Thursday, May 25, 2017

How We Eat - Part 2 of 2

How We Eat: Part 2 
The actual eating part! 


Breakfast

Adam and Aaron have cereal every morning. 
They rotate their cereal brands
but the 3 most recent have been 
Raisin Bran, Cracklin Oats, and Honey Bunches of Oats. 

Oliver has a homemade muffin every morning. 
If I'm slacking on my muffin baking, he will get YoBaby yogurt. 
As of a few weeks ago, we were alternately yogurt and prunes, 
but finally decided he needed more substance to his meals. 
Now the prunes becomes a snack. 
I've been making Superhero Muffins lately, 
which are packed with goodness!

I eat yogurt most mornings. 
My newest obsession is full-fat Fage Greek plain yogurt, 
with fresh fruit, granola, raw honey, and maybe a tablespoon of jam. 
It is crazy healthy and fills me up. 
In the winter when fresh fruit is scarce, 
I switch to broiled grapefruit with Kerrygold butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. 

Lunch

Adam takes a deli sandwich and cliff bar to work every day 
(ick, clif bars are the worst!). 

On MWF, Aaron takes lunch to preschool packed in his PlanetBox
I cannot say enough good things about PlanetBox. 
They are pricey as hell but they are easy to clean, 
good for health (no plastic containers!), 
good for the environment (no baggies!), 
and most importantly of all, they make packing absolutely a BREEZE. 

I designate each slot for a food group. 
Top left is "something crunchy" (popcorn or pretzels with peanut butter). 
Bottom left is fresh fruit.
Top right is raw vegetables. 
Bottom right is a sandwich or - very infrequently - yogurt. 
Middle is a piece of chocolate. 


(I get many ideas from BlooBalloon on IG.  Like the mini sweet peppers above)


Oliver eats leftovers from the night before. 
He doesn't seem to do well (or care for?) sandwiches
He does LOVE these Spinach & Parmesan Quinoa Bites.
If Aaron is home (Tues/Thurs), he'll join Oliver with leftovers. 


I have a salad. 
It varies greatly throughout the year. 
Currently I'm on a romaine, goat cheese, berries, caramelized walnuts (walnuts + maple syrup + cinnamon), chicken strips, and Wegman's berry vinigarette dressing. 
Out of some psychological rebellion to US parenting, 
I refuse to keep any form of nuggets or pre-cooked chicken in my house for my children, 
but I do so for my salads only. 


Dinner

I either make dinner ahead of time (i.e.: that morning)
or immediately beforehand. 

Most casseroles and pastas I make in the morning during Oliver's nap, 
and then microwave it up in the evening. 
This is necessary on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. 
Aaron has soccer 5-6 on Tues/Thurs 
and then my sister comes over to watch the kids Wednesday night 
while I have two hours of freedom to get my nails done, wax, etc

Other items like seafood and chicken dishes are best fresh, 
so I will pop the boys in front of Daniel Tiger to rush through my dinner prep. 
That's usually Monday and Friday. 
Since I shop on Mondays, I like to do seafood on Monday nights while it's fresh. 
One of my New Year Resolutions was to find a good shrimp recipe, 
and I FINALLY found Giada's "Nonna Luna's [Shrimp &] Rice" which is easy and delicious. 

An example week of dinners would look like this: 




Snacks

I have a strict "only one processed snack a day."
Processed snacks mean granola bars, crackers, or a squeeze pouch (Oliver). 

I wage a constant battle with granola bars 
because most are shit, 
and the ones that aren't shit, 
Aaron doesn't like. 
So far we've settled on Clif Z Kids, 
which still have a hefty amount of sugar (11-13 grams), 
about average to other granola bars on the market. 
Wegmans has a really healthy line of granola bars (less than 10g sugar), 
but Aaron doesn't like them. 
OF COURSE. 

Crackers, goldfish, wheat thins, Annie's bunnies, etc 
are all void of nutritional value, 
but I admit to loving crackers & cheese so I do keep basic white crackers on hand. 

Pretzels with peanut butter and raisins are my most preferred, 
and Aaron knows he can help himself to a box of raisins whenever the hunger strikes. 

Oliver has a squeeze pouch about 3-4 times a week. 
Although they are massively convenient and I always keep 2 in my bag for emergencies, 
I don't want him to become too adjusted to receiving his fruit/veggies in a puree form 
(our pediatrician warned me this happens frequently), 
so I try to limit it for the on-the-go rush. 

