Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas 2013

Every year the Christmases become more and more magical.  I absolutely love how excited Owen is Christmas morning seeing all of the presents under the tree.  I also love how excited he is about family time and that he focuses more on family than on material items.

 I didn't have icing decorating tools, so we used medicine syringes.  It worked very well.

This year my mom came down to visit.  She came the day after Christmas and stayed for the weekend.  It was really nice having her here, despite the children being sick.  My brothers spent most of the time playing xbox with Martin.  It kept them busy and added some bonding time for Martin.  It was really nice to spend time with my mom.  It has been two years since she has been here.  I can count on my hands the times my family has stayed over.  It doesn't happen often.

Martin has returned to work again and I am on my own with the kids for the week.  I return to school next week and am looking forward to finishing this degree up and moving on to the next chapter of my life.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Menu 12/8-12/14

Menu for this week

Sunday - Spaghetti and salad
Monday - Steak and noodles.
Tuesday - subs from Jersey Mikes
Wednesday- Subs (again)
Thursday - chicken ranch pasta with broccoli
Friday - Chicken Parmesan-(not the traditional style, I don't like breading the chicken, and I eat it with rice.)
Saturday - Stromboli

Btw this is my 100th post!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Potty Training!

Owen has now gone two weeks without diapers. (during the day).  On the 18th I just decided that Owen needed to be in underwear.  I want him to be out of the one-size diapers before Charlotte starts wearing them, which may be in the next month.

The first day was very difficult.  I hid the diapers and Owen did not like this idea. He became very upset.  He did not want to be naked and he did not want to wear underwear.  He got into the diaper bag and pulled out the diaper I had in there (smart boy).  He screamed that I would not put the diaper on him.  When I refused he sat on the diaper to go pee.  He also peed on the couch and then later in the kitchen.  This was very stressful for both of us.  However, day two went much better.  I told Owen if he used the potty that I would get him jelly beans.  This was enough incentive.  I did not have any jelly beans though, so we braved a trip to the store in underwear.  He did awesome!!!  He went pee in the potty at the grocery store and was so excited he told the cashier.  We made it home with no accidents and he continued to use the potty.

 Our potty had  a "pee guard"  so I didn't teach him he had to hold his peepee right away.  But then it broke off and I had to.  The first time he had to go number two he was scared and did not make it on the potty.  The second time however, he didn't tell anyone he had to go, he just went!  He stays dry all day and wears his underwear, even for nap time.  We have since made many trips out and he is able to either hold it, or let me know in enough time to make it to the potty.   We are currently working on teaching him to stand up, which he seems to prefer.    At night he is hesitant to wear diapers, but some mornings he does not wake up dry, so for now we are sticking with diapers.   I am so proud of him for doing so well with underwear.    I thought this would never happen!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bacon and Veggies

While strolling through Sam's club there was one lady handing out samples.  It smelled so yummy, and tasted good too!  She told me I could find the recipe on their website, so I went home and looked it up.  Here is the original recipe Asparagus, brussel sprouts, red onion.  It is made with asparagus, brussel sprouts, red onion, and bacon, and it is very yummy.

The way I made it:

4 slices bacon
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup of chopped asparagus
2 cups of brussel sprouts, quartered
salt and pepper

Cook bacon and set aside.  In the same pan, saute onions in bacon grease until translucent.   Add asparagus and brussel sprouts and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until asparagus is tender, stir frequently.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I really like chicken cordon bleu and have tried many recipes before I found one I really like.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

2 Chicken breasts
2 tsp mustard
2 Large slices of ham
3 Slices of swiss cheese
1 Egg
Bread Crumbs
Salt and pepper

1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 slice swiss cheese
salt and pepper
2 tbs water

Flatten chicken breasts, you can pound them or use a rolling pin.

  I find it easier to pound it.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken breasts.  Spread 1 tsp mustard on each breast.  Lay ham and cheese on chicken.  Roll chicken and hold with tooth picks.  Cover chicken roll with egg wash.  Lightly bread.  Bake for 30 minutes or until done. 

Pour sauce on top of chicken when serving.  

Menu 12/1-12/7

Sunday- Tacos
Monday- Meatloaf, stuffing (finally finishing off everything from Thanksgiving), salad
Tuesday- chicken cordon blue and bacon veggies.
Wednesday- Stuffed shells
Thursday- Stir fry and rice
Friday- Sweet and spicy chicken and roasted red potatoes
Saturday- Mom's night out.  I will probably make spaghetti for the family before I leave.


I love Thanksgiving weekend!  Thanksgiving means I have the opportunity to spend time with my family.  With Martin traveling for work, it is so nice when he is home and does not have to worry about work.  Thursday morning we worked together to prep the turkey and get it into the oven.  While we waited we were able to spend the time together enjoying each other's company.  We were able to enjoy dinner together, which I was able to eat while Charlotte slept.  

 Friday Martin spent the day fishing.  Silly man, who goes kayaking in 40 degree weather?  We got a Christmas tree on Sunday, after looking at four lots.  We spent the rest of the night decorating the tree and hanging lights outside.  Both Charlotte and Owen absolutely love all the Christmas decorations.  Now if it could be Christmas already!  ;) 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

New diapers!

I swear this is the last time I buy diapers.  I wanted to get more newborn diapers so that I do not have to wash diapers every night.  Cloth diapering is cheaper than disposable diapers, only if you buy what you need and not go overboard.

I made four separate orders so that I could get four free diapers.   The free diapers I received were the pink kawaii baby OS pocket, the two rumparooz pocket OS diaper, and the Grovia Woodlands NB AIO.   I ordered 2 bum genius OS pockets that were on clearance.  I ordered blossom but they were out and substituted it for the maathai.  I also ordered scottish rose thirsties AIO Small, 3 fuzzibunz pocket small, 2 bum genius AIO newborn, simplex AIO newborn, blueberry OS pocket tweets, and simplex OS AIO elephants.  

They are in the wash now.  I will write a review after they are all prepped and I have a chance to use them.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I'm Done!

I am so happy to say I am done!  Done using disposable nursing pads that is.  I bought a bunch of cloth nursing pads while pregnant.  Little did I know my let down would be so much that I would soak an entire pad just with one let done.  I was going through boxes of nursing pads.  11 boxes of 100 Lansinoh total.  Right after my milk came in I was using an entire box in 3-4 days.  The disposables are great, they are super absorbent and did the job.  However, I had to continue to spend money and buy these (my favorite out of evenflo, medela, and lansinoh) they are individually wrapped, and just created a bunch of trash.

I found a new method for using cloth that works for me, especially at night.  During the day I am able to get by with using just an Udder Cover nursing pad.  I have to change them after every let down though.  At night I use an Udder Cover pad and a Bamboobies Overnight pad.  I no longer soak through shirts at night, which is an excellent feeling.  I also am glad to not have the chemicals in disposable nursing pads against my skin.

So glad to say I am done buying disposable nursing pads.

For your FREE pack of 10 pairs of nursing pads.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I am not a Human Pacifier

I know the umbilical cord was detached, and now she gets her nutrients from my breasts.  However, I didn't realize she would be attached to them as she was the umbilical cord.  She feels the need to suck on them even after she is done eating.  She feels the need to suck on them to fall asleep.  She feels the need to suck on them all the time.  I wouldn't complain if she was my only child, but she is not.  I am a wife, a homeowner, and a mom of her, plus a toddler.  My toddler needs me too, especially since I am on my own Monday through Friday.  I also need to cook, clean, laundry, and do school work.  I do tend to wear her in the mei tai to get things done, but I cannot do everything wearing her. 

Labor Day weekend when I went to my Dad's, my step-mom managed to get Charlotte to take the pacifier.  However, this caused latch issues.  She was five weeks old so I assumed it was nipple confusion and I stopped giving her the pacifier.  Now that she is older, 11 weeks, I wanted to try again.  The first time I tried she gagged and threw up.  I did not force it into her mouth, I put it on her lips and let her take it in.  The second time she tried she gagged.  I took it away before she could throw up.  I have tried letting her cry for a few minutes, (no more than five, I am not one for the CIO method).  When I do so she tries to suck on her fist.  She can't figure out how to just get one finger or a thumb in there.  She definitely has the need to suck.  I am just at such a loss, I am not sure what to do.  

I also have to keep reminding myself that I am NOT a human pacifier.  I am Barbara.  A mom, a student, a wife, a chef, a maid, a care taker.  But more than that I am me.  I rarely put myself above my kids, and I am not sure when I will ever be able able to leave both of them at the same time.   I am hoping to go to Bunco with some of my friends but no clue if that will happen with Charlotte only wanting a human pacifier.  I also have yet to get her to take a bottle.  Don't get me wrong, I love nursing, despite it's ups and downs.  I just need to let go every now and then.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

FREE Cloth Diapers

Want a way to add variety to your cloth diaper stash?  Would it be even better if I told you it was free??

It is well known I am a cloth diaper addict.  Throughout my time using cloth diapers Kelly's Closet has been my number one go to site.  They offer free shipping over a certain amount, and even better, they offer free diapers for spending over a certain amount.  That's right, FREE!  In addition to the free diaper you get for spending over the given amount, you also earn diaper dollar rewards which you can trade in for a Kelly's Closet gift certificate.  With this you can get more FREE diapers!

So far I have received 11 free diapers!  These included fuzzibunz one size elite, GroVia AIO One size diapers, Bum Genius 4.0 Pocket, Kawaii GHW pocket, and Kawaii One-size. Plus I have bought 2 newborn diapers when I earned a gift certificate.

The diapers that are free with the coupon code are a complete surprise.  Although they sometimes give hints like if it is pocket or AIO, if the value of the diaper is over a certain dollar amount.

To take advantage of earning free diapers, shop at Kelly's Closet.

*Note, I really do just love Kelly's Closet and they in no way influenced me to write this post.* 

Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf

This recipe was given to me by a friend and it is quickly becoming a favorite in our house, as we love spicy foods.  (I hope Charlotte learns to like spicy foods too.)

Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf


2/3 cup old fashioned oats (not instant)
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup hot sauce/buffalo sauce (I use 1/2 cup because I like the extra zing)
1 lb ground chicken
1 egg
1/2 cup blue cheese

Combine oats, milk, and sauce in bowl and let sit for a few minutes until oats are softened.
Add egg and mix in chicken.
Pour into a loaf pan and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Top with additional hot sauce (if desired) and let sit for 10 minutes (to avoid crumbling).

I don't care for blue cheese so I put half the mix into the pan then add blue cheese to the remainder and add it to the pan.  I also do not own a loaf pan so I use the smallest "brownie pan" that I own.  I like it better this way because it cooks faster.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Menu 10/13-10-19

Sunday-We drove home from the beach and ended up grabbing taco bell
Monday- Store bought rotisserie chicken and rosemary potatoes
Tuesday- Buffalo chicken meatloaf and corn (corn was Owen's request)
Wednesday- Chicken pot pie casserole
Thursday- Bourbon spiced Pork chops and brussel sprouts
Friday- Un-stuffed peppers (told you this is a favorite) and rice
Saturday- Sloppy joes and rice

Family vacation

Sorry for my absence, I have not abandoned the blog just yet.  Last week the family and my friend's family went to the beach.  It was a wonderful trip minus the rain.  My favorite part was kayaking!  It was nice to get away from the house.  My husband had a fishing tournament last weekend which is why we went.

Monday we arrived at the beach house in time for dinner.  We spent the rest of the day getting settled in and let the kids play.

Tuesday was really windy so we decided we would head to the aquarium and get out of the house.  Owen had such a blast.  He loved looking at all of the fish.  This was the second time he has gone to this aquarium and the fourth aquarium he has been to.  It took a little convincing to get Owen to leave the aquarium.  Thankfully though he was hungry so when I told him we were headed for lunch he didn't put up a fight.

Friday the rain finally stopped and the temperature was warm enough to hang out outside.  We went to the park in the morning and then grabbed some really tasty barbecue for lunch.  On our walk back to the beach house we decided the weather was nice enough to go kayaking.  We only had one vehicle and 3 adults and 4 children, so we made a couple trips.  Once the boats were in the water we were good to go.  At first the youngest two were not so happy and we spent time just floating around.  After Charlotte fell asleep I was off.  This was the first real kayak experience for me on this kayak.  I love this kayak!  It is a Hobie Revolution.  It has foot peddles so it can be peddled or paddled.  While holding a newborn, peddling is so much easier.  It was such a nice trip.  By far the thing I enjoyed most last week.  

Saturday was the final day of Martin's fishing tournament.  I dropped him off early in the morning and a few hours later we headed to Wilmington to check out the USS North Carolina Battleship.  It was commissioned during World War II. Her wartime compliment consisted of 144 commissioned officers, and 2,195 enlisted men, including about 100 Marines. It was pretty interesting to see everything on the ship and to learn a little more about what live may have been like on board the ship.  This ship is basically a city on water.  The ship has a post office, barber shop, wash room, "hospital," store, prison, and so on.  Owen was pretty excited about it and liked checking everything out.  He did really awesome despite being a little young for it.  He also did really awesome on all of the stairs.  If you have ever been on a Navy ship you know what I mean.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Wool Dryer Balls

These things, wool dryer balls, are amazing. 

So what are wool dryer balls?   

Wool dryer balls are wool spun into the shape of balls.  The ones pictured here are dyed, however there are some that are not colored.   The point of  the dryer balls is to replace dryer sheets.  Many of the brands of dryer balls that I have come across state they reduce static, reduce wrinkles, and most important to me, they reduce drying time.   Four balls are recommended for a small load of laundry and eight balls are recommended for a large loads.  

I got these last week and so far I definitely see a reduction in drying time.  The all-in-one newborn diapers I use typically take 80-90 minutes to dry, especially the lil joeys.  Using all 8 of the dryer balls the diapers are dry in 40-45 minutes.  That is HALF the amount of time.  I do diaper laundry 3 days a week.  In addition I do regular laundry about 3 -4 loads a week.  All that time saving equals up to a bunch of energy savings.  

As far as the reduction of static and wrinkles I am not 100% sure how effective it is.  (although hard to tell if it reduces wrinkles when sometimes the clothes sit in the dryer until I have to throw diapers into  it)  There is a little reduction in static, but there still is some, especially with sheets.  I do notice though that the clothes and diapers feel softer.  The same as if I were using drying sheets.  

One thing about these though, you have to dig them out of your laundry.  I have found a couple stuck in pant legs when I fold the laundry.  All of the savings though, totally make up for it. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Mushroom pork chops

Mushroom Pork Chops


1 small onion
4 pork chops
1 apple, peeled, sliced, and cored
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp steak sauce
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
4 oz button mushrooms, sliced

Slice onions and add to crock pot. Add pork chops and apples.  In a bowl mix cream of mushroom soup, brown sugar, steak sauce, garlic, mushrooms. Add to crock pot.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Chicken Ranch Casserole

One of my all-time favorite casseroles is Chicken Ranch Casserole.  I started making this several years ago and everyone that tries it loves it!  There are two different ways to make it, stove top or in the oven.  I typically cook it on the stove top because it dirties fewer dishes, it is faster, and I think it is easier.  However, cooking it in the oven is great if you want to prepare it ahead of time and then just pop it into the oven later. 

Chicken Ranch Casserole

2 cups milk
1 8oz block of cream cheese
8oz of noodles (I use either rotini or shells, but any will work.)
1 packet of Ranch mix
1 10 oz can of diced tomatoes (do not drain) (I like to use the diced tomatoes with peppers for a little spice)
1 13oz can of chicken (can be substituted for cooked shredded chicken)
½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Stove top instructions:
            Mix milk, cream cheese, noodles, and ranch mix in a pan.  Bring to a boil reduce heat to medium until noodles are tender.  Add can of diced tomatoes (do not drain juice), add chicken.  Mix well.  Top with shredded cheese, let sit for 5 minutes.  Sauce will thicken as it stands. 

Oven Directions:
            Boil noodles until el dente.   In a casserole dish mix milk, cream cheese, ranch mix, diced tomatoes, chicken.  Add noodles.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Add cheese and bake uncovered for 5-10 minutes or until cheese bubbles. 

**Note:  You do not have to boil the noodles first; you can simply just mix everything into the casserole dish and bake for 50-60 minutes.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Menu 9/29-10/05

Martin is in town this week but has to leave Friday morning and will get back late Sunday night. So, the weekend is my favorite meals.  ;)

Sunday- Mushroom pork chops and brussel sprouts
Monday- Philly cheese-steak hamburger helper
Tuesday- Meatloaf and peas
Wednesday- Spaghetti and salad
Thursday- Ribs
Friday- Unstuffed peppers
Saturday- chicken fajitas
Sunday- Wings

Lunches consist of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese and tomato soup, and left overs.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Un-stuffed peppers

I LOVE stuffed peppers, but sometimes I do not like how long it takes to bake.  I have found a faster way to do it, although it is a little more hands on.  This is one of those recipes that I would eat 2-3 times a week if I could.

1 lb ground beef
1 green pepper
1 can diced tomatoes (I use tomatoes with chilies)
1 cup of spaghetti sauce
1 pouch instant rice
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

Boil rice for ten minutes.  Meanwhile, brown the ground beef.  Cut green peppers into bite size pieces and add to pan.  (I like mine a little crunchy so I add them after I brown the beef, but you can switch the order if you want the peppers fully cooked.)  Cover and cook on medium for three minutes.  Add tomatoes and sauce, cover and cook for three more minutes.  Stir often.  Remove from heat and top with cheese.  Serve over   a bed of rice.  Enjoy.