Friday, March 30, 2012

A Week's Worth of Dinners

I have a cooking blog that I haven't updated in two years.  Bad me.  I really don't want to update two blogs but the thought has crossed my mind to start food blogging again.  However, until I can decide if I want to start updating that defunct blog, you get all my fun recipes and meal planning stuff here.

Sunday evening brought us Steak Fajitas.  I have never made fajitas before and wanted to.  The fact that everything is in a nice little package is very appealing to me.  The best part of this recipe was that I was able to use one package of meat (it was a little beef roast which name escapes me - bottom round maybe?) for two meals.  It was cheaper to buy a roast rather than buying strips of meat or a steak.  I have a hard time spending $7 for enough steak to make a recipe.  The focus is on cheap meals here, not expensive meals.  I would very easily break my grocery budget if I spent $7 on one pound of meat.

I am also admittedly lazy so instead of cutting up fresh peppers and onion, I bought a bag of frozen and sauteed those babies up. 

Cooking away!

The final result:

This was a tasty meal although I would have liked more peppers and onion.  Live and learn. 

Monday night brought us Buffalo Wing Soup from one of my favorite recipe sources.  I am not sure what drew me to this other than it's in the crockpot (which earns high points from me on the laziness factor) and it tastes like wings which is one of Jason's favorite foods.

I liked this recipe because it was easy.  I did cook the chicken beforehand but it didn't take very long.  I usually just poach it and then shred it or cube it up.

Jason loved this soup although I didn't care much for it.  It tasted fine but it just wasn't my cup o' tea.  He requested I make it again which I probably won't (ha!). 

Tuesday night was homemade Fettuccine Alfredo and Italian sausages.  Sorry, I don't have a picture because I didn't any.  I had a rough day at work and my stomach was not a happy camper by the time it came to eat dinner.  I cooked it and it smelled great but I just couldn't eat it.

This might not be the healthiest of dishes but boy is it comfort food in a bowl!  You can admire the picture on my cooking blog since I didn't take a picture.  Remember?  I didn't eat any.

Wednesday night was Beef Stew.  Um, yum!  I am not the biggest fan of beef stew because my mom always made it and it was watery and not very flavorful.  However, this is a Paula Deen recipe and it's so rich and comforting and delicious!  Jason had two bowls.

I love that it's easy and you don't have to cut and chop a million veggies.  You do have to cut and chop some, but not pounds and pounds.  Plus, you don't have to peel the potatoes so that cuts down on some of the prep time.

Look at this bowl of deliciousness:

Thursday night was Mediterranean Chicken.  By the way, A Year of Slow Cooking is probably the coolest recipe blog ever.  I use so many of her recipes and most of them are tasty.  What I loved most about this recipe was that you could throw everything in the crockpot without precooking it.  My chicken breasts were frozen solid but that didn't make a difference.

This smelled amazing while cooking but when I tasted the broth, it needed something extra.  I added some garlic powder, red pepper flakes and salt.  It helped but the dish itself needed some oomph.  It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't spectacular either. 

It sure is pretty though.  I served this over rice with a sprinkle of parmesan. 

Tonight is dinner over at the in-laws so no cooking.  And Saturday (yes, I just started a sentence with and) is Jason's game night and he leaves before dinner.  That means I eat leftovers and Jack gets something fun like English muffin pizzas. 

On the menu for next week:  Spicy honey brushed chicken thighs, breakfast for dinner (pancakes, bacon and eggs), pork chops, and something else in which I haven't decided yet.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Babies and Birth Control

Ever since Cal was born I have had the overwhelming urge that I want one more baby.  It seems funny to me that he is still so little and yet I yearn for another baby.  Maybe it's because I know he is likely our last.  Unless I get a huge promotion and our housing situation changes, it's extremely unlikely we will have more children.

How can I NOT want another baby?  Cal is the sweetest, happiest baby that I have ever been around.  He smiles all the time and his general disposition is just so calm.  It makes me want to birth and raise a hundred more just like them. 

It doesn't help that my ability to have any more children right now is impossible.  8 weeks after Cal was born I had an IUD placed.  I needed to be on some sort of birth control otherwise the possibility of a suprise baby was real.  After all, Cal was a surprise. 

I decided on an IUD because hormonal pills make me crazy.  I am still pumping so I can't have anything hormone filled because it can affect my milk supply.  The family planning method is not the smartest idea in the world because that is what brought us Cal.  I thought I understood when I ovulated and the timing of getting pregnant but apparently I am not that savvy.  The only option left other than having my tubes tied was an IUD.

I had my Mirena put in a couple of weeks ago and so far I am happy.  I had very little pain during the procedure.  I did have some bleeding/spotting for the next couple of days afterwards but nothing that a pad couldn't control. 

With a Mirena, you are likely not to have a period, or if you do, it's probably going to be very light.  Since I am still exclusively pumping, I haven't had a period yet anyways.

Now, this sounds like an ideal situation right?  Except I freak out when I don't have a period.  I assume that I am pregnant.  Which is completely stupid.  I know it's next to impossible but I am used to schedules, consistency and patterns.  I am going to have to train my mind that not having a period every month is normal.

Back to my original thought for a minute.  Babies.  Jason and I have already talked about the possibility of a third child.  It's a slight possibility but I am holding out a glimmer of hope that it will become real one day.  Maybe in two years we can revisit the idea.  Maybe in two years Jack will be in some sort of preschool and Cal will be a less active toddler.  Maybe in two years we will be in a bigger house.  Maybe in two years I have a different job that allows us the finances to have a third baby.  Maybe in two years I will have two boys that actually SLEEP so a third baby isn't such a crazy, sleep deprived idea.

In the meantime, I will enjoy the boys that I have.  I will enjoy Cal being the sweetest baby ever.  And I will enjoy the idea of unprotected sex!  Haha, like that is going to happen very often in this crazy household.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Miscellaneous of the Week

I have a couple of posts started but just haven't had the energy to finish them.  So instead, you get a smattering of miscellaneous stuff.

* We are trying to wean Jack from his "bee" (pacifier).  He only gets it at night and for naps.  On Monday night he didn't have it and did fine.  Yesterday for nap he didn't have it and screamed for 45 minutes.  It sucked.  Jason revised the plan last night and snipped the tip off.  Jack understood that all his bees were broken and he still wanted it.  We will continue to cut a little bit of the tip off every night until he maybe doesn't want it anymore.

* Can someone send Cal a memo that 4:00 am is not an acceptable time to wake up?  The past couple of mornings he has woken himself and me up with grunting and straining.  The kid needs help farting apparently.  This continues for about 2 hours and I get zero sleep during this time. 

* Jason is doing a good job as a stay-at-home dad.  He is still adjusting to the early wake up time.  All those years working swing shift have messed up his sleep schedule.  We have a nice routine going every day and I hope to keep it up.  If it continues, I will post about what works for us.

* I can't stop eating.  Seriously, I don't know if it's the pumping or what.  I am craving sweets like nobody's business.  Chocolate?  Yes please.  I have to have something sweet after dinner or before bed every night.  If I don't, it's like an addict going through a withdrawal. 

* Speaking of food, I am in need of some new recipes or meal ideas.  I make dinner 5 nights a week and I can tell we are quickly going to get tired of some of our old favorites. 

* I am obsessed with cloth diapering.  I just want to buy more and more diapers!  I really can't help it.  I love how they look on Cal and they are just too fun.  I even like doing diaper laundry.

* Sunday is going to be awesome!  I rarely make any "me" time.  I usually do errands with one of the boys, or if I do an errand (which isn't considered me time anyways), it's super quick.  On Sunday, I am going for an 80 minute massage and then my sister and I are going to lunch together.  I am in desperate need of some "me" time.  I honestly can't tell you the last time I spent time with a friend or my sister without one of the boys.  Probably a month before Cal was born AT LEAST.

That is about it for this week.  I really am trying to be better about posting but hey, priorities right?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cloth Diapering My Newborn

This is going to be a long post so if you have no interest in cloth diapers, go ahead and exit now!

I titled this post with the my because I am posting what our experiences have been with cloth.  Others may not have the same experience.  You find what works for you and run with it!

When I first decided I wanted to use cloth for Cal I hadn't done much research.  I am an impulsive person so without much thought, I purchased two diapers.  One was a Flip system and the other was a Thirsties cover.  Honestly, I wish I had thought out what I was going to buy because a little research would have steered me in the right direction.

After the research process I decided I wanted to go with one size diapers that could be used from the time the baby is a newborn (approximately 8 pounds) up to toddlerhood.  That way I wouldn't be stuck buying new diapers as Cal grew.  Many diaper companies offer one size diapers but I decided to buy some diapers from the following companies/brands:  Flip (I had already purchased the one but I wanted more), Charlie Banana, and Sunbaby (for the price and the variety of patterns).  I also purchased some pre-fold diapers so I could either use the inserts that came with those diapers or the pre-folds.

Here is a run-down of the diapers and what I like/don't like about them.

Charlie Banana

I originally bought these off of a recommendation from Erin.  She liked them and I found a bundle package on Amazon that was affordable.  I had heard that most one size diapers won't fit a newborn baby until they are towards the 12 pound range.  I found that not to be true for Cal.  He was able to wear the Charlie's right away.  He is a pretty chunky guy so that could be part of why he was able to fit into them.  I love these diapers.  They are incredibly soft and the inserts are very absorbent.  The inside of the diaper is micro-fleece and absorbs very well.  These are probably the trimmest diapers that we have and that is due to the fact that they have an adjustable leg band on the inside of the diaper.  It ranges from extra small up to a large.  The bundle I purchased came with 6 diapers and 12 inserts (6 size small and 6 medium/large).  The colors are very bright and fun.  The only thing I don't care for on these diapers is the amount of snaps.  However, that is part of buying a one size diaper.  The snaps make it so you can adjust to the cows come home.  I am just lazy and don't like fastening a ton of snaps especially in the middle of the night during a diaper change.

Here is Cal wearing one of his Charlie's.  Don't let him fool you.  He really likes them.  And ignore my husband's lazy snap job on the diaper.  He is still a newb at this.  I guess this would be an example of what NOT to do. 


I ordered these diapers mostly for the patterns because let's face it, solid diapers are cute, but patterns are MUCH more fun.  The company is based out of China but don't let that scare you.  The quality is decent although not stellar.  I say that because some of the snaps on my diapers come undone easily.  You have the option of buying no inserts with your diaper or with inserts.  I chose 6 diapers with 6 inserts.  The inserts are okay.  Over time I have a feeling they will fray but for now, they are holding up well.  We have had no issues with leaks and overall I am happy.  The inside of the diaper has micro-fleece and absorbs well.  The price is very affordable:  $6 for a diaper and insert!  The patterns are super duper cute too.  When I ordered, the company offered a one size but they have recently switched to Size 1 and Size 2.  I don't believe they offer a one size any longer.  Cal was able to wear these diapers immediately also.  He didn't have to wait until the 12 pound average that most people swear by.

Here is Cal wearing a Sunbaby.  I wish this picture was a little better quality so you could see the whole diaper. 


I ordered a Flip before doing any research on cloth but I am glad I did!  They are a very good quality diaper although not the most trim against his body.  I like the fact that the closure is snap but not a million snaps like some other diapers.  It's easy for middle of the night diaper changes to fasten four snaps instead of six.  The Flip system is neat because it's a cover with an insert so you don't have to stuff the insert inside the diaper.  You can use your own pre-folds or the insert that comes with.  The insert is sized so it's adjustable for a small baby up to a big baby.  I like the system because if the cover doesn't get wet, you can just slap another insert in without having to wash the cover.  Easy peasy!  My only complaint is the lack of patterns, but seriously, that is a very petty complaint, I know.  Cal was able to wear these diapers immediately.  After my original purchase of one cover with one insert, I ordered a bundle package.  Two additional covers with six inserts. 

Here is Cal wearing a Flip.  This color is called Ribbit. 

KaWaii Baby

These are by far my most favorite diaper.  Although not the most trim, I just like the way they fit Cal and the bonus is the velcro/hook and loop closure on some of them.  These diapers weren't purchased with my original stash.  I bought them after the fact when I realized I needed more diapers otherwise I would be washing every day.  This might not be an issue for some people but now that I am back at work and have a husband that stays at home, I wanted to alleviate our load a little.  Doing laundry less often is definitely a plus.