Generally, most of our snacks are fresh fruit. 
Everyone loves fresh fruit and it is packed with fiber. 
Summer/spring this is easy as a our fridge is overflowing with blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, mango, pineapple, cherries, etc. 
Fall is mostly apples, pears, and grapes. 
Winter is a lot of kiwi and oranges/clementines. 

(Also, if you are ever stuck on the seasonality of fruit, 
THIS GRAPHIC is the most handy and I reference it weekly) 

WHEW. 
Done. 
Did you make it to the end? 
Give yourself a pat on the back 
and share with me how you eat!



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How We Eat - Part 1 of 2

I've posted about our meal routines beforehand
but it's truly amazing how much has changed since I became a SAHM 
(almost 1 year ago!). 

We went from 3 mouths to feed, to 4. 

We went from grocery shopping as a family on weekends 
to me grocery shopping with Oliver on Mondays. 

We went from Aaron's daycare providing lunch (our old house) 
to packing his lunch every day (new house). 

I went from packing my breakfast, lunch, and snacks in a lunchbox for work, 
to having easy access to my fridge/pantry at all times. 


I know these changes don't seem dramatic, 
but they have had a huge impact on our food habits and, 
quite honestly, it's taken me many months to find my new routine.
And by many months, I mean I'm just starting to find my groove now!


To avoid a book of a post, 
I'm breaking this into 2 parts. 

Part 1
Food Philosophy
Meal Planning. 
Grocery Shopping. 
Going Out to Eat / Ordering Takeout

Part 2
Breakfast 
Lunch 
Dinner 
Snacks 


Food Philosophy:
I've talked about this with my first post on our eating habits. 
We aim for low-processed, homemade food as the base of our diet. 
Additionally, as I've learned more and more about sugar 
(I blogged about watching Fed Up 
and additionally a lecture from the University of California 
about the science of sugar on your brain) 
I've worked even more to reduce our added sugar 
and checking labels for nutritional contents. 

Of course I believe in exceptions. 
I never limit Aaron's food at parties or other people's houses or special occasions. 
It's important to be able to let go and celebrate sometimes!


Meal Planning:
 I've always informally meal planned 
but now it's a very serious effort on Sunday night. 
After lots of templates, I finally settled on this:




I find we all eat very differently for breakfast and lunch, 
but we'll eat it all week. 
Meanwhile, we all eat the same dinner 
but our cooking no longer lasts for multiple nights 
(damn those 4 mouths!).


Grocery shopping: WHERE

We shop almost exclusively at Wegmans. 
In our townhome, this was a 10 minute drive down the road. 
In our new house, this is a risky 20-30 minute drive 
on one of the worst highways in America
I make my once-a-week pilgrimage on Mondays after Oliver's morning nap. 

In between, if we need something urgent (like I miscalculate milk for the week), 
we have two standard grocery stores around the corner 
and a Whole Foods 10 minutes up the road. 


(And no, I don't still use the cart cover.  
That was back when he would spend the whole trip sucking on the cart. Gross)


Grocery shopping: WHAT

Our bill ranges from $225-$300 per week. 
This was quite a sizable jump from our $150/week before. 
Some of it is that 4th mouth. 
Some is that Aaron has a packed lunch now. 
And some is just evolution of eating habits. 
We used to only buy fruits organic 
but now nearly everything (veggies, meats, dairy, seafood) are organic. 
I still won't buy organic bread or cereals.  It just seems silly to me. 


Going Out to Eat / Ordering Takeout: 

We don't. 
Even weekends, we just don't. 

For some people, a $300 grocery bill sounds absurd 
(although for a family of teenage boys, it probably sounds like heaven), 
but you have to remember that 95% of our meals are homecooked. 

The one regular exception... 
On Thursdays my Mother-In-Law usually treats us when we get the kids together to play. 
And usually it's Chick-Fil-A (the Mommy Food Mecca). 

Other than that, we eat all 3 meals at home 
or at someone else's home in the event of parties on the weekends 
(and then usually I'm still bringing a homemade dessert or something). 


Next up: What we ACTUALLY Eat

Friday, May 19, 2017

Life Lately

Hey there.

Last I blogged, I talked about my dream Mother's Day


And while Adam executed my plan perfectly, 
both Panera and Dunkin Donuts failed on their end. 

Dunkin Donuts didn't have any brownie-filled or sour cream donuts. 
I could understand the first, 
but who doesn't make sour cream donuts???

