mama’s Pot Pie, we learned about “Eating a Rainbow” and made colorful rainbow drawings to document which colors we were eating. Don’t forget to add the vegetables from this recipe to your rainbow!

For more delicious recipes and learning activities to try with your kids in the kitchen, check out Sweet Peas and ABCs.

You can also find me on:

So here is a little situation we are in these days.

When do you get your kid a cell phone?

To be honest, for a long time, my response to this question was “never”.  I just really didn’t see the need for it.  My thought is slightly changing though as my Oldest continues to get older.  A few weekends ago, we were at a basketball tournament in LA and I had to head out for an event, leaving my Oldest with another family.  Being that we were not very close to home and that he would be hanging out in a gym for a couple hours, driving home and arriving while we were out, it was the first time I thought to myself “it would be nice if he had a cell phone so that he could check in with me on how the game went, that he was heading home and that he arrived safely”.

So it got me thinking, is he getting to an age where we, the parents, will not always be around, should we provide him a phone so that we can connect with him in those circumstances?

If it was just for the phone, I would probably be much more willing.  Here is the problem I am seeing with this.

I have a MAJOR problem with seeing kids on cell phones.  It drives me insane.  I am not talking about communicating on their cell phone through a phone call.  I am talking about the silent obsession of sitting on their phone playing games, texting, and looking on the internet.  Who knows what they are doing but they are disengaged.  It is my biggest pet peeve.  I cannot handle when I have kids in the car and instead of doing all the things that kids do like chatting and laughing, they are sitting silent because they are too busy looking down at their phone.  Do parents do the same thing sometimes?  Absolutely.  But we have learned the art of communication thanks to not having any of this when we were kids so we understand the balance.  Unfortunately young children do not which has created a generation of kids who do not have the confidence they should when communicating with others and use technology to do the communicating for them.  And then I could open a whole can of worms when it comes to social media, videos, photos and online bullying.  Don’t even get me started on that entire mess.  There in lies my problem with the whole cell phone thing and why I am so hesitate to take that step forward.

What I am finding though is that the husband and I are quickly becoming the minority when it comes to kids having phones.  Entering 5th grade I drastically saw a jump in the number of kids who have phones.  Most of my Oldest’s friends have phones.  So am I being a prude when it comes to providing this kind of technology?  Perhaps.  I get that it is going to happen one day.  But when?  That is my biggest question.

I understand that this is really one of those “to each their own” situations.  I am in no way judging parents who have given their children phones.  I am truly unsure as to where I stand at the moment.  Believe me, if we did get him a phone there would be so many rules around using it that I am sure he would not find it fun at all to have.  And yes, I completely understand that this is hypocritical as I have made a business off of social media and technology and spent countless hours texting.  I get this.  Just another area of parenting that I am slowly entering and I would love to hear what you have to say!  Please share what you have done with regards to this.  This newbie is listening!

Tunic 1

< Cover Up Tunic (c/o) / Leggings / Fringe Boots / Scarf / Sunglasses >

One of the key elements I think about when purchasing an item is its versatility.  When you live in Orange County, there is so much flexibility on what you wear thanks to the weather that you have a good chance of wearing a lot of your closet in both Summer and Winter.  I have friends that live in cooler Winter temperatures and I always have found it shocking when they say they pack up their Summer clothes, not to be seen again for months.  We are extremely fortunate and I am grateful that I get so much more use out of my items thanks to the moderate temperatures we have.  Is there a limit to this though?  Are there any pieces that just have to stay in Summer?  Sure there are, but there are also items that you would think will only work for Summer but with a few changes, can work right into your Winter wardrobe.  One of these pieces is the bathing suit cover up tunic.  Do I sound crazy?  Take a look.

Here is how my tunic is normally paired when it comes to summer.  Nothing but a beach towel and swimsuit.

Tunic 2

Sure this could go to the wayside with cooler temperatures but with some fringe boots, scarf and leggings, it instantly transform into the perfect cool weather ensemble…

tunic 3

It really is that simple.  Some times our closets just take an extra second to think about new ways to wear them and suddenly, we have expanded the piece’s use, giving it a lot more versatility.  I highly suggest thinking about some other items in your closet that don’t necessarily have to be packed up just yet.

tunic 4 tunic 5 tunic 6 tunic 7

* This post was in partnership with Athena Swimwear and SwimSpot.

