Fall has to be my favorite season. Something about the crisp cool air and the smell of leaves just gets me going. To some, a pumpkin spice latte is their favorite indulgence of fall. Mine, a warm, hearty, beef, stew-type concoction. Really, hearty meals just taste better in cool weather, it’s a fact. This recipe is adapted from Paula Deen. I had to make some adjustments while making this dish for the first time, but it turned out amazing! The 2 major adjustments were adding a roux and seasoning at the end. The original recipe calls to season the meat only. The sauce needed a thickener…next time, I will flour the meat before browning. And please please please, always give your food a taste before serving so you can adjust the seasoning. As Nate was chowing down I casually said “So, tomorrow, we are starting our new diet. We can only eat eggs and salad.” Nate exclaimed “WHAT?!?!?!” I replied “April Fools :)” Nate “It’s not April…” Me “Uhh, October Fools, I mean trick or treat!” It has been my mission in life to find THE perfect red and white wine to cook with. Something that tasted great, added yummy flavor to dishes, and didn’t break the bank. The search has ended and here it is: There is also an Apothic White which I think is equally as successful in all 3 accounts. Try it!Give this recipe a shot and if anything…you’ll have some leftover wine to enjoy. Not a bad deal 🙂 [yumprint-recipe id=’4′]
Adapted from: The Pioneer Woman First off, I texted this to Nate at work as a hint for dinner: I haven’t cooked anything to be remotely proud of in months…yea…months. So to kick start my return, I had to make something spectacular and rib sticking. My love for the Pioneer Woman continues because this recipe even impressed our lawn care guy. When I opened the door to greet him, and the scent of whiskey wafted in his face…I instantly became his favorite customer! Nate was also impressed, but schooled me on what I actually did. I braised the meet. Who knew braising was so easy? Whenever I see that something is braised, it sounds kinda fancy and a lot of work. Not the case! And it turns out, I’ve been braising meet for years without even realizing it. Maybe I should let Nate in the kitchen while I am cooking more often… Flavorful, tender, juicy, fall off the bone, yummy chicken and sauce. Just serve over mashed potatoes and you’re set! Really, you could serve this over mac n cheese and it would still taste good. And this recipe makes a ton for leftovers, believe me, you’ll want them! [yumprint-recipe id=’2′]
Geez, next month we will have a 6 month year old. That’s half a year old! Holy crap. I’m telling you, time is flying faster and faster. But hold on, gotta come back to the 5th month before I blink and it’s gone 🙂
Dillon had his first bowl of rice cereal at 16 weeks…and LOVED IT. This boy was born to eat! He chose the right family, smart boy. I’ve experimented with the texture and found a box of rice cereal with apples. The regular stuff seemed so bland, the apples spices things up a bit. The directions tell you to start of soupy so they can gain tongue control. But I found that thickening it up has made it MUCH easier for Dillon to learn how to keep the cereal in his mouth and swallow. Every once in a while his tongue will push it all out, but c’mon it’s only his 10th time eating from a spoon, ever…I’ll cut him some slack 🙂
6/19/13 was a glorious day for baby D. He got to eat his first baby food! Decided to start him off with sweet potatoes. They are super healthy and super orange, so a win/win situation in my book. His first bite was funny, his face was like “Wtf is this stuff?” But then he realized it was food and would open his mouth for more as soon as the spoon left the bowl. Honestly, I thought feeding the baby would be a lot harder than it has been. And I really hope I did not just jinx it.
He rolled over from back to front and front to back at 18 weeks, but he doesn’t like to do it all the time. But when we peek on the video monitor, he’s been practicing in his sleep, and will even sleep on his side sometimes (video monitor = best entertainment/safety investment so far!). We are so proud of our roly poly. And he gets SO excited whenever he rolls over, it is the best.
Rolling Over Update at 22 weeks – Dillon will start rolling the second he is laid on the floor. I mean really, we should enter him in a rolling around the room contest. It is so funny because he can only roll to the right. So he has graduated from “Dill Weed” to “Tumble Weed”.
Dillon has discovered Maple and Maple is warming up to Dillon. D gets SO happy and excited anytime Maple comes in range of sight. They are going to be best friends. Maple is putting together what happens when D is in the high chair, so it really is a matter of time.