Panera completely discontinued the ginseing addition to smoothies. 
Also, I told Adam to get hazelnut cream cheese which does not exist. 
It would've been helpful if the cashier had suggested: 
"Would you like honey walnut instead?" 
which is what I DID want but just said the wrong name. 
Pfft. 


So other than Mother's Day, how is life lately? 
We've entered the crazy time of summer schedules 
where every weekend is packed with something. 
A birthday party 
or a BBQ
or a corporate event 
or wedding 
or vacation 
or something
I kind of love it but I also relish a quiet "do nothing" weekend 
...which we probably won't have again until next January. 


Also, Global Warming is real and messed up. 
These weather fluctuations are ridiculous. 
Two weeks ago I was searching clearance racks for long-sleeve shirts 
for a freak cold spell with a high of 45. 
And then yesterday it was a high of 90. 
This is Pennsylvania in May
We should not have a high of 45 nor a high of 90. 
And most importantly, not 2 weeks apart from each other! 

He kept the sunglasses on for 0.2 seconds. 

In other random news, we are embarking on some fun PAINT adventures. 
We* are painting the last 3 rooms in the house: 
Master Bedroom, 
Aaron's Room, 
Guest Room. 

*We = not us. A hired painter. 

We have been indecisive about this for months 
and our bedroom wall reflects our indecision: 


The Master Bedroom will be the giant gray spot in the middle 
(Benjamin Moore: Stonington Gray) 

The guest room will be the green blotch
(Benjamin Moore: Palladian Blue) 



And Aaron's bedroom with be the bottom left and either of the two top.
Some days I like top right better and some days I like top left better. 


In my blogging world...
 - since that's why you are here, to read a blog, 
or perhaps just to stalk me, in which case, I'm totally flattered - 
I have a Part 1 & 2 post next week about how we eat. 

1) I find it fascinating to read the nitty gritty of other people's lives. 
2) I find it fascinating to look back on the evolution of our lives, 
whether it be beauty routines, food routines, etc. 

Also next month marks the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of giving notice to my company. 
Which, in my mind, marks the one year anniversary of my Stay-at-Home-Mom-hood. 
I am planning a series of blog posts to commemorate this anniversary. 
I'll revisit my SAHM goals
my SAHM fears
and my overall thoughts on it. 

It has been a fascinating journey for me switching from Working Mom to SAHM. 
Of course we also threw in a new baby and a move, 
so perhaps a little more eventful than a regular transition. 

Stay tuned! 


Friday, May 12, 2017

My Dream Mother's Day

Because subtle never works...

I sent an email to Adam today titled "Dream Mother's Day" 
and thought I'd share it here for amusement purposes. 

"Let me sleep in or lie in a silent bed ALONE. 
Aaron whisked out of a our room and Oliver doesn't need to nurse.  He'll survive." 

(Aaron has been climbing into our bed for about 2 weeks straight. 
Occasionally I haul him back to his room but most times we are too tired to care. 
We realize this is a problem but until one of us develops middle-of-the-night insomnia, 
neither of us has the energy to do anything about it.) 



"Take both children out to Panera to get a small pack of bagels 
(at least one Asiago cheese, with a hazelnut cream cheese)
 and also a Strawberry Smoothie with Ginseing 
(you have to specifically request the ginseng to be added)."

(And no, I don't want some sort of homemade breakfast in bed. 
I want my breakfast made by expert corporations. 
And most importantly, 
I want Adam to experience taking both kids out of the house to retrieve it. 
And yes, I'm OCD enough to spell out the ginseing part.)

"Bonus: stop at Dunkin' Donuts for a few donuts.
Double bonus: if one of those donuts is brownie-filled and one is sour cream."

(Have you ever had a brownie-filled donut??? 
It's decadent. 
And a million calories. 
Also sour cream donuts are the bomb, 
though not great at DD, but we don't have a good local shop.) 

"Breakfast as a family. 
I'll nurse Oliver to first nap then go for an hour-long run." 

(Acknowledgment: The hour-long run will in no one compensate for the bagels/donuts I've eaten.) 

"Head to my parents for lunch. 
You drive so I can partake in sangria.

(the last part is critical. 
I'm bringing the sangria and trying this recipe.) 

"Come back and put kids down for very late nap. 
Dinner TBD. 
Possibly Elevation burger. 
Maybe something else. 
Mood dependent."

Adam's reply: 
"I might need this written down on a post-it, please." 
Cue eye roll. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Breastfeeding Round Two

"Please, God, PLEASE don't make me eat my words with this baby." 


With Aaron, I was Breastfeeding's #1 Advocate. 
He was a fairly easy baby to breastfeed (see his story here
and I REALLLLLY didn't want to have a crazy difficult time this second go-round. 

Good news: I did not have to eat my words! 

In the Hospital & Circumcision: 

Despite a very long time between birth and skin time 
(almost 3 hours due to the c-section plus being monitored for troubled breathing)
Oliver had a much easier start to breastfeeding. 
At "only" 7 lbs 10 oz versus Aaron's whopping 10.5, 
Oliver ate like a "normal" infant
and no one freaked the F out like they did with Aaron. 
With Aaron we got a constant update on his weight and blood sugar, 
with the ever-looming threat of formula if his weight loss didn't stabilize. 
With Oliver, it took several phone calls to the nursery to even confirm weight updates
No one was concerned. 
Oliver lost weight like a "normal" baby 
(his lowest at discharge was 7 lbs 2 oz) but again, no one blinked an eye. 
It was nice! 

Oliver nursed well-enough the first few days. 
I was mentally prepping for the circumcision on the 3rd day, 
which had kick-started Aaron's worst 36 hours of nursing. 
Sure enough, circumcision left Oliver pretty sleepy 
and his nursing increasingly worsened throughout the day. 
But this time I didn't freak. 
I had my back-up plan ready to go. 
When  Oliver refused to latch entirely, I made a phone call asking for formula. 
When they asked: "What kind?" 
I replied: "I don't care, I'm just dabbing it on my boobs."  
When the nurse arrived with a stack of pre-mixed formula bottles and nipples, 
I handed her back the nipples with the explanation: "I'm not feeding it to him."  
She looked so confused as I unscrewed the lid, 
swabbed some formula on my nips, 
and coached Oliver back to latching. 
He did - Success! 

The First Few Months:




The first few months were pretty standard. 
Oliver nursed differently than Aaron, but it wasn't bad. 
Aaron would latch and chillll. 
Oliver quickly proved that was NOT his mantra. 
After a few weeks home, Oliver dropped down to these confusingly short sessions, 
like 3 minutes a side. 
Aaron nursed one side at a time, often hanging out for 10-15 minutes. 
Oliver's 3 minute session meant he wanted both sides, 
but was still only a 6 minute nursing session. 
Once I got over my fear that he wasn't getting enough 
(clearly he was growing at an exponential rate), 
I was able to enjoy the efficiency! 


Progression

By 5 months, Oliver was nursing a consistent 8 times a day. 

We started solids at 6 months, 
and nothing changed in his sleep or breastfeeding. 

By 8 months, he had dropped to breastfeeding 5-6 times a day. 
Around this time, he stopped nursing after nap. 
Like flat out pushing the boob away and trying to roll off my lap. 
This was an odd reaction considering Aaron NEVER rejected the boob. 

At 9 months, he FINALLY hit 11 hours of sleep, 
and dropped to breastfeeding 4 times a day. 

I asked the doctor "is 4 times a day enough?" 
And she sort of laughed at me because um... 
do you see these rolls? 


He clearly is getting enough to eat. 


11.5-Months: The Lactation Consultant

Oliver's teeth came in at 9 months and at first no problem.  
Then he developed this "chewing habit" around 11 months. 
Not biting, but like "chewing" as he nursed. 
It was so bad I started bleeding again as if he was a newborn! 
And the craziest thing was it was only on the right breast! 

Obviously, at 11.5 months, we could have totally stopped breastfeeding. 
But he didn't want to end and quite frankly, I didn't either. 
Nutrition aside, I just wasn't emotionally ready for the end. 

So I hauled Oliver off to a Lactation Consultant. 
I felt so silly bringing a 25-lbs, crawling, babbling chunky baby 
into an office that normally diagnoses tiny infants. 
The office loved him because they normally don't see "patients" who are so interactive. 

It was totally worth the trip because she diagnosed my issue immediately. 
Since it was only happening on the right breast, I assumed it was an angle problem.
But the consultant explained since I always (out of habit) started on the left, 
the right had developed a severely diminished supply, 
which lead to his shallow latch, 
which then lead to his "chewing." 

From then on, I started switching back and forth. 
And about a week later, we were "cured" of the worst of the chewing. 

However, it took a few weeks for breastfeeding to really feel better 
(and my nips to fully heal!). 
Around his first birthday, I seriously considered giving up. 
I was kind of done with the whole thing. 
But there were two things that kept me going: 

1. Oliver's enthusiasm 

2. With Aaron, I regretted stopping at 14 months. 
Remembering that regret was a huge motivation for me to keep going. 
Had Oliver been my first, I may have said "DONE" right there 
but having that experience with Aaron pushed me through. 

I'm glad I did because a few weeks later, 
4 teething molars reared their ugly head
 (as I type this, 2 broke skin and 2 are still bulging), 
and Oliver's #1 comfort was breastfeeding.
I am so relieved I hadn't given up! 


Pumping:

SAHM Pumping > Working Mom Pumping. 
I didn't have the pressure of pumping for going back to work, 
which relieved a LOT of stress. 
Additionally, this time I was pumping for FUN. 
As in, if I pumped, that meant a night out with friends or a yoga class. 

To top it off, my body also had pump memory. 

With Aaron, I pumped 3 oz in 15 minutes. 
With Oliver, I was pumping 3 oz in 5 minutes. 
(This, I suspect, was another reason Oliver dropped to 6-minute nursing sessions so quickly.)

There was one weekend I was away and didn't have enough pumped milk. 
Oliver was 10.5 months old
and I asked the pediatrician about this predicament. 
She assured me that given his weight (see fat rolls picture above), 
he could very well sustain a weekend on water & solid foods until I returned. 
She explained he probably would reject formula anyway so no use trying that. 
However, Adam was so terrified of having no milk that he begged me to pump, 
and I had just barely enough to cover the weekend. 

When Oliver turned a year old, 

I packed away my pump for good. 
If I was gone for a nap or bedtime, he had a sippy of goat milk. 
Goat milk is often preferred by breastfed babies because it is much more similar to breastmilk. 
There are a lot of other interesting facts about goat vs cow milk, 
and Dr Sears has a great article here


Bottle Strike & Solution

At 3 months old, Oliver went on a bottle strike. 

This was timed PERFECTLY with our move to a new house. 
AWESOME. 
(NOPE.)

At Oliver's 4 month checkup, 

the doctor smiled sympathetically 
and informed me that at this point (1 month into the strike), 
Oliver would protest up to ELEVEN HOURS before taking a bottle. 
Let me repeat that: 11 HOURS. 
So I either had the option of enforcing an 11-hour showdown or... 
just wait until solids. 
I opted to wait for solids. 
In the grand scheme of things, 2 more months with a baby chained to me? 
Not awful. 

At Oliver's 6 month appointment, 

the doctor recommended giving him a sippy cup of water. 
Not a lot (like 2 oz), just enough that if I was whisked away for an emergency 
(hospitalization, etc) 
he would stay hydrated. 
Turns out, Oliver loved his sippy cup of water. 
And after he took to the sippy cup, 
I started reintroducing breastmilk and...... HE TOOK IT. 
HALLELUJAH! 

(Sippy cups: We use the lifefactory glass bottles with their sippy caps)


When Will I Stop Breastfeeding?


I get this question a LOT from Adam's family, 
a "formula family" that consider breastfeeding past 6 months to be odd. 
Fortunately, I don't really give a damn what anyone thinks. 
There is a ton of nutrition benefit to extended breastfeeding (see some here
as well as emotional benefits. 

From here on out, 
I'm just going to follow Oliver's lead. 
If you asked me my mental timeline, 
my thought is I'd like to make it to 18 months, 
but would like to be done by the time he's 2. 

I'm not going to stress over it. 
Maybe we won't make it to 18 months. 
Maybe he will nurse long past 2. 
Whatever happens, I'm ok with it.  


And lastly, I leave you with this photo. 
My breastfeeding companion: 
Aaron nursing his Monkey. 
LOVE. 





Thursday, May 4, 2017

House Plants

"Wow, Emily is really suffering for blog topics these days. 
A whole blog post on house plants." 

Yes, yes, and yes. 
I never claimed my life was riveting. 

Since graduating college and embarking on "adult life," 
I've wanted plants in my living space. 
Until this past year, I never pursued this because: 

1. Our prior home had little tabletop space to put plants. 
(Which, as we see below, can be remedied!

2. Our prior home (a townhome) was very dark, 
and surely all plants need a lot of sunlight? 
(Not true!

3. I assumed that I have a Black Thumb and would kill everything. 
(Turns out, many plants - including some below - fall into the "impossible to kill" variety)


When we moved to our new, 
I was determined to populate our home with plants. 