I bought 6 KaWaii diapers because not only were they economical (about $7 for a diaper with 2 inserts) but the colors and patterns are darling!  I opted for four diapers that have a velcro closure.  When they came, I realized just how much we were going to love these.  My husband still has a hard time with the snap diapers but when I showed him the velcro, he was all over these.  Every day, these diapers are the first to go.  Jason has no issue with tightening the diapers to fit Cal since it's super easy to tighten velcro. 

You can buy either a micro-fleece or micro-suede lined diaper.  I got two micro-suede and four micro-fleece.  Some babies have an issue with rash using the suede, but Cal hasn't had any problems yet.  The liners are absorbent and you have the option of doubling them up since the company sends two liners per diaper that you order.

If I need to order more diapers in the future, I will definitely be buying more KaWaii. 

Here is Cal wearing a KaWaii Baby diaper.  The diaper is actually red.  Not sure why it looks orange in this picture.


Finally, we have one Thirsties cover.  I ordered this before I knew a lot about cloth.  I didn't know when I was ordering that you need to provide your own insert or pre-fold to stick in it.  I also didn't know that it wasn't a one-size diaper.  This cover only fits babies from 6 to 18 pounds.  Considering Cal is close to 13 pounds right now, this diaper only will have a short lifespan. 

Overall, I like this cover.  I have stuck a Flip insert in there so it gets some use.  I don't have much else to say other than it's a good cover.  But again, we are an AIO one-size family so it doesn't really fit our needs.

Here is Cal wearing the one Thirsties that we have:

On a side note, I love the funny facial expressions that Cal has in these pictures.  They were all taken at different times.

Here are some other fun pictures.  This is our entire cloth diaper stash (with the exception of the extra inserts, pre-folds, a pink diaper that Jason hates and the yellow diaper that Cal was wearing at the time):

And some of my favorite diapers because the patterns are so stinking cute!  The first is a KaWaii Baby and it's a Snazzy Minky in camo.  The material is almost like a velour.  The second is also a KaWaii and although the material isn't denim, it looks like denim.  The third is a Sunbaby and what baby doesn't need argyle?


I prepped our diapers before use by washing them twice with Tide Ultra powder.  This was a detergent that was recommended by the Cloth Diapering board on The Bump.  I set our washing machine to heavy soil and did both a prewash and an extra rinse.  I did this routine twice and wash all our diapers with the heavy soil/prewash/extra rinse and they come out nice and clean.

I do not clean or rinse the diapers before throwing them in the washer.  Babies that are breastfed before they start solids have water soluble poo.  You can throw the dipes directly in the washer, poo and all.  I do this and it works great!  When Cal starts solids, this will change.  To ready myself for cleaning poo, I have a diaper sprayer that attaches to the toilet as well as a Spray Pal

As for storing the dirty diapers before washing, I use a regular trash can with a wet bag liner.  So far, there have been no issues with stink.  On wash day, I can just dump the entire wet bag into the washer and that's it! 

Unrelated to washing but we have a tube of California Baby diaper cream for Cal if he starts to get a diaper rash.  This is a CD safe cream as others can cause issues with stink or repelling.  For a barrier cream, we use virgin coconut oil on his heiney.  It is safe on cloth and it smells pretty good.

Cost Breakdown

I will try and include every item that we have purchased for our cloth diapering adventure.  These costs include shipping if applicable.

Spray Pal - $30
Two large diaper pail wetbags - $31.45
Diaper sprayer - $39.95
Four small wetbags - $21.06
California Baby diaper cream - $11.99
Diaper pail (trashcan) - approximately $12 at Target
Coconut oil - $6.99 at Trader Joes
Tide Ultra powder - approximately $10 at Target
6 Sunbaby diapers with inserts - $36
6 Charlie Banana diapers with 12 inserts - $109.99
2 Flip diapers with 6 inserts - $49.95
1 Flip cover - $16.95
Thirsties cover - $13.75
6 KaWaii Baby diapers and 12 inserts - $53.91
24 pre-folds - $23.98

Grand total $467.97

If you do a cost breakdown of what it costs to diaper a child in disposables, that is quite the savings!  Even with all the "extras" like extra wetbags and a diaper sprayer which most people would say are luxuries and not necessities.

Here is a rough calculation.  I buy disposables at Costco so these will be Costco prices.  8 diapers a day (on average) for a child through potty training.  A box contains approximately 195 diapers (Size 1 has 216 in a box whereas Size 5 has 168 in a box).  Each box would last approximately 24 days.  That would mean 15 boxes of diapers a year.  Each box of diapers is $39 (or less with a coupon). 

$39 per box of diapers x 15 boxes a year = $585 per year

And that is just one year!  My 2 year old is still in diapers. 

I hope this post has been informative.  Even if it's not, I wanted to put my own thoughts down in case I need to reference them later. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Calvin is Two Months Old

I waited until today to post this update because I wanted to be able to add Cal's weight and height from his pediatrician appointment.

Well Chunka Monka, you have been in our lives for 2 months already.  You are SUCH a happy baby.  It's unbelievable.  I don't know where you get your sweet and happy disposition but we love it!  The only time you fuss or cry is if you are hungry, tired, or have a dirty diaper.

You were such a trooper at your pediatrician appointment today.  We had to wait a while for the doctor but you were just smiling and cooing the whole time.  Even after getting your shots, you hardly cried. 

Here are your stats:

Head:  40th percentile
Weight:  12 pounds 14.5 ounces, 75th percentile
Height:  23.25 inches, 60th percentile

Some things you are up to this month:

* Again, HAPPY BABY!  I hope this doesn't change because it's just so sweet.  You smile and coo at Mom and pretty much everyone else all the time you are awake.  When you cry, it's because you need something. 

* I think you would love to be pals with your older brother, but he isn't really sure of you right now.  I know you will be good buddies as you grow.

* You are sleeping in 3 hour stretches at night.  Typically, you go to sleep in your Rock N Play around 9 and sleep until 11 or midnight.  Then you are generally up again around 11, 3'ish and up for the day around 6.  Mommy is a sucker and brings you to bed with us after the first wakeup.  You know this and if I try and put you back in your bed, your little eyes jolt right open.  We (me) need to work on this.

* You are starting to bust out of 3 month clothing.  I think it's a combination of your chunky monkey legs and your budonkadonk butt in your cloth diaper.

* You are starting to recognize toys and grab them if placed in your hand.  You have quite the grip too!

* You LOVE your Mommy.  Daddy is a favorite too but if you are upset and Daddy can't calm you down, you immediately quiet when I hold you.  After all, your favorite place to sleep is on Mommy's chest in your Moby.  As a matter of fact, that's where you are right now.

* Reflux is getting much better.  You are on Prevacid and it's working quite well.  You take it straight from the spoon mixed with some water and don't gag at all.  Big boy!

* We are working on how much milk you drink at a time and it's up to about 3 ounces right now.  This is the reflux's fault.  Now that it's under control, you love to eat all the time.  All.The.Time.  If we let you eat every hour, you totally would.

* It's amazing to see all the similarities you with Jack and yet the differences.  You guys look a lot alike but your body types are different.  You both have/had reflux, but you are so much happier!  You both aren't the best sleepers but you are a much better eater.

We love you buddy.  Please stay happy and keep on growing!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Oh My God....the Poop

Jason and I were joking on Friday that we were having Poop Watch 2012.  See, Cal hadn't pooped since Wednesday.  He is normally a regular pooper but there was none to be found on Thursday, Friday or Saturday.  This is not unusual in breastfed babies.  I was not going to be concerned until he hit day 7 with no poop.

Every time I would hear Cal fart, I would check his diaper thinking he had pooped.  Nope.  Not until Sunday.  So that is 3 days without poop. 

And when he did poop?  It was horrid.  I heard the telltale signs of gas and poo so I went to change his diaper.  He had literally FILLED his diaper with poop.  It was gross.  And as I was cleaning off his bum, he proceeded to poop again.  It honest to God looked like soft serve ice cream coming out of his bum (sorry folks).  I used about 5 washcloths (we cloth wipe) to clean the poo off. 

I finally get him diapered up and no sooner does he poop again.  Back to the changing table.  Another full diaper.

I think I lost count at 6 huge poop diapers yesterday.  Blech. 

Although I am glad he is back to normal. 

I had washed all our diapers Saturday night and I had to do another load on Sunday because I did so many diaper changes.  I guess it's good that I ordered 6 more diapers huh?