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Last Week’s Highlights

I can’t remember the last time I was bored. If you ever hear me say I have nothing to do then it’s because I’m NOT doing something I should be doing.

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Eve sound asleep on the floor in their bedroom after I took Vera downstairs.

This week, I was continually reminded about how much time, patience, and consistency it takes to teach small children obedience. I have been trying to get Eve and Vera to nap in a double bed together instead of their cribs. It may be easier to teach them to go into separate beds, yes, but we already have a double and I’d rather use that instead of buy something new. And we need a crib to be freed up for the baby.

Plus, our house has two bedrooms on the upper level, ours and theirs. To separate them entirely would mean to make one of the small offices we have on the lower level a bedroom. That child would then sleep downstairs at night while the rest of us are upstairs. For me, that is not an option. Thus my dilemma.

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Vera sound asleep on the couch.

My new strategy is to start them in the bed together and give them three chances to stay in bed. On the second and third chances they sit in time out before returning to the bed. After the third chance, I separate them. One stays in the bed upstairs and the other goes on the couch. At this point, they get no babies, no books, no blankies. Just quiet and separation. It’s the only thing that seems to work with them.

But it’s a lot harder and more time consuming for me. Isn’t that true with anything worthwhile?

It’s easier to stick them both in their cribs where I know they’ll stay out of trouble and sleep. I would have more time to do other things, for sure. If I did that though, they wouldn’t learn and we wouldn’t move forward. So unless this strategy fails and we make no progress, I’m sticking to it.

If anyone has advice on teaching two-year-old twins to stay in a big bed – without jumping and screaming – then I’m all ears. My girls would rather party!

The mentality I try to maintain while teaching my children obedience is similar to the one I have when disciplining myself to make healthy choices. There are times I struggle and fail, but it’s a continuous and relentless effort to do better, to correct my behavior and move forward. And it gets easier with time.

img_20161104_150715.jpgMuch to my delight, Eve and Vera seem to enjoy copying me when I workout. Often they’ll try to lift my lighter weight kettlebells. This week, I snagged a picture of Eve in action. Isn’t she precious!?

When I was little, I regularly saw my dad exercise. Even while on vacation, he’d take some dumbbells to the campground and get in a quick workout. I’m convinced that his example helped shape me and make me disciplined about exercise. Teach your kids while they’re young, my friends! It’s much harder to learn healthy habits as an adult.

Now enough about my family. Here’s what last week’s meals and workouts looked like in the Hilton home.

Workouts

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thurs

Fri

Sat

Sun

Yoga and kettlebells

3-mile jog outside

Yoga and kettlebells

3-mile fast walk on treadmill

Yoga and kettlebells

Rest

Rest

This week I had no problem getting my workouts in. Even though I woke up at 4:00 AM on Friday and couldn’t get back to sleep. Don’t you hate that!? Thankfully, my energy levels were normal and I felt good, so I didn’t miss a single day and was able to push myself within reason.

Mark is doing well with his first week of training for the half marathon. He has a torn muscle in his forearm so he has to back off the weightlifting for now, which is a big bummer. Overall though, he’s still making steady progress. What he used to consider a fast run is now a normal run and what used to be a normal run is now a slow run. Rock on!

Meals

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thurs

Fri

Sat

Sun

Pot roast

Chicken parm

Roasted sausage and veggies

Leftovers

Homemade pizza

Slow-baked chicken

Beef stew

I wasn’t terribly adventurous in the kitchen this week. Though we were fortunate enough to have a pot roast that was actually good. Every year we have a beef cow butchered. We split the cost and share the meat with some family and friends. It’s a great way to get good quality meat but it also means that you get stuck with some cuts that you wouldn’t otherwise choose. Such as pot roast. Roasts just aren’t my thing. I put a roast on the menu last week and dreaded having to eat it. I was pleasantly surprised when it was flavorful and tender and didn’t have layer upon layer of fat in every single bite, which is the WORST. I took extra care when preparing it, but we got lucky with this lean roast.

On Tuesday, I made chicken parmesan to share with my parents. I cut the breasts in half to make each piece even in size and let it sit in brine for a couple hours before breading it with Panko bread crumbs and baking it. The final result was tender, juicy chicken! I’ve found my new strategy for cooking up this meal. It’s a rather easy meal to lighten up by going easy on the cheese and pasta. Even better if you use veggie spaghetti or perhaps spaghetti squash. Delish!

When Eve and Vera were first born, I would let Mark pick one meal a week from my America’s Test Kitchen cookbook. It stretched my cooking skills and forced us to try new things. We got out of the habit somewhere along the way but are now getting back into it. This time around, he’s picking meals from the Modernist Cuisine cookbook he gave me. The slow-baked chicken with onions and potato puree recipe we tried on Saturday came from that.

The chicken cooked on my oven’s warm setting for over three hours. Yes, on the warm setting. I had to crank it up at the end because it just wasn’t getting up to temperature. In the final steps, you fry the chicken skin to crisp it up and caramelize the onions. Well, we had burnt onion “chips.” A major let down. I felt like the meal was a failure but at least Eve and Vera loved it. I’ve never seen them eat so much. I’m glad my efforts weren’t a total waste. And in defense of this recipe, I don’t think I’ve ever had such juicy chicken. The meat itself was very good.

The potato puree is really mashed potatoes but cooked sous vide and with several additional steps. Again, not worth it.

To make Sunday easier, I did extra prep work on Saturday. I felt like I spent most of my day in the kitchen. Which I generally don’t mind if everything goes well but everything did not. The chicken was a time intensive meal, and in my opinion, not worth it. But it was also my first attempt at cutting up a whole chicken into all its parts. Now that I’ve done it once, I will definitely be bold enough to keep doing it. That part was worth it.

Some friends came over on Sunday and we shared beef stew with my homemade whole wheat sourdough bread. I think everyone enjoyed it, though the kids didn’t touch much of it. For dessert, I made spiced apple oatmeal cookies. Another reason I spent so much time in the kitchen on Saturday. These, however, were worth it. I skipped the step that had you roll the cookie dough in sugar before baking them. There’s already plenty of sugar in these cookies, even though I never use the full amount, and you don’t miss that little dusting on the outside at all. I thought they were super yummy.

Follow me on Pinterest to see all these recipes and more!

On we go…

This coming week should be exciting. How about that election? I also have another appointment to check on the baby, which is always fun. To top it all off, I’m attending a baby shower for a friend. We’re just rolling with life, right now.

Good luck to all of you in the week to come. If you have any questions, suggestions, or recipes to share, please leave a comment here or on the Facebook page. Talk to you soon!

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