Our dining room with the Spineless Yucca in the corner. The dining room still feels sparse (we need a buffet, but are planning to buy a new dining room table so want to wait) but the Yucca helped fill the space a lot.



First off: What plants should I buy? 

My favorite pins: 
15 Easiest Indoor Plants that Won't Die On You
Top 10 Air Purifying Plants
Easiest Houseplants to Keep Alive

See a theme here? 
Read enough of these and you start to see a lot of reoccurring plants! 


Next Up: Where to buy these plants? 

IKEA

IKEA's plants are so cheap. 
Sooooooo cheap. 
Soooooooooooooooo cheap. 
They start at $3/plant (that's less than a Happy Meal). 
The most expensive run up to $20 (for a floor-to-ceiling size). 

But there are two problems with IKEA: 
stock and names. 

First of all, the stock situation is unreliable at best. 

They may have a great selection one week then dwindle to nothing the next. 
They also rotate their inventory pretty dramatically, 
so if you don't see something one month, 
come back in another month or two and it may be there. 

Second: names. 
While nurseries and big box stores use easy-to-identify named like "snake plant" or "Jade plant" or "spineless yucca", 
IKEA uses the officially plant name like "mumbais lateras cocinas" (not a real plant name), 
So I spent most of my time in the store googling these long ridiculous names to find out if this plant fit one of the ones I was looking for. 


Now: How to Plant? 


"Don't you, uh, just add dirt?" 
Well DUH. 

But my first question was: 
Am I supposed to take off the plastic black pot that I bought the plant in? 
And no amount of googling would help solve this dilemma. 

Finally I messaged a long-time acquaintance 
(long-time as in, haven't spoken a word in 15 years 
but her pictures on facebook show that she likes plants), 
who responded: 
"Up to you.  Some people leave them on the plant, but I don't." 

She also added some helpful tips, 
like putting a base of stones at the bottom of the pot to give the water somewhere to drain. 
I ended up removing the black plastic container for all but my teeny tiny cactus, 
because I just didn't feel like pricking my finger to pull it out. 


Keeping the Damn Plants Alive 


All of my plants (with the exception of the cactus, ironically) 
are supposed to be watered about every 10 days to 2 weeks. 
I set a reminder on my phone for every other Sunday.
Aaron generally helps and he LOVES IT. 
Like LOVES LOVES LOVES watering the plants. 
He spills a little on the floor so I usually follow around with a rag. 

So far, my Spineless Yucca has struggled the most. 
It's a big plant and it suffered quite a bit in the repotting process. 
It also requires a TON of sunlight so much that I had to move it out of our dinning room in the winter because it just wasn't getting enough. 

The best plant is my aloe. 
It is growing, growing, growing like crazy. 
Soon enough I think I'll need to replant it. 


PLANT TOUR


This is my newest addition, in the corner of our bedroom. 
The bottom is a Pothos plant 
(Pothos: the hardiest of hardy indoor plants, the-YOU-CAN'T-KILL-IT-variety). 
Second up is a Jade plant, both good at air-cleaning and an easy plant to keep. 
Second from the top is a Peperomia plant, a good plant since it can take low indoor light. 
The top is my mini Cactus, which ironically is NOT among the easiest plants to keep. 
But the cactus was $2.99 from IKEA so if it dies, I'll buy another. 



Already mentioned my Spineless Yuca in the dining room. 
This one has struggled the most. 
It was pretty sad looking a few months ago (huge yellow spots, shriveled leaves) 
but has bounced back nicely even though it still has some brown spots. 
It is a GREAT air-cleaning plant. 



The top plant is informally called "Elephant Foot" and it is my favorite because of its quirky look. 
The bottom is my Aloe Vera which has tripled in size since we brought it home.  



Probably the best part of this photo is our insanely crazy wallpaper. 
I've been promising photos of our new house but... ugh, so much work. 
Needless to say, our master bathroom needs an update like WHOA. 

Anyway, I brought in this Snake Plant and it is doing just fine despite its crazy conditions. 
Tucked away in the corner, it has minimal sunlight, 
and temperatures range from super steamy hot (showers) 
to freezing cold evenings when we keep the windows open for airflow. 
It looks exactly like when we brought it home
 and several times I've questioned if it's actually a fake (it isn't). 

My favorite part is the bright pink pot, 
which is a fun burst of color in our totally black-and-white master bath. 


Any other secret plant lovers out there too?