Monday, September 01, 2014

PR 3: Ponce & Coamo

So no Meal Pinning Monday for a few more weeks. No one probably cares that I can eat french toast and chips. Or that yogurt is amazing these days. 

That means today is back on the Puerto Rico band wagon, and on this day we left Ponce headed for San Juan with several pit stops on the way. 

The way the landscape changes so quickly is Puerto Rico was just amazing to me, especially being from Louisiana... land of flatness.

From our hotel balcony (another reason to stay at the Ramada in Ponce) we had a great view of the mountains and the building surrounding the square.

Mom, Dad, Jeremy, and I all went to this restaurant the night before. Chef's Creations is an open kitchen restaurant that specializes in tapas.

Jeremy got ribs that he didn't share that much with us, and Mom, Dad, and I got a whole array of tapas to share.

By this point Pop was exhausted so he voted for getting take out and we knew there was nothing on this menu that Laura or Joshua would tough. Made for a fun double date, especially for a group that hasn't had tapas before.


Just a few shots from the balcony, the streets of Ponce.

My Dad's oncologist went to medical school in Ponce, and my grandmother's Capo side of the family was involved in politics there.

 Sorry, I just like iron gates.

And old wooden doors.

I was supposed to be loading the car but snuck out for one last photo opportunity before we left.

My usual proof that I exist. I haven't trained anyone to be my second photographer on trips.

Maybe I should just take the hint and follow other families on vacation to take photos for them ha!

We were leaving Ponce, but if you enter from this direction they have a huge Ponce sign, kind of like the Hollywood sign.

There were wind farms everywhere on this side of the island.

It wouldn't be profitable where we live so I was very intrigued by the constant view of massive white windmills.

Stop number 1 on our way to San Juan was to visit the Coamo Hot Springs, and for 2 dollars it was well worth the visit.

I had to take a picture of the sign just to remember what all was in the water.

There are two pools at the hot springs, the hot one and the supposedly cooler one. 

It basically translated into the boiling pool and the bathtub warm pool. Kids obviously aren't reccomended to get into the boiling hot pool. Josuhua seemed to enjoy it, I still thought it was a little hot. 

I made Laura take pics of us at the hot spring, only fair since she didn't get in.

Jeremy and Dad stayed in the hot pool much longer than I could tolerate. Mom stepped in and turned right around to go to the cooler one.

Dad is well known in our family for finding a hot tub and not getting out until he is well past the time the sign says he has to exit.

I recall one vacation in New Orleans when we were kids that Mom literally timed him and made him get out every 15 minutes. It went on for ages that he was in between the pool and hot tub. I apparently didn't inherrit his love for sitting in boiling water.

This place was kid friendly enough, it's definitely not a swimming pool though. The few kids that were there could get away with a little noise, but parents were quick to tell them to hush.

We were the only tourists in sight, the place was full of locals. Now the Coamo Hot Springs, like everywhere else I've mentioned in Puerto Rico gets busy quick. During the off season in particular the locals will fill the place up in a heart beat, so get there early.

It's definitely not an all day activity, allot 2 hours for the hot springs and move on. They offer massages, but none of us took advantage of the option. There are very nice restrooms and changing rooms in the facility.

It's by far worth more than the 2 dollars they charge.

As we were leaving it had started getting busier.

We had another stop to make before getting to San Juan, but I'll share the photos from that next time. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Little Life Update

It's been a few days since I last posted so I thought I should give a little update.

As far as the baby goes everything is going good, we had an appointment this week and the heartbeat was good. They basically drained me of blood ha!

I haven't had a chance to take a picture for 11 weeks, I tend to do that on the weekend and Dad got really sick so pictures weren't exactly at the top of my to do list.

Now for the Dad update, I posted on Instagram earlier so some of you might have seen it. He finished his last chemo treatment Friday and Saturday woke up with pneumonia. Since his white count from chemo was basically non existent he got extremely sick extremely fast.

By Sunday morning they decided to put him on a ventilator and sedate him. If I'm being honest it's terrifying when your mother calls to tell you to come home and that this is happening. Luckily being put on the ventilator helped stabilize his dangerously low blood pressure, pulse, and O2 levels.

We nearly had a party when Mom and I went in Sunday and saw that for 15 minutes his top blood pressure number had gotten above 100 and had stayed around the 90's for so long.

We've really gotten only tiny bits of good news for days, but it's all been in the positive direction. Of course they always back it up with "he's still a very sick man." The reality of how grave this situation is isn't lost on us. But like I was just talking about with Mom, if we don't focus on the positive we won't make it though this.

We are expecting this to go on for a good two weeks, if not longer. However, they did take him off of one of the blood pressure meds and if he can hold his own without the medicine we are hoping that will mean he eventually gets off the ventilator and out of sedation. Oh it would be the best thing ever to hear him say something off the wall, it's been a few days since I had a chance to fuss at him about something.

And yes, we had a humorous little conversation the other day about how chemo patients shouldn't be mowing the grass at 3 in the afternoon.

I feel like it's my place in life to give him a hard time though, he did call me Tyrone for the majority of my childhood.

All that to say, we would surely appreciate your prayers. He still has a long way to go. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

High 5 for Friday//10 Weeks

I've been a horrible blogger lately, but let's make an attempt at getting back on schedule with my old favorite Friday post!

1. Nausea meds are the best thing on earth. I still feel awful in the evening even though I'm taking them, but let's just imagine before the meds when I stayed in bed for days and couldn't eat anything. Four more weeks and I'm hopefully clear from the nausea.

2. I've always loved vinegar, but pickles and vinegar do wonders for nausea. This and salsa are the only ways I can stomach vegetables.

3. Summer is coming to an end, so we've gotta soak up the snow cones while we can. The place in town we go to doesn't have a ton of flavors, I tend to only get Strawberry Shortcake there. What I really miss is Debbie's in West Monroe, their stuffed Banana Pudding one was to die for!

4. Who doesn't love Sonic ice right? I somehow magically landed at a school that has an ice maker that makes that golden stuff. They will seriously have to drag my dead body out of here one day. In all seriousness though, it's a really great school. Lots of pressure because it's so high preforming, but a great school.

5. Now for the pregnancy update that I've been too nauseous to blog all week >>>

Pregnancy Highlights::

How far along: 10 weeks
Size of Baby: Kumquat
Maternity clothes: Just bras, but I'll be working pants in soon. What I had just isn't working.
Gender: No idea
Movement: Nope
Sleep: Not great lately, but I've never been a good sleeper. The headaches and joint pain get to me. I think it's from not wearing good shoes and starting back at work. 
What I miss: Eating healthy without throwing up
Cravings: Apples, Tostitos, and Voodoo Zapps
Aversions: Everything else. Thinking about food makes me throw up. I have to take out pills and leave them places to take later, taking them out makes me gag. 
Symptoms: Nausea and a few other things I'm not talking about. 
Best Moment of the Week: Not exactly good, but funny to think back on. I was dead set to cook dinner this week and got home Monday to get dinner going. I kid you not, I touched a bag of frozen chicken and puked in the kitchen. Not only can I not eat or think about it, I can't touch it apparently either these days ha! 

I'm seriously wondering how people have several children. Michelle Duggar is an anomaly to me right now. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Meal Pinning Monday

Meal Pinning Monday is finally back, but don't hold it to me this week. I'm just trying to see if I can stand the kitchen again.

For someone who loves food and cooking as much as I do, having a massive list of food aversions and motion sickness caused by computers is less than exciting.

[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking.

Monday - BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Tuesday - leftovers

Wednesday - Pizza Bread with Hot Tomato Oil

Thursday - leftovers

Friday - Sunday - I have no idea yet. I've literally found two food I think I can stomach making. We may be eating french fries for 3 days. Or Jeremy will be fending for himself like he has for the past month or so. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

9 weeks

I've started noticing my stomach sticking out a lot here lately, I'm blaming it mainly on the fact that I went from about 80% of the time Paleo to crackers and Powerade. 

Proof that eating clean does a lot for you.

I've sense tried to just watch my calorie intake and eat whole wheat food. That didn't go so well this weekend though when I ran out of my meds and could only stomach junk food. 