And my little guy now has 2 bottom teeth coming in! The first one broke through at 20 weeks. I swear, he is going to college tomorrow. First teeth, then keys to his first car. Stop growing! And hot dang do teeth hurt. I’ve read and received lots of advice on how to deal with this and have tried it all. The most impossible common one being “Don’t react at all and just set him down.” Sorry, if you’ve can control whether or not you yell “OUCH!”, your kid aint biting! haha
My goal was to breastfeed to 6 months and we have almost made it. So I’ve made the decision to go ahead and introduce 1 formula bottle during the day. I’m hoping to be able to do a breastmilk and formula hybrid. We will see what actually happens.
Teething hasn’t bad that bad. The biggest issue has been night-waking. But I think we’ve finally got that nipped in the bud. After giving him a dose of infant Tylenol, he slept 11 hours straight! And slept another 2 after feeding him and even took a 1.5 hour morning nap. Little one was tired. Who wouldn’t be after waking up every 2 hours for several nights?
Never go to the grocery store without a list…especially after you have a baby. I couldn’t remember the ingredients for a new recipe to save my life, and I just got lucky with what I had on hand with this one! And I was still missing the cilantro. But, it still tasted great, but the bowl would’ve tasted better with some cilantro and other fixin’s. My inspiration for this one was the chicken rice bowls at Taco Bell. I haven’t had one in years, but I thought I could recreate my own chicken rice bowl at home.
One app that we’ve found very helpful is called OurGroceries. It was shared with me by my awesome sister-in-law. There are plenty of “To Do” and grocery list apps out there, but this one is by far the most helpful. You can link/share the list between as many people as you’d like. So Nate can add items to the list and I can see the same list on my phone. No matter who goes to the store that day, we both have THE LIST! Easy peasy.
1 lb of chicken breast
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 jar of salsa
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups of rice
2-3 tablespoons Taco Seasoning (I concocted my own blend)
1 cup sour cream
-Add raw chicken to crock pot and pour the soup and salsa over the top. Sprinkle your taco seasoning over the sauce, and cook on LOW for 4-5 hours.
-Shred the chicken at the end and add the sour cream. Stir to combine.
-Serve over rice and beans, and top with whatever fixin’s you like!
According to Mr. Webster the definition of “parent” is:
- one that begets or brings forth offspring
- a person who brings up and cares for another
- an animal or plant that is regarded in relation to its offspring
- the material or source from which something is derived
And the definition of “parenting” is:
- the raising of a child by its parents
- the act or process of becoming a parent
- the taking care of someone in the manner of a parent
If only parenting was as simple as it’s definition. The definition of parenting could actually take up the whole dictionary if you ask me. Just look around the web at all the advice and guides to parenting books…people make money trying to explain parenting! The reality is, you can find advice and opinions that point anyway you want them too. Of course there are the obvious do’s and don’ts of parenting. Like don’t leave your baby alone in the bath tub or do hug and kiss your child every day. Then there are somethings that come up after experience and after you’ve been exposed to a new perspective. And you realize the only way to be a good parent is to make certain sacrifices for the well being of your child.
Before having a baby my husband and I always made comments like “we are going to make our child play outside” or “our child is not going to be one of “those” children who is glued to an iPad.” Simple enough right? No.
What I’ve realized over the past couple months, as my baby has become more and more aware of what we are doing around him, it’s inevitable that he will use technology more than we’d like…unless we set an example, starting now. My husband and I are always on our phones, ipads, or watching TV. I’ve even noticed during feeding sessions, that I am playing on an app, Dillon will look at me, wondering what I am up to, realizes whatever I’m doing is more interesting than what he is doing, and so he wants to check it out. So even from his extremely young age, he is starting to learn and see how often we use our technology. How can we expect him to play with toys and play outside, if we ourselves are always playing with apps? Well guess what, our phones are NOT more interesting than what he is doing. I want him to know that I think he is more important and by far more interesting than whatever is going on on my phone. We’ve got to set the example.
We’ve always gone on walks and of course we play with him all the time. And we would NEVER choose a phone call or playing a game over taking care of him. This is not at all suggesting that we do that. But I would like to challenge myself to “put down the phone” or “put down the iPad” whenever I can. Especially during feedings…I want to focus on Dillon, and make sure that time is HIS time. It is OUR time and it will only be OUR time for so long.
This is part of parenting. Recognizing something that will influence the life and personality of your child, deciding if it’s sending the right message, and doing something about it if it is not. And setting an example for how you’d prefer them to be. You are never going to prevent every little thing or bad habit so there is no use in stressing over it. But when you’ve realized an area that you could work on to better your child, you best do it!
So this is me, challenging myself to be a “parent” and not an “iParent.”