When the temperatures start to cool, I always tend to fall back to basics with my day to day looks.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

< Dress / Booties / Backpack >

Stripes and Fringe. You cannot get much easier than a striped dress and a handbag that adds a little character. I wore this last week to Mass at my children’s school. It is a dress I wore on Easter last year but is so comfortable that I now wear it on constant rotation. I also love the price at under $100. This backpack has also become a staple, making it so much easier to hold on to my things when running around. I don’t know why we are all not running around with backpacks. They were made for moms.

image3 (22)

< Jacket / Tee / Denim / Boots >

Denim on denim. Some people love it, some people hate it. I am on the side of the more denim on denim, the better. It is so simple yet chic when done correctly and it makes getting dressed easy and comfortable. And can we talk about these Moccasin boots? They are under $100 and honestly, I would wear them every day if they didn’t stand out so much. I am not sad that with El Nino, they may need to be left at home because they are my favorite shoe for Winter.

image2 (41)

< Jacket / Sleeveless Shirt / Overalls / Flats / Backpack >

Just like the backpack, I am not sure why I ever gave up on Overalls. Sure it took me a while to get back on the wagon but now that I am on, I am not planning on getting off any time soon. These ones are under $100 and so comfortable and I wear them at least once a week. I also love this jacket I picked up at Bardot in Newport Beach because it is heavy enough to keep me warm when it is cool outside but not too heavy for our Orange County weather. The best part of this outfit? I was able to easily transition it to a dinner look with just a pair of leggings and OTK boots.

image4 (9)

Parenting is hard. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. It is hard. In fact, I am now fully aware that it is the hardest thing I am going to do in this life. Then there is the reality that it only gets harder.

When I brought my Oldest home, I was petrified. I was 26 years old and was absolutely certain that the hospital would do a much better job of taking care of him than I would. It’s a baby! What if I do something wrong? I knew nothing about being a mother and it scared me. I didn’t sleep the first three nights as I was consumed with the fear that if I did, he would stop breathing. I remember my Mom saying, “Sarah, you need to remember, God is the one watching over him, you are simply here to help guide him through life”. On the fourth night I finally got some rest and those words have stuck with me ever since.

“God is the one watching over him, you are simply here to help guide him through life”

Little did I know how freaking hard guiding a human being through life was going to get and how easy it was when he was a newborn.

Fast forward and now here I am with an 11 year old, 8 year old and a 5 year old. The newborn stages are a blur at this point but I can remember one thing. It was easier. I am definitely not saying it was easy. I hated nursing, I need my sleep and boy was it exhausting. It was definitely a physically demanding stage in the life of a parent so please do not think I am knocking anyone who is challenged by this stage at all. I absolutely get it. What has switched is that the physically demanding stage has subsided (well, with the exception of being a personal uber driver for my children) and the emotional stage is definitely kicking my ass.

Bigger kids equal bigger problems. I thought I could potentially screw them up as a newborn but it is glaring me in the face that this is where I am actually afraid of screwing them up! And I am trying. The problem is, they need to learn to fail. They need to learn to make mistakes. They need to learn pain. Without learning these things they will never learn to succeed. And do you know how hard it is as a mom to let your kids fail at something? Or feel hurt? It is the absolute worst. I hear all the time about how terrible it is to be a helicopter parent but goodness it is a mom’s instinct! They forget homework on the table? You want to drive it back to school for them. A friend says something really mean to them on the playground. You want to punch that kid in the face (I know that sounds terrible but it is true). And the thing is, you can’t. You have to just be there for them when they want to talk about it, support them through it and give them the confidence that they can handle it on their own. Like I said, it is HARD.

Why am I saying all this? Because I think that sometimes we want to make it all look easy. That is also human nature. We don’t want to think about how every decision we make we are worried how it will affect our kids as adults. There is a lot of responsibility riding on us and we don’t want to think that we are doing something wrong. So we say nothing.

But here is the reality. We aren’t doing anything wrong. We are all trying our best, just like we are teaching our children to do. Just like them, we fail sometimes. And just like them, we succeed. It is important for us to share these things with each other because no one parent is perfect and we are doing everything we can. It is the hardest thing we are ever going to do but it will only be harder if we never share our own struggles with each other. So, I plan on doing a bit more of that. I figure if anything, one person out there might like to hear it and hey, it starts with one right?

But it starts here.

FACT: Parenting is HARD.

FACT: YOU are doing a great job.