Pregnancy Highlights::
How Far Along: 9 weeks
Size of Baby: Baby B is the length of a green olive.
Maternity Clothes: Regular clothes and maternity bras, although I had to use a rubber band with my pants. Hello dresses!
Gender: No clue
Movement: Nada
Sleep: Not that great, but I think it's because I was off the nausea meds for a few days. 
What I miss: Coffee
Cravings: Not a thing
Aversions: Meat, my phone and computer make me motion sick.
Symptoms: Gagging, Nausea, and a few thinsg we won't discuss here. My normally flat stomach is starting to stick out but I think it's due to all the carbs I'm eating and the bloating.
Best Moment of the Week: Getting my prescritpion filled after waiting forever for it to get called in. I also had a kid at recess (because news spreads quick) ask about me being pregnant and then tell me to name my baby Clemintine!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Finding Comfort During Your Period

This happens to be a subject I've been trying to find just the right balance with since 7th grade. 
It's also something that has taken more than it's fair share of experimenting, whether it be with things I do or the things I use. 
Either way, finding comfort during your period is never an overnight solution. 
I'm no expert, but here are just a few ways I've managed to make that time of the month slightly more bearable for myself. I feel like I should add - because it does make a difference - I've never taken hormones to control it... so we've got a full out 6 day torture cycle over here. 
Like I said though, being au natural with your period means finding ways to help ease the discomfort it brings along. 
Of the hippie things I do, here are my two biggies for when the unwanted Aunt Flo shows up for a visit. 
Staying hydrated is a massive number one in my book! Without proper hydration your muscles don't function properly, leading to cramping much worse than it would otherwise be. 
I take 3 approaches to my hydration. First and foremost is giving up caffeine about two days before my period is predicted to start. I've read that the caffeine makes your cramps worse, probably because it naturally is a diuretic. 
The last thing we need right now is a diuretic. 
Yes, you may be bloated, but water doesn't add to that... at all. In fact it's quite the opposite, your body feels bloated when you aren't getting enough water. 
My favorite way to stay hydrated is with my Lemon Chia Fresca recipe. It's what I drink when I'm not drinking water. 
Then of course I absolutely have to give into my sweet tooth one really good time during that week. The first day of my period always signifies a trip to get a guilt-ridden shake or my favorite soft serve ice cream mixed with candy. 
Staying relaxed is my second surviving your period with comfort tip, because when I'm tense the pain my period brings is just worse. 
Staying relaxed can happen several different ways, although my favorite for day one is to cuddle up with Ellie in bed and watch our favorite television shows. 
Exercise is a great way to ward off period pain. I like to mix up what I do with strength training, cardio (mainly of the dance version), and yoga. My muscles tense up quite a bit the first two days of my period so I try to schedule strength-training days for when I'm not hunched over in pain. 
Heavy cardio the first day or so is just too much for me, so when girl time starts the heavy cardio stops. Don't stop moving though; a nice walk is usually just what I need. I like to dial it back a bit, but not completely rid myself of cardio. 
The magic pill for me during my period, when it comes to exercise, is yoga. My legs and lower abdomen are where my cramps tend to appear, and a nice gentle yoga routine can usually do the trick to help me relax just enough to stretch out any tense muscles causing the pain.
A nice hot detox bath is another great way to find comfort during your period. At home I like to mix equal parts of baking soda and Epsom salt (usually 1/2 cup each) with 3-4 drops of lavender essential oil in my hot bath water to relax. 
This last period I got lucky and visited natural hot springs in Puerto Rico, it was amazing! Not exactly something I can do every month, but it was a nice treat. 
Lastly, do something you enjoy! I love to paint my nails and find it really relaxing. Find your favorite color and take your time giving yourself the perfect manicure. 
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Thursday, August 07, 2014

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

Ages ago, when I first started blogging I posted this banana bread recipe. I've played with it a bit over the years, but it still stands as my favorite banana bread recipe. 

So much so that Jeremy rarely bothers to eat any. 

He knows better, I made this Monday and it's nearly gone already. 

This particular recipe is insanely easy and so adaptable. I've never messed it up and I've barely followed directions over the years. 

My absolute favorite banana to use is one that when the stem is picked up the banana falls from the stem to the counter. Overly ripe, super sweet, and perfect for banana bread. 

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
2 eggs
1/2 oil (I use olive oil or coconut oil)
3 1/2 bananas, very ripe & mashed
2 tbsp Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Set over to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper. Shift together the four, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Beat the sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Drizzle in the oil. Add mashed bananas, yogurt, and vanilla. Fold in the dry ingredients. Pour into a lined loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

You can also add in nuts, I do depending on what's in my freezer. 

I can't promise I'll finish Nanny's recipes very soon. There are still several envelopes to go through, plus pregnancy has caused enough food aversions that I can hardly stand the kitchen.

I had a nice little spurt of no nausea and took advantage of it to whip this up! 
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