Here is a quick one for you. Great for potlucks, picnics, or week day lunches. This is really a no-fuss side that if you can boil water, you should have NO problems giving a try!
1 lb rotini pasta, al dente (or your favorite pasta salad pasta)
1 16 oz sundried tomato vinaigrette (I used Kraft)
1 8 oz jar of sundried tomatos in oil, drained, rinced, and chopped
1 14.5 oz can of artichoke quarters, drained and chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, diced
8 oz of feta cheese
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl or tupper ware and that’s it.
Store in the fridge.
*This pasta salad tastes better if you make the night before and let it chill in the refrigerator. It tastes even better 2 days later!
Source: Coleen’s Recipes
I asked Nate what he thought about this dish and his exact comment was “It tastes like Chinese takeout…only better?” and then he told me to be sure to make it again. And he was right, it did taste like Chinese take out only better. Most of us who love Chinese takeout, love to not think about how it was prepared. But, lets be honest people, Chinese takeout is NOT good for you. You could argue that it is good for the soul and good for comfort, but eventually suffering a heart attack doesn’t comfort me at all! Well, here is a great alternative! Serve it on top of brown rice and again, you’re skipping the fried rice you may have opted for at the takeout counter. I’m also thinking, this sauce would be great with chicken and/or shrimp. Enjoy!
2-3 pound lean pork roast
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup white vinegar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons ketchup
20 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
-Brown the pork roast on all sides and place in crock pot
-Mix the rest of the ingredients in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil. Then pour into the same crock pot.
-Cook on low for at least 4 hours or until tender (I went for 5!). Spoon the sauce over the meat every so often, but not needed.
-At the last 30 minutes, add some corn starch to thicken the sauce (I added 3 tablespoons of corn starch mixed with 3 tablespoons of cold water)
-Brown the pork roast on all sides and put it in your slow cooker. Mix everything else and bring it to a boil, then pour it over the meat.
-Cook on low for 4 hours or until very tender (spoon the sauce over the meat every once in a while).
-Serve over rice.
Is it just me or is every month going by faster and faster? It seems like before I know it, this boy is going to be a year old! Things have gotten SO much better. In the early weeks when people told me it would get better, I had such a hard time believing them. But, they were right! Things are awesome now. I think the missing link was me going back to work.
Being back at work has made me so happy! I love waking up in the morning to an adorable and giggly baby, getting ready, dropping D off at daycare, going to work, interacting with adults, eating lunch without the fear of a baby going nuts-o, picking up my adorable giggly baby at the end of the day, and just hanging out the rest of the night until bedtime. It’s exhausting, but I love it! I always knew I was a people person, but if these 4 months have taught me anything it‘s that I NEED to be around people. I get my energy from other people and being alone all day is just really hard for me to do. I wouldn’t trade the first 4 months though, I’ve learned so much about myself, my husband, my baby, my family, and my friends…what an awesome and rewarding experience!
The only downside to being back at work is me having to pump more. If you would’ve told me before I was pregnant that I would LOVE breastfeeding, I would‘ve called you crazy. But seriously, I love it. Even though breastfeeding is a full-time job in itself, it is something between me and my baby. That only we share. It is our time and I love when he looks up at me. He is just so darn cute!! Pumping on the other hand is just so…not personal or intimate. It’s more like work. But it has made me appreciate the times that I can feed Dillon even more than I did before.
Pumping is going well though, so I can’t complain. It’s nice to be able to pump what I need to send to daycare plus an extra bag of milk to freeze. I’ve got a nice stock pile going and it makes me feel good to add to it! I’ve been getting a few blocked milk ducts lately and I think it has something to do with how much I’ve been pumping all of the sudden. I‘ve been making sure to “empty” the boob and apply heat when needed. But the other day I could not get any relief and it freakin HURT! So I went to my favorite baby momma advice site (http://www.babycenter.com) and did some reading on the message boards. And came across the “white dot” method…holy crap did it work!!! I’m talking INSTANT relief.
Then there’s my galactocele. This lovely, 4 cm, cystic milk bag, lump, thing in my left boob. When Nate and I first found this lump we freaked out. I immediately made an appointment with the OB, which lead to an ultrasound at a radiologists, and then another radiologist appointment to get it drained and biopsied. But then they recommended to wait until I was done breastfeeding because the risk of infection is much higher and they didn’t want me to develop a milk fistula (sp?)…so they did a mammogram (ouch, but if I can handle popping out a baby this wasn’t bad at all) to verify it was a galactocele. And they pretty much did. So now we just leave it be, hope it doesn’t grow bigger or get infected, and it may go away on it’s own once I’m done with the boob juice.
Speaking of being able to pop out a baby…does anyone else compare everything that MAY hurt to labor? I’ve found myself thinking “this can’t be any worse than labor” or “there is no way this could hurt more than pushing a baby” and I can instantly relax. Like when getting blood drawn or a mammogram. It’s like nothing is that big of a deal now that I‘ve experienced labor…and even that wasn’t so bad!
Dillon has to be the cutest baby in the entire world! Or is it just me? 🙂
I can’t believe how much he has changed since we came home from the hospital. Looking back over the pictures, I can hardly recognize him in them! He is so darn cute, I can’t stand it. He has finally started to laugh. And they are the big cackling laughs, they are the best. He is very stingy with them though, it’s hard to squeeze one out of him. But once he does, man, it’s so great! He is super smiley and loves everyone. He has gotten so curious about everything and puts everything in his mouth. He even tried to eat my cheek the other day…weirdo. He also has this cute AMAZEMENT look that he does. When Nate or I click our tongue, Dillon looks at us like “OMG that was so cool!!” or “WOW! I can’t believe you can do that, how do you do that?” He has figured out how to kick and splash at bath time, so we will be moving the little tub into the big tub. He loves for us to squirt him with water. He is almost ready for the stroller without his car seat and he’s been loving the lightweight stroller, woohoo!
We love putting Dillon in his highchair and eating dinner as a family. I can not wait to start him on solids, which will probably be at 4 months. We’ve noticed he’s been really interested in what we are eating, has been salivating like it’s his job, and I’ve noticed he’s gotten more control over his tongue lately. So I think he is almost ready, but I don’t want to start him too early. The pediatrician gave us the OK at his last appointment to start at 4 months with rice cereal. EEEeeeeeee! He’s growing so fast.
(16 weeks, he had his first bowl of rice cereal and loved it!! And he also got his first ear infection, but has handled it like a boss!)
I find myself imagining Dillon learning all these new things and accomplishing milestones. I don’t want to hurry him in growing. But I am SO excited to start feeding him foods and trying new foods out. I’m looking forward to him rolling over for the first time, HE IS SO CLOSE. And wow, when he can sit up or crawl. Gosh, just dreaming over him learning these new things is so fun and amazing. I was so proud and happy when he could grab his own hands, who knows what rolling over will feel like. It has to be good 🙂
Having a baby really teaches you to enjoy and appreciate the simple things. Like grins or your baby whacking a toy for the first time. Who know something so simple could make you so happy and delighted? I‘ve got to cut myself off, I could type forever about this kid! Enjoy the pictures:
Adapted from: Saving Makes Cents
This is a recipe that has been floating around Pinterest and I’ve been meaning to try for almost a year. I thought it looked too simple to be true, but it’s not…it is as simple as it sounds! And my goodness, flavorful. I added a few ingredients of my own to give it a little something special so feel free to play around with this dish! What’s also great about this recipe is you can change up the veggies depending on what’s in season or whatever you have a taste for. And don’t tell Nate, but I definitely tasted a whole spoonful of the sauce…three times. I know…so bad.
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, raw
Green beans (any veggie like broccoli, asparagus, or brussel sprouts)
New, Red, or Baby Potatoes, cubed
1 packet of italian dressing mix
1 stick of butter, melted
fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
-Preheat over to 350 degrees F
-Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper
-Arrange the meat, potatoes, and vegetables in a 9×13 casserole dish
-Sprinkle the packet of italian dressing mix over the whole dish
-Spoon butter over the chicken, potatoes, and vegetables
-Add Ons – I added capers and lemon juice to the green beans, and sprinkled some brown sugar over the chicken.
-Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour (recipe says to cover with foil, but I skipped that and the dish turned out fine!)
Source: Practical Stewardship
-6 corn on the cob, shucked
-4 tablespoons butter, melted
-1 tablespoon garlic, minced
-1 teaspoon italian seasoning
-6 sheets of foil
-Shuck the corn.
-Mix butter, garlic, italian seasoning, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
-Place each ear of corn on a sheet of foil and fold the sides up so when to pour the butter mixture over, it doesn’t spill out.
-Drizzle a spoonful of the butter mixture over each ear of corn.
-Wrap the foil around the corn so that the juices won’t run out and place each in the crock pot.
-Cